Kong: Skull Island – 2017 – preface

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Hey everyone, did you miss me?

While I’m not feeling so great, I couldn’t let this month go by without expressing my enthusiasm for a new Kong movie. I wasn’t blown away with PJs Kong…there were parts that I thought were exceptional (all the NY scenes) but also a lot I didn’t like about it, most notably the time spent on Skull Island itself.

While I don’t have the concentration to sit and write, I do want to do some commemorative posts about the Kong Movies, mostly in pics and info. I hope to see the new KONG film during it’s first week and possibly do a review, if I can get myself into a mental state that will allow that. As you must know from following PoH, I do love a full-blown Monster Movie!

For now, you can check out my next couple of posts (coming soon) ALL ABOUT KONG…

Yongary, Monster from the Deep (1967) – Movie Review

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Yongary, Monster from the Deep (1967)

“He drinks oil from a can and eats dirt. He’s Barney, the purple dinosaur’s,
older, meaner cousin, Yongary!”

This is Korea’s foray into the Kaiju Monster film arena. A rocket launch awakens Yongary underground. Scientists track seismic activity until they discover it’s caused by an ancient beast moving underground. Yongary rises from the earth and destroys the city. After a lot of destruction, he needs a drink and finds a full tank of oil. He drinks it and blows flames. Then he drinks some ammonia and it doesn’t agree with him. He gets a tummy ache, dances around and gets angry. He breaks out in a rash and it yongary-pic-1makes him very irritable. When the scientists discover Yong is allergic to ammonia (it takes a young boy to figure it out), they make some ammonia bombs. They drop some bombs, Yong gets upset and destroys the bridge. Finally, he kicks the bucket.

A low budget makes for less detail in the special FX all around, which in turn makes them not-so-special FX. The Yongary costume has some basic flaws that sometimes makes him look like a guy in a costume at a children’s birthday party. The buildings look like toys in the close-ups because of lack of detail. The plot is simplistic and there’s not much of a human story to it other than the humans fight against Yongary. All this less attention to detail adds up to a film that is more silly than threatening. But it’s not a total loss, there’s some fun Kaiju destruction scenes and Yongary does breathe fire. Good times!

There was a remake of Yongary called Reptilian (2000) but it was a cheap CGI, badly written script, disaster that isn’t even fun to watch in a MST2K way. Stick with the original for some campy Kaiju fun.

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Holidays (2016) – Movie Review

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Holidays (2016)

Despite the fun concept, it sure ain’t no Creepshow

Directed by holidays-poster

Kevin Smith
Gary Shore
Matt Johnson
Scott Stewart
Nicholas McCarthy
Dennis Widmyer
Kevin Kolsch
Sarah Adina Smith
Anthony Scott Burns

 


This is a fun idea for an anthology. There’s a short tale for each of the US holidays during the year. They’re labelled horror but, some are just weird tales. Despite the fun concept, the stories were mostly mediocre. None of the shorts take the time to set up the mood and spirit of their corresponding holidays. There are a few that I found moderately entertaining. Easter is weird and disturbing and although it didn’t have a clear explanation of the events, the visuals stuck in my craw. That damn Jesus-bunny freaked me out a bit. In Mother’s Day, a woman who can’t stop getting pregnant goes on a health-related retreat and finds herself with a coven of witches. I love Christmas Horror stories and the one here, starring Seth Green, was a pretty good one. A dad steps over a man having a heart attack to get the last UVU virtual reality game set. Somehow the machine taps into your mind and gives you a specialized personal VR experience. When he and his wife start to see what’s in each other’s minds, that’s when he gets a real nasty surprise. And finally, the New Year’s segment is a fun little short about online dating. Good times.

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The stories are too short to garner any real empathy for the characters or to have any complex plots. As far as horror anthologies, I wouldn’t rate this very high, it sure ain’t no Creepshow. It’s more along the lines of ABC’s of Death. If you wish to kill some time and get moderately entertained by some horror shorts, you can give Holidays a try. You have a 50/50 chance at being entertained.


Moderately entertaining horror anthology but I wouldn’t go out of my way to watch it.

I give it 2.5 creepy critters out of 5 on the horrific holiday antho scale.

God’s of Egypt (2016) – Movie Review

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God’s of Egypt – 2016
The God’s bleed molten gold and battle ’til death

Directed by Alex Proyasgods-of-egypt-poster

Starring:

·         Nikolaj Coster-Waldau
·         Brenton Thwaites
·         Chadwick Boseman
·         Élodie Yung
·         Courtney Eaton
·         Gerard Butler
·         Geoffrey Rush



This is a film for which I didn’t have high expectations so I was pleasantly surprised by my enjoyment of it. The filmmakers took the concepts of Egyptian Mythology and Gods and crafted a new story from them. I find that quite acceptable considering there are no real mythology stories handed down from Ancient Egypt, only the concepts and instructions for afterlife. The tale has all the power struggles, jealousies, and quests found in Greek myths while paying homage to the Egyptian Gods.

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Sure, they used American actors, American style dialogue and sarcasm, but the film is aimed at an American audience. The sets and costume are stunning, colorful and beautifully designed, showing the cities to be vibrant rather than chromatic shades of sandstone. The impressive statuary, architecture, and workings are a sight to see.

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On the dawn of Horus, being crowned as ruler of Egypt, his Father is killed by Set who takes the crown. He steals the eyes from Horus, essentially taking all his power and banishes the fallen God from the city. A young thief, whose love is killed by the new regime steals the eye of Horus to bargain for her life. Horus must find his other eye and regain his crown in order to gain the power to save the mortals of Egypt, the other Gods, and if possible the thief’s love. As they quest for the tools needed to defeat their nemesis, Set is conquering the other gods and absorbing their essence and strength to become one all-powerful God.

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The Gods in their deity form are magnificent to watch as are the depictions of the afterlife, Ra in battle with worm of chaos, and the flat earth. Highlights include a battle with giant fire breathing cobras, the riddle posing Sphinx, and the final battle of the Gods. The CG is done really well and at no time does the film have that digital look. The characters are quite likable and I became engaged in each of their journeys. It’s not perfect, but It gave me a little bit of the wonder and amazement I had when I first watched Jason and the Argonauts as young lad, and that is a great feeling.

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 A fun mythology film with exciting adventure and beautiful set and scene artistry.

 I give it 4.0 killer cobras out of five on the deadly deity’s mythologically murderous rampage.

Parlor of Horror – 2016 – Year in review

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Parlor of Horror – 2016 – Year in review


I started the year off with reviews of my Top 10 TV Horror movies from the top 1970's TV horror - small1970’s. From The Night Stalker to Trilogy of Terror to Gargoyles to Salem’s Lot, it was a great decade for TV Horror flicks. In the end I did a tally of favorites and a poll, you can check it out here:
Top 10 TV Movies from the 1970’s

 


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Creature Feature films I reviewed this year included, Attack of the Giant Crabs, Tarantula and 20 Million Miles to Earth.

I would also include, Triclops in this category even though it is a new film (2016).

 


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After reviewing 1408 and Identity, I decided it would be fun to do a feature on Top Motel/Hotel Horror films, just in time for summer vacation.

 


 

Also, in preparing for Summer I had a feature, Rise of the Furkini, a pictorial showing the ever present Furkini thru the years (2 posts). In between reviewing a rush of summer horror films, I also reviewed several of the early Gamera flicks. (because nothing is hotter than a fire breathing turtle!)


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(thanks for the ride lady!)

For the Halloween Season, I returned to Top 80s Horror Films – reviewing, Silver Bullet and Creepshow II – and reviewed some more Horror Themed Television Shows. I posted perhaps my favorite article for the year in October’s Horror’s Creepiest Homes in a Guess the Horror House quiz.
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Covering some Classic & New horror TV shows, during the course of the year I posted articles about Ash vs Evil Dead, Stranger Things, Tales From the Crypt and The Outer Limits.

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I held my second annual Halloween Horror Fiction Free Read event highlighting underground writers and their works.

 


 

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In my Strange but True category I had a feature on Walpurgis Night, a post describing evil grimoires and spell books, and in the fall a feature on Homer Tate and his Roadside Attractions.


In the Horror Art Category, I had 5 posts featuring Dinosaur Fantasy art, followed by a Horror Tattoo pictorial. Later in the year around Halloween I showcased the amazing sculpture art of Chris Andres.

 


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I built a half dozen horror and Sci-fi themed model kits this year, most of which you can see here, Model Kits 2016

 


 

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I reviewed 6 books this year, that’s about 1 every 2 months. Check them out in Horror Book Reviews.


 


 

and now,

THE BEST OF 2016…


Okay, so My Top Horror Films of the Year:

3 – Don’t Breathe

2- The VVitch

1- The Shallows


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Biggest disappointment:

Godzilla Resurgence – Shin Godzilla

Although I love the end look of Godzilla, the film is just not what I had hoped for and did not remind me of the old Toho films.


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Surprise Favorite:

Batman vs Superman
after reading all the negatives about the film I enjoyed it quite a bit.


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Best Horror Fiction Books of 2016:

mainstream:
Stephen King – Bazaar of Bad Dreams

indie:
Chad Lutzke – Of Foster Homes and Flies

older entry:
Donald Ray Pollock – Knockemstiff


Overall, 2016 wasn’t a bad year for horror and Sci-fi films. I enjoyed my posts this year, especially the ones that were more quiz-like and challenged my fellow bloggers and readers to think.


As always I’ll have a separate post about my fiction writing, coming soon!

Batman vs Superman (2016) – Movie Review

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Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

One of my Favorite Superhero films! No kidding!batman-vs-superman-poster

Directed by Zack Snyder

Starring:

Ben Affleck
Henry Cavill
Amy Adams
Diane Lane
Laurence Fishburne
Gal Gadot
Jeese Eisenberg
Jeremy Irons


So, I’ve now watched Batman Vs Superman for the third time, and I must say, this is probably my third favorite Superhero movie of all time… WHAT? Yes, you read that right. I liked it better watching it at home because at nearly 3 hours long and I was able to take a couple of breaks. My all-time favorite Superhero movie is The Dark Knight. For as realistic, close and confining The Dark Knight is, Bat v Sup is the opposite; fantastical, large scale and existential. The fight scenes with Doomsday are spread out over miles, seriously, they detonate a nuclear missile as part of the battle! When Doomsday throws Superman, he ends up a half mile away, skidding on the ground and breaking infrastructure into rubble. The action and destruction in the film are incredible and has few rivals in film except for maybe a Godzilla movie. The film is put together well, from the visuals to the music to the storyline. Sure the actual Batman vs Superman battle was only 10 minutes long, but that left more time for the real battle against Doomsday. I wondered how Batman was supposed to fight Superman without just getting his ass kicked in the first few seconds and being killed. The film showed how, with the right technology and weapons (i.e. Kryptonite) it could be done. I’m sure much of that must’ve been explained in the Bat v Sup comic book issue but kudos to Zack Snyder for getting it done in a convincing manner in the film.

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Ben Affleck played the role of an older, bitter Bruce Wayne nicely, reminding me of the series, Batman Beyond. Henry Cavill has settled into the role of Superman comfortably. Perhaps the most controversial casting was Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor. While he didn’t match the visual image we know to be Luthor, I think he played the role of the mentally “off” villain quite nicely. Of course, Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman was mesmerizing and I’m so glad her superhero powers were portrayed as powerful and fantastic. They were much more exciting than any previous renditions of her in film/TV. I’m looking forward to the WW film in 2017.

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The socio-political aspects reflect the recent US election with Lex Luthor bending the truth and using propaganda about Superman, in order to get his way and turn people against him. There’s also the aspect of whether a person can be good for his/her whole life or if there are gray areas that need to be explored in order to succeed. That’s been a theme in Batman movies for a while now but in this film, they brought Superman to that crossroads. Of course, Superman decided not to cross that line and to stay on the side of goodness. One of the down sides of the film is Superman’s death at the end of the film. It’s a somber ending but of course we get a sign that he’s not dead, right before the credits role.

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There were a lot of gripes and complaints about this film when it was released, but that seems to be the status quo these days, arm chair quarterbacks wanting to call the shots. I hope the studio goes by sales figures alone ($873.3 million) and let’s Zack Snyder direct more films in this series.

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Dynamic action, fantastic visuals and fast-paced storyline make this a super superhero film in my book.

I give it 4.3 Fantastic Foes out of 5 on the Satisfying Superhero celebratory union!

A Christmas Horror Story – 2015 – movie review

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A Christmas Horror Story – 2015

Starring:a-christmas-horror-story-poster

William Shatner

Zoé De Grand Maison

Adrian Holmes

Amy Forsyth

Rob Archer

George Buza

 

Zombie elves, demonically possessed children, student spirits, and Santa and Krampus in a battle to the death for the soul of Christmas.

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The film starts with a bloodied Santa Claus looking more like a Viking Warrior than the image we’re accustomed to. That image is a part of one story but we’ll get back to that later.  William Shatner is a radio show host delivering his Christmas Eve blessings to the world. During the course of the night something bad is happening at the local mall. Police have cordoned off the area and have warned everyone to stay away.  Details are sketchy but Shatner relays the info as it becomes available.

Four stories intertwined are revealed as the film progresses. ‘Horror in the Hallways’ concerns student news reporters investigating a closed part of a school were a massacre happened a year earlier. It seems that the school spirit(s) are still haunting the hallways.

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At Santa’s castle at the north pole, his elves are turning to zombies. Santa takes his staff and calls upon all his strength to battle the wicked gnomes. It’s one hell of a bloody battle and campy fun for the whole family.

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A family reaches out to their dad’s rich aunt on Christmas eve. The aunt turns them away and they crash on the snowy road a few miles from the home. Hiking back to the aunt’s mansion proves to be a challenge as Krampus hunts them down picking them off one by one. They hold up in an old abandoned church and decide they should confess their sins to survive, but will it keep the slaughter at bay?

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After chopping down a Christmas Tree in the woods a young couple notices their son, Will, acting very peculiar. As the night wears on, the boy taunts the dad with his nasty actions. This is the creepiest of all the stories as the true nature of the child’s behavior is revealed in increments.

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There’s a nice plot twist at the end of the Santa Claus story that is a real ‘wow’ moment.  This is a very entertaining Christmas themed film for the horror fan. It’s comparable to Trick r Treat and I rate it highly in the horror anthology subgenre. As an added bonus, the music is awesome, from the punk rock “Jingle Bells” to the main themes and score, the soundtrack would be worth a listen. Check this out for a fun and gory holiday film! Although I purchased the Blu-ray, the film is now showing on Netflix for your holiday entertainment.

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A fun sometimes campy, sometimes creepy and gory, family holiday film!

I give it 4.0 candy canes on the sugarplum fairies beaten to death with a fruit cake scale.