Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Iguana with the Tongue of Fire Movie Review 447

The Iguana with the Tongue of Fire is a 1971 horror movie directed by Riccardo Freda and starring Luigi Pistilli, Dagmar Lassander and Niall Toibin.

The movie begins with a woman being killed. Her body is found in the car boot of Ambassador Sobieski(Anton Diffring). Dr. Johnson(Toibin) is called to the house and he looks at the body. They turn it over to the cops. Inspector Lawrence(Arthur O' Sullivan) calls to see the Swiss Ambassador to Ireland who lives in Dublin and who has diplomatic immunity. He asks him if he knew the woman who was killed. He denies that he knew her. He thinks that it might be a frame up just to cause him trouble. He tells Lawrence that he can interview the staff. The cops question the chauffeur, Mandel who seems shifty. He tells them that he knows nothing. They let him go.

A grizzled cop called John Norton(Pistilli) is brought in to investigate and he starts having a relationship with Sobieski's daughter Helen(Lassander). Everyone is a suspect as more bodies turn up and people are dropping like flies. John's mother turns Miss Marple and tries to solve the case and things get really weird and confusing. The doctor turns up looking weird and sinister and we are left wondering if he is the killer. Sobieski's lover is found murdered but they have no clues. Sobieski heads off to Switzerland and John follows him to ask him some questions.

Someone tries to kill Sobieski over there. John comes back to Dublin and tries to find clues. Mandel calls John and tells him that he knows who the killer is but won't tell him over the phone. WHY??? He gets killed. Helen is almost killed by the gloved killer and she falls into the river but somehow survives. The killer calls to John's place and meets his mother and attacks her and John's daughter in a brutal fashion. John arrives back and there is a huge fight. The killer is revealed as Sobieski's son Marc. It is all very confusing. He goes out the window and dies. The movie ends with Norton talking to Lawrence about Sobieski who they think killed his lover and made it look as if it was the killer.
He is heading off to Switzerland and he thinks he has gotten away with it, but the authorities over there know what he has done and he is going to be in trouble when he gets there.

This film was confusing for one thing. There were red herrings all over the place. The doctor was looking like the killer, then Sobieski etc etc. There were some horrible Irish accents here. Some were English, some were unidentified and I just had to laugh. I did like the fact that it was filmed in Ireland and it was fun on the whole. I liked the killing scenes but there were some horrific special effects. It is a cheap affair with terrible dubbing and confusing twists and turns, but I did enjoy it in parts. It is unusual as it was set in Ireland and it is probably the only Giallo movie ever filmed here. This is worth seeing for the fun factor alone. It isn't going to be the best film you've ever seen, so be warned.Even the director took his name off of it!!! If you enjoy Giallo movies, then this is a curious one that is worth a look. I will give it a 5/10.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Maniac Movie Review 446

Maniac is a 1980 horror movie directed by William Lustig and starring Joe Spinell.

Frank(Spinell) is a very strange guy who  lives alone in his apartment with a lot of mannequins. That sounds normal right? Wrong. He is a total psycho who stalks women and kills them. He doesn't leave it there though. He scalps them and brings back their scalps t put on his mannequins. Frank is obsessed with his dead mother who was not a good role model for his when he was younger. Now, he has a shrine to her in his apartment. He seems to feel bad about it though and he cries about his crimes. He has nightmares about the people he has murdered, but he can't stop.

He is walking through the park when he spots a lady photographer. He sees her bag and her name is written on it. She is Anna(Caroline Munro) and he decides to call and see her. That evening, he follows a nurse and there is a great scene which takes place in the subway station where he looks for her and he eventually catches her and kills her. He calls over to see Anna and she talks to him about her job. She photographs models and he is very interested in that. They go out to dinner and he wants to see her again. She likes him. He calls over to watch a shoot in her apartment and he meets one of her models. He takes her necklace and later calls over as an excuse to come into her apartment. He kills her after bringing her to his apartment.

The movie comes to a close when Anna goes to a graveyard with him which is a silly thing to do and he attacks her. She runs off and injures him with a shovel. He can't catch her and so he goes home. He lies on his bed and he sees his mannequins come to life and attack him. They even pull of his head.
The film ends with Frank being found by cops who can see that he has killed himself by stabbing his knife into his stomach. They leave his place and his eyes open. Is he dead???

This film is a bit sleazy in my opinion. It is made on a shoestring budget but for all that, it is quite good. The main character looks seedy and strange so that works well. He looks like a guy who would be alone and without a woman. This is a realistic horror and it is gritty and tense in parts. I liked some of the scenes, especially when he is chasing the nurse through the subway. Spinell did very well in his part here and he really does convince you that he is a deranged guy who has been damaged by his mother. It looks dark and dingy and works very well as a horror movie. I liked it and it was entertaining on the whole. There is a bit of violence here but nothing major. I recommend it to any horror fans. I will give it a 6/10.

Monday, January 23, 2017

The Initiation Movie Review 445

The Initiation is a 1984 horror movie directed by Larry Stewart and starring Daphne Zuniga, Vera Miles and James Read.

Kelly Fairchild(Zuniga) is in college and she is going to join a sorority. She and her pals want to be in the sorority and they have to be pledges and go through an initiation first. The sorority sisters have a challenge for them and one of them Megan is a real bitch. She tells Kelly that she and her pals have to break into Kelly's dads department store and steal the night watchman's uniform and bring it to her.
There is a side story about patients breaking out of a mental institution. Kelly's parents, Frances(Miles) and her husband Dwight(Clu Gulager) are called by the institution to let them know and this hints that there is something fishy going on.

Meanwhile, at college, Kelly meets Peter(Read) who is a graduate assistant and she tells him about her weird dreams. He is interested in delving into it and he asks her to come to his small lab where he can run some tests. Her mother isn't too happy about Kelly telling Peter about her nightmares and she tells her that she should stay away from him. Kelly won't do it. She heads off to break into the department store. Her dad, Dwight, gets killed as he goes out to his car. The three pals go to the store and meet Megan who tells them that they have to do it in an hour. What they don't know is that the night watchman is dead. He has been killed. They think that he is in the store somewhere and Kelly goes to get a spare uniform to give to Megan.

Megan has ideas of her own and she gets two guy friends to scare the girls. So, this begins the killings which always happen in these movies. The girls begin to get killed and the guys too. The killer is prowling around in the store, killing at will. Kelly ends up being the only one left. Peter has been investigating Kelly's dreams and he sees an article about a guy called Jason Randall who is actually Kelly's real dad. He came home and saw his wife Frances with Dwight and there was a fight. Jason got burned and Kelly witnessed it all and that is why she can't remember her past. Her dad ended up in the institution while Dwight married Frances and pretended that he was her dad. Messed up!!! Of course, now we know why Frances got a phone call from the place. Jason is on the loose!!!

Back to Kelly and she tries to escape the killer who is stalking her. She sees Jason and she thinks that he is the killer and they end up on the roof where they have an argument.She ends up pushing him off and he dies. Peter arrives and sees Kelly but it isn't Kelly. It is her twisted twin who has broken out of the institution too(Yes this is the plot!!!) She stabs Peter and then she tries to kill Kelly. Jason had been following the twin and trying to cleaning up after her. Frances turns up and shoots her dead. Peter gets taken away and Kelly is left to look at her mother and wonder what the hell is going on.

This was a fun movie. I liked it. The plot had some twists and turns and the ending was a bit silly, but all in all, it is an entertaining 80's slasher movie and one that I had not seen until recently. If you enjoy slashers, like me, then this is a good way to spend an hour and a half. It is watchable and there are some good scenes in the department store as the kids get killed. This is worth a look if you like the sound of it. I recommend it. I will give it a 5/10.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Ouija:Origin Of Evil Movie Review 444

Ouija:Origin of Evil is a 2016 horror movie sequel directed by Mike Flanagan and starring Elizabeth Reaser and Henry Thomas.

In 1965, a woman called Alice Zander(Reaser) is a medium but she is a fake. She works with her daughter Lina(Annalise Basso) to set people up. She doesn't think that she is doing anything wrong.
She has a younger daughter called Doris. Alice decides to buy a Ouija board and this starts the trouble. Alice wants to use to board to help her clients, but Doris uses it and starts to communicate with a spirit who she thinks is her dead father. It isn't. Doris learns that her mother needs money and she asks the board. The board directs her to the basement where there is a hole with a lot of money hidden in the wall. She gives the money to her mother and tells her that it is her dead father trying to help them. Her mother starts to believe it and she uses Doris in her readings to contact the spirits.

Unfortunately, the spirit that is inside Doris is not her dad. It is some evil spirit and Doris begins to act differently. She looks evil and she is writing things in polish which Lina sees. Lina goes to the principal of her school, Fr.Tom(Thomas) and tells him what is going on. She hands him some pages written by Doris in Polish and he tells her that he will get them translated for her. He calls around to the house for a reading as he lost his wife before he became a priest. Doris knows things about him as she can read his mind. He figures out that if he blocks out things in his mind, she doesn't know them.
He takes Alice and Lina to another room to discuss the writings that he has had translated. Doris knows that something is going on.SPOILER ALERT!!!!!!!!!!

Lina's boyfriend calls to the house and meets Doris. She leads him down to the basement and he gets possessed too. He hangs himself in the house. Alice, Lina and Fr. Tom are horrified. Fr. Tom tells them that the writings are from a Polish man who was experimented on by an evil Nazi doctor. The spirits are the people who were experimented on. They have been in the house since Alice and her husband moved in. When the three see Lina's boyfriend hanging, they think that there is something wrong with Doris and Alice burns the Ouija board. Fr Tom hears Doris calling and he climbs through a hole to find her. What he discovers is a room where the experiments were held. He sees Doris there and he gets possessed and tries to kill Alice. He can't do it and Doris kills him. Lina realises that she needs to sew up Doris' mouth to stop the spirits. Doris is going to kill Alice, but Lina gets her on the ground and sews her mouth shut, killing her. She gets possessed momentarily and stabs Alice. Alice dies after seeing her husband and Doris waiting for her.

Lina ends up in a mental institution and she is not alone. She makes herself a Ouija board and calls Doris to come to her. She does so. The doctor is looking in at Lina and doesn't see Doris coming towards him. There is a post credit scene here which shows an old Lina played by Lin Shaye who is still in the institution. She is told that she has a visitor and this links up with the first movie.

What to say about this movie....I like movies about Ouija boards. They can be great fun, but this wasn't. I had high hopes for this, but it was disappointing in the end. It was too slow. The story wasn't great and it was SO predictable. It is a pity because it could have been so much better, but it just seemed as if nothing happened for the first half of the film and when it did, it was nothing new. These bigger budget horror movies can be so bland and frankly boring sometimes. I didn't hate it, but it could have been a lot better. I will give it a middle of the road 5/10.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Amityville 3-D Movie Review 443

Amityville 3-D is a 1983 horror movie and another installment in the Amityville series of movies. It is directed by Richard Fleischer and stars Tony Roberts, Tess Harper, Lori Loughlin and Meg Ryan.

John Baxter(Roberts) and his colleague Melanie(Candy Clark) are journalists who go around busting fake mediums etc. They arrive at the Amityville house and catch two con artists. John meets the owner of the house Mr. Sanders(John Harkins) who offers him the house at a very low price. People don't want to live in the house because of its history. John decides to buy it but his wife Nancy(Harper) is not happy because he wants their daughter, Susan(Loughlin) to come over to the house. Nancy doesn't want her daughter going there. Melanie takes some pictures of Sanders and his face shows up as a corpse. She can't understand what is happening. The camera is fine and the film is fine so what is it. Sanders goes to the house to meet John but gets locked into a room and attacked by flies. He dies.

Melanie is spooked.John is skeptical.He finds a well under the floorboards in the basement. Melanie shows her pictures to Elliot West(Robert Joy) who is a paranormal investigator. He can't explain it either. She goes to meet John at the house and has a bad experience when she sees something weird. She refuses to go back in there. John thinks that she is crazy but she tells him that there is something happening in the house. Meanwhile, Lisa and Susan go to the house with some pals and they decide to hold a seance. Their glass goes flying and they get spooked. They finds a boat outside and decide to go out on the water.

Nancy comes to the house to look for Susan and she sees her walking upstairs. Susan shuts the door on her and Nancy calls her to come out. Meanwhile, John comes home and sees Susan being lifted out of the boat. She fell out into the water and drowned. Nancy comes outside to see what is going on and she tells John that it can't be Susan because she just saw her in the house. John thinks that she is mad. Susan is dead. Nancy thinks that she is still in the house with her and John is worried about her.
Elliot offers to bring a team of his people to the house to investigate it. John agrees. They set up their gear and wait for something to happen.

Nancy is up in Susan's room and she hears Susan calling her to follow. She does so and Susan leads her to the basement. Elliot goes too and they look into the well which is looking strange. Elliot calls out whatever is in the well and a monster comes out and pulls him in. John and Nancy are horrified and run out. The house begins to crumble and people are killed. John and Nancy manage to get out through a window and they watch as the whole house explodes. The well is still there though, suggesting that the evil is still in the house.

This film was not great, but then sequels rarely are. I liked Tony Roberts in this. He was a good leading man and the rest of the cast were fine. Meg Ryan had a small part in this film too. There weren't many scares here and it is pretty tame to be honest. I liked parts of it but it did not have the eeriness of the original or the spookiness. This is more like a TV movie and it is worth a look if you like the Amityville series as I do. I watched this on TV recently and I did enjoy it even though it isn't as scary as I would like. So, if you like the old haunted house stories, you might like this. I will give it a middle of the road 5/10.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Mystery Road Movie Review 442

Mystery Road is a 2013 Australian thriller directed by Ivan Sen and starring Aaron Pedersen, Hugo Weaving and Ryan Kwanten.

An aboriginal girl is found dead on a road by a local truck driver. Aboriginal Detective Jay Swan(Pedersen) is brought in to investigate the case. The girl's name is Julie and he finds out that she was a prostitute and that she would sleep with truckers. He asks around the local area for information about her, but he is met with some resistance. He asks a local farmer, Sam Bailey about the night Julie was killed and he doesn't have any information for him. Jay has an ex wife and daughter called Crystal and she knew Julie but she doesn't know anything. His ex wife is an alcoholic and Jay thinks that his daughter would be better off with him but she won't go with him.

Jay has a cop friend called Johnno(Weaving) who is a little suspect. Jay sees him on the road one night with another guy and it looks very suspicious. Jay finds out that the murder weapon was a hunting knife and that Julie was bitten by a dog also. He discovers that Julie went to a motel for sex and he visits it and talks to the owner. She tells him that she remembers a white truck at the motel and a guy who calls himself William Smith. Jay recalls that Sam Bailey's son Pete(Kwanten) has a white truck and dogs. He goes to the farm and talks to Pete, but gets nothing out of him only attitude. Jay finds that Pete has a criminal record. Jay uncovers information about a cop who was killed on the job. He talks to his widow and finds out that the cop got a call from someone he knew on the night he was killed. Jay thinks that something fishy is going on. Is Johnno mixed up in this?

Jay sees Johnno meet some drug dealer and he takes the dealer into custody. He gets information out of him. The dealer says that he pimps out local girls to cover his debts.He also tells Jay about a load of heroin that he had in his car which was stolen. Johnno intervenes and lets the dealer go as he is his snitch. Jay knows that there is something wrong here.  He thinks that Johnno is smuggling drugs as he is missing something which can only be the heroin.He goes to Julie's place and finds the heroin. He calls the crooked Johnno to meet him with the drugs. He gets himself a gun and pulls up to the meeting place on Mystery Road. A few people show up including Johnno and Pete and Pete's dad, Sam who was also in on the drugs operation.There is a huge shootout and Jay manages to kill the baddies, including dirty cop Johnno. He finds a necklace belonging to the dead Julie in the back of the car so it proves that they killed her as she got mixed up with their operation. The movie ends with Jay meeting his ex wife and daughter.

This movie was slow. I found it a little tedious sometimes and the story got a bit messy near the end. I liked the cast and the lead actor Pederson was good in his part. I liked the shots of the Australian outback and the Western type feel to this. I just thought that it dragged in parts and this took away from the film. All in all, this was interesting and if you like slow burners, then you will enjoy this. I will give it a 6/10.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Devil Times Five Movie Review 441

Devil Times Five or Peopletoys is a 1974 horror movie directed by Sean McGregor and starring Leif Garrett.

This film begins with a bus crashing in the middle of nowhere. There are children on board. The driver dies. There is a weird nun called Sister Hannah with them. The kids and the nun head off in the snow to find somewhere to take shelter. Cut to a group of people who are staying in the vacation house of wealthy man Papa Doc(Gene Evans). Also there is the local odd guy called Ralph. Papa's wife is called Lovely and she comes on to Ralph who doesn't understand what she is doing. There are Harvey(Sorrell Booke)and his wife Ruth(Shelley Morrison) and Rick and his girlfriend Julie(Joan McCall)who is Papa's daughter. The kids and nun find the house but there is something a bit off about these kids. They are not very wholesome. They are taken in by Papa and the group who feel sorry for them.

They murder a guy who was after them and tried to bring them away with him. They all go to town on him and he dies. Sister Hannah doesn't bat an eye! Of course, the phone isn't working so you know that this doesn't bode well for everyone. The kids mess with the generator  and when Ralph finds out he gets hanged by a booby trap the kids laid for him. Ralph's body is found and Papa Doc wants to go for help. Rick thinks that it could be the kids and he tells Harvey. Harvey gets killed by one of the kids called David(Garrett).Papa Doc's car isn't working. Rick is suspicious. Papa's guns disappear too. What could be going on? The knives are gone also.Hmm.

Lovely gets drowned in the bath. Everyone realises that the kids are behind it. Papa gets mad and goes after the kids. They kill him. Ruth gets burned alive. Julie and Rick are left and they try and escape from the unhinged kiddies.They don't get far. Julie is the first to die and then the weirdo nun kills Rick. Job done. The kids and the weirdo nun just leave. End of story. I did not like this movie much I have to say. I don't know if it was the idea of kids being killers or just the movie itself. I just couldn't like it. It was not my cup of tea. But, if you enjoy 70's horror and low budget horror at that, then you might like this. As for me, I will give this one a 4/10.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Iconic Scenes in Movies:The Hills Have Eyes(1977)

I have been a fan of The Hills Have Eyes for years and every time I watch it, I love it more. It never ages and it is the same age as me! I think that this might be one of Wes Craven's finest horror movies and it is not given the praise that it deserves. This stars Michael Berryman and Dee Wallace. The film is a cult classic now and deservedly so. I love the music, the tone, the story line and the setting in the desert. It is a surprisingly simple plot. A family gets stranded in the desert when they turn off of the highway and they run into a family of inbred cannibals! The movie is a game of cat and mouse between the cannibals and the family and ends in a final battle.

My first iconic scene(video above) is where the father Bob is brought back to the camper van by the baddies who have tied him to a stake and set him alight. This brings all of the family out the van except for the daughter Brenda and the baby. Pluto(Berryman) and Mars enter the van and look around for stuff to take. Mars finds Brenda and rapes her. He then gets disturbed by the mother Ethel and her daughter Lynne(Wallace) and shoots them both. Lynne dies and Ethel is mortally wounded so she hasn't long to go. They take the baby for dinner. This scene is so horrific and there is so much violence in such a short time that it really has an impact. We get to see the inbred cannibals up close and when they take the baby, that is horrible stuff as you can imagine what they will do with her.

The other scene that I like is the end scene(video above). The son Bobby and Brenda are left to outsmart the cannibals. They have to come up with a plan as they know that they will be coming back for them. They use their mother's dead body as a lure and Papa Jupiter falls for it. He gets killed and then Pluto has a fight with the dog, Beast. The dog rips out his throat in revenge for the death of his doggy mate.The fight isn't over yet as Doug, the baby's father goes to rescue his daughter from Ruby who is one of the cannibals, but she is not as nasty as them. Mars pops up and there is a fight between him and Doug. Ruby intervenes and throws a rattlesnake at Mars. He gets bitten and Doug stabs him and stabs him and....stabs him. The movie ends with Doug turning into a savage and Ruby looking on horrified.

This film is a must for any horror fan. It is such a classic in my opinion and those remakes were awful compared to this. This is raw, violent and horrible in parts and that is why I love it. It is very simple, but it works. A true horror classic and one that has many iconic scenes. The two that I have chosen are my favourites. If you haven't seen it, you should watch it now!!!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

10 Cloverfield Lane Movie Review 440

10 Cloverfield Lane is a 2016 sci-fi/thriller movie sequel directed by Dan Trachtenberg and starring John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and John Gallagher Jr.

Michelle(Winstead) is a young woman who has fallen out with her boyfriend. She drives off in her car through Louisiana. She hears that there is something happening on the radio but she crashes her car when she hits something. She wakes up in a room where she has been chained. Her leg is hurt and she is terrified. A man comes in to talk to her. His name is Howard(Goodman) and he tries to help her but she is very wary of him. He tells her that there has been some sort of attack. He doesn't know if it is nuclear or alien and he tells her that she cannot go outside because the air is contaminated. She doesn't believe him.

It turns out that she is in Howard's bunker and that he has been preparing for this for years. He has everything that you could want in his place. He is a little odd though and he insists on keeping the place neat and tidy. Michelle meets a guy there called Emmet(Gallagher Jr.) and they talk. He tells her that he used to work for Howard and then when the invasion happened, he made sure he was in the bunker. Michelle steals his keys to the bunker and she is going to escape when a woman with horrible injuries to her skin bangs on the door begging to be let inside. Sh becomes violent when Michelle doesn't open the door. Howard tells Michelle that that is what happens to people outside.
Michelle finally believes him. She realises that Howard hit her on purpose but he explains that he was upset and he didn't realise what he was doing. They all settle down in the bunker, adjusting to life there.

Michelle becomes suspicious of Howard when he talks about his daughter, but doesn't say what has happened to her. He shows Michelle a picture of a young girl and says that it is his daughter, but it is actually a missing girl. Michelle tells Emmet and they come up with a plan to make a protective suit so that they can go outside and escape. Unfortunately, Howard is clever and he finds out what they are doing. He asks them what they were doing and Emmet takes the blame. Howard shoots him dead. Michelle is horrified and she realises that Howard is dangerous. She continues making her suit and bides her time until she can get out. He knows what she is doing and things turn nasty. She manages to get outside in her suit and causes a fire which makes the bunker explode. She sees aliens outside and realises that Howard was telling the truth. SPOILER ALERT!!!She hides from them and manages to blow up one of their ships . She drives off and thinks that she is safe but there are loads of ships in the sky. She hears on the radio that there are survivors and she drives to Houston to meet them.

I liked this movie a lot. I liked the storyline and I liked Goodman's portrayal of the odd Howard. He plays it perfectly and you do wonder what is behind his seemingly normal facade. I really think that the story was interesting. Is there really an invasion? Is it nuclear or chemical? Is Howard a total weirdo who tells lies to trap people in his bunker? So many possibilities here and this did keep me guessing about what would happen next. I liked Cloverfield and really enjoyed it but the found footage camerawork was hard on the eyes. This is easier to watch and I like the way that it ties in with the original. There will be a third movie and I will be interested to see where the story goes from here. This movie belongs to Goodman who is perfect as Howard. The other two were watchable, but Goodman steals the show. I will give it an 8/10.

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