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February 2017
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MonsterZeroNJ
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I'll give Danny McBride and David Gordon Green a chance with the new Halloween movie as long as they promise to keep Busta Rhymes as far away from it as possible!
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MonsterZeroNJ posted a BLOG item about 16 hours ago

review: WINTERBEAST (1992)

Winterbeast_v2

Winterbeast is a perfect example of just how entertaining a bad movie can be. Flick’s convoluted plot has a snowy mountaintop community being beset by creatures that are actually demons that the Native Americans that once lived on the land have tried to keep at bay. A demon spirit is trying to enter this world through a portal in this area and his stop motion animated minions are gruesomely paving the way. The only thing that stands in it’s path are a couple of local forest rangers (Tim R. Morgan and Mike Magri)…at least I think that’s it.

Written and directed by Christopher Thies, this is a sometimes incoherent flick that is one weird scene after another with this hodgepodge plot about ancient Native American totem poles and demonic creatures the lay siege to a mountain community. The acting is delightfully terrible, the dialogue is amusingly awful and the stop-motion animated creatures and gore are delightfully cheesy. It’s also a bizarre little movie filled with WTF moments, such as the disturbing dance sequence featuring weird local lodge owner, Dave Sheldon (Bob Harlow) in plaid suit and clown mask, no less and a topless cutie being slammed against the side of a house by a stop motion totem pole creature, for no apparent reason…and let’s not forget the giant chicken monster. The editing is choppy and one wonders if director Thies was even on set as there seems to be little in the way of actual direction…though with this hopelessly amateur cast, would it have mattered?

I liked this film a lot, but, of course, for all the wrong reasons. The narrative is barely coherent, some scenes are completely random, the plot is loopy and there are some hilarious WTF sequences. There is a host of cheesy stop-motion animated creatures, some equally cheesy gore and some of the worst acting and dialogue you’ll ever hope to see. It’s also a lot of fun and a perfect example of why so bad can be so good. It made a real fun double feature with Don Dohler’s Alien Factor here in MonsterZero NJ’s lair, if ‘so bad, it’s good’ is your thing!
7/10…rating is based on 'so bad, it's good' fun!

-MonsterZero NJ


Mood: Happy

timmyd
timmyd at 05:07 PM Feb 22

oh man , I gotta check this out.

MonsterZeroNJ
MonsterZeroNJ at 06:14 PM Feb 22

It's a hoot!

MonsterZeroNJ posted a BLOG item 7 days ago

review: EAT MT DUST! (1976)

Eat_my_dust

A year before Smokey And The Bandit and a good three years before The Dukes Of Hazzard, Ron Howard led a cross county chase in this Roger Corman produced action/comedy. The story is simple…teen Hoover Niebold (Ron Howard) wants to impress beautiful blonde Darlene Kurtz (Christopher Norris) who has a love for fast cars. Hoover steals the fastest stock car on the track, belonging to local legend Big Bubba Jones (Dave “Mr. Kincaid” Madden) to take her for a ride. This joy ride turns into a hot pursuit as his sheriff father (Warren Kemmerling) leads the chase, followed by a posse of drunken stock car racers and inept deputies!

Car chase flick is written and directed by Charles B. Griffith who wrote a lot of scripts for Corman during the 60s, 70s and 80s, including many of his classics. It is a light, fun and fast paced effort that made a lot of money for Corman and New World Pictures. The film was part of a deal with Ron Howard, who had star power from Happy Days and was looking to direct. If he starred in this, he could make another film for Corman from the director’s chair, which would become Grand Theft Auto. The result is a good time with a lot of slapstick comedy and an almost non-stop chase with young Hoover outwitting his dad’s deputies and Big Bubba’s drunken buddies. As with most Corman films, there is a lot accomplished with a little and Griffith brings a light, breezy fun to the proceedings and keeps things moving quickly. It’s silly and goofy, but energetic and there is plenty of stunts and crashes for car chase enthusiasts to enjoy.

Howard plays Hoover much like a grown up version of his Opie Taylor from The Andy Griffith Show. He’s a bit of a country bumpkin, but is clever enough to outwit his pursuers. Howard has charm and is very likable as the rebellious teen willing to do anything for love. Christopher Norris is pretty and spunky as the object of Hoover’s affection, Darlene. The two make an endearing pair as they outwit the nitwits in their county. The supporting cast all have a good time playing their roles with over-the-top, slapstick efficiency, too and it’s fun to watch them. The film also stars Howard’s brother Clint, a known cult favorite character actor himself.

This film is now considered a cult classic and in an indirect way got Ron Howard started on a career as a prolific and highly regarded director. It’s silly, funny and loaded with plenty of chases and crashes. It was a successful film for Corman’s New World Pictures and predated the “redneck” car chase craze started by Smokey And The Bandit by a year. A fun little movie and another example of Roger Corman’s craft as a producer. 7/10

-MonsterZero NJ


Mood: Chillin'

MonsterZeroNJ posted a BLOG item 10 days ago

review: THE BORNLESS ONES (2016)

Bornless_ones

At it’s core, flick is a basically an Evil Dead (both old and new) retread with a group of people in an isolated cabin and an ancient evil taking them one by one. This cabin in the woods horror has pretty Emily (Margaret Judson) moving into a remote house/cabin so she can be near her brother Zack (Michael Johnston), who she is going to send to a nearby institution for his spastic monoplegia, a form of cerebral palsy. Her boyfriend Jesse (Devin Goodsell) is with her and their friends Woodrow (Mark Furze) and Michelle (Bobby T) have come along to help set things up. When they enter the house…which they apparently bought sight unseen…they find evidence some kind of cult ceremony or witchcraft was performed there previously. When they remove some creepy symbol adorned boards, something malevolent moves into the house with them. It first possesses poor Zack, who can now walk and talk…saying scary things, of course…and makes it known that they all shall fall prey to The Bornless. Sound familiar?

Flick is written and directed by Alexander Babaev with very little originality or novel additions to the cabin in the woods sub-genre. Zack’s affliction is one of the scant few original wrinkles and with it does come an interesting element that the demons healed him somewhat to use him more efficiently and there is evidence that this healing power is what provoked the original owner to invoke them. This is, however, for the most part, a retread of a classic using elements from it and it’s remake, thought sometimes effectively and I can’t say it wasn’t somewhat entertaining. Babaev may have little originality in his screenplay, but it’s atmospheric and he does direct some of the zombie/possession scenes well. He also has a good visual eye, too and there are some amusing bits where possessed cabin mates reveal their host’s darkest secrets just to be nasty and where some are visited by ‘spirits’ from their past to taunt them. There is some decent and effective gore, but unfortunately the “bornless” demon spirits are represented by some cheesy CGI and aren’t nearly as effective. The one time Babaev tries to deviate and actually show his demons, is a time he should have taken a cue from Raimi and let our imaginations do the work instead. Sometimes less is more. Thankfully they don’t have all that much screen time.

Cast are all fine. Margaret Judson makes a solid heroine. She nicely conveyed her character’s concern and affection for her illness inflicted brother and that makes her Emily endearing. She also turns into a resilient fighter once things start going bump in the night and proves to be effective final girl material. Michael Johnston was good as Zack. He at first has to emote with very little due to Zack’s condition and then gets to have a little fun once he is possessed and becomes fully functional. He has some creepy moments once things get going. Goodsell is fine as boyfriend Jesse whose deeper secrets and feelings are brought to the surface by the demonic presence and he’s not the person he pretends to be, though that’s not all that much of a surprise. Furze and Bobby T are also efficient as the friends who have secrets of their own and wind up not having a good time at the cabin…if you know what I mean.

I can’t give this flick much credit for originality, as it borrows far more from Evil Dead both past and present than it comes up with on it’s own. There are a few original ideas and they do work, but instead writer/director Alexander Babaev seems content to replay a lot from Raimi’s classic and Alvarez’s remake. It’s a shame. He does show some chops with some effective scenes and some nice atmosphere. A compassionate and strong heroine played by Margaret Judson also helps keep this from being a dull retread and the cast, overall, are fine in their roles. There is some nice gore and the cabin setting works well despite being so blatantly familiar. Ultimately, it’s definitely worth a look and was entertaining, but expect extreme amounts of Evil Dead envy. 6/10

-MonsterZero NJ


Mood: Chillin'

timmyd
timmyd at 05:16 PM Feb 13

This is the second positive review I've seen . I'll have to give it a look.

MonsterZeroNJ
MonsterZeroNJ at 06:16 AM Feb 14

Just don't expect much in the originality department.

MonsterZeroNJ posted a BLOG item 13 days ago

HALLOWEEN HOTTIES: 3 ACTRESSES TO SCREAM ABOUT!

This newest installment of Halloween Hotties features three relatively new faces in horror that recently have made quite an impression in the genre. These three actresses made for memorable final girls/characters in their respective horrors/thrillers and we can only hope they will grace the horror genre again and soon!

ANYA TAYLOR-JOY!
Anya has taken the horror world by storm, appearing in two highly acclaimed horror films within the space of a year and an entertaining Sci-fi thriller in the middle. The actress was born in Miami, but has lived in Argentina and London and has also modeled and been a ballet dancer. Her varied background may be the reason she can play such different roles and almost be unrecognizable from one to the other. Whether it be a coming of age puritan teen in The Witch, a genetic experiment in Morgan, or an emotionally troubled teen kidnaped by someone with far bigger head problems in Split, Anya is proving a welcome presence in the horror genre and an actress to keep an eye on! Rumor now suggests she may join the cast of The New Mutants, the new X-Men film in the works…and we hope so!


Anya first got our attention as The Witch’s tempted teen Thomasin!

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CAITLIN STASEY!
Between movies and TV, this Aussie beauty has been quite busy and we couldn’t be happier that some of that busy has been in our favorite type of flicks! Stasey, already a veteran of TV and films, made her first waves in the horror genre in Lucky McKee’s 2013 horror comedy All Cheerleaders Die as lead Maddy. She next appeared in the unintentionally funny graphic novel adaptation I, Frankenstein, as a sexy gargoyle, no less. She then starred as kidnap victim, Chloe in the 2015 horror/thriller All I Need, which is only now being released and just last year in the horror comedy Fear, Inc. While we wait for this Australian stunner to appear in her next genre role, she can currently be seen in the sexy TV historical drama Reign. A busy girl we’d like to see even more of!


Caitlin would like to tell you how much she loves being in horror movies, but…(from All I Need)

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HALEY LU RICHARDSON!
This talented twenty-something from Pheonix, Arizona is an actress and a dancer and has proven to be quite versatile. She first caught our attention in the violent post apocalyptic epic The Last Survivors as the tough and tenacious Kendal, who takes on an entire gang to save the lives of those close to her. She also starred in the thriller Follow, was Krista, best friend to troubled teen Nadine, in the heartfelt and hilarious The Edge Of Seventeen (OK, not horror, but a really good flick!) and battled 23 different James McAvoys in the intense chiller Split! Obviously we’d watch Haley in any of her upcoming projects, but hope she returns to our favorite genre soon!


Haley’s Claire finds outwitting 23 different personalities may not be that easy in Split!

-MonsterZero NJ
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Mood: Chillin'

timmyd
timmyd at 05:38 PM Feb 10

excellent blog ! three talented and lovely young talents .

MonsterZeroNJ posted a BLOG item 14 days ago

review: ALL I NEED (2015)

All_i_need

Despite being made about two years ago, low budget horror thriller is finally being released on VOD. It tells the story of a pretty young woman (Caitlin Stasey from All Cheerleaders Die and Fear Inc) who wakes up in a small room bound and gagged along with about a dozen or so other young women in the same predicament. Most of her fellow captives are either already dead, or soon to be, leading the young woman to engage in a battle of wills with her murderous captor in order to get out alive. The story also follows a down on his luck man named Andrew (Markus Taylor) who starts getting job offers from a mysterious benefactor. Can the fates of these two individuals be somehow intertwined?

Writer and director Dylan K. Narang, who produced the cool monster flick Dark Was The Night, will answer that question by the time this film reaches it’s conclusion and while it’s not a total surprise, Narang does provide some intensity and some disturbing sequences before the credits role. Most of that comes in the segments that follow Chloe (Stasey) in her efforts to stay alive and out of the masked killer’s clutches in a confined space. The resilient girl uses whatever resources are at her disposal, including the bonds and bodies of the other young women who have also fallen prey to this individual. When we switch to Andrew’s story, the film is less interesting and a bit flat as we have become far more endeared to the embattled Chloe and are less interested in his tale, though his story does connect. The writer/director smartly keeps the focus predominately on the bloodied and scantily clad prisoner and it is those scenes that carry some nice intensity and a few disturbing moments. Narang is also not afraid to have our heroine make some tough decisions during her escape attempts regarding her co-captors and even the use of their bodies. The film’s momentum sputters a bit with Andrew, especially one lengthy scene with his benefactor’s boss (Holly Twyford), that despite delivering some needed exposition, kinda drags a bit. Once this scene plays out, we do return to Chloe’s horrifying drama, though at that point we already have figured out how it’s going to conclude. The film does have effective atmosphere and that is helped along by an 80s-ish score by Jacob Yoffee and the fact that Narang does have a good visual eye and delivers some effective shots even working on an intimate scale.

The cast is very small and the strongest performance comes from the pretty Caitlin Stasey who endears us to her Chloe quickly with some expressive eye emoting while bound and gagged and then with body language and facial expressions when she is free and in survival mode. As she is alone most of the time, she has limited dialog and filmmaker Narang avoids having her talk to herself to fill us in on what she’s thinking. Instead he let’s his actress show us and she does a great job feeding us her fear and resilience without externalizing her inner monologue. She uses her body and eyes to good effect. Markus Taylor is a little flat as Andrew, though he’s not what I would call bad. The material involving his character is not as interesting or intense as Chloe’s terrifying ordeal, which doesn’t give the actor nearly as much to work with. Holly Twyford delvers some important exposition with a monotone delivery and while her character is supposed to be a bit emotionally detached, the revelations could have used a bit more dramatic bite to make them work better and a little more depth to the ‘explanation ‘ as to the hows and whys. As for our killer, he is masked for 99% of the flick and he does carry some menace and intensity, even though he isn’t on screen as much as you might expect. There are a couple of other girls we see briefly and they are all fine as victims.

Not a perfect flick by any means, but one that was effective in the places it needed to be most. Dylan K. Narang delivered some intense sequences with his young heroine fighting for her life and we only wish the secondary story of down on his luck divorcee Andrew carried the same type of weight. Seeing Chloe try to survive her situation and somehow escape was far more effective and interesting than Andrew puzzling over the mysterious offer from a faceless voice on the phone. Chloe made some hard decisions in her quest to survive, while we feel Andrew made his ultimate decision far too easy considering what the job proposal turned out to be. Director Narang does show some potential and Caitlin Stasey shows she is a young actress to also keep an eye on, especially in the horror genre, where she has recently been no stranger. 6.5/10

-MonsterZero NJ


Mood: Chillin'

Boogie Buddha
Boogie Buddha at 02:05 PM Feb 09

Never heard of this, but I might check it out. Sweet review :)

timmyd
timmyd at 05:22 PM Feb 09

good to know.

MonsterZeroNJ posted a BLOG item 16 days ago

review: DON'T KNOCK TWICE (2016)

Dont_knock_twice

Flick is a perfect example of how a skilled filmmaker can take familiar story elements and tropes and use them effectively. Story has artist Jess (Oculus‘ Katee Sackhoff) trying to re-establish a relationship with her daughter Chloe (Lucy Boynton), whom she walked away from nine years earlier. Chloe however has run afoul of a local urban legend. It’s said that if you go to the abandoned house of suspected witch Mary Aminov (Ania Marson) and knock twice, it will summon the demon within and thus it’s minion…in this case Mary…will be sent to collect you. That’s exactly what Chloe and friend Danny (Jordan Bolger) do in jest one night and now Danny has vanished and something malevolent is following Chloe. Can Jess save her daughter from an unnatural fate?…a daughter who has nothing but contempt for her?

Horror flick is written by Mark Huckerby and Nick Ostler with an all too familiar a story, these days, of a youth crossing paths with a malevolent spirit. Under the guidance of The Machine director Caradog James, however, this is still a spooky and atmospheric flick despite having seen it all before. James gets some chills out of the haunting scenario that is the trend right now and serves up some really creepy imagery, even if the skeletal specter with long hair is a common visual in today’s horror. He also gives the film a dramatic intensity with it’s underlying story of a mother trying to fix the hurt she caused by abandoning her child and learning to love that child now selflessly. The familiarity unfortunately keeps this movie from really grabbing us and the abrupt ending is a bit jarring, but it is still far more effective than one might expect considering we have been deluged with similar films for the past few years. This was spooky and enjoyable, but it’s time for the next horror trend. The haunting/malevolent entity flick has played itself out and good ones are few and far between. This was entertaining, spooky and well made, but not quite unique enough to make it stand out too far from the pack like we wished it would.

Our leading ladies do help make this work well. Katee Sackhoff does some nice strong work as a women who selfishly abandoned her daughter nine years earlier and now wants her back. Not only does her Jess have to battle nine years of built up resentment, but also a demonic entity that wants to take her daughter from her. Sackhoff gives the role some depth and we do come to sympathize with her. Lucy Boynton is equally good as the young girl who has a lot of bitterness towards her mother, but has no one else to turn to when she is targeted by something no one believes her exists. She gives us an emotionally scarred but strong young woman and she and Sackhoff have a nice chemistry as we watch their relationship heal and build under extreme duress.

In conclusion, this was an entertaining and spooky flick, despite having a very familiar story. Director Caradog James gave it some chills and some cool visuals and his lead cast helped give their familiar characters some depth. While we wait for the next horror trend to give the tired haunting sub-genre a rest, at least this particular flick had some talent behind and in front of the camera to keep it from being mundane. 6/10

-MonsterZero NJ


Mood: Chillin'

timmyd
timmyd at 05:14 PM Feb 07

I'll check it out . like Sackhoff.

MonsterZeroNJ posted a BLOG item 17 days ago

review: THE LOVE WITCH (2016)

Love_witch

The Love Witch is a delightful and colorful throwback to the erotic pulp witchcraft and romance flicks of the 60s, perfectly imitating the technicolor look and style. It tells the story of lovelorn witch Elaine Parks (Samantha Robinson) who turned to witchcraft after her devastating divorce. She now uses love spells to lure her men, though these spells usually result in a tragic death for the current object of her affections. A rookie police detective (Gian Keys) is hot on her trail, but will the handsome policeman be the next to fall victim to Elaine’s supernatural charms?

Filmmaker Anna Biller proves quite the workaholic by producing, writing and directing this charming and sexy homage, while designing the nostalgic 60s costumes and sets as well. The result is not only an incredible recreation of a long gone era of filmmaking, but deftly mixes in some feminist messages about the power of a woman’s sexuality and the depth of a man’s fear of it. The film is loaded with colorful characters, some very spicy sex and of course, plenty of spells and witchcraft, as our Elaine goes from one man to another, leaving a trail of bodies, until she meets Det. Griff Meadows…could he finally be the one? It’s a spooky and sexy ride to find out and while there are those who may not appreciate the moderate pacing, it matches the type of films it pays tribute to perfectly. Anna Biller displays both a creative talent and a deep love for her influences that are reason enough to watch this flick alone. It also has generous helpings of sex, nudity…and even a pinch of bondage…with a bit of blood spattering just as in the trashy, fun flicks this film embraces the style of. At the same time, it also succeeds in telling the story of a women in search of love and finding her own sexuality, but all with a vengeance. It’s wrapped in a package of sumptuous cinematography by M. David Mullen and told with the performance style and dialog of a bygone era that is all but lost. It’s not perfect. It’s a tad too long at two hours, a Renaissance Fair sequence in particular seems to drag on, but otherwise this a really enjoyable tale of female empowerment and a creatively crafted love letter to the pulp/witchcraft films of the 60s.

The cast all get the material perfectly. Lead Samantha Robinson is both stunningly beautiful and a captivating actress in a performance that oozes sexuality and mystery. She delivers the deliberately stylized performance as if time was turned back fifty years and does so with a charm and charisma of a star in the making. Her Elaine is enchantress, seductress and 60s housewife with a vengeance, all in one. Gian Keys also captures the tone of the heroic leads of that era with his rookie detective who falls for his #1 suspect. He is both charming and a bit arrogant. There is also Laura Waddell as Elaine’s new friend Trish. Trish is a perky girl next door type who seems a bit naive to Elaine’s witchy ways, till her own man is stolen by the enchantress. We also have good work by Jeffrey Vincent Parise as a teacher and Robert Seeley as Trish’s husband, both victims of Elaine’s quest for love.

Overall, I enjoyed this movie a lot for not only it’s tribute to an almost lost style of filmmaking, but for the story of a woman coming into her own sexual power, though with a deadly side effects towards her pursuits. Anna Biller shows she is a creative force to be reckoned with, much like her Elaine in some ways, by being a one woman studio on this spooky, sexy and fun flick. Both a filmmaker and lead actress to keep an eye on! 7/10

-MonsterZero NJ


Mood: Surprised

timmyd
timmyd at 05:11 PM Feb 06

had a good time with this . great review.

MonsterZeroNJ posted a BLOG item 24 days ago

review: BEWARE THE SLENDERMAN (2016)

Beware_the_slenderman

Interesting, but not totally successful, HBO documentary focuses on the alleged 2014 stabbing of young Payton Leutner by her two 12 year-old (at the time) friends Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier. The strange motivation for the attempted murder was to please a fictional internet boogeyman known as The Slenderman. The documentary traces the horrid events back to the two girls’ delusional belief that they could appease this urban legend through the killing of another. The documentary also traces Slenderman’s origins to the CreepyPasta website where the two girls discovered it and interviews with their befuddled parents and so-called “experts” as to how they (and apparently many other youths) came to believe this tale was real.

Documentary is directed well by Irene Taylor Brodsky and while it certainly is interesting, it never quite as chilling as it should be considering the subject matter. We do get a picture of two girls who are delusional to the point of plotting and planning the murder of a friend to appease an internet urban legend that sprang from a photoshop contest. It does fill us uninitiated in on how this fictional phantom came to be and only stumbles on it’s not too successful attempt to explain why so many youths have come to believe that it actually exists…especially to the point of murder. The ‘experts’ the documentary interviews on that aspect of the subject don’t impress or really have a solid explanation as why this made-up specter has so many believing it’s real. We also never really get a clear picture as to why these two girls were so delusional and infatuated with this internet grown tale. As a viewer, I never got a feel for what the big deal about Slenderman is and therefor don’t understand what the fuss was about and why two young girls would try to kill over what is clearly a made up story…and to truly succeed, this documentary needed to to that.

-MonsterZero NJ


Mood: Chillin'

MonsterZeroNJ posted a BLOG item 30 days ago

review: WOLF CREEK: THE SERIES season 1 (2016)

Wolf_creek_series_image

Wolf Creek was a disturbing 2005 flick from Aussie director Greg McLean that introduced the horror community to psychopathic Australian redneck Mick Taylor (John Jarratt). The film produced a sequel nine years later in 2014 and now, a six part mini-series with episodes directed by Ash vs Evil Dead’s Tony Tilse and McLean himself. The story finds an RV crossing the Outback with an American tourist family, The Thorogoods, stopping for the night and encountering Mick. The vicious psychopath brutally slaughters all of them…or so he thinks. Teen daughter Eve (Lucy Fry) survives the carnage and decides to hunt down the murderous Mick and exact some paypack, despite protestations of a handsome police officer (Dustin Clare). Her journey towards revenge puts her in contact with some of the best…and worst…of the Outback’s citizenry, on her collision course with Mick Taylor.

This Australian web series has episodes written, alternatively, by Peter Gawler and Felicity Packard and thankfully returns to the more grounded violence and brutality of the first film, whereas Wolf Creek 2 got a bit too over-the-top for it’s own good. Mick Taylor has been returned more to the brutal psychopath that made him so scary in the first flick with his one-liners and demented cackling kept effective by not being taken too overboard. The tone is gritty and a slow burn as Eve makes some interesting allies and meets some morally questionable individuals while she tracks down the elusive Mick. At the same time Mick encounters more lambs for the slaughter, including some of the individuals that Eve unintentionally draws into the conflict and onto his radar. There are some very disturbing scenes and the first five episodes are well directed by Tilse, who paces them moderately as this is leading up to an eventual showdown. McLean returns to the director’s chair for the final episode where American teen takes on Aussie madman and it’s as good as the best moments of the first two theatrical flicks. If the series has a weakness, it’s that the basic story doesn’t seem to warrant over five hours to tell. We do get the feeling that some of it is filler and that a tighter two hour movie might have told the tale more effectively. We do find out more about Mick’s past and what turned him into the maniac he is. We also get some very brutal sequences as Eve gets toughened up to face Mick and Mick continues to illustrate why we should root for Eve. The film makes very good use of the desolate Outback locations and populates them with some interesting and unsettling characters. The violence level will not disappoint fans of the films and most likely neither will this series, when all is said and done, even if it does feel like a movie stretched out at times.

The cast are all effective and create an assortment of offbeat characters that Eve and Mick wade through. John Jarratt is disturbing, once more, as Mick Taylor. The actor really does good work in having Mick come off first, as an eccentric country bumpkin to disarm his potential victim’s and then chills us to the bone when the inner murderer is released. He plays Mick with demented gusto, but with the help of director and scripts, he is restrained enough to avoid the over-the-top parody that Mick became in the film series sequel. Lucy Fry holds her own in both character and performance with her co-star. She gives us a strong teen who is not going home without finding out who killed her family and wounded her…and making them pay. If the extend time given the story accomplishes anything over six episodes, it is watching Eve grow in anger, tenacity and determination as she begins to realize she is hunting an elusive monster. When she and Mick finally meet, we have no problem believing that this little lady is going to bring it to Wolf Creek’s residing serial killer…and bring it she does. Dustin Clare is good as Officer Hill, who is one of Eve’s few friends in this untamed part of the world. The actor conveys both authority and compassion as a man sympathetic to Eve, yet obviously, bound by the law he upholds to try and stop her…and catch Mick at the same time. The supporting cast are all effective in creating an eclectic group of Outback residents both friend and foe.

Overall, I recommend this series to fans of McLean’s first two theatrical adventures of psychopathic Aussie, Mick Taylor. While the story did feel a bit like a movie plot stretched out over six episodes, there are plenty of effective and brutal moments and the tone returns to the more gritty and disturbing tone of the original film. The pace is a purposeful slow burn and our leading lady becomes quite formidable by the time she goes one on one with Mick. The character of Mick Taylor is once again the more heinous maniac he was in the first film, with excessive theatrics and one-liners left behind for a more unsettling return to the character’s roots. There is talk of a season two and I am curious where they go with it. 6.5/10


EPISODE LIST

Billabonge – directed by Tony Tilse and written by Peter Gawler
Kutyukutyu – directed by Tony Tilse and written by Felicity Packard
Salt Lake – directed by Tony Tilse and written by Peter Gawler
Opalville – directed by Tony Tilse and written by Felicity Packard
Rome – directed by Tony Tilse and written by Peter Gawler
Wolf Creek – directed by Greg McLean and written by Felicity Packard

-MonsterZero NJ


Mood: Chillin'

timmyd
timmyd at 05:22 PM Jan 24

I had a good time with it . like you said , I'm glad they cut down on Mick's theatrics . looking forward to season 2 .

MonsterZeroNJ posted a BLOG item about 1 month ago

review: I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER (2016)

I_am_not_a_serial_killer

Horror/thriller is based on the first book of the same name from Dan Wells’ trilogy about sociopathic teen John Wayne Cleaver. Fifteen year-old teen John Wayne Cleaver (Max Records) is currently being treated by a therapist (Karl Geary) for having homicidal thoughts. Not helping John is that he lives and works in his mother’s (Laura Fraser) mortuary and is surrounded by death on a daily basis. He sets up rules to control his urges, despite being fascinated with death and serial killers, but things take an odd turn when people in his small Midwestern town start showing up dead. John becomes obsessed with the case and sets out to find who this serial killer is…and his first suspect may be his kindly old neighbor Mr. Crowley (Christopher Lloyd). Is John over-imagining things due to his dreary obsession, or has he found real evil in his sleepy little town?

British/Irish flick is directed by Billy O’Brian with the book based script written by he and Christopher Hyde. It is part horror, part mystery and part character study as we watch a boy investigating the very type of activity that he struggles with himself not to commit. It is an interesting study of an interesting character as John fights with his inner dark urges and by contrast sees death everyday working with his mother and now by pursuing a killer. It is offbeat and intriguing and O’Brian avoids a lot of clichés by not making this a straight up serial killer thriller, but from the view of someone who might be one in the making, himself hunting another. A sort of teenage “Dexter” if you will. There are some brutal and disturbing moments and the film only stumbles a bit when it’s reveal conjures something far less grounded than we expected from the tone of the film up till that point…though it is effective and the film does come to an appropriately suitable conclusion that fits the story and direction it took. It just was a bit off-putting that the film’s killer is something a bit more supernatural when the film seemed to be examining the evil’s that men do.

The cast are all good. Records makes an intriguing and odd youth in his John Wayne Cleaver. He is certainly not your normal kid and he knows it. He knows there is something wrong in his head and the young actor portrays well the conflict and effort to avoid becoming something he already has shown great potential in being. The fact that he pursues another “like” personality seems, at first, to be more out of curiosity than to battle evil. Laura Fraser is solid as John’s single and hard working mother. She conveys well the frustration of loving her child yet knowing he is a bit unstable and has urges that could turn dangerous. Christopher Lloyd is a veteran actor and gives the old neighbor Crowley a nice sympathetic touch so we find it hard to believe that this kindly old man might be a monster on the inside. Solid acting from supporting cast members as well.

I liked this movie, though didn’t quite love it, despite a novel premise. It features a sociopathic lead who is fighting to control his own homicidal urges while pursuing someone else who is giving in quite brutally to theirs. The reveal kind of switches the focus to something more supernatural, when the film seemed to be telling a more grounded story and that is a bit off-putting. Director and co-writer O’Brien does recover and ends the film appropriately and effectively. Recommended, but just go in without grand expectations. 6.5/10

-MonsterZero NJ


Mood: Chillin'

MonsterZeroNJ posted a BLOG item about 1 month ago

review: STRIPPED TO KILL (1987)

Stripped_to_kill

Roger Corman produced flick finds a mysterious killer brutally murdering strippers. Pretty police detective Cody Sheenan (Kay Lenz) goes undercover in a strip club to try and catch the culprit. Her partner, Heineman (Greg Evigan) tries to keep a close eye on her, but with so many suspects, can he protect her if Cody becomes the next target?

Exploitation flick is directed by Katt Shea (as Katt Shea Ruben) who used to be an actress in some Corman productions. It is another example of Corman giving women a chance behind the camera when few others were doing it. It’s from a script from she and then husband Andy Ruben and started the actress off on a career behind the camera. As with most Corman productions there is a focus on nudity and there is plenty, including from leading lady Kay Lenz. But Shea manages to also portray a more sympathetic side to these ladies and not as just sex objects. The film may be a bit amateurish at times and the script, especially the dialog, could have used a bit of work, but first time director Shea does get some effective moments in and does make us feel for the targeted strippers. The death scenes are brutal and effective and the last act reveal/chase sequence between Cody and the killer is suspenseful and puts our heroine through the ringer. The film itself is very low budget and wisely sets a lot of it’s action in the strip club and overall, is a little thriller that shows a director’s potential and does it’s job as an exploitation flick though one with a bit of a sympathetic side towards it’s subject matter.

The acting varies in a low budget flick like this. Leads Kay Lenz and Greg Evigan are vets of TV and movies and are fine. Lenz in particular has both a toughness and a soft side to her Detective Sheenan. Another TV vet, Norman Fell, is appropriately sleazy as club owner Ray, yet he’s not portrayed as an outright bad guy and does seem to have some affinity for his performers. The rest of the supporting cast do well enough as various strippers and suspects and our killer is very effective once revealed.

While far from a perfect flick, Stripped to Kill gets the job done. It gives the targeted audience the nudity and violence they came for and yet Director Katt Shea does portray her stripper characters with a sympathetic eye. There is also some disturbing scenes and some suspense, especially in the last act and leading lady Kay Lenz not only is a likable heroine cop, but is surprisingly not shy with the nudity required for the role. A very successful flick for Corman and the start of a prolific directing career for Katt Shea, including the cult classic thriller Poison Ivy with Drew Barrymore. 6/10

-MonsterZero NJ


Mood: Chillin'

Boogie Buddha
Boogie Buddha at 01:44 PM Jan 19

Cool review! I'm thinking I might check this out. :)

timmyd
timmyd at 05:01 PM Jan 19

I kinda dug it . solid enough watch.

MonsterZeroNJ posted a BLOG item about 1 month ago

review: THE BARN (2016)

Barn

Crowd funded horror/homage definitely has it’s heart in the right place and knows it’s 80s influences well, even if it isn’t quite as successful at delivering the goods as the films it’s trying to pay tribute to.

Flick starts out in the small town of Wheary Falls in 1959 where a Halloween set Harvest Hootenany festival goes wrong for one little girl who unwisely challenges a local legend about three demons that inhabit a local barn. The film then jumps 30 years to 1989 where Halloween obsessed teen Sam (Mitchell Musolino) and some friends accidentally awaken this legendary trio of demons while stopping in Weary Falls on the way to a Halloween night rock concert. Now Sam, his best bud Josh (Will Stout) and pretty Michelle (Lexi Dripps) find themselves battling the demonic Scarecrow, Boogeyman and Hollow Jack, that they have awakened from The Barn.

80s homage is written, directed and edited by Justin M. Seaman and the filmmaker’s intentions are certainly noble. The flick does indeed have the feel of one of those 80s horrors and even gives it an old VHS look with scratches and grain and muted colors. For nostalgia purposes, the film knows it’s source material well and we sense Seaman has a genuine love for these films and the horror genre in general. The basic story certainly works for the type of film it’s trying to be and the director does have a good visual eye and achieves a lot on a small budget. Where the film loses ground is in the writing and the editing. The dialogue is simply very stale and the exposition sequences seem to go on and on and are flat and un-involving. Seaman could have cut out a good ten minutes of talkiness from his homage and gotten it in at a much tighter 90 minutes, or less, and the film would have moved much better. It is a bit too slow paced for it’s own good. There were sequences of talk that felt like they could have been removed completely without hurting the movie, such as Sam’s talk with his dad and when they meet George Hayward (David Hampton), who was with the little girl in the opening sequence. Drunken George’s dialogue seems to go on forever and basically adds even more exposition to a local legend that was fine as it was. His story only convolutes things and the possible way of sending the demons back he relates, is just weak. Sometimes a bit of ambiguity is good, instead of explaining things in too much detail. As a matter of fact, the whole 1989 Halloween Hootenanny sequence goes on way too long, a prime example of how better writing and editing could have made this tighter. The horror sequences, featuring the three demons, themselves are fine. They are not scary or suspenseful, but they do work and Seaman’s demons are effective enough on the homage level they are intended. The FX are quite good for a low budget flick, especially the gore and they do emulate 80s FX work very well. As nostalgia, the film works very well in many ways, especially with Rocky Gray’s cool 80s style electronic soundtrack to add even more of the 80s feel. But as a movie, it’s a bit tedious and flat at times and lacks any real suspense and scares to make it really special. It needed some life to it’s scenes and performances.

While on the subject of the performances, to be too picky over the acting in a low budget film like this, isn’t really fair. Let’s be honest, the acting in a lot of the films that this flick is paying homage to, wasn’t exactly award level either. The cast in one sense are fine, though some of the dialogue reciting is a bit flat, but that could also be from the need for stronger guidance from a first time filmmaker. Mitchell Musolino is OK as Sam, as is Will Stout as Josh, though as heroes they are a bit dull. It also doesn’t help that lead Sam’s character is kind of a moody sourpuss and hard to endear to. At least Stout’s Josh is a bit more animated and likable. The one cast member who stands out a bit is cute, girl-next-door Lexi Dripps who is actually endearing as the perky object of Sam’s awkward affection, Michelle. She is one of the few cast members who sounds like she is talking naturally, not reading from a script. Sadly, the character of Michelle disappears for most of the third act action and when she re-emerges, it’s as a bound and gagged damsel in distress only there to be rescued by Sam and Josh. The film might have been better served to have Miss Dripps play final girl, or at least be more involved in the action, as she is the one with the strongest screen presence and most charm. Her character was one of the livelier ones, too, unlike the droll Sam, and is sadly underused. There are also small parts played by legendary Scream Queen, Linnea Quigley and Ari Lehman, who was the first actor to ever play Jason Voorhees (as a boy) in the first Friday The 13th.

I wanted to like this flick a lot more than I did. It’s heart was in the right place, it knew it’s influences very well and nailed the nostalgia elements pretty much dead on. It had a perfectly fine horror flick story and director Justin M. Seaman has a nice eye for spooky visuals, with the flick looking good for something very low budget. Definitely an “A” for effort. Where the film stumbles, is in it’s writing and editing. The Barn could have been ten minutes shorter, without hurting the story, it’s a little too talky between the action and the dialog itself was very stale and flat. The film wasn’t actually scary and the simple and effective plot gets a little convoluted in it’s second act. Simpler and more streamlined was working earlier on. A very noble effort and we hope filmmaker Justin M. Seaman continues to hone his craft and maybe the next flick will be closer to the home run he was swinging for here. I still recommend horror fans give it a look for the nostalgia of it and simply for the effort put in by some independent filmmakers with a passion…and despite it’s flaws, that passion does show! 6/10

-MonsterZero NJ


Mood: Chillin'

timmyd
timmyd at 04:51 PM Jan 16

looking forward to checking it out . nice write-up.

timmyd
timmyd at 04:51 PM Jan 16

looking forward to checking it out . nice write-up.

MonsterZeroNJ posted a BLOG item about 1 month ago

review: THE BOYS NEXT DOOR (1985)

Boys_next_door

80s Crime thriller finds social outcasts Bo (Charlie Sheen) and Roy (Maxwell Caulfield) facing high school graduation and the start of dead end factory jobs the following Monday. They decide to hit L.A. for a last weekend of cutting loose, but as dark emotions and deep frustrations bubble to the surface, the party weekend quickly degenerates into a spree of violence, mayhem and murder.

Effective and disturbing little flick is directed by Penelope Spheeris (Suburbia, Wayne’s World) from a script from future X-Files writers/producers Glen Morgan and James Wong. It takes a dark look at that moment between high school and moving forward to your future, with the portrayal of two youths who don’t feel they have one. Obviously, from the film’s opening credits serial killer montage, we know this is not going to end well and it doesn’t, as a weekend of cutting loose becomes a vicious murder spree. It’s the brooding Roy who has the darkest emotions here as he does most of the killing, with the more simpleminded Bo along for the ride and assisting in some of the violence. Morgan and Wong’s script has implications Roy is also struggling with his sexuality and/or repressing homosexuality as he, at one moment, dupes a gay man (Paul C. Dancer) into taking them back to his apartment and then brutalizes and murders him. Roy also becomes apparently jealous when Bo gets laid with the lonely and pretty Angie (Patti D’Arbanville) and viciously murders the older woman, who is just looking for some company. These moments are violent and very effective as we watch two men venting their frustrations, and in Roy’s case, some dark harbored emotions, on innocent people. The police are slowly closing in on the duo, but even Detective Woods (Christopher McDonald) laments that it will take more heinous activity to get the clues they need to catch them. It also takes quite a few bodies for Bo to come around, want to walk away and go home, but Roy is out of control and we know it is only a matter of time before small town thrill-killers collide with big city police…and Spheeris makes it an intense and unsettling ride. There is some clunky dialog here and there, mostly between the police characters, but otherwise this is an underrated tale of two young men giving in to their darker impulses and taking their frustrations out on unsuspecting and undeserving people. Despite being thirty years old these themes resonate today more than ever, with the horrible reality of school shootings and teen killers.

Sheen and Caulfield are excellent in their parts. Long before he became ‘troubled’ Sheen plays a simple young man who seems to be happy to just go with the flow and in this case, go along with the more dominant and troubled Roy. Bo engages in the violence, but seems to be just following Roy’s lead as he lacks the inner rage and turmoil of his best friend. He’s sadly a follower and just as he is willing to walk into that factory on Monday morning, he is willing to follow the increasingly volatile Roy on his spree of violence. Bo does join in on some of the brutality, but it is Roy who initiates it and delivers the fatal blow in each case. It takes until the brutal murder of the sweet Angie for Bo to realize he’s had enough, but it’s too little and too late. Caulfield gives a very strong performance as the more dominant and deeply troubled Roy. Roy seems to have numerous frustrations bubbling within, as he is not only unhappy with his working class, trailer park life with his drunk and burnt-out father, but Morgan and Wong’s script seem to implicate he is also possibly surpressinging homosexuality, as he targets the gay Chris for murder, kills the male of a couple with the woman being almost an afterthought and appears to be quite jealous when Bo is getting Angie’s amorous attention. It’s never discussed openly, but there are enough clues to suggest working class Roy is suppressing homosexual tendencies and this suppression is turning into rage. And rage is what fuels Roy, whereas Bo is just along for the ride and for the thrill of their criminal exploits. Roy is out for revenge against a world he possibly feels has mistreated him or dealt him a bad hand. Caulfield does a great job conveying these frustrations and Roy’s inner rage. Other major cast members are Patti D’Arbanville as the ill-fated Angie, who seems like a sweet-natured and lonely women just looking for some company and the actress earns our empathy with limited screen time and Christopher McDonald as young detective Woods, who, unfortunately, has one of the weaker written parts and some of the more stilted dialogue. He is likable, but is a victim of some of the script’s flaws.

Revisiting this ‘lost’ flick after more than two decades, only makes it more disappointing that the film was never really recognized for the effective and unsettling crime thriller it is. It presents a simple, and all too real, story of two small town youths who let their darker emotions, frustrations and urges turn them down a violent path with only one end. The two lead actors are very good in their roles with conveying, especially in Caulfield’s Roy, emotions and inner turmoil they are not equipt to deal with…so they take it out on others. It’s shocking, brutal and even over thirty years later, very effective and relevant. Highly recommended. 7/10

-MonsterZero NJ


Mood: Chillin'

timmyd
timmyd at 08:22 AM Jan 14

I haven't seen this in forever .

MonsterZeroNJ posted a BLOG item about 1 month ago

review: DEATH RACE 2050 (2017)

Death_race_2050

Leave it to Roger Corman to remake his own classic. After a lackluster redo in 2008 with Jason Statham, simply titled Death Race, Corman returns to the source material for a more faithful remake of his classic Death Race 2000. The result is a silly flick that finds an overpopulated United Corporations of America initiating the annual Death Race to trim the population and entertain the overcrowded masses. The #1 driver of this cross country demolition derby of carnage is Frankenstein (Manu Bennett), who not only has to deal with new rival Jed Perfectus (Burt Grinstead), who wants his crown, but a rebel movement that wants his head. Can the cyborg star driver survive the race, the rebels and his own hot co-pilot with her own agenda, Annie (Marci Miller)?

Corman produced flick is directed by G.J. Echternkamp who co-wrote the script with Matt Yamashita. The result is a silly, and sometimes amateurish effort that doesn’t come close to the original classic, though feels more like a Death Race 2000 remake than the 2008 version. It does have an infectious delirious energy and leads Bennett and Miller are appealing, but the direction and script are too lackluster and goofy to really make this flick a treat. The original 1975 version blended the violence and satire perfectly and this version needed a more deft hand behind the camera and some more genuine wit in the script. There is plenty of gore and there is a nice chemistry between Frankenstein and Annie, but the film ultimately falls far short of what it is trying to emulate. Also stars Malcolm McDowell as The Chairman and Yancy Butler as the rebel leader. 5.5/10

-MonsterZero NJ


Mood: Chillin'

grelber37
grelber37 at 05:57 AM Jan 11

Thanks for the review. Definitely, I need to catch Death Race 2050. Many years ago, Death Race 2000 influenced my twisted mind early in life. The 2050 movie sounds like it at least has the spirit of the first one.

Psycho-Pirate-99
Psycho-Pirate-99 at 10:24 AM Jan 11

I had no idea this existed, huge fan of the original

MonsterZeroNJ posted a BLOG item about 1 month ago

review: THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS (2016)

Girl_with_the_gifts

Book based horror is an interesting and intriguing addition to the overcrowded zombie sub-genre. In this tale, a fungus has turned most of the world’s population into crazed carnivores seeking human and/or other living flesh for food. A small group of soldiers and scientists are trying to seek a cure through a group of infected children whose aggressive behavior is surpressed and only becomes volatile when they are hungry and in the proximity of prey, or the scent of the living. One such little girl, Melanie (Sennia Nanua) is the most intelligent and controlled of the subjects…and thus of the most interest to lead scientist, Dr. Caldwell (Glenn Close). When the “Hungries” overrun the base, a small group of survivors, including sympathetic teacher Miss Justineau (Gemma Arterton) and Caldwell, take Melanie on the run to find a safe haven, as the young girl may be mankind’s last hope. Along the way they find armies of Hungries and groups of feral children like the ones back at the base. Melanie now has a choice, to help save humanity or find a home amongst her own “kind”.

British flick is a mix of Day Of The Dead and Lord Of The Flies and thus keeps us interested with it’s focus on the “second generation” children of a zombie outbreak. The film is very effectively directed by Colm McCarthy from a script by Mike Carey, based on his book of the same name. Girl creates a very sympathetic and likable character in Melanie and this has us quite endeared to her despite the fact that there is a monster lurking beneath the skin. McCarthy also gives some intensity and chills to some of the more familiar sequences, even though fans of the genre have seen hordes of hungry zombies in action before. The fact that we have some likable characters in the mix like Miss Justineau, helps involve us with scenes like the Hungries overrunning the base and when the characters are in danger. The film has some clever ideas, such as the interesting slant of Melanie basically being able to walk amongst the Hungries unscathed, as she technically is one of them and thus goes from basically a prisoner to valued member of the team. Once the film switches gears from George A. Romero to William Golding, it becomes quite interesting as Melanie starts to wonder whether this is infection or evolution and realizes that the team needs her more than she needs them. There are also some very familiar clichés such as the self-serving scientist and the soldier with a grudge (Paddy Considine) along with many familiar zombie tropes. There are, obviously, some gruesome moments and some brutality, though McCarthy makes them effective by not overdoing it with the well-rendered blood-spattering. When it comes, it’s startling. There is also a really good score by Cristobal Tapia de Veer that adds atmosphere and the film is shot well by Simon Dennis, especially effective when the film changes settings to a London abandoned and overgrown with vegetation.

Another element that makes this work so well, is the cast. Young Sennia Nanua gives a simply amazing performance as Melanie. We see a girl who is intelligent, thoughtful and compassionate to the point of total compliance with being a test subject. We watch her slowly begin to realize just how important she is and then assume a position of dominance as she comes to the realization that she may be at the top of the food chain, as both predator and leader. In all aspects of her character, Nanua is captivating and in the last act she exudes a strength that grabs you. Her relationship with Arterton’s Miss Justineau is also crucial, as she is the anchor to which Melanie’s humanity is tethered. The two actors have a genuine chemistry that makes the friendship work and the affection seem genuine. Gemma Arterton once again proves she is more than a pretty face with a strong turn as the caring teacher who sees her students as more than monsters…even to a fault. Veteran Glenn Close is also strong as scientist Dr. Caldwell. Sure the character is cliché, but the veteran actress gives her some depth, even when she becomes the cold, ruthless, scientist we expect from the role. Rounding out is Paddy Considine who is also good as the soldier with a hatred for the Hungies and who treats the children like the monsters he feels they are. The character has a bit of depth, especially when we find the root of his anger. Cliché but effective thanks to a solid actor in the part.

Overall, I really liked this flick despite feeling the zombie sub-genre needs a much needed break. The film has some familiar elements, but also does it’s own thing with a fascinating lead character in Melanie and an interesting Lord Of The Flies slant in it’s second half. We have a solid script from Carey and some very effective direction from Colm McCarthy. The cast are all very good, with young lead Sennia Nanua really making an impression with a layered and sometimes powerful performance of a unique little girl in an unthinkable situation. Not a completely original zombie flick, but one that has enough of it’s own ideas to make it effective and refreshing enough in an overcrowded sub-genre. 7/10

-MonsterZero NJ


Mood: Surprised

timmyd
timmyd at 08:02 AM Jan 09

looking forward to checking this one out

WalkAway
WalkAway at 06:08 PM Jan 11

^same

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