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Frankenstein Unbound (DVD)

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Frankenstein Unbound DVDStarring John Hurt, Raul Julia, Nick Brimble, Bridget Fonda, and Catherine Rabett

Directed by Roger Corman

Distributed by Fox Home Entertainment


The future holds many possibilities, especially in the minds of people at the start of the 1990’s. Frankenstein Unbound opened my eyes to such a world where laser light shows cause black holes and dot matrix printers are still the fashion. In the future computers do not get smaller as the advancement of microchip technology progresses, they get bigger and add more blinky lights!

Roger Corman’s vision of the future is beautiful. New Los Angeles is the bright spot of weapons development in the year 2031. Everyone loves silver jumpsuits with garter belts, but no one can make it look as sexy as John “I’ve got an Alien STD” Hurt can. Hurt plays the ever-regal Dr. Buchanan. This man’s voice could calm a rabid cougar.

Dr. Buchanan is the lead developer of a weapon that creates mini black holes. This fancy weapon is first put to the test on a model of the Statue of Liberty. BOOM! The little French miss is zapped away after getting a healthy dose of squiggly laser loving. Does a weapon that forces black holes to open sound dangerous? Nah, there’d never be anything wrong with it . . . wait, oh crap.

There are some concerns that freak weather, missing people, and recent slips in time may be connected to the testing of this fancy weapon. Dr. Buchanan doesn’t seem to mind one bit and brushes it off as a small side effect. Rifts in time are only a minor concern next to the wacky cloud that is forming over New L.A.

Buchanan is rich, bitch! Just to show off his wealth and genius, he has built a talking car/super computer with a sexy female voice. Buchanan’s car is the 21st Century’s KITT. The slick silver vehicle can drive itself, print out documents, receive TV signals, and gets you some fine ass later. The good doctor heads to his shiny triangular-shaped home, where he witnesses children performing some sort of ceremonial burial. Who’s dead? A bike. Yes, an old analog bike has been replaced with a digital one, in a manner of speaking. If I had creepy kids like these in my neighborhood, I’d let them bury whatever the fuck they wanted in my yard as long as they copied the same ritual.

The cloud that Buchanan has been pondering breaks open the sky to reveal some sort of doorway to another world. Suddenly a Mongol warrior bursts into existence with no other instincts but to kill. Before we get to see some kids get speared, raped, or trampled, the super cloud sucks Buchanan and his female KITT through to the other side.

Now the real fun begins!

They are alone. Neither the car nor Dr. Buchanan have any idea as to where they are or why they cannot get the Spice Channel on the car’s TV screen. Luckily they land next to a nice abandoned shed in the middle of a beautiful countryside where his sexy ride can hide just in case. They both take this situation rather well. Would being cut off from modern society be that bad? No Fox News, no CNN, no reality TV? Count me in!

Frankenstein unbinds his new babeAs the doctor goes out on his own to explore his new surroundings, he makes a ghastly discovery. DEAD SHEEP! These poor animals look to be torn apart by bare hands. Wait, what’s this? They are still breathing? Zombie sheep?! No, just a mistake. Next time, Corman, simply get some dead sheep. I do not like my hopes being shattered that I may see some sheep rising from the dead to feast on the grass of the living.

Buchanan eventually finds society. Maybe he stumbled into a renaissance fair. It’s hard to tell what he thinks because no matter what happens, the doctor acts so calm, collected, and lovingly snobby. After pawning off a ring for 50 francs and a bit of deer meat, the doc takes a seat at a table with a mysterious man reading a paper. Holy shit! He’s in Switzerland and the 18th Century! But . . . why does no one have a Swiss accent? Maybe it’s a popular tourist town in the 18th Century. Buchanan soon learns that this man of dark foreboding is in fact Victor Von Frankenstein and is being played by the amazing Raul Julia.

Now we finally get a look at Victor’s creation. It is a giant, red-haired nightmare to plastic surgeons everywhere. The Monster (Nick Brimble) is Joan Rivers on steroids with a bit of Cenobite mixed in. Frankenstein has made a better man, a man with 6 fingers, one of which can’t really move, but the more the merrier, right? What sets this monster apart from other incarnations has to be the eyes. This is where the effects department got everything right. The Monster’s eyes are 3 different colors all stitched together. While the rest of him may leave something to be desired, the eyes make up for it.

There was something bubbling in the back of my mind while watching this film that I couldn’t quite put my finger on until the end. The whole movie plays out like a fan fiction where the author puts himself in the story so he can fight the bad guys and sleep with the famous women. Hey, whatever floats your boat as long as you aren’t making a movie about Harry Potter taking a wand up the bum by Snape.

There’s much that could be spoiled in this review, but this is a must see even if it is a bad movie. The whole film is a great mix of Back to the Future, Frankenstein, and the Bride of Frankenstein. The concoction of these films, added with a morality tale about the cost of scientific progress, is great. It’s like a fondue pot. Sure, you’ve got cheese, but there’s so much that can be dunked in that cheese, it’s hard not to have a good time. There are also plenty of things to pick apart while watching. Not only that, but you will learn a thing or two.

Things I have learned from Frankenstein Unbound:

• Raul Julia is the calmest mad scientist in the history of Frankenstein films.

• Lasers can do anything!

• Sweet tits, there are a lot of Americans in Switzerland! Or did Corman forget to tell them which nationality they were supposed to be?

• Dream sequences don’t have to make sense as long as they have the same flare as Corman’s older films like The Masque of the Red Death.

• Frankenstein loves electrogadgets from Spencer’s Gifts to be in his lab.

• A bitching silver car will always get you a piece of ass from the 1800’s.

• There are palm trees in Switzerland.

• Bridget Fonda can display as many emotions as accents in the same scene.

Don’t let the mistakes sway you from picking this gem up. It is certainly a drinking game movie to be watched with a group of people. Since this was Roger Corman’s last directorial effort, I think he knew exactly what he was making, and what he made was a fun little romp. If you’re a Frankenstein fan, this movie will certainly be a better addition to your collection than Frankenhooker.

Special Features
Not a damn thing unless you count being on DVD for the first time special

4 out of 5

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AHS: Cult Review – Clowns, Cults, Politics, and Peters

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Starring Evan Peters, Sarah Paulson, Billie Lourd, Cheyenne Jackson, Frances Conroy, Mare Winningham, and Allison Pill

Created by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk


** NO SPOILERS **

It’s here. We’ve reached the end. The newest season of “American Horror Story” has ended and now we are here to provide you guys with our season review of AHS: Cult.

Spoiler free.

To start things off let me say I’m not the world’s biggest fan of “American Horror Story”. It breaks down like this: I enjoyed the absolute hell out of the first season of the series (“Murder House”), couldn’t get through “Asylum” (I know, I know, I’ve tried), dug “Coven” for what it was, really enjoyed “Freak Show”, and again I couldn’t get into “Hotel” or “Roanoke”.

That’s the story of me and “American Horror Story”. Plain And simple. But what did I think of the new seventh season of the notorious horror anthology series? Let’s find out.

Back when the seventh season of AHS was first announced (then going by the title “AHS: Election”) I was immediately intrigued by the new season because I heard it would not include any supernatural elements. Like the fourth season, “Freak Show”.

Now I’m a fan of ghosts and weird creature-men with drills for d*cks, don’t get me wrong. But the series has thus far relied almost exclusively on horrors of the supernatural variety (other than “Freak Show”) so this major change of pace was again welcomed by this guy.

Instead of vampires, aliens, and witches this season relied on terrors of the mind. Psychological fears and anxieties. The horrors man does to man. Deep issues.

Oh, and clowns. Like a lot of clowns.

But just because this new season didn’t include anything supernatural, that doesn’t mean the 11-episode season wasn’t filled with twisted visuals and horrifically disturbing acts. No, sir. This season boasted some showstoppers including S&M, gimps, and a house of horrors that wouldn’t be out of place in a Rob Zombie flick. It was all good.

But let’s backtrack a bit here.

Allow me to rundown the season’s plot for those who may be unaware. “AHS: Cult” tells the tale of a world post-election night. The literal dawn of Trump’s America. In one corner we have Sarah Paulson’s soccer mom, trying to fight through life with a series of crippling phobias (including clowns, holes, blood, and being a good person).

And in the other corner, we have Evan Peter’s angry, white (blue-haired) male, looking to seize Trump’s new position of power to bring about the end of… Actually, I want this to be a spoiler-free season review, so I’m just going to say the dude’s got big plans.

Like Manson-size plans. Let’s leave it at that.

With these two characters established, the new season then proceeds to send them spiraling into a collision course of political sabotage, intrigue, and clown-based nope, nope, nope-ing that can only end with one – or both – of them dead as Dillinger.

Overall “AHS: Cult” belonged end-to-end to Mr. Evan Peters. The young actor has continued to show his striking range from season to season of Ryan Murphy’s horror show and this season was no different. Peters’ turn as not only Kai, the blue-haired leader of the titular cult, but as infamous leaders such as David Koresh, Jim Jones, and Charles Manson – to name a few – owed this season.

I can only hope he doesn’t pull a Jessica Lange and opt-out of more AHS next year.

Speaking of top performances, “AHS: Cult ” showcases some other chilling and memorable turns with Alison Pill’s strangely vulnerable, put-upon wife character being the best next to Peters in my eyes. This actress needs to be in more films/TV!

Along with Pill, actress Billie Lourd killed it time and time again. The “Scream Queens” breakout star and Carrie Fisher spawn was yet again a highlight in her second Ryan Murphy series. Bet she has the starring role in next season. Mark my words.

Add to that, the season also boasts a handful of fun cameos, including John Carroll Lynch’s return as Twisty the Clown, Emma Roberts as a bitchy reporter that will do anything to end up on top, and Lena Dunham as SCUM Manifesto writer Valerie Solanas. The cameo cast killed it and I wish they would have been present for more episodes. What are you gonna do?

On the sour side of the season, I didn’t dig Sarah Paulson’s character. At all. But I’m sure that was the point. Right? I’m still not sure. But, boy, I wouldn’t even want to be stuck in line behind her at a Starbucks for three minutes, let alone spend the better part of this season’s 11-hours with her and her whiny bullshite. Urgh.

That said, she pulled it out by the finale. That’s all I’ll say.

In the end, I enjoyed this season as much as – if not more – than any other of the series. “Murder House” will still no doubt go on as my favorite season of the series, but “AHS: Cult” will rank third after season one and “Freak Show”.

While I was on the fence about the season after three episodes, the show ended up ditching Paulson’s character (and/or shifting her arch) after a lull so the episodes picked up quickly. Whenever the season turned its focus back towards Peters (in whichever incarnation he was playing at the time) the show got better and better. Every time.

Not a bad way to spend my Tuesday night for the past 11 weeks.

Bring on season 12.

  • American Horror Story: Cult (2018)
3.5

Summary

The seventh season of Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story was Evan Peters’ show all the way through. The young actor pulled out all the stops time and time again to make what may have been a lackluster supernatural-free season a winner.

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User Rating 4.33 (6 votes)
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The Axiom Review – A Stylish and Clever Slice of Independent Horror

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Starring Hattie Smith, Zac Titus, Nicole Dambro

Directed by Nicholas Woods


The Axiom is an ambitious, well directed, impressively acted and stunningly shot independent horror film that has just a few, teensy little flaws holding it back from greatness (and therefore will have to settle for just being really, really good, instead).

The first thing you realize when watching The Axiom is that this is a beautiful film. Everything is framed and shot in a lush and stylish manner, but one which is always tonally appropriate for the scene.

The second thing you’ll notice, and keep noticing as the film plays out, is that the movie really struck gold with this cast. Not only is there a total lack of the sort of stilted and unnatural acting seen in countless other microbudget horror affairs, but the performances are genuinely fantastic across the board. The main characters are believably chill and relatably normal in the early scenes, and the acting remains just as impressive once things start getting a bit more… intense. It’s not often that an independent horror film has so many good performances that it makes it hard to pick the movie’s acting VIP, but that is undeniably the case here. Taylor Flowers delivers what is probably the showiest performance (and does it very well, indeed), but the entire cast really is quite good.

The central premise of the film is both interesting and original, and touches upon the real life fact (given some recent attention in the ‘Missing 411’ books and documentary) that a lot more people sure seem to go missing out in the woods than seems reasonable, while simultaneously weaving all sorts of folklore, fairy tales and urban legends into the mix. It’s also clever in the way that it very naturally reveals aspects to the relationships between characters that serve to later – or sometimes retroactively – explain some of the more questionable decisions they make or attitudes they display. While that may sound like screenwriting 101, it’s surprising how many films fail to do this. The Axiom rewards the viewer’s attention in other ways as well, with many aspects of the movie that initially feel odd or unnatural receiving reasonable explanations (within the context of the movie) by the end. It’s not quite as challenging (or as rewarding) in this regard as, say, something like Session 9, but it does add a nice layer of complexity to the storytelling.

The film’s score, by Leo Kaliski, is also quite good. There may be a moment here or there where the music hits an overly familiar beat, but overall it not only fits the movie’s tone, but does quite a bit to help set that tone as well.

The only thing that I don’t feel the movie quite pulls off – and I’m trying to be vague here, because I feel like the less you know going into this film, the better – is some of the makeup effects work. The gore stuff is very well executed, but some of the other stuff feels like it was crafted with the intention of shooting it in a more… stylized manner. Instead, filmed as it is here, the result is sometimes less than impressive and can fail to make the impact that the movie seems to be implying that it should. And while some of what the makeup effects lack in execution is made up for with the ingenuity and creativity of their design, it’s still a bit of a shame when they don’t quite pull them off because, aside from a few niggles that I have with the writing, the effects are the only aspect of the film that occasionally fails to live up to the high level of technical proficiency that The Axiom otherwise demonstrates.

ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS:

  • Man, the acting in this movie is really good. The dialogue may stumble once or twice, but these actors always sell it anyway.
  • Give back Mia Sara’s DNA, Hattie Smith!
  • If you’re going to put your female lead in shorts this small, I hope you’re not sensitive to viewers unleashing a nonstop parade of “Has anyone seen my pants / OH GOD WHERE ARE MY PANTS!” jokes.
  • “You just pop this here ‘Blair Witch Stick Person / Anarchy sign’ sticker up on that there windshield of yours, and them park rangers? Well – heh heh – they won’t bother you none, no sir.” Hmmmmm…
  • The film really is shot amazingly well – better than a lot of mainstream releases. Cinematographer Sten Olson has a real future ahead of him.
  • As does writer / director Nicholas Woods, for that matter. Any director who can get this level of quality out of their cast and crew on their first ever film is someone to keep an eye on.
  • “I’ll make a run for it and get help,” says the female lead, and I’m like “Yeah, let her go – she has no pants to weigh her down.”
  • The gore effects in the movie are both realized and utilized very well.
  • Welcome back to horror movies, “I’ll be right back” dialogue spoken unironically by and/or to ill-fated characters.
  • The Axiom
4.0

Summary

In the end, The Axiom is a solid and entertaining flick that manages to wring a level of quality and originality out of the somewhat tired “Don’t Go in the Woods” horror subgenre not seen since 2012’s Cabin in the Woods. The cinematography and acting are hugely impressive, it features a nice, unnerving score, the premise is original and captivating, and the whole thing moves at a nice pace that helps keep the film’s flaws from dragging it down.

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User Rating 3.9 (10 votes)
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The Dollmaker Short Film Review – Welcome to Heebie Jeebie City!

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Starring Perri Lauren, Sean Meehan, Dan Berkey

Directed by Alan Lougher


The loss of a young child drives a mother to take a set of unusual measures to preserve his memory, and all it takes is one call to The Dollmaker.

When the short film by Alan Lougher opens up, we see a rather disturbing image of a little boy inside a casket, and the sound of a grieving mom speaking with an unidentified man in the background – he’s requesting something personal of the child to help “finish” his product, and it’s not before long that mom has her little boy back…well, kind of. What remains of the child is the representation of his former self, although it’s contained within the frame of a not-so-attractive doll, and the boy’s father isn’t a believer in this type of hocus-pocus (or the price to have this constructed, either). The doll comes with a specific set of instructions, but most importantly, you cannot spend more than one hour a day with the doll, or else you’ll go mad thinking that the soul inside of it is actually the person that you lost – sounds reasonable, doesn’t it?

Well this is just too good to be true for Mommy, and as the short film progresses, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens to her mind – it’s ultimately a depressing scenario, but Lougher gives it that creepy feel, almost like visiting a relative’s home and seeing their dearly departed pet stuffed and staring at you over the fireplace – HEEBIE-JEEBIE CITY, if you ask me. All in all, the quickie is gloomy, but ultimately chilling in nature, and is most definitely worth a watch, and if I might use a quote from one of my favorite films to apply to this subject matter: “Sometimes…dead is better.”

  • Film
3.5

Summary

Ultimately chilling in nature!

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User Rating 3.31 (16 votes)
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