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Remake vs Original: Invasion Of The Body Snatchers Part 1

By: Justin Hopkins

**SPOILER WARNING**

  For anyone who has read one of my Remake vs Original blogs in the past, know I go about them in a particular (long) way of doing them. Basically, I do a full review of the original, storyline plots leading toward the climax, what the pros, cons, and cast. Than give me final grade and do the same for the remake and cast a winner from there. Now, Invasion was one that I wanted to do, but as it turns out, Invasion Of The Body Snatchers didn’t just have one remake; it has three. Now, if I were to do my regular deal with them. This Blog would be close to four thousand words, and I would be in a drunken stupor by the end. So, to save us all, Paul gave me the solution, of doing two at a time. We’ll start with the 1956 vs the 1978 version. The winner will go on to face the 1993 version and finally the 2007 and that will be the ultimate winner. No four thousand words and sanities are intact. Now, with that all out, let’s dive all the way back to 1956 and get started shall we.

Invasion Of The Body Snatchers 1956

The movie starts with a Psychiatrist rushing to the hospital due to an out of control man, Dr. Benell, who was screaming that he was not insane. He gets him to calm down, and he starts to tell the story. Flashing back from him rushing back to Santa Mira from a convention for a medical emergency. His Nurse, Sally meets him. Telling him that he has had a long line of people, some have been waiting for two weeks, but won’t say what was wrong with them. Yet, when he gets back to the office. Most have called off, and those he called back said they were alright. When he goes to lunch, he is greeted by love interest, Becky Driscoll. Who tells him her friend, believes that her Uncle Ira is not her uncle. That he had been replaced. A sentiment that is repeated by little Jimmy about his Mother when he gets back. After advising that he stays with his Grandmother for the night. He goes to meet Becky and Wilma’s to meet Uncle Ira. A man he tells Wilma that he is her Uncle and refers her to a psychiatrist, Dan Kaufman. That night, when Bennell takes Becky out to dinner. They are interrupted by Jack and his wife, who found a body. One in pristine condition, with no fingerprints and Teddy think that it is starting to become Jack. Wondering if this is connected, Bennell has them sit up with the body to see what happens through the night. When it takes on the cut Jack received during the conversation appears on the body and eyes open. They flee to the Doctor’s house. Who calls Kaufmann to come right away, and he goes to get Becky and finds a body that looks like her in the basement.. and that is where I will leave it for now.

There is a good reason that this story has been retold and ripped off so many times and that is because it is a great story. It is a timeless tale of suspense and paranoia, and all it takes is a game of confusion. Trying to keep you guessing about who is human and who is not. Pitting the heroes not just against any kind of monsters, but the faces of their friends and families and not knowing just how far this goes, and way out numbered. The camera angles, shots, and scoring are great. We are  64 years down the line and more than stands up against the test of time.

That kind of rings true for the special effects as well. You are not going to get any bloodbath scenes you see today, or over the top gory moments either, but neither were really needed, and I am giving this the benefit of the doubt on some of the more cheesier moments, like the look of the pods themselves. The birthing scene in the green house looked pretty chilling and must have been really something else back then.

Was a bit taken by surprise by the happy ending here and I think it is mostly due to how many movies I have seen go in the opposite, and I did kind of like the idea that they were listening to him in the end. In a way, it still helps it stand out by ending in hopeful tone. Especially, when we get to the next one.

Casting wise was on the ball. Everyone was awesome. Kevin McCarthy’s descent from smooth talking Doctor to deranged screaming you’re next and they are coming are just legendary moments of cinema. Dana Wynter was class as Becky, and seeing her cold demeanor when she becomes one of them was chilling. Larry Gates’s Dan Kaufman was a great choice to be the speaker when they have Bennell and Becky trapped in the Doctor’s Office. King Donovan and Carolyn Jones were great in support.

There was one minor thing I didn’t like, and that was the monologuing. Didn’t really mind it, till he was on his way to Sally’s. Could have been a better setup had he not been talking about it and by the way he talked. Tipped the fact something bad has already happened in advance, instead of just letting the bad happen. Such a minor thing and not one that is going to have an affect on the final grade, but one that bugged me all the same.

Believe it or not, struggled on what my final grade would be. It was teetering on the line. At the end of the day, couldn’t find myself able to give it any less than: S

Invasion Of The Body Snatchers 1978

Unlike the Original, this one opens up with the Alien Organism out in space. Making it’s way down to Earth and falls in the form of rain, and blooms into a flower. We see kids around picking them, along with Elizabeth, who takes it home to study. Where she thinks it’s a new hybrid. A cross between two plants. Than we jump to Health Inspector Matthew Bennell. A by the books guy who while writing up a restaurant, has his windshield smashed by some angry line cooks. After getting Elizabeth to come in early, we jump to the morning. Her husband Jeffrey is cleaning up the broken glass that the plant was in and took the can straight to a waiting garbage truck. Without saying a word to Elizabeth. Who goes to work and tells Bennell about it. After they go their separate ways.  She walks away, in an eerie silence. That night, Jeffery cancels their Basketball game date in suspicious fashion, and she goes to Matthew’s instead. Telling him that she thinks Jeffery is not Jeffery. That he looks like him, but not him. The conversation continues over dinner, and he suggests seeing his friend, David Kibner, a Psychiatrist. The next morning while he is dropping off his dry cleaning. The owner pulls him aside, and tells him, his wife is not his wife. A little worried, he calls her, but she doesn’t answer. Surprising him at work, in hysterics. Flashing back to her day. Noticing people staring awkwardly, and when she tried to see Jeffery. Saw him leaving and follows. Watching him meeting strange people. Passing something off to each of them. When she is done, and her and Matthew are talking, on their way to Kibner’s book party. When a familiar crazy man jumps on their car. Screaming that they are coming, and you’re next. Before a mob chases him off and gets hit by a car. An accident that is not reported when Matthew tries to phone in an eye witness report. Meanwhile, she sees Kibner dealing with a hysterical woman who is screaming that her Husband is not he Husband. After talking her down. Kibner joins the group. Telling them he has been hearing the same thing all week and tells Elizabeth that it’s just her trying to escape and it is in her head. That night, Jack and his wife Nancy find a body covered in slime and hair. Calling Matthew for help.. and that is where I end this.

Much like a good remake, this one does a pretty good job, at not only keeping what made the first one great, and adding and shifting to bring out the best in it. The fact they really weren’t trying to hide as much. Still wanting to keep who was human and not for a bt, but they treated the viewer as if they were involved. Aware that we knew what the movie was about and didn’t treat us like idiots. By starting off with the alien species coming from space. Showing us what to look for, and we got to sit back and watch for that and enjoy the rest of the story they were telling. Allowing them to withhold the biggest surprise for the ending.  A stellar example of a good remake.

Also, they went with a point they only talked about in the first one. They talked about Becky being married but didn’t shy away from the relationship between her and Miles, but never mention the affair. While this one focused on the affair that was happening and that it could be a reasonable reason Elizabeth thought Jeffery was a duplicate.

The special effects are still pretty chilling and twisted in all the right ways. Longer more slimy birthing scenes that show not only the effects of the pod people coming to life, but the eye rolling, peeling affects that it had on the sleeping victims. Becky’s transformation especially. The smoothness of Matthew killing his duplicate was more effective than a lot of kills I see today. Camera angles and shots were again fantastic, and score wasn’t bad.

While I enjoyed the fact that the original went with a happy ending. The ending of this is just as legendary, if not more so. Haven’t watched either of these movie and still knew how this ended because of how many times I have seen the picture of Matthew Pointing, and… they still got me. Would love to know when the switch happened. Still just as golden as it always has been.

The casting is once again, spot on. Donald Sutherland’s Matthew is great. What more could even be said. He was likeable guy who made it easy to get behind him. Wanting him to succeed. Helped by the fact he went on the offensive in the factory. Played it perfectly at the end. Not giving it away that he was one of them, until the very end. Leonard Nimoy was so effective as a bad guy. Even when he was suppose to be helping her at the book party. Was so aggressive about it, that he came off as menacing, and after we learn who he really is, and he is still inside. Giving them pill was a great touch. Jeff Goldblum, is really good in support, because of course he is. As well as Veronica Cartwright. Than You got Brooke Adams, who was amazing. Loved her portrayal of Elizabeth. Her laugh was infectious during the weird eye scene that I was sad was not a foreshadow. Going from the sweetest to probably the most terrifying when she turned and let out the screeching. And, after 22 years, Kevin McCarthy still got it. Reprising his role and doing the screaming scene let again. By jumping on the car and issuing the same, dark threat, before meeting a much worse fate this go around. Salute to you, you champion.

I don’t have much in the way of negatives to talk about here. That was a bit of a pacing issue, but more I think about it. More I don’t think it is even big enough to call it a minor negative. So, Final Grade: S

Winner: The Remake

This was so, so much harder than I thought it would be. They are both so good and could easily kick myself for this choice tomorrow. Seriously, everyone involved in both of these two movies deserve huge round of applause for the works of art these two films are. At the end of it, have to ask myself, which would I watch again the soonest, and that is the remake.

As always, I hope you enjoyed and…

Thank You For Reading.

 

In The Mouth Of Madness Movie Review

By: Justin Hopkins

**SPOILER WARNING**

  As another day at home passes, another movie comes up to cross of the list. Following in the footsteps of my review of Prince Of Darkness. We get to movie three of John Carpenter’s Apocalyptic Trilogy, In The Mouth Of Madness. I wasn’t sure what to think when turn on this flick. Knowing very little about it, but after seeing Sam Neel in Event Horizon. Was more than willing to watch him in another horror movie. With it now officially crossed off the list. Let’s dive in and discuss shall we.

The movie kicks off with our main character, John Trent being forcibly admitted to an Insane Asylum. Where after a brief moment of trying to plead his sanity. Experiences a graphic hallucination. When Dr. Wrenn comes to see him, we find him drawing crosses on every inch on his padded cell, his body and clothes and he does not want to leave anymore. After a brief conversation, we learn that he is an Insurance Investigator and that this all started with the disappearance of Sutter Cain. We start the flashback with him tearing apart a man trying to pull an insurance scam. While he is having lunch with a man named Robbie, who is about to talk to him about the Arcane Case, when they are attacked by a crazy man with an Ax. All around his eyes are red and mutated with two pupils squished together. That night, we learn that people are rioting all over the globe. Demanding copies of Sutter Cain’s book. The next day while he is meeting with Arcane. We learn that Sutter Cain has gone missing and that they want his new book. Due to the fact he is world’s highest grossing bookseller, and that the man who tried to kill him the day before, was Sutter’s Agent. Who was the only one who knew how to get ahold of Sutter and read bits of the new book. Sutter’s work has had an almost psychotic effect on some of it’s readers you see.  John doesn’t buy any of this. Believing it to be a mixture of a set-up on their end and mass hysteria over just the latest pop craze. Nevertheless, he picks up some of the books to aide in his investigation, and has a dream sequence of an assault he sees earlier. Where a cop is beating on a young man, only this time, the cop is a monster, and John is trapped between him and a group lead by the agent. Who tells him he can see him, before the mob turns on the agent. Shaken by the dream, he throws himself into his investigation with vigor, and he discovers clues to Sutters location, using images cut from the covers of his books. Coming up with a town in New Hampshire, that he believes is ” Hobbs End.” After calling out the Agent, asking one last time if this was a hoax or not. He heads off to find the town, with assistant Linda Styles. Where after a hit and run that where the biker left before help, but putting a freight into Linda, and a chilling sequence of events that leads them into the town. Where Styles picks up on things around town that was written in his books, and that the events happening are the same from his newest book and John trying to tell her how crazy that is, and this is a good spot to move on.

This story is wonderfully written. Everything that is seen at the start paying off in a big way as the movie goes along. A tremendous example of Dramatic Irony from Linda, when she says, when the insane outnumber the sane, he’d find himself locked away in a padded room. We already know they are leading up to him being locked away and leaves us waiting to see how twisted of a situation this must lead to to put him there and a great mystery unfolding around, and not quite sure how it will conclude and chilling twist at the end. That was there from the start. Which makes a second watch all the more enjoyable.

Much like any Carpenter Film, the gore is on point as usual. There weren’t as many people dying to see like we normally get. The Gore mainly coming from prosthetics. Such as the cop, hordes of infected, and the creepy kids, who were absolutely chilling. I especially love the fact that they never really reuse the same morphed eyes. The cop having red and white pinwheels, and the little girl’s. Even the young man outside of the bookstore. Which made each seem special in their own way. The body contortions of Linda’s crab walking was unnerving. Then you got the actual tentacled, slimy grotesque monster. The lighting and way they came across was excellent. Not looking to cartoonish and just beautifully handled. Huge round of applause to everyone who worked on special effects.

I never talk enough about background settings and they do that so well here to. The town looked like any normal, small town along a highway. Which really added to the isolation feeling. The long, dark corridor he was chased through looked amazing. Looked and felt like it would just go on forever. The church was always framed in a way to give it both a sense of prestige and menace.

Casting was near perfect here. Sam Neill brought John Trent to life, and was a treat to watch as he slowly descended into madness. Seeing desperation as he tried to hold on to rational thought. Never wanting to sway from a reasonable explanation. Still calling Sutter a hack horror writer when he was almost at his lowest. Jurgen Prochnow did great as Sutter. The back and forth between him and Sam were entertaining and the enjoyment he got from what he was about to happen carried heavy through him. I do kind of wish we got more of the human side from Julie Carmen’s Linda. She was great at her crazy side, but think more could have been done while she was human. Small and only nitpick I have with the movie.

Normally, would talk about the ending, but don’t want to give away anything about it to anyone who hasn’t seen it. Despite my spoiler warning at the top. If you haven’t checked it out, would strongly suggest you give it a watch. Great film for anytime. Final Grade- S

I hope you enjoyed reading and as always…

Thank You For Reading.

Prince of Darkness Movie Review

By: Justin Hopkins

**SPOILER WARNING**

  With everything kind of grinding to a halt, and a fair amount of free time on my hands. Decided to sit back and try and catch up on some horror movie gems that I have been meaning to watch and just haven’t done so at this point. Where better than the master storyteller himself, John Carpenter, and the second entry in the Apocalyptic Trilogy, Prince of Darkness. It’s been on my watch list way, longer than it should have been and found myself pretty excited to finally turn it on, and now that I have finally watched. Let’s dive in and discuss shall we.

The movie starts out relatively slow. Panning through the characters we will be seeing throughout the movie. Revealing the death of a Priest and Donald Pleasence Priest character starts investigating why he was in town, and found something troubling in the basement of the former brotherhood of sleep church. A mysterious green ooze, spiraling in a giant locked cylinder, and a book he can not decipher. He calls in a Quantum Physicist Professor Howard Birack, to get a scientific study done, to prove that it is, more of less, Satan. Who brings in his students and a few other experts in the field to find out what this could be. Meanwhile, we see how Catherine gets along with everyone, and a budding relationship with fellow student Brian Marsh. As they all begin to show up. Notice the homeless beginning to show up outside. Standing there and watching the church. Except for one, who greets Pleasence, and rubs her face on his hand. Seeing maggots in her food dish. As everyone sees it and begins to run experiments. Coming up with their own theories and worry sets in. When one student goes to leave, is killed by the homeless people, in gory fashion. Inside, while Lisa is reading what she transcribed from the book and Pleasance talks about how ths was kept secret so long. Downstair, Susan, the one in radiation, is examining a sound coming from the cylinder, and is sprayed in the face by some of the ooze that sept out of the top. Possessing her and she begins to infect the others. While chaos and dissension going across the survivors, as they not only try to survive, but figure out what is going on and that this really is the essence of Satan, and we will leave it there for now.

I really enjoyed the story they were telling. The fact the Priest, while he believed it from the get go. Wanted them to prove it scientifically. Which kind of made him a stronger character, because while he was raving. Not crazy about it. It was a slow burn of a story with depth and while they tried to be scientific in their studies. Didn’t back away from the religious connotations or try to find a reasonable explanation for it all. Just let it all unfolded as hell breaking loose and works better for it.

As per usual for John Carpenter, the gore was great. Had some fun kills with the bike to the gut, chopstick to the eye, and the woman stabbing the guy with scissors. The fact when the people were possessed, they went light on the liquid. Would have been easy for them to go heavy, but felt different by being light on the fluid. Most of all, loved watching Kelly’s transformation. Watching her go from normal to skin peeling off and and withered away to nothing. Beautiful prosthetic work.

Casting wise they were pretty solid. It was a blast to watch the back and forth between Donald Pleasence and Victor Wong. Sort of wish they had some more time toward the end to talk when everything gets going. as strange as that may sound. Lisa Blount played an interesting Catherine, made better by the way this ended. Dennis Dun, Susan Blanchard, and Jameson Parker were all good, but the one who really stood out to me, was Anne Howard. The first one possessed and she did spectacular. Doing everything with a blank, emotionless state, and she made it work really well. Every scene with her was disturbing and creepy. Mostly, because you didn’t know what she was going to do. From her standing and watching the one being stabbed to death and than infecting Lisa. Her presence commanded attention. In the same vein, Ann Yen was effective as a possessed one as well, and kind of a shame we didn’t get more from her. And lest we forget, the talented Alice Cooper. Who did tremendous job as the leader of the Homeless People keeping them trapt in the church.

Now onto the negatives and one of the big ones that I didn’t like, was the dream sequence. They were menacing and unnerving, but they do very little for the story in my opinion. They address them, like it is a big deal, but haven’t got the slightest clue why. The figure isn’t the Anti-God, nor is it Kelly and never really say who the guy is. All seems like an elaborate set up for the ending. Which brings us to the next slight negative.

The love most of the ending. Trying not to say to much for anyone who haven’t watched. It all works up until after they get out of the church. Had the credits just started rolling with the dream sequence don’t think I would have had a problem, but with Brian waking up and the jumpscare and looking into the mirror. Just seemed like a weak way to end a relatively good, fun movie.

And that really sums up Prince of Darkness. Not one of Carpenter’s best, in my opinion. Slow Burn film, that builds up a suspenseful, fun ride. Gladly suggest checking it out, if you haven’t. Final Grade: B+

I hope you enjoyed and as always….

Thank You For Reading.

 

 

Saturday Sequel Presents: Friday the 13th part 4

By Paul Anthony

Welcome to this week’s edition of Sequel Saturday, this doesn’t happen to often, well maybe once or twice a year but we all know what this weekend is! yesterday was Friday the 13th and that means this is Jason’s weekend! Yesterday we read in Classic 13 Justin’s review of Friday the 13th part 3 so today I had to review part 4 which when it first came out and well to this day is called The Final Chapter. Now of course we know that there was plenty of Jason films after this one but much like part 3 where the series was suppose to end this film as well was suppose to end the series. Part 3 did leave a cliffhanger to where had the movie made money, they could do a fourth film. Sure enough they gave us a story that could follow part 3 and that was Jason killing random teenagers near or at the lake in which he was suppose to drown at. The movie was a hit of course, it opened in 1600 screens and made 33 million dollars off of a budget that was only 2.3 million so you knew a fifth film would come even though it was called the Final Chapter.

Let’s start with plot, here we have the film pick up directly where the third film left off. The police show up at the Higgins Haven to clean up the mess that Jason has caused and they find Jason’s body which he appears dead to them, so they send him to the morgue but at that point he wakes up and kills the nurse and coroner and he makes his way back to the area he knows oh so well. With a new film comes new teens who Jason kills off one by one to the point that they are just here to waste time. The main characters really are Trish Jarvis and her brother Tommy, we also meet a guy named Rob who seems random at first but learn Jason killed his sister in the second film and he is bent on killing Jason for good.

However Jason in the end gets the upper hand on Rob and kills him leaving only Trish and Tommy. Tommy comes up with a plan to make himself look like a younger Jason to buy his sister time to kill Jason which it worked to a degree but Tommy then notices that Jason is still moving and that is when he flips and begins to hack at Jason killing him for good. Trish wakes up in the hospital and right away wants to know if Tommy is okay and they reassure her that he is and she even gets to hug him that’s where the movie ends with Tommy having a death look in his eyes. We know this would begin a three movie arc with Tommy going up against Jason.

I believe this was one of a few Jason films that had a story to it that was somewhat decent. Jason character was never suppose to go this long and of course it showed with each film. he is a killing machine but these first four films all made sense in a way, Adding Rob to the mix was a good callback. It gave this film some purpose. The acting was what is was and you couldn’t expect more from a low budget film. Most people would give this film a bad review but I want give a good review based on other slasher genre films so in the end I am giving it a C or a good 70 percent!

Friday the 13th Part 3 Movie Review

By: Justin Hopkins

Hello and welcome back to this months Classic 13, with the 3rd installment of the Friday The 13th Series. While this may not be as classic as some, I couldn’t not do a Friday The 13th Movie this time around, and since I did the first and Paul did the second. The third one it is. Besides, an iconic moment does happen here, with not only getting the Hockey Mask, but the crack in it. It’s weird, but always enjoyed the fact the crack carried on for as long as it did. Showing the scars from his prior fights. So, let’s dive in and discuss shall we.

We get the movie started with a recap of what happened in Part 2, with him crawling away after Alice and Paul leaves. Going off and killing two of the locals, before we meet the teens,  and see some of their characteristics. Like Shelly being awkward and trying to gain attention and laughs by scaring them. Chris has a backstory of some sort of trauma. We meet her Boyfriend Rick that she hasn’t seen in some time. Vera is going against her Mother’s demands, Andy and his Girlfriend, and of course, two hippies, cause why not. After yet another prank from Shelly. Vera goes to the store. Taking pity on Shelly at the last minute and takes him along the way. Ending up on the wrong side of a biker gang. When they get back with the damaged car. Rick leaves in some sort of strange anger and Chris goes along. Not spotting the biker gang, who steal the gas, and meets their end at the hands of Jason, and from their, starts the game of Jason laying and wait and will leave it there.

The story was nothing really much to write home about. It was effective enough for what the movie was, but their was one aspect that I really liked, and that was Chris’s backstory. Having escaped Jason’s grasp once in her past, for two reasons. It kind of raises a things a bit. Normally you hear people reference kills that have occured between movies, but this kind of hammers it home that a lot happens between the movies, and liked the fact that he recognizes her and heightens the interactions between them. Particularly when he removes his mask on the rope.

Speaking of Chris, she really makes for a memorable Final Girl. A stand out in a series of top notch Final Girls, but she stands out. What really sold her performance was how fast she was to go for the kill, by hanging him. Most of the time, they hit the killer and walk away, but she goes all in. Knocks him out, gets the rope on him, and hangs him. Showing not just strength to survive, but guts to take the extra steps to make that happen. Dana Kimmell did a stellar job at bringing out the best parts of Chris.

And we got to talk about Shelly. I never knew there was a group of people who don’t like him, and I don’t get why. He is kind of relatable to a lot of people. His low self-esteem and his desire to be accepted, but doesn’t know how to be and so he goes with the one thing he knows, which is also the one thing that makes everyone angry and makes things worse for a guy who just wants to be accepted. Deep down he is a good guy and sad to see him go and we all owe him a debt of gratitude for Jason’s Hockey mask.

This Jason is brought to us by the talented Richard Brooker. As a human Jason, he didn’t get the privilege of being able to tank everything thrown at him, but got a lot out of him all the same. He had the size to be intimidating and held himself in the right way when he was simply walking around. When he was hurt, he didn’t oversell to much, but as it went on. Can see it was all taking a toll, but was driven by the need to kill, and still laugh when the mask comes off at the end. He may not be my favorite, but Brooker’s take on the roll is high up there.

Some may be put off due to the 3-D, but was still fun to watch the likes of an eyeball popping out of Rick’s head and various pitch fork kills. You had one of the best kills when he cut Andy in half when he was walking around on his hands, and the kill from beneath the hammock. Plus, a projectile kill to the eye. Friday the 13th is known for great kills and part 3 is a great example as to why that is, and Higgin’s Haven is one of my favorite locations they used. If I sat down and thought on it, may actually be my favorite, but story for another time.

This is far from perfect though. They could have done a few things much better. They could have made the biker gang a little more viscous. Liked the fact that they were used to explain why Chris couldn’t simply drive away, but if they come across looking stronger and Jason takes them out. He looks stronger than in the process and Fox was a great character and would have liked to see her make it that much further. My next gripe is with Rick himself, and the fact his mood seems to swing at a moments notice, and don’t know why. We need someone to despise and wonder what colorful way Jason will kill him, but we have the biker gang for that. All Rick does is come off as annoying and that doesn’t serve any good. Than there is the end. The jumpscare with Pamela just doesn’t work, and I hate when the final girl goes crazy at the end. Always feels like I rooted her on for nothing and no, the argument that it would happen to anyone in this situation would experience the same thing, does not work because this is not real.

And that brings us to the end. Despite the complaints. The pros far outweigh the negatives. Part 3 is just as fun to watch today as it was when I first watched it as a kid. Brutal kills, a strong final girl, and Richard Brooker. All makes for a great watch on this, Friday The 13th.

As always, hope you enjoyed and..

Thanks For Reading.

Castlevania Season 3 Review

By: Justin Hopkins

  **SPOILER WARNING**

  I have been loving what they have been doing with this series so far, and was excited to see where they would go after the way season 2 had ended. With Dracula gone and Carmilla situating herself as the next big villain in a way and Isaac still running around. What was going to happen with Alucard and what adventures awaited Belmont and Sypha and just all around excitement for its return. With a lot to talk about, lets jump right in and discuss shall we, but first, going to change how I normal do this. Instead of glossing over the start and middle. Going to talk about what the characters are doing and the direction they are facing. Than talk about the stories and pros and cons and such. Going to be easier for us all… okay, good, let’s dive in shall we.

We open up, with Alucard by himself. Looking after his Castle on the Belmont Estate and get the fact that how lonely he is. Talking to dolls made up of Belmont and Sypha and even making up voices. Dawning on him how this was getting to him and didn’t even know how long it has been for, and is more than thrilled when two people come calling. Sumi and Taka, enslaved by Vampire Cho, and want to learn the secrets to killing vampires, and he more than happily accepts. Wanting to pass along secrets for them not only to take back and use to help make their home a better place. Meanwhile, Belmont and Sypha are hunting Night Creatures, and Sypha is having the time of her life, with it all. They are in a relationship and having a blast with it all. They arrive at Lindenfield, where we meet Saint Germain, The Judge, and the Monks of the Priory, who worship Dracula and have a dark secret going on at the Priory, that they are not letting anyone see. Carmilla finally gets home to Stryia, after fighting and marching her way through a cascade of problems, with Hector as her slave. Greeted by two of her three Vampire ” Sisters” Striga and Lenore, and Morana. Carmilla has a plan to take over the east. Eight hundred miles that has been devastated due to Dracula’s attacks, and with them in a state of chaos, should be easy to take control and keep humans alive inside as livestock, but need Hector to play ball and Lenore takes it upon herself to make him come around, without threat of him turning. Lastly, we get to Isaac, going on a journey to Stryia. Amassing an army of Night Creatures to exact revenge on those who betrayed him and Dracula. Running into several people along the way that affects his way of thinking about his mission and what he wants to achieve.

These stories were all so great. Building suspense and tension in a slow, let fun way. Giving them each of the time they needed to build, yet not lingering on them for to long either and felt different enough to always seem fresh. Loved the fact they didn’t paint Hector as an idiot. He knew Lenore was trying to befriend him and use him to do what she wanted, and she was fascinating character. Her design and way she held herself kept my attention and wondering how she was going to twist the situation to her advantage, and at the end. Never really even lied to him. Have to admit, they kind of got me with the Alucard story. Suspected they were going to turn, but a line he said, about them having plenty of time sort of had me thinking they were going to twist and have him turn, but by the final destination still got me, which I will talk more about later. Isaac was probably the weakest of the bunch. His line of thinking is very flawed, but the characters he was meeting were all so good. The Captain, especially. Isaac is a guy for the first time in a while, he seems to have to think for himself, and each person he meets is showing him a way to go. While, I didn’t care to much about him here. I do look forward to seeing the end of his arc. Lastly, we got Belmont and Sypha, who are just the best. I loved the dynamic between the two. The odd coupling, who bring out the more human side of him. Her over the top ways compliments his more stoic nature, and the fact we didn’t have the ” Argument that splits them up and both apologies at the end” cliched story was a big plus. They brought out a lot of fun, but when it was time for fighting, they were even more fun to watch. The pacing was great and the transitions were smooth throughout most. A little choppy during the climax, but for obvious reasons of what was happening. Going between two sets of fighting and two seperate sex scenes. A lot to blend together, and worked well enough, but a lot.

They introduced a ton of new characters and they all added to the story in great ways. Loved the designs of each of the vampire Sisters. My favorite in particular was Striga. She didn’t get the time that Lenore did, but the big burly vampire got enough to build my interest. She came off as a smart Military mind, and not even bothered by the fact we didn’t get to see her fight. Just has me hyped that when she does so. It will be awesome and want to see her square off with who I hope is Belmont, but don’t think that is the way they are going, but still have high hopes that she gets the time to beat some people and Night Creatures down at some point. Was shocked by the end reveal surrounding the good natured judge. What a twist that was, and Saint Germain ended up being pretty fun as well. Didn’t think much of him at first, but grew on me by the end.

I can’t wait for season 4, which this built up to very nicely. Many questions remaining., With Belmont and Sypha reeling after how things ended in Lindenfield. Isaac gaining the means to get to Styria, with an army, and Hector effectively being enslaved by Lemore and the Sisters now having the means to make Night Creatures of their own. Setting for an interesting battle to come between them and Isaac. Than you got Alucard who put Sumi and Taka on Pikes, ala Dracula. Leaving you wonder if this is the start of a villain turn for him, which would create a major shift. The future is really bright, after what was an exciting and fun season 3. If you haven’t checked it out. Definitely recommend you do so.

This is a little more rambling than normal, but I do hope you enjoyed, and as always…

Thank You For Reading.

Girl On The Third Floor Movie Review

By: Justin Hopkins

**SPOILER WARNING**

  Hello and welcome to this weeks B Movie Sunday. Got to get better at sticking to the schedule for these, but nethertheless. Here we are again. Sort of pushing the boundary of what is a B Movie. This time with Girl On The 3rd Floor. A movie I was waiting for quite a bit for a moment to sit down and watch. Mostly, because of one CM Punk, who goes by his real name of Phil Brooks in this. A guy with tons of charisma to add to a movie and wanted to see how well it turned out. Let’s jump right in and talk about it a bit shall we.

Movie starts out, with some gloss over shots of the dilapidated house, as Don and his dog Cooper come inside, and house has a creepy vibe, as he begins to start cleaning things up. Including a spot that has black gunk coming out of it. He doesn’t think much of it as he begins to go about cleaning up. Meeting his neighbor, Ellie, where we learn that his wife, Liz, is expecting his first child, and this is going to be a fresh start for them. We also learn the next morning that he is hiding his drinking from Liz. As we go through the second day, and more things start to happen, and more gross fluid comes out. Always accompanied by a marble. We find that he was in trouble by the Feds, and later we learn that the house has a way of torturing men, from the local creepy old man at the bar, in a Bowling Alley. Then, we meet Sarah. A woman Don ends up having an affair with, and won’t go away. Turning violent after he threatens her, by killing his friend Milo, and that is where I am actually going to leave the synopsis. Mostly, because of how slow burning of a story this is, and already find myself speeding through it as it is.

This story is a real slow burn of a story. Taking place over multiple days. By the time Don realizes something supernatural is happening, it’s already to late, and goes off in a wild direction after the first hour. The idea to go in the way they did was gutsy. Starting off a new, with not a lot of time left, but to me, it paid off. Leaving me in suspense because I had no idea how this was going to end. Which, seemed like a refreshing change of pace from the normal haunted house kind of deals.

Another Positive, was the gore. While Milo’s was a bit blah. They really upped the ante with Don and him trying to cut the marble out of him, till it plopped out of his eye socket and how he looked at the end. All of which was great stuff, and of course; poor Cooper. They set it up perfectly. Kind of making you feel it was a false jumpstart, but hitting you with poor pups head in the dryer. Probably more upsetting, but thumbs up for actually going there.

Cast wise was actually pretty good. No award winning performances, but entertaining all the same. Being Phil Brook’s first lead role, I felt he showed a lot of potential and was really enjoyable as Don. A rumor cropped up last week, of him potentially playing Ash in Evil Dead, while I don’t agree to that. Can see flares on Bruce Campbell in his performance, as Don.  Slapstick comedic moments of getting sprayed in the face by something horrible, but able to turn the charm on in the very next moment. Showing a lot of depth with a man trying to start over and be a good Husband who is ultimately failing. Since most of the movie, revolved around just him. He did really well keeping the interest. On the back half, you has Trieste Kelly Dunn as Liz, who did a great job carrying the back part of this movie. Really coming in when the climax is well under way and made you care about her and wanting to make it through, and Sarah Brooks played an villainous foil to them both, in a good performance as well.

Negative wise, could see not a lot of people enjoying just how much of a slow burn it is. I enjoyed it, because it really ramped up how dangerous the ghosts are, but can see how some may think that it’s a bit to slow at the start.

Alright, big spoilers coming, so if you are going to watch it. Suggests skipping the paragraph… Okay, now I really enjoyed the fact they took out Don and Liz surviving to the end. Even liked the fact they were living in the house. As the rules of it goes. They would be fine, but my issue is seeing Don in the vent. Made no sense, and all it did was try for a cheap last moment jump that fails horribly and kind of a bad way to end things on.

With all of that said. Would have no problem suggesting Girl On The Third Floor to someone. It had some fun moments, gory ones, and a nice late change in direction that kept the suspense and mystery. The slow burn was handled nicely and enjoyable movie to watch.

As always, I hope you enjoyed and…

Thank You For Reading.

Saturday Sequel Presents Candyman 2 Farewell To The Flesh

By Paul Anthony

Sorry for the delay for this week edition but this week we are reviewing Candyman 2: Farewell To The Flesh which stars Tony Todd as Candyman! Now Let’s talk about how we got to this film before I talk about the film. As a kid I use to be so afraid of the first one and that says a lot because I love horror films but it was something about Candyman that just truly scared me. Now here we are the film came out in 1992 and had a small budget so really not matter what it could make a profit and it sure did because it made 25 million which as famous as the movie is now you would think it made so much more money but it became a cult classic after its run. Now we all knew a sequel would come and so we did three years later and honestly what were they thinking?

Let’s talk about this film because they decided to change certain things about the Candyman. This felt like a reboot and I have no clue why they did that. Here the story takes place in New Orleans which involves the family members of Candyman, which are his great-great-great grandchildren, who are white try to solve the family history that they never knew they were connected to, after their father was killed which we assumed was by Candyman, after they learn that they are he’s family Annie sets out to stop him for good but learning that a source of his power which she learns that it is vanity mirror that is lodge in the wall of the slave house that is on their property. Needless to say Candyman shows up to stop her but in the end she breaks the mirror killing Candyman for good.

The story was good but the problem is they decided to alter the story of Candyman. In The first film he was always a free man and a painter but his interracial relationship with his wealthy lover caused him to get his hand cut off and stung to death in the Chicago area and his body was burned and his ashes were spread through that part of the town. This film however made it clear it he was born a slave  in New Orleans and he was buried in New Orleans instead of being burned in Chicago. Sure the first film did leave gaps to the story but he haunts Chicago because that is where he was killed at.

If the film would have stayed with the first film it would have been better. The film could use the gaps from the first film to tell the whole story and not change the key elements would have help its caused. Now in the end I would give this film a passing grade I would say C for a grade. The film was average at best that they hope the things that they changed they would have gotten away with but the problem is the fans of the franchise caught these changes.

No Tell Motel Movie Review

By: Justin Hopkins

**SPOILER WARNING**

  Hello and welcome back to this weeks B Movie Sunday. Took a bit of a break from this series and when I saw this movie. Thought it was going to be a fun little ghost killer movie, and well, that couldn’t possibly be further from the truth. Proving to be a wild and one of the more darker movies I have seen in quite some time. Lets jump and discuss shall we, and see if it was worth while and if I would suggest it shall we.

We open with a bit of a flashback to when the hotel was open, and we see a Mom in a lawn. Not paying attention to her Daughter, who chases a rabbit out into the road, and gets hit by a car. Then we get a fast track of the hotel becoming dilapidated and we jump to a group of college kids in an RV. Arguing over a shortcut that Kyle took. Off the bat, we find out that three of them are keeping some sort of secret, and coming out at the store. See one buying a pregnancy test, a pill popper, and one is cutting herself. After they leave, they run into a road closed sign, and in a fit to make up. Kyle ends up flipping the RV and after the quickest walk in the world. Corey and Spencer finds the abandoned hotel and they decide to hold up here till the morning and the store opens again. Right away, Megan takes the pregnancy test and discovers she is pregnant, and runs off crying. This was not a planned pregnancy and doesn’t understand how this happened. Telling all of this to her friend Rachael, who saw her buying the test, who opens up with a secret of her own. That she ran someone over when she was drunk and left the scene. Suppose to make it clear she wouldn’t tell anyone, but these two don’t really don’t even out, but more on that later. After she leaves, Rachael stays back for a moment. Broken up by her own memory, and the ghost girl appears. Leading her out into the road. Stunned by her injured and bloody face. Freezing Rachael up long enough to get hit by a car. Her friends find her dead and the driver is drunk and unconscious. Bringing him inside and Kori goes off to find something to fix him up with and that is where I will stop, not to refrain from spoiling anything, but because at this point, things start to run and nothing is ever as it seems.

The people who worked on this really didn’t want you to have any idea on what was happening next. Any time you thought you knew where this movie was going. It would immediately turn into and run into a vastly different direction. From the events after Angela’s death and what happened to her Parents. To your main cast of characters. Everyone having a horrible secret and the direction they went with them, and things just kept getting darker and darker. I can see some people looking at it as too much, but it worked well for me. It kept me curious and wondering exactly where this was going and how it was going to end. At some point, just had to give up and go along with it.

Casting wise, there wasn’t many who really stood out. They were alright. I did like Angel McCord’s Corey. Would have liked to see more of her. The fact that it seemed like she might play heavily into the ending later, but didn’t was a little frustrating. The one who did stand out for me, was Rileigh Chalmers. Creepy kids always freak me out, and she did a wonderful job as Angela. Especially, when she was just staring down Kyle while he was shooting up. Great job throughout.

I am kind of torn on the ending. Much like the rest of this movie, it is dark, and while I understand why. It kind of goes for how easily secrets can tear people apart and the grave consequences that their secrets have on one another, they may have gone a bit to far at the end. Not with Spencer, but with how Megan’s story ends. I already think she was the weaker of the three female characters, and could have used a slightly better ending.

Alright, got to talk about the little sharing moment between Rachel and Megan. Megan’s problem, while is a big one, is a far stretch away from hit and run. She is admitting to murder as a bonding moment. Megan’s secret is going to be outed in a few months, while the horrific thought of her friend killing someone is forever. Should have had this moment with Corey, so you can at least tell us what is going on in her life, and why she is hurting herself. Plus, her and Megan have that in common. Both are kind of suffering in silence and could have built them both up, and since you weren’t going anywhere with Corey’s Character anyways. Could have her run over and Rachel’s secret can come out with Spencer later.

With all of that said, would I suggest No Tell Motel. After thinking it over, I would, but with a bit of a warning. This movie, although short. Has more than its fair share of twists, and goes down a dark road, with an not so happy ending, and these movies are not for everyone. If you are, you may find some enjoyment in No Way Motel. I for one, did.

As always, I hope you enjoyed and…

Thank you for reading.

 

Remake Vs Original: My Bloody Valentine

By: Justin Hopkins

**Spoiler Warning**

  It’s that time of year. Love is in the air. Couples are doing… what couples do and those who are not in a relationship are trying to not stand out in a movie theater and avoid the sentence, “I have a friend that will be perfect for you.” I am kidding of course.. I always stand out in a theater. But it’s that magical time known as Valentines Day, and what better way to celebrate it, than a slasher movie surrounding the day of love, but which one to go for; the original or the remake. So, let’s break them down and see which one prevails, shall we, and like always we start things off with the original.

My Bloody Valentine 1981

The movie starts out, with the miner killing a woman, who was trying to seduce him in the mine, before we make a jump to the showers, where a group of miners are getting ready to leave for the day. Ascending on to the town to help set up a Valentine’s Day Party. We learn a few small things about the character. Notably, that Axel is now with T.J’s Ex-Girlfriend, Sarah. A relationship that started after T.J. up and left town to try and make it on his own. and that this is the first Valentine’s Day Party to happen in twenty years. Meanwhile, the Mayor receives a heart shape box of chocolate hearts, with a heart inside. Along with a warning about what happened long ago. Later, at the bar, we learn about the curse on the town. Twenty years ago, during a Valentine’s Day Party. Where everyone, but seven were there. Five in the mine, and two supervisors who got impatient who left before the five came up. Not checking the methane levels and an explosion rang out. It took six weeks and only one came out, Harry Warden. After a year in an institution, he came back. Killing the supervisors and cut out their hearts and placed them in heart shaped boxes. Leaving them at the Party. Warning them to never hold another party again, and as the story went. He would come back every year to make sure they are not having one. Meanwhile, the Mayor and Sheriff are trying to reach the institution and the corner tells them it’s a human heart. The mayor wants to cancel the party, and when the Sheriff goes to talk to Mabel about it. Discovers that she has been killed the night before. Sheriff agrees that the party has to be cancelled after another note is found, but keeps everything quiet. Trying to avoid a panic, but the teens simply move the party to the mines, and that is where I will leave it.

The story was a pretty simple, let effective one. Just a small little town, trying to enjoy the holiday and move away from the rocky past that still reverberates in the minds of the older people who lived it. It didn’t need to be more than that. Using the atmosphere, and mostly importantly, The Miner to build the tension.

I loved the Miner in this film. Definitely in the running for most underrated of the slashers. Black oxygen mask and jumpsuit coming across as extremely intimidating. Giving him a bulky look and the creepy nature of the mask. Throw in the use of a pickaxe and you got a great killer. They had a nice little twist with him as well. Everyone so sure it was Harry, to find it was actually Axel. The son of one of the Supervisors, who saw Harry kill him, when he was a child.

The carnage candy was pretty solid. Never really getting to see the death blow, but they shined with the aftermath. From Mabel falling head first out of the dryer and the girl who got her head shoved through one of the shower spigots and when she was found. We see water flowing out of her mouth. It was good fun all around.

Last pro, would be the shots. They did a good job at framing the shots of the mines, and creating a claustrophobic atmosphere. From the characters not being able to stand all the way up and winding tunnels.

I normally have a paragraph about the cast and would feel bad about not talking about them. They all did a good job. Lori Hallier was good as Sarah and Neil Affleck was good at balancing Axel as both a potential victim and later, deranged killer. No one really stood out to much, but everyone had good chemistry together.

Alright, negative time, and there is only one, and that is the little love triangle. I am not going to count it too much against it , but it never really works. If we had more time than maybe it could have worked a bit more. The problem lays mostly with T.J. and Axel. They each go back and forth between likeable and non, like flicking a switch. At any moment, you can go from liking one, to disliking them, and by the end the only reason T.J is likable is because he’s not the killer.

This movie was pretty solid all the way through. It was a fun little slasher, with creative kills and a menacing killer in the form of the Miner. Final Grade: A

My Bloody Valentine 2009

This one, starts off with a series of news stories and interview segments over an explosion at the Hannigan Mine, in Tunnel 5. Triggered by Tom Hanniger, son of the Mine, forgot to bleed the methane line. Burying six in the mines. One survived, Harry Warden, who killed the other five to preserve oxygen for himself, but falls into a coma. A year later, we see him dreaming of the accident, and he wakes up. Killing everyone in the hospital, on his way out. Returning to the mine, in full Miner Suit. Killing people having a party, except Sarah, Tom, Axel, and Irene. When they are attacked. Axel uses him assaulting Tom, to get the girls into the jeep and leaves him alone with Harry, who nearly kills him, till the Sheriff and his men shots Harry. Forcing Harry to retreat further into the mine, and it caves in behind him. We then jump forward ten years. Axel is not only a cop, but is married to Sarah and they have a son, and having an affair with one of the people she is working with. There is no Party. Just a town who is trying to move on, but the media continues to bring it up. Tom comes back to town, after his Dad’s death. To sell the mine. Ends up having to stay, due to a delay, and that is when the first kill happens, and it is Irene. Instead of people throwing a party. The Miner is going after people either associated with the miner, or those there the day he woke up and came back to the mine.

The story veers away from the original and for the most part. It did work in it’s advantage. Using the holiday to psychologically torment instead of fuel him on. They came out and told you during the movie that Harry was dead. They had hunted him down and killed him after the fact. Although, his grave was empty. Leaving a little bit of wonder if he had survived, but mostly, who was behind the Miner’s mask this time. It all worked so well.. until the reveal, but we will talk about that later on.

Now, if you disagree, I truly understand why. The 3D does hurt the kills, but I really did love the kills in this one. They all felt unique and brutal. From him sticking the little person to the ceiling and pulling the pickaxe out and body falling. Sheriff getting the pickaxe to the chin and having his jaw ripped out, and the shovel cutting through the woman’s mouth and head sliding off. I wish it wasn’t in 3D. It did hurt some, the eyeball one at the start, but they were fun.

There is a reason why there is only one Miner in the picture above, and that is because they did such a good job at bringing the miner back to life, in all of his intimidating glory. Only little differences, like a side piece on this one, and it still works just as effectively in this as it did in ’81, and I think that has a lot to do with it. We haven’t seen him in nearly 30 years, and it kept it special.

Casting wise, Jensen Ackles really shined. Fantastic job at bringing Tom to life. Feeling bad for the guy throughout. From the start where he is scared to return to the mine and you feel for him when he is left behind. Get behind Tom for most of the movie, we will talk about the end in a bit, and Jensen does great throughout. Kerr Smith and Jaime King both did well as Axel and Sarah, but the end hurt them way more.

Alright, negative, what in the world was that ending?! I get where they were going. Tom was so scared by what happened that he would mentally slip in between Tom and killer Harry, but everything that occurs because of this was just unsatisfying. Axel, after being the most unlikable character in this movie, that you want to see get him comeuppance, survives and Sarah comes across as dumb for staying by him, despite all the jealousy and cheating. Then there is Tom himself. You understand why he went crazy. Town hates him, because of his accident in the mine. The three leaves him behind to face Harry, and you feel bad for him throughout and get behind him. Just for him to the killer. This end was so bad and hurts the film so much, that there is only one way I can go with this contest. Final Grade: B

Winner: The Original

Had they done anything different with the ending. Had Harry been alive all this time, Sarah be sole survivor, or Tom kill them all and be the last one standing. This could have gone the other way, but as it is. The original takes it. Had some fun kills and fun watch all the way through. Do you agree? Disagree? Feel I am overlooking the twist? Let me know. Otherwise, I hope you enjoyed and as always..

Thank you for reading.