A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge 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

Well here’s the sequel to the first Elm Street. Naturally you can’t expect good things from this one. In fact, it’s even weaker than the first film. It makes pretty much all of the same mistakes only this time it also adds in some animal violence to keep things dicey. You’ll be shaking your head the whole time and once it’s over only then can you relax and hope that the next films will surpass this one. There’s only so far up you can go in this genre of course but the attempt is the important part right?

So the events of the first film are left rather ambiguously here but my headcanon is that the twist ending was real and then Freddy quickly managed to fudge the story a bit. Our new main character is a boy named Jesse who has been having nightmares of Freddy murdering him every night. That’s got to be pretty rough since it keeps happening. I do have some questions here though like why he isn’t actually dead yet. It’s not a plot hole though as you can easily explain it as Freddy choosing not to make the damage real since he wants Jesse as a host body. It’s definitely a different plan this time. Freddy wants access to the real world and this is the easiest way to do it. Can Jesse resist his influence or will be start going around murdering everyone in his path? Either way there is no easy way out for Jesse so he’s going to be in for a rough ride.

As always the film goes all in with the over the top violence. Freddy definitely isn’t playing around here as he murders a ton of people in the real world. More so than in the dreams this time. His powers have also improved now that he has a physical body to the point where he is able to manipulate reality such as when he created dogs with human faces or when he caused the birds to go crazy and attack the main characters. Of course this was just a cheap way to rope in some animal violence into the film. I knew the film was getting desperate to be edgier than the first film but I didn’t think it would go this far.

The idea of Jesse being possessed by Freddy here is also unfortunate since it means that his character goes down as well. At least he was able to stop himself from taking out the sister and the rest of his family though. That would have definitely been another step too far. As it is the film tries to give us the classic kiss of life near the end which is pretty gruesome to watch especially thanks to the design. It makes for a really painful climax on top of everything else going on. The film is certainly not opposed to having you cringe as things go on. You can probably guess that the characters weren’t very good here.

For starters, Jesse is not as good as Nancy from the first film. He panics and yells a whole lot but doesn’t actually do much of anything to try and stop Freddy. Panicking is really all that he does and he never accepts help from anybody. This leads to a cycle where he is just doomed from the jump. Then you have Lisa who likes Jesse but it’s all extremely sudden. Does she really know him enough to try and save him after watching the guy murder a bunch of people and lose control like this? She shows a whole lot of devotion at the end to the point where you’d figure that they had been together for many years. I dunno, I had a pretty hard time buying into any of this.

Then you’ve got Grady and I’m not 100% on what the film was going for with him. I suppose he’s just meant to be the more confident guy at school who loves teasing everyone but is actually a good guy deep down. He seems nicer than Jesse in some respects as the lead would usually be the one to panic. You also feel bad for him at the end because there really isn’t anything that he could have done to escape his fate. The whole Xenomorph type entrance for Freddy there was also pretty crazy. Of course in a film like this you’ll always be seeing a lot of tragic deaths. Then you’ve got the Coach who was almost cartoonishly mean to everyone. Especially the main two although he would always catch them slacking off.

The scene with him at the bar was so surreal I thought it was one of the dreams though. So, Jesse runs out of the house and goes a long distance til he suddenly finds himself at a shady bar in the middle of nowhere? From there he is forced to go to school where he runs a bunch of laps until Freddy shows up again. The whole ting was just really out there and the biggest twist was the fact that it was real. Well, I suppose that’s one advantage to being a film that goes into both worlds, after a while you can’t trust anything you see which is the big thing here.

Naturally there is a twist ending here as well. It’s not nearly as powerful as the first film’s ending though. I guess it’s still got the same kind of conclusion but the execution was off. Maybe it’s because the scene takes a while and since it’s obvious that something is going to happen it’s not as suspenseful as the film thinks it is. Still, it’s definitely a pretty crazy ending that’s for sure. I would make the case that the opening scene is a lot more powerful so instead of trying to use a similar type scene the movie should have gone in a different direction. That’s my take on it at the very least.

As for Freddy himself, he definitely talks a lot more here. It doesn’t do anything to make him a more likable character though. At the end of the day he’s still just a really twisted individual who only seems to care about dishing out a lot of pain to everyone. He’s widened the scope of opponents he wants to take out though so now he’s more of an indiscriminate murderer. I couldn’t believe that the heroes missed him at point blank range with the shotgun though. How do you miss at that range? To think that may have been it for Freddy’s host body. Realistically it wouldn’t even slow Freddy’s murders down as he would go back to dream land but still, it was a start at least. I don’t know what the one kid at the pool was thinking with slowly walking up to Freddy and pulling the whole “We don’t have to fight thing”. Was there any way that would end without him getting promptly murdered?

Overall, Freddy’s Revenge is pretty one note and basically the same as the first. Only with even weaker characters and some animal violence thrown in. The writing’s definitely no good and I wouldn’t say the pacing is solid either. The violence is so excessive that you’ll be taken out of the movie pretty quickly each time as well. There are just no real positives to say about the film. I don’t think there’s much you could do to save the franchise at this point so all I can say is better luck next time. If you want a spooky film with more of a memorable villain then I would recommend watching Mask of the Phantasm instead. Now that one will have all the thrills you are seeking!

Overall 1/10

A Nightmare on Elm Street 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.

This is definitely an iconic horror film. It’s quite possibly one of the 3 most well known slasher films of all time. It’s certainly had a wide amount of influence and people just don’t forget Freddy that’s for sure. Of course it’s pretty much doomed from the jump because slasher films like this make all of the big film mistakes. The violence is excessive and the characters range from annoying to terrible. Surprisingly this film doesn’t have any real animal violence although the sequel makes sure to fix that. Either way, this is definitely not a movie that I would recommend.

The movie starts with Tina on the run from Freddy and she manages to survive by waking up. She heads to school where her friends try their best to cheer her up. She then has a sleepover but unfortunately that is the last thing you want to try against Freddy so he destroys her and framed Rod. Nancy believes that he is now after her and the rest of her friends. The problem is that he is pretty much unstoppable in the world of dreams and getting him to the real world will be difficult. Nobody believes her so Nancy is effectively on her own. Can she outwit Freddy and put an end to his evil plans once and for all?

One thing that took some getting used to here was that everyone would just call him Fred. I’m always used to using the full name of Freddy Krueger but I suppose I’m just used to that from seeing it spelled out all the time. Beyond that the film really plays out exactly how you would expect. The characters even insult your intelligence the way you’d expect them to based on the stigma of horror characters not being very smart. I’ll definitely get into that in a second because they’re just really bad here. Lets get the obvious negatives of the film out of the way first though.

Naturally the film is incredibly violent. The characters die as violently as you would expect. Freddy takes them all out in different ways. Honestly Rod got off incredibly easy compared to the others. For the other characters Freddy likes to toy with them a lot before finishing the job as well. He even injures himself just to show the characters how insane he is. The self inflicted injuries definitely don’t help Freddy’s case as being an imposing villain either. Once he’s in the real world the characters land a lot of big shots on him. Parts of the climax I wasn’t sure were supposed to be serious or comedic. It’s a bit like Home Alone where Nancy had a bunch of traps laying around and would keep slamming Freddy with each one. It was pretty surreal to watch. The ending still gets tense once she runs out of traps though.

Then you’ve got a subpar character roster holding the film back as well. You’ve got Rod who really makes it easy for Freddy to frame him. He pulls a knife on his friends and even threatens to do things to them. It’s not exactly the best dynamic you could want. Of course you’re meant to know that he’s not a bad guy deep down…I guess. It doesn’t really work though. He and Tina are also pretty inconsiderate to Nancy and Glen who are just trying to have a good time downstairs. The nightly affairs are another slasher trope as it usually serves as a death flag to the characters. You have to stay strong and they did not. The characters are just really irresponsible. Only Nancy manages to hang in there.

Lets look at her parents for example. When the dreams get worse her mother takes her to a place to analyze them. We then see that the computer screens go haywire and she even manages to grab Freddy’s hat. So, in context Nancy just woke up from a dream with a bunch of cameras watching her as well as the main doctor and the Mom watching through the glass. They know that she didn’t get up or do anything beyond struggle there. When they see the new wounds appear out of nowhere and a hat generated from oblivion which belonged to someone the Mom personally murdered a while back…they don’t suspect anything? It’s got to be one of the craziest moments out there.

Usually you may be annoyed when the characters don’t believe the lead but at least they have decent reason to. Whenever there’s an alien invasion or a monster attack you may have someone not believe that it’s going on, but fine you have some excuses there. They didn’t see it, government conspiracy, etc. Here this is literally happening in front of their eyes and they aren’t doing anything. It’s hard to buy. Rod’s version of events was also pretty shifty as he saw Tina getting murdered in front of her by an invisible force but sticks with the “I didn’t get a good look at the guy” story.

Now my problems with Glen are different. His issue wasn’t that he didn’t believe Nancy. The problem is that he consistently lets her down every single time. He has one job, to stay up a few hours. That’s it. Nancy has had to stay up for several days in a row at this point and she’s still doing her best to get to the bottom of this. For her plan to work she needs Glen to wake her up at the right time. Instead he falls asleep on the job….2-3 times in a row. The worst time is the final moment because his Mom wakes him up and he sees that it’s only 10 minutes until he is supposed to go find Nancy. Instead…he goes back to sleep and is promptly murdered. He really didn’t do a single thing to help Nancy and you’d think that he really would if he cares about her as much as he said he would. Falling asleep that many times is inexcusable especially since her safety is a concern here. He fell asleep the first time she asked him to help, the second time, and then the third. If I were her that relationship would be over on the spot.

Nancy really has to do everything on her own but it’s just an issue that it got to that point. Freddy is a lot sloppier than most villains so he leave behind so many clues. It would have been nice if someone could have actually helped out. Nancy’s father also fails her at the end of the film when he gives her his assurance that he’ll be there and then promptly leaves because he didn’t mean it. It’s all pretty rough for her. It makes for a lot of tense moments since she’s really running for her life but it all just feels like a big betrayal.

Freddy Krueger gets a dark backstory as you would expect to cement the fact that he’s definitely a cheap villain. He only picks on the weak and that’s how he has built his whole empire. Think about this, the parents are the ones who murdered him and he’s still going after the kids. He’s definitely an awful villain no matter how you slice it. As always the film does have a twist ending so you’ll want to prepare yourself for that. It’s a staple of the horror genre and you really need one if you want to compete with the others. It was pretty fun I’d say. Definitely rather sudden so it comes out of nowhere and really leaves you hanging. The execution was absolutely on point.

Overall, Nightmare on Elm Street is exactly what you would expect. The plot plays out just like any slasher with the villain bumping everyone off until the lone heroine finally thinks up a plan to put an end to the madness. The violence is through the roof and you’ve got a very weak cast of characters. There aren’t any real positives to say about the film except that it does keep things pretty intense throughout so it fulfills its role as a thriller. Freddy’s design is certainly grotesque to make him scary but it’s not a design that I’m personally a fan of. Give me the Scream costume any day. If you want to watch a spooky film then I highly recommend checking out something like the House on Haunted Hill instead.

Overall 1/10

The Devil Doll Review


When you see a film with a name like this you think of something like Talking Tina. The title isn’t quite as literal as that would have been but is still pretty fitting when you think about it. The movie manages to balance more of a down to earth drama plot along with a supernatural thriller storyline going on. The latter can feel quite sudden when it’s first introduced but the two plots mesh pretty well together. Ultimately I would definitely give this movie a thumbs up.

The movie starts with Paul in jail. He was framed for embezzling a lot of funds as well as murdering someone. He manages to escape along with as mad scientist. The scientist is able to shrink people and animals using a serum and can then control them using his mind. Effectively the shrinking process takes away your free will so you are now someone’s puppet to be used. He dies from the stress of it all and while Paul initially decides not to carry on the work, he sings a different tune when he realizes that he can use this to get revenge on the 3 people who wronged him so long ago. It may have been 17 years but when you’re rotting in jail for that long on a false wrap you don’t forget so easily. Those 3 guys better watch out!

Meanwhile you’ve got Paul’s daughter Lorraine who believes that Paul actually was guilty and blames him for a whole lot of things. She’s been estranged from the town due to her relation to him, her mother died, and now she has to work two jobs to keep a place for her grandmother to live as well. It’s definitely not a very easy life for her but at least she has her boyfriend Toto. Thing is, she feels like she has to decline his advances due to what’s going on. Paul decides he needs to find a way to fix things but he also doesn’t want to get her in trouble so he will have to tread carefully here. He also has to be careful because he is working with a maniac by the name of Malita who was the scientist’s wife.

I was not expecting the daughter plot so when it showed up it felt a bit sudden but I’d say that it worked well. It makes for a more personal note that keeps this from just being another film about someone murdering a bunch of people. You can also feel more sympathy for Paul on both fronts. One is the fact that he was betrayed by his closest friends and had to be in jail for 17 years. The other is the fact that he sees firsthand how this has destroyed his family entirely. It’s easy to see why he wants revenge and it’s a much better motivation than most antagonists. That’s not to say that you’ll be rooting for him to destroy them all but certainly you can see why he is doing this.

He even has a fun disguise the whole time as he pretends to be an old lady. It’s a nice bit of fun the film had with that and it does help to show how he is able to infiltrate all of the homes and get by the cops. Who is going to give an old lady a hard time right? His disguise is fairly ancient so there’s no way she could be going around murdering everyone. Paul’s just a fun main character that’s for sure. Malita isn’t the most interesting main villain though. She’s basically just insane and wants to continue the research but to what end? I don’t think she even had a tangible goal for it so I wouldn’t give her a ton of credit for that.

Toto and Lorraine are nice enough though. While Lorraine’s anger is misplaced it’s not like she actually got to hear Paul’s side of things. She’s done really well to support her grandmother during all of this as well which is definitely commendable. As for Toto, he’s a pretty loyal guy who does his best. I was also glad that he didn’t panic a whole lot when Paul showed up the way that a lot of other characters do. If I were him I’d still have blown Paul’s cover at the end to Lorraine though. Would have made for a much more complete ending.

I do feel like one plot point was abandoned though. At the beginning the scientist is working on having his miniaturized people gain free will. It was the one error in his research. I felt like the film toyed around with the idea that the girl had developed free will as she had been the latest creation. The film doesn’t really go that route though which I was surprised about. It would have been interesting but with Paul being more of a nice guy at the end I suppose it could have been a little tricky to handle. That’s why at the end you would then assume that Malita is just having the two dolls dance for her own amusement by controlling them but it seems like an odd thing to do. I can see why Paul was upset too since it’s a huge unnecessary risk.

Even though turning people small is the main plot you could easily get more engaged in the family plot at times. It’s not a strike against the film though. It’s just that the writing is so good that both plots end up being quite satisfying. The movie moves very quickly with its pacing so something interesting is always going on. I definitely found the film to be very solid. The characters were good, the story was solid, so there were no weaknesses her. At the end of the day it was just a very complete adventure.

Overall, The Devil Doll is a lot better than you would suspect from the title. It’s an engaging film about revenge with Paul still taking the high road at times. When you think about it he’s a lot more lenient than most main characters would be. The film tackles quite a lot to the point where it could have been a little longer and still been quite fun. Still, the pacing was on point and even the 3 villains get a good amount of development here. You can quickly gauge their individual personalities as well. If you’re looking for an old school thriller then you should definitely check this one out. The fact that the main character isn’t some random evil guy is already a pretty fresh take on this kind of flick.

Overall 7/10

Madhouse Review


Madhouse is one of those films that makes for a pretty engaging watch as you try to figure out who is responsible for a slew of murders going around. Its main weakness though is in how the plot only really works if one character makes all of the wrong moves. Switch him out and everything very quickly begins to change. Either way it is a pretty solid film though and doesn’t go for a whole lot of shock value here. You’ve just got an interesting adventure the whole time with a pretty surprising ending. You may not see some of the laughs coming.

The movie starts with Paul having yet another big film hit. He’s about to be on easy street and he is even getting married to a lady named Ellen. Everything is going well but then he finds out that she was an actress in rather mature work and allows another guest to bait him into throwing a fit. He takes a nap and goes to apologize later on but Ellen is dead and it looks like Paul is the one who did it. Unfortunately he doesn’t know what happened and thinks it’s possible that he did destroy her. This leads him to get some therapy on it. Years later his best friend Herbert invites Paul to don the mask once more and become Dr. Death for a TV show. When people start dying, Paul wonders if he may be doing this.

You can see how the whole mystery angle wouldn’t work if Paul really knew what he was doing. After all, the others can’t mess with him if he’s sure of himself right? You also feel like Paul should be able to recall at least sometimes what had happened. I feel like he cracked a little too easily which is unfortunate. He comes across as a pretty confident character otherwise. You also have to give him credit for not falling for any of the many temptations that would try to get in his path. Paul did well, he ultimately just couldn’t conquer himself. Still, Paul makes for an interesting main character at least.

He probably just should have gone with his gut and stayed home though. Maybe returning to films and shows would be a good thing but as Dr Death? Seems like a bad idea so thanks Herbert. Herbert gets a fairly big role here as well. He’s always enjoyed being a writer and it was his idea to reintroduce Paul to the world. He even gets Paul all of the old Dr Death films to he can rewatch them again to get into the role. He’s definitely quite enthusiastic about the whole time. You’ve also got a few other supporting characters like a director who helped cause Paul’s insanity in the first place. The two characters still don’t like each other at all but are willing to work with each other for the money. Then you have Julia who is the PR head. She tries to make sure Paul can get through this in one piece and sees to it that the media doesn’t hound him. She’s pretty good at her job and definitely has a more active role compared to most of the characters.

There are a pair of shady characters who have a backup villain role here. They’re not the brightest minds on the planet though. So, they’ve decided to try and blackmail Paul, a guy who may be a serial murderer. They go to his house on their own to keep messing with him and then forget their own bargaining chip in his front yard. What? Seems like a pretty bad idea since once he has this then they have no leverage. They they see him putting on the costume and still make the call to walk into his dark manor while he is not responding to anything they say. You can probably guess how their plot ends. They sort of came out of nowhere but I suppose it was a way to increase the body count without losing any more main characters so suddenly. They may not have been very smart but that still made for a pretty fun plot point. I was definitely up for having them in to keep the suspense.

A character addition that I didn’t think was necessary was Faye. She’s an actress who liked Paul but he would never give her the time of day. She ultimately sunk quite low in her despair and is a shell of her former self. She seems pretty crazy at this point and is super fascinated by spiders. It makes for a lot of disturbing imagery that’s for sure. I can’t say that her character was really a hit for me. As it was we already had quite a big cast all things considered. Still, it added another suspect which is probably what the film was going for. As it stands there were probably around 6-7 suspects here so you have to decide who you think the culprit is and that includes Paul himself. You may be able to guess the right person pretty quickly or you may double think yourself and choose someone else. Either way guessing is the fun part of mysteries.

Overall, Madhouse was actually pretty good. I wouldn’t say it was great or anything but I thought it was pretty interesting. There are quite a few deaths but the film doesn’t go out of its way to make them super bloody or violent. They just happen and each time Paul is left more and more depressed. His first yell was certainly something as the film even gave you a long zoom in. We also get to see the cops show up from Scotland Yard to take care of things so that was fun. It’s always nice to see them trying to put the pieces together. The whole glove angle was a fun little gag as well. The film definitely had some humor during this adventure. It never was enough to break the atmosphere and instead made for a nice ambiance. I’d definitely recommend checking this one out if you like murder mysteries like this.

Overall 6/10

Horror Express 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.
Whenever you have a mummy running around you wanna be careful since the heroes are in for a tough fight. This movie adds some tension by trapping all of the heroes on a train. It’s a pretty nice idea and with the body count growing quite high there is a real sense of danger. Unfortunately the film wastes quite a lot of its potential on going for a very gritty approach. The atmosphere is just right and the villain has a pretty interesting design but these factors are not enough to save the movie.

The movie starts by introducing us to the characters. Saxton has uncovered a rather big discovery and something that he hopes will further his research. He wants to keep this a secret though so he keeps a huge box locked up tight and forbids anyone from looking at it. Then you have the Count and Countess who are aboard this train as well along with a monk named Pujardov who is convinced that there is something sinister in the box. Then you have Wells who is hoping to have a relaxing time here. There’s also a lady who has seemingly snuck aboard without a ticket who convinces Wells to look the other way. We’ve got a whole slew of characters here but then one guy decides to open the box and it turns out to be more than he bargained for. The creature inside it is now unleashed and hungers for brains!

I’d consider the monster to be a mummy for the most part just with how he acts/looks. The whole absorbing brains part is more like a zombie though and then he has the stare of death which is like something out of Dracula. So they’re going for quite a lot with this villain and then the kicker is later on we see he’s from another planet. So really he’s an alien, but you could say that he’s an Alien mummy zombie at this point. You could use all 3 terms and it would still be pretty accurate so that’s neat. The villain can assume many forms and manipulates the cast quite a bit. When you mix in his quick stare of death you can see how he is easily able to overwhelm most fighters.

This is a horror film that loves showing everyone get murdered for as long as possible though. Prepare to see all of the characters get choked for a long time with epic zoom ins as they try to fight back. Everyone dies rather bloodily and there is a big body count here. We also see the characters run autopsies on screen which can be pretty brutal. The effects are on point but if you’re not a fan of scenes like that then you definitely may want to take a step back here. The film doesn’t shy away from these scenes and can definitely get pretty graphic.

As for the characters, Saxton is definitely quite sure of himself and has no real sympathy for anyone. He’s no hero so it’s an interesting change from what you would expect. I found him to be pretty fun even if he was part of the problem for the heroes during most of the movie. If he was a little more reasonable then things wouldn’t have gone this far. Then you have Wells who is a lot more heroic and willing to help out. He’s not exactly thrilled about this going on while he’s trying to enjoy the ride but at least he actually wants to help. He comes up with some good plans as well and helps make most of the discoveries on what is going on here.

The Count doesn’t get much of a role except to wave his death flag quite high. The Countess’ role is significantly larger as she gets very close to the action. Near the end it feels like she’s just running from zombie to zombie but she never fainted or anything like that which is good. You’ve got the monk Pujardov who cracked almost instantly. He’s definitely not someone that you want to have your back because you just couldn’t trust him to protect you when it counted. That’s the kind of support that you just don’t need. Then there’s the inspector Mirov who meant well. It’s always good to have a cop on board to try and keep everyone calm. At least he got a shot off which was definitely appreciated. Likewise you had Kazan who was a lot more extreme but at least threw a knife at the villain and even got a few shots in so tht was pretty impressive. just a little more and he could have won.

Of course, you do have to question how likely it is that this villain would be down for long. He is effectively living energy or a kind of being that is not physical the way that most are. I even doubt that in the ending of the film he is truly gone. These kinds of villains always seem to regenerate and try again in the future. Still, the heroes did pretty good. At least the fact that he has to body hop when the vessel is injured enough is a decent weakness since it buys you a lot of time to escape. The second half of the movie switching to more of a thriller on wondering which body was currently housing the villain was a nice approach.

Overall, There was definitely a lot going on in this train. The Horror Express is an interesting movie and one that is pretty unique. It’s very rare that you have a horror/survival film that takes place on a train. I’ll give the film kudos for that but ultimately it will still be doomed to a low score in the end. The violence can be over the top quite often and the surgery scenes don’t help matters. At times the film is just more focused on the shock value then on actually moving things forward. You could have easily handled this film a lot differently and would have come away with a superior plot. If you’re a huge fan of survival stories and don’t mind the violence then I would recommend it but otherwise you should check out a different option like The Green Slime.

Overall 3/10

The Black Sleep Review


Cheating death never tends out to work very well in these films. Why would it right? The scientists tend to be quite mad and will stop at nothing to accomplish their goals. It isn’t really a recipe for success I would say. The movie has a decent premise but the main character is definitely not very bright in the slightest. I wouldn’t say this works quite as well as a lot of the other retro films I’ve seen but it should keep your attention decently well as you progress through the adventure.

The movie starts with the main character (Gordon) preparing for death’s door. He was said to have murdered someone and so he got the death penalty. His friend Joel shows up and offers him a path to escape his fate. He has to ingest the drug known as the Black Sleep. Gordon has nothing to lose so he does this and then wakes up in the doctor’s office. The drug simulates death so Joel pulled some tricks and got him out of it. Gordon owes his life to the man now though so he agrees to help in the experiments. Basically, Joel is trying to revolutionize brain surgery. He’s trying to prove that each part of the brain operates a different part of the body. Gordon is on board with this but then he finds out just how drastic these operations are. Joel is experimenting on people who are still alive and may scar them for life. Can Gordon really help him with this?

Well, any reasonable person would walk away right? Not Gordon, he’s definitely willing to play ball. Here’s the problem with this, the film could have played it off like Gordon felt he owed Joel a lot so he would go through with it despite his personal feelings. The film doesn’t really play that angle up. Gordon just seems to think that Joel has a point that this is worth the sacrifice. Even after seeing how shady Joel was, Gordon wouldn’t believe Laurie either. It takes quite a lot to convince him that this is all pretty sinister and then he quickly tries to play the hero. The problem is that Gordon is a very willing accomplice the whole time so his big turnaround at the end doesn’t feel very earned or heroic. The guy is just playing the field the whole time and doing whatever he wants. It’s hard to find him likable.

Joel isn’t likable either of course but he’s your standard mad scientist. I wouldn’t say that he’s a weak villain or anything. He’s just completely standard and you either like the villain type or you don’t. At least he actually has a reason for doing this but it just doesn’t excuse anything. He’s also failed many times as we learn when we see the dungeons later on. You’d think he would have gotten a little better at it. The idea is that he has made a creation by turning off a different part of the brain each time. So one person can’t talk, another can’t hear, etc. Definitely makes for a collection of crazy mistakes from his side.

It also makes the whole place pretty unsafe. In particular you’ve got one monster running around who keeps trying to choke people or attack Laurie. Only one lady in the house is able to calm him down and she rarely appears in time to stop his initial attack. Gordon nearly died early on when he walked into the hallway although I don’t think he could have expected anything else when it was so late at night. He’s not exactly a super sleuth and even when he has his big James Bond moment of using the secret passage he is caught rather quickly.

There isn’t a lot to say about Laurie meanwhile. She’s really hoping Gordon realizes what’s up so he can get her out of there. The problem is that he’s not very quick on the uptake and in the meantime she’s stuck. I have a lot more sympathy for her than Gordon because you do feel like there’s no way she could escape on her own. Then you’ve got Udu who is Joel’s right hand man and supplies the bodies. Typically a mad scientist always needs some kind of brute to do the heavy lifting while he’s doing the research. Udu fills that role for sure.

You can see that some parts of the film are pretty strong as you go through it. For example, I thought the writing was pretty good. The characters may not be super likable but there is some good back and forth dialogue between the characters. We have your classic debates of how much research you should do and to what ends. The film’s pacing is on point as well so I wouldn’t say it drags on. It’ll just depend really on if you can get past the characters not being great. It’s also not the most original plot and while that’s not a bad thing, you feel like other films have executed the themes better than this one. The Black Sleep just isn’t a very memorable film.

Overall, The Black Sleep tries to execute a fairly straightforward plot with a rather small cast. There just isn’t any standout member to be had though and while the creations may make for good shock value it’s not like they can do much to further the plot. You could cut or keep them and it doesn’t effect the film all that much. I’d say it was just here to convince Gordon in the end that he had to get out but he should have realized that a lot sooner. If I was Laurie I would still be rather sore at him taking it all for granted. It’s not a bad movie though, I’d put it a little above the middle. It’s definitely not a bad movie. I can’t picture myself checking it out again but if you want a quick little adventure about the horrors of science then this could be a decent pick.

Overall 6/10

The Brain That Wouldn’t Die Review


Storing brains by themselves is always a recipe for disaster. Usually you’ll end up bringing back a zombie or a monster or at least the odds of that are far greater than the odds of bringing someone back in one piece. It’s just not going to happen and while a single head may sound like it should be easy to defeat, you really can’t underestimate these villains. This film’s not very good. It can be cheesy at times with some good dialogue but it just makes a lot of mistakes along the way. There’s not really much of a cast to root for here and the film made a mistake that I never thought I’d see. It’s a short film that actually drags on quite a bit.

The movie starts with Bill managing to save someone through the use of a brain transplant. His father doesn’t approve since this is really outside of the books but Bill doesn’t care. He speeds a little too fast in his car and ends up getting his girlfriend Jan murdered. He’s able to grab her head which fortunately popped out smoothly and then gets her into a jar. He aims to put her head on someone else’s body and then stitch it together. The tricky part is going to be finding a body so he decides to just find some girls and will pick the best one. Can someone stop this madman before it’s too late?

So I’ve got a lot of problems with the film but my only real question is where did the monster come from? It just feels very out of place and random. I don’t believe it’s the guy from the first operation because that would just make absolutely no sense. How would that guy have gotten downstairs and how was he so deformed? So it seems like this is an unrelated incident and in that case how did Bill not know about it? His sidekick Kurt had to tell him about it and while Bill was surprised, he didn’t seem to care a whole lot because he was just too busy. So where did this monster come from? The film doesn’t seem too care too much but it just did seem out of the blue.

This is the plotline that drags on a lot though. The film is under 2 hours but there are so many scenes of Jan’s head talking to the monster while he beats on the door. A lot of these scenes are basically identical and they just keep going back and forth over and over again. The payoff isn’t until the final few minutes at which point it’s just too late. Some of these scenes could have been cut and nothing would have changed. Bill definitely looks pretty bad though considering there is only one way to get in range and that’s to walk near the window. He did see the body next to him right? Definitely not a good look but it’s not like he was someone to root for anyway so I was pretty okay with this.

Bill just makes for a poor antagonist. Most of his scenes are just him oogling different characters as he chooses his next victim. He flirts quite a bit although he claims his whole goal is to bring his girlfriend back. The whole thing is pretty suspect at best, it’s not really even bringing Jan back at that point since the body will be completely different. I’m sure there are debates to be had on that but either way he’s a pretty unrepentant murderer. It’s also a shame since the heroine at the end already had a hard time trusting people. This is definitely not going to help that in the slightest. So the film’s got a pretty lousy main character and an excuse for random modeling shows and some fanservice. What else is there for the film?

Kurt’s pretty crazy. He tries to tell everyone that he’s not afraid of anything but he’s not even fooling himself with this. The worst part is that he shouldn’t be afraid. Why be afraid of a severed head? I can see him being afraid of the monster. Sure, that makes sense but Jan? Jan did undergo a complete 180 in terms of personality when she became a head though. I didn’t realize that she would become such a fierce character, but I guess dying will do that to you. I also don’t imagine that it’s any fun to live life as a head so I completely understand why she was so upset at Bill. It’s not like he was listening to her at all so you can make a strong case that he just wanted to prove that his methods worked. Jan even had the classic evil laughter at her disposal as she would crack up quite a lot. I was glad that she gets the last word in though. The film ends abruptly but you could say it was a pretty happy ending.

The film’s pretty tame in terms of violence for the most part although near the end it suddenly gets intense. One character literally has his arm ripped off and another one gets chewed up. Those scenes were more intense than you may expect here. The creature’s design also looks pretty painful as you can tell that things went very wrong when trying to work on him. This movie could definitely get intense at times that’s for sure. It just didn’t channel that intensity into being a quality picture and ultimately that’s what held it back here. It didn’t have that decisive moment to take it to the next level.

Overall, This is not a film that I would recommend. While many films back in these days had top tier writing and plot progression, this was not one of them. It really manages to underperform in all areas. The fact that there are no likable characters in the film is already a big red flag. How can you ultimately succeed without any? Bill comes across as rather sinister right from the start as he goes in with the threats immediately and I already talked about Jan. The supporting characters like the old friend who does some modeling and the leader of the modelers were probably the best characters and it’s not like they got a ton of screen time. They were also a bit gullible with how quickly they were trusting Bill. The old friend has a better excuse then the head. The random fight in the dressing room as also as random as they come. If you want to watch a good sci-fi film then you’ve come to the wrong title. I’d recommend checking Men in Black instead.

Overall 4/10

Night of the Living Dead Review


Night of the Living Dead is quite the title right? I imagine that just about everyone has to have heard of this film. The zombies owe a whole lot to this one. It’s a pretty interesting look at the classic horror feeling of knowing that you’re surrounded and there’s no way out. The film does start to go into edgy territory towards the end though trying to be more gritty than necessary. It definitely fumbles the landing and while it will keep your attention, I wouldn’t say this is a good movie. One character in particular also gets pretty annoying very quickly.

The movie starts with Barbra and her brother visiting a grave. He’s trolling her as usual when a guy starts walking towards them. He jokes that the guy is here to murder Barbra and unfortunately he’s right. The brother is able to distract the guy long enough for Barbra to get away but is murdered in the process. She escapes to a house but unfortunately there are a lot of these zombies running around. A man named Ben shows up and he’s also been on the run from these guys. He tells her that they have to make a stand in the house for as long as possible and boards things up. They’re not along though as it turns out that you’ve got Harry, his wife Helen, Tom, and his wife Judy along with an injured kid who got bit by one of the zombies. If you’re familiar with your films on contagions and stuff, being bit is never a good sign. Can the heroes really make a stand here or are there just too many zombies?

The toughest part about these kind of scenarios is that you don’t know how many zombies there are or how long you have to hold out. These questions nag in the back of your mind the whole time. It’s part of what makes titles like The Walking Dead or Resident Evil so popular. It’s easy to get behind a survival story as you try your best to stay alive as long as possible. I’d argue that it’s part of the appeal of Fortnite as well. It’s just fun to test your limits. Where the film goes wrong is in the more shock value type scenes. We actually see the zombies eating people which can be pretty graphic. There are quite a few scenes where you see them chomping on limbs and such. It definitely makes you shake your head because it really wasn’t needed. The atmosphere is enough to really make you feel the fear of the zombies and why they are so intense. You don’t need to throw the violence on top of that, it’s just not necessary.

As for the characters, well Barbra definitely stands out in a bad way. After the opening scene where she does a good job of running for safety and doing what needs to be done, she freezes. Now, the adrenaline has run out by now so I do expect a little crash. The worst part is that the crash lasts for pretty much the entirety of the movie though. She never gets to a point where she is a fighter after that and has no good ideas. It’s a shame but she definitely doesn’t help matters as the main heroine. Then you’ve got Harry who just likes to argue about everything. His idea to stay in the shelter is pretty terrible.

Here’s why it’s an awful decision. When you go down there you have absolutely no exits. It’s blocked by a locked door..and that’s about it. The zombies will eventually punch through and you don’t have a lot of options after that. Ultimately you would have to go back into the house anyway but this way you don’t have any protections and the zombies can be anywhere. It’s obviously a smarter idea to lock up the house and do what you gotta do. If you do have to escape it’s much easier to do when you’re already up and about as opposed to hiding in the basement. So it’s no secret that I was completely against Harry’s plan. It just makes no sense. Then you’ve got Tom who was at least willing to help. It takes Tom a little while to actually pick a side but he ultimately does which is the important thing. He never goes traitor the way that Harry does. Then you have Helen and Judy although their roles aren’t huge. Judy sort of cracks while Helen does well although it takes her a while to make a move.

That leaves us with Ben who’s certainly the most experienced member of the group. He’s been taking down zombies for a while not and knows how to fight them. He’s definitely fed up with everyone right now though and feels like they’re holding him back. They definitely do slow him down quite a bit between Barbra freezing and Harry actively trying to murder Ben. Ben handles the zombies pretty well for most of the film although at the end I’d say that he got a bit sloppy. I suppose there’s not a whole lot he could have known about the situation though so I’ll give him some slack there. It made for a pretty intense ending that’s for sure.

I was glad that we actually got to see the government get involved. It feels like a lot of the time you don’t get to see a whole lot from them here. It makes sense that they would be gearing up to stop the zombies though. The scenes of the professionals discussing things and making plans was nice. It’s always good to see everyone banding together to stop a threat like this and humanity is united rather well. I do feel like they would be able to defeat the zombies rather easily when you think about it. A head shot is all you need and the zombies are incredibly slow. As it stands I feel like the main characters should have been a little less nervous about things at times as you could pick them off pretty easily. Honestly if Ben had one more fighter with him then they probably could have just taken them all down. With two people it’s a lot safer to actually go in and start bashing the opponents. With 1 you gotta be careful since they do have a little super strength so any good hit could turn the tables.

Overall, This is probably still a better film than most zombie titles. It’s not exactly one of the better horror genres if you ask me so for the most part this one was rather decent. If they would just tone down the cannabalism and the violence then this could even be a winner. You even have the horror twist type ending which is always classic. Throw in the brief Sci-Fi angle and the government part and there is definitely a whole lot to enjoy here. I get the feeling that this will end up beating the sequels as well. If you want a suspenseful film about trying to survive in the middle of nowhere then this is probably an appropriate one to check out. Otherwise there’s always the original Home Alone about defending yourself against powerful forces while all on your own.

Overall 3/10

Corpse Bride Review


Corpse Bride reminds you that you gotta be careful when stating your wedding vows. Someone may get the wrong idea if they’re in the area. It’s a pretty interesting story since the main character isn’t brave enough to fight back so he gets himself in a lot of trouble. The film does tend to get a little grotesque with its visual humor though, particularly when in the land of the dead. It’s why despite how the heroine may be a nice person, it’s hard to see this working out for the guy. The whole eye popping out all the time would definitely make you shudder.

The movie starts with Victor preparing for his arranged marriage with Victoria. He’s pretty nervous about the whole thing. After all, the two characters have never even met before which makes things pretty difficult. Still, he is excited to meet her so he preps for this. He ends up being unable to talk much when he sees her and then messes everything up at the wedding rehearsal. Ashamed, Victor heads to the forest and put the wedding ring on a tree finger as he recites the vows. It turns out he said this to the corpse known as Emily who gladly accepts. He is now stuck with her in a wedding pact in the underworld. Victor needs to find a way back to the land of the living so that he can finally be with Victoria. To do that he’s going to need to trick Emily but should be really be doing something so underhanded?

From the start you can tell that most of the characters here are not meant to be all that sympathetic. Victor’s parents are usually taking shots the whole time. The mother in particular really just wants Victor to get married already so they can have some dignity. Meanwhile Victoria’s parents are completely out of money and they’re hoping that this will get them a nice pay day. The irony here is that as elites you figure that they would have a lot of cash at the ready. Both families are really using the kids as tools.

Fortunately it does work out that Victor and Victoria do like each other but at the same time it makes it easier for you to possibly root for the dead girl. After all you can only connect so much after a few minutes right? The cast is fairly small to be honest as the only other big character would be the villain Barkis. I can’t say that Barkis was very good though. I liked his initial appearance as he showed up to complicate things and mess with everyone. I can always respect that and he has a lot of confidence but his plan was basically to marry Victoria so that’s no good. We also learn about his past near the end which seals the deal as his not being a very good guy. Of course you would expect that from a villain bus his goals seem to petty and it also seems like he’s just not good at managing money. That’s a bad combination.

What holds the movie back to an extent is that the imagery can be pretty gross the whole time. Burton’s definitely no stranger to rather odd visuals that’s for sure. He likes having the goth motif and it can work reasonably well although I’ll take traditional any time. Whenever we’re in the underworld you can expect people’s eyes to be falling out, worms everywhere, and stuff like that. It’s definitely not the most pleasant backdrop and does limit the film a bit. As I mentioned earlier, it’s also hard to root for Emily as a result. Now the film does play the sympathy card for her quite a bit and to a degree you may feel bad for her. Her real life didn’t work out so well and so this was her chance to really make a comeback. In the present the whole misunderstanding is really on her though.

Is Emily trying to say that she only heard the vows and nothing before it? Additionally with context clues she should have been able to figure something out. Now it’s part of the main plot of course but Victor tries to tell Emily this was a mistake the whole time. The afterlife has not been great for her either as Emily just looks dead. This isn’t the kind of movie where the dead person still looks pristine. Even though Victor was willing to make this work it’s just hard to see this working out well.

Victoria’s a nice enough character although I wouldn’t say there is much to her. She definitely does her best to make sure everything turns out well though so I’ll give her some props there. The scene of her trying to ask the priest the tough questions was one of the funniest moments of the film. It was handled very well for sure. Then we’ve got Victor and I’m not a fan of that guy. He’s way too nervous and just goes along with what he’s told to do. The guy doesn’t have a whole lot of agency to himself. He’s really responsible for all of the messes he gets himself into. If he was just a little bolder and more outspoken then he wouldn’t have fared so poorly. Try this on for size, if Emily hadn’t made the call for him at the end then Victor would have just gone through with the whole thing. If anything you have to doubt his devotion to either heroine since he was clearly willing to go with either one or the other.

Overall, Corpse Bride is a pretty unique film. It’s definitely rare to see more of a Halloween romance film. The story’s not bad and there are some fun moments to be had for sure. The scene of the dead people going into the church while staying quiet was really nice since they still had respect was great. It was also nice to see everyone just hanging out and having a good time at the end. Zombies aren’t as scary when they’re actually good people and still have free will. The whole gross aspect of the dead side holds the film down to an extent though. It puts the film squarely in the green, it’s not a film I’d ever plan to rewatch but it’s not bad either. It doesn’t ever make any huge error that would make me turn it down. You can’t help but feel like it could have been a whole lot better though. If you want to see a film with this kind of atmosphere then I’d recommend watching Coraline sooner but you’ll have a good time here.

Overall 6/10

Hand of Death Review


Sometimes when you turn a film on you know right away that things are going to get pretty deadly. The title itself can be a pretty good indicator of that after all. Well, this film’s definitely pretty solid and you’ll be glad to have checked it out. It can be a bit by the books at times of course, but at the end of the day it’s all executed well. The film’s pretty short though so it really breezes by. You really feel like they don’t make 1 hour movies like this anymore. Granted, I always think a movie should be as long as possible since it makes the experience even better but if you know ahead of time that the plot won’t hold then going short makes sense.

The movie starts with a driver noticing that something’s not right as there are a few sheep fast asleep inside of private property. He rushes inside and is promptly knocked out. When he wakes up a scientist named Alex lets the guy know that they’re running some secret experiments so he better not tell anyone. Alex is glad this happened though because it proves that the serum is safe on humans. He rushes home and explains to Ramsey that he has built the ultimate weapon for war. You can spray a whole country with this gas which will immobilizze them and also make them susceptible to hypnosis and all kinds of commands. Ramsey lets Alex know that their lab isn’t for war but Alex wants to proceed and Ramsey allows it. Alex is rather clumsy though and splashes himself with the mixture. He has now become a walking monster of death. Anyone he touches will surely perish. Alex threatens Ramsey that a cure must be made and soon or he’ll start murdering people. Can Ramsey make the cure in time or is the town already doomed?

One thing that was a bit surprising is how crazy Alex was. At first you expect that he’ll be your standard hero but the movie doesn’t really play out that way. Now, you can make the case that the mixture turned him crazy and he was actually a good guy otherwise. I have my doubts but it’s certainly a valid argument. The guy just dials it up to 11 though as he instantly threatens Ramsey and isn’t very reasonable about anything. I felt bad for the old guy because Ramsey did warn Alex that this was a risky endeavor. It’s hard to sympathize with Alex as much as you could have since he actively goes around murdering people. If it felt like he was a little more hesitant then that would help but I just did not get that vibe from him.

This does play into the interesting dynamic between him, Carol, and Tom. Technically Alex is with Carol but Tom seems to like her and she decides to mess with Alex to get him jealous. Mix that in with the fact that Alex is never around while Carol and Tom have to work together all the time and the whole thing already seemed dicey. It definitely put in some warning bells for Alex because the film had to do something to have one of them win. I think we know how that went now. Carol’s a reasonable character but I wouldn’t say she handles the situations all that well. She tends to panic quite a lot although at least she wasn’t really the fainting type. Then you have Tom who is pretty confident the whole time. I do feel like his sudden lunge at the end was all to bait Alex into charging to get shot. Maybe I’m reading too much into it but it seemed like it was all part of an elaborate plan.

Ramsey was the best character. It’s just a shame that there’s not a whole lot that he can do. The guy can’t really walk all that well as it is. His final scene was a bit odd though because it made no sense. It’s like he lunged at Alex which I’m sure was not the intention but it certainly came across that way. At least you hope that wasn’t what he was trying to do because it wouldn’t really make any sense. As the film goes on there is a pretty decent body count stockpiling up. Most of the characters were just trying to have a good day so it certainly didn’t work out for them.

The design for the monster isn’t bad but he definitely doesn’t look too intimidating. I’d say it’s sort of like a cross between the Thing and Swamp Thing. The fact that Alex can’t really talk all that well in this form doesn’t help matters for him. As expected the writing is pretty solid here. The characters are on point and it makes the whole experience pretty interesting. As I mentioned the film is pretty short so the pacing is also very fast. We even got to have the detectives and cops show up near the end which is always fun. Having the government get involved tends to bring any monster film to the next level and they looked pretty good here. They were definitely ready to deal with Alex and his super powers.

Overall, Hand of Death is a very accurate title. A single touch from this guy and that’s game over almost instantly. It’s a very lethal ability to the point where it could be very lethal in war as well. Of course you have to get close enough to touch someone so if you’re shot then I suppose this won’t be doing you a whole lot of good anyway. It’s a very basic movie with a small cast and a direct plot but I wouldn’t say that it has any weaknesses either. The fundamentals are very sound and that’s really all that you need. These retro horror films tend to be some of the best in the genre. They just don’t make them like they used to.

Overall 7/10