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”

Deadly Friend (1986) review

Deadly Friend posterDirector: Wes Craven

Starring: Matthew Laborteaux, Kristy Swanson, Michael Sharrett, Anne Ramsey, Anne Twomey

“Wait, she’s dead? Hey, what the hell are you doing? You didn’t say anything about a dead body, we were supposed to save her life.” (Tom, Deadly Friend)

I never get tired of saying this, but God bless the 1980s. No other decade could give you a film with a plot that begins with “a boy, his mum and his robot move into a new house” and not have that be the oddest thing about it by the time the credits roll.

Deadly Friend is the work of director Wes Craven, fresh from finding new success with A Nightmare On Elm Street. It’s one of the oddest horror films you’ll see, but that’s perhaps not Craven’s fault. You see, he didn’t want to make a horror film at all. Continue reading “Deadly Friend (1986) review”

Evil Laugh (1986) review

Evil Laugh posterDirector: Dominick Brascia

Starring: Ashlyn Gere, Steven Baio, Jerold Pearson, Jody Gibson

“These things don’t happen in New York. I just hope a guy in a hockey mask named Jason doesn’t show up.” (Barney, Evil Laugh)

Sometimes when I’m in the mood to watch a completely random horror film, I tend to use two qualifying questions: 1) Is it from the ’80s? and 2) Does it have a weird name?

It was this vetting process that led to my discovery of Evil Laugh, a 1986 slasher that has somehow slipped between the horror cracks over the years. This surprised me because I found it pretty bloody entertaining.

In it, a group of medical students (all of whom look much older than they’re probably supposed to be) travel to a large secluded house to help their friend fix it up and turn it into a foster home.

Sadly, there’s a slight issue with the house: it used to be an orphanage. That’s not the problem, mind. The problem is that ten years ago, all the adults and children living in it were slaughtered by a madman who then set the house on fire, dying himself in the blaze. Continue reading “Evil Laugh (1986) review”

TWABM Vol 2 eBook – FREE for a limited time!

TWABM 2 coverIt’s that festive time of the year where giving is more important than receiving… or at least that’s what I try to tell my loved ones when I’m trying to get more Blu-rays from them for Christmas.

That’s why I’m giving you a Christmas present.

Last week I hit a delightful wee milestone, in that my ebook That Was A Bit Mental Volume 1 hit 600 downloads. For a wee book that has had zero publicity other than a few tweets, I’m delighted with this.

To celebrate, and to get you in the Christmas spirit, I’m giving you my follow-up ebook, That Was A Bit Mental Volume 2.

Yes, just giving you it. For free. Continue reading “TWABM Vol 2 eBook – FREE for a limited time!”

Critters (1986) review

critters_posterDirector: Stephen Herek

Starring: Dee Wallace Stone, M Emmet Walsh, Billy Green Bush, Scott Grimes, Billy Zane

CRITTER 1 – “They have weapons.”
CRITTER 2 – “So what?”
<Critter 2 is blown up>
CRITTER 2 – “Fuck!”

As I’ve explored in numerous reviews in the past, such as Bride Of Chucky and Puppet Master III, there comes a point in some horror films where it becomes clear that the killer isn’t very intimidating.

There are ways to deal with this. The Puppet Master solution was to turn its killers – the titular puppets – into the heroes and make the audience root for them.

The Bride Of Chucky solution, meanwhile, was to acknowledge that the concept of a killer doll was a daft one and therefore the best thing to do was not only make Chucky the hero but also play the film entirely for laughs.

Critters instead takes the Gremlins approach (the first one, not its sequel), which also aims for comedy but at the same time steadfastly refuses to accept that its killer creatures are anything other than nasty little bastards. And it works. Continue reading “Critters (1986) review”

TWABM Vol 1 eBook – FREE for a limited time!

Back in October, I released the first ever That Was A Bit Mental eBook. A few people bought it – these people are considered legends.

Then, in January this year, I dropped the price. A few more people bought it – these people are considered friends.

TWABM ebookThe rest of you, those who have yet to buy it, I consider work in progress. One day you will hang on my every word and treat every new review like another little droplet from heaven. But you need more convincing.

Of course, I’m only joking! *glares* Either way, I’m not going to be updating the site for a couple of weeks, so I recommend you spend that time catching up on some of the other 223 reviews already on That Was A Bit Mental.

Since the best way to do this is read the aforementioned eBook, which contains special ‘Writer’s Cut’ versions of the first 100 reviews on the site – complete with re-written jokes, extra bits and bonus trivia for every film – I’ve decided to do you a little favour.

For the next two weeks – that’s until the evening of Sunday, August 10 – you can download a PDF version of the That Was A Bit Mental Volume 1 eBook, right here, free of charge. Continue reading “TWABM Vol 1 eBook – FREE for a limited time!”

Jason X (2001) review

Jason X posterDirector: James Isaac

Starring: Kane Hodder, Lexa Doig, Lisa Ryder, Derwin Jordan, Melyssa Ade

“Guys, it’s okay! He just wanted his machete back!” (Professor Lowe, Jason X)

I can just imagine the conversation that potentially took place when Jason X was originally conceived.

“We need to make another Friday The 13th movie boss, but we’re running out of ideas.”

“Running out of ideas? Are you mad? It’s a slasher movie. Put gore and tits in it and you’re good.”

“Yes sir, but Friday The 13th fans expect something more, some sort of twist. We’ve already had a 3D one, a copycat killer one, a zombie one, one shot in New York and a possession one. What now?”

“I don’t care. I couldn’t give a shit if it’s fucking Jason In Space, just get tits and gore in it and have it ready by the summer.” Continue reading “Jason X (2001) review”

Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday (1993) review

Jason Goes To Hell posterDirector: Adam Marcus

Starring: Kane Hodder, Kari Keegan, John D LeMay, Steven Williams

STEVEN – “Duke! The part about being reborn through a Voorhees woman, does it have to be a living woman?”
DUKE – “No.”
STEVEN – “Duke, that thing is in the basement with Jessica’s dead mother.”
DUKE – “Mother of God.”

Here’s the story. After Friday The 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan died on its arse and drew the lowest ever box office in the series’ history, Paramount was done with it.

Step forward New Line Cinema, who owned A Nightmare On Elm Street. New Line had been itching to make a film pitting their own Freddy Krueger against Jason for a while, but the fact that they owned Freddy while Paramount owned Jason meant it was a logistical nightmare.

New Line’s solution was impeccable: buy Jason from Paramount at a low price while his name is mud at the studio, make him popular again then make the Freddy vs Jason film everyone wants to see. Continue reading “Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday (1993) review”

Friday The 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989) review

Friday The 13th Part VIII posterDirector: Rob Hedden

Starring: Kane Hodder, Jensen Daggett, Todd Caldecott, Tiffany Paulsen

“I think the time has come for your first swimming lesson. You don’t wanna end up drowning like that Voorhees boy, do you? He never learned how to swim, either. And he’s still at the bottom of this lake.” (Charles, Friday The 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan)

By the time the Friday The 13th series had reached its eighth incarnation it was clear ideas were running a bit thin on the ground.

After all, there’s only so many times you can recycle the whole ‘masked killer stalks horny teens through the woods’ routine without eventually jumping the shark.

By this point though, Friday The 13th had jumped more sharks than Evel Knievel at a poker tournament. Continue reading “Friday The 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989) review”