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Shark Night 3D

Shark Night

Incentive Filmed Entertainment, Next Films, Sierra / Affinity, Silverwood Films, USA, 2011
AKA:
Director: David R. Ellis
Writer: Will Hayes, Jesse Studenberg
Cast: Sara Paxton, Dustin Milligan, Chris Carmack, Katharine McPhee, Joel David Moore, Donal Logue, Joshua Leonard, Sinqua Walls, Alyssa Diaz, Chris Zylka, Jimmy Lee Jr., Damon Lipari, Christine Bently, Kelly Sry, Tyler Bryan, Stephanie Crow, Jessie Jalee, Nadiya Khan, David Speed, Michael Warren, Stephen Warren

Seven students (and a dog) of Tulane University heads off for a weekend at Sara’s private vacation home on an island in Lake Crosby. One of them looses one of his arms while waterskiing. At first they think it’s some sort of freak accident, but they soon realize it was a sharkattack. OC, phones don’t work on the island so some of them tries to take him to a hospital, but the boat is attacked by the shark, one of the girls ends up in the water and is killed. The boat crashes and explodes, so now we have six kids on an island without boat and one is seriously injured. Fortunately two locals turn up (one of them is Saras ex-boyfriend) and two of the kids go with them to call for an ambulance helicopter.

The dead girl was the injured guys girlfriend and when he hears the shark killed her he gets up, arms himself with a spear and goes into the water to avenge her. He is attacked but actually manages to kill the shark. Problem is it’s not the right shark. The dead shark is a Hammerhead and the shark that took his arm and killed his girlfriend was not. One shark in a lake would be unusual to say the least, but two or more of different species would be almost impossible unless someone for some reason put them there.

It turns out Lake Crosby is infested with sharks. There’s Hammerheads, Tigers, Cookie-cutters, Bulls and Great White’s and somebody did in fact put them there for a reason. Attached to the dead Hammerhead they find a video camera. Somebody is filming the shark attacks and making snuff movies of people being eaten by sharks.

The story is totally stupid. Even if there was a market for shark snuff movies, how did they get all these sharks into the lake? Where did they find them? Did they buy them or did they catch them themselves? How did they get them there? The only way I see is if they released little baby sharks into the lake. But if the sharks has been there for some time, why hasn’t anyone caught one or at least seen one. What do they eat apart from people? Is there really enough to feed so many sharks in such a confined space? How come they don’t turn on each other? Another thing, Nick is about to become a physician yet don’t now how to perform the “kiss of life”. The way he does it his patient would have died and there wouldn’t have been any regular kissing at the end of the film.

So is it bad? Nah, if You don’t hang yourself up on everything I just complained about it’s pretty entertaining. I liked it in a B-movie way if You get my drift. It was pretty obvious from the start which of the kids are shark food and which are not. It’s also rather easy to spot the bad guys. There is a little twist though, but since that was predictable to…

My verdict: 5 out of 10.

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Prey

Prey

Blumhouse Productions, Hyde Park Entertainment, Tremendum Pictures, USA, 2019
AKA: Solo
Director: Franck Khalfoun
Writer: David Coggeshall, Franck Khalfoun
Cast: Logan Miller, Kristine Froseth, Jolene Anderson, Jerrica Lai, Phodiso Dintwe, Anthony Jensen, Jody Mortara, Vela Cluff, Joey Adanalian, Nathan Healy

Young Toby Burns is full of guilt over his father’s death. His dad wanted him to help out in the garage, but instead he stayed inside surfing the internet on his phone, while his dad was murdered by carjackers outside.

He reluctantly join the Lost and Found program. This program involves two weeks on a sailboat at sea outside the coast of Malaysia leading up to a “solo”, where the members of the program is left on a deserted island each, all by themselves, for three days and three nights.

At first Toby isn’t doing to good. Monkeys steal his food, he steps on a shell and injure his foot and he gets ill and throw up all over the place after eating raw clams. He also believes someone or something is watching him from the dark of the jungle and he panics and uses up his only signal flare.

Next day things get a little better as he meets Madeleine. She is sixteen and lives on the island with her mother. She shows him plants that can be used to take the pain away from his injured foot, she hunts and cooks for him and teaches him how to spear fish. She also warns him about the snakes, but tells him he’ll be safe as long as he stays on his side of the island and keep close to the fire.

Madeleine has lived on the island since she was a little girl. She came there with her parents who were missionaries. The island was inhabited then but her father and everybody else died. She doesn’t really remember what happened but she thinks her mother killed them all. And she tells Toby her mother mustn’t know about him or he will be killed too.

Toby decides he can’t leave Madeleine on the island, but he has to keep out of her mother’s sight until the boat comes back for him and there is also some sort of creature lurking in the dark.

There are some obvious plot holes. No program in the world would leave teens alone on uninhabited snake infested islands without means to communicate. Toby is having nightmares about a man in a monkey suit stabbing his father to death. Yet he never saw the murderer since the carjackers raced from the scene before Toby got there. Madeleine is dressed much like any sixteen years old girl on a hot summers day. If she’s been isolated since she was a little kid, where does she buy her clothes?

Apart from this, and the fact that meeting Madeleine transforms Toby from a helpless victim to a full blown Rambo in just a couple of days, the film isn’t all bad. It’s a quite OK little horror movie and I did enjoy it.

My verdict: 5 out of 10.

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The Shallows

The Shallows

Columbia Pictures, Weimaraner Republic Pictures, Ombra Films, USA, 2016
AKA: Lost Vacation, In the Deep
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Writer: Anthony Jaswinski
Cast: Blake Lively, Óscar Jaenada, Angelo Josue Lozano Corzo, Joseph Salas, Brett Cullen, Sedona Legge, Pablo Calva, Diego Espejel, Janelle Bailey, Ava Dean, Chelsea Moody, Sully Seagull

Nancy is in Mexico looking for a beach. It’s a secret beach so nobody will tell You where it is and if You find it anyway, nobody will tell You it’s name. It’s a bit like Fight Club. Nancy isn’t a fighter, but a surfer, and so was her mom. It was her mom who told her of this beach in the first place. She spent time her when she was young, but she fell seriously ill and the doctors couldn’t save her. That’s why Nancy dropped out of med school and went surfing on her moms old secret beach.

She hitches a ride to the beach with Carlos in his pick-up. She tells him she’s alone cause her friend met some guy the night before and was too hung over to come with her. She basicly tells him she’s on her way to somewhere nobody in the world knows about all by her self. That should be a big no-no, but Carlos is the decent Mexican. (I’m convinced most Mexicans are decent, but in Hollywood movies statistics are to their disadvantage). Carlos is a good guy though, which is obvious when he decline payment for the ride. He says he was going the same way anyway since he lives not far away. Nancy calls her younger sister and tells her she’s on moms beach. She talks to her father who tries to convince her to come home to Texas and finish school. Then she goes surfing.

But before all this (really?), before the credits a young boy is playing on the beach when he finds a helmet with a GoPro mounted on it washed ashore. He plays the film and see two surfers getting attacked by a shark. The boy runs from the beach and passes a washed up broken surf board. It’s a clue to the chronology but we don’t know that yet since we still haven’t seen Nancy’s board. Therefore there is no way for us to know that the boy is decent Carlos’ son and he runs to get his dad and by doing so the beginning of the story becomes the end, or maybe the other way around. Sorry for spoiling the film, but if You have something better to do than watch a girl and a seagull sharing a rock, You can stop watching now.

The rest of us watch Nancy surf. Out there she encounters two other surfers. One of them has a helmet with a GoPro mounted on it. What is it with Mexican surfers and GoPro’s? (nudge, nudge.) They appear to be friendly and invite Nancy to join them, but she want’s to do her own thing. Anyway, they give her some advice and warnings of the undercurrents, corals that burn, and some rocks that isn’t visible at high tide but becomes little islets at low tide.

It’s getting late and the two others are leaving. Nancy says she’s gonna stay and catch another wave. She watches a bit suspicious as they pack their stuff in the car but they too, are decent Mexicans and they leave her backpack and her valuables where they are. Nancy discovers a dead whale and paddles over to take a closer look. This is a bad idea since the whale already has been claimed by a great white. Nancy tries to get away but is attacked by the shark and badly bit in a leg, but she gets lose and climbs on top of the whale carcass. The shark tries to get to her but eventually she makes it to one of the islets together with a seagull with a wounded wing. She has to patch up her leg somehow and figure out a way to get off the islet before high tide returns. The beach is only 200 yards away but the shark is going back and forth between her and the dead whale.

After spending the night with the seagull she wakes up and see a man on the beach. She calls for help, but unfortunately he is the bad Mexican she’s more or less has been expecting all the time. Instead of helping her or calling for help he steals her things at the beach. Then he sees her surfboard a couple of feet from the beach and get greedy. He thinks it’s a good idea to go get it. It wasn’t. Later in the morning the two surfers from yesterday turn up. When they see the wounded Nancy on the islet they jump in to come get her. She tries to warn them but one of them replies “There are no sharks here”. Well, he was wrong.

The plot is very simple, really. Nancy is on a sinking islet (or rather the water is rising), she’s wounded pretty bad, and the shark won’t let her leave. He can’t get to her now but when the water rises… When the film premiered there was a lot of hype and then most viewers seemed to get rather disappointed. There isn’t much of a story and there are several plot holes and weird happenings, but I don’t think it’s bad. It doesn’t really make sense to me why the shark just doesn’t eat the whale. There’s plenty of food there and yet he or she has to kill and eat every single person that gets into the water. The shark patrolling and stalking Nancy doesn’t make sense either. Most predators give up. They don’t stalk a certain person for days when there is alternative food served. The filmmakers try to explain this width a big hook stuck in the sharks jaws. Somebody has hurt him and now he hates humans, sort of. I don’t really buy that, but what ever. A rather weird goof is the buoy Nancy tries to hold on to. when two of the three chains that hold it in place breaks it falls over. WTF? Buoys don’t work that way. The chains aren’t there to keep it upright, but to stop it from drifting away. It’s like a boat. It doesn’t fall over when you pull the anchor up. (Well there was this famous Swedish boat once back in 1628, but apart from that…)

So, did I hate it? No. I think it was quite entertaining. In fact, I have to say it was the best shark movie I’ve seen in a while. Several reviewers have complained about bad CGI, but I don’t think that’s fair. If You compare The Shallows width all the SyFy/Asylum shark films the CGI is extremely good. The Shallows has also been called a Jaws rip off, and [spoiler] the way Nancy finally kills the shark [/spoiler] has been both laughed at and criticized. I think, if The Shallows is a Spielberg rip off we have to go deeper than Jaws. Four years before Jaws, Spielberg directed a film for TV called Duel. It’s about a business man who is getting stalked by a psychotic truckdriver in the Californian desert. This truckdriver, for reasons unexplained is out to kill the businessman with his truck. In the end the businessman uses the same tactics as Nancy does in The Shallows. Same, same, but a great white instead of a truck.

My verdict: 6 out of 10.

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Dead Season

Dead Season

USA, 2012
AKA: The Running Dead
Director: Adam Deyoe
Writer: Adam Deyoe, Joshua Klausner, Loren Semmens
Cast: Scott Peat, Marissa Merrill, James C. Burns, Corsica Wilson, Marc L. Fusco, Todd Pritchett, Grant Beijon, Kevin O. Matta, Anna Vawser, Greg Weisman, Leishla M. Perez Figeroa, Sean McDonald, Dave Wilhoit, Barbara Kerford, Carmen Gloria, Matt Aidan, Sue Braden, Jeanette Caldera, Randall Carver, Tom Caster, Louis Chalif, Phil Connery, Amy Coughlin, Scott Deckert, Erica Delgado, Adam Deyoe, Douglas J. Eboch, Mia Eden, David Eshelman, Nancye Ferguson, Dawn Ferris, Randy Francis, Mariella Fredo, Daisy Galvis, Daniel Gavin, Jordan Graham, Woodrow Wilson Hancock III, Benny Harris, Jostel Hason, Jeb Heil, Alexis Hernandez, Dan Hicks, Jessica Houghton, Ben Idom. Stefan Ionesco, Derek Jacobsen, Danny J. Lee, Joel Michaely, Christian Mooney, Teresa R. Parker, Ava Peat, Matt Peat, Tonya Peat, Sara Raftery, Jeyson L. Robles, Natalie Smyka, Mr. Snake, Rachel Tamayo, Evelyn Vaccaro, Evelyn Osorio Vaccaro, Amanda Wigley, Collin Wigley, James Zimbardi

Prior to the zombie apocalypse Elvis was working as an EMT in Pittsburgh. Now, a year later, he has buried his family and walked from Pittsburgh to Florida, where he is trying his best to survive anyway he can. At night he talks to Tweeter on the radio. He has never met her but he tells her of his plan to get away from the zombie infested main lands. A guy he used to work with is living at a marina in Miami and is helping people get away by supplying boats and travel plans for them. One night Tweeter and a kid she met two months ago turns up at Elvis’ place. They’re actually there to try to steal food from him, but as they don’t get away with it instead they form sort of an alliance and follows him towards the coast.

When they arrive at the marina, Leach (Dan Hicks of Evil Dead II and Darkman fame) first reacts in a funny way when he see Tweeter and the kid. They trade Elvis’ food supplies for a boat and directions to this supposedly zombie free island. He warns them that the fish isn’t edible due to radiation from earlier nuclear testing on the island. The only way from Leach’s place to the boat is through a warehouse full of zombies. By the look on Leach’s face when they leave, and by his reaction when he saw Tweeter and the kid, I got he impression that he knew what was awaiting them on the island, or didn’t believe they would make it to the boat alive. Either way he didn’t care to much as it was business as usual to him. And behold – Leach turns up again later in found footage on a certain island.

The kid doesn’t make it, but Elvis and Tweeter has to abandon the boat when it runs out of fuel not far from the beaches of the island. They swim ashore and set out to explore it. It doesn’t take long before they run into both zombies and a group of people living in a gated community. Elvis is more than welcome since their previous doctor is dead, but Tweeter isn’t so sure about the group. She stumbles upon some home movies, and among them there are tapes of medical experiments on humans infected by zombie bites but not yet dead. By keeping them alive and shutting of blood flow body parts can be amputated and meat “harvested” before they turn into zombies. Why let good meat go to waste?

My first impression of Dead Season was that it was yet another generic zombie film. It felt like a rip off of The Walking Dead, and they even referred to the zombies as “walkers”, but according to the filmmakers the script for Dead Season predates TWD and filming was mostly done when TWD premiered. Since The Walking Dead is based on comic books, those could still be an inspiration. I first found the film average. Not really bad, but not really good either. But then it somehow got to me and the story sucked me in. It’s obvious the filmmakers are zombi enthusiasts as there are a number of references to other films and zombie lore. First of all the zombie apocalypse starts in Pittsburgh, which of course, as everybody knows, is the zombie capitol of the world ever since Romero’s Night of the Living Dead and it’s sequels. We have human experiments and zombies on islands in both Romero’s Day of the Dead and in Fulci’s Zombi 2 and Zombi 3. There is also a zombie stowaway on a boat in Zombi 2. At the compound they are speaking width someone on a military base just outside London on the radio, and he tells them England is practically taken over by the dead and that they are now running. This is probably a reference to the 28 Days Later franchise.

The title for the British DVD release is The Running Dead. I’ve never been a fan of running zombies and I figure this is why it took me so long to get around to watch Dead Season. Ironically there are no running zombies in it until the last part of the film, and then we get an explanation to why these running zombies don’t behave like they used to do. I’ve read several reviews where people apparently missed this explanation and are confused to why some zombies are fast while the rest is not, but to me it was like “WOW, so that’s why!”. To me this explanation makes Dead Season build a bridge between two separate zombie lines and actually changing the rulebook. An speaking of rulebooks, the book Leach is reading when Elvis knocks on his door is The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks, author of World War Z.

All those references made me reconsider and Dead Season went from average to above average. It was even better when re-watched.

My verdict: 6 out of 10.

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Horror Hospital

Horror Hospital

Noteworthy Films, UK, 1973
AKA: Computer Killers/Death Ward #13/Eastworld/Doctor Bloodbath
Director: Antony Balch
Writer: Antony Balch, Alan Watson
Cast: Michael Gough, Robin Askwith, Vanessa Shaw, Ellen Pollock, Dennis Price, Skip Martin, Kurt Christian, Barbara Wendy, Kenneth Benda, Martin Grace, Colin Skeaping, George Herbert, James Boris IV, Allan ‘The River’ Hudson, Simon Lust, Antony Balch, Ray Corbett, Richard Gordon, Alan Watson

Jason Jones was vocalist with a rock band. After being sacked he goes and see them perform and end up in a fight with their new transvestite singer. Fed up with everything he decides to have a holliday. He finds an ad for “Hairy Holidays, Fun and Sun for the under 30’s” and decides to go. The creepy travel agent comes on to him and want to take him to the Bahamas, but when he realizes it’s the “Hairy Holiday” Jason wants he gives him a special prize of 5 pounds for the whole week. He doesn’t even want to be paid in advance.

On the train Jason meet Judy. She is going to visit an aunt she has never met. Her aunt and her mother had an arguement before Judy was born and never spoke since. Aunt Harris used to run a brothel in Hamburg before the second world war. She hooked up with a strange finnish doctor and when the war broke out he took her with him to Helsinki. After the war she brought him with her back to England. Now, Judy’s mother has died and aunt Harris is her only relative. It turns out Jason and Judy is going to the same place, since Doctor Storm is the one running the “Hairy Holiday” health hotel.

There were supposed to be a car waiting by the station, but after waiting for some time they ask the stationmaster for directions and take off on foot. They are caught in the rain and take cover in an old ruin, Eventually they get picked up by two men on motorcycles working for Dr. Storm, and are delivered to a big mansion. They are let in by a dwarf and signed in by a woman who turns out to be Judy’s aunt. She is upset to see Judy. She had sent her a letter telling her specifically not to come visit, but Judy never got the letter. There is a shortage of rooms so Jason and Judy have to share one despite Judys objections. She doesn’t object when he join her in the shower later on though.

When shown to their room by the dwarf, Frederick, a man with a big scar on his forhead comes out of a room and in the room the bedsheets are drenched in blood. The dwarf says someone had a small accident and hopes they’ll be more lucky.

At dinner Jason and Judy sits down with the other guests, and tries to make conversation. All the others are dressed in white, quite pale and with big scars on their forheads. None of them answers or even looks at the newcomers. When aunt Harris sits down with them they ask her what is going on, but before they get any answers a girl named Millie, the only other person at the table without the scar, trows a tantrum and is hauled off by two motorcyclists in black leathers and white helmets. None of the others reacts to this, but Jason and Judy are shocked and goes back to their room. Dr. Storm, who is in a wheelchair, comes and see them. Judy sais she want to leave, but the house is locked down for the night and there is nowhere to go. Dr. Storm tells her to stay for the night and wait till morning. He claims she and Jason will be quite safe as long as they stay in their room an keep the door locked.

Aunt Harris and Fredrick are digging graves in the garden while Jason and Judy make love. Later on Jason sneaks out to see if he can find out what’s really going on in this weird manor. Judy gets tired of waiting and follows him. She finds a room with eight beds. It looks like the people in them are dead but they remove the covering over their heads and look at her. They all have scars. When Jason get back to the room Judy is gone. He sees some kind of disfiguered monster before he is knocked out from behind.

Next day Jason finally learns what is going on. Dr. Storm is luring young people to his place and operating on them in his lab. He has developed a technique of brain surgery which turn his victims into zombies. They feel nothing and have no will of their own but are controlled with a computer. Judy is being held in a cell with Millie. Preparations for Millies operation has begun and after her it’s Judy’s turn. Then Jasons’. Jason manages to escape but is being hunted by the motorcyclists. Will he get away from them and will he be able to save Judy before she is turned into a mindless zombie?

Horror Hospital might have been the definition of gore in 1973, but by todays standards it’s pretty innocent and tame. It’s still good for a few laughs, though. The story is over the top with a Rolls Royce used for decapitating escapees, a gym full of zombies, an army of bikers in black leather, brain surgery and nightly burials in the garden. It reminds me of The Rocky Horror Picture Show but without the music. If they did a remake today I’m sure it would be a blockbuster. Somebody call Hollywood!

My verdict: 8 out of 10.

Burn, Witch, Burn

Burn Witch Burn

Independent Artists, UK, 1962
AKA: Night of the Eagle
Director: Sidney Hayers
Writer: Fritz Leiber Jr., Charles Beaumont, Richard Matheson, George Baxt
Cast: Peter Wyngarde, Janet Blair, Margaret Johnston, Anthony Nicholls, Colin Gordon, Kathleen Byron, Reginald Beckwith, Jessica Dunning, Norman Bird, Judith Stott, Bill Mitchell, Paul Frees, George Roubicek, Frank Singuineau, Gary Woolf

Burn, Witch, Burn is based on Conjure Wife, the first novel by Fritz Leiber Jr. The same novel has also been filmed as Weird Woman, directed by Reginald Le Borg in 1944, and as Witches’ Brew, directed by Richard Shorr and Herbert L. Strock in 1980.

Prof. Norman Taylor is teaching psychology at the Hempnell Medical Collage. He is well respected by his students, he has a beautiful house, a small cottage at the sea, a loving wife, Tansy, and is considered for a place at the board. He is very successful. So successful that on bridge night at his and Tansy’s one of his fellow teachers asks if he had sold his soul to the devil.

Norman is a firm disbeliever in anything occult, so when he finds out his wife has been practicing Witchcraft he is shocked. She claims witchcraft is the source of a lot of his success, and that there are people who tries to hurt him out of envy, and she is afraid of what would happen if her protective spells wasn’t there. Norman won’t hear anything about it and makes her burn all artefacts having to do with witchcraft.

Next week Normans luck seems to have turned. He almost gets run over by a van, and when he gets to work he is confronted by one of his students who is upset and jealous because his girlfriend, also a student of Normans, has whispered Normans name when he told her he loved her. He now believe his girlfriend and their teacher is having an affair. Then Norman is called to a meeting and learns that the same girl claims he has forced himself on her. When he gets back to his office the boyfriend is back and pulls a gun on him.

When Norman gets home he gets a tape in the mail. It’s a recording of a lecture he’s given on superstition. When he plays the tape he is getting affected by something. Tansy turns the tape recorder off, but the phone rings and the effect continues through the phone line. Someone or something is at the door making hideous sounds and trying to get in but everything is back to normal when Tansy manages to hang up. She is convinced someone is trying to kill Norman by ways of black magic.

Next day Tansy is gone. She has left a message for Norman explaining that she intends to sacrifice her self so he can be safe. Norman sets out to find her before she does something horrible, but will he find her in time. and who can he trust?

It’s pretty obvious early on in the film who is behind everything, but is it really witchcraft or is it just manipulating Normans mind? Either way it’s a suspenseful story.

My verdict: 5 out of 10.

Halloween

Halloween

Compass International Pictures/Falcon International Pictures/Falcon International Productions, USA, 1978
AKA: John Carpenter’s Halloween/The Babysitter Murders
Director: John Carpenter
Writer: John Carpenter, Debra Hill
Cast: Donald Pleasence, Jamie Lee Curtis, Nancy Kyes, P.J. Soles, Charles Cyphers, Kyle Richards, Brian Andrews, John Michael Graham, Nancy Stephens, Arthur Malet, Mickey Yablans, Brent Le Page, Adam Hollander, Robert Phalen, Tony Moran, Will Sandin, Sandy Johnson, David Kyle, Peter Griffith, Nick Castle, Barry Bernardi, Joseph Cornelius, George O’Hanlon Jr., Darla Rae, Jennifer Rhodes, Gwen Van Dam, Tommy Lee Wallace

It’s Halloween night 1963 in Haddonfield, Illinois. 17 years old Judith Myers is supposed to look after her brother Michael, 6, but she has her boyfriend over and instead they go upstairs to have sex. When the boyfriend leaves Michael grabs a big knife from a kitchen drawer, puts on a clown mask, goes up to his naked sister and stabs her to death.

On october 30, the night before Halloween, there is a storm. Michael Myers escape from the mental institution in Smith’s Grove, where he has been locked up for fifteen years, by attacking a nurse and stealing her car. Dr. Samuel Loomis, who is Michaels psychiatrist, describes him as pure evil. Michael hasen’t said a word for fifteen years, only stared at the wall with empty eyes. Dr. Loomis is convinced Michael is going home to Haddonfield.

Next day, real estate agent Morgan Strode asks his daughter Laurie to drop off the keys to the Myers house under the doormat on her way to school. On her way Laurie runs into Tommy Doyle, whom she is babysitting that evening. He tells her not to go up to the Myers house. Something bad happened there a long time ago and the kids in town think it’s haunted. As she is leaving the keys we see the shape of someone inside the dark house watching her. In class Laurie sees a person in a white mask standing by a car. It appears he is watching her, but when she looks back he is gone.

As Tommy is leaving school he is being taunted by some bullies. They try to scare him by saying the Boogeyman is gonna get him. Tommy haven’t heard of the boogieman so he gets scared and confused. When the bullies take off one of them runs straight into Michael. Michael gets in the car and follows Tommy. Laurie walks home together with her friends Lynda and Annie. Annie is going to babysit Leslie just across the street from where Laurie will be babysitting Tommy. Lynda is seing her boyfriend but sais they might pop by sometime during the evening. Michael keeps stalking them, but Laurie is the only one who see him and the other girls make jokes about it.

Sheriff Brackett, who is also Annes father, is checking out a store break-in. He thinks it was probably some kids, since they only stole knives, ropes and some halloween masks. Dr. Loomis aproach him and tells him about Myers, how dangerous he is, and that he probably is in Haddonfield. Bracket is hesitant at first but agrees to go to the Myers house with Loomis. Somebody has obviously been in the house and they find a partially eaten dog. When they hear that somebody has stolen the tombstone of Judith Myers Dr. Loomis is sure it is Michael.

While babysitting Leslie, Annie gets a phone call from her boyfriend. He wants her to come and pick him up, so she leaves Leslie with Laurie and Tommy. Laurie and the kids are watching The Thing on TV (John Carpenter would direct a remake of this a couple of years later), and Tommy asks about the Boogeyman. Laurie is a little concerned when Annie never returns for Leslie but thinks she’s probably having sex with her boyfriend, and will show up later. Lynda and her boyfriend show up at the house where Annie is supposed to be, and when they find the house empty they decide to borrow the master bedroom. Dr. Loomis is staking out the Myers house and Michael is staking out Laurie and her friends.

Halloween wasn’t the first slasher film, but it became a genre model for later slasher films. I first saw it on the big screen and then it felt very new and original. Today 40 years later it doesn’t stand out in the same way, partly since horror has evolved but partly also since so many later films has reused so much of the ideas that set Halloween apart, that it has become mainstream. It’s still one of my all time favourites though. Bodycount is surprisingly low for a slasher: only 5 (+ one dog).

My verdict: 10 out of 10.

Tilt

Tilt

Ball & Chain Productions, ReKon Productions, USA, 2017
AKA:
Director: Kasra Farahani
Writer: Kasra Farahani, Jason O’Leary
Cast: Christian Calloway, Elijah Collins, Joseph Cross, Jessy Hodges, Billy Khoury, Kyle Koromaldi, C.S. Lee, Brian Leng, Ron Marasco, Rya Meyers, Shelley Mitchell, Alexia Rasmussen, Jade Sealey, Kelvin Yu, Junes Zahdi, Michael Zakhar, Keir Gilchrist, Logan Miller

Jack Torrance is a writer with writersblock. He pretends to be working but starts to slip into madnes. Sorry wrong film, but not really. Joseph Burns did a documentary about flipper games called Tilt which had some success and ever since, he has been working on his new film. It’s not really going anywhere and in reality he is unemployed and on his way into a depression. His wife Joanna is pregnant but her work as a nurse is what keeps them floating.

Joanna tries to use her connections to get Joseph a job, but he’s not really interested. He doesn’t seem very interested in the expected baby either. When he doesn’t get anywhere with his film, he takes to roam the streets at night showing more and more psychotic signs. Obviously he is heading for disaster.

Tilt basicly is Shining except for the suroundings. Instead of an isolated Hotel we’re in the middle of the city. Joseph Cross even looks a bit like a young Jack Nicholson, but unfortunately Farahani is no Kubrik. Acting is fine and execution of the film is OK. The story is boring and predictable though.

My verdict: 3 out of 10.

The Ninth Configuration

The Ninth Configuration

Ninth Configuration, USA, 1980
AKA: Twinkle, Twinkle, Killer Kane
Director: William Peter Blatty
Writer: William Peter Blatty
Cast: Stacy Keach, Scott Wilson, Jason Miller, Ed Flanders, Neville Brand, George DiCenzo, Moses Gunn, Robert Loggia, Joe Spinell, Alejandro Rey, Tom Atkins, Steve Sandor, Richard Lynch, Gordon Mark, William Lucking, Stephen Powers, David Healy, William Paul, Tom Shaw, Gordon K. Kee, Bruce Boa, Linda Blatty, Hobby Gilman, Marilyn Raymon, Bobby Bass, Billy Blatty, William Peter Blatty, Tim Rossovich

“Towards the end of the war in Vietnam an unusually high percentage of american servicemen suddenly manifested symptoms of psychosis. Most of them was in combat and had no prior history of mental disturbance. These facts plus the epidemic scope of the problem and the controversial nature of the vietnam war led american authorities to wonder wether many if not most of the men, were faking. To probe the mystery, the government established a network of secret study centres and clinics. The last of these No. 18 was highly experimental in nature set up in an old abandoned castle in Pacific NorthWest in United States.”

Psychiatrist Colonel Kane of the United States Marine Corps arrive at the castle to take command. The place is chaotic with one inmate weirder than another. One of them is trying to stage classic plays by Shakespear but with dogs as actors. Problem is he only has one dog. Another one thinks he’s superman and wears his superman outfit most of the time. Upon arrival Kane is greeted by a doctor who turn out to be an inmate who has stolen the real doctors clothes.

Among the inmates is Billy Cutshaw. He was an astronaut but ruined a spacemission when he suddenly went mad and refused to enter the spaceship. When asked why later in the movie he admits he was scared and panicked. He never say why he got scared, but prior to the mission he was a guest at a party at actress Chris McNeil’s house when Chris’ 12 years old daughter Regan suddenly tells him “You’re gonna die up there” before urinating on the carpet. This of course happened in The Exorcist which preceded this film, but Regans statement was what scared Cutshaw to abort the spacemission.

At one point Cutshaw sais he suspect Kane of being crazy, since psychiatrists often go crazy and have the highest suicide rate of any profession. Kane has recuring nightmares about the war, and himself holding the decapitated head of a young boy in his hands. When asked about the nightmares he claims they belonged to his brother “Killer Kane” who was a violent murderer personally responsible for killing hundreds of people in the war. He is dead now but by telling his brother about the dreams he passed them on to him.

After a discussion about wether Hamlet is mad or in fact saves himself from going mad by pretending to be, Kane tries a new aproach by letting the inmates indulge in their madness instead of trying to repress it. This seem to have a slightly positive effect.

Cutshaw and Kane have several discussions about faith, religion and wether there is a meaning to life or not. At one point he makes Kane promise to if posible give him a sign should he die first. One day Cutshaw escapes and goes to a bar. He gets recognised by a biker gang who harass and assault him. Kane goes after him but he to ends up being assaulted by the bikers. He tries to reason with them but to no good and eventually he snaps.

On the surface The Ninth Configuration might look like crazy people doing crazy stuff while other crazy people tries to cure them, but when You get into the story it’s really a thriller. A lot of the conversations between Kane and the inmates are deep and cover universal questions. Even if it has very little to do with The Exorcist it is obvious it’s sort of a sequel. You can se similar thoughts being the foundation once You scrape of all the icing. Apart from flashbacks to the war and Cutshaw and Kanes run in with the biker gang there isn’t very much violence, but The Ninth Configuration is more of a psychological thriller than a horror movie.

My verdict: 9 out of 10.

The Night Visitor

The Night Visitor

Hemisphere Pictures, Glazier, USA, Sweden, Panama, 1971
AKA: Lunatic, Salem Come to Supper
Director: Laslo Benedek
Writer: Guy Elmes, Samuel Roeca
Cast: Max von Sydow, Trevor Howard, Liv Ullmann, Per Oscarsson, Rupert Davies, Andrew Keir, Jim Kennedy, Arthur Hewlett, Hanne Bork, Gretchen Franklin, Bjørn Watt-Boolsen, Lotte Freddie, Erik Kühnau

Salem is in an asylum for the criminally insane, convicted of the axemurder of a farmhand. He claims he is innocent, that he was framed by his sister and her husband, and that he was misrepresented by his lawyer. At the trial his lawer changed the plea from not guilty to guilty by reason of insanity at the last minute, and thus getting Salem off jail but still locked away.

Two years after the trial things start to get weird at the farm where his two sisters, Emmie and Ester, and his brother in law, Dr. Anton Jenks, still live. There is some tension between the sisters as Anton and Ester wants to sell the family farm, while Emmie refuses. Ester and Anton owns one third and also controls Salems part, but Emmie still owns one third so they can’t really do anything unless they can make her change her mind, or if she would die and leave her part to Ester.

Dr. Jenks get called away to a house nearby where the daughter has been found dead in her bed. He can see she has ben strangled and when he opens his bag there are hypodermic needles and sedatives missing but for some reason they have been exchanged for several of his own ties. He suspect his wife for this and confront her when he gets back home. Their parrot drives him mad by repeating “Hit him Anton” over and over but when he throws the cage to the floor the parrot gets loose.

Anton claims he saw Salem standing in a closet when chasing the parrot. He believes Salem somehow has found a way to sneak out from the asylum at night and then sneak back in again. Maybe to get revenge and hurt the people responsible for putting him there in the first place. Ester doesn’t know what to believe and starts to doubt she can trust her husbands sanity.

Salem is a skilled chess player, and at the asylum he plays with one of the wardens. In The Seventh Seal Max von Sydow portraits a knight who plays chess with Death. The Seventh Seal was of course directed by Ingmar Bergman who is the father of Liv Ullmans daughter Linn. In Troell’s The Emigrants and The New Land von Sydow and Ullman plays husband and wife. To americans von Sydow is probably most known as Father Merrin from The Exorcist. He never played chess with the Devil though.

The Night Visitor is a straight forward told story, even if there is some sort of twist a la Edgar Allan Poe at the end. There is also a lot of Max von Sydow running in the snow in his underwear.

My verdict: 6 out of 10.