You know I really love these old horror movie titles, they are so damn… MoreYou know I really love these old horror movie titles, they are so damn cheesy and unscary, sound more like a Simpsons episo...wait a minute. The other thing is this title doesn't really relate to the actual movie, Dr. Terror (Cushing) is actually Dr. Schreck because as you all know Schreck is German for terror, so that adds up. But why is the film called house of horror? its set within a train carriage, minor quibble I know but it just stands out to me.
So as I just said the movie takes place on board an old sixties railway carriage where five men have all seemingly come together by chance. Little do they know that its actually cruel fate that has brought them together and Dr. Terror...errr Schreck, is gonna be dealing out some scythe related death (he's obviously Death, there is no gory scythe action). Each gentleman gets his fortune/future read via Schreck's tarot cards and each one is told what their future holds. Will it be all sunshine and happin...no its death.
Up first is a tale about an ancient Count who centuries before had been killed by the Dawson clan, and this same clan is now represented by our first train passenger in the present day...Mr Dawson. This long dead Count is now after revenge against the clan by trying to kill Mr Dawson, the last descendant. The Count is attempting this by coming back from the dead in the form of a werewolf. The twist in this tale is rather mundane if you ask me and I had to rewatch it to get the full gist of it, the plot also raises various questions as usual such as why the need for a werewolf? Nice spooky atmosphere throughout though.
The second tale is an amusing little take on the old silly idea of killer plants. Think of 'Day of the Triffids' mixed with 'Little Shop of Horrors' if you will. Alan Freeman returns home to his family only to find a large vine growing outside his house, when he tries to cut it down it becomes aggressive and ends up killing their dog. Hilariously he goes to the Ministry of Defence for help where he gets advice from James Bond actor Bernard Lee of all people. After some fantastically insightful and incisive dialog about plants they return to try and stop the vine only to end up trapped inside the house. Luckily they discover fire will scare off the plant (duh!) and Lee manages to escape. We are then left to believe the vine has worked out how to extinguish fire so...the world is doomed??
Easily the worst of the bunch yet at the same time easily the best for laughs, I wouldn't even call it a horror, its clearly science fiction and belongs in the Twilight Zone. Watching Lee acting all serious about these killers vines is nothing short of a pure sci-fi joygasm, its fecking hysterical. The scene where they are all pacing up and down in the Ministry of Defence, all decked out in their stale looking suits talking about plants and how to combat them is tremendous. Every bit of this vignette is so cliched and predictable right down to Lee lighting up a ciggy by the window causing the vines to back off...and guess what this tale is called...creeping vine of course.
Next up sees Roy Castle and his jazz band off to the West Indies for a gig. Whilst there he overhears some grade A tunage at a voodoo ceremony and decides to pinch it (as you do). When he plays the tune back in London a supernatural force comes after him...apparently. Again this is another dodgy episode which isn't really very interesting or scary, it feels more like an advert for the real jazz band shown playing. In the end it feels very patchy and not entirely well thought out.
In this movie Christopher Lee plays an arrogant snobby harsh art critic and this tale delivers his comeuppance. After being badly embarrassed by Michael Gough the artist Lee takes revenge by running him over with his car, in the incident Gough's hand is crushed and he loses it. As he cannot paint anymore Gough's character commits suicide, not long after Lee is haunted and tormented by the dead artists amputated hand. Standard fare this one but it works well with its revenge and retribution themes. The disembodied hand effects are pretty crummy truth be told and this does let the episode down but the class acts of Lee and Gough can't be ignored.
Lastly Donald Sutherland discovers a vampire is on the loose in his home town in the US. He seeks advice from a colleague only to then discover the vampire is his new French bride. His colleague tells Sutherland to kill the vampire but when the police show up to arrest Sutherland the colleague denies everything. The twist ending here is pretty obvious really and also pretty lame. Without spoiling anything the twist goes against basic vampire lore and you're left wondering how, plus the effects for the vampire transformation are dreadful but I guess this is an old film on an average budget.
So once again the selection of ghoulish tales is pretty mediocre I think, the vampire and disembodied hand tales are quite good and eerie. The werewolf tale doesn't really make much sense, the voodoo tale with Roy Castle feels too much like a comedy because of Castle and the vine sci-fi tale is utterly side-splitting which it isn't suppose to be. The other thing that didn't quite add up was the fact all these tales were suppose to be premonitions of each characters future and death, yet in the end they all get killed on board the train in a twist ending that has been used before in a few horror anthologies. So what was the point of all these future predictions about their untimely deaths when none of it was actually gonna happen anyway.
I also felt sorry for all the characters in this anthology, in most of these films the characters are bad people in one way or another getting their comeuppances. This time the characters are all a bunch of nice polite chaps that don't appear to have done anything wrong and have had the misfortune to fall afoul of the Grim Reaper (accept for Lee). So I found myself asking why these nice guys are getting crapped on...I guess they're just unlucky, not necessarily deserving of death but just unlucky, shit happens and the Reaper merely reaps, just doing his job.
In the end this is a solid anthology with an uneven mix of horror tales, in all honesty the one thing that keeps this films head above the water is its cast. You can't get much more epic than this roster...Cushing, Lee, Sutherland, Bernard Lee, Freeman, Gough and Castle. The fact you have Cushing alongside Lee is enough to get any classic Horror fanboy excited. Personally I would see this for the killer vine sci-fi episode, so bad its good.
Another British horror anthology with a slightly silly title methinks.… MoreAnother British horror anthology with a slightly silly title methinks. This time nothing to do with the 'Tales from the Crypt' franchise but a stand alone set of shorts which was made before in 67. The director obviously made a good job of this anthology as he was used again to direct the first 'Tales' film, possibly taking many influences with him.
The frame/wrap plot for this horror sees a group of five people enter into a horror house or sideshow of sorts in a funfair. The 'show' is run by 'Dr Diabolo' and he offers all the visitors the chance to experience real terror if they pay extra, they do...I wouldn't have.
One by one they are all given the chance to glimpse into their own futures or fates at the shears of Atropos, a strangely real looking statue (which no one seems to question) of a Greek deity.
From here we are given four (yes four) short tales of terror. The first has a young man letting his seemingly rich uncle die so he can find the old man's money. He searches the old house only to be brainwashed or fall under the spell of an evil cat that he finds. Second tale tells of a young woman breaking into Hollywood only to discover the secret of all the stars youthful appearances, they are all robots.
The third tale is about a man and his grand piano. The grand piano is possessed and becomes jealous of its owners new love, so it takes its revenge on her. The last tale is about two Edgar Allan Poe collectors, one that wants bits of the others marvellous collection. In the end his greed sees him killing his fellow collector and having to deal with the devil and Poe himself.
Its yet another British horror (we did them so well back then) so again we have some good casting but this time there is also an international flavour. This anthology offers you the talents of Palance, Burgess Meredith, Michael Bryant and again the horror legend Peter Cushing.
I did like this anthology better than the first 'Tales' film. The main 'keeper' type role played by Meredith makes all the difference here. His sinister all teeth, razor sharp, Joker-like grin and villainous voice are perfect for these kind of Hammer-esque films. Then you have Jack Palance and his gleaming slit like eyes, his facial movements and sneering expressions. I always thought Palance was like that due to his age but it seems he's always been creepy.
The thing that lets this down is the range of short stories it offers. One I liked which involved the major stars of Hollywood becoming robotic inside to remain young, a fun little sci-fi 'Westworld' type plot there. The others are poor really, the killer grand piano? really?, a man possessed by a black cat and the two Poe collectors. All pretty lame really, not exactly creepy scary or even fun, just dull and idiotic in the case of the grand piano.
It looks good visually, again better than the first 'Tales' in my opinion but can't beat 'Vault of Horror'. The only two things I liked about this film were Meredith and Palance, Meredith especially in his post 'Penguin-like' outfits clearly making the most of that older winning role. Was cool to see Palance go up against Cushing too, epic double team there folks.
A good anthology which is well worth the watch if you like these kind of films, the casting is best but the stories lack punch. I think I've repeated that a few times in this review now, you get the idea then eh.
Charles Band takes on the classic Poe tale here with help from a… MoreCharles Band takes on the classic Poe tale here with help from a surprisingly good cast including Lance Henriksen, Jeffrey Combs and a small cameo from Oliver Reed!
This film is combination of three classic Poe tales which aren't that bad but as you would expect pretty cheap 'n' cheerful looking at times. There is an odd element of humour at times boarding on spoof, yet despite this Henriksen gives us a chilling performance as the lunatic inquisitor 'Torquemada' which is a brilliantly over the top ham fest of a performance, bizarre monk hairdo included and those cutting round eyes of his.
Rest of the cast are pretty useless and the effects and sets go from reasonable to down right awful. Plenty of fake blood and cheesy dialog but I saw this mainly for Henriksen really, his presence elevates the film to a guilty pleasure.
Last entry for this quite decent 'Horror' franchise, well actually its… MoreLast entry for this quite decent 'Horror' franchise, well actually its officially the third film but we won't go down that confusing alley again.
Unfortunately the franchise bows out with a disappointing story which isn't really scary nor funny. A young couple that own a big house are being slowly hounded into selling by a relation with connections to the mafia. Of course the man of the house is taken out of the picture leaving the young widow to fend for herself.
Katt returns as his character of Cobb, he is married and has one young girl. This plot doesn't connect in any way to the previous films but simply a new story. The story in question is slow and dull containing many flashbacks and not really much else. The same theme of the young widow being tormented by her dreams and Cobb's dastardly brother in law who wants the land is repeated over and over until finally we get somewhere towards the finale.
Guess what? the house was built on an ancient Native American well (originality much?) and the spirits of the Native Americans and Cobb are trying to help her against Cobb's brother in law and the mob. Its very easy to predict and pretty tame stuff, no real ghosts or ghouls to be seen, no monsters, no blood or gore etc...just odd flashbacks and blinking lights. In no way a thriller, not a horror comedy and not a horror, more of a very light-hearted spooky tale.
Stephen King and Romero are back for more tales of terror hosted by… MoreStephen King and Romero are back for more tales of terror hosted by 'The Creep', again the film is bookended by a short story that starts off as live action but then transforms into that eerie cartoon style that looks so good in the Creepshow films.
The stories again are a mixed bag this time not with quite as great a cast line up as before but we do have George Kennedy this time.
First up is a story of an old wooden Indian Chief statue coming to life to get revenge on the youths who killed the old owners of a general store where the Indian is on display. Kennedy is in this story and it is a good one with a nice revenge plot but it is predictable, nice effects on the wooden Chief though.
Second story is slightly better than the first with a group of teens stuck on a raft in the middle of a lake because an oil slick type monster that is devouring them one by one. Nice spooky idea that, despite the monster looking like a flat pancake floating on the water, works well especially effects wise when the teens are sucked under by the creature.
Last story is the weakest and simply involves a woman hitting a hitchhiker with her car and the hitcher coming back to haunt her for the rest of her journey. Pretty lame predictable plot which must have inspired 'I What You Did Last Summer'.
A slightly better selection of short stories over the original minus the good cast but still nothing really outstanding or as memorable as 'Twilight' or 'Darkside', still I must admit I like this old Creepshow flicks very much, love that 80's US Halloween style.
Classic franchise written by Stephen King and directed by 'zombie'… MoreClassic franchise written by Stephen King and directed by 'zombie' Romero, starring an all star old school line up including the legendary Leslie Nielsen, Ted Danson, Hal Holbrook, Adrienne Barbeau, Ed Harris, Don Keefer and Stephen King himself...some greats in there folks. The stories are basic but this may be down to the fact the franchise is based on the old 50/60's E.C. Comics.
Like the world class 'Twilight Zone' 'Tales from the Darkside' and 'Tales from the Crypt' Creepshow is an anthology of horror tales that aren't exactly 18 rated horror but just kooky fun that would fit your Halloween party perfectly. The stories vary from quite good to rather average to be honest with minimal gore.
The film is comicbook style with some lovely animations of 'The Creep' a hooded skeletal zombie who spins the tales with his nice cackling laugh. The stories also have a lot of toon imagery throughout which are suppose to give the impression of boarders within a comicbook, nice but not needed for me. The whole film is also bookended by a short tale like all these anthology films.
As for the actual tales they are a mixed bag to be honest, the first being a zombie returning from the grave to get his birthday cake he never received, this has Ed Harris (with hair!) and is reasonable but nothing too special. Second stars King as a dumb farmer who foolishly touches a meteorite that lands in his crops and slowly becomes infected and overgrown with a mysterious space fungus or plant life. This story is better and more original than the basic zombie story and shows King in a really goofy role for some reason.
Third story involves Nielsen as a rich jealous man who sets up a nasty fate for his unfaithful wife and her lover Ted Danson. Probably the nastiest short in the film with a horrible way to die but the fact Nielsen is the bad guy makes it hard to take seriously, half expecting George Kennedy to pop up at any moment.
Third story stars Holbrook and is a good simple creature tale as a crate containing a large furry razor teethed monster eats people who dare go to close to the crate. Lots of blood and some good fun 'Critter' type eatin in this one
Last story isn't too good in my opinion as a hypochondriac businessman lives in a hermetically sealed apartment terrified of bugs and germs, a story derived possibly from Howard Hughes and not very original with a predictable ending. Overall the stories could of been better but they do have charm and are still enjoyable.
The third and last Tales horror flick which is a bit disappointing but… MoreThe third and last Tales horror flick which is a bit disappointing but judging by this effort I can see why. This time we are introduced to the Crypt Keeper with a Jamaican flavour complete with dreadlocks and bikini clad women at his beck 'n' call. Already the whole feel is wrong.
Good cast for the film can't deny that, a solid quirky trio including Tim Curry, Jennifer Grey and Craig Sheffer. There are just a few problems, firstly you know who the bad guys are in the film right from the start, since when does Sheffer ever play the good guy?. Curry who is a marvellous character actor has nothing to do here in any way, complete waste, whilst Grey looks cute but doesn't quite seem comfortable in this genre.
The plot is pretty damn near dull as hell actually, its all about voodoo and creating zombies naturally, what else seeing as its set in Jamaica. The thing is nothing much happens in this, lots of flashbacks/dreams with Grey walking around looking all serious trying to find out what's causing an illness that drives people loopy (zombies).
I really was quite bored during the entire film, no action, no gore, no monsters or mutants etc...It is also played as a semi serious thriller with no laughs or comic horror like the previous two films. Easily the worst of the trilogy despite the nice cast and nowhere near as cool as the last two films.
The Crypt Keeper has always looked pretty dodgy if you ask me, a… MoreThe Crypt Keeper has always looked pretty dodgy if you ask me, a pretty bad puppet but hey its not all about him. The actual set for his crypt always looks cool in a 'Munster/Addams' type way which is fun and kooky, nothing special though.
So ye olde Crypt Keeper intro's the story which is a feature length plot and based around a group of people stuck in a building with a demon outside after their blood and a special key which one of them processes. Its kinda like a horror version of 'Assault on Precinct 13' with an 'Evil Dead' black comedy angle which does work pretty well I must admit. Billy Zane does a good job as the head demon hamming it up something huge and churning out some decent lines and visual gags. Up against him is William Sadler who, for once, plays the hero and the only one who can stop the demons.
The action is good fun and chock full of decent makeup and prosthetics with lots of over the top blood n gore by the bucket full. The plot is actually quite deep revolving around demons dating back through the ages with 'chosen ones' being the only defenders etc...a bit more in depth than the usual Crypt tales.
Bottom line though if you like 'Evil Dead' or 'From Dusk Till Dawn' or 'Feast' then I'm sure you will like this.
Another tongue in cheek blood 'n' guts rampage this time including… MoreAnother tongue in cheek blood 'n' guts rampage this time including lots of tits 'n' ass too...so its pretty darn good then. An unoriginal vampire tale this time, set in a brothel with lots of ladies eating biker types much like 'From Dusk Till Dawn' or 'Vamp' but nowhere near as good.
Plot is pretty standard but like the previous Crypt flick is does have a wonderful array of makeup and prosthetic effects all over the show with blood squirting and fangs flying, nothing you haven't seen before but it looks good. Casting is drab but does include 80's horror comedy star Sarandon and 80's teen star Feldman both of which raise the film slightly, Angie Everhart looks delicious as 'Lilith'.
You know what your gonna get with this franchise so your either gonna love it or hate it. Personally I view these films as a great opportunity to see fantastic examples of hands-on horror makeup effects, normally without much CGI, plus they are always good fun on a no-brainer level.
So here we are again and right from the start with the intro of… MoreSo here we are again and right from the start with the intro of Shockwave I was disappointed yet not particularly surprised. Moving on we are introduced to a talking LaserBeak and a small troll like Autobot called Brains! oh my heart sinks and we haven't even begun.
OK well on the plus side there is some nice humour in this new installment from various characters that did make me smile. Turturro as always is quality with his snappy dialog where as Malkovich adds an impressive little performance I didn't really see coming, small but sweet. Ken Jeong is an uprising star in my books and his performances have all been good so far, in his short role here he doesn't disappoint with a cracking little show. Unfortunately we still have to sit through the annoying screaming and twitching of LaBeouf whose participation in these films has damaged his credibility big time.
As for new entry Rosie Huntington-Whiteley...well I've not seen a more horrifically bad performance in sometime, the girl is beautiful, she can pout like no ones business and I'm sure she models well but acting is clearly a step too far and should never be tried again. Its actually fitting she's in this film as to be honest this glitzy overblown mess fits her pretty princess attitude perfectly. Shots of Whiteley up against super cars? check, anyone notice she's still wearing her posh high heels during the finale showdown!.
Anyone actually asked themselves how a geek like LaBeouf's character somehow manages to get these girls in these films!? talk about fantasy! Basically the inclusion of bling actors such as Gibson pretty much sum up the whole franchise.
The film gains a tad more respect with the continued talents of Weaving and Cullen. Added to the gang are Nimoy and Remar, Nimoy of course being experienced in voicing Gavaltron in the animated and better Transformer movie of 86.
Credit where credits due you must applaud the CGI effects, they are very impressive and look good as they screech around highways with multiple explosions going off around them. It looks faultless and along with Bays pretty direction and fetish of the military, explosions and slow motion against sunsets its a picture for sure. As before we still have the same issue as the previous films where its virtually impossible to tell what the hell is going on when the bots fight. You still can't distinguish between Autobots or Decepticons accept for their eye colour with most Transformer characters just coming across as large shiny whirring clicking statues of CGI metal. The rather long finale highlights this problem by adding massive amounts of building carnage and debris into the mix making it completely impossible to make out what on earth is going on, its just insane!
I still can't stand the recreation of classic designs for the new film. The new creations they come up with for new Transformers are terrible and why do all Decepticons look like monsters, insects or wild animals? did I even see a 'Predator' type Decepticon with dreads at one point?
The film is overly long and HUGELY cliched (every cliche in the book). Much of the film feels like a music video or adverts for super cars as Bay tries to evoke emotion but fails miserably by adding rock music over sequences of supposed trauma and horror, plus the whole thing is sooo God Bless America.
There are also so many poor sequences with questions such as how did Sam kill Starscream exactly? what was that gauntlet thing he had? how did the Sam and the others manage to get out of the skyscraper that was practically destroyed and virtually at a 90 degree angle? they just walked out of the doors it seems with no worries? Where does Optimus and the main Autobots vanish too for most of the finale battle? and who was that crappy balding professor looking Autobot with the British accent that got executed!!? just faceless characters for killing...poor film making.
People say this is the better of the trilogy, I can't see it. Its a bit darker as we see people killed in this film plus Optimus being brutal at the very end but for me this is just as bad as the previous two making it hard to try and decide which is the better film, is there a better film?
(Can't believe Optimus lets Cybertron get destroyed!! as if!)