It ain't what you do, it's the age that you do it !
Due to the seriousness of her crime, Amanda is being tried as an adult, for murder, and faces execution if guilty.
Amanda is 15 years old.
This film is based on a true story. Unfortunately, this means absolutely nothing in the film represents what actually happened to Amanda... except perhaps that she murdered someone and was found guilty.
So, viewing the film in it's own right, I think it does an excellent job of presenting us with information, with a scenario, and asking us many questions about the legal system, and the strange institution that is the death penalty. The subject is a minor, only 15yrs old. Alcohol and drugs are involved, and she is only 15yrs old. Sex, prostitution, and rape by a family member, and she is 15yrs old. Married, legally, at 15yrs old. Up in front of the beak, death penalty, possibly facing the end of her life, at 15yrs old.
In fact, having read my own paragraph above, I find it incredible that this is a true story... I mean, how could all this happen, and then a jury of adults be asked to decide on a death penalty for a child who has been through all this? Madness, to be sure. Perhaps a jury of 15yr olds would be better? After all, are we not supposed to be judged by our peers?
The situations in the film are well presented. The confusion and the strangeness not blindfolding us, and not brainwashing either.
We are allowed to think all the way through this movie... and I guess careful thought about this subject is what was needed. All actors do well, especially Lewis, who develops a very whole, very believable character throughout.
One criticism might be that while the film carries an 18 rating, what we actually see is , well, Disney-fied. The subject is wholly unpleasant, true or not, but the edges are certainly smoothed. It is presented in a Saturday matinée format, when it could quite easily, and maybe more truthfully, be presented in Natural Born Killers reality styley, and thus deserve it's rating.
Well worth watching... thought provoking, well acted, and deserves a "7" from me!
With an amazing true subject like this... why bother to embellish it??
The Witchfinder General is a true story, at least, there was a Witchfinder General, around 1645, who did get confessions from 'witches' by medieval means, and perform executions as deemed necessary. As for anything in this film being truthful... well, I'm not so sure.
We are presented with a devious sex addict, who literally rides around the country, with a burly henchman sidekick, and has sex with as many women as possible, while getting paid for torturing people and organising executions. Now, from the history books, I can't find any reference to the sexual deviance or deviousness of this man. Neither do I believe that all of Olde England's pubs were full of bare-breasted women out for a grand time. Nor do I believe that the daughter of a 17th century clergyman would be encouraged, by her father, to have pre-marital sex, in the vicarage, while the dear old man pops off to bed early... after prayers we assume?? And, to top it all off, with dear old Dad having been tried as a witch, would the congregation of a 17th century village then desecrate the hallowed church and write graffiti on the walls?? No, idiot, I shouldn't think they could even write!!
There is so much film potential in this subject, perhaps along the lines of the brilliant Plunkett and MacLeane or A Knights Tale or even the historically accurate epic, Gangs of New york (trust me, I know!!). And OK, I accept that this film was released in 1968, but it seems to me that it was made for an unquestioning, maybe American, audience. Especially as the narrative explains the situation at the start of the film more in terms of 20th century McCarthyism, that 17th Century mysticism.
No problem with the acting, all good. Scenery pretty good, although those dungeons were devilishly clean! As for the script, it was only marred by inaccuracies, rather than lack of storyline. And this film does have a little story going on, in its own way... but a real shame, when the factual subject would have been so much better.
I voted a generous "5"... and live in hope of a decent and historically interested director getting a hold of this subject. Please??
So the taxi driver, on the night shift, is a vampire. Powerful, mystical, spiritual, all the usual vampiry stuff... but hey, he's gotta earn a living, get some o' them dollars, right??
The whole point of vampires is that they live a separate existence, feeding off of our race as they need. Their structured and mysterious society goes far beyond money, far beyond the need for the day to day, 9pm to 5am, shift work that the rest of us have to put up with. Taxi driver indeed! And it gets worse.
Our vampire hero, the love, lust, and blood full monty only becomes a vampire when someone has tipped a bag of flour over him, and turned on some blue scenery lights. Yep, the make-up and lighting budget was a bit strained. Made in the late 80's, this film also seemed more linked to the "Fame!" series than anything else. These aren't actors, they're dancers! The story is set around an 80's dance production, and yes, they definitely did stick with hiring dancers... even the vampire hero midget, with what looks like an astounding physique, will not doubt turn out to be a dancer when put under the microscope.
So, 80's dancing, leg warmers, shocking 80's music, awful 80's characters and situations... oh yes, the 80's was the decade when nothing really happened anywhere, unless there was an over choreographed modern dance show going on! And yes a ridiculous 80's script. There is nothing here for vampire or horror fans... nothing at all. A budget film, with budget cast and when the budget ran out they ended it with a sub-budget ending... it really is terrible.
Sure, they "Wanna live for ever", and after a quick nibble in the park, they probably will! I voted a "2"
Another candidate for the trade descriptions act...
The copy I am reviewing sported the title "Blackheart, quest of a serial killer". It becomes quite obvious early on that this film has nothing to do with a serial killer. Several people getting killed does not a serial killer make. Otherwise, what would all our gallant soldiers and armed policemen be??
So, more than a little upset about being duped into buying this by a false title, I am then more than a little more insulted by a very bad film. The storyline is really terrible. A whole series of ridiculous coincidences, and even more ridiculous forced coincidences are supposed to have us reeling at the ingenuity of this fearful money seeking killer. But not so, all we feel is, well, how ridiculous! The acting by all concerned, Grieco, Alonso, Plummer, was really quite good. But then, good acting doesn't make a good film. And how could PI Plummer ever carry off the role whilst having to wear a copy-cat Sherlock Holmes outfit, without becoming farcical? And farcical is what he becomes.
A so-so, throw away, comedy ending really tops off the insult which this film really is. And yet I might have been a little more generous if they hadn't lied to me with the marketing genius title of serial killer... black widow, hustler, grifter... anything but serial killer.
No respect from me here... but a vote of "3" for the acting... hell, they gotta pay the rent too!
Think "Cannonball Run"... without the style or the comedy !!
OK, so my summary is a little harsh! What we have here is an assembly of big name, big fee, comedic actors in a film designed for American audiences. The laughs are not necessarily predictable, and are not necessarily that funny either.
Fair to say, there is something for everyone... and possibly some things for no-one! Perhaps this movie is the culmination of a study of American audiences, whereby, the results show that if you've had one good laugh, you feel like you have seen a good comedy. Yes, funny accents, poking fun, silly noises, humorous situations, confusion, and comedic corruption. As for the bit with the Jewish family and Hitler's car... I'm not sure whether that is at all tasteful, and could possibly be construed as offensive.
For horror fans, this is one of the original slasher/video nasty films, and therefore carries a little respect, and a little consideration for it's failings.
My copy is the slightly edited "Grim Reaper" as opposed to the original and supposedly un-cut "Antropophagus". It is annoyingly dubbed, whereas I would prefer subtitles were it in a foreign language. Strangely I couldn't quite be sure of this... the blind English girl is definitely speaking English.. but as for the others?? Oh well, I digress! Much of the movie is badly lit... the screen is too dark, and although this could be construed as being spooky or mystifying, I think it's rather unnecessary. Likewise the music is confusingly dramatic, seems to appear in all the wrong places. Maybe this is a technique designed to unsettle the senses, but either way, makes viewing difficult at first.
Basically, a nutball psycho is loose on an island, and some people visit the island. Slash, stab, chew, gore, mess. Surprise, bluff, suspense, inevitability. What more could a slash/horror fan want??
In two words "nostalgic value". I rated a "4" for originality.
If there's one thing I despise more than any other in the movie world it's false advertising. In this case, if the DVD case depicts a horror movie, and the words on the cover and in the synopsis describe horrific events and suggest a horror film, then that is what should be found within.
The tag-line on the cover of my copy describes "The most feared inhabitant of the backwoods is back with a vengeance." Which is about as far from the actual movie content as one could get. What we do get is something rather like those 1970's Disney documentaries, where cine-footage of a real live wild animal,is made into an edited story, with a seemingly appropriate, cutesy name for the starring animal, to give us a feature length docu-movie which would keep any 7yr old completely transfixed and happy for the duration. Which is interesting, because the horror content of this wouldn't scare a 7yr old either! So, filmed in a documentary style, with a past tense narrative throughout, a group of highly dubious student/teacher characters head out from a college ball game, to go study this mythical, mysterious creature, of which another sighting has recently been reported. Initial reconstructions and glimpses of the 'creature' are quite good, and draw the viewer into the story. But as the documentary turns into it's concluding action-phase, the film suffers from too much budget monster syndrome. We are subjected to an obvious tall guy in a budget badly made hairy suit with a plastic monkey-mask sewn in. This is the type of horror movie making which doesn't make the grade, any grade. Ever!
I must admit, that I couldn't help thinking that there could be some entertainment, and even success, from re-making this film Blair Witch/docu-movie style, relying on mere glimpses of creature, or even no glimpses at all... but then, I am such an idealist, and really do try to see the good in everything... honest!! Overall, bad acting, bad editing, bad sound with some OK ideas. Unfortunately the lasting memory is of the totally false and ridiculous advertising, deployed to coax horror movie lovers into paying a tiny amount of money to buy this film... which they will obviously be dis-satisfied with once they watch it.
Gives the movie, or at least DVD/video world a bad name.
In a word, "Don't." I rated a 2, for re-make potential!
A confusing tale which confronts issues like popularity, and fitting into social groups... oh and some kind of vampire ritualism too. It's too easy to throw this movie straight in the Buffy/Dawsons Creek, bin... but hey, that's what the bin is there for!
Teen acting is often a little on the stiff side, especially in a teen movie like this. Very little charisma, but a whole bag of enforced "cool", which they do quite well. There is a consistent street-wise-cum-spooky atmosphere, but also a gross inconsistency whereby these supposedly most popular guys in college are never seen to do anything in or around the college. Strange! We hear about their popularity and even good grades, but don't see any interaction at all! So a cool, likable individual (Chris), doesn't want to join a fraternity and become "Mr Popular" because that would make him un-cool and un-likable? His room-mate, "Who got thrown out of chess-club for being too geeky" would love to be "Mr Popular", and if he was would spend all his time doing really un-popular things to other people and school buildings! It's a teen movie... geddit?? The whole vampire idea is quite good, not a fang in sight, but a wickedly cool lair. Their catch phrase, "Blood Brothers", links well to the fraternity idea and their vampirical past-time. It's a well designed fantasy, and even a good story for teen vampire fans.
But, and there's always a but, it doesn't quite hang together. Watching this movie leaves you feeling something is missing. Maybe that the college disappears as soon as the movie gets going, and then exists between Chris' bungalow and the Frat house itself. There is more than just a hint of Homo-eroticism, with the number of fit young men crawling around each other in their underwear. Hey, maybe all fraternities are like that? A little more than 'blood' brothers perhaps!! Whereas a little more female interaction would have made the film a tad more credible... even if the guys are all gay! Also, and probably most annoying was the lead female (Megan), who put on an especially grating, gravelly drawl of an accent, and managed to deliver all her lines slowly, without breaths, or even pauses between words. Ick! Maybe that's the only way she could come across as 'cool'... or was she 'uncool' being a psychology major and all. Oh, I give up! And finally, so it's a budget film, but did it have to end quite so abruptly and unspectacularly and uninterestingly?
So, I'm now left with a shell of a film, that has a couple of good ideas, and does flow through to an albeit rather abrupt ending. This may be a favourite with some unquestioning young teenage girls... I'd say around 11 or 12years should do it! So how on earth did this flick get a 15 rating?? One thing is for sure, "Lost Boys" this ain't! I rated a "4"
The first scenes of this film feel more like an episode of Dallas, or a Columbo style prelude, than they do a horror film. The comparisons get worse... Murder She wrote, The A-Team... hell no, it's Charlie's Angels. And then the penny drops, three young women, with a mystery a-foot, it's really like Scooby Doo, without a male lead or any sort of canine activity. In fact, from the moment you meet the resident bad guy (Sydney Lassik), you can just imagine him saying "If it wasn't for you pesky kids!!", as someone pulls his mask off!
That said, this is not a totally bad film at all. The weakest character, unfortunately, is the one we see most of, Barbara Bach. Rarely does she provide any sort of emotional performance, and there is no need for her to be sexy in this film either. Well, I suppose she has quite big eyes, which work out well for the ending! All other roles are played well, and are for the most part believable. Equally believable is the scary situation, three girls in a remote hotel, and the mysterious menace that we know is there from early on.
Suspense builds up steadily towards the finale, but once all the ground is covered, and the secrets revealed, the film turns into more action than horror, more slasher-style than creepy. It loses both pace and purpose and leaves us with no more bitter taste than a family squabble. That is, someone else's family! But this was supposed to be horror! Several minutes of senseless screaming, towards the end also don't help. What I like to call "Goonies syndrome", noise that in fact irritates more than affects the atmosphere, or benefits the film.
OK, so it may make Saturday afternoon, regular TV-style horror these days... that is if you cut out the tasteful glimpse of nakedness. But outside of that, no there's not too much there. It's horrible, not horror. It's unpleasant not unbearable. It is entertaining, and quite well put together, so there's a "5" rating from me!
I must admit that the zombie is far from my favourite horror monster scary-thing image. But in an attempt to find the ultimate in scary films, old and new, I will watch anything to develop my ideas and get my fix.
With hindsight, I needn't have watched this one. Pointless and grossly non-developed plot, wooden characters (whether zombie-fied or not), extremely budget sets, inconsistent action from one scene (even one shot) to the next, no entertainment value (this wasn't even laughable), and definitely no horror. Not a squeak!
In truth, the credits to this film were arguably the best part. If they had been at the beginning, there may well have been a good opening to the film. All that would be needed thereafter is to change absolutely everything from then on. No, hold on, there was one good thing... the mask of the intelli-zombie, yes the living AND thinking dead... was almost quite effective. Almost. In fact, I am having trouble dissuading myself that it is this same mask that was used again, some years later, in Jeepers Creepers.
Essentially, this film is a no-watcher... and I struggle to believe that it was ever worth watching. Or making.
Howling 3 is yet another horror effort, where excellent ideas and even the mood and atmosphere of a horror classic are not cultivated or nurtured throughout the film.
I was brought up in the era of "The American Werewolf in London", definitely the classic, archetypal werewolf flick. Tough competition by anyone's standards. Yet Howling 3 has just as many good ideas, just as much depth, just as much potential... but just doesn't make it.
The basis of the film resides upon some old Cine8 footage of a werewolf's capture by some natives. Grainy, snowy, short lived images, set the scene well, and could be perceived as scary. The idea of the werewolf being a type of marsupial species, a separate development of human life is interesting, and could be scary in that they have always lived amongst us. Separate werewolf societies, driven to the bleakest habitable places on the planet, but in contact with each other spiritually and genetically... yes, yes, this is definitely going somewhere.
And then three of said werewolves dress up as Nuns, and travel to the big city to retrieve their runaway teen-wolfette, and gain entry to a fancy dress party having changed into actual habit-wearing wolf people... oh perleeease!
A serious film, even a horror, can carry some comedy, but in Howling 3 the comedy is inappropriate, badly timed, and too farcical for words. The more serious horror aspects of the film being ruined by these interruptions. I remained unconvinced by any of the man-to-wolf changes, in fact, they were equally farcical, with their obvious "fur means fear" reliance.
So, a film with potential, which obviously had serious horror intent, became a farce, even a spoof, by it's own making. A real shame and a real sham all in one. Stick to "American Werewolf in London" or even "Dog Soldiers" for that fur-fear-fix!! I rated a "3"
Scary movies on a budget... yep, this is one of them!!
Make no mistake, when buying budget horror dvds, you are going to end up with budget horror. There, simple! However, most often these budget titles are no so much horror as farce, not so much scary as spoof.
Sorority House Massacre is a budget film for sure, but refreshingly has some elements of horror and suspense. The bad guy is bad, the good girl is good. And some of the 'action' is credible.
Maybe the plot-line has been used before, and it's improbability could seem tiring. Maybe the diversion of the Sorority House, chock full of nubile women who change their clothes every so often is laughable rather than erotic or compelling. The characters are a bit stiff, even before any are murdered! Grieving, shock , and any other necessary emotions are minimal. But the overall task of the film, the creation of suspense, the feeling of horror, is definitely smouldering away in there... and might just serve it's purpose for budget movie buyers. Another thing I liked was the credibility of the murders and fatalities. People are being attacked and are dying. There's no martial arts, very little wild thrashing about or incessant screaming, no long drawn-out fight scene, no falling over mortally wounded, only to rise up again and defeat the menace using both the severed arm and the decapitated leg. Praiseworthy, to be sure, surprise, scream, stab, dead. Brilliant!
OK, so I'm not going to tell you that this is a highly under-rated film, which needs watching carefully in a darkened room for the best effect. It's just a film, a kind of horror, typical of it's era. But it's watchable. It's not a total waste of time a space... only a partial waste!! Not Hollywood at it's budget best, but definitely not it's worst. I rated a "5"
If you want to experience a fantasy world of mythical beasts and far-off lands there are several choices. Firstly you can dream it. Secondly you can read it. or thirdly you can see a movie about it, where all the imagination work is done for you with visual effects and camera work. So why on earth are there movies made which still require us to use imagination to make the images seem real, or even watchable??
I have no problem with the "B" or even "C" movie genre. Some old and very respectable movies are made using plasticine model monsters, and superimposed close-ups of real insects... not a crime, nor a problem. But in this film, even those tried and tested, basic techniques are done badly. Although, hang on, was that a cameo by the "Asteroid-millenium falcon eating-monster" from "The Empire Strikes Back"?? No, surely not!
I sometimes wonder how and why films like this ever get made. I mean, someone has to have an idea at some point, and the "story" grows from there, right? I couldn't even piece a story together out of this, the final product. So how on earth did anyone first answer the question "So, what's this film going to be about?" Initially titled "The Dark Castle" I believe... then had a name change to entice an entirely different audience. The added female voice-over at the start belies this attempt at trickery... in fact, I'm not sure that one couldn't take this film and it's packaging to the advertising standards commission, and hold the company liable for every copy sold under these false pretences.
I rated this film "2", and justify the rating thus... one point for creative use of the poem "Jabberwocky". And one point for all the laughs I got from everything in this film! And I wasn't laughing at the funny bits I assure you! So rather than try to explain what this film is... how about a little about what it isn't. It's not a parody or a spoof, this limp lettuce of a production is somebody's actual attempt to make a movie. It's not a horror... believe me, "comedy of effort" would be a better genre! And it most certainly isn't any kind of soft-core porn either... don't let that name-change fool you! All in all, shockingly bad and pointless stuff. Not for horror, fantasy, sci-fi, B-movie, c-movie, or even any-movie fans at all.
A tale of friendship, determination and courage. What else could it be with knights in armour and dusky maidens?? A medieval setting, with modern language and music to help the entertainment value along! And that it does! Ledger's "William" is passable... young, fit, good looking chap... does he really need to be able to act?? Whereas Bettany's "Chaucer", and Addy and Tudyk's sidekicks are all excellent, superb characters and performances. The bad guy is bad, the good guys are generally good, and the lady blacksmith is absolutely gorgeous. The set is spot-on, easily transporting us to the desired era, and the music score is great fun... amazing stuff.
As you may tell by my enthusiasms, I adore this kind of film... right up my cup of tea! But this one doesn't quite hit the mark. I think the lead female role is too weak... she isn't likable, and struggles to make us believe that she is the one our gallant hero should be a-wooing. Oh yes, "a-wooing", this is medieval after all!! Nevertheless, there's plenty in here despite the love-story, and it's well worth a look. If it's your bag, then try the vastly superior Plunkett and Macleane... now that's a modernised period tale to rave about, and no doubt I will!! This one gets a "7" :-)
What was the point of the scissors? Well, scissors have points!!
If a film could be rated just for ideas, then perhaps i would rate higher than a five. For me, the ratings are all about the overall entertainment value that watching a movie provides... and this film did provide some entertainment! It's definitely a thriller rather than a horror. And in some ways a very simplistic thriller at that. Every character has two dimensions, or sides to their personality. Angie is schizophrenic, there, simple, two sides to a personality. The man across the hall is possibly undecided about whether he wants Angie, or wants to get back with his ex. Another two sides! His ex and his twin brother (another two!) play one role in front of him, and another when with each other! Two's company to be sure! And the list goes on.
The possible calculations of all these two's, allow the movie to traverse its twists and turns without too much friction... it's a thriller, and we don't want to know "who done it?" till the end, right?? So we learn a little about Schizo-Angie's world, and very little it is at that, and then see her plunged into a carefully designed, even designer, nut-ball apartment of hell. And believe me, what goes on would be enough to send anyone schizo, let alone someone already suffering problems! The acting is passable... Stephen Railback does well playing both twin brothers, Ronny Cox plays the same character he always does... oooh, he can look mean when he wants to! And Sharon Stone has her usual moments of smouldering sexuality, determined beauty, and vulnerable perfection which make her performance and her 20-something virginal character acceptable! However, I did spot one rather interesting fish impression... I wonder if she's thought of developing that into a mermaid role or something!!
The complexity of the situation Angie finds herself in is what really makes the film. With thrillers, or horrors, we viewers do need to ask "just how will she get out of that!" And for this low key, low budget film, they certainly made sure we asked the question!
"And what was the point of the scissors?" you ask... well, scissors have points!!
Five go Weird in Woodland... Enid Blyton could do better!
(Contains one tiny spoiler-esque sentence)
Horror is such an exciting genre of film. The possibility that a movie will make you bolt the door afterward, or have you hot-stepping to your car after the cinema, or even just tighten those muscles in your neck because you know, that if you look behind you, fear is about to give you a jab in the guts. A student of horror, like director Eli Roth, will know all this... so why can't he put it into 88mins of film?
OK, so we accept that horrific things will only happen to a group of beautiful young people who are probably celebrating end-of-exams or something similar. And a remote setting is probably the best place to allow the rules of human existence to change a little, and allow said horrific events to take place. But the events that follow need to have a balance between the believable and the unbelievable to start a questioning process in the minds of the audience. And, as I'm sure Hitchcock would agree, develop some form of suspense.
In a film like Cabin Fever the audience needs to feel on the one hand "Oh no, what can they do!", and on the other hand "No! Don't do it!". We need to be immersed in the battle between plausible and implausible, right and wrong, and of course good and evil. Instead, I think we are confused by the characters in both intent and action. We are allowed to laugh too much at their situation and response. And the sense of humanity, which the horror film always needs to attack, was never actually there in the first place.
The idea of the cabin and the fever is fine. Using a virus as the killer takes away the danger of using a ghostly apparition, or bloodthirsty maniac, or even riskier mythical beast. Horror is just waiting to happen, and the potential is terrifying. So instead of using up valuable celluloid time by introducing yet another and another, incidental, unbelievable, temporary character, why not tell us a little about the virus. Why not increase the fear factor by giving us some depth to the origin of the terror, instead of a minuscule clip of a naked woman, who's aggressively protective, gun-toting husband is... well, you-know-where... BEHIND YOU!! Pantomime stuff, to be sure!
Unfortunately, this is still a horror flick. The use of humor throughout the film is interesting. The cheap jabs at country/mountain folk are unnecessary. And occasional glimpses of viral infections serve up the 'gore' factor. This film should win an award... but it would only be for misappropriated over-use of fake blood... although this is by no means a slasher flick!
You will not be scared by this film. Perhaps better to watch some old horror movies, which the director of this is supposedly a student of.
Made in the mid 80's, but styled to be watched for generations. David Lynch's "Blue Velvet" is a powerful and shocking mystery-cum-drama, that never really lets you know where it's going, or where it might end up.
A small town youth (Kyle MacLachlan)gets a sniff of mystery and excitement, and throws himself fearlessly into the pursuit of knowledge and investigation. Here he enters a world of sex, drugs, and 50's rock and roll, inhabited by a troubled, disturbed mother (Isabella Rossellini), and psychotic gangster Frank Booth(Dennis Hopper). The viewer joins the chase and buckles under the suspense of the action. Grapples with the conflict between purity and good living vs pure evil and really good living (in Booth's world). And then, as natural as can be, we are shown the normality of it all... well, sort of!!
It's a movie to watch more than once. Admittedly, because the first viewing leaves more questions than answers. But, in todays movie world, what could be better than that?? All the main characters are superb, Hopper specifically makes the unbelievable, very believable indeed! Be prepared for bad language and shocking, maybe disturbing, scenes, this film deserves its 18 rating.