The Creeps (1997) review

The Creeps posterDirector: Charles Band

Starring: Rhonda Griffin, Justin Lauer, Bill Moynihan, Jon Simanton

“You’re history, you little pervert! No, you’re archaeology, as in old garbage!” (Anna, The Creeps)

Full Moon Pictures is one of my favourite B-movie horror studios. Established in the 1980s, it was well-known among horror fans for its cheesy low-budget efforts.

Some, like Puppet Master and Subspecies, were so popular they went on to spawn their own multi-sequel franchises. Others, like Dollman – in which an intergalactic bounty hunter crashlands on space only to realise he’s ten inches tall – weren’t.

Full Moon continues to this day, and while most of its recent output retains all of the cheese, it leaves out most of the charm. Titles like The Gingerdead Man and Dangerous Worry Dolls sound like they should be superb slices of low-budget larks (well, they do to me at least) but ultimately they end up in the TWABM Hall Of Shame.

A great example of how it used to be is The Creeps, a Full Moon pishfest that was given a DVD re-release this week. Continue reading “The Creeps (1997) review”

The Company Of Wolves (1984)

Director: Neil Jordan

Starring: Sarah Patterson, Angela Lansbury, Micha Bergese, David Warner

“Never stray from the path, never eat a windfall apple and never trust a man whose eyebrows meet in the middle.” (Granny, The Company Of Wolves)

Director Neil Jordan is perhaps best known for his contributions to the vampire genre (Interview With The Vampire) and the “chicks with dicks” genre (The Crying Game) but in the ‘80s he also lent his directorial skills to a nifty little werewolf film called The Company Of Wolves, a film so rich in imagery and metaphor that its ideas and themes are still heavily discussed more than 25 years after it was originally released.

"Sorry, I'm currently feeling a bit ruff"

While the prologue is set in the present day, the vast majority of The Company Of Wolves takes place in the fairytale setting of a girl’s dream. In it, a small village lives in fear of the wolves that roam the woods nearby. Rosaleen, a twelve-year-old girl, is caught up in this hysteria when her older sister is killed by the wolves and she’s sent to stay with her granny for a while.

There her granny tells her a bunch of stories, which play out one by one over the course of the film – some told by granny, others recounted by Rosaleen to her mum later on. Eventually, Rosaleen herself becomes the subject of one of the tales – a werewolf version of Little Red Riding Hood – and is confronted with one of the beasts in her granny’s house.  Continue reading “The Company Of Wolves (1984)”

Twilight (2008)

Director: Catherine Hardwicke

Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner

“I hate you for making me want you so much.” (Edward, Twilight)

I’ve spoken of my dislike of a Twilight film before when my girlfriend dragged me to see Breaking Dawn Volume 1, but since then said girlfriend has become a fiancée and as such the values of compromise, sharing and such bollocks are reinforced more than ever. It’s for this reason then that I was recently sat down in front of Twilight, the first film in the interminable Twilight saga and the only one I hadn’t had the “pleasure” of seeing yet. Needless to say, my thoughts on the series haven’t changed after watching this 110-minute prologue.

Not everyone has nearly two hours to watch a bunch of fannies jumping about and pretending to be vampires, so I’ve decided to present you with a slightly rewritten version of the Twilight script. I’ve basically taken out all the needless romance stuff and left you with the core story. Enjoy.  Continue reading “Twilight (2008)”

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 “The Monster Squad (1987)”

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 (2011)

Director: Bill Condon

Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner

“No measure of time with you will be long enough. But we’ll start with forever.” (Edward, Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 1)

There’s a scene in Breaking Dawn where Jacob, the miserable hormonal werewolf, tells Edward, the miserable hormonal vampire: “I know how this ends, and I’m not stickin’ around to watch”. I wish I had that luxury.

You see, I love my girlfriend, and part of what makes our relationship so strong is our ability to compromise. She puts up with it as I make her watch a slew of shite horror films and I put up with her love of Sailor Moon, SpongeBob Squarepants, The X Factor and Twilight (don’t worry, she likes other stuff too, fortunately). The latter thankfully doesn’t affect me too much – the only time I have to put up with it is when the latest Twilight film hits the cinema. It’s for this reason I was made to watch Breaking Dawn.

"There's nothing like a good game of chess, that's what I always say"

Much like Jacob, then, I too know how this is going to end – I’ve already had the plot of the book explained to me in unnecessary detail and already I know how Part 2 goes – but unlike Jacob, my relationship means I won’t be able to avoid it. And if it’s going to be anything like Part 1, I’d better bring the sleeping pills.

Before I continue, a disclaimer: I am in no way a Twilight fan. I never saw the first film, then met my girlfriend and was subsequently dragged to (and struggled through) the last two. I have no doubt fans of the series will adore this film and weep openly throughout, after which they’ll run home and weep hysterically a little more as they cut their hair off and stick it on their homemade Jacob and Edward voodoo dolls. But I’m trying to judge it on its own merits.

"I've got to stop them playing chess. Hopefully this poster saying CHESS IS SHIT will do the trick"

While it would have been perfectly possible to fit Breaking Dawn into one film, it seems the studio behind it wanted to do a Harry Potter and spilt the film into two for the simple reason it’ll make them double the money. What we have, then, is the first two acts of the story stretched over an excruciating two hours, with more padding than that in the bras of its target audience.

Yawn! As a wedding scene lasts half an hour, complete with the longest “you may kiss the bride” moment in cinematic history. Struggle! As you endure a needlessly lengthy honeymoon scene complete with a white-hot montage featuring at least three scenes where Bella and Edward play chess for a bit. Sigh! As Bella gurns, looks gormless and bites her lip so often you wonder if she isn’t already practising to be a vampire.

"Don't worry, I don't believe what they're saying about chess either"

Incidentally, speaking of Bella and Edward, it’s understandable that Twilight is aimed at a teenage audience, because watching the on-screen relationship between actors Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson reminds me a lot of my own teenage school days – it’s awkward, it’s painful and (because of the subjects I chose) there’s no chemistry.

Anyway, after what has to be a whole fucking hour of wedding and honeymoon nothingness, the story finally progresses when Bella finds herself up the duff with some sort of mutant baby. Cue another 40 minutes of her looking deathly ill while the vampires look at her, then look at each other, then look back at her again, interspersed with bits where moany Jacob grudgingly chats with moany Edward then argues with the other werewolves who keep threatening to fuck up the vampires but take ages to actually go through with it.

I could go on and on, but I’m actually getting angry as I type this, and I just keep remembering ridiculous things. The scene where the werewolves all meet on a beachfront and argue with each other, in shoddy CGI werewolf form, without even opening their mouths. The numerous scenes where Edward zips around really quickly – while swimming, while walking through the woods, while packing his fucking suitcase – just to remind the audience he’s a vampire because otherwise he gets to do the best part of fuck all vampire-related.

"I fucking love chess, me"

The “fight” between the vampires and the werewolves, which takes place in the dark, lasts about two minutes and is so filled with jump cuts it’s impossible to tell what’s going on. Or the fact that the film is literally fifteen seconds old before Jacob once again peels his shirt off to appease the swooning teen audience.

The film’s one saving grace is the final scene, which admittedly is excellent and a fantastic way to end the film, and the story as a whole in fact. I’d much rather a line was drawn under it at this point, but of course we still have to deal with another whole film showing Bella coming to terms with her new situation, no doubt moping about for another two hours doing very little.

Breaking Dawn Part 1 is 110 minutes of piffle followed by 10 minutes of relatively interesting goings-on. Perhaps the best compliment I could give it is that it helped me understand how it must feel to be a vampire, because as I watched this mindless, over-long drivel I too felt dead inside.

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