Thursday, October 30, 2014

Fright Night (1985)

Fright Night
Released: 1985
Director: Tom Holland
Starring: Chris Sarandon, William Ragsdale, Amanda Bearse, Roddy McDowall

Plot (taken from IMDB):  For young Charlie Brewster, nothing could be better than an old horror movie late at night. Two men move in next door, and for Charlie with his horror movie experience, there can be no doubt that their strange behavior is explained by the fact that they are a vampire and his undead day guardian. The only one who can help him hunt them down is a washed-up actor, Peter Vincent, who hosts Charlie's favorite TV show, Fright Night. Vincent doesn't really believe that vampires exist, but does it for the money... 

Story wise, Fright Night is damn near perfect. It came out at a time when, as the Peter Vincent character put it, people "prefer a movie where a masked loony kills virgins". At the time this was true, with movies like "Friday the 13th" and "Nightmare on Elm Street" dominating the box office. This story knew what it had to be, and it capitalized on its strengths. It has a good story flow as well, there were no dull points, and there was always something happening on screen. 

The cast of the film is as great as its plot. An actor like Chris Sarandon playing a vampire was perfect. He could be charming one minute, and intimidating the next. William Ragsdale did a great job as teenager Charley Brewster and Roddy McDowall brought an old school Hollywood feel to the Peter Vincent character, which made it feel authentic and added quite a bit to the film. My one complaint with the cast was Amanda Bearse, at times her performance felt forced and it hurt a few scenes in my opinion.

For its time, Fright Night also had some great effects. They didn't look too cheesy and were well done. Also it's interesting to note that the prosthetics used for Amy's vampire form were originally going to be used for the library ghost in Ghostbusters, but was decided against as it wouldn't fit the tone of the film. 

Fright Night is my favorite vampire film of all time. I would go so far as to say that it's the best vampire film of the 80's, with  "The Lost Boys" coming in at a close second. It's the best kind of horror film, because it's fun even when its scary. If you haven't seen it, check it out. 

Final Verdict: king of 80's vampire films


Monday, October 27, 2014

Dylan Dog: Dead of Night (2011)

Released: April 28th 2011
Director: Kevin Munroe
Starring: Brandon Routh, Sam Huntington, Anita Briem, Taye Diggs

Plot: Supernatural detective Dylan Dog is called out of retirement to track down a valuable artifact before vampires get a hold of it and unleash its power.

The story of "Dead of Night" is actually pretty interesting and has several elements that make it fun to watch. The idea that theres a single person that was hired to keep peace between the zombies, vampires and werewolves is a pretty cool idea for a story. I can't compare it to the comic books as I have never read a single page of it, but from a film viewers standpoint I feel this film hit the points it was aiming for story wise.

This film also has a solid cast from a performance point of view. When he is brought up, Brandon Routh is always looked at as a "boring actor" but in my eyes he is anything but. He has a great chemistry with all of the actors in the film, especially Sam Huntington who plays his sidekick. The entire cast worked like a well oiled machine I can't think of a single performance from this film that I thought was bad.

One big highlight from the film was the creature effects on the various vampires, zombies and werewolves. All of the effects were great, but the one that really stood out to me was the effects on the zombies. The effects range from subtle with hazed eyes and decaying skin, to the more extreme "hulked up" zombies. 

I'll admit, when I bought this film a few years ago I was skeptical about it. Once I watched it though I had a fun time with it. It's a shame this film didn't perform so well at the box office, I would have loved to have seen where the story could have gone with a sequel. It's not a perfect film, but the fun aspects of the film made it really easy to overlook its negative points. If you overlooked this one, or didn't even know it existed, you should check it out if you're looking for a good horror/ buddy comedy.

Final Verdict: Enjoyable horror comedy


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Coming Soon: Cinemania Fright Nights!

October 17th through the 31st will be the first annual Cinemania Fright Nights! 15 days of fun and terror! There's bound to be something for everyone from terrifying horror films to movies the whole family can enjoy and watch on Halloween.

Here's just a few of the titles in the lineup:

A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master
House on Haunted Hill
The Possession
Ernest Scared Stupid
The Exorcist
and more! 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Netflix Recommendations (October 5th 2014)

It's time for another round of movies and television shows I've enjoyed recently on Netflix

Doctor Strange- As far as animated comic book films go, this is one of my favorites. It alters the origins story from the comics, but at its core it still has all the essential pieces. It tells the story of how Doctor Stephen Strange embarks on his journey to become the sorcerer supreme, the master of the mystical arts. It's a fun film to watch if you're looking for an introduction into the world of Doctor Strange. 

Earth 2- One of those awesome yet also under appreciated Television shows of the early 90's, Earth 2 told the story of a group of explorers who set out to establish a colony on a new planet. It had a great cast involving one of my favorite actors, Clancy Brown as well as Debrah Farentino and Rockmond Dunba. If you like Sci Fi TV shows, you can do much worse than Earth 2.

The Great Mouse Detective- A movie that I haven't seen in a good 20 years, this was one that my niece picked out. I will say that even from an adult perspective, this was a fun movie to watch. Like most Disney animated films, it has something for everyone, both young and old. If you're looking for something to watch with a youngster or are just looking for a fun mystery, check out The Great Mouse Detective.

The Substitute- Tom Berenger stars as Jonathan Shale, a mercenary who becomes a substitute teacher to track down the people who attacked his fiancé. It sounds like a stupid concept, but it's actually an entertaining film. Berenger turns in a great performance, only overshadowed by co-star Ernie Hudson who turns in one of the best performances of his career. If you like 90's action films, you might have some fun with this one.

Goodbye World- An interesting movie about a group of friends who meet up at a self sufficient compound in northern California. What I liked about this film, unlike so many other "Sh*t hits the fan" type movies, was that it portrayed these people in a more realistic way. It was a fun film to watch with a little bit of drama and just a little comedy mixed in.

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