Monday, January 31, 2011


DRANIAC (2000)
Directed by Brett Piper

Georgia Hatzis - Julie
Alexandra Boylan - Lisa
Ethan Krasnoo - Jake

     Some teenagers in an old house find that there's something evil in the water.

     I remember when I was a kid and would always stay up late Friday and Saturday nights and watch USA when they had Up All Night on, as well as HBO, for the simple joy of hoping to catch some weird or really bad horror movie. Needless to say I've seen some really truly bad movies due to this and I'm not afraid to admit it. From schlocky sci-fi to wannabe zombie and mad scientist movies. I was always looking forward to the next movie never knowing what the next 90 minutes plus would bring and enjoying the anticipation even if the outcome was less than ideal which happened about half the time and the true amazing ones were even harder to find. At least with half of them I had fun watching.

     One thing I'm happy about sometimes is the ability to make it through the first five minutes of movies without turning it off. I can count on one hand the number of times I have turned off a movie. This movie was almost one of them thanks to the terrible acting of the two "actors" at the start of the movie and their terrible lines of dialogue. Thankfully the script does get better but it's a long way from being considered good and at its best it can only be considered above average. I mean how far can you take a demon in control of water?  In all actually it can be taken pretty damn far with what all that can be done with it. It's just to bad that Piper can't seem to be able to think in an odd way to get this done. Piper doesn't even know what to do with the story of the big bad as he can't decide if it's a slime monster or a ghost. Yet Piper does know what type of movie he's making and he went with it and doesn't apologize one bit. One thing that makes this better than most of the recent low budget films coming out these days is the look of the film as it was filmed with actual film cameras and not digital cameras which basically over-saturates the colors and gives it a bad American soap opera type feel.

     The acting I will say is give or take throughout the whole movie as some you can tell were just there for a paycheck, if they got one, while others actually tried to have fun with what they were giving. Georgia Hatzis is probably the most competent actor out of the cast but yet at the same time you can tell she gets tired at points in the story although she still trudges through it. Alexandra Boylan as well does a decent job with what she was giving as Haztis' friend in the movie and support for the rest of the friends if you can call them that from the way they treat each other for half the movie but at least they know what type of movie they're making. As for Steven Bornstein as Hatzis' father, I just got to say there's a difference in playing an ass and pretending to play an ass and Bornstein doesn't know how to do either except play indifference and raise his voice thinking that will work. It doesn't and thankfully I didn't have to suffer watching him on screen to much.

     So does that mean Drainiac is bad? Yes it is, but in a good way, where if you can get past the first 5 minutes of two bums fighting each other it does get good enough to have fun with and that's all someone can really ask for in a movie like this. There is something to be said about stop motion animation and in camera effects in a movie like this instead of CG and with the budget this movie had it was a very wise decision as it just adds to the feel of the movie instead of putting the viewer out. If you watched any of the old Vestron or Full Moon films this harkens back to those movies of where anything goes and it's just better to go along with what ever is happening instead of trying to understand any of it.  Just enjoy and the ride is all the more better and kinda fun, after the first five minutes.

     The extreme water-boarding of Plummer.

     Piper on the commentary track reveals how the film was made for $10,000 in just 7 days.

     Piper was working on a HD-DVD version of the film, but we all know how HD-DVD turned out, and was never finished.

     For those that watch the credits, the usual disclaimer at the end of the film is different. Here it is:
This motion picture is a work of fiction and all characters portrayed herein are pretty much the products of the writer /director / producer's warped imagination.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Directed by Henry Saine

Kyle Davis - Jeff
Devin McGinn - Charlie
Barak Hardley - Paul

     Jeff is giving a ancient artifact and told he's last of the Lovecraft family line and that he has to protect the relic at all cost.

     I must admit something straight out. I love H.P. Lovecraft and his stories. I even love most stories based on his Cthulhu Mythos, also known as the Lovecraft Mythos.  While the Mythos is more of a background setting more than anything else which Lovecraft left open on purpose to let other people play around in, to put it simply, is the coming of the Old Ones by their human followers to help them reclaim Earth and remove humanity from it, though there is more to it than just that. Most movies that are based on the Mythos that I've seen so far are just average to tell the truth but yet interesting due to where the director tries to goes with the story. The reason for that is the Mythos is so wide ranging usually the only thing that connects these movies and stories together is the Old Ones themselves or variances of them. I try to watch as many of these movies as possible, even when I know the movie will be a complete piece of shit. I do this trying to find those rare gems of movies that are amazing and capture the feel of the original stories. Anyway, when I found out that there was another Mythos movie coming out I was filled with hope, but yet trepidation at the same time for what this film might hold as I watched it.

     It's nice to see a movie not take itself seriously sometimes and try not to be more than what it is. This movie knows it's place and doesn't try to go above it. The first time you meet the main characters they're working in an office where they're the misfits of the staff considering one plays with action figures and the other doesn't understand he's being hit on, hard, by a co-worker even if she shot him with a gun. So with that the movie already starts off saying the main characters are not heroes and pretty much clueless. Kyle Davis who plays Jeff , the last descendant of Lovecraft, is the straight man of the whole cast and I must say he does a decent job in the role, even though he really doesn't have any of the truly great lines in the movie, as he's the one member of the group that really doesn't believe the whole experience is truly happening until the halfway point in the film. Devin McGinn on the other hand, who plays Charlie, who also wrote the script, is just fun to watch as you can actually tell he is having enjoying himself through the entire run time of the movie. Not only does he have the best lines of dialogue, but he also the greater portion of one liners. The whole cast can easily be seen enjoying themselves throughout even when speaking lines that would make higher paid actors roll their eyes at the thought of doing it, but they believe in what they're making and in return the movie is better for it.

     The movie does have problems though as some of the lines between Jeff and Charlie gets old and runs for to long. The story on the other hand is basically a played out version of other movies of its kind as the main character is a nobody, finds out he's a descendant of someone famous, goes through trials, then finally becomes a hero. Thankfully with this movie most of the journey has enough comedic bits throughout the whole that it helps rather than hinders while also helping get past the slower parts. Another problem is some of the special and practical effects throughout the film. The deep ones are actually quite well done but lack any movement in the face and you can't tell the difference between any of them unfortunately, but at least the mouth works on them so that helps. As for the Star Spawn, that was the one true thing about the movie I really didn't like at all as it seemed like the makeup effects artist just didn't know what to do so he took slim jims and pasted them on a guys face and spray painted the whole thing red. Then there is the CG. I don't know how many times I've said this but get the coloring corrected with what is on screen as most of the time it's only a shade off and take off the translucent effect and you actually might be amazed at what happens.

     It should be noted if that you don't know anything about Lovecraft and his literary work you will be lost even though the movie does try to explain who is who and what is what and why but it just glances over it and misses a lot of the true points of the stories where these creatures come from. For those that have read these works and know about them, you should be quite amused with what is happening in the film as well as the sight gags as even the t-shirts that some of the characters wear are referencing Mythos creatures. This is a comedy and doesn't try to hide that fact one bit. In fact the movie and the actors relish it, as can be seen by the chemistry on screen and the way they play off each other so well. I should also note that Paul, played by  Barak Hardley, is just a hilarious to watch as the overly geeky inept punching bag for everyone in the movie who just wants to be accepted by Jeff and Charlie, even though he had both his arms broken by Jeff when they were in school and he still thinks the world of them. So if you're looking for a fun semi-light hearted movie for all geeks and nerds (I'm one), this movie is for you.

     Ear to ear cleaning by tentacle.

     Every time a foghorn blows, another twisted mer-being get's it's fins.    

     Devin McGinn who plays Charlie also wrote the story for the movie as well as produced and edited.

     The film had it's premiere at the 2010 Slamdance film festival.

     Watch for the ode to Masters Of The Universe's horde creature Leech toward the beginning of the movie.

Monday, January 17, 2011


Directed by Michel Gondry

Seth Rogen - Britt Reid/The Green Hornet
Jay Chou - Kato
Christoph Waltz - Chudnofsky

     After the death of his father, Britt Reid becomes the publisher of The Daily Sentinel and his father's substantial assets. After firing almost the complete staffing of his estate, one of the ones that is left is Kato, who happens to be a amazing engineer and martial arts master. It is after foiling a robbery that Britt and Kato decide to pose as criminals to fight crime.

     I'm trying to think of the best way to start this review and I'm not having very much luck. I didn't know much about the story past what I learned from watching the 1960s TV series with Bruce Lee and Van Williams which wasn't as cheesy as one might expect for the time as it was played straight unlike how Batman was made during that time. I must say that I actually liked the TV series more than I should. In that series Britt is actually a above average detective who, with the help of Kato, fights crime while having help from the D.A. and secretary Lenore "Casey" Case. Yet this isn't a review of the TV show, it's a review of the movie and what I thought of it. So what did I think of the movie?

     I wasn't really that impressed through most of it. The main reason for this is Seth Rogen's Britt Reid. Now Rogen has never played a genius before in any movie, and yet I liked him in all the comedies I've seen him be part of. But in this movie he just plays a complete moron through most of it, good intentioned and an ass, but dumb and someone I wanted to strangle every time he opened his mouth. Most of the movies I've seen him in he plays the slacker/stoner in comedic roles that are so similar that you might think that his character from The 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked up are the same. I'm not saying that Rogen is the worst actor in the world, it's just that to me, he doesn't have the range yet or he hasn't found the director to really push him out of his school boy humor mode to play a role like this yet. That's not to say Rogen doesn't do good in his role, it just takes to long to get there where you actually see a character progression, growth, and maturity and only in the last 15 minutes of the movie. As a side note his performance that really should be mentioned, instead of talking he screams his way through most of the movie which get's annoying after the second time he does it.

     Now Christoph Waltz's character in the movie had me confused as when you first see him he's supposed to be the boss of the underworld but comes off meek and quiet. Is this really the same guy that was in Inglorious Basterds, this man that looks like he's about to break out in tears at a moments notice. I know that Waltz has charisma, it shined like a lighthouse in Basterds, but here, it's like watching a firefly at a distance. Most protagonists are defined by their antogonist,, but hell a five year old wouldn't be afraid of Chudnofsky or Bloodnofsky, as he calls himself at the end of the movie cause he's wearing a  blood red jacket and he thinks it will make him scary. Yeah, real scary. But then again Waltz's character has issues as he's insecure and to overly concerned what others think of him to much, yet I could have cared less. I can easily say the same for Cameron Diaz's Lenore Case. The first time you see her on screen is the way you always see her on screen for most of her roles, comes into a room, stops, then smiles with no worries or cares. Just plain boring. Which is what I felt through most of the movie.

     That's not to say the whole movie is bad. One of the best parts of the movie is Jay Chou's portrayal of Kato. It might be because he deadpans the whole way through the movie, but the movie could have been called Kato and did just as well as the only person I really did care about in the movie was Kato. Or it could be that he actually was in all the interesting scenes or was just more interesting due to the fact that he wasn't trying to make jokes or act like an ass throughout the whole movie or laugh at his own jokes he tells. He also seemed the most fallible out of everyone in the movie as he shows he's jealous, can't swim, and doesn't like how Britt is always overshadowing him but yet the story doesn't help his character evolve anymore than what was shown. Now while Michel Gondry does try to do a good job with the movie, and in his own style that he's known for, he just doesn't fully pull it off as the movie seems like it's directed by two different people at times. During the action scenes the camera is fluid, even though the action does get lost sometimes it's not for long. While during the non action parts of the movie the camera is static and unmoving usually set to a wide angle where it can catch all the people at one time. While the movie was supposed to be fun, I found it to be just kinda "meh". That's the best I can put it as the end of the movie was best part where everything happens almost at one time but yet after spending an hour and forty minutes with these characters being inept, I still didn't feel anything for them. So if you're looking for a brainless action movie this would fit the bill for that as there is no character progression for the most part and what the bad guys do is even told to you even before it happens, which pulls the surprises for those scenes away from the viewer and treats us like idiots. So if you can deal with all the flaws this would be the movie for you.

      The Black Beauty when it goes out of 10th story of The Daily Sentinel which a passenger on the front of the car and we go along for the ride.

     I'll go with you, but I don't want to touch you.

     This is Seth Rogen's first live action movie not rated "R".

     In the original radio programs, Britt Reid is the grandenephew of the John Reid, the Lone Ranger.

     Seth Rogen lost over 30 pounds for his role.

     Seth Rogen also helped write the script for the movie with Evan Goldberg.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Directed by Jalmari Helander

Per Christian Ellefsen - Riley
Peeter Jakobi - Santa
Jorma Tommila - Rauno

     In Finland an archaeological dig unearths an ancient tomb. Afterward strange things start happen around a herding village. Only one boy knows what's really going on and no one wants to listen until it's to late.

     I first heard about this movie when the list of movies for Fantastic Fest 2010 was announced last year and thought that it would be an interesting just based on the premise alone. Then December rolled around and I started trying to find it with not a lot of luck. I actually wanted to have this review out on Christmas itself in honor of the day, and also due to it was a Christmas movie. Well needless to say that didn't happen unfortunately so I was resigned myself to having to wait for the release of the American DVD version of the movie. Then a couple days ago the movie became available and I got my copy of it finally. So I just wanted to say sorry about reviewing a Christmas movie past Christmas, and this is just way of fixing what should have came out last month, and not waiting until Christmas this year to review it as I can't wait that long!

      I'm going to start with my one gripe about the movie. It's small a gripe, as I'll say later in this paragraph, but it is a gripe. Now the movie already had me with the isolated and frozen setting and it just kept on building on that helplessness throughout the movie. I should also say that it's shot so beautifully  where it just helps draw you in more. You can actually tell distance and depth in the film. Even when some of the shots are helped with CG it really doesn't pull you out of the movie, but it is my one gripe with it as well. I understand it's hard to get over a hundred actors running at one time as well as having a kid hanging from a helicopter, as it calls into child endangerment issues, but you can easily tell it was either green screened or a full CG shot. I know this is a a smaller movie and didn't have the budget of bigger films but nothing really pulls me out of movies like discolored CG in movies especially one so well shot and put together where the setting is as much part of the story as the characters. But that's my one gripe with it and I know I said the same thing about TRON LEGACY and CG, but it's true. If filmmakers just spend an extra month on CG I'm sure most of my gripes with modern film will disappear. 

       Now that that's over I can go ahead and say I love this movie. From its plot to the way it's achieved. Nothing in this movie slows it down once it starts rolling and it's all a build up to last scene which makes so much sense as how Helander ended the movie. Even though the movie starts out slow it certainly doesn't stay that way after all the characters are introduced. Things start going wrong quickly and the adults don't know what is truly happening and the one person that does, his warnings are ignored until it's to late and things have already started going bad. Omni Tommila does a wonderful job as Pietari, as he is the center of the film and if he tried to play up his role the movie would have fallen apart. Thankfully he didn't. Tommila just has that classic childhood innocence about him that just shines through the film. Who didn't have a childhood imaginary fear, from clowns to puppets, where you thought it was so true that you would do anything to keep yourself and your parents safe when you were young. I know I had one. Lightning and thunderstorms. When I was small, I was terrified by them. Now I just love watching storms roll in and the breathtaking light shows that come with it. Well this movie takes that fear that Pietari has and makes it real which is just one of the reasons why I love this movie so much. It takes something that has happened to everyone and puts it on screen. One scene that stand out is when Pietari sets a trap in the fireplace for Santa that almost kills his father. I'm not going to say what it is but I did laugh out loud once the trap was shown. I should also mention that the chemistry between Pietari and Rauno is just amazing to watch as well, as there is true emotion there that isn't and can not be faked.

     I'm trying to stay away from going to much into the story as it will give away to much and half of the fun is seeing the twist in the movie that. I didn't even it coming and it hits bluntly, but because of this I was laughing and disturbed at the same time. Because of that twist it put the movie on that "I love this" level. While the movie does get dark as it firmly tarnishes a cherished mythological figure, it still has that child like fun and wonderment that keeps it from going overboard. I will say the movie is not for kids. Far, far from it in fact, but it has that classic '80s movie feel that isn't there in movies anymore, where that balance of silly, fun, creepy, and scary are perfect in that cheesy but not over the top way. While the film is firmly self-aware of what it's doing, it doesn't go overboard trying to be outrageous in what it does, as the director knows when to pull back to keep from slipping over that line as where so many other movies do. If I had seen Rare Exports last year it would have easily been on my top 10 list. And I can easily say that this will be required viewing for me every Christmas time from now on.
     Even though there is only one death on screen, it has that shock value to put it here.You'll know it when you see the movie.

     The characters of the father Rauno and son Pietari  are in real life also father and son.

     Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale is actually the prequel to the short films Rare Exports Inc. and Rare Exports: The Official Safety Instructions that came out in 2003 and 2005 respectively and can be found online.

Saturday, January 8, 2011


Directed by William Malone

Dylan Purcell - Danny Sloan
Patrick Kilpatrick - Byron Volpe
Jeffrey Combs - Detective Garrett

     Danny Sloan a art student who visits his friend in a rehab hospital sees Laura Baxter, a young woman who suffers from a medical condition called "parasomnia" and falls in love with her. A childhood accident victim, she is actually sleeping her life away and he decides to try to help her after he finds out she's scheduled to be used in medical experiments.  Unaware that her hospital neighbor, a terrifying mass murderer and mesmerist named Byron Volpe has other plans for her.

     I'll go ahead and start off by saying that I was pretty much hooked with this movie from the first scene. That doesn't mean that the movie was perfect, but it was really good. I liked Malone's work on the remake of House On Haunted Hill and Tales From the Crypt series for HBO, but not so much his movie Creature from 1985. So going into the movie I really had no idea what to expect from it, except that it had Jeffery Combs in a horror movie (sold right there) about dreams (not so much there after watching to many Nightmare On Elm Street movies.)

         Let me start off by saying the main character of the movie is a idiot. All of the bad that happens, and there's a lot, happens all because of him. As for the actor who plays him, Purcell, does a good job with the character, it's just that he isn't quite believable in his role as Danny Sloan, as he seems lost every so often . It could just be that at every turn and action he does is expected or undone by Volpe or that he doesn't really know how to pull off innocent like the role required I can't quite pi it down. Plus as I said before, the character is a idiot and his actions are really suspicious and even down right creepy, but yet innocent in his own way. As for Cheylin Wilson's Laurie,  she's actually quite fun to watch as the sleeping beauty in the movie. It was quite pleasant watching Wilson when she first gets out of the medical center and is just overwhelmed with all the new experiences and sensations as you can tell the joy she feels for it. This doesn't last long as she becomes lost and alone halfway through the movie and you start feeling for her and the disorientation she's suffering and the fear it's causing her.  As for Combs, he's still great fun to watch after all these years, just to bad he plays a cookie cutter detective in a horror movie but he's still good in this role. Just watch for when he blows a hole in his face, as it's pure horror movie goodness!

    Now on to the antagonist in the movie  Kilpatrick's Byron Volpe. What a creepy bastard, but every time he's on screen he takes over the movie and you know it. Sure he overacts in his role every so often but it just helps to add to the character and makes it fun. He's always one step ahead of everyone.  It's not often when a new bogeyman comes on the screen that you actually have fun watching that doesn't spew out bad joke after bad joke, but is educated and truly dangerous. The true danger he possesses is his ability to make people do what he wants from just a look or the sound of his voice. Even though the movie doesn't go into detail if it's a supernatural or giving to him by some other means, it helps add to the mystery of the character.  Also I like the camera effects they use for his eyes when he memorizes someone and the background behind him is just creepy when this happens.

     I should point out that this is more of an art film than anything else since so much of the movie relies on the visuals seen in the movie. Now that doesn't mean that the movie doesn't have a story, quite the opposite, it has a strong story, but the visuals adds so much to the movie that it has to be mentioned. The main set piece in the movie is the end confrontation where I was just blown away  by what I was seeing and really sealed my like for this movie. I'm not going to give away what it is as I feel if I do I'll ruin it if you haven't seen the movie. This movie is a pure fairy tale more than anything else, and a classic fairy tale at that. Let's just say that even though evil is defeated, it has taken it's toll and all does not end well, but ends in a bittersweet way which I applaud Malone for doing.

     Sean Young's header off a building hit's hard and it hits early and sets the tone for the movie.

     Pretty things always have a tragic end. It's one of the laws of nature and only serves to make them more beautiful.

     William Malone wrote the story while working on his Masters of Horror episode Fair-Haired Child.

     The movie was filmed on the same set as Malone's 1999 remake of House On Haunted Hill.

     Malone and one of his friends refinanced their homes to make the movie.

     Look for a quick cameo from director John Landis halfway through the movie.

Friday, January 7, 2011


CONTACT (Short Film)
Directed Jeremiah Kipp

Zoe Daelman Chlanda
Robb Leigh Davis
Katherine O'Sullivan

     A couple decides to experiment with a drug and unexpected consequences follow.

     I'm doing something a little different with this review. Instead of a full length movie, this one is a short. I've seen really bad short films and some truly amazing ones as well. Jeremiah Kipp, the director,  contacted me directly about about reviewing Contact. How could I say no to that.

      I'll start off by saying that I never heard of Kipp before he got in touch with me, and I'm kinda sad by that fact now after watching CONTACT. The film itself has a weird feel to it by the way of camera shots that actually helps it out and gives it a surreal feel. Even though some shots might seem out of place it's done on purpose to help bring the viewer into the world Kipp has created.  While the film is shot in black and white, it doesn't take anything away from the whole experience but instead adds to it. Every shot is crisp and clean giving it a depth that most films don't have even with extravagant budgets. The film also has plenty of atmosphere which is also thanks to the score and sounds used.  Even though there's barely any dialogue the film doesn't need any as the story is easy to follow. My only really complaint is that sometimes the camera lingers on inconsequential characters to long that don't show up again, but that's just a minor nitpick and it doesn't take anything away from the film.

     The centerpiece of the film to me is the drug experience scene. Most of the atmosphere of the scene comes from the use of sound design and odd camera angles that helps you feel what the couple are feeling, seeing, and hearing. The shot of the lights in front of one of the pictures resembling a brain is compelling to me as it's showing what's  happening in the couples brains before their trip goes really bad. The echoing effect of sounds in this scene just adds to the collapse of reality for the couple. This is where the black and white look of the film also comes in handy the most during this part as the couple becomes connected in more than the usual way. It brings to mind Cronenberg's use of  body horror and the body turning against it's person. Truly fun stuff.

     The end of the film also stands out as it brings into question what has really happened to the couple. The film ends where it begins, but with a quick shot of the female lead still on the floor from the drug scene. I myself love films that make the viewer question what really happened and I wish more films would do this instead of just candy coating everything for easy consumption.  I actually look forward to watching more films from Kipp as this film shows major promise for him in his future endeavors. 


     Though it's not a death, it's still cool when the "mouth tunnel" rips and you see the after effects of it.

This short got Jeremiah Kipp his first full directing job. THE SADIST starring Tom Savini.

Jeremiah Kipp was the first assistant director of  I SELL THE DEAD.

Cult film figure Alan Rowe Kelly stars as the drug dealer.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Top Movies of 2010

My top movies I saw last year are as follows.

1. Black Swan - No words can really describe how messed up and beautifully dark this movie is. Go ahead and do yourselves a favor and go and see it already!

2. Inception - Simply amazing on every level and it makes you think to boot. Shocker there, a movie from Hollywood that makes you think. Close to being my first pick of the year except Black Swan stays with, and not in a good way. Also out Bonds James Bond!

3. Scott Pilgrim VS. The World - Just go and watch it already if you haven't. You'll never have as much fun watching a asshole again!

4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - The Potter films grow up and so does the acting.

5. Despicable Me - Just fun all the way through. "Yes! Mine's shaped like a dead guy!"

6. Shutter Island - Even though I figured out what was going on halfway through the movie, the grimy and decrepit atmosphere more than made up for it. Not to mention DiCaprio did pretty good in it.

7. Kick-Ass -  What a fun, violent, and unapologetic movie. Even though I did like the comic more.

8. Red - Loved this movie, and laughed all the way through it. Malkovich is great as the paranoid in this movie.

9. From Paris With Love - Travolta was so much fun to watch in this. He made and owned this movie.

10. How To Train Your Dragon - The story of the oddball does good. Understated in parts parts but full of heart. Besides the dragon reminds me of a cat.

Now the worst movie I saw all year has to be...............

In Search Of Lovecraft

What a piece of shit this movie was. Nuff said!