Category: Horror

“Carter” (2022) / Z-View

Carter (2022)

Director:  Byung-gil Jung

Screenplay by:  Byeong-sik Jung, Byung-gil Jung

Starring:  Joo Won, Kim Bo-Min, Sung-Jae Lee and Mike Colter

Tagline:  No Memory, One Mission

The Overview:  Beware of spoilers…

A man wakes up in a hotel room with no memory of who he is or how he got there.  A voice in his head tells him his name is Carter, a transmitter only he can hear is in his ear, a bomb has been implanted in his head and his mission is to rescue a young girl whose blood is the key to a cure to a virus quickly spreading around the world.  With that we’re off and running.

Carter is an all out action film with a small mix of sci-fi and a touch of zombies.  The movie takes place in real time and features over the top stunts and seldom slows down.  This is the film’s greatest strength and perhaps biggest weakness.  The fight scenes are so over-the-top we quickly understand that Carter is going to be able to take out dozens of attackers without so much as a scratch.

Normally this would be a turn-off, but the fight scenes take place in unique situations (outside of a building stories above the street, on motorcycles, in three side-by-side vans speeding down crowded streets, falling from an airplane without a parachute while engaging in a gun battle to get a chute, on a train, on a helicopter, from a truck to motorcycles, etc.) that it is easy to suspend disbelief.

I really enjoyed Carter, but was in the right frame of mind for an all out action film.  I hope we get a sequel.

Carter earns 4 of 5 stars.

BLOOD and BULLETS by James R. Tuck / Z-View

Blood and Bullets by James R. Tuck

Trade Paperback: 258 pages
Publisher:  Falstaff Books

First sentence…

Some nights are just destined to go to hell.

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Deacon Chalk hunts things that go bump in the night.  Yeah, that’s right.  Monsters.  Chalk didn’t even believe in such things until his wife and daughter were killed by vampires.  Now he’s a monster hunter.

When a young woman tries to hire Chalk to kill someone who calls himself Nyteblade, Chalk gets enough information to warn the wanna-be vampire hunter that he’s been marked for death.  When Chalk shows up for a meeting with “Nyteblade” he finds himself in an ambush.  The most powerful vampire Deacon Chalk has ever heard of plans to make Chalk her slave!

James R. Tuck has created a winner.  Blood and Bullets is the first in the Deacon Chalk series.  I’d never read a Tuck book before, but after reading a few paragraphs of Blood and Bullets, I picked up the Deacon Chalk trilogy. (There are more books coming.)  Tuck’s Deacon Chalk and his supporting cast come across as real people placed in unreal situations.  I had a blast with Blood and Bullets and look forward to more Deacon Chalk adventures.  (Oh, and before I wrap up this review — how about that cool cover by Natania Barron!)

Blood and Bullets rates 4 of 5 stars.

Blood and Bullets Hardback
Blood and Bullets Paperback
Blood and Bullets Kindle

“Dead Zone” starring Michael Jai White and Jeff Fahey – The Trailer is Here!

Ok, it’s not Stephen King’s Dead Zone, but this Dead Zone does star Michael Jai White and Jeff Fahey.  And it does have soldiers going into a town full of what look like zombies and other creatures.  So, yeah, I’ll check it out.

To stop the collapse of humanity, an elite team of soldiers must descend on a radiation-poisoned town and perform the ultimate stealth mission using high-tech armor and weapons.

CAST: Michael Jai White, Chad Michael Collins, Jeff Fahey

DIRECTOR: Hank Braxtan

“Hellboy” (2019) / Z-View

Hellboy (2019)

Director:  Neil Marshall

Screenplay by:  Andrew Cosby based on the world and characters created by Mike Mignola

Starring:  David Harbour, Milla Jovovich, Ian McShane, Sasha Lane, Daniel Dae Kim and Thomas Haden Church

Tagline  Demons Have Demons Too.

The Overview:  Beware of spoilers…

In the final days of World War II, the Nazis make a last ditch effort to win the war by attempting to summon demons from Hell.  Lobster Johnson and American forces stop the Nazis, but not before a demon child that will be called Hellboy appears.  Hellboy is raised by Professor Trevor “Broom” Bruttenholm (McShane) to fight things that go bump in the night.  You know, witches, demons and the like.

Vivienne Nimue, the Blood Queen (Jovovich) has a plan to get Hellboy to turn his back on humans and rule as her King.  Normally we wouldn’t have to worry, but lately Hellboy has been having self-doubt and “daddy issues.”

I’m a fan of Mike Mignola’s Hellboy as well as the first two Hellboy films starring Ron Perlman and directed by Guillermo del Toro.  While I would have loved them to return for a third film, I was open to a new director, star and take on the character.  When the first posters/photos started coming out, I liked the look.  Sadly the movie is nowhere as bad ass as the publicity materials.  Hellboy has a cool appearance, but is physically too small.  He should be huge,  In the film he looks to be the height of an average person.  Hellboy also came off as whiney.  If Hellboy doesn’t work, the film is in trouble.

As to the story, it’s all over the place.  We get the origin of the Blood Queen.  We get the origin of Hellboy.  We get extended scenes of Hellboy fighting giants.  We get Hellboy fighting a pig-fairy,  We get Hellboy fighting a one-eyed witch.  In between we get Hellboy complaining to his “dad”, showing what a rebel he is by refusing to take his feet off Winston Churchill’s desk and jokes that often fall flat.

I wanted to like Hellboy, but can only give it 2 of 5 stars.

RIP: David Warner

David Warner died yesterday from a cancer-related illness.  He was 80.

David Warner was an actor who worked on the stage, television and in feature films.

Some of David Warner’s television appearances include: Holocaust, Hart to Hart, A Christmas Carol, Frankenstein, Murder She Wrote, Twin Peaks, Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Larry Sanders Show, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, Babylon 5 and The Alienist.

Features films on Mr. Warner’s resume include: Tom Jones. The Ballad of Cable Hogue, Straw Dogs, The Omen, Cross of Iron, Time After Time, The Island, Time Bandits, Tron, The Man with Two Brains, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, In the Mouth of Madness and Titanic.

When I think of David Warner, I think first of his role in Time After Time.  His played his role as Jack the Ripper perfectly,  Of course, David Warner was an actor that could play any role to perfection whether it was heroic, villainous, serious or comedic.  I always knew that he would make a show or movie better.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to David Warner’s family, friends and fans.

“Interview with the Vampire” -The Poster and Trailer for the New AMC/AMC+ Series is Here!

I like the look of the poster and especially the trailer for Interview with the Vampire.  Since I have AMC, this is a no-brainer.  Deal me in.

A modern, unforgettable retelling of Anne Rice’s best-selling novel, Interview With The Vampire. Starring Jacob Anderson (Game of Thrones), Sam Reid (The Newsreader), Bailey Bass (Avatar: The Way of the Water) and Eric Bogosian (Succession). Premieres October 2nd on AMC and AMC+.

“The Velvet Vampire” aka “Cemetery Girls” (1971) / Z-View

The Velvet Vampire aka Cemetery Girls (1971)

Director:  Stephanie Rothman

Screenplay by:  Stephanie Rothman, Charles S. Swartz, Maurice Jules

Starring:  Michael Blodgett, Sherry E. DeBoer and Celeste Yarnall

Tagline:  She’s Waiting To Love You…To Death

The Overview:  Beware of spoilers…

Lee Ritter (Blodgett) and his wife Susan (Miles) meet and take a liking to a mysterious woman named Diane LeFanu (Yarnall).  When Diane asks them to spend a weekend at her remote desert home, they accept.  Only too late do they discover that Diane is a vampire!

The Velvet Vampire is a perfect example of low budget 70s horror films that often became the second or third films shown at drive-ins.  The movie features a small cast (of low-level stars), a remote location, women who bare their boobs and sex scenes spaced throughout the film. (Where you usually find the bare boobs.) There’s even a dune buggy scene in The Velvet Vampire!  Does it get any more “early 70s” than that?   Diane isn’t your traditional vampire – she goes out in the sun (but too much isn’t good for her).

Normally movies I make it through earn at least a 2 star rating.  I made it through The Velvet Vampire and (despite the bare boobies) it only earned a 1 of 5 star rating.

“What Joshua Saw” Starring Robert Patrick & Nick Stahl – The Poster and Trailer are Here!

The poster and trailer for What Joshua Saw do what they should do… make me want to know more!

A family with buried secrets reunite at a farmhouse after two decades to pay for their past sins. Starring Robert Patrick, Nick Stahl, Scott Haze, Kelli Garner, with Jake Weber and Tony Hale. Directed by Vincent Grashaw.

“Attack of the Puppet People” (1957) / Z-View

Attack of the Puppet People (1957)

Director:  Bert I. Gordon

Screenplay by:  George Worthing Yates from a story by Bert I. Gordon

Starring:  John Agar, John Hoyt and June Kenney

Tagline:  Terror Comes In Small Packages!

The Overview:  Beware of spoilers…

Mr. Franz (Hoyt) owns a doll company that makes popular, lifelike dolls.  Little does anyone know that Mr. Franz’s personal doll collection is made from real people that he has shrunk to doll size.  When Mr. Franz’s secretary, Sally Reynolds (Kenney) discovers what Franz has been doing, she goes to the police.  Of course they don’t believe Franz is doing anything wrong,.. until Sally turns up missing and Franz has a new doll in his collection!

Attack of the Puppet People was given the greenlight due to the success of The Incredible Shrinking Man.  It was rushed into production with Bert I. Gordon (The Amazing Colossal Man) at the helm.  Fair warning,  if the poster for Attack of the Puppet People sold you on the movie, please know… 1) They weren’t really puppet people.  2) There were no “Doll Dwarfs”. 3) No “giant beasts” were crushed or did crushing. 4) No giant dog vs steak knife wielding little folks… Just so ya know.

Attack  of the Puppet People earned a 2 of 5 star rating.

“The Deadly Mantis” (1957) / Z-View

The Deadly Mantis (1957)

Director:  Nathan Juran

Screenplay by:   Martin Berkeley based on a story by William Alland

Starring:  Craig Stevens, William Hopper and Alix Talton

Tagline: The most dangerous monster that ever lived!

The Overview:  Beware of spoilers

When volcanic eruptions set a gigantic prehistoric preying mantis free, the world becomes his buffet.  It is up to Col. Joe Parkman (Stevens), Dr. Nedrick Jackson (Hopper) and Marge Blaine (Talton) to find a way to stop this giant insect.

Documentary footage of Eskimos and jets taking off make poor filler footage.  The giant praying mantis looks good in scenes where it is busting into a building, but not so good when flying.  This viewing didn’t rate as high as the first time I saw The Deadly Mantis.  Of course I’m no longer eight.  The Deadly Mantis rates 2 of 5 stars.

“Day Shift” Starring Jamie Foxx – The Poster and Trailer are Here!

I like the poster and the trailer for Day Shift looks like fun.  Deal me in.

Jamie Foxx stars as a hard working blue collar dad who just wants to provide a good life for his quick-witted daughter, but his mundane San Fernando Valley pool cleaning job is a front for his real source of income, hunting and killing vampires as part of an international Union of vampire hunters. #DayShift #Netflix

RELEASE DATE: August 12th on Netflix

CAST: James Franco, Snoop Dogg, Dave Franco

“The Thing” (82) / Z-View

The Thing (1982)

Director:  John Carpenter

Screenplay by:  Bill Lancaster based on a short story by John W. Campbell Jr.

Starring:  Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley, Keith David, Richard Masur,  T.K. Carter, David Clennon, Richard Dysart, Charles Hallahan,  Peter Maloney, Donald Moffat, Joel Polis, Thomas G. Waites and Adrienne Barbeau (uncredited computer voice)

Tagline:  Man is The Warmest Place to Hide.

The Overview:  Beware of spoilers

Members of a US Antarctica research station go on full alert when a Norwegian helicopter begins buzzing their outpost.  One of the Norwegians is shooting at a husky that’s running towards the American station.  The helicopter lands and more shots ring out missing the dog and nearly hitting members of the US team. Garry (Moffat) shoots back, killing the Norwegian.  A fire caused by wild shots leads to the explosion of the helicopter and death of the pilot.

MacReady (Russell) and Dr. Copper (Dysart) fly to the Norwegian base.  Everyone there is dead! MacReady and Copper discover a disfigured burned vaguely human-looking corpse.  MacReady and Copper return to the US base with the corpse and more questions than answers.

The Norwegian dog had been given free reign at the US base.  When MacReady returns the dog is placed in a kennel with the US huskies.  Once the lights are out, the Norwegian dog begins to transform as it kills the US dogs and assimilates them.  The dogs’ screams alert the base and everyone shows up.  They’re shocked, but use a flamethrower to incinerate the thing.

They ultimately learn that the Norwegians discovered an alien ship.  One of the creatures from the ship thawed and began killing them.  It made it’s escape in the form of the Norwegian dog.

Dr. Blair runs computer simulations and realizes odds are that at least one of the US team has been assimilated.  The computer also shows that if one of the things makes it to civilization, humans will be wiped out.

Dr. Cooper suggests a blood test to determine if anyone has been compromised.  Before that can happen, the blood supply is destroyed, as are every means of communication and the transportation.  At least one of the US team is no longer human.  But who?

As they struggle for a solution, the lack of sleep and paranoia makes each person as much of a danger as the thing.  Will anyone survive?  And what of the human race?

Bill Lancaster’s script is closer to John Campbell’s short story than the 1951 film.  Everything comes together.  John Carpenter is the right director for this project — he respects the source material.  He’s supported by a wonderful cast led by Kurt Russell, and each cast member gets their moment to shine.  Stan Winston’s effects were groundbreaking for the time and still impress.  Ennio Morricone provides music that adds to the tension.

When I saw The Thing on it’s original release, the theater was nearly empty.  Over the years, The Thing developed a following and the props it deserves.  My initial rating for The Thing was 4 of 5 stars, but over the years, I’ve bumped it up to a more proper 5 of 5 stars.

“The Munsters” TV Show Trivia!

Sara Snow at posted 10 Things You Didn’t Know About The Munsters.  Before you click over, here are my top three and comments on each…

The Addams Family Coincidence:  …As a coincidence, The Munsters and The Addams Family premiered on their respective networks on the same day.  While this does appear as if CBS was completing ABC, the networks were unaware they were both producing spooky-themed family sitcoms. (I find it hard to buy that either network wasn’t aware of what the other was producing. – Craig)

Mel Blanc Was The Voice Of The Raven: The man behind the raven was famed voice actor and radio personality Mel Blanc, “The Man of 1,000 Voices.” (Who doesn’t love Mel Blanc? – Craig)

Why The Munsters Was Shot In Black & White:  the main one was cost; it was cheaper to film a show in black and white than in color… execs were concerned kids would find the show too scary if the spooky characters were in color… <Black and White> worked in the show’s favor since it felt like the classic black and white Universal monster movies… (I liked it for exactly the last reason.  It reminded me of the classic horror movies. – Craig)