The Woman in Black(2012) Lead character Arthur Kipps has got some balls. Even more so, some GUTS. He sticks around a remote U.K village in the early 1900s to investigate why young kids keep dying. This culminates with submerging himself into quicksand-like mud to recover a body that must be re-united with the body of the corpse’s mother. Eureka! He mainly does this because he’s afraid that when his own son arrives to the village, his son will meet the same fate as previous children. Yea, well, too bad these kids are easily hypnotized by the “woman in black.”
The film delivers its story, scares and climax overly cautious, going nowhere outside the mystery-suspense-ghost story box. Woman provides rich cinematography, but settles on the expected. That’s probably because it would rather pander to the general audience. The result is a snug mixture of the Others (for time period and ghost and big old house), House of the Devil (for the single person wandering around a secluded shadowy big house) and the Orphanage (for the typical ghosts of children helping you solve the mystery of who murdered them or whatever). Whatever INDEED! Good day sir……i said good DAY! [rating: $5] – Kenyon
Grave Encounters (2011) The very promising trailer for Grave Encounters has a scene where a girl’s face instantly turns demonic. That alone is enough to reel someone in, hoping to see the next level in “these are the tapes we found” cinema. The premise of a ghost-hunting TV crew filming their experience in an old haunted asylum was off to an okay start, even though it blatantly rips off Paranormal State. The crew’s director is thinking money over ethics, so whatever trouble he gets into he deserves. They set up cameras–which later we see are too conveniently placed–in the asylum. They walk around, blah blah….obviously they are going to be attacked by evil spirits. About halfway in, the movie loses its direction. Along with the terrified characters.
The crew becomes trapped inside the mental hospital (because of a bizarre twist) and all the film cares about at this point is to have things jump out and scare you like it’s a Resident Evil video game. Worse is that with no explanation, it turns out that they are now in some sort of purgatory with the spirits/ghosts/whatever. There are also mad doctors there to operate on you, as they originally did to the patients when the asylum was open. One of the crew disappears and assumingly gets an “operation” off screen and then re-appears wearing a hospital gown and speaking incoherently. I mean COME ON. Where’d the gown come from? That’s when Grave Encounters jumps off a cliff. The surprise scares are jumpy, but without substance and reasoning, the believability goes out the window. The bogus rat near the end which is eaten for shock value couldn’t make the save. [rating: $2] -Kenyon
See No Evil (2006) Typical slash trash, but note that it “stars” Kane from WWE. In the weeks prior to its release, the WWE was promoting this and had Kane tie it in to the drama on the show. Everytime someone spoke the date of its release–Rey Mysterio got tricked into doing this–Kane would come out and go berzerk and beat down on whoever said it. The thing that stood out and sucked like a sore thumb was that the biggest jerk of the group of kids/victims was one of the survivors. Kane should have choke-slammed the shit of him. [rating: $2] –Kenyon
Return to Sleepaway Camp (2008) At this camp, nearly everyone is mean, insensitive and/or dumb. And i mean BRAINDEAD. For example, a character sees a sharp wooden spear poke through the floor. So what does he do? He keeps looking through the hole until the spear comes back! Let’s just say he won’t be using that eye to look at his porn anymore.
But this is Return to Sleepaway Camp, where character logic is void and everyone hates each other. Really, sitting through all the foul-mouthed yelling and name-calling gets tiring. This especially rings true with mentally damaged Alan, who gets doused with eggs, shot with paintballs and hit with a croquet mallet. Still, he continues to wear the same disgusting shirt throughout the movie. Although Alan is just as much to blame for being an antagonistic asshole, this kid is obviously mentally imbalanced. Yet no one ever attempts to help him psychologically! It’s also puzzling that no one ever questions how odd it is that the “sheriff” always wears sunglasses at night and has a beard yet is petite. Anyone who is familiar with the previous Sleepaways will know what’s up.
Something (likely unintentionally) funny is that whenever there’s a scene with a bunch of kids, they are always conveniently lined up and/or bunched up. This is so you can see them all at once? Sometimes it’s like Southpark, when Stan, Kyle, Cartman and Kenny are at the bus stop all facing forward. Actually, speaking of Southpark, Isaac Hayes is in this meatball mess and plays, naturally, the chef at the camp. His role however is wasted, as he disappears early.
Aside from all the obvious problems, Return To seems to play like a self-aware send-up of the original Sleepaway Camp and other movies of the early 80s slasher heydays. Without a doubt, the best segments are when the “unknown” killer goes through the trouble of setting up clever ways to kill. This includes the spear through a hole and putting hungry rats into a birdcage that is locked onto a guy’s head. [rating: $3]
Headless Eyes (1971) Weirdo artist tries to steal a girl’s money. After she gouges his eye out with a spoon, he is now obsessed with doing the same to random victims. He takes the eyes and then does creative things with them, like putting them in ice cubes. Headless Eyes is terribly made with many pointless, dragging scenes, but considering this is from the early 1970s, the gore involving eyeballs must have been shocking. The most memorable–and quite hilarious–scene is at the opening when the guy’s eyeball is hanging and the audio for his screaming is looped as he’s climbing down the fire escape. [rating: $2] –Kenyon
The piranhas have mutated into flying piranhas. Lance Henriksen (Aliens, Pumpkinhead) highlights the cast, who is directed by James Cameron (!) for his first feature film. Spawning is slow-moving for most of the first hour, so it’s only worth seeing the fish attacking. [rating: $2] –Kenyon
Low budget slasher that blatantly rips-off the most basic stories (guy with hockey mask terrorizing people at a camp, sound familiar?). While the potential victims speculate on who is the maniac, Bloody Murder goes into different directions for no reason other than to fill time. Total dud. [rating: $0] –Kenyon
They [aka Invasion from Inner Earth] (1974) The cheapest of cheap effects (smoke bombs), non-existent action and excessive talking from the main characters is what this abomination of film making relies on. Providing little to no sense at all, They makes Plan 9 from Outer Space look like the original Day the Earth Stood Still. For most of the 90 minutes, five people sit around in a secluded cabin, speculating about the chaos in the world supposedly caused by aliens who are never even shown! It’s assumed it is the aliens randomly communicating over ham radio in robotic voices, saying things like, “how many are you”? Adding to the beyond amateur low budget is the method of making people disappear. Mmmbop they are there, mmmbop they’re gone! Why that even happens isn’t explained. As if things weren’t confusing enough, this “movie” has been under at least three different titles with various cover arts that are all misleading. The cover of my copy has only the face of a reptilian-like creature with fangs. [rating: $0] –Kenyon
The Boogens (1981) Mostly mundane in its first hour, the Boogens suffers from several pot holes. Oh my bad, i mean PLOT holes. The “monsters” keep a low profile during that hour, only showing their tentacle grabbing people. When the mutants are finally shown full body (i think), it’s still a mystery as to the what, why, where and how. The “how” being this: how could they have survived in a mine tunnel cave for 80 years. And how about this for a why: Why do they kill one guy in the garage and then bring him down to the cave where he is found floating in the water, while they kill some girl and leave her in the basement. Just left there. Didn’t even bother to eat her. The two lead girls look straight out of most any other early campy 80s horror film, and in fact one of them was in the original Prom Night. At least the Boogens didn’t get REMADE yet! [rating: $4] –Kenyon
Spasms (1982) A wealthy man is obsessed with resurrecting the spirit of a giant demon snake. It’s just something he has to do. Peter Fonda’s character and the man’s neice fail in following the creature, while studying the obsessed man’s telepathic connection he has with the snake. After biting people to death and causing spasms, the snake makes its way to the guy who has the supposed connection and the snake kills him, even though they had that telepathic connection. Bad snake, bad movie. [rating: $2] –Kenyon