Category Archives: Reviews

Alligator (1980)

Director: Lewis Teague

Starring: Robert Forster, Robin Riker, Michael Gazzo

“I’m gonna go out there, I’m gonna find that alligator, and I’m gonna kick its ass.” (David, Alligator)

Here’s a top tip – if your young daughter does something that annoys you, don’t flush her pet baby alligator down the toilet to punish her. Chances are, twelve years later the alligator will still be living in the sewers and will have mutated into a huge beast by eating genetically modified dogs. Oh, and according to Alligator, your daughter will also mysteriously age about 20 years and become a redhead.

Alligator is a fun creature feature that doesn’t take itself too seriously. It follows David Madison, a Chicago cop investigating a number of body parts that have mysteriously been turning up in the city’s water filtration systems. It soon emerges that there’s an alligator living in the sewers, one much bigger than any other alligator known to man.

Well, if you're going to get out of your car like a dick that's the risk you take

You see, a local pharmaceutical company has been experimenting with hormones. They’ve been illegally acquiring dogs, injecting them with a serum that makes them grow quickly, then dumping them into the sewer when they’re finished with them. The gator’s then been eating them, hence its ridiculous size. After going into the sewers and seeing the gator eat one of his partners, David has to convince his fellow cops – as well as an alligator specialist (who’s the little girl grown up) – what they’re dealing with.  Continue reading

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Beyond The Mat (1999)

Director: Barry Blaustein

Starring: Mick Foley, Jake Roberts, Terry Funk, Vince McMahon

“My mother was 13 years old when I was born. Why? Because my dad raped a little girl that was in a room asleep. My dad was going out with my mother’s mother. There you go. There’s some bones for Jake the Snake.” (Jake Roberts, Beyond The Mat)

I know professional wrestling isn’t “real” – I know the results are predetermined, I know the storylines are set months in advance and I know winning a championship belt is nothing more than a backstage reward for your in-ring ability and the way you connect with the crowd. So does Barry Blaustein, the documentary filmmaker who spent a few years making Beyond The Mat. But that doesn’t mean the athletes involved (and they are athletes – they might have already picked a winner but it still hurts) don’t often go through both physical and mental hell to bring an entertaining show to the public. This film aims to expose that torment.  Continue reading

Religulous (2008)

Director: Larry Charles

Starring: Bill Maher

“Of course [you don't believe in Santa Claus], that’s ridiculous, it’s one man flying all over the world, dropping presents out of chimneys, that’s ridiculous. But one man hearing everybody murmur to him at the same time… that I get.” (Bill Maher, Religulous)

Bill Maher is no stranger to controversy, but in Religilous he tries to take it to the next level by discussing, criticising and mocking every religion he can think of, usually to the faces of those deeply involved with said religions.

For the record, I’m a part-time Catholic. I was raised Catholic, went to a Catholic school, used to go to chapel on a weekly basis and consider myself Catholic. That said, I’m not the greatest Catholic in the world. I don’t go to chapel anymore and I pick and choose which of the Bible’s rules I live my life by because society has changed a lot since then – if slavery was okay 100 years ago and it isn’t now, what’s to say the stuff we were being taught 2000 years ago is still valid?  Continue reading

Troll Hunter (2010)

Director: Andre Ovredal

Starring: Otto Jespersen, Glenn Tosterud, Johanna Morck, Tomas Larsen

“People always want natural explanations for things. But if you know what to look for, you’ll see what’s been caused by trolls.” (Hans, Troll Hunter)

The billboards currently advertising Troll Hunter claim it’s “the best monster movie since Jurassic Park.” This claim is, to put it as kindly as possible, a load of old arse. That’s not to say it isn’t an impressive film – it certainly is – but if you’re going into it expecting a modern masterpiece then, rather fittingly, you’ve been trolled. Instead, if I’d been in charge of the ad campaign, I’d have gone with something a little more accurate: “a bit like The Blair Witch Project, only you actually see something.”

Feeding time at Meatloaf's house is always a dangerous situation

Indeed, Troll Hunter‘s handheld amateur footage looks just like an HD version of Blair Witch or Cloverfield, as it follows a trio of Norwegian college students as they film a documentary investigating a bunch of mysterious bear killings. Eventually they come across Hans, a mysterious chap who it soon emerges is a troll hunter. He agrees to let the filmmakers tag along on his hunt, as long as they follow his instructions. But are trolls real, or is he just a delusional old dick?  Continue reading

The Monster Squad (1987)

Director: Fred Dekker

Starring: Andre Gower, Duncan Regehr, Tom Noonan

“The Creature stole my Twinkie.” (Eugene, The Monster Squad)

Kids’ films in the 1980s were much better than they are today. They had an edge to them, a realism that most of today’s films are too scared to address. You only need to look at Spielberg’s 2002 re-release of ET, in which he digitally removed the guns being held by the agents and replaced them with walkie-talkies. In short, today’s children’s movies are for pussies.

Anyone who’s recently watched The Goonies will know exactly what I mean. The kids in that film acted realistically, they had an attitude, they got into nasty scrapes, they wanted to see women’s boobs, they make fun of the fat kid, and every now and then they’ll swear to sound tough (but only in each other’s company, mind, never when an adult’s around). It felt real. Ditto, then, with The Monster Squad, a similar film of that era which for some odd reason never gained the same cult following as that other much-loved “group of kids go on an adventure” movie.  Continue reading

Best Worst Movie (2009)

Director: Michael Stephenson

Starring: George Hardy, Michael Stephenson, Margo Prey, Connie Young

“You compare our movie to a Katherine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart movie and it fits in. Because our movie was all about people and the experiences those people are experiencing. Just as Casablanca and those movies are about people and the experiences they are experiencing.” (Margo Prey, Best Worst Movie)

Let’s not beat about the bush here – I review an awful lot of shite on this site. That’s what makes it fun. The worse a movie is, the more I generally enjoy watching it. As a film that many regard as the worst ever made, then, Troll 2 is a film that holds a special place in my heart.

The New Kids On The Block reunion wasn't a very pretty sight

Most of us don’t take the time, however, to consider the people who starred in these films, or those who directed or wrote them. How do these people feel when they read the countless reviews ripping their hard work to shreds? How does it affect your confidence when, 20 years down the line, people are still calling your film a bucket of dogshit or saying you shouldn’t even be cast in a primary school play? These are the questions that Best Worst Movie attempts to answer.  Continue reading

Creepshow (1982)

Director: George A Romero

Starring: Ed Harris, Leslie Nielsen, Ted Danson, Tom Atkins, Hal Holbrook, Stephen King, EG Marshall

“You see that crap? All that horror crap? Things coming out of crates and eating people? Dead people coming back to life? People turning into weeds, for christ sake? Well, you want him reading that stuff? All right then! I took care of it. That’s why God made fathers, babe. That’s why God made fathers.” (Stan, Creepshow)

If you’ve read my previous review of Creepshow 3, you’ll have noticed that it has the dubious honour of one measly Trevor mask as its rating. This wasn’t just because Creepshow 3 is bad – it most certainly is – but also because its predecessors were so good that the third film let the entire series down. To cheer myself up then I decided to re-watch the original Creepshow over the festive period.

Well, it certainly beats a caterpillar cake

If you’re not familiar with it, Creepshow is a collection of five short stories written by Stephen King and directed by George A Romero (back when he was still good and not slapping his name on any old shite for a fiver). It’s an homage to the old EC comics of the 1950s like Tales From The Crypt and Vault Of Horror, and as such each story starts and ends as if it were in a comic book, with garish colours and speech bubbles. It’s an interesting style that not everyone will love but it’s fun and keeps things light-hearted. Make no mistake, this may be a collection of horror stories but (much like the EC comics themselves) its tongue is planted firmly in its rotting cheek and its five tales of morality are much funnier than they are scary. Continue reading

Leprechaun In The Hood (2000)

Director: Rob Spera

Starring: Warwick Davis, Ice-T, Anthony Montgomery

“A friend with weed is a friend indeed, but a friend with gold is the best I’m told.” (Leprechaun, Leprechaun In The Hood)

By the time the Leprechaun series reached its fifth instalment horror’s pint-sized Paddy had already terrorised a young Jennifer Aniston, hunted for a bride, rampaged through Las Vegas and even gone into space. Logic therefore dictated that there was only one place left for him to go – the hood.

It probably goes without saying given the title and the premise, but this film is madder than a caravan filled with seahorses. Rapper-turned-actor Ice-T plays Mack Daddy, a pimp who discovers the Leprechaun in a fossilised state and steals his magic flute, which gives him the ability to enchant anyone who hears it.

Oh, did I mention the Leprechaun also has three demonic fly girls? Well he does

In time Mack Daddy becomes a huge rap star thanks to the flute, but when a trio of young up-and-coming rappers ask him for some help and he “disses” them (as the youth of today say) they break into his house, steal the flute, hide out at a drag queen’s house for some reason then use the flute to kick off their own rap career. Oh, and during all this, the Leprechaun’s come out of his stony state and is ready to fuck up whoever has his flute.  Continue reading

Alien Undead (2010)

Director: Gregory Connors

Starring: Tonia Renee, Bret Kennedy, Ozzie Devrish

Also known as: The Dark Lurking (US)

“What hell have you unleashed down here?” (random shouty bloke, Alien Undead)

Well, this is just bloody silly. In a research facility one mile below the Earth’s surface (aren’t they all in this sort of film?), a team of scientists is working on a batch of genetically mutated humans spliced with the DNA of the devil. Naturally, things go a bit awry and a group of eight survivors try to escape the facility before the newly angry devil-mutants now roaming the corridors manage to get hold of them.

The outfits for those firing the starting pistols at the London 2012 Olympics were considered a little elaborate

This being a low-budget Australian horror film, these eight people conveniently fit nicely into their own stereotypical roles. There’s the loudmouth smartass woman who just sits there and says “yeah, reeeeeal smart idea, let’s just get ourselves killed” without actually contributing any ideas herself, there’s the effeminate wimpy guy who’s terrified of everything, there’s the tough guy, there’s the old scientist lady who plays dumb but really knows what’s going on and of course there’s the ethnic minority chap, who in this is just another Australian putting on an atrocious South American accent of some sort.  Continue reading

The Thing (2011)

Director: Matthijs van Heijningen Jr

Starring: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Joel Edgerton, Ulrich Thomsen, Eric Christian Olsen

“So I’m going to die because I floss?” (Adam, The Thing)

Legend has it the 2011 version of The Thing was originally going to be a remake of a remake. John Carpenter’s fantastic 1982 movie was already a newer take on 1951’s The Thing From Another World, and Universal’s original intention was to remake the Carpenter version and give it a CGI update.

It’s said, however, that the film’s producers managed to convince Universal to make a prequel instead, because in their eyes Carpenter’s version was already perfect and remaking it would be like “painting a moustache on the Mona Lisa”. This refreshing moral stance (if the story’s true, mind) led to what we have here, a film that instead focuses on the unknown events that led up to the Carpenter film, one based on the Norwegian research camp that discovers the Thing before it gets to Kurt Russell’s team in the ’82 film.

Mary couldn't believe it when she heard her own family in the next room refer to her as "her from Scott Pilgrim"

Kate Lloyd (Winstead) is a graduate palaeontologist who specialises in ice-based excavations. When an Antarctica research site uncovers a huge alien spaceship hidden under the ice, Kate is asked to join the team to help them study it. Oh, and the big alien monster they find trapped in the ice. Guess what happens next.

As in the ’82 film the “Thing” has the ability to change its shape and imitate any living organism it makes contact with, so once it inevitably escapes from its icy prison the film, like its predecessor, becomes as much about the crew’s lack of trust for each other as it does the monster itself.  Continue reading