Posts Tagged ‘Herbert West’

Media Update 10/5/17

October 5, 2017

Ghoulies II

I just had to give the sequel a shot after I kind of liked the original film. Ghoulies had the bad luck of coming out around the same time as Gremlins which ended up overshadowing it (and other similar films). It and this sequel were also attacked during the satanic panic of the 1980s. Critics thought that both films glorified summoning demons. Once again, these religious nuts did not watch the movies they were trying to attack. There is definitely demons that get summoned in both films, they got that part right. However, in neither film does anybody have a good time or benefit for long by summoning demons.

Anyway, I thought that this sequel was much better than the original. This movie actually benefited from Gremlins because it injected more of the fun I like into the proceedings. The original was kind of somber and creepy. This one was way more fun but also still creepy. There is no way you have such good puppets as the Ghoulies and they do not end up being creepy. The puppets are slimy and their movements are so realistic and the subtle voice acting really sells it. The original was set in a drafty old manor. The sequel is set in a traveling carnival so there is a lot more eye candy and more interesting characters to grab onto. The sequel also has actual protagonists instead of focusing on the villain of the movie so there is an actual conflict between good and evil. The kills were also way more inventive but just as creepy and unsettling as the first film. I felt my skin crawling a lot when the ghoulies were on screen and especially when they were on the attack. I definitely recommend this to fans of old-school campy horror films.

Maniac Cop III: Badge of Silence

This has been an interesting series and I am kind of sad to reach the end of it. The series started with Bruce Campbell and that was what drew me to it in the first place. For a B horror movie series, the movies are surprisingly socially conscious. A framed cop is arrested and sent to prison where he is killed by the criminals he helped catch. He comes back as a revenant, pulling himself back to life to avenge the injustice against him. Since that story was resolved in the second movie, the third movie has him returning to face public injustice towards a police officer instead. It is up to Robert Davi to solve the real crime to try and stop the Maniac Cop from killing more people. The chinful Robert Z’Dar once again plays Officer Cordell who is the titular Maniac Cop.

Once again it is directed by William Lustig who seems to be a good friend of Sam Raimi. Their styles are definitely similar as the dialogue and the action hit a similar groove to the Evil Dead series. There is not as much comedy but there are plenty of interesting special effects. Z’Dar’s Maniac Cop is just so fun to watch and his unstoppable nature seems even stronger than Jason or Michael. It is a shame that Lustig has disavowed this film and did not want to continue the series. They had to bring in another director to finish it and edit in a lot of outtakes from the previous film. I still recommend the movie as Z’Dar and Davi and the rest of the cast (including Jackie Earle Haley!) really save the movie.

Bride of Re-Animator

After watching Re-Animator for the first time last year, I was absolutely disgusted but excited to watch the sequel. Based on an HP Lovecraft series, the Re-Animator movies are pretty crazy. I have not seen a lot of movies quite like it. Herbert West is one of the most interesting characters I have seen in a horror film. His deadpan delivery is at times frightening and other times it is funny instead. He is also so morally ambiguous. Like Victor Frankenstein, he pursues forbidden knowledge through distilling magical science goo that brings the dead back to life (hence the title). Everything is his fault but he never intends any harm which leaves him in a frustrating gray area. In this sequel, Herbert and his buddy Jake return from serving in the Peruvian civil war. They resume West’s experiments with the undead but they have a lot of unresolved issues from the first movie. This was released in 1990 but it definitely feels like an eighties horror film. Once again, the body horror is off the charts and makes my skin crawl. I feel like this movie definitely inspired the writers and effects team for Ash vs. The Evil Dead. I definitely recommend it but watch the original first for the full effect.

Music of the Week:
W.A.S.P. – Scream Until You Like It

Ariana Grande – Dangerous Woman

The Nearly Deads – My Evil Ways

The Steeldrivers – “Ghosts Of Mississippi”

Ghost – Cirice

Weekly Update:
– This Week’s theme is “Sequels of Halloween Stuff I Reviewed Previously II”
– I watched more The Good Place Season 1
– I watched more Gotham Season 3
– I watched more House of Cards Season 2
– I finished Bojack Horseman Season 4
– I watched more Glitter Force Season 2
– I watched more Santa Clarita Diet Season 1
– I watched more Little Witch Academia Season 1

Re-Animator (1985)

October 10, 2016

I discussed last year that HP Lovecraft is a legendary writer. However, unlike a lot of other classic writers, I never really read any of his stuff. I am familiar with his mythos and the basic ideas he put out there but I never read an HP Lovecraft story from beginning until the end. I have never even touched a copy of one of his stories. His works were often published in short story form. In fact, his short stories and poetry far outnumbered his few novels. Most of his stories speak of powers beyond the control of man. They speak of ancient gods and monsters sleeping in the deep places, waiting to wake and return and reclaim or destroy the Earth. You know, whatever floats their boat. Due to movies, television, the internet and some really awesome cooperative board games, Lovecraft is making yet another comeback almost one hundred years after today’s story was first written. His work has also inspired other supernatural and science fiction franchises, giving them that epic feeling that his work seems to hold. Yet again, I am going by the few glimpses I have had of his work.

I have a problem. I know this is Halloween and it is my month of celebration but I want to briefly hit the pause button to discuss a relevant little roadblock I have hit recently. I have heard that HP Lovecraft was pretty racist. Considering he wrote a lot in the twenties (that’s the 1920’s for any future generations), it is unsurprising that he might have been racist. Lovecraft was American and born in Providence, Rhode Island in 1890. While he had been born in the north after slavery had been abolished, our country was far from the civil rights movement. Hell, people are still racist today. I decided to do a little research as I wrote this to confirm the charges because evidence is important. I can confirm that the man was racist. He felt that whites and specifically WASPs were superior to every other human on the planet. This has been confirmed by quite a few scholars and that includes crazy hobo Alan Moore. Thankfully that racism has not affected the enjoyment of films based on his works so far.

One of the first things I noticed is that even during the more mundane moments, there is a really good sense of dread throughout. You can just feel that something bad is going to happen and it’s just a matter of when. Most horror movies have this but a lot of them pour it on thick with music cues and camera angles. This movie uses lighting and almost casual gore (in its appropriate, non-horror hospital setting) to foreshadow the horror that is to come. I absolutely hate hospitals and these scenes had me squirming a lot. It is funny that I can easily watch a werewolf graphically devour someone but I cannot stand watching medical procedures. I should have known that this was set in a medical school but I gathered my courage to sit through a lot of the medical stuff to get to the horror gore. Of course, eventually they use the old familiar tricks like music cues but early on the movie is dreadfully mundane in the best ways.

The Netflix description for the movie said that it was “campy”. After watching The Raven, I disagree. I would better describe the acting in this movie as melodramatic. I had never really heard of most of the actors in this movie but Herbert West himself was in The Frighteners in a completely different role. In this, he was appropriately creepy by playing it straight as an earnest but misguided medical student. Bruce Abbott is really good as the protagonist of the film, swept up into madness before he can even think. Barbara Crampton, who has been in a ton of horror movies that I have not seen, was excellent as a rational character that, of course, nobody listens to. There were many in the movie who could apply the word “villain” to but I would definitely pick the excellent David Gale. Everybody’s acting was actually really great despite their often melodramatic line readings. Melodrama is often schlocky and out of place in a lot of situations but killer zombies kind of have a way of excusing melodrama. Speaking of killer zombies, the ones in this movie are really great. I know I have complained about zombies before but I guess I just did not see the right ones. This movie has zombies that are so horrible because I actually feel sorry for them. The expressions and movement of the zombies are some of the best that I have seen.

Overall, I really liked the movie. The movie is apparently a very loose adaptation of the first half of the original “Herbert West, Re-Animator” story that Lovecraft wrote. They obviously mixed in quite a bit of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and its familiar message against the arrogance of assuming control over life and death. However, it definitely keeps the body horror that Lovecraft’s works usually inspire and the general creepy and mysterious feelings contained in Lovecraft’s works. The gore also definitely flows and I love a horror movie that is not afraid to have fountains of blood in it. Still, there is more darkness in the movie than just the main plot. That darkness has more to do with human nature and the abuse of power and I really liked that element as well. There were a few bits of dark comedy but most of it was pretty spooky but not really outright scary. I definitely recommend this if you are a fan of good Eighties horror (or bad Eighties horror since your milage may vary).a

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