Category Archives: Horror: Eldritch Eeriness

Creepy things, creepy magic users, creepy in general.

The Power

Date:
1984
Stars:
Suzy Stokey

Warren Lincoln

Lisa Erickson

Writers:
Stephen Carpenter
Jeffrey Obrow 

Director:
Stephen Carpenter
Jeffrey Obrow

WRC Score:
2/4

A series of small Aztec idols cause horrible problems in The Power.

Or maybe there was just two.

Sure there wasn’t only the one.

But don’t hold me to that.

Anyway.

We can’t always say what will work for us and what won’t.  I’ve experienced various forms of entertainment that I went in expecting to like only to find myself disappointed without knowing quite why.  We think we know our standards, but sometimes those standards are different than we expect.

A word way of saying that  The Power worked for me.   I felt an emotional charge and connection with the characters.  I didn’t want to see horrible things happen to them.  I don’t know why this is, as if anyone deserved horrible things to happen to them it’s these characters.  They only had one brain cell between the lot of them, and one of them lost the cell.

These people are dumb.  One character sees another character has been impaled upon a flagpole after using The Power, and runs right out to get himself some of that action.  At no point does anyone do anything more than the bare minimum to fetch the cops, even when the bare minimum is leaving the place where the bad things are happening.  And the ultimate solution to the problem really should have occurred to them within the first five minutes of having to deal with this mess.

And yet there still was a degree of frission.  The Power does seem to have some really good, effective moments.  Once you get through the two prologues to get to them.

i’m not kidding.   There are two prologues that don’t seem to have any real connection to the bulk of the film.

Also lacking in connection are things like logic and reason.  Especially with The Power itself, which kills for no apparent reason.  One guy wasn’t anywhere near the thing and he’s still killed by it.  For what end?  A “scary” scene?  Who can say?

The Power is unquestionably a bad flick (0.5 points).   That I liked it (1.5 points) doesn’t really say much, as I like a lot of bad films.  Some even worse than this one.

That it worked for me doesn’t mean it will work for you.  However, there’s nothing here that gives me the feeling I should warn people off.  Give it a shot.  Maybe it’ll turn out to be a nice little time killer, or the next subject for a riffing party.

You never know.

Score: 2 points out of a possible 4

 

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The Void

Date:
2016
Stars:
Aaron Poole

Kenneth Welsh

Daniel Fathers
Writers:

Jeremy Gillespie

Steven Kostanski  

Director:
Steven Kostanski 
Jeremy Gillespie 
WRC Score:
3/4

(-_-) d

The Void tells the tale of a lone cop who takes the single survivor from a massacre out to a near abandoned hospital for treatment.  This proves to be a mistake, as it starts a chain reaction that might send every living soul into a fate worse than death.

I have a hard time working up interest in modern movies.  They all tend to blur together in my mind, being just retreads of ground well-traveled in previous decades.  Oh look, here’s a bunch of young idiots messing with a Ouija board; I wonder if that’s going to be a stupid idea.  Oh look, there’s a creepy doll; I wonder if its going to inspire inventive deaths.  And so on and so forth.

Don’t misunderstand.  You can have excellent movie dealing with the usual suspects.  I know this.  It just takes a certain something to excite me, and that certain something hasn’t been popping up in trailers or film descriptions.

The Void was different.  I saw the trailer, I knew I had to see it.  Knew it.

Which is a scream, as The Void is nothing but a retread of old ideas.

I should say that this was the film makers’ intent.  It’s a throwback to Eighties Horror.  One of the movie’s web site mentions John Carpenter’s The Thing and the video game Silent Hill being inspirations.  While watching the film, though, I compared it more to Italian Horror flicks in general (City of the Living Dead sprung first to mind) and John Carpenter’s Prince of Darkness in specific.

Not to tread too deeply into dread spoiler territory, but Prince of Darkness is an excellent story to compare it to.  Both deal with a small group of people trapped in an isolated locale by a murderous group determined to keep the protagonists inside for obscure reasons of their own while another, single threat works towards an evil end.  They are both excellent examples of Lovecraftian Horror done without falling back on Old Providence’s mythos.

Prince of Darkness ultimately wins out over The Void, as the former’s story is not only far more coherent but doesn’t have the niggling little questions the later’s plot leaves unanswered.  Still, it’s not for lack of trying on The Void‘s part.  It’s by far the more ambitious of the two, filled with glorious practical effect monsters.  Also, I think it has more mood and general creepiness in its favor. Though it has been a while since I watched Prince of Darkness. I probably should rewatch it, just to make sure.

Oh to be blessed with such misfortune.

Everything about The Void is top-notch, from the acting to the scenery to the story (though, again, it could have used a wee bit of tightening.)  The person watching The Void with me felt the deaths didn’t have the impact they should have, and were for the most part silly, but I didn’t agree with that at all. Still, it might be worth keeping in mind.

  For me, two days after viewing the film, I can’t help to think it was a very well done film.  Maybe not great, maybe just very good (1.5 points), but whose complaining, right?  I like The Void a great deal (1.5 points) and RECOMMEND it to Horror Fans.  Especially those fans who are over-saturated with CGI

The monsters are great.

Score: 3 points out of a possible 4 (-_-) d

 

The Slayer

Date:
1982
Stars:
Sarah Kendall
Frederick Flynn
Carol Kottenbrook
Writer:
J.S. Cardone

Bill Ewing
Director:
J.S. Cardone
WRC Score:
3/4

A retreat to a secluded island turns to terror as The Slayer stalks a couple of couples. Who will live? Who will die? Who will write the long form of this review so I don’t have to?

Nah, I’m just playing. It’s already in the can.

For the majority of its run time this flick is, if not a scary film, then a moody one. The characters don’t descend to hatefulness thanks to the actors (maybe), but you probably won’t care if most of them died. Or none of them. Or all of them.

It’s a low budget affair, so if you don’t expect too much, you probably won’t be that disappointed. Just know going in that the lead female is having mental issues and, yeah, she tries desperately to get the others to believe her about the evil going down.

Deeply original this film just isn’t, but for the most part there’s nothing wrong with it, outside it isn’t really scary.

“Majority of its run time.” “For the most part.” Sounds like a major caveat coming, doesn’t it?

Here it is, in as mild a spoiler as I can manage.

In the last third The Slayer commits a major sin that I can’t look past. I knew it was coming from around the credits, I was braced for its appearance. Still didn’t matter. It should never have happened.

Thus I’m taking a half point off, pushing a meh flick down to bad (0.5 points). I also can’t say that I like it that much, though a part of me really seems to want to. I don’t dislike it, though, so that’s an official meh (1.0 point).

Your mileage might vary, but I really don’t think so.

Il gatto nero

Opening Thoughts

Also Known As:

The Black Cat

Demons 6: De Profundis

Date:
1989
Stars:
Florence Guérin

Urbano Barberini

Caroline Munro
Writer:
Luigi Cozzi
Director:
Luigi Cozzi
WRC Score:
0.5/4
Note: 
First posted in
a different form
on July 19, 2011

Two minutes, I knew Il gatto nero was a mess.  Not ten minutes into this movie and I wanted to watch something else. And worse?  The movie itself was giving suggestions as to what to seek out.  Such wonderful, wonderful suggestions.

But, as you’re reading this you know that I did indeed watch all of Il gatto nero. Watched it all and wrote a review for it.

I’d like to tell you this was due to some sense of duty.  Some need to warn the world.  Some inner strength that all great reviewers have.

This, though, would be a lie.  The only reason I finished this review is because I couldn’t find the movies I really wanted to watch.  Despite searching.

For hours.

And hours.

God damn it.

Amusingly, now that I’m rebooting my site, I can find the movies I wanted to watch quite easily.

Il gatto nero?  Not so much.

Big tears streaming down my face.

In any case, I hope that my extreme anguish is your great pleasure.  You sadists.  The review begins on the next page.

Paura nella città dei morti viventi

Opening Thoughts

Also Called:

City of the Living Dead

Gates of Hell

Date:
1980
Stars:
Christopher George

Catriona MacColl

Carlo De Mejo

Writer:
Lucio Fulci
Director:
Lucio Fulci
WRC Score:
3.5/4
Note: 
First posted in
a different form
on March 19, 2011

Here we go, back into the world of Italian Horror.  Last time I had the pleasure (if I might sully the word pleasure) of witnessing The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Tomb, a film that makes you wish someone would gather up every last copy of it, set it on fire so that you might foul the ashes.  This time, it’s a work by the Gore-Hound’s best friend, Lucio Fulci, the guy who brought us zombies fighting sharks and women who scuba dive in the nude.

Classy pictures, don’t you know.[1.]

Paura nella città dei morti viventi was my first Fulci movie, and, frankly, my expectations were quite low.  That might explain the high marks I gave it.

2016-City of the Living Dead-Side Note-001Then again, there are quite a few stylish touches in the film and, after watching too many screaming dead teen movies beforehand it was nice to see someone who seemed to know what they were doing, horrorwise.

In any case, let’s go see what’s to see in a city of the living dead.

Il gatto nero

Also Known As:

The Black Cat

Demons 6: De Profundis

Date:
1989
Stars:
Florence Guérin

Urbano Barberini

Caroline Munro
Writer:
Luigi Cozzi
Director:
Luigi Cozzi
WRC Score:
0.5/4
Note: 
First posted in
a different form
on July 19, 2011

My usual course of action here is to give a small spoiler free summary of the subject here in the opening paragraphs before moving on to the main review.  With Il gatto nero (which goes by so many more names that just The Black Cat) any summary I give you will give you the impression of a coherency this flick simply does.  Not.  Have.  The best I can do is call it a Horror “sequel” to Suspiria that’s about an attempt to make a “sequel” to Suspiria.  And not the actual sequel; that never gets mentioned.

Even without comparison to better works (which, for some reason, this flick repeatedly brings up) Il gatto nero would be a chore through. Bizarre cuts, bizarre plot, and bad acting, all the low points you expect from the very worst of Italian Horror. Il gatto nero is one awful movie (0 points), one  that I really didn’t like (.5 point).

Oh, and black cats have nothing to do with the plot. For the record.  Making us two for two in that regard.

You’ve been warned.

Overall Score: 0.5 total point out of a possible 4

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Paura nella città dei morti viventi

Also Called:

City of the Living Dead

Gates of Hell

Date:
1980
Stars:
Christopher George

Catriona MacColl

Carlo De Mejo

Writer:
Lucio Fulci
Director:
Lucio Fulci
WRC Score:
3.5/4
Note: 
First posted in
a different form
on March 19, 2011

2016-link-box-002

Paura nella città dei morti viventi (also known as City of the Living Dead and Gates of Hell) begins with a psychic viewing the suicide of a priest.  But this isn’t an ordinary suicide.  In fact, unless something is done quick the world will die.

Loads of laffs around, eh?

City of the Living Dead wasn’t what I was expecting.

Oh, I knew about the gore, and with it being an Italian Horror flick there’d almost have to be several plot conveniences, characters who aren’t much more than cardboard, and moments that made no damn sense at all.  It comes with the subgenre, and this is no exception.

Nevertheless, City of the Living Dead brings the goods in terms of unease and horror.  It is a shining example of the best of Italian Horror.

I almost want to give it a great score, but there’s really too much wrong with the script for that.  We’ll settle on good (1.5 points).  I had a blast watching City of the Living Dead and probably would again some day (2 points).  I don’t quite dare recommend it, in part because all of this might be Cullen Likes and not actual good taste.  But if you can stomach Eighties style gore, you should find a worthy flick here.

Oh, one other thing.  If you’re queasy about maggots, avoid.

Maybe even run away.

You might wanna start now, in fact.

Overall Score: 3.5 total points out of a possible 4

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