After spending years out of print, it’s good to see Fred Dekker’s eighties horror classics finally being given the special treatment that they deserve. For fans of the 1986 “Night of the Creeps,” they’ll be happy to know that Dekker’s zombie comedy hasn’t aged much at all. While it’s very much of its time, it still allows for an accessible and very interesting mix of horror, science fiction, coming of age, and romance that’s tough to beat. Plus, there’s Tom Atkins who is just downright fun in the role of detective Ray Cameron.
We don’t have nearly enough horror movies about the aftermath and fall out of bullying and how often times bullies can destroy us. We’ve had “Slaughter High” in the past, but we’ve come around to sharp thrillers like “The Gift” and “The Final” which depict the victim less as insane, and more as broken people. “Ma” is kind of that film that approaches the very themes, but never quite knows what to make of its titular villain. “Ma” is a sharp thriller with a killer performance from Octavia Spencer that manages to rise above a narrative that’s very confused about what it’s trying to say.
Billy Blanks was one of the archetypal straight to video action stars of the nineties, he was one of those men with a ton of charisma and appeal who never quite found his niche in American cinema. He managed to be pushed in to the gallery of people like Jeff Speakman, Roddy Piper, and Don “The Dragon” Wilson (no disrespect to those gentlemen), but always deserved so much more. He was relegated to a ton of straight to video action and genre titles eventually becoming a fitness guru for his Tae Bo program. It’s a shame because Blanks does have a very good on screen presence and could have likely launched in to the blockbuster fold alongside contemporaries like Wesley Snipes.
In 1993, Brad Pitt was one of the golden boys of Hollywood depicted as nothing more than a sex symbol. For years Pitt tried to reverse that image, and “Kalifornia” is one of his many efforts to break that sex symbol pigeon hole in favor of revealing his inherent acting ability. Paired with the right material, Pitt is a very good actor, but “Kalifornia” isn’t one of his best performances, no matter how hard he tries to channel his inner slime ball. That’s because “Kalifornia” is a bland and forgettable thriller with a great idea that it manages to piss away quite well.
After 2007’s failed reboot “Nancy Drew” starring Emma Roberts, I was surprised anyone bothered to take the property in to theaters again. Roberts was very good in the role of Nancy Drew, but her take on the character was more self-aware and an homage, rather than a new, more modern approach for a new generation of girls. Thankfully Katt Shea approaches “Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase” with the definite desire to restart the series, and Sophia Lillis is now playing the iconic teenage sleuth, and manages to help deliver (co-Produced by Ellen DeGeneres) a satisfying mystery and a very good reboot.
For horror fans looking for another value pack of horror movies, Mill Creek Entertainment is repackaging some of their more notable titles in to a Triple Feature on Blu-Ray. For folks looking to increase their horror movie collection and save money, this is the perfect launch pad with some up to date formats. This Trio of films come on Blu-Ray and DVD, for folks that still collect and or use the latter format.
After reaching new heights in her internet fame, a college student looking for more is kidnapped and her roommate is once again reluctantly roped into helping as she seems to be the only one available.
Laura Moss’s “Allen Anders…” is a beautifully bizarre bit of experimental horror that I kind of loved when all was said and done. Mimicking an actual worn out VHS tape, we’re subjected to a 1987 stand up routine of a young comedian named Allen Anders performing at the Comedy Castle. Anders looks worn, exhausted and covered in sweat while an agreeable audience looks on. While Allen is never exactly hysterical it never really matters as the audience responds to just about everything he says with nods and laughs. When he’s done with his skit, he’s called up on stage once again to repeat the very same routine.