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August 2017
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MonsterZeroNJ
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Happy Mother's Day to all the MFC mom's!
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MonsterZeroNJ posted a BLOG item 3 days ago

review: THE MONSTER PROJECT (2017)

Monster_project

Found footage horror finds two Youtube pranksters Devon (Justin Bruening) and Jamal (Jamal Quezaire) coming up with a idea for a put-on to find and interview monsters for a Youtube show they dub The Monster Project. They add Jamal’s druggie roommate Bryan (Toby Hemingway) and Devon’s ex Murielle (Murielle Zuker) to the crew and begin advertising for “monsters” to interview. They rent an old creepy house to use as their setting and actually get people claiming to be a vampire (Yvonne Zima), a skin-walker (Steven Flores) and demon possessed girl (Shiori Ideta) answering their ad. As the night and interviews progress, the team start to find out these “monsters” are very real and that their lives are in real danger.

Directed by Victor Mathieu from a script and story by he with Corbin Billings and Shariya Lynn, this is an amusing concept of Youtube video makers getting more than they bargained for. The interview segments are creepy and when their supernatural subject matter turns out to be real, there are some truly spooky and intense sequences, as the vampire, skin-walker wolf and demon girl pursue them all through the maze-like old house. It’s played straight and there is some gore as the four aren’t all lucky enough to evade their fiendish pursuers. The found footage style works here, with even the cop/skin-walker having his own uniform cam as he follows his intended victims. This part of the film is the best and the most entertaining, even with some weak CGI. Where the film stumbles, is where a lot of found footage flicks do. The build-up to the interview/chase segment is nowhere near as interesting, especially when it delves into the drama between Devon and Murielle’s failed relationship and Bryan’s attempts to appear clean when he isn’t. It’s kind of dull and the actors aren’t always up to the task. The film also comes apart a little bit in the last act when there is a reveal which takes the film and the survivors in a different direction. It seemed like it was unnecessary when the simpler plot of the film crew actually finding real monsters was enough to entertain. It takes the simpler premise into different territory and the initial story didn’t need a hidden agenda. It had some spooky moments, too, but also seems to overload the flick in it’s last moments.

For the most part this found footage flick has an amusing set-up and generates some intensity, chills and some fun chase sequences as a crew of Youtube entrepreneurs get exactly what they wished for. There is some decent gore and make-up for a low budget flick and the found footage format works here to the flick’s advantage. Where the flick falters is in the personal drama between some of the characters which is dull and doesn’t add much and that the cast of unknowns aren’t always convincing in their roles. The ending takes the film in an unneeded direction and convolutes things a bit when the simpler premise was working just fine and didn’t need an extra inning. Sometimes less is more, though what we get does have it’s moments. Not the complete success it wants to be, but entertains well enough when it’s working. 6/10

-MonsterZero NJ


Mood: Chillin'

grelber37
grelber37 at 03:43 PM Aug 19

MonsterZeroNJ, you save people money and time, and it is always appreciated. Thanks to your review, The Monster Project looks like a low-priority watch.

timmyd
timmyd at 08:01 PM Aug 20

I just read something about this , and it sounded kinda interesting . I'll give it a look.

MonsterZeroNJ posted a BLOG item 5 days ago

review: I AM THE PRETTY THING THAT LIVES IN THE HOUSE (2016)

Pretty_thing

Sophomore flick from Osgood Perkins, shows the filmmaker has indeed mastered spooky atmosphere with this tale of home care nurse Lily (Ruth Wilson) moving in with ailing horror novelist Iris Blum (Paula Prentiss). As she cares for the woman, the easily scared Lily starts to believe that the house is more than just a home, but a direct inspiration as it appears one of Blum’s character’s, Polly (Lucy Boynton) was indeed murdered in the house…and her spirit may still be there.

While Perkins script presents a very thin story, the director loads it up with some really creepy atmosphere. Most of the film consists of Lily wandering about the house and seeing and hearing some very strange things as the film takes her on a journey of discovering that something happened in that house to inspire Blum’s most famous novel, The Woman Inside The Walls. Perkins accomplishes a lot with some very simple visuals and some very chilling moments as Lily discovers that Blum may have recounted an actually murder that took place in the house and relayed by the spirit of the victim herself, Polly. The story is far simpler than Perkins’ creepy The Blackcoat’s Daughter, but despite taking place solely in the house and mostly with just Lily, it still is quite unsettling at times. To say much more would be to spoil the effectiveness of this atmospheric tale. The equally atmospheric score for the film is once again by the director’s brother Elvis Perkins.

The minimal cast is quite good as it practically is a one woman show. Ruth Wilson creates a very meek and timid woman, possible a bit eccentric, too and takes her on a supernatural quest of discovery as Lily finds that the house has a dark secret that may have inspired her charge’s most famous tale. As Blum, Paula Prentiss doesn’t have many scenes, but is effective at portraying a woman with dementia, who is only adding to Lily’s mystery with her words, that may be more than babbling. Bob Balaban has a small part as a man who manages Blum’s affairs, Erin Boyles plays Blum in flashbacks and Lucy Boynton effectively plays Polly in flashbacks and when Lily has visions of her.

The film may be of a simpler nature than Oz Perkins’ first flick, but this is an old fashioned haunted house movie done in what is becoming the writer/director’s signature spooky style. It’s loaded with chilling atmosphere and unsettling scenes and while it is very economical in terms of story, it is still effective in giving chills for those patient enough to go with it’s slow burn. 7/10

-MonsterZero NJ


Mood: Chillin'

MonsterZeroNJ posted a BLOG item 12 days ago

review: THE RETURN OF COUNT YORGA (1971)

Return_of_count_yorga

Count Yorga (Robert Quarry) is back…though not sure how…and takes up refuge in an old mansion opposite an orphanage. He sets his sights on pretty teacher Cynthia (Mariette Hartley) and his fangs on all her family and friends. Can anyone stop this fiend before he takes Cynthia as his bride and everyone else as his dinner?

Sequel is directed again by Bob Kelljan from a script he co-wrote with Yvonne Wilder and is a rather dull return for Quarry’s suave Bulgarian count. Much like the first film, there are some spooky scenes, but there is also a lot of talk and the story never gets interesting enough to lure us in. Oddly the addition of an orphanage doesn’t amount to much as only one child seems to fit into Yorga’s plans and the action takes place, for the most part, in Yorga’s Mansion. Yorga himself is absent for stretches of time as the film focuses on Cynthia trapped in his lair and being taunted by his minions. As for Yorga, Quarry again makes a good vampire, but the rest of the cast is fairly wooden and Hartley isn’t given much to do but look frightened. Roger Perry again stars, but not as the same character he portrayed in the first film…which is a little off-putting. Technically the film looks good through cinematographer Bill Butler’s lens and Bill Marx’s score adds some atmosphere.

Not a big fan of the first Yorga film and this one won’t convert anyone who is not. It’s slow moving, has long stretches with no action and it’s story is routine for a vampire flick. The placement of Yorga’s lair near an orphanage doesn’t get used to it’s full potential and the fact that Yorga allows his minions to taunt his intended bride, doesn’t really make much sense either…unless he likes nutty women. A dull sequel. 5/10

-MonsterZero NJ


Mood: Bored

MonsterZeroNJ posted a BLOG item 13 days ago

COOL STUFF: SLITHER SPECIAL EDITION BLU-RAY!

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Slither is a fun and delightfully gory horror/comedy from Guardians of the Galaxy writer/director James Gunn, that is sadly overlooked and underrated…until now! Once again the awesome folks at Scream Factory have given a flick the respect and treatment it deserves with this new special edition. This title in particular has always been a personal favorite and this disc was obviously anxiously awaited. Let’s find out if it delivered…

On a technical level the film image is clear and sharp with some nice contrast, while maintaining the original somewhat muted color scheme that Gunn filmed it in. The flesh tones, both human and in-human being the most vibrant colors aside from the gore. The movie is presented in the original 1.85.1 aspect ratio, preserving the film’s original dimensions. The sound is in 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio with alternate 2.0 DTS-HD for those without home theater sound systems. The original extras from the DVD are presented in the video format ratio of 1:33:1 that they were filmed in. Remember it was 2006 and the TVs those extras were made for still came in the square format.

Now on to the extensive extras which make this disc so worth having!…

Scream Factory has added some new features in addition to including all the fun extras from the initial DVD release. We get new commentary from James Gunn with Nathan Fillion and Michael Rooker, aside from the original commentary with Gunn and actor Nathan Fillion. We also get new interviews with both writer/director Gunn and actor Gregg Henry and it is interesting to hear Gunn reminisce about the flick now that he’s had such success with the Guardians of the Galaxy films. From there we get deleted and extended scenes with optional James Gunn commentary. We get a step by step of some of the film’s visual FX. We get a fun tour of the set with actor Nathon Fillion, followed by an amusing profile of his character Bill Pardy. There’s a documentary from the original release called The Sick Minds And Slimy Days Of Slither. One of the FX crew humorously gives us a fake blood recipe in Brewing The Blood. There is another FX documentary about how the slimy critters were brought to life and a short video diary with Troma creator Lloyd Kaufman on set for a cameo, which sadly was cut from the final print. The extras wrap up with a fun gag reel and the original theatrical trailer. A nice batch of extras for a movie only now starting to get the notice it deserves.

This is a personal favorite and a flick that is finally finding an audience after being overlooked upon initial release. It’s a fun horror/sci-fi flick that pays homage to many of it’s influences, yet not without having it’s own identity. (my full review HERE) If you’re a fan of the film, it’s a must have disc. If you are just discovering James Gunn through his Guardian’s movies, than this is definitely an item you may want to check out. Another great disc from Scream Factory.

-MonsterZero NJ


Mood: Happy

Moviefreak2010
Moviefreak2010 at 03:29 AM Aug 09

good movie

timmyd
timmyd at 06:08 AM Aug 09

love it.

MonsterZeroNJ posted a BLOG item 18 days ago

review: FOLLOW (2015)

Follow

Offbeat and unsettling little flick has Quinn (Noah Segan) waking up a few days before Christmas and finding a gun in his hand, his girlfriend (Olivia Grace Applegate) dead and not remembering a thing. Quinn panics and as he tries to remember what happened, keeps the body hidden and doesn’t call authorities. Adding fuel to the fire, his cute co-worker with a crush, Viv (Haley Lu Richardson) comes to the house looking for him when he doesn’t show up for work…and finds the corpse. Now Quinn’s life starts to really spin out of control with a dead girl upstairs and and a live witness held captive in the cellar.

Written and directed by Owen Egerton, this is an interesting and twisted little movie. Quinn starts to slowly lose his mind and make increasingly bad decisions upon finding the death obsessed Thana (Applegate) actually dead after some unsettling foreplay with a gun the night before. We are along for the ride as he unravels, as the fact that he can’t remember what happened starts to panic him. Did he kill her? Things start to snowball when Viv discovers the body and gets locked up in the basement by the unglued Quinn, who is starting to talk to the dead Thana to get some answers. Egerton delivers an unsettling downward spiral and mixes a little warped humor in with the delirium. The good performances from Segan, Richardson and Applegate also help make the eccentric story work, too. Not everything always clicks but at under 80 minutes it doesn’t overstay it’s welcome and is a disturbing and sometimes weirdly amusing flick. 6.5/10

-MonsterZero NJ


Mood: Chillin'

timmyd
timmyd at 07:50 PM Aug 06

cool . sounds interesting.

MonsterZeroNJ posted a BLOG item 20 days ago

review: STRANGE BEHAVIOR (1981)

Strange_behavior

1981 slasher flick has the youth of Galesburg, Illinois being murdered by their peers for no apparent reason. Cop and widower John Brady (Michael Murphy) thinks it has something to do with experiments being conducted at Galesburg Univesity and might link back to a man he’s investigated before, Dr. Le Sange (Arthur Dignam). Not only has Le Sange been dead for years though, but Brady blames him for the death of his wife. Now with his own son, Pete (Dan Shor) in danger, Brady must solve the mystery of why some of his young citizens are being murdered and by their own classmates.

Flick is the directorial debut from Michael Laughlin from a script by Bill Condon. it is atmospheric and has some spooky scenes and while advertising pushed the slasher element, it is equal parts sci-fi as it does deal with mind control experiments years before Disturbing Behavior. There are some gory moments and the kills have impact, but if there is anything that holds this chiller back is it’s pace. Laughlin guides the proceedings with a dreadfully slow pace and it really doesn’t help as, much like his Strange Invaders two years later, it makes this 90+ minute flick feel much longer. That and once we get our big reveal, it’s not really anything we weren’t expecting. Still, it tries to be something a bit different than the slasher flicks of the time and the cinematography by Louis Horvath and music by Tangerine Dream do add a lot of atmosphere.

The cast are fine. Murphy isn’t really all that convincing as the cop type, but he is a suitable working class hero. Dan Shor is likable as Pete, who is lured into the sinister experiments by the need for quick cash. Fiona Lewis makes a fine femme fatale villainess as Dr. Gwen Parkinson, who was Le Sange’s protegeé and is now continuing the experiments. Arthur Dignam is suitably creepy as Le Sange who appears in recorded lectures and Dey Young is feisty and cute as Pete’s love interest and our heroine. Louise Fletcher also appears as a local waitress with eyes for Murphy’s widower cop, who gets pulled into his obsessive investigation.

Overall this is an OK flick that could have been better with a healthier pace and maybe a few red herrings to throw us off the trail we eventually find ourselves on. Obviously there is a reason these experiments are leading to murder and we can pretty much see what is coming before it does. There are some effective moments, the plot is a bit more involved than the slashers of this era and there is some nice atmosphere to make it worth a look. Laughlin would use quite a few cast members again in his Strange Invaders. 6/10

-MonsterZero NJ


Mood: Chillin'

MonsterZeroNJ posted a BLOG item 21 days ago

review: IT STAINS THE SANDS RED (2017)

It_stains_the_sands_red

Offbeat zombie flick has erotic dancer and coke-head Molly (Brittany Allen) driving across the desert outside Las Vegas at the start of a zombie outbreak. She and her boyfriend Nick (Merwin Mondesir) are heading to a small airport to make a getaway with some of Nick’s friends. A mishap strands them in the middle of nowhere and an encounter with a lone zombie (Juan Riedinger) leaves Nick dead. Now Molly heads across the desert alone with the relentless walking corpse in pursuit and the desert heat taking it’s toll.

This is a very unusual zombie flick written by “The Vicious Brothers” Colin Minihan and Stuart Ortiz and directed by Minihan. It plays it’s tale out in a slightly twisted way as, at first, it’s a thriller with Molly struggling in her high heeled boots to keep ahead of the slow moving but ever persistent corpse and then turns into something else. As the desert sun beats down on her and she starts to get a bit delirious, Molly begins to form a weird relationship with her hungry pursuer, taunting and talking to it and even naming him “Small Balls.” The film shifts to an almost twisted buddy movie as Molly develops an attachment to the flesh eater while she also tries to keeps him at a safe distance. There is some clever stuff here and the film is effective enough to work as both horror and buddy/road movie despite that the initial intriguing premise of a lone woman pursued tenaciously by a lone zombie was interesting enough. Perhaps Minihan and Ortiz felt the story wasn’t enough to fill a whole film and thus it changers gears to the unusual bond between girl and ghoul and then to a last act deviation when Molly decides it’s more important to find the young son she gave up than to escape with Nick’s crazy friends. The narrative shifts are a bit jarring, but as individual parts do work well enough. There are also some Romero-esque messages about the evil men do, as when Molly meets two ex-cons, who are far worse a threat than the lumbering “Smalls” and some funny bits, such as Molly using a tampon to distract the hungry zombie from his pursuit and her dialogue in general aimed at her un-dead pursuer. There is plenty of gore despite the minimal cast and Minihan makes good use of the desert local. There is also an effective score by Blitz//Berlin, who scored Extraterrestrial and some nice cinematography by Clayton Moore to add atmosphere.

The minimal cast are all solid, especially the feisty Brittany Allen (Extraterrestrial). Allen’s Molly is spirited and tougher than her manicured nails and designer handbag would let on. She’s a survivor and while currently living an indulgent lifestyle, she does seem to learn from her experiences. It’s practically a one woman show and Allen carries the movie on her shoulders very well and can be very funny with her rambling dialogue bits with the silent Smalls. As zombie “Smalls”, Juan Riedinger does really good work emoting under all the make-up. Much like Day of The Dead‘s Bub, Smalls seems to have some sort of primal emotions under his relentless hunger and some trace elements of thought left, despite being a walking corpse. While he generally has simple animistic reactions, the actor conveys the tinges of thinking and emotion very well using just facial expressions, body language and his eyes. In support, Merwin Mondesir plays Molly’s “gangstsa” boyfriend Nick with the appropriate swagger, yet with a bit of a wink and Andrew Supanz and Michael Filipowich are suitably despicable a a pair of ex-cons who cross paths with Molly and Smalls.

Despite an eccentric narrative and deviating from a simple and effective horror premise that was basically a zombie version of Fredric Brown’s Arena, the film was entertaining and did work. Brittany Allen was sassy enough to pull off the bizarre relationship between Molly and Smalls and was effective in her more terror filled scenes early on and then at the point where she becomes a survivor and takes charge of her situation. Juan Riedinger made a fearsome and yet oddly sympathetic zombie and for fans of these flicks there was enough gore to meet requirements. There are some intense moments and some funny ones, too. Not a perfect flick and one might have wanted to see it simply play out as woman vs zombie, but it takes a less expected route and it’s offbeat enough to keep it from getting stale in an overplayed sub-genre. The “Vicious Brothers”…if they’re still called that…have yet to disappoint.

-MonsterZero NJ


Mood: Chillin'

timmyd
timmyd at 07:26 PM Aug 01

groovy . I'll keep an eye out for it.

MonsterZeroNJ posted a BLOG item 28 days ago

review: MARTIN (1978)

Martin

This George Romero film made in 1976, before Dawn Of The Dead, tells the story of Martin (John Amplas), a young man who thinks he is an 84 year-old vampire. Despite his belief, he knows he can’t change into a bat, the sun won’t turn him to dust and crosses and garlic won’t harm him either. He does however feed on blood and uses a syringe and razor blades to do so. He is forced to live with his extremely religious uncle Tateh Cuda (Lincoln Maazel) in Pennsylvania, who thinks Martin is an actual vampire. Now Martin must be more careful in finding victims as his uncle would just as soon put an end to his vampiric habits the old fashioned way.

As written and directed by Romero, Martin is a somber and disturbing tale of a young man acting out some deep issues under the guise of vampirism. Martin’s obviously has more grounded psychological problems such as being socially inept, homicidal and fearful of normal sexual contact. Romero daringly portrays the latter by showing Martin disrobe and lie with his unconscious female victims implying the need for far more than blood. Sadder still, is that his uncle knows of his homicidal tendencies and is so backwards in his thinking that instead of getting Martin professional help, he fills the house with garlic and crosses. Even when Martin enters an actual affair with a lonely housewife (Elyane Nadeau), he still seeks other victims for his needs. Romero creates a character that is tragic and creepy in Martin, yet also makes the young man underneath the pseudo-vampire oddly likable. The director also cleverly uses black and white flashbacks to portray Martin’s ‘memories’ of being a vampire, pursuing his victims and being pursued by angry mobs from some past time. It shows how deep-rooted Martin’s belief is as he has created his own backstory in his head. The film has a deliberately moderate pace and despite Martin’s heinous acts, the not too unexpected climax comes across as tragic and a bit sad. Martin, after all, is not a monster just a very deeply disturbed young man.

The cast all perform well, especially lead John Amplas who is able to make Martin creepy yet sympathetic and sad. There is a facet of Martin that is oddly likeable and Amplas gives him an offbeat charm despite the character’s homicidal and sexually deviate activities. Lincoln Maazel is imposing and authoritative as Martin’s old world uncle and the Van Helsing of this vampire saga. He is boorish and borderline abusive as he tries to deal with his ‘vampire’ nephew. He exemplifies the outdated thinking that hampers the treatment of the mentally ill, especially at the time this was made. There is also Christine Forrest, the future Mrs. Romero, as Martin’s sweet and sympathetic cousin, Christina, FX legend Tom Savini as her macho boyfriend and a cameo by George Romero himself as a priest.

While not discussed as much as his zombie films, this is still a very interesting film from Romero. It makes commentary on mental illness and the outdated treatment of it through it’s tragic lead character, who thinks he’s a vampire and his old fashioned, narrow minded uncle who agrees. It takes an interesting point of view as Martin is very practical about his vampirism to the point of admitting there is nothing supernatural about it. It has some very disturbing moments and some early examples of Tom Savini gore, but also makes it’s homicidal, sexual deviate a bit sympathetic as with proper care, there might be have been a good kid inside him that could have come out. Another example of Romero’s unique slant on a familiar tale. 7/10

-MonsterZero NJ


Mood: Chillin'

grelber37
grelber37 at 02:49 PM Jul 25

Thank you, as always, for reviewing semi-obscure titles. Your reviews provide everyone suggestions for future, further viewing.

MonsterZeroNJ
MonsterZeroNJ at 09:45 PM Jul 31

Thank you for the kind words!

MonsterZeroNJ posted a BLOG item about 1 month ago

review: 12 FEET DEEP (2017)

12_feet_deep

Supposedly fact-based flick has two sisters, Bree (Nora-Jane Noone from The Descent and Doomsday) and Jonna (Alexandra Park), trapped by unfortunate circumstances over a holiday weekend in an indoor Olympic pool, with the fiberglass cover shut. That’s not the worst of their troubles as the emotionally disturbed maintenance woman (Diane Farr) discovers them and turns their misfortune into a night of extortion and terror.

Director Matt Eskandari’s thriller has it’s scenario born out of some unfortunate conveniences happening all at the right…or wrong…time, but as it is based on an actual incident, it can’t be all that much of a stretch. Eskandari’s script, that he wrote along with Michael Hultquist, does pack in a lot of melodramatic elements, such as the sisters sharing a tumultuous relationship, Bree being a diabetic, Jonna out of rehab and the whole ex-con with a grudge, maintenance woman thing, but they are used in just the right amounts and the director does build some nice tension and suspense from some of the clichés. Both Noone and Park give good performances, which make the melodramatics work better than they should and endear us to the two ladies in distress. Farr’s ex-con maintenance woman also starts out as a cliché bad guy, but turns out to be a bit more layered than the simple villain she first appears. The film doesn’t overstay it’s welcome at only 85 minutes and overall is a tense and entertaining time on the couch, at least as much as two girls stuck in a pool could be. A well made little thriller that takes a simple premise, that could have been silly, and makes it work to entertaining good use. Also stars “Jigsaw” himself Tobin Bell as the grumpy pool manager who carelessly locks the ladies in. Definitely worth watching. 6.5/10

-MonsterZero NJ


Mood: Chillin'

MonsterZeroNJ posted a BLOG item about 1 month ago

review: THE BLACKCOAT'S DAUGHTER (2015)

Blackcoats_daughter

Flick is a spooky supernatural horror set at a Catholic all girls school and focuses on odd freshman Kathryn (Kiernan Shipka) and upperclassman Rose (Lucy Boynton). Break is coming, but Kat and Rose are not being picked up by their respective parents. Kat has been put in Rose’s charge and soon Rose begins to feel there is something off with the young girl. As they are alone at school with only two chaperones (Elana Krausz and Heather Tod Mitchell) on campus, Rose starts to realize something is not right with the increasingly creepy Kat. Intertwined is another story of a lone young woman who calls herself Joan (Emma Roberts) and a couple (James Remar and Lauren Holly) who are headed to the school who offer her a ride. These stories are destined to collide, but how and why?

This is a very impressive debut from writer/director Oz Perkins, son of legendary horror icon Anthony Perkins. He drenches the film in atmosphere which helps keeps us unnerved and attentive as his two narrative’s play out. It seems a bit unconventional at first, but as the separate, but connected stories progress, we start to realize just how they are related and by the end credits it makes disturbing sense. There is some shocking violence in it’s last act and Perkins is smart to hold it off till then as it has jarring impact because the film was relying on mood and shadows to establish it’s unsettling ambiance. Though, the director doesn’t go overboard with that violence either, so it doesn’t overshadow his established atmosphere, just embellishes it. The stories of Joan and Rose and Kat are connected indeed and the added mystery adds to a film that already has a good grip on us as we realize Kathryn has some very disturbing secrets and Rose may be in danger. To say anymore would be to spoil a very creepy film from first time director Perkins, who went on to direct the equally spooky I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House, which was oddly released first.

The cast are all good. Young Kiernan Shipka is very effective as the somewhat odd Kathryn. She gives us a young girl who seems a bit emotionally detached and yet offers tinges that there is something a bit disturbing about Kat. The actress is very effective in both maintaining an air of mystery and then being outright scary once we find out what she is really all about. Lucy Boynton is also good as the rebellious Rose. We like Rose, who has her own secrets, though far more grounded ones, and are along with her suspicions when she starts to believe there is something very “off” about Kat. Emma Roberts is also very good as mystery woman Joan. We know there is definitely more to this drifter and as things progress, we find we are right. Remar and Holly also do good work as Bill and Linda. They are good at making us very unsure about their motives, especially Bill’s, in picking up the pretty young drifter. There is something just as off about them as with Joan and the film and actors keep us guessing as to who we should be wary of most. A good cast that add to the atmosphere as does brother Elvis Perkins’s effective score.

Overall this is a very impressive debut film from a new voice in the horror genre. Being the son of legendary actor Anthony Perkins may be an interesting footnote, but Osgood Perkins is making his own name with two impressive and really spooky first features. The Blackcoat’s Daughter is a very atmospheric and creepy little movie with a good dose of mystery and Perkins connects all the dots in disturbing fashion by it’s end. It’s chilling, has a very effective visual style and even surprises us with some moments of shocking violence. A bone chilling debut from Oz Perkins! 8/10

-MonsterZero NJ


Mood: Chillin'

timmyd
timmyd at 09:06 AM Jul 20

I absolutely loved this flick . excellent review .

MonsterZeroNJ posted a BLOG item about 1 month ago

review: STATEN ISLAND SUMMER (2016)

Staten_island_summer

Teen sex and party comedy tells the story of best buds Danny (Graham Phillips) and Frank (Zack Pearlman) who work as lifeguards at the Great Kills Pool Club. It’s the last weekend of summer before both must leave for college and the two plot with the rest of the lifeguard crew to throw one last big bash at the pool, before saying goodbye. Now they have to overcome all kinds of obstacles to get the party going and get laid before it’s off to school.
Directed by Rhys Thomas from a script by Colin Jost, this is a very routine teen comedy with all the clichés and tropes present. There is some amusement to be had, but it would rather be vulgar than clever and sometimes it seems to be a bit of a Staten Island in-joke, so those not familiar with this borough will feel a bit left out. There are jokes about drugs, sex and the usual bodily fluids and if that is enough than one should find this an amusing distraction. Those looking for something fresh and with a bit more wit in with the fart jokes than it probably won’t satisfy. At least there is plenty of eye candy with Ashley Green in a bikini as a love interest, Gina Gershon as a hot-to-trot MILF and the ladies may enjoy John DeLuca’s guido lifeguard Anthony. An OK flick though nothing special. 6/10

-MonsterZero NJ


Mood: Chillin'

MonsterZeroNJ posted a BLOG item about 1 month ago

review: ROLLING THUNDER (1977)

Rolling_thunder

It’s 1973 and Major Charles Rayne (William Devane) has finally come home after a seven year incarceration as a POW in Viet Nam. He receives a hero’s welcome, but the celebration is short lived. His wife has fallen for another and wants a divorce and his young son hardly knows him. His crumbling family is the least of his problems, though, as some thugs break into his home to steal some silver dollars he was given as a welcome home present. They torture and mutilate Charlie, grinding his hand in a garbage disposal to get him to talk. When they finally get what they want, they kill his wife and son and he is shot and left for dead. Now Charlie, wearing a hook for a hand, begins to hunt down his assailants, one by one, with payback on his mind!

Rolling Thunder is flatly directed by John Flynn from a script by Paul Schrader and Heywood Gould. It is considered a cult classic by many, but is actually kind of a dull revenge flick. All the characters speak their lines in the same monotone delivery and pacing of the film is slow, even for this era of filmmaking. Aside from the brutal torture/robbery scene, there are a few sparse scenes of action/violence till the bloody shoot-out at it’s climax, which is somewhat effective though not enough to really turn the film around. The flick just doesn’t really live up to it’s reputation and forty years later, the violence that does occur, including the trash compactor mutilation of William Devane’s Viet Nam vet, isn’t as startling as it may have been in 1977. The film is a bit too trashy to be an A-list thriller, yet there is not enough blood, boobs and bullets to be a true exploitation flick. The by-the-numbers direction really doesn’t help matters, either, as one wishes the film had a little more life to it, at least when the bullets finally start to fly. It’s another cult classic that doesn’t seem like all that big a deal when finally seen…or at least hasn’t aged well enough to still grab you all these years later.

The flick has a decent cast, though the monotone delivery of all the dialogue real keeps it from firing on all cylinders. William Devane is a good actor, yet here he adds little emotion to a man who is given much to emote about. His war veteran has been traumatized by his experiences as a POW, true, but he reacts to everything with the same emotional detachment including the murder of his young son and his own mutilation. He’s the emotional center of the film, yet he displays very little emotion. Same can be said of pretty Linda Haynes as Linda, a young woman who falls for Charlie and is along for most of the ride to revenge. Again that same monotone delivery although she is a bit livelier than Devane. Considering Charlie’s emotional flatline, Linda’s attraction to him never really clicks. As a fellow solider, Tommy Lee Jones also acts emotionally comatose and it also doesn’t help his character that he disappears for almost an hour and then simply follows along when Devane needs help during the final confrontation. We never really get to know him. As for the bad guys (Luke Askew, Charles Escamilla, Pete Ortega and James Best), they are all generic thugs and aside from their vile actions during the robbery, we don’t really get to know them well enough for them to really resonate as strong villains. They are just stereotypical bad guys. The only one that stands out a bit is Askew’s Automatic Slim, who is the one who torments Devane. Other than that, there is nothing special about these guys to make you really feel the hate for them.

This is another much talked about flick that didn’t live up to it’s reputation when finally caught up to. Maybe it was effective back in it’s time, but now the violence isn’t all that shocking and the film’s pacing is rather slow for a revenge flick. The actors all deliver their lines in the same emotionally detached monotone and the direction is very by-the-numbers with no real flair, even in the climactic gunfight. It has some effective moments, like the cruel robbery Charlie suffers and the final shoot-out at it’s climax, but in-between the movie never maintained a firm grip to really keep one emotionally invested in the journey down the road to revenge. Ultimately the film was a bit too trashy to be considered an A-list thriller, yet not quite trashy enough to be a real solid exploitation film. I suppose it’s worth a look to see what the fuss is about, but not really worth all that fuss. 6/10

-MonsterZero NJ


Mood: Bored

MonsterZeroNJ posted a BLOG item about 1 month ago

TV Review: GLOW (2017)

Glow2

Glow is a fun and nostalgic 2017 Netflix original show based on the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling tv program that ran from 1986-1990. The original show featured a bevy of female wrestlers performing cartoon-ish stereotype characters and soap opera-esque story-lines along with in-ring matches…which isn’t too much removed from professional wrestling in general. This ten episode Netflix series fictionalizes the creation of the show when struggling exploitation director Sam Sylvia (Marc Maron) agrees to put an all girl wrestling show together for wannabe producer Sebastian (Chris Lowell) who has a rich mother. Sam’s actual goal is to get “Bash” to fund his next flick. Answering the audition call for the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling are down-on-her-luck actress Ruth Wilder (Alison Brie), her former best friend and ex-soap opera actress Debbie (Betty Gilpin), along with ten other women. The show mixes comedy and drama as it chronicles Sam and the ladies’ struggle to train, come up with their characters and get along, without killing the show, or each other, before they even step into the ring.

Glow starts off a bit shaky, but after a few episodes hits it’s stride quite nicely. The shaky start is due to the need to get the story moving quickly as there are only ten, half-hour episodes to tell it. The show needs to establish Ruth and Debbie as friends, turn them into enemies…when Ruth sleeps with Debbie’s husband (Rich Sommer)…and then thrust them back together as they become the show’s intended star rivals. This is hastily done in the first two episodes and doesn’t quite gel as we never get a feel for them as friends before they are at each others throats, literally. Ruth’s motivations for sleeping with her friend’s husband are never really convincing either. Just not enough time to really make it work. Once this occurs, the show kicks into gear as the production seems doomed from the start, yet the group start to come together like a dysfunctional family to try to make it happen. Not everything works, like an abortion sub-plot that literally lasts for one episode and seems to add nothing, and occasionally some of the humor falls flat, though mostly it works. Otherwise, this is a lot of nostalgic fun, especially if you remember the actual show that inspired it, or are a fan of everything 80s. The finishing touch is that it’s all wrapped in some awesome 80s tunes across it’s ten episodes and the whole thing leaves us wanting more.

The cast work really well and as a character driven show that is important. Alison Brie has shown a flair for comedy in the TV sitcom Community and some of her recent film roles and she shines here as Ruth. Ruth sees herself as an actress and it takes a while for her to get used to this brand of acting, but once she does she dives in with both feet. Brie works very well in the part of a woman desperate to find her place and is adept as the physical comedy, too. Gilpin is solid as Debbie. A respected TV actress who left her soap opera role to be a wife and mother and now finds that home broken by Ruth and that she has a need to be more than a babysitter. Gilpin portrays well a woman with an axe to grind who wants to be star of the show and does so without making her unlikable. Marc Maron is perfectly cast as the somewhat sleazy filmmaker, who does have a heart underneath all that cynicism and sarcasm. He really does good work here at making the guy very likable, even when he’s being a bit of an ass. The supporting cast all are strong, including Sydelle Noel as “Cherry” who becomes the groups trainer, as well as, one of the wrestlers know as “Junkchain” and Britney Young as a gentle giant of a women who only wants to prove she can be a wrestler like her famous father and brothers. A well rounded and well cast group of eccentric and eclectic characters.

So, the show does have a few flaws…and most shows take at least one season to hit their stride…but it overcomes them to become quite engaging. It’s a fun, nostalgic and clever look back not only an era, but one example of that era’s outrageousness. It’s well cast, has some fun moments and mixes the drama and comedy very well nicely. Another fun, entertaining and original show from Netflix! 7/10

EPISODE LIST

Pilot – directed by Jesse Peretz and written by Liz Flahive & Carly Mensch
Slouch. Submit – directed by Wendey Stanzier and written by Liz Flahive & Carly Mensch
The Wrath of Kuntar – directed by Claire Scanlon and written by Nick Jones
The Dusty Spur – directed by Melanie Mayron and written Sascha Rothchild
Debbie Does Something – directed by Phil Abraham and written by Rachel Shukert
This Is One Of Those Moments – directed by Kate Dennis and written by Jenji Kohan
Live Studio Audience – directed by Jesse Peretz and written by Rachel Shukert
Maybe It’s All The Disco – directed by Sian Heder and written by Nick Jones
The Liberal Chokehold – directed by Lynn Shelton and written by Liz Flahive & Carly Mensch
Money’s In The Chase – directed by Tristram Shapeero and written by Liz Flahive & Carly Mensch

-MonsterZero NJ


Mood: Happy

MonsterZeroNJ posted a BLOG item 2 months ago

THE COLLABORATIONS OF KEITA AMEMIYA AND YÛKO MORIYAMA

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Keita Amemiya is an artist and designer who got a start writing and directing for TV before breaking into feature filmmaking in 1988 with Murai Ninja, a film that was a mash-up of ancient Japan sword epic and Star Wars-esque sci-fi flick. The film showed evidence of a director still in need of some experience at the helm, but it also had a unique look and design that displayed some interesting potential. Amemiya lived up to that potential in 1991 with the now cult classic Alien, The Thing, Terminator, hybrid Zeiram and hasn’t stopped working since.

Yûko Moriyama was a Japanese TV and movie actress who had a brief acting career from 1991 to 2000. She was very pretty and only five foot four, but could convey a toughness and strength that made her believable as an action star. She worked for Keita Amemiya in three films ranging from 1991 to 1997, including his breakaway hit, Zeiram. In all three she played women warriors and that seemed to get her typecast as such for the rest of her short career. She made an impression, however, that has earned her cult status despite acting for less than a decade.

Zeiram had a beautiful bounty hunter from space coming to earth to hunt a biological weapon which could absorb the genetic material of victims and use it to it’s advantage. That beautiful bounty hunter was named Iria and played by the adorable yet tough Yûko Moriyama, who was twenty-three at the time and it was her first feature film. The flick became an instant fan favorite with it’s live action anime style and the incredible creatures, costumes and gadgets from the mind of Amemiya. It also made an instant cult star out of Moriyama, whose Iria had the beauty of a Japanese anime girl and the kick-ass combat skills of Natasha Romanov. The FX were quite good for a low budget flick, ranging from animation to prosthetics to old fashioned stop-motion. There was plenty of action and the film is now considered a cult classic of Japanese fantasy/sci-fi cinema.

Three years later Amemiya brought his genetic horror back and his leading lady with him, as Iria returned to Earth to battle another Zeiram creature, this time infused into a combat robot. Her A.I. partner Bob was back, too, as well as, her bungling earth sidekicks Teppei (Kunihiro Ida) and Kamiya (Yukijiro Hotaru). Zeiram 2 wisely kept it fresh by having a different look and abilities for it’s title creature and for Iria as well. The sequel once again featured the stunning and unique design work of it’s visionary director and the traditional genre mixing action. Moriyama was sexy and cool as Iria and while the film didn’t quite live up to it’s predecessor, it is still an action-packed, fun flick with the trademark look of an Amemiya film and with bounty hunter Iria being kick-ass as ever. Unfortunatley for fans, it would be another three years before director and actress would team again…

The artistic director and his leading lady worked together one last time, but sadly not a third go around for his heroine from space, Iria and her arch enemy. Moon Over Tao took place in feudal Japan with an object falling to earth that contains a hideous and almost indestructible creature that would kill anything it crosses paths with if unleashed. The ever-pretty Moriyama plays not one, but three alien women, Abira, Marien and Kuzto, who all have come to Earth to reclaim the object for their own personal reasons. The actress doesn’t disappoint, being beautiful and badass as usual. Amemiya would provide yet another entertaining genre mash-up with three times the Moriyama. The flick is a gory good time and once agin has some very unique design work, but still doesn’t quite equal the fun and action of his 1991 cult classic.

Keita Amemiya continues to write, direct and design for films, TV and video games to this day. Moriyama apparently retired from acting after 2000 with her final film being a Hong Kong flick set partially in Japan called Tokyo Raiders. The actress is still a cult favorite among fans for her portrayal of Iria and it’s disappointing that she left acting so soon and never reunited with Amemiya at least one more time to make the Zeiram flicks a trilogy. Their collaborations are available on DVD and for those looking for more, there was a Zeiram animated prequel series that brought the titular creature and a younger Iria back, though Amemiya and Moriyama were not involved.

-MonsterZero NJ


Mood: Chillin'

timmyd
timmyd at 07:07 PM Jun 21

interesting . I'll have to look for these .

MonsterZeroNJ posted a BLOG item 2 months ago

review: RETURN TO HORROR HIGH (1987)

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Ho hum horror/comedy is most notable for having future A-lister George Clooney in a small role and being a good example of how silly and self aware a lot of horror flicks got at this point in the decade. (for more on that subject click HERE). Flick tells the story of a film crew filming a movie about a series of murders that occurred a few years earlier at the now abandoned Crippen High School. They are filming at the actual site of the murders, despite that the killer was never found and now someone stalks the cast and crew, killing them off in gruesome ways.

Directed by Bill Froehlich from a script by he and three other writers. It’s understandable that to be a parody of slashers you kind of have to basically be one but this flick fails at both. It’s fractured narrative doesn’t help, going back and forth between the aftermath of the murders and back to the killings as they happen, letting us know right off the bat who survived and who didn’t, eliminating any suspense, if they were even attempting any. The deaths are bloody, yet nothing really special and the comedy mostly falls flat. Even the 80s nostalgia can’t really help other than seeing a very young Clooney and The Brady Bunch’s Maureen McCormick, as a female police officer who seems to love her job a bit too much. The acting overall is deliberately over-the-top and even the big multiple reveals at the end don’t really shock or surprise. It’s hard to tell just how much it was supposed to be horror and how much it was supposed to be a parody as the mix is uneven and it goes back and forth between the stale jibes at traditional slasher film tropes and it’s attempts to actually be one. All that criticism aside, it’s also simply kinda dull and predominately unfunny.

As much as I love 80s slasher/horror/sci-fi flicks, this one did little for me. Clooney doesn’t last long enough to really make it worth sitting through and the jokes fail far more often than not. The attempts at being a real slasher mix unevenly along with the satire and aside from abundant bloodshed and a multiple reveal ending, Return To Horror High is a horror/comedy which one may not feel the need to return to, even with the 80s nostalgia. Also features a small role from 80s flick babe Darcy DeMoss as…no surprise here…a cheerleader. 5/10

-MonsterZero NJ


Mood: Bored

Moviefreak2010
Moviefreak2010 at 06:32 AM Jun 15

need to see

timmyd
timmyd at 07:26 PM Jun 15

way to uneven for me . not a fan.

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