Cult

OMBC – Odd Apocalypse

The fifth book in the Odd Thomas series and it shows, is Odd Apocalypse. This one is hands down my least favorite in the series to date, having drifted father and farther from what made this series so good. I have a few gripes about this book, but I have some praise as well.

 

That was my jumbled thoughts on Odd Apocalypse. See you next month

OMBC – The Oath

The Oath by Frank Peretti came recommended by a coworker. So, upon his advice I picked up a copy with some rather high expectations. Expectations that were for the most part delivered on. I don’t have much negative to say about The Oath. As it’s a layered, engrossing novel that has a large cast of vivid characters. The Oath is considered to be one Frank Peretti’s best works, which makes me wonder about his other works and for being Christian Fiction, The Oath doesn’t feel overly preachy. Something I like.

Those are my thoughts on The Oath. Next Month I’ll be continuing with Odd Thomas series with Odd Apoccolypse by Dean Koontz.  See you next month and until then keep reading.

Puppet Master

I have some very fond memories of this franchise. Not this film in particular mind, but the Puppet Master series as a whole. This is the film that fostered my love for Full Moon Entertainment. Many of the puppets being as nostalgic and memorable horror creatures for me as Frankenstein or Jason. I remember renting it at the local video store and for years my only take away was the puppets. Which honestly are the best part.

The film opens with Andre Toulon (William Hickey) is in hiding from the Nazis in Bodega Bay. He’s warned of his discovery by one of his living puppets Blade, as Toulon has stolen the secret of creating life. He hides Blade and his other puppets inside a chest inside the wall before committing suicide before the Nazi agents could arrive. Flash forward to 1989, a group of psychics consisting of Alex Whitaker (Paul Le Mat), Dana Hadley (Irene Miracle), Carissa Stamford (Kathryn O’Reilly) and Frank Forester (Matt Roe) are invited to go see their associate Neil Gallagher (Jimmie F. Skaggs) and his wife Megan (Robin Franks) at the Bodega Bay Inn where they live. The group thinks that Neil may have found Toulon’s secret hidden there. But when they get there, they learn from Megan that Neil has committed suicide. Even showing them his body, which is prepared for his funeral. Though things are not all well at this mysterious wake. As the psychics have visions of violence and their impending deaths. Visions that quickly become to real when they start being hunted by Toulon’s puppets…

The actual plot of this film isn’t the best. Even the characters aren’t memorable, bleeding into on another. Until they feel less than compelling. The acting is mediocre at best to lazy at worst and maybe the biggest down fall of this film is the villain. Once it’s revealed who’s reanimated the puppets and set them to kill, it’s a bit underwhelming. As are his reason.

The best part is by far the puppets, Blade, Pinhead, Tunneler and Leach Woman to name a couple. Each one is distinct both visually and by mannerism. Out of all of them my favorite is probably Blade, but Pinhead is a very strong contender.

The dread location of a old Inn works great. It always for a depth of atmosphere and plenty of crannies for the puppets to hide in. The old building gives the film an absolute ton character.

Final thoughts, not my favorite in the series. But, it’s still good and for me personally this entry is among the best. Puppete Master s its puppets, which are memorable and at times unsettling. 9/10

Midnight Movie

While doing some research in preparation of a second season of Slasher Series, I came across this 2008 slasher gem. Though unable to make the time to a proper video review, I decided to review it all the same. Those that read this blog should be well aware of my deep fondness for Slasher films. I can say that Midnight Movie is a decent slasher, with a large victim pool and memorable dread location. Though the killer leaves something to be desired, as do the kills.

Midnight Movie opens with a psychiatrist, trying to help one of his patients Ted Radford (Arthur Roberts), who has suffered a mental breakdown and thinks he’s the killer from his film The Dark Beneath that he made forty years prior. The psychiatrist has Radford watch his film in hopes that it will allow him to come to terms with what ever. This decision is contested by another psychiatrist Dr. Wayne (Michael Swan), but his objections are ignored and he leaves for the night. When he returns later he finds signs of a massacre  with no bodies ever being found. Five years later, A small local theater is showing The Dark Beneath as a midnight special for the first time since the massacre at the psychiatric hospital. The manger Bridget (Rebekah Brandes) along with two employees Kenny (Shaun Ausmus) and Rachael (Brea Grant) prepare the theater and welcome the small group of attendees. Including a biker couple Harley (Stan Ellsworth) and Babe (Melissa Steach), Bridget’s boyfriend Josh (Daniel Bonjour), Josh’s friend Mario (Greg Cirulnick) and Mario’s girlfriend Samantha (Mandell Maughan). Tagging along is their awkward friend and horror buff Sully (Michael Schwartz). Also in attendance is Dr. Wayne and Detective Barrons (Jon Briddell), who both believe that Radford will make an appearance since this is first time in years that his film has been played and lastly Bridget’s little brother Timmy (Justin Baric), who sneaked in. As the film plays those attending notice strange occurrences such as the killer attacking those in the building. When they go to investigate they learn that the killer can leave the film and take his victims back with inside it with him. When the frightened survivors try to flee the theater they realize that what ever power has allowed the killer to escape his film has trapped them inside with him…

I love the set up for this film, and the split dread locations. The idea the killer can leave his film and also take others back with him is interesting to say the least. The fact that the film is Slasher adds a great element of a Slasher within a Slasher that I greatly enjoyed. I might of actually enjoyed The Dread Beneath more than Midnight Movie itself.  The old, colorful theater plays wonderfully against the black and white world of the Dread Beneath. Creating a great visual contrast.

The victim pool was less amazing. I loved a small handful of the characters, Harley and Babe mostly. But Rachael and Timmy were also fun, if short-lived in Rachael’s case. I also love how the film sets up Bridget up as more of victim-hero over the standard final girl trope by giving her a darker back story filled with abuse at the hands of her father.

Though not all of Midnight Movie was great in my opinion. It has a number of weak spots that are glaring if you watch enough Slasher films. The killer Radford’s motives are never clearly defined. He just kills for the sake of killing, which ruins the inciting incident. He has no reason to go all murder happy, he’s just evil. Much in the same vein that Michael Myers is just murder happy. But Michael Myers still had a goal, to murder his sister providing some idea of intent or design. Here he just kills.

The weapon of choice wasn’t the greatest either. A spiral knife… thing, while it looks cool is never seen in use as the most of the violence with it is hidden or happens off-screen. But most of kills are with said weapon causing a lot of kills to feel old hat and uninventive. I would have liked to see more variety and creativity in the killers methods.

Lastly the gore leaves a lot to be desired. Midnight Movie feels incredibly tame in this regard, much like a PG-13 horror film might be. Even though it’s rated R it never really uses the rating. Giving the film a bit of a soft feeling. When you do see gore it looks fake and even comical, which is fine but doesn’t fit with rest of the films tone.

Final thoughts, I liked it. It had been a while since I watched a Slasher and it was great to get back to seeing the kind of films I love to watch. But the weak kills and a slow pace also made Midnight Movie a bit of slog to get through at times and with the uninventive kills gets even a tad monotonous. If your fan of the genre I would recommend it, if you’re looking to get  into the genre there is defiantly better places to start. 7/10

Sacrifice

Sacrifice while good, feels incredibly generic. Many of the elements of this film have already been done, and have been done better. Sacrifice has a strange ambiance feels like a strange mixture of The Wicker Man (1973) and Jug Face. Well, at least to me. The Sacrifice while engaging at times, never really hooked me. The mood and pacing are wonderful, and I love the slow reveal of the film. It just felt like I had already seen it though, being well shot and acted doesn’t account for much when you know the twists and turns long before they arrive.

Dr. Tora Hamilton (Radha Mitchell) an obstetrician, moves to the small sleepy town on the Shetland Islands off the coast of Scotland with her husband, Ducan (Rupert Graves) after experiencing a number of miscarriages. The islands are home to Ducan’s family, and to an adoption institution. Where Tora both works and plans to adopt from. After work she returns home and finds a dead cow in her back field, so she decides to bury it by her self with a back hoe. While digging the cows grave she uncovers the body of a murder woman. The woman is discovered to have been ritualistically sacrificed after giving birth. Dr. Tora becomes obsessed with discovering the identity of the woman. As she digs, Tora uncovers a century old cult, who believe them selves to be more than human and after mating they sacrifice the mother after bearing them strong sons. A cult that is very much alive, and one that knows Tora is looking into them…

The sad thing is there’s a story in there, a good story. But, the generic feeling of the film heavily undermines it. While I think this film is wonderfully shot and that the acting ranged from good to great across the board, nothing popped. Nothing grabbed me and pulled me in, while a good story. There a number of times when Sacrifice had me interested, but then the plot would meander a bit slowing everything down.

I loved the acting in this film. The actors do a great job. Beyond the two principal characters, the supporting cast does a great job. I especially Joanne Crawford as Sgt. Dana Tulloch, who fits incredibly well into this role.  The cult leaders and members are also well done, though at times feel like they’re trying to be menacing. Rather than just be menacing.

Final Thoughts, overall I feel while okay. Maybe as far decent, isn’t that good. Sacrifice is one of the films that doesn’t equal the sum of its parts. I loved the acting, the story, the mood and the atmosphere. But the film as whole wasn’t that enjoyable. The plot feels tired, but also feels like it could have been exceptional and is a real missed opportunity. 4/10

My Best Friend is a Vampire

I liked this film a lot less than I had expected I would going in. It mostly suffers from being, in my opinion not that good. I wouldn’t go as far as to call this film awful though. As it is at least entertaining. My main issue is how dated the film feels, which is strange since 80’s charm is normally a big seller for me. More it was how dated the humor was, but ill get into that more later.

My best friend is a Vampire starts with narrator Jeremy Capello (Robert Sean Lenard), a popular, or at least well regarded high school student’s dream. In the dream he’s torn between choosing the popular cheerleader Candy Andrews (LeeAnne Locken) and nerdy Darla Blake (Cheryl Pollak). While trying to decided he is seduced by a mysterious woman (Cecilia Peck). In waking life, Jeremy isn’t torn at all as he sets his eyes on Darla, while Candy sets hers on him. Darla is initially cold to Jeremy, but warms to him quickly. One night at his job delivering groceries, he delivers to Nora. Who looks just like the woman from his dreams, she makes a move on him though they lead no where since Jeremy leaves. At school Jeremy’s best friend Ralph (Evan Mirand) upon hearing his story convinces Jeremy to return to her that night. In attempt at a sexual liasion. Which actually kind of works out, though while Jeremy and Nora, the mysterious woman are get hot and heavy. As Nora bites Jeremy’s neck they are interrupted by Professor McCarthy (David Warner) and his assistant Grimsdyke (Paul Willson) break in. Jeremy flees thinking McCarthy is Nora’s husband and flees along with Ralph in Ralph’s car. The car is seen fleeing by Grimsdyke who is able to see the bumper sicker for the high school Jeremy and Ralph attend. Over the next couple days Jeremy starts noticing some changes. Changes that get even more complicated when Modoc (Rene Auberjonois), a vampire, shows up to teach him the ropes. Leaving Jeremy to balance school, is romantic life, and stopping MCCarthy, who think Ralph is the vampire.

So my first gripe is the dated humor. Well not so much the humor as a whole, but the humor in one particular scene. After Ralph learns the Jeremy is a vampire. Ralph has Jeremy go to a club with him so that Jeremy can use his mind control powers on ladies to get Ralph laid. The joke is that Jeremy isn’t any good at it and keeps messing it up. My issue is that their intention is to essentially commit rape. But the whole scene is a joke and never takes a second to think about what the characters actions say about them.

For the most part it doesn’t feel like much of anything is going on. Sure, McCarthy s there to force the plot along. But for the most part it takes it easy.

Another gripe is his the female leads. Both are interested in Jeremy and the to movie tries to play up this aspect a little, but mostly just during the beginning. Darla and Candy are both woefully underdeveloped. But so is everyone, even Jeremy. Though no character leaves me with questions or scratching my head like Modoc.

Final thoughts, over all I didn’t like it. Sure you get to see young Robert Sean Lenard, or if you like either Rene Auberjonois or David Warner. This film might be worth a watch for you. Though be warned the humor is just as dated as the hair styles. 4/10

OMBC – The Hellbound Heart

The main if not only reason I read this book is because I’m a fan of the Hellraiser series and wanted to see where it started. Also while being very aware of Clive Barker I can’t think of any one of his novels that I have read. Overall the short length and some of the characters left me feeling underwhelmed. After reading the book I can see why the changes that were made were done so, for the most part.

Next month I’ll be reading Thor by Wayne Smith, see you then and keep reading.