I admit I’ve never been familiar with the comedy of the Ritz Brothers before. I just happened upon “The Gorilla” one night and couldn’t stop laughing while watching the comedy team happen upon Bela Lugosi. I’ve read from some that this isn’t their best comic output. If this is them at their weakest, I’m excited to see what their best is. “The Gorilla” is a public domain horror comedy that can literally be seen anywhere, from DVD, VHS, or Youtube, and I was able to watch one of the five copies available on the site for this review. Suffice it to say, I still find the 1939 horror comedy quite hilarious.
Is it any wonder we don’t have a “Brainscan” movie series by now? Twenty years later, and John Flynn’s horror mystery is still just ninety minutes of absolutely nothing. It’s bereft of scares, tension, and suspense, lacks any kind of interesting characterization, the villainous trickster is a bland pandering horror character that can barely muster up a shiver, and in the end the entire movie is hell bent on demonizing video games and video gamers. If you love killing in video games, odds are you’ll love killing in reality? I had to sit through just endless nonsensical crap for such sanctimonious finger wagging to the audience?
This is about as low as sequels go. At least for third rate horror franchises. “Ghoulies” was never sure what the hell it ever wanted to be, and “Goes to College” shows. The third part in the series shows them as nothing more than annoying little monsters that wreak havoc by inflicting pain, though never really murdering anyone. In fact they’re really nothing but third wheels in what feels like a stale campus comedy about prank wars with the Ghoulies attached for a wider audience. Before the ghoulies actually pop out to terrorize people, “Ghoulies Goes to College” watches like a fourth rate “Revenge of the Nerds” wannabe, about two warring frats and their ever lasting prank war.
It’s hard to believe almost twenty years ago, the height of superhero movies was “Batman & Robin” with studios not really clamoring to adapt any of the beloved superheroes. It took “Blade” to finally bring some tooth and maturity to the entire sub-genre. One of the more interesting precursors to “Blade” is the dreadfully boring vampire adaptation “Vampirella,” which is a tonally confused take on the pulpy pin up character mostly known for being beautiful and sexy, and not so much for her compelling storylines. “Vampirella” is never sure if it’s campy horror schlock, exploitative vampire softcore, or a stern horror epic. So director Jim Wynorski pretty much lunges for all three on the table, and comes out with this pretty gloomy and dull film.
“I Frankenstein” is so hopelessly convoluted that rather than watching the action unfold and allowing the audience to go along for the ride, the writers do nothing but explain. Characters walk from one room to another to explain things, and then explain the explanation. “We’re the Order of the Gargoyles and here’s why. You’ll be called Adam, and here’s why. These are our weapons that can defeat demons, we’ll explain why. Our ranks are falling but demons are more powerful than ever, and we’ll explain why.” Considering the heroes do nothing but talk, it’s a wonder they’re losing the battle of good and evil. And how original that Frankenstein is re-named Adam? I wish Hollywood would put that creaky cliché to bed. It’s too bad the writers didn’t have the balls to re-name the monster Frank. Or Victor. Hell, Shelley would have been gutsy.
It’s no secret that the writers of “The Simpsons” hold a great love for Stanley Kubrick. Bart Dressed as a Droog for “Treehouse of Horror III,” and “Treehouse of Horror V” delivered the brilliant “The Shinning.” For the 25th “Treehouse of Horror” yearly special, the gang behind the series pays a full unabashed tribute to Kubrick in what is easily the best “Treehouse” special in years. Though supplying only three segments this year, the writers opts for quality over quantity and the show really hits its stride for the Halloween Season well.
Now that “Hack/Slash” is done, I’m kind of regretful and happy I didn’t finish its run with Image. This is what happens when I leave this series? Tim Seeley kills off Vlad? And pitifully, I might add? Granted, it’s nice to see that Cassie has fully embraced her homosexuality and is now in a happy relationship with her wife, but damn, did you have to kill off Vlad? In either case, you’re nobody in the horror world if you don’t cross paths with Ashley Williams at least once, and lo and behold, he’s back, baby.
It’s not so much that “Darklight” is a terrible movie, it’s just so lackluster. You figure a movie with such prime material for a dark superhero thriller would be fun, or at least campy, but “Darklight” is a lethargic film. I figured it was me the first time I watched this back in 2004, but ten years later, and the film is still so lifeless and lacking in any kind of charisma or charm. Not even the lovely Shiri Appleby seems to be enjoying this role. She plays a mythical female demon cast out of the Garden of Eden for defying men who becomes a superhero in modern times and ends up serving men, anyway. That’s not a good reason to root for a superhero if you ask me.
I admit that The Vicious Brothers don’t exactly tap in to a part of the found footage genre that hasn’t been done before. Even before found footage became a popular filming format, the premise of con men looking for something supernatural that get more than they bargained for has been done. In fact one of the best “Tales from the Crypt” episodes tapped this premise. That said, while I did recognize the proceedings, “Grave Encounters” is still a lot of fun, if only for the haunted house spooks and bleak ending that ensue. One of the more amusing pop culture devices has been the satire of ghost hunting shows, and “Grave Encounters” brings it in spades.
“Mimesis” is set in a world where horror fans gather for a party and have no idea what “Night of the Living Dead” is. At one point a character is explaining “Night of the Living Dead” prompting confused gleams from everyone. Horror buffs really have no idea what “Night of the Living Dead” is? It’s not even a remotely rare film. “Mimesis” is part “Night of the Living Dead” and part “My Little Eye.” Two friends are invited by an acquaintance to attend a party with other horror buffs at a house to meet stars and talk movies. When party goer Duane passes out while drinking, he awakens to find himself in a waking nightmare where he and fellow party goer Judith find themselves fighting off what seem like zombies.