Gross Movie Reviews #283
By Tim Gross
Paranorman (DVD) – A perfect stop motion feature about an 11 year old kid named Norman who just happens to talk his dead grandmother… and everyone and everything else that has died. Apparently Norman has this power to see the dead and because of it he does not have any living friends. But soon Norman’s power is needed to help his small town from being destroyed by a 300 year old legend of a young witch wrongly accused by adults who didn’t understand. Norman’s crazy uncle after death tries to explain to Norman he is the key, but to Norman he just wants to be left alone. This movie is just freaking awesome as it is a kids movie but has enough adult horror movie themes that will make all horror movie fans happy! I believe this film has the charm of The Monster Squad and will be considered a classic by most people. I give the stop motion film 4 stars.
Alienator (VHS) – Fred Olen Ray made a 1989 sci-fi film that stars Jan-Michael Vincent, P.J. Soles, Joe Pilato, and Robert Clarke… And if that wasn’t enough it’s about a muscle bound woman cyborg that comes to earth capture the prisoner that has escaped a prison planet light years away. It’s very bad but so god at the same time! I give it 2 ½ stars for just the mere star power of the film.
Life Blood (DVD) – A vampire film that starts with a great premise of a lesbian couple given immortal vampirism by God in 1969, if they use their powers for good. Sounds like fun until you watch this horribly executed film that wastes performances from the likes of Charles Napier, the oddly attractive Scout Taylor-Compton, and that fat redhead kid from The Sandlot. Do me a favor and just pass this title up if you come across it as your life will be better for it. I give it a ½ star.
Biohazard (VHS) – One of the early films of Fred Olen Ray and perhaps one of the hardest to find out there in the movie market these days is fun no budget rip-off of Alien with Fred’s kid as the rubber suited alien! It’s not great by any means but you can see Fred Olen Ray using this film as a stepping stone to make up the future structure of Fred Olen Ray movies and what mistakes not to make in future projects. If you are a fan of Mr. Olen Ray’s and/or a horror nerd, it is worth tracking down. I give it 1 ½ stars.
Peeping Tom (DVD) – A somewhat overlooked 1960 classic that I finally had the chance to witness and was always interested in the film since Joe Bob Briggs refers to this film a lot through his books. Mark Lewis is a quiet type of guy who loves film and likes living alone constantly running his projector at night. But Mark’s love or obsession is taken one step further when he decides to only film women but kill them so he is able to watch the sheer terror on their faces over and over. Mark uses his camera as an extension of himself. Soon Mark becomes confused with the young lady downstairs who has shown an interest in him and Mark wants to change. A solid film that I now understand why Joe Bob Briggs talks about a lot and has a great ending for a classic horror flick, I give the film 3 ½ stars.
The Scare Game (VHS) – Eric Stanze’s first independent film that he written and directed in 1992. Six friends are pulled into a Dungeons and Dragons type of game that the only goal is to survive. Every few years a group of humans are challenged by the demon. But one by one the demon that brought the game to them is killing them. A very rough film but has its moments of gore and fun and if anything Mr. Stanze I believe learned a lot from making this shot on video movie for future projects. I give the film 2 stars. If interested it also has some cool behind the scenes stuff and trailers of a young filmmaker in the making.
Hotel Transylvania (DVD) – A cool animated feature that begins in 1895 when Dracula is taking care of his baby girl and has a dream of a safe place being built where humans would never bother his baby girl. A few years later Hotel Transylvania is born. Now, present day, Dracula’s little girl is all grown up at the ripe age of 118 years old and she wants to see the world but her father will not allow it because he is afraid what the humans might do to her? The film has all the classic monsters: the Mummy, Frankenstein, Invisible Man, Bigfoot, the Gillman, etc. And everything Dracula has built over the years for all monsters is threaten when a human boy comes mountain climbing to the castle and Dracula is forced to try and hide him from the other monsters. A great feature for the kids and it is still fun for the adults. I may prefer Paranorman but this film is needed to be shared with other horror movie fans as I give it 3 ½ stars.
Half Past Midnight (DVD-R) – A rare short horror film from a one-time filmmaker Wim Vink about a high school girl being bullied and abused decides to go on a vengeful killing spree of her classmates. Nothing beats a teenage girl killing people with an electric chainsaw that she plugs into her little utility belt! I give it 2 stars.
X-Men: First Class (DVD) – The fifth film in the successful X-men live action series decides to tell the story of how Magneto and Professor X came to be and how they started the X-men. The film mostly centers on Xavier and Erik a lot more than the other films but it also shows how original characters Beast/Hank McCoy and Raven/Mystique came to be and why they made the choices that have made them what they are in the films made before this prequel. For comic book fans it introduces the Hellfire Club and some of the faces and names of important people in future stories of the X-men. The movie for me was surprising great and declares after five films the X-men series is just getting started. For me personally the only disappointment may have been Emma Frost who seemed plain where she is more busty and outgoing in the comics and cartoons. And I still say I enjoy Kelsey Grammer as Beast. I give the film 3 ½ stars.
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