What’s the Matter with Helen? (1971)
Director: Curtis Harrington
Main Stars: Debbie Reynolds, Shelley Winters, Dennis Weaver
Storyline: Two women open up a dance school to get away that fact that their sons are convicted to murder.
Review (Spoils): Helen (Shelley Winters) and Adele (Debbie Reynolds) both have sons that committed a very gruesome murder and to get away from it all they go to California. They work together to open up a dance school for children. Adele being the dancer and the teacher and Helen being the piano player they work together to make a go of it. Through time Helen starts to get disturbing phone calls from someone that is blaming the mothers for what the sons did. Adele is obsessed on being rich and being famous and its not long before she is bashing her eyes towards one of the children’s fathers (Dennis Weaver). While during all this Helen is starting to crack.
The film is very dark and gloomy and written a bit cheesy. The acting done well but the writing leaves the character seem a bit off and I believe this is on purpose. Shelley Winters plays the mom next door as Debbie Reynolds plays the more ditsy want fame and love character. Dennis Weaver just looks like Burt Reynolds. The Film does have some holes in it and there is some characters thrown into the mix just to say it has more build. I was semi lost in the storyline to be honest as the whole film seems to be a secret.
We have bloody rabbits, strange phone calls, terrible music, stabbings and some nice brownish blood. The ending of the film makes the film worth the watch….trust me.
Rating: Along the veins of What Happened to Baby Jane? this film is not as good but it is darker. We have a couple leading female actresses that are thrown into a mix match storyline. Like stated above if it was not the ending the film was of fallen flat for me.
Rasputin: The Mad Monk (1966)
Director: Don Sharp
Main Stars: Christopher Lee, Barbara Shelley, Richard Pasco, Suzan Farmer
Storyline: The story of the power of the madman monk Rasputin
Review (Spoils): Grigori Rasputin (Christopher Lee) has the mental power to bend people to his will. When he uses his power to heal a woman and starts to gain the reputation from the villagers as a good guy eh starts to show his true colours. Rasputin uses his mind to brain wash women to become his slaves and bid his evil doing. To the point of their breaking point and their weakness.
Much like other Hammer Films this one is made up with beautiful gothic scenery and clothing. We have Christopher Lee at one of his best make-up setup as the mad monk. His acting stands out in this film and Rasputin should be a legendary character of his much like Dracula. The film tells the story of the drunken mad monk and how he uses his mind to control people to do his bidding so that he can live happily in wealth. The two damsels in this Hammer film are legendary scream queens Suzan Farmer and Barbara Shelley, we do not have the bosoms out like most Hammer films but at the same time we do have great acting as Shelley places the poor soul that the monk torments.
Rating: I will be honest I did not find it the strongest Hammer Film as it is lacking frights but the story and the acting alone is worth watching. Some of the story is lacking on how he gets the powers and the ending just kind of just ended but that is not much different other Hammer Films. I think we needed more cleavage and less mullets.
Four Flies on Grey Velvet (1971)
Director: Dario Argento
Main Stars: Mimsy Farmer, Michael Brandon, Jean-Pierre Marielle, Bud Spencer
Storyline: A musician is being blackmailed and stalked
Review (Spoils): A drummer (Michael Brandon) keeps getting threaten calls from a stalker. He finally faces his fears up front and in a struggle he accidently stabs and kills the man. Which becomes more stressful is the next day someone new starts to blackmail him about the secret and we start a whole new stalker game.
This is a Dario film so we have lots of red blood, knives, killings and of course a murder mystery of who did or doing it. Like other Dario films it is thick with who is the killer and was there the night of the opera house to witness the first struggle. While the film is setup with threatening blackmail the musician’s friends and love ones start to be killed off and him being setup as the murder.
Rating: You can tell from the start that this was one of the earlier films of Dario Argento as the plot itself has some serious holes and it does not gel like the later films of his. The main character does not seem very full of life and the film just moves slowly with its paces. Another of the opposite is that the female lead Mimsy Farmer does the reverse and she is too over the top with her acting. So the connection of the relationship and the story line seem to be silly at times.
Alien 4: Resurrection (1997)
Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Main Stars: Sigourney Weaver, Winona Ryder, Dominique Pinon
Storyline: Ellen Ripley is revived and is now part human and alien as she continues her war against the beasts.
Review (Spoils): 200 years after the last film, we resurrect Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) with the process of cloning but during the process the DNA get’s mixed up with the alien DNA from the Queen. Ripley becomes an offshoot of an alien mutant and the scientist start to breed aliens. The Xeno-morphs start to roam the ship and start taking over is which just happens to be on its way to Earth. So Ripley and her new team need to once again put a stop to the alien horde and their Queen.
This film brought a new spin to the Ripley character and brought us a even more powerful alien as new breed is born. The first three films of the series actually closed the deal on the original story and this one just seems to be placed out there to cash on the name. The film does have action and aliens just keep you on track but the characters themselves seem cardboardish. I was even disappointed with the character Winona Ryder played (which normally I enjoy her acting). The film scream more sci-fi then actual horror more then ever.
Rating: This film is just a drag on the very last part of a cigarette when it comes to the Aliens series. The film is not horrible but when you place it with the first three it can not compare. But I love Sigourney Weaver so I will not mark this film too hard. But it seemed to me that this film became to sci-fi for me as being a horror fan if that makes any sense.
Creepshow 2 (1987)
Director: Michael Gornick
Main Stars: George Kennedy, Lois Chiles, Domenick John, Tom Savini, Dorothy Lamour, Daniel beer, Stephen King
Storyline: Another set of three tales of horror
Review (Spoils): Another set of horror tales from the comic book brought to the screen and lead by the crypt keeper. The first tale is called Old Chief Wood’nhead. This about a tale of a couple who owns a store in the desert near some native territory who are not doing so good with business. They keep a close relationship with the natives and they have a large wood statue of chief on there front porch. When the chief of the nearby tribe rewards them with special jewels the statue comes to life and becomes a protector. We learn this after a group of teens try to break into the store and we have hatchets and arrows flying.
The second tale is the best one of the series called The Raft. A very simple story of some teens who head out to the lake to smoke dope and come across a floating tar like spill that just happened to enjoy human flesh. A fun blob like story that involves some serious stickiness.
The last and final tale is called The Hitchhiker. This story is based around a woman who is not afraid of affairs and when racing back home to her husband she hits a road worker and leaves him for dead. Well it turns out he returns to haunt and thanking her for the ride.
Rating: The film itself could have used another story, three seemed a bit too short. The second tale is the best one which I believe was a Stephen King short to begin with. We have some nudity and we have some gore so cannot really complain.
Ice Cream Man (1995)
Director: Paul Norman
Main Stars: Clint Howard, Justin Isfeld, Anndi McAfee, JoJo Adams, Andrea Evans, Olivia Hussey, Lee Majors II
Storyline: A crazed man wants to make children happy so he becomes an ice cream vendor but when they become ungrateful he has revenge.
Review (Spoils): Gregory Tudor (Clint Howard) is not your average guy. He left Wishing Well Sanatorium and all he wants in life is to make children happy (ok creepy from the start) so start to work as an ice cream vendor. The children start to become ungrateful and pains in his ass so he starts to chop of people and animals and place them in the new flavour of the month and makes a profit.
So the plot is weak and the acting is even weaker, but if you’re in a not serious mood and like the odd bad taste film this might be up your alley. We have plastic flowers, a kid in a fat suite named Tuna, ice cream, melted pops, blood dripping, and the mug of Clint Howard, clowns, blonde babes screaming, some really bad cops, lots of gore, eyeballs, a head in a cone and grounding of a dog and did I mention Tuna?
Rating: What did you expect with a film starring Clint Howard made by a porn director Paul Norman? Let’s just say this could be the best ice cream killer movie out there…….wait is there others?
It’s so bad that it’s not bad…………….
Manhattan Baby (1982)
Director: Lucio Fulci
Main Stars: Christopher Connelly, Laura Lenzi, Brigitta Boccoli , Cinzia de Ponti, Giovanni Frezza
Storyline: An archaeologist opens an Egyptian tomb and the spirit gets released and his daughter becomes possessed.
Review (Spoils): The Hacker family travel to Egypt, where there was an accident to the father George (blue blinding light) and the daughter Susie meets a blind woman and receives a ancient blue eyed amulet (see the connection?). We learn that the amulet has granted them powers to move through dimensional doorways. During all this weirdness starts like scorpions appearing, snakes and piles of sand. We learn that the voyages actually go to the desert in Egypt and that the amulet holds the secret of an ancient evil.
We have a mystery in our hands with this one, lots of dream like sequences and symbols of Egypt. Not much gore or little red blood in this one but instead focusing on the ancient writings and context of Egypt and the curse of the blue eye jewel
Rating: The story is not horrible but at the same time it is not one of Lucio Fulci stronger films. Plus we have that annoying kid from The House by the Cemetery Giovanni Frezza but the sound and music is so Lucio Fulci. Drink to all the blue lighting used in this film or chug to each view of a snake on the screen to enjoy.