Tuesday, December 27, 2011

DIAL M FOR MURDER (1954)

Ray Milland has had about enough of his wife. He's found out that she's cheating on him and suddenly that Last Will and Testament where she left all of her considerable money to him is startin' to look pretty good. He's not in a rush though, oh no, he's taken months to plan out the perfect murder and tonight while he's out at a dinner party with plenty of witnesses around his wife is going to be murdered at their home...but if you know anything about Hitchcock you know there's going to be a twist or two or maybe not.

From what I've read Hitchcock only did this film due to a contractual obligation, but I believe (I have zero proof of this) that Hitch was partially interested in turning the play into a film because nearly the entire movie takes place on a single set and he wanted to maybe use the experience as practice for his massive single set masterpiece he would make later that same year: REAR WINDOW. Don't quote me on that, it's just me thinking out loud.

Anyway, DMFM is a good film. It's nothing groundbreaking (even though some of the camerawork is very impressive), but it's good for a one time watch. One thing I did notice that impressed me was Grace Kelly's dresses change colour as the film progressed and her situation became more dire. The first five pictures (after the poster) below show the progression. At first she is happy and her dress is crimson red, then a darker red, then white, gray and finally black.

Not the greatest Hitchcock film, but still a solid one that deserves to be seen.

Monday, December 26, 2011

SCREAM OF THE BANSHEE (2011)

SCREAM OF THE BANSHEE is a nice horror movie to watch while laying in bed trying to fall asleep. A college professor receives a mysterious package in the mail. Inside is a metal glove along with a hand drawn map of the bowels of the college. After some searching, her assistants find another mysterious box that when opened reveals a ancient severed head of an banshee. Suddenly the head comes alive screams a super loud scream and explodes into dust. Now everybody who heard the scream is cursed and the banshee monster is out to kill them. Of course nobody knows that, but they figure it out soon enough when they start showing up dead.

The idea is fine, it kinda reminds me of PRINCE OF DARKNESS a little bit, but unlike POD SOTB doesn't create an atmosphere of dread or do anything original (that bug creature freaked me the fuck out!). SOTB is strictly by the numbers and that's it's main problem: we've already seen all of this before. If you are going to have a horror movie with a bland story idea then you need separate yourself from the crowd by doing something unique whether it be ultraviolence or massive gore or lots of attractive actors/actresses getting naked or really witty dialogue...you need something!!! SOTB does none of those things. The actors do a good job with what they got, but there's zero nudity, zero gore, not very much blood, the banshee creature is silly looking and walks with that shaky seizure walk that I hate so much, Lance Henriksen doesn't even really show up until 75 minutes into the film and the special effects were a disaster.

I can't recommend it at all. If you need me I'll be in my room admiring James Parker's mustache in PRINCE OF DARKNESS...well, that sounded much gayer than I intended it to.

FRIGHT NIGHT (2011)

If this FRIGHT NIGHT was the first FRIGHT NIGHT ever made, nobody would be clamoring for a remake...come to think of it, I can't remember anybody clamoring for a remake to begin with! Oh well, the damage is done so let's give it a shot and see what they've done. Who knows, maybe it's awesome...

...it's not. The film opens with a vampire killing a family. The scene is so vague and brief that I could barely even register what was happening. Next we are introduced to Charley Brewster, an average teen with an unaveragely pretty girlfriend (well at least that's one improvement over the original!). Charley's normal life is turned upside down when his friend, Evil Ed, informs him that his new neighbor is a vampire...already this movie is diverging so much from the original that it might as well just be a completely new story all together.  Anyway, so once Charley discovers his neighbor is a vampire, he contacts a local celebrity, Peter Vincent, for help. Peter is no longer a funny, pathetic and lovable horror movie host. Instead, he's a cocky magician that comes off like a bizarre lovechild of Criss Angel and Russell Brand. Ugh, you know what? Who fucking cares? As a remake FRIGHT NIGHT (2011) is garbage, but as a stand alone vampire film it's just OK.

The whole thing comes off more like an episode of a TV show than it does a movie. Gone are the enjoyable characters from the original, instead they've been replaced with forgettable characters. Gone are the awesome actors that brought those characters to life, instead they've been replaced with actors that seem to be happy with just turning in an passable performance. Gone are the awesome special effects, instead they've been replaced with middle-of-the-road CGI. Gone is the tightly written script that masterfully mixed horror and campy humor, instead it's been replace with a generic script that masterfully mixes boredom and light blasphemy.

Wow. This review ended up a little more negative than I intended it to be, but I really love the original FRIGHT NIGHT and even though this remake wasn't too bad, it does not deserve to be called FRIGHT NIGHT.  It should have just been a completely different thing.

Part 1 - Fright Night (1985)
Part 2 - Fright Night Part 2 (1988)
Remake 2 - Fright Night 2 (2013)

Look at that chick's face. LOL.

Easily the highlight of the movie.