Movie Reviews 3

Alien Apocalypse
How can you resist Bruce “The Chin” Campbell figthing bug-eyed humanoid insect aliens? Best known as Ash in the Evil Dead movies, and a friend and favorite of Sam Raimi, he has a cult status of his own, and for good reason. The movie is about a bunch of astronauts returning to earth after a long journey only to find that aliens have taken over and put everyone to work in rural lumber mills. It seems, that wood is a high priced commodity for the bugs. They’ve got a few rotten humans to help them keep the slaves in order and in typical, Campbell fashion, Brucie spearheads the rebellion. While the hokey undertones are present, there is a decent story that includes astronauts falling in love, a journey in which Bruce recruits other humans as he amasses his ragtag army and even a search for a mythical ‘president’ lying low somewhere. All good fun, and we even get to see the aliens eat a few human heads.

Freddy vs Jason
Freddy Krueger from the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. Jason Voorhees from the Friday the 13th franchise. Mix’em up together, and what do you have? More money for the studio execs to lick their chops on! Now I’m not saying that this is necessarily a bad thing, but this isn’t exactly a must see movie either. If you’re like me, a sucker for even the worst that these two franchises have to offer, then the completist in you will enjoy this movie. The plot is as simple as can be, in that Freddy has a problem returning to freak out the kids since the kids have to at least know about him in order for him to take over their nightmares. But it seems the authorities have put a good lid on that by locking up and sedating those few kids who do remember him. So he enlists the help of fellow nasty boy Jason to terrorize the neighborhood with the intent that he talk about the recent crimes will inevitably have people talking about Freddy again. Which is exactly what happens of course, but now Freddy’s gotta get rid of ‘the competition’. Their are plot holes galore and a lot of things just happen as a matter of course without explanation. But if you can forget about all that you can enjoy a few minutes of seeing Freddy and Jason again. Just don’t expect much else.

The Shunned
Supposedly a western horror, but there is very little Good, a whole lotta Bad, and a touch of Ugly is as well. While the scripts certainly has its faults, the real horror here is terrible editing. It appears that the editor was just playing around in the lab without much thought to what they were really doing to the film. A lot of the movie seems to be so muted you can barely make out the color. If it was consistent throughout I could just forgive it as a bad choice, but it varied from scene to scene. At times it turned into sepia tones, but most inexplicable was the tendency to add the ‘old streaked film’ look without rhyme or reason. What were we supposed to think that this was filmed at the time of Charlie chaplin? Then there is the sometimes inaudible marshal. I could understand if he was a bit character, but his was one of the two main characters! I was also annoying to see the “Whores” wearing contemporary dresses. Camisole tops and sequined gowns in the 1800s?. I think not. Too many lingering scenes slowed down what could have been and otherwise fine story. Oh yeah, the story. A marshal comes to town to investigate a murder in a small dying town only to pair with a reluctant new sheriff. He finds that there is a history of murders going back and once on the job, new bodies start dropping. Unfortunately all of the missteps with the editing and decor really take a bite out of The Shunned nearly to the point that I almost skipped the decent ending. It’s best to just Shun this movie.

Dr. Jeckyl and Sister Hyde
A bit of a twist on the classic Dr. Jeckyl and MISTER Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson tale by horror favorite Hammer studios. I thought that this one may have fallen flat due to the awkward premise, but it was quite well done. Having a stunning looking ‘sister’ (another Hammer trademark) probably helped. Thumbs up.

Dracula (1992 – Francis Ford Coppola version)
I haven’t seen this remake in a number of years, but I recall enjoying some aspects despite being a purist devoted to the original 1931 Lugosi classic. The hignlights are the performances by Gary Oldman as Vlad/Dracula and musician Tom Waits as Renfield. Winona Ryder however really shows her lack of acting chops being outdone even by Keanu Reeves. One of the better of a multitude of ‘Dracula’ remakes with some nice FX touches.

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