Wednesday, 26 August 2015


"Wishmaster" (1997, Robert Kurtzman, Wes Craven, Live Entertainment) is a movie about a djinn (genie) who grants wishes in return for your soul, only, like all genie tales, the wishes never turn out how you imagined them.

We are first introduced to this djinn (Andrew Divoff) creature in 1127 Iran where a Persian emperor has set it free and it is causing all kinds of massacre on his people. This is where we are told the rule: the one who sets a djinn free is granted 3 wishes, but their third wish will free the djinn and all his friends to destroy the earth.

Snap to modern day and the art collector, Beaumont (Robert Englund) is having an ancient statue delivered to his collection. Only, the crane operator is drunk and accidentally drops the statue, killing Beaumont's assistant and releasing the red ruby containing the djinn. The gem is pawned by one of the workers and eventually comes into the hands of Alex (Tammy Lauren) who accidentally awakens the djinn. The djinn goes off on its merry way, torturing any whom it can trick into saying 'I wish' and claiming their souls, which, through her links to the djinn as its 'master', Alex can see as visions. The creature eventually takes the form of a deceased man and goes around town by the name Nathaniel Demerest.

Eventually, Alex and the djinn confront each other. Can Alex trick the djinn, as he has tricked people for centuries, with her final wish?

A cheesy 90s gore movie with a hell of a lot of genre-cameos (Robert Englund, Kane Hodder, Tony Todd, Ted Raimi, Ricco Ross... to name a few). The action is funny and over the top, the acting is sometimes dubious but suits the film, the plot is a little thin (probably hence all the gore) and it is far from actually scary, but I enjoy "Wishmaster". Kurtzman was a makeup and effects artist, so he was keen to make use of as many practical effects as he could which I appreciate, even if some did not date very well. All in all, this is very much a friends and pizza kind of cheesy movie rather than a smart nail biter. If you're looking for chills, tension or intelligent writing, this is probably not the film for you.

[Image: Live Entertainment]


Friday, 21 August 2015

The Sentinel (1977)

"The Sentinel" (1977, Michael Winner, Universal Pictures) is a haunted house movie set in the Brooklyn area of New York city.

Alison (Cristina Raines) is a fashion model who feels that things are moving too fast with her successful, lawyer boyfriend, Michael (Chris Sarandon). So she decides to move out of his posh apartment and find her own digs whilst she contemplates his marriage proposal. She finds a quirky flat in Brooklyn that is actually a grand old house split into different flats. Unfortunately, her new neighbours are all complete weirdos who keep her up at night. Only, when she complains to her realtor (Ava Gardner), she finds that she doesn't actually have any neighbours except for an old, blind, reclusive priest (John Carradine) who lives on the top floor and just sits quietly, staring out of the window....

As well as the freaky neighbours, Alison also begins seeing flashbacks to her not-so-nice father and her own attempted suicides. And she learns that there is more to this building than just its undead inhabitants, and more to the priest than just being old!

A fun 70s horror that gets its share of flack, with a great cast and some really creepy scenes. The film also features Christopher Walken as the young detective and Jeff Goldblum as Jack the photographer as well as Beverly D'Angelo as a sex-crazed mute (her first movie role). The effects are good for a 70s horror (but then again, this was quite a big budget film) and lend well to the setting and the unsettling weirdness of Alison's neighbours is aptly captured and revealed. Other plus points include a birthday party for a cat and a good amount of splurted gore.

There are some issues with the film, such as its overbearing, random score which, unlike the purposefully overbearing soundtracks of films such as Argento's "Suspiria", does not seem to have been done to great effect and is more jarring than atmospheric with too many changes in style and genre.

The film was also heavily lambasted for using people with deformities as plot props at the end in what is a very random climax. The worst part about the choice of casting for this scene was that it is simply using the actors' appearances for shock value and holds no particular relevance to the plot. It's a 'sploitation movie, but by today's standards, it's not cool.

The plot is often too random and is basically just one of many demonic-inspired films which had come back into fashion in the 70s so doesn't feel the need to explain itself too much. But the ending is somewhat chilling and rounds off the movie nicely

Not a terrible film, but it does have some obvious faults and Winner made a few bad calls during its production. Its creepy scenes and good, if predictable, ending make up for some of the flaws, however, it's just admittedly not everyone's cup of tea.

[Image: Universal Pictures]

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Da Possessed

"Da Possessed" (2014, Joyce Bernal, Star Cinema, Regal Entertainment, Regal Films) is a Filipino horror comedy and is actually a remake of an Indian movie called "Muni 2: Kanchana".

Ramon (Vhong Navarro) is a big scaredy cat. He lives at home with his over-protective mother, brother, sister-in-law and their children. He sleeps at night in the same bed as his mother because he is so scared of everything.

When his mother's house is in danger of being repossessed because she cannot keep up with the payments, Ramon gets a job as a landscape artist for a rich tycoon. Ramon's shift boss is the tycoon's beautiful daughter, Anna (Solenn Heussaff) - who's main skills are looking sultry, doing bad cartwheels and flashing her knickers -, who takes a shine to Ramon.

In his attempts to impress Anna, Ramon unwittingly digs up the graves of three people who were killed unfairly and he and his family are then haunted by the unrestful spirits. The spirits take turns possessing Ramon's body as they try to avenge their killer, with mischevious consequences.

A strange film that is pretty standard plot fayre, and yet has some quirky characters and ridiculous situations. For me, it was something a little different due to my unfamiliarity with Filipino films in general, but at its core it's a pretty standard, if oddly charming, horror comedy.

I did enjoy the end scenes, however, which appealed to my sense of humour.

A little ridiculous, but not the strangest film I've seen! It could have done with being a little shorter, however...
[Image: Star Cinema & Regal Films]

Sunday, 2 August 2015


"Zombeavers" (2014, Jordan Rubin, Epic Pictures Group, Armory Films, Benderspink, Hypotenuse Pictures) is a horror comedy about zombie beavers.

A group of college girls go out to a riverside cabin to forget about their man troubles only to be shortly joined by said men. Sadly for all involved, the river is home to a band of ravenous and bloodthirsty zombie beavers...

A campy film which, in the style of Sharkando, knows it and thrills in it's stupidity. While it's not the best nature fights back horror comedy out there, I enjoyed it. There's bucketloads of blood, a host of ridiculous action (the beavers cut the phone lines.... The BEAVERS cut the phone lines....), puns, and a few tongue-in-cheek nods to 'Jaws'. It's a good brainless summer romp.

All the characters are worth your contempt. Not a single one of them has any redeeming properties. However, this is perfect for this kind of movie. I don't want to see them succeed; I want to see them being eaten by ridiculously unrealistic zombie beaver handpuppets!

It's not big, it's not clever and it's proud of the fact. Perfect crappy movie for a night in with friends and a pizza.

[Image: Epic Pictures Group, et al]