Evil Dead II: Dead By Dawn (1987) review

Evil Dead 2 posterDirector: Sam Raimi

Starring: Bruce Campbell, Sarah Berry, Dan Hicks, Kassie Wesley, Denise Bixler, Richard Domeier

HENRIETTA: “I’ll swallow your soul! I’ll swallow your soul! I’ll swallow your soul!”

ASH: (points shotgun) “Swallow this.”

When The Evil Dead was released in 1981 it completely blew away the horror film industry.

With their titchy $375,000 budget director Sam Raimi, producer Bob Tapert, actor Bruce Campbell et al created a horror classic jammed fit to bursting with effective scares, laugh-out-loud moments and gallons of gore.

Usually a success like this leads to a sequel following soon after but fans of the original had to wait six years for Evil Dead II: Dead By Dawn. Continue reading “Evil Dead II: Dead By Dawn (1987) review”

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Scream: The TV Series (2015) review

Scream The TV Series posterDirectors: Various

Starring: Willa Fitzgerald, Bex Taylor-Klaus, John Karna, Carlson Young, Amadeus Serafini, Connor Weil, Tracy Middendorf

MR BRANSON: “The gothic genre is all over TV right now. American Horror Story, Hannibal, Bates Motel…”

JAKE: “What about Texas Chainsaw or Halloween?”

NOAH: “Those are slasher movies. You can’t do a slasher movie as a TV series.”

The recent tragic passing of the legendary Wes Craven led to an outpouring of support on social media as dedicated and lapsed fans alike took to Twitter to namecheck their favourite Craven movies.

The vast majority of them didn’t realise just how fitting their tributes were, as Craven died just before the airing of the final episode of Scream, a TV series based on his genre-redefining horror film and airing on MTV.

You see, whereas the original Scream, released in 1996, had the killer mostly contacting his victims via phone calls, this time the reimagined Ghostface uses all manner of techniques – yes, including social media – to stalk potential future corpses. Continue reading “Scream: The TV Series (2015) review”

Poltergeist (2015) review

Poltergeist 2015 posterDirector: Gil Kenan

Starring: Sam Rockwell, Rosemarie DeWitt, Kennedi Clements, Kyle Catlett, Jared Harris, Saxon Sharbino, Jane Adams

“They’re here.” (Madison, Poltergeist)

As you’ll know if you already read my review, the original 1982 Poltergeist is one of my favourite films of all time.

I should also point out that I’m not the sort of person who instantly hates remakes because they’re remakes. I got all that out of my system during my film buff university days and these days I’ll happily judge remakes – such as the brilliant 2004 Dawn Of The Dead and 2005 King Kong (hey, I liked it) – on their own merits.

That said, this new Poltergeist is shite. Continue reading “Poltergeist (2015) review”

Jurassic World (2015) review

Jurassic World posterDirector: Colin Trevorrow

Starring: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Ty Simpkins, Nick Robinson, Vincent D’Onofrio, Irrfan Khan

CLAIRE – “Think it’ll scare the kids?”

MASRANI – “The kids? This’ll give the parents nightmares.”

CLAIRE – “Is that… good?”

MASRANI – “It’s fantastic.”

“I can’t wait any more!”

This is what young Gray (Ty Simpkins, the young lad from Insidious) says near the start of Jurassic World as he whips open the curtains of his hotel room window and gets a glorious view of the park.

In a way, he’s speaking for every Jurassic Park fan crossing their fingers for 14 years for a new movie (and, some would argue, 22 years for a truly brilliant one). We couldn’t wait any more either. And now the wait is over. Continue reading “Jurassic World (2015) review”

Series Overview – Jurassic Park (1993-2015)

Jurassic Park was one of the biggest films of the nineties. Based on the Michael Crichton novel of the same name, it brought to life a thought every one of us has had as a child: “What would it be like to see a real life dinosaur?”

With the novelty gone, Jurassic Park’s sequels lacked the first film’s initial impact but there was still a giddy pleasure in seeing more dino hijinks. A fourth film, Jurassic World, is planned for summer 2015.

Click each poster for the full review.

Jurassic Park poster

Jurassic Park (1993)
“Eccentric Scottish billionaire John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) has opened up a theme park in a remote tropical island, a theme park that features real life dinosaurs he’s managed to clone using the DNA extracted from blood found in fossilised mosquitoes. Excited about his park, he invites some guests to see the park before it opens and get their expert opinions. Oh, and he’s invited his two grandchildren too, because things definitely won’t go tits-up.” Continue reading “Series Overview – Jurassic Park (1993-2015)”

Puppet Master 5: The Final Chapter (1994) review

Puppet Matser 5 posterDirector: Jeff Burr

Starring: Gordon Currie, Chandra West, Ian Ogilvy, a load of puppets

“You do see my problem, don’t you? You are asking an awful lot of me. A little monster, an agency or cult protecting some ancient magic… you must admit it is rather fantastic.” (Jennings, Puppet Master 5: The Final Chapter)

You can’t have a successful horror film series without at least one entry boldly (and falsely) claiming it’s the final one.

The sixth Nightmare On Elm Street film, Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare, was succeeded by three more films starring the finger-gloved freak.

Even better, Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter – the fourth film in the series – was actually far from the final chapter, with Jason appearing in eight subsequent movies.

So too, then, was the case with Full Moon Pictures’ cult series Puppet Master which claimed this, the fifth film in as many years, was to be the last. Continue reading “Puppet Master 5: The Final Chapter (1994) review”

A Nightmare On Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989) review

A Nightmare On Elm Street 5 posterDirector: Stephen Hopkins

Starring: Robert Englund, Lisa Wilcox, Kelly Jo Minter, Danny Hassel, Erika Anderson

AMANDA KRUEGER – “Your birth was a curse on the whole of humanity. I will not allow it to happen again. You brought me back to give you life, but now I must take yours.”

FREDDY – “We’ll see, bitch. We’ll just see.”

I’ll tell you something, that Freddy Krueger lad doesn’t fuck around, does he?

Wes Craven’s original classic A Nightmare On Elm Street was released in 1984, yet by the time 1989 rolled around the series had already reached its fifth film.

Naturally, churning out movies at a rate of nearly one a year can’t be good for the quality of a franchise: not that New Line Cinema cared, of course. Freddy was guaranteed profit.

The process eventually reached a head with film number five, The Dream Child. It offered far more visual spectacle than any other entry before it but, crucially, made far less sense too. Continue reading “A Nightmare On Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989) review”

Puppet Master 4 (1993) review

Puppet Master 4 posterDirector: Jeff Burr

Starring: Gordon Currie, Chandra West, Ash Adams, Guy Rolfe

“The magic that gives my puppets life was stolen from a tribe of ancient Egyptian sorcerers, who pledged their allegiance to the demon lord Sutek.” (Andre Toulon, Puppet Master 4)

Although Full Moon Pictures had decided by Puppet Master III that its titular terrors were better as protagonists than antagonists, there was still a problem: they still killed humans.

Granted, these humans were evil Nazis, but even so: if only there was a way to have them killing something else rather than people to ensure their moral standards were of the utmost quality.

In fact what if, instead of humans, they could fight other little puppet-sized creatures? Ones that had maybe, I don’t know, been sent to Earth by a demon who looked like a Power Rangers reject?

Enter Puppet Master 4. Continue reading “Puppet Master 4 (1993) review”

A Nightmare On Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988) review

A Nightmare On Elm Street 4 posterDirector: Renny Harlin

Starring: Robert Englund, Lisa Wilcox, Tuesday Knight, Andras Jones, Danny Hassel, Ken Sagoes, Rodney Eastman

“You shouldn’t have buried me. I’m not dead.” (Freddy, A Nightmare On Elm Street 4: The Dream Master)

When A Nightmare On Elm Street 3 was released in 1987, the character of Freddy Krueger truly took off and started to become a household name.

This was partly thanks to his character’s evolution which saw him become more of an anti-hero than an outright villain.

Whereas in the first film he was a strictly sinister creation – a child murderer stalking the dreams of those whose parents killed him – by the third movie Freddy was busting out one-liners and making people scream with laughter rather than terror.

The inevitable fourth film, knocked together in less than a year, continued this trend by offering an even more wisecracking, fun-loving Freddy… with the fright factor taking another knock as a result.

However, as a shameless Nightmare On Elm Street devotee, I’m not fussed in the slightest. Hey, if you want objectivity, visit the BBC. Continue reading “A Nightmare On Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988) review”

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990) review

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles posterDirector: Steve Barron

Starring: Judith Hoag, Elias Koteas, voices of Corey Feldman, Josh Pais, Brian Tochi, Robbie Rist

“Death comes for us all, Oroku Saki, but something much worse comes for you. For when you die, it will be without honour.” (Splinter, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)

First, a disclaimer. I’m an enormous Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fan. From the Eastman & Laird comics to the ’80s Fred Wolf cartoons to the Playmates toys to the Konami video games, I couldn’t get enough of the lean green teen fighting machines when I was a sprog. And yes, that included this film (and its two sequels).

However, now that I am 31 it is only fair that I try to review the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie with some degree of sensibility and not let my rampant Turtles fanboyism nunchuk its way to the fore. Continue reading “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990) review”