Sunday, October 23, 2022

Play It Like It's 1999: V/H/S/99 (2022) Review

Directors: Maggie Levin, Johannes Roberts, Flying Lotus, Tyler MacIntyre, Vanessa & Joseph Winter

The V/H/S franchise has been the launching point for a slew of careers, in some degree or another. While the series hit a low with the relatively sluggish third entry, V/H/S: Viral, when Shudder brought it back it was a welcome sight to see. And the overall success of the previous entry, V/H/S/94, was a stark reminder of why this found footage horror anthology could be a haven for fun and creative tidbits of tongue-in-cheek terror. 


The announcement of the newest entry, V/H/S/99 proved it as such and, while the fifth entry into this series does not quite find the highs of its predecessor, there are enough fun and punchy horror moments to satiate most fans. It runs the gamut from being silly to downright terrifying and that’s what a great anthology can do, even if this one finds the mix to be a little less effective at it with tons of build and only quick payoffs. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Wild Stabs and No Killing Shot: Halloween Ends (2022) Review

Director: David Gordon Green

Notable Cast: Jamie Lee Curtis, Andi Matichak, Rohan Campbell, Will Patton, James Jude Courtney, Kyle Richards


When it comes to John Carpenter projects that are being revitalized in the modern cinema landscape, Christine was one that I was skeptical could be pulled off. With the success of Halloween (2018) and Halloween Kills (box office-wise) though, perhaps it made sense that director David Gordon Green would want to tackle the project. He had an eye for that kind of character trauma as presented within a horror landscape. It’s a good match. 


Oh, I’m sorry. This film is actually Halloween Ends and not a Christine remake. My bad. Someone should let Green know that too. 


Yet, that’s what Halloween Ends ends up being - the story of a maligned young man who is influenced by an evil presence and becomes more and more obsessed with the strength and power it gives him to stand up against all the awful people and circumstances around him. On paper, the idea is not only bold for a Halloween film but dare I say impressive. The problem that burdens the film is that it's jammed into trying to balance this new character arc with finalizing the other themes, characters, and stories of the Halloween series they started. It’s a balance that collapses in on itself, unfortunately. 


Sunday, October 9, 2022

Poe Man's Gothic Terror: The Blancheville Monster (1963) Review [Gothic Fantastico: Four Italian Tales of Terror Box Set]

Director: Alberto De Martino

Notable Cast: Gerard Tichy, Leo Anchoriz, Ombretta Colli, Helga Line, Iran Eory, Vanni Materassi, Paco Moran, Emilia Wolkowicz, Harry Winter


Arrow Video has delivered another one of those classic box sets they are known for unleashing with their latest: Gothic Fantastico: Four Italian Tales of Terror. Pulling together four films under a common thematic and stylistic aspect, this set contains some 1960s cult cinema finds with brand new 2K restorations, gorgeous packaging, and enough new commentaries, essays, and interviews to impress any movie collector.


After the messy, but highly entertaining aspects of the previous film in this box set, Lady Morgan’s Vengeance, my expectations were established for The Blancheville Monster. Like the rest of the films in this set, this one was going to be a blind watch, but if it was as entertaining as the last one, I was going to be in fine hands. Yet, while the gothic tones, sets, and final 10 minutes are effective, The Blancheville Monster feels like a very obvious Roger Corman-style Edgar Allen Poe movie knock-off - and one that is burdened by its pace and mystery.