Wednesday, March 22, 2017

200 Items Or Less: Turbo Kid (2015)

A few thoughts: The first time I watched this movie, I really liked it. The second time, I kind of loved it. As you've probably noticed by the kind of movies I generally talk about, I have a deep love of '80s cinema. That, to me, was the decade that brought about some of the best genre films and shaped the future of the industry (for better or worse). So when I watch a new movie that doesn't just pay tribute to the '80s (which is pretty easy to do, really) but rather create its own environment and atmosphere that holds up as its own distinct vision and design, I get pretty excited. The chemistry between the two leads are the emotional core of the movie, and honestly it actually works here pretty well and much better than anticipated. I cared about what was going on, and wanted to see them get out alive. Michael Ironside gets to show everyone up as the main villain and he does an excellent job at being sinister -- as always. It's a bloody fun movie and I don't just mean that in the British sense.

Monday, March 20, 2017

200 Items Or Less: From Beyond (1986)

A few thoughts: The '80s marked the pinnacle of body horror and one of the central figures in this movement was Stuart Gordon, who directed this as well as Re-Animator. While I definitely prefer the latter and find it much more fun to watch, this is a movie that is very easy to love if you're fond of practical effects, makeup, and prosthetics. One of the other great things about this movie is its pacing, which never comes to a crawl and manages to keep things interesting throughout its entirety. The lighting and set design is fantastic, adding to the dark and weird atmosphere that makes this movie so special. Jeffrey Coombs and Ken Foree are memorable, as always, though they have both been better a couple of other times before. As far as horror actors go, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better on-screen pairing outside of the Universal classics and Hammer's earlier efforts. While I can't say I love it, this is a solid movie and one of the better Lovecraftian films.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

200 Items Or Less: First Blood (1982)

A few thoughts: As far as action stars go, few rank quite as high as Stallone. And of all his action roles, Rambo is his greatest character (no, I'm not counting Rocky). As the series progressed, the body count flew up higher and higher, but it's with this first movie that Rambo left the strongest impression, capturing the emotional side of a badass highly trained killer. This is one of the rare films of the '80s that succeeds both as an action movie and as an effective drama, giving Stallone more than enough material in both categories. The set pieces are stripped down (for the most part) and allow for creative battles, slowly escalating to all-out war. While I generally gravitate towards the ridiculous in regards to '80s action, the restraint found in this movie is both admirable and wholly successful in creating a realistic atmosphere out of something that might have otherwise been overblown action-porn. The cast is great, the writing is great, and the series this movie spawned was...well, never boring.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

200 Items Or Less: The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957)

A few thoughts: 1957 was a pretty crazy year for horror (and sci-fi), varying from the birth of Hammer's gothic horror to the introduction of teen exploitation, as well as featuring several examples of corny alien invasions and giant monster pictures. A bit of everything, really. That being said, possibly the most interesting of all was this existential horror adventure. This is an impressive movie, from its scope to the execution of visually interesting and tricky effects. At its core, this is among the most terrifying movies of the 1950s, in spite of being pulled off in an adventurous way that is oddly misleading but ultimately effective. This is a very emotional movie that handles it's subject in a serious manner, never allowing itself to fall victim to its own inherent goofiness. Much like the greatest science fiction, this is a story that makes you think and sticks with you long after it's over. It makes household objects into the setting for an adventure and manages to be fun, haunting, and exhilarating at every turn.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

200 Items Or Less: Candyman (1992)

A few thoughts: Considered the first (or at least among the first) horror movies centered on an urban legend, Candyman is a fantasy slasher of the post-Elm Street era that I feel gains much more praise than it deserves due to a general lack of strong horror films of its time and the small changes it brought forth within the genre. While the setup is interesting and well-built as a thriller, the eventual payoff leaves you feeling slightly underwhelmed, never fully meeting its horrific potential. Virginia Madsen is solid in the lead, but it's Tony Todd's performance as the titular villain that steals the show here, with his otherworldly deep voice and presence adding a great deal to the myth and danger of his character. In a lot of ways, this movie feels like it could have been an Elm Street movie with a few rewrites, but I still prefer Freddy even if he isn't as creepy. This is a pretty solid movie, but as I said before I don't see it as the highlight of '90s horror that many have deemed it.