Directed by Nick Millard [Other horror films: Satan’s Black Wedding (1976), Doctor Bloodbath (1987), Death Nurse (1987), Criminally Insane 2 (1987), Cemetery Sisters (1987), Death Nurse 2 (1988), Dracula in Vegas (1999), The Turn of the Screw (2003)]
I’ve long heard of this one, but I never knew how much of a hoot it’d be. Which is sort of ironic, as, at least in my opinion, there was very little in the film itself that was meant to be light-hearted. But the idea of a morbidly obese woman going on a rampage to ensure she can continue eating food at her own pace is definitely liable to raise some eyebrows and cause a chuckle or two.
The quality was what you’d expect of a grindhouse horror film, but I liked it all the more for that. The death scenes weren’t amazing – the blood is among some of the fakest blood I’ve seen in some time – but at the same time, they had heart. And this movie, with the short running time of an hour and one minute, certainly had the deaths to keep in interesting.
The story’s not particularly deep, and the acting isn’t always amazing (though our murderess, Priscilla Alden, does a very solid job in her role), but it is a very amusing flick. There was a sequel released in the late 80’s, starring Alden also, but I hear it lacks much of what this provided. If you’re a fan of 70’s grindhouse horror, and don’t mind iffy quality, I’d recommend giving this a go. Worst case scenario, you’d out an hour of your life. I found it worth it.
Directed by Bruce McDonald [Other horror films: Hellions (2015)]
I think, if I recall, this would be the third or fourth time I’ve seen Pontypool. And I’m still not sure how I really feel.
On one hand, I wish they had delved into the logic behind the infection/disease a hell of a lot more. On the other hand, the characters present didn’t know, nor had any idea how to really find out, and were more concerned about their own survival as opposed to the hows and the whys of this disease. The doctor, who’s personality was deeply amusing, was of little help, and seemed moderately unhinged himself, but still did what he could to help out the main characters.
The chaos in this film is very heavy, and coupled with the fact that we really don’t have an answer as to how this infection came about by the end of the movie, really makes it a hard one to judge. The idea of hearing second hand the horrors going on outside was pretty cool, which reminded me of another film, being Dead Air (2009, starring Bill Moseley).
Stephen McHattie was a decent actor in his own right, but there are the occasional awkward scenes/lines. And the post-credit scene, well, I still have exactly zero idea what to make of that, despite the various theories I’ve read online. Pontypool is a mostly-claustrophobic film, some high-level suspense, and contains a somewhat confusing premise. Even after three or four viewings, I’m still not sure what to make of it. It definitely makes you think, though.
Directed by Stan Winston [Other horror films: Ghosts (1997)]
Personally, I never thought that Pumpkinhead got the love it deserved. For whatever the sequels were, the first Pumpkinhead, overall, is a damn solid film, and Lance Henriksen, an actor I generally don’t care for, put up a very good performance here. The set-up, showing a impoverished but loving father and son really allows us, as viewers, to understand why he wanted revenge after what happened to his son. And speaking of that, that scene in which he’s digging up the bones of Pumpkinhead has long been a favorite of mine, as the setting, a mist-covered, decrepit graveyard is truly a place you’d think twice before entering.
The on-going drama between the kids was less interesting, but as most of them die by the end of the film, such is life. Also, the fact that unlike many, if not most, 80’s horror films, Pumpkinhead is deadly serious has always struck me an interesting choice. There’s no humor to be found in this movie, not really even with the scenes featuring the kids. In many ways, it feels more like a 70’s movie than an 80’s one. One last note – the setting as a whole deeply intrigues me. Those people really look as though they’re living in 1920’s West Virginia poor communities. And yet, communities like that still exist, and certainly did back in 1988. Exaggerated a bit? Sure, but on the whole, that setting, for some reason, appealed greatly to me. Pumpkinhead’s a good film. Not perfect by any means, but a very solid title all the same.
Directed by Richard C. Kahn [Other horror films: N/A]
This is an oddity, one of the first all African-American casted horror movies. As such, it’s as Poverty Row as one could imagine. Also, the version widely available seems to be missing a minute or two halfway through the film (which is already short – clocks in at just over an hour). Sound quality, or video quality, for that matter, wasn’t up to par for even my standards of the time period, but it was just about as good as I remembered it.
Really, it’s just a generic movie, with some okay light-hearted comedic portions provided by one of the characters (who was actually played by a writer of the script) and an almost-threatening atmosphere. It falls short, though, of it’s aims, and overall, seems an overly forgettable movie, especially as so many other horror films, some great, came out around the same time. The points I give it are mainly for the setting itself (a house, which, while generic, was used to good effect in the film) and some of the more humorous lines.
(Note: This was one of the reviews I wrote early on, so it’s shorter and far less in-depth than my more recent ones. Should I rewatch the film, I’ll update my review.)
Directed by Clive Barker [Other horror films: Nightbreed (1990), Lord of Illusions (1995), Clive Barker’s Salomé & The Forbidden (1998)]
This is a good film, and it’s still a good film upon seeing it again, but some parts just rub me the wrong way, one of them being Kirsty’s first on-screen appearance. She seems agitated, and is acting, in my opinion, oddly, yet no reason for this is given (unless it’s just the stress of moving to London, which is possible). That’s another issue I had, though – while this movie is supposed to take place in London, most of the characters seem to have American accents. I realize that this was a decision by someone who believed that it’d help with American viewership, but still, it sort of took me out of the immersive experience I’d have preferred.
Lastly, the homeless man/demon is following Kirsty before there’s any real reason for him to do so. Again, never expanded on. Still, the movie is solid. Cenobites are fantastic, Kirsty is a decent (and easy on the eyes) character, and Frank/Julie are quite the threatening pair. And of course the special effects are extremely solid for the most part. Overall, it’s a good film with a flaw or two. Certainly worth the watch if you’ve not seen it before. Great 80’s horror.
Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I covered this film in a ten-minute conversation on Fight Evil’s fifth podcast. Listen below if interested.