Archive for the ‘horror movie reviews’ Tag

“Strippers Versus Werewolves” Bares More Than Fangs.   Leave a comment

No "Gone with the Wind" or even "Howard the Duck."

No “Gone with the Wind” or even “Howard the Duck.”

By C. Michael Forsyth

It would seem impossible to screw up some movies. Take “Strippers Versus Werewolves.” As a viewer, your expectations aren’t very high. You just want a campy, tongue-in-cheek romp with a healthy dose of T & A and a few scares.

Sadly, nothing is completely idiot-proof. This amateurishly filmed excuse for a horror-comedy makes the dismal “Zombie Strippers” look like a cinematic masterpiece.

First problem is that the strippers are clad in unflattering and unrevealing outfits, while executing dance routines that are relentlessly unsexy. Second problem is that less effort went into creating believable werewolves than would take place in an unambitious student film.

HUBBA HUBBA! If images like this get you hot and bothered you'll love the movie's striptease scenes.

HUBBA HUBBA! If images like this get you hot and bothered you’ll love the movie’s striptease scenes.

I’ve long wanted to see another werewolf flick with minimal makeup, like Henry Hull’s in “The Werewolf of London” or Jack Nicholson’s in “Wolf. “But the rubber noses, ears and fangs in this British movie look like they came from the Halloween discount bin at Wal-Mart — not even a real costume shop.

LESS than convincing werewolf effects pump a silver bullet into film.

LESS-than-convincing werewolf effects put a silver bullet in the heart of this film.

The one starlet in the picture I wouldn’t kick out of bed for eating crackers is spectacularly well-endowed Lucy Pinder. Unfortunately, instead of making full use of her assets, the producers don’t Lucy cast as a stripper — but rather, almost perversely, as a member of a vampire duo who show up for a few seconds.

ASSETS UNDERUTILIZED:  Lucy Pinder appears but, tragically NOT as a stripper.

ASSETS UNDERUTILIZED: Lucy Pinder appears but, tragically, NOT as a stripper.

DOUBLE D TROUBLE: Vampire duo add to the woes.

DOUBLE D TROUBLE: Vampire duo add to the woes.

There’s one cool idea: The pack of werewolves are basically a gang of English houligans. There’s one really good performance: Robert Compston as a young member of the pack whose girlfriend turns out to be one of the strippers. Robert Englund has a cameo as the imprisoned former leader of the gang, the Alpha male” as he puts it, and the “Nightmare on Elm Street” star is at his menacing best in the five minutes he’s on screen. But Englund, who also livened up “Zombie Strippers” a bit as a sleazy club owner, couldn’t save this dog of a werewolf movie.

Instead of blowing cash on this DVD release, better to invest in a lap dance at your local topless watering hole.

ALPHA MALE: Robert Englund has brief cameo as ex-packe leader..

ALPHA MALE: Robert Englund has brief cameo as ex-pack leader.

PRISON life becomes even more hellish when a vampire epidemic erupts in a women's prison.

PRISON life becomes even more hellish when a vampire epidemic erupts in a women’s prison.


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I’m excited to announce the launch of my first graphic novel, Night Cage! The premise of the horror story is simple: Vampires take over a women’s prison. Just imagine Orange is the New Black meets Salem’s Lot.

The project is being funded through Kickstarter. Folks who jump on the bandwagon will get a boatload of goodies and rewards, ranging from advance copies of the book and exclusive art, posters and T-shirts to a chance to be drawn into the graphic novel as a character!

Please check out the video out HERE, and share the news with all your social media friends!

PRISONERS fight for survival against a bloodthirsty army of the undead in the graphic novel Night Cage.

PRISONERS fight for survival against a bloodthirsty army of the undead in the graphic novel Night Cage.

<img src="https://freedomshammer.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/hour_of_beast_cover_web1.jpg" alt="Speaking of werewolves and sex, in this reviewer's acclaimed horror novel Hour of the Beast, a bride is raped by a wolfman on her wedding night — then things start to get out of hand! ” width=”466″ height=”324″ class=”size-full wp-image-933″ /> Speaking of werewolves and sex, in this reviewer’s acclaimed horror novel Hour of the Beast, a bride is raped by a wolfman on her wedding night — then things start to get out of hand!

To check out Hour of the Beast, click HERE,

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Here’s why you SHOULD “Be Afraid of the Dark.”   Leave a comment

WHO ARE YOU CALLING A FAIRY? These tiny critters take no prisoners…oh, wait a minute, they do!

By C. Michael Forsyth

I’ve been chafing at the bit for months to see the remake of the memorable 1973 TV movie “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark.” The trailer was one of the most compelling I’ve seen for a horror movie in years and it’s the brainchild of Guillermo del Toro, who directed the visually stunning “Pan’s Labyrinth” and “Hellboy.”

The premise is promising. A young, withdrawn girl is sent by her mother to live with her father and his new girlfriend in a 19th century Rhode Island mansion the two are restoring. The child is plagued by tiny, malevolent gremlins that emerge from the ash pit of a fireplace in the basement of the house – ancient creatures that prey on kids and drag them to their hellish underground kingdom.

The massive flaw that renders the movie almost unwatchable is that the entire family, especially surrogate mom Kim (Katie Holmes) are idiots. Look, I know that horror movie characters usually aren’t too swift and one of their traditional bonehead moves is staying in a house long after it’s become obvious that it’s haunted. But “Don’t be Afraid of the Dark” takes that to a ludicrous level.

It’s one thing to stay in a house after a troubled child in your care is traumatized by fear of creatures she claims to have seen in the basement. It’s another to stay after an old workman emerges from the basement with a tool in his neck following a savage attack and warns you from his deathbed to get the girl out of the house! Even after slow-on-the-uptake Kim learns from a librarian that the previous owner painted evil beings just like Sally described and vanished without a trace along with his son, she allows Sally to wander around the mansion on her own.

If there existed a child welfare agency devoted to the paranormal, they’d take the daughter away. (Hopefully in real life, Katie Holmes does a better job of mothering little Suri).

NO SUPERMOM: Dim-witted Kim (Katie Holmes) fails to take common sense steps to protect child.

In the original version, Sally was an adult. One striking scene from the 1973 movie stands out in my memory. The imps are repelled by light and as they drag Sally across the basement floor toward the ash pit, she grabs a Polaroid camera and uses the flash to fend them off. It was a pretty cool move, I thought as a kid. In the remake, when Sally tells Kim about the creatures’ Achilles’ heel, Kim gets a bright idea, smiles, and gives the girl one of the old-fashioned cameras for protection – instead of a freaking flashlight like any normal person would!

Using a Poloroid flashbulb for light isn’t a plan. Using a Poloroid flashbulb for light is what you do what a plan fails, as Fred Ward’s character in “Tremors” would say.

Little Sally, who unleashes the menace when she sneaks into the basement and uses tools to unseal the ash pit, isn’t much brighter. She continues to think the critters might simply want to be her friends even after she’s seen their monstrous, hissing faces up close. More unbelievably, she doesn’t tell Kim or her dad about the pint-sized pests even after they’ve repeatedly terrorized her in her bedroom. Nor does she tell her real mom, whom she’s clearly close to, over the phone. Here’s some advice, kids: When a swarm of small creatures from the bowels of hell try to shred you with a straight razor, tell Mommy or Daddy.

LESS THAN LOVABLE tot Sally (Bailee) gets the ball rolling when she sets the evil creatures free.

On top of not being very bright, our young heroine is far from adorable. Sally (Bailee Madison) is perpetually cold and sullen. When she meets Kim for the first time, she tells her, “My mother said he picked you because you’re young. But you’re not – you’re old!”

The biggest idiot, naturally, is dad Alex, who as is par for the course in horror flicks, pooh poohs his daughter’s fears long after any reasonable person would. Even after his child has run away out of terror, he refuses to leave until he’s held a big dinner party to show off the mansion he hopes to sell. Guy Pearce, as Alex, excels in playing uptight guys, most famously in “L.A. Confidential.” There he brought an intelligence and sincerity to the role that made you root for him. Here he’s just a jerk, like the pompous concierge he played in the comedy “Bedtime Stories.”

The scuttling, rat-like creatures look frightening. But, in the time-honored tradition of mediocre horror movies, we see way too much of them and they quickly cease to be scary. Heck, they’re almost as cute as the mischievous little devils in “Gremlins.” The CGI isn’t very convincing, further weakening their impact.

In an interesting deviation from the original, the creatures are described as fairies – nasty ones that collect children’s teeth. Guillermo del Toro, who wrote but did not direct the film, said in an interview that he got the idea from the books of Welsh writer Arthur Machen, whose works are mentioned in the movie.

“I love his idea that fairy lore comes from a dark place, that it’s derived from little, pre-human creatures who are really, really nasty vermin but are magical in a way, living as they do for hundreds of years,” del Toro said. “His books are what compelled me to do this.”

However, the case that the Tooth Fairy is actually evil was made with greater logic in the Darkness Falls (2003).

The takeaway for film buffs: A terrific trailer does not always mean a terrific movie. Also, if you’re stuck in a horror movie, never, ever go in the basement.

The author of this review penned Hour of the Beast , hailed by Horror Fiction Review as “a fast-paced, rip-snorting, action-packed, sexy college romp.” The book is available in hardcover and softcover at Amazon.com. But you can save $4 by clicking HERE! The Kindle version is just $7 and the eBbook is a measly $5. Be the first on your block to read this bone-chilling tale — before the movie comes out.

Wrong Turns of Events: Good Ol’ Boys Mistaken for Killers in “Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil”   Leave a comment

BURLY Dale (Tyler Labine) and shifty-eyed Tucker (Alan Tudyk) may look like bloodthirsty, banjo-playing backwoods cannibals, but they’re just misunderstood.

By C. Michael Forsyth

“Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil” is one of the best horror comedies ever! It would certainly have made my list of top ten films in the subgenre if it was available on DVD when I made my picks a while back.

In the movie, a car-load of dimwitted college students on a camping trip encounter two guys they fear are killer hillbillies – but are actually harmless good ol’ boys fixing up their summer house. What ensues is a wild comedy of errors with plenty of over-the-top gore.

Although I’m a fan of the “Scary Movie” series, I found it refreshing that this is not an “Airplane”-type spoof like that, but instead a classic screwball comedy. The humor flows from goofy but basically realistic characters responding to a situation that keeps going from bad to worse. The physical gags – often involving the idiotic college kids accidentally killing themselves in gruesome ways – are handled so deftly that however improbable, you buy them.

I like the reversal of stereotypes. Although Tucker and Dale aren’t the sharpest knives in the drawer, they’re rocket scientists compared to the college kids, who have the survival instincts of barnyard turkeys. There is a sweet love story between one of the coeds and hulking, bearded Dale, played with charm by Tyler Labine.

The heart of the movie is the friendship between backwoods buddies Dale and Tucker (Alan Tudyk). The actors’ timing and chemistry makes them a great screen duo. I’d love to see a series of Tucker and Dale pictures, like the old Abbot and Costello comedies — perhaps battling vampires, zombies or other things that go bump in the night.

NUBILE coed Allison (Katrina Bowden) picks a bad time to go skinnydipping.

The author of this review penned Hour of the Beast , hailed by Horror Fiction Review as “a fast-paced, rip-snorting, action-packed, sexy college romp.” The book is available in hardcover and softcover at Amazon.com. But you can save $4 by clicking HERE! The Kindle version is just $7 and the eBbook is a measly $5. Be the first on your block to read this bone-chilling tale — before the movie comes out.

The Magnificent Seven Vs. Wolf Man in “Werewolf: The Beast Among Us.”   Leave a comment

Werewolf hunters for hire pursue their most dangerous quarry ever — a man-beast who attacks even when the moon isn’t full.

By C. Michael Forsyth

My friend Sean, a horror aficionado with an encyclopedic knowledge of the genre, recommended “Werewolf: the Beast Among Us,” and he didn’t steer me wrong. I really enjoyed this fun, twisty B movie.

Shot in Romania with excellent production values, it’s in some ways a throwback to the old Hammer films. No automatic weapons, no sweet and glittery monsters. Some might call this anachronistic, but I dug the old-fashioned good-versus-evil battle.

The movie, set in the 1800s, features a band of werewolf hunters for hire that comes to the rescue of a town plagued by a lycanthrope. Alarmingly, the creature strikes even when the moon isn’t full! They’re aided by a young man desperate to save his village from the unstoppable beast, which has slain dozens. It’s “The Magnificent Seven” with werewolves – a high concept I just love.

The team is led by Charles (Ed Quinn), a taciturn American gunslinger, and each of the mercenaries has different quirks and specialties. My favorite is the sexy girl bounty hunter Kazia who wields a crossbow and wears a bite-proof corset. There’s also the suave, unflappable Englishman Stephan, who sports a vest full of throwing knives. Steven Bauer (Al Pacino’s right-hand man in “Scarface” and almost unrecognizable here) is aboard as the grizzled, beer-swilling Hyde.

Action and gore abound and there’s a mystery too. Which villager is the beast? Could it be the youth himself? His mother, who always appears to be missing when the attacks occur? His girlfriend? Her reclusive, wealthy father?

Day to day life in a town besieged by a werewolf is depicted with entertaining realism. In one memorable scene, the beleaguered town doctor (Stephen Rea from “The Crying Game”) is deluged by victims – and mercifully puts down a bitten farmer to spare him from the curse.

TAKE NO PRISONERS: Werewolf stomper Kazia (Ana Ularu) is deadly with a crossbow.

SPOILER ALERT – SPOILER ALERT – SPOILER ALERT

The identity of the werewolf isn’t too hard to figure out – the culprit practically has “lycanthrope” stamped on his forehead. But there are some clever red herrings, including the suspicious town constable who turns out merely to have epilepsy. (It might have been prudent for him to warn fellow villagers, “I foam at the mouth from time to time, so please don’t shoot me.”)

Although it’s the most surprising twist, I didn’t really like the revelation that Stephan is a vampire – I preferred him as a cocky dandy. I mean, when Charles recruited a vampire didn’t it occur to him that the guy might TURN OUT TO BE EVIL???

Likewise, the ending in which Charles takes on the werewolf as Stephan’s replacement seems a bit dubious. Having a monster on board didn’t really work out all that well. And wouldn’t the new recruit be a little reticent about killing other werewolves?

Speaking of our hairy pals, the author of this review also penned the highly acclaimed horror novel “Hour of the Beast.” Hour of the Beast is available in hardcover and softcover at Amazon.com. But you can save $4 by clicking HERE! The Kindle version is just $7 and the Ebook is a measly $5. Be the first on your block to read this bone-chilling tale — before the movie comes out.

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