horror, movie, movie review

June 23rd, 2019 Movie – Gargoyles (1972)

gargoyles 1972

Continuing on with my nostalgia for TV movies I watched as a kid, I remembered this little gem of a movie. The reason that this movie sticks out in my head is because I have never managed to see the entire movie. I watched about 15 minutes of it years ago when my family first moved to Texas, but we didn’t get to finish it as we had to go do something. Over the years, the portion I saw would pop into my head but it wasn’t until fairly recently that I decided to try and find it online so I could watch it. So let’s see if the rest of the movie was worth the wait as I watch today’s movie, Gargoyles (1972).

The Plot: After his fall from Heaven, The Devil proclaimed that his offspring, the gargoyles, would one day rule over the Earth and man. Three times, the gargoyles would rage war over mankind but would be defeated to the point of extinction each time. Hundreds of years after the last battle, mankind has practically forgotten about the gargoyles, thinking them as nothing more than statues on ancient buildings. In the present day, Diana Boley has flown out to Arizona to meet up with her dad, Dr. Mercer Boley, who is studying humanity’s obsession with demons over the years. As they head towards Mexico, Boley tells Diana that they are going to make a detour to see an old man, Uncle Willie, who claims to have some copies of old Native American exorcisms as well as having found something incredible. As the make their way across the desert, something large flies overhead while they are stopped but they both put it out of their minds as they continue on their way. When they finally reach Willie’s home, Boley is skeptical of Willie’s claims, thinking he is trying to scam him. The old man leads them towards a shack at the back of his home and once inside, he shows them the skeleton of a gargoyle that he found in a nearby canyon. Boley doesn’t believe the skeleton is real, thinking that Willie simply assembled it from various bones, but Willie tells him it is real and finally convinces Boley to accept his deal for the skeleton. That night, they are sitting in the shack interviewing Willie about the ancient rituals when something attacks the shack. Willie is knocked unconscious set on fire when a lantern is knocked over and Boley and Diana quickly leave the shack, grabbing the gargoyle skull on their way out, before they are caught in the blaze themselves. As they drive down the road, Boley listens to the recording of their interview so he can listen to whatever had attacked them when a gargoyle suddenly swoops down and lands on their car. Boley manages to shake it off and the head to a gas station/shop and ask the attendant to try and fix their car, then head to the motel next door to get a room. The next day, Boley and Diana tell the police about Willie’s death and head out with them to show them the scene. When they get there, they see some teenagers riding dirt bikes near the burnt wreckage and the police believe believe they are responsible for the fires. After catching all of the dirt bikers, the police book them for the arson and death of Willie, in spite of Boley and Diana telling the police that the kids weren’t there when they left. That night, a pair of gargoyles break into Boley’s motel room and steal the skull and as he chases after them, one of them is hit by a truck. Boley brings the body back into his room and tells Diana that it’s a gargoyle and they had come for the skull of their dead. Boley wants to take the body back to Los Angeles immediately, as he knows the gargoyles will be back to reclaim it but when he turns around, he finds Diana is gone. Diana goes to the police station to try and convince the deputy to let the kids go but when he refuses, she tells James Reeger, the leader of the group, about the gargoyle and promises she will get them out of there. Diana heads back to the motel but as she gets there, she hears the gargoyles approaching and Boley quickly grabs her and drags her into their room. As the gargoyles break down the door, Boley grabs the body and goes out the back window with Diana and they get in their car but before they can leave, the gargoyles rip off the door and grab Diana and knock Boley out. As three gargoyles work on retrieving the body from the car, the leader of the gargoyles approaches Diana, who faints when he gets close to her and the leader picks her up and carries her off as they leave. The next day, Mrs. Parks, the motel manager, tells the sheriff and deputy what she heard at the motel and Boley confirms her story, telling them about the gargoyles and how they took Diana. When Boley says they need to search for Diana, the sheriff says they don’t have the manpower to mount a search and Reeger volunteers his gang to help with the search, which the sheriff reluctantly agrees to allow. As the search party mounts up to find Diana, the sheriff sends Mrs. Parks and the gas station attendant, Buddy, to the state patrol’s office for some back-up, unaware that a gargoyle was in the back of their truck. In the gargoyles’ lair, Diana is trying to find a way out when the leader speaks to her, telling her they mean her no harm but they can’t let the humans kill them off again. Outside, the search party soon finds Buddy’s truck driving around in circles, with the front seat covered in blood and no sign of Buddy or Mrs. Parks. As night falls, the find Mrs. Parks’ body hanging from a telephone pole, which scares some of the bikers but Reeger convinces them to keep looking for Diana. Back in the lair, the gargoyle leader is told of the approaching humans, as well as how another egg layer has hatched so they will soon have more eggs to hatch and the leader tells the other gargoyles they must get rid of the humans. As the search party gets close to the lair, the gargoyles emerge from their cave and begin attacking them. Boley is approached by the gargoyle leader and told to follow him if he wants to see Diana and when he gets there, the leader tells him that they have been waiting 500 years and that with their eggs hatching, they will soon have enough to wipe out mankind. The leader then heads off to where he is keeping Diana, having her read aloud to him. Boley wanders around the cave and finds the egg chamber when a gargoyle grabs him, telling him to be quiet, then takes him to where Diana is but when Boley gets there, the leader quickly takes Diana deeper into the cave and Boley is forced to flee. Outside, Boley encounters Reeger, the sheriff, and the remainder of the search party and tells them about the eggs inside the cave and Diana still being alive. The sheriff says they will have state patrol out there in the morning but Boley refuses to wait and Reeger goes with him. The two men carry some gasoline cans with them and after fighting off some gargoyles, Reeger starts to douse the eggs with gasoline when he is swarmed by some more gargoyles, and he lights the gasoline, killing himself as well as the gargoyles and eggs. Boley confronts the leader and tells him that he will be dead if he doesn’t leave, forcing the leaders decision by breaking the wing of the last breeder. The leader says that Boley’s actions may spell the end of mankind one day, before grabbing the breeder and flying off into the night as Boley and Diana watch them leave.

Maybe it is just the sheer number of horror movies I have seen over the years but I honestly don’t know why kid me found the small scene I saw so scary. Still, this wasn’t that bad of a TV movie all in all. The acting was ok, with Cornel Wilde doing a decent job as the lead (Boley) but I was disappointed that Jennifer Salt (Diana) was relegated to nothing more than the typical horror movie screaming girl. The story started out ok, and I liked the whole idea of gargoyles being the spawn of the devil, but it got a little confusing at the end. They didn’t really explain why the leader kidnapped Diana, or why the breeder helped Boley find her. The special effects weren’t all that impressive, as most of the gargoyle costumes looked kind of cheap. The camera work at times was also a little weird, seeming to slow down for some reason when they focused on the gargoyles, which really made no sense. All in all, it’s a decent TV movie but could have been better.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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drama, horror, movie, movie review, thriller

June 16th, 2019 Movie – Ants

ants

I don’t know why there was such a resurgence of killer bug movies in the 70’s but my younger self certainly enjoyed watching them on the weekends. So continuing on with my reviews of some old TV movies I saw as a child, I came across this little gem; which once again showed me that my memory of events as a child was not always 100% accurate. Now I remember seeing this movie on TV one day when I was about 6-7 years old. and clearly recall the ants attacking people in the movie. However, there is one scene at the end of the movie that I honestly thought had occurred in a different movie, mainly one involving killer bees, not ants. My surprise at discovering my mistake didn’t really detract from my enjoying watching the movie so sit back and let me relive some nostalgia as I watch today’s movie, Ants.

The plot: As a construction crew is working next to Lakewood Manor, one of the workers is suddenly attacked by a swarm of ants while he was working in a covered ditch. Another worker hears him crying out for help and heads down to the ditch to help him, but they both end up being accidentally buried alive by a bulldozer. Meanwhile, Anthony Fleming, a real estate magnate, is heading to the manor with his partner/lover Gloria to try and buy the manor from Ethel Adams, the owner, and turn it into a casino. They arrive at the Manor, just as Mike Carr, the construction foreman, notices his missing workers and heads to the hotel to see if they are there. Inside the hotel, Valerie, Ethel’s daughter, apologizes to Fleming, as her grandmother is having second thoughts about selling, then she tells her frustrations to Mike, as they are dating. Mike leaves the hotel and after talking with his coworker Vince about the missing men, Mike decides to check the trench and notices a hardhat on the ground inside. Mike yells out for Vince to get help and the rest of the crew head over to help as they find and dig out the men. An ambulance is called to take the men to the hospital, where one died from asphyxiation and the other dies from some sort of toxic reaction. When Mike returns to the hotel, he looks around the ditch to see if he can figure out what happened to his men, just as Peggy Kenter, a Board of Health inspector, and her assistant White show up to find out what happened to the workers. Meanwhile, a boy that was collecting glass bottles to recycle had been attacked by some ants and goes screaming into the pool to attempt to get them off. Mike and Richard, a hotel employee, rushes into the pool to rescue the boy, who is taken to the hospital and dies from the same thing that killed Mike’s worker. As Mike continues to try and figure out what is going on, Vince is bitten by some ants and after Mike helps him, Vince finds that his leg has gone numb. Figuring that the ants are somehow responsible, Mike catches some in a jar to be tested, just as the manor’s cook dies in the kitchen. Peggy and White quarantine the kitchen and begin preparations to evacuate the manor’s guests, as White feels that this is the result of a virus and when Mike explains his theory to them, White scoffs at the notion that ants are the cause of it. As Mike gets pissed and storms off, Peggy takes the jar of ants to a friend of hers to ask if it is possible that they could be deadly, and her friend says it is possible due to all the toxins that have been put into the earth over the years. Back at the hotel, Mike has gotten into the bulldozer and begins digging up the ditch, and the drain pipe that leads into the hotel, causing the ant colony to begin swarming around the hotel. Mike, realizing what is happening, tells Vince to have the men dig a ditch around the hotel to contain the ants while he tries to make his way inside. At the hotel, several of the guest that had not evacuated have been killed by the ants, as well as White and Gloria, leaving Valerie, Ethel, Fleming, Richard, and his new girlfriend Linda left alive. Mike makes it inside and has everyone head upstairs to stall for time, as the ants are starting to swarm the downstairs. When the police and fire department show up, they use the engine’s ladder to try to rescue everyone in the hotel but are only able to get Linda out before the others are forced to move to the higher floors. A helicopter is brought in and they manage to load Ethel into the basket so she can be carried to safety but as the helicopter goes to leave, Richard ends up falling off the balcony and lands on a lower awning. Vince manages to rescue Richard, just as the helicopter begins to land nearby but the backwash from the helicopter’s props sends the nearby ants flying into the crowd of onlookers, forcing them to avoid using the helicopter for any more rescue attempts. The fire chief gets in touch with Mike to explain the situation, telling him that the Coast Guard is sending some special suits they can use to rescue them but they won’t be there for 30 minutes. Mike, Valerie, and Fleming try to barricade the room as best they can and as the ants start to seep through, and Peggy’s friend Tom tells them that they have to try and stay as still as possible, as the ants might not see them as threatening and attack them. Mike cuts some strips of wallpaper to use as breathing tubes, and has everyone sit down and stay calm, slowly using the tubes for when they need to take a breath. Mike and Valerie manage to stay calm and follow the plan but Fleming panics when the ants start crawling on him and he attempts to jump off the balcony into the pool below, but misses and falls onto the concrete. The suits finally arrive and Mike and Valerie are rescued from the ants and after reuniting with Ethel, Ethel tells them to go ahead and get married and not to worry about her, as she┬áis going to move to Florida with her sister.

While this wasn’t a bad movie on the whole, it was quite a bit on the boring side. The acting was ok, with Robert Foxworth doing a good job in his role as Mike. The other actors were ok, though I was rather surprised by the amount of actors I was familiar with being in this movie, such as Suzanne Somers and Brian Dennehy. The plot was decent, if a little slow in building up to any real tension. The scene at the end with Mike, Valerie, and Fleming sitting in the room as the ants crawl all over them definitely provided the means to make ones skin crawl, especially when you had an ant crawling all around Valerie’s eye. The special effects weren’t much, as this was a made for TV movie, but they did a decent job showing the ants interacting with the people. All told, this isn’t the type of movie that would blow anyone away, but is worth a watch if you happen to come across it.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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comedy, movie, movie review

February 28th, 2018 Movie – Tomcats

tomcats

I am completely dragging ass this morning. Part of it is that I did not get a lot of sleep last night, kept waking up throughout the night so my brains is not exactly functioning at full capacity. Anyways, today’s movie is one that I bought for cheap for a pretty shallow reason. Shannon Elizabeth was hot. I know, not the best reason for buying a movie. Funny thing is, after buying it, I might have watched it once, maybe twice, in over 12 years. So let’s see if this movie is worth the $1.99 I spent on it as I watch Tomcats.

The plot: Seven years ago, Michael Delany is a groomsman at his friend Max’s wedding, as are Kyle Brenner, Steve, and the rest of their friends, known as the Tomcats. Michael is freaking out and makes a vow to stay single forever and Kyle, in an attempt to loosen him up, steals a bottle of wine from the gift table and the groomsmen and groom start drinking it, unaware that the bride’s sister had laced the wine with a erectile dysfunction drug, causing the guys to all have boners during the ceremony. Afterwards, Michael and the other Tomcats are commenting about Max and ragging on Steve, who they say will be the next one to get married and they end up starting a pool, putting several hundred dollars into it each year and the last man to stay single will get the pot. In the present day, Steve is getting married in Las Vegas leaving, Michael and Kyle as the last two single men in the pool. Michael had brought Shelby, the girl he is currently dating, to the wedding and as they are fooling around after the ceremony, he mistakenly thinks she wants him to say he loves her and breaks up with her, only for her to laugh and tell him what she meant. Michael is depressed over the break up and Steve tries to console him by saying there are plenty of women in the casino and after he leaves, Michael notices a redhead near the craps table. The bartender warns Michael that she is only interested in high rollers but Michael decides to give it a shot anyways and starts losing money at the table to try and impress her. Tricia sees this and gets Steve to try and stop Michael and Steve manages to convince him to stop before placing a $25,000 bet but when Michael hands the dice to the woman, she throws them down the table and loses and security escort Michael and Steve to the owner’s office. Inside, Carlos, the owner goes to show Michael a replay of what happened, during the course of which showing footage of two women together and Steve thinks one of them is Tricia. Finally showing the craps table, Carlos explains that the woman had been rubbing the dice on her breasts for luck for Michael while he was playing so when he handed them to her and she threw them, it constituted a throw for Michael, resulting in him owing $51,000 to Carlos. Michael and Steve return to Steve’s room, where Steve starts searching everywhere for the second woman while Tricia asks what happened and Michael tells her. Michael goes to see Kyle, who has a lot of money, and wants to ask him to loan him the money but before he can ask, Kyle tells him he hates people who borrow money. As they keep talking, Michael asks if he was ever in love and Kyle says maybe once, then talks about a bridesmaid he hooked up with at Max’s wedding. Michael goes to see Tricia and Steve, who thinks that Tricia is cheating on him with their maid, and asks if she knows where he can find Natalie. Tricia tells him where but Michael is surprised to find that she is a prostitute on a street corner. Michael hesitantly approaches her and starts talking with her only to discover she is an undercover cop when she arrests him. Michael is taken to the station, where Natalie and Officer Hurley start questioning him and Michael explains why he was looking for Natalie. Natalie says she doesn’t remember Kyle and lets Michael go, then shows up at Michael’s house the next day. She asks why he didn’t borrow the money from Kyle and when Michael explains, she tells him that she will help him in exchange for half of the money, as she wants to get revenge on Kyle for what he did when he took her virginity. Michael and Natalie begin watching Kyle so that they can figure out what he likes and dislikes. During the course of their observations, they end up getting closer and Michael starts to falling for her. After an awkward dinner with several of their friends, and their children, Michael and Natalie are walking on the beach and Natalie sets up a situation where Michael can kiss her. When he balks, Natalie arrests someone committing vandalism nearby and tells Michael to bring Kyle to her in the morning. The next day, Natalie is talking to Hurley while they are making a drug bust about how she is falling for Michael and thinks he likes her too but she isn’t sure so Hurley tells her to make Michael jealous to see find out his feelings. The next day, Michael and Kyle are wandering by the cosmetics counter when the bump into Natalie, who is pretending to work there. After speaking for a little bit, Kyle recognizes Natalie and Michael leaves the alone but ends up following after them on their date. When they get back to Kyle’s house, Michael attempts to watch them but Natalie destroys the microphone and turns the lights on in order to blind Michael, who was using night vision glasses to see them. Inside Kyle’s house, Natalie tells Kyle that she isn’t having sex with him that night and hands him a bottle of lotion and Kyle, thinks she is testing him. Natalie calls Michael and asks him to meet her and when he does, she tells him she is falling in love with Kyle. Michael is shocked and unable to come to grips with his own feelings for her, decides to sleep with the next woman he sees. He picks up a librarian named Jill and she takes him back to her house, where she is revealed to be a dominatrix who tends to team up on her subjects with her grandmother. The next day, Michael and Kyle are talking and Kyle asks Michael to check his crotch, as one of his testicles feels bigger than the other, but Michael refuses. They go to see Steve, who is a proctologist, and he reluctantly checks on Steve, who then refers him to a urologist, who tells Kyle he has testicular cancer. Kyle undergoes surgery to remove the testicle and as he is recovering, he asks Michael to bring him his testicle and Michael attempts to do so but breaks the jar and as he tries to chase down the testicle, it ends up being unknowingly eaten by the urologist so Michael places a walnut in a jar of water and hands it to Kyle. A few days later, Kyle invites Michael to lunch with him and Natalie, where he proposes to Natalie. During the bachelor party, Michael comments about Kyle having one last hurrah but Kyle says that he plans to keep sleeping with other women while Natalie is at home with the kids. Realizing he can’t let Natalie go through with the scam, Michael wants to stop the wedding but ends up being knocked out by a bowling ball. The next day, Natalie is at the city hall waiting for Michael to show up, as Tricia and Hurley both ask if she really wants to go through with this. Meanwhile, Michael wakes up and, unable to find his clothes, throws on a robe and heads to City Hall to stop the wedding, trying to avoid the cops as he was accused of being a flasher and peeping tom. Michael arrives at the City Hall and yells out to stop the wedding only to realize it is the wrong wedding, then sees Natalie’s bouquet and realizes she had gone through with the wedding. Getting the money from the pool, Michael pays back Carlos and runs into Kyle a few days later with another woman. After accusing him of cheating on Natalie, Kyle punches Michael, who asks what it was for. Kyle explains that on their wedding night, Natalie had knocked him out with a roll of quarters, as revenge for leaving her alone with a roll of quarters for a cab ride home, and she had the marriage annulled the next day. When Kyle says that he has a date that night with a redheaded librarian and had suggested a book to read, Michael gets a happy look on his face and tells him that book will change his life, then runs off. That night, Michael goes to the street corner where Natalie is working undercover again and speaks with her, offering her a proposal involving a house and a ring, with possibly kids and a dog. Some time later, they are shown to be getting married, with Michael telling her he loves her. Meanwhile, Kyle is shown to be shackled in Jill’s bedroom and Grammy approaches him while wearing a strap-on and Kyle seems to like it. Elsewhere, Steve discovers that Tricia was cheating on him with both their maid and his nurse but when she asks if he wants to join them, he happily rips off his clothes and does so.

Tomcats was panned by the critics, holding a 14% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Why even bother? You already know if you’re going to see it or not.” Got to admit, that is really funny. After getting a producer, a script, two stars and a shooting plan, writer/director Gregory Poirior took the film to the newly formed Revolution Studios. Joe Roth, the studio’s founder, could not overlook this ready-made opportunity for the newly-formed company’s first project. Despite the bad reviews, the movie was a modest hit at the box office, earning $23.4 million off of an $11 million budget.

I know I was dragging ass this morning and this movie did not help me get any motivation whatsoever. This really isn’t a good movie because all of the juvenile aspects of it are just annoying. The acting was ok, with Shannon Elizabeth (Natalie) doing a decent job but Jake Busey (Kyle) and Jerry O’Connell (Michael) playing the almost non-stop juvenile roles was just annoying. The story was equally annoying and honestly just felt really weak. Honestly, the side story of Steve (Horatio Sanz) constantly trying to figure out if Tricia (Jaime Pressly) was cheating on him was more entertaining than the majority of this movie. I’m just going to go ahead and end this hear. This is a pointless comedy that doesn’t really have much redeeming it.

Rating: 1 1/2 out of 5

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