Mr. Sardonicus Review

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It’s time to look at an old horror film about torture and violence. If this doesn’t already sound like a one way ticket to Amityville then brace yourself because we’re in for a very slippery film that just keeps on falling down the tunnel. It’s often hard to say when a film like this one first ends up falling as it couldn’t even start on a high note. What I will say is that the film certainly is impressive in how poorly written it was for the 60s. That era usually had quite solid writing.

The film starts with Robert getting a mysterious letter from an old friend. He was close to Maude for a time but then she ended up marrying a rich baron so Robert traveled overseas to get rich by being a doctor. Well, she wants him to come to her manor to chat about old times and if he doesn’t come then she will surely die. Robert hurries over and is so excited to see her again that he ignores the torture and murder happening within the building. Still, there won’t be anyone left to save him if he dawdles too long. Sardonicus will release him and Maude if Robert cures his face. If he does not, then he shall die. Can Robert do this?

Robert isn’t a very heroic character. He is proud of his Knightly ways and cannot bring himself to harm even a villain. That’s why even though a lot of terrible things are happening in the castle he cannot make a move. To do so would be impolite and as a gentleman he must be courteous at all times. Even when he gives his word to protect one of the servants from any future violence he leaves her alone with the villains multiple times as he heads off to enjoy a meal. It’s hard to root for Robert at all since he isn’t even smart. After reading the letter and everything mentioned above, he is swayed by the sob story of Sardonicus. Maude even tells him upfront after this that her life is at stake and Robert jokes that as a wife of course she is worried for Sardonicus. You’d have to have gotten hit in the head really hard right before saying that to really believe such a thing. Robert is just as dense as a brick. Lets also not forget that he won’t even use any of the risky treatments on Sardonicus because he worries for the villain’s safety. Even though such a decision would result in Maude’s death. This is our main character?

Naturally Sardonicus isn’t a good villain either. His sob story amounts to him trying to rob a grave and getting his face defiled for his efforts. Karma occurred very quickly and now he will take it out on everyone else. I can’t say that I feel bad for him and it just reminds you even more that he is a rather petty villain. His excuse for all of the inhumane experiments is to find a cure, but half of them had no actual correlation to his affliction and he later admits that he just does it as punishment. The guy can’t even decide on why he does what he does.

Then we have Maude who definitely isn’t the smartest of characters. Lets just think about this again. Sardonicus is all alone in the castle except for his one attendant Krull. Krull is often sent on faraway missions like heading to the city to recruit Robert. At that point Maude could have easily escaped. Sardonicus is often locked away in his room as well. Now perhaps her father is still a hostage but then that character would have to be so inept that I can’t even comprehend it. Furthermore the film doesn’t even try to make sense with this. Before I get into it I should mention that the same thing applies to Krull. The film tells us a few times that he is a very strong man who obeys Sardonicus absolutely. But why though? He is strong enough to destroy his master and live a very comfortable life. Especially since nobody actually sees Sardonicus anyway so he could just keep on using his money. Instead he let Sardonicus punish him a few times without actually trying to fight back.

All right, time for the real plot hole here. So, Sardonicus is feared by everyone on the island. It’s to the point where the men of the island allow their daughters to be sacrificed to him every year. Why not move away? Why not storm the building? Again, this could make sense if Sardonicus had a lot of people under his influence like in most similar films of this genre. Here he is just a single man with a single attendant. It would be a simple matter for a mob to enter and liberate anyone still alive. At the very least they could easily destroy him. Instead for whatever reason the police refuse to do anything and people don’t even move away. At most this could make sense if Sardonicus had some kind of political clout, but the sob story showed that he was just an ordinary guy who happened to win the lottery and got rich. That doesn’t give him any kind of diplomatic immunity. The film just couldn’t even think its own plot all the way through.

Overall, This was a pretty terrible film. It’s just gritty to be gritty and none of the characters can think for themselves. They just go along with whatever Sardonicus has planned and never stop to question why they are doing this. The plot’s flimsy and the characters aren’t good. The film feels like it lasts for an eternity before it’s over and the whole time you will just be wondering how this got past pre production. The narrator who appears at the beginning and end of the film is also a chore to get through. His jokes don’t land at all and he takes forever to get to the point. I would highly recommend staying away from this film.

Overall 0/10

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The Black Cat (1934) Review

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It’s time for a big team up between the big horror actors of the old days, Karloff and Lugosi. Although in the actual movie they are going up against each other with two travelers being caught in the crossfire. Suffice it to say, we’re in for another old school horror film where the main characters are terrible and the villains spend more time bantering than actually doing anything. We’re definitely at the right film.

So the film starts off with Peter and Joan taking a train for their honeymoon. It’s all going well until a mysterious man shows up and asks if he can share the room. Peter already gives off some red flags since he isn’t intelligent enough to refuse. Once the couple appears to be asleep this man, Vitus, attempts to get a little too comfortable with Joan. Peter wakes up and glares at Vitus but doesn’t do anything reasonable like kicking this guy out of the car or even becoming big time enemies. Instead he decides to forgive and forget. One thing leads to another and the couple follows Vitus to the mansion of Hjalmar. The old man is a big time enemy of Vitus since he stole the guy’s daughter and murdered his wife. Vitus has come here to get revenge while Hjalmar wants to take Joan since she is the reincarnation of the late wife and he aims to use her vessel as a way to bring her back. It’s all pretty twisted and clearly we are watching two villains go at it. It’s hard to pick any one of them to root for.

This film is fairly dark and not in a natural atmospheric way, but in an artificial gritty sense. Characters are tortured both on screen and off screen. Vitus’ family certainly gets the short end of the stick since they are all murdered by Hjalmar. The ending is even someone getting skinned alive. You can tell that while this is an older film, it’s not one of the classier ones. It’s going for the shock value scenes and it takes away from everything else.

Alas, it wouldn’t be a terrible horror film without an animal showing up in some capacity right? Well, Vitus is afraid of cats so the other villain always uses this against him. Vitus will destroy the cat but it just comes back for more since it has 9 lives. As a result, not only is the scene terrible but it’s pointless. The cat phobia never actually does much and at the end of the day it’s just a random excuse for the film to bump off a cat. Pretty disgraceful if you ask me.

I suppose the writing is decent although you will have to stretch your disbelief to its absolute limit. The whole point of Vitus coming over is to murder Hjalmar and he has dozens of opportunities to do so. In fact, his subordinate is an inside agent working for Hjalmar. He is Hjalmar’s only minion so the two of them can beat the old guy easily. Instead Vitus is constantly content to simply watch things play out and just go with the flow. There’s no narrative reason for Vitus to totally disregard his actual mission for 90% of the film.

As for Hjalmar, he is just as bad. He already murdered the first two people he was with so now he wants Joan even though it’ll probably just be to murder her at some point. Considering that he never poisoned them or anything the same question about waiting rears its head. Why not just destroy them right away or in the dead of night? It’s his house and the main characters are gullible enough to actually go to sleep at night. They’d be easy pickings.

We also can’t forget to talk about Paul and how terrible he is. He gets knocked out several times and never puts much of an effort. The only time he is finally able to air up the nerve to do something he manages to shoot the guy who was trying to help Joan. Clearly he isn’t good at reading body language but I can’t honestly say that I was too broken up about the whole thing since Vitus is basically still a villain in my book. Paul just comes off as really incompetent. Even after seeing how shady everyone is he decides to leave Joan by herself while he sleeps in a room way down the hall. He was just accepting this until Vitus came over to switch rooms. What this means is Vitus would have been in the room next to Joan and since the connector isn’t locked he could have gone to her room whenever he liked. Did I mention that Paul was terrible yet? You get the idea of why this guy was so bad. He doesn’t even understand a threat when it’s being blatantly said right in front of him.

Unfortunately Joan is no better. Not only is she fainting too much, but she gets possessed rather easily. I can’t blame her for falling off the rails after this since Paul lets the villains inject her with something while she asleep. Joan just never seems like a real character during this adventure. She ends up being in a state of shock throughout the movie instead and lets everyone else make decisions for her.

While the premise of someone going to get revenge may sound good on paper it’s clear that the execution is just off from start to finish. Subtle banter between the villains is a decent concept even if they are really trying to destroy each other. At the same time, it just gets unrealistic if it goes on for too long. We could have also been given a motivation for why these two are to be locked in combat without going full tragedy. Considering that Vitus basically knows for a fact that the other guy is guilty you’d think he would make a move of some sort before he is put in a bad position. You just end up questioning the characters quite a bit here. The highlight would be the Chess game. I definitely wasn’t expecting such high stakes for a mere board game, but if that had to be the case then Chess is naturally the perfect pick.

Overall, This definitely isn’t a good film and the other Black Cat films I’ve seen seem to have had more quality. The actual Black Cat in this film certainly doesn’t get the respect he deserves. What really buries this film in the long run is the fact that it is too dark at times and there is nobody to root for. The main characters certainly aren’t very smart and make all of the wrong choices while even the villains don’t seem to think things through. The polite banter that I like from these films only hurts it in this case since these characters should be doing something as opposed to doing nothing.

Overall 1/10

Halloween Review

This review is of the edited TV 14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative.
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Uh oh, it’s time for Halloween. It’s one of those iconic films that always makes you feel bad. After all if it did not exist, there’s a chance that we wouldn’t have nearly as many slashers as we have today. I’m sure they would have found a way eventually but it would have bought humanity more time. As it stands, this film did happen and it’s about as terrible as you can imagine. It’s hard to see how the sequels get worse than this one, but where there is a will there’s a way.

The film starts off with two weak willed individuals driving a van into the asylum. The brave guy keeps cutting off his partner and dashes out of the van to use the phone to call the warden. He doesn’t want to park too close so they can drive off faster so it’s a bit of a journey. In the meantime, the other driver notices someone jump on the car. She panics and decides to open the window to let this possible psycho in the car. He obliges her and throws her out so he can have fun making a get away. He proceeds to drive it back home and that’s the opening to our film. The mass murderer who was put away for life got back…because the trained professionals didn’t realize that opening a car door when someone is on the car is not a good move. The asylum is also interesting since the patients have complete free reign to do whatever they want. I suppose the justification is that this place is far removed from humanity so if they try running away they’ll never make it to the next town, but I don’t buy that. It seems like a pretty dangerous idea either way. Try not to think about the opening too much as it’s just foreshadowing for how bad the writing is.

We cut away to the main character, Laurie. She has a few more morals than the rest of the kids in school which makes her an outcast. She has to decide if she wants to stay with the cool crowd or be on her own. Her friend helpfully asks someone to take her to a party at some point and puts Laurie on the spot. That’s when she notices that she’s being followed by someone. Nobody else seems to notice though so Laurie puts it in the back of her mind. Even when a kid tells her he saw someone she laughs it off and drops a few more IQ points. I blame the drugs. It’s a shame that Laurie got into drugs, but it just reminds you that there are no good characters in the film. Will Michael Myers destroy the whole town or just part of it before they catch him?

Where to start right? Well, how about Laurie taking drugs? That was just so random and sad that it made you wonder why the film would do this. Building off of this, the characters are just really bad. Basically they’re portrayed as “mainstream” teenagers who only care about scoring and being the bad kids the adults think they are. Pretty much all of their lines are bad and none of them put up a fight against Myers. They just go down without a fight and their deaths usually last quite a while for extra grit.

The film is definitely pretty violent. Almost every character is choked and stabbed and the deaths just go on and on and on. There is also animal violence here as a dog dies so that definitely didn’t help the film’s situation at all. Honestly it was just another nail in the coffin. The film would have gotten a 0 either way, but it helps it sink down amidst the other 0 titles. It would be interesting to add negative scores, but there wouldn’t be much point and I just do that as a meme once in a while. Why did the film have to pick on the dog? He didn’t ask for this!

It’s also hard to believe that Myers has a lot of super strength and stuff just because he’s a mean guy. The film plays it off as if he is possessed by a demon of sorts which is at least a better explanation than none. Still, the heroes should be able to take him and the guy constantly escaping gets old fast. The “professionals” do a bad job of finding him since he goes just about everywhere in the city and yet they don’t see him. The doctor’s reason for not allowing the main cop to call in backup was terrible as well. Quite a few characters died so would they still be alive if the whole police force had shown up? Given the film we’re talking about I’m sure they would have all been defeated but at least they would have been around. It would at least make sense unlike this scenario where the doctor is basically an accomplice for Myers.

Ugh, you’ll be shaking your head as you watch this film the whole time. There’s nothing fun about it since it’s dark and gritty the whole time. There are no characters to root for and the only good theme in the movie gets played out. It’s catchy and iconic the first time around. It’s passable the next two times it shows up. By the rest of the dozens of times the film uses the theme, you are definitely over it. You can tell that there was a very limited budget since it seems like the film’s whole soundtrack was just made up of that one single song. Pretty underwhelming if you ask me. Unless a theme is completely amazing and one of the best ever, you can’t spam it for every other scene.

Overall, skip this film as fast as possible. The plot is paper thin and you can tell that the writers just wanted to make a slasher film and built the plot around that. Every character is annoying the film takes itself so seriously with the constant dark tone that you just want it to take a break already. The film is quite long so you’ll be here for a while and that’s why it’s impressive that there are basically no good scenes. It’s just edge after edge after edge. Think of any kind of bad scene and this film has probably got it.

Overall 0/10

Son of Frankenstein Review

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After that last Frankenstein film it seemed that things were looking up for the series. Well, they head back down with this film although it is still significantly better than the first film. It’s problem is just that the plot ends up going nowhere and a large portion of the film is spent with boring dialogue and annoying main characters. The writing is good since this is an old film, but the lines just feel pointless at times with no actual plot progression to speak of.

It’s been a while since Frankenstein was taken down for good and now his son has returned to the land to claim his inheritance. I don’t think the timeline was very well thought out though since he meets up with a one armed police chief who was in the first film, but it’s apparently been at least 20-30 years so he shouldn’t be the same age. Also, he claims that his arm was ripped out as a child by the monster, but that can’t be true. So many questions and so few answers. Anyway, Baron wants to revive Frankenstein to prove that his father was correct in creating him, but is this smart?

First off, Baron is an extremely annoying character and having him as the lead can grow quite tiresome. I don’t see how he could possibly want to bring Frankenstein back or how he can really think it is a good idea. I think just about anyone can realize that this is not the smartest move you can make. Everyone in town already despises him and the guy does have a wife and a kid to look after. Putting them all in danger just for the sake of his reputation is quite bad. It also made for a very awkward carriage ride with his wife as he went on a long rant about how his father was right while she just looked confused and nervous. It’s probably a good time to start talking about how the house should be good rather than this. Baron just seems very on edge and shifty for the entire film and was definitely not likable in the slightest. I’d rather just have the normal Frankenstein back.

We’ve got Ygor as the main villain, but I don’t think I can take him seriously. He’s not exactly a character who screams “Main Villain” and he’s never been all that serious before so why start now? Furthermore, Baron should have taken him over to the cops right away after the guy tried to murder him. Not doing so was a rather large error in judgment and one that the Baron would continue to pay for over and over again. The Monster also returns for a rather large role of course, but he just seems like a shell of himself here. It definitely does feel like this film had a completely new staff since he seems to be based more on his legends than on the actual character from the previous two films. He’s back to being his usual unlikable self. While he does have some self control at times, it’s hardly enough to make him interesting in the slightest.

As for Krogh, he was solid. At least he actually gave Baron a chance unlike all of the others who wrote him off just because he was related to Frankenstein. It was certainly not the warmest welcome that the town gave the guy. At first, Krogh appeared to be antagonistic as he kept beating around the bush and talking about his past, but I suppose that was all misdirect or the writers weren’t sure what was happening at the time. It was definitely a tough ordeal for Krogh, but he stayed strong and was nice to have around. The townspeople were interesting as well as they seemed a little more petty than usual. They threw fruits at the main characters and just tried to act as mean as possible the whole time. I don’t think Baron cared as much as he implied though since he was too busy trying to become a mad scientist.

The film’s biggest mistake is certainly the fact that it’s very boring. Now, it’s interesting because you’d think that a horror film that’s mostly slice of life shouldn’t be all that boring right? After all, Nisekoi is a series about a guy trying to remember his days as a kid so he can remember a promise and involves a lot of happy days at school and it is never boring. By all accounts, Frankenstein stories should be more interesting right? I’d say that the issue is you expect Frankenstein to be a little more about horror and less about characters just talking around. If anything, getting rid of the Frankenstein angle could elevate the rest of the film since you’d be going into it with a Andy Griffith kind of expectation. By trying to attempt both genres, Son of Frankenstein ended up succeeding in neither of them.

What’s a real shame here is that the film’s setting had promise. The inside of the mansion that Baron inherited had a pretty interesting architecture and I wouldn’t have minded exploring it a little. The kid wasn’t overly annoying, but luckily he didn’t appear much so that was a good thing. Baron would have been a more compelling character if he either hadn’t believed in the monster or wanted nothing to do with it anyway. Then we could have had Frankenstein appear to avenge himself and they would have had some fights and mind games. It all wasn’t to be though and the film somehow manages to lose all of this potential to the winds. What could have helped was also a plot that made more sense because as I mentioned earlier, it just feels like plot holes are everywhere.

Overall, Son of Frankenstein is a pretty weak third film. It’s not nearly as bad as the first film so that’s a start at least. How I see it, the first film was just bad and super violent. The second film was interesting and had a decent mix of comedy and horror. The third film didn’t have much of a focus and became boring as a result. They all failed and succeeded in different ways so at least you can’t say that the series doesn’t try to experiment a little. If you’re a big fan of Frankenstein then you should probably check this film out just to add it to your collection. Otherwise, I’d advise you to just check out the Bride of Frankenstein instead and to leave this one to the history books. After all, it’s not as if you’ll miss much right?

Overall 3/10

Poltergeist III Review

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I’ve been on a roll with positive reviews lately and this is another one to add to the total. I’ve never been a Poltergeist fan and didn’t even care for the original one. The second Poltergeist film was completely terrible and one of the worst horror films out there. It’s safe to say that I had very low expectations walking into this one, but shockingly enough…it was actually good. It wasn’t even just okay or anything like that, but it was actually really good. I was shocked as I kept on watching and the film kept on being fun. It’s not perfect by any means and the teenagers are annoying, but the film still went above and beyond my expectations. Who knows, maybe a fourth Poltergeist would actually be worth it.

Carol Anne is now living with her aunt and uncle. Her parents needed a break from the supernatural threats for a little while or maybe Kane forced them to part ways for a while. They didn’t tell Pat and Bruce about the demons because they probably figured that nobody would believe the story. Bruce is the manager of a super tall building and the family lives in a nice neighborhood. Unfortunately, it it not enough to deter Kane. The spirit returns and begins to haunt everyone in the building. He won’t stop until he has Carol Anne, but she intends to put up a fight. Can she stop him once and for all?

First off, this film doesn’t take itself quite as seriously as the first two. It’s still serious, but we don’t have the characters looking solemn and asking sketchy people for help. The new guardians don’t really believe in ghosts and that’s that. I don’t want to call the film campy either. It does its best to be scary as there are a lot of jump scares and Kane is a real threat, but I don’t think you’ll find yourself scared. That being said, the film is nice and atmospheric. If you were to watch this at night, then I think you’d get an extra kick out of it.

This film tries out quite a few different plots. One of Kane’s plans involves replacing everyone around Carol Anne with spirit duplicates. Her cousin is taken over along with her boyfriend and slowly but surely they increase their ranks. It ultimately didn’t really go anywhere, but it was still an interesting plot. Unfortunately, this meant that it was curtains for Dr. Seaton. He was only going to last so long anyway, but I was sad to see him go. He was hands down the best character in the film. His complete denial of spirits and the supernatural was pretty incredible given everything that was happening.

Carol Anne was a fun heroine to have around. She’s a little too young to be fighting these spooks, but at least she is a nice kid. Carol Anne helps Donna sneak out to the party and tries to keep everything to herself. She doesn’t want to involve the others in this fight so she often goes to battle on her own. Naturally, this is a little dicey since she is outmatched and the ghosts have an easier time when it is 1 on 1, but I can respect her decision to keep everyone out of it. Pat was the mean character of the group. She didn’t want to have to look out for Carol and she made this clear. She had her big moment at the end where she finally became friends with Carol Anne, but it was rather late and hard to believe. At least Bruce was a nice uncle. He did his best to help Carol Anne out and was pretty patient with all of the crazyness that was happening. Towards the end of the film he also did his best to get Carol Anne back from the darkness even when Pat said that they should just leave her. He was a lot more heroic than I would have expected and was certainly the best character behind Seaton.

Donna was another mean character. She even states that she doesn’t like Carol Anne while on the phone with her “friends” and naturally the main character hears her. Since Carol Anne is nice like that, she isn’t bothered by it. She just hopes that they can still be pals even if Donna won’t think of her as family. Donna never really gets much better and breaking into the pool and stealing snacks from her Dad’s company just makes the matter worse. Seriously, she is one of the most irresponsible baby sitters that I’ve seen in a while. Her friends were all pretty terrible so no need to talk about them.

Dr. Seaton was the unsung hero here. Even when cups would shatter into nothing, Even when Seaton was attacked, Even when reality was warping right in front of him, Seaton was never shaken. He strongly believed that Carol Anne just had strong hypnotic abilities that could affect anyone in an instant. He never dropped this hypothesis even after seeing two kids come back from the mirror world, hands running around, and all kinds of other stuff. Seaton always had a very exhausted look about him since he was tired of the nonsense. He went as far as to head back to the skyscraper when he thinks that Carol Anne is prank calling him. It may have been a fatal move, but you have to like how energetic this guy is. He never runs out of energy and he isn’t afraid to speak his mind. Maybe he would have fared better if it hadn’t been a 2 vs 1 fight in the end. He adds a lot of levity to the film and does it very well. The humor isn’t silly or over the top, but just very direct and to the point.

Tangina was one of the big characters in the first two films so it makes sense that she would return here. She actually doesn’t look that great here. Lets just say that she finally meets her match this time and Kane is through playing around. She’s the very definition of a character who is all talk and no action. She gets her hype moment by the end of course, but I definitely can’t say that I’m a fan of her. She does yell a lot though so you’ll certainly have to acknowledge her most of the time. As for Kane, I still don’t really get why he is doing all of this. It seems like he wants her body at some points so he can be alive in the real world again and at other points it seems like he just wants to destroy her for revenge. Regardless of the motive, Kane just seems confused most of the time. He’s persistent though since he is constantly showing up. I guess he’s not bad as a villain, he’s certainly much better than how he was in the second film.

While scary may not be the right word to use for this film, I suppose you could call it creepy. There are a lot of scenes involving the mirror dimension where you can see the spirits while the characters can’t. It is a little unnerving to see them hiding in the halls and ready to pounce on the heroes when they get close. The visuals were actually a little ahead of their time here. I’d say that the special effects crew really did their best considering that this film had a very limited budget. The very ending of the film is also pretty hype although not totally unexpected. It’s a horror film so there has to be some kind of twist at the end right? It’s one of those very interpret-able endings so you get to decide what it means. Whatever you go with, it may not end too well for the heroes. Kane doesn’t give up…even when the film is over.

Overall, Poltergeist 3 was a surprise hit. The new locale really helped to make the scenery better than the first two films. There haven’t been many horror films that take place inside of a large building like this one and I’d like to see more do it. It gives the film a claustrophobic feel since there is nowhere for the heroes to run. Even if Carol Anne wanted to leave the building, she’d have to go 100 flights and the elevators never work when the spirits are around. It really ups the danger factor because while the uncle and aunt may be in the same building, they are still very far away. (The party is on the ground floor of course) The film never drags on and it’s just a blast. The only subplot that is pretty iffy is Donna’s and it doesn’t get too much screen time. That’s seriously the only thing that I can remember not liking about the film. The rest of it is just super solid. You may think that the building would get old after a while, but with so many floors and different backdrops, it stays unique. The heroes even head to a parking lot at one point with a mystical pool and it made for another very chilling scene. The best way to describe how the film can be kind of scary and yet not really is that it’s very strange. The film has a lot of strange visuals and circumstances which are amped up by the music and it’ll keep you unsettled the whole time. The film also strays away from disturbing insect type scenes like the first film tried to pull and it’s also surprisingly very tame. There is really no objectionable violence to be found here this time. It’s easily one of the safest horror films that it still pretty thrilling and that’s a winning combination. I highly recommend checking out this film. Odds are that you never watched it because you figured that it had to be poorly made since it’s the third film in a series, but that is just not the case this time. Check it out and prepare for an epic experience!

Overall 7/10

Frankenstein Review

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It’s time for an even older film. Frankenstein is a monster who grew very popular and actually has a lot of fans. Just look at how many films this guy has. It’s quite unbelievable since I’m not a fan of the series by any stretch of the imagination and it’s hard to see how any movie of it could ever be good. I dunno, it just doesn’t have much potential. This one isn’t that bad for most of the film, but it is very boring. There is also one scene which destroys the film and it couldn’t recover from that.

By now, you know the story. Doctor Frankenstein decides to build a monster. Elizabeth, Victor, and a nice old Professor decide to visit Frankenstein to tell him to stop this foolishness. Surprise surprise, he decides to go ahead with the experiment anyway. Frankenstein’s monster is born and now he wants to destroy everyone all around the world. Welllllll, that may not be his total goal, but effectively it is what he is doing. Can the villagers tale this guy down before he harms anyone else?

The monster is supposed to be a sympathetic character typically because everyone treats him really badly and he can do nothing right. The problem here is that this is impossible to do. He murders a little girl and well….you can’t come back from that. The film couldn’t come back from it either. It was a really dark scene that had no place in the film. If she had swam out after he left or been rescued, then it would be fine. Drowning just like that? Nah, that scene was terrible.

Even beyond that, the monster’s just never been an interesting character. He basically invented the strong, but not very smart trope. Not that the other characters were much better. Frankenstein’s the one who caused this whole mishap in the first place. He shouldn’t have tried to build Frankenstein and create life. It was never going to work. The other Doctor doesn’t do much of anything and ends up being more of an observer than anything else. Victor talks tough and tries to stand on even ground with Frankenstein, but when he is told to sit down…he obeys. Elizabeth tries to reason with Frankenstein the whole time, but it is ultimately futile. She never really had an effect on him so there bond wasn’t really all that strong. He would have left them out in the rain if they hadn’t forced the issue by knocking over and over again.

One other issue with the film is that it’s just very boring. The scenes drag on and on and on despite the film being fairly short. By the second half, you’ll start to wonder just what happened. The first half isn’t all that bad. The characters go to the creepy tower. There are some debates. Frankenstein is revived. After that? The film just loses all direction as the monster goes around getting burned by old, blind people and attacks others for no real reason. It’s supposed to be humorous to see Frankenstein get burned and I suppose it was handled better than some of the other plots, but it still wasn’t all that good.

There’s not much more to say about this film because it is the same old Frankenstein story that you have seen a million times. It is the original though so I suppose it isn’t totally fair to call it old. One thing that could have helped the film a little bit would have been to have the monster talk. If he could actually exchange dialogue with the others, then it would at least make the film more interesting. After all, the writing during this time was solid enough where even Frankenstein would have sounded distinguished. It may have been a little tough to swallow, but it beats the alternative. It does make you wonder what would have happened if the proper brain had been given to the monster. I suppose the film would have been more of a slice of life at that point though so it may be moot.

If I have to name one positive thing about the film, it’s that it ages well. At least as far as the effects and cinematography go. It came out before the Wax Museum and yet it definitely looks newer and more polished. That may be more of a shot against the Wax Museum though. Hmmm…even my complements for Frankenstein turn into negatives. What can I say, the concept of Frankenstein is just terrible in my opinion and I don’t see how anyone could turn it into an engaging film without completely rewriting the plot. It just cannot be done I’m afraid. Even Dracula is more engaging as a film and as a character. Just conceptually, I’d rank the popular monsters from best to worst as: Dracula>>Mummy>>Werewolf>>Frankenstein. The Werewolf is close though as that plot isn’t very interesting either. There just isn’t much to it. A guy turning into a monster that looks like a human? Seriously…

Overall, Frankenstein is a more tasteful film than the last Frankenstein adventure that I saw, but not by much. Seriously, the little girl scene leaves a bad taste in your mouth and easily takes off 2-3 stars by itself. I don’t see any reason why you should want to watch this film either as it will just bore you out of your mind. By the end you aren’t even sure who to root for. The angry villagers, the Monster, Frankenstein…or nobody. Regardless, you’ll endure the climax, but I’m sure that the TV will be shut off almost immediately afterwards. If you want to see a good Frankenstein film, then I recommend I Frankenstein. To this day, it’s the only good Frankenstein film. I don’t count films where he just happens to appear as a few more would join the list then. I Frankenstein is a very loose adaption of the mythos, but that’s part of why it is good. Trust me, you can’t go wrong there.

Overall 1/10

Twice Told Tales Review

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Remember that time when anthologies were going to be the next big thing? Well, I can’t remember that either so no prob. Anthologies really limit the amount of success that a film can have. Think of it this way, you may manage to actually get a good story in there, but then it probably would have been even more awesome if it was longer. Alternately, you may have a bad story in here that is dragging down the good ones. There are three stories here and as expected, the second one drags the other two down. It’s fairly painful and the first story is decent while the third one is on the weak side. Bring them all together and it doesn’t exactly make for explosive results.

Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment is the first story and my favorite of the three. Carl invites Alex to celebrate his birthday. They’ve been close friends for decades and Carl is very happy to have had such a loyal friend. One day, a lightning strike opens up the tomb where his late fiance has been resting. A mystical water has kept her body preserved for decades and it has the ability to restore youth to any who drink it. Carl and Alex quickly age back to their primes and also manage to bring Sylvia back to life. The problem? It turns out that Sylvia and Alex were cheating on Carl behind his back the entire time and they decide not to be subtle about it anymore. Carl decides that one of them has to die, but will everything go according to his plan?

The story does a pretty good job of leading into the climax. It is fairly interesting from the get go and for a little while, I was pleasantly surprised that these two friends…were still friends. I had been expecting some kind of betrayal and it began to look like this wouldn’t happen once they both got young again. Of course, this all blew up when the fiance was revived. I can’t say that I was too thrilled about this. A 60+ year friendship thrown away just like that? The segment was definitely at its best before Sylvia woke up. It’s amazing how quickly the entire tone of a film can change. It still made for an interesting watch.

Rappaccini’s Daughter is the second segment in the film and this is the weak one. There is a Beatrice is a girl who is stuck in the garden because her body is very poisonous. Any contact with another person will result in death for him/her while Beatrice will be okay. Rappaccini did this because his wife cheated on him so this was his way of ensuring that Beatrice would never do the same when she grew up. Now, she would have to only pick one person and then Rappaccini would poison that guy so the two of them could be together forever. The main guy in this film was Giovanni and he isn’t too thrilled at this. Nonetheless, he gives Rappaccini the benefit of the doubt and accepts a quick drink. It naturally had a sleeping drug in it so Giovanni wakes up to find that he has been poisoned. I don’t think he thought this through.

The main problem with the film is the fact that there is a lot of animal violence in this segment. To show off Beatrice’s poison abilities, she infects several animals and we have to watch them die. It’s rather unnecessary if you ask me, but Giovanni was very slow on the uptake so he didn’t buy into it until she showed him a few times. No matter the reason, animal violence is a great way to completely doom a segment. There was no escape at this point. The ending’s also pretty bad. Giovanni decides that he’d rather die than be forced to just be with Beatrice for the rest of his life so he destroys himself by drinking a vial of anti-poison. Beatrice decides to follow suit and destroys herself with the poison so then Rappaccini destroys himself with a plant. Talk about a super dark gritty ending eh? All three of these guys met a rather untimely demise in such a short amount of time. I suppose it was inspired by Romeo and Juliet, but it was still handled rather poorly.

Finally, the third story was called House of The Seven Gables. Gerald realizes that he is one step away from being incredibly rich. All he has to do in order to claim his riches is to find the legendary treasure that was left at his family’s mansion. All of the men before him have died due to a curse and he is the last male left in the family, but that doesn’t stop him. His wife, Alice, and his sister, Hannah, are also along for the ride whether they like it or not. When Alice starts to get possessed by a ghost and starts to cheat on Gerald with a neighbor by the name of Jonathan, tensions quickly rise. Will Gerald find the treasure or is the curse simply too much for him?

This segment certainly did have the best scene in the film. Watching Gerald walk up to the treasure chest to finally get rich was pretty suspenseful. Then watching the skeleton hand slowly float towards the guy and choke him was pretty rich. The scene maybe lasts a little too long as the hand wants to end the curse properly, but the shock value was handled rather well. If you learn anything in horror films, it’s that you never want to trip when something is out to get you. It rarely ends well.

The characters were a lot more annoying here than in the other specials though. Gerald is essentially a villain from the get go. Alice proves to be a very easy person who will fall for a guy in about 15 minutes. Even if they knew each other in a past life, that doesn’t help. You can’t even like Jonathan since he is encouraging Alice to cheat on her husband. The sister wasn’t bad, but she probably should have thought a little more before threatening and insulting the villain who is holding an axe. Just food for thought, but I guess it’s a little too late for a heads up eh?

I found it interesting that all three stories involved someone getting cheated on. You really can’t trust anyone in these stories now can you? I wonder if the writers were paranoid about that kind of thing or if it was a pure coincidence. Either way, it was definitely something worth noting. In the end, none of the three stories were particularly strong and this isn’t a horror film that will end up being one of your all time favorites or anything like that. Trust me when I say that it could have certainly been a lot worse though. Story 2 not withstanding, I’ve certainly seen worse horror films and even counting that one, there are lesser titles out there.

Overall, Twice Told Tales isn’t terrible. The first special is fairly passable and the third one isn’t too bad, but the second one dooms the film as a whole. That’s the problem with anthologies, there is always that one special that is ready to bring everything else down. At the very least, this does beat most of the horror films that I’ve seen over the years. That’s some slight bragging rights I’d say. I wouldn’t really recommend it though and if you want a proper scare, you should check out Dragon Ball Evolution.

Overall 3/10

The Leech Woman Review

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I had to choose this poster because it basically spoils the entire movie. It’s a fairly short adventure though so it is pretty hard to not spoil the first part. I’m sure that the trailers did as well since in theory, the second half would be treated as the selling point. It’s a tough call though because I felt like the first half lasted long enough where you could treat it as its own story. I was actually wondering where the film was going to go with this, but once the mud scene happened, it was clear that the movie was still ready to kick it into high gear. It’s definitely better than I was expecting even if it’s still not ready for the big leagues.

The film starts off with a doctor and his wife having some troubles. They don’t get along at all and are ready for a divorce. Paul and June nearly seal the deal, but then an old lady named Malla shows up. She explains that her people have a way to reverse aging and make you young again. There are side effects, but it will make Paul rich so he is eager to learn more. She invites the couple to come to her village and then leaves. Paul quickly pretends to be nice to June again so he can use her as a guinea pig on this new formula. He can’t try it on himself of course since he doesn’t know if it’s safe yet. They go along to the village and are told that they will die there. June is given the opportunity to try the serum though so she gives it a whirl. Unfortunately, the effects only last for a single day so it’s good for a night of fun, but that’s about it. June isn’t satisfied and she wants a true romance since she never got along with Paul, but will she be able to keep on murdering people every day while keeping it a secret from the fiance that she stole from another girl? Only time will tell!

There are definitely some problems with this title from the get go. The main issue is the drama between June and Paul. There is really no purpose to it and June looks terrible throughout the whole ordeal. So, they have been married for over 10 years, but June claims that he never liked her. She likes him though so she puts up with it, but has clearly had a terrible time of it. She has resorted to being a regular drinker. Then, Paul pretends to be nice to her for one day and she is suddenly willing to stick around until he betrays her again. It was definitely a very poor relationship plot and didn’t add anything to the movie. I definitely didn’t care for June and she never recovered from the opening. Going after someone who already had a fiancee was definitely iffy as well although it is certainly the guy’s fault as well.

Paul is quite bad as well. He just wants money and strings June along for his own personal ambitions. Luckily, he is also not that intelligent and basically tells June his plan of leaving her to the Indians to be murdered while he escapes. She very reasonably decides that this is not a very good plan for her so she decides to pull a little trick on him. We’ve also got the random guy who was hired for 5000. He seemed like a good character at first although he was also flirting a little with June and since she was still married..it was a little iffy. He shows his true colors by the end though and suddenly becomes just another villain. I like how he quickly switched his tune once he was in the mud, but he probably should have realized what was coming next.

Another really bad character was the fiancee. He falls in love with someone after only seeing her for 5 minutes and is instantly willing to play the field as he tries to hang out with the new girl while not telling his current one. Naturally, this doesn’t go well and he handles the situation terribly. I was kind of hoping that June would take him out after she had her fun, but ultimately it wasn’t in the cards. Still, it was a good way to make that character as unlikable as possible. He was beyond saving at that point. I did like his girl friend though. She made sure to keep reminding June to back off and when that didn’t work, she quickly grabbed her gun. Unfortunately, she forgot that a gun is meant to keep opponents at bay and you shouldn’t use it in a hand to hand fight. That was just plain sloppy and had a lot of plot hax there.

I didn’t really care for Malla. She talked tough for a while and did help to destroy some of the main characters, but why was she here? Unless she can see the future or has some kind of telepathy, I don’t see why she would go to see Paul in the first place. She is also treated as the ruler of her village as she can murder people for no reason and calls the shots so why didn’t she just stay there. Also, turning young just to mess around with everyone for a full day is a pretty sad goal. I would have preferred a better villain.

I do think that the film did a decent job of switching the tone from part 1 to part 2. Part 2 suddenly became your standard horror film as June picks people off one by one while the first act was more of a Jungle film like the recent fake monster film that I reviewed. It’s hard to say which part was better. Maybe the second half, but they both weren’t bad. There was a quick scene of animal violence in part 1, which was unfortunate and all of the romance throughout the film was definitely pretty bad. You can’t have a good romance with unlikable characters after all, that will be a losing formula no matter how you slice it.

It’s also a little hard to believe that June can defeat all of the foes that she did. She was an old lady at one point, but is still able to overpower a crook who was choking her. June took way too long to make her move as well. Since she was planning to destroy him from the start, she could have handled the situation in a safer manner. She was also surprisingly sloppy after a while. Leaving her calling card on the corpse was pretty iffy and then just leaving a dead body in the closet where anyone could just open up and find it? Granted, the latter example is not quite as bad since she had little time. I can accept throwing the body in the closet, but leaving her card was sad.

I do like how quickly the cops acted though. They showed up out of nowhere and at first I was wondering how they could have possibly put the pieces together. They are definitely good at their jobs and even had the warrant ready so they did everything by the books. Definitely the best characters by default. I would definitely have liked to have seen them more as it’s always nice to see them talk tough to the crooks.

I have to quickly mention The Ring here. June has a ring which can destroy any guy with a quick shot to the neck. You don’t even have to apply that much pressure as June KOs someone while he had leverage and she was an old lady. You basically just have to tap it to the neck and it is game over. I guess the reasoning is that the fang it was made of is incredibly sharp, but it is still a real stretch. Definitely a handy weapon to have on deck though and it is the real MVP of this film. June probably wouldn’t have lasted too long without it.

Overall, The Leech Woman was better than I expected. I still won’t call it a very good film or anything like that, but it’s not downright bad either. I think it’s safely in the middle and it is certainly watchable while even having a little replay value. I’d actually recommend checking this out to an extent if you’ve ever wanted to see a really old woman take down a bunch of people on her own. I suppose age doesn’t matter when you have a one hit KO ring. I still don’t buy the fact that it works so well, but it’s just one of those things I guess. One thing about the plot that still doesn’t make sense though is an early scene. Paul and friends arrive at Africa and see a lot of dead bodies along with Malla’s cane. At first I thought that she transformed and destroyed them, but apparently another tribe got them…but the tribe was Malla’s tribe. Either they have two factions of she was kidnapped during the journey and then her crew came to save her. I dunno, it didn’t make any sense to me, but maybe it’ll click when you watch it. If so readers, let me know how that situation really went down!

Overall 5/10

The Fly Review

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Time to take a look at a really old horror film. This came out during the good ole 1950’s, which was a fun decade for the world. Especially for movies as the Godzilla franchise started out around this time. The Fly is a fairly nice concept and it actually doesn’t go for the “Everyone gets knocked off one by one” action aspect that you would expect and plays out more like a mystery thriller. It’s not exactly the next Sonic The Hedgehog film, but the effects hold up quite well.

A lady is accused of murdering her husband and the cops get involved. Francois, her step brother, wants to believe that she didn’t really do it, but she confirms the story and the crime scene is quite telling. The detectives wonder how this could have happened and Andre decides to tell them when one character mentions that he caught a fly. She explains the story of how her husband had been working on some next gen technology, but how it all went terribly wrong and he ended up turning himself into a Human/Fly hybrid instead.

Now, there were two things wrong with this for me. Not logic holes by any means though. First, Everyone is watching The Fly because we already know about the hybrid. This shouldn’t be a twist right? Yet, once the guy turns into a fly, the film is just about over. He quickly takes himself down and then the flashback ends and everyone walks away. I’m not really sure where the film was going with this and it may have worked better if it was called “The Mystery” or something like that.

The second part is that I actually preferred the mystery angle in the present anyway. The inspector clearly knew what he was doing and I dare say that he had the edge in his conversation with Andre. He was piecing things together, but he never could have suspected something so fantastic! I was rather enjoying the plot and then the long flashback began, which took up most of the film. That wasn’t quite as interesting to be honest and we all knew what was going to happen to the main character anyway.

The Fly was actually a little more violent than I could have suspected. When the main character was destroyed under the giant press, it was surprisingly graphic and this was back in the 1950’s! Also, the ending was a little sad for one character as he couldn’t move and could only watch as he was getting bitten until he was quickly put out of his misery by the others. It was definitely a dicey scene for the guy although I applaud the effects here as it looked fairly realistic considering how long ago this came out. The effects in general were actually quite good.

As you would expect from a 1950’s film, the writing is nice and solid. The characters are all fairly interesting and engaging in the present. You’ll feel bad for the guy watching over the equipment in the first scene since he gets quite the spook when the murder happens. Again, if the whole film had just been the mystery, then I could see this easily getting an extra 2-3 stars. As it is the flashbacks hurt the film as they slowed down the pacing and weren’t quite as interesting as the main plot.

The same thing happened to Captain America, The First Avenger a while back. I loved the present plot with Captain America overpowering SHIELD and seeing New York City, but I wasn’t crazy about the flashbacks. The main reason why flashbacks have never had a lot of potential for me is that you already know the ending. Seeing how the characters get there is all well and good, but only if you have a lot of epic action scenes to go with it. For a film like The Fly where you’re just watching someone’s day to day events until the end of the flashback…it takes away any form of intrigue or suspense that the film could have had. Watching The Fly return in the present and decide to rule the world, now that’s a twist that I could have gotten behind!

The Fly could have made for a decent villain, but we never got to see his final form. As a scientist, he was a decent character. A little generic perhaps, but a fun guy all the same. It’s just too bad that he didn’t have any more will power at his disposal or he could have really made a difference in the world! I also didn’t like the fact that he tested his invention out on the cat. That’s a really bad move if you ask me and it made me lose all of my respect for the guy. No matter how chipper he can be, we now know that he is willing to do anything for his experiments.

Overall, The Fly was a decent horror at times, but it just didn’t do anything for me. The final scene was pretty tragic and bordered on animal violence, but the effects were definitely really good and one of the highlights of the film. As this is an old film, the writing is pretty solid and I think that the show has potential. If you are looking for a classic horror movie, then this may be up your ally. If you are scared of giant flies or mysterious looking creatures, then you may want to back up now!

Overall 4/10

The Curse of Frankenstein Review

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If you thought that the Dracula film was bad, just wait until you see this film! Hammer Film Productions definitely seems to be slipping when it comes to horror films. This is their weakest installment yet and I fear for whatever sequels may follow this one. Frankenstein’s never been a likable concept for me and this film won’t help that. Rather than scare you, this will simply leave you dissatisfied.

Frankenstein starts off the story in prison and tells a priest about how he got here. He was a scientist who was rich and he convinced his mentor to dabble in the ways of science together. It was all innocent and fun at first, but then Frankenstein decided that he wanted to be able to create life. To do this, he would have to rob many graves and even murder people so that he could get the parts that he needed. His partner backed off at this point, but nothing could stop Frankenstein until he finally created a monster!

Where to start with this one right? Well, the main big negative is the fact that it’s incredibly violent and gruesome. Seriously, we’re talking Daredevil levels of violence at some points as you see a lot of body parts as Frankenstein assembles them and it’s all very gruesome and gross. It may be old so the effects aren’t great, but it’s still rather bad and one character’s head is even cut off. We don’t see it as we only see from Frankenstein’s shoulders and up as he is cutting, but it’s still a really bad scene and just keeps on hurting a film that wouldn’t have been any good anyway.

As explained, Frankenstein is a really bad character. He’s essentially insane and a very cruel person. His partner is supposed to be the likable character, but he wasn’t. Rather than reporting the acts of murder and grave robbing, the partner just stays silent. He even leaves the house, but decides to come back and tempt fate for no real reason at that point. In the final battle, he decides to run off and grab some help instead of staying to fight the monster. You can see why he did it based on what happened in the first round, but it’s still a dicey situation since the heroine could have gotten injured.

The heroine’s portrayal isn’t too good as she is here thanks to an arranged marriage from when she was a child. She claims that this doesn’t matter and even though she has never seen Frankenstein before, she will love him. As the partner says, she’s mixing up gratitude for love. (As Frankenstein provided for her family since she was a child) She also acts like less of an equal to Frankenstein and more of an underling as she even allows the husband to have an area that is off limits to her. That’s something that would be absurd in a current movie and the partner kept hinting that Frankenstein was doing something hideous in there so she should have gone in sooner.

There’s also a rather unnecessary subplot where Frankenstein decides to cheat on his fiance/future wife with a maid for no real reason. Then he dumps her when he feels like it and she is naturally killed off by the monster. It’s just another scene to show us how cruel Frankenstein is, but we already got the memo on that so this scene was really just fluff. The ending is supposed to be the scene of comupence for Frankenstein as we see that justice has finally caught up, but it’s at the expense of making the partner look bad once again. Essentially, he just visited Frankenstein to rub the whole thing in his face and lie by omission to ensure that Frankenstein was doomed.

It’s a very grim ending to a grim film. Dracula and Frankenstein’s movies were both rather solemn, but at least Dracula was light hearted some of the time and The Mummy was fun most of the time. This film didn’t really have any good moments once Frankenstein became an adult. It’s too bad because the beginning had some slight potential, but then everything went downhill at breakneck speed.

As for the monster, he is made to look as ugly and broken as possible to hammer in the fact that he’s a monster. The problem is that they also make him look like a slave and you feel bad for the monster. It has no idea what its doing and it is forced to obey commands before it is shot more than once and things never go its way. It destroys anyone who comes close, but its effectively mindless so it’s like a wild animal attacking someone. The monster is not a likable character by any means, but the whole plot is just sad.

I’m really glad that this film wasn’t quite up to the feat of being 2 hours or longer. As it is, the film started to get tiresome very quickly and I’m not sure how much longer it could have kept plummeting down the well before critics would start giving it awards for being the worst film of the year. Another negative for me would be that the victims are very distasteful in this film. The monster goes after a blind, old man. Seriously? What’s the point of making the victim so helpless already. It just makes the scene even more distasteful. Another victim is an old man who is thrown off of a high floor and quickly dies. Frankenstein fools the guy’s colleagues of course and the only person who knows the truth decides not to stop him.

Overall, This is a film that you should skip at all costs. It’s definitely one of the worst films that I’ve seen and I’ve seen quite a few stinkers in my day. This one just makes almost every mistake that it can possibly bump into except for the animal violence and we did see a dead animal before it was brought back to life, which would mildly count as there is no real reason to having it there. The very plot/concept was doomed from the start and the excessive violence plus the distasteful deaths sank it even deeper into the pits of infinity and beyond. At least this reminds me why the classic monsters have nothing on the modern ones like the Teletubbies. What we need, is a reboot of the film with the tone of Avengers mixed in with the guest star power of Pixels. So long as it is created correctly, that is a film that could have some potential. Perhaps, a lot of potential! They would just need to change the concept a little, maybe make Frankenstein a robot or something and skip the whole grave robbing plot along with the rest of the plots. Until then, if you want to watch a good horror film, check out Scooby Doo Zombie Island!

Overall 0/10