Hellraiser (R)

October 31, 2014

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The sin of “Hellraiser” is that it offers up a sadistic premise that it doesn’t deliver. Decidedly, the film’s opening is desperate and scary, featuring an unlucky man Frank (Sean Chapman), who meets his seeming end while playing with a magic cube meant to summon demons. And seeing a legion of “Hellraiser” films lining video store shelves as a kid, the film’s villain, Pinhead, always seemed like a vicious and evil being. However, in the franchise’s first film, “Hellraiser,” released in 1987, we see little of Pinhead, and little that offers up coherent scares. The film has a great atmosphere and typical 1980’s settings. However, it violates the basic rule of horror films by explaining away all the terror, and not giving enough screen time and horror to its main antagonist.  (more…)

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (PG)

October 30, 2014

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Any true fan of art must have a good grasp and appreciation of its historical roots. Like “The Twilight Zone” to television or The Beatles to rock n’ roll, the history of cinema is founded on road paving classics that, while not always equal in terms of entertainment value to todays blockbusters, nonetheless had an intangible hand in their creation. When asked to recite a list of infamous horror titles, the usual candidates are always given: 70s and 80s slasher pieces where the carnage is carried out by the likes of Mike Myers, Freddie Krueger, and Jason Voorhies generally top the list. Often overlooked is one of the true originals to the genre; “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” (more…)

Thinner (R)

October 29, 2014

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Book-to-movie adaptations often get lost in the shuffle, but somehow the 1996 film “Thinner” suffers none of this, and is an excellent rendition of one of Stephen King’s more macabre stories. King actually wrote the story under the pseudonym ‘Richard Bachman,’ though I don’t know why; fusing elements of revenge and justice with curses, voodoo, and family strife, “Thinner” was one of King’s best. And Tom Holland, Director of such cult horror as the original “Fright Night” knows how to take the story from page to screen. This is not a perfect film, but one that is adequately creepy, and manages to keep intact the many parallel layers from King’s book in the process. (more…)

Devil’s Due (R)

October 28, 2014

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If points were given for horror that’s not scary, writing that’s poorly written, and a movie that makes no sense at all, the 2014 title “Devil’s Due” would win. I can’t stand the overuse of the dimension of found-footage movies, and such is the case with this awful tale. Directed by two guys who have offered nothing in terms of movies and have no business showing their mugs in Hollywood again, the movie flat out hijacks the found footage genre and is so bad I would have been furious if I had spent 10 bucks to see it in the theater. (more…)

The Hitcher (R)

October 27, 2014

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What is it with new Hollywood horror being devoid of scares and suspense, their makers thinking they can reason their way out of a lifeless script with spurting blood and brain matter? Movies where serial killers become superheroes able to take down families, cops, and teenagers with only a switchblade? I feared what kind of movie “The Hitcher” would be thirty seconds in as a cute bunny was splattered by a car on a highway. The film’s cynicism toward life is solidified ten minutes later as a dragonfly smacks into a windshield. By the time the first murder occurs, the audience is no doubt expecting it. That’s all this movie’s about – blood and guts without rhyme or reason.  (more…)

The Unborn (PG-13)

October 26, 2014

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Modern era horror movies at times seemed designed for no other reason than to create ticket selling revenues for an impressive movie theatre viewing. With dazzling special effects and a host of in your face, jump out of your seat and startle you moments, many scary themed films of the current generation are good for fun but offer little in the way of being truly terrifying. (more…)

The Purge: Anarchy (R)

October 25, 2014

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After last year’s The Purge” disappointed, my expectations were virtually non-existent for “The Purge: Anarchy.” The quick production of the sequel also contributed to my low expectations, because I appreciate a strong production value. The film opens with three different chapters that intersect within the first 30 minutes. The first chapter is an average working mother Eva Sanchez (Carmen Ejogo), and her daughter Cali (Zoë Soul). They represent the lower-class citizens, and they’re forced out onto the streets when a small army infiltrates their urban apartment building. Another chapter follows a police sergeant (Frank Grillo) who is out on Purge night on his own accord, searching for vengeance. The third follows a middle-class couple (Liz and Shane, Kiele Sanchez and Zac Gilford respectively) whose car breaks down on the highway in downtown Los Angeles. When all of these characters intersect, a simplistic A to B plot is introduced. (more…)