Slaughterhouse Rock: Film Review

And now we move fully into the horror films with an ‘80s supernatural horror slasher film – Slaughterhouse Rock, with a bunch of college students being terrorized by a supernatural terror. Also, it’s scored by Mark Mothersbaugh and Devo, so it’s gotta be good – right? Right?

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In The Line of Duty 4: Film Review

I’m not a fan of Auteur Theory. Movies, television, and video games have so many people involved in the process of creating them that putting all the weight of a work’s success on a single person weakens the contributions of everyone else in the project. That said, a good director can make a world of difference on a film, not because of their sole artistic vision, but because of the other contributors who they can ask to take part in the project because of their own past experience. Such is the case with In The Line of Duty 4, which has Yuen Woo-Ping in the director’s chair, which in turn makes a world of difference.

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In The Line Of Duty 3: Movie Review

The In The Line Of Duty series of films is kind of odd as far as film series go. It’s not like the Zombi or the Italian House series – where you had a bunch of directors taking a bunch of desperate films with common elements (zombies or horror films regarding a house respectively), and sticking the label of an existing series of films on them, making for a bunch of films based around a thematic link instead of a narrative link. The first two films in the series – Yes, Madam and Royal Warriors had a thematic link (women police investigators), and a cast link (Michelle Yeoh), but no character linkage, and otherwise did not share a common brand. However, over the course of re-releases and alternative titles, both of those films were re-branded as being the first part of a series of films known as “In The Line of Duty” – with In The Line of Duty 3, from 1988, being technically the third part of that series, but the first to codify the “brand”.

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River of Death: Movie Review

River of Death is a movie Cannon films picked up in the very late ‘80s, when they were kind of on their last legs, and trying to get by through doing the things that made them successful – capitalizing on other studios successes with low budget films (or optioning films at low cost) that had a similar vibe to them as other successes. In this case, going off of the success of Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade, by optioning a movie that was already under production that had a similar adventure theme. Instead of returning to the Allan Quatermain well that they’d visited twice before, this time they went with a jungle adventure film based on a novel by Alastair MacLean, the author of Guns of Navarone.

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The Princess Bride: Film Review

When re-watching a beloved childhood film as an adult, there is a worry that the film won’t stand up. That characters you loved will actually be grating, a story you thought was deep was paper-thin, dialog you thought was clever was trite. What you saw as a lake turns out with time to have only been a puddle. I will say upfront, before getting into the meat of the review, The Princess Bride does not have this problem.

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The Gate: Film Review

I haven’t watched a lot of “Kids on Bikes” movies and fiction – I’ve seen ET, Explorers, and The Goonies, and as of this writing am currently in the middle of reading IT (which is something of a Kids on Bikes story for the flashback sequences) but I haven’t seen or read any of the other works that really feed into subsequent works like Stranger Things. I haven’t seen Monster Squad, and until recently, I hadn’t seen The Gate – a lesser-known work in the genre that I hadn’t heard about until Giant Bomb did a “Film and 40s” commentary for it with the Giant Beast crew. Well, this oversight has, at long last, been rectified.

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Film Review: Humanoids From The Deep

Roger Corman is widely recognized as a producer who launched the careers of numerous writers, actors, and future directors. He’s also widely recognized as a producer who churned out numerous exploitation films of a wide variety of stripes almost like clockwork, on the cheap, and without much concern about the craft.

This leads to the problems with Humanoids from the Deep. Part of this film is a very well done horror creature feature, with incredibly suspensefully shot sequences, and is a film that is willing to straight up kill off a kid and several dogs very early in the film. It’s also a film where Roger Corman decided to fire the film’s original director, Barbara Peeters, because he wanted the film’s rape scenes to be more explicit – so he handed those sequences off to the second unit director, and the film is lesser because of this. Continue reading “Film Review: Humanoids From The Deep”

Film Review: Altered Space

Altered Space is something of a horror film that isn’t quite a horror film. In a way, it’s difficult to describe – this is my first time watching a film by Ken Russell, but his reputation has preceded him. Specifically, his reputation for psychedelic, religious, and psychosexual imagery. All of those things are present in Altered Space in spades – with subject matter that is fundamentally horrific but is never presented in that manner. Continue reading “Film Review: Altered Space”

Movie Review: Inferno (1980)

Suspiria was what I’d describe as one of the best films Dario Argento ever made, with a tremendous visual esthetic, particularly through the use of color in the film, combined with the excellent score by Goblin. So, it’s not surprising that Dario made a semi-spiritual sequel. The second film, Inferno, introduced the thematic series that Argento named “The Three Mothers” trilogy, with the films based around three witches drawn from Thomas De Quincey’s Suspiria de ProfundisInferno aims to basically be “like Suspiria but more so,” but it doesn’t quite work. Continue reading “Movie Review: Inferno (1980)”

Movie Review: Terror in Beverly Hills (1989)

When it comes to bad action movies, there are some names in action films that can be reasonably taken as a warning sign that the film you are approaching is a stinkburger. Frank Stallone is one of those names. Frank Stallone started his career as a musician and composer and has had a reasonably successful career at that. However, as his older brother Sylvester became one of the action juggernauts of the 1980s and ’90s, Frank kept also getting action movie roles, presumably on the basis that he looks enough like Sly, that if you put “Stallone” in large enough letters on the poster, people won’t look closer and recognize that it’s actually Frank. Continue reading “Movie Review: Terror in Beverly Hills (1989)”

Film Review: Stop Making Sense

Live music is theater. Yes, live music is often seen in a theater, but they the act of performing music publically is, in some manner or another, theatrical. It’s a performance that seeks to tell a story or convey an emotion through music. Some genres of music try to lean away from this, like folk or punk (though arguably punk leans so far away from theatricality that it ends up accidentally leaning into theatricality). Others, like metal, prog, and some parts of pop lean into it, either through telling a deliberate story or through the presentation. Stop Making Sense definitely fits into the latter category. Continue reading “Film Review: Stop Making Sense”

Film Review: Heaven’s Gate (Director’s Cut)

Heaven’s Gate is a film that originally had a profoundly negative response – critically panned for its excess, both in terms of the troubled shoot and the film’s length, it was considered everything wrong with “New Hollywood”, even before we get into the reports that horses were killed and maimed in the making of this film to enough of a degree above and beyond earlier westerns that this movie lead to the start of the American Humane Society sending monitors to film shoots to make sure this didn’t happen in the future. Since its initial release, the film built up something of a cult following, which ultimately lead to the film getting a re-edit and re-master to fit the director’s vision for its final release a few years ago from the Criterion Collection. Continue reading “Film Review: Heaven’s Gate (Director’s Cut)”