The Tingler Review

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It’s time to look at an old film known as the Tingler. It’s a movie that will cause you to re-think everything you thought you knew about the notion of fear. At least, that’s what the film thinks. We even get an intro at the beginning where the writer is basically begging you to try and act scared during the film since the whole climax revolves around this. It’s a little rough since these films are hardly scary and you’d have to have a group of friends around to be bold enough to yell in the first place. All in all, it wasn’t the best film out there, but as far as horror titles go it could have been a whole lot worse.

So the movie starts off with Chapin figuring out that inside of every human is a giant worm known as the Tingler. It explains the back pains we get when we’re older. When people get super scared the worm gets huge and starts crushing us from the inside however as soon as you yell the noise vaporizes the creature. As such it is hard to capture the thing alive since this is the weakest monster in a very long time. Chapin tries to scare himself but he simply isn’t brave enough and ends up yelling. The effect also doesn’t work too well on his wife since she ends up passing out. No, he needs someone who can’t yell out. That’s where Martha comes in. She is mute and cannot let her fear out. She conveniently dies of fear and so Chapin gets a hold of the Tingler. Will this really make him rich and famous or has he done all of this for nothing?

Chapin is one of those eccentric main characters who wants to prevail in his scientific endeavors no matter the cost. Whatever it takes is what he will do, even if it means putting someone at gunpoint. He is rocky enough where the film is able to successfully pull off some misdirects with him. There are two times in the film where you think he is going to do one thing and he does the other. Both were unexpected and particularly the latter twist as it happens at the very end of the film. Even if these twists gave Chapin a little humanity I can’t say that he was a great character. Let’s step away from the moral ambiguities of even trying to capture a Tingler. Once he actually does have one he doesn’t even want to do anything with it. He decides that there are forces of nature beyond man. All I can say to that is it’s a little late for second thoughts at this stage in the game. At that point everyone suffered for nothing. Chapin is also rather naive.

In a subplot, his wife has been cheating on him for a while now and is trying to steal money from his employee’s fiancée. Chapin confronts her about this and then gets the gun ready. Later on she claims to have had a total change of heart and serves him a drink. He flips the cups thinking that he has outsmarted her but the plan was a little more intricate than that. What he should have done was not drink at all. How could he take such a big risk? The wife is naturally not a good character either. She’s basically just around to try and make everyone’s lives a lot tougher than they needed to be. The film never tries to make her sympathetic and that’s certainly for the best.

Then we have Oliver who seems a little unbalanced. He likes to drink a lot and just seems very off during the scene where he visits his brother’s body in the beginning. He wonders what it would feel like to be in the chair and stuff like that. Even Chapin has to cut him off a few times. Oliver never ends up becoming a decent character and if anything the lead was probably a little too polite to him by the end. At least Chapin is fearless I’ll give him that. Martha could be annoying at times since she would act very suspicious right from the start. She is clearly very connected to her money and didn’t want to let it out of her sight even for an instant. That being said, she is a little too rattled by basic things like a little cut. I suppose it can be unnerving, but all of this together just made her a little too eccentric.

As for the actual Tingler, it’s hard to the creature seriously. Essentially it’s just a big worm with pincirs. Once it has you in its grip then it’s all over. I can appreciate the threat that this would pose to most humans in this film, but he could have had a cooler design. At the end of the day it just didn’t seem that strong. The main characters seem to think that it cannot be destroyed, but they hardly even tried doing anything to prove that theory. As a result it is hard to really buy into that hypothesis. Where’s the proof?

The ending was certainly interesting with how we got a twist like in a modern horror film. Considering who was getting twisted you’ll be hard pressed to try and defend the guy. As they say, karma arrives awfully quick in most horror titles. Play the villain at your own risk there. I guess the film did a reasonable job of making most of the twists realistic throughout but it’s all still tragic for the victim. According to the villain the victim had tried similar deadly things on him off screen, but it’s hard to know if he was being legit or even if it matters.

Overall, The Tingler is a film that likes its plot twists. They actually did work rather well so I’ll give the film some props there. Still, the movie felt rather unfocused. I still can’t believe that Chapin would give up on his dream so quickly after being completely obsessed over the Tingler for many years. That is just too rushed. Most of the characters seem to be rather crazy as well so there’s no one to root for. Even Chapin’s employee is basically just going along with all of this for his paycheck even though he has a feeling that things just aren’t right at the moment. He may as well be an accomplice. He was also going to bring some animals to test the fear element on which is inhumane at best. No, the only character to root for here is the Tingler as it works to destroy all of humanity.

Overall 4/10

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Rodan Review

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It’s time to look at one of the original giant monster films. Many believe that Godzilla is really what kicked off the Kaiju boom, but you have to consider the mass market appeal that Rodan brought with him. Rodan isn’t your average giant monster, he is one that can fly. In fact, if we took this version of Rodan unnerfed and put him up against the other giant monsters, he would crush them. Not even Godzilla would last long against such a threat. Rodan helped audiences finally take giant monsters seriously and still works very well as both a thriller and a Kaiju film. While the film does drop off quite a bit at the end, it’s not enough to negate the rest of the experience.

The film starts off with a group of miners heading to the caves. Unfortunately they are brutally murdered by a bunch of giant worms. The humans go for backup but none of their guns are all that effective. Fortunately that’s when Rodan shows up to eat all of the worms and claim dominion over the skies. Any jets that stay in the air are promptly destroyed. The humans realize that the only way to stop Rodan is to throw him into the volcano, but this task gets a little more dangerous once there are 2 Rodans on the field. What can they possibly do?

The short answer is nothing. There’s no way that the ending even could happen. What the film should have done was have the humans acknowledge that they can’t hope to stop Rodan. This would have been the signal for a very emotional scene to start as the humans team up to create a giant paper mache version of Rodan that they sail off to an uninhabited island. The Rodans would follow it and leave humanity alone for a little while. Even I may have teared up a little bit at such a spectacle. As it stands, the ending is emotional but in a sad way. I was rooting for Rodan the whole time and was looking forward to seeing him wipe out humanity. For that not to happen is simply tragic.

Enough dwelling on the ending though. I didn’t like it, but it wasn’t quite horrible enough to drag the film down too much. I have to give credit to the special effects here as they were handled a lot better than expected. I dare say that it even beats most of the modern films when it comes to depicting Rodan’s speed. In this version you actually can believe that he flies at super sonic speeds since we see him outmaneuvering a jet. Rodan may not have a fancy laser to shoot out, but with moves like that he doesn’t even need one! I also liked the size difference between Rodan and the worms. Since we already saw how massive the worms looked to the humans, it’s clear that Rodan is a colossal beast.

As for the humans…there’s not much to say about them. They’re around of course, but they don’t really contribute much to the story. The dub has fun with them as everyone gets in a few good one liners. It’s hard to tell if you’re supposed to take the characters seriously or not. On one hand, it’s not as if they’re making obviously bad decisions or anything like that, but on the other hand…they just don’t seem as invested into the situation as you would possibly expect. After all, having a giant monster around destroying everything is kind of a big deal right? I didn’t dislike the humans, but as with most of the old monster films I found them to be a tad forgettable. Granted, it’s probably because I’m focused on the monsters.

I will say that the writing was solid. These films definitely take place back in an era where scripts were actually handled with care and you didn’t have to cringe at every other line. The pacing of the film is good as well and it manages to cover quite a lot in a short amount of time. There’s not much that the film could have done to be much better in these areas as it was just solid. I can only imagine how impressive this movie must have looked back in the 50s. Whether you are currently a big Kaiju fan or just getting into the genre, this is a movie that I can definitely recommend checking out purely on a technical level in addition to being a monster film.

Overall, Rodan is a fun film. He’s always been a solid monster, but one who is probably a little over matched against the others. He’s simply too fast and strong so he tends to get nerfed quite heavily. I’m hoping that the upcoming American film has a good idea of how to use him, but I am going to be entering that film with a few reservations on the power levels department. No worries, it’s still going to be film of the year, but with all of these Kaiju running around I hope that corporate knows what they are doing. Still…when do they not?

Overall 7/10

The Deadly Bees Review

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It’s time to look at one of those films. I’m talking about the kind of film that will make you cringe and wonder what the point of all this is. It’s tough from the start to make a horror film about Bees since the writers will wonder how to make them a threat without using any animal violence or destroying a bunch of bees in the process. So what did the film do? It opted to go with both options and as a result this is one film that has not aged well. Of course, that implies that the film was ever good which would be a mistake.

The film starts with a famous actress having a bit of a melt down. She’s been under a lot of stress so her doctor recommends that she go live in the country for a while. He gets his old friend Ralph to take care of Vicki. At first she is content, but gradually notices that everyone is acting rather oddly. Ralph is a bee keeper so there are always bees around but they’ve started murdering people lately. Ralph’s neighbor Manfred lets Vicki know that Ralph is crazy. Apparently he just wants to murder everyone with his bees. Vicki decides to help Manfred find proof of this before she goes back home where it’s safe. She also decides not to question the fact that Manfred also has a bunch of bees. Who is guilty and will Vicki be able to live through this experience?

This is the kind of film where you can’t trust anyone because they all act suspiciously in one way or another. In Ralph’s case, he’s always rather rude to everyone. He tells Vicki to stop snooping around the Bees but doesn’t give her any reason. He quarrels with his wife constantly and doesn’t give you any reason to trust him. Then you have Manfred who is extremely shady and doesn’t get along with Ralph. He throws around a lot of accusations but only does so when Ralph isn’t around so the guy doesn’t come across as the bravest individual around. Perhaps he is just jealous of the other guy’s bee skills. Then you have Vicki who feels rather naive the whole time. She just believes whatever she is told and is convinced into doing the most dangerous tasks. She should have immediately tried leaving the island and letting the cops try to get to the bottom of this. Even though things work out pretty well for her, it felt more coincidental than anything else.

As mentioned earlier, there is some animal violence here which dooms the film. Ralph naturally has a dog and this doesn’t end well as the dog decides to go after the bees. Lets face it, the only reason why the dog was added in the first place was so we could get this scene which is rather mean spirited. The Dog just shouldn’t have been included in the film at all. We also have a lot of Bees dying which is certainly less emotional but it all ends up hurting in the end. Nobody wants to die on account of bee stings, it’s a rather brutal way to go out. As a result, each death just comes across as more painful and needless than it ought to have been. It’s a disadvantage of being a film about Bees so the instant you choose that as the film’s focus you have already dug a little hole for yourself.

I won’t say which person is actually the evil one, but I will say that it doesn’t matter for this next criticism. The innocent party knew that the other one was guilty so why did he not do anything about it? As a result multiple people die including Ralph’s wife, the Dog, and even the neighbor down the road who came over to help. Yeah, the girl seemed to be trying to get the title of mistress and seemed shady, but she still didn’t need to get such a violent end. The innocent guy decides to just copy the villain and starts breeding murderous bees of his own. Of course the villain finds out about that and decides to shut him up. The plan felt like it wasn’t thought out very well. Of course the police wouldn’t have believed him either way, but he should have just tried to burn down the neighbor’s bees when he had the chance. Both men live right next to each other so it should be a very easy feat. The innocent party just stayed very passive the whole time and would have certainly been bumped off at some point or another.

It’s too bad we didn’t see more of the Agent in this film. He seemed like he would have made for a more enjoyable character than any of the others. I like how he was only worried about the island because it meant that he wouldn’t be getting any more money from the actress for a little while. It may not be the most noble reason, but the guy was very straight forward and you have to admire his earnest nature if nothing else. A film taking place back in Hollywood with the rest of the cast scrambling for opportunities while the actress was gone would have also just been more entertaining than what we got.

Overall, Deadly Bees is definitely not a film that I would recommend very highly. In fact, I wouldn’t recommend it at all and you should actively avoid it. There is nothing redeeming about the film. Bees don’t make for good antagonists and the film takes all of the bad routes that it can. There isn’t a single scene that feels inspired or well shot to the point where you would get a look of amazement. It just does everything by the book and does so in a way that will make you shake your head. Needless to say, this doesn’t bode well for any future Bee films either. Maybe what we need is a film about robot bees instead, that could work.

Overall 0/10

A Quiet Place Review

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A Quiet Place is a film that got a reasonable amount of hype before coming out. After all, it’s premise was fairly original as most of the film is completely silent. The trailers hinted at the monsters but made sure not to show them. Well, I can’t say that it was a good film, but it was a pretty interesting one so I’ll give it that.

The film starts off by putting us at month 3 of the alien invasion. The humans have mainly been wiped out by this point but there are still pockets of survivors in the various cities. The humans have learned that the only way to resist destruction at the hands of these incredibly powerful creatures is not to make a sound. The aliens can’t really see so they only rely on sounds. It’s a good defensive strategy at least but the kids will make this a little tricky. Can the main characters survive until the end?

While you aren’t supposed to overthink these kinds of films because the background can be a bit of a stretch, I have to question multiple things about the setting. A prequel could hopefully address this but in the meantime it seems like a stretch. For starters, the newspapers say that these monsters are basically indestructible and cannot be stopped. This is theoretically what explains how the human race lose to these guys. That’s fine but we learn at the end that a single shotgun blast can take one down, albeit it that the monster opened its mouth because of its terribly impractical design. I don’t see how the humans could have lost to them. Granted, the shotgun is one of the best weapons in Fortnite, but even so I imagine that some other main guns would work as well. Sound aside, the creatures love roaring so getting the shot in wouldn’t be hard.

Meanwhile the main characters also come off as being very selfish. Near the beginning for maximum shock value one of the kids is murdered. This leads to the main characters deciding to have a kid. Naturally the process isn’t always the same amount of time so you could make the case that it was right before this happened rather than after, but either way it’s not a good idea. Why would you want to have a kid who is going to grow up in such a dangerous environment. How are they going to keep him from crying or making a ton of noise? It would be impossible, particularly with how sensitive the monsters are. Having a kid is basically inviting the end for them all. Let’s face it, this plot was just added to give this film a random birth scene to add to the tension but the writers didn’t stop to think if it made any sense or not. It’s definitely one of the more unbelievable moments.

The film does also love reminding you that it’s a horror film with random moments of violence. The scene where the heroine steps on a nail is already a terrible scene in the surface but it gets even worse when you think about how crazy it all is. Put it this way, the main guy crosses these steps all the time. I don’t see how he could not have noticed it. He would definitely have covered it up since stepping on it just once could tip off the monsters. Even if he didn’t expect anyone else to go down there for a while, it just makes sense. Then we also get the obligatory animal death as part of horror film tradition. All I can say is that as soon as I saw the raccoons I had a bad feeling about all of this. It’s definitely not something to help the film.

As a positive, the script isn’t half bad. Since there is very little dialogue throughout the movie this helps it avoid that land mine. It does come at the expense of a good soundtrack as well though since the film is so silent all the time. This film also avoids having any fanservice which is great and in general comes off as a little classier than other horror titles.

Back to the bad though, the kids were quite annoying. They are constantly making noise and getting the main characters in trouble. Whether it be through knocking down lanterns or playing with electronics it is easy to see why the main lead wouldn’t let them into the basement. The main lead did totally give up at the end though which is unfortunate. Leading the monster away from the family is good and all but at least don’t go down without a fight. Why make this even easier for the creature? If he ran then in theory it would also buy some time for the others.

The kids also make everything too dramatic at times. One of them thinks she is to blame for the kid dying so she decides to discourage the main character from trying to contact the rest of the world. I guess giving up is fun and all, but then what will they be doing for the rest of their days? Without a goal to strive towards they would probably just lose their will to live after a while. Even if it’s futile, working on some kind of plan is better than not having a goal. This is why kids don’t do well in survival stories.

At least the ending is pretty solid though. It’s a pretty nice cliffhanger type ending that doesn’t have to lead to a sequel. In your head canon you already know how this could end. It either succeeds or it doesn’t. Either way it makes for a nice visual. I do also have to say that considering she just gave birth, the heroine had quite a lot of energy left. She was certainly ready for this fight.

Overall, A Quiet Place is basically just the same ole horror film but in a new package. While it is slightly better than the average one, (Which is around a 2) it still doesn’t cross the border into becoming a good film. To accelerate to the next level it would need a better cast of characters. The silence gimmick is also unique but not one that really works after a while so that’s better for just part of the film. The monster designs prioritized being spooky over practicality and I can’t say that I liked them. They looked more demented than dangerous instead of it bring the other way around. On a final note, the main character roaring into a waterfall is another move that isn’t very smart as there is no guarantee that the monsters would not hear him and that would have put everyone at risk.

Overall 3/10

The Mysterians Review

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It’s time to look at a really old school Sci-Fi film. This one came out back in the Godzilla days during the late 50s. It’s even made by some of the same people from that title so you could be sure to expect quality confirmed. It plays out just like you would expect it to and is certainly an entertaining movie. You’re sure to enjoy it as the film is quite fast paced with a lot of fun dialogue.

The plot of the movie starts off by showing us some people not getting along too well at a parade/event of sorts. We don’t have time for this drama though as a large alien kaiju (Moguera) shows up to decimate the planet. The government manages to destroy this Kaiju as expected, but then aliens show up and say that this is the first of many. Unless we surrender land and people to them they will destroy us all. Naturally Earth won’t go down without a fight so we gather our tanks and planes as we prep a counter attack. It’s hype time!

I fortunately saw the dub version. The film is definitely played off as a comedy here as the actors have a lot of fun voicing the characters. You can tell that these guys had a lot of passion in the project as they would say things very directly. It was like a google translate version of the script. Everyone sounds a little off and naturally none of the voices seem to match, but that’s part of the film’s charm. It should have you cackling and chuckling throughout the entire movie. Even aside from the dub the movie plays out like a comedy at times with the monster getting destroyed simply by falling while on a bridge and then by trying to rise from the ground only for the rocket to squash him. It’s easy to poke fun at the robot’s design as well, but he tries very hard. I did like the robot and actually felt bad for him since the humans were simply too persistent. Moguera didn’t ask for this!

One issue with the film though is that they made the aliens a little too strong. As a result, it’s hard to believe it when thy actually lose to the humans at the end. They were shown to be able to spy on the humans and listen in to their conversations at will. How did they not notice when the humans built two death ray weapons (In the span of a day) and when they were transporting it over. Even once it arrived it should have been easy to shoot it down but they didn’t until it was too late. Apparently they can create flash floods at the push of a button so why didn’t they do so right away? At times you will just be wondering what they were thinking. I guess we have to assume that the aliens weren’t very smart and honestly that is probably a good bet, but even so they should have won this round.

The humans aren’t very interesting in comparison. The two heroines definitely look really bad here as they allow the villains to kidnap them without even yelling in protest. They don’t struggle and simply faint at the sight of the villains. It’s not as if the bad guys were grotesque aliens either. They looked like normal aliens in Power Ranger esque costumes. Nothing scary about that and the heroines could have easily escaped. Allowing themselves to be held hostage like that wasn’t very smart and it also made them a liability to the army. Well….lets be honest, the army barely cared and didn’t stop their assault, but that’s not the point. The heroines couldn’t really redeem themselves from that.

The main guy wasn’t bad though. At least he was smart enough to rush into the enemy base to blast them. The base shouldn’t have been so easy to breech but maybe the bad guys were so intent on building high tech weapons that they skipped on the basics like installing cameras and the like. If so that was a big mistake. I definitely didn’t like the traitor though. He acts as if he was tricked by the end, but I definitely don’t buy that. He simply wanted to make sure that he was on the winning side in the end and that’s not a great reason to switch sides. You can’t just betray the Human race and then decide to come back. It’s simply way too late by that point and there wasn’t much that the character could do to come back from that. It was simply all over for him by then.

I certainly enjoyed the government here though. Sure, they may not have had much of a plan at first as they just kept grabbing more tanks to fire at the enemy, but at least they didn’t even entertain the thought of co-operating with the aliens. The Aliens shot first so of course we have to respond in kind. America also looked really good here as they showed up and started taking names. We even came up with the plans for the death ray or at the very least the guy who brought the plans in certainly sounded American. Again, I have to give the dub credit for the voices here. They were hilarious throughout and show what a difference a good dub can do. It just makes the film flow that much better.

Overall, There really aren’t any weaknesses to point out in the film. The Mysterians manages to be solid all the way through. It’s a fun film with good pacing that really flies by. Moguera looks good while he is around. The design may not be scary or anything like that, but I’m always up for a giant robot to appear as it just makes the film more exciting. The ending leaves a little room for a sequel, but at this point we know that the aliens are doomed and they likely wouldn’t be able to even put up as good of a fight in a 2nd bout. They showed us their limits while we can reverse engineer their tech and get even better. Humanity wins once again. If you haven’t seen this film yet then I highly recommend doing so. You don’t want to miss out on the hype.

Overall 7/10

Tentacles Review

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Tentacles is one of those films that sounds like a really old giant monster film. However it is more of a horror film than one about monster attacks and it just lacks that classic Toho feel. I’m still not the biggest fan of underwater films in general but I suppose the effects could have been worse. This is certainly a film that won’t really be remembered but at least the ending went a different route than I had expected.

The film starts off with a Giant Octopus murdering a bunch of people. The film was trying to go for an edgy approach right off the bat so the first victim is a toddler. Another kid ends up dying by the end as well. It’s definitely the film’s attempt at shock value which shows right from the start that it probably isn’t too confident in its abilities. Well, the Octopus keeps murdering people so finally a water expert by the name of Will decides to avenge his wife by destroying it. This will be a tough challenge but he has no choice. Honor dictates his actions now.

Of course, while Will has no choice, he has no plan either. The whole time I was wondering when he was going to load his gun and fire, but he doesn’t actually do anything. This is the worst attempt at avenging someone that I have ever seen. We then see him joking around in the next scene as the film ends even though he didn’t actually do anything. It was definitely annoying to say the least. Of course, the characters here were not very smart from the start so it’s not too surprising.

After several murders have occurred at the ocean and her husband is sent in to investigate them…his wife decides to take a boat to the middle of the ocean. It’s probably the most random moment in the film and of course she is destroyed. I don’t know what her plan was here, but once again I can confirm that it was not a good one. Then the town as a collective whole isn’t great either. Amidst the murders they decide to still go ahead with their water boat competition. Now, it’s hard to say just how much they know but at least the first murder was in the papers and I’m inclined to think that the rest would be as well even if there are no details to be found. The cops apparently had a little part of the Ocean surveyed so it couldn’t get near the boats without a warning but with its speed that barely even matters. Fortunately the film didn’t want to get quite that grim (Although I thought it was getting there for a moment) and most of the kids survived as opposed to all of them being destroyed but it doesn’t reflect well on the town. No way do you hold a contest at a time like this. The police also seemed surprised at remembering that there was a contest, but the contestants got a police escort and there were a bunch of copters in the air so were they just not on the same page?

Well, the film did have a soundtrack so I’ve definitely got to give it some proper kudos there. It has its own interpretation of the Jaws theme but really slams it in your face with how often it is played. I understand that it’s supposed to be scary but if you play it in every scene then it won’t work anymore. There are a few fake jump moments to get you scared as well. You can call this film many things, but subtle is certainly not one of them.

The film would also lose its budget at times as the screen would freeze and nothing would happen. There’s also a long speech given during a rather disjointed set of screenshots and the opening moments of the film are practically filmed in first person. I’m not sure who thought this was a good idea. What I do know is that it was not executed well at all. It’s rare to find camerawork so bad that it has to be mentioned but I just have to do my part to show directors that you never want to go down the Cloverfield route. It’s just not worth it and this film gets dangerously close.

The highlight here is definitely the two Killer Whales. Those characters were definitely emotional and made the tough calls when the main character wouldn’t. They proved that they do in fact have sharp teeth and a good grip and they completely rip the Octopus apart. I was totally expecting the Killer Whales to kick the bucket so the film actually did manage to surprise me in a good way. Who knew that it would have a classy ending like this.

Now if only the writing could have been better. Unfortunately it is quite bad. Any scene with the sister talking to her kids is fairly brutal and this is supposed to be the comedy part of the film! Then you’ve also got subplots that never really go anywhere like the corporate business guy whose subordinate apparently broke the law in order to speed up the business. This is the film’s way of explaining why there is a Giant Octopus but we never learn what the experiments were or why it would create a giant monster. How did the researchers not notice that a giant octopus had suddenly popped up? A lot of plot convenience here for sure.

We did have a confident reporter known as Ned to try and keep everyone honest though. I’d say that he is a good character but still comes off as being less impressive than the usual character archetype. He plays off everyone’s egos in order to get them to work. It’s a sound strategy and works well enough so you can’t fault him there. If he picked up a gun and also went on the mission to stop the Octopus, then that may have helped his case.

Overall, Tentacles was a little better than I thought it would be. It has less shock value than you would expect from this film and the Killer Whales actually defeating the giant monsters was a real treat. Of course, being better than terrible still isn’t something to be too proud of so let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I don’t think this movie is good enough to pass the ground floor (5/10) but at least it got this far. If you really want to watch an underwater monster film then this is for you but I would much sooner recommend the Scooby Doo Loch Ness Monster film.

Overall 4/10

Barracuda Review

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It’s time for a government conspiracy film that hides itself as an animal horror for the start. It’s definitely pretty interesting and actually handles itself for the most part. It is a slow burner so don’t expect a fast paced film or anything, but the payoff is good. Keep in mind that the film is rather mean spirited though so it is absolutely not for everyone. The overall message is definitely “Don’t mess with Corporate”

The film starts off with a group of kids breaking into a private facility so they can test if the water is good or not. They want to prove that the corporation has been messing with the water for their own personal gain. Naturally they are escorted off the premises, but Mike manages to keep a sample. He finds strange ingredients in the water. Meanwhile, Barracudas have been attacking any human who decides to go for a swim and even the inhabitants of the town are starting to act very angry at each other. Everyone is snapping at just about everything so something just doesn’t seem right. Sheriff Ben decides that the town is going to need Mike, but can they really defy this evil business scheme?

Lets open the can of worms right away. If you came here for the Barracuda, then you’re not going to have a good time. After the intro scenes they basically vanish for the rest of the film. They’re just used as a tool to show you that something is wrong with the water. Considering that it’s why Mike came here in the first place, he takes a very long time to figure this out. It’s almost like he doesn’t want to believe that this is the case for whatever reason. Still, the proof is in the pudding and they have to accept that corporate has stepped up. Here’s where things get tricky though.

As it is, the Sheriff mentions that the private henchmen of the rich guy down the block have started to get a little too intense. They’re basically breaking laws, but are still untouchable because they are privately employed. This leads to the final scene where we realize that everyone has been paid off. It’s an intense moment, but one that the heroes could have handled better. I’ll keep the spoilers to this paragraph so skip the rest of it if necessary. All righty then, time to press on with the spoilers. The government shows up with a squad of FBI cars and shoots the main characters down. They shoot down all of the witnesses during the movie and just relocate the mission. The rest of the town doesn’t know that they were poisoned and they won’t ever know either. The government made it clear that if anyone gets close to finding out the truth they’ll be silenced without a second thought. There’s definitely no gray area here, the government is portrayed as being completely evil and they’re proud of it.

There’s a lot of tension throughout the film which is handled well. Unfortunately, I can’t say that the cast is quite as solid. Ben was a good sheriff and he was reasonable the whole time. He didn’t want anyone fooling around with his city, not on his watch. Mike wasn’t quite as good. Sure, I get the whole standing up against corporate thing, but if you have to do this by breaking a bunch of laws and being confrontational with everyone, then you’re doing it wrong. He’s pretty annoying whenever he’s on screen and don’t get me started on his romance with the main heroine. They bond almost instantly upon meeting up even though he’s rather mean and sarcastic to her the whole time. He was probably trying to be funny, but I wouldn’t say that it worked. He’s also rather naive like when he left his experiment in the lab all night while he went to rest. Of course it was going to get sabotaged. Even if you ignore the whole conspiracy angle where everyone is out to get him, he knows that the corporate guys who made the fish aren’t going to stand up for this. If you leave them an empty room, they’re going to make a move.

A few people die against the Barracuda, but I don’t believe it was all that violent. The scenes are very quick and the movie doesn’t really swell on them. Should the Beach have been closed immediately? Yes, but the town isn’t quite that quick. The town will get on your nerves after a while as well since everyone is rather gullible. There’s no way they could know that the water is tampered with, but someone should have noticed that the company was up to no good. Was nobody monitoring them at all even though it was their only supply of water? I guess the town is optimistic, but that’s not a good thing when taken to the extreme.

It’s a very unique movie and at the end of the day, it’ll all depend on if you find the situation annoying or engaging. Which side wins will determine if you enjoy the film or not. I personally found it to be pretty interesting and the writing was also pretty good. The film’s aged pretty well even if the characters have not. I think adding in one or two good characters would have earned the film an extra star. After all, the main annoying part of the movie is that the heroes never seem to have a chance against the villains. Throwing in someone who could fight and would get into the gunfights with the enemies would have changed the whole situation quite drastically.

Overall, The film is incredibly misleading from the posters and title, but that’s not a bad thing. I actually think I liked this film more this way than I would have if it was about the Barracuda since it probably would have led to animal violence and been more graphic in general. Since the enemies were human, it made for more mind games and stuff instead of people just getting eaten. There’s not a lot of action either way, but the climax is fun. It can also be unintentionally funny as everyone keeps missing shot after shot and they’re also casual about it, but I appreciated the attempt at a real thrilling conclusion. If this film sounds up your alley then you should go for it. I’d recommend the film and it’s fairly obscure so you can mention this to score brownie points with film buffs.

Overall 6/10

Son of Dracula Review

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Given that I’m in the middle of a vampire arc in Detective Conan, it seemed like a good time to review a Dracula film. It’s definitely pretty odd to see Lon Chaney playing the role, but this way he continues to play all of the Universal monsters at some point so I can roll with that. Unfortunately, not even his acting can save the film as it still ends up being your standard Dracula film through and through. It’s just hard to make a good Dracula film whether it be in this day and age of even in the past.

So, the plot starts with a mysterious man moving into town. The main farmer dies very mysteriously during this time frame. That’s when Dracula shows up and suddenly Katherine marries him despite being seriously engaged to Frank. Frank suspects something is up and grabs his gun, but this Dracula fellow appears to be bullet proof and intangible so the bullet goes through and destroys Katherine. Frank is quickly arrested, but it appears that Katherine is still alive. She is now going to be doing experiments with Dracula at night and says she won’t be available during the daytime anymore. Something’s fishy here, but Frank’s in jail so he can’t do much about it. It’s going to be up to Lazlo and Brewster to see what’s happened. Can they really deal with two vampires though?

The film does have a unique twist that I can get behind. Usually the main heroine falls head over heels for Dracula due to mind control and just generally looks terrible the whole time. The twist this time is that Katherine actually went with him willingly as part of her own plan. She plans to murder him once she is undead as well but to do that she will need Frank’s help. She’ll bust him out of jail so he can go to Dracula’s coffin during the daytime and destroy him. Technically it’s a full proof plan, but he makes one big mistake…he goes outside while it’s still night time. Heh…..heh…..hahhahahahahahahahaha!! Of all the mistakes to make…..why is Frank so terrible? I mean, we finally have a good plan and then he messes it up. He even destroys Katherine afterwards because he doesn’t want to be a vampire. I wish I could say he made the right call, but I really can’t. He comes across as a very ungrateful guy who’s of no use throughout the entire film. While Katherine’s plan was extremely dangerous, risky, and probably not good at all, she did pull it off. Frank got the easy job and he still messed it up. That’s got to be a downer.

Dracula doesn’t look very good here. I mean that’s to be expected considering how many weaknesses he has, but it’s still sad for his fans. It’s gotten to the point where just being in the same room as a cross is enough to get him sweating and the doctors always handle him without too much trouble. Dracula is at his best when he’s just uttering threats as opposed to trying to follow up on them. At any rate, at least Dracula is fun to listen to. Seriously, Chaney has one of the best voices in cinema with ease. Most other actors can’t even get close to his level. Dracula is just not a good character though.

I felt like the rest of the cast were pretty slow on the uptake here. Katherine’s sister made a few half hearted attempts to see what was happening, but didn’t play her cards right. She basically told Frank that the cops were onto him and took forever to get out of harm’s way. Brewster noticed right away that Alucard is just another way of saying Dracula, but just brushed it off and didn’t remember until we were deep into the film. He could have saved lives if he had acted with a little more urgency. Lazlo was experienced at least so that was nice to see. He may have been the best character here even if that isn’t saying a lot. At least he was making a real effort to do his best.

The Sheriff meant well. When he investigated the place and found the dead body, it was certainly reasonable for him to suspect Brewster as an accomplice. It’s also hard to take their word for it that a vampire is on the prowl since that doesn’t seem all that reasonable. At least he was better than the other cop who couldn’t guard a man if his life depended on it and got scared of everything. If you’re going to be a cop, I feel like there’s at least a minimum level of bravery that you should have and it should be enough for you to not be scared of vampires.

Overall, Son of Dracula is more of less what you’d expect from the series. There’s not a whole lot to say about the film that I haven’t already. At least there was no animal violence this time. That’s certainly a nice start. The supporting cast was also quite reasonable for a change even if it could still be annoying how they wouldn’t realize anything until it was too late. The cops were a nice addition. I wouldn’t recommend this film and you should probably stay far away. Just remember for the next time that while Dracula can be scary, it can always be worse. You could be dealing with the Wolf Man who has less obvious weaknesses. With Dracula you can hold up to sticks and cross them and that’s enough to deter him. The ending to the film was pretty weak and here’s how it should have happened. Frank becomes a vampire along with Katherine and then they play it off like she was in the woods or something and that’s why her body vanished. She explains that they were just imagining they saw her dead body and this way everyone lives happily ever after. Sure, Frank didn’t get a choice on if he wanted to be a vampire or not, but it can’t always be perfect for the guy.

Overall 4/10

Monster on the Campus Review

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Time for a classic creature feature film. This one doesn’t exactly do anything new with the genre and will feel quite familiar as you watch it. That being said, it still plays out fairly well and I was pleasantly surprised when the dog actually made it out okay. We had a tricky scene involving a giant wasp where fortunately the effects were quite bad. It’s a fun film, but you do have to throw logic out the window quite a few times.

The film revolves around Donald. He’s a professor who likes to research prehistoric animals on the side. The giant fish that he ordered a while back finally comes in. Donald figures that since it’s dead he has nothing to worry about so he puts his hand in the things mouth, but suddenly it bites him. Turns out that dead animals still have muscle memory and now Donald is doomed to turn into a crazed monster as long as the blood is in contact with Donald’s bloodstream. Fortunately, it only lasts for about 15-20 minutes, but he likes smoking and won’t let monster blood stop him either. He keeps turning into a monster so does Donald secretly enjoy the power or is he simply inept?

You do have to wonder why Donald is so bad at his job. Why would you carry this rare fish around by the mouth? Aren’t you worried it’ll break and you’ll have wasted all of your money. Once he gets bit, Donald also makes the worst decisions possible. There is a sink/faucet right in the room. The cameramen weren’t quick enough to get it out of the shot so I saw it, but in universe he doesn’t seem to notice. Instead Donald puts his hand in the dirty water surrounding the fish. Doesn’t he know that if you contaminate a cut like that you are putting yourself in serious danger? That can even be lethal depending on the bacteria in the water. Not noticing that there was blood in his cigar pipe was also a little laughable.

Even Donald’s plan to get evidence for himself wasn’t great. He goes to a cabin and gets a bunch of cameras, but what’s to stop his monster self from destroying them? Somehow the cameras stay in tact, but he didn’t think it over very well and didn’t even tie himself up so breaking out of the chair was easy. I won’t get into the ending, but it was another pretty iffy decision. Self sacrifice for the greater good can always be a pretty emotional thing to do and you typically can’t fault the hero for it since it’s usually the right thing to do. That being said, going that route when it is not even remotely necessary is another matter. Donald just wanted the easy way out.

The main reason why the film lasts so long is because everyone wants to keep secrets. Two students found out about how the blood from the fish was turning everything into a giant monster, but Donald told them to keep quiet. Donald thought about telling everyone else, but then realized that he would look guilty so he decided to keep it quiet. The kids finally tell someone, but unfortunately they go to Madeline (the main heroine) who has a vested interest in making sure that nobody else knows about it so she goes to the cabin on her own. If the cops had been informed from the start, they would have been in a much better position.

Of course, the cops don’t look great the whole time. Keep in mind that even when Donald transforms he is not all that powerful. Physically he is stronger to be sure, but he’s not super fast or anything and a bullet will still take him down. The guard still doesn’t to notice him in time though since he was on the phone and even when he could fire off a shot he just panics and stares at the gun. Truly a rookie mistake.

On that note, the ending was a little humorous in an unintentional way as the monster shows up again. Everyone very clearly tells the cop not to shoot him, but he just laughs and shoots anyway. There is no wy he didn’t hear them in time so he was just shooting because he felt like it. The guy was definitely quick on the trigger for once and I think the stress of the case finally got to him.

You’ll feel bad for the poor park ranger though. He was just trying to help save the main heroine, but he gets a pretty grim fate when he tries to go up against Donald. Another lady also get destroyed near the beginning. The film made sure to portray her as a very morally dubious individual so you knew she was going to die, but dying of fright is still so unbelievable to me. I get that it is possible, but in this particular situation I just don’t think it would be valid.

As for the animals part, the dog was the first one to be infected as he turned vicious. I was nervous because you can never trust these old films when the dog is involved. Fortunately the effect wears off as an old guy breaks into Donald’s lab to test that out and the dog gets away without a scratch. A bunch of close calls with that one, but he got the last laugh. The transformed wasp was probably a lot scarier since it actually turned huge as opposed to simply growing fangs. I don’t think the humans should have captured him so easily though since he supposedly moves at lightning fast speeds, but didn’t even try to escape as they threw a net over it. Plot convenience and all.

The film was just enjoyable though. The dialogue was sharp as you’d expect from the good ole days. The cops were fairly direct in their accusations the whole time as well. You can’t really feel any sympathy for Donald since he isn’t a good main character and kept making the wrong calls, but at least he would always run off rather than defend himself when the other characters were tearing his theories apart. Running up the school bill with a super long foreign call was a little short sighted though as it didn’t help win him any favors with the principal.

Overall, Monster on the Campus is a decent film. It has its moments and the time will go by pretty quickly while you’re watching. It’s just not a very realistic film and I’m not talking about the giant monsters and sci-fi aspects. I mean that Donald keeps falling for the same tricks over and over again to the point where you just have to shake your head. There is no way you should transform 3 different times by mistake. He just wasn’t likable regardless. So if you haven’t checked this film out yet, I’d recommend it. It’s fairly obscure so you can brag about seeing a film that many have not.

Overall 6/10

The Bat Review

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It’s time for a retro film from the late 50s. The Bat definitely played out very differently from what I had pictured based on the title but I would actually say that this is a good thing. It’s an old mystery with a lot of misdirection as we get three different suspects and only one of them can be the Bat. I am happy to say that I figured it out pretty early on, but the film is quite discreet so don’t expect it to be a cakewalk.

The film revolves around a mystery novelist known as Cornelia. She has moved into a house that is supposedly haunted as bad things always happen there. In fact, its owner had said nobody was ever to rent the place, but Cornelia got it through his nephew. See, it turns out that the Uncle had wanted to use the mansion as a place to stash the 1 million dollars that he stole from the bank. The plan doesn’t go over very well as he tries to murder Dr. Wells to keep his silence except the tables are turned on him. At Cornelia’s neighborhood, The Bat has resurfaced. He is a mass murderer who attacks a bunch of people and likes causing mayhem. He keeps appearing in Cornelia’s house so she hires some guards. Gradually as most of the characters get bumped off, we learn that The Bat can only be one of three different people.

The first suspect is Dr. Wells. After all, he was rather quick to murder the original thief and claimed that he would take the money for himself. He runs a lot of bat experiments and always seems to be around right after The Bat leaves. He offers a lot of cryptic advice and silent threats throughout the film but maybe they’re all in good fun. The other suspect is Lieutenant Anderson. Anderson is the chief of police and has sworn to protect Cornelia. However, while he is tasked with protecting the house, he vanished right before The Bat appears and only returns after he is gone. He claims he was chasing someone in the forest which, true or not, seems rather negligent. Finally, there is Warner. He’s always very curt and rude to the cast not to mention that his arms are rather stiff as if he were carrying a bunch of claws a lot of the time. He has a criminal record in his past and also tends to disappear quite a lot. Cornelia needs to figure out who it is fast or she’s doomed.

The writing is particularly strong in this film. Retro films like this one tend to always have consistent dialogue, but this movie sets a high standard even for those. The banter between Wells and Anderson is great throughout the whole movie. They each have great lines and I love the veiled threats mixed in there. The film was also good at really twisting the situation like how Wells turned the tables in the opening act. I wasn’t expecting the guy to beat Wells, but the whole scenario played out a lot sooner than I had expected. The movie definitely knew how to handle its tense moments. It also did a good job of seamlessly switching genres as it starts out as a slice of life adventure that seems like it’ll be pretty happy before turning into a thrilling horror film and finally into a mystery.

Wells is easily my favorite character by the way. He’s certainly no hero but you can’t deny that he is a very capable guy. Nobody is going to walk all over him. Wells always has an ace up his sleeve. Honestly, I think the film had a missed opportunity here as his final confrontation should have played out a little differently. Perhaps the film didn’t want Wells to look downright invincible, but it would have been pretty awesome to say the least. Warner was pretty unlikable the whole time. He was just a little too curt and showed a lot of blatant disregard for the authorities. I don’t even know how he was promoted since he’s never all that polite or nice. I suppose he is just that good at his job. Anderson is good for the threats and he does a pretty good job as the policeman in charge.

Cornelia is a pretty good main heroine. She certainly knows how to keep her cool under pressure. While the rest of the characters are panicking she is usually thinking of a plan on how to stay alive or how to counter attack. The rest of the house guests were pretty annoying or helpless throughout the film so Cornelia really had to do everything herself. She has a gun with her and knows how to throw a crowbar as well. It would have been nice if she could have gotten the final blow in at the end of the movie, but I’m still pretty satisfied with what happened overall.

The only thing that slightly hurts the film is naturally Wells Bat experiments. One scene looked as if a bat was trying to eat the other one which was pretty odd and out of nowhere, but the whole scene was pretty blurred so it was hard to tell what was happening. I got nervous as soon as the animals appeared at all, but nothing really ended up happening so that was good. The film was so solid that it would have been an absolute shame for something like that to have wrecked it all.

This definitely feels like an old school horror film at some points as each character is bumped off one by one. It’s always been a great concept so it’s too bad that most modern films can’t do it justice. This film takes them out without having to be super dark or violent which really sells it. For example, we have a backup cop in the movie. I won’t go into details, but his tragic ending is both serious and quite funny at the time time. It works well despite sounding like a contradiction. It doesn’t help that the guy was extremely unintelligent so you were rooting for him to leave as soon as possible. Someone’s life is in danger and he’s still asking for more details before going in to help. This is not the guy you want to be your defender in a time of crisis.

Overall, This is a mystery thriller that you should definitely add to your list of films to watch. The 3 suspect dynamic is handled extremely well here and I dare say that it is probably one of the best film examples out there where all 3 are given a sufficient motive and hints so none of the options are too obvious. It’s a fair mystery as well and you can potentially solve it before the film ends. Dr. Wells makes for a pretty great character especially since you never know whose side he is really on. The cast is pretty solid overall even if you know that some characters are going to bite the big one before it gets close to ending. Some characters were simply made for that role. They don’t really get to mourn the dead characters much either since they are always on the run or preparing for an attack. The film doesn’t overdo it with the drama which is a good thing. Several of the deaths could have been prevented if the heroes played things out a little better, but they were simply too curious for their own good. The Bat may not be a giant monster, but he is still a pretty intense villain.

Overall 7/10