After almost twenty years basically out of print, us “Critters” fans spent the better part of the digital age celebrating our favorite movie series on DVD. And not just any DVD, but a basically cheap transfer DVD that stuffed all four movies on to a few DVDs. Granted you could have done worse, but the movie series deserved so much better. The “Critters” series remains one of the more underrated creature features in horror, and it finally gets the royal treatment on Blu-Ray. With a hard shell casing, all four movies come packed, along with a humongous plethora of bells and whistles. This is the collection I as a hardcore fan, have been waiting for. It’s also a good thing that the “Critters” movies are a lot of good, gory, monstrous fun.
Desperate for money, a group of teenagers takes jobs catering a lavish dinner party in a Malibu mansion in hopes of getting more than their pay out of it. Once inside, they quickly discover that the elite is much different than they expected.
Jeremy Saulnier has managed to become one of the most original voices in indie cinema for the last eleven years, and “Murder Party” is an off beat debut that twists conventions left and right. Knowing Jeremy Saulnier as we do now, “Murder Party” is typical Saulnier, as he’s prone to trying to make a statement with every film he makes. Every time you think “Murder Party” is heading one way, Saulnier is a lot more content with delivering the unexpected, and I quite enjoyed what he had to offer here. Like most debuts, “Murder Party” is rough around the edges but it’s offbeat horror fun.
Damien Leone has been pretty much grooming Art the Clown to become a cult slasher icon since his earlier films. He was even the somewhat paranormal narrator and ghoulish monster that ushered in various mediocre tales of horror for “All Hallow’s Eve” parts one and two. Apparently since the character has garnered some kind of momentum within the horror community, Art gets his spotlight as a bonafide slasher, who delights in viciously murdering people left and right on Halloween night. The results inspired a wholly ambivalent shrug from me overall, I’m sad to say.
Panos Cosmatos’ “Mandy” came out in 2018 like a hurricane, sneaking up on even the biggest Nic Cage fan boys, and it’s one of the best films of the year. “Mandy” is a fever dream, and surreal revenge thriller that features Nic Cage at his best. Cage plays against a world that’s equally as loony as the man he portrays, who goes up against foes that in the eyes of a blood thirsty man seeking retribution for his slain lover, are purely monstrous beings dancing in hellfire.
It’s been a very long time since Michael Myers was such an imposing or scary horror figure. After many years where he became a reality star getting his ass handed to him by a hip hop star, and being turned in to a hillbilly, it’s good to see Michael Myers once again return to the form he arrived in as “The Shape.” Directed by David Gordon Green, “Halloween” (or “H40,” if you want to get very technical) won’t be for everyone, as it is a mixed bag that makes a controversial decision with its narrative and the mythos. In the end, though, I had a great time, and would recommend it, especially for the horror base looking for a good return to the universe Carpenter specifically established.
“Cell” was troubled from the moment it was optioned in to a movie. Rather than become a success tale like “It,” it instead was left to tread water as a limited release that was quietly tucked away on the VOD market, and is now a two dollar purchase on streaming services. It’s not surprising since “Cell” is a film that could have used a much better script, a lot more development, and about twenty more minutes in its run time. In its state it feels utterly incomplete, half baked and rushed, along with pairing two stars that, at their best, are magnificent and at their worst, make a good living phoning in (shut up) performances. Tod Williams had the chance to jump on the ball and really provide us with a frantic and scary commentary about our over reliance on technology, and he fails.
I’ve never been a fan of the “Hatchet” series, this I must admit. I think Adam Green is a much better horror fan than horror director, and I think his friend Joe Lynch has mastered the art of genre filmmaking, while Adam Green still tends to direct like a film student still learning the ropes. That said I enjoyed “Victor Crowley” so much more than the previous three films in the series. I would not watch it again unless I was painfully bored, but as a sequel/reboot, I laughed, I groaned, and for once I enjoyed Green bringing his friends aboard to indulge in some good blood shed.