Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Horror movie Review Preview: Joshua

The next Horror Movie Night Orgy review will be the 2007 film Joshua. In Joshua, the arrival of a newborn girl causes the gradual disintegration of the Cairn family; particularly for 9-year-old Joshua, an eccentric boy whose proper upbringing and refined tastes both take a sinister turn.

The story of a perfect boy who had a perfect plan.

Starring Sam Rockwell, Vera Farmiga, and Jacob Kogan, Joshua won the Gen Art Film Festival Grand Jury Prize for Best Feature, the Catalonian Film Festival for Best Actor from Sam Rockwell and Special Mention from Director George Ratliff. And Benoît Debie won the Cinematography award at the Sundance Film Festival.

Please rent and watch this movie on your own and have your own comments about the film ready for our review ready early next week.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Movie Review: The Hitcher - 2007

The Hitcher

Starring: Sean Bean, Sophia Bush, Zachary Knighton, and Neal McDonough

Directed by: Dave Myers

Written by: Eric Red, Jake Wade Wall, and Eric Bernt

Production Company: Focus Features, Intrepid Pictures, and Platinum Dunes

Release Date: January 19, 2007

Awards: Teen Choice Awards - Choice Actress: Horror/Thriller - Sophia Bush
Teen Choice Awards - Choice Movie: Breakout Female - Sophia Bush

In choosing a movie for review, I look at a plot synopsis to see if the idea sounds interesting. Sometimes the plot synopsis doesn't quite sell me, and everytime with remakes, I need an idea of what people thought, so I check reviews. In doing this with The Hitcher, I learned that Rutger Hauer, who played John Ryder in the 1986 original, was offered a cameo role but declined for artistic reasons. He's said that he's never watched the film and friends who have seen it have told him he shouldn't.

Not a glowing endorsement, but because of Sean Bean, I gave the remake a shot.

When the movie started, I thought I saw at least one of the problems...The opening included a cgi jackrabbit hopping toward a road where it gets squished. It was clear the jackrabbit was computer generated, and I wondered why they wouldn't have used a real rabbit and the stuffing and fake bloody rabbit bits for the remains. The scene would have been almost identical. Unnecessary use of cgi is a drawback. Later we followed a dragonfly that gets squished on the windshield of Jim Halsey's Oldsmobile 442. The dragonfly scene was almost identical to the opening of Men in Black even down to the guts on the windshield. I tried to find a connection between the two films, but I haven't found one.

So expecting bad cgi special effects where old school effects would work much better, I watched as Jim Halsey and girlfriend Grace Andrews encounter hitchhiker John Ryder...and I was impressed.

Naturally, Sean Bean as Ryder carried the movie. When we first see him, he's standing in the middle of the road on a rainy night walking away from a car with emergency blinkers flashing.

Appearing out of nowhere, we are left wondering from where he came and to where was he going before Jim and Grace crossed his path. Are his last victims still in the car left flashing on the side of the road?

Bean adds menace to that mystery with skill. So intent on being able to play the cold, detached psychotic, Bean distanced himself from Sophia Bush and Zachary Knighton (Grace and Jim respectively) during shooting. Bean's Ryder with a deathwish captivates as he terrorizes, an essential element to the villain of a horror movie.

Jim Halsey is played by Zachary Knighton. Knighton does a reasonable job as confident, trusting Jim, though Knighton has little opportunity to do anything memorable with the character.

Sophia Bush, as Grace, pulls off an effective role as the naive girl who has to become strong and fearless because of Ryder's threat. She handles the transition well, prooving she didn't get the job just because she looks good in a skirt.

Neal McDonough plays Lt. Esteridge, the police officer trying to untangle the murders that are pointing toward Jim and Grace as the murderers. McDonough's portrayal shows us that Esteridge knows there's more going on than meets the eye, but until he figures it out, he's sticking to the book.

There may not be anything profound or groundbreaking about this movie, but it's good for an hour and a half of diversion. And the end with Sophia Bush carrying the gun is worth your time.

Where Are They Now?

Sean Bean's next movie will be Ca$h!, a thriller set for 2008. In 2009, Bean will star in the dramatic mystery Black Death. Set during the time of the first outbreak of bubonic plague in England, a young monk is tasked with learning the truth about reports of people being brought back to life, a mission that pulls him toward a village ruler who has made a dark pact with evil forces. While not strictly labelled a horror movie, it certainly sounds like it will contain horror elements.

Sophia Bush hasn't signed up for any other horror films at this point, but her next film will be the drama The Narrows. The movie is based on Tim McLoughlin's novel "Heart of the Old Country", which follows Mike Manadoro, a 19 year old Brooklyn boy who is torn between two worlds. When Mike's photography portfolio wins him a partial scholarship to NYU, he must figure out how to balance his tight knit Italian neighborhood roots in Bay Ridge with the opportunity to emerge into the expansive, sophisticated world on the other side of the East River. His job at a local car service doesn't earn him enough to make up for the rest of tuition. His father, a retired sanitation worker on disability, refuses to support Mike's attempts for financial aid out of pride. Mike ultimately takes a job making deliveries for Tony, the local mob boss, to make up the gap. Mike not only has to balance work with his academic assignments, he has to manage his personal relationships as well. This includes his attraction to a beautiful, cool, intellectual young woman, Kathy Popovich (Sophia Bush) he meets at NYU with his responsibility to his long term, girlfriend Gina from the neighborhood he's promised to marry. The stakes grow higher as he faces consequential choices in turning his back on all he knows and pursuing a new life. This compelling coming-of-age story combines suspense, murder and loyalty.

Zachary Knighton appears next in the comedic, wave twisting tale of a soul searching surfer experiencing an existential crisis, Surfer Dude, starring Matthew McConaughey and Willie Nelson.

Next month, you'll be able to see Neal McDonough in Forever Strong, about A talented-but-troubled rugby player who must play against the team his father (McDonough) coaches at the national championship. Other future movies in which Horror Movie Night Revelers may be interested include Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li where McDonough will play Bison set for a February 27th 2009 release date, and The Seed, a sci-fi action thriller about a mysterious killer who returns from the past, and forces a young detective to return to a case that took her mother's life years before also scheduled for 2009.

Dave Myers has not directed a film since The Hitcher.

Eric Red's next screenplay will be 100 Feet starring Famke Janssen. After Marnie Watson kills her abusive husband in self-defense, she is condemned to house arrest... only to discover that the house is possessed by the enraged and violent spirit of her dead husband. 100 Feet is scheduled for release sometime in 2008. Red has another horror film in production, Nightlife, in which a woman searching for her sister finds herself entangled in a deadly triangle together with a handsome male vampire and her next of kin. Red will also be directing the 2009 release.

Jake Wade Wall followed his work on The Hitcher with Amusement about three women who are stalked by a killer with a grudge that extends back to the girls' childhoods. Amusement will come out on December 26, 2008. In 2009, watch for Clock Tower. Upon receiving news of her mother's strange disappearance, a teenage girl returns to the family lodge only to discover a shocking supernatural family secret.

Eric Bernt followed The Hitcherwith The Echo. An ex-con moves into an old apartment building, where he encounters a domestic problem involving a police officer, his wife, and their daughter. When he tries to intervene, however, a mysterious curse entraps him.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Movie Review Preview: The Hitcher (2007)

With school starting back, I'll not be able to maintain the level of horror movie viewing that I have been with summer vacation. Because of this, once I have decided what my next review will be, I will post a Review Preview.

The first Horror Movie Review Preview is Dave Myers's 2007 remake of The Hitcher.

The Hitcher
Never Pick up Strangers

Sophia Bush without the Hitcher.
Starring Sean Bean, Sophia Bush, Zachary Knighton, and Neal McDonough, The Hitcher won two Teen Choice Awards because of Sophia Bush. She was voted Movie Choice Actress: Horror/Thriller and Choice Movie: Breakout Actress. The Hitcher also was nominated for Best Work with a Vehicle at the World Stunt Awards.

Hoping to fight boredom during a cross-country drive, two college students pick up a mysterious hitchhiker (Sean Bean), but are soon fighting for their lives when their passenger turns out to be a vicious serial killer in this remake of the classic creep-fest.

The Hitcher currently has a 5.5 out of 10 rating on IMDB and a 3.3 out of 5 rating at Netflix.

Feel free to rent and watch this movie on your own and have your own comments about the film ready for our review probably ready early next week.

See you then....

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Movie Review: Woodchipper Massacre

Woodchipper Massacre

Perren Page as Dad. Ok, so you killed Aunt Tess...But you didn't throw any parties, did you?Starring: Jon McBride, Deniece Edeal, Tom Casiello, Patricia McBride, Kim Bailey, and Perren Page

Directed by: Jon McBride

Written by: Jon McBride

Release Date: 1988

B-Movie horror comedies walk a dangerous tightrope.

First, a horror comedy has to carefully balance its horror and its comedy. To much comedy and it's not actually a horror movie. It's a comedy spoofing horror movies. That doesn't mean they're bad, but the shouldn't be called horror comedies. Scary Movie is an example of this. Too much horror, and the jokes seem out of place and awkward. Shaun of the Dead is an example, though many love that film.

Then, to make things worse, being a B-Movie, it has to struggle past its Patricia McBride as Aunt Tess. May God strike me down if I let you heathen children run astray. WAIT, YOU'RE NOT GOD! ARRRGGGHHHH!limitations. The story has to be interesting enough to help us get past the fact that the camera work, acting, and effects are poor.

Willing to take on this precarious task, Jon McBride created Woodchipper Massacre.

When their father has to leave town for work, Jon, Denice, and Tom find themselves under the watchful guise of Aunt Tess. The overbearing Tess makes the siblings miserable, so when she accidentally dies, they are less concerened about her than they are getting grounded. The answer to their predicament involves a woodchipper. But what will they do when their reprobate cousin Kim comes looking for his mother.

Tom Casiello as Tom. Yes, my Junior Homicidal Maniac starter knife!McBride's script is a pretty well written tale of misguided suburban children, and I'd be interested to see a remake satirizing today's spoiled children and playing off the common babysitter horror tale with a twist. It's a simple script that doesn't really force anything. However, I didn't find many laughs. There's very little gore. So, while interesting, Woodchipper Massacre isn't very horrific, comedic, or engaging. The result, in the end, is what seems comparable to a lost "Brady Bunch" episode where the kids are left under the care of Alice, but Bobby accidentally kills Alice and the children have to hide it from their parents. It is like a sitcom.

The acting wasn't very good, but considering half the cast never appeared in anything else and keeping in mind the video equipment, which may have been a handheld video recorder so the sound was uncertain forcing them to more shout their lines, than actually act and deliver them, it can be excused. I mean, it was made with $400.

The final verdict is uncertain. It's not successful in any quality for which I Deniece Edeal as Deniece. Darn it! Murder always interferes in my love life!normally look, and yet, with the thought of the "Brady Bunch" in the back of my mind, it's a fun watch.

Where Are They Now?

Denice Edeal, Tom Casiello, and Kim Baily never acted in another movie.

Jon McBride followed Woodchipper Massacre with an role acting in The woodchipper as the woodchipper. You wish your girlfriend munched as much wood as I do.Blades where people are showing up sliced and diced at Tall Grass Country Club. Norman, the owner of the club, wants to avoid undue publicity on the eve of the televised pro-am tournament, and encourages new pro Roy to get to the bottom of the killings quietly. Roy has a history of alcohol problems since he choked while playing a big tournament years before, and Kelly, who feels she should have been hired as the new pro, isn't making the situation easier for him, insisting they cancel the tournament until the killer can be stopped. After a seedy character named Deke Slater is arrested, the owner relaxes, but Roy and Kelly begin to feel that Deke's rantings about a runaway lawnmower aren't so far-fetched after all, and after Deke is released the three of them prepare for a battle to the death out on the uncharted fairways. His next directorial bout was with Feeders in which he also starred. Two friends on a road trip pass through a town where aliens are landing and feeding upon the some of the civilians. His most recent acting job was in Among Us about B-movie director Billy D'Amato who Jon McBride as Jon. I wonder if they offer homicide scholoships to college.has made a career out of horror movies...but when he meets a real "monster in the woods" on a shoot, he is forced to re-evaluate, and fight for, his life. His most recent directing job was Black Mass set during During World War II. Four American GIs get caught up behind enemy lines. They seek shelter in an old church where they meet a bizarre priest. Soon they learn the Nazis have been tapping certain supernatural powers. The GIs must then combat their toughest opponent yet... evil in its purest form.

Patricia McBride's next horror film was Night Crawlers about a town with strange creatures burrowing underneath it. Her most recent role was in the crime comedy The Hollywood Sign in which Three ex-Hollywood legends are going to steal $10,000,000. If they can only keep their act together.

Perren Page appeared in five episodes of "MASH", and has had a couple of other TV roles. He also appeared in a comedy short called All Bookies Wear Speedos.

Kim Bailey as Kim. I know it's a woodchipper, but it can't be worse than any of the boys I had back in prison.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Movie Review: Re-Animator


Barbara Crampton as Megan HalseyStarring: Jeffrey Combs, Bruce Abbott, Barbara Crampton, David Gale, and Robert Sampson

Directed: Stuart Gordon

Written by: Dennis Paoli, William Norris, and Stuart Gordon

Production Companies: Empire Pictures and Re-Animator Productions, Inc.

Release Date: October 18, 1985

"Of Herbert West, who was my friend in college and in after life, I can speak only with extreme terror."

David Gale as Dr. HillThat's the opening line to H. P. Lovecraft's tale "Herbert West - Reanimator" published in 1922. As with most Lovecraft tales, it is a story of macabre imagery and menacing atmosphere with archaic and esoteric words and using outdated and British spellings. Whether intentional or not, Lovecraft's word choice helps give his stories an uneasy feeling that evokes feelings of looking into that which should be unknown. His stories seem nearly impossible to translate into film.

But in 1985, Stuart Gordon gave the world Re-Animator. It is considered the greatest Lovecraft film interpretation ever, despite heavy altering of the original text.

Robert Sampson as Dean Halsey. Nice jacket!In the film, Herbert West, played by Jeffery Combs, is a young doctor and acolyte of recently deceased Dr. Gruber. Gruber, and West, disbelieve the common theory that brain death occurs 6-12 minutes after death.

Following Gruber's death (and failed reanimation), West transfers to Miskatonic University where he rents a room with fellow student, Dan Cain (Bruce Abbott). West challenges the eminent Dr. Carl Hill (David Gale) and unnerves Megan Halsey, the daughter of Alan Halsey, Dean of Miskatonic U., and Dan's girlfriend.

As West works to perfect his reagent, Dan get's caught up in his experiments and the two find themselves under fire from Dean Halsey and Dr. Hill.
Jeffrey Combs as Herbert West.
Jeffrey Combs does a wonderful job as young West. West is arrogant, deceitful, and bizarre, and Combs plays the role with a subtle humor that is enjoyable and disturbing.

Dan Cain is the unnamed narrator of Lovecraft's original tale. Played by Bruce Abbott, Cain is kind of a hapless dupe being dragged from a mundane life as a young doctor into the madness that characterizes West's life. Abbott doesn't do a great job in the role as Cain becomes corrupted by West's insanity, but he does well enough.

Barbara Crampton wearing clothes in her role as MeganBarbara Crampton plays Megan Halsey, caught amidst the love of Cain, her discomfort with West, the protection of her father, and the unwanted advances of Doctor Hill. Crampton's life of certainty degrades into an ethereal horror as everything she could count on fades away. Crampton does a fine job.

West's teacher and rival, Carl Hill, is played by David Gale with malevolent presence. While we should find West's experiments disturbing and the reanimated corpses he creates frightening, Hill is the true villain. While West seems most disturbed by his plagiarism, we know his evil is much darker. Especially after his reanimation.

Dean Halsey, played by Robert Sampson, is a relatively bland character, although important for it's through his actions that he forces Dan into a partnership with Herbert. Sampson really Herbert is quite the practical joker!comes through, though, after Halsey gets reanimated and then lobotomized.

Stuart Gordon's Re-Animator is a fabulous B-Movie. It treats the source material seriously and, while changes many aspects of the original tale, we can accept the changes required in bringing a story 63 years into the present and working around limited budget constraints. He blends humor almost seemlessly into his horror, and with 25 gallons of fake blood, gives us ample gore.
Reanimated corpse. Some people just don't like being woken up.
If you're a horror fan and you haven't seen this, then you're walking around without a head. Get that fixed with a visit to Re-Animator

Where Are They Now?

Jeffrey Combs is a prolific actor having starred in 91 films and television shows since he began film acting in 1981. He followed his role as Herbert West with another Lovecraft character in another Stuart Gordon adaptation as Crawford Tillinghast in From Beyond in which Scientists Bruce Abbott as Dan Cain. Whut? Barbara is naked!create a resonator to stimulate the pineal gland (sixth sense), and open up a door to a parallel (and hostile) universe. In 2008 he will appear in Parasomnia, a horror-thriller centered on a woman (Wilson) suffering from a medical condition that causes her to sleep her life away, waking briefly on rare occasions, and The Dunwich Horror, another Lovecraft adaptation, this time from director Leigh Scott. Parasomnia does not have a specific release date. The Dunwich Horror will be released on October 31. In 2009, Combs will appear in Dark House. Traumatized by an terrifying event in her youth, Claire Thompson (Meghan Ory) tries to exorcise her demons by revisiting the old house where a terrible children's massacre took place, now a haunted house attraction set up by impressario Walston Rey (Combs). And in 2010, Combs and Stuart Gordon reunite for a fourth Re-Animator film, House of Re-Animator that includes Crampton and Abbott, with William H. Macy and George Wendt to play the President of the United States and Vice-President. When there's a death in the White House, "re-animator" Herbert West is brought in to bring the corpse back to life.

Herbert West keeps getting reanimated in Jeffrey Combs's acting career.Bruce Abbott's following role was in the sci-fi comedy Interzone where humans fight mutants in a post-holocaust world. He will appear in House of Re-Animator.

Barbara Crampton's next horror film was the 1986 Chopping Mall where Eight teenagers are trapped after hours in a high tech shopping mall and pursued by three murderous security robots out of control. She will also appear in House of Re-Animator as the First Lady.

David Gale died in 1991 at the age of 55 due to complications from open-heart surgery. He followed his role in Re-Animator with the role of Dr. Blakely in The Brian. Dr. Blakely runs a TV show called "Independent Thinkers", which is sort of a Scientology-like self-help/religion program. But he's not making his audience think any more independently - with the help of an alien organism he calls The Brain, he's using brainwashing and mind control. The only thing that stands between them and world domination is a brilliant but troubled high school student with a penchant for pranks. His last horror role was in the 1990 Syngenor where a scientist engineers a group of genetically engineered cyborgs for use as "supersoldiers" to fight U.S. wars in the Middle East. However, things get ugly when the cyborgs malfunction and turn on their creators.
Jeffrey Combs wonders if Barbara will get naked again in House of Re-Animator.
Robert Sampson's next horror film was The Dark Side of the Moon from 1990. It is the year 2022. A mysterious systems failure causes the crew of a spaceship to be stranded on the dark side of the moon, while rapidly running out of fuel and oxygen. They are surprised to discover a NASA space shuttle floating in space, and board it in the hope of salvaging some supplies. One by one, the crew is possessed and killed, and it is up to Paxton Warner to find the links between the dark side of the moon, the Bermuda Triangle, and the Devil himself. Sampson's next film is Faded Memories a romance, the story of two teens, Cassandra and Lucas, as they get involved in a timeless love story against many odds, set for release on October 17, 2008. His last horror was the 1992 film Netherworld where A young man arrives at his father's mansion in Louisiana to discover that a secretive cult is using winged creatures to raise the dead to do their bidding.

I got to grope Barbara!After Re-Animator, Stuart Gordon directed From Beyond. He followed with Dolls in 1987 about a group of people who stop by a mansion during a storm and discover two magical toy makers, and their haunted collection of dolls. The film won an award for its special effects at the Fantafestival. His most recent film was 2007's Stuck in which a young woman commits a hit-and-run, then finds her fate tied to her victim. His next scheduled film is House of Re-Animator

Dennis Paoli worked with Stuart Gordon on From Beyond and the was a writer on Ghoulies II. Ghoulies II picks up a short time after the first movie. A few of the little nasties stow away on an amusement park ride and bring big bucks to a dying fair. The creatures are mad after an attempt to kill them, so the creatures go on a rampage through the fairgrounds. He is credited as a writer on House of Re-Animator.

If you're a Herbert West fan, get yourself a Herbert West for President shirt from Evil Genius Tees!

H.P. Lovecraft readers will love this political satire - Herbert West for president, let's reanimate America! Complete with USA flag, patriotic colors, bloody fingerprint and splatter.

Barbara Crampton and David Gale get a good feel for their roles.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Movie Review: The Invisible Man Returns

The Invisible Man Returns

Starring: Vincent Price, Cedric Hardwicke, Nan Grey, John Sutton, and Cecil Kellaway

Directed by: Joe May

Written by: Joe May, Curt Siodmak, Lester Cole, and Cedric Belfrage (uncredited)

Production Company: Universal Pictures

Release Date: January 12, 1940

Sir Geoffrey Radcliffe is moments away from execution for murdering his brother when he disappears. While the police search for the runaway Radcliffe, Inspector Sampson rfom Scotland Yard beliefs the fugitive may have developed a peculiar quality...invisibility. It's a reasonible deduction considering Radcliffe's friend is Doctor Frank Griffin, brother to the original Invisible Man (played by Claude Rains in the 1933 original). Indeed, Griffin did help Radcliffe escape so that he could hunt down the real killer. Can Sampson catch a new invisible man? Can Radcliffe discover the identity of the real murderer before he's captured? Can Griffin develop an antidote for the invisibility before Radcliffe goes crazy?

This is a by-the-numbers sequal that still manages to entertain. The plot is nearly identical to the original, but, unlike modern sequels, doesn't make the mistake of one-upping its predecessor into idiocy.

Playing Radcliffe, the Invisible Man, is a young Vincent Price. This was Price's fourth role and first real major lead role. While he doesn't quite have the Vincent Price deliver that would one day make him a horror icon, and while he didn't quite hold a candle to Claude Rains's role, Vincent still plays the role quite well. Scenes where Radcliffe descends into madness are convincing and eerie.

Playing the part of Radcliffe's rivel, Richard Cobb, for the love interest is Sir Cedric Hardwicke. Because he has his eyes on Radcliffe's love, Cobb gets tormented by the Invisible Man. Hardwicke plays the confident, slimy businessman who becomes the cowardly weasel well. Watching Hardwicke, you'll be able to see why he had already been knighted in 1934, one of the youngest actors at the age of 41.

Playing the love interest, Helen, caught between Radcliffe and Cobb, is Nan Grey. Grey holds her own with Price and Cobb in one of her last roles before retiring from the screen in 1941. She's attractive and plays Helen with finesse, though the role was kind of limiting in its depth.

Our connection with the first The Invisible Man movie, Doctor Frank Griffin, is played by John Sutton. Sutton delivers a performance effectively showing us a character who is concerned for his friend, but with a touch of the mad scientist that Griffin must have shared with his more famous brother. After all, for a man who claimed to not have anything to do with his brother's work, he was quick to use it to free his friend.

The most entertaining character, however, is Inspector Sampson played by Cecil Kellaway. Kellaway's brusque, cigar puffing Scotland Yard inspector steals the scene when he appears.

The Invisible Man Returns is a fun sequel and if you like the Universal Silver Screen Horrors, then you should include this along with the original Invisible Man. The effects are improved upon and often even look better than some modern special effects look bad. It's one of those films that should be shown to modern special effects people to let them know, sometimes a simple trick is better than all of the computer effects you can come up with.

Where Else Can We See Them?

Vincent Price was a horror movie master and has a long list of impressive horror movie roles. His last horror related roles include the renowned Tim Burton fantasy Edward Scissorhands in , and the 1988 horror comedy Dead Heat, a buddy cop movie starring Joe Piscopo and and Treat Williams. Williams's character, Roger Mortis, is brought back from the dead to help partner Bigelo (Piscopo) track down his killer. Following The Return of the Invisible Man, Price returned to horror in 1946 in Shock. Dr. Cross (Vincent Price), a psychiatrist, is treating a young woman, Janet Stewart (Anabel Shaw), who is in a coma-state, brought on when she heard loud arguing, went to her window and saw a man strike his wife with a candlestick and kill her. As she comes out of her shock, she recognizes Dr. Cross as the killer.

Cedric Hardwicke appeared in Alfred Hitchcock's Suspicion about a shy young English woman who marries a charming gentleman, then begins to suspect him of trying to kill her. Hardwicke's last horror role was the 1964 TV movie The Unknown, a twisted tale in which two women, Kassia and Leonora, are driven by a fanatical blackmailer, named André, in a white Rolls Royce at full speed. A murder, a strange blind man, and a time machine that can bring the dead back to life, this tale was shown as an episode of "The Outer Limits".

The Invisible Man Returns was Nan Grey's last horror film. She also appeared in the 1936 Dracula's Daughter, based on Bram Stoker's "Dracula's Guest", the excised chapter from Lugosi's Dracular published two years after his death. Hungarian countess Marya Zaleska seeks the aid of a noted psychiatrist, in hopes of freeing herself of a mysterious evil influence.

John Sutton's last horror film, The Bat reunited him with Price. A crazed killer known as "The Bat" is on the loose in a mansion full of people.

Cecil Kellaway's last horror film was Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte, the 1964 film won the 1965 Edgar Allan Poe Award for best picture and was nominated for 7 Academy Awards. The arrival of a lost relative, engulfs terror upon an aging southern belle, forever plagued by a horrifying family secret.

This was Joe May's only horror as a director, but is credited as one of the writers in the 1940 continuation of the Invisible Man series The Invisible Woman, a horror comedy where an attractive model with an ulterior motive volunteers as guinea pig for an invisibility machine.

Curt Siodmak's work continues to influence movies. In 2001, his screenplay I Walked with a Zombie was adapted into Ritual with Tim Curry. Dr. Alice Dodgson gets her medical license revoked after the death of one of her patients. She accepts to be the nurse for Wesley Claybourne who suffers from cephallitis. Aside from the sickness he's suffering, Wesley believes he has been "touched" by some voodoo cult. While she stays in Jamaica, Dr. Dodgson discovers that voodoo is not only a "state of mind" and could be a real threat to her life and Wesley's. She'll have to discover why she and her patient are targets of the voodoo curse. His novel Donovan's Brain was adapted for the 1962 horror The Brain. A millionaire businessman's brain is kept alive after a fatal accident, and communicates clues to a doctor on the trail of the killer. He had an uncredited hand in the writing of the 1961 horror The Devil's Messenger, a 50,000-year-old woman is found frozen in an ice field, and a man's death is foretold in dreams, starring Lon Chaney as the Devil. Siodmak followed The Invisible Man Returns with 1940's Black Friday. When his friend Professor Kingsely is at deaths door, brain surgeon Dr. Sovac saves his life by means of an illegal operation that transplants part of injured gangster Red Cannon's brain. Unfortunately, the operation has a disasterous Jeckll and Hyde side effect and under certain conditions the persona of Cannon emerges starring Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Movie Review: Dead Mary

Dead Mary

Starring: Dominique Swain, Marie-Josee Colburn, Steven McCarthy, Maggie Castle, Michael Majeski, Reagan Pasternak, and Jefferson Brown.

Directed by: Robert Wilson

Written by: Peter Sheldrick and Christopher Warre Smets

Production Companies: 235 Films and Archetype Films

Release Date: Feb. 20, 2007

Friends head to a cabin to reunite when horrible things start to happen. Sound familiar? Of course it does. But one thing true aficianados of the horror genre know is that just because it's been done before doesn't mean it can't be done again.

Kim and Matt have just broken up, but head for the weekend getaway so as to not ruin it for their friends, Dash and Amber, Baker and new girlfriend Lily, and Eve. But, as we all know, that doesn't happen, and during a tense moment find themselves challenging each other to play Dead Mary where you go to the bathroom with just a candle, clothes your eyes, and say her name three times...

Dead Mary

Dead Mary

Dead Mary

Then she appears.

This time, though, she doesn't.

Soon, however, Matt gets killed...but he returns from the dead as a maniacal zombie tormenting his old friends. Soon fear and paranoia overwhelms the survivors as they decide what to do and who they can trust.

One of the things that Dead Mary does well is play up the paranoia. Dead Mary doesn't rise up out of the lake and start slashering the teens, as originally planned. She possesses one of them, and as the others die they become malevolent, undead creatures spouting secrets that would destroy friendships. You begin to question who is possessed and they do a good job making you uncertain.

It's not a very scary movie, which I think they could have tried a little harder to do. Not many jumps. But plenty of intrigue and tension.

It also didn't feel the need to explain everything. That has the benefit of giving us a lot to consider about what happened. What happened to Ted, the friend whose cabin they are staying in? He never shows up. It's stated that it's like him to get the dates mixed up...but what if something more diabolical happened? Why wasn't there anyone at the gas station to which Matt walked? Why aren't there signs of other campers? Is this a simple case of a Dead Mary game going wrong? Or was the game a coincidence and things would have gone horribly wrong anyway?

The unanswered questions do have a problem though. The answers could mean it was just a poorly scripted movie with plot holes and dangling threads.

The acting was pretty good for a straight-to-video movie. Dominique Swain pulls off a decent lead heroine and Jefferson Brown as her ex-boyfriend Matt does a good job as an undead zombie. Reagan Pasternak and Michael Majeski (Amber and Dash) probably put in the best performances. Steven McCarthy and Maggie Castle (Baker and Lily) are probably the weak points in the acting, though doing a decent job. Marie-Josee Colburn wrestles with Swain for dominance of the screen.

Don't expect anything but a decent horror movie here. If you expect too much, you'll be disappointed, but if you just want a fun horror film that you and your friends can discuss what was really going on, you'll walk away happy.

Where Are They Now?

Dominique Swain currently appears in Toxic, released on July 8, 2008. The lives of a nightclub owner, a crime boss, a stripper, a bartender, two hitmen, a prostitute and a psychic take a turn for the worse when they are trapped in an escaped mental patient's sinister path of madness and destruction. Swain's next horror film to be released sometime in 2008 will be Trance. Trance is described as "these eight kids go to a rave, they take drugs and the drugs have no discernible effect on the male population. It turns the females into raving psychotics who then turn on their boyfriends and start tearing them apart."

Marie-Josee Colburn has not acted in a movie since Dead Mary

Steven McCarthy hasn't appeared in another horror. He stars next in Eating Buccaneers, a comedy where four self-absorbed advertising executives and one officious client crash-land their private charter plane into the north woods. They survive the crash, but can they survive each other.

Maggie Castle's next horror flick was the outrageous horror-comedy The Mad. She doesn't have another film in the works. Her next film release will be the sci-fi romance titles The Time Traveler's Wife about a Chicago librarian with a gene that causes him to involuntarily time travel, and the complications it creates for his marriage. It will be released December 25, 2008.

Michael Majeski's most recent film was The Last Hit Man starring Joe Mantegna. After he botches a hit, an aging assassin (Joe Mantegna) discovers that he's dying and decides to hide the truth from his daughter, who's also his business partner and getaway driver. When a younger hit man is sent to clean up the mess, he ends up impacting their lives in more ways than initially intended.

Reagan Pasternak can currently be seen in Inconceivable, a satirical drama about the test-tube baby industry.

Jefferson Brown will appear with Corey Haim and Vivica A. Fox in Shark City about two best friends in their early 30's living in New York city looking for love in all the wrong places. One of them finds his Dream Girl, who just happens to be the daughter of the biggest Mobster in town and the other friend swindles her Mob boss Dad out of a Million bucks.

Robert Wilson has not directed anything since Dead Mary.

Dead Mary is Peter Sheldrick's only writing credit.

Christopher Warre Smets followed Dead Mary with the previously mentioned The Mad and The Last Hit Man. His next release will be the straight to video sci-fi action movie Cyborg Soldier to be released October 8, 2008. It centers on a lonely U.S. border patrol agent, played by (Tiffani Thiessen), who captures a genetically engineered super-soldier, played by (Rich Franklin). It begins as the soldiers creator, played by (Bruce Greenwood), attempts to hunt them down.