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A few reviews

Vultural

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Only Lovers Left Alive - 2013 - 7/10

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My bride phoned from the library, vampire movie in hand. John Hurt, Tilda Swinton.
Sure, get it, I said. I flipped the box when she brought it home and,
Jim Jarmusch! Oh, no!

Film not as self-indulgent or pretentious as feared.
Story of two intellectual vampires, enduring the centuries.
Dreamy, drowsy, slow paced, filmed in nighttime Tangier and Detroit.
Film raises several points, one being the dire consequences of tainted blood.
Dark irony of the food supply being so self destructive.
Definitely worth chasing down, but it is lethargic and demands patience and concentration.
 

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Best Worst Movie - 2009 - 7/10

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Documentary on Troll 2, often listed as the worst movie ever made. Unlike Troma camp, Troll 2 was not meant to be awful, but a cascade of bad acting, inept script, an Italian director and writer who could not speak English, zero production values, resulted in a reel of brown goo.
Then the movie went on to become a cult favorite, though the Italian director still insisted Troll 2 was an artistic triumph, full of meaning and family values.
The documentary catches up with old cast members (George Hardy is now a dentist) and shows packed midnight movie houses.
Real passion from people who love bad movies.
Consider yourself warned.
 

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Enter Nowhere - 2011 - 6/10

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Judged harshly by the Horror crowd, Enter Nowhere more resembles a lost episode of The Twilight Zone.
During the height of the opening convenience store hold up, the scene cuts to a stranded woman in the forest.
Eventually, the strangers number three. They walk for hours, and end up back at a derelict shack.
There is no easy way out of the forest. Food is running out when they start comparing stories, and secrets.
An indie thriller with nice twists. Horror teenagers got mad because there was no gore, no T n A.
There was an Eastwood, however.
 

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The Man From Beyond - 1922 - 5/10

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Harry Houdini silent.
Yes, the legendary escape artist made a number of films, but this was not his best.
Houdini, discovered in an Arctic shipwreck was chopped out of a huge chuck of ice.
After thawing, he revived, and it turned out he has been there since 1820. 100 years.
In no time flat, he found a female who resembled his long lost flame.
Plot detours into reincarnation territory, one of Houdini's obsessions.
A cliff hanging sequence (literally) and swim near the top of Niagara Falls are highlights.
 

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Vultural said:
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The Man From Beyond - 1922 - 5/10

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Harry Houdini silent.
Yes, the legendary escape artist made a number of films, but this was not his best.
Houdini, discovered in an Arctic shipwreck was chopped out of a huge chuck of ice.
After thawing, he revived, and it turned out he has been there since 1820. 100 years.
In no time flat, he found a female who resembled his long lost flame.
Plot detours into reincarnation territory, one of Houdini's obsessions.
A cliff hanging sequence (literally) and swim near the top of Niagara Falls are highlights.
I love how his name is 40x larger than the title (and repeated twice) on that poster [emoji6]
 

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Bluebeard - 2009 - 7/10
AKA - Barbe Bleue

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French film by Catherine Breillat.
Two young sisters climb into the attic and begin reading the Perrault fairy tale.
In a secondary narrative, the tale comes to life, and two sisters are kicked from the convent after their father dies.
The sisters return home and watch as creditors reclaim family possessions.
One realizes their powerful neighbor, Bluebeard, is rich beyond measure.
The neighbor also has a thing for young - very young - brides.
A beautiful film, but chilly in tone, with a dark undercurrent. Both narratives move into dark territory.

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Devil Rides Out - 1968 - 6/10

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Hammer adaptation of Wheatley shocker.
Satanist Charles Gray wants to initiate two young acolytes.
Opposing him is one of the young man’s friends, Christopher Lee.
Gorgeous production values, the film bolts fast from the onset, turns talky two thirds through.
Gray is a powerful villain, neat trick against Lee who was at an early peak.
When this originally aired, the book, from the 30s, was still a heavy seller.
Thus, original viewers understood the ending, while later audiences might well go, “Say what?”
Great rainy night Gothic horror.
 

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You’ll Find Out - 1940 - 5/10

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Wasted opportunity in this musical / comedy / horror / mystery mishmash.
Old dark mansion, perched on a cliff over a pounding surf, under thunder and lightning skies, provide the setting for young girl’s 21st birthday party.
Kay Kyser and his Kollege Of Musical Knowledge provide the entertainment, and is also, sadly, the chief focus of the film.
Kyser and bandmates seem too old for their slapstick and silly antics. Musical numbers are unmemorable.
Plot creeps along, the humor is flat out corny.
Rather young and earnest Dennis O'Keefe (future Noir stalwart) is underused.
The three main villains, though, really shine. They steal every single scene, and effortlessly ooze the sinister, the conniving, the scheming.

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No ifs - ands - or buts - the film ought to have been about this trio of old pros.
 

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Darkman - 1990 - 6/10

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My introduction to Liam Neeson, over twenty years ago. He had been in other films (eg: Excalibur), but this was his first starring actioner.
Neeson harrowing as vengeance driven scientist squared off against the murderous Larry Drake and his trusty cigar cutter.
Sam Raimi's comic tendencies now come off as silly and distracting. (Darkman came between Evil Dead 2 and Army Of Darkness).
Those two were horror comedies, Darkman was more violent and should have thrust straight for the jugular.
Definitely a series that could use a reboot. Neeson could also replay the role, much harder, more diabolical.
 

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Versus - 2000 - 7/10

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Third film by Ryûhei Kitamura placed him on the radar of Asian fanboys worldwide.
Samurai, yakuza, escaped convicts, bounty hunters, zombies, damsel in distress.
Swords, knives, handguns, machine guns, heavy weapons, plenty of fistfights.
In a nutshell, within ten minutes, protagonists arrive in an accursed forest, place where yakuza had dumped whack jobs for years.
The dead begin to revive, most clutching still-lethal handguns.
Kick ass actioner looks like a million bucks, and appears very low-budget.
Clinic for young filmmakers on how to film brilliance on a shoestring.

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Quatermass And The Pit - 1967 - 7/10

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Excavation crews, working deep under the Hobb’s End Underground station, start finding skulls.
Archaeologists quickly arrive, soon discover a huge metallic object.
Military bomb experts realize it is not metal, while other members dig up the dark history of Hob’s Lane.
Extremely intelligent script, based on the legendary BBC serial from the late 50s.
Great mix of Horror, SciFi, ancestral memory, superstition.
One of Hammer’s best.
 

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You’re Next - 2013 - 6/10

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Justly praised slasher flick, for many reasons.
Family gathered at remote, grand home, for parents’ anniversary, gets attacked by killers wearing masks.
Gore is there, but not as much as gorehounds expect. Not gratuitous, either.
Off kilter mix of savagery, suspense, and humor. Story glides between darkness and black comedy.
Example would be the “lamb mask”.
Few lulls and fewer heroes. Turns predictable after the major reveals.
Great nod to Dwight Twilley, too.
 

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Sharknado 2: The Second One - 2014 - 3/10

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Was this film really necessary?
Of course!
C’mon, you have two tornadoes approaching Manhattan. Both filled with sharks!
(never dolphins, piranha, goldfish, surfers).
Plus a giant snowstorm! (no bears, wolves or hockey goalies, alas)
Add has-beens and dubious celebrities (Judd Hirsch, Kelly Osbourne, Billy Ray Cyrus, Downtown Julie Brown, et al)
What’d ya got? 90 minutes of labored stupidity.
Better budget than the first film, though this more self-conscious and tries too hard.
The hero remains dumber than a biscuit. Film introduces his still-smokin hot high school flame.
He prefers ol divorced stretch face.
I’m yelling at the screen, “Jump hottie! Dump botox!”

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Trick R Treat - 2007 - 6/10

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One of the better films focusing on Halloween, specifically trick or treating.
Four separate narratives interweaving back and forth.
All themes struck: monsters, curses, murders, costumes, sex.
Suspicious neighbors, annoying children, horny teenagers, bickering couples.
Funny, punctuated with violence that explodes from nowhere.
 

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Penny Dreadful - 2014 - 7/10

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Season one of esoteric Horror, set in Victorian London.
Vampires, the Frankenstein creature, even Dorian Gray, all promenade through gas lit alleys, rat infested wharves, or hothouse atriums.
A good series for language buffs, as conversations are rich, arch, almost stilted.
Precise words, layered meanings, from drawing rooms to theatre boards.
The core of the narrative, the arc, is the classic quest. A guilt ridden father searching for a stolen daughter.
He has money enough to create a team, who in turn, provide their own shadowed backstories.

For those concerned, the end of S01 will not leave you hanging.
 

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Monsters Wanted - 2013 - 7/10

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Entertaining behind the scenes documentary on Asylum Haunted Scream Park.
The site is a sprawling 40 acres outside Louisville, with four dedicated horror areas.

https://www.asylumhaunts.com/

Doc follows Rich and Janel, a well adjusted enough couple, and their labors to get everything in place before opening day.

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Surprise visits by inspectors, backstabbing rival horror parks, rain and more rain, temperamental actors - including one who seems borderline certifiable, complaining business partners, equipment malfunctions, running out of money, as the opening deadline shrinks from months to weeks to days to hours.
You wonder how they can possibly get it done.
Will hold your interest from start to finish, might even plant the urge to get out Halloween night.
For anyone who is a repeat customer of haunted parks, for anyone who ever worked a Midnight Mansion, for anyone who took a stab creating their own Death House*, this film ought to be in your queue.

* Admittance - One Candy Bar

Yes, back when I was eight or nine I can up with this brilliant notion of creating our own haunted house.
We would charge one candy bar per admission. No cause for us to rush all over the neighborhood Trick or Treating, our victims would do the legwork, then pay to stroll our horrors.
Candy for free! Our bags were going to burst!
Alas, the best laid plans of nine year olds . . .
Few entered. Those that did reported back that our haunted palace - an empty garage - sucked.
(An early lesson how dreary reviews can kill Broadway openings, new record releases, lemonade stands, or haunted houses.)
There were less than ten bars to share between the five of us. Worse, we had missed Trick or Treat night, and all the other kids blamed me and my stupid idea! Shunned me for days.
Over the years, there would be more stupid ideas where that came from. Many more.
 

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Body Jumper - 2001 - 3/10

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Another masterpiece.
Busload of students teach impoverished natives exercise to improve their wretched lives.
Malcontent wino heckles them the village beyond help, it is cursed.
That night, the hottest girl from the bus bathes in the haunted lake and is swiftly possessed by liver eating ghost.
Two heartbeats later, students back in Bangkok, and the once-shy girl now has an appetite for boyfriends.
Guys who soon turn jaundice yellow and die of liver failure.
More comedy than horror, comedy also silly and juvenile, though plot points are inventive.
Of course she is harvesting livers. Their backs is to her, briefs down, shortest route = the back entrance.
Add a gushy transgender, an out of place dance party, chases through ventilator ducts, a flying shaman with umbrella and magic condoms, and you have a knuckle-headed winner.
 

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Ebola Syndrome - 1996 - 7/10

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Somewhere, this tasteless, trashy, over the top, gleefully perverse Hong Kong Cat 3 masterpiece is flying off the shelves.
Anthony Wong may be best known as the villain in Hard Boiled or Untold Story, but for sheer sleazy glory, this one is in a category all by itself.
Without giving too much away, after he rapes his boss’s wife, then kills her and his boss, lowly cook flees to Africa.
There is a massive outbreak of ebola, so he and a buyer drive to an infected village to buy dead cows cheap.
Blinded by lust, the cook jumps a corpse and catches the incurable.
Only, instead of dying, he becomes a carrier.
As soon as he realizes that, sharing time begins.
Hong Kong bad boy director, Herman Yau, made many films like this, but this exploitative jewel is the best.
 

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Godzilla Vs Cthulhu - 2047 - 7/10

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Cranky lizard with paint peeling breath confronts the tentacled god of R’yleh.
Somnambulant buildup of greedy developers trying to seize a small, impoverished seaside monastery.
(Ever notice developers are always greedy, always bullying poor folks?)
Valiantly, the Sisters Of Graceful Tides hold a music concert to raise funds.
Shonen Knife, screeching a cover version of Blue Öyster Cult’s “Godzilla,” icurs the wrath of Godzilla who always hated the chorus.  Squawking and flaming, he crashes ashore.
Then, as terrified screams and howls somehow fuse into "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn," you guessed it, dread Cthulhu heaves from the waves.
At this point, the Japanese fondness for hentai results in truly horrifying erotic grappling, which will not be elaborated upon further.
The pace hits overdrive and action roars nonstop.  Yakuza hitmen arrive, as well as vegan mercenaries on Vespa scooters, nude nuns with knives, parachuting Russian bodybuilders, a squad of horny female lifeguards, and an annoying old alcoholic woman in a squeaking wheelchair.
Red hot flames - roasted brains - blood oath claims - gangbang chains - putrid stains
In other words - absolute must see classic!
 
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