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MonsterZeroNJ
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Got my computer back after 2 weeks and received some sad news. Farewell MFC! Met some great people here and hope to see you all over at the new Facebook group!
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MonsterZeroNJ posted a BLOG item about 1 month ago

review: SATAN'S CHEERLEADERS (1977)

Satans_cheerleaders

Horror comedy has a cheer-leading squad and their coach being kidnapped by a group of Satan worshipers. One of the girls will be chosen as his bride and the rest will be used as sacrificial offerings. That’s it in a nutshell.

Exploitation comedy is directed by Greydon Clark (Without Warning) from a script by he and Alvin L. Fast. It’s a goofy flick filled with bad sex jokes, exposed breasts and Satan worshipers who don’t evoke much fear and don’t seem all that competent at evoking Satan either. A lot of the humor falls flat and the flick seems like it’s made up as it goes along and lacks the charm of Clark’s 1980 extraterrestrial cult classic. One wonders if Clark has treated the material more seriously and let the situation itself provide the humor, it would have been more successful at accomplishing it’s goals. The story is ripe for exploitation fun, but it’s the misfiring dirty jokes and goofball humor that don’t click. There is plenty of skin shown by our pom pom wielding heroines, but the villains just don’t evoke much threat for us to feel like our girls are in any real danger, even for a comedy. The last few moments do click, but it took us 90 minutes to get there and the first act is all lame, naughty high school stuff before our girls even find themselves in peril. It’s one of those flicks where a great title is in need of a far better movie and sadly from a director who can deliver the B-movie fun as Without Warning proves.

Clark has a decent cast here. The veterans like John Ireland, Yvonne DeCarlo, Jack Kruschen and John Carradine all perform well and get the tone of the material, even if their cultists are more comical than creepy. The young cast of unknowns are very uneven, but no one really expects acting from a cast probably hired for their looks, especially our young ladies. Kerry Sherman is the one standout, mostly because she shows the most skin and she seems to be the only one to go on to other roles in film and TV.

As much as I love B-movies and exploitation flicks from this era, this one doesn’t live up to the fun of it’s title. Most of the jokes and goofball comedy falls flat and it’s attempts at horror are equally unsuccessful. There is some fun to be had, the nostalgia is certainly present and at least the ladies look good in and out of their uniforms. It still just seems like a bit of a mess and director Clark was far better combining horror and humor a few years later in the cult classic Without Warning. Worth a look for the 70s nostalgia, but not the midnight movie it could have been with a tighter script and maybe playing it a bit more straight. 6/10

-MonsterZero NJ


Mood: Chillin'

grelber37
grelber37 at 05:18 PM Dec 07

Dude, you just reviewed one of my favorite guilty pleasures. Thanks for introducing Satan's Cheerleaders to the uninitiated.

timmyd
timmyd at 08:03 PM Dec 07

always a fun watch .

MonsterZeroNJ posted a BLOG item about 1 month ago

review: THE TOWN THAT WAS (2007)

Town_that_was

The Town That Was is a moving documentary about the town of Centralia, Pennsylvania which has become a virtual ghost town after an underground coal fire has slowly forced most of it’s inhabitants out. The documentary by Chris Perkel and Georgie Roland, focuses on some of the few citizens left, specifically a man named John Lokitis Jr, who still sees the shell of a town as home.

The documentary first details how in 1962 a fire that was set to burn a garbage dump, reached the coal mines beneath the town and ignited it. Bureaucracy then prevented the situation from being remedied quick enough and now the fire has been burning out of control underground ever since. As the fire spreads people either left, or sold their homes under eminent domain when the government stepped in to buy them out. By the time this documentary was made, their were only eleven people left in a town that once held 3,000.

Once we learn the history of how this once thriving little coal town has practically disappeared, we get the story of some of the few that refuse to leave, even though the government now owns all the property. One such man is John Lokitis Jr, who has lived there all his life. John works hard to keep alive what little of the town is left, including repainting benches, mowing the lawns of dozens of properties and hanging Christmas decorations from the telephone poles as was tradition. It’s both empowering to watch someone fight for what he believes in and sad to see someone in denial about what is happening around him. John maintains there is no danger, but it’s hard to agree with him while smoke billows out of the ground behind him. We also get some experts’ opinions and most agree there is a constant danger of CO2 poisoning or the ground collapsing as it has in the past…almost fatally for one boy. Regardless, this is a disturbing story of a town all but erased from the map by a bizarre situation.

Whether you believe the last hold-outs are being foolish or standing up for the home they love, is left up to the viewer. We’re given the history on the town and the fire that’s been it’s undoing and hear from experts, citizens who left and those few who remain. At times the documentary did feel like it focused on Lokitis a bit too much and could have delved a bit more into the current state of the fire itself and the havoc it reeks on the area, but the human element was definitely the goal here. Either way, this is a fascinating and disturbing piece of Americana and the freak accident that has been swallowing a small town for over 50 years.

NOTE: Some personal research on my part has revealed that Lokitis was finally evicted from his home in 2009 and his house demolished a year later, though ironically, in 2013 the remaining citizens were granted permission to stay by state and local government.

There’s also a segment of Real Fear: The Truth Behind The Movies focusing on Centralia, hosted by paranormal expert Katrina Weidman, who actually has family from there.

-MonsterZero NJ


Mood: Chillin'

MonsterZeroNJ posted a BLOG item about 1 month ago

review: COLD MOON (2016)

Cold_moon

Supernatural thriller finds pregnant sixteen year-old Margaret Larkin (Sara Catherine Bellamy) murdered, throwing her family and the small town of Babylon, Florida into turmoil. While the killer, Nathan Redfield (Josh Stewart), successfully points blame towards another man, he is haunted by Margaret’s angry spirit. When more bodies start to pile up to cover his tracks, he finds himself surrounded by vengeful specters and a local sheriff (Frank Whaley) closing in.

Silly flick is directed by Griff Furst from a script by he and Jack Snyder from a book by Michael McDowell, who wrote the screenplay for Beetlejuice. Problem here is that subtlety would have worked better on this small town set chiller, yet Furst instead uses some over-the-top haunting sequence that laughably evoke McDowell’s Beetlejuice when it should be chilling to the bone. It’s not a comedy. The director has a nice visual style and when he does dial it down, there are some spooky sequences, but it’s hard to get scared with coffins exploding and giant snakes with old lady heads chasing after a terrified Redfield. Also, our killer is revealed way too soon, obviously, thus ending the mystery element in the first half hour, and the focus then switches to him unraveling and away from the grieving Larkin family. It gets comical as he is pursued by the overused visual of spirits with snakes coming out of their mouths and starts to leave a trail of bodies that gets ridiculous. Sad thing is, there was a spooky little movie in here somewhere drowned in overindulgence. Also stars Candy Clark and Christopher Lloyd and there is an effective score by the director’s brother Nathan. 5/10

-MonsterZero NJ


Mood: Bored

MonsterZeroNJ posted a BLOG item about 1 month ago

review: LIVIDE (2011)

Livide

French horror tells the story of a young woman named Lucie (Chloé Coulloud) who is studying to be a home care nurse. On her first day, she learns that one of her future patients, a comatose old woman named Mrs. Jessel (Marie-Claude Pietragalla), is rumored to have some kind of hidden treasure in her creepy old house. Lucie tells her boyfriend William (Félix Moati), who sees possible riches as a way out of their small coastal fishing village. They break into the house one night, along with their friend Ben (Jérémy Kapone), but soon find themselves locked in and that the house and it’s occupant have a nightmarish secret.

Flick is written and directed by Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo, the French duo who brought us the bonkers chiller Inside and the recent Leatherface. It starts out as a sort of haunted house thriller, but then evolves into something else as we find out what really inhabits the Jessel home. There are some very spooky visuals as the duo use the creepy old house setting very well. There is also some of their trademarked graphic violence and the film has an unsettling atmosphere, especially once our three protagonists get inside the house. The flick is held back by a narrative that doesn’t always make sense, but does weave in some dark fairy tale elements, especially in the last act. The film also has moments that evoke Guillermo del Toro’s Cronos and even if we are scratching our heads a bit by the time the credits roll, there was enough to chill and entertain and maybe gross us out a little bit.

The cast are good with lead Chloé Coulloud making a strong heroine in student nurse turned reluctant thief, Lucie. She seems like a sweet girl and has issues of her own that motivate her and even affect her actions when she meets the occupants of the old house. Félix Moati is fine as her fisherman boyfriend, who dreams of a better life. He’s not an outright bad guy, just someone who is willing to cross lines to get out of his small town. Jérémy Kapone is also solid as Ben, a friend of the couple and another reluctant participant in the events. He is more likable than William. Marie-Claude Pietragalla is suitably creepy as Mrs. Jessel in both flashbacks to her days as a cruel dance instructor and to the old woman she is now. Rounding out is Catherine Jacob who is the home care specialist with a secret who is training Lucie and Chloé Marcq as Jessel’s daughter, who we are told is long gone and is seen in flashbacks when we start to get some backstory.

After the shocking Inside, Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo followed it up with a spooky flick that has some chilling moments, but also suffers from being a bit too ambiguous at times. It may leave us with a quite a few questions once it’s all over, but has enough chills and unsettling sequences to entertain us well enough. Not as memorable as Inside, but shows the French duo have some interesting ideas, some unique twists on familiar tropes and a solid visual style to accompany the chills and gore. 6/10

-MonsterZero NJ


Mood: Chillin'

timmyd
timmyd at 08:35 PM Dec 04

I really liked this one . Of course I'm a sucker for French Horror , so there's that .

MonsterZeroNJ
MonsterZeroNJ at 09:08 AM Dec 05

Had some very spooky moments even if it was a bit loopy at times.

MonsterZeroNJ posted a BLOG item about 1 month ago

review: THE PUNISHER season 1 (2017)

Punisher

Spin-off series from season 2 of Netflix’s Daredevil finds ex-soldier Frank Castle aka “The Punisher” (Jon Bernthal) thinking he’s finished his mission of revenge and hanging up his skull adorned bulletproof vest under the new identity of loner, construction worker Pete Castellini. Upon being contacted by a whistle blower thought dead named Micro (Ebon Moss-Bachrach), Castle finds that there is a deeper conspiracy responsible for the murder of his family, one that involves high ranking military personal, dirty CIA agents and unknowingly himself. Castle returns to the road for revenge, but only now he has a tenacious Homeland Security agent on his tail (Amber Rose Revah) who has her own score to settle.

The Punisher solo series’ first season leaves some mixed feelings. Bernthal is still a great Frank Castle/Punisher and there is certainly a lot of the bone-crushing, brutal action like the character was involved in on Daredevil. The problems here are some sub-plots that don’t seem necessary or to add much to the proceedings and the fact that it once again takes nearly the whole season for The Punisher to really re-emerge. It’s more of a conspiracy show, a la the X-Files, which would be fine if it stuck to the conspiracy and it’s attention didn’t wander to sub-plots like a growing relationship with Micro’s “widow” (Jaime Ray Newman) and kids (Kobi Frumer and Ripley Sobo) and an emotionally disturbed young vet turned terrorist named Lewis (Daniel Webber). These sub-plots seem more like plot devices, one to keep his relationship with Micro antagonistic and the other to wrongfully out him to the world as a terrorist. At times they feel a bit like filler to stretch the series out to it’s 13 episodes when maybe a more streamlined 10 would have served it better and kept to the main story. Sometimes the violence seems a bit too over the top and Frank seems to bounce back from severe wounds or beatings far too quickly to be believable. If the show wants to ground itself in reality, which it does, than it’s hard to swallow a man entering physical combat mere days after being beaten practically to death. Still the show is well done and the acting is strong across the board, especially from Bernthal, Moss-Bachrach and Revah. Paul Schulze makes a detestable bad guy as rogue CIA director William Rawlins, one of the season’s main villains. There are also some returning characters From DDse02, such as Deborah Ann Woll as Karen Page and Clancy Brown as Major Schoonover. While there are generous amounts of action throughout, once The Punisher suits up again there are some really intense action set-pieces, which illustrate just how bad-ass this incarnation of the character is. The show does have a kind of Sons of Anarchy vibe, it handled the theme of a combat vet’s life back home very well and a more focused second season could really fire on all cylinders for the character.

Overall, the first season for Marvel’s gun-toting vigilante wasn’t exactly on target, but has enough going for it to look forward to more. Now that the revenge and conspiracy elements are taken care of, season two can get down to The Punisher doing what he does best. Not a great first season, but one that shows a lot of potential if season 2 can lock it down. 6.5/10

EPISODE LIST

3 AM – directed by Tom Shankland and written by Steve Lightfoot
Two Dead Men – directed by Tom Shankland and written by Steve Lightfoot
Kandahar – directed by Andy Goddard and written by Steve Lightfoot
Resupply – directed by Karl Skogland and written by Dario Scardapane
Gunner – directed by Dearbhla Walsh written by Michael Jones-Morales
The Judas Goat – directed by Jeremy Webb and written by Christine Boylan
Crosshairs – directed by Andy Goddard and written by Bruce Marshall Romans
Cold Steel – directed by Antonio Campos and written by Felicia D. Henderson
Front Toward Enemy – directed by Marc Jobst and written by Angela LaManna
Virtue of the Vicious – directed by Jim O’hanlon and written by Ken Kristensen
Danger Close – directed by Kevin Hooks and written by Felicia D. Henderson
Home – directed by Jet Wilkinson and written by Dario Scardapane
Memento Mori- directed by Stephen Surjik and written by Steve Lightfoot

-MonsterZero NJ


Mood: Chillin'

MonsterZeroNJ posted a BLOG item 2 months ago

review: THE VILLAINESS (2017)

Villainess

Korean action flick follows the bloody path of vengeance cut by Sook-hee (Kim Ok-bin) a woman raised to be an assassin since she was a child. As a little girl she watched her father (Park Chul-min), brutally murdered before her eyes. A mysterious man, Lee Joong-sang (Shin Ha-kyun) trains her and eventually marries her, but upon his death, her road to revenge catches the attention of an intelligence agency that wants use of her skills. They want her services for ten years and then Sook-hee will be free. Soon she has a new face, new identity and even a child (Kim Yeon-woo) and new husband (Sung Joon). But when a familiar face resurfaces and she finds herself betrayed by those she trusted, Sook-hee finds herself questioning everything she knew and held dear…and back on a collision course with bloody retribution.

Flick is directed with gusto by Jung Byung-gil from a script by he and brother Jung Byeong-sik and while it is a little plot heavy, it is also loaded with some very intense and gruesome action. The film opens with a bonkers and extremely violent POV scene of Sook-hee shooting and slicing her way through the entire contingency of a large meth lab and this sets the tone for some of the John Woo on crack action scenes that the film is peppered with. There is also a lot of melodrama in between, such as Sook-hee bearing the child of her first husband while at the intelligence agency and dealing with the advances of the handsome Jung Hyun-soo (Sung Joon), who the audience knows from the start is an agency operative sent to keep an eye on her. Don’t worry, the soap opera level dramatics are handled well and just when it teeters on the edge of losing our interest, there is betrayal, murder and the shocking arrival of someone from Sook-hee’s past and soon the blood and bullets are flying again. The climactic fight with an axe wielding Sook-hee on a moving bus is worth watching this for alone. The action scenes are frantic and some of the dizzying camerawork can start to get a bit trying, but there is some real intensity and energy to them and it’s interesting to see where the legendary John Woo’s influence is taken by today’s filmmakers.

The cast are all really good, especially leading lady Kim Ok-bin. She has a screen presence, not only as a beautiful woman, but she is strong in the dramatic scenes and is quite riveting in the action. She has us feeling the pain of her loss and betrayals and we are rooting for her as she cuts and blasts her way through endless amounts of thugs. Shin Ha-kyun is also charismatic as Lee Joong-sang, the man who takes young Sook-hee (Min Ye-ji) and trains her, then marries her once she has grown into a beautiful and deadly woman. Their are some twists involving his character that the actor portrays very well. Sung Joon is also very likable as Jung Hyun-soo. Despite the audience knowing from the beginning that he is an operative, the actor makes us believe he truly cares for Sook-hee and her little girl. Rounding out is Kim Seo-hyung as Sook-hee’s agency boss Chief Kwon, a ruthless woman well rendered by the actress.

Overall, this is an entertaining flick with some dazzling and fast paced action. Sure, some of the frantic camerawork can come close to giving you a headache, but there is plenty of flying bullets, blades and blood to satisfy action fans. There is also a lot of plot and melodrama, but director Jung Byung-gil handles it well and our leading lady keeps our attention when she is not running through her enemies like a lawn mower. One of the best action flicks to come out of Asian cinema in a while and a sign that the Korean cinema is still very much a strong player on the film making scene. 7/10

-MonsterZero NJ


Mood: Happy

MonsterZeroNJ posted a BLOG item 2 months ago

review: THE BABYSITTER (2017)

Babysitter

Netflix original movie finds nerdy twelve year-old Cole (Judah Lewis) spending the weekend with his hot babysitter Bee (Samara Weaving from Ash vs Evil Dead season 1) when his parents go away. The much picked-on tween thinks his got it made, until he wakes up one night to find Bee and her friends murdering another teen for some satanic ceremony. Now Cole has to somehow survive the night as his once beloved babysitter and her friends find out he knows too much.

Horror/comedy is directed with an over-the-top style by McG (Charlie’s Angels, Terminator: Salvation) from a script by Brian Duffield and is a lot of fun. It’s got a hip sense of humor and has a good time with some of the clichés of the horror genre, while spilling quite a lot of blood in giddy fashion. Cole and Bee actually have a very sweet friendship, especially considering how Cole is treated by his peers and it makes it much more effective when she turns all “big bad” on the kid. It’s fun to watch Cole uses his cleverness to evade and sometimes unintentionally off Bee’s fellow cultists and even if it’s not the most original story, it has fun with it’s oft told premise. The cast are having a good time here and Weaving makes a solid femme fatale, as much as, Lewis a charming young hero. A fun 90 minutes of blood, pop culture references and playfully poking the horror genre in the ribs. Also stars Leslie Bibb and Ken Marino as Cole’s oblivious parents and Robbie Armell and Bella Thorne as two of Bee’s sinister group. 7/10

-MonsterZero NJ


Mood: Happy

LelekPL
LelekPL at 11:35 AM Nov 15

I really liked it! I think even more than I should have. Out of the three main “fun horror” movies this year (this, Better Watch Out and Happy Death Day) this one was my favorite, although I enjoyed all of them. Here’s hoping Tragedy Girls also delivers

MonsterZeroNJ posted a BLOG item 3 months ago

review: JEEPERS CREEPERS 3 (2017)

Jeepers_creepers_3

Odd sequel takes place between the first and second films opening directly after the end of the first. One aspect of the story finds a relentless lawman (Stan Shaw) in pursuit of the Creeper (Jonathan Breck), who he faced 23 years earlier and a woman, Gaylen (Meg Foster), whose farm holds a secret the Creeper wants kept that way. Obviously, many innocents get caught in the middle including Gaylen’s granddaughter Addison (Gabrielle Haugh).

Victor Salva writes and directs again and the film comes across as a bit of a disjointed mess. There are multiple stories running at once with the villainous Creeper bouncing back and forth between them. This gives the film a very fractured continuity and the editing seems just as uneven. Having the film sandwiched between the first and second robs us of any hope of a satisfying conclusion, as we know the Creeper has a busload of kids to kill and the end cameo by a first film cast member only seems to indicate this whole thing was a set-up for a fourth flick, anyway. The dialog is outright awful in spots and some of the acting is no thrill either. The CGI effects are downright terrible and giving the Creeper’s van a host of James Bond meets Freddy Krueger traps and gadgets is just plain silly. An extremely sub-par sequel that adds nothing to the franchise mythos and whose only purpose seems to be to act as a place holder for a fourth film. This review is based on the SYFY Channel presentation and not the theatrical cut, which is apparently longer and may solve some of the editing inconsistencies. 5/10

PERSONAL NOTE: I certainly do not condone or support Victor Salva’s activities leading to his incarceration in 1988 for sexual misconduct with a minor. I watch his films only to provide others with critique and commentary on his film work. Such improper activities, should be punished to the full extent of the law no matter what the perpetrator has accomplished in his professional life.

-MonsterZero NJ


Mood: Bored

timmyd
timmyd at 08:20 PM Nov 02

Like I said earlier , it's nice to see the Creeper back , but this film was a shitshow.

MonsterZeroNJ posted a BLOG item 3 months ago

review: STRANGER THINGS season 2 (2017)

Stranger_things_se02

Stranger Things returns with nine new episodes on Netflix that take place a year later, delightfully around Halloween. The story returns us to Hawkins, Indiana, now in 1984 with new trouble brewing. Our four heroes, Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) and Will (Noah Schnapp), are a year older, though still feeling the effects of their encounter with the Upside Down, especially Will. Unknown to the gang, a new threat is emerging from that paranormal dimension and has it’s sights set on Will. Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) has escaped and is now being hidden by police chief Hopper (David Harbour) from the Hawkins Laboratory folks who are still messing in otherworldly matters. While the group start to realize Will is once again in danger, Eleven goes on a journey to discover her real name and find her birth mother (Aimee Mullins) and half-sister (Linnea Berthelsen). Obviously all the characters’ stories will collide before the season is over.

Second season is just as good as the first and in some ways even more effective as now we are emotionally invested in the familiar characters. Ross and Matt Duffer (Hidden) again pay homage and give plentiful references to the sci-fi and horror flicks of the 80s, while still giving Stranger Things is very own heart and soul. They mange to expand the story, while keeping it familiar, also introducing us to some new characters like new gang member Maxine “Max” Hargrove (Sadie Sink) and her enormous jerk of a brother, Billy (Dacre Montgomery from Better Watch Out). The Duffer Brothers still manage to blend in so many 80s references and yet without them being intrusive or overwhelming, or becoming the main focus. There is another great soundtrack of 80s tunes and the original score, again by Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein, really adds atmosphere as it did for season one. The FX are top notch, like last time and this season helps give the proceedings a bit bigger scale to go with it’s massive monster. There’s plenty of action, suspense, drama and otherworldly critters to keep it’s core audience happy while rooting for our favorite characters to battle evil once more.

The cast are just as good as last time with new facets being added to the characters. Winona Ryder is again solid as Will’s mother, who is now a bit overprotective, but more of a fighter when her boy is again in danger. Millie Bobby Brown really shines as Eleven, who is now frustrated at being kept from her friends and needing to find out who she really is and where her lost relatives are. As the gang, Wolfhard, Matarazzo, Schnapp and McLaughlin all are really strong and get to play the characters a year older, but still the lovable nerds we last saw, but now with an added strength of being heroes. Schnapp especially gets to show his stuff with Will being a far more present character this season with a strong connection to our story. Harbour is again, a good hero as police chief Hopper, who is going to great lengths to protect Eleven and has made a deal with the Devil, per say, to keep the bad guys out of Hawkins. The rest of the supporting cast get more to do and do it well and the new faces such as Sink, Montgomery and veteran Paul Reiser as Dr. Owens, a shady scientist, all add to the character mix quite nicely. The Duffers juggle a lot of characters, but everyone gets their moment.

This was another solid and very entertaining season. The 80s nostalgia was again very enjoyable as was the recreation of the look and feel of the 80s decade. It took the story in new directions, introduced new characters, yet never lost that Stranger Things feel. The cast are all good, both new and returning and the FX were top notch. There were plenty of chills, suspense, thrills and surprises and some cool critters, too. Can’t wait for season 3 and now there is little doubt the Duffer Brothers can deliver the goods.

EPISODE LIST

1. MADMAX – directed and written by The Duffer Brothers
2. Trick or Treat, Freak – directed and written by The Duffer Brothers
3. The Pollywog – directed by Shawn Levy and written by Jessica Mecklenburg
4. Will the Wise – directed by Shawn Levy and written by Paul Dichter
5. Dig Dug – directed by Andrew Stanton written by Jessie Nickson-Lopez
6. The Spy – directed by Andrew Stanton and written by Kate Trefry
7. The Lost Sister – directed by Rebbeca Thomas and written by Justin Doble
8. The Mind Flayer – directed and written by The Duffer Brothers
9. The Gate – directed and written by The Duffer Brothers

-MonsterZero NJ


Mood: Happy

MonsterZeroNJ posted a BLOG item 3 months ago

review: HELL HOUSE LLC (2016)

Hell_house_llc

Found footage flick begins by revealing there has been a fatal occurrence at the grand opening of a Halloween haunt called Hell House. A number of guests and crew were killed and there is a veil of secrecy as to what actually happened. Years later, a documentary filmmaker (Alice Bahlke) tries to find out the real story and is given some of the crew’s own footage by surviving member Sara (Ryan Jennifer), leading up to that fateful night. As the footage is reviewed, it’s found that strange things were happening during the event set-up at the former Abbadon Hotel, a place with an already dark history, and something sinister might have actually been the cause of the catastrophe.

Found footage horror is written and directed by Stephen Cognetti and not only is it’s premise clever and spooky, but there are some downright scary bits in this little chiller. The idea of an ambitious crew setting up a Halloween haunt in a building that is already rumored to be haunted, works well and Cognetti gets a lot of mileage out of his story. The location used has a lot of dark places, especially the creepy cellar and having it already dressed for Halloween makes the filmmaker’s specters and shadows all the more creepier. Add in the manipulation of some scary clown mannequins and this is one unsettling little flick at times. Not everything works, the shock ending didn’t seem as much of a shock/surprise as it should have been and the actual disaster doesn’t seem quite as spooky as expectations lead us to believe it would be. But there is a lot of fun, creepy stuff leading up to the finale and the cast of unfamiliar faces do perform well enough to give the illusion that this is someone’s footage and not actors. Director Cognetti knows how to build scares and smartly gets things started fairly quickly, where most found footage movies take a while to get going. The flick also spares us a lot of the shaky cam until all Hell breaks loose at Hell House during the climactic disaster.

Overall, this was a spooky surprise. It’s a found footage flick that has some very scary moments thanks to a clever idea and script by Stephen Cognetti and some skillful direction. The makers get some good use out of it’s location and really do well in establishing early on that there is a malevolent presence in this notorious hotel. The climactic scenes could have used a little more punch, but there is some outright scary stuff leading up to it. A spooky little Halloween found footage flick from Stephen Cognetti. 7/10

-MonsterZero NJ


Mood: Surprised

MonsterZeroNJ posted a BLOG item 3 months ago

review: CLOWNTERGEIST (2017)

Clowntergeist

This is one of those low budget efforts that has it’s heart in the right place and really tries, but unfortunately falls short, even thought you are rooting for it. Story finds pretty young Emma (Brittany Belland) being stalked by a demon possessed clown in her small boring town. Not the kind of excitement she was hoping for, especially as clowns are not Emma’s favorite thing.
Flick is directed by Aaron Mirtes from a weak script by he and Brad Belemjian. The story never really comes together even after a last act reveal and the editing is very choppy making one wonder what is exactly going on at times. Despite these flaws in the film-making process, Mirtes tries hard and does get a few effective moments even if Ribcage the Clown (Eric Corbin) is not as scary as we’d like him to be. The cast seems to be having a good time, especially perky lead Brittany Belland and that helps a little with the flick’s creative flaws. Also stars Monica Baker and Sean Patrick Henry as Emma’s co-workers and friends. 5.5/10


Mood: Chillin'

MonsterZeroNJ posted a BLOG item 3 months ago

review: BODY BAGS (1993)

Body_bags

Body Bags is a made for TV anthology the was produced, partially directed, and hosted by the great John Carpenter for Showtime in 1993. It’s an anthology of three unrelated stories linked by a morgue set framing segment with a creepy attendant (John Carpenter) relating the stories behind his latest corpses.

The first story is directed by Carpenter and is the best. The Gas Station is set in Haddonefield and finds a pretty night shift gas station attendant (Alex Datcher) on her first night of duty with a serial killer on the loose. It’s a spooky and suspenseful segment with Robert Carradine and David Naughton also starring and fun cameo appearances by the likes of Wes Craven and Sam Raimi along with Carpenter regulars Buck Flower and Peter Jason.

Second story is also directed by Carpenter and is sadly the weakest. The satirical Hair tells the story of vain middle aged Richard (Stacy Keach), who is frantic over his thinning hair. His sexy girlfriend Megan (Sheena Easton) doesn’t mind, but Richard is desperate. He turns to a TV pitchman, Dr. Lock (David Warner) who claims he can regrow lost hair with a revolutionary new process. Richard goes for it, but to his horror finds out you must be careful what you wish for, as his new hair seems to have a life of it’s own. Segment is well done, but more humorous and silly than scary. The segment also stars legendary singer Deborah Harry as a sexy nurse.

Third and final segment rebounds a bit with Tobe Hooper’s Eye. This segment finds minor league baseball player and expectant father Brent (Mark Hamill) loosing one of his eyes in a car accident. His career potentially over, he turns to a Dr. Lang (John Agar) who claims he has a new eye transplanting procedure that he’d like to try on Brent. His sight is restored, but while on recovery he starts to have strange visions and his behavior begins to change. Soon he finds out that his eye belonged to a serial killer and that killer might still somehow be possessing his eyes new owner. It has some very effective moments, a good performance by Hamill and some decent gore. Segment also stars singer/actress Twiggy as Brent’s wife and the legendary Roger Corman as Brent’s original doctor.

The three stories and wraparound were written by Billy Brown and Dan Angel and they could have used a bit more inventiveness, especially with the story similarities within the last two tales. Nonetheless they are all entertaining and with such guidance as Hooper and Carpenter, make for an entertaining enough 90 minutes. Carpenter seems to be having a blast playing the morgue attendant and his first segment shows he still has that magic. Originally this was intended to be a series, but for whatever reasons, it never happened beyond this initial flick. 6.5/10

-MonsterZero NJ


Mood: Chillin'

grelber37
grelber37 at 04:30 PM Oct 17

Body Bags makes a Halloween night even better. I have watched it with friends on an October 31st after partying.

timmyd
timmyd at 08:32 PM Oct 17

I had a good time with it . Love me some Horror Anthology flicks.

MonsterZeroNJ posted a BLOG item 3 months ago

review: BETTER WATCH OUT (2016)

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Holiday set flick has pretty babysitter Ashley (Olivia DeJonge) going to babysit for twelve year-old Luke (Levi Miller), who has had a crush on her since they first met. As the evening progresses, it seems someone is stalking the house. Ashley goes into protective mode, but as things start to appear that they are not what they seem, Ashley finds she may need more protection from those already inside the house than anyone trying to get in.

Christmas chiller is directed by Chris Peckover from a script he wrote with Zach Kahn and despite a twisted sense of humor, it has a mean streak at it’s core. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, unless you’ve dated DeJonge’s baby-sitter, as diabolical Luke is eliminating any competition. The film starts out with a sense of whimsy, but once we find that Luke has sinister plans for the pretty Ashley and anyone who has recently dated her, then the movie takes on a more appropriate dark edge. The whimsy does still remain at times, though restrained a bit more than the first act and as the tone of the material has changed, that is just fine. The Christmas setting does keep the flick from getting too dark and Peckover knows enough to keep the violence from getting too vicious. This prevents the flick from ever becoming a outright torture show, despite poor Ashley being confined to a chair with tape over her mouth for most of the second half, as Luke becomes a pontificating and smug villain complete with sidekick (Ed Oexenbould). While it is twisted fun, the humor and darker elements don’t always mix as well as they should and Ashley seems to be a little too calm at times, for a teenager tied up at the mercy of a quite deranged tween. Even when the blood starts to spill, she seems to remain quite composed, despite this not being the traditional, harmless “tie up the babysitter” hi-jinx. It might have made this a bit more intense if she was a little more scared at first, though it is entertaining to watch her try to outwit her captors and escape.

The cast are good, especially for young actors handling this kind of material. Olivia DeJonge makes a feisty and very likable heroine as Ashley. She’s sweet, but has a strength to her that would make her good final girl material, if this was a straight-up horror. While it might have served the film better for her to show a little more fear at first, her defiant stance and maintaining a cool head during her ordeal makes for an endearing character as conveyed by the actress. Levi Miller is fun as the twisted and deviously smart Luke. He does a good job taking Luke from love-struck teenager, to deranged homicidal maniac gradually over the course of the film as the character slowly reveals his true nature and intentions. While he never goes over-the-top, he does chew the scenery as well as a twelve year-old villain can. Ed Oexenbould is amusing as Luke’s in-over-his-head sidekick Garrett, who has no idea just how demented his friend is. Rounding out the cast are vets Virgina Madsen and Patrick Warburton as Luke’s parents and Dacre Montgomery and Aleks Mikic are Jeremy and Ricky, two of Ashley’s ex’s who feel Luke’s wrath.

Overall, this is sort of a holiday version of The Loved Ones, with the roles reversed and a lot less physical torment. Like that film it has a twisted sense of humor to it and the Christmas setting does ad a touch of whimsy to the proceedings. Not everything works, but it succeeds far more than not. A twisted and fun holiday thriller with a good cast. 7/10

-MonsterZero NJ


Mood: Chillin'

LelekPL
LelekPL at 09:32 AM Oct 09

I wanted to punch that kid in the face SOOOOO much. He's just slightly under Joffrey in that department.

MonsterZeroNJ
MonsterZeroNJ at 08:50 PM Oct 09

He was! But I believe that was the point!

timmyd
timmyd at 09:25 PM Oct 09

Gotta check this out .

MonsterZeroNJ posted a BLOG item 4 months ago

review: SUPER DARK TIMES (2017)

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Off-beat thriller has four teens smoking pot and goofing around and when the roughhousing gets a little out of hand, one of the teens (Max Talisman) is accidentally killed. The story then focuses on best friends Josh (Charlie Tahan) and Zach (Owen Campbell) as the emotional strain of covering up the boy’s death starts to tear their friendship apart and change the youths drastically. Add in the presence of a pretty mutual love interest (Elizabeth Cappuccino) and the situation may once again become deadly.

Film is directed with a refreshing low-key style by Kevin Phillips from a script by Ben Collins and Luke Piotrowski, who wrote Siren. It’s a tense little movie that portrays not only the awkwardness of teen emotions very well, but the unraveling of not being able to handle something tragic. Josh and Zach react in different ways which pushes them toward a volatile situation. It’s a slow burn, but one worth watching. The last act violence seems s little over-the-top compared to the quieter nature of the rest of the film, but works in the context of teenagers dealing with emotions that would challenge most adults. The young cast of mostly unknowns (Tahan was in The Harvest) are very good and the leads in particular show potential. An atmospheric and occasionally disturbing thriller. Also stars Sawyer Barth as the fourth teen in the scenario, Charlie. 7/10

-MonsterZero NJ


Mood: Angry

timmyd
timmyd at 08:28 PM Oct 06

nice . I'll look for it.

MonsterZeroNJ posted a BLOG item 4 months ago

review: AMITYVILLE: THE AWAKENING (2014)

Amityville_the_awakwening

Unnecessary horror sequel has sat on the shelf for three years and now we know why. Flick has single mother Joan (Jennifer Jason Leigh) moving into the infamous house with rebellious daughter Belle, (Bella Thorne) younger daughter Juliet (Mckenna Grace) and son, James (Cameron Monaghan), who has been in a vegetative state since an incident that Bella blames herself for. Once settled in, Bella starts to believe something is very wrong as she learns the house’s horrifying history and her brother starts to make some remarkable and impossible improvements. Cue flies and the prerequisite “get outs”.
Despite it’s title, you’ll find it hard to stay awake during this sequel. Flick is written and directed by Franck Khalfoun who shows none of the style he showed in his Maniac remake and has concocted a very lazy script with all the familiar tropes un-inventively rolled out. Movie tries to legitimize itself by acknowledging all the other films were just that, movies and that this film is supposed take place in reality. But, it’s as far from reality as you can get and the only scary thing is how often Khalfoun likes to film actress Bella Thorne’s rear. It’s a terrible sequel with a wooden cast and even vets like Leigh and Kurtwood Smith seem to be phoning in their parts. Having the demon inhabit a person in a vegetative state is just dull and it keeps the action “bed ridden” till the climax we all know is coming a mile away. Awful waste of time and belongs back on the shelf it came from. 3/10

-MonsterZero NJ


Mood: Bored

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