Silver Bullet (1985) – movie review

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Silver Bullet (1985)

Directed by Dan Attiasmy-top-10-1980s-horror

Starring:
Corey Haim
Gary Busey
Everett McGill
Megan Follows

 

More than a horror tale, Silver Bullet is a family story. It portrays the reconciliation between a brother and sister from a small town family, whose lives could have went on a path of division, considering their relationship. Marty (Corey Haim) is your average 10-year old but crippled and confined to a wheelchair. Jane, approx. 15, is resentful of Marty because their parents always expects her to look after him. Uncle Red (Gary Busey) comes by for dinner one night and secretly gives Marty some fireworks. Marty sneaks off in the late hour of the night, down the road in his motorized wheelchair to shoot off his fireworks. There, he witnesses a werewolf killing one of the townsfolk. When the werewolf attacks Marty, he shoots him in the eye with a rocket and makes hissilver-bullter narrow escape. As more townsfolk go missing it’s up to Marty and Jane to work together to find the person with the injured eye and alert the authorities to the werewolf’s true identity. However, the werewolf knows of their plan and comes for them.

Some of the highlights of the film include a scene where a vigilante posse heads out into the woods to hunt the beast and ends up being the hunted. Another fantastic scene is a dream sequence that has the town’s preacher, Reverend Lowe, witnessing his whole church congregation turning into werewolves before his eyes. Aside from these sensationalist scenes, the film does have a story with heart and leads into highly suspenseful territory.

Cory Haim is a natural actor with a likeability that reaches beyond the screen and gives the viewer instant empathy. The werewolf isn’t anything super as far as FX and make-up but the story allows for some real tense moments when he’s on the prowl. Gary Busey plays one of his best parts as Uncle Red, (pretty much just being himself) a familiar styled character in many families. The ending has a tense build-up as Marty and Jane finally convince Uncle Red they are being stalked by a werewolf and the three of them defend their home against the evil that has embodied their town for the past year. Despite the “R” rating, I’ve watched SB with my kids when they were 10-12 years of age and they were able to handle the violence, but make that decision at your own discretion.

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Trivia: Adapted from Stephen King’s “Cycle of the Werewolf”
The 1985 version included illustrations by Berni Wright
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Corey Haim: Anyone alive in the 1980’s would know the bright spirited personality of child/teen actor, Corey Haim. His smile lit up the screen in a dozen films and he was especially known for horror films (Watchers, Lost Boys). He became good friends with his Lost Boys co-star Corey Feldman, leading to a reality show as an adult called, The Two Corey’s (2007 – 08). Ironically, his childhood fame lead to a troubled adulthood and he died of a prescription drug overdose in 2010.

(Photo by NBC Television/Courtesy of Getty Images)

(Photo by NBC Television/Courtesy of Getty Images)

 

Late Phases (2014) – Movie review

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Late Phases (2014)

Directed By Adrián García Bogliano

Starring:
Nick Damici
Ethan Embry
Lance Guest

I often like small films with only a few characters that are story driven and don’t rely on big effects to move the plot. This is a cool low-key film that fit’s the bill. It has a well written script and a good message of honor, redemption and reconciliation.

A blind Vietnam Vet, Ambrose McKinney, is dropped off at his new retirement community home. He and his seeing-eye dog (and companion), named Shadow, are settling in. He is a hard personality, unfriendly to the neighbor’s welcome and stand off-ish to the community. He doesn’t want to know anything about any of them, until his neighbor is killed by something vicious in the middle of the night. He listens through the wall picking up sounds to late-phases--posterfigure out what is happening. The creature knows this and attacks him next. Shadow does his best to protect Ambrose and the dog is killed.

A werewolf mystery unfolds as Ambrose attempts to figure out who the shape shifter is before the next full moon. Though blind, he is quite capable and makes some headway to pin down the possible suspects. However the werewolf realizes what he is doing and makes some counter plans for himself. It all converges on the night of the next full moon. Meanwhile the cold relationship of Ambrose with his son grows even colder as the younger man attempts to discover why his father is acting so strangely. The werewolf transformation scene is nothing special but at this point, what could they actually show that hasn’t been seen already? Did I mention it also has a small part by Tina Louise…yes from Gilligan’s Island.

Wonderful acting, story and good characters drive the plot and make this a very good film. There may have been a few aspects that could have been explored a little deeper and the horror aspect was in low ratio compared to the drama of life and subject of getting old, but overall I think the characters felt real and that‘s what made this film watchable. It’s not the high action of most modern horror, but worth a viewing for those with a little patience.

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Worth a watch for those who want good story and a break from all the overwrought effects in Werewolf films.

I give it 3.0 gnarly snarls out of 5 on the cantankerous canine carnivore scale.

The Beast Must Die (1974) – Amicus Films – movie review

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The Beast Must Die (1974) – Amicus Films – movie review

Directed by Paul Annett.
Screenplay by Michael Winder
Based on the short story “There Shall Be No Darkness” by James Blish

Calvin Lockhart, Peter Cushing, Marlene Clark, Michael Gambon, Charles Gray, Anton Diffring, Ciaran Madden, Tom Chadbon

This had quite a different feel for an Amicus film. The film is part who-dun-it mystery, part action-film and seems far removed from Modern Gothic influence. It also has a simple gimmick that makes it worthy of a William Castle film. This is a werewolf film, but unlike any werewolf film you have seen.

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First, I absolutely love the main theme for this film. It’s a sharp hard hitting funk tune driven by a percussive guitar bed and a bold horn section delivering the melody. It is music you’d expect to find in early 70’s films like, Superfly and Shaft, but here it is, in a modern werewolf flick.

A wealthy investor, Tom Newcliffe, invites a handful of guests to his home for a long weekend. Each guest has hidden secrets and a shady past that entails a trail of death left behind them. The weekend corresponds to a full moon, a harvest moon, that will be present for three days. Tom informs his guests that one of them is a werewolf, that none can leave the estate, and that by the end of the visit, they will know the identity of the creature. Fences are electrified, vehicles are disabled and the whereabouts of the guests are monitored by a state-of-the-art surveillance system. Tom is an avid hunter, made apparent by the mounted trophy heads upon the walls, and he will hunt down this devilish miscreant.

In the very beginning of the film you are asked to watch the clues and see if you can guess which guest is the werewolf. Several attempts at murder are made upon Tom, deepening the mystery. Each character has their own The Beast Must Die - pic 1eccentricities which arouse suspicion, but one by one, they begin to die.

As the tension mounts and the hunt progresses to a climax, the film suddenly stops. The narrator says you have 30 seconds to guess, who is the werewolf? A clock comes on the screen, ticking off the seconds as the film shows stills of each house guest. Place your guess. When the film restarts, all is revealed.

The film is less than perfect; day-for-night shots just look like daytime, Cushing’s Norwegian accent is less than perfect, and a few of the characters are not explored enough. It is clear that the werewolf is a dog, perhaps a black German Shepherd. However, the gimmick makes it a flick worth seeing, even just for film culture historical reasons. It’s a novelty, but it adds an element of fun to an otherwise average film by today’s standards.

Check out more Amicus film reviews at my master page: Amicus Overview

(note: don’t know why all the trailers have an orange tint. My dvd movie is sharp with naturally vivid colors)

Aurora Monster Models and Prehistoric Scenes Kits

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Aurora Monster Models and Prehistoric Scenes Kits – Part II

When I was a youngster, I loved to build monster model kits. I would see ads in the back of Famous Monsters of Filmland and I would send away for them via mail order or have my mom take me to local hobby shops to purchase them. The premier company in horror model-kits back then (1970’s) was Aurora. I started with the Universal Monsters model kit collections and soon moved on to the Prehistoric Scenes Kits. Eventually, the kits I owned went to the big toy graveyard where all kids things seem to find their end. For the longest time I thought those model kits were gone forever. But recently, I have found many of the wonderful kits I enjoyed as a kid, still available for purchase.

Aurora Prehistoric Scenes kit molds were first bought by Monogram who only kept seven of the Dinosaurs and the Wooly Mammoth. Sadly they destroyed the other kit molds to reuse the material. Then Revell bought Monogram and re-released the dino kits (twice). Today you can still purchase many of the Aurora Dinosaur kits under the Revell label. Although the box art is different, the kits are basically the same as the old Aurora kits minus the bases and extra accessories.
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the same Ankylosaurus model released through the years…

Many of the Aurora Monster Model kits were purchased by several different companies such as Playing Mantis, Moebius, and Polar Lights. It is a bit of work to hunt all of these down as they release them sporadically but you can get almost all of them. I have recently purchased, The Forgotten Prisoner and the Aurora Godzilla model.godzilla model

On top of that there are several companies that release customizing kits under the “What if…” banner and alternative pieces market which are often called Conversion Kits. You can change the head of the original Godzilla to one that is more in line with the movies. You can change the heads of the Triceratops to create different horned dinosaurs such as the Torosaurus or the Monoclonius. You can change the head of Dr. Jekyll to match the original  film “The Fly” (which looks amazing). You can now buy Julie Adams to fit with your Aurora style Creature From the Black Lagoon, where she will be set in his arms like the famous scene from the film.

Today’s model kits are amazingly detailed and there are quite a few hobbyists that take great pride in the buildingorgo modelg and painting of these kits. Many are limited release and can sell for upwards of $200. There are 3 types of kits, plastic, vinyl, and resin kits. The resin kits are the most expensive and offer the most detail.

One new kit I’ve been waiting for is Gorgo, by the company, Monarch. It was supposed to be released last year but no one has heard any news since. I hope they continue there plans to release it, because it is a fantastic model. Update: model kit was released – you can see my build here: Monarch Gorgo Model Kitaurora models documentary

Below are some links if you care to check out some more info and pics on the subject. Some of the pics used here are from these sites.

If you want to learn more about the Aurora Kits and product lines, a good place to start is with the documentary dvd, The Aurora Monsters: the model craze that gripped the world. You can get the dvd at monstersinmotion.com or Amazon.

www.monstersinmotion.com
www.geometricdesign.net 
www.culttvman.com
www.auroraprehistoricscenes.com
www.tylisaari.com
www.morbidmonster.com
www.universalmonsterarmy.com
http://creaturescape.com

Gallery of classic kits:


Gallery of new kits and conversion accessories:

Model builder vids:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EAWsr3aI0Ic

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VlB_rkH2414&feature=youtube_gdata_player

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dnWP3cg0olE