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 What horror/sci-fi films have you been watching?
Marty McKee
Posted: Mar 31 2012, 11:12 PM


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THE DARKER SIDE OF TERROR (1979)—Directed by Gus Trikonis. Stars Robert Forster, Adrienne Barbeau, Ray Milland. Forster (THE BLACK HOLE) splendidly tackles two roles in this horror movie for television with a Frankenstein complex. He’s Paul Corwin, a brilliant pipe-smoking professor whose reticence to get involved in office politics allows a colleague to steal his research and snag a promotion that should have been Paul’s. He’s horrified to discover his mentor, Dr. Meredith (Milland), has been conducting human cloning experiments using Paul’s DNA. At first, he’s horrified, that is, but his ego and his bitterness at being disrespected inspire him to assist Meredith and prematurely age the clone fetus until it’s the spitting image of Paul.

THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU’s Al Ramrus and John Herman Shaner wrote a bright script that incorporates intriguing sexual themes. The Paul clone (again Forster, obviously) escapes and is picked up at a bar by an attractive coed with a crush on her teacher. They go parking, and she comes on to him. Not having yet learned about sexual arousal, the clone becomes excited and confused and ends up killing her. Meanwhile, all those weeks Paul spent away from home with his secret experiment has left his wife Margaret (Barbeau) lonely, frustrated, and horny—feelings the newly liberated clone is eager to fix.

Although the basic concept of a human being created by humans that becomes a murderer is hardly a novel one, Shaner, Ramrus, and Trikonis (THE EVIL) give it a nice, fresh coat of paint. Forster is superb as both Paul Corwins, but especially the clone that teaches himself to laugh and longingly studies the Corwins’ photograph albums to vicariously live experiences he feels he was cheated out of. Originally called THE CLONE, the movie has a terrific ending, a Paul Chihara score, and a supporting cast with David Sheiner, John Lehne, and Denise DuBarry.

Forster tells his account of DARKER SIDE OF TERROR's ending here. Beware--spoilers lie in wait.


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William S. Wilson
Posted: Apr 1 2012, 09:37 AM


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QUOTE (William S. Wilson @ Aug 11 2008, 07:38 AM)
976-EVIL (1989) - Nerdy Hoax (Stephen Geoffreys) is always picked on at school, but has his tough cousin Spike (Pat O'Bryan) there to defend him.  Both guys end up getting wrapped up with the Devil when they dial 976-EVIL for their "Horrorscopes."  While Spike uses the power to get back money he has lost gambling, Hoax goes the more sinister route and decides to get back at everyone who has picked on him.

Fearnet OnDemand has indulged me in revisiting all of the 80s flicks I didn't like in the first place.  Surprisingly, I actually enjoyed this Robert Englund-helmed horror flick more in 2008 than I did in 1989.  Sure, it still isn't very good and feels like a stretched out TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE episode (especially that cheesy final shot), but it features some gory deaths (which still look cut a bit), nice cinematography and a really good score.  Unfortunately, the script delivers Hoax's transformation too late (nearly 1 hour in) and relies too much on peripheral characters to guide us through the end.  Surprisingly, one of the co-writers was Brian Helgeland, who went on to win an Oscar for L.A. CONFIDENTIAL.  Geoffreys is a really good actor, reminding me of Jack Nicholson at points, and handles the lead well.  It is a shame what happened to him and his career.  Co-lead O'Bryan is pretty good too.  Sadly, his last credit is 976-EVIL II a few years later.

976-EVIL II (1992) - Spike (Pat O'Bryan) survives the events of the first film and now roams the countryside on his motorcycle. Why? We're not completely sure, but he does end up in a town where a college Dean has been abusing the 976-EVIL hotline and killing young girls. He is arrested but uses Astral Projection to leave his cell and continue to stalk Robin (Debbie James), the sheriff's daughter who has teamed up with Spike. This sequel is a strange creature. It makes an effort to connect with the first film, but feels completely like a random horror script they forced the 976 concept onto. Director Jim Wynorski handles it well enough and gets bonus points for some really WTF? moments (the biggest one being George "Buck" Flower getting obliterated by a semi). Crazed stunt coordinator Spiro Razatos delivers two pretty spectacular car crash bits. One of them (a girl in a runaway, possessed car) features a few shots where I think the actress really feared for her life and Wynorski has recycled this footage many times. The film's biggest plus is a genuinely creative bit where a character is zapped into a mash up of IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE and NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (both in public domain at the time). And you thought James Stewart was never in a Wynorski film. Bridgette Nielsen has a small cameo as a Satanic book shop owner and Philip McKeon of ALICE fame is a deputy.


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Patrick Lefcourt
Posted: Apr 1 2012, 09:48 AM


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QUOTE (Marty McKee @ Mar 31 2012, 03:31 AM)
SORORITY BABES IN THE SLIMEBALL BOWL-O-RAMA (1988)—The kind of movie today’s audiences can’t believe ever played in theaters.

And on a double bill with GALACTIC GIGOLO, too!
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Bob Cashill
Posted: Apr 1 2012, 01:52 PM


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Does Universal know that a good quality transfer (best I've ever seen) of THE LAST SHARK (81) is available for rental or purchase on Amazon Instant Video? Well, it is. (And, I see, on DVD-R.)

This post has been edited by Bob Cashill on Apr 1 2012, 04:43 PM


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Alan Maxwell
Posted: Apr 3 2012, 03:56 PM


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THE STEPFORD CHILDREN (1987) - Don Murray returns to Stepford to settle with his family in this made-for-TV sequel which is simply a re-tread of the original but with children instead of wives. You can forgive the robot replacements for being bland, wooden rejects from infomercials, but that doesn't excuse the rest of the cast, who are pretty much universally terrible. The film looks even more dated than the original with its 80s fashion, soft-focus TV look and cheap-sounding synth score. It's like one of the weaker episodes of the 80s Twilight Zone, stretched out to feature length. A couple of moments are unintentionally funny (there's an "oh my God!" exclamation that almost rivals TROLL II) but mainly it's just risibly bad.

AMITYVILLE II: THE POSSESSION (1982) - talking of TROLL II, here's a film that can give it a run for its money in the so-bad-it's-good stakes. It takes a special kind of ineptitude to make incest, sexual assault and domestic violence look funny but somehow Eurocult director Damiano Damiani manages it. There are some neat effects and one or two decent scare moments but the ludicrous situations, clunky dialogue and dreadful performances make this a whole lot of fun for all the wrong reasons. It might be terrible but I actually enjoyed it a lot more than the original movie solely on this basis. And that's a lot more than can be said for...

AMITYVILLE III: THE DEMON (1983) - This time a sceptical journalist decides to debunk the myth surrounding the house with predictable results. As usual, odd things happen and people suffer but while it's difficult to take the film any more seriously than the others it's not even as enjoyable in the wrong ways either. It was also one of the string of early 80s threequels to be shot in 3D so if you're watching it in 2D expect the usual blurry photography and things constantly being pointed towards the camera at opportune moments.

THE STUFF (1985) - I can't say that this movie hasn't dated or that there isn't any duff acting in it but damn, it's still a hoot. I've a soft spot for Larry Cohen anyway, but this tale of an addictive dessert that is secretly alive is totally daft even by his standards. The plot is all over the place, there are some lovely (if somewhat dated) effects to admire and most of the cast look like they're having fun, none more so than Cohen regular Michael Moriarty, whose OTT lead performance is reason enough to admire this comedy horror gem.

THE WARD (2010) - Not as bad as some of the stuff John Carpenter has churned out since his glory days of the late 70s and early 80s, but far short of his best work too. Amber Heard is locked up in an asylum for beautiful but insane young ladies and begins to twig that strange things are being carried out behind the scenes. I liked this better than I thought I would but while there are some decent scare moments it takes too long to really get going and [SPOILER] an ending that might once have seemed clever falls foul of having been used in different variations for so many films now that it just seems played out.

CHILDREN OF THE CORN (1984) - A lovely opening sets up the premise of a village where children have killed all the adults and set up their own religion (headed up by a creepy John Franklin). Linda Hamilton and Peter Horton don't make for a particularly engaging couple, Courtney Gains chews the scenery something awful as one of the bad kids and the whole story sadly gets more and more ludicrous as the film goes on. Time has not been kind to this one.

HELLO MARY-LOU: PROM NIGHT II (1987) - Sequel in name only, this horror follow-up has little to do with the classic Jamie Lee Curtis slasher other than the setting. I'm not totally averse to bringing supernatural elements into slashers - the long-running franchises in the genre have all done it - but in going all out in that direction, this movie sadly comes across as little more than a CARRIE knock off (from the overbearing religious extremity of her mother to the school hall finale) and it doesn't even do that particularly well. After a wonderful opening death (setting up the premise of the titular character, killed in the 50s, returning to possess a modern school girl to exact her revenge) the film slows right down and there are only a couple of deaths in the first hour or so, and not even that memorable. One death is inventive enough but more notable for the gratuitous full frontal nudity than the impressiveness of the kill. Things hot up for the last half hour or so and we're treated to an increased body count and some more fun kills, but by the finale you're not only comparing it to CARRIE but have also become aware that there is little coherence or logic to anything that happens. I don't think I wasted my time watching it, but even as a lover of 80s slashers this is one I'm unlikely to revisit.
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William S. Wilson
Posted: Apr 4 2012, 08:05 AM


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THE PREMONITION (1976) - A suburban couple (Sharon Farrell and Edward Bell) find their lives in danger when a psycho woman (Ellen Barber) and her carny clown boyfriend (Richard Lynch) attempt to kidnap their adopted daughter. Naturally, the daughter is really hers and was taken away when she was locked up in a mental institution. But what our villains don't count on is the adoptive mother having some ESP tendencies that will foil their escape plans. This is an odd thriller. Parts of it are really well made and other parts are really muddled. Director-writer Robert Allen Schnitzer has the germ of a great idea in here, but doesn't seem entirely convinced by even his own ideas. For example, the parapsychology stuff isn't given much detail and even when a doctor specializing in it enters the picture, you're still not sure of what she is talking about. This brings us scenes like the doctor saying stuff to Farrell like, "Just let it flow" and that results in a painting crying blood. Cool visual, but does it really mean anything? Worth seeing for some creepy dream sequences and an early performance from Richard Lynch.


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Mark Tinta
Posted: Apr 4 2012, 06:30 PM


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UNDOCUMENTED (2011) - It was only a matter of time before the current wave of right-wing extremism became the subject of a horror film, and UNDOCUMENTED has some intriguing ideas but doesn't really do much with them. A documentary filmmaker (Scott Mechlowicz) and his crew tag along with a group of Mexicans illegally crossing the border into the US. Once across the border into New Mexico, they're abducted by a far-right militia group and taken to a compound, where the leader, X (Peter Stormare, his face obscured by a mesh hood for 99% of his screen time), makes Mechlowicz change the focus of his film to what goes on at the compound. Fed up with illegal immigration and the perceived disrespect of America, X and his followers, many of whom are naturalized citizens, proceed to torture and kill the illegals, using some of them for organ harvesting for rich American clients (that plot again?). There's a potentially interesting story here, but director/co-writer Chris Peckover too often focuses instead on the past-its-sell-by-date torture porn angle, making UNDOCUMENTED come off less like a topical horror film with a message and more like what might happen if Eli Roth remade EL NORTE. Also with Alona Tal, Yancey Arias, Kevin Weisman, Greg Serano, Jsu Garcia (formerly known as Nick Corri), and Noah Segan as one of X's followers.


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Marty McKee
Posted: Apr 7 2012, 10:58 PM


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SPIDER-MAN (1977)—Directed by E.W. Swackhamer. Stars Nicholas Hammond, Thayer David, David White, Michael Pataki, Jeff Donnell, Hilly Hicks, Lisa Eilbacher. Columbia Pictures released this television pilot as a theatrical feature overseas and later in the U.S. on VHS. Aside from silent bits on the PBS kiddie show THE ELECTRIC COMPANY, this CBS film marks the first live-action appearance of Steve Ditko and Stan Lee’s Marvel Comics creation on film. Don’t look for Spider-Man to battle any colorful supervillains, however, as the plot and those of the series that followed are interchangeable with other cop shows of its day.

Hammond, who was one of the Von Trapp kids in THE SOUND OF MUSIC, is uninteresting as Peter Parker, a college student who is bitten by a radioactive spider in his science lab and receives superpowers, such as the ability to walk up walls. Director Swackhamer (LAW & ORDER) shows this using the laughable visual effect of Hammond crawling on a blue screen with a photo of a house superimposed on it. Later shots using a stuntman on wires are a lot better.

Donnell (IN A LONELY PLACE) is Parker’s aunt May. White (BEWITCHED) is Daily Bugle editor J. Jonah Jameson, to whom freelance photojournalist Parker reports, and Hicks (ROLL OUT) is Jameson’s assistant, Joe Robertson. They’re the only characters from the comics to make the transition to the small screen, and only Jameson continued with the series (though played by a different actor).

New York City is plagued by Edward Byron (David), a megalomaniacal New Ager who hypnotizes ordinary citizens and forces them to commit bank robberies. He threatens to force ten people to commit suicide unless the mayor pays him $50 million. Parker designs a red-and-blue costume and mechanical web shooters to investigate. Alvin Boretz (N.Y.P.D.) had been writing for television for three decades when he got this assignment, but it’s clear he didn’t have a grip on the Spider-Man character or his universe. Considering co-creator Lee was the script consultant, this is unforgivable.

There’s nothing at all “larger than life” about this film, except maybe Pataki’s humorously hammy turn as Captain Barbera, a sarcastic cigar-chomping cop on the case. Even the fight scenes, which should have been the highlight—how do you screw up Spider-Man battling a trio of samurai?—are dull. Twelve months passed before CBS aired the first AMAZING SPIDER-MAN episode in 1978, a year in which it also had WONDER WOMAN and THE INCREDIBLE HULK on its prime-time schedule. Also with Larry Anderson, Dick Balduzzi, Ivor Francis, Bob Hastings (who worked for producer Edward J. Montagne on MCHALE’S NAVY), Barry Cutler, and Len Lesser. Score by Johnnie Spence.


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Marty McKee
Posted: Apr 8 2012, 01:25 PM


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THE DEADLY DUST (1978)—Directed by Ron Satlof. Stars Nicholas Hammond, Robert Alda, Joanna Cameron. THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN premiered on CBS with a two-part episode that was later released in syndication and on videocassette as a TV-movie. Bland Hammond plays Peter Parker, a college student and newspaper photographer who gained superpowers as the result of a radioactive spider bite and decided to fight crime while clad in red-and-blue tights and a full facemask. University protestors steal five kilos of plutonium and build an atomic bomb. Arms dealer White (Alda) then steals their bomb and takes it to Los Angeles, where he plans to explode it and blow up the President. Meanwhile, Parker dodges a super-hot reporter (Cameron) who’s getting all up in Spider-Man’s business.

The curvy Cameron was already famous among prepubescent boys for playing the Mighty Isis on Saturday mornings, and I’m sure many of them tuned in to see her flirting in prime time with their friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. The excuses used to get Cameron into revealing outfits are hilarious (CBS promos used a lot of bikini shots), and her character even questions why she’s wearing them.

I’ll give credit to producers Robert Janes (who also wrote the episodes) and Satlof for staging a couple of cool stunts, including Spidey dangling from a helicopter and the opening sequence of him rescuing a jumper. But let’s blame them for the sloppy filmmaking too. Subtle changes in the Spider-Man costume from pilot to first episode means the frequent use of stock footage doesn’t match, and the Los Angeles locations look nothing like New York City.

THE DEADLY DUST played theaters in foreign markets as SPIDER-MAN STRIKES BACK. Janes’ (THE FALL GUY) script is okay, setting aside the fact that it bears no resemblance to the Marvel Comics Spider-Man. Satlof (MCCLOUD) handles the action just fine. Simon replaces David White as Daily Bugle boss J. Jonah Jameson, joining series regulars Fields as his secretary and Pataki as police captain Barbera. Also with Randy Powell (LOGAN’S RUN), Anne Bloom (NOT NECESSARILY THE NEWS), Sidney Clute (CAGNEY & LACEY), Herb Braha (THE BEACH GIRLS), and THE RAT PATROL’s Lawrence Casey. Score by Stu Phillips (BATTLESTAR GALACTICA).


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Kim Greene
Posted: Apr 11 2012, 03:54 PM


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I haven't posted in a minute,partly since I'm currently recoperating from a brief hospital stay (nothing hugely serious,thank goodness, I'm alright) but I found something to hopefully brighten up some horror movie fan's day: a website of reviews on horror films by three self-described Midwestern geeks called Junk Food Dinner Podcast. Don't know if they're done any current reviews, but they cover a lot of cult classics, some of my favorites among them--I just got through having fun listening to/cracking up at their critique of CHILDREN SHOULDN'T PLAY WITH DEAD THINGS:

http://www.junkfooddinner.com/2010/10/its-...cy-episode.html

I'm going to watch John Landis' BURKE AND HARE real soon, and I'll throw on some reviews of other stuff I've seen--later!
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Marty McKee
Posted: Apr 12 2012, 08:54 PM


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SPIDER-MAN: THE CON CAPER AND THE CURSE OF RAVA (1978)—Directed by Tom Blank and Michael Caffey. Stars Nicholas Hammond, Theodore Bikel, William Smithers, Ramon Bieri, Andrew Robinson, Robert F. Simon, Chip Fields, Michael Pataki. As you can tell from the title, Columbia didn’t bother to hide the fact that this made-for-TV “movie” is, in fact, cut together from two episodes of THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN called, natch, “The Con Caper” and “The Curse of Rava.” First, Smithers portrays a recently incarcerated politician named Thomas Colbert who is paroled and asks Daily Bugle employees Peter Parker (Hammond) and Rita (Fields) to help him quash a riot. But, ho, he actually engineered the riot to break out cons Cates (Bieri) and McTeague (Robinson), so they can pull a $100 million heist. Of course, he doesn’t realize Parker is secretly Spider-Man, whose spider sense indicates something fishy.

This is a really dumb plot by Brian McKay (THE NEW ADVENTURES OF WONDER WOMAN) and Gregory Dinallo (WALKER, TEXAS RANGER) that plays like it never got past the first draft. The crooks pull off their heist on the same rooftop used in previous SPIDER-MAN episodes, only so producer Lionel E. Siegel (THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN) can recycle stock footage on the cheap (and it’s probably the only tall building in Los Angeles that somewhat resembles New York City). This also means the crooks have to attempt their heist by jumping a motorcycle from one roof to another and then rapelling across. Which, of course, nobody would ever see. They also know exactly how to beat a state-of-the-art security system with no indication of how they could have planned the job in prison.

Thankfully, the editors don’t try to cut back and forth between stories (that never works in these paste-up jobs), so when Spider-Man captures Smithers’ gang, he jumps right into a new case (though Fields and Hammond appear in an awkward scene meant to bridge the two stories). Spidey goes up against Mandak (Bikel), a cult leader who frames Parker’s boss J. Jonah Jameson (Simon) for murder and tries to steal a valuable idol called Rava from a museum. This is slightly better than the earlier plot, though it also relies on the same stock footage (there’s that damn hotel roof again). Pataki appears as harried police captain Barbera, the film/show’s most entertaining character. Also with Pat Corley, Adrienne Larussa, Byron Webster, and Ellen Bry. Music by Dana Kaproff and Stu Phillips.


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Hal Horn
Posted: Apr 16 2012, 08:10 AM


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"Why the Hell isn't this on DVD yet?" -- Number 78 (in the U.S.)

THE COSMIC MONSTER (a.k.a. THE STRANGE WORLD OF PLANET X) (1958 DCA/Eros Films) Starring Forrest Tucker, Gaby Andre, Martin Benson, Wyndham Goldie, Alec Mango, Hugh Latimer, Geoffrey Chater, Patricia Sinclair. Directed by Gilbert Gunn.

Mango and Tucker are conducting experiments on magnetic fields in a rural laboratory in south England. Despite their reservations about "a woman" helping out with this "highly skilled work", project director Goldie appoints Andre to work with the two men. The only initial hazard is occasional interference with the town's radio and TV reception, but then the obsessed Mango accidentally blows a hole in the ionosphere. The resulting unintended consequences: a mysterious stranger anxious to fit in quickly among the townspeople, a formerly harmless hobo turns violent, and insects grow larger than human beings.

The final film in Tucker's late Fifties British sci-fi trilogy, THE COSMIC MONSTER (originally titled THE STRANGE WORLD OF PLANET X in the U.K.) reached North American theatres on a double bill with THE CRAWLING EYE in 1958. While the special effects remain modestly budgeted at best and our boy Tuck makes his moves on beautiful Andre (who is distractingly dubbed), MONSTER lacks both the atmosphere and the cheesy fun of its predecessor.

Gunn fails to build the sense of genuine dread that Quentin Lawrence successfully brought to THE CRAWLING EYE and screenwriter Paul Ryder's script lacks the character backstories that helped keep Lawrence's film interesting during its own talky stages. The action is also unimaginatively staged when it commences in the final reel, and at one point we glimpse a U.S. Army vehicle heading to save the day despite our setting. Also, why use bullets and not insecticides?

COSMIC MONSTER does manage to hang with THE CRAWLING EYE in one regard: copious amounts of alcohol consumption. Much time is spent at the pub hoisting pint after pint while everyone sits and talks (and talks, and talks); too bad no party ever develops (despite the band advertised on the local pub's sidewalk sign) because Gunn's drudging pace could stand some punching up. At least the drinking games you can play at home on your own won't suffer.

Tucker gave forceful performances in both THE CRAWLING EYE (as a scientist who was also a man of action when necessary) and THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN (as a crass "ugly American" butting heads marvelously with Peter Cushing) but seems tentative and less effective in this script that gives him far less to do. While the first two films remain well-remembered genre classics a half century later, THE COSMIC MONSTER has been largely forgotten on this side of the pond. It's worth a look for aficionados of the giant bug-movie subgenre, but on the whole it's pretty forgettable.

COSMIC MONSTER is available for viewing at YouTube under its original title THE STRANGE WORLD OF PLANET X.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KPyVDLBBDYU

This post has been edited by Hal Horn on Apr 17 2012, 11:17 AM


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Miles Wood
Posted: Apr 17 2012, 04:19 AM


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QUOTE (Hal Horn @ Apr 16 2012, 08:10 AM)
"Why the Hell isn't this on DVD yet?" -- Number 78

THE COSMIC MONSTER (a.k.a. THE STRANGE WORLD OF PLANET X) (1958 DCA/Eros Films) Starring Forrest Tucker, Gaby Andre, Martin Benson, Wyndham Goldie, Alec Mango, Hugh Latimer, Geoffrey Chater, Patricia Sinclair. Directed by Gilbert Gunn.

Actually there is a UK DVD of this under its UK title TSWOPX. I have a 'copy' but have yet to watch it.
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Terry Barhorst, Jr.
Posted: Apr 17 2012, 07:26 AM


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QUOTE (Miles Wood @ Apr 17 2012, 04:19 AM)
QUOTE (Hal Horn @ Apr 16 2012, 08:10 AM)
"Why the Hell isn't this on DVD yet?" -- Number 78

THE COSMIC MONSTER (a.k.a. THE STRANGE WORLD OF PLANET X) (1958 DCA/Eros Films) Starring Forrest Tucker, Gaby Andre, Martin Benson, Wyndham Goldie, Alec Mango, Hugh Latimer, Geoffrey Chater, Patricia Sinclair.  Directed by Gilbert Gunn.

Actually there is a UK DVD of this under its UK title TSWOPX. I have a 'copy' but have yet to watch it.

For some reason I always thought THE COSMIC MONSTER and THE MAGNETIC MONSTER (1953) were the same movie...

This post has been edited by Terry Barhorst, Jr. on Apr 17 2012, 07:28 AM


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Marty McKee
Posted: Apr 17 2012, 09:51 AM


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QUOTE (Terry Barhorst, Jr. @ Apr 17 2012, 07:26 AM)

For some reason I always thought THE COSMIC MONSTER and THE MAGNETIC MONSTER (1953) were the same movie...

Well, they are equally boring.


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Hal Horn
Posted: Apr 17 2012, 11:18 AM


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QUOTE (Miles Wood @ Apr 17 2012, 10:19 AM)
QUOTE (Hal Horn @ Apr 16 2012, 08:10 AM)
"Why the Hell isn't this on DVD yet?" -- Number 78

THE COSMIC MONSTER (a.k.a. THE STRANGE WORLD OF PLANET X) (1958 DCA/Eros Films) Starring Forrest Tucker, Gaby Andre, Martin Benson, Wyndham Goldie, Alec Mango, Hugh Latimer, Geoffrey Chater, Patricia Sinclair.  Directed by Gilbert Gunn.

Actually there is a UK DVD of this under its UK title TSWOPX. I have a 'copy' but have yet to watch it.

thanks for the headsup. Had the qualifier "in the U.S." on my blog post but forgot to add it here.


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http://hornsection.blogspot.com/
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Mark Tinta
Posted: Apr 18 2012, 01:23 AM


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Watched Xavier Gens' THE DIVIDE. Ugh.


THE DIVIDE


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Eric Cotenas
Posted: Apr 18 2012, 05:05 AM


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THE AMITYVILLE HAUNTING (2011) - Prefatory text tells us about the DiFeo murders and the family who moved in the following year (and it tells us they stayed in the house for two years before being driven out). Now, thirty-two years later the evil is apparently back. The film opens with four teens doing the BLAIR WITCH thing with their iPhones and breaking into the house to have sex. They are quickly gotten out of the way (after offering a bit of R-rated toplessness). Some time later, a new family is shown the house by a nervous realtor. The wife Virginia (Amy Van Horne, TRANSMORPHERS: FALL OF MAN) is a bit nervous about moving into a murder house, but her Afghanistan-vet husband Douglas (Jason A. Williams, LAST EXIT) tells her that it is the best house that they can afford with enough room for their kids: promiscuous Lori, aspiring documentarian Tyler (Devin Clark), and little Melanie (Gracie Largent).

Despite the death of the realtor from an aneurysm at the bottom of the porch steps and the deadly fall taken by a moving man, Douglas is determined to make a go of living in the house (since they have had to move eight times in the last year because of the trouble Lori keeps getting into). Melanie starts talking to an "imaginary friend" named John Matthew (a kid who used to live in the house, although it is never specified if he is supposed to be one of the DiFeos) and Tyler's camera captures doors closing on their own. The French doors have a habit of opening on their own at night (always at 3:15 when the original murders were committed) and Douglas thinks Lori is sneaking out with neighbor boy Brett (Jon Kondelik, of The Asylum's forthcoming THE AMERICAN BATTLESHIP) who has a habit of breaking into neighborhood houses and dallying with the households' daughters. Douglas catches him one night and pulls a gun on him to scare him off. Tyler's camera catches Brett being pulled away by a supernatural force. The police who come by the next day to take a report about the break-in discover human blood and a detective is called in. He informs them that someone else confessed to the DiFeo murders twelve years ago, and that ever since then the house has had a high tenant turnover rate. Douglas starts to believe that his daughter is talking to a ghost (after accusing his other children of telling her about the boy) and Tyler finds the iPhone belonging to one of the teens from the opening sequence but all it shows is the sexual encounter that precedes the deaths (his parents' reaction to the girl popping her top seems to turn the film for a few moments into ABC's MODERN FAMILY in the AMITYVILLE HORROR house). As Douglas tries to get evidence of the haunting (even bringing in a fellow ex-soldier turned surveillance expert - who also dies mysteriously), he starts to unravel and suffers a nervous breakdown. Virginia plans to get him and the kids out of the house in a few days when her nearby relatives get back from vacation, but it is likely they won't live that long.

Obviously mounted in reaction to Dimension/Miramax's announced AMITYVILLE: THE LOST TAPES, The Asylum needn't have rushed this out since the other film seems to have dropped off the radar. This is yet another example of the found footage subgenre where characters rarely check their tapes when something strange happens (and we get a lot of onscreen apparitions).

SPOILER: The film twists the Amityville mythology around to suggest that Ronald DiFeo is now dead an haunting the house (last I read, he was still alive and changing his story over and over again) and that his sister evidently was responsible and confessed (although I thought he killed his entire family). This has very little bearing on the actual haunting (at no point do we believe that this might be the work of a living killer).

There are lots of noises heard from the basement and lots of ominous shots of basement windows and heating grates, but no one ever ventures down there to discover any portals to hell (or even if the bodies of the missing teens might be down there). There are some creepy bits (for instance, the apparition that pops up in the corner of the frame while the detective tells them about the latest in the DiFeo murder case); but less really would be more here, as the clearer apparitions of Ronald DiFeo (Luke Barnett, COFFIN) are not particularly frightening. Some chills can still be gleaned from long, drawn-out surveillance shots, but the handheld camera bits are more predictable with the POV steadying and panning more slowly when some apparition is supposed to appear. The constant black-outs do not look like tape damage (and it is not until the middle of the film that one of these gets explained with the superimposition "corrupt video") and conveniently happens during some limp dramatic bits (as if the director just gave up on the scene).

Van Horne is okay as the frightened wife, and stuntman Williams does most of his acting with his pecs (seriously, this guy seems to favor skimpy undershirts long past his daily 4 AM workouts) and his nervous breakdown is hilarious to behold. Despite this, Williams comes across as more than adequate next to Clark as his son. Sure, he's a kid actor and this is his first credit; but he is the most annoying thing about the film. His character spends much time pointing the camera at himself and saying "so and so is so stupid" and "no one believes me" (as well as "no one knows what I'm going through" which would have had some payoff if he started hearing the same voices DiFeo supposedly heard). Every night, he redundantly summarizes the events of the day usually starting with "Today was so weird" or "Today was so messed up"... It seems less like bad improv than a series of blown line readings while the director keeps rolling. Although he is supposed to be a mischievous kid brother spying on his older sister just to annoy her, these bits are actually creepy since the actress is the film's eye candy.

Despite the father going off the rails, it can't be said that the haunting ever really escalates. People are dropping dead from the start and only the daughter and father (with the assistance of surveillance cameras and a laptop) actually see anything. The mother and older daughter are more unnerved by the father's behavior and Tyler can never get anyone to look at his videos (and he apparently never sees the footage where the apparitions appear). As such, the climax unfolds not because of any actions of the characters, but because we are at the eighty minute mark.

THE AMITYVILLE HAUNTING is on DVD and Blu-Ray, but I had to sit through it on Netflix since they are only distributing it as a streaming title.


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William S. Wilson
Posted: Apr 18 2012, 08:49 AM


Mobian Idol


Group: Members
Posts: 7,396
Member No.: 8
Joined: 17-October 04



You are truly a brave man, Eric. I saw the cover for this with its Amityville house online and then looked at the trailer. Let's just say they didn't put a lot of effort into finding a similar house.

Whatever happened to that LOST TAPES one that was announced? Did it ever actually shoot? It is funny to see The Asylum get something onto the shelves when the product they are aiming to ape isn't out yet.
QUOTE (Eric Cotenas @ Apr 18 2012, 05:05 AM)
THE AMITYVILLE HAUNTING (2011) - Prefatory text tells us about the DiFeo murders and the family who moved in the following year (and it tells us they stayed in the house for two years before being driven out). Now, thirty-two years later the evil is apparently back. The film opens with four teens doing the BLAIR WITCH thing with their iPhones and breaking into the house to have sex. They are quickly gotten out of the way (after offering a bit of R-rated toplessness). Some time later, a new family is shown the house by a nervous realtor. The wife Virginia (Amy Van Horne, TRANSMORPHERS: FALL OF MAN) is a bit nervous about moving into a murder house, but her Afghanistan-vet husband Douglas (Jason A. Williams, LAST EXIT) tells her that it is the best house that they can afford with enough room for their kids: promiscuous Lori, aspiring documentarian Tyler (Devin Clark), and little Melanie (Gracie Largent).

Despite the death of the realtor from an aneurysm at the bottom of the porch steps and the deadly fall taken by a moving man, Douglas is determined to make a go of living in the house (since they have had to move eight times in the last year because of the trouble Lori keeps getting into). Melanie starts talking to an "imaginary friend" named John Matthew (a kid who used to live in the house, although it is never specified if he is supposed to be one of the DiFeos) and Tyler's camera captures doors closing on their own. The French doors have a habit of opening on their own at night (always at 3:15 when the original murders were committed) and Douglas thinks Lori is sneaking out with neighbor boy Brett (Jon Kondelik, of The Asylum's forthcoming THE AMERICAN BATTLESHIP) who has a habit of breaking into neighborhood houses and dallying with the households' daughters. Douglas catches him one night and pulls a gun on him to scare him off. Tyler's camera catches Brett being pulled away by a supernatural force. The police who come by the next day to take a report about the break-in discover human blood and a detective is called in. He informs them that someone else confessed to the DiFeo murders twelve years ago, and that ever since then the house has had a high tenant turnover rate. Douglas starts to believe that his daughter is talking to a ghost (after accusing his other children of telling her about the boy) and Tyler finds the iPhone belonging to one of the teens from the opening sequence but all it shows is the sexual encounter that precedes the deaths (his parents' reaction to the girl popping her top seems to turn the film for a few moments into ABC's MODERN FAMILY in the AMITYVILLE HORROR house). As Douglas tries to get evidence of the haunting (even bringing in a fellow ex-soldier turned surveillance expert - who also dies mysteriously), he starts to unravel and suffers a nervous breakdown. Virginia plans to get him and the kids out of the house in a few days when her nearby relatives get back from vacation, but it is likely they won't live that long.

Obviously mounted in reaction to Dimension/Miramax's announced AMITYVILLE: THE LOST TAPES, The Asylum needn't have rushed this out since the other film seems to have dropped off the radar. This is yet another example of the found footage subgenre where characters rarely check their tapes when something strange happens (and we get a lot of onscreen apparitions).

SPOILER: The film twists the Amityville mythology around to suggest that Ronald DiFeo is now dead an haunting the house (last I read, he was still alive and changing his story over and over again) and that his sister evidently was responsible and confessed (although I thought he killed his entire family). This has very little bearing on the actual haunting (at no point do we believe that this might be the work of a living killer).

There are lots of noises heard from the basement and lots of ominous shots of basement windows and heating grates, but no one ever ventures down there to discover any portals to hell (or even if the bodies of the missing teens might be down there). There are some creepy bits (for instance, the apparition that pops up in the corner of the frame while the detective tells them about the latest in the DiFeo murder case); but less really would be more here, as the clearer apparitions of Ronald DiFeo (Luke Barnett, COFFIN) are not particularly frightening. Some chills can still be gleaned from long, drawn-out surveillance shots, but the handheld camera bits are more predictable with the POV steadying and panning more slowly when some apparition is supposed to appear. The constant black-outs do not look like tape damage (and it is not until the middle of the film that one of these gets explained with the superimposition "corrupt video") and conveniently happens during some limp dramatic bits (as if the director just gave up on the scene).

Van Horne is okay as the frightened wife, and stuntman Williams does most of his acting with his pecs (seriously, this guy seems to favor skimpy undershirts long past his daily 4 AM workouts) and his nervous breakdown is hilarious to behold. Despite this, Williams comes across as more than adequate next to Clark as his son. Sure, he's a kid actor and this is his first credit; but he is the most annoying thing about the film. His character spends much time pointing the camera at himself and saying "so and so is so stupid" and "no one believes me" (as well as "no one knows what I'm going through" which would have had some payoff if he started hearing the same voices DiFeo supposedly heard). Every night, he redundantly summarizes the events of the day usually starting with "Today was so weird" or "Today was so messed up"... It seems less like bad improv than a series of blown line readings while the director keeps rolling. Although he is supposed to be a mischievous kid brother spying on his older sister just to annoy her, these bits are actually creepy since the actress is the film's eye candy.

Despite the father going off the rails, it can't be said that the haunting ever really escalates. People are dropping dead from the start and only the daughter and father (with the assistance of surveillance cameras and a laptop) actually see anything. The mother and older daughter are more unnerved by the father's behavior and Tyler can never get anyone to look at his videos (and he apparently never sees the footage where the apparitions appear). As such, the climax unfolds not because of any actions of the characters, but because we are at the eighty minute mark.

THE AMITYVILLE HAUNTING is on DVD and Blu-Ray, but I had to sit through it on Netflix since they are only distributing it as a streaming title.


This post has been edited by William S. Wilson on Apr 18 2012, 08:51 AM


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Eric Cotenas
Posted: Apr 18 2012, 08:55 AM


Mobian


Group: Members
Posts: 1,986
Member No.: 286
Joined: 1-November 04



QUOTE (William S. Wilson @ Apr 18 2012, 08:49 AM)
You are truly a brave man, Eric. I saw the cover for this with its Amityville house online and then looked at the trailer. Let's just say they didn't put a lot of effort into finding a similar house.

Whatever happened to that LOST TAPES one that was announced? Did it ever actually shoot? It is funny to see The Asylum get something onto the shelves when the product they are aiming to ape isn't out yet.
QUOTE (Eric Cotenas @ Apr 18 2012, 05:05 AM)
THE AMITYVILLE HAUNTING (2011) - Prefatory text tells us about the DiFeo murders and the family who moved in the following year (and it tells us they stayed in the house for two years before being driven out). Now, thirty-two years later the evil is apparently back. The film opens with four teens doing the BLAIR WITCH thing with their iPhones and breaking into the house to have sex. They are quickly gotten out of the way (after offering a bit of R-rated toplessness). Some time later, a new family is shown the house by a nervous realtor. The wife Virginia (Amy Van Horne, TRANSMORPHERS: FALL OF MAN) is a bit nervous about moving into a murder house, but her Afghanistan-vet husband Douglas (Jason A. Williams, LAST EXIT) tells her that it is the best house that they can afford with enough room for their kids: promiscuous Lori, aspiring documentarian Tyler (Devin Clark), and little Melanie (Gracie Largent).

Despite the death of the realtor from an aneurysm at the bottom of the porch steps and the deadly fall taken by a moving man, Douglas is determined to make a go of living in the house (since they have had to move eight times in the last year because of the trouble Lori keeps getting into). Melanie starts talking to an "imaginary friend" named John Matthew (a kid who used to live in the house, although it is never specified if he is supposed to be one of the DiFeos) and Tyler's camera captures doors closing on their own. The French doors have a habit of opening on their own at night (always at 3:15 when the original murders were committed) and Douglas thinks Lori is sneaking out with neighbor boy Brett (Jon Kondelik, of The Asylum's forthcoming THE AMERICAN BATTLESHIP) who has a habit of breaking into neighborhood houses and dallying with the households' daughters. Douglas catches him one night and pulls a gun on him to scare him off. Tyler's camera catches Brett being pulled away by a supernatural force. The police who come by the next day to take a report about the break-in discover human blood and a detective is called in. He informs them that someone else confessed to the DiFeo murders twelve years ago, and that ever since then the house has had a high tenant turnover rate. Douglas starts to believe that his daughter is talking to a ghost (after accusing his other children of telling her about the boy) and Tyler finds the iPhone belonging to one of the teens from the opening sequence but all it shows is the sexual encounter that precedes the deaths (his parents' reaction to the girl popping her top seems to turn the film for a few moments into ABC's MODERN FAMILY in the AMITYVILLE HORROR house). As Douglas tries to get evidence of the haunting (even bringing in a fellow ex-soldier turned surveillance expert - who also dies mysteriously), he starts to unravel and suffers a nervous breakdown. Virginia plans to get him and the kids out of the house in a few days when her nearby relatives get back from vacation, but it is likely they won't live that long.

Obviously mounted in reaction to Dimension/Miramax's announced AMITYVILLE: THE LOST TAPES, The Asylum needn't have rushed this out since the other film seems to have dropped off the radar. This is yet another example of the found footage subgenre where characters rarely check their tapes when something strange happens (and we get a lot of onscreen apparitions).

SPOILER: The film twists the Amityville mythology around to suggest that Ronald DiFeo is now dead an haunting the house (last I read, he was still alive and changing his story over and over again) and that his sister evidently was responsible and confessed (although I thought he killed his entire family). This has very little bearing on the actual haunting (at no point do we believe that this might be the work of a living killer).

There are lots of noises heard from the basement and lots of ominous shots of basement windows and heating grates, but no one ever ventures down there to discover any portals to hell (or even if the bodies of the missing teens might be down there). There are some creepy bits (for instance, the apparition that pops up in the corner of the frame while the detective tells them about the latest in the DiFeo murder case); but less really would be more here, as the clearer apparitions of Ronald DiFeo (Luke Barnett, COFFIN) are not particularly frightening. Some chills can still be gleaned from long, drawn-out surveillance shots, but the handheld camera bits are more predictable with the POV steadying and panning more slowly when some apparition is supposed to appear. The constant black-outs do not look like tape damage (and it is not until the middle of the film that one of these gets explained with the superimposition "corrupt video") and conveniently happens during some limp dramatic bits (as if the director just gave up on the scene).

Van Horne is okay as the frightened wife, and stuntman Williams does most of his acting with his pecs (seriously, this guy seems to favor skimpy undershirts long past his daily 4 AM workouts) and his nervous breakdown is hilarious to behold. Despite this, Williams comes across as more than adequate next to Clark as his son. Sure, he's a kid actor and this is his first credit; but he is the most annoying thing about the film. His character spends much time pointing the camera at himself and saying "so and so is so stupid" and "no one believes me" (as well as "no one knows what I'm going through" which would have had some payoff if he started hearing the same voices DiFeo supposedly heard). Every night, he redundantly summarizes the events of the day usually starting with "Today was so weird" or "Today was so messed up"... It seems less like bad improv than a series of blown line readings while the director keeps rolling. Although he is supposed to be a mischievous kid brother spying on his older sister just to annoy her, these bits are actually creepy since the actress is the film's eye candy.

Despite the father going off the rails, it can't be said that the haunting ever really escalates. People are dropping dead from the start and only the daughter and father (with the assistance of surveillance cameras and a laptop) actually see anything. The mother and older daughter are more unnerved by the father's behavior and Tyler can never get anyone to look at his videos (and he apparently never sees the footage where the apparitions appear). As such, the climax unfolds not because of any actions of the characters, but because we are at the eighty minute mark.

THE AMITYVILLE HAUNTING is on DVD and Blu-Ray, but I had to sit through it on Netflix since they are only distributing it as a streaming title.

LOST TAPES is still listed in as "in development"


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