Archive for June, 2019

A detective apprehends a serial killer who after his electric chair execution returns to haunt the police man from the grave.

As a stand alone story, House III: The Horror Show ticks all the 80s horror boxes, practical and optical effects, stunts, rock music and a fitting score by Harry Manfredini.

Just like House II: The Second Story its tame predecessor, producer Sean. S. Cunningham and director James Isaac’s only failing with this instalment is that it’s not really in the spirit of the original House. That’s said, thankfully it’s for the most part a serious offering with A Nightmare on Elm St (1984) tone, Freddy-like quips and a furnace to match. It’s also reminiscent of the Prison (1987) and echoes Wes Craven’s Shocker (1989).

Trying to keep his sanity Lance Henriksen gives one of his best straight performances as Detective Lucas McCarthy. Brion James gives his staple larger than life delivery but with genuine menace and weight as Meat Cleaver Max. Interestingly Day of the Dead’s Terry Alexander briefly appears as Henriksen’s partner Casey and Dedee Pfeiffer encapsulates that 80s brat pack persona as Bonnie McCarthy.

Overall, overlooked House III: The Horror Show has suspense, gore with surreal dreams and splatter effects. Everything a fan of 1980’s horror could want.

On the research station lab on the planet of Xarbia a flesh-eating mutant is loose that feeds on the dwindling scientific group who created it.

With the same vibe as Galaxy of Terror (1981), Roger Corman’s Forbidden World a.k.a Mutant is an excuse for director Allan Holzman to put some cheap icky specimen effects, jumpsuits and scantily clad actresses on screen. It also comes complete with some disco/electronica music from Susan Justin and a little robot called SAM104 who looks as if he should be in sci-fi films Silent Running or Saturn 3.

June Chadwick’s blonde Barb bloody life form encounter scene is short but impressive. Jim Wynorski fingerprints are all over this, Brunette Dawn Dunlap lights up the screen screaming with unnecessary skimpy outfits throughout taking off her clothes whenever the script calls for it. Hammy Fox Harris doctor is entertaining enough, reminiscent of, but predating Brad Dourif’s Alien Resurrection performance. There’s also an interesting desert scene which echoes an episode of Star Trek in terms of style and execution.

Forbidden World is as clunky as some of ‘Subject 20’ effects, editing and dialogue. To its credit and inconsistency aside many scenes are well lighted and a handful of the practical special effects including the cocoon and kills are not too shabby. It’s common knowledge that some sets and footage is recycled from other Corman productions, including Battle Beyond the Stars and Galaxy of Terror but it’s all seamless unless your already privileged to the knowledge as it fittingly looks as if it belongs to this low budget production.

Overall, it’s energetic and amusingly gruesome even if at times for all the wrong reasons.

Two former Texas Rangers are tasked with tracking and killing infamous criminals Bonnie and Clyde.

While it arguably doesn’t capture the period feel like the likes of Once Upon a Time in America, the mystery aspect of the notorious outlaws Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow is done wonderfully as director John Lee Hancock follows former Texas Rangers Frank Hamer and Maney Gault who to try and capture the couple.

On the backdrop of disbanding the Rangers and replacing them with a more up-to-date police force as J. Edgar Hoover is doing at a federal level it’s told through the eye’s of the outlaws executioners. Hancock lingers every frame, letting the actors do their thing. Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson are on outstanding form as the haunted ageing lawmen.

There’s many character memorable cinematic moments throughout, Costner purchasing weapons echoing reminiscent of The Terminator, the aged gun slingers echoing Young Guns II old William H. Bonney. Revisiting rusty shooting skills like spaghetti Westerns and more recently ‪Robocop‬ to name a few. Harrelson a functioning alcoholic has some humorous dialogue as well as moments of role play, pretending to be something else to extract information.

The stars of the show is the rapport between the leads Costner and Harrelson (Bonnie and Clyde are the backdrop here) with great costume and set design they light up the screen.

Great entertainment, an excellent fresh perspective on an infamous story.

A man exhumes an ancestor in the house where his parents were killed to stop an evil cowboy who wants to possess a crystal skull.

Friday the 13th’s Sean S. Cunningham in a producer role takes a leaf out of John Carpenter’s Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982) as director Ethan Wiley’s offering is not connected in anyway to its predecessor. Wiley delivers a new set up in a Aztec inspired home with a tone closer to that of Weird Science (1985) than House (1985).

Actor Arye Gross as straight laced Jesse and his friend Charlie played by Jonathan Stark have that goof-ball buddies thing going on synonymous with films of that decade. Royal Dano as Gramps, the cowboy zombie and great grandpa of Jesse is memorable.

House the Second Story has a few 80s trappings, it can be a bit disjointed and the acting a little awry at times. But behind every door there is an adventure, a Western town, prehistoric land and an ancient temple. Chris Walas delivers some notable makeup and creature effects designs, namely the caterpuppy, a dead cowboy and stop motion dinosaurs to name a few.

Overall, it’s a bit of fun, don’t expect a sequel to House and House II will be easier to digest.

As the residents of Deadwood commemorate Dakota’s statehood in 1889, saloon owner Al Swearengen and Sheriff Seth Bullock must face a corrupt senator head on when the conflict of a past event resurfaces.

Directed by Daniel Minahan the TV film is a solid continuation, even if condensed, shoehorned into an hour and fifty minute run time. Deadwood’s creator and awarding winning writer David Milch gives some much needed closure to a series which was cut short.

The cast including the likes of Timothy Olyphant, Ian McShane, Molly Parker, the excellent Dayton Callie (as Charlie Utter), Kim Dickens, Brad Dourif and Paula Malcomson to name a few are on form with excellent performances all round.

As the residents of a now mature Deadwood, complete with railway station gather, the cast past and present do great work on the backdrop of some immersive sets and Reinhold Heil and
Johnny Klimek’s music. Sadly without a few of the cast members who have since passed away in real life (notably Powers Boothe) during the hiatus.

Dan Dority (W. Earl Brown) is slightly under utilised, but given there so much to include in the short running time this is understandable. There’s big hit emotional story beats and after many years, the characters have fittingly slightly altered, notably McShane’s Al Swearengen, now far softer (echoing Al Pacino in Godfather part 3).

In keeping with the series it moves along at the same pace, only it feels bigger production wise. In contrast, Milch’s offering is subtle in some story/character aspects and square on the nose in others. There’s plenty of closure, also refreshingly some ambiguity also remains.

Overall, it’s a mighty fine TV Western movie which ties up story threads nicely. Recommend especially for Deadwood fans.