Puppet Master (1989) review

Puppet Master posterDirector: David Schmoeller

Starring: Paul Le Mat, William Hickey, Irene Miracle, Jimmie F Skaggs, Robin Frates, Matt Roe

“Metaphysically speaking, I killed myself.” (Neil, Puppet Master)

Over the past few months many of my reviews have been dedicated to films by Full Moon, one of my favourite B-movie studios.

Full Moon were responsible for a raft of low-budget 80s and 90s horror films and while the majority were as atrocious as you’d expect (hence exhibits A, B, C, D and E here), every so often they’d come up trumps with a gem.

Puppet Master is one such film, one that proved so successful it spawned a total of nine sequels. Naturally, reviews of these will come in time but for now let’s start at the beginning. Continue reading “Puppet Master (1989) review”

The Amityville Asylum (2013) review

The Amityville Asylum posterDirector: Andrew Jones

Starring: Sophia Del Pizzo, Lee Bane, Andy Evason, Eileen Daly

LISA – “What’s that smell?”

DELANEY – “It always hangs in the air. No matter how much we bleach the floor, there is always that smell of death.”

In December 1975, George and Kathy Lutz moved into 112 Ocean Avenue, a house in Amityville where thirteen months previously, a man had shot and killed six members of his family.

The Lutz family left the house after only a month, claiming they had been terrorised by evil paranormal forces living there. A book entitled The Amityville Horror was released two years later and the story went on to spawn a number of movies.

The Amityville Asylum is the eleventh movie to use the Amityville story as part of its plot, but in reality this review’s already discussed it more than the film does. Continue reading “The Amityville Asylum (2013) review”

Alien: Resurrection (1997) review

Alien Resurrection posterDirector: Jean-Pierre Jeunet

Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Winona Ryder, Dominique Pinon, Ron Perlman, Brad Dourif

RIPLEY – “There’s a monster in your chest. These guys hijacked your ship, and they sold your cryo tube to this human. And he put an alien inside of you. It’s a really nasty one. And in a few hours it’s gonna burst through your ribcage, and you’re gonna die. Any questions?

PURVIS – “Who are you?”

RIPLEY – “I’m the monster’s mother.”

There are some people who feel writer Joss Whedon can do no wrong. To those people I remove my cap, stare soberly at them and nod my head in the direction of Alien Resurrection, at which point blood streams freely from their eyes as they collapse in a heap, screaming indecipherable slogans of bile and malice.

To be fair, that would maybe be a bit of an overreaction on their behalf, because Alien Resurrection isn’t exactly the worst film ever made. It’s just the worst Alien film ever made. Continue reading “Alien: Resurrection (1997) review”

Alien 3 (1992) review

Alien 3 posterDirector: David Fincher

Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Charles Dutton, Charles Dance, Paul McGann, Lance Henriksen, an Alien

“You’re all gonna die, the only question is how you check out. Do you want it on your feet, or on your fuckin’ knees, begging? I ain’t much for begging. Nobody ever gave me nothing. So I say fuck that thing, let’s fight it.” (Dillon, Alien 3)

WARNING: This article has ending spoilers, so you have been warned. It’s more than two decades old, to be fair.

Imagine you had a decent job. Let’s say you were the manager of something… a plumbing firm, for example. You make good money, and you’re happy with the knowledge that when it comes to managing plumbing firms, you know your onions.

Now imagine you’ve also got two older brothers. One brother is a leading politician – be that the Prime Minister, President, whatever it is in your country. The other brother is one of the greatest footballers in the world and has two World Cup Winner’s medals in his large trophy display room.

If you can’t tell where I’m going with this analogy you might as well close this window and go back to fumbling over Candy Crush Saga. Yes, friends, what I’m saying is that Alien 3 is the plumbing firm manager of the Alien series. Look, just go with it. Continue reading “Alien 3 (1992) review”

Halloween: Resurrection (2002) review

Halloween Resurrection posterDirector: Rick Rosenthal

Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Brad Loree, Busta Rhymes, Bianca Kajlich, Sean Patrick Thomas, Daisy McCrackin

“Trick or treat, muthafucka.” (Freddie Harris, Halloween: Resurrection)

Miramax achieved the impossible by taking the flatlining Halloween series and resurrecting it with the back-to-basics Halloween H20.

With Michael Myers relevant and scary again, it was therefore inevitable that another Halloween would come, even though it seemed Myers was well and truly dead after the last film.

How did they manage to bring the pale pursuer back then? Well, I’ll tell you, because I’m nice like that. Continue reading “Halloween: Resurrection (2002) review”

Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998) review

Halloween H20 posterDirector: Steve Miner

Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Josh Hartnett, Michelle Williams, Adam Arkin, LL Cool J, Janet Leigh, Chris Durand

JOHN – It just occurred to me today that I’ve never celebrated Halloween before.

MOLLY – And why’s that?

JOHN – Oh, we’ve got a psychotic serial killer in the family who loves to butcher people on Halloween, and I just thought it in bad taste to celebrate.

After the train wreck that was Halloween: The Curse Of Michael Myers I’m surprised Dimension Films and Miramax had the gall to bring ol’ paleface back yet again.

Still, bring him back they did, in a film made to mark the 20th anniversary of the original Halloween. And you know something? They actually did a decent job this time.

Perhaps realising the previous film had become a confusing mess with a plot consisting of evil cults, a convoluted bloodline, adopted children and Paul Rudd, Halloween H20 scraps it all and instead provides an alternative timeline in which the events of Halloween 4, Halloween 5 and Halloween: The Curse Of Michael Myers never happened. Continue reading “Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998) review”

Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland (1989) review

Sleepaway Camp III posterDirector: Michael A Simpson

Starring: Pamela Springsteen, Tracy Griffith, Michael J Pollard, Mark Oliver

CINDY – “Why are you doing this to me?”

ANGELA – “Because you’re a cheerleader, a fornicator, a drug taker, a nasty snotty bigot… and besides that, you’re real nice.”

Here’s some advice. If you’re ever at a pub quiz and one of the questions is “what do Sleepaway Camp and Back To The Future have in common?”, your response should be two sentences.

The first: “That’s a pretty fucking obscure film to be bringing up in a pub quiz, considering the public in general aren’t familiar with the Sleepaway Camp series.”

The second: “Nevertheless, the answer to your niche question is that both had their second and third movies shot back-to-back.” Continue reading “Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland (1989) review”

Halloween: The Curse Of Michael Myers (1995) review

Halloween The Curse Of Michael Myers posterDirector: Joe Chappelle

Starring: Donald Pleasence, Paul Rudd, Marianne Hagan

“Enough of this Michael Myers bullshit!” (John Strode, Halloween: The Curse Of Michael Myers)

It says a lot about a film when the stories of its behind-the-scenes turmoil and tantrums are more interesting than the story that ended up on the screen.

This was the curious condition inflicted on Halloween: The Curse Of Michael Myers, the sixth film in the Halloween series. Plagued by in-fighting and studio politics before a single frame was even shot, the conflict continued to escalate throughout production.

It’s said that the original script for the film was so powerful a Dimension exec couldn’t sleep the night after reading it, and Halloween regular Donald Pleasence (who had starred as Dr Sam Loomis in four of the previous five films) loved it too. Continue reading “Halloween: The Curse Of Michael Myers (1995) review”

Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers (1988) review

Sleepaway Camp 2 posterDirector: Michael A Simpson

Starring: Pamela Springsteen, Renee Estevez, Tony Higgins

Also known as: Nightmare Vacation II (UK VHS)

ANGELA – “I did my time. Two years of therapy, electroshock, was on every pill you ever heard of, plus an operation. I’m completely cured. If I wasn’t they wouldn’t have let me out. How do you know so much about me?”

SEAN – “My dad’s a cop. He helped arrest you. You should have heard him the day you got out.”

ANGELA – “That’s too bad. Wait until he hears what’s happened to you.”

Warning: The following review spoils the identity of the killer in the original Sleepaway Camp. However, it does not spoil its big twist ending, so if you don’t mind knowing who the killer was you can feel free to read on, safe in the knowledge you’re still in for a shock when you watch the original. Which you really should, you know.

Sleepaway Camp caused something of a dilemma. When you end a film in such a shocking, outrageous manner, how exactly can you follow that up? Sleepaway Camp II decided the answer was to give the original’s killer a completely different personality.

Years after butchering a load of kids in Camp Arawak all those years ago, Angela Baker has gone through extensive electro-shock therapy and psychiatric treatment. She decides the best thing to do is get a job as a counsellor at a new summer camp, seeing as everything went so well the last time. Continue reading “Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers (1988) review”

Friday The 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988) review

Friday The 13th Part VII: The New Blood posterDirector: John Carl Buechler

Starring: Lar Park-Lincoln, Terry Kisser, Susan Blu, Kane Hodder

“There’s a legend around here. A killer buried, but not dead. A curse on Crystal Lake. A death curse. Jason Voorhees’ curse. They say he died as a boy, but he keeps coming back. Few have seen him and lived. Some have even tried to stop him. No one can.” (Narrator, Friday The 13th Part VII: The New Blood)

The Friday The 13th series has jumped the shark so many times I’m surprised Jason Voorhees isn’t dressed like Evel Knievel.

After apparently killing their iconic slasher villain for good in Part IV, introducing a copycat killer in Part V then resurrecting the original as a zombie in Part VI and chaining him to the bottom of Crystal Lake at the end, Paramount decided it was time to fill an entire swimming pool full of sharks, jellyfish and piranha and jump that instead.

Enter Tina Shepard, the heroine of Part VII: The New Blood. Not content with merely being the latest in a line of sole survivors in Friday The 13th films, Tina is different because (drum roll) she has telekinetic powers. Yes, she can move things with the power of her mind. Continue reading “Friday The 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988) review”