Archive for August, 2018

Image result for megalodon 2018*Madsen Spoilers ahead*

A USA military vessel find survivors on a Russian submersible and finds themselves face to face with a giant shark.

In true tradition where the poster is better than the film, Megalodon is another low budget made for TV affair following in the fin tails of Shark Attack 3 and Megalodon (2002). When a giant shark is released after some illegal drilling most of the run time is spent with characters talking trivial lines, broken up by brief appearances of Michael Madsen chewing up sea air as Admiral King on an impressive the real Naval ship location.

Director James Thomas offers clips of a computer generated Meg shark swimming (recycled throughout) which occasionally bashes into the vessel. The effects are not much better than that of the superior Megalodon film Shark Hunter (2001).

That said, with zero budget Thomas offers a few Michael Bay-like sweeping camera shots. There’s a handful of good performance and impressive Russian dialogue from the actors. Notably is Caroline Harris as Lynch, even if she is hankered by Thunder Levin’s paper thin story and Koichi Petetsky’s limited script.

With a surprisingly good score produced by three composers to compliment the shark eating a boat in one, Russians haphazardly trying to escape the US navel ship, complete with CGI gun flash and people falling about like on the bridge of the Starship Enterprise as the shark terrorise the crew.

A patriotic speech finishes the third act off, and we are also treated to two fights. One involving Lynch, with Cold War tension not seen since Rocky IV. And later Madsen’s King heroically shows up one last time to help his seaman buddy Captain Streeper (Dominic Pace) in Die Hard/Under Siege style and literally face off with the shark.

Overall, it’s not The Meg but it’s all you’d expect from an Asylum production on the SYFY channel.

Advertisements

A troubled Vietnam veteran turned writer moves into a haunted house after inheriting it from his kooky aunt.

Director Steve Miner (Halloween H20: 20 Years Later, Friday the 13th Part 2) House oozes all the wacky horror comedy staples of the 80s. In the hey days of optical effects and practical make-up House is just as fun (but not as creepy) as on its initial release. At times echoing The Evil Dead (1981), in the vein of Fright Night (1985) and clearly infulcing The Burbs (1989) in terms of suspicion and locations, it deserves a tab in horror history.

Dispite some pacing issues Miner offers suspense at times with a few jump scares and eerie dream sequences. There’s severed hands and heads, an obese witch, the impressive zombified corpse of Big Ben, three demonic kids and a stop motion flying skull-face, there’s plenty of creepy visuals on display.

William Katt’s Roger Cobb balances the special effects with paranoia, obsession with his missing son and PTSD, there’s a lot going it what could have been a simple two dimensional character. Notable for horror aficionados Kane Hodder (of Jason, Friday the 13th fame) serves as stunt coordinator.

While the effects may not been as hidden by VHS grain and TV AV connectors on the Bluray format Miner’s House still has plenty of tongue-in-cheek horror fun.

Puppet spoilers ahead!

At a small-town convention a man looks to sells his brother’s puppet linked a murder 30 years earlier but all hell breaks loose when an ancient evil animates the other puppets and sends them on a bloody killing spree.

Directors Sonny Laguna and Tommy Wiklund’s offering, Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich is head and shoulders above many of the original sequels. Even if from the producers of The Meg and Bone Tomahawk, based on Charles Band’s beloved cult horror The Puppets Master (which sadly when straight to video in 1989), this reboot sadly lacks that cinematic production values or execution the long term remake/reboot/reimagining hardcore Puppet Master fans had hoped for. It sounded like a VHS horror fanatics dream, and it almost is, redeemed by some well executed and eerie puppet effects and a strong bloody latter half.

Even though lacking finesse there’s plenty of enjoyable blood, make-up effects, puppet designs and nods to the series to at least perk an interest, even if some of the addition puppet characters are as forgettable and hooky as the 1980-like T and A on display courteous of Jenny Pellicer and Kennedy Summers to name just a few. That said, the redesigned classic puppets (although not all present) are greatly welcomed. Most of the beloved puppets appear, Blade, Torch, Tunneller and Pinhead respectively. Also no one can fault the Richard Band’s excellent theme and horror legend Fabio Frizzi’s (Zombi, The Beyond) new score.

Usually a bit part actor Thomas Lennon is on fine form here as lead comic store owner and artist Edgar. The cast are solid enough. Notable are Michael Paré, an unrecognisable Udo Kier as Toulon and Barbra Crampton in a perfect role as a cop’ turned tour guide. Memorable is actor Skeet Jenkins (Cuddly Bear) who sets up a brief humorous post credit’s scene.

S. Craig Zahler’s delivers an enjoyable screenplay which works best when being played on the nose with surprise deaths. Story wise it’s a rework of Charles Band’s original, reminiscent of the evil Toulon shindigs of part two, echoing an Assault on Precinct 13 vibe in the more impressive final act where Laguna and Wiklund shine. Credit to Zahler the narrative, opening in 1989 then moving to present day, which thread hark backs to World War II (of the 3rd installment) throughout gives it some freshness, weight and mystery, the idea of multiple puppets also works in its favour.

While not the sharp big budget production fans had hoped for, it’s a horror gore step in the right direction. Hopefully with zombie Toulon walking into the moonlight in the closing will give the series a resurgence.

Image result for the megShark Spoiler Alert.

An unimaginable threat, a 75-foot-long prehistoric shark known as the Megalodon is set free from the depth of the ocean and only a rescue diver Jonas Taylor can stop it.

The MEG is what Jurassic Park was to the late Crichton’s novel. And that’s not a bad thing for Steve Altens’ novel MEG Terror of the Deep. It works commercially, and it looks great, director Jon Turteltaub gives it that cinematic feel that comes with a great effects and 150 million USD production values.

This adaption is entertaining mostly due to Jason Statham’s nonchalant likeable performance as Taylor who must must save the crew and the ocean itself from the giant shark. It’s more action orientated than thriller with hit and miss humour littered throughout. Rebecca Romijn-alike Jessica McNamee is memorable but her screen time is limited. Notable are Cliff Curtis and Rainn Wilson. The whole cast give solid enough performances including Winston Chao, Li Bingbing and striking Ruby Rose.

Most likely due to Jurassic World’s Mosasaurus the MEG novel prehistoric opening has been dropped and overall the bare bones of the novel remain, but not much more. One particular tweak from the book worked, with the later reveal that there’s more than one Megalodon. Oddly Shark Hunter (2001) and Megalodon (2002) feel closer to the novel than this. That said, these low budget serious toned ripoff attempts lack the execution of Turteltaub’s offering. Don’t expect the book and it won’t disappoint in terms of no brainers like Armageddon, Independence Day and Transformers to name a few blockbusters.

Although it cheekily borrows elements from Jaws (1975) and Jaws 3D (1983), this adaptation gives Meg legs for future film outings as there are plenty more Alten novels to adapt and die hard fans will always have the source material too. When is the film ever as good as the book, Turteltaub’s outing is no The Shinning exception, but is goes out of its way to be fun, even if only touching on depth.

Overall, it won’t blow novel fans away nor has it the gravitas of Jaws but for the casual viewer it’s a recommended piece of summer shark entertainment.