Robocop ☆☆☆☆☆
Star Trek IV ☆☆☆☆
Star Trek VI ☆☆☆☆
Deep Red ☆☆☆☆
Poltergeist ☆☆☆☆
Tenebrae ☆☆☆☆
Horror Express ☆☆☆☆

Short Film Safari - The Reward



Well this is the last part of this little horror show, so it's time for things to go off the rails completely. Where better to start. Part corporate marketing satire, part The Blob, part frozen dessert nightmare, you just can't get enough of The Stuff. After a mining crew find a mystery substance coming up from the ground and uh... decide to taste it... (as you do) a new mystery product appears on the shelves, one that is outselling ice cream even if nobody knows the secret. Well it says there are no artificial ingredients, so at least they're being honest about that.

But in a shocking twist the contents are a little more alive than your average pro-biotic yoghurt. Soon people start turning into addicts and later it gets even worse than that. The plot is basically all over the place and the acting varies from bad to acceptable ham as an ex-FBI agent, and an advertising executive race to do something about the popularity of the treat. The effects are fun for what they are in a strangely bloodless but still grotesque feature, but the pacing kills it in the third act when it rushes to a dumb conclusion. Overall this is a mixed bag, but it's memorable.



So... onto the gruesome stuff. To get this out of the way (though perhaps it goes without saying) Lucio Fulci's Zombi 2 is not a sequel. They just wanted to market it as a follow up to George A. Romero's Dawn of the Dead in Italy where it was titled Zombi. It's a laughably cheap marketing ploy, but you have to admire them for it. As for the film itself, while it has a certain video nasty status this is by no means as bad as its reputation suggests when it comes to the violence.

You get the usual biting and flesh eating stuff of course and obviously the infamous splinter in-the-eye sequence is memorable for a reason. But while it's certainly a hair raising moment it's hardly realistic looking by anyone's standards so I don't see what the big problem is. I guess it could just a product of being so desensitized in the modern era, but even by the standards of '70s and '80s horror cinema it's not that excessive. On the plus side it's often as hammy as you might expect.

The movie itself has a certain amount of atmosphere and like a lot of these Italian horror releases there's a nice electronic score included. The slow pacing early on mostly works and the tropical locations are fairly eye pleasing. They do also have the ridiculous shark versus zombie scene. It offers creepy shock value only, with zero social commentary. But what you actually get works, unlike some of the other viewings here.

Review Roundup - Dark shadows


In an interesting take on the psychological horror genre, Jennifer Kent's monster under the bed story certainly offers a lot of food for thought in terms of looking at grief and loss. Though this is billed as a creature feature right down to the black and white poster art mimicking the titular story book at the centre of its plot, it has to be said that those elements are the least interesting ones. While it's true that there are stand out sequences showing the book itself with all its hand made artwork and disturbing pop-up sections, approaching this as a horror film in the usual sense is probably ill advised. There is a lot more going on here and while the idea this being scary is meant to be a focus, it conflicts with the themes at its core that offer more depth. How much of this all works in the way things play out is up for consideration.

Review Roundup - Some assembly required


There's a certain sinking feeling that I get after looking into a film synopsis or hearing about a title through word of mouth, and realising that I didn't pick up on the fact that it's a found footage movie. As a genre I consider it to be pretty superfluous, since it takes away from what might have been some nicely constructed shots and detracts from the overall look of any film most of the time. The gimmick wore out its welcome a long time ago with Cloverfield and lives on through cheap horror features for some reason, I assume because of some misconceived attempt at "realism" or simply as a way to market lower budget films. Strangely it also crops up in stories outside of horror like Chronicle - which I managed to enjoy quite a bit but was constantly reminded of what things could have been without the distracting camcorder footage or the need to think of who is filming what throughout. Like that this is a sci-fi adventure which overcomes the shortfalls of the style and delivers an enjoyable "E.T. lite" story. If only they'd have dropped the gimmicks since there are many elements that work far better.



Ghostbusters ☆☆☆☆
Suspiria ☆☆☆☆
The Fly (1986) ☆☆☆☆
Captain America: The Winter Soldier ☆☆☆☆
Inglourious Basterds ☆☆☆☆
Dragons Forever ☆☆☆☆
Eastern Condors ☆☆☆☆