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Thread: Fright Fest TEN: Jim Terrifies in Space (not really in space)

  1. #101
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    Re: Fright Fest TEN: Jim Terrifies in Space (not really in space)

    First off, thanks a bunch for covering this one. I just watched it for the first time a few weeks ago myself and found it fascinating for a couple of reasons. I definitely rated it a little higher than you (I assume a 7.5/10 from me is about a B from you) but I don't begrudge the C rating because it did have its drawbacks. I understand that it meanders from time to time and the pacing is a tad off in the non-murder scenes but I found myself so compelled by the characters that I was willing to look past that for the most part.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim
    It’s a rare movie where the killer is both extremely weak and also powerful.
    I thought the treatment of the character was superb and definitely rare (near unheard of) for the time. It helped that It really helped that Rees sold the character in a totally understated way and never let the performance get the best of her. I believe it's a very restrained performance from an actress that had only really done television work to that point.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim
    Hands of the Ripper isn’t the most exciting film though. There’s a minor sub-plot going on with Dr. Pritchard’s son, Michael, and his blind fiance that doesn’t have much significance to the story.
    I was kind of put off by this as well because, while nice to look at, she really served no purpose other than to be set up as the potential final victim. That scene did create some great tension though, particularly with all the potential light sources in the room they were in. I kind of felt like there was supposed to be some sort of other sub-plot about Dr. Pritchard not approving of his son marrying a blind woman (he doesn't really seem to like her in the scenes they're in together) but it was completely ignored. Maybe the actor just legitimately didn't like her?

    Overall, I just felt like the entire film was so tragic. Dr. Pritchard was just trying to figure out what made Anne tick, Anne clearly didn't want to be the murderer she became when under the influence, Michael just wanted his father's approval and even the poor prostitute was just trying to make a buck. The final scene (without giving anything away) sat with me for a couple of days because of how terribly sad it was. This film left basically no winners at the end and I rank it up there with some of the best Hammer films I've ever seen.

    As a side note, I did watch Paranormal Activity again yesterday and kept my score of 7/10 intact. It just isn't scary enough to me to rate any higher but I can certainly appreciate the work that was done on such a tiny budget. That scene of Katie watching Micah sleep is still one of the most unnerving I've ever seen and it's just too bad that the other scares don't hold up to it.


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  2. #102
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    Re: Fright Fest TEN: Jim Terrifies in Space (not really in space)

    Coming up next, grab your favorite scarf, it’s time to kill some naked women.
    Tom Baker taking a dark turn there.

  3. #103

    Re: Fright Fest TEN: Jim Terrifies in Space (not really in space)

    Quote Originally Posted by Thundercat View Post
    I think for pretty much any horror film franchise once it gets to the 4th and 5th movies you can only expect so much. So I like to just enjoy them for what they are
    Which is a big reason why it's common for horror franchises to really shake things up around that point, typically by rebooting the series in some fashion. It's a tough task of coming up with something new in each movie, but not so different that it no longer feels like it's part of the series.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fuji Vice View Post
    I definitely rated it a little higher than you (I assume a 7.5/10 from me is about a B from you) but I don't begrudge the C rating because it did have its drawbacks.
    For reference, all of the movies I'm watching will have normal ratings given to them in my movie log. Once I shifted over to number ratings, but wanted to keep the letter grades in Fright Fest to have them all be the same dating back to Fright Fest 2008, I decided on the following:

    10-9 - A
    8.5-7 - B
    6.5-5 - C
    4.5-3 - D
    2.5-0.5 - F

    I was kind of put off by this as well because, while nice to look at, she really served no purpose other than to be set up as the potential final victim. That scene did create some great tension though, particularly with all the potential light sources in the room they were in. I kind of felt like there was supposed to be some sort of other sub-plot about Dr. Pritchard not approving of his son marrying a blind woman (he doesn't really seem to like her in the scenes they're in together) but it was completely ignored. Maybe the actor just legitimately didn't like her?
    Dr. Pritchard totally didn't like her. The first time she arrived at the place and he's just silently watching her was such a weird scene.

    This film left basically no winners at the end and I rank it up there with some of the best Hammer films I've ever seen.
    The ending is pretty depressing.

    As a side note, I did watch Paranormal Activity again yesterday and kept my score of 7/10 intact. It just isn't scary enough to me to rate any higher but I can certainly appreciate the work that was done on such a tiny budget. That scene of Katie watching Micah sleep is still one of the most unnerving I've ever seen and it's just too bad that the other scares don't hold up to it.
    I realize it's not everyone's cup of tea. I would be curious how you feel about the main sequels now though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ed View Post
    Tom Baker taking a dark turn there.
    Without knowing who Tom Baker is by now, I googled him and had a small chuckle when I realized who it was.

  4. #104
    Crotchety Old SMOD

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    Re: Fright Fest TEN: Jim Terrifies in Space (not really in space)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim View Post
    I realize it's not everyone's cup of tea. I would be curious how you feel about the main sequels now though.
    I'm away for the weekend so I'll get to them next week and even toss in The Marked Ones just because I enjoy torturing myself through cinema. I do find it interesting that I thought higher of 2 and 3 so I'm wondering why. I assume it's due to them freshening things up with the camera angles. I can't remember which one it is off the top of my head but the camera on the fan was a nice addition.


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  5. #105

    Re: Fright Fest TEN: Jim Terrifies in Space (not really in space)

    Quote Originally Posted by Fuji Vice View Post
    I'm away for the weekend so I'll get to them next week and even toss in The Marked Ones just because I enjoy torturing myself through cinema. I do find it interesting that I thought higher of 2 and 3 so I'm wondering why. I assume it's due to them freshening things up with the camera angles. I can't remember which one it is off the top of my head but the camera on the fan was a nice addition.
    I imagine it's just because those two are more in your face with the scares. Kristi in the second one was really unnerving in the final act with how fucked up she had become.

  6. #106

    Re: Fright Fest TEN: Jim Terrifies in Space (not really in space)

    Day #05
    Title: Torso
    Country: Italy
    Year: 1973
    Director: Sergio Martino




    College students in Italy spend their days engaging in various sexual activities and being the target of a scarf wielding masked killer.


    I originally became aware of the 70s Italian horror, Torso, from listening to Horror Movie Podcast back in 2015. Meanwhile, I’ve been meaning to watch the film since...2015. I can’t say I have any decent excuse for why it’s taken me three years to try and watch this film, especially when I originally attempted to watch it one late night a year ago, but only got thirty minutes into it. This failure of being able to complete the movie with my first attempt is likely because the film somewhat struggles to find a direction for the first hour for a variety of reasons.

    Particularly in the first hour, I wasn’t even sure who was supposed to be the final girl. My assumption was that it was going to be Daniela, given that we spent a good amount of time with her in the first half and she’s dealing with a bit of a stalker in Stefano, her long time suitor. In the first hour though, we spend very little time with any of the victims before their demise. In some cases, like the murders of a young couple, it was the first scene with just those characters being at the center of the focus. Someone would be murdered and then we’d quickly shift to meeting another soon to be victim. It’s not until that final half hour that the identity of the final girl becomes clear and the majority of the time is dedicated to her attempt at survival.

    Speaking of that final half hour, that’s easily the biggest strength of the entire film. It kicks off with a woman awakening upstairs only to find her three friends brutally murdered downstairs. With the killer still in the secluded house, the final girl is forced to quietly hide out, hoping to remain undetected. This created an extremely tense segment of the film where I kept yelling out loud for the woman to stop making noises. Without giving it away, there’s a scene a bit later involving a key and a newspaper that was rather unnerving. Besides this final act, the other scene that I believe is well worth watching is the one in which a soon to be victim is walking through a swamp (A marsh?) and in this foggy area, off in the distance some she spots a lone figure, standing...watching her. It’s an eerie moment and one that doesn’t fit with the majority of the rest of the movie because of how well they accomplished this legitimately scary visual in a film mostly comprised of mindless kills and plenty of nudity.

    Speaking of nudity, I would be remiss if I were to not talk a bit about the sexuality of Torso. This was a hyper violent sexual movie. It literally began with a group sex scene during the opening credits. The first kill involving the couple took place during an interrupted sex scene. The next victim was killed shortly after she avoided being involved in a drug fueled threesome. Later on there’s a glimpse of a lesbian sex scene and in general, there’s a constant barrage of nude bodies paired with bloody kills. Even the killer’s motive is built around sex. In one of the more unexpected turns, the four remaining women went off to a small village where they’d party up in the mountains of their secluded getaway. Yet, from the moment that they arrive in this small Italian town, all of the local men are incapable of not lusting after them. Multiple times throughout the final half hour, we overhear conversations with these locals where they can not contain their desires for these attractive young women. It is simply put gratuitous of the highest order. And yet, writer/director, Sergio Martino, gave some purpose to this in that the locals lust actually benefited the mysterious killer (Although one I quickly guessed the identity of) by having the killer learning something very important about the four college friends. Although this movie came out in a time before the rules of a slasher were clearly defined, there’s zero mistaking the clear message that in Torso, sex = death.

    Overall, Torso is a bit of a mixed bag. At surface layer, it’s nothing more than ninety minutes of sex and kills with a mystery holding the thin story together. However, when looking deeper, when it tries to be more, it succeeds greatly at being a tense and creepy movie. The oddity of the film being so in your face with its sexuality is part of its charm where you have a laugh at the absurdity of it all. It’s reminiscent of 1982’s Pieces where in some ways it’s so bad that it’s good, but it’s nowhere near as over the top in its craziness as Pieces. Well worth the three year wait that it took before I finally finished the film.

    Grade: B

    Fright in Motion:

    Spoiler:


    ---

    Coming up next, those zany puppets return once more as does a special treat from Fright Fest 9…

  7. #107
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    Re: Fright Fest TEN: Jim Terrifies in Space (not really in space)

    Gotta admit apart from Paranormal activity I'm not familiar with any of the movies you've profiled yet. Which I quite like TBH as it gives me a few potential films to look out for (this happened with P2 actually, hadn't heard of it but watched it after your review and absolutely loved it!). Been meaning to ask as it's a film I personally think quite highly of but I'm not entirely sure whether it'd be regarded as a horror or not. What did you think of Red State?





  8. #108
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    Re: Fright Fest TEN: Jim Terrifies in Space (not really in space)

    Thanks for finally getting around to Torso. Our thoughts are pretty much the same but I wanted to make sure to firmly agree with you on the final half hour being worth the wait. I found it really intense and one of the more disturbing sequences I’ve seen in one of these films, which says a lot considering the kill scenes several of them are well known for. There’s something about the excruciating wait that makes the entire experience that much scarier.

    Martino is definitely a little less known than his contemporaries Argento and Fulci but nevertheless he churned out four fantastic giallos around this time period. Along with Torso, The Case of the Scorpion’s Tail, The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh and Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key are well worth seeking out if you enjoy his style. I’ve heard good things about another of his films, All the Colors of the Dark, but I’ve yet to be able to get my hands on a copy.

    Can’t wait for more puppets tomorrow and I may revisit further comments about Torso when I’ve got a little more time. Cheers.


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  9. #109
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    Re: Fright Fest TEN: Jim Terrifies in Space (not really in space)

    I haven't seen either movie in a few years but I remember the home invasion scene in High Tension resembling the one in Torso. Am I remembering that correctly?

  10. #110

    Re: Fright Fest TEN: Jim Terrifies in Space (not really in space)

    Quote Originally Posted by Shade View Post
    Gotta admit apart from Paranormal activity I'm not familiar with any of the movies you've profiled yet. Which I quite like TBH as it gives me a few potential films to look out for (this happened with P2 actually, hadn't heard of it but watched it after your review and absolutely loved it!). Been meaning to ask as it's a film I personally think quite highly of but I'm not entirely sure whether it'd be regarded as a horror or not. What did you think of Red State?
    If you end up watching any of these movies, be sure to give some thoughts in here.

    Funny that you bring up P2. The director of that will have a movie spotlighted in this year's Fright Fest too.

    I only saw Red State once and it was several years ago, but I enjoyed it. Much different from what you'd expect from a Kevin Smith film prior to that point.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fuji Vice View Post
    Thanks for finally getting around to Torso. Our thoughts are pretty much the same but I wanted to make sure to firmly agree with you on the final half hour being worth the wait. I found it really intense and one of the more disturbing sequences I’ve seen in one of these films, which says a lot considering the kill scenes several of them are well known for. There’s something about the excruciating wait that makes the entire experience that much scarier.
    Yeah, that final half hour is great stuff especially with how the movie suddenly stops caring about giving us a death every X minutes.

    Martino is definitely a little less known than his contemporaries Argento and Fulci but nevertheless he churned out four fantastic giallos around this time period. Along with Torso, The Case of the Scorpion’s Tail, The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh and Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key are well worth seeking out if you enjoy his style. I’ve heard good things about another of his films, All the Colors of the Dark, but I’ve yet to be able to get my hands on a copy.
    I haven't seen it yet, but I defy anyone to see the title/poster for Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key and be capable of forgetting about it. On one hand, the name is so crazy long, but it stays with you.

    Quote Originally Posted by BD22 View Post
    I haven't seen either movie in a few years but I remember the home invasion scene in High Tension resembling the one in Torso. Am I remembering that correctly?
    I originally bought High Tension when it first came out on DVD in the state in 2005, even covered it in Fright Fest 2008, and my most recent watch being earlier this year. Since I only just now saw Torso, I can't say I ever thought about it when watching High Tension, but when you brought it up, the attacks are a bit similar. It all happens downstairs in High Tension with three victims and the survivor is forced to hide out upstairs, trying to go undetected. It's very possible that High Tension was inspired by Torso. Good eye.

  11. #111

    Re: Fright Fest TEN: Jim Terrifies in Space (not really in space)

    Day #06
    Title: Puppet Master 4
    Country: United States
    Year: 1993
    Director: Jeff Burr




    A brilliant scientist staying at the Bodega Bay Inn is looking for the secret to bring life to inanimate objects, only to stumble upon Toulon’s puppets...with a far more dangerous foe looking to kill all those ever connected to Toulon.


    For the first time in the Puppet Master franchise, Full Moon did the unthinkable - it waited more than a year to release the next entry. In the case of Puppet Master 4, they actually waited two full years before the next adventure of Blade and company was to be released. Apparently, a lot was changing in the planning of the film with this originally going to be Puppet Master vs. Demonic Toys, the battle of Full Moon’s two killer doll franchises. Once that was axed (Although eventually made in 2004), the script still seemed to go through so many changes including being cut in half with the second half of the story becoming the basis for Puppet Master 5. While I wouldn’t necessarily call Puppet Master 4 a good movie, it does unofficially reboot the series some, allowing it to be an easy film to watch, whether you had seen the previous films or not.

    Right away, Puppet Master 4 doesn’t try to follow the timeline of the previous three films. Where we last left off in the Puppet Master timeline, Blade, Jester, Torch, and Pinhead were heading down the coast of California to Boulderstone Institute to continue their mayhem. Yet, at the start of Puppet Master 4, Blade is back to roaming the halls of the Bodega Bay Inn, and Jester, Pinhead, Six-Shooter, and Tunneler are locked up in Toulon’s box, waiting to be unveiled again. Quite impressive too since the last we saw of Tunneler, he was killed in Puppet Master 2, Six-Shooter had only been in Puppet Master 3 back when Toulin was still alive, and there isn’t any sign of Leech Woman or Torch. With a large collection of puppets to choose from, the franchise has fully given into picking and choosing which puppets it wants to use based on each film. I don’t mind this though and with the puppets taking a long time to be found (Minus Blade) it again makes it easy for a new viewer of Puppet Master, without any previous experience with the other entries, to be introduced to the puppets naturally instead of playing catch-up.

    An oddity about this film is that it didn’t feel like a straight up Puppet Master film. Although it didn’t end up becoming a Puppet Master vs. Demonic Toys film, it did feel as if it was a movie built around two franchises coming head to head with the introduction of the evil alien demon, Sutek, and his avatars in the form of three Totems, the same size of the puppets. Since the puppets other than Blade only came out in the middle of the film, the film felt as if it was a movie built around solely the Totems. I liked the idea of the Totems. They had a nice design that separated from the actual puppets. The biggest appeal of the Totems though is that because they were the clear antagonists of the film, that allowed the puppets to be the good guys. It’s my stance at least that no one actually wants to root against the puppets. So you might as well turn them into unlikely heroes although Six-Shooter still comes across as a total creep to me that is unsettling to watch. The other new arrival was a new puppet that the other puppets brought to life like a scene straight out of Universal’s Frankenstein - Decapitron. With the soul of Toulon himself inside of this puppet, Decapitron allowed for the protagonist of the movie, Rick, to actually talk to Toulon, to learn about Sutek and to beat the final Totem. Truthfully, Decapitron is the first puppet that I actually hate. His design is so uncreative and while we’re missing out on actually good puppets like Leech Woman and Torch, we end up being introduced to this new puppet. Then there’s the fact that Decapitron was necessary to kill off the final Totem despite the reality that the other two Totems were killed off before he was even brought to life. Why was he needed? The only possibility that makes sense to me is that Decapitron is going to play a bigger role in Puppet Master 5. If not, I would have preferred had Decapitron just not have been created.

    Plot wise, Puppet Master 4 isn’t all that interesting. Without much explanation, the highly intelligent scientist, Rick, is sent by the company he’s working for to try and figure out the solution for artificial intelligence at the Bodega Bay Inn. Yet, despite working and staying at the Inn with living puppets, it never seemed as if Rick was actually aware of the Inn’s past. He’s then joined by his girlfriend (Susie), his longtime rival turned colleague (Cam), and Cam’s girlfriend (Lauren) for a dinner event. Although Rick is supposed to be so smart, it’s only with the arrival with these other guests that Lauren uses her psychic powers to lead the gang into finding Toulon’s original case with the other puppets and Toulon’s journals, which contains all of the information Rick needed to bring inanimate objects to life (Starting with Blade’s puppet buddies). This actually leads to a scene so absurd that I couldn’t help but love it as Rick tests the puppet’s ability to think for themselves by challenging Pinhead and Tunneler to a game of laser tag. LASER TAG! First of all, if you’re having a game built around shooting each other, why isn’t Six-Shooter playing? That’s just unfair to Six-Shooter. Meanwhile, the other plot is built around Sutek sending his Totems to kill off the people in charge of the company that Rick works for before coming after Rick himself, all because apparently Toulon’s ability to bring puppets to life is originally a power that belongs to Sutek. Again, this is another example of the movie being a partial reboot, ignoring the fact that Toulon learned the knowledge of bringing life to objects from the Cario merchant, Ahmed El Eskander. So, did the merchant gain his knowledge from Sutek or is this just an alternative explanation? Speaking of alternative, the whole concept of the elixir needing brain tissue that was introduced in Puppet Master 2 hasn’t been referenced since. Is that even still a thing or is that another thing just dropped?

    Overall, Puppet Master 4 is a film designed to switch up the franchise some and steer it into a new direction. It’s not as good as the first film nor was it as good as the last, but it’s still an improvement over the disappointing Puppet Master 2. While watching it, the main thought that filled my head was that it was neither good nor bad, but it certainly wasn’t boring. The puppets aren’t given much to do, especially in terms of causing mayhem and killing, but there’s plenty of fun value when they are on the screen. The debut of Sutek and his Totems felt like an important addition to the series whereas I’m finally introduced to a puppet that I hate with Decapitron.

    Grade: C

    Fright in Motion:

    Spoiler:


    ---

    Coming up later today, Tales from the Crypt Saturdays returns to Fright Fest.

  12. #112
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    Re: Fright Fest TEN: Jim Terrifies in Space (not really in space)

    To this day I’m convinced that Puppet Master 4 and 5 would have been better off as one movie made from editing the two together. Not only would it have provided us with one less of them to sit through, it could very well have been one of the most entertaining in the series even if it was simply from a trash cinema point of view.

    I think the biggest issue I had with 4 (and 5 as well) was that the acting just completely sucked. Gordon Currie may be one of the worst actors I’ve ever seen on film and casting him in the lead was a terrible move. Meanwhile, it all felt so slipshod in comparison to Toulon’s Revenge, almost like Band forgot what made the last film good and just told the creative staff on this one to go ahead and do whatever they felt like. On the bright side, it does make Toulon’s Revenge seem all that much better by comparison.

    The laser tag scene is pretty much worth the price of admission on its own though.


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  13. #113

    Re: Fright Fest TEN: Jim Terrifies in Space (not really in space)

    Tales from the Crypt
    Title: The Ventriloquist's Dummy
    Season: 2/Episode: 10
    Director: Richard Donner


    Wacky voice comedian, Bobcat Goldthwait, stars as Billy Goldman. As a kid, Billy worshiped famed ventriloquist, Mr. Ingels, even managing to see Ingels’ final performance before a tragic fire left Ingels lose his hand and his beloved girlfriend. Now fifteen years later, Billy is set to make his stage debut following in Ingels’ footsteps as a ventriloquist. Tracking Ingels down to invite him to the show begins a journey of embarrassment and downright horror as he learns the truth about his hero.

    Typically in Tales from the Crypt, the writers didn’t steer too far away from the common formula of meeting a lowlife, lowlife thinks he’s getting further ahead in life, there’s a big twist that the lowlife wasn’t expecting, and the episode ends with the lowlife paying for his misdeeds. In fact, the rare times when Tales from the Crypt does steer away from that formula, I’m left unsatisfied since something seems clearly lacking if an episode doesn’t end with the lowlife either being killed or being punished in a terrible fashion. Although it was a highly acclaimed episode, I couldn’t get into “Yellow” because it didn’t feel like a typical episode. I can’t say that “The Ventriloquist's Dummy” felt like a normal formula based episode.

    I’ll go as far to say that “The Ventriloquist's Dummy” is a downright depressing episode. It’s essentially just two main characters - Goldman and Ingels and neither one is unlikable. In Billy’s case, the poor guy is so passionate about trying to be a ventriloquist. It’s all he wanted to be and after his first performance, you realize that he’s actually terrible. Just awful. To the point where it couldn’t have been difficult for Billy to recognize that wasn’t good, yet he still put himself out there in front of an audience and Mr. Ingels, who he went out of his way to find and invite. Billy is so pathetic, but since he’s just a guy who has a love for something he isn’t talented at, how can anyone watch his failures and not feel heartbreak for him? Meanwhile, there’s Mr. Ingels who lost everything in that fire fifteen years ago. Imagine losing a limb, your ability to do your job, and your girlfriend all in one night. Although Ingels is pretty cranky when Goldman shows up at his place unannounced, he still willingly lets Billy into his home and when it comes time for Goldman’s performance, Ingels showed up at a club for the first time in fifteen years. This is an odd episode of Tales where your heart goes out to both characters.

    The final act of the episode is where chaos breaks out and everything goes from enjoyable to great as Ingels reveals that he didn’t actually lose his hand, which was always covered in the episode, but rather the hand that controlled Morty, his ventriloquist dummy, was never a hand at all. Instead, Morty is rather Ingels’ conjoined twin, whose entire body is coming out of Ingels’ arm and when it came to the performances, the dummy was attached to Morty. It’s revealed that Morty actually killed Ingels’ girlfriend and a woman who was at Billy’s performance while Ingels was the one responsible for the fires to hide the evidence. With the truth out, Morty tries to kill Billy, Ingels finally stands up to his brother by cutting Morty off of his arm, only for years of lies to come back and hurt Ingels with Morty killing Ingels. From there, Goldman is ready to kill off Morty, but when Morty offered him anything to remain safe, Billy has finally found a way to become a “Successful” ventriloquist. Yet, Billy’s one moment of greed rather than do the right thing causes him to suffer as Morty forcefully combines his “Body” with Billy’s hand, forever creating a partnership that Billy instantly regretted forming.

    It’s a great episode though. Both main characters are able to be easily likable, even when they're not being the most honorable people ever. The big reveal of the reality behind Morty was one of the better reveals in Tales from the Crypt. It's a stand out episode and one that's an easy recommendation for those who haven't watched any or much of the show before.

    Grade: A

    Fright in Motion:

    Spoiler:


    ---

    Coming up next, a hobbit tries to be scary.

  14. #114
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    Re: Fright Fest TEN: Jim Terrifies in Space (not really in space)

    Great review for a classic episode, one of my favorites. This fright fest has been a good one so far

  15. #115

    Re: Fright Fest TEN: Jim Terrifies in Space (not really in space)

    Quote Originally Posted by Fuji Vice View Post
    To this day I’m convinced that Puppet Master 4 and 5 would have been better off as one movie made from editing the two together. Not only would it have provided us with one less of them to sit through, it could very well have been one of the most entertaining in the series even if it was simply from a trash cinema point of view.
    Without giving away my upcoming review of Puppet Master 5, my ultimate conclusion isn't that much different from yours.

    On the bright side, it does make Toulon’s Revenge seem all that much better by comparison.
    Nah, Toulon's Revenge is still the weakest of the first five.

    The laser tag scene is pretty much worth the price of admission on its own though.
    So fucking random and frankly stupid, but I loved it just the same.

    Quote Originally Posted by ShinobiMusashi View Post
    Great review for a classic episode, one of my favorites. This fright fest has been a good one so far
    Glad you're enjoying Fright Fest so far.

  16. #116

    Re: Fright Fest TEN: Jim Terrifies in Space (not really in space)

    Day #07
    Title: Maniac
    Country: United States/France
    Year: 2012
    Director: Franck Khalfoun





    My history with the 1980 Maniac is pretty minimal, but one that still stands out to me. I first became aware of the movie thanks to an Anchor Bay ad that would frequently appear in Fangoria magazine in the early 2000s. In the ad, several of the latest Anchor Bay DVD releases would be featured. Next to the the photos of the Halloween 4 and 5 DVDs was one for a cover featuring a man holding a bloody knife in one hand and a freshly removed scalp with hair in the other. Every time I saw the ad in Fangoria, my eyes would immediately focus on the cover for Maniac. The cover was amazing. By time I finally got around to renting the movie around 2004-2005, it didn’t live up to my expectations. It just came across as a normal exploitation horror that were so common around that time period. Then again, an 80s poster being superior to its movie wasn’t uncommon then either.

    When a remake for Maniac was announced early in this decade, I had zero hope for it. After all, one of the earliest bits of remake news was that Elijah Wood was cast as the killer Frank. You could not have picked a worse bit of casting than deciding that Frodo Baggins was suddenly going to have to play the role of a dangerous and unhinged killer. Who could anyone take Wood seriously or find it effective? The Maniac remake was going to bomb hard and it was going to be all Elijah Wood’s fault. As it turns out, I couldn’t have been any more wrong. Wood was phenomenal in this role to the point where I believe Frank is his best acting role. I can’t even imagine anyone else playing the role of Frank in this movie. The fact that Wood has never had much of a physical presence actually ended up being a good thing. Early on in the movie, Frank did a bit of online dating to find a victim and through the online dating, his screen name was “Timid One”. Wood’s size and natural underdog quality allowed him to slip into the Frank role where he was terrifying, not because he was the size of a Jason Voorhees, but because no one saw him as a threat. Frank could do a lot of his stalking without much difficulty because why should anyone be concerned about some wimpy looking man? Yet, the combination of a guy who can avoid scaring anyone off and his trusty sharp straight edge razor, meant Frank kept adding to his body count.

    The biggest thing that separates this remake from the original is the style. Everything about this movie, particularly visually and audibly, was incredibly creative. The first person point of perspective allowed for the look of the movie to always be a little off. It didn’t feel as if you were watching a normal movie, but rather you were sucked into Frank’s mind, seeing the world as he did. At times, the colors could also be quite beautiful. Both times I’ve watched this Maniac, the camera work that stands out the most to me is the creative shots showing Wood’s face. Any time you see his face, it’s extremely rare. It’s even more rare to see his face straight up. Instead, the majority of the time that we see Frank, it’s through how Frank would see his own face - through mirror reflections, surveillance cameras, and photographs. Creatively, you can’t discuss Maniac without bringing up its lovely syth soundtrack. Much like the first person POV, the score helps creates a different sort of world that Maniac is set in. It’s a world where Frank’s life and what he does is normality. It’s the sort of soundtrack you can throw on in the background, just to set the mood and one that I’d consider one of the better horror soundtracks in recent years.

    Despite being so creative in their filming techniques, at its heart, Maniac is still a really simple movie. Most of the victims are characters we merely meet shortly before they’re killed off when Frank begins his final hunt. It’s very much so like the original Psycho where despite Norman Bates/Frank being an awful killer, you can’t help but to constantly root for him to succeed at what he’s trying to accomplish. In Maniac’s case, I feel it’s mostly because of the style of the film and how you’re sucked into this different sort of world, which allows you to support support someone who wouldn’t otherwise be likable. Out of the core group of disposable victims, the only one that stood out to me was Frank’s online date, Lucie. It shouldn’t come as a surprise either since she’s the victim we spend the most time with as Frank attempts to have an innocent date with her before his compulsion takes over leading to her demise. Typically though, when you have a horror where you don’t care about the victims, it’s difficult to be emotionally invested in the movie. Yet with Maniac, you’re tricked into being invested because on the surface, it doesn’t feel like it’s just a mindless body count flick.

    There’s plenty of weirdness involved in Maniac as well. The German expressionism classic, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, is featured prominently in this. Now, I haven’t watched Cabinet in about eight years, so I’m thinking I’m missing some of the connections between the two films that is likely a lot clearer if you watch the films back-to-back. However, I do remember that Cabinet is a warped film that is made to look...off due to the fact that the narrator is a man that is not sane of mind. Although Maniac does resemble a more normal world than Cabinet, there’s so many weird things that happen, particularly the further along in the story that there’s certainly similarities with Maniac centering around a mentally unhinged individual. The ending of the movie is bizarre enough that one could draw their own conclusion as to what happened. What was reality and what wasn’t? Again, this was a film that took a very simple premise and strived to make it something special due to its creativity in how it was made.

    Overall, Maniac greatly exceeded my expectations when I originally saw it and it still impresses years later. The soundtrack is one of the best horror soundtracks of the decade and the cinematography continues to impress me, particularly with how Elijah Wood’s face was shown. It’s such an unique spectacle especially when you compare it to its several average and paint by numbers 80s original. Perhaps it does drag a bit, but it over delivered in such an unexpected and wonderful way.

    Grade: A

    Fright in Motion:

    Spoiler:


    ---

    Coming up next, week 2 of Fright Fest TEN kicks off by allowing you a chance to get your punk on...and potentially get slaughtered.

  17. #117
    American Ninja

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    Re: Fright Fest TEN: Jim Terrifies in Space (not really in space)

    God almighty that gif. That's OTT!

    I've found Highway To Hell on Vudu for free, holy shit it's great, definitely needs to find it's way onto Fright Fest one of these days.

  18. #118

    Re: Fright Fest TEN: Jim Terrifies in Space (not really in space)

    Day #08
    Title: Green Room
    Country: United States
    Year: 2016
    Director: Jeremy Saulnier




    A punk rock band’s gig as a skinhead bar turns into a violent fight for survival after they accidentally stumbled onto a murder scene.


    In recent years, director Jeremy Saulnier has gained a bit of a following as he expands his fanbase due to recent highly regarded movies such as today’s review of The Green Room and his previous film, Blue Ruin. As Saulnier continues to keep his name relevant with his most recent film of Hold the Dark, now on Netflix, for me though, I will always think back to his first feature length film - Murder Party. As result, when his name started to be talked about more frequently amongst movie fans, I was instantly interested in any of his films due to being such a fan of his quirky halloween tale of Murder Party. Add in the fact that Green Room starred Anton Yelchin, Alia Shawkat, Imogen Poots, and Patrick Stewart, how could I not buy into the early Green Room hype shortly before its release?

    Admittedly, I was never involved in the punk scene nor did I listen to much punk rock when I was younger. I’m sure I’m a fan of several punk bands and songs, but I could never claim to have much knowledge at all in punk music in general. So right off of the bat, I’m not going to have the emotional connection to Green Room like those who were involved in the punk scene. Oddly enough, watching Green Room for a second time now, I managed to recognize some punk elements more than my first watch thanks to my recent watches of the fantastic This is England movie and to a lesser degree, the three TV seasons. Even though This is England is set in the 80s, the punk hairstyle that Imogen Poots wore in Green Room is the exact punk haircut that This is England’s Lol and Trev wore for portions of the film/series. Likewise, some of the basic clothes remained the same and just the general sometimes connection between punks (Or skinheads to be more exact) and the far-right white power movement. If nothing else, I’m glad that I’m able to recognize more of the punk elements than I did the original time around.

    Someone, whose name escapes me, once said that horror happens to those who deserve it least. In the case of Green Room, this is especially true. For the members of the band, Ain't Rights, they did absolutely nothing to deserve what happened to them. In fact, unlike someone like Laurie Strode in Halloween, they were never even the random targets of some threat. Instead, danger came to them solely because one of them left their cell phone behind and when they went to retrieve it, they stumbled onto the scene of a murder. That little lapse in memory to not remember the phone is all that it took to either kill or greatly injure every member of the band. What these four bandmates go through is pretty horrific. Even before anything physical happens to them, they’re put through such mental trauma of ultimate stress. In that first half of the movie, with the band locked in the green room, I imagine various thoughts were constantly running through their minds. Wondering if they were going to survive or if they wouldn’t live to see another day, how would they be killed? When the physical action begins, the four members of the band and their fellow potential victim, Amber, the friend of the dead girl, all deal with some violent consequences due to the accidental walk in on the murder scene. If you’re killed, the death isn’t quick. It’s bloody and painful. If you happen to live, you’re scarred up badly and in desperate need of being stitched up. The most graphic scene being the terrible results of Yelchin’s character’s arm being sliced up multiple times by some machetes. It’s an awful sight made worse by the fact that we don’t even see the cuts being made due to the fact that the camera was on the other side of the door. The result is our imaginations are forced to fill in the blanks when Yelchin is screaming and then we see the end result. What happens to these innocent band members is not only horrible, but it’s worse than what happens to most characters in horror movies.

    When it comes to 2016 horror, Green Mile typically gets ranked as either one of or the best of the year. For me though, it always falls a little short when looking at it amongst the best movies of that year. In 2016, I didn’t even have it ranked in my top ten nor would that change if I were to re-rank the list. The story was a little lacking in terms of caring about the characters. We’re not given much character development or backstory to any of the bandmates or to Amber. Sure, I’m always going to be naturally sympathetic towards Anton Yelchin since even before his death, he was quickly becoming one of my favorite current actors. Yet, when compared to some of my highest ranked horrors of 2016 like Train to Busan or The Monster, that raw emotion built around the relationships of some of the characters isn’t there. I’m thinking that the emotional connection could have been established had there been something between Yelchin and Shawkat’s characters. It wouldn’t have even had to be a romantic relationship either. Whether they could have been siblings or just had a crucial friendship that would have hit home more when either one of them would have had to watch the other killed or they survived this night of terror together. Instead, nothing comes about with Shawkat’s character and Imogen Poots’ Amber didn’t have enough time to establish a close relationship with Yelchin’s character. For most who saw Green Room, it doesn’t seem as if the lack of a strong emotional relationship mattered though.

    Overall, Green Room is likely one of the more highly regarded horror movies in recent years. In this seige narrative, it’s not afraid to be violent. If you’re a fan of punk rock, you’re likely going to be able to connect with the film better than I did. Emotional wise, the film didn’t hit me, but none of the bandmates or Amber were unlikable, I just wanted more of a reason to care about them. Seeing Sir Patrick Stewart in a notable horror movie at this stage of his career is kinda enough reason to watch the movie alone. With the film being on Amazon Prime, there’s no reason to not watch this movie at least once.

    Grade: B

    Fright in Motion:

    Spoiler:


    ---

    Coming up next, brush up on your rhyming slang, it’s time to kill some zombies.

  19. #119
    BIG KAIJU~
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    Re: Fright Fest TEN: Jim Terrifies in Space (not really in space)

    Yeah I think it was Fuji who told me to see this a year ago truly one of the best decisions I've made when it comes to Movies. Yeah when you see what they did to Yelchin I was barely able to keep my food in my Stomach.


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  20. #120

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    Re: Fright Fest TEN: Jim Terrifies in Space (not really in space)

    Goddammit I knew it was gonna be his hacked up little arm and I looked anyway.

    As a horror novice I got really pulled into Green Room and found it a terribly tense and engaging movie. Not sure I'll ever have the strength to watch it again but it was a hell of a thriller and one I'm glad I watched for the life experience of it, even if I can't get that fucking machete scene out of my head.



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