• Category Archives Movie Reviews
  • 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


  • 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


  • 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


  • Vampire In Brooklyn (1995)

    This is one mess of a movie. One part horror, one part comedy, one part romance. That’s an awkward combo even when it’s not directed by horror master Wes Craven.

    Eddie Murphy plays Maximillian, a vampire who arrives in New York by boat and wants to find his soulmate, a half vampire police detective played by Angela Bassett. It’s like Bram Stoker’s Dracula meets Coming to America.

    Let’s start with the obvious problems:

    • Eddie Murphy as a villain – it’s just so unexpected
    • Eddie Murphy’s accent – is it Jamaican? European? What is it?
    • Eddie Murphy’s wig – holy fake hair, Batman!
    • Eddie Murphy’s voice-over – this is not how you tell a story
    • Eddie Murphy plays multiple characters – it’s just what he does!

    At no point is it very scary. The characters are boring and don’t give you anything to care about. It starts out fun, then all the blood is sucked out at around the 30-minute mark and it’s just a downward spiral from there. You have two options:

    1. Fall asleep
    2. Spend 45 minutes making popcorn

    Rating:

    Currently available for streaming on Amazon Prime (DON’T DO IT)


  • Summer of ’84 (2018)

    In the summer of 1984, a teenage boy becomes obsessed with his theory that a neighbor is the local serial killer who kidnaps and murders boys. He convinces his friends to search for evidence to support his theory.

    There was a lot to like in this movie. It was mysterious. The characters are likable and there is a good dynamic among the four friends. The 80s vibe and throwback nostalgia was appropriately rationed, so as to not be ridiculously in your face.

    I was concerned about the slower first half, but it worked out well as a slow burn build-up to the second half. The tension keeps building until the final climax and you’re left with a dread and many possibilities for a sequel. I’m not saying there should be a sequel, just that it ends in a way that is both satisfying and wide open.

    The whole time watching, I was getting vibes of The Goonies, Stand By Me, and The ‘Burbs. The music was also quite enjoyable with the synth tones that drive, haunt, and caress when necessary.

    Rating:

    Not available to stream.


  • Species II (1998)

    Well, they made a sequel and it’s a stinker. Basically, they amplified the sex and gore, while dumbing down the story even further. Luckily, not many people went to see it in the theater, so they only ended up making two more direct-to-video sequels.

    The movie starts with three astronauts on a mission to Mars. One of the soil samples they collected, contained some sort of alien goop which infected two of the three astronauts during their return trip. Rather than properly quarantining them when they are back on Earth, the doctor tells them they are not allowed to have sexual relations for 10 days (WTF?).

    The main astronaut guy, Patrick Ross (Justin Lazard), starts humping every woman he encounters and alien spawn babies pop out in horrific fashion after 5 minutes. The dude then keeps all his alien brood in a barn on the remote family farm.

    Meanwhile, Natasha Henstridge is back, this time as Eve, another alien/human hybrid. She senses some new alien has arrived and starts to get really horny after the scientists “activate” her alien DNA to give her the telepathic ability to locate Patrick. Great move, jackasses.

    Other returning cast members included Michael Madsen as the hitman guy and Marg Helgenberger as the lab scientist, collecting their paychecks. The performances aren’t the worst, but Natasha Henstridge was only hired for her body (again) and the astronaut Patrick guy, who is essentially the main character, has almost zero charisma or talent.

    Some of the special FX were laughably bad, like the creatures at the end flopping around like bad puppets. There really isn’t much to redeem this pile of alien goop.

    Rating:

    Available for streaming on Hulu