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Flashback Review: February 20th, 2014 Movie – The Alpha Incident

the alpha incident

You know, when I first saw the plot of this movie, I thought it was a possible inspiration for Michael Crichton’s book, The Andromeda Strain. Then I realized that this movie came out almost a decade after the book came out. Either way, I knew that I was in for a movie that, while it did have some sort of sci-fi element to it, was going to focus way more on suspense than anything else. And I am perfectly ok with that. Sometimes, whether it be in an action movie, a drama, a horror movie, or a sci-fi movie, the amount of suspense in a movie can totally make or break a film. Today’s movie, The Alpha Incident, made complete use of that fact.

The plot: A space probe has brought back an organism from Mars which, according to some tests performed by scientists, could destroy all life on Earth. A decision is made by the higher ups to send the majority of the containers with the organism to a facility in Colorado by train, under care of Dr. Sorensen. During the trip, Hank, a nosy cargo handler, opens one of the cargo containers and accidentally breaks one of the canisters, cutting himself on a piece of glass in the process. When the train pulls into Moose Point in order to switch engines, Sorensen learns about what Hank has done, and is forced to quarantine himself and the other people, Charlie, Jack, and Jenny, at the station. As the people start to panic, Hank makes a run for it and though Sorensen manages to shoot him in the leg, Hank still makes his way into the woods. When the scientists discover that sleep can cause the organism to take effect, the 4 people are forced to try and stay awake for as long as they can until a cure can be found. After receiving some supplies from the National Guard, they all do what they can to stay awake, but the pressure starts getting to them. Charlie winds up falling asleep and after a brief scream and stumbling in pain, he collapses dead onto the floor. As his body lies there, the organism begins causing his head and brain to swell. Jack freaks out and pushes a cabinet over, crushing Charlie’s head while Jenny grabs Sorensen’s gun and goes out to her car, where she kills herself. Sorensen’s boss talks to the research head and tells them to keep working on a cure but he is writing off the people in Moose Point. A helicopter drops off some pills, with a note saying that they are the antidote, but when Jack takes one and dies soon afterwards, Sorensen realizes that they are cyanide pills. Sorensen winds up falling asleep and when he wakes up, he realizes that he has not been infected. However, one of the National Guard breaks the nearby window and fires his gun into the building, killing Sorensen.

This movie is very underrated but I found it to be a really good movie. The acting among several characters was really good. Stafford Morgan (Sorensen), John F. Goff (Jack), and George “Buck” Flower (Hank) all did outstanding jobs in their respective roles. Carol Irene Newell (Jenny) did a decent job as well. The plot was pretty good and the writing really helped move the movie along. There wasn’t a whole lot of action in this movie. The movie was mainly carried by the dialogue between the characters and the suspense generated by their exchanges. The ending of the movie was very reminiscent of the ending of Romero’s Night Of The Living Dead, with the main character surviving the night’s events only to wind up being killed by an outside element at the very end. A surprisingly good movie that is worth watching.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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June 21st, 2015 Movie – Double Exposure

double exposureSON-OF-A-BITCH! I can’t believe I made the same stupid mistake again. These box sets are going to drive me even more insane than I already am. Ok, So a while back, I realized that I had skipped a movie (I have a lot of movies, it happens) and so I updated my list to fix that mistake. I thought I had the problem fixed. Well, since I was sick yesterday, I decided to watch an old movie and grabbed one of the box sets that I own. As I put the movie that I wanted to watch in, I was looking at the back of the case and noticed a movie I did not recall watching. I checked my lists and…nope, not listed in my library and not listed in movies that I have reviewed. Well crap. Then I checked some of the other titles and discovered that about half of the movies in this box set somehow did not make it on my list. Damnit. I don’t know how this happened. The funny thing is, it isn’t like they are all grouped together. It skips around somewhat. This is incredibly frustrating. Oh well. Nothing I can do but go back and watch the movies that I have skipped and update my lists (again). So here is today’s movie, Double Exposure.

The plot: A woman is stabbed as she walks to her car, but the woman turns out to have been an undercover cop disguised as a woman. Adrian Wilde, a photographer, has been seeing a shrink about the vivid dreams he has been having about killing his models. When one of his models winds up dead and he dreams about killing Mindy,  a woman that he is dating, he worries that he might be the killer stalking the town. As the dreams become more vivid and he starts dreaming of his own death, his psychiatrist becomes more concerned. When more models turn up dead, and evidence at the scene seems to point towards Adrian, the police begin to investigate him, finding pictures of some of the dead girls in his studio. Conflicted about what to do, Adrian’s brother, B.J, heads to the beach that Adrian and Mindy are at to try to help Adrian. At the beach, Mindy and Adrian get into an argument and Mindy goes for a walk on the beach while Adrian stays in his mobile home. While Mindy is walking along the beach, she is stabbed in the gut. B.J. shows up at the mobile home and talks to Adrian for a little while before he knocks Adrian out. When Adrian wakes up, he is tied to his car and B.J. explains to him that he killed the models and framed Adrian for it. As B.J. prepares to stab Adrian, Mindy suddenly appears and stabs B.J. in the throat before collapsing on top of Adrian. The cops arrive shortly afterwards and Adrian asks them to call an ambulance for Mindy

This was one of the more confusing movies I have ever watched. The acting was ok with nobody really standing out. The plot was nothing original and the story itself was pretty weak. The filming was pretty eratic. The different scenes seemed so out of place that you didn’t know exactly when they were supposed to be taking place in the movie. It made the whole thing pretty hard to follow for a while. Also, even though this was filmed in ’83, it looked like something out of the 70’s. All in all, I would skip this one.

Rating: 1 1/2 out of 5

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June 20th, 2015 Movie – The Host

the host

It’s Saturday. Usually this is a day of fun and relaxation. Unfortunately, not for me. My day started with the fact that I had to go to work today. Not so much fun. Then I leave work and go home only to feel absolutely crappy and YAY…I think I came down with a freakin summer cold. Bleh. Oh well, some juice, soup and medicine will help with that. There is some good news to this day. I do get to watch a giant monster movie today so that should help. So on with today’s movie, The Host.

The plot: In South Korea, an American pathologist orders his assistant to ignore protocol and empty hundreds of bottles of formaldehyde into the sink. The toxic chemicals eventually drain into the Han river where, months later, fishermen begin noticing mutated creatures in the river. Six years later, Gang-du, a somewhat slow-witted man, operates a snack shop with his father, Hie-bong, and his daughter, Hyun-seo. One day, he is delivering some food to some customers when he sees a crowd of people staring at a strange creature hanging underneath a nearby bridge. The creature dives into the river but when the crowd tries baiting it back by throwing food into the river, the creature comes ashore and runs amok through the crowd. Gang-du and another man, an American military officer on leave, try to stop the creature, but only succeed in angering it, causing the creature to attack the American and chase after Gang-du. Seeing his daughter, Gang-du grabs her hand and runs, but when he trips, he accidentally grabs the wrong girls hand and is forced to watch helplessly as the creature grabs Hyun-seo and dives back into the water. During a mass funeral for the victims, Gang-du and his father are joined by the rest of their family, his sister, Nam-joo, and his brother, Nam-il, when government officials and American military quarantine all of the people who have come in contact with the creature, claiming the creature is the host for a deadly virus. While at the hospital, Gang-du receives a call from Hyun-seo, who says she is alive but trapped deep in the sewers. Gang-du and his family escape from the hospital and after Hie-bong obtains a truck and some supplies, they go looking for Hyun-seo in the sewers. Meanwhile, two brothers are stealing some food when they are attacked by the creature. The creature returns to it’s lair and regurgitates the two boys, but when Hyun-seo checks the bodies, she finds that only the youngest one, See-joo, is still alive. The creature then attacks Gang-du and his family while they are eating at their snack shop, killing Hie-bong as he tries to buy time for his family to escape. Gang-du is recaptured by the military while Nam-joo and Nam-il get separated. Nam-il tries to get help from a friend in tracking Hyun-seo through her cell phone, and succeeds in getting the general area of where she is.However, his friend has turned him in to the police for a reward and Nam-il is forced to escape, but manages to text the location to Nam-joo and Gang-du. Nam-joo enters the sewers looking for Hyun-seo, but she is attacked by the creature and knocked into a hole, where she winds up unconscious. After being interrogated and operated on, Gang-du escapes from the hospital and heads to the sewers to look for Hyun-seo. Back in the sewers, Hyun-seo tries making a rope to escape from the sewers but when the creature shows up. she attempts to hide with See-joo, but the creature lunges at them and swallows them both. Gang-du makes it to where Hyun-seo should be but as he climbs down into the sewer, he sees the monster pass by overhead, with Hyun-seo’s arm hanging out of it’s mouth. As he gives chase, he meets up with Nam-joo and they both run after the creature as it heads towards a group of protesters that are protesting the military’s use of Agent Yellow against the creature. As the creature attacks the protesters, Agent Yellow is released and it appears to have an effect on the creature, allowing Gang-du to pull Hyun-seo and See-joo from it’s mouth, but only See-joo managed to survive. Gang-du proceeds to attack the with a metal pole but he is knocked aside. Nam-il proceeds to throw moltov cocktails at the creature to chase it away from Gang-du. When the homeless man that helped Nam-il pours gasoline on the creature, Nam-il tries throwing his last moltov at it but drops the bottle. Nam-joo takes the flaming rag and sticks it to an arrow, which she fires into the creature’s eye, setting it ablaze. The creature attempts to flee into the river but Gang-du uses the pole to impale it through the mouth, finally succeeding in killing the creature. Some time later, Gang-du is shown reopening the snack shop and raising See-joo.

The Host received critical acclaim from the critics, earning a 93% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. One critic said that it was “a loopy, feverishly imaginative genre hybrid about the demons that haunt us from without and within.” The film was a big success in Korea, becoming the country’s all time, box office leader before the end of it’s theatrical run. It would also go on to win several awards, primarily in Korea and Asia. It only had a limited release in the U.S., where it earned a little over $2 million, but it would earn over $89 million worldwide.

This was a really good movie. Dubbing aside, the acting was a lot better than I was expecting, to the point that the main actors really showed their characters emotions. The story was pretty unique, for a monster movie, and it was well written. There were several humorous moments in the movie and a couple of scenes that could be considered anti-American, but they actually went with the direction the movie was going in and helped with the story. As far as the monster goes, it had a pretty unique look to it and the CGI used was really good and didn’t make the creature look out of place when it was with the actors. I also liked the way it would use it’s tail to help move across the sewers and bridges by swinging from beam to beam. A surprisingly good monster movie that is worth watching.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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June 19th, 2015 Movie – Horrors Of Spider Island

horrors of spider island

My brain is completely fried from work today. It was busy to the point where I don’t want to put much effort into thinking. Thankfully, today’s movie is one that will let me just veg and watch without having to think too much. I remember seeing this on MST3K years ago and laughing my ass off at how ridiculous parts of it were. Watching it again today, it still makes me laugh. So allow me to introduce you to today’s movie, Horrors Of Spider Island.

The plot: Gary and his assistant, Georgia, audition a group of girls to be dancers at his nightclub in Singapore but during the flight, the plane catches fire and crashes into the Pacific Ocean. Gary and the girls manage to climb into a life raft and after several days adrift at sea, manage to make their way to a small island and fall asleep on the beach. The next day, they find some fresh water and after exploring the island further, discover a cabin. When the girls enter the cabin, they are horrified to discover the dead body of a man suspended in a giant spider’s web. While the girls wait outside, Gary and Georgia inspect the cabin further and discover the man’s journal, where they learn that he was a professor who, aside from discovering some uranium on the island, felt like something terrible was going to happen to him. That night, Gary decides to take a walk in the woods but he is bitten by a giant spider and although he killed the spider, the bite changes him into a monster and he runs deeper into the woods. While the girls are left wondering what happened to him, Gary sneaks back to the cabin and strangles one of the girls. As tempers flare among the remaining girls, two of them start to fight but stop when they see a pair of monstrous arms reach through the cabin window and try to strangle Georgia but she screams and the creature retreats. After 28 days, the professor’s two assistants, Joe and Bobby, arrive on the island and, after discovering the girls, get in touch with their supply ship to rescue the girls. That night, the girls decide to dance in celebration of their impending rescue, but when Gladys goes to meet Bobby by the lagoon, she discovers his body laying against a tree. Catching sight of the monstrous Gary, Gladys screams and runs away, with Gary in close pursuit. Alerted by the scream, Joe and the rest of the girls go looking for them and see Gladys being chased by Gary but before they can help, she falls from the top of a cliff, landing on the rocks below. Joe goes to get the ammo for the revolver and runs into Gary. After a brief struggle, Joe manages to make it to the cabin and, along with Georgia, looks for the bullets but has to stop when Gary bursts through the cabin wall. Georgia manages to chase Gary away with a flare and, after the rest of the group light some more flares, they all chase after him. Gary runs deep into a swamp and Joe and the girls watch as he is swallowed up by the quicksand.

This is definitely one of those “so bad it’s good” movies. The acting was pretty crazy, made more so by the fact that this had some dubbing issues. Ok, let’s be honest. This movie is nothing more than a 50’s exploitation flick that is there to show a bunch of girls in their underwear. The story….yeh there really isn’t much of a story; mainly just reasons to continuously show the girls in their underwear. The effects were definitely on the low end. The spider was one of the most ridiculous things I had seen in a while. As for how Gary looked after the bite, I know he was supposed to be some sort of human/spider monster but he looked more like a caveman with vampire fangs glued rather badly to his face and clawed hands that grow and lose the claws at random. It isn’t the most profound piece of film around but it is a fun movie to watch.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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June 18th, 2015 Movie – Horror High

horror high

So this is not something that usually happens, but I watched the sequel to this movie years before I ever watched today’s movie. A lot of that is due to the fact that the sequel was more readily accessible than it’s predecessor. Now, this is on the Sci-Fi Invasion box set and once again, I have to question how this really fits into that category. Now  granted, it does have the sci-fi element but there is no invasion at all in this movie. Oh well. the storm keeps messing with the power so let’s get to this as quickly as possible with today’s movie, Horror High.

The plot: Vernon Potts is having a bad day at school. When he accidentally hands in his Biology report instead if his English report, his English teacher, Mrs. Grindstaff, gives him an F before she cuts his Biology report into pieces. The gym coach, Coach McCall won’t excuse him from class so he can redo his report and Roger Davis, the school jock/bully, rips up his biology/chemistry notes. Later that night, Vernon sneaks into the lab to work on his project, a chemical formula to that will turn his guinea pig from a docile pet into a monster, and discovers the corpse of school janitor’s cat in the cage with Vernon’s guinea pig. Mr. Griggs, the janitor, sees the body and forces Vernon to drink his formula before Mr. Griggs proceeds to bludgeon the guinea pig to death. Mr. Griggs then tells Vernon that he is taking him to the police, but Vernon, reacting to the formula, fights with Mr. Griggs and forces his face into a vat of Sulfuric acid. The next morning, Vernon wakes up and, remembering what happened, disposes of his bloody clothes and sneaks into the school to clean up the lab before the teacher gets in. During the chemistry exam, the body of Mr. Griggs is discovered in the vat of sulfuric acid and the police are called in to investigate. After he finishes taking his English exam, Mrs. Grindstaff tells Vernon that if he wants to pass her class, then he must attend the literature club meetings for the rest of the year. Vernon has a conflict of interests with the day of the club meetings but she is unwilling to compromise. That night, Vernon makes a new batch of his formula and drinks it, then, after turning into a monster, chases Mrs. Grindstaff through the school and uses a paper cutter to decapitate her. When Vernon kills the coach, Roger Davis is arrested under suspicion of murder, but Lt. Bozeman suspects that Vernon is the real killer. Vernon finally works up the nerve to ask Robin Jones, Roger’s girlfriend, on a date but as he prepares for it, he receives a call from Roger, who had been released due to lack of evidence and wanted to meet with Vernon. Vernon agrees to meet in the school, and heads there to take some more of his formula. Vernon spies someone coming into the school, but when he realizes that it is Robin coming to warn him about Roger’s plan, he admits to her that he is the killer. The formula takes effect, changing Vernon into a monster and Robin runs from him, Roger leads the cops to where Vernon is, then taunts him but Vernon kills Roger before being killed by the police.

A pretty decent low budget horror movie. The acting wasn’t the best, and I felt like the interaction between Robin and Vernon seemed forced at times. The story was pretty good and in a funny twist, was somewhat reminiscent of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, which the students were watching at the beginning of this movie. The action scenes were filmed mostly in the dark and the lighting made it hard to tell what was going on at times. In fact, you never really see Vernon’s face after he transformed until the very end of the movie and to be honest, wasn’t that exciting, but the murders themselves were creative. So if you like classic low budget movies, then this is worth watching.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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June 17th, 2015 Movie – Horror Express

horror express

Not only is this a somewhat timely movie, but I am actually looking forward to this movie. Now a lot of the movies in the “Chilling Classics” box set have not exactly been some of the best viewing experiences. However, this movie has a decent amount of star power in it so it could be pretty good. Besides the fact that this is the first movie with Christopher Lee that I have reviewed since his death, I get a chance to watch him in a movie with Peter Cushing that does not involve vampires. Add Telly Savalas to the mix, and let’s just say that I have a good deal of hope in today’s movie, Horror Express,

The plot: During an archaeological dig in China in 1906, Professor Alexander Saxton discovers the frozen body of a primitive humanoid. Believing it to be the “missing link”, he packs the body into a crate and has it sent to London via the Trans-Siberian Express. While Saxton is trying to get his ticket, he meets with fellow scientist and rival Dr. Wells, who is also travelling on the train. Meanwhile, a thief tries to break into the crate but he is later found dead, with his eyes completely white to the point he is mistaken for being blind. Father Pujardov, a monk travelling on the train, claims the contents of the crate are evil, but Saxton scoffs and claims that his warnings are rubbish. That night, Dr. Wells bribes one of the porters to try and see what is in the crate, but it is too dark for him to see clearly so he goes to grab a lantern. While he is gone, the creature manages to pick the lock surrounding the crate and then kills the porter. When the porter is found missing, the engineer summons Saxton to the baggage area and demands that he open the crate. When he refuses, the engineer has one of his guards open it, only to discover that the porter’s body is inside and the creature is missing. Dr. Wells and his associate examine the corpse and discover that all of the memories have been sucked out of the brain. When a spy is killed by the creature, it goes after Dr. Wells, but he is saved when Police Inspector Mirov shoots the creature. Saxton and Wells examine the fluid from the creature’s eyes and discover that not only has it retained the image of Inspector Mirov, but also images of prehistoric Earth, as well as a view of the planet from space. Countess Irina Petrovski views the fluid and invites Father Pujardov to see it but Father Pujardov, believing the eye to be the eye of Satan, steals the eye. As the search for Pujardov commences, Pujardov sees Mirov, now possessed by the creature, kill Dr. Well’s associate, Miss Jones, and pledges his loyalty to the creature. Saxton sends a telegraph to the Russian authorities, resulting in Captain Kazan, a Cossack officer, and his men boarding the train at the next station to locate thre killer, Saxton exposes Mirov to be the creature’s new host, and Kazan and his men shoot Mirov, but the entity enter into Pujardov’s body and he kills Kazan, his men, and others. The remaining passengers flee to the caboose and try to uncouple the car from the rest of the train but Pujardov resurrects the bodies of the dead passengers to stop them. Meanwhile, a telegraph is sent to the switching station to have the train switched to a dead end track so it can be destroyed when it goes over the cliff. Saxton and Wells manage to uncouple the caboose from the train before the train goes over the cliff, Saxton, Wells, and the Countess look over the edge of the cliff as the train crashes and fire consumes the wreckage and the creatures inside it.

Horror Express received with mixed reviews from the critics, earning a 57% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Being a Spanish film, it was filmed without most of the sounds, but they would be dubbed in later. According to the director, the movie did not do very well in Spain, but did much better in countries where the audience was more familiar to low-budget horror movies, such as Great Britain, the United States, and Australia.

This was a decent movie but I will admit that it got a bit confusing towards the end. Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing were both really good, and their familiarity with each other showed. I was a little disappointed with Telly Savalas’ performance, mainly his lack of any real accent for his character. I think the story was ok but would have been better if it was just left as a reanimated humanoid killing people instead of adding the whole “alien intelligence” aspect in the film. The filming was pretty good. I really liked the lighting in the movie where it would be dark when the creature attacks, to help with the fact that the creature preferred the dark. A good classic movie with some great stars and definitely worth watching if you love those classic 70’s horror films.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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June 16th, 2015 Movie – The Hive

the hive

Don’t you hate it when you see an ant and you almost immediately feel like one is crawling on you. Hell, I got that feeling just from looking at the cover for today’s movie. Ever wonder why that happens. I mean, what is it about ants, and bugs in general, that provokes that reaction. It’s not fear, just a bizarre sense of unease or creepiness. I would say it is just me but I know plenty of people that get this reaction. But this is not the time to do a psychoanalysis on people’s minds. This is the time to watch a Syfy original movie. So let’s get with today’s movie, The Hive.

The plot: When a shooting star crashes into the mountains on a South Asian island, the ants suddenly start attacking people in large swarms. The world’s top exterminator team , Thorax Team, are called in to help deal with the ant problem but even they are surprised by the ant’s behavior. During their first mission with the army, Thorax Team uses their hi tech weapons to begin killing the ants, when team leader, Dr. Horace “Len” Lennart, and his second in command, Bill, come across two floating cables made entirely of ants. Following the cables, the come across a large nest of ants in some trees, which falls on Bill when a branch breaks. As Len tries to get the ants off Bill, an ant manages to get inside Bill’s suit and, after crawling inside his ear, begins biting Bill, causing a reaction in his brain. When an even larger swarm is reported moving even closer to the main capital, Len call his friend, Claire Dubois, to come help with the problem. When Len and Claire get back the base camp, they find that the ant have made their way to the camp, with several tendrils of ants rising out of the swarm. While rescuing some villagers that are trapped by the swarm, Claire notices an ant mound shaped like a skull and goes to investigate it but is forced to run when a massive swarm erupts from it. Meanwhile, Bill and team member Cortez are investigating a nearby factory but a swarm of ants falls on them, killing Cortez and sending Bill on a rampage. As the base camp is overrun and the last members of the army and Team Thorax are forced to leave. Len, Claire, and Ying, a young girl they rescued, are guided into the main nest of the ants. After figuring out the ant’s want control of the island, Ying is taken hostage while Len and Claire are forced out of the nest so they can inform the authorities. After receiving a ride back to the new base, they try to explain to the authorities what they should do, but Minister Zhing tells them they only have until the morning before they will “nuke” the ants. Len, Claire, and Bill head back to the nest to try and free Ying and negotiate with the ants, but Bill has napalm strapped to his chest and sets a timer to detonate it, killing the ants and leaving Len, Claire, and Ying time to escape. The fire kills all of the ants, revealing a glowing alien lifeform which flies back into space. With no proof of what happened, Zhing proposes that his cabinet not tell the people anything regarding what happened, but inside a mountain, an alien power source is surrounded by some more ants.

Well, it wasn’t the worst movie featuring ants that I have ever seen. The acting was decent although I was shocked at how old Tom Wopat (best known as Luke Duke) looked in this movie. The story had promise. I mean, the whole alien intelligence using ants to do it’s bidding sounds pretty cool on paper, but the execution in this film just didn’t seem to quite make it. For instance, if the intelligence was controlling all the ants on the island, why was the ant in Bills head trying to kill the rest of the ants? A random loose end that is never really explained. The effect were a mix of being decent and being terrible. I did like the whole tendril of ants bit. Very reminiscent of the water tendril in The Abyss. Not the best movie in the world but might be worth watching if nothing else is on.

Rating: 2 out of 5

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June 15th, 2015 Movie – Hitcher In The Dark

hitcher in the dark

Well, well. It’s been awhile since I have watched an Italian film. So apparently, this is listed as a psychological thriller, which means that while there is a pretty good chance that the subject matter will be disturbing as hell, there won’t be as much blood and gore that will have people puking before the movie is half over. Well, I have been about 50/50 as far as the Italian films being good so let’s see what today’s movie, Hitcher In The Dark, has to offer.

The plot: Mark Glazer is driving his father’s RV when he picks up a female hitchhiker that wants a ride to Norfolk. That night, Mark rapes (supposedly) and kills the girl and takes some polaroids of the body and in the morning, he redresses it and dumps it in the swamp, where some alligators proceed to rip it apart. Later that day, Mark pulls into a camp ground and spies Daniela Foster arguing with her boyfriend, Kevin. As Daniela is leaving the campsite, Mark offers her a lift to the nearest bus station. As they head down the road, they make small talk, with Mark showing Daniela a picture of a woman named Danieska, saying that he loves her and that Daniela looks just like her. Daniela tells him she wants to be let out but seeing Kevin driving behind them, hides until Kevin drives past. Mark offers Daniela some coke, which is laced with a sleeping pill, and handcuffs her to a rail inside the RV. Daniela tries to escape and manages to call her sister but Mark catches up to her and drags her back to the RV. When a police car pulls up the next morning, Mark drugs Daniela so she won’t make any noise while he deals with the police, then he pulls into some woods and, with Daniela still in a drugged sleep, proceeds to cut and dye her hair to make her look more like Danieska. Meanwhile, Kevin, having heard that Daniela had gotten into an RV, is going around the area trying to find her but with little success. When Daniela wakes up, she is shocked by what Mark did to her hair and learns that Danieska is Mark’s mother. Daniela attempts to seduce Mark but when he gets frustrated and leaves the RV, she tries to escape but the RV stalls and Mark is able to get back inside. One night, as Mark is asleep, Daniela tries once again to escape but inadvertently finds the collection of polaroids Mark has taken of her naked body as well as the other women that he has killed. The next day, Mark goes to leave but realizes Daniela had broken the fan belt when she tried to escape and so he handcuffs and gags her before he leaves to get a new belt. At a dealership, he spies Kevin asking questions of the owner and waits until he leaves before going into the shop, while back at the camper, a thief comes across the camper and steals Daniela’s walkman from the front seat. At the nearby beach, Kevin sees the thief trying to sell the walkman and gets him to show him where he stole it. Kevin rescues Daniela from the RV but before they get far, Mark catches up with them and forces both of them back into the camper at gunpoint. Mark drives into a Drive-In theater and, under cover of the noise from the movie, get’s in a fight with Mark and kills him then drugs Daniela again. The next day, Mark heads to an auto scrap yard and tries to wake up Daniela but realizes that the constant drugs and alcohol had killed her. He hides the bodies in the trunks of two different cars and then leaves. After spending time with his father, Mark takes the camper back on the highway to begin his terror anew but the hitchhiker that he picks up turns out to be Daniela, who faked her death and shoots him when he pulls off the road.

This was a pretty messed up movie, in the psychological sense but otherwise not bad. The acting was fairly decent, though I will say that Joe Balogh (Mark) did a pretty good job of playing the rather mentally disturbed character. The story was definitely pretty dark, with the whole messed up obsession that Mark has with his dead mother actually being a lot more disturbing than the torture that he does to Daniela and Kevin. The filming was pretty decent although there were a few scenes that seemed a little choppy. A disturbing but decently filmed movie that is probably not going to be on everyone’s must-see list.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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Flashback Review: February 19th, 2014 Movie – Alpha Dog

alpha dog

Sometimes, real life can seem like something out of a Hollywood script. And of course, sometimes Hollywood decides to take a real life event and make it into a movie. Take today’s movie for instance. The real life story had everything that a Hollywood writer would salivate over. There was drugs, violence, murder, sex, and anything else a writer could ask for…except maybe the happy ending where everyone lives. The amazing thing about this is that the main portion of this story took place within a week, but the entire thing didn’t end until 5 years later, and made the ringleader one of the youngest people to ever be on the FBI’s most wanted list. So without further ado, here is today’s movie, Alpha Dog.

The plot: Johnny Truelove is a drug dealer in Southern California, being supplied with marijuana from his father and passing it on to his gang to distribute. One of his gang members, Jake Mazursky, owes Johnny $1200 debt and when he tries to ask his dad and step-mom for the money but they refuse. Jake tries to pay Johnny part of the debt but they wind up getting into a fight over it not being the full amount. Johnny and two members of his gang, Frankie and Tito, go looking for Jake but when they don’t find him, wind up kidnapping his brother Zack and hold him for ransom. Zack, growing tired of his family life, didn’t even fight the kidnapping much and even when Frankie offered to release him, refused to leave. Johnny has Frankie watch over Zack and the two manage to strike up a friendship of sorts, with Frankie bringing Zack along to several parties that he attends. Johnny hypothetically offers Frankie $2500 to kill Zack but when Frankie gets upset about it, he tells Frankie that he was only joking. However, after receiving a threatening phone call from Jake and talking with his lawyer, Frankie calls Elvis, another member of his gang, and tells him he will cancel his debt if he will kill Zack. Elvis and Frankie get into a fight over this and Elvis eventually convinces Frankie that the consequences for letting Zack go would be far greater. While Elvis and another friend go to dig a grave, Frankie drives Zack around and offers him another chance to escape, but Zack refuses, believing that he will be going home that night anyways. Meanwhile, Sonny (Johnny’s father), Cosmo (Johnny’s godfather), and Johnny’s lawyer try to talk him out of killing Zack but he refuses to cancel the hit. Elvis, Frankie, Keith, and Zack drive up to the grave site but Keith refuses to take part and instead hugs Zack goodbye before waiting in the car. At the grave site, Zack pleads with the two men to let him go but Elvis is too fired up to complete the job so Frankie manages to calm Zack down before he uses duct tape to tie him up. Elvis knocks Zack into the grave and then shoots him several times before he and Frankie leave. Three days later, Zack’s body is discovered, and police interviews show what happened to the major players afterwards. While Elvis, Frankie, and Keith were arrested, Johnny managed to get out of the city and escape authorities for 5 years before he was eventually caught.

Alpha Dog received mixed reviews from the critics, earning a 55% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critics felt that the movie was “a glossy yet unflinching portrait of violent, hedonistic teenagers”, though many did praise the performances of Justin Timberlake (Frankie) and Anton Yelchin (Zack). Based on the real life events surrounding the murder of Nicholas Markowitz, there were a several legal issues revolving around this movie, but they wound up being resolved before the trial for Jesse James Hollywood, the person who Johnny Truelove is based on, was started. The movie was only in theaters for 6 weeks and would make over $32 million at the box office.

This wasn’t a bad movie but it definitely wasn’t a groundbreaking film. Justin Timberlake did a great job for what could be considered his debut film but the rest of the acting was pretty decent as well. The plot was pretty good, especially since it was based on real life events, but I don’t know exactly how close the story followed reality. The movie had a decent of mix of drama, action, and “partying”, that you would expect to see in a movie revolving around kids in their late teens to early 20’s. A pretty decent movie that is worth watching.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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June 14th, 2015 Movie – The Hitcher (2007)

the hitcher 2007

Remakes, remakes, always with the remakes. So when I heard about this remake, I was a little skeptical. I mean, a sequel to the movie had just come out a few years earlier and it was terrible so my expectations were a little low. Then I heard who they cast as the title character. Ok…my interest level might have gone up a little. I mean, Sean Bean does play a pretty good bad guy. So when it finally hit the theaters…I still didn’t see it. Not because I didn’t want to, but because I had a lot of stuff going on in my personal life. However, when it came out on video, I rented it as soon as I could. So here is today’s movie, The Hitcher (2007).

The plot: Jim Halsey and his girlfriend, Grace Andrews, are driving through the New Mexico desert during their spring break. The first night on the road, they almost hit a hitchhiker that is standing on the road next to his broken down car. Jim considers helping the man but Grace convinces him not to pick him up and they leave him. They stop at a gas station down the road and while Grace uses the restroom, Jim sees the hitchhiker climb out of a truck and agrees to give the man, John Ryder, a ride to the motel up the road. As they are driving, Ryder suddenly threatens them with a knife but Jim slams on the brakes, causing Ryder to hit his head on the windshield, and allowing Jim to kick him out of the car. As they are driving the next day, they are passed by a station wagon and spot Ryder in the back of the car. They pull up next to the station wagon to try and warn the family but swerve to avoid hitting an oncoming truck and end up crashing their car. Walking down the highway, they come across the station wagon and find the mother and children are dead and the father dying from his wounds. Jim and Grace use the station wagon to try and get the man to a hospital but Ryder attempts to run them off the road before driving off into the desert. They stop at a cafe to call the police but the man ends up dying and the police, thinking the two kids committed the murders, arrest Jim and Grace. While Jim is locked in a cell and Grace is being interrogated, Ryder shows up and kills everyone at the police station. Jim and Grace run from the station and manage to steal a police car, but Ryder shoots the cop and a second officer, believing Grace killed him, shoots at her before calling for backup. Several police cars and a helicopter give chase to them but Ryder suddenly shows up and takes out every one of their pursuers before continuing down the highway. Jim and Grace find their way to a motel and sneak into a room in order to get some rest. Jim steps outside to try and use the phone but is captured by Ryder. Grace had fallen asleep watching TV but is woken up by Ryder trying to rape her. Grace manages to fight him off and hide in the bathroom until he leaves, then goes looking for Jim. She finds Jim chained between a truck and a trailer, with Ryder gunning the engine to the truck. Grace goes to the truck and threatens to shoot Ryder if he doesn’t turn off the truck but he refuses and orders her to get into the truck instead. Ryder tells Grace to point the gun at his head and shoot him, but with the police surrounding the truck, Grace can’t do it so Ryder grabs the gun from her before releasing the clutch and ripping Jim in half. At the police station, Lt. Esteridge informs Grace that the real John Ryder has been missing since Tuesday and they have no idea who the man that has been terrorizing her is. Ryder is loaded into a police transport van to head to prison while Lt. Esteridge follows with Grace on their way to Albuquerque. Ryder manages to kill his guard and shoot a second officer, causing the van to spin out of control and wreck into another car, which crashes into Esteridge’s truck. With Esteridge’s leg caught in the wreck, Grace grabs his gun and plans on killing Ryder, but Ryder grabs the gun and locks her in the back of the van. He then shoots into the leaking gas, causing the van to explode, but Grace grabs a shotgun and manages to escape. Ryder shoots Esteridge and starts walking away but Grace shoots him in the face, finally ending her nightmare.

The Hitcher didn’t do well with the critics, earning only a 21% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Many critics felt that the movie was interested in “cheap shocks and gratuitous gore and torture.” The audience seemed to agree with the critics as the movie would only spend 6 weeks in theaters before it would be pulled from theaters. Still, it did make it’s $10 million dollar budget back as it would earn over $25 million at the box office.

Well, I will say this for the movie, they did actually show Jim being ripped in half by the truck. I don’t think it was as bad as the critics said but it definitely lacked the suspense that dominated the first movie. The acting of the three stars was decent but while Sean Bean is a good villain, he is no Rutger Hauer. The plot was exactly the same as the original with just a few changes, primarily the fact that Grace would be the main heroine instead of Jim. You see a lot more of the bodies and killing than you do in the original, which actually hurt the movie because it took away the suspense that made the original the classic that it is. There were also more explosions in this movie but I blame that on the fact that Michael  Bay produced it. So it is a decent horror movie, but doesn’t quite match up to the original.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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