The Stepfather (1987)

Terry O’Quinn, most known for playing John Locke in TV’s Lost, plays a sadistic serial killer who invades unsuspecting families before murdering them when he’s had enough. His new step-daughter Susan has a bad feeling about him and when things get too tense, he begins to setup his next target.

There are some grisly killings and much of the suspense comes from knowing who the killer is while everyone around him is oblivious. It does the psychological thrilling.

O’Quinn nails the role without a doubt. His presence and intensity really push the character to the next level. By the time the climax rolls around, I was pretty into it. I jumped a couple of times.

This is not some horror masterpiece, but O’Quinn’s performance makes it worth watching once.

Rating:

Currently available to stream on Amazon Prime.

House IV (1992)

Roger Cobb (William Katt) is back from the first House movie, only to be killed off in the first 15 minutes in an awful car accident. His wife, Kelly (Terri Treas), and daughter move into the old family house, which is run down and looks haunted. You know, a typical fixer-upper.

Of course, spooky stuff is going to start happening: monsters, blood from the shower head, and hallucinations. The widow Cobb must decide if all of this is worth staying in the house.

Then a pizza delivery guy shows up and sings a song about being the pizza guy. This might be the most horrifying thing in the movie.

The plot takes some weird turns when Kelly Cobb visits a local Native American for answers, then some mobster thugs show up to force her into selling the house and land, led by Roger’s brother.

Seriously, what the crap? Honestly, I would not care if it was at least entertaining, but it just drags and drags until finally the credits roll and the forgetting begins. The first and second House movies were fun and campy, while this one is just a colossal waste of time.

Rating:

Currently available to stream here on YouTube.

Brainscan (1994)

The first time I saw this movie I thought it was fairly unique. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really hold up. Edward Furlong (Terminator 2’s John Conner) plays a reclusive high school kid who likes horror and video games. He decides to try a new game called Brainscan, dubbed the ultimate terror experience. As the game progresses, he starts to question what is real and what is the game, while also wondering if he’s turning into a serial killer.

It’s got a few good moments, and I remember relating to the angst of the teenage characters. The suspense putters out midway through. The plot is dictated by the gimmicky twist that is fairly obvious and probably not even meant to be a twist.

Frank Langella is the only real acting talent available. The rest are dogshit performances with Eddie Furlong’s range being sullen asswipe to Screamy McSpazzington.

Finally, I have to mention two scenes that irritated me. Both involved Eddie hiding in some sparse brush with someone standing a foot away and not noticing him at all. The first time: whatever, the guy was just walking in the woods with his dog. The second time was a cop with a flashlight searching for anyone or anything suspicious. I’d say the cop’s ineptitude matches the movie rather well.

Rating:

Not currently available to stream.

The Fly (1986)

From the twisted mind of David Cronenberg comes this 1980s remake of the 1958 Vincent Price classic. Jeff Goldblum plays Seth Brundle, a scientist who has invented teleportation. Geena Davis is the journalist who meets him at a party and wants to write a story about Brundle’s invention after seeing a demonstration.

Things take a frightening turn when Brundle goes into his own teleporter, unaware that he’s accompanied by a house fly. At first, he’s overjoyed that the teleportation worked, but then he starts changing in increasingly grotesque ways.

Goldblum and Davis have great chemistry and both deliver great performances of characters with actual depth. The FX and makeup sell the horrific transformation of Seth Brundle into the Brundlefly, and won an Oscar for Best Makeup.

Even after 32 years, this classic holds up. It’s gory, character-driven, and never slow. Plus, how can you not love Goldblum?

Rating:

Currently available to stream on Hulu

NFL Early Season Picks

Its much to early to make any real predictions about the NFL season. But everyone has played at least a quarter of their season so Im going to give it a go.

AFC East: Patriots (3-2)
I really want to root for the Dolphins but I just cant pick against the Patriots. Not as long as Brady and Belichick are in New England.

AFC North: Bengals (4-1)
Its the Bengals turn. The Ravens arent the worst but I dont think they have what it takes this year.

AFC South: Jaguars (3-2)
This is a garbage division. 9-7 will be all it takes to win here.

AFC West: Chiefs (5-0)
The Chiefs are the best team in the league right now. The Chargers could make something happen but I dont think theyll take the division.

NFC East: Redskins (2-2)
Easily the worst division in the league. None of these teams should be in the playoffs.

NFC North: Bears (3-1)
Before the season started, I would have picked the Packers or Vikings. Right now, however, I dont have a clue. At least 3 of these teams will be playing for a playoff spot in Week 17.

NFL South: Saints (4-1)
The NFC South is going to be a tough division to win. It could go to any of the 4 teams, even the 1-4 Falcons.

NFC West: Rams (5-0)
Just like the Chiefs, the Rams are red hot. Seahawks might be able to put something together but its probably too late already.

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Anaconda (1997)

Oh, you gotta love the late 90s. You got superstar Jennifer Lopez, Ice Cube, Owen Wilson, and Eric Stoltz as a documentary crew on a boat expedition down the Amazon River. They encounter Jon Voight as a Paraguayan snake hunter in need of rescue after his boat has trouble. It’s not long before the crew is being hunted by a giant anaconda, or are they bait for Jon Voight’s plan to bag a live anaconda?

This is definitely a horror movie “by the numbers” with jump scares, misdirection, building suspense with musical cues and camera angles, and the obligatory Ice Cube comic relief. In most cases, I dislike formulaic movies, but this one has a fast pace that presents the formula with precise accuracy.

Jon Voight brings a great presence of sinister leadership to the group, but his accent seems so ridiculous in a comical kind of way. Eric Stoltz spends most of the movie in an unconscious state, and that’s not a comment on his acting style.

The CGI snake parts are mostly awful, but the creature FX with models and puppets look pretty good.

The climax leaves a lot to be desired, but overall it’s fun little monster movie with a decent cast.

Rating:

Currently available to stream on Hulu

MLB Power Rankings – Divisional Round

Were down to 4 teams. The best two teams in the American League, the Red Sox and Astros, will be playing to find out who plays the 4th ranked Brewers or 7th ranked Dodgers.

RankTeamScoreWinsLosesChange
1Boston4240111-55Same
2Houston3815106-59Same
3NY Yankees2849102-65Same
4Milwaukee253799-67Up 1
5Oakland252997-66Down 1
6Chi Cubs201395-69Same
7LA Dodgers187795-72Same
8Seattle149389-73Up 1
9Colorado147992-75Down 1
10Tampa Bay136390-72Same
11Atlanta117391-75Same
12St. Louis111588-74Same
13Cleveland64791-74Same
14Pittsburg32082-79Same
15Arizona30482-80Same
16LA Angels16880-82Same
17Washington-3582-80Same
18Philadelphia-27980-82Same
19NY Mets-66477-85Same
20San Fracisco-99373-89Same
21Minnesota-104378-84Same
22Toronto-112673-89Same
23Texas-178167-95Same
24Cincinnati-186967-95Same
25San Diego-212266-96Same
26Miami-258363-98Same
27Detroit-314864-98Same
28Chi White Sox-338962-100Same
29Kansas City-399958-104Same
30Baltimore-489147-115Same
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Lifeforce (1985)

From horror master, Tobe Hooper, comes an adaptation of the novel The Space Vampires. The story began with a space mission finding an alien space ship hidden near Hailey’s Comet. The space ship had three humanoid life forms suspended in a sleep state, which the crew brings back to earth. Everyone aboard the space shuttle returns dead, and the humanoid aliens wake to suck the life out of everyone they meet.

Pretty much the only notable actor is Patrick Stewart in a small role. The rest of the cast is just OK, which is pretty sad. The female alien vampire is naked for most of her scenes, but that doesn’t really make up for the rest of the film’s shortcomings.

This is one of those movies that looks great on the surface: directed by Tobe Hooper, co-written by Dan O’Bannon (Alien, The Return of the Living Dead, Total Recall), and about space life-sucking vampires. Then you watch it and realize it’s one of the worst pieces of shit, because it should have been so much better.

It feels much longer than the close to 2 hour run time. It’s never scary or suspenseful. There are plenty of things happening, but the plot is all over the place, and none of the characters really matter. I did like some of the special FX involving the emaciated corpses of the life-sucked victims, which is kind of how I felt after watching this movie.

Rating:

Currently available to stream on Amazon Prime

Night of the Comet (1984)

After a comet passes close to earth, all the people who were watching the event are gone (only little piles of dust remain) and the few survivors left must deal with the post apocalyptic aftermath. People who were exposed to the comet, but didn’t turn to dust, became zombies.

The main character is a high school senior named Regina who is somewhat of a badass with an uzi. Her sister, Samantha, is a cheerleader who manages to survive against all odds. There is a the hero dude, Hector, who looks vaguely like Erik Estrada. Some scientists show up, seemingly to the rescue, but have ulterior motives for finding and helping other survivors.

The movie is quite low budget, but it manages to do a lot anyway. I liked how they processed all outdoor scenes to have a reddish hue in the sky. It added an eerie effect that sold the whole desolate apocalypse.

Sure it’s not the greatest movie ever made, but it has some fun moments and it never lingers on anything that is too boring.

Rating:

Currently available for streaming on Amazon Prime

NFL Power Rankings – Week 5

The Chiefs and Rams remain undefeated. Lots of movement all across the board. Bills Browns and Chargers all had a great week. The Broncos and Titans, however, did not fare so well.

RankTeamScoreWinsLossesTiesChange
1Chiefs16500Same
2Rams14500Same
3Bengals10410Up 1
4Saints7410Up 6
5Bears5310Same
5Panthers5310Up 5
5Jaguars5320Same
5Chargers5320Up 7
9Dolphins4320Down 4
9Ravens4320Down 4
11Titans3320Down 8
11Buccaneers3220Up 1
13Patriots2320Up 2
14Steelers1221Up 1
15Browns0221Up 7
15Packers0221Down 6
15Vikings0221Up 6
18Redskins-2220Down 3
18Bills-2230Up 7
18Seahawks-2230Same
21Jets-3230Up 4
21Broncos-3230Down 9
23Cowboys-5230Down 5
23Eagles-5230Down 5
25Texans-6230Up 5
25Lions-6230Up 6
27Falcons-7140Down 5
28Raiders-8140Down 6
28Giants-8140Down 3
28Cardinals-8140Up 3
3149ers-9140Down 6
32Colts-10140Down 3
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