4.30.2011

Summer School (2006)

DIRECTED BY
Lance Hendrickson
Troy McCall
Mike P. Nelson
Steven Rhoden
Ben Trandem

STARRING
Simon Wallace - Charles
Amy Cocchiarella - Lindsey

Tony D. Czech - Steve

Lance Hendrickson - Dennis

Ty Richardson - Officer Hector Klein

Jennifer Prettyman - Mrs. Wickham

Troy McCall - Henry Klein

Adam Hendr
ickson - Bobby Klein

Genre - Horror/Slasher/Vampires/Creature Feature/Independent

Running Time - 89 Minutes


It's interesting being a horror blogger and writer. While there are many who look at you and ask, "Why?", there are some who are actually fascinated by it and continuous ask you questions about multiple horror films and what you think about them. Sometimes, watching too many horror films can burn you out, or affect you in other ways - like giving you inspiration for screenplays due to really weird dreams you have because of your viewing schedule. Or it could just drive you insane in 2006's low-budget film, SUMMER SCHOOL. Imagine playing the lead role in a horror marathon that you can't wake up from. Yeah, it sounds cool if you're someone like me, but eventually you'll want to return to reality, even if it's not as exciting as getting hack-and-slashed by monsters who look like people you know.

Speaking of reality, SUMMER SCHOOL happens to be a low-budget film that gets mostly everything right in terms of presentation, acting, directing, and even storytelling. When an indie horror film like this leaves you more satisfied at its conclusion than a majority of its mainstream counterparts, it proves that Hollywood is still having trouble grasping what true horror fans really want. So let's open up those textbooks and take notes on why this little film ended up making a big impact during its 89-minute running time.

PLOT
Charlie (Simon Wallace) runs a website where he does horror reviews, which has kept him up late before his first day of summer school as he tried to catch up on his horror films. Due to the fact that he hasn't been sleeping well because of his hobby, he dozes off before his teacher and his fellow classmates arrive. When he wakes up, he realizes he's trapped in a series of realistic nightmares that play out like the horror movies he loves so much. Every time he tries to wake up, he remains the star of different sub-genres of horror. Eventually, Charlie goes crazy, unable to distinguish between reality and his dreams.

REVIEW
SUMMER SCHOOL, not to be confused with the 1987 Mark Harmon comedy, is a great example of how you can get quite a lot from a very low-budget [$8000 to be exact]. Random Creatureface, the production company behind the film, do a great job spreading the budget to create an anthology of sorts blending certain horror sub-genres, such as the slasher film, the creature feature, backwoods horror, and vampires in a way that it not only entertains the audience, but it connects the film together to create an unique experience. This is a film where the filmmakers allowed their imaginations to run wild without a studio telling them what or what not to do for the best business result, showing that Random Creatureface may have great success in the horror film industry.

SUMMER SCHOOL was written by five people - Lance Hendrickson [not to be confused with the cult actor], Mike P. Nelson, Steven Rhoden, Pa Chia Thao, and Ben Trandem - all creating stories that work in various degrees, while still maintaining a flow that never makes you suspect that this film has more than one screenwriter involved. Since this is kind of an anthology, it's obvious that some of the stories work better than others. I thought the first two [the cult story and the creature feature] were just okay, while the third story [the Nazi one] was probably the best told one. Personally, I thought it was truly effective in its tone, delivery, and how all the characters related to each other and the situation. It also had a lot of tension, which was a plus. The fourth story [the vampire one] had its moments, due to its humor about the vampire lore. It actually reminded me of the BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER movie starring Kristy Swanson and Luke Perry. The fifth story, involving some hillbilly backwoods creeps, started off strong but kind of faltered towards the end. It did have a bit of a DELIVERANCE vibe to it though. And then the final one involved the slasher film, where Charlie [who has pretty much lost it due to the fact that he can't seem to wake up from these nightmares] decides to throw caution to the wind and play with his friends in a game of tag involving a switchblade and their organs, which I dug. These different stories shouldn't have worked together as well as they did, but it shows how dedicated these filmmakers were in creating a homage to the films they loved. I thought they did a great job overall.

While it's hard to really discuss the characterization of the main characters in SUMMER SCHOOL, I thought they all worked. The supporting characters [everyone except Charlie] all get to play different roles depending on the sub-genre. It's hard to tell who these characters really were since Charlie presented them in different ways, but I did enjoy seeing what roles they would portray. Charlie is the only character we can really relate to due to the fact that he's in every scene of the film. His evolution from dreamer to a guy who feels like he's Bill Murray from GROUNDHOG'S DAY in that he starts going crazy after realizing every time he wakes up, he's still trapped inside his dream, is believable and quite fun to watch. In fact, I wasn't sure whether the slasher portion of the film was a dream or not. I won't answer that so I won't spoil it for anyone, but I thought it was presented well enough to make wonder what was real and what wasn't.

Unfortunately, I thought the ending was pretty lame. It really doesn't need to be there and just feels like it was padded on. I guess they wanted to end the film with an ironic twist, but it didn't satisfy me like I hoped it would. Luckily it's build up in a very entertaining way, but the ending could have been more effective and believable.

The SFX in SUMMER SCHOOL is mighty impressive for a budget of only $8000. We have a whole bunch of different methods of death going on here. We have gunshots. We have stabbings. We have decapitations. We have stakes to the heart. We have guts and intestines spilling out. And it all looks real instead of hokey. The blood looks like blood, instead of that gooey pink stuff we usually see in these low-budget horror films. There's a scene where a vampire dissolves into dust, which is CGI, but decent enough that I bought it. I read somewhere that during the creature feature sequence when a group of monsters [obviously men in costumes] show up, it's really one person wearing the costume. In post-production, the crew used the trick of editing to make it seem that there was more than one. I honestly wouldn't be able to tell you that just by watching the sequence. I'm really impressed at how hard this talented group of people worked on this film. I'm really amazed at how far they pushed this $8000. It puts most expensive films to shame really.

The direction is also very solid. SUMMER SCHOOL was directed by five different people, so it's hard to really tell you who directed what. It doesn't really matter anyway, since the sequences flow together as if they were directed by a single person. Each sequence has a different look and feel due to changes in the cinematography of the shots presented. Still, the lighting scheme is very consistent and the colors don't change all that much. The editing is fantastic and I loved how some of the scenes managed to build suspense and tension. I also loved how it made me wonder whether Charlie was dreaming or not. You can tell these guys have seen a ton of horror movies because the visuals were exceptionally done for a low-budget film. It actually inspired me to write and direct another horror short.

The acting is also pretty damn good. Simon Wallace carries the film really well as lead character, Charlie. I loved how his performance changed as a normal kid to a guy who starts losing his grip on reality due to the dreams he's been having consecutively. I totally believed him and I enjoyed watching him respond and behave accordingly to the situations he was presented with. Wallace has a good acting future if he continues with it. Amy Cocchiarella was cool as Lindsey, who is Charlie's love interest of sorts. I thought she did well playing different roles, such as the bad girl to the damsel-in-distress. Tony D. Czech and Lance Hendrickson were also cool as Charlie's friends - Hendrickson in particular. And I liked Ty Richardson as the school's guard, who also got to play a messed up Nazi and a gun-toting redneck. I usually don't commend the acting in most of the low-budget horror affairs that I've seen, but I was impressed by the thespian work here.

THINGS I'VE LEARNED WHILE DREAMING THAT JUSTIN BIEBER IS A POP CULTURE PHENOMENON [WAIT...THAT'S REAL?? OH GOD...]

- Charlie likes to rollerblade inside the school. Obviously, he's a horror fan if he was inspired by Tootie from The Facts of Life. That show even scared George Clooney's hair from brown to gray!

- Steve and Dennis attend summer school as an alternative to doing community service for a crime they committed. Maybe if Lindsay Lohan took this option, she'd become smart enough to stay out of trouble. Or at least be smart enough not to do HERBIE: FULLY LOADED. Yeesh...

- Charlie had a nightmare that Lindsey was a headless corpse. Of course that was a bad dream! It's no fun when the girl you like can't give you oral! I mean, what else would she be good for then?

- Charlie and his friends were hunted down by a Nazi security guard. That's what happens when the required reading for summer school is Mein Kampf. Sometimes, there's no need to be an APT PUPIL.

- Don't ever lend your weird friend your switchblade. It'll just prove he's sharper than you, both figuratively and literally.

THE FINAL HOWL
SUMMER SCHOOL proves that independent, low-budget horror films can be mighty superior compared to its Hollywood, big-budgeted counterparts. While it does nothing new in the genre and is a homage to those films the guys from Random Creatureface love so much, there's so much heart and entertainment value here that can't be denied. The real reason I watched this was because it was expiring on Netflix Instant Watch. But it exceeded any expectations I had, really blindsiding me with how great this film really is. How does one with a $200 million budget create CGI and SFX that looks cheaper than what these guys did with only $8000? It boggles my mind. Definitely hunt this one down anyway you can.


SCORE
3.5 Howls Outta 4


4.29.2011

The Entity (1982)

DIRECTED BY
Sidney J. Furie

STARRING
Barbara Hershey - Carla Moran
Ron Silver - Phil Sneiderman

Margaret Blye - Cindy Nash

David Labiosa - Billy Moran

Jacqueline Brooks - Dr. Cooley

Raymond Singer - Joe
Mehan
Richa
rd Brestoff - Gene Kraft
Alex Rocco - Jerry Anderson


Genre - Horror/Drama/Supernatural

Running Time - 125 Minutes


i remember years ago that the late Anna Nicole Smith once claimed to the media that she had slept with a ghost that haunted her home, and that it was the best sexual experience of her life. The media scoffed at her "newsworthy item", but I always thought it could be possible. After all, people have seen and heard ghost activity for years. There are other planes of existence other than our own. Who is to say that she didn't experience this?

Then again, maybe she left her vibrator next to her in bed and believed this ghost story after a late-night viewing of 1982's THE ENTITY, starring Barbara Hershey being victimized by a horny poltergeist. Smith was pretty much off of her rocker before her passing, God rest her soul. But you wouldn't be off of your rocker if you took two hours to watch this ghost story since it's a pretty damn good one!

PLOT
Carla Moran (Barbara Hershey) is a very stressed out woman. She's a single mother of three children. She works in the day and goes to school at night. The bills keep piling up on her. Her boyfriend is never around due to traveling on business. And to break the camel's back, she's also being raped by an unseen force during the night! And Carol Anne thought she had it tough...

Anyway, Carla is at the end of her rope and decides to seek psychological help for her ordeal. She explains to Dr. Phil Sneiderman (Ron Silver) her torment, but he dismisses the supernatural rape as Carla exorcising her repression of sexual desires due to bad things in her childhood. When the ghost continues to violate Carla, Dr. Sneiderman becomes a bit too obsessive and personal with Carla, skeptical of the whole "ghost" deal and trying to force her into a mental institution for "her own good".

Realizing that science won't help her, Carla encounters a team of para-psychological investigators who believe in Carla's story. They decide to use Carla as a guinea pig to prove that ghosts exist by trapping it when it appears. Is Carla really getting raped by an evil spirit? Is it all in her head? And why does busting make me feel good?

REVIEW
THE ENTITY
is a film that was delayed a year in its release date, competing with the much more mainstream [and topically similar] POLTERGEIST in 1982 [1983 in the United States], causing it to do just okay at the box office. It's a shame because THE ENTITY is a good film dealing with the supernatural, even though it may turn off viewers looking for something fast paced and visually stimulating, which THE ENTITY is not. In fact, it's more of a drama than an actual horror film, although the idea of being physically violated by a ghost is a pretty scary one.

THE ENTITY was based on a 1978 novel by Frank De Felitta, who also wrote the screenplay. It's a good screenplay for the most part, really capturing the trauma and ordeal of the situation in a realistic [as much as possible] way instead of turning it into a gimmick to sell movie tickets. This works because the story is really grounded in reality through Carla's experience as a mother and a victim of something that's beyond her control. She's just a regular woman, with ordinary kids, living in a regular house that she's struggling to pay for. The only supernatural element in her life is her rapist, which she tries to treat by going to doctors who are grounded in the laws of science. Nothing is played for laughs here. The characters don't do ridiculous things that would make one roll their eyes towards their actions. It makes the rape scenes more effective because we're on Carla's side right from the beginning just because she's human and characterized as such. You never understand why anyone, let alone a ghost, would want to do this to this woman. All we know is that we want her to get away from her tormentor and go back to living as much as a normal life as possible. The rape scenes are treated as real and brutal events, making one feel sort of dirty and violated for sitting through each one of Carla's traumatizing experiences.

As a matter of fact, I think the strongest part of the screenplay is the treatment of the character portrayals in the film. While we sympathize with Carla since she's a victim of a horrible crime, we also feel for her children, who are confused by the whole ordeal. While Carla doesn't want them involved, they're caught up in the whole mess because their mother is. They're just as much victims as their mother. I also liked Carla's best friend, Cindy, who helps her out even when she's slightly skeptical of Carla's situation until the spirit destroys Cindy's house to scare Carla. She never acts like she knows better or tries to convince Carla that she must have misunderstood. She supports Carla through it all, which is pretty rare for a best friend character in a horror film. Even the ghost hunters aren't treated as the cliche greedy bastards using Carla for fame and fortune. They seem genuinely interested in helping Carla deal with her problem while trying to prove [to others and maybe to themselves as well] that paranormal activity does exist.

Unfortunately, the psychologists are a bit frustrating to watch, even though I understand that you do need that level of skepticism in this type of film. But these doctors just come off as pretentious and close-minded fools. Dr. Sneiderman starts off as an okay, caring psychologist who wants nothing but to help Carla. But along the way, the dude just gets creepier, more clingy, and too obsessive and overprotective than any doctor should be with his or her patients. This is made more annoying when said doctor attempts to discredit everything Carla believes in just to prove that he's right about the situation. Even after these doctors SEE the ghost with their own eyes, they still won't believe it! I understand why the characters were portrayed this way, but I just wanted to slap them all silly.

I also felt that the beginning of the film was stronger than the finale of the film. The last act of the film, while interesting, was a bit over-the-top with the faux-Moran house that was booby trapped to freeze the ghost to prove its existence. It just didn't feel realistic or natural compared to the rest of the story, coming off as just silly. Even the way they trap the ghost is a bit unbelievable. I do like that the filmmakers try to inject some horror/sci-fi elements to the dramatic narrative, but it should have been evened out instead of lumped to create a visually memorable conclusion. It's not a horrible ending at all. It just doesn't fit. Also, why was this ghost doing this to begin with? Nothing was explained about its motive. Maybe that was the point but I really wanted to know why Carla was specifically picked by this ghost for what he did to her.

I do think the rape sequences carry a powerful, profound message that somehow turned people away from this film at the time of its release. I think if viewers tried to look beneath the surface, they would see what the film was trying to say about rape. Like Carla, many rape victims are tormented by despicable people that are "ghosts" - not in the literal sense obviously. Most victims struggle to remember who violated them in this horrible manner, making many attackers seem transparent to their victims. Carla couldn't see her offender because he was literally a ghost, creating a sort of allegory for rape victims who can't seem to remember who attacked them. It's a frightening thought that makes the film very effective for those who understand the message.

There aren't many special effects in THE ENTITY. However the ones we do see are quite effective. The house shaking, the banging noise that becomes really annoying every time the ghost rapes Carla, the invisible hand prints on Carla's breasts when she's attacked, and the freezing of this evil spirit all worked on various levels. It's not a gory film but it's a brutal one.

The direction by Sidney J. Furie, who would unfortunately direct 1987's SUPERMAN IV: THE QUEST FOR PEACE, is good. THE ENTITY isn't meant to be a stylish film with odd angles and quick editing. Furie takes his time with the story [it's a bit long but at least it's not a horrible film] and lets the situation resonate with not only his characters, but with the audience as well. Like I mentioned earlier, the subject matter isn't used as a gimmick. Furie lets it known that these attacks Carla is having are of supernatural origin and not due to psychological damage. He lets the viewer in on the strength and weaknesses of his characters, creating well-rounded people that create a debate between psychology and parapsychology and what's best for someone in this situation. The sound of the spirit's attack is used very effectively, making the audience cringe due to the sound, as well as knowing what the sound represents to Carla. It's the kind of direction that lets the screenplay do the talking, only stepping in to enhance on a strong story visually and sonically.

The acting is pretty damn great here. Barbara Hershey is amazing in this film. She takes the subject matter so seriously that you really believe she's being traumatized by a supernatural rapist, even if that sounds far-fetched on paper. She carries every emotion so well that I bought everything she offered to the role. I'm surprised she didn't get an Academy Award nomination for this role. She's that good here. Ron Silver also does well as Dr. Sneiderman. While the character was a bit flawed, Silver was still solid in the role and he was very believable. He had great chemistry with Hershey and I was expecting some sort of love connection between them for a moment, but it never materialized. David Labiosa was also quite good as Billy, Carla's son. I'm surprised his career didn't go anywhere after this. The other actors in the film were also great. I have no complaints about the casting of this film at all.

THINGS I'VE LEARNED WHILE WEARING A CHASTITY BELT TO BED FROM NOW ON

- David Labiosa, who plays Barbara Hershey's son in THE ENTITY, has a darker pigmentation than Hershey. Looks like she lives by her last name - I guess she likes her chocolate dark, like her men.

- Carla was raped by an evil ghost. Oh c'mon! BEACHES was a good chick flick! So you cried at the end? Get over it, Casper!

- Carla got an orgasm by the ghost. Looks like Patrick Swayze is still DIRTY DANCING in the afterlife.

- Some skeptics thought the electrical discharge by the ghost was just a short circuit. If so, then Johnny 5 is a cruel prankster with an insatisable sex drive.

THE FINAL HOWL
While not the most pleasant-to-sit-through horror film out there, THE ENTITY does deserve attention for taking a laughable premise and turning it into something effectively dramatic and creepy. While the narrative loses steam as it moves towards the end, the performances [especially by Hershey] are top-notch and keep the film afloat. This film is not fun at all, but it definitely works in what it's trying to do. Definitely a captivating horror film that's rare to find these days. Check it out.


SCORE
3 Howls Outta 4


4.18.2011

Scream 4 [aka Scre4m] (2011) - Video Review

DIRECTED BY
Wes Craven

STARRING
Neve Campbell - Sidney Prescott
David Arquette - Sheriff Dewey Riley

Courteney Cox - Gale Weathers-Riley

Emma Roberts - Jill Roberts

Hayden Panettiere - Kirby Reed

Nico Tortorella - Trevor Sheldon

Marley Shelton - Deputy Judy Hicks

Rory Culkin - Charlie Walker

Alison Brie - Rebecca Walters

Erik Knudsen - Robbie Mercer

Anthony Anderson - Deputy Anthony Perkins

Adam Brody - Deputy Ross Hoss


Genre - Horror/Slasher/Comedy

Running Time - 111 Minutes


Here's a short video review for SCREAM 4, the film that has divided much of the horror community this weekend [I know from experience, believe me]. I enjoyed the heck out it, so that's all that matters. Flaws and all, I had a good time.

4.15.2011

Scream 3 (2000)

DIRECTED BY
Wes Craven

STARRING
Neve Campbell - Sidney Prescott
Courteney Cox-Arquette - Gail Weathers

David Arquette - Dewey Riley

Patrick Dempsey - Detectiv
e Mark Kinkaid
Parker Posey - Jennifer Jolie

Scott Foley - R
oman Bridger
Liev Schreiber - Cotton Weary

Jenny McCarthy - Sarah Darling

Lance Henriksen - John Milton

Emily Mortimer - Angelina Tyler

Deon Richmond - Aaron Banks


Genre - Horror/Slasher

Running Time - 116 Minutes


In 1996, director Wes Craven and writer Kevin Williamson woke up the mainstream and revived the horror genre with SCREAM. Their homage to slasher films of the 1970s and 1980s caught the attention of teen audiences who started their love for horror, as well as older audiences who were sick of seeing their favorite franchises sink into self-parodies of their former selves. Since SCREAM made a ton of cash at the box office, it was inevitable that a sequel would be released. A year later, SCREAM 2 hit theaters. While not critically as successful as the first SCREAM, it was still commercially viable and making about the same financial amount as its predecessor.

Just like the classic slasher films the films had paid tribute to, SCREAM also suffered from a series of imitators that wanted to ride the bandwagon of its success. We had Kevin Williamson's own I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER [as well as the sequel, I STILL KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER, that Williamson had no hand in], URBAN LEGEND, CHERRY FALLS, HALLOWEEN H20 [also written by Williamson], and many others that tried to replicate SCREAM's success. Just like SCREAM 2, they were all inferior [on different levels] to SCREAM and it started to tire the slasher genre again. This wasn't helped by the fact that 1999 saw two horror films that gave audiences something different - THE SIXTH SENSE and THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT - both films changing the horror genre in a different direction away from slasher vehicles.

However, Dimension Films signed Wes Craven to direct SCREAM 3 [he agreed only after Dimension/Miramax allowed Craven to direct the 1999 drama, MUSIC OF THE HEART] for a 2000 release, wanting to end the series [ha ha!] with a third film that would wrap up loose ends and give SCREAM some closure. Kevin Williamson wrote a draft for the film, but was unable to doing any rewrites due to his writing job on a short-lived television show called Wasteland on ABC [as well as writing on Dawson's Creek and directing KILLING MRS. TINGLE all at once]. Because of this, his draft was scrapped and Dimension hired Ehren Kruger [who has written screenplays for ARLINGTON ROAD, THE RING, THE RING TWO, and THE SKELETON KEY] to write a new script based on the skeleton draft Williamson had crafted. Instead of spoofing horror cliches and horror sequels, SCREAM 3 was self-referencing its own success as a horror force, as the main characters must deal with their counterparts on the set of STAB 3, where the murders take place by a new Ghostface. While the film was still commercially successful [grossing $161 million worldwide on a $40 million budget], a lot of critics and fans have really looked down on this sequel.

For a while, I actually preferred SCREAM 3 over SCREAM 2, only because more stuff happens in SCREAM 3 while SCREAM 2 takes a much slower pace with its storytelling. However, I've come to realize that while both films are decent follow-ups to SCREAM, SCREAM 3 is a pretty flawed film [more so than SCREAM 2] due to a number of reasons. Let's see why this film could have tied up loose ends a bit tighter.

PLOT
Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) has now become a recluse, hiding herself under a new identity and working for a woman's crisis hotline from her new home. Terror starts happening for Sidney again when she learns that Cotton Weary (Liev Schreiber), who Sidney once accused for killing her mother, Maureen, but is now a famous talk show host, was murdered along with his girlfriend (Kelly Rutherford). Realizing the murders have coincidentally started again with the production of STAB 3, Sidney knows that it's only a matter of time Ghostface would find her and try to murder her.

Meanwhile, Dewey (David Arquette) works in Hollywood [on the set of STAB 3] as a security guard for a quirky, spoiled actress named Jennifer Jolie (Parker Posey), who happens to be playing 'Gail Weathers' in STAB 3. When Cotton's murder spreads, the real Gail Weathers (Courteney Cox) arrives along with detectives Mark Kincaid (Patrick Dempsey) and Wallace (Josh Pais), hoping to solve the case before more victims turn up.

The new Ghostface, wanting to lure out Sidney to end this game with her once and for all, uses old photos of Maureen Prescott as souvenirs after each murder. Realizing she can't escape her past, Sidney arrives in L.A. to reunite with Dewey and Gail to figure out Maureen's true connection with the killer and with Hollywood [where she was once an actress]. Unfortunately, this distraction allows Ghostface to pick off each STAB 3 actor one-by-one, saving Gail, Dewey, and Sidney for last. I guess this dude has taken his love for trilogies a bit too far...

REVIEW
SCREAM 3 is considered the worst of the franchise [haven't seen SCRE4M yet]. It's obvious the feel and edge of the original SCREAM is long gone by now. SCREAM 3 also ends up what it was making fun of in the first two films: a cliche horror sequel that goes beyond what it needs to do in order to tie up the main story with a shiny red bow. The problem is while the bow is intact, the wrapping paper around the gift is torn, wrinkled, and doesn't hide what it's trying to rebel against. SCREAM 3 is definitely that horror sequel that makes you go, "been there, seen that."

The difference in feel is due to the fact that Ehren Kruger, instead of Kevin Williamson, wrote the bulk of the screenplay. To me, this ends up being a mixed bag of sorts. While it's good that we have a different take on the story and characters [keeps the series fresh], we also lose what made these films so special to many people.

Let's start out with the positives first. I really dig the concept/commentary of SCREAM 3. The fact that the script makes fun of Hollywood and the film industry is pretty ballsy for a mainstream horror film. It's especially meaningful when horror fans know how the film industry looks down upon these kind of films, even though horror films are the ones keep these major studios afloat for so many years while their blockbusters bomb at the box office. There are great moments, like when John Milton discusses Maureen Prescott's past as an actress - saying that she had to do sexual favors just to get parts - which I'm sure was/is pretty common in the film industry [just ask a certain GRINDHOUSE actress]. Just that alone, and how Maureen was forgotten after only 3 small roles in B-movies, shows how fickle, picky, and ugly the industry is. It's funny how Jennifer Jolie and Angelina Tyler also had to sleep with the director and/or producer to get their roles in STAB 3. I guess it's pretty common practice in Hollywood that not many people talk about.

I also love Sarah Darling's scene about why female horror characters get naked in a lot of these films for no reason other than to titilate male [and some female] audience members. I laughed when she questioned her character's motives as to why she would be naked in a shower right after a killer murdered her boyfriend. It just reminded me of 1986's SLAUGHTER HIGH, where that one chick bathed in a bathtub [that became full of acid once she went in] after her boyfriend exploded from a chemically-enhanced can of beer. It's one of the dumbest moments in horror history and to hear this character question that logic is pretty funny and kind of refreshing. Too bad she didn't know the difference between VERTIGO and PSYCHO [dumbass].

I also dug the homages to moments in Wes Craven's own horror filmography. The scenes where Ghostface hides under a bloody blanket scaring Sidney is taken right out of Tina's body bag scenes from 1984's A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET. The great scene where Sidney revisits Woodsboro on the STAB 3 set reminded me of Heather Langenkamp/Nancy Thompson doing the same exact thing in 1994's WES CRAVEN'S NEW NIGHTMARE, as well as almost re-creating that first Sidney/Ghostface confrontation from the original SCREAM.

I also liked the character names. From Jennifer Jolie [Jennifer Aniston mixed with Angelina Jolie], to Angelina Tyler [Angelina Jolie mixed with Liv Tyler], and to Detective Kinkaid being named after the popular strong guy character from 1987's A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3: DREAM WARRIORS and 1988's A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 4: THE DREAM MASTER - it's pretty clever and I'm sure a lot of people missed out on that bit of trivia. I also love Carrie Fisher's "I would have played Princess Leia if I had just slept with George Lucas" moment, and the cameos by Jay and Silent Bob, Roger Corman, and even Wes himself.

And I may be in the minority, but I really liked the Jennifer Jolie character. Yeah, she's sort of annoying with her big mouth and over-the-top mannerisms and personality. But I felt she's really the only character that gives the movie energy and life. Her portrayal as Gale is really funny, as well as the interaction between her, the real Gale, and Dewey caught in the middle. I know a lot of fans hate this character, but she's the main reason I enjoy this sequel more than I probably should.

Unfortunately, the rest of the characters get the major shaft here. Sidney, especially, isn't the same character from the first two films. One, she's barely in the film [really because of Neve Campbell's insane filming schedule at the time] and it feels like that strong character from SCREAM 2 just deflated into a wimp until the very end. It didn't feel as if Sidney progressed as a character. She was a mix of SCREAM and SCREAM 2, and we've already seen those characters. I think she should have been more offensive and tired of being part of this murder game, wanting to end it once and for all. I mean "Sarah Connor in T2: JUDGMENT DAY" mode. We don't get that here. Gale and Dewey are a bit improved from SCREAM 2, thankfully since they're really the main characters of this film. They still have great banter and chemistry, so at least Kruger gets that right. The other characters aren't deep enough for audiences to really care about them. These actors are playing horror characters that are only in the film to die, which is art imitating life for them. They're nothing but sheep to the slaughter and suspects for the mystery. And why build Cotton Weary in SCREAM 2 just to murder him quickly at the beginning of SCREAM 3? I hate when horror sequels do that! At least give him something meaningful to do before killing him off for good! While I expect this in horror sequels, it would have been nice for more added depth, especially when this film is close to 2 hours.

Also, Kruger's script suffers from too many plot points that end up convoluted as it tries to finalize matters. From Maureen's past, to this Ghostface being the true puppet master for all of these films, to making fun of the film industry, and justifying the reasons for this conclusion to the original trilogy - it's just too much. The revelation, itself, bugs me because it implies every killer in the other two films were nothing but lackeys to SCREAM 3's villain. So their reasons for going after Sidney seems to become less effective when they look like puppets to a killer whose only reason of existence is to add an unnecessary back-story to Maureen Prescott [which is really the only reason this film exists and moves forward to its conclusion]. The narrative is altering certain events that were already established to milk a story that doesn't need to be milked. It makes the reveal contrived and pretty tacky because of it. Even when I first saw this film, I got the killer right away - just didn't know the reason why. But you're never given a clue for the killer's motives until the end anyway. It just makes me go, "Okay. That it?" That's not good.

Also, the dialogue isn't as well-written as the first two, and the movie feels like two films in one. It just feels things happen because they can, not because they should be happening to move the story logically forward. I know it happens all the time, but that's not what great screenplays do. I guess what I'm saying is that the narrative lacked focus, which a lot of third parts suffer from, but that's no excuse. They had three years. They could have had a finalized script by production instead of rewriting scenes every day while filming [which Sarah Darling also complains about when it comes to the rewrites done for STAB 3 - witty or not? It depends on how you look at it].

The gore in SCREAM 3 is less than in any of the other installments. This was due to the Columbine murders in 1999, which forced film studios to cut back on the violence in their films out of respect and not to "turn people into killers" due to what they see in the movie. Because of that, you get standard slasher stuff - stabbings, gunfire, and one big explosion scene. By the way, how contrived was that scene? How did Ghostface know for sure that idiot would light a match in the kitchen just to read part of a script? And the gas had to have been on for a long time for that kind of explosion to occur? None of the characters who were previously inside moments earlier couldn't smell it? Does Los Angeles air smell like stove gas? I call bullshit.

The direction by Wes Craven is still pretty solid for the most part. It's nothing really new and he pretty much stays with the vibe he created in the earlier SCREAM films. However, I wish there was more tension and suspense in the film. The "scary" moments just seemed ho-hum and nothing really looked or felt fresh. I did like the ode to ELM STREET with those certain moments I mentioned previously, but they were a few and far between. Good visual work but nothing to tell your friends about.

The acting is pretty good as well. Neve Campbell plays the same character she's played in the previous two films. Since she's not really given much to do, she tends to go through the motions a bit. And she tears when there's no reason to, I guess to add emotion to a scene that doesn't have it. David Arquette is more likeable here than in SCREAM 2. No stupid Dewey theme, thank God. Courteney Cox plays a good bitch with a heart of gold. Unfortunately she looked terrible here. Who the fuck did her hair? Yeesh. Patrick Dempsey is cool as Kinkaid. Jenny McCarthy was likeable as Sarah. She's not in the film long, but not only does she carry her scenes really well, but looks hot doing it. I wish she were in the film more due to her charming performance. Scott Foley did a decent job as Roman. Liev Schreiber got wasted as Cotton, even though he enjoyed showing off his new muscles in his tight shirts. Best actor, for me, goes to Parker Posey as Jennifer. She's the life of the film for me. I'm not a big fan of hers really, but her comedic timing was top-notch. I would have loved to have seen that STAB 3 film with her as Gail. I'm sure it would have been a riot.

THINGS I'VE LEARNED WHILE REALIZING NOT ALL GREAT THINGS COME IN THREES

- Ghostface serenaded one of his victims with a song by Creed. No one deserves that type of torture. That's not taking me "Higher", dude.

- Ghostface killed Kelly Rutherford. Obviously he's not a fan of her work on Melrose Place or Gossip Girl. They do say the Power of Three will...set you...free? Shannen Doherty, is that you under there?

- What's up with Courteney Cox's hair in SCREAM 3? Obviously, her stylist is a straight man. "I'll be there for you" - I think not!

- Sarah is tired of being a 35-year-old actress playing a 21-year-old character. Funny, that's not stopping Sharon Stone...

- Sarah was targeted by Ghostface. She must hate being Singled Out by college students and serial killers.

- Jennifer wants to be reminded not to sleep with Roman, the director of STAB 3, again. She's the Rose McGowan of the early 2000s!

- Sidney keeps getting calls from her dead mother. Damn, that woman won't let that wire hanger thing go!

- Deon Richmond was brutally killed by Ghostface. That's what happens when you stop eating those Jell-O pudding pops, foo'!

THE FINAL HOWL
SCREAM 3 doesn't come close to matching the original, but it's still a decent watch for the most part. It's not scary, the story is convoluted for its own good, and they should have maybe murdered more main characters [the "anything goes" motto doesn't really live up here] - but it has funny moments, a cool subtext, and great production values. Watchable, but not a classic by any means. We'll see how SCRE4M stacks up this weekend.


SCORE2 Howls Outta 4


4.14.2011

Scream 2 (1997)

DIRECTED BY
Wes Craven

STARRING
Neve Campbell - Sidney Prescott
David Arquette - Dewey Riley
Courteney Cox - Gail Weathers
Jamie Kennedy - Randy Meeks
Jerry O'Connell - Derek
Liev Schreiber - Cotton Weary
Timothy Olyphant - Mickey
Elise Neal - Hallie
Laurie Metcalf - Debbie Salt
Jada Pinkett-Smith - Maureen Evans

Genre - Horror/Slasher

Running Time - 121 Minutes


In 1996, Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson revived the horror genre for mainstream audiences with their self-referential homage to slasher films called SCREAM. While it started slow financially, SCREAM became a blockbuster hit with $103 million domestic due to large word-of-mouth. While the film has its haters, SCREAM proved that horror films made specifically for 90s teens with its sex and violence still had an audience of those 70s and 80s slasher fans who looked elsewhere when A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, HALLOWEEN, and FRIDAY THE 13TH got stale.

Like with any successful product, others came along to create imitators to ride on SCREAM's popularity. Kevin Williamson, screenwriter for SCREAM and later Dawson's Creek and The Vampire Diaries, himself did this by writing 1997's I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER. Because teen horror, due to SCREAM, was so profitable, IKWYDLS was also a big success that led into its own franchise [too bad the sequels sucked]. Williamson, feeling the need to continue the story and compete with his own product [as well as write another SCREAM film before working on Dawson's Creek], wrote SCREAM 2, which Wes Craven directed and Dimension Films released a year after the original SCREAM. Due to the fact that the first film was still fresh in horror fans' minds, SCREAM 2 was a hit right away, making $101 million domestic and establishing Ghostface as the new villain of horror.

I wasn't too big of a fan of SCREAM 2 on release. I felt it lacked the freshness and self-referential humor of the first film [still feel this way after a rewatch last night], as well as trying to do too many things that seemed to confuse the storyline rather than help it. It was the least watched film for me in the trilogy. 13 years later though, I find that time has been kinder to this sequel than I had anticipated. In fact, I think SCREAM 2 isn't a bad sequel at all. Is it as good as SCREAM? Not even close. But it's a slasher sequel through and through, which is okay since SCREAM 2 doesn't pretend to be anything else. While the film does have issues, SCREAM 2 does succeed in much of what it tries to do: make fun of horror sequels while being that kind of horror sequel to begin with.

PLOT
Two years after her ordeal in her hometown of Woodsboro, Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) is trying to live a life of normalcy at Windsor College. Due to a film about her life based on a book by reporter Gail Weathers (Courteney Cox) called STAB, Sidney still gets prank calls from idiots who think speaking like Ghostface is cool [okay, it is cool - I wish I had that voice]. As she tries to toughen up and survive the circus that's become her life, she learns that two of her fellow college students (Jada Pinkett-Smith and Omar Epps) were murdered at a screening for STAB in what will become a series of murders by a copycat killer.

Due to the double murder, news reporters have stationed themselves on Windsor College campus, hounding Sidney about the crime. This includes local newswoman Debbie Salt (Laurie Metcalf) and Sidney's old nemesis, Gail Weathers, who uses the opportunity to reunite Sidney with Cotton Weary (Liev Schreiber), the man Sidney had accused for the murder of her mother in the previous film. Even though she has the support of Deputy Dewey (David Arquette), friend and fellow college student Randy Meeks (Jamie Kennedy), new boyfriend Derek (Jerry O'Connell), film student Mickey (Timothy Olyphant), and roommate Hallie (Elise Neal), Sidney knows that the copycat killer(s) is/are after her and will use her friends as a way to manipulate her and make her vulnerable. Will the new Ghostface finally succeed in what the previous ones couldn't? Or will he or she prove that they're inferior, just like this very sequel?

REVIEW
It was obvious once SCREAM made a ton of cash that a sequel would be made and released. SCREAM 2, while flawed for things in its narrative, is shockingly good for a movie rushed into production and doomed with multiple rewrites during production. It could have gone the horrible route of HALLOWEEN 5: THE REVENGE OF MICHAEL MYERS, a film that was rushed and released exactly a year after the very good HALLOWEEN 4: THE RETURN OF MICHAEL MYERS. But the difference here is that both Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson have a grasp of their intentions with this sequel. Sure, it's a cash in and it doesn't really need to exist [that goes to most sequels as well], but at least it continues the story in a pretty natural way that allows the characters of Sidney, Gale, Dewey, Cotton, and Randy to grow while building up the myth behind the Ghostface persona.

Like I said in the previous paragraph, much of my issue with SCREAM 2 is with the story. In a lot of ways, it feels almost like a retread of the first one, only this time the characters are self-referencing horror sequels instead of horror in general. Because of this, the film feels fresh, yet stale, at the same time if possible. It's stale because we've already seen this film before [and honestly done better], but it's still interesting to watch because the characters seem to recognize, without breaking that fourth wall, that they are in a second part of this Ghostface story.

In fact, I think one of the best scenes in the film is in that classroom scene where Randy, CiCi (Sarah Michelle Gellar), Mickey, and Joshua Jackson's character discuss sequels and how they don't seem to live up to the original [except for those few, like THE GODFATHER PART II]. In that very scene alone, we learn what Craven and Williamson are trying to tell with this film: most horror sequels are inferior to the films they're coming off from. It makes me chuckle because it's like an honest excuse as to why SCREAM 2 won't be as good as SCREAM - because it's a horror sequel and that's the rule of the horror genre. I don't know if I should take points off for that out of laziness or add points because it's kind of genius. It knows what it is and has no shame embracing that it won't live up to the original. You have to respect that on some level.

I also enjoy the self-references on African-Americans in horror films. The opening sequence is something most fans discuss - why are the protagonists in these films usually of a certain color, while the opposite color ends up being the sidekick or the first ones to die? It was smart casting to pick two high-profile African-American actors in Omar Epps and Jada Pinkett-Smith for the opening roles, as what they say becomes credible. It's also ironic that they're the first two that die in the film, even though they offered logical advice to the horror characters that were being chased by the killer on screen. I do wish it was explored a bit more because it is a good question to bring up about major horror films - why are the survivors usually Caucasian? A person of African-American descent does survive SCREAM 2 [being the unsung hero and voice of the audience in their own way], but three others are murdered in the 121 minute running time. There does need to be a bit more racial diversity in these films.

Another thing I wanted more of is the whole STAB deal. Now this could have been a really cool sub-plot if more of it was allowed to register in the film. The clips we do see from this fake film, like Heather Graham's take on Drew Barrymore's character in the opening of SCREAM [just with more nudity - that we don't see... cockblockers...] and Tori Spelling's Sidney acting with Luke Wilson's hilarious portrayal of Billy Loomis in the school hallway scene from the original, are actually fun and interesting to watch. I wouldn't have minded more "movie within a movie" sequences with STAB, but it just feels like a tease here. I do have to say that it's genius casting Tori Spelling to play Sidney, after Sidney mentioned she would probably be played by her in a film about her life. Great continuity there, which a lot of horror films don't have sometimes.

I also feel there are just too many characters in this film. The mixture of more character development to the original core characters of SCREAM with the introduction to, let's be serious, less interesting characters is a bit much and hard to keep track of. I know sequels do this all the time and Williamson did this to add more mystery to the identity of the new Ghostface, but most of these people did nothing for me. Derek, Sidney's bland boyfriend? I know he's supposed to be the anti-Billy, but he was as bland as they come. Hallie, Sidney's roommate? Token black character. That's not being racist. It's a fact. What about those two sorority girls? They should have been the first to go, even if they played to stereotypes. The only new character that was interesting was Mickey, because he had an edginess about him that made you want to know more. And he's not even in the film long enough either! I will say at least these characters act like real people and don't annoy me all that much. I just wish they had more depth for me to care about them more.

At least Sidney is given some great character development. While she's still afraid and vulnerable, she's a bit colder and less trusting of people due to her past. She becomes a theater major in order to play someone other than herself. The scene where she rehearses a certain scene from a play and is frightened by all the actors wearing masks and holding knives, to the point she sees Ghostface as one of the actors, says a lot about her mental state. And the fact she uses Caller ID, hesistant to show affection to Derek, let her friends in on what's going on, and just trying to keep a low profile show how guarded and protective she is of her situation. Sidney knows it'll never be over since books, films, and the media are still discussing her ordeal. She's a self-aware Final Girl, putting that wall up to make sure she survives whatever is coming her way without any distractions. That one scene where Sidney wants to pull off Ghostface's mask to see who he is shows how changed she is. The old Sidney would have ran away and cried for Dewey. This Sidney is confronting her fear, realizing she doesn't have anything to lose.

Gail and Dewey don't get much character development, but their relationship blossoms a bit more. Gail shows she really cares about the whole Ghostface deal beyond a superficial level. She also cares about Dewey, knowing he grounds her sensationalistic nature a bit. Dewey doesn't get to do much here. In fact, he's kind of annoying with his western music playing every time he's on screen. I hate the test screenings that changed his outcome in this sequel [yes, he was supposed to die but test audiences wanted him to live, causing Randy to get the axe instead]. Randy, unfortunately, gets sacrificed. It was inevitable though, as main characters should die in sequels to increate the tension and move the story along. But he was a favorite of mine and deserved better. And the evolution of Cotton, who went from a mention in the original SCREAM with a small cameo, to a deep character who feels he needs fame and money to replace the shame and tarnishing of his character over a crime he didn't commit is actually well done. I know a lot of people who wonder what was the point of Cotton in SCREAM 2, but truthfully, he's the opposite of Sidney. Sidney wants out of the spotlight that shines on her against her will. Cotton cherishes that spotlight and will use Sidney's ordeal to feel better about himself because he feels he's earned that right for what's been done to him. He's probably the most real person in the film. He's not trying to be a hero or a villain. He just wants what he feels is owed to him and will do anything to get it, even if he has to threaten and manipulate Sidney to make it happen. I mean, she put him through hell for something he didn't do. I don't blame the guy for his actions.

The mystery of the killers, I have to say, is pretty obvious for the most part. Well at least one-half of the mystery is. I even knew the identity on my first watch years ago, even though the second one was a decent twist. I feel that the mystery was a bit stronger and more fun in the first film. Here, it seemed like Williamson was trying a bit too hard to make the revelation exciting. I will say that the motives do make sense, especially when it comes to the twist. So it's got that going for it.

And I have to mention one scene that I really despise in this entire franchise: that cafeteria scene where Derek sings David Cassidy's "I Think I Love You" to Sidney. My God. Not only can't Jerry O'Connell sing, but it just ruins the entire flow and mood in this sequel. I guess this was supposed to be sweet and funny, but I found it to be the total opposite. A 121 minute horror film [which is too long, by the way] doesn't need annoying filler like this. Ugh.

And what kind of movie theater did Maureen and Phil go to anyway? Not even the worst theaters have audiences that rowdy and annoying, do they? Sure, there may be a gunshot or two, loud talking, or dirty seats here and there, but this audience was made up of animals all dressed as Ghostface. I guess this was a commentary on how people celebrate things based on horrible situations [like the media acting like vultures when something bad happens to people], but it was just freakin' weird...

The gore in SCREAM 2 is pretty tame for the most part. There's blood, sure, but we don't really see anything too extreme. I thought the first part was more brutal than the sequel was. Aren't sequels supposed to be bloodier and more violent? SCREAM 2 doesn't really follow the rule, even if the body count is higher.

The direction by Wes Craven is still top notch though. It looks like a SCREAM film. It feels like a SCREAM film. The editing is great. The angles and composition works. There are some nice moments of suspense and tension, especially that scene where Sidney and Hallie have to get out of the car by stepping over Ghostface. It makes you wonder if they'll actually do it or if Ghostface is playing possum and will kill them. It's a great moment in the film. The rehearsal scene is another great one. It's a beautifully shot sequence. I still feel the film is too long and that Jerry O'Connell scene could have been edited out, but other than that, Craven does more than a good job here.

The acting in SCREAM 2 is very good. Neve Campbell is believable as a colder, more aware Sidney. I like her watered eyes as well for some reason. There's a lot of emotion behind them and it helps elevate the character somewhat. I think she carries the film well. Courteney Cox and David Arquette don't really get much new to do as Gail and Dewey. Ms. Cox looks hot as usual, while Arquette was kind of annoying - even though some call him eccentric. I liked his performance in the first film more. Jamie Kennedy is great as Randy. He handles his dialogue with great comedic timing. Too bad he's not in the film long. Timothy Olyphant rocks as Mickey. I don't think I've seen one bad performance from this man and SCREAM 2 is no exception. He made a one-note character interesting just by his performance. Great job, sir! Laurie Metcalf, from Roseanne, was kind of cool as the eccentric local reporter. Jerry O'Connell did nothing for me as Derek. He's better as a comedic actor in my eyes. And all the cameos by Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Omar Epps, Heather Graham, Tori Spelling, Luke Wilson, Portia de Rossi, Rebecca Gayheart, and Joshua Jackson all did what they needed to do in various degrees. I think the cast was too big, but at least it was a good cast.

THINGS I'VE LEARNED WHILE KNOWING FRANKIE MUNIZ WILL PROBABLY PLAY ME IN MY BIOPIC

- Phil told Maureen that no one would pay $7.50 [God, I miss those days] to see a Sandra Bullock film. He has a point. Jesse James didn't - as a matter of fact, he spent that money to see ILSA, SHE WOLF OF THE SS more than once!

- Don't ever press your ear against the bathroom stall out of curiosity. If there's no opening everywhere, it's not a glory hole. That sharp thing penetrating your skull is not a penis. Stay away!

- Maureen was stabbed repeatedly and died on stage. At least she won't hear her daughter make horrible music years later.

...Oh, this is only a movie? Well then, she better whip her hair back and forth!

- CiCi was thrown off the roof of her sorority house to her death. Obviously, someone had a GRUDGE and didn't find her SIMPLY IRRESISTABLE. Talk about having CRUEL INTENTIONS...

- Jerry O'Connell sang a really bad rendition of David Cassidy's "I Think I Love You." He should have just used his sliding abilities and travel to an alternate universe instead of signing up for this mess. No one was coming on or getting happy...

- Ghostface really wanted to kill Dewey inside that radio booth. It must have been Jennifer Aniston. Not only did she want to get revenge on him for cheating on Courteney Cox, but she was tired of competing for her affections with him. After all, she's still very lonely according to tabloid reports. And she gets to be in a film people will actually pay money to see! Smart move, Jen!

THE FINAL HOWL
SCREAM 2 is not as bad as I had remembered it to be. It's not as good as the original SCREAM, but at least it moves the story forward and kind of has fun with the conventions of a typical horror sequel. I still think the wrong main character was killed off and the story tries too hard to convince audiences that SCREAM deserves to be a franchise. But it's watchable and smarter than most horror films that have been released since.


SCORE
3 Howls Outta 4


4.12.2011

Full Moon Reviews Turns 3 Years Old!!!


In October of 2006, I started a review blog on MySpace where I would rant and rave about horror films. I was inspired by other bloggers who were doing the same thing. Feeling I needed to do something with my blog, I decided to jump on the bandwagon. I never thought it would matter much to anyone else or lead to bigger things in the future. I had a film teacher tell me that the best way to make great films is by dissecting them and writing down what works and what doesn't. Who knew it would lead to today and this monumental anniversary for me?

I opened up this blog/site on April 12, 2008 as a back up for my MySpace reviews. Then, it took a life on its own as I focused more on Full Moon Reviews than my MySpace blog. I've done 400 reviews - both written and video - most of them for horror films [a genre I love and will always love, even when recent times makes it tough] - and I have been supported by a great amount of readers, viewers, and bloggers I consider my friends. This is not something I have to do, but it's something I want and love to do. I have tried my hardest to inform people with my reviews while entertaining them at the same time. And I am grateful to have so many people along for the ride.

Because of this blog, I have met so many great people both online and offline. It's lead to many opportunities, from writing to many successful blogs/websites, to interning for Fangoria Entertainment and still contributing to them, to now getting to work for Mad Monster. It's also helped me become a better writer, analyst, and filmmaker. This blog, while just a hobby, has done a lot for me in my life.

It's hard to believe this blog/site is three years old now and that I've been doing this for almost 5 years. I wouldn't change any of this for the world. I have a lot of great stuff coming up [SCREAM this week, THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS and X-MEN franchises as well - more action/fantasy stuff coming - no didn't forget about horror, that's coming too], so I ain't going anywhere any time soon. Thank you all for reading, watching, and just flat out supporting this blog. Here's to celebrating Year 4 in 2012!

- Fred [The Wolf]




TOP 10 MOST VIEWED REVIEWS [ACCORDING TO BLOGGER'S BROKEN STATS]

1. 1408 (2007) - 4,045 Views

2. WITCHBOARD (1987) - 3,137 Views

3. ELVIRA, MISTRESS OF THE DARK (1988) - 2,552 Views

4. BABYSITTER WANTED (2008) - 1,284 Views

5. PIRANHA (1978) - 932 Views

6. THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2 (1986) - 573 Views

7. 2001 MANIACS: FIELD OF SCREAMS (2010) - 513 Views

8. NIGHT OF THE DEMONS (2009) - 469 Views

9. MEGA SHARK VERSUS GIANT OCTOPUS (2009) - 438 Views

10. NEIGHBOR (2009) [Video Review] - 427 Views


MY PERSONAL FAVORITE REVIEWS

- THE HITCHER (2007) - My most popular MySpace blog post, thanks to my loving letter to one Sophia Bush.

- DO YOU WANNA KNOW A SECRET? (2000) - First bit of hate mail from the sister of one of the actresses in the film back on MySpace. I knew I made it as a reviewer/blogger with this one.

- NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1968, 1990, 2006) - Longest and most commented entry on the blog. Probably one of my proudest reviews.

- THE NAIL GUN MASSACRE (1985) - When the rape is the best part of the film, there's a problem [yet the comment is a favorite from certain readers].

- SAVAGE STREETS (1984) - My first Wikipedia entry and credit added by a fan. Thanks, whoever you are!

4.11.2011

The 400th Review: Twitch of the Death Nerve (1971) [Video Review]

DIRECTED BY
Mario Bava

STARRING
Claudine Auger - Renata
Luigi Pistilli - Albert

Claudio Camaso - Simon

Anna Maria Rosati - Laura

Chris Avram - Frank Ventura

Leopoldo Trieste - Paolo Fossati

Laura Betti - Anna Fossati

Isa Miranda - Countess Federica Donati


Genre - Horror/Giallo/Slasher

Running Time - 84 Minutes



First of all, I want to thank Reverend Phantom, of Midnight Confessions, for the kickass new banner. It definitely needed a change. Thanks bro!

Not only is the classic Mario Bava film, TWITCH OF THE DEATH NERVE, my 400th review - but it's also my return to making video reviews!! Does the film still hold up after 40 years? Do Sean S. Cunningham and Steve Miner still feel ashamed for ripping off this film to create their monster FRIDAY THE 13TH franchise? And what am I doing on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? with Jason Voorhees? Watch the review to find out!


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