Posts Tagged ‘zombie hamster’

I have to admit, I’d never heard of this movie until it landed in my mailbox; that said, I can’t believe something so undeniably awesome totally flew under my radar for thirty years. Yes, it’s schlock, but it’s old school schlock, and isn’t that really the best kind? Give me stop-motion and process shots any day, because at least they’re organic and we know someone was actually putting hands on the props to make them work.

Q – The Winged Serpent at Zombie Hamster

Further, marvel at the aerobatics involved in the final action sequence, and understand that the stuff they’re doing is no longer allowed.  I could rant for hours, but you get the idea. This movie was more fun than it had any right to be. Super big thanks to Larry Cohen for making such a great movie. Also, a big shout out to Shout Factory for their spankin’ new Blu-Ray release of Q – The Winged Serpent!

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It’s been a rotten week. I don’t even want to get into what made it bad, so I’ll just leave it at that.

Moving forward, I took a recent look at a couple of John Carpenter’s classics, and gave them a few scribbles.

The Fog

Prince of Darkness

With regard to Prince of Darkness, I’m going to take the soapbox for a moment, because I think way too many ‘fans’ claim disappointment with this film, and they seriously need to re-examine their reasons for liking his films. Carpenter is a goddamn visionary whose career is made up of more than just Halloween. Granted, Halloween is an excellent film and, for my money, the only slasher film worth a damn. Because it was the first, and not part of the crapalanche of ripoffs that followed it. He followed Halloween with The Fog, which is a traditional ghost story, and a damn good one. He’s done fantasy adventure (Big Trouble in Little China), romance (Starman), urban paranoia / class warfare (They Live), and so many others that are all different, all unique. Prince of Darkness attempts, and to my eye succeeds, in looking at theology from a scientific viewpoint, and does so quite intelligently. It is very much a Big Picture film, is worthy of repeat viewings, and will long be considered one of the great films in Carpenter’s oeuvre.  So there.

1980’s Terror Train. No matter how you slice it, it’s just not a great movie. Cheesy and wildly predictable, it was a quickie cash-in on the unfortunate ‘slasher film’ era. That said, for those of us coming of age during that time, the movies were simple fun, offering distraction without much thought; only with age do I realize that the Reagan-esque moralizing was so heavy handed, and that a jump-scare isn’t really a scare at all. It’s a startle at best, immediately recognized and quickly forgotten. For the viewer, there’s no terror on this train, but what the hell – at least we’re enjoying the ride.

Terror Train at Zombie Hamster

“And that’s the Critic’s Corner for this morning. Now please slow down, so that I may murder you in a creative fashion with my giant mustache.”

Scream Factory gave this 80’s flashback a nice Blu-Ray release and for that, I thank them. It’s great to showcase the smaller films, once considered throw-aways, because one never knows how they might age and, for we who are aging, they’re oftentimes accompanied by a flood of nostalgia.

And yes, the movie had me reduced to giggles most of the way through because, although they kept referring to the killer’s costume as Groucho Marx, I could not stop seeing his uncanny resemblance to beloved film critic Gene Shalit, and the notion of Gene running around a train causing mayhem just ruined me. I freely admit that this is my fault, as I’m fairly certain that the filmmakers didn’t do this intentionally. Unless they did, in which case, congratulations – you are now epic.

Last week, I had the delightful opportunity to check out a film called Cockneys vs Zombies, and found it to be quite fun, if perhaps a little light on the red and the ultraviolence. But what the hell, it has Brick Top and Pussy Galore killing the undead and the most suspenseful pensioner-with-a-walker chase sequence ever committed to film. Want to know more?

Cockneys vs Zombies at Zombie Hamster

Although the Zed-word genre may seem to be running on fumes, it appears there may still be some ideas to be mined, and this one does it pretty well. Shout Factory’s Scream Factory sub-label presents this nifty little film, packed with fun extras.

masters_of_horror__cigarette_burns_-_john_carpenterYep, it’s that time again. I have a new piece up at Zombie Hamster, this time it’s about John Carpenter’s Cigarette Burns, which was part of Showtime’s Masters of Horror series.

The thing about horror writing is that, when the film or book or TV show is good, it touches a part of us, something deep, which we can’t readily separate from the source material. It becomes personal, bringing not just our fears into the light, but also our desires, our obsessions. In this case, while the base story is about locating a supposedly lost film, it’s really about the everlasting quest for the next thrill, the next scare, and that’s the magic of this film. It captures our desire to see that which shouldn’t be seen, to learn that which we’d probably be better off not knowing.

It’s about the pursuit of the forbidden, the profane, that last door at the end of a long and darkened hallway that both attracts and repulses, and the truths that may be exposed when it is finally, irrevocably opened. This is the heart of horror.

I recently viewed Lotte Reiniger’s 1926 film The Adventures of Prince Achmed (soon to be released on DVD by the British Film Institute) for the first time recently, and was completely taken by surprise. It was one of those rare events in which an animated feature thoroughly engaged my attention and imagination, and the result was, frankly, enchanting. This is not a film to be missed.

The Adventures of Prince Achmed at Zombie Hamster

Films like this are why I love movies; in the right hands, we can be whisked away to new and different worlds, given a fresh perspective, and stare in wonder at the work of true visionaries.

PassionI’ll be the first to admit, I was pretty stoked to see that De Palma had a new film coming out, and that it looked like a return to the kind of voyeuristic, warped, erotic thrillers with which he had made a name for himself all those years ago. However, after having seen his new film, Passion, I was left to wonder if maybe I was expecting too much, and had to consider that sometimes, one’s own shoes might be the most difficult to fill.

Passion at Zombie Hamster 

MetropolisThe second installment on my series of examinations into the world of German Expressionism is now at Zombie Hamster, In this essay, we take a look at two of the most influential films ever made: one provides the basic blueprint for all vampire stories (whilst cleverly portraying a growing sense of national xenophobia), while the other is still considered by many to be the best science fiction film ever made (whilst illustrating the ever-expanding rift between the privileged and the poor). I’m quite enjoying visiting these classic films, which I regard as dear old friends. Curious? Check it out:

A World Distorted

 

a-hijacking-poster-324x480I have a new review up at Zombie Hamster, for a film well worth checking out:

A Hijacking

Excellent stuff, great cast, completely believable. Check it out!

23-59-posterThere’s a new review up at Zombie Hamster! This time, it’s the Malaysian-Singaporean supernatural story, 23:59. I quite enjoyed its unconventional approach. Good stuff.

Check it out