Director: William Crain
Main Stars: William Marshall, Vonetta McGee, Denise Nicolas
Storyline: An African prince get cursed by Dracula and comes back from the dead to LA during the 70s.
Review (Spoils): Manuwalde (William Marshall) is an Africa Prince and after his visit with Count Dracula goes wrong, he is killed and cursed by the vampire to come back to life as the undead. Even Dracula names him under the curse Blacula. Time shifts to 1972 in LA, the coffin is transported there, and when opened by two men they unleased the evil inside. Blacula roams around biting people and stalking women until he runs into Tina in which he falls in love with but unfortunately, her friends hunt him down.
Not as Blaxploitation as I thought it would be (except the title of course), this film was an okay ride. We have groovy music, growling vampires, giant bat, some decent make-up, fangs, red blood, a solid storyline and even a love story. Some of the actual downfall of the film was the growling of Blacula (seemed a bit more bestial than vampire) and the voice of William Marshall as it came off that he was trying to sound like Christopher Lee.
Rating: This film was not as bad as I thought it would be and I can see why it has a cult following. The acting from both female leads was solid and Blacula is memorable character. I love the fact that nobody was shocked or taken away from a groovy dude in a cape checking out the local bar scene and that women found him attractive. There is a ton of 70s lingo that makes this film also enjoyable when your going through the motions.
Director: Jason Todd Ipson
Main Stars: Corri English, Scot Davis, Joshua Alba, Marisa Petroro
Storyline: A possible spirit is killing off all that have handle or desecrated the body at the morgue.
Review (Spoils): So at the medical school we have students Alison (Corri English), Brian, Carlos (Joshua Alba) and Rick who get the body of young woman (Marisa Petroro) who seems to have been butchered for their dissection class. Alison feels a connection with the body and has a feeling she is trying to communicate with her. As Alison looks into the history of the woman, we learn that she was once a prostitute that killed off her johns. As the class and the boys become morons, she starts to kill them off one by one.
The film really focuses on the past of the mystery women and the connection with the lead Alison. We have the odd want to show skin scene (hey it’s a horror film), blood pools, some nasty cuts, haunting woman screaming and some shady video footage. Near the end, we have some gore and the actual creepy tale goes full flight.
Now the bad of the film. The stupidity of people and their actions in this film. Why are these kids still living at the hospital while all this weird shit is going on? They are fighting a curse but act like oh boy I wonder what that was I better open the door. The film lacks the thought train.
Rating: The two women of the film is what makes it along with the sounds and the creepiness that exists. The storyline (back-story) is actually nice and new but the film does have some flaws. The film is actually not bad for being part of the After Dark Horrorfest. Marisa Petroro is a memorable villain.
Hatchet II (2007)
Director: Adam Green
Main Stars: Danielle Harris, Kane Hodder, Tony Todd, Alexis Kendra, Kathryn Fiore
Storyline: Marybeth escapes from last time from Victor Crowley and gets help to seek revenge on the bayou butcher.
Review (Spoils): The movie picks right up from the last one when Marybeth (Danielle Harris) escapes the lunatic of the swamp Victor Crowley (Kane Hodder). She digs and learns some backstory truth of her own connection to the butcher (tied to her dad) and decides she wants revenge and go back in because of the slaughter from the first film.
The film brings a recast, as we know have classic Halloween star Danielle Harris now playing Marybeth. Not sure why they changed, the actor for this film but it hurts the gel of the story but then again I do not dislike Danielle Harris. We have extra gore, a more detailed Victor Crowley, a massive chainsaw, many bodies being ripped apart, heads flying, face chopping, the classic axe and the return of Reverend Zombie (Tony Todd). This film does not shy by a full cast of classic horror legends.
Much like the first film do not expect a great over the top story that makes much common sense. This is created more for the gore hounds out there that just want to see gore, blood and some nakedness (so a good chunk of the horror community).
Rating: Want some tongue in cheek gore and blood? Well your in luck as Mr. Crowley is back and this film deliveries that. The downfall of this film is a couple of things, it is a repeat of the first film in an overall thought and the humor sometimes over comes the horror and it does become a but silly. (Cabin Fever 2 fell into this problem also). For some reason this series is a hit and miss for me.
Phantasm 4 (1998)
Director: Don Coscarelli
Main Stars: A. Michael Badlwin, Reggie Bannister, Bill Thornbury, Heidi Marnhout, Angus Scrimm, Bob Ivy
Storyline: Starting right off from the last film Mike is traveling dimension to find the origin of the Tall Man while Reggie continues to battle the spheres, the undead, and the small people and stop the Tall Man.
Review (Spoils): The Tall Man (Angus Scrimm) is chasing Mike (A. Michael Badlwin) as he is trying to get away. Reggie (Reggie Bannister) is roaming the desert until he meets a hottie (Heidi Marnhout) to help him track down Mike. We have haunting and visions from Jody’s ghost so the whole gang is back. Much like the past films, we have eerie scenery, flashbacks, explosions, small creatures, spinning spheres with blades and spikes, guns, the Tall Man and dimension doors. (What is a Phantasm film without them)? The film starts to unfold what is behind the Tall Man without fully ruining the whole haunting and mystery. Yes they try to explain why he is not dead yet.
The one thing that is lacking in the series is the true reason why the Tall Man is after Jody and now Mike. Is it because they know too much from the first film or is there something that Don Coscarelli has not told us yet and more to come? We have Angus Scrimm returning as the Tall Man and yes, he does try to do the same impression of “Boy” that we have heard in past films. Reggie is Reggie and we will leave it at that.
Rating: “The secret of the spheres are released, the final game has began”. Some old same old with this one and to be honest it is the weaker of the whole series. I think it could because they do not know exactly where they were going with the series and needed something to get the fans off their own backs. Still the series is a cult classic when it comes to horror so check it out.
Hell of the Living Dead (1980)
Director: Bruno Mattei
Main Stars: Margit Evelyn Newton, Franco Garofalo, Selan Karay
Storyline: A female reporter and her crew work together with some commando’s on battle the undead in the jungle.
Review (Spoils): A chemical leak (something new for zombie films lol) and it starts to turn the locals within the jungle tribes to become zombies. A commando group was created to go and investigate wheat is happening to the people of the area. A young cute reporter by the name of Lia (Margit Evelyn Newton) wants to break the story herself so she joins the commando team. Well she gets more than she bargained for as she and her army try to survive as they find out the whole land is overrun with undead.
Also known as Zombie Creeping Flesh this film is a gem when it comes to gore and zombie flicks. Sure its not as smart as the Romero or Lucio films but you have to give this film some credit for gore. We have the cute Margit Evelyn Newton playing the main character, funny moments and lots and lots of red and gore. We have cannibal zombies that roam the area and attack everything. The film is not unique or even written well but it’s a goddamn zombie movie what do you want. Its got some bad dub but man its gory as hell.
Rating: Many horror fans get mad over this film as a rip off from Dawn of the Dead but you know what its horror, its is suppose to silly and fun. Its an Italian zombie film what more do you want? We have a hot chick and lots of gore, not the best but sign me up as a classic underground gem.
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.