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Added by xxxTheRipperxxx on 5 May 2019 06:27
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TDcore's Horror Journal 2019: May

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People who added this item 42 Average listal rating (20 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 0
Salem's Lot (1979)


This is one of the most respected King adaptations, the most popular of the King mini-series, and only the second of his novels to be adapted to the screen, by none other than Tobe Hooper. It's a decent film, but for one that lasts slightly over three hours, it's an incredibly shallow one. You might think that such a lengthy film would feature well-drawn characters and deep emotional investment, but not this one. The acting is good, and characters likeable, but all of them are drawn in stark black and white. The hero being the most underdeveloped of all. All we know of him is that he experienced a traumatic supernatural event as a child, he writes (we never even learn what kind of books), his wife died (we hardly hear anything about this) and that he has the moral compass of a boy scout. Not good, for a three hour long film, and odd for a King film, seeing as one can always count on complex characters and strong emotions in his works. The fright moments keep the film interesting, with some moments that are downright iconic, and a chilly atmosphere, as well as genuinely frightening effects. These ain't your daddy's vampires out of some Hammer film. There's some moments that are actually quite scary, and these are what make the film worth seeing, as well as steady direction from Hooper. I just feel that this could've been a much better film, that barely captures the essence of King's novel, and sometimes drags with it's lengthy runtime.
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People who added this item 201 Average listal rating (122 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.5
The Bad Seed (1956)


Here we have a true cinematic milestone. The first ever "killer kid" film, and still one of the best. It's based off a novel, that became a hit play, and then this film adaptation. It's roots as a play show, seeing as most of the film takes place within one apartment and a handful of other sets, but it never really brings the film down any. This is a picture that's all about emotion and acting, and the pitch-perfect cast couldn't be any better. Nancy Kelly is especially stunning, in a powerhouse performance that was worthy of an Academy Award, as the tortured mother, and young Patty McCormack is equally stunning as the murderous Rhoda, whose prim and proper exterior hides a conniving, conscienceless killer. Most of the film is centered on dialogue, and we hardly ever see any explicit action taking place. But the amazing cast make us feel as though we have seen what they've seen, been where they've been. Whereas other films like this would seem dated in comparison, this one holds up so well, simply because of the brilliant cast. It's only brought down by outdated notions of psychiatry, which seem downright ignorant today, but one must remember that these advances were being made right around the time this picture came out. It's a revolutionary film, even if a little dated, and one that all serious horror fanatics must see.
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People who added this item 236 Average listal rating (180 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 7.1


Back when this one was first released, I found myself exasperated with the positive feedback, and quite loathsome of this film. I suppose it's because I was expecting, perhaps, a much faster-paced picture. But with director S. Craig Zahler continuing to carve a steadily more respected name for himself, inside and out of the genre, and the consensus on this one remaining the same, I decided I had to give it a fair chance. And going into the film, expecting it to be a combination of old-timey western and shockingly gruesome horror, in equal doses, allowed me to appreciate both forms much more. The cast is fantastic, with well written, fluid and witty dialogue and smooth, professional direction by Zahler. The film operates as a classic western for the majority of it's runtime, but it's a horror film at it's core, and the moments in which it focuses on the macabre are genuinely shocking and disturbing. Some of the gorier scenes in this film will go down in history, no doubt. The whole thing can drag on for a little too long, the film can be overly simplistic and the ending is quite stilted, but there's much to enjoy here. For fans of westerns, ballsy horror films or just plain, well-written cinema. It's a fantastic debut film, and Zahler certainly has the touch of a master hidden beneath the sometimes wobbly exterior of this particular film. I'm hoping his other films see him continue to hone his craft. This one remains a modern day cult classic, nonetheless.
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Contrary to most of the films of it's day, which focused on the writings of Poe, this is an anthology film based on tales by Nathaniel Hawthorne, which gives it some mild distinction. Best of all, all three stories star Vincent Price in different roles. Sadly, without Price, this would be an even more ordinary affair. His presence elevates these stories, the first of which is the best with a wicked sense of irony. The other two are decent, but extremely unoriginal, even for their time, with the last being nothing but a re-tooling of "House Of Usher". Still, they're decently directed little episodes, and the acting from most of the cast, besides Price, is also good. It's decent filler, but nothing you have to see. Only Price fans need apply.
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People who added this item 102 Average listal rating (62 ratings) 6.1 IMDB Rating 5.9


This is a fairly underrated little picture, notably directed by Renny Harlin, who would later become a prominent action filmmaker. It also stars Viggo Mortensen in one of his first roles. It's a fairly standard horror film for it's time, but even generic films like this were so much more fun, and so much more lovingly made, in the eighties. There's several standout horror sequences, displaying devilish imagination, some of them truly frightening. And the film's prison setting sets it apart, and offers some insight into prison life, without treating it's inmate characters as black and white heroes and villains. The characters themselves are sorely underdeveloped, however. Leaving the actors with nothing to chew on, despite most of them giving great performances. The story is also interchangeable with so many other films of it's day, just simply set in a prison, and doesn't make much effort to comment on the political aspects that such a film could've taken. It's flawed, but it's a lot of fun and just different enough that it stands out. If you love eighties horror, this is a little hidden gem that you cannot miss.
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People who added this item 94 Average listal rating (55 ratings) 5.8 IMDB Rating 5.9
Maniac Cop 2 (1990)


I found the first Maniac Cop to be an enjoyable B-movie, with some surprising social undercurrents, thanks to the screenplay by Larry Cohen. This sequel has a reputation of being even better with fans of the trilogy, so I decided to give it a try. The duo of William Lustig as director, and Cohen of writer/producer returns, along with some of the remaining cast from the original. But it's not long before these characters are predictably killed off to make room for a new cast. And while this picture has some clever moments to offer and some inventive twists on the genre, I didn't have as much fun with it as I did the first one. The film greatly suffers from the lack of a fantastic duo of actors, as the original had with Bruce Campbell and Tom Atkins. Robert Davi is great in the lead, but the poor guy just can't compare. The film also has a much more serious tone, and the Maniac Cop's intentions become steadily more muddled. Wherein the original, he was a tragic anti-hero, here his motivations are a downright mess, and often questionable, but his character is still sold as a misunderstood hero. Sometimes Cohen's political and social themes can become rather jumbled, and this is one of those times. Still, there's plenty worth seeing here, if you enjoyed the first, and several intense scenes. I'm not sure if I'll be watching the third, as it's generally thought to be a disappointing conclusion to the trilogy.
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This film is a misfire on almost all accounts. Made to cash in on the popularity of "Jaws", by adapting another Peter Benchley novel to the screen, this one has no rampaging sea creature, as do most of Benchley's works. Instead, this film deals with the novel concept of modern day pirates, looting ships near a mysterious island. It's an idea ripe with potential, but the execution is quite dismal. The direction is the greatest culprit, with wonderful actors like Michael Caine and David Warner standing about as though they have no idea what to do with themselves. During most of the action scenes, the editing is so haphazard and sloppy that it all becomes rather laughable. And the tribe of pirates, instead of being frightening or compelling, come across as an island full of drunken hicks, whom never seem to stop loudly bellowing. Logical issues abound as well, such as an entire Coast Guard ship somehow being overtaken by about 30 skinny, inbred pirates in under five minutes. Horror films always require some level of suspension of disbelief, but this seems like asking too much, of even the most imaginative person. It's a shame, because the beginning of the film builds up some solid tension, and minor character development that seems as though it'll go somewhere. But then, once it reaches the island, the film falls apart, piece by piece. It's not an utterly horrible viewing experience, but it is far too lengthy, and very mediocre of one.
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People who added this item 122 Average listal rating (70 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 6.1
Two Evil Eyes (1990)


One might think that a film which brings together the talents of directors George A. Romero and Dario Argento would be nothing short of a masterpiece. But, while this film is enjoyable, it's certainly not what it should've been. The film is an anthology of sorts, but one that features only two stories (hence it's name), both of them inspired by Poe stories. Romero's is the first, and the better of the two, in my opinion. It seems very cliched in it's setup, but then proceeds to veer in directions that you won't expect, and ends up being quite surprising, and blackly humorous. The second, directed by Argento is not at all bad, but it's nothing special. A very skewed take on Poe's "The Black Cat", that ebbs and flows in quality, anchored by a performance from Harvey Keitel. It's strange that Argento works with none of his trademark style here. No fancy cinematography, surreal logic, or multicolored lights are to be found in his segment, almost making it seem as though someone else directed it. It is, perhaps, his most conventional work. But his direction is still decent, and the segment also employs some dark irony. All together, I feel at least a third segment could have given this one the little push it needed towards greatness. As it stands, we have a great story and a decent one. Worth checking out for horror buffs, but not the cult classic it could've been.
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People who added this item 174 Average listal rating (109 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 6.4


This is easily one of Brian DePalma's most underrated efforts. A film that combines elements of horror, action, comedy and adventure into one epic experience. Most films have a hard time being one thing, let alone excelling at four different genres at the same time. DePalma's direction is rounding out here, to the smoother style he would become known for. And the cast is simply magnificent, with Kirk Douglas giving one of the most badass performances a senior actor has ever given, and Amy Irving, whom starred in DePalma's "Carrie', this time playing a teen with telekinetic powers, herself. These two give it their best, at all times, and the supporting cast is mostly amazing as well. The film deftly juggles it's multiple genres, with the scenes in which Douglas steals the screen being a perfect mix of action and laughs, with witty dialogue. The closer the film gets to the end, however, the more the gory horror scenes begin to ratchet up, until the whole thing ends with an effects sequence that belongs in the annals of horror history. This film deserves to be held up with DePalma's classics, as it surely is one of his finest films. And a great film no matter what angle you look at it from.
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People who added this item 344 Average listal rating (196 ratings) 6.1 IMDB Rating 6.1


I had put off watching this one for some time, seeing as I thought it would merely be a sleazy, erotic version of the original. Surprisingly, this is a pretty solid film, and fairly mature in the way that it deals with it's sexual themes. It's not degrading, although one could argue what it tries to say about sexuality in the end. But one can't deny that it's a well directed film, with great acting. Natassia Kinski isn't quite as captivating as the lovely Simone Simon was in the original, but she's still an alluring beauty, who effortlessly sells her innocence and ravenous sexuality at the same time. Malcom McDowell is also brilliant as her crazed brother, but no one would expect any different of a master like himself. The effects are also great, and don't shy away from some scenes of overt gore, without seeming tacky or campy. The film's themes do struggle to come together, and the concept is so ridiculous that the end simply stuns and makes one roll their eyes at the same time, but it's an effective effort. Neither better, nor worse than the classic. We need to go back to this manner of remaking films. Simply taking the theme and spinning it in an entirely new direction.
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People who added this item 40 Average listal rating (31 ratings) 5.8 IMDB Rating 6.1


This one came out of nowhere, appeared on Netflix, and has been garnering quite a lot of attention. It seems to have divided viewers, so I had to give it a look. It's best to go in blind, though I watched a trailer, and it ruined nothing for me. Still, this film has so many twists and turns that it's difficult to even write about without spoiling. Suffice to say, that the film will go in a completely different direction than what one is expecting, halfway through the runtime. It was obvious to me, from the trailers and promotional material, that the film was trying to say more than it appears to be, and it certainly does. The themes that it does speak of, are timely and handled in an effective, matter of fact tone. Sometimes the swerving tone makes the film feel like a B-movie, in some respects, and it could've handled it's themes more maturely, but it's intended to make a statement, and one can't deny it does so effectively. Direction is brilliant from veteran Richard Shepard (who curiously, never directed anything close to a horror film before this), with well sustained suspense and artful cinematography. Acting is also good, from the two female leads. It's a disturbing film, and not an entirely successful one, but more than worth seeing. And quite possibly, one of the best in the sub-genre it unexpectedly ends up occupying.
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This one is directed by Panos Cosmatos, who gave us the cult-hit, "Mandy", last year. Strangely, this was Cosmatos's first , and only film up until "Mandy". Here is a man who has a clear and distinct directorial and visual style, and he only has two films to his name, made eight years apart from one and other. I wasn't a huge proponent of "Mandy", but I appreciated it's style and surrealism. Those are also prevalent in this film. It almost looks and feels like a lost 70's gem, and the film itself is set in 1983. It handles about typically 70's themes, like drug experimentation and even throws in some cosmic, multi-dimensional Lovecraftian bits. The whole film is designed to feel like a bad trip, with disorienting sound and psychedelic visuals. This also means the pace is incredibly slow. This may be the slowest film I've ever watched, and this is ultimately what keeps it from being as good as it would have been. Scenes drag on, with no apparent reason for them to linger so long. It's a stylistic choice, no doubt, but it doesn't make for enjoyable viewing at all times. Still, there's enough eye candy, utterly disturbing visual scenes and great acting to keep things moving. Michael Rogers is especially fantastic, and oozes creepy, venomous evil each time he speaks. The sound design is the real star though, with a phenomenal score. I haven't seen a film where the music alone, manages to unnerve me. Although, not perfect, and by no means appropriate for those who don't prefer surreal, artistic films, I actually enjoyed this one a little more than "Mandy". And all those who thoroughly enjoyed that film, should love this one as well.
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People who added this item 1192 Average listal rating (755 ratings) 5.9 IMDB Rating 6.3


In all the annals of "serial killer cinema", there is no film more underrated than this one. It's not often that once comes across a film that successfully blends arthouse intelligence with popcorn entertainment, but here we have a prime example of how to do so correctly. The surreal visuals are the drawing card, as well as the ingenious (if far fetched) plot, but the human element of the story is also brought to life, by an incredible cast. Jennifer Lopez may not be Oscar worthy, but she gives yet another turn here, that proves that her acting ability is sorely underrated. Vince Vaughn also proves that he has the acting chops to handle serious roles, and the amazing Vincent D'Onofrio proves once again, that there is no one better to bring to life the vulnerable, human side of depraved characters. As said, the visuals are breathtaking as well, and full of metaphorical subtext, as opposed to just being eye candy, as so many "visual films" become. This is a film that deeply satisfies on both an artistic and consumer level, but perhaps one that in it's more thoughtful themes, was a bit ahead of it's time. If you enjoy artsy horror or serial killer thrillers, this one deserves to be seen, as well as remembered fondly alongside the likes of "The Silence Of The Lambs" and "Seven".
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