Movie Review: CHILDREN OF THE CORN 666

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children of the corn 666

Dimension
1999
R

“You have faith the planets revolve around the sun, faith that sees become the corn we harvest.”

On a trip to find her birth mother, Hannah Martin picks up a dark stranger who kicks off a mysterious chain of events.  Little does Hanna know that her journey may help fulfill a sinister prophecy made 19 years earlier by Isaac, the cult’s original evil leader!

It is incredibly baffling just how far these sequels to Children Of The Corn have been stretching out.  Baffling because the original Children Of The Corn was mediocre at best. And to tell the truth, I had no interest really in watching any of the other sequels; it’s just that Part 6(66): Isaac’s Return was included in that 20 Horror Movie pack I picked up some time ago, and thus I was obligated to watch it.

*sigh*

Okay, in this groan-inducing titled direct-to-video sixth installment, a young lady named Hannah is headed back to the small Nebraska town Gatlin, location of the original corn cult (ugh), to find her real mother.  Turns out she was the first child born of the child cult, and she’s on her way to get some closure or something.  After encountering a weirdo preacher and crashing into a corn field, she then arrives at the town to discover that the creepy kid from the first flick – Isaac – wasn’t killed by He Who Walks Behind The Rows as originally thought, but has been in a coma all of these years.  and after all of this time decides to emerge from his coma, Hannah encounters the weirdest bunch of townsfolk since Innsmouth, secrets are reviled, the plot thins, wackiness and cliché’s “twist” endings befitting a pointless sequel to such a pointless franchise as this.

Ye gads, this movie was a chore to sit through.  Being released directly to video, on the tail-end of the darkest periods in horror movie history, I’m not surprised in the least.  The pacing is slow, the story kinda going through the motions, nothing scary, nothing thrilling, nothing…uh, nothing worth watching really.  And what was it with Stacy Keetch being in this?  Was he needing the check?  Because…well, he was by default the best thing to happen to this movie.  Otherwise, this just really sucked the time out from under me.  Pass this one up.

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Movie Review: FREDDY Vs. JASON

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freddy vs jason

New Line
2003
R

“What’s wrong, Lori?  Miss your wake-up call?”

It’s been nearly ten years since Freddy Krueger terrorized people in their dreams, and the towns folk want to keep him erased from their memory.  Freddy still has one more plan on getting back on Elm Street.  He resurrects Jason Voorhees and sends him off to kill.  The more bodies which fall to the ground, the stronger in which Freddy becomes.  That is, until Freddy realizes that Jason isn’t going to step aside easy, and must be taken down himself.

Yes, I watched this movie when it came out in theaters.  Opening day, as a matter of fact.  Yes, I anticipated this thing since the rumors began at the end of Jason Goes To Hell.  Yes, I followed the production of this long-anticipated fanboy dream closely.  And when I finally sat down and took in this finally-realized throwdown between two of horrordom’s beloved icons, by the time the end credits rolled I was one happy and contented fiend.

Yes, I enjoyed Freddy Vs. Jason immensely.  And I don’t understand why there’s been so much bellyaching about this movie to begin with.  I mean, what’s there to be complaining about?  What’s the problem?  Why does it seem that, every time I read or hear someone talk about this movie, it’s never good, always disparaging?  What were they expecting, exactly?  I don’t know.

All I know is that Freddy Vs. Jason wasn’t just a means to a quick buck on two sadly stagnated classic franchises.  There’s a decent plot here, having the Stalker of All Your Nightmares recruit the help of the Unstoppable Menace of Crystal Lake to bring fear back to the people of Elm Street, because they’re not afraid of Freddy anymore, and thus he’s weak.  But, Jason’s power doesn’t depend on anyone being afraid of him – he’s more a force of nature than a legendary boogie-man.  So, when he starts encroaching too much on Freddy’s territory, he decides to take Jason out, resulting in a knock-down, drag-out fight that takes place not only in the real world, but also in Jason’s dream realm, which is a rather dark and scary place in and of itself.

Really, this movie is just fun to watch.  I went in merely expecting an entertaining mash-up of two of my favorite modern Horror Icons, and that’s exactly what I got.  Robert Englund is in top form as Freddy, as he brings his tasty blend of menacing merriment to the role that he made iconic.  And Jason…okay, this time around he wasn’t played by fan favorite Kane Hodder (and reports that the director was trying to find an actor that would give Jason “sad poetic eyes”, which has been a long-time running joke in my pantheon of quotes, didn’t help much in that respect), but really, when it comes down to it, it doesn’t take much to make Jason what he is.  And here, Jason is definitely Jason, to a “t”.  As far as the kill-fodder cast goes, they filled the roles nicely and were a bit more engaging than the usual spate of slasher horror actors.  Everyone’s having fun here, and the final stand-off between Freddy and Jason did NOT disappoint.  The ending was actually rather satisfying, if not a bit pandering.

Overall, I would view Freddy Vs. Jason as a satisfying capper to two classic franchise runs.  Go forth, rent this one, and enjoy the ride.  And no, that isn’t Jason Mews, so stop asking.

Movie Review: FREDDY’S DEAD The Final Nightmare

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freddys dead the final nightmare

New Line Cinema
1991
R

“You’re my blood.  Only you could’ve brought me out…in your mind.”

Maggie Burroughs is a child psychologist tormented by recurring nightmares.  But not until she meets a new patient with the same horrific dreams does her quest for answers lead to a certain house on Elm Street — where an evil that defies the grave is about to be unleashed upon the world.

The late summer and fall of 1991 was a rather memorable time for me.  It was my Senior year in High School, and I was going to the movies a lot at the theater in town.  One in particular was the subject of this review article, the then-promised “final” installment of the Nightmare On Elm Street series – Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare.  Yeah, I thought it was a bit odd that it was titled as such, eschewing the usual Nightmare On Elm Street numbering thing. But that didn’t matter as much as three facts – 1) I was 17, 2) I had independent transportation and disposable income, and 3) it was FREDDY, dagnabbit.  I had the means, I had the desire, boy howdy I was watching this sucker. I even dragged along my 14-year-old sister to share the fun.

I don’t know about her, but fun I did have at this movie.  Yes, over the years Freddy’s Dead has gained a reputation for being one of the worst installments in the core Nightmare On Elm Street series, and I can certainly understand the reasons given.  But, here’s the thing – Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare3 is a campy fun horror flick, heavy on the cheese and ham.  It’s like all the points that I hear everyone complaining about are the ones that actually made this fun for me: the cheesy one-liners by Freddy, the ham-fisted acting, the inexplicable shoehorning of Rosanne and Tom Arnold in cameos, and the gimicky 3D used at the final part of the film…certainly no one was expecting a serious Oscar winning piece, right?  This was pure schlocky fun for early fall.  And I think we can all agree this wasn’t the totaly worst entry in the Nightmare On Elm Street series. And did I mention Alice Cooper’s in here?  Yeah, he is.  As Freddy’s father.  Or step-father, or something.  Point is, it’s Alice freakin’ Cooper.

In any case, I may be in the minority, but Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare has a fond nostalgic place in my heart, and is always a fun watch whenever it’s on.  Check it out some time, bring some friends for a tasty slice of cheese.

Movie Review: 976-EVIL

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976-EVILNew Line Cinema
1988
R

“Once you’ve been to hell, everything else pales in comparison!”

Ah, the 1980s. Such was the era of some of the finest in cheesy horror goodness. Truly my favorite era for mindless scary movie watching, for it gave us such B-grade schlock as this directorial debut from Robert “I’m Freddy! Booga booga booga!” Englund himself: 976-EVIL.

For those of you not old enough to remember (or care), the 976 prefix was a premium-rate telephone number system that predated the 900 area code in the ’80s. For a few dollars a minute, you could dial up a number and listen to whatever message they featured, for whatever demographic was being targeted. Yeah, a lot of it was porn. So, if you were ever wondering what your parents did as teenagers before the advent of the internet, there you go.

Anyhow, as you may have surmised with your rudimentary deductive skills by now, 976-EVIL involves a 976 number designed by the Devil himself to possess the poor souls who call in. On the surface, the number just offers up cheesy creepy-themed fortunes. But the number really is a tool of SATAN! who uses the nefarious novelty line to corrupt the innocent souls who call to do his dark bidding. Because he got tired of fiddle showdowns, apparently.

And thus, our story centers in on two cousins – Spike and Hoax. Insert snicker here. Spike is the neighborhood bad boy, all motorcycle grease and mouse and rock n’ roll, the polar opposite of his younger cousin Hoax, the introverted nerd who is usually the target of Spike’s buddies. Although the two have a definite Fonzy / Richie Cunningham relationship going on, Hoax’sover-the-top ultra-religious mother doesn’t help things in the self esteem department. So, when the little nerdlinger stumbles upon the 976-EVIL advertisement and gives Satan a call, wackiness ensues. The kind of wackiness that involves death, destruction, possession, and a gateway to Hell opening up in Hoax’s front yard. And yeah, it’s up to Spike to mop up the mess.

Oh, man, you talk about your B-grade cheeseball horror fun. Extremely dated 80s fashion, cheep effects and unintentionally hilarious dialog, mixed up with over-the-top performances doing what they could with the premise and you’ve got a movie that’s fun-level bad, in a good way. Check this thing out with a bunch of friends some night and have some fun.

Movie Review: 30 DAYS OF NIGHT

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30 DAYS OF NIGHTGhost House Pictures
2007
R

“That cold ain’t the weather, that’s death approaching.”

There’s that feeling again. The feeling I get, more often than I care to admit, in the pit of my stomach when, after the credits start rolling and the people start filing out of the movie theater, tells me that I’ve been short-ended, and the $8.75 I spent getting into said theater was not worth it, and could have been put to better use. This feeling returned after the credits rolled for 30 Days Of Night. And that feeling left me a bitter man, let me tell you.

Seriously, this adaptation of the graphic novel had so much going for it. The plot itself put a nice spin on the moldy oldy that is the vampire genre: Nasty blood suckers descend on an isolated town in the northern-most part of Alaska for 30 straight days of 24-7 feeding on the hapless townsfolk. And for the first part of the movie, things did work pretty well; the use of shadows and the washed-out look of the cinematography coupled with the subdued acting and the pretty effective vampire makeup and effects did it for me for the first half-to-quarter hour or so. The story built up like a well-cooked crock pot chicken, building the pressure to the hot cooking point…

…I really gotta stop using food analogies, folks…

…anyway, what could have been a tight and frosty little supernatural thriller ended up falling flat with the payoff. The last forty-five minutes or so was essentially the human survivors hiding out in the buildings going “What’re we gonna do! What’re we gonna do!” for the duration of the month, and the vampires outside prancing about going “We’re vampires! Booga-booga-booga!” The whole screeching thing the vamps did got old and annoying after fifteen minutes of it; and the defacto leader of the bunch always seemed to have to say something pseudo-cryptic when he did speak, inane thing that didn’t seem to pertain much to the plot — “The wolf stalks the little bunnies under the light of the moon…SCREEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!” Had I bought something to drink, the straw would have ended up stuck in my eyeball, you can count on it. And the ending was more or less lifted from other movies with the tragic vampire hero death (Blade II leaps to mind). Was that a spoiler? Oh, well…

Bottom line, I was pretty stoked to see this movie. And I was pretty much entertained for the first part. Then, it just dragged on and on, giving us something of a cop-out ending. I would say rent this movie, don’t spend the $8.75 I did to see it in the theaters…