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The Force of Evil

TV-movie suspense classic
This was produced back in the late 70's, back when they still made suspense movies for TV that were entertaining (remember the 90-min. ABC movies of the early 70's? This film is in a similar vein but better). Like others have said, this is one that you remember all through the years if you originally saw it as a kid or teen. It had some pretty memorable shock scenes for it's time and especially for television. It also features very good performances from the actors: Lloyd Bridges, William Watson as the bitter ex-con Teddy Jakes, and veteran character actor John Anderson as Lloyd's brother & sheriff trying to find ways to catch Jakes before he hurts Bridge's family. I found this on VHS back in the early 90's but I'm sure it's out of print now - I'm glad I picked it up when it was available because it's almost as good now as it was 27 years ago. Hopefully, a re-make of this will be produced at some point down the road, although the plot is quite similar to "Cape Fear".


Rent it!
I picked this up because: 1- it appeared to be a suspense movie and 2- starred a name actress (Darryl Hannah). Reading the synopsis on the box in the store, it sounded like an interesting plot but I was a little hesitant about renting it as there were absolutely NO quotes on the box from any reviewers. Getting it home and pressing "play" on my DVD player surprisingly resulted in almost immediate action and involvement in the story- it wastes no time at all getting into the suspense. The most obvious comparison in the storyline is with the movie "Misery" but that's not to say this is a rip-off of that film or unworthy of renting (or buying) because of the similarities. This is every bit as good as that film or better and the acting by the major players- especially Hannah and her kidnappers- is first-rate all the way. Don't hesitate to check this one out- it's the best-kept suspense movie secret this year.

Paura nella città dei morti viventi

Surprisingly Chilling
A friend let me borrow this video and I had it lying around the house for a few weeks and had forgotten about it. Then I came across it a couple of days ago and decided to pop it in the VCR, having a little time to kill on the weekend. I have to say I wasn't expecting too much going into it as I've not seen Christopher George in much more than low budget films or forgettable TV-movies (sorry, I didn't realize he passed away way back in '83). I can usually tell if a film will be interesting within the first 10 minutes, and with this one I kept it running after the 10-minute mark. To get to the point, I got past the low-budget production and amateurish acting and interested in the story. The effects are very good and gory to the point of pure disgustiveness (is that a word?), so please don't let small kids watch this- it could really mess them up. I've seen a lot of zombie movies and I'd put this one up against any of the "Living Dead" series of films for sheer gore and fright factor. Any essential collection of zombie films should definitely include this overlooked and under-rated horror film.

The Dead Hate the Living!

Pass this one up
This is yet another zombie flick that has been done so many times before and SO MUCH BETTER. Nothing is original here- much less scary- and the performances are just plain bad. If you want to see a zombie flick, please get any of the George Romero classics, or the Evil Dead's or just about anything would beat this mess. And, to add insult to injury, at the end of the rental tape I had, there is a 15 minute interview with the writer/director and cast members talking about the making of the movie as if it would make any difference in my opinion of this total waste of time!

Blue Streak

Recommended for video rental only
The sense I got when viewing this movie was one of a missing element. Lawrence is pretty much the same funny character we've seen in his previous films but this time it seemed the writing wasn't all there, or perhaps the problem was Lawrence didn't have another major star to play off of as he did in "Life" (Eddie Murphy) and "Nothing To Lose" (Tim Robbins). One scene in particular was when he showed up in disguise as a pizza delivery man at the precinct- this scene simply didn't make me laugh. Perhaps in a future film, Lawrence should team up with someone along the lines of Gene Wilder or Martin Short. Having said that, I'm sure Lawrence has it in him to make a really funny film with top billing, but this one isn't it.

Angel in My Pocket

Classic Andy
This was written by the same team that wrote all the classic "Andy Griffith Show" episodes- Jim Fritzell and Everett Greenbaum, so you get the same simple and folksy humor you got in Mayberry and again, it works well for Andy's comic style. This time out, though, Andy plays the newly-appointed pastor of a small-town church that's got a few problems. Along the way you 'll see several familiar character actors (including Hope Summers- "Clara" from the Griffith show) and Ellen Corby ("Grandma Walton"). If you love the folks from Mayberry, you'll enjoy this movie. Unfortunately, I don't think this has been released on home video yet, but it occasionally pops up on TBS or The Family Channel.

The Ghost and Mr. Chicken

I first saw this at a drive-in theater when I was a kid and it's been one of my all-time favorite movies ever since. I think this was the first film Knotts did after leaving the Andy Griffith Show, so he still had that Barney Fife/nervous man characterization in full bloom. I remember actually being frightened by that big pipe organ playing by itself! And the courtroom scene was really funny ("Atta boy, Luther!"- If I ever met Don Knotts, I'd just have to yell that out!) A comedy classic that, until recent years, wasn't even available on video. Share this one with your kids or just enjoy Don Knotts' classic performance for yourself. (Also, get and enjoy "Shakiest Gun In the West" and "The Reluctant Astronaut").

The Haunting

After reading many of the negative reviews here, I was curious to rent this movie and form my own opinion. To get straight to the point, I think this film is getting a bum rap, at least from most of the reviews in this forum and, because of this, I wasn't expecting too much upon inserting the video into my machine. However, when it was all over, I was surprised. This remake held my interest from start to finish. I felt the performances were good, the storyline believable, the effects very good. After seeing the video, I would really like to see this on the big screen- I'm sure it would be even more intense. Okay, so it's no "Poltergeist" as far as scare factor, but I still think it held it's own, as far as being true to the original movie. Personally, I'd like to see a sequel. Definitely worth renting, if you're into haunted house flicks- despite all the bad press.


Fun flick in the tradition of Jurassic Park
This movie is not nearly as bad as a lot of the reviews below would have you believe. Worst movie ever made? Hardly. Worse than the old Japanese versions? Not in my opinion. I found it only slightly less entertaining than "The Lost World- Jurassic Park", but for the most part it has the same chills as that movie and there's a couple of scenes that would be too intense for children under 12. I thought the special effects were pretty good- not great, though. As far as Matthew Broderick's acting, I think he did as much as he could with the script he had to work with, or maybe comedy is more his style (i.e. "Ferris Bueller"). But, here again, I didn't feel his lack of charisma in this role was enough to detract from the film. One other point about this flick I haven't seen mentioned was that Jean Reno's performance was quite good. So, I would recommend this film to rent without hesitation if you're a fan of the Jurassic Park films. It's really not a bad film, although not exactly a classic. I can imagine seeing it on the big screen would do it a lot more justice.


Great stay-up-late Saturday night fright film
I first saw this on cable back in the mid 80's and was glued to the TV from the very first story. This flick had more spirit to it than did the sequel, which I never cared for. The best stories here for me were: "Something to Tide You Over", "The Crate", and "Father's Day". Boy, that Leslie Nielsen can sure play an EVIL character when he wants to in "Something To Tide You Over". I love the creepy music in this particular story, it really creates a mood of dread, of something gone terribly wrong. "Father's Day" was a lot of fun- the type of story that can make you jump, then you immediately start laughing. "The Crate" had good performances by Fritz Weaver, Hal Holbrook, and Adrienne Barbeau and the monster was pretty frightening! Like others have already said, this movie is a comic book on the big screen and it will be on my all-time favorite horror movie list indefinitely. Now, if Romero and King will just reunite for "Creepshow 2000"!

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