Sunday, 30 December 2012

5 Films Possessed with Terror!

Ideas of demonic possession have been around for centuries, with the first references coming from the Sumerians that believed all diseases of the mind and body came from evil spirits called gidim or gid-dim.  Since then, most religions have had some sort of demonic possession story within their belief system and ritualistic way to release the demons.  The Catholic church has been more prevalent, whether they like it or not, with their exorcism techniques since the release of William Peter Blatty novel, The Exorcist.  The story was based on true events and was fictionalized but it brought to light one of the churches most archaic rituals.  Unfortunately, the interest in demons films diminished by the early 80's, when slasher films became the rage and the exorcism ritual went back into the shadows.  There has been a number of good and bad demon possession films since and these are just a few.

Here are 5 Films Possessed with Terror!

5. Manhatten Baby (1982) - Susie Hacker is approached by a mysterious blind woman and given a amulet, while in Egypt with her archeologist father, George is exploring tombs and her journalist mother, Emily just not paying attention to her.  At that moment, George discovers an ancient tomb, that kills his guide with a booby trap and a magical light that blinds leaves him blind.  George staggers from the tomb and decides that they should go back to Manhattan.  George is told he will be blind for at least a year and Susie is beginning to act weird around her younger brother, Tommy. Apparently, Tommy stayed home with the family's Au Pair, Jamie on the work-cation.  Soooo, with the amulet, Susie and Tommy are now able to open some sort of dimensional portal and George gets his eyesight back way quicker than the doctor said.  More odd things start happening that don't make sense to them, or the audience, and things finally come to a head when Emily's annoying work friend comes over and disappears trying to open the dimensional door.  Unfortunately, no one seems to care that he just vanished and no one can find him.  Eventually, George figures out with the help from occultist, Marcato that he was blinded not by science but from the painting of the amulet of evil and that his daughter, Susie has that amulet!  He and Marcato must stop the evil amulet before it makes more people disappear and it hurts his children, I think!  Ahhhhhh Fulci! You drive me bananas sometimes.  Your incoherent, abstract horror drives me to the brinks of madness! Usually though your nutty scripts are so filled blood that I can be appeased by the outrageous horror.  Buuuut not with this film.  The gore is at it's minimum and I hate, with a passion, the character Tommy and was begging for his demise.  The story is all over the place, I have no idea what happened to Jamie and the only twist that was so what enjoyable was the end. Damn you Fulci!

4. Burnt Offerings (1976) - Ben and Marian Rolf take their son, Davey to go look at a potential summer home in the country.  When they get there, the house looks like it could use some work but it looks good, has a pool and large outdoor area.  They meet the owners, Roz and Arnold Allardyce, who are brother & sister and looking to get out of the house for a vacation.  They tell the Rolfs' that they can rent the place for 900 dollars for the whole summer.  Ben, being the savvy business man, asks them what the catch is, why is it so cheap?  Roz & Arnold come clean and tell them that their mother lives on the top floor and hasn't left her room in years.  If they could bring up her three meals a day during the summer and leave the tray in the sitting room, then they would have a deal.  Sounds perfect!  So, the Rolf's head home to pick up, old Aunt Elizabeth and head back out for there summer vacation.  However, when they arrive again, Roz and Arnold are no where to be found and there is an envelope on the door.  It says that they had to run out but here are the keys and the fridges are stocked.  The Rolf's move in and the start cleaning stuff up.  Ben and Davey clean the pool and during the first swim session, Ben gets a little out of hand and manhandles Davey in the pool.  Nearly drowning Davey, Ben snaps out of it and saves Davey at the last minute.  Ben doesn't know what's happening to him and feels something inside him changing.  Marian is changing too, she seems more reclusive and is spending more time in Mrs. Allardyce's sitting room, looking at pictures and playing her music box.  Marian also is becoming more distant to Ben and he can't explain why.  Is this the house or a spirit in this house taking over this family and is there any way that they can escape it? Karen Black, Oliver Reed, Bette Davis and Burgess Meredith are blended well together to create this horror by director Dan Curtis.  Although the film does come off as a TV movie and very PG, it still has a some moments that are intense and creepy.  The ending took me by surprise and the conclusion was satisfying.  It's worth checking out.

3. JD's Revenge (1976) - It's 1942 and super pimp, J.D. Walker is strollin in his butchering plant and he over hears a conversation with his sister, Betty Jo and another man.  Betty Jo is tellin this guy that if she doesn't get more money for him, then she's going to tell Elia, her boyfriend, the truth that their daughter is not his and it's this guy's kid.  Enraged the guy slits Betty Jo's throat and J.D. runs over to try and save her.  It's too late, the guy takes off and Elia shows up, starts yelling MURDERER and then somebody guns down J.D.!  Fast Forward 30 years and we have Issac, a guy who drives a cab, he's studying to be a lawyer and likes hangin out with his girlfriend, Christella and his friends.  One night, Issac and Christella go out with their friends, to celebrate their one year anniversary.  They start with hitting the strip club, then it's off to dancing and to round out the evening, they catch a show involving hypnosis.  Issac volunteers to be one of the guys being hypnotized and during the show, he starts seeing these weird images of being in a butchering plant and seeing a girl get killed.  He snaps out of it and brushes it off, but the weeks that follow he starts having bad headaches, starts buying clothes from the 40's and even starts roughing up his number one girl, Christella!  He thinks he's going mad but eventually J.D. Walker possesses Isssac's body!  With a shaving razor in hand, he heads out to get his revenge on the sucker who killed his baby sister! I was wrong about this movie.  I liked the low budget style but didn't really give the cast or crew there due.  After seeing it again, I really did like Glynn Turman role as Issac. It made me laugh before when he changed into J.D but now there are some terrific nuances that I didn't notice before and I can really appreciate.  Louis Gossett Jr is also excellent in this film.  There isn't a crazy body count but it's a terrific possession revenge film and has an enjoyable ending.  Fun sploitation film and worth watching.

2. Demons (1985) - Cheryl is riding the subway in Berlin to meet her friend Kathy, when she notices a mysterious man wearing half a metal mask in the next car.  She gets off at her stop and walks cautiously through the abandoned platform but notices the man with the mask is following her.  She walks faster and begins to panic, she rushes up the stairs, only to be stopped by the masked man, who pulls out of his cape, a free pass for a new movie theater. Relieved, Cheryl asks for another ticket for her friend Kathy.  Cheryl convinces Kathy to skip their music lesson and go to the theater premiere but once at the theater they have to battle a pop machine and Kathy seems really put off.  Luckily, George and Ken are able save them from their pop machine crisis and sit with Kathy and Cheryl in the theater.  A number of other people have come to the theater, like the crusty old couple, who hate everything, the blind man and his helper lady, and even Tony the Pimp is there with his two bitches.  One of his bitches, Rosemary starts playing with one of the movie displays and puts on the mask.  Tony the Pimp, laughs and tells her to take it off so they can get good seats in the theater.  When Rosemary take the mask off, she gets a little cut on her face.  They head into the theater just as the show begins.  The movie is a horror movie to Kathy's disappointment and lets Cheryl know that she may to be able to sleep tonight because of the scary movie but Cheryl doesn't care because her a George are hitting it off.  The movie seems to be about a group of college kids who discover a mask and one of the kids puts it on.  When he takes the mask off, he gets a little cut (sound familiar?) and shortly after he is possessed by a demon. Rosemary notices that her cut is bleeding again, so she excuses herself and heads to the ladies room.  When she gets to there, she looks in the mirror and the cut has become an oozing puss filled bubble and Rosemary starts to freak out.  Tony is wondering where Rosemary's at, so he sends his other lady, Carmen to go find her.  Carmen goes to the bathroom and finds Rosemary, except it's not Rosemary!  It's a demon possessed Rosemary and it attacks Carmen and kills her.  Rosemary leaves the bathroom looking for other the victims and when she gets inside the theater, she starts killing people!  Everyone panics and tries to escape!  However, the dead are coming back as demons and it's turning into total mayhem!  Can Cheryl and Kathy ever escape this theater of the dead and if they do will they ever accept another free movie pass again?  Director Lamberto Bava puts together a killer film with the help from Horror maestro and long time friend Dario Argento.  The story is similar to zombie film with the spirits being contagious but has it's own demonic twist to make it original.  The special effects are the main reason to watch it, this film has some awesome kill scenes that are bloody as hell. Also, the soundtrack  to the film is fantastic, full of 80's metal music with some haunting instrumentals by Claudio Simonetti.  This is a definite must see for any Italian horror fan or anyone else looking for a good gory movie.

1. The Exorcist (1973) - Chris MacNeil is a famous actress shooting a new movie in Georgetown.  Her and her 12 year old daughter, Regan are happy, until one day Chris finds a Ouji Board in the basement.  She asks Regan if she was playing with it and Regan said she's been talking to someone named Captain Howdy.  Chris & Regan try to contact Captain Howdy but he shuts them down. Time goes on and during a fancy soiree Chris is hosting, Regan comes downstairs and tells one of the guests that he is going to die and then pees on the floor. I hate when that happens.  After this incidence,  Regan personality slowly becomes more erratic, like telling doctors to fuck her, violently masturbating with a cross, swiveling her head and she even starts speaking in a different voice.  Look out Rich Little!  Chris goes to see every doctor she can and they tell her that it could be a lesion on her frontal lobes but after a battery of tests, it shows there is no damage in that area.  She goes to see a number of psychiatrists but the only thing they can come up with is an Exorcism.  Chris can't believe she can't find anyone to help her and one night she returns home to find Regan's window open and her blankets off the bed.  After giving everyone shit, she finds out the her friend Burke was suppose to be watching her but where the hell is Burke?  Ding Dong, the police are at the door and Burke is dead!  He was found at the bottom of the stairs outside Regan's window.  Time to call a priest!  Luckily, Priest/Psychologist Damien Karras is just down the street.  Unfortunately, since his mother's death, which he blames himself for, he has been questioning his own faith in god but he has time to swing by and check on this "Demon Possession" thing.  When he gets there, Regan tells him that she is the Devil and then starts playing mind games with Father Karras.  He dismisses most of it, until she starts talking shit about his mama! Oh no you didn't!  Father Karras leaves and puts in a report to diocese and they send Father Merrin to perform the exorcism with Karras as his boy wonder.  Father Merrin is old hat at the exorcism game, one almost killed him in Africa, 12 years ago, so he should be game for another one.  Can Father Merrin and Father Karras save this little girls soul or will she be ravaged by the fires of hell for the rest of eternity? I love this movie! William Friedkin directs a true horror master piece that still holds up today.  The special effects are terrific and I love watching Father Karras and the demon Regan talk to each other.  Sure, there really isn't much blood shed and no chase scenes, but it's a thinking horror that puts the good and evil in a small room to battle for a soul. If you haven't seen it, go get it now!

In the last few years, they've try to revive the possession films in every way.  Found footage, straight horror and even The Asylum did a knock off, which you might want to avoid.  The genre is great when it's done right and can be very terrifying.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

5 Films with Santa Being Naughty

Everyone likes to be naughty once in a while, so why not Santa?  For all that time he spends up in the North Pole, working on toys with the elves and the only other human there is Mrs. Claus, doesn't he deserve a little time to himself.  And Christmas Carols, you think it's bad hearing them for a month, try listening to them all year round, I surprised he's as jolly as he is by the end of the year.  So, it's nice to see Santa get naughty and dish out punishment to the bad girls and boys once and a while.  It keeps the season balanced and lets us enjoy the holiday a little bit more.  Well it does for me.

Here are 5 Films with Santa being Naughty:

5. You Better Watch out (aka Christmas Evil) (1980) - Harry Stadling loves Christmas! He sits on the stairs on Christmas eve with his mom and brother, Philip  watching the living room and hoping to get a glimpse of Santa.  Then a pair of of boots appear in the chimney and it's Santa!  Santa puts some presents under the tree and then goes up the chimney.  The boys run to their beds with excitement but Philip says that it's just dad, which upsets Harry and makes him creeps downstairs to prove Philip wrong.  Unfortunately, he sees his mom having sexy time with Santa.  Harry is crushed that his dad is really Santa.  Fast Forward 33 years and Harry is adult, who has eerily decorated his apartment with Christmas stuff and dolls.  He still loves Christmas and works at a toy factory, making shitty toys for all the boys and girls.  Harry also has a hobby of spying on the neighbourhood children through their windows and writing down in his big book, whether the child is naughty or nice.  Harry tries to talk to his employees about making better toys but they just laugh at him and no one seems to have the Christmas spirit, so Harry decides to make his own Santa Claus outfit.  At the company Christmas party, he hears how his company is donating some toys to an children's hospital and asks his boss if all the children will get a toy.  The boss is unsure and this sets Harry off!  He marches back to his home, puts on his Santa costume and goes to work.  He steals bags full of toys from work and drives them to the children's hospital.  There he demands that the orderlies take the toys, which they do and wishes them a merry Christmas.   He then stops at a church that is just letting out after mass and when three young parishioners start giving him a hard time for dressing up like Santa, he kills them in front of everybody at the church and takes off in his van.  Now, Harry is on the run from the law but he still has lots of presents for good kids and more Santa Vengeance to dish out for the bad kids!  John Waters has called this movie, "The greatest Christmas movie ever made" and was released by Troma in 2000.  It's pretty good, it takes a little while to get it's momentum but it has some good scenes and the ending is pretty bizarre.  I was really surprised at how many notable people were connected to this film in small parts.  It's a veritable, who's who of television faces, like Jeffrey DeMunn (The Walking Dead) who plays Harry's Brother, Patricia Richardson (Home Improvement), and Mark Margolis (Breaking Bad, Oz), just to name a few.  The body count is pretty low but there are some pretty decent kill scenes.  Worth checking out.

4. Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984) - Billy and his family are visiting his crazy grandfather in the hospital.  He's suppose to be catatonic, so while mom and dad are signing some papers in the office, they leave Billy with gramps but grandpa was faking them out and tells Billy that Santa punishes little boys who are bad, which scares the crap out of him.  Mom and Dad come back and Billy tells them what happened, they laugh, oh Billy, you're such a liar.  Meanwhile, a man in a Santa suit has robbed a gas station and killed the cashier for 30 bucks!  Unfortunately, his car breaks down but that's ok cuz here comes a car.  Look who it is, Billy and his family and Billy's dad pulls over to help.  The man in the Santa suit kills Billy's parents and leaves Billy and his baby brother with some serious mental scars.  Three years later, Billy and his brother get shuffled into a catholic orphanage, where the hellbeast Mother Superior freaks out when Billy draws a picture of a bloody Santa and headless reindeer.  He is punished to his room but while he's up there, he hears some moanin and groanin and goes to check it out.  He follows the sound and looks through the peephole, where he sees some teens doing it.  Mother Superior catches them all and gives them all a blast of shit and it leaves Billy traumatized. Later on, Santa comes to visit and Billy doesn't want a anything to do with Santa but Mother Superior wants to make an example of him, so she forces Billy into Santa's lap.  Billy freaks out and is mentally and psychically punished upstairs.  Years later, the one nun who feels sorry for Billy gets him a job at a toy store.  Through the use of montage and shitty 80's music, it looks like everything is going well for Billy until Christmas comes.  This puts Billy on edge and unfortunately on Christmas eve, the store Santa calls in sick.  The manager asks Billy to be Santa and Billy sucks it up and agrees to do it.  He gets through the day as Santa and when the store closes, it's time to party!  Everyone is drinking and having a good time and Billy notices the girl he likes has gone into the back room with the clerk who is a jerk.  He follows them in there and the jerk is trying to have sex with the girl he likes.  She's saying no but the guy is forcing himself on her, so Billy goes over to stop him and kills him in the process. Whoops.  She freaks out and is screaming at Billy, calling him a psycho and crazy, so she's gotta die too.  Now, Billy is in the Santa suit and he has his axe, he's lost his mind so now it's time to go punish the bad boys and girls but can anyone stop him?  Removed from theaters at Christmas and besmirched by critics because the poster depicted Santa in a negative way.  What better way to create a buzz and sell a horror film?  This horror Christmas classic still holds up pretty good.  I remember seeing it when I was a kid and being freaked out back then. Even now when I 'm older, the scene with Billy and the little girl still puts me on edge.  It's violent, it's gory and it doesn't apologize for anything.  A fun watch that will ease the tension at Christmas time.

3. Santa's Slay (2005) - The Mason family are having a pre-Christmas dinner party and guess who comes a little early, Santa!  That's right, Santa bursts through their chimney and humorously murders them all.  Then he gets on his hell deer driven sled and heads out to a town called Hell.  Meanwhile, in Hell, teenager Nicolas is just getting off work at the deli with his girlfriend Mary.  He heads home to see what his crazy Grandfather is doing.  Well, he built a bomb shelter and wants to tell Nicolas a story about the real origins of Christmas.  He tells him that Santa was actually the demon son of Satan and was fucking shit up on earth when God sent one of his Angels down to stop him.  The Angel challenged him to a game (which resembles Curling) to see who could get their rock closer to the hole without it falling in.  The winner would call the shots for Christmas.  Santa agreed and went first, he throws his rock and it teeters on the edge of the hole.  The Angel throws his rock and bumps Santa's rock into the hole.  Santa is furious but they had an agreement and the Angel told him that Christmas was now a good holiday.  Santa was banished to the North Pole and wasn't able to leave for a thousand years.  Nicolas thought the story was silly and his grandfather really was crazy until he stops by his work and finds his boss murdered!  And all reports say it's by a man dressed as Santa!  He also hears about how the night before a strip bar was burned to the ground by a man with the same description. But it really hits home is when this evil Santa comes after him, and his grandpa!  Why is he after them and can they stop this evil Santa and save Christmas in Hell?  This was totally made in Canada and even has Dave Thomas, as a preacher, to prove it.  The opening has James Caan, Fran Drescher, Chris Kattan & Rebecca Gayheart and you're thinking, why are these people in this movie?  Then after 3 minutes, Bill Goldberg, who plays Santa kills them.  And then the kid from Big Love, Douglas Smith takes over with other great B-movie people like Robert Kulp and Saul Rubinek.  The movie has that comedic Canadian charm to it and it's fun to watch Goldberg go to town tearing people apart.  It's a good popcorn film, silly and you don't have to think much.

2. Sint (2010) - It's December 5, 1492 and Saint Niklas and his gang of pirates have come to the village for his tribute.  They go house to house collecting there tribute in wooden shoes outside the doors and anyone who doesn't pay, has a pirate down their chimney putting the kill on them or their children stolen or both!  At the end of the night they head back to their boat for a peaceful slumber but not tonight because the villagers have had enough!  They gather together and with pitchforks and torches in hand, head down to the St. Niklas's boat.  They set the boat on fire and burn him and his crew alive.  Fast forward to 1968, everyone is celebrating Sinterklaas, without knowing the true origin of the traditions.  A young Goert is singing songs with his family and his dad asks him to go check on the pigs.  Goert goes and makes sure everything is all right in the barn but while he's gone, his family is attacked and brutally murdered inside their home.  When Goert leaves the barn, he sees St. Niklas and his white horse on his roof of his house and runs inside only to find horror left by the demon.  Flip to the present, Goert is a police officer and has done a ton of research on Sinterklaas.  He found out that if there is a full moon on Sinterklass, which happens every 32 years, this allows the ghost of St. Niklas and his crew to rise from the grave and get their revenge on the villagers ancestors who burned him alive.  There is a full moon tonight and he warns his chief but the chief thinks Goert has been working to hard and forces him to go on a vacation for a month.  Can Goert stop St. Niklas and his band from killing a huge chunk of Amsterdam?  Let's hope so!  This Dutch film is pretty good and I like what they did with the St. Niklas character.  This is probably my favourite horror film from writer/Director Dick Maas and it is the most scary.  The only thing I wasn't that impressed with was the CG, overall it's good but some scenes don't look real enough.  Great cast, good and bloody with a twist of dark humour, definitely something to watch on these cold nights.

1. Rare Exports (2010) - It's Christmas eve and Pietari, his father, Rauno and the rest of the reindeer herders are about to pen the reindeer needed to sustain their income for the following year.  However, no reindeer seem to be coming through the clearing.  So, Rauno, Pietari and couple others get on their snowmobiles to go investigate.  They find a little ways down, hundreds of reindeer carcasses laying in front of the fenced area of a mountain.  There has been a hole cut in the fence and Rauno believes that wolves have come through this hole in the fence because of the mysterious blasting that has been going on the mountain.  However, Pietari doesn't want to tell his dad that he and his friend Juuso, cut the hole in the fence to go and see what they we're doing up on the hill.  There, the boys have discovered that the people up on the hill were excavating the mountain for the real Santa Claus.  Rauno and the men drive up the mountain to give the workers shit, but when they arrive, no one is to be found.  Disappointed, they all go back to their homes depressed and worried about where their money will be coming from in the next year.  Since Pietari had learned that they were digging up the real Santa Clause, he began doing some research on him.  Pietari learned that Santa isn't very nice at all, so Pietari has started wearing hockey pads, much to the chagrin of his father.  They have supper and Pietari goes to bed.  The next morning, Rauno finds a bear trap in his chimney and gives Pietari shit for putting it up there.  Also, in the wolf trap, Rauno finds that someone as fallen into it by accident.  Rauno gets his friend, Piiparinen to help him get the body out of the trap.  Rauno sends Pietari to his room and Rauno gets to work with Piiparinen to bring the body into his butcher shed.  Out of the window, Pietari sees that it's a body from the wolf trap and runs out of the house because he's afraid Santa will come after him.  Rauno runs after him and they run into the local sheriff and Rauno's friend Aimo.  The sheriff tells them that everyone's stove has been stolen from their house last night and Pietari asks about the his friends.  Aimo says his son, Juuso is still in bed but when he goes to look, all he finds is a creepy doll.  Aimo says it must be a joke and they leave it at that.  Rauno asks Aimo to come with him to help him and Piiparinen.  They drive back to the butcher shed and Piiparinen is outside holding his bloody ear.  Piiparinen says the stranger bit him and isn't going back in alone.  Pietari is sent to his room and the Rauno, Aimo and Piiparinen go in to interrogate their mysterious stranger.  While interrogating, Pietari bangs on the door.  Rauno asks what he wants and Pietari tells him about how he cut the fence with Juuso and asks his dad to punish him.  He also tells his dad about what the scientists were doing on the mountain.  Rauno realizes that they may have the real life Santa and can sell him for big money! Unfortunately, Santa may find that to be too naughty and may have to punish them all.  I really enjoyed this movie and thought the entire cast did a terrific job.  Not so much horror as I was hoping for but it does a have a few chilling moments and bloody scenes.  The elves are also very creepy and the ending is a terrific twist.  Watch it over the holidays and you won't be disappointed.

 So when the holiday are over and you're cleaning up the wrapping paper strewn all over your house, remember it pays to be nice sometimes.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

5 Films about Shopping Nightmares

I'm not a big mall person, especially around Christmas time the stores are just a gong show.  I can never find what I'm looking for and I can never find anyone to help me.  Most of the time, I feel like a zombie in Romero's "Dawn of the Dead".  I just stumble around until I find something shiny to stare at or head to the food court to sink my teeth into something, while that god awful muzak plays.  The worst part is that I usually have to go back, because I got the wrong thing or it just doesn't work right and go throught the same nightmare again.  Luckily, some writers have felt the same thing and channeled their anger into films.

Here are 5 Films about Shopping Nightmares

5. Hide and Go Shriek (1988) - It's high school graduation day and what better way to celebrate is to get a group of your best friends and stay over night at your dads enormous furniture store! Whoo, party!  So when they get to the store, they see a creepy guy with a snake tattoo working in shipping and David, son of the owner, explains that this guy was in jail and his dad is giving him a second chance.  The audience finds out shortly after from David's dad that this guy is also temporarily living in the building but the graduates don't know that yet.  So the store closes up and it's party time! Not yet, David has to give a tour of the building and tell everyone not to touch everything a dozen times.  Now is it time to party? Nope, first a game of hide and go seek.  Fuck.  However, during the game some of the couples are having sex and getting caught, which leads to ... another game of hide and seek.  Except this time one of the couples is murdered.  Finally!  However, when the group gets together to eat, they think that that couple is just doing it and will come down later.  After they eat, it's time for bed.  These people know how to party!  And they separate to go and have sex.  Luckily, this gives the killer time to start picking off people and the group realizes that there is someone else in the building and the fun and games are over now.  They try and escape but the doors are chained and the phones are dead! How can they escape this night of terror? This movie was strange.  The ending of this film, comes right out of nowhere and the epilogue is impossible, no imagination should be stretched that far.  The acting is terrible and these guys might have been teenagers 10 years ago, maybe.  Just because you are holding a skateboard, that doesn't make you look younger.  Some of the kill scenes are pretty good, done by Screaming Mad George but I read that some of the truly gruesome stuff was edited out, which is disappointing.  For a first film in the 80's, it's pretty good for director, now editor/producer, Skip Schoolnik but the story just kills it for me and I would steer clear.

4. Elves (1989) - Kristen, Brooke and Amy head out to the forbidden wood to have a "Anti-Christmas" pagan ritual and after the ceremonial hand bleeding, they accidentally awaken a demonic Christmas Elf.  I hate when that happens!  Unknowing of what they conjured up, they all go back home and Kristen tries to sneak the book of magic back onto her grandfather's shelf.  He catches her and although he is bound to a wheelchair, gives her some viscous slaps.  She runs to her room and her distant mother tells her that all the money in her bank account, that she worked for is gone because of the trouble she caused tonight. So beaten and robbed by her family, she goes and has a shower, when she is coming out of the shower, she catches her little brother peeping on her.  She chases him into his room, tickles him and calls him and scamp.  She goes to bed with her cat and dreams of the day she can escape this madhouse. I hope.  The next day, Kristen goes to work at the snack counter of a department store, while there her mother drowns her cat. Good parenting!  On her break, Kristen and her friends visit the store Santa.  While sitting on Santa's lap, Santa gets a little fresh with his hands and Kristen causes a scene.  Santa goes on a break and while drinking in his dressing room, he gets his testicals torn apart by the demonic Christmas Elf.  Luckily, former alcoholic, cop, security guard, Mike McGavin is there and looking for a job.  You're hired, Christmas is saved!  Later that night, Kristen and her friends also planned on sleeping over in the mall, so they can have sex with some random guys they invited.  When the girls get there though, guess who's staying there too? Mike McGavin!  He's been kicked out of his trailer and promises he won't tell if they don't.  Did I mention that Kristen's grandfather was a Nazi?  Yep, a Nazi scientist who was in charge of summoning elves so Hitler could create a supernatural race of super soldiers, until the end of the war, then he disappeared.  Unfortunately, some Nazi have found him and are looking for Kristen and Elf. And now the story gets crazy. So can Kristen escape her abusive family, the Nazi's, the demonic Elf and all the other crazy shit that she's gonna eventually uncovered with the help of Mike McGavin?  Let's hope for years and years of therapy.  For one, I don't know why this is called Elves because there is only one Elf and Elves is plural.  Anyway, this is a complete train wreck of a movie but there's something compelling about it that you have to keep watching.  There is a glimmer of hope at the beginning of every scene that is dashed by the end.  The script is insane, touching almost every family taboo with no consequence to any of the characters.  The main character, Kristen isn't likeable and that thought is reinforced when the guys come to the mall and argue which one of them have to hang out with her.  The Nazi's are generic and would be geriatric by this time.  The acting is horrible and the only thing that looks somewhat decent is the Elf, who doesn't seem to have a game plan at all.  He's protecting her, he's not protecting her.  At times, it can be funny and painful for the wrong reasons at times, is it worth checking out? Sure, if you've run out of other holiday horrors to watch.

3. The Initiation (1984) -Kelly is a sorority pledge who is having horrible nightmares about her mom having sex with her dad, then her stabbing her dad and another man running in and catching on fire.  She has no memories before she was nine but she has always had this dream.  Anyhoo, besides fucked up dreams, Kelly is also the daughter of mall owner, Dwight Fairchild and to get into the sorority, Kelly and the pledges have to steal the uniform of the security guard at the Fairchild mall.  She agrees to get the keys and this prank is going to happen at the end of the week, so we have lots of time to introduce other characters.  Like a someone at the local mental institution, who's face is partial burned and he really enjoys gardening.  One evening, a group of inmates escape and someone kills the wicked nurse with a gardening tool! dun dun dun.  Kelly's parent's are notify because they are paying for someone to be held there and this could this relate to Kelly's dream.  Also, Kelly meets a dreamy professor that week, who tries to unlock the mystery of the dream, Father, Mother, Mirror?  Snore.  Finally, it's Friday and time for the prank!  They drop the pledges off and lock them (from the outside?) into the mall.  Kelly and her friends must get the uniform but little do they know that there is a killer on the loose to get them!  Vera Miles (Psycho) and Daphne Zuniga (Spaceballs, The Dorm That Dripped Blood) star in this and director Larry Stewart doesn't seem to ask much of them.  Lots of twists, in a style similar to giallo, where you're trying to find out who the killer is. Unfortunately, there are characters just thrown in late to the film to bring up the body toll, which make some the kills pointless.  Dull at times and I wished they had spent more time in the mall than developing the cliche relationship between Kelly and her Professor.  Most sad is that this was one of Vera Miles last films but I wouldn't watch this again for her or anyone else.

2. Phantom of the Mall: Eric's Revenge (1989) - The new mall has opened up and the developer, Harv Posner and the Mayor Karen Wilton are pretty jazzed to bring new jobs and commerce to their little town.  Melody, who is still choked that her boyfriend, Eric died in a fire a few months ago, and her friend Susie have gotten jobs at the mall and are excited for the grand opening. Unfortunately, there is a phantom lurking in their monolithic mall and he is secretly killing mall maintenance people and security guards.  The next day, Melody hangs out at the mall with Susie and her friend, Buzz.  They head over to their lockers and a newspaper writer/photographer, Peter, starts chatting up Melody and when she opens her locker, she discovers a bouquet of orchids.  She is freaked out because Eric was the only who knew that she liked orchids.  After work, Melody goes to her car and is violently attacked in the parking lot.  Luckily, before things get to bad, the attacker is shot with an arrow.  Instead of calling the police, Mayor Wilton talks to Melody and assures her that everything will be all right.  Eventually, we discover Eric didn't die in the fire, is protecting Melody and is trying to get revenge on the mall people.  Will Melody find her true love, while the bodies stack up, let's hope so.  Wasn't expecting much from this film and was pleasantly surprised by it.  Even with Pauly Shore as a Buzz, it wasn't too bad.  Morgan Fairchild is the name attached to the film and she does a good job as the Mayor.  The Vandals do the end credit music, which again I was surprised because I had never heard the song before.  There are some really good inventive kill scenes and a lot of tongue in cheek humour.  I think it was humour, I will take it as humour.  There is also an insane car chase in the parking lot and no police in this town. The best is when Eric is unmasked by Melody, that moment is priceless and it's worth watching the whole movie for.  Silly movie with lots of good parts to it, definitely worth seeing.

1. Chopping Mall (1986) - Park Plaza Mall has just brought in a new security team of robots!  These three robots are armed to the teeth and can stop any violator of mall law.  Shortly after the installation of these new mall sheriffs, Rick and his friends decide to sleep over in the mall at the furniture store where they all work at.  There's Rick, his girlfriend Linda, Greg and Suzie, Mike and Leslie and newly formed nerdy couple, Alison and Ferdy.  The mall is closing and it's party time!  Everyone is drinking and having sex on display beds, except for Alison and Ferdy, who are enjoying Sci-Fi movies on the display TV.  Little do these horndogs know, that there is an electrical storm outside  which has damaged something in the malls' electronics and have screwed up the programs for the robot guards.  And now these robots are programmed to kill! Can these horny teens escape the killer robots and have the store put back together in time for the next day?  I love the box art for this movie, which is what made me rent this when I was a kid.  The title too, how can you miss Chopping Mall!  This is movie knows exactly what it is and that's what makes it so great.  Excellent special effects, (for the time and budget) lots of blood and even a head explosion.  Lots of fun with a silly premise that doesn't take itself to seriously.  Watch it if you get a chance!

So, after watching these movies, maybe taking on the stores isn't as hellish as it could be, at least there are no giant robots, yet.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

5 Films inspired by H.P Lovecraft

H.P Lovecraft has given horror fans so much in the way of the occult. Including one of the best fictional books of all time, "The Necronomicon".  Found in the 1924 short story, "The Hound" and said to have been written by the "Mad Arab" Abdul Alhazred, this book contains the history of the "Elder Gods" and it can be used to summon them.  The book has shown up in so many great movies, but the most recognizable is the Evil Dead franchise.  Also the short story, "The Call of Cthulhu" which was published in 1928 in Weird Tales, generated so much excitement that even today, we have writers adding their own spin on the myth, like the creators of South Park.  Many Sci-Fi horrors, like Aliens and The Thing, have taken imagery from these stories and built there own creatures.  Like Poe, direct translations of his work to film seems to be far and few between. 

Here are 5 Films inspired by H.P Lovecraft

5. The Dunwich Horror (1970) - Dr. Henry Armitage is at Miskatonic University concluding a lecture on the very rare and priceless book, The Necronomicon.  After the lecture he hands this priceless book off to his student, Nancy and her friend, Elizabeth to return to the library.  When they put the book back in the library, an odd fellow named Wilbur Whateley asks if he can see the book.  The girls apologize and tell Wilbur that the library is closing and to come back tomorrow.  Wilbur uses his hypnotic gaze and Nancy gives in and tells him to sit over there.  Dr. Armitage comes down to the library and sees Wilbur paging through the Necronomicon.  In his best outraged that anyone could be touching this priceless book tone of voice, Dr. Armitage asks who he is and what he's doing.  Wilbur tells him his name and lets the doctor know that his great great grandfather, Oliver Whateley had a copy of this book back in the day and was hung for it.  The girls come over to see what all the hub bub is about and Dr. Armitage, now pleased as punch invites everybody out for diner.  After diner, Wilbur realizes that he just missed his bus back to Dunwich, so Nancy offers to give him a ride home.  When they get to his house, Wilbur invites her in for tea and she meets Grandpa Whateley, who pulls Wilbur aside and asks what he's doing and how he doesn't want her to find out about you know who.  Wilbur tells him to relax and to leave him alone.  So he does and Wilbur disables Nancy's car.  When she goes to leave, she can't cuz her car won't start, so Wilbur invites her to have some tea and stay the night.  She does and he drugs her tea.  That night, she starts having these crazy acid dreams about rituals and naked people and when she wakes up, Wilbur asks her to go for a walk in the park and shows her a ritual alter.  Best date ever!  Elizabeth is worried about her friend, so she grabs Dr. Armitage and they head out to Whateley's house.  When they arrive they find that Nancy is in good spirits and is staying the weekend.  The two do not give up though and investigate the Whateley family and find Wilbur's mother, Lavinia is in a mental institution.  Dr. Cory tells them that Lavinia had 2 babies that night, Wilbur and the other was stillborn and this drove her mad as a hatter.  On the advice from Dr. Cory's nurse, Elizabeth goes to Wilbur's house to get Nancy out of there but ends up running into a psychedelic monster in the upstairs room and is killed.  Can Nancy be saved from these crazy dreams by Dr. Armitage and can Wilbur be stopped in whatever it is he's doing? And what the fuck is in the room upstairs?  This is director Daniel Haller's second and last kick at the Lovecraftian cat because he did "Die Monster Die" a few years before with Boris Karloff but he still doesn't seem to be able to capture the horror of it all.  The cast is okay with Dean Stockwell putting in a much better performance as Wilbur, than he did for "The Werewolf of Washington" and Sandra Dee as Nancy, which is refreshing to see her moving away from comedy and doing her first horror movie.  The story seems mixed up and the special effects are cheap and hokey.  Too many dream sequences and the characters aren't authentic at times.  Was bored for some of it, but I did enjoy the end.  Some people consider it a classic, you can watch it if you want but don't say I didn't warn you.

4. The Lurking Fear (1994) - It's Christmas!  John Martense is out of jail and he has half a map to a buried treasure.  He goes to visit his old family friend, Knaggs the mortician.  Knaggs has been holding onto the other half of the map since John's father died.  Apparently, John's father ripped some guy named Bennett.  He had Knaggs sew it up in a corpse and then John's father buried the body at the Leffert's Corners Cemetery.  Unfortunately, Knaggs has some work to finish but he'll meet John up at the cemetery in a little bit.  John heads out to collect his fortune with half the map but just as John leaves, Bennett and his gang pay Knaggs a visit.  They kill Knaggs and take his half of the map and head out to meet John.  When John gets to the cemetery, he notices that a lot of the graves have dynamite on them and when he tries to remove one of the charges, he is met with a gun to the face. John is lead into a church by Cathryn. There he meets her rag tag group of church people, who are trying to get revenge on the humanoid creatures lurking under the floorboards.  And if things couldn't get any worse, Bennett and his gang arrive, take everyone hostage and threaten to kill everyone unless John gets him his money.  Can John get the money and survive Bennett and even if he does can they all get away from the humanoids lurking below?  This movie was produced by Charles Band and his Full Moon company, so I wasn't really expecting too much.  Even Lovecraft movie staple, Geoffry Coombs (Re-Animator), Ashley Laurence (Hellraiser) or Vincent Schiavelli can't save this mess.  The story is all over the place and by the end of the movie the creatures don't even care anymore.  The make up on the creatures is pretty good but that's really the only thing going for this film.  This one is even disappointing for a Full Moon picture, but check it out if you got the guts.

3. Dagon (2001) -Paul Marsh and his girlfriend, Barbara are vacationing off the coast of Spain with their friends, Howard and Vicki.  A massive storm rises and knocks the boat into some rocks. Everyone is OK, but Vicki's leg is trapped under some debris and the water is rising.  Paul and Barbara volunteer to take the life raft to the nearest village and bring help.  When they reach the village, it seems deserted and just when they are about to give up, they are finally greeted by an old strange looking priest.  They explain to him what has transpired and he tells them that this fishing boat, who now has a crew, will bring Paul over to save their friends and Barbara can go to the hotel in town to call for help.  They agree and Paul heads out to save their friends.  While at the hotel, Barbara is grabbed and taken captive by the hotel clerk and the priest.  Paul gets back to their boat but his friends have mysteriously vanished, so he gets back on the boat and heads back to shore.  Once on shore, Paul goes to the hotel, finds Barbara's lighter and has the worst conversation in the world with the Hotel clerk.  He finally gives up and heads up to his room to wait for Barbara.  While there, he looks out the window and sees an angry mob of strange looking villagers, pointing at him and growing in numbers.  Paul high tails it, just as the mob is breaking down his door.  He eventually runs into a room, where he finds Howard. Or at least what was Howard! Apparently these people took all of Howard's skin off him and have it up to dry.  Can Paul find Barbara and get off this island and unlock the mystery of this strange place before they pull his skin off? This movie is directed by Stuart Gordon (Re-animator) and produced by Brian Yuzna (Bride of the Re-animator) and who have a pension for working with Lovecraft themes. Although the story is based more on "The Shadows Over Innsmouth" and less on the title story "Dagon", it's still an OK movie.  The acting isn't great but some of the special effects are pretty cool and there are some humorous moments that make the film better.  Not the best Lovecraft, but still worth a view.

2. Necronomicon (1993) - H.P Lovecraft arrives at a monastery, that he's been going to for years to study and requests to read a book.  While the monk gets him the book, Lovecraft steals a key from the monk.  Once the monk has left the room, Lovecraft slips away from his study and down the hall to retrieve what he really came for, the Necronomicon.  He opens the door with the key and opens the vault.  He grabs the book but he there's a sound that spooks him and he drops the key into a grate.  No matter, Lovecraft sits down and begins reading the tales of the Necronomicon.  The first being "The Drowned" Upon the tragic death of his uncle, Edward De La Poer returns to New England to inherit the old hotel.  He is told that his uncle Jethro's family had perished in a boat accident and after their deaths, Jethro renounced God and began dealing with black magic.  Jethro invoked the spirits using the Necronomicon and tried to bring his wife and child back from the dead but this only lead to his madness and suicide.  Edward, who is still distraught over the death of his wife, thinks this could be a great way to bring her back.  He finds the Necronomicon and performs the ritual, but will he have the same luck as his uncle or will everything work out? In the next story, "The Cold", top notch news hound, Dale Porkel is investigating a string of strange murders in the Boston area that have occurred over the past years.  This brings him to a boarding house, where a mysterious woman with a rare disease tells him the story of Emily Osterman, who she claims was her mother.  She says that her mother arrive here looking for a room and was told by Lena, the house owner, that one was available but she could not disturb Dr. Madden upstairs.  She agreed and life was good until her step father tracked her down and tried to rape her again.  Luckily, Dr. Madden steps in and stabs him with a scalpel.  The step father falls down the stairs and dies. Yeah! Emily is bandaged up and sent to bed, but she hears strange noises in the night and goes to investigate.  She follows the sounds up to Dr. Madden's room, opens the door and sees Dr. Madden and Lena cutting up her step father into pieces. Yeah!?  She screams, then faints and when she wakes up Dr. Madden reassures her that it was just a dream.  The next day though, the cops are asking about the death of her step father, so Emily rushes to Dr. Madden and he comes clean.  He shows her the Necronomicon and the great recipe it has using spinal fluid and cold air to maintain a youthful appearance.  He injects a rose with the serum and tells her as long as it doesn't see sunlight it won't die.  He gives her the rose and then they have sex.  Lena, who was in love with Dr. Madden finds out and chases Emily away.  Months later, after realizing she is pregnant she returns to find Dr. Madden and Lena killing more people to survive.  Can Emily survive this relationship? Is the reporter going to bring them all in?  The last story, "Whispers", two cops are on a high speed chase to catch the notorious killer known as "The Butcher" .  Officer Paul and Officer Sarah have just broken up and Sarah tells Paul she is pregnant.  Paul wants her to slow down but she wants to catch the killer.  The argument leads to Sarah flipping the car.  When she comes to, she sees Paul being dragged away and she quickly calls for back up.  She gets out of the car and follows the bloody trail into a warehouse.  In the warehouse, she comes across a older man in glasses claiming to be the warehouse owner, Mr. Benedict.  He says that "The Butcher is just a tenant of his and he can lead her to him.  She follows him and they are shot at, but it's only Mrs. Benedict, the blind wife of Mr. Benedict.  Sarah takes the shotgun away from the blind woman and Mr. Benedict leads her into the bowels of the building.  Can Sarah find her ex lover and escape the Butcher?  Back to Lovecraft, he is now discovered by the monks and by reading these stories he has summoned a Demon!  The demon is rising and he and the monks have to stop it in time but can they?  This is a pretty good anthology of Lovecraft themed shorts.  Headed up by Brian Yuzna who directs Lovecraft piece and the "Whispers" and all the "Library" pieces with Geoffry Combs as Lovecraft.  I really liked director Kazunori Ito's "The Cold" , it has some of the best special effects I've seen in these films.  The only one I wasn't that crazy about was "The Drwoned" that left me a little flat but the other stories make this one worth checking out for sure.

1. The Haunted Palace (1963) -In 1765, the townspeople of Arkham, New England watch as another young girl wanders helplessly through the streets heading towards the Curwin Mansion.  Tonight though, they're fed up with Joseph Curwin and his mistress, Hester, so they pick up their torches and pitchforks and head over to confront them.  Lead by local yokel and ex fiance of Hester, Edgar Weeden, the townspeople confront Curwin and after very little deliberation decide to burn him.  Before Curwin is set aflame, he curses Weeden and the rest of the town and tells them that he'll come back from the dead and kill them all! Fast forward 110 years, Curwin's great great grandson, Charles Dexter Ward and his wife, Anne arrive in Arkham to look over there new mansion that they inherited.  When they walk into the local pub to get directions, the townspeople give them the cold shoulder, and only Dr. Willet is willing to give them directions.  Once at the mansion, they notice a painting of the late Joseph Curwin and cannot believe the resemblance to Charles.  The are greeted by the caretaker, Simon and is shown around mansion.  The next day, Anne is preparing to leave and Charles tells her that he has changed his mind and thinks they should stay for a bit before they sell the house.  Anne is disappointed but she says fine and they stay.  As time goes by, Anne notices that the town is full of deformed children and her husband is totally obsessed with the Joseph Curwin painting.  Dr. Willet comes over and explains that the town believes that the deformities are the cause of the Curwin curse.  He tells them, that the towns people believed the Joseph Curwin had in his possession the Necronomicon, an evil book of spells! The towns people also believed that Joseph Curwin and two other warlocks using this book were going to try and summon the elder gods and try and mate women to create a race of super beings! So, the towns people burned him alive.  He tells them that seeing Charles reminds them of the horror that Curwin brought and it might be best if they leave.  Anne is agrees with Dr. Willet but Charles decides that he shall stay and if Anne wants to leave then she should do so.  Anne stays because she loves her husband and sees that he is changing but doesn't understand why.  She is right, it seems as though that the spirit of Joseph Curwin has been slowly taking over Charles body. The ghost of Curwin and Simon must keep him in the house until the transformation is complete, then and only then can they summon the elder gods and create their race of super humanoids!  Can Anne's love save her husband with the help of Dr. Willet and somehow release this town from this awful curse? Watch and see! Although it is named after an Edgar Allan Poe poem, "The Haunted Palace", the story itself is loosely based on Lovecraft's short novel "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward".  Roger Corman does a nice job, giving it a gothic feel and the sets are similar to those he used during his Poe films.  Vincent Price is killer and gives a terrific performance as both the ever loyal and pleasing husband, Charles Dexter Ward and the evil warlock, Joseph Curwin.  Lon Chaney Jr and Elisha Cook Jr are also excellent in smaller roles but still give stand out performances.  There isn't any blood in the film but it's an interesting take on the Charles Dexter Ward story.  Great film and totally worth watching.

So after watching these films, one can see the difficulty in creating the special effects that would compliment Lovecraft's written word.  How can someone create something that is so horrific that it can't be named or even imagined?  Maybe unseen horror is better left to the minds of the audience and that is where the true terror lies.

 P.S - I love the Re-Animator but I already wrote about it in a previous blog.  If I hadn't I would be on this list.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

5 Zombie Movies from Around the World

People all over the world love zombies! OK, zombie movies! The zombie is weak on it's own but as a community or horde, it's quite a devastating monster.  North America has created tons of films on the subject of the identification, classification and extermination of the North American Zombie.  But what about the rest of the world?  Do the same rules apply?  Do Spanish zombies take mid day siestas, do Japanese zombies know karate or do Australian zombies like to go down under?  Who knows? These are things we need to find out, if we want to stop the upcoming zombie apocalypse.  So with that in mind,

Here are 5 Zombie Movies from Around the World 

5. Undead (2003) - Berkeley, a small fishing town in Australia, is bombarded by meteorites causing some of the town inhabitants to become zombies.  These zombies then infect other people in the town and you know what happens.  However, former pageant winner, newly orphan and the woman who just lost the family farm, Rene has decided to leave Berkeley and has no idea that the zombie apocalypse has arrived.  Until, she is just on her way out of town with some douchebag and they have to stop because there are a few cars blocking the road.  The douchebag gets out and is eaten alive! Rene runs to the nearest house, which happens to be occupied by local loon, Marion.  Marion told everyone in town, that he was attacked by zombie fish and captured by a flying saucer a few years ago, so everyone thinks he's off his nut.  Luckily like most nuts, he's armed to the teeth and ready for war!  Be it with zombie fish, aliens or the living dead.  Just then, more people come to the door!  It's the runner up from the pageant and mother to be, Sallyanne with her boyfriend Wayne.  She seems terrified and confused about the undead but she still can't get over that she lost to Rene in the talent portion of the contest.  Alright, now we got everyone together then, let's...BANG BANG BANG! More people at the door, fuck! It's the asshole cop, Harrison and the rookie cop, Molly.  C'mon in!  So now the cast is assembled, what are we missing... zombies!  The zombies breakdown the doors, attack everyone and in Night of the Living Dead tradition the living head downstairs to the basement.  Fighting tooth & nail they get down to basement and realize that there is no way out of the basement.  Good work, idiots.  Can this team of survivors get out of the basement, get above ground and figure out what the hell is going on! Let's hope so for your sake!  This Australian flick has some interesting twists and turns that can really go either way for the enjoyment of a viewer.  Not the average zombie movie but the brother duo (I'm assuming, please correct if I'm wrong) of Michael and Peter Spierig put a ton of different elements into to it.  It's got a sci fi angle, some of the action scenes are done like early John Woo and it's got some humour in it as well.  It's a big fat zombie burrito film that can be overwhelming and disorientating at times.  The story for me literally hits a wall for me at when the characters hit the wall that is surrounding the town and they can't escape.  The story starts to get confusing but it squeaks itself back into the realm of plausibility and ends up tying itself back together in the end.  There is a good amount of blood and the special effects are alright but you can tell they were working within a tight budget.  The ending is good and the film is worth watching if you get a chance.

4. The Horde (2009) -A group of police officers, head over to the projects in Paris to exact revenge from a group of drug dealers who killed their friend.  When they get there, everything goes wrong because of a nosy building manager and they are caught by the gang.  After executing a snitch, in front of them the gang prepares to kill the officers and then something peculiar happens.  The dead snitch comes back to life and starts attacking them!  The gang freaks out and starts putting bullets in him but he won't go down, until someone shoots him in the head but then the guy the dead snitch killed has come back to life! What is going on?! The gangsters kill their own dead friend and look out the window.  There are hundreds of these zombies coming towards them.  They untie the cops, form an alliance and try escape the building before the zombie apocalypse eats them alive.  This french movie reminded me a bit of The Raid, except without the martial arts and it's zombies.  There are some good zombie scenes, especially the end when everything comes to a head.  One thing that bugged me is at the beginning the ammo seemed limitless but they fixed that as the movie goes forward.  The story was pretty good, the characters were alright but I wish there was a little more to them, they seemed a little flat.  The visuals at the end were cool and I like the way everything wrapped up.  This movie is a clean head shot of enjoyment.

3. Tokyo Zombie (2005) - Fujio and Mitsuo work in a fire extinguisher factory, where they spend most of their day practicing their jujitsu moves.  Their boss catches them one lunch hour and tires to humiliate Mitsuo by rolling him up in a dirty mat and slapping his bald head.  Fujio hits his boss in the head with a fire extinguisher to get him off Mitsuo and accidentally kills him.  They decide to bury him in "Black Fuji", which is a toxic waste dump in Tokyo.  They bury the body and there seems to be a lot of other people there with the same idea.  As they are leaving the don't notice, but the bodies are rising from the toxic ground and attacking people.  The next day at work, their boss comes back again but he's a zombie!  They try and use their jujitsu, but it doesn't work and they have to escape.  Can these to guys save Tokyo from a zombie attack with the power of Jujitsu?  This movie is from Japan and it's pretty funny.  The Fujio and Mitsuo characters are idiots and just scrape out of these dangerous situations.  The zombies are good and there are some good attacks scenes.  I think it's a little longer than it should be but it's a fun movie. Worth checking out.

2. Nightmare City (1980) - Plucky middle aged bearded reporter, Dean Miller is at the airport to interview a prominent scientist.  While waiting a military plane makes an emergency landing on the airstrip, so he and his camera man head over to get the scoop. That's reporter talk.  When they get there the plane is surrounded by police, military and airport workers who are trying to contact the pilot inside to no avail.  The pressurized door opens up and out walks the scientist that Dean was suppose to interview, along with dozens of blood thirsty ravenous radiation soaked knife wielding machine gun toting zombies, who go straight to work killing everyone in sight.  Dean & his camera man sneak away from the blood shed and head back to the television station.  Dean interrupts everyone's favourite show "All Music" with a special announcement about zombies, until the station manager cuts his feed.  The station manager, tells him that the military doesn't want this leaked out to the public and that they are taking care of it. Furious with the system, Dean quits and calls his hot doctor girlfriend at the hospital to warn her, but she is in surgery and can't come to the phone right now.  Meanwhile, the military are trying to rescue their loved ones and figure out how to stop this zombie insanity!  Zombanity?! TM.  Anyhoo, The major wife and worst sculptress in the world is warned and she locks the doors and windows. The generals daughter and her husband don't want to give up their weekend because of the zombie apocalypse, so they sneak away from the guard and head out for a picnic in the country.  Dean Miller, remember him, after a dozen phone calls, gives up and goes to the hospital to pick up his main squeeze just in time for the zombies to overrun the hospital!  In the mayhem, Dean finds his girlfriend and they narrowly escape.  Can these 3 stories come together in a Lenzi film, defeat the radiation zombies and save Europe if not the world? Maybe?  This one is from Italy and directed by Umberto Lenzi.  I was told, then I read that Lenzi didn't care for the creatures in the film to be called zombies, even though they're dead, eat flesh/drink blood and can only be killed by a head wound.  So...let's just call'em zombies for this blog.  This is a pretty fun film.  The zombies are not your average zombies, they use weapons and have a capacity for thinking, which make them even more dangerous.  The gore in this is pretty great and the special effects are really well done.  The pacing & dialogue is what you would expect from an Italian horror movie, which is slow and Lenzi seems to be trying to send out some heavy handed messages about society and the military, which is fine.  The ending is pretty killer and there are some nice twists in the film, that I wasn't expecting.  Pleasantly surprised and thoroughly enjoyed the film, watch it, if you can.  Oh, and there is lots of senseless nudity.

1. Juan of the Dead (2011) - Juan and his friend, Lazaro are a couple of slackers trying to find work in Cuba and reconnect with their adult kids.  Over the radio, they hear that a new form of dissidents are trying to take down their government.  However, these dissidents seem to eat people and are zombies.  So Juan decides that he need to stop these zombies and save Cuba for a profit.  With help from his friend, Lazaro, Lazro's son, Vladi, local she-male hooker, China and his/her body guard, El Primo, he puts together a business that will kill zombies for a money.  Business is going well at first, but as time passes, their customers turn into zombies and the money and people seem to be running out.  Juan must find away to save himself, his daughter, Camila and his friends and get off the island before they get eaten alive!  This was such a terrific movie.  Director Alejandro Brugues hits all the right spots in a great zombie comedy.  Easily comparable to Shawn of the Dead for the humour but it is similar to Romero's Dawn and Day of the Dead when expressing views about politics and the nature of society.  Great fights with zombies, lots of blood and the body count is really incredible.  A must see for sure!

So it seems that zombies around the world, like people, are basically the same.  They all eat human flesh and there's only one sure way to kill them. So, if you're ever on vacation outside your country and a zombie outbreak begins to rise, remember you may not speak the language but you know enough to aim for the head!