Ghoulies IV isn’t really a horror movie so much as it’s an
action movie with some supernatural elements. Heck, it’s barely even a Ghoulies
movie. The familiar puppety oddballs we’ve seen in every other installment in
the franchise have been replaced by two little people in Ghoulie costumes with
inexpressive masks. The story follows Jonathan Graves, the lead from the first
Ghoulies movie, who’s become a play-by-his-own-rules cop who is really into
kinky sex. One of Jonathan’s ex-girlfriends is attempting to steal a jewel that
will allow her to release her dark master from Hell. She coincidentally brings
two Ghoulies to Earth who proceed to watch the events of the film unfold without
ever really getting involved. It’s literally 75 minutes into the 83 minute film
before any of the characters directly interact with the two Ghoulies. At one
point I was impressed by an action sequence involving a runaway car and
multiple vehicle crashes, but it turns out that said sequence was edited into
the film from an entirely different Jim Wynorski production.
The original Critters movie ends with the ominous reveal of
a batch of Critter eggs left behind in the Brown family barn, making a sequel
all but inevitable. It would seem though that these eggs have a seriously long
incubation period as at least two years pass between the events of the first
two films. The eggs eventually hatch after being purchased by an unscrupulous
junk dealer, unleashing a new wave of killer Critters on the small town of Grover’s Bend.
Critters 2 is a good companion to the original film, much more so than the two
direct to video sequels that would follow a few years later. The effects still
look good and the overall tone of the movie blends horror and comedy
There are two constants in the Jaws franchise: each film contains a giant great white shark and in each film members of the Brody family are terrorized by said shark. The third film in the series, which debuted during the brief revival of 3-D movies in the 1980s, shifts locations from Amity Island to a Sea World park. Dennis Quaid plays Chief Brody's grown son Michael, a Sea World big shot, who once again has to face great white terror after a shark gets locked inside the park. I can't imagine how anybody at the actual Sea World park thought it would be a good idea to let them make a movie wherein a number of patrons and park employees are brutally killed. The only way you're likely to see this movie today is in its current 2-D home video version, which renders the 3-D efforts comically anticlimactic.
If you dialed the wayback machine to 1999 you'd find a young Quammy digging through boxes of VHS tapes at his local flea market. It was there that he would find a copy of C.H.U.D. II - Bud the C.H.U.D., just a loose tape with no case or artwork. He would buy said VHS tape and take it back to his dorm room to watch on his roommate's VCR. If you were to watch his expression, you would see the enthusiasm slowly disappear from his face as the movie played out. Many questions came to his mind, questions like: "Hey, wasn't that guy on Head of the Class?" "How can this be a sequel to C.H.U.D. if none of the C.H.U.D.'s look like the C.H.U.D.'s from the first movie?" and "Why does this suck so hard?"
The 8th film (why) is about a bunch of kids who play an Internet game based on the Hellraiser series. Of course, nobody in Hollywood knows how the internet or video games work, so it doesn't really translate. Anyway, this movie is essentially a slasher movie that is only tangentially related to Hellraiser in any way, almost like the script they used wasn't even supposed to be a Hellraiser movie (it wasn't). To top it all off, and I'm not spoiling anything because you're spoiling your own life by watching this garbage, the whole movie basically turns out to be a wacky, murderous dream! I feel like I've made some great choices this October.
A reporter goes to investigate some zombie cult in Hungary and ends up accidentally solving the Lament Configuration. In the first movie it seemed so difficult for Frank to actually figure out how to open the box and summon the Cenobites, but by part VII everybody just does it as soon as they pick up the box first thing. This movie is terrible, but it has two notable scenes. The first is a legitimately visceral scene in which the reporter is trying to pick up a folder in a cramped bathroom without touching a suspended rotting corpse. The second is a legitimately silly scene in a goth club on a moving subway train in which there are naked twinks, topless grandmas covered in flour, and speakers blasting public domain elevator music. These movies want to portray some type of goth counter culture but they are so very clearly made by a bunch of squares.
This is the 6th Hellraiser film, so you'd think they'd do something clever with "666" for the title, but that's expecting a lot of this series! Instead it's called "Hellseeker," which is ridiculous because nobody is really seeking Hell (or whatever dimension the Cenobites inhabit), but in part five there was no "Inferno," so they're just slapping titles on these shits, all the more obvious in the 7th film which is called (seriously) Hellraiser: Deader. Deader!? Back to part VI though - this one is actually pretty good because after an opening car accident that apparently kills the main character's wife the movie's linearity is incomprehensible and hallucinatory. I think it's technically just bad filmmaking, but it actually makes the movie kind of freaky and enjoyable until Pinhead shows up to explain everything into banality in the last ten minutes or so. Anyway, Dean Winters is pretty good but you should've taken out some better insurance buddy!
Our intrepid band of time/space travellers turn up inside a spacecraft being held captive by the Sensorites, a race of aliens with highly advanced psychic abilities. Though they appear to pose no physical threat, the Sensorites steal the TARDIS's locking mechanism and take our heros captive alongside the spacecraft's weary crew. Susan reveals an aptitude for telepathy, pretty much everyone except for Barbara gets brought down to the home planet of the Sensorites, Ian gets poisoned, the Doctor gets attacked in an aqueduct, a murderous plot is revealed, and a member of the Sensorites high elders is killed. Sounds interesting and yet The Sensorites is generally regarded as overall boring serial. This is probably because of the basic design of the Sensorites themselves. Despite their aforementioned psychic abilities, the Sensorites are easily harmed by loud noises and are effectively blind in low light. The TARDIS's crew are pretty much immune to the Sensorites psychic powers for some reason so their captivity doesn't really come with life or death stakes. The Sensorites prove to be the most benign of the alien threats so far encountered by the Doctor and his companions. Also, the Sensorites look like Admiral Ackbar with a chinstrap toupee.
Rating: It all started out as a mild curiosity in a junk yard%
This is the fifth installment in the ever-worsening Hellraiser series, so you know what that means: I have less than half to go! In this movie, a corrupt detective who likes prostitutes or what-have-you tries to track down some missing child after he finds and opens the Lament Configuration. I fell asleep during the movie's climax to be honest, but at least Pinhead's not bent on world domination anymore, just pain and suffering (but not pleasure anymore? booo). Anyway, one interesting fact is that this is the first of the Hellraiser movies to go straight-to-video, which means that Hellraiser IV was released in the theaters for actual human beings to sit in and supposedly enjoy if you can believe it. I know I can't!
The Syfy channel is in the business of making garbage. For the most part this means combining various predatory animals with really bad CGI special effects and D grade actors. In the case of Lake Placid 2, Syfy shuttled Bo Duke and a handful of other actors off to Bulgaria in order to put together what is essentially a remake of the original Lake Placid, a process they would repeat at least twice more. Every aspect of the movie's production (ie: acting, directing, special effects, story, etc.) has been dialed back. It's as though someone at Syfy said: "You know that Lake Placid movie was really good. How can we piggyback off their success, but for a lot less money?"
Mixing comedy and horror is not an easy task, it’s a delicate balancing act that requires a fundamental understanding of what makes each one work on their own and how to shift from one to the other. There are countless movies that have attempted to combine horror and comedy only to wind up failing on both fronts, Ghoulies III is one of those movies. The humor is,
at best, at the Troma level with only the most obvious jokes being delivered at
the most obvious times. Most of the jokes come from the Ghoulies themselves,
since they’ve been given the gift of speech in this installment of the
franchise. When they first started to speak I thought, “Oh, they’re kind of
referencing the Three Stooges here.” Then the slapstick came into play and I
realized, “Oh, they’re just ripping off the Three Stooges here.” If you’ve ever
seen Animal House, Revenge of the Nerds or UHF, you’ve pretty much already seen
all of the best parts of this movie.
This is a convoluted and horrible entry in the Hellraiser series that takes place in the modern (1996) day, Victorian times, and the future (spaceship). Directed by everybody's favorite pseudonym, Alan Smithee, the movie features a super young Adam Scott of Parks and Recreation fame. The plot is that something happened in one time and continues in the next time and gets resolved in the last time with a big space explosion, the hallmark of the Hellraiser series. I think maybe Pinhead wants to take over the world, but really, nobody cares.
Whelp, things really went downhill fast. In this movie, released in 1992 as evidenced by the "dangerous youth" dressed in jean jackets, a "goth" club owner (but all they play is Motorhead???) gets the puzzle box and then Pinhead comes out oh no! Now he is more of a Freddy Kreuger comedy type mass murderer saying jokes when he kills people and also turning a DJ into a Cenobite that shoots CDs into people's faces. Cop cars explode on ill-lit city streets with all the cinematic quality of a Darkman sequel, and I can't believe I've committed to watching six more of these shits.
The first Lake Placid movie reminds me a lot of Joe Dante's 1978 movie Piranha. They're both unabashedly Jaws ripoffs, but they have sense enough to throw in some colorful characters and humor to offset all the people getting eaten. Having been made by a legit movie studio means that Lake Placid has some decent actors in it, including Betty White (kids love Betty White). The special effects from Stan Winston Studios hold up well considering they came about during the early CGI era. It's a better movie than the string of SyFy sequels would have you believe.
This is one of those rare sequels that is if you ask me way better than the original. The color palette and cinematography are still kinda bland, but we frequently are treated to bizarre and terrifying imagery as we enter the Cenobite's dimension, like a clown juggling his own eyeballs par example. The plot is some people want to get to this horrible pain dimension because WHY NOT? Again Pinhead and his pallies show up to save the day after they're convinced that it's a good idea to feel feelings. Speaking of feelings, I have one that the series is all downhill from here, but we shall see!
This movie is about a magical box that whisks its users away to a fanciful dimension where pleasure is pain and pain is pleasure and gumdrops are, like, scarabs I guess and rainbows are the screams of a thousand dying soldiers. A girl's uncle gets the box and then these painlovers, cenobites, rip him apart with some chains but he manages to escape and needs fresh blood to get his body to not just be guts or whathaveyou so he gets his lover/brother's wife to kill people for him. Eventually (practically the whole movie later) the cover dude, Pinhead, and his cenobite pals show up and save the day. I had this movie as a kid on one of those bargain cassettes where the movie would be recorded in EP to save the company money so I always thought it was bland and boring as a result of the tape quality, but to be honest it was kind of bland and boring even in hi-def. A+ for mythos building, D+ for execution.
Ok, well, why not take the horror anthology to the extreme? This movie of 26 short films made by directors from around the world, each one (as you can probably guess) taking a letter of the alphabet and figuring out how somebody can die with that letter is a good example of why not to do that thing I asked in the first sentence. There are only three that are any good - A, Q, and R - which is not a terrific percentage IMO, IMHO even. Stick around to the end if you want to see a giant severed penis ejaculating rice as a symbol for Western nuclear imposition on Japan I guess.
Ghoulies II is not a very good movie. It is, however, better than the first Ghoulies movie. The puppet demons look a lot better this time around and they're aided by some passable stop motion animation. Black magic is only a minor part of the movie, leaving room for a great deal more Gremlins style puppety mayhem. Once again there are no Ghoulies wearing suspenders featured in the film, but at least they had the decency to reflect that in the poster art.
The best part of Ghoulies would have to be the poster art. If you haven't seen the movie, you might think it was a creature feature à la Gremlins. It's actually a very boring movie about a guy who inherits a creepy old house and gets really into black magic. Sure, there are some gloppy puppet creatures roaming about but they're pretty lame. Also, none of them wear suspenders in the movie.
I love anthology horror movies, from the classic Creepshowto the classic Creepshow 2. Um, maybe I only love these movies in theory? I mean, there was a good segment in Tales from the Darkside and Hood. Anyway, the premise in this movie is some crime dudes have to watch a bunch of snuff monster tapes but they aren't very scary or believable. Coming up with one scenario in which a complete narrative is delivered from found footage is hard enough, much less five.