May 1, 2012

Monthly Movie Recap - April 2012

At the start of April I decided to check out (ie: torture myself with) remakes of Vincent Price movies. Why? Who knows...

House of Wax (2005)
Technically even the original Vincent Price movie is a remake of Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933) so this is a remake of a remake! I'd never seen it before but it sure felt like I did. It's pretty standard of the "WB/CW horror" era. Aside from watching young Jared Padelicki and Elisha Cuthbert there wasn't much keeping my interest.

Cool: Paris Hilton gets killed; titular house is actually a house made of wax
Lame: Predictable at almost every turn
Rating: 4.5/10, see either of the originals instead

House on Haunted Hill (1959, Color + B&W)
Hey folks, it's shaping up to be a House party! I found the colorized version of HoHH so I wanted to give it a watch since the original is a favorite of mine. This is one of Price's few horror roles where he's not the villain. Sure he arranges to a couple of people to die but it was self defense!

Cool: Great example of how to do creepy with no blood spraying
Lame: I got nothing, I love this movie!
Rating: 7/10

House on Haunted Hill (1999)
And that brings us to another remake. I distinctly remember not liking this when I saw it in theaters so I gave it another go. It wasn't as bad as I remember except for the last 20 minutes or so. They ask you to accept too much too quickly at the end. Seriously, how did they get rescued? Not a way to leave your main character at the end!

Cool: Geoffrey Rush does an amazing homage to Vincent Price; the idea of a rigged "haunted" house is something I'd like to see done well a la F/X (remember that movie?)
Lame: It's called HOUSE on Haunted Hill, not Abandoned Asylum on Haunted Hill; the supernatural aspect doesn't fit right for me for some reason
Rating:  6/10, because I enjoyed most of it

Return to House on Haunted Hill (2007)
Really? Did we need a sequel? Movies like this are the reason when people hear "Direct to Video" they assume the movie will be horrible. Contrived plot, uninteresting stereotypical characters and j-horror wannabe ghosts make me wish I'd stayed away from this house (which is still actually an asylum and not a house).

Cool: There's some good kills I guess
Lame: Just about everything else including the "evil statue" in the basement that causes the ghosts
Rating: 3/10

Thor (2011)
I really liked this movie, more than I was expecting. I think they got just the right blend of rom-com, fish out of water, action, and mythology. The only thing I would liked to be different are the battles at the end. Thor vs Loki should have been a little more epic. After seeing what they did with Asgard I think Marvel is ready to do a Silver Surfer and/or Doctor Strange movie justice.

Cool: Everything in Asgard is just gorgeous to behold; seeing Thor rock the hammer
Lame: The post credit scene is a little ambiguous as to Loki's fate after the final battle
Rating: 7.5/10

Dungeonmaster aka Ragewar (1985)
I hesitate to use the work anthology to describe this but that's exactly what it is. Several different short pieces each with different directors but featuring the same protagonists.
It reminds me of Super Mario: the hero defeats his enemies, "rescues" the girl and they're both whisked off to another visually different world by the Big Bad to do it all again.

Cool: The individual worlds are cool, they just don't flow well in the story
Lame: It's supposed to take place in a computer but it never feels like it
Rating: 5/10

Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama (1988)
A good ol fashioned bit of 80's exploitation horror. Plus you get Linnea Quigley and Brinke Stevens in the same movie!

Cool: Straight up weird fun with plenty of topless-ness
Lame: Someone trapped a wish granting imp and put the prison in a bowling alley??
Rating: 6/10

Battle Beyond the Stars (1980)
It's The Magnificent Seven meets Star Wars featuring John Saxon, George Peppard and Sybil Danning, score by James Horner and special effects directed by newcomer James Cameron. It's about as good as any sci-fi on TV at the time and if you watched a lot you'll most likely recognize a lot of the audio effects.

Cool: It really feels like a TV movie but that's ok, it's fun; remember the end of Bachelor Party when they're fighting during a sci-fi movie? Footage was from this movie.
Lame: If your idea of exciting space battles is ships shooting while flying toward or away from the camera, you're covered here!
Rating: 6.5/10

Midnight Movie Massacre, aka Attack From Mars (1988)
I had high hopes for this one from the start. They got the look right but it quickly went downhill from the opening. It's supposed to be a send up of 50's sci-fi/horror. While an audience is watching a scifi movie, an alien starts killing them off in the theater. It's not good when the movie within the movie is more enjoyable than the movie you're watching.

It took me awhile to figure out what was really bugging me with this one. Then I realized there's no ambient sound. It seems like all the dialog was rerecorded in post and any sound that may have been picked up on set was not used. It's really odd.

Cool: The idea was good
Lame: Execution was horrible; boring repetitive shots of the audience; stereotype characters are annoying; did I mention boring repetitive shots of the audience?
Rating: 1.5/10

Beastmaster (1982)
Tackling another 80s' staple for so many. I don't know how I never saw this growing up. You can't beat the 80s' for fantasy movies!

Cool: Animal sidekicks give this an edge over the usual sword & sorcery movies; original creature design very cool
Lame: The men wear so little clothes I continually felt like I was a second away from seeing wang
Rating: 8/10, awesomeness

Virgin Witch (1972)
Two sisters are duped by a lecherous lesbian into going to a "modeling retreat" for a photoshoot. But she really wants the virginal sister to join their witches coven only once the girl joins, she decides to take control of the coven.

Cool: Well, if you like watching naked ladies there's plenty to look at
Lame: The whole movie is the barest (pun intended) excuse of a plot for an exploitation film
Rating: 3/10, even the sisters that starred in the movie want to forget they made this

The Wizard of Gore (1970)
This is a weird splatter film with a WTF ending. It's really laughably bad in places which makes it easier to watch.

Cool: Over the top acting, low budget production and special effects
Lame: Is this reality or are you in your bed dreaming?
Rating: 4/10

New: 10
Rewatch: 2
To-Date Total: 35 New, 7 Rewatch 

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