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Puppet Master II (1991) review

Puppet Master 2 posterDirector: David Allen

Starring: Elizabeth Maclellan, Collin Bernsen, Steve Welles, Greb Webb

“No one escapes.” (Andre Toulon, Puppet Master II)

I’ve got a bit of a soft spot for the Puppet Master series, as you’ll already know if you read my review of the first film a while back.

This second outing for Full Moon Pictures’ wooden wonders offers more of the same, with stop-motion puppetry, supernatural skullduggery and sub-standard acting the order of the day.

The movie begins with our anti-heroes, still living at the Bodega Bay Inn, facing a dilemma. You see, the reason they’re alive in the first place is because their titular puppet master, Andre Toulon, developed a serum that could bring life to inanimate objects.

The problem is, the serum’s running out, and Andre Toulon pebble-dashed a wall with his brains in the ’40s when he shot himself to avoid capture by the Nazis, so if they can’t get any more serum soon they’ll be a bit fucked. Continue reading

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Phantasm (1979) review

Phantasm posterDirector: Don Coscarelli

Starring: Michael Baldwin, Bill Thornbury, Reggie Bannister, Angus Scrimm

“You think when you die, you go to heaven? You come to us.” (The Tall Man, Phantasm)

When most people think of iconic horror movie villains they tend to reel off the usual suspects: Jason, Freddy, Michael Myers, Chucky and the like.

However, one particular evildoer was doing his nefarious deeds long before most other slasher baddies got their blades wet. His name is the Tall Man, and he’s the villain in cult ’70s horror Phantasm.

The film takes place in a small Californian town which, when we join it, is mourning the apparent suicide of one of its residents. We’ve already seen in the opening scene that it was actually a murder, though, so it’s clear hijinks are due. Continue reading

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The Tenant (2012) review

The Tenant posterDirector: Chris Jaymes

Starring: David Arquette, Kristen Dalton, Victor Browne, Morissa O’Mara, Alana O’Mara

Also known as: The Cottage (US title)

“Listen, I’m really sorry but it’s just really important to me that we’re cool with each other, because honestly, I think I’m falling in love with your daughter.” (Robert, The Tenant)

I usually have a soft spot for actors that are widely regarded as a bit pish. I will defend Ben Affleck to the death, for example, and Charlie Sheen may have his critics but he’s alright in my book.

Much as I’d love to say the same about David Arquette though, I just can’t bring myself to do it. Continue reading

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AVP: Alien vs Predator (2004) review

AVP Alien vs Predator posterDirector: Paul W S Anderson

Starring: Sanaa Lathan, Lance Henriksen, Raoul Bova, Ewen Bremner

They’re not hunting us. We’re in the middle of a war. It’s time to pick a side.” (Alexa, AVP: Alien vs Predator)

How do you bring two of the most iconic sci-fi monsters together so they can meet and fight each other?

Hmmm. What if there was some sort of common ground they shared, something that could be used to force a meeting?

Let’s think. On one hand you’ve got the Alien, the penis-headed xenomorph that made life hell for Sigourney Weaver in the Alien movies. Which lives in space.

Then there’s the Predator, the alien hunter that made life hell for Arnold Schwarzenegger in the first Predator movie. Which lives in space.

Right then, with that in mind it seems pretty obvious how a storyline for Alien vs Predator could come about. Yup, you guessed it, a fight to the death in an ancient underground pyramid 2000 feet below the ground. In Antarctica. Continue reading

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The Attic (2013) review

The Attic posterDirector: Josh Stolberg

Starring: Raleigh Holmes, Steven Weber, Sterling Beaumon, Lori Laughlin, Jonathan Silverman, Paul James

Also known as: Crawlspace (US title)

TIM – “You don’t fuck with another man’s home.”
ALDON  - “I was about to say the same thing myself.”

There are a number of reasons I tend to watch indie horror films I’ve never heard of.

Part of it is down to the complete lack of knowledge of what’s coming next. I enjoy movies more when I don’t even know the basic plot.

It’s also because I like seeing what sort of ideas filmmakers can come up with when they only have a relatively small budget.

Best of all though, when you watch hundreds of films and most of them are shite, it’s even more satisfying than normal when you come across a hidden gem. Cue The Attic. Continue reading

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Nick Fury: Agent Of Shield (1998) review

Nick Fury posterDirector: Rod Hardy

Starring: David Hasselhoff, Lisa Rinna, Sandra Hess, Neil Roberts, Garry Chalk, Tracy Waterhouse

“I do not intend to spend the last few hours of my life on this planet in the Helicarrier’s sick bay. I’ll get that vampire’s blood if I have to suck it from her neck.” (Nick Fury, Nick Fury: Agent Of Shield)

When you think of Nick Fury these days, chances are the first image that springs to mind is Samuel L Jackson’s face.

In a way it was a hell of an achievement for Marvel to have taken a comic book character who’s been white for the best part of 40 years and in nearly no time at all make us all associate him with Mr L Jackson instead. Props and such.

Less props were offered to Marvel in the ’90s when it happily handed out the Nick Fury licence to 20th Century Fox, who in turn created a made-for-TV movie that doubled as a pilot for a potential TV series (it wasn’t greenlit). This is that movie. Continue reading

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Mental Foreign Film Posters: Ghana

Remember the alternative version of 300 where Gerard Butler was replaced by the guy who played Treguard in Knightmare? Well, now you do.
Remember the alternative version of 300 where Gerard Butler was replaced by the guy who played Treguard in Knightmare? Well, now you do.

Earlier this year I shared some examples of Poland’s bizarre movie poster art. But the Poles don’t have the monopoly on advertising films in odd ways.

In the mid 1980s VCR technology came to Ghana, allowing entrepreneurial types to run their own film screenings.

Armed with their VCR, a TV and a portable generator, these kind chaps would travel around Ghanaian towns and set up a sort of temporary cinema, showing the locals a film then moving on to the next location.

In order to promote their screenings, they hired local artists to create movie posters for them. Sometimes these posters were little more than paintings of the actual VHS cover, but sometimes – often when the artist hadn’t actually seen the film – the results were a little more bizarre.

These days Ghana’s economy is beginning to thrive and this practice is far less common, mainly because many Ghanaians are able to afford their own televisions and DVD players. But it’s fun to take a look back at how it used to be back in the day.

Continue reading

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My Bloody Valentine (1981) review

My Bloody Valentine posterDirector: George Mihalka

Starring: Paul Kelman, Lori Hallier, Neil Affleck, Keith Knight, Cynthia Dale, Helene Udy, Alf Humphreys

“Roses are red, violets are blue, one is dead… and so are you.” (killer’s note, My Bloody Valentine)

Valentine’s Day can be a pain in the arse at the best of times.

If you’re single it can be a thoroughly depressing affair as you hear countless tales of lovebirds wooing each other with gifts and other tokens of their adoration.

Meanwhile, being one of said lovebirds is no picnic either, what with the stress of having to buy your partner a present and hoping it’s the right size, or the right colour, or the specific type they asked for.

All of this pales in comparison to the small rural American town of Valentine’s Bluff, though. There Valentine’s Day can be a real killer. Literally. Continue reading

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Killers From Space (1954) review

Killers From Space posterDirector: W. Lee Wilder

Starring: Peter Graves, James Seay, Steve Pendleton, Frank Gerstle

DOUG – Where do you come from?
DENEB TALA – From a planet yet unknown to you.
DOUG – You know my name. You speak English.
DENEB TALA – We speak every language.

If the title has you curious as to what this one’s about let me end your suspense – it’s about killers from space. And it’s shite.

A young Peter Graves (decades before his role as the white-haired Captain Oveur in Airplane!) plays Doctor Doug Martin, a scientist working for the US military. Continue reading

Reviews of films that are slightly less than sane


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