Stuart Gordon's "From Beyond" (1986)

From Beyond
10/30/2010

After director Stuart Gordon made the cult hit “The Re-Animator” he reteamed with actor Jeffrey Combs for another movie based an H.P. Lovecraft story called “From Beyond”. This sci-fi horror film is right up there with “Re-Animator”. This movie is creepy weird and fun to watch.

Combs plays physicist Crawford Tillinghast who along with Dr. Edward Pretorius create a machine called the Resonator. When turned on it creates a distinct frequency that stimulates the Pineal gland in the brain, allowing a person to see an alternate dimension of reality. It’s explained as a kind of sixth sense. What they see and experience is not all that pleasant as Dr. Pretorius is consumed by the machine and presumed dead. Crawford is hauled of the looney bin only to be released into the custody of psychologist Dr. Katherine McMichales.

Back at the lab which is located at 666 Benevolent St. Crawford shows off the Resonator to Katherine who becomes obsessed with it. When the Resonator is turned on they are introduced to the new Dr. Pretorius, he is hideously mutated and completely insane. His pineal gland juts out from his forehead like an antenna. The special effects are pretty dated and the creature makeup is pretty well done, but campy at times. The overall story is quite bizarre, but still engaging and entertaining. For comic relief we have Bubba Brownlee, and ex football player turned cop, played wonderfully by Ken Foree. Our three protagonists fight for survival against the Resonator and the evil Dr. Pretorius. This movie is a quick 86 minutes, just enough to keep the story moving at decent pace.

“From Beyond” is available through Netflix Instant Streaming video.

"The Human Centipede" The B-Movie Circus Side Show

The Human Centipede
10/16/2010

Like it or not Writer/Director Tom Six is getting recognition and a sort of pseudo fame for his gross out horror flick “The Human Centipede”. This movie plays like a B movie side show act. Six looks only to use simplistic story telling techniques and minimal character development to bring his creation to life. This movie was made only to shock and disgust and rarely does either effectively.

The story line is quite generic and could be lifted from numerous other horror films. Two American college girls traveling in Europe are on their way to a party when their car breaks down in the countryside. Both girls are extremely annoying and shallow New Yorkers who brave the rain to find a house occupied by a mad German doctor/scientist, played by Dieter Laser (I love that name). Perhaps the best part of the movie is Laser’s performance as the insane doctor who will stop at nothing to create this monster.

Along with a Japanese guy, it is explained that the surgery will connect the three young people ass to mouth to create a “medically accurate” new animal. And why does he want to this? Probably either for shits and giggles or to launch a new German fetish porn site. The movie promises a Human Centipede and you eventually get a Human Centipede. While there are some sick and twisted images, it really does little to create a sense of empathy for the characters that are in the unfortunate positions. Then comes the question of once you’ve created a Human Centipede, what do you do with it? He takes it out in the back yard for a bit, then at night he locks it up in a cage

Tom Six is currently in post production for next year’s sequel which promises a longer centipede and hopefully a better plot. He set the bar pretty low for the first one, so hopefully the sequel will cash in on the problems of the first one.

"TRICK 'R TREAT" Let the Party Begin!

Trick ‘r Treat
10/11/2010

When John Carpenter’s milestone horror film “Halloween” came out in 1978, it changed movies forever. Now every holiday has at least one horror movie made in its honor, from “Mother’s Day”, “Thanks Killing”, and numerous Santa Slashers. Usually these movies were pretty bad, but Michael Dougherty’s 2007 film “Trick ‘r Treat” is a fun, scary, and enjoyable movie that is rarely made anymore. It’s actually quite amazing that it was even released at all. It was shelved by Warner Brothers for over two years because of “questionable content” and other studio related politics. The way that it is made and in the context of the material it is a crime that it took so long to come out. It just became available on DVD and Blu-Ray last October.

Trick ‘r Treat is like an old comic book as displayed in the opening credits. It weaves together five scary stories on your average Halloween night. Each story focuses on how people of different ages experience the holiday. A great cast was assembled to bring these stories to life. Anna Paquin, Brian Cox, Dylan Baker & Leslie Bibb all have fun roles and give great performances. Also appearing throughout the movie is “Sam” a seemingly little kid dressed up as a pumpkin who symbolize the terror and frightfulness of Halloween. Almost like a grim reaper, he makes sure all of holiday rituals are followed and punishes those who don’t play along.

Some of the reasons this movie took so long to be released is the number of kids that are offed. A bus load of special needs kids is purposely driven of a cliff and an elementary school principal moonlights as a serial killer. All of the Halloween stories and myths about the holiday really seem to ring true. Like “A Christmas Story” this is a movie that you can watch over and over every year. It’s well written, well made and just a heck of a lot of fun.