Woodyanders

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Hill Street Blues: Intestinal Fortitude
(1985)
Episode 12, Season 5

Strong episode
Belker (played with trademark growly gusto by Bruce Weitz), LaRue (a fine Kiel Martin), and Washington (solid Taureen Blacque) work undercover as garbagemen to investigate a reportedly crooked garbage removal business. Elderly woman Louise Tripp (an absolutely heartbreaking portrayal by Anne Pitoniak) is raped by two men, but one of them manages to walk on a technicality. Hunter (an amusingly pompous James Sikking), Renko (likeable Charles Haid), and Goldblume (sturdy Joe Spano) all run for the same elected office position.

The story about the rapist proves to be quite powerful and upsetting: It's great to see Fay (an excellent Barbara Bosson) rise to the occasion and help Mrs. Tripp out, although Calletano (a sound turn by Rene Enriquez) fumbles the ball despite his fluency with Spanish only to save Mayo (the wonderful Mimi Kuzyk) come through by shooting the rapist right where it hurts most (ouch!) when an undercover bust goes awry. Moreover, Davenport (a terrific Veronica Hamel) also gets a chance to shine when she's offered a promotion. Veteran character actor John Quade contributes a stand-out hateful performance as the slimy Sal, who roughs Belker up a bit in a brutal display of throwing one's weight around.

Hill Street Blues: Last Chance Salon
(1984)
Episode 11, Season 5

Solid episode
A gang war threatens to break out between the Bloods and the Shamrocks. Belker (an excellent Bruce Weitz) works undercover as a hairdresser at a salon that's a front for selling drugs. Garibaldi (nicely played by Ken Olin) bends the rules in an attempt to help out young junkie hooker Carla Walicki (a touching turn by Lauren Holly).

The gang war situation gets pretty intense and culminates in an exciting climax, with the Shamrocks proving to be the losers due to the fact that they can't adjust to a world that's changing around them. Moreover, this episode offers a smart exploration on the theme of morals and following the rules; Goldblume (a sturdy Joe Spano) has a strong scene in which he admonishes Garibaldi for not doing things by the book. Belker really gets put through the ringer as well: He not only makes a rare bad call with the drug bust, but also has trouble with his increasingly strained relationship with Robin (top work by the lovely Lisa Sutton) which results in an especially poignant moment at the end with Belker trying and failing to patch things up with Robin and ultimately wishing her happiness with someone else.

Apocalypse Road
(2016)

Spare, grim, and effective
Sisters Natalie and Sarah West find themselves separated in a harsh world that's been reduced to savagery by an apocalyptic event. Both sisters must fight for survival in a deadly and dangerous landscape as they try to be reunited.

Writer/director Brett Bentman relates the absorbing story at a measured pace, maintains an appropriately grim'n'gritty tone throughout, makes nice use of various desolate locations, utilizes a simple stripped-down style which in turn gives the picture a certain lived-in persuasive quality, and brings an overall strong feeling of melancholy as assorted people struggle to keep some semblance of humanity in an unforgivingly brutal environment. Katie Kohler and Ashlyn McEvers are convincing as the weary and hard-bitten sisters, Lance De Los Santos contributes an excellent turn as the helpful Hugo, Nellie Sciutto cuts a frightening figure as a relentless hunter, Todd Jenkins likewise impresses as the ruthless, but pragmatic Roger, and Tiffany Heath vamps it up nicely as the wicked the General. The sad ending packs a devastating emotional punch. A real potent little film.

Playback
(2012)

Pretty enjoyable teen horror junk
A group of teenagers decide to film a reenactment of a horrible family massacre as a school project. Trouble ensues after the teens inadvertently unleash an evil supernatural force that threatens to destroy them all.

Writer/director Michael A. Nickles relates the familiar, but still entertaining story at a fitful pace, maintains an appropriately grim tone throughout, and delivers a handy helping of graphic gore along with a satisfying smattering of bare female flesh. The acting runs hot and cold, with the best work done by Johnny Pacar as amiable nice guy Julian Miller, Toby Hemingway as deadly possessed oddball Quinn, Ambyr Childers as the perky Riley, and Alessandra Torresani as the sassy Brianna. Token name Christian Slater is a sleazy delight as slimy no-count pervert cop Frank Lyons. However, Woody Pak's pounding score proves to be more headache-inducing than effective. While this movie suffers from a lack of tension and creepy atmosphere, a few nasty plot twists and a surprisingly mean'n'scuzzy general vibe ensure that this flick overall sizes up as a perfectly diverting piece of teen horror trash.

Return of the Living Dead: Making of 'Psychomania'
(2010)

Nifty retrospective documentary
This 25-minute retrospective documentary covers a good deal of interesting and enjoyable ground on the making of the thoroughly bonkers British biker horror zombie cult favorite "Psychomania." Nicky Henson openly admits that he considers the film to be a B-movie and was ashamed of it for years. Roy Holder talks about how he had just gotten over a broken leg when he was cast in this movie. Denis Gilmore points out that it was one of several horror pictures he was in. Rocky Taylor reveals that he wore his own leathers and did his own stunt crashing into a lorry. Mary Larkin confesses that she was terrified of motorcycles when she acted in the film and thought it was silly. Everybody remembers director Don Sharp as a nice easygoing guy and George Sanders as a real gentleman, plus they are all astounded by the movie's cult status. Worth a watch for fans of this loony flick.

Psychomania
(1973)

Zombie biker hooligans a-go-go!
A gang of merry nihilist biker ruffians called the Living Dead terrorize a small town. After charismatic leader Tom Latham (smoothly played by Nicky Henson) kills himself and returns to life, the other members follow suit so they can all become seemingly unstoppable undead marauders.

Director Don Sharp keeps the delightfully daft story moving along at a brisk pace, adroitly crafts a seriously weird off-kilter tone that's both campy and creepy in equal measure, and stages the thrilling biker action with rip-roaring gusto. Moreover, the gloriously bonkers premise proves to be a whole lot of whacked-out fun; the scenes in which the bikers all commit suicide and wreak all kinds of nasty anti-social havoc are gut-busting insane marvels to behold. Beryl Reid and the ever-suave George Sanders keep their dignity as aging occultists, Mary Larkin and Ann Michelle are appropriately fetching as motorcycle mamas, and Robert Hardy does well as a hard-nosed police inspector. John Cameron's crisp cinematography provides a pleasing bright look. Ted Moore's funky-throbbing score hits the right-on get-down groovy spot. Cool trippy surprise ending, too. A total loopy hoot and a half.

Ghost Stories
(2017)

Be careful about what you refuse to believe in
Professor Phillip Goodman (a fine and credible performance by Andy Nyman) has dedicated his life to debunking the supernatural. Goodman has his cast in stone skepticism put to the test by three incidents in a case file that appear to be the real thing.

Writers/directors Nyman and Jeremy Dyson relate the intricate and absorbing story at a constant pace, ably crafts an eerie and unsettling atmosphere, offer a smart and provocative exploration of skeptics versus true believers, and really pull out the harrowing stops in the tense and terrifying last twenty minutes in which a tragic occurrence in Goodman's past comes back to haunt him with a vengeance. Moreover, the three individual cause tales are all quite creepy and nerve-wracking. The ace acting by the tip-top cast rates as another substantial asset, with especially praiseworthy contributions from Martin Freeman as hearty rich banker Mike Priddle, Paul Whitehouse as weary night watchman Tony Matthews, and Alex Lawther as rattled teenager Simon Rifkind. Both Ole Bratt Birkeland's sharp widescreen cinematography and Haim Frank Ilfman's spirited shivery score further enhance the overall sterling quality of this on the money fright film.

Caliban
(2019)

Cycle of evil
Snippy Londoner Jane (a fine performance by Jennifer Hyde) goes to the small town of Greenvale, New York to claim the remains of her deceased mother Emma. While in Greenvale Jane encounters Christopher Dod (an excellent anguished portrayal by Tigre Haller, who also co-wrote the bleak script), a miserable disabled man who shares a dark secret with Emma.

Director David Bororquez relates the absorbing story at a deliberate pace, maintains an appropriately grim and melancholy tone throughout, and ably crafts and sustains a gloomy brooding atmosphere. The sturdy acting by the capable cast helps a lot: Haller astutely nails the tormented soul of his pathetic wretch character, Fiona Horsey does well in two roles, Kate Benson cuts an imposing figure as the hard-nosed and protective Sheriff Miranda Lacey, David Palmer contributes a likeable turn as the easygoing Samuel, and Julio Rod Marin impresses as the pious Father Pedro. Moreover, this movie makes a sad and relevant point on how parents who are religious fanatics can ruin the lives of their children. While the big reveal at the end may be predictable, it nonetheless still packs a powerfully brutal dramatic punch. By no means a pleasant film, but a really potent and unsettling one just the same.

The Everglades Killings
(2018)

Fun piece of horror schlock
A rowdy group of spring breakers run afoul of vicious redneck psychos in the Florida everglades. Okay, the skimpy plot ain't much, but fortunately director Ben Wilder certainly delivers the satisfying lowdown trashy goods: We've got oodles of in-your-face graphic gore, equally explicit and abundant gratuitous female nudity, a grim tone, sexy babes in skimpy bikinis, twerking hotties, a wet t-shirt contest, brutal murders, one poor guy gets savagely sodomized by an evil hick, and a right-on nasty'n'nihilistic ending. 80's scream Linnea Quigley has a cool cameo as a bartender while foxy porn starlet Kelsi Monroe can be seen as one of the participants in the wet t-shirt contest. Yes, it's crass junk, but at least this movie is well aware that it's crass junk and happily wallows in its own trashiness, so fans of sleazy grindhouse-style horror fare ought to enjoy it.

Secrets in the Walls
(2010)

Above average haunted house horror opus
Struggling single mom Rachel (a fine and credible performance by Jeri Ryan) and her two daughters move into an old house that turns out to be haunted by the ghost of a murdered girl (Jordan Trovillion sporting fairly creepy pasty Goth-type makeup and long lank hair).

Director Christopher Leitch relates the familiar, but still enjoyable and engrossing story at a steady pace, takes time to develop the characters, and presents a pleasing spooky atmosphere. The compact script by William Penick and Christopher Sey offers a neat twist about two thirds through in which the ghost gal proves to be not so innocent. Ryan makes for a sympathetic protagonist. Moreover, the sound acting by the capable cast keeps this TV movie humming: Kay Panabaker as spunky teen Lizzie, Keyton List as the sweet and sensitive Molly, Ian Kahn as the amiable uncle Marty, Marianne Jean-Baptiste as friendly and helpful medium Belle, and Sarab Kamoo as perky real estate agent Stella. Worth a watch.

Lovely Molly
(2011)

Harrowing descent into madness
Newlywed and recovering drug addict Molly (a strong and moving performance by Gretchen Lodge) moves with her truck driver husband Tim (an excellent and engaging portrayal by Johnny Lewis) into her late father's house located in the country. However, dark secrets from Molly's troubled past come back to haunt her with a vengeance and subsequently cause her to go around the bend.

Writer/director Eduardo Sanchez relates the compellingly grim story at a deliberate pace, adroitly crafts a potently unsettling gloom-doom atmosphere rife with dread and unease, grounds the premise in a plausible workaday reality, and throws in a neat supernatural twist towards the end. Moreover, Lodge's fearless and mesmerizing acting in the tough and demanding lead role rates as another significant asset; Molly's slow, but steady downward spiral into total despair and insanity makes for genuinely painful and unnerving viewing. In addition, there are sturdy supporting contributions from Alexandra Holden as Molly's concerned sister Hannah and Field Blauvelt as the friendly Pastor Bobby. Tortoise's droning ambient score and the exceptionally evocative sound design further enhance the overall skin-crawling creepiness. A truly intense and disturbing film.

I Bought a Vampire Motorcycle
(1990)

This bike doesn't use petrol
Courier Nick "Noddy" Oddie (a likeable performance by Neil Morrisey) purchases a motorcycle that turns out to be possessed by the spirit of an evil occultist which means that said bike runs on blood instead of gasoline. Naturally, the vampiric motorcycle goes on a bloody rampage.

Director Dirk Campbell keeps the enjoyably daft story moving along at a constant pace, maintains an engaging tongue-in-cheek tone throughout, milks plenty of campy laughs from the gloriously ridiculous premise, and delivers a handy helping of outrageous gore. Moreover, there are some inspired wacky moments which include a gut-busting surprise appearance by a talking turd in a toilet bowl (!) and the killer motorcycle taking out a biker gang in super gory fashion. The game cast have a field day with the loopy material, with especially lively contributions from Amanda Noar as Noddy's sassy girlfriend Kim, Michael Elphick as the pesky Inspector Cleaver, Anthony Daniels as a helpful priest, Andrew Powell as vicious biker gang leader Roach, George Rossi as the brutish Chopper, and Daniel Peacock as the crude Buzzer. An absolute hoot and a half.

Happy Death Day 2U
(2019)

Enjoyable sequel
Feisty coed Tree Gelbman (a lively and personable portrayal by Jessica Rothe) once again finds herself trapped in another time loop. But this time it's in a separate timeline in which things are more than a little different.

Writer/director Christopher Landon keeps the complicated, but eventful, exciting, and entertaining story zipping along at a brisk pace, has a ball with the alternate timeline, further tarts things up with a wickedly amusing sense of sharp self-mocking humor (the suicide montage in particular is positively hysterical), and tosses in a real doozy of a surprise twist at the end. Moreover, there are also a few touching moments between Tree and her still living mother Julie (a radiant turn by Missy Yager) amid all the humor and thrills. The zesty acting by the enthusiastic cast helps a lot: Israel Broussand as the amiable Carter Davis, Phi Vu as smartaleck Ryan Phan, Suraj Sharma as the nerdy Samar Ghosh, Sarah Yarkin as eager science geek Andrea "Dre" Morgan, Rachel Matthews as the snippy Danielle Bouseman, Ruby Modine as the perky Lori Spengler, Charles Aitken as dapper doctor Gregory Butler, and Steve Zissis as the jerky Dean Roger Bronson. Both Bear McCreary's spirited score and Toby Oliver's crisp widescreen cinematography are up to par. A fun follow-up.

I'll Take Your Dead
(2018)

Involving and surprisingly moving
William (a fine and credible performance by Aidan Devine) and his daughter Gloria (an excellent portrayal by Ava Preston) live together in a remote farm house located in the country. William ekes out a living disposing of dead bodies. Complications ensue when the body of a young woman named Jackie (well played with spunky aplomb by Jess Salgueiro) turns out to be still alive and the gang members responsible for almost killing her find out about it.

Director Chad Archibald relates the inspired and absorbing story at a measured pace, makes nice use of the bleak wintry landscape, ably crafts a compellingly dark and creepy mood, and pulls out the stops at the harrowing climax. Jayme Laforest's smart and thoughtful script offers an interesting blend of drama, horror, and crime thriller elements. Moreover, the relationship between William and Gloria gives this film a substantial amount of depth and poignancy. A real sleeper.

Taryn Barker: Demon Hunter
(2016)

Entertaining horror/action hybrid
Detective Beckett (a fine and likeable performance by Alan Talbot) joins forces with feisty demon hunter Taryn Barker (a lively and appealing portrayal by Niamh Hogan) to rescue Beckett's daughter from evil cult leader Falstaff (well played with deliciously wicked glee by Michael Parle).

Director/co-writer Zoe Kavanaugh keeps the enjoyable and engrossing story hurtling along at a brisk pace, stages the exciting action set pieces with go-for-it gusto, and delivers plenty of hyper-kinetic style to burn. Moreover, Hogan projects a winning blend of toughness and vulnerability as the titular character; her struggle to resist the temptations of the dark side and keep on fighting against evil along with her need to avenge the death of her sister gives this movie a substantial additional emotional punch. Luca Rocchini's sharp widescreen cinematography provides an impressive polished look. Scott Tobin's pulsating score and the hard-driving head-banging rock soundtrack both hit the stirring spot. A really fun flick.

Crawlspace
(1986)

Klaus makes for a great freaky psycho
Depraved former doctor Karl Gunther (ably played with conviction and intensity by the one and only Klaus Kinski), the son of a Nazi surgeon, rents his apartment building out to various attractive young women who he spies on, torments, and eventually murders.

Writer/director David Schmoeller relates the involving story at a constant pace, builds a good deal of claustrophobic tension, and stages several inventive murder set pieces with aplomb. Moreover, Schmoeller brings a seriously icky and unpleasant quality along with pronounced elements of sleazy voyeurism and brutal torture to the sick proceedings that's genuinely creepy and upsetting in equal measure. Of course, the singularly unnerving presence of Kinski helps a lot; Klaus is clearly having a ball with his juicy nutso character and projects a quietly menacing aura even when merely interacting with other people. Moreover, there are sturdy contributions from Talia Balsam as sweet coed Lori Bancroft, Barbara Whinnery as the raucous Harriet Watkins, Sally Brown as wretched mute Martha White, Tane MClure as foxy singer Sophie Fisher, Carole Francis as ditsy actress Jessica Marlow, and Kenneth Robert Shippy as the pesky Josef Steiner. Popping up in nifty small parts are Sherry Buchanan as the film's first victim and Schmoeller as a guy Gunther refuses to rent a room to. Both Sergio Salvati's stylish cinematography and Pino Donaggio's stately shivery score are up to speed. Essential viewing for Kinski fans.

White Settlers
(2014)

Harrowing home invasion thriller
Young British couple Ed and Sarah move into an isolated farmhouse located on the Scottish border. Come nightfall the pair find themselves being terrorized by several hostile locals.

Director Simeon Halligan relates the absorbing story at a constant pace, builds a good deal of tension, makes excellent and atmospheric use of the breathtakingly beautiful rural countryside, and delivers a handy helping of brutal violence. Moreover, Pollyanna McIntosh and Lee Williams make for likeable leads while the attackers wearing pig head masks are genuinely creepy. Worth a watch.

Shuttle
(2008)

All aboard for the bus ride to hell
Five folks find themselves in considerable jeopardy when the driver (a frightening portrayal by Tony Curran) of the shuttle bus they are all on turns out to be a dangerous madman.

Writer/director Edward Anderson relates the riveting story at a steady pace, generates a tremendous amount of nerve-wracking suspense, maintains a dark gritty tone throughout, and tosses in a few neat twists and turns complete with a real doozy of a genuinely startling surprise grim ending. The sturdy acting by the able cast rates as another substantial asset: Peyton List as the sweet and resourceful Mel, Cameron Goodman as the feisty Mel, Cullen Douglas as sniveling wimp Andy, Dave Power as the easygoing Matt, and James Snyder as the amiable Seth. The moments of sudden brutal violence pack a jolting punch. Michael Fimognari's sharp widescreen cinematography and Henning Lohner's pulsating score are both up to par as well. A real nail-biter.

Mr. Malevolent
(2018)

Enjoyable horror anthology
Mr. Malevolent (robustly played with lip-smacking relish by Danny Trejo) hacks into the computers owned by a couple of online millennial blackmailers and forces the pair to watch an assortment of nightmarish videos.

1st story, "Mates" - Neat and charming sci-fi tale. 2nd story, "The Prosecutor" - Jay Mohr delivers a deliciously smarmy turn as a slimy lawyer who receives a brutal comeuppance for sending an innocent black man to death row. 3rd story, "White Flight" - Another tale with a harsh and ironic bent to it. 4th story, "The Samaritan" - Weird, creepy, and perverse pip. 5th story, "Hate Radio" - Yet another story with a nasty edge to it that also manages to be funny in an admittedly cruel sort of way. 6th story, "The Healer" - Spot-on segment about a shameless religious con man who acquires actual healing powers that come at a bitter price. Clarence Williams III shines as a vengeful father. 7th story, "Thy Will Be Done" - Hilariously sick vignette with a real doozy of a surprise ending.

Writers/directors Darin Scott and Rusty Cundieff maintain a brisk pace throughout, adhere to a pleasing EC Comics-style aesthetic in which bad folks who do bad things reap what they sow, provide plenty of stinging (if occasionally heavy-handed) social commentary, and further spice things up with a wickedly amusing sense of black humor. Good twisted fun.

Hunger
(2009)

The things people do to survive
Five strangers find themselves trapped in an underground basement with plenty of water, but no food by a sadistic madman (a creepy mute portrayal by Bjorn Johnson). How long will they hold out and resist their most base impulses before eventually turning on each other?

Director Steven Hentges relates the gripping story at a constant pace, generates a good deal of claustrophobic tension, maintains a grim tone throughout, and astutely captures a strong sense of increasing despair and nihilistic hopelessness. L.D. Goffigan's hard-hitting script pulls zero punches in its stark depiction of the brutal measures people will resort to in the name of survival. The sound acting by the capable cast keeps this movie humming: Lori Heuring as the smart and rationale Jordan, Linden Ashby as decent take-charge guy Grant, Joe Egender as angry and obnoxious jerk Luke, Lea Kohl as the calculating Anna, and Julian Rojas as the wimpy Alex. John Sawyer's dark cinematography and John Califra's spare shivery score both further enhance the overall bleak'n'clammy mood. By no means a pretty picture, but undeniably a very strong and upsetting one just the same.

The Frozen Dead
(1966)

Pretty good little sci-fi/horror programmer
Determined and persistent mad scientist Dr. Norberg (a respectable performance by Dana Andrews) tries to reanimate the frozen bodies of various Nazi officers and soldiers so the Third Reich can once again rule over the world.

Writer/director Herbert J. Leder relates the enjoyable and engrossing story at a steady pace, treats the rather absurd and farfetched premise with admirable seriousness, and offers some genuinely creepy and unnerving bits of business that include a wall of sentient disembodied arms on a wall, a hulking mute butler (the imposing Oliver MacGreevy), and, most memorably, an angry and wretched living head (well played with snarling aplomb by Kathleen Breck) imprisoned in a box. This film further benefits from solid acting from Anna Palk as Norberg's sweet niece Jean, Philip Gilbert as dashing nice guy Dr. Ted Roberts, Karel Stephanek as the austere General Lubeck, and Alan Tilvern as loyal assistant Karl Essen. Although a bit on the slow and talky side, this movie overall still rates as a perfectly satisfying B-grade affair.

Darkness Reigns
(2018)

Entertaining indie horror outing
A group of filmmakers go to a reportedly haunted hotel to make a horror movie. It turns out that there's an actual demon running amuck in said hotel.

Writer/director Andrew P. Jones keeps the enjoyable story moving along at a brisk pace, maintains an engagingly earnest tone throughout, makes excellent use of the opulent hotel setting, delivers a satisfying serving of splatter, further spices things up with a witty self-mocking meta sensibility, and pulls off a neat twist at the end. The spirited acting by the enthusiastic cast keeps this picture humming: Zachary Mooren as the rattled Daniel, Linara Washington as sassy make-up gal Vanessa, Peter Mayer as sensible and sarcastic paranormal expert Sidney, Ford Fanter as spunky documentary filmmaker Aaron, and James Packard as high-strung director Jacob Bale. Best of all, token name Casper Van Dien sends himself up royally playing a pompous jerk version of himself. The demon looks pretty gnarly, too. A fun flick.

The Convent
(2018)

Gritty and effective supernatural horror shocker
The early 17th century. Innocent young Persephone (a fine and sympathetic performance by the lovely Hannah Atherton) is put on trial for her life over a false accusation of practicing witchcraft. The Reverend Mother (a strong portrayal by Clare Higgins of "Hellraiser" fame) intervenes and places Persephone in a secluded priory where Persephone winds up facing a greater evil.

Director/co-writer Paul Hyett relates the familiar, but still enjoyable and engrossing story at a steady pace, offers a flavorsome evocation of the period setting, ably crafts a creepy gloom-doom atmosphere, maintains a tough grim tone throughout, and delivers a handy helping of gore at the exciting climax. Moreover, there are sturdy supporting contributions from Rosie Day as the fragile Sister Emeline, Ania Marson as the no-nonsense Sister Elizabeth, and Sian Breckin as the helpful Sister Lucilla. Michael Ironside has a neat small role as a strict magistrate. Only some dodgy CGI effects leaves something to be desired. A worthy fright film.

Dwelling
(2016)

Conjuring up spirits is rarely a good idea
Troubled young lass Ellie (a fine and credible performance by Erin Maria Hogan) gains custody of her sweet niece Izzy (adorable Abigail Mary) after her unstable sister River (an excellent portrayal by Devanny Pinn) is institutionalized. Ellie moves into a haunted house with the specific intention of contacting the spirit of her deceased mother. However, Ellie winds up conjuring up the lethal ghost of a notorious serial killer instead.

Writer/director Kyle Mecca relates the absorbing story at a gradual pace, takes time to develop the characters, and expertly crafts a subtle and understated, yet still creepy and unsettling atmosphere. Moreover, Mecca brings a refreshing warmth and depth to the main characters while Ellie's obsessive need for closure gives this picture a considerable amount of real heart and poignancy. Fattie King is genuinely scary as the scrawny ghost of the serial killer. In addition, there are praiseworthy supporting contributions from Mu-Shaka Benson as Ellie's concerned nice guy husband Gavin, Phil Brown as friendly psychiatrist Dr. Brown and Alexandra Merrit Matthews as perky real estate agent Marcy. An on the money chiller.

Kiss of the Damned
(2012)

Vampires that are alternately deadly and seductive
Lonely and beautiful vampire Djuna (a sturdy and charming portrayal by ravishing redhead Josephine de La Baume) meets and falls in love with handsome human screenwriter Paola (a fine and likeable performance by Milo Ventimiglia), who she converts into a bloodsucker. Complications ensue when Djuna's troublemaking sister Mimi (sharply played with deliciously wicked aplomb by yummy brunette Roxane Mesquida) pops up out of the blue to crash at Djuna's house for a week.

Writer/director Xan Cassavetes relates the engrossing story at a deliberate pace, ably crafts a brooding Gothic romantic atmosphere, provides oodles of entrancing and elegant style, and tops thing off with a sly sense of humor and a scorching hot sensuality. Moreover, there are excellent supporting contributions from Anna Mouglalis as regal and composed actress socialite Xenia, Michael Rapaport as Paolo's jolly agent Ben, Ching Valdes-Aran as loyal housekeeper Irene, and Caitlin Keats as helpful barmaid Rebecca. Tobias Datum's sumptuous widescreen cinematography offers a wealth of striking visuals. Steven Hufsteter's funky-groovy melodic score does the tuneful trick. A smart and sexy vampire horror film that fright fans can really sink their teeth into.

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