4.30.2014

Midnight Confessions Episode 12: "HALLOWEEN In April comes to a close...thankfully"


This week, Rev. Phantom and I close out HALLOWEEN in April with Rob Zombie's take on the franchise, HALLOWEEN and HALLOWEEN II. We also take a look at horror remakes of the last decade in our Good, Bad and the Ugly segment (as well as the kill scenes from the whole franchise). 

Note: I had some audio issues this week, but I should hopefully have them fixed by next episode. It wouldn't be the MC podcast without technical issues though, would it? Just glad this HALLOWEEN month is over and done with.





 


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Lunar Cycle #4 - 2010: Moby Dick (2010)/ Titanic II (2010)/ Doghouse (2009)/ Big Ass Spider! (2013)

This section of the blog is due to me being lazy, I mean swamped with watching so many films that I want to discuss on this blog. But I don't really have the time, so I decided to quickly [well as much as I can really] to review films I don't really want to focus too much time on. You'll be seeing these more often than not. Time for the reviews!



DIRECTED BY
Trey Stokes

STARRING
Barry Bostwick - Captain Ahab
Renee O'Connor - Dr. Michelle Herman
Jay Gillespie - Young Ahab
Michael B. Teh - Queequeg
Adam Grimes - Starbuck
Matt Lagan - Captain John "Boomer" Enderby


Genre - Action/Science Fiction/B-Movie/Bad Animals

Running Time - 87 Minutes


PLOT
As a young crew member on a submarine, Ahab (Jay Gillespie) is traumatized after a giant whale attacks the submarine [more like bites it in half] and bites his leg off. Years later, Ahab (now played by Barry Bostwick) is a captain of another submarine, still focused on getting revenge on the giant whale that scarred him for life. To do this, Ahab decides to recruit [or kidnap, however one would look at it] a marine biologist named Dr. Michelle Herman (Renee O'Connor), who specializes in whales and has invented a whale song generator that lures whales.

As Ahab plans to use Dr. Herman to gain vengeance on the whale, the whale itself has been on a killing spree. Knowing Ahab's history, the Navy believe that Ahab is behind the attacks, sending Ahab's old friend Captain John "Boomer" Enderby (
Matt Lagan) to go after Ahab - who is going all out to kill the whale.




REVIEW
Obviously based on Herman Neville's novel "Moby Dick", this Asylum produced adaptation was much better than I had expected it to be. But let's not go crazy here - 2010: MOBY DICK isn't a good film either. But it could have been a lot worse.

Two things really save it. The first is the acting. Barry Bostwick is way over-the-top as Ahab, but it sort of works for this film. You kind of laugh at/with him as he performs, but the character is very messed up mentally and emotionally due to a giant whale attacking him. So I'm okay with the hammy performance, especially since he seems to be having fun with the role. The other good actor is Renee O'Connor as Dr. Herman. Best known as Gabrielle on Xena: Warrior Princess, O'Connor brings subtlety to her role that balances Bostwick out. I really enjoyed how these two played off each other. The other actors are decent as well, although not of them really stand out. But none of them are terrible, which is a plus.

The other thing is that 2010: MOBY DICK is a pretty failthful adaptation of the novel, just with cheap CGI and modern technology. While the characters aren't deep, and the story isn't exactly thrilling for the most part, at least it follows the template of the actual narrative pretty closely. It even takes some of the dialogue from the novel, which was surprising. For a studio that built itself by making mockbusters of popular films and making really cheesy B-movies, it was nice to see The Asylum give its source material a decent level of respect I wasn't expecting.

By the way, Ahab's line: "He took my leg. I don't intend to give him my ass..." is just amazing. Gold stars for that.

The negatives? For one, the CGI is pretty freakin' terrible. The Asylum used Mega Shark and digitally transformed him into a giant whale that looks faker than hell. It also changes size in each scene it's in, which is pretty funny if you notice it. Also, the explosions look ridiculous and the green screen effect is really obvious. For a film with a decent budget, it doesn't really look it. Did Bostwick and O'Connor cost that much? Maybe they should have showed less of the whale, which would have made the experience better.

The direction isn't all that great honestly. It's not an exciting film, which is surprising since the battle between a man and an animal can create tension and suspense. But it's really repetitive when Ahab fires torpedoes to kill the damn thing every 5 minutes. I got bored quickly. Also, I wish the film was more tongue-in-cheek. It takes itself way too seriously, which makes all the silly moments seem like a waste. There really should have been a bit more intentional humor to make the film more amusing to watch.

THE FINAL HOWL
2010: MOBY DICK isn't the worst Asylum film I've seen, but it's not the best either. The acting is above average, and I like how the filmmakers took the time to respect the source material. But the direction is kind of bland and dull, and the special effects are terrible, even for The Asylum. I didn't feel like I wasted my time, but I didn't feel like I used it to my potential either. Could have been worse, I guess.



SCORE
2 Howls Outta 4






DIRECTED BY
Shane Van Dyke

STARRING
Shane Van Dyke - Hayden Walsh
Marie Westbrook - Amy Maine
Bruce Davison - James Maine
Brooke Burns - Kim Patterson
Michelle Glavan - Kelly Wade
Dylan Vox - Dwayne Stevens
D.C. Douglas - Captain Will Howard


Genre - Action/Adventure/Drama/B-Movie

Running Time - 90 Minutes


PLOT
For the 100th anniversary of the day that the ill-fated Titanic sailed to its doom, millionaire Hayden Walsh (Shane Van Dyke) thinks it's a fantastic idea to recreate the tragic event by building a new Titanic ship and setting it sail. Nothing can go wrong, right? Well, when global warming decides to melt the ice caps to the point where they start breaking off and causing a giant tsunami that's heading towards the direction of the ship, history may repeat itself. I guess Celine Dion could use a new hit...



REVIEW
I have three words for TITANIC II:


WHAT THE FUCK!?

I really don't know who thought this film was a good idea. I'm not the biggest fan of James Cameron's mega successful love story about the Titanic, but I respect its artistic achievement and I love the last half hour of that film [the rest is hit-and-miss for me]. TITANIC II isn't a sequel to that film [the fact that this B-movie version exists is insult enough], but it could have been a fun time if it wasn't so damn boring with unlikeable characters. This ship deserves to sink to the bottom of the ocean.

I don't know where to start with this film. The story is just terrible. I think if there was a sense of pageantry or something on an epic scale, silly or not, TITANIC II would have made me feel something. Or at least a history lesson of the first Titanic, which this film never does. Yes, a lot of people know the story, or have seen the film. But if you're going to talk about the first voyage, TELL ME ABOUT THE FIRST VOYAGE! Instead, we just have stupid, annoying characters getting on this ship as if nothing bad is going to happen. We also have crew members who mention that the readings are the same as during the first voyage. Wouldn't that be fucking creepy to anyone else besides me? I don't get it!

The love story is here, but it's pretty lame and predictable. Characters who act like pricks at the beginning of the film quickly change their tune once the ship is in trouble, creating an unrealistic mood swing. Even the people on the ship, once they know they're in trouble, don't really react realistically. Sure, some of them scream and panic. Some of them even fight. But they're pretty calm for the most part. If these characters don't really care, why should we as an audience?

The special effects are pretty terrible as well. The ship changes from a replica of the Titanic to a replica of the Queen Mary every other scene [the film was actually shot inside the Queen Mary]. Both ships look bad, fit for a CGI cutscene on the PlayStation 1. There's also a hilarious death scene where an iceberg splits in half, and a dude standing over the crack falls right through. And it looks like the guy just falls out of frame instead of anything remotely natural. And the tsunami looks like a cartoon tsunami [which is 800 mph, faster than the speed of sound - although it takes a while before the ship is affected by it], but it was probably the best special effect of the movie. By the way, why would anyone surf near icebergs? Ugh.

The direction by actor Shane Van Dyke isn't great really. Van Dyke decided to film his own version of THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE, but with less tension, suspense, or interesting action set pieces. When a guy can't direct the extras to fall towards the same direction the ship is leaning, I can't really take your work seriously. It was pretty funny though. The editing was kinda weird at times, and the film was nothing visually special. I also wish, like I did with 2010: MOBY DICK, that TITANIC II was more tongue-in-cheek. Do a parody of the James Cameron film or something. That film was three hours long, but it didn't bore me. A 90 minute film shouldn't bore me, which TITANIC II unfortunately does.

The acting was eh as well. Bruce Davison is probably the best actor. He's done a lot of stuff, most famously X-MEN
, and he tries to make the script work to his advantage. But the screenplay is dreadful, which brings him down along with it. Brooke Burns looks hot and that's about it. Shane Van Dyke is alright as the millionaire who creates this second Titanic, although I felt his character felt forced. The rest of the actors do the best they can, taking this film seriously. I wish they had more fun with the story because TITANIC II could have used it.

THE FINAL HOWL
TITANIC II sinks before it can float. Sure, it's watchable as a background noise sort of thing. But it's so flawed, you wonder how anyone thought the film was fine to release as is. Boring action sequences, characters you'll feel indifferent to, bland direction, and okay acting - TITANIC II won't make Celine Dion sing anytime soon. I probably would have enjoyed this more if I was under the influence of something. But I shouldn't have to be high or drunk to enjoy trash. TITANIC II takes itself way too seriously, which makes you wonder why it was even made to begin with.


SCORE
0.5 Howls Outta 4








DIRECTED BY
Jake West

STARRING
Danny Dyer - Neil
Noel Clarke - Mikey
Emil Marwa - Graham
Lee Ingleby - Matt
Stephen Graham - Vince
Keith-Lee Castle - Patrick
Christina Cole - Candy
Terry Stone - Sergeant Gavin Wright
Neil Maskell - Banksy


Genre - Horror/Comedy/Zombies/Virus

Running Time - 89 Minutes


PLOT
Vince (Stephen Graham) is going through a divorce and has been down on himself. His buddies Neil (Danny Dyer), Mikey (Noel Clarke), Graham (Emil Marwa), Matt (Lee Ingleby), and Patrick (Keith-Lee Castle) decide to cheer Vince up by taking him on a weekend retreat full of booze and sex. When they make it to their destination, a small village named Moodley, they start to realize that all the men in the village have been eaten by the women - who have been infected by a virus that has turned them into flesh-eating zombies.



REVIEW
Inspired by EVIL DEAD II, DEAD ALIVE, and SHAUN OF THE DEAD, DOGHOUSE is a British horror-comedy that seems to have a theme of misogyny against women, which is greatly turned around on the men. The sexism is done in a funny way rather than offensively, making DOGHOUSE a pretty fun watch. However, it doesn't come close to being as good as the three films I mentioned above.

The narrative is pretty much your standard zombie-comedy, but with lead characters who revel in debauchery and saying pretty sexist things about women. The men, having issues with the female sex and not having any sort of understanding of them, tend to fear them and use that to justify their thoughts and actions towards women. Vince, who is going through a divorce, doesn't understand why his marriage failed when he did everything right and treated his wife like a queen. It's the opposite of the other characters, who treat women like objects, and seem quite content in doing so. But they do it in humorous ways that you can't really hate the men too much. They're just misguided, which makes their exchange with the zombie women somewhat amusing. They continue to treat these zombies like objects, but these objects fight back and torture the men almost as if karma is returning the favor. Plus, all the women are different archetypes. One's a teacher. Another is dressed like a dominatrix. There's also a nurse and a fat housewife who loves fingers. It'll probably insult some female audience members, but I found the whole thing to be tongue-in-cheek.

My main issue with DOGHOUSE is that I get the feeling the film believes it's actually funnier than it really is. Sure, you'll laugh at certain scenes or at certain pieces of dialogue. But more often than not, the joke will miss its target. Or the joke will be so cliche and corny, that it sort of brings the "feel good" feeling down a notch. Maybe it's the British comedy and some of it doesn't translate across the ocean. But it's goofy enough for things to stay afloat, even if you'll laugh more at some other horror-comedies that follow a similiar template.

Also, there's no real character development for any of the characters. And with them being "sexist pigs", it's kind of hard to be sympathetic for them when they get attached. The dialogue is mostly fine, but the characters aren't deep enough to the point of caring about their fates too much.

The special effects and make up of the female infected zombies are really well done. The women do look dead, and the gore effects are very credible. Even some of the death scenes are pretty gory, which raised the entertainment and watchability value for me.

The direction by Jake West is good. The tone and mood stay consistent throughout, and the pacing is very well done. The picture quality looks great, and visually the film is quite fun to look at. I wish the film was a bit more tense and scarier. And I thought the ending was very lame. But other than that, West directs a tight ship.

The acting is probably the best part of DOGHOUSE. Danny Dyer, likely known for SEVERANCE, plays the same womanizing role. But Dyer does it so well, it didn't bother me. Stephen Graham was very good as Vince [whose character had the only real arc in the film], and Lee Ingleby was amusing as the nerdy Matt. The actresses, which included Emily Booth as a scissor wielding hairdresser, were great in their respective roles. It helped that each were given a different personality and look, which made the acting more interesting and fun to watch.

THE FINAL HOWL

DOGHOUSE tries too hard to be a horror-comedy in the vein of EVIL DEAD II and SHAUN OF THE DEAD, falling on its face at times due to lame jokes and characters who may offend the female audience at times. But the looks, personalities, and special effects when it came to the zombie women are really well done. The acting works with the tone of the film. And Jake West's direction is more positive than negative. DOGHOUSE is a decent time waster and a fun time for the boys, especially if you have some friends, beer, and popcorn nearby. It doesn't reach its full potential, but there's enough of it for at least a one-time recommendation.




SCORE
3 Howls Outta 4








DIRECTED BY
Mike Mendez

STARRING

Greg Grunberg - Alex Mathis
Ray Wise - Major Braxton Tanner
Clare Kramer - Lieutenant Karly Brant
Lombardo Boyar - Jose Ramos
Patrick Bauchau - Lucas


Genre - Science Fiction/Comedy/B-Movie/Bad Animals

Running Time - 80 Minutes


PLOT
Alex (Greg Grunberg) is a bug exterminator who is bitten by a spider during an assignment. He's taken to the local hospital for treatment, unsuccessfully flirting with nurses, adding to his bad day. As he's being treated, he notices a dead body being taken in a body bag. Unfortunately, Alex doesn't know that this corpse is hiding a very hungry and violent spider - a spider that will exponentially grow due to scientists having messed with it in a lab.

As people start being attacked and getting killed, the military led by Major Braxton Tanner (
Ray Wise) march into the hospital and lock it down in order to find this vicious spider. With Alex's help, Major Tanner decide to find the spider and stop it from turning Los Angeles into a giant web of food.




REVIEW
I have a certain fondness to films that are shown on the SyFy Channel, especially when they're titled BIG ASS SPIDER!. I was really expected a corny, cheesy, cheaply made B-movie with a fake looking spider and bad acting. Imagine my surprise as BIG ASS SPIDER! was a really fun time with good acting, humor that works, and better than expected special effects. Why was this film shown on SyFy again?

BIG ASS SPIDER! is greatly helped by a witty and fun script that knows what it is and is not ashamed of it. The story takes itself seriously, but in a tongue-in-cheek way, which creates a level of genuine and intended enjoyment most films like this attempt but fail at. It's pretty standard stuff with an unlikely hero caught in a situation created by the military, who may have created something they have no idea how to fight without hurting other people. But the characters are written well, with even the military characters becoming likeable by the film's end. The narrative is greatly helped by the formed friendship between hero Alex and unlikely hero/security guard Jose, who have great banter and witty dialogue that just makes them enjoyable to watch from the moment they interact. Plus, you have a giant spider terrorizing public parks, hospitals, and even giant buildings in Los Angeles, creating amusing set pieces and charming interactions between the main characters and this villain. I was really surprised how well written this B-movie was. Usually these kind of films only care about the cheesy special effects, or hiring some former A-lister to get an audience. But someone actually cared about the script, which made me enjoy this film more than I thought I would.

The special effects are pretty damn good as well. Sure, sometimes the spider looks like cheaply done and a bit too computer animated. And a scene where a face is melted by acid looks pretty silly. But most of the time, the spider looks pretty great. Considering the film's low budget, I was expecting the film to look a lot worse.

The direction by Mike Mendez is really well done. Probably best known for his work on THE GRAVEDANCERS, Mendez really captures the fun, campy vibe of BIG ASS SPIDER!. The 80-minute run time goes by extremely fast, due to the charming script and fun action sequences. Mendez also doesn't settle for your general cheap SyFy look, using his limited budget to his advantage to create a visually pleasing film - almost looking like DRAGON WARS from a few years ago. I really dug the film's look.

The acting is really great. Greg Grunberg, best known for Felicity and Heroes, is perfectly cast as the unlikely hero, Alex. His chemistry with sidekick Lombardo Boyar makes the film, as the two seem to be improvising their dialogue and just having fun with the story. Ray Wise is cool as the deadpanning military superior, making his role feel much campier than it actually is. Clare Kramer looks great and has great chemistry with Grunberg. And we get some great cameos by both Lin Shaye and Troma's Lloyd Kaufman.

THE FINAL HOWL
BIG ASS SPIDER! won't be as remembered or cherished like KINGDOM OF THE SPIDERS, ARACHNOPHOBIA, or even EIGHT LEGGED FREAKS. But this B-movie was highly entertaining and definitely worth any B-movie lover's 80 minutes. The cast is great, the direction is energetic, the special effects are better than expected, and the script is well written and charming. If you want a good laugh and enjoy giant bugs killing and destroying cities, BIG ASS SPIDER! is definitely your movie.




SCORE
3.5 Howls Outta 4



4.23.2014

Midnight Confessions Ep. 11 - "Busta Rhymes does not want you to hear this podcast"


In our 3rd week (!) of HALLOWEEN in April, myself and Rev. Phantom review HALLOWEEN: H20 (1998) and HALLOWEEN: RESURRECTION (2002). Due to some divine intervention on Sunday, our original recording of this episode was dropkicked into oblivion by Busta Rhymes himself and is gone forever. We summoned up the strength to review the films again in a very shortened format. So this week's episode is only a mini-episode. Please accept our most humble apologies. Plus we take a look at the Top 5 most disappointing sequels.





 


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4.18.2014

The WTF? Worst Films Extravaganza Presents: Amityville 3-D (1983)

DIRECTED BY
Richard Fleischer

STARRING
Tony Roberts - John Baxter
Tess Harper - Nancy Baxter
Lori Loughlin - Susan Baxter
Robert Joy - Eliot West
Candy Clark - Melanie
Meg Ryan - Lisa
Neill Barry - Jeff


Genre - Horror/Supernatural/Ghosts/Haunted House

Running Time - 105 Minutes


PLOT
A journalist named John Baxter (Tony Roberts) and his partner Melanie (Candy Clark) expose shenanigans after they learn some old couple are doing fake seances inside the infamous Amityville house to make a quick buck. Thinking that the stories about the house are just fabrics of someone's imagination, John decides to buy the house while he separates from his wife (Tess Harper). But soon people start dying around him - including the real estate agent who sold the house. Melanie believes something is wrong with the house, but John is in denial and doesn't believe anything is wrong. But as soon as his family, especially his daughter (Lori Loughlin), is threatened, John involves a paranormal expert (Robert Joy) to stop the evil of the Amityville house.

REVIEW
I have three words for AMITYVILLE 3-D:

WHAT THE FUCK!?

I've made it pretty clear that the 1979 version of THE AMITYVILLE HORROR is pretty overrated and not as great as many horror historians have claimed. Yes, I get why it was popular, but the film adaptation doesn't do much for me other than being an average haunted house flick. Honestly, I prefer the 2005 remake, which I find more entertaining. But 1981's AMITYVILLE II: THE POSSESSION is the franchise's highlight, taking aspects from THE EXORCIST and using them in fun ways. Unfortunately, AMITYVILLE 3D just takes the series downhill quickly, with cheap visual gags, annoying characters, and a weak story. While I'm sure the series does get worse than this installment - at least from what I've heard - AMITYVILLE 3D was made to capitalize on a then-fading fad while boring the audience at the same time.

The screenplay is pretty much what ruins AMITYVILLE 3D, at least for me. While I'm not the biggest fan of the first film, at least the story somewhat interests me and the drama between the characters is worth investing in. Same goes with the second film. But this installment is just lazy in terms of its storytelling. For one, there's no sense of continuity with the other films. Why is there a well in the basement all of a sudden? Why is it holding some sort of demon that has never been mentioned before? I mean, the idea to have a visual evil presented is a good one - IF ANYTHING WAS DONE WITH IT! Hell, the film has bigger villains in the form of flies that seem to harm anyone they come across. But we get astral projection at one point for a dead character, and these flies actually leaving the house to attack someone at their workplace inside of an elevator - what are the rules again? If things were more explained, rather than the filmmakers just being focused on the visual gags, maybe I'd like this sequel more.

I also gotta say that the characters are either uninteresting, or just plain annoying. The John Baxter character, in particular, deserved to be sucked down that well in the basement from the first frame. I get that characters have to be somewhat skeptical about the supernatural occurrences around them to up the tension and suspense along the narrative. But this dude was dense as hell! People are dying around the guy and not once does he believe what his friends and family are telling him - THAT THE HOUSE IS EVIL! How many people have to croak before the dude gets it? It's only when a certain member gets killed that he finally realizes his home is haunted! Well no shit.

The other characters aren't much better. John is going through a divorce, or a conscious uncoupling, with his wife Nancy. She's kind of a clingy nag who becomes a bit mental by the final act. Daughter Susan is extremely cute, but there's not much to her besides that. Melanie is better than John and actually sees things for what they are, but more could have been done with her character. Susan's best friend, Lisa, is the only character I genuinely liked. Why? Even though she had the expository dialogue about the house's history, at least she had a personality. Although I did find it really dumb that she, Susan, and two guy friends decided to do a seance inside of a haunted house. Because, you know, that just makes the evil weaker and stuff...

Dumbasses.

It also doesn't help that the story is pretty much nonexistent for the most part. The narrative is pretty much glued together by the 3-D gags and special effects that are shot while trying to do a teenage version of the original story. What makes things worse is that the evil isn't just inside the house, but can travel outside of the house to do bad things. For example, a bunch of flies attacks a character inside a work elevator, while controlling the elevator to make it crash with the character inside. There's also a car that's miles away from the house, whose doors just happen to lock on their own before bursting into flames. And then a character drowns in a lake outside of the house off camera. So now the house can't possess people, yet it can travel out of its source to attack people anywhere?? Maybe the filmmakers felt that this would bring some freshness to the AMITYVILLE franchise. But it just goes against its own logic - logic that was set up for two straight films without much of a problem. It's a haunted house movie that wants to be a slasher flick to bring in a younger audience. It doesn't work.

The 3D effects could have saved the film by using the visuals as a distraction to the weak story. I mean, those opening credits - where the words fly towards the screen - could have been cool in three dimensions. Watching flies travel towards the screen, as well as hands, a flashlight, a skeleton, stream, a Frisbee, a demon popping out of a well, and people being thrown towards the screen could have been a lot of fun wearing 3-D glasses. But unfortunately, I watched this in 2-D. Sure, some of these effects made me laugh a bit. But they look a bit hokey and distracting without that added effect. Still, I can tell the producers were trying to make it work. I'm sure if I were wearing special glasses, I would be having a blast with these dumb visuals. So I can't hate the film for that.

What I can hate the film for is that fake looking demon that comes out of the well. GREAT special effects, guys!  The Ghoulies looked more realistic than this thing. I doubt this "demon" scared anyone back in 1983. I probably would have died laughing. Maybe that's the demon's power - death by laughter. In that case, he's doing his job right.

The direction by Richard Fleischer, best known for directing 1954's 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA, 1973's SOYLENT GREEN, 1984's CONAN THE DESTROYER, and 1985's RED SONJA, is okay at best. I can't judge his work on the 3-D stuff, but I'm sure Fleischer used them to the best of his ability. But honestly, Fleischer's direction is pretty much TV-movie level. There are attempts at tension and creating this bleak atmosphere at times. But Fleischer had to deal with a terrible script that no one was going to be able to salvage. So it was going to be a lost cause either way. But the film isn't an eye sore, so there's that.

The acting was a mixed bag as well. Tony Roberts had a terrible character, but he made it work as John Baxter. I was more distracted by whether he looked more like Will Ferrell or Ron Perlman, rather than his acting. Tess Harper didn't do much for me as Nancy, although I found her traumatized act in the final act of the film pretty funny. Lori "Aunt Becky" Loughlin was good in her role as the cute daughter, Susan. She was pretty endearing and charming. Robert Joy didn't get much to do, but he was pretty good anyway. Candy Clark seemed to be trying too hard at times as Melanie, but I thought her exit was memorable. And Meg Ryan, before all the botox and plastic surgery, is pretty much the best actor as Lisa. I really dug her spunk and she seemed to be having a blast making this film. I'm not surprised she eventually became an A-lister soon after.

THINGS I'VE LEARNED WHILE DESTROYING THE AMITYVILLE HOUSE WITH A WRECKING BALL

- During a seance, a mother learns her dead son has passed over into fire. Man, that must be hell - literally and figuratively.

- John Baxter, who is going through a divorce, wants to leave his home for the Amityville house - against his soon-to-be ex wife's wishes. Seeing that his daughter, Susan, is played by Lori Loughlin, it may be just a Full House he needs to exit from.

- The real estate agent was attacked and killed by insects in the attic. I'd be bugged if that's how I go out.

- Once a fly entered an elevator, the lift lost all control. Knowing the weight capacity, this fly must have weighed close to a ton!

- Melanie got frozen from a gust of cold air from the basement. Since this was 1983, Superman must be on red Kryptonite and being a drunk douche again...

- Sex with a ghost is supposed to be fantastic. Barbara Hershey would disagree with that though.

- Lisa knows the history of the Amityville House and seems excited about being inside the scene of the crime. WHEN RONNIE DEFEO MET SALLY seems like such a missed opportunity...

THE FINAL HOWL

AMITYVILLE 3-D is probably not the worst AMITYVILLE installment, but it's still pretty bad due to it being kind of a bore to watch. The film isn't scary and the special effects are unintentionally funny. The story is bare bones, hoping the dull visuals would compensate for that. And the acting is a mixed bag for many reasons. I'm sure some will get a kick out of AMITYVILLE 3-D, but it didn't do much for me. This film deserves a "For Sale" sign, in my opinion.



SCORE
1 Howl Outta 4




4.16.2014

Midnight Confessions Ep. 10 - "HALLOWEEN In April Part 2: The Curse of the HALLOWEEN Franchise"


HALLOWEEN in April rages on! This week Rev. Phantom and yours truly review HALLOWEEN 5: THE REVENGE OF MICHAEL MYERS (1989) and both cuts of HALLOWEEN: THE CURSE OF MICHAEL MYERS (1995). Plus the good, bad and the ugly of Halloween themed movies.





 

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4.12.2014

Full Moon Reviews Celebrates Its 6th Anniversary!!





It's always weird when I publish these anniversary posts because it makes me wonder where the time has gone. Full Moon Reviews has really grown and become pretty major in my life, especially since it started as just a way for me to express my love [or dislike] for certain films. I never thought I'd be still blogging after almost eight years, with close to 700 reviews under my belt. Also, Full Moon Reviews recently hit over a million views, which boggles my mind. I really want to thank anyone who has viewed, commented, or shared to others about Full Moon Reviews. It has truly meant a lot to me. In fact, there will be a giveaway of some sort due to that milestone. I haven't decided on what yet, but it will happen probably sometime in May.

As you know, I haven't blogged as much as I would like. Getting older and having more important things take priority have really limited my posting. But I'm glad to have Mike Huntley, who has done well with his Watchtower of Justice posts, pick up some of that slack. He's a movie nerd like me, especially when it comes to superheroes and comic book stuff. So it's great to have him on board. I also have to thank Reverend Phantom, who has allowed me to be his co-host on Midnight Confessions Podcast. It's an honor to discuss films with him, since we get along really well and have different looks on movies, even when we both agree. The podcast has really started to pick up, and Phantom and I have started to find a groove now. We have a lot planned for Spring and Summer, which I'm very excited about. I also have to thank 'Moronic' Mark Arnold for allowing me to post his reviews as well. He's done a great job on YouTube with his humorous look on bad films. I haven't posted anything from him yet, but I will soon. Just glad to have these men on board keeping this going for me.


 
Also, special mention goes to Aaron "Dr. AC" Christensen for asking me to contribute to his latest horror review book, Hidden Horror: A Celebration of 101 Underrated and Overlooked Fright Flicks. I had a wonderful time writing my feelings on the underrated 2001 film, FRAILTY, and I'm very happy the book has done extremely well on Amazon and critically as well. If you ever want to know why I love FRAILTY, buy the book because it's the only way you'll know. It's a great read if you love horror. Thanks, AC!

What's coming up this year? A lot of superhero stuff this summer, as Marvel kicks it into high gear with their multiple franchises such as X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST, THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2, and GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY. Summer will probably be focused on "Animals Run Amok" with the highly anticipated sequel, SHARKNADO 2: THE SECOND ONE. There might be another SEQUEL SEPTEMBER, not sure yet. But HORROR MOVIE MONTH in October will definitely be back and I'm always excited when that time of the year comes.

Thanks again to everyone who has supported me and Full Moon Reviews in any way. Without you guys, I'd probably would have discontinued a lot time ago. But I'm very excited about the upcoming year, so please stay tuned to a lot of great stuff coming your way.

- Fred [The Wolf]


TOP 10 MOST VIEWED POSTS [from 4/12/13 to 4/12/14]

10. INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 2 (2013)
Posted September 14, 2013, this post has 858 views

One of the most anticipated horror films of 2013, the review for James Wan's ghostly-possession sequel did really well once I published my quick thoughts on it. It's still a film that's a bit inferior to the first film, but it's a film I would love to watch again to see if my feelings stay intact. It's now currently on the U.S. Netflix Instant Watch, so I may get that chance soon. But from what I remember of it, I dug this film for the most part.

9. GHOST SHARK (2013)
Posted on August 30, 2013, this post has 912 views

Probably one of the more surprising successful posts on Full Moon Reviews, GHOST SHARK wasn't really a film that a lot of people promoted or knew about - at least not on the level of SHARKNADO [which I'll be getting to shortly]. But SHARK SUMMER is a pretty big attraction on Full Moon Reviews, so I'm guessing that's why this SyFy movie did as well as it did. I honestly only remember how silly it was to have a vengeful spirit of a scorned shark have the ability to attack others through any form of water, whether it'd be in a swimming pool, a toilet, or a sitting bucket of water at a car wash. Not as fun as SHARKNADO, but GHOST SHARK amused me more than I thought it would.

8. THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS: TOKYO DRIFT (2006)
Posted on May 15, 2013, this post has 999 views

Of all the sequels to this car franchise, I'm really surprised that TOKYO DRIFT was the most viewed. Maybe it's due to the fact that the recent FAST AND FURIOUS 6 connects to TOKYO DRIFT in a major way. But honestly, I figured FAST FIVE would do much better than it did. But a lot of you either love TOKYO DRIFT and don't care to admit it, or were just curious as to my thoughts on it. It's a decent sequel, I guess. And I'm interested to see how Lucas Black figures into FAST AND FURIOUS 7. So there's that.

7. CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST (1980)
Posted on July 31, 2013, this post has 1065 views

CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST was one of those films I wanted/dreaded to review. It's probably one of the best found footage type of films ever made, but it's such a tough watch due to the animal cruelty and other messed up subject matter. The only reason this review even exists is due to Guts and Grog's Extreme Week, which this post was a part of. I probably would have never watched the film again if it weren't for that. And honestly, I don't see myself watching CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST any time soon. But I'm glad a lot of people enjoyed my thoughts on this controversial movie.

6. TURBO: A POWER RANGERS MOVIE (1997)
Posted on July 22, 2013, this post has 1225 views

There are a lot of Power Rangers fans out there, and TURBO: A POWER RANGERS MOVIE may be one of the most infamous pieces of that franchise's history. It's really just a terrible film that seems to forget what made the previous seasons so damn cool. It has a lame, yet really hot, villain. The characters and writing just seem dull. The way the Rangers gain these new powers is just lazy as hell. If it wasn't for Evil Kimberly, with Amy Jo Johnson looking so hot, I wouldn't bother with this movie. Thankfully, the franchise quickly bounced back from this and continues to thrive today. But this "Shift Into Turbo" should have crashed into a wall before it even got out of the starting gate.

5. ORCA (1977)
Posted on July 22, 2013, this post has 1240 views

ORCA was never a film I planned on reviewing. But it was expiring on Netflix Instant at the time, and I said why not. And not only did I like the film more than I had remembered liking it as a kid, but the views for this review blew up quickly once I posted it. Of all the JAWS ripoffs I probably reviewed within the year, ORCA was definitely the best one. Just a really well made film with a great score. Within a summer of sharks, it was a killer whale who made one of the biggest impressions on Full Moon Reviews.

4. THE PURGE (2013)
Posted on June 8, 2013, this post has 1416 views

THE PURGE was one of the more anticipated horror films of 2013. It also managed to be one of the more disappointing in a lot of ways. Great cast. Great concept. Nice bits of tension and suspense. But the execution was flawed, especially when we realized THE PURGE was nothing more than a home invasion film really. At least YOU'RE NEXT did it in a fun way. THE PURGE started out strong, but turned generic by the halfway mark. Still, it's not a terrible film and I am interested in the sequel that's coming out this year. I just wish they had worked around the concept better.

3. THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS (2001)
Posted on April 27, 2013, this post has 1552 views

The original 2001 THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS was a film I wanted to review for so long now because the entire franchise is one giant guilty pleasure. It's a film that honestly should have never built a franchise. Yet it did, and the films have never been better. I'm really surprised so many wanted to read my thoughts on this film, because so many consider this film nothing but fluff. But it's fun, exciting fluff that created stars out of Vin Diesel, the late Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez, and Jordana Brewster.

2. THE LORDS OF SALEM (2013)
Posted on April 21, 2013, this post has 1865 views

THE LORDS OF SALEM was a film that had a ton of buzz behind it, but audiences had trouble finding due to limited theatrical release. But Rob Zombie proved that he was a true filmmaker with this original tale inspired by Italian horror from the 1970s, especially Bava and Argento. THE LORDS OF SALEM was really a film that surprised me, as it didn't really make a whole lick of sense, but it captured my attention like no other in the horror genre last year. It's a visually stunning movie, with Sheri Moon Zombie having the performance of her career. I think people flocked to this post because the film was so rare at the time when I published my review. But I think people found some appreciation for the film once it was released on DVD and Blu Ray, praising Zombie for making his own film rather than remaking someone else's. The fact that it was so anti-mainstream struck a chord with me, making me respect Zombie for doing his own thing rather than selling out to make a quick buck. We need more filmmakers like that in the horror genre.

1. SHARKNADO (2013)
Posted July 12, 2013, this post has 3449 views.

SHARKNADO was probably my most anticipated film of 2013. I mean seriously - a film about a tornado made up of sharks attacking California - how can one not want to watch that? And it was everything I had hoped it would be. Sure, Tara Reid's presence brought the film down some. But Ian Ziering, John Heard, those CGI sharks, and chainsaw fun really entertained the hell out of me. The film because SyFy's biggest pop culture moment, to the point that a sequel was rushed for this year - this time in New York City. I'm so there. A lot of folks ripped this film to shreds, but I loved the hell out of it and still do. And judging by the view count, so did a lot of other peeps as well.


TOP 10 MOST VIEWED REVIEWS [April 12, 2013]

1. 1408 (2007) - 58,824 Views

2. WITCHBOARD (1987) - 23,748 Views

3. ELVIRA, MISTRESS OF THE DARK (1988) - 5,513 Views

4. BABYSITTER WANTED (2008) - 3,748 Views

5. TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (1990) - 3,262 Views

6. A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (2010) - 3,122 Views

7. NIGHT OF THE DEMONS (2009/2010) - 3,014 Views

8. NEIGHBOR (2009) - 2,969 Views

9. 2001 MANIACS: FIELD OF SCREAMS (2010) - 2,722 Views

10. PIRANHA (2010) - 2,655 Views


TOP 10 MOST VIEWED REVIEWS [April 12, 2014]

1. 1408 (2007) - 129,480 Views

2. WITCHBOARD (1987) - 28,871 Views

3. ELVIRA, MISTRESS OF THE DARK (1988) - 5,809 Views

4. BABYSITTER WANTED (2008) - 4,019 Views

5. PIRANHA (2010) - 3,674 Views

6. TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (1990) - 3,579 Views

7. NIGHT OF THE DEMONS (2009) - 3,564 Views

8. NEIGHBOR (2009) - 3,560 Views

9. RED SONJA (1985) - 3,527 Views

10. SHARK ATTACK 3: MEGALODON (2002) - 3,490 Views

4.09.2014

Midnight Confessions Ep. 9 - "HALLOWEEN In April Begins!"


Reverend Phantom and yours truly review HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH (1982) and HALLOWEEN 4: THE RETURN OF MICHAEL MYERS (1988) as part of our HALLOWEEN in April. HALLOWEEN franchise all month long [excluding part 1 and 2 because what more can be said of those great films?]. Plus the Top 5 "Underrated Slasher Movies".





 

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Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

DIRECTED BY
Anthony Russo
Joe Russo


STARRING
Chris Evans - Steve Rogers/ Captain America
Scarlett Johansson - Natasha Romanoff/ Black Widow
Sebastian Stan - Bucky Barnes/ Winter Soldier
Samuel L. Jackson - Nick Fury
Anthony Mackie - Sam Wilson/ Falcon
Cobie Smulders - Maria Hill
Frank Grillo - Brock Rumlow
Emily VanCamp - Agent 13
Robert Redford - Alexander Pierce


Genre - Action/Adventure/Thriller/Comic Books

Running Time - 136 Minutes


PLOT
After the events of THE AVENGERS, Captain America (Chris Evans) - now a member of SHIELD - struggles with adjusting to his life in a very modern world. As Cap becomes somewhat disillusioned by the current world, SHIELD begins to crumble when Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) is almost killed by a mysterious assassin named The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan). With the help of Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and a soldier named Sam Wilson [codenamed Falcon] (Anthony Mackie), Captain America plans to save the world from the Winter Soldier and those possibly closest to him.

REVIEW

Due to a pretty hectic weekend, I was unable to share my thoughts on what was my most anticipated film of 2014 - CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER. I've made it no secret how much I enjoyed 2011's CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER and 2012's THE AVENGERS, so I was definitely excited about the sequel. Plus, it is based on one of the best Captain America stories surrounding The Winter Soldier, an arc that changed Captain America's world forever. And just like that comic arc, the film adaptation changes Cap's world as well - in one of the best ways possible. Yes, it's nice to see a comic book sequel again that's better than the film that preceded it.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER
is a comic book film that's actually smart and serious, despite the colorful characters and the special effects. Joe and Anthony Russo's direction is top notch. Who knew the two men behind YOU, ME, AND DUPREE would direct one of the best comic book films ever? The action is fantastic, with epic car chases, huge explosions, a really cool air battle, and fight choreography that looked and felt brutal. Honestly, this felt less like a superhero movie and more like your standard action flick, which I didn't mind at all. There was a gravitas when it came to the fights and action, which was a great move to set Captain America apart from the other solo Avengers films.

I think the best part about CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER has to be the screenplay. While there are some lighthearted moments, the sequel really takes itself seriously when it comes to its narrative. In a lot of ways, the film felt like a commentary on our current political landscape, making us question how much freedom really costs for all of us. Captain America is seen as a boring character because he doesn't have cool superpowers and is

presented as a boy scout. But I've always been a fan of Steve Rogers because he's a character raised by old school methods, unwillingly stuck in a modern world where these methods don't have a place anymore. He questions this new society, upset when his fellow SHIELD members use methods that he feels are negative. It's also quite sad when he feels alone when he's walking through the Smithsonian, where an exhibit for him is placed; or when he visits a much older Peggy Carter at a hospital. Cap also teams with people who are morally suspect, like Black Widow and Nick Fury, never sure if they're giving him the truth or not. He doesn't know how and who to trust in this new world, which makes Captain America an interesting character who gives opinions that are presented as unique.

It's also great that Captain America has a great villain [not named Red Skull] in The Winter Soldier. He's like the Terminator, just causing chaos in Captain America's world. He has a great look, doesn't talk all that much, and has a personal connection to Captain America. It's hard not to spoil much about the character for those who have never read the comics, but I enjoyed how he was presented in the film. We learn enough about him and his struggle, while keeping enough stuff hidden for a later movie. I wish there was a bit more of him honestly, but I loved the live-action depiction of the character and how it'll effect Cap's world for films to come.

The acting was also solid. Chris Evans really proves he was the right choice to play Captain America, anchoring the film with his sincerity and charisma. Scarlett Johansson has never been better as the Black Widow, sharing great screen chemistry with Evans, as well as kicking ass and looking good in her black suit. I'd really love to see her in a spinoff film. Sebastian Stan was cool as The Winter Soldier. Samuel L. Jackson is Nick Fury. Robert Redford was a fantastic choice as Alexander Pierce, especially since the film was obviously inspired by political thrillers from the 1970s [which Redford acted in a few at the time]. Anthony Mackie was great as the Falcon, who I hope to see in a bigger role in a later sequel. I thought everyone was super and couldn't ask for a better cast.

THE FINAL HOWL

I think I have to say that CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER may be my favorite Marvel Studios film to date, maybe tied up there with THE AVENGERS. It had everything I wanted from it, and then some. The story was interesting and well written. The action and direction was fantastic. The characters finally felt true to their comic book counterparts. And the acting was great as well. I honestly want to see this again.



SCORE
4 Howls Outta 4



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