Archive for the ‘Horror’ Category

Monstrous Affections – David Nickle (2009)

December 7, 2018

I picked up David Nickle’s horror short collection Monstrous Affections mistakenly thinking he was another author whose work I read in another anthology. Basically I was in the mood for some good horror and wanted to try something other than my ‘go to’ Stephen King pile. While it was a case of mistaken author I’m glad to say the error was a fortuitous one as I enjoyed this collection. I thought that the first entry, The Sloan Men, was easily the best story in the lot and the one story indicative of the great cover art on this book in case you were as curious about that face as I was. (Credit artwork to Erik Mohr).

Here’s a rundown of the stories:


The Sloan Men

Meeting your boyfriend’s parents for the first time is always a touchy and nerve fraught affair. Moreso if your boyfriend and his father are actual monsters only you did not know it despite the clues.


Janie and the Wind

This Wendigo story is told from the point of view of a rather naive woman made a virtual prisoner on a secluded island by her mate. I did find that the story was creepy at first but loses a bit of its luster towards the end.


Night of the Tar Baby

An ex-con has picked up a few tips on mystical powers while in the slammer and raises the power of a Tar Baby to protect his family from evil. But as some members of the family soon find out, a Tar Baby does not discriminate between outside threats and those in the family itself. What is a Tar Baby you ask? Must read this to find out and you won’t be disappointed.


Other People’s Kids

Fezkul is a devilish imp that only children can see and who readily do his bidding. Even murder. But Sam is on the cusp of adulthood and this borderline state gives him the rare opportunity to save a popular roadside grill and park from Fezkul. A literal coming of age story that includes a bit of lighthearted comedy.


The Mayor Will Make a Brief Statement and Then Take Questions

A one-pager story on the hit-and-run death of a child. But buried (deep) in the mayor’s soliloquy is a subtle hint of unstated paranormal horrors.


The Pit-Heads

A tale of life friendship among a group of artists and how embracing vampirism may be beneficial to honing their craft while redefining ‘lifelong’. The pit-heads referred to by the title are the mine entrance sheds in which the take refuge.


Slide Trombone

Head scratching tale of a doped up Led Zeppelin cover band that can’t figure out how and why they have a trombone player. And then there’s the trout swimming in the bathtub. I did say it was a head scratcher.


The Inevitability of Earth

Another very odd tale of a young dreamers anguished life mission to find his long gone grandfather who just “flew away” one day while his family tries to keep him well … grounded.


Swamp Witch and the Tea-Drinking Man

This is clearly a fantasy story of a so called ‘swamp witch’ who has snatched and held a town in time. But her time has come when the ‘Tea-Drinking’ man has made the same bargain with the devil. Fantasy has never been my cup of Tea so it’s not surprising that this was my least favorite story.


The Delilah Party

When a sex cult tries to set up an emotionally unstable young boy for a tryst with his long time infatuation, they get more than they bargained for.


Fly in Your Eye

Single pager exactly fitting the title with a little shocker for an ending.


Polyphemus’ Cave

When a renown gay actor returns home upon receiving a telegram of father’s death the ensuing investigation on the exact circumstances include a circus, a soul-sucking giant cyclops and a circus. Guaranteed to be the strangest coming out story you’ll ever read.


The Webley

This would fit nicely in a Stephen King collection as it is a story about some kids in a small town, a gun (the titular Webley) and a dog. My only problem was the too abrupt ending as I really wanted more.


Movie Reviews 370 – Seconds (1966)

November 24, 2018

I vaguely recall reading about the movie Seconds in some older Science Fiction film books over the years and also have run across it being discussed in some Horror forums but have not had the chance to watch it until now. Now having seen it I can understand how it loosely fits both genres and in fact can very much be considered a psychological thriller, and even more surprisingly an art house film as well. This one certainly fits many niches and delivers the goods for each one.

A well-to-do elder businessman finds himself nearing the end of a fruitful career but in loveless marriage and with nothing to show for his life when he gets a call from a supposedly dead friend with an interesting offer. It is the opportunity to drop out of life completely (including a having a faked death) and to undergo a radical rejuvenating surgical procedure that will transform him into a young man again, ready to start life anew.

At first Art Hamilton (John Randolph) is incredulous that Charlie (Murray Hamilton) is indeed his deceased friend an must be convinced. But once satisfied he enters a nefarious world of secret messages, covert transport, hidden offices, and a secretive corporation behind it all

While still a bit reluctant, he buys into the hard sell by “Mr. Ruby” (Jeff Corey) and after a prolonged session of surgeries and physical therapy emerges as Tony Wilson (Rock Hudson), complete with a fabricated background and home in an isolated resort to slowly integrate into his new life. He finds it difficult at first but a chance encounter on a beach with a vibrant young woman (Salome Jens) slowly changes his mind. Maybe he can adapt and enjoy life again? All goes well until a party is held at the resort where a little too much alcohol has Tony slipping out a few things about his past, breaking a cardinal rule of those who are ‘seconds’. Suddenly everyone there turns on him, but he is able to slip out and make a run.

The corporation eventually tracks him down and after a lot of discussion agree to another ‘rebirth’. But as he is shuffled into a room of men that seem to just pass the time, he runs into Charlie who is also waiting for another rebirth himself. Only when Tony is told that he is about to get his turn again does he discover one of the conditions that the corporation needs to address in order to perform their ‘service’. And Tony fits the bill.

This film has the semblance of a prolonged old Twilight Zone episode complete with some drawn-out ambiguity and mystery and ending with a crashing finale. All that but with the higher production values and a few other differences. One glaring difference is the abundant group nudity in a particular Woodstock-esque scene (hey, it was the sixties) that ends up being a turning point for Tony. There certainly was never any of that in the Twilight Zone!

Story aside, the cinematography is mesmerizing with lots of lens effects and the use of innovative, but highly appropriate angle shots and lighting. Some may get a kick seeing Will Geer (grandpa on The Waltons) and Richard Anderson (Oscar from The Six Million Dollar Man) in small but critical roles.

A top notch, somewhat obscure Science Fiction thriller that is quite riveting. Despite the title truly a timeless movie.

Movie Reviews 369 – A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)

November 16, 2018

A Tale of Two Sisters is a Korean horror that takes the concept of flipping a story on it’s head to extremes. Much like Shyamalan’s The Sixth Sense where a pivotal point of the story has the viewer reexamining everything that they had seen prior to that event because the point of reference changed the entire story, this film does it not once, but twice.

It begins two sisters, Soo-mi (Lim Soo-Jung) and Soo-yeon (Moon Geun-young), arriving at home from some unexplained long term visit elsewhere. Soo-mi is the defiant, feisty one who clearly hates her stepmother (Yum Jung-ah) while being protective of her younger, quiet and simple headed sister. The stepmother lashes at Soo-mi almost as soon the girls arrive, trying to assert herself as the matriarch ruler of the house but Soo-mi will have none of it and stands her own ground defiantly. Standing between them is the father (Kim Kap-su) who has lost control over the household to the bickering women.

But the battles are interspersed with odd events indicating that something is not right. There are hints of abuse of Soo-yeon and the stepmother rants crazed stories at a family gathering where everyone else are clearly not at ease. But who is crazy, Soo-mi or the stepmother and more importantly why? Even after the first big reveal there are many unanswered questions that remain including the full extent of the horror that put the family in this dysfunctional state.

The movie does use some of the tropes of K-Horror (and J-Horror for that matter) that we’ve become familiar with over the last decade or so (the long hair hiding the girl’s faces, stark flashbacks, etc) but this is mostly new ground filmmaking with a powerful supporting story. Low on gore relying on the psychological, the finale is brilliant and puts everything into perspective.

This is the first feature by director Kim Jee-Won that I’ve seen only having been exposed to his segment in Three Extremes II before, but if this film is any indication of his talents I will certainly be on the lookout for more. I have the Tartan Asia Extreme 2 disc DVD box set which is filled with extra interviews by the entire cast, but as much I as hoped the film plot would be elaborated on, none of the extra features are all that interesting and they can be skipped. But do watch this movie.

Movie Reviews 366 – The Boys From Brazil (1978)

October 27, 2018

It’s hard to imagine that a movie featuring an all star cast of consisting such exalted actors that include Gregory Peck, Sir Laurence Olivier and James Mason could be anything other that an austere melodrama dealing with only the most serious of storylines. But The Boys from Brazil shakes off some the Shakespearean plaudits, first as a quasi B-movie science fiction, horror melange that dabbles in Nazi cloning experiments and secondly by also featuring Police Academy alumni Steve Guttenberg in a pivotal role.

Wannabe Nazi hunter Barry Kohler (Guttenberg) believes he has stumbled upon some evil plot in Paraguay and even believes he has found the Angel of Death himself, notorious Auschwitz concentration camp human experimenter Dr. Joseph Mengele (Peck). When he makes a frantic stateside call to renown Nazi hunter Ezra Lieberman (Olivier), Ezra’s response is basically “Tell me something that I and the rest of the world don’t already know!”.

But as the call ends with a chilling scream Ezra’s conscience gets the better of him and he does start investigating. What he finds is more puzzling than it is disturbing. The fact that remnants of the Nazi regime are murdering a select group 94 men across the globe that are exactly 65 years old and all civil servants and with no other apparent link including either political affiliations, religion or knowledge of one another. The shocking truth is no less than a diabolical attempt by surviving Nazis hoping to establish a fourth Reich! But how does killing 94 seemingly innocent men fit in with all this?

Based on Ira Levin’s (of Rosemary’s Baby fame) novel of the same name, this movie is not all Nazi intrigue as there are welcome moments of levity, most notably in a scene with Rosemary Harris (aunt May from the Spiderman film series) as an unapologetic young widow flaunting her wares to a much older Olivier.

I can’t say that these actors are all in top form as the concept is somewhat far fetched while based on some dodgy science and even more implausible situations, even beyond Guttenberg trying to be serious. Still, I enjoyed it 30 years ago and I enjoyed it again with this recent rewatch. I did find it ironic that Olivier, found chasing Mengele here had played the role of a similar Nazi doctor himself in Marathon Man only two years earlier. For his part, Peck was said to have relished the idea of playing the doctor as a welcome change from his usual Goody Two Shoes roles. It may not have hit the mark but it was certainly different.

Movie Reviews 363 – Suspiria (1977)

September 29, 2018

SUSPIRIA, poster art, 1977

While Mario Bava can be considered the grandfather of Italian Horror, Dario Argento just as easily can assume the mantle of giallo cinema maestro. But oddly, Argento’s best films are not his giallo’s but his pure horror oeuvres, and topping them all is his masterpiece Suspiria.

An aspiring ballet dancer from New York (Jessica Harper) travels to Germany and arrives in the middle of the night in pouring rain at the doors of the prestigious Tanz dance academy. As Suzy ascends the stairs to present herself another delirious eyed student is exiting while muttering some incomprehensible warning. When Suzy rings she is told that there is no one by her name expected at the school, leaving her out in the cold.

The escaping student makes her way to a friends apartment where she is terrorized, drawn to the rooftop only to be tangled by a cord and dropped through the stained glass foyer ceiling, killing not only her but her confidante.

The next day Suzy is finally brought into the school and immediately notes the cold reception by many of the girls and miss Tanner one of the instructors with a Nazi demeanor and the looks to match. But she does make friends with Sara (Stefania Casini) who confides that the student who died had warned her that something was amiss. As Suzy begins her dance classes she tells the instructors that she is not feeling well but is none the less goaded to continue and soon faints. But this is but a pretense to keep Suzy under the eye of Madam Blanc (Joan Bennett) who runs the academy. Under the medical supervision of the school doctor (Udo Kier) Suzy is  drugged but wise enough to continue her snooping even after her only friend Sara disappears under mysterious circumstances. Suzy eventually learns the secret hidden behind the walls of the school, but can she do anything about it?

Brimming with horror clichés of faraway footsteps, hidden passageways, clues that must be twisted to make sense, gargoyle fixtures and bloody encounters by the handful, Suspiria also brought new life to the genre by Argento’s bold use of pulsating colors, Masonic emblems and lush lodgings (pink Deco!) befitting Alice in Wonderland, all captured with masterful camera work. The horrors include maggot infestations, canine casualties, and razor wire trampling to name a few. As good as all that, no mention of this film can be complete without lauding the immaculate score by Italian prog-rock Goblin (credited as The Goblins).

Written by Argento and Daria Nicolodi (his wife at the time and mother of their daughter, actress Asia) Suspiria was the first of the The Three Mothers trilogy which included Inferno and The Mother of Tears  which he only completed in 2007, 30 years after Suspiria. Needless to say, this was not my first viewing of this classic, but even so it was only this time around that I noticed the distinct influence of The Exorcist here. All that to say that this movie never ceases to surprise.

Movie Reviews 359 – The Human Centipede (2009)

August 28, 2018

Well I finally got around to watching The Human Centipede, the conceptually stomach turning film in which victims are surgically attached – lips to butthole – forming a veritable frankensteinian centipede. Now I’ve watched more than my share of the grotesque, gruesome and repugnant films over the years but even I, a hardened veteran, had some trepidation if not hesitation watching this Dutch ditty. After all, the mere concept forces one to imagine some indelible images even without seeing the actual film visuals. But truth be told, once the initial revulsion factor has been, uh, digested, this isn’t as bad as one would imagine.

Of course this kind of a movie relies on a demented scientist and as Dr Josef Heiter Dieter Laser not only emotes the necessary insanity, but creepily looks the part. When two young American tourists, Lindsay (Ashley C. Williams) and Jenny (Ashlynn Yennie) get stranded with a flat tire out on a desolate country road on a rainy night, they take refuge in Heiter’s home and shortly fall to his long planned scheme of creating a tri-human centipede. Heiter, who practiced the procedure on a trio of hounds before, has his basement lab and infirmary all set up and even already has a comatose victim already lined up. And when the meticulous doctor determines that the existing victim is not physically compatible with his two new nubile “segments” he disposes the ‘incompatible’ and forages for another landing him with Katsuro (Akihiro Kitamura) a male Japanese tourist to complete his human checklist.

Explaining the surgical and anatomical details of the procedure to follow, the language barrier presented by all three bound prey renders the discussion pointless but the drawings are more than enough to have them wailing in vain. It’s a lot more intricate than you would imagine and I was fascinated by how the incisions and stitching solves what would be real life problems in such an undertaking… and making it all the more morbid.

Lindsay, the more outspoken of the girls makes a brief break but that just lands her the coveted ‘middle’ segment of the experiment. But once Heiter awakens his masterpiece post-op, not only does he not have to worry about her or any of the other conjoined bodies easily escaping, but only Katsuro is left with a voice for the entire group – odd in that being unilingual Japanese his ramblings are undecipherable, but we get the idea.

The ‘centipede’ can slowly move about but of course ‘it’ is not as obeisant as the Heiter’s old doggy-train. It’s really only once bodily functions like bowel movements kick in that the film reaches the pinnacle of grossness, but even so, it is one of the imagination rather than any actual visuals.The final act of the movie is one in which escapes are contemplated and planned while some snoopy detectives that come knocking on Heiter’s door with a few questions.

When the horrific description of the subject matter of this film by Tom Mix was announced one would assume a public up in arms, but I must say that as far as I could tell it garned more of an anticipation reaction within genre fandom and nary a blip in mainstream reporting. How far we’ve come since Silent Night, Deadly Night when mothers were lined up at the cinema in the mid 80’s for a simple slasher movie. This on the other hand is a movie clearly influenced by Dr. Josef Mengele’s Nazi experiments and perhaps a dose of Jack the Ripper, all real horrors. Honestly aside from some cool ‘stitch’ makeup the goriest part was listening to Heiter detail his planned procedures of the ensuing surgery, stitch-by-stitch.

Technically the title of this film is The Human Centipede (First Sequence) as it was the first in a trilogy which includes The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence) and which concluded with The Human Centipede 3 (Final Sequence).

You want real horror? Try Martyrs, A Serbian Film, or hell even Pink Flamingos (for that one unforgetable gross scene). True, this one isn’t for the squeamish but Human Centipedes are just bugs on the wall compared to those.

Movie Reviews 358 – Burnt Offerings (1976)

August 18, 2018

Check out this lineup. Karen Black, Oliver Reed, and Bette Davis. Throw in Burgess Meredith for good measure. Now how can anyone pass up a lineup like that and for a horror film no less? Rounding out the talent behind Burnt Offerings, is writer and director Dan Curtis, the man who brought us the original Dark Shadows soap opera and a few other notable horror entries.

When a young family go searching for a house to rent for vacation, wife Marian (Black) can’t believe their luck in finding a slightly rundown 19th-century mansion given the great price offered by the elder brother and sister living in the house. But husband Ben (Reed), already had misgivings even before hearing the slight catch in that they would have to take care of the mother of the old siblings who never leaves her two upper level rooms. When Marian promises that she alone will tend to the old lady, Ben agrees and along with his aunt Elizabeth (Davis) and son Davey (Lee H. Montgomery) move in for the summer.

Even before they move in the sinister house begins it’s work. Slowly taking over Marian who is entranced by the abode, Ben has nearly the opposite experience, becoming irritable and short fused who now suffers dreams about his mother’s funeral. The stakes are raised when Ben nearly takes his own son’s life but when the vibrant and spirited Elizabeth suddenly becomes frail and sickly the family finally faces the house head on.

Lumping this film with the other stock haunted house tales does not do this one justice. If one were to be honest then clearly the main character is the house itself which not only manipulates the family but controlling things like the electricity and other utilities, but it literally transforms itself in front of our eyes.

While the driving force is the residence, the tension is all in the inner conflict it creates among the family members which is why the superlative casting makes all the difference. Davis is not one of the main stars here but not one to ever be outdone she shines here as always. Her career was defined playing strong, commanding stalwart roles which she certainly does here as well – at least at first – but most uncharacteristically her performance is at it’s best when her health starts to fail as a result of mansion interference. It is in those moments of weakness and frailty and during the transition itself that we are subjected to Davis as we’ve never seen before which is a treat in itself.

Take it from me, this is one offering you have to take up.

Movie Reviews 356 – The Legacy (1978)

August 3, 2018

When Margaret (Katherine Ross), an interior designer gets a generous unsolicited request for a job in the English countryside, she must first persuade her partner Pete (Sam Elliott) to go. With some reluctance lingering he concedes after she suggests it as vacation opportunity and the couple soon find themselves blissfully riding a motorcycle across lush green back roads. But their carefree ride soon comes to a crashing end as they careen into a luxurious Rolls Royce. Lucky for them the occupant of the car not only promises to have the local mechanic repair their cycle but invites also them to rest at his place while they wait for the repairs.

Their first surprise is the enormous Victorian estate their rescuer, Jason Mountolive (John Standing) occupies with a large entourage of housekeepers. This includes a white habit nurse who just as soon informs them that their visit is expected to be an extended one as the cycle repairs are not expected to be completed as quick as they were led to believe. As they settle into their luxurious room Pete spies the sudden arrival of an odd array disparate individuals. They soon learn that Jason, vibrant and full of energy just earlier in the day is now at death’s door and about to bestow his possessions to one of the visitors, and shockingly that includes Margaret who was purposefully mislead into coming. But the dispensation is not simply a matter of divvying up possessions. The main handout is only to be received by one of the visitors and as the bodies mount it becomes clear that Margaret is about to inherit more than anyone could have imagined.

This movie is an entry from what I call the Satanic Seventies touched off by the success of earlier movies like Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist and while it does have an interesting premise it isn’t remotely as good as any of them. One part that was frustrating was the lack of context regarding the other visitors awaiting Jason’s death. We eventually learn that they do share one common attribute but we don’t know how and why they all knew of each other before they arrived and yet Margaret, ostensibly part of the group, knew nothing about them or the reason they were assembled.

As for the group itself – one member being notably played by rocker Roger Daltrey of The Who, but Who should have stuck to vocals given his performance here – only the barest of information is given to their backgrounds despite some intriguing bits and clues. A missed opportunity to expand on their backstories especially since it was relevant to the plot and seemed to be more interesting than the path the story was taking. This was particularly surprising as the movie was based on a story and script by veteran Jimmy Sangster, an early Hammer films scribe, who has delivered much better than this. And while I’m in my rant phase I have to mention the ghastly inappropriate music score that really does not fit the mood at any point and the dreadful Kiki Dee theme song that inexplicably got top billing in the opening credits.

But there are some good points to the film. I was most impressed by the fabulous Gothic mansion and the abundant array of Victorian exotic art, Baroque paintings and portraits as well as the architecture itself. The portraits fill every inch of wall space and one I immediately noticed was the familiar Mary Shelley image – a clever hidden nod to the author of Frankenstein. I suspect that closer inspection of the many other faces would reveal other horror luminaries. And the lavish decor of a mansion would not be complete without a few hidden passages between the nooks and crannies used to good effect in the film.

While the film makers missed the boat on the characterization of the visitors they were much more successful with the commanding nurse and hints that her true lineage of which I won’t say more other than to take a close look at the movie poster. As for the horror, this one presents a mixed bag. Some of the carnage is quite shocking and surprising, but some of the butchery comes out of nowhere and are done before you can fully absorb them, especially since the characters themselves don’t seem to give them much thought.

In the end this Legacy is not befitting it’s title and I would only recommend it to those horror fans that are completists.

Movie Reviews 355 – Angel Heart (1987)

July 27, 2018

Robert De Niro has always been one of the most versatile actors in Hollywood with roles ranging from roguish mobsters, punch drunk boxers, power hungry revolutionaries and surprisingly even in comedic portrayals. But when he took on the role of The Devil in Angel Heart it turned a lot of heads. But ever the trendsetter, DeNiro’s lord of darkness is not any red horned caricature but an immaculately attired and dignified Satan with a slick haircut and even sporting my earliest recollection of a “man bun”. Yes, this movie is different in many ways.

Beginning in post WWII New York, De Niro as Louis Cyphre (get it?) hires private eye Harry Angel (Mickey Rourke) to determine the status a man named Johnny Favorite. Cypher explains to the disheveled looking Angel that Johnny, a one time singer but later war veteran who returned with post traumatic stress and is reputedly being held in a mental institution. But Cyphre has his doubts and explains that he has some outstanding business dealings with Favorite and would like Angel to substantiate Favorite’s institutionalized status. Sure enough Harry discovers that records have been falsified and with great reluctance ends up following a trail that includes a fiancee (Charlotte Rampling), a mistress and her daughter (Lisa Bonet), and former band members all of which Harry encounter in New Orleans.

This “gumshoe-horror” – for lack of a better description – is both a mystery in the traditional sense, while the horror elements are more those of human failings than supernatural ones with just a touch of voodoo rituals. But there is a distinct trail of bodies along Harry’s journey for the truth and the truth is the twist ending.

This movie was criticized more for the scenes of Lisa Bonet – a member of America’s idyllic TV family at the time for her role as one of the kids in The Cosby Show – exposing herself in a few shots and one particular racy sex scene than any of the horror gore. There is also a lot of symbolism, some obvious and others not so much – I could never figure out why but there are fans, big, small, rotating, stationary, every few minutes. And there are plenty of chickens as constantly being pointed out as one of Harry’s phobias and the voodoo offerings.

All of these bizarre elements make Angel Heart stand out as an unusual film that I would classify as ‘must see’ by any cinefile no matter your genre of preference.

Movie Reviews 353 – Infestation (2009)

July 13, 2018

Last week we endured a sweltering heat wave and to take my mind off that I sheltered myself into my nice and cool basement and watched Infestation so that my worries could switch from anxiety of global warming to global swarming. This post apocalyptic bug invasion movie does not start out in the traditional manner. Instead of taking a linear storytelling approach we begin with the camera panning over an office environment where cobwebs are strung across desks and walls and then cocooned bodies are revealed strewn across the floor. And then one of the bodies twitches…

As flashbacks we learn that Cooper (Chris Marquette) is a young undisciplined office goofball working in a telemarketing firm – largely thanks to his dad (Ray Wise) – whose lax work ethics and office hijinxs had caught up to him. It was just as he was getting fired that a high pitched sound had everyone blackout. Inexplicably awaking while others cocooned lay dormant, Cooper soon frees up some of his colleagues while running into a few giant, man-sized beetles still scurrying around the office. With communications all down, everyone else within the city encased and with wasp-like bugs plucking people off the streets, Cooper becomes the de-facto leader with a plan to head out to his father’s house and the safety of the Cold War era bomb shelter there.

The group includes an assortment from the firm as well as others who were in the area at the time of the blackout including Sara (Brooke Nevin), one of Cooper’s old highschool colleagues and the daughter of Cooper’s boss, who was plucked into the sky by one of the wasp creatures. While stopping over a few homes of family of those in the group they discern the fate of those unlucky enough to be stung by the bugs and also come across a vast mound structure the bugs are building. And when Sara decides to go there in the hopes of finding her mom, Cooper rallies the gang to help out.

Ray Wise steals the show as the Alpha, take charge, half nuts father while Cooper finally shows some backbone, standing up to Ray (sorta) and bravely faces the bugs to help Sara. The horror comedy is pure CGI, some of it decent, some of it ‘cookie cutter’, but the film does give new meaning to the term “spider-man”.

While I kind of enjoyed it, this movie is not for everyone. A lot is just not explained and not investigated by the survivors. They do find out one quirk about the bugs but in the end the tired thread of a group having to ‘go across town’ is just too predictable.

What really degrades the film to substandard fare is the idiotic and infuriating non-closure ending. While I suspect that a sequel was in mind which may account for part of it I’d say that even that excuse only goes so far and you have to deliver some sort of ending. In this case the final credits start rolling mid action and leaves viewers agape.

There are better bug movies and better horror comedies than this one. Watch it only if you find yourself in a bug infested post-apocalyptic situation and don’t have your copy of Alien Apocalypse handy.