Gross Movie Reviews #332
By Tim Gross
Assault on Precinct 13 (DVD) – John Carpenter’s second feature in 1976 is just brilliant! Great music, great characters, and Carpenter makes a no budget project feels like a big budget action fest. The film also stars Nancy Loomis and Charles Cyphers who would be in Carpenter’s next big film “Halloween”. Lt. Bishop is sent to the Anderson Precinct first day on the job to oversee its closing as the station moved. Nothing much is left except some boxes and a couple staff working there. Soon Lt. Bishop is in for the night of his life as a special agent with three prisoners who are being transferred and one is sick. They don’t have anything there to help but to try and call a doctor in. Also a man out of his mind wonders in talking about killing someone after his daughter was killed. Night falls and an unlimited amount of gang members call for war against the precinct to get the man that killed one of their own. Bishop soon relies on a mysterious prisoner, a receptionist, and himself to take a gang that will stop at nothing to kill all who are in the way of one man. This may be the best western, action, masterpiece that was overlooked for years by Carpenter fans during its time?! This film marks the beginning of a filmmaker who was about to unleash an unimaginable amount of brilliant films in the next several years. If you never have seen it do yourself a favor and watch it. If you have seen and it’s been awhile do yourself a favor and rewatch it as I believe it’s a piece of cinema we rarely have the blessing of seeing very often if at all these days… I give the masterpiece 4 stars.
Nightbreed (Blu-ray/DVD) – Well the much talked about uncut/Cabal cut (sort of) of Clive Barker’s cult monster film has finally been released nearly 24 years later. For years I and other cult fans of the flick have screamed about seeing a more complete version of the film. Even Clive Barker for years talk about wanting the fans to see what he created so many years ago. Now with that in mind did we get everything…? No is the best answer. But why is because some of the footage from 1989/1990 was just downright unusable. But if you are a hardcore fan there is a bootleg version overseas floating around called, “The Cabal cut”. But most of that footage and interviews about it is in the extras of the Blu-ray version and the so-called limited edition of “Nightbreed” that was released by Shout Factory/Scream Factory. This new uncut version is 20 minutes longer, some different music pieces, different ending, and a lot of different stuff that will make a Nightbreed fan’s heart happy with content just to hold what some considered “The Holy Grail” the past two decades. Your best bet is to own the Blu-ray version as it has a lot of stuff worth checking out as the so-called limited edition is cool but does not justify its $71 to $80 price tag. The Blu-ray does have the uncut version that will make you happy to own and just wait for the extras to pop up on YouTube (which several people have told me they have already been up with several attempts for them to be taken down) or just wait a year if not less for that despicable price tag to go down. Now getting away from that, I must applaud Shout Factory and Clive Barker with the film and its extras. By some chance you are a horror movie or monster movie fan that has never had the pleasure of viewing this film, now is a good time to watch it as the new transfer of the film is above and beyond that snap case relic from years ago. Midian is where the monsters live and Boone keeps having weird fantastical dreams about monsters and Midian to the point it is consuming him and affecting his relationship with his girlfriend. But little does Boone know his doctor played perfectly by David Croenberg has other things in mind as he wants to see, the knowledge of the monsters and Midian. Boone finds his way to Midian and soon dies after only to become a part of the tribe or Nightbreed. The film is an amazing mix of fantasy, monsters as heroes, the afterlife, serial killers that the world and 20th Century Fox wasn’t exactly ready for in 1990. I give this beautiful film about monsters 4 stars and thank you Clive Barker for you being so talented.
Body Bags (DVD) – A fun anthology that is rarely talked about among horror fans that John Carpenter put together in 1993 for Showtime. Carpenter plays a caretaker or morgue worker or a zombie, you decide as he is the thing that puts all three stories together. Carpenter directed the first two stories and Tobe Hooper directed the third. The first called, “The Gas Station” is a fun lunatic escapes and is killing people story that stars all of Carpenter’s friends. My favorite is Wes Craven as the pasty old white guy buying cigarettes! The second story called, “Hair” is an odd sci-fi story starring Stacey Keach who wants more hair on his balding skull and goes see a creepy doctor played by David Warner for an experimental hair treatment! The third story directed Tobe Hooper is called, “Eye”. It’s about a character played by Mark Hamill who is a baseball player about to make it in the majors but has a terrible accident where he loses his eye and it’s replaced with another through experimental surgery. He soon has terrible visions and also tries to kill his pregnant wife a few times. And it’s all wrapped up with Tobe Hooper and Tom Arnold performing an autopsy on Carpenter. I give the fun anthology 3 stars.
Teen Wolf (DVD) – The film that made it possible to make a PG rated sex comedy that has Michael J. Fox as a werewolf who is able to play basketball and help his high school win the championship. This entertaining film took the formula from the early 80s sex comedies and made it acceptable for Disney crowd. I give it 3 stars.
Captain America The Winter Soldier (DVD) – The sequel to the surprising fun first flick has Steve Rogers trying to still adjust to a new world different from his 70 years ago and questioning whether he should still work for S.H.E.I.L.D. Steve doesn’t want anybody to get close to him and is told to not trust anyone by Nick Fury. But a new enemy has been born or reborn and its HYDRA as they have been on the inside of S.H.I.E.L.D. from the beginning and it’s up to Captain America, Black Widow, and Cap’s new winged friend to bring it all down before the new HYDRA goes online and kills millions. Good film but couldn’t help to feel like it’s only in existence to bridge the gap between “Avengers” films? I give it 3 stars.
Apocalypse of the Dead (DVD) – A lower budgeted zombie film from overseas starring Ken Foree who was also a producer for the film. Interpol agents are transferring a prisoner when they arrive in town they just happen to be in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. Lots of zombies, lots of bad effects, and lots of shaky cam make this a zombie film that you should pass on. I always love seeing Ken Foree in a horror film but this is bad as the shaky cam will annoy you before the first zombie is shot in the head. I give the film a ½ star.
Animal (Chiller Channel/DVD) – Five friends are out in the mountains for an all day hike. A brother and sister haven’t done this since they were kids but know their way around the woods even when it gets dark. But soon they all are being stalked by a creature that has them trapping themselves a in a cabin with some other people who have been tracked and trapped. Soon tensions rise and the group become restless as ideas on how to escape are scarce. Great gore scenes, great looking practical make-up creature, and lack of origin of the creature makes this an interesting watch for horror fans as I give the flick 3 stars!
Killdozer (DVD) – An ABC Saturday night movie from 1974 about a crew of construction workers working on an island off of Africa trying to clear for new construction. One day while trying move some earth a bulldozer comes in contact with a meteor that had been buried in the dirt and a blue light is absorbed by the dozer causing it to be taken over by a strange alien force. Soon the “Killdozer” is smashing the camp and mowing down construction workers one by one. A great B-flick from the 70s that you it’s bad but a good bad from the start. I give the flick 2 stars.
Kolchak: The Night Strangler (DVD) – Another TV movie from the early 70s starring Darren McGavin as Carl Kolchak a reporter who has been fired and had to move to Seattle to seek another job. Kolchak finds a familiar face and gets with a newspaper to receive his first job and it’s about the recent murders in the square where young women have been murdered with no clues of who or what it could be? Soon Kolchak finds himself in familiar territory where after doing research he has found there have been six murders in the same area every 21 years for the past century. Of course no one believes him but that doesn’t stop him from insulting the police chief, the owner of the paper he works for, and being arrested. Great flick and if you are an X-file show fan this is required viewing as I give the film 3 stars.
Demons (DVD) – Synapse Films is rereleasing new versions of “Demons” on DVD and Blu-ray and if you were not lucky enough to snag the ‘Steelbook’ edition this is a good chance for you to get the Lamberto Bava and Dario Argento project at a reasonable price. Great transfer and color correction make this improved disc a must have for horror fans compared to the ones released several years ago by Anchor Bay. A woman is offered a free ticket to an unknown movie showing at a theater that has just reopened. She grabs one for her girlfriend so they can skip class and go check out what it’s all about. Then an unsuspecting audience begins watching a horror film about four poor souls who are in a strange cemetery where they find a strange mask that if someone puts it on they will become a demon. There just so happens to be the same mask in the lobby and someone has scratch themselves with it and soon a demon takes over the host’s body and begins feasting, ripping, tearing into other audience members flesh! The gore scenes look absolutely beautiful compared to the older versions of the film released. I give the new release at www.synapse-films.com 3 ½ out of 4 stars. The only downside is really no extras but uncertain if there is much bonus material out there?
Demons 2 (DVD) – Well of course if Synapse is gonna release the first “Demons” film you know they were gonna get the rights to rerelease the sequel also. Again a great transfer and colorful, an improvement over the disc from Anchor Bay. I do not like the second film as much as the first but it does have a great scene of a child that has turned into a demon chasing a pregnant woman around her apartment. This time during a birthday party Sally becomes engrossed with several others in a TV show that shows four people entering an abandoned town that was supposedly overrun with Demons! The Demons are awakening again and possess the birthday girl Sally so she can slash and gash her guests for her demon delight. Synapse Films does a wonderful job again and make this a must buy for a lot of horror fans out there as I give the movie 2 ½ stars. You can purchase the DVD or Blu-ray at www.synapse-films.com .
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