Movie Reviews 101 Halloween Midnight Horror – A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

logoDirector: Wes Craven

Writer: Wes Craven (Screenplay)

Starring: Robert Englund, Heather Langenkamp, Johnny Depp, John Saxon, Amanda Wyss, Lin Shaye, Jsu Garcia, Ronee Blakely

 

Plot: Several people are hunted by a cruel serial killer who kills his victims in their dreams. When the survivors are trying to find the reason for being chosen, the murderer won’t lose any chance to kill them as soon as they fall asleep.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Defining Slasher Film

 

Story: A Nightmare on Elm Street starts Tina (Wyss) running through a school and basement, but what she is running from even I don’t think she knows, until Freddy Krueger (Englund) the knife glove welding man appears to wake her from this apparent nightmare. Tina has three friends Nancy (Langenkamp), Rod (Garcia) and Glen (Depp) who agree to stay with her in case she has another nightmare only to discover they all had the same dream about the same man.

It is at this point Nightmare on Elm Street takes a turn for us when we see Tina the woman we thought would be the main character due to the opening scene slip into another nightmare being called for by Freddy. Freddy butchers Tina in here sleep leaving her boyfriend Rod on the run and number one suspect. It becomes clear that Nancy is going to be our leading lady and with her Sheriff father (Saxon) who decides to try and keep her safe by having his men follow her.

Nancy continues to get haunted in her nightmares by the disfigured Freddy Krueger as she discovers the rest of her friends continue to be haunted too. When another one of her friends get killed Nancy starts to learn that her parents may in fact know who the mystery man haunting her dreams really is and sets out to discover the truth about Freddy Krueger.

A Nightmare on Elm Street will always go down as a classic but I do feel people will always remember this one for all the wrong reasons. Now hear me out here, people have always seem Freddy as a wise cracking killer which doesn’t happen until the later films and in fact this film he is serious serial killer. I did like another which I did mention in the description but that was the idea of introducing us to a leading lady only to kill them off early which Craven would do again more famously in Scream. I do think this will always get put into the discussion with horror fans in the same league as Halloween and Friday the 13th but as a solo film it would be hard to take out of the serious leagues of horror, before being taken as a lighter horror because of the wise cracking Freddy. The core elements of the story work very well because what would be scarier than being haunted in your dreams where you are meant to be in the safest place? (8/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Robert Englund: Freddy Krueger is the mystery man haunting the children of Elm Streets dreams, he wears knife gloves and has a tendency to stalk his victims before taunting them, but who is he? We do learn the truth about who Freddy is but the truth brings his motives to life. Robert has less than ten minutes screen time but he still manages to create a horror icon we still consider one of the best today. (8/10)

 freddy

Heather Langenkamp: Nancy Thompson becomes the leading lady as the high school student being haunted by Freddy Krueger, she is the Sheriff daughter and it is her friends that become the victims. Nancy tries to learn how to stop Freddy before he ends up taking her life. Heather does give a good performance has the heroine here making her one of the genuine scream queens of the 80’s. (8/10)

nancy

Johnny Depp: Glen Lantz is Nancy’s boyfriend who never seems to believe in the Freddy Krueger character as he seems to be the only one who doesn’t admit having a dream about him. He constantly lets Nancy down while she tries to find out the truth. Johnny first acting role showed that even in a supporting role he had something special about him and to be part of one of the most iconic death scenes in film history isn’t a bad way to start your career. (7/10)

 glen

John Saxon: LT Donald Thompson is trying to figure out who killed Tina but he is only looking into the world of reality even when his own daughter’s life could be at risk. John does give us a typical detective trying to protect his daughter performance but he doesn’t get enough screen time for what he is trying to cover up. (6/10)

 

Ronee Blakely: Marge Thompson is Nancy’s mother who is hiding the secret about who Freddy really is but we have to wait until she spills the beans once and for all about who and why he is after her daughter. Ronee does a solid job as the overprotective mother with a drinking problem. (6/10)

 

Amanda Wyss: Tina is the girl stalked through the opening sequence before going down in history as Freddy’s first on screen victim with one of the most memorable death scenes in Elm Street history. Amanda does give a good performance even if she is only around for the opening quarter of the film. (7/10)

 

Support Cast: A Nightmare on Elm Street has a small supporting cast that includes another victim but mostly the neighbourhood getting on with their lives while covering up the secret.

 

Director Review: Wes Craven – Wes has to go down as one of the greatest horror directors of all time and this is just one of his franchises he started with the icon of Freddy Krueger. (9/10)

 

Horror: A Nightmare on Elm Street creates a serial killer that haunts dreams making him nearly impossible to escape when he becomes powerful enough. (10/10)

Settings: A Nightmare on Elm Street keeps the settings feeling like an everyday street making the horror seem like it could happen to anyone. (8/10)
Special Effects
: A Nightmare on Elm Street has great specials that have hardly aged at all. (9/10)

Suggestion: A Nightmare on Elm Street is one that has to be watched no matter whether you like horror of not. (Must Watch)

 

Best Part: Opening Kill not holing surprises us.

Worst Part: Last scene.

Kill Of The Film: Tina

Scariest Scene: School scene.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Start of a franchise.

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $26.5 Million

Budget: $1.8 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 31 Minutes

Tagline:  A scream that wakes you up, might be your own.

Trivia: New Line Cinema was saved from bankruptcy by the success of the film, and was jokingly nicknamed “the house that Freddy built”.

 

Overall: A true classic in the horror genre that will always be popular with the horror fans.

Rating 90

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The Crow Week – The Crow: City of Angels (1996)

logoDirector: Tim Pope

Writer: David S Goyer (Screenplay) James O’Barr (Comic Book Characters)

Starring: Vincent Perez, Mia Kirshner, Richard Brooks, Iggy Pop, Thomas Jane, Vincent Castellanos

Plot: Many years after the first film, the spirit of the Crow resurrects another man seeking revenge for the murder of his son.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: If It’s Not Broken Don’t Fix It, Just Ruin It

Story: The Crow: City of Angels starts Sarah (Kirshner) returning grown up in the City of Angels, she is having visions of the murder of Ashe Corven (Perez) and his son Danny (Acosta). Judah Earl (Brooks) is now the kingpin of the city supplying drugs all over the city showing just how happy and emotionless when it comes to dealing with problem.

Using her knowledge of the legend of the Crow Sarah brings Ashe back to life to help him get his revenge upon the people who killed him. Once Ashe relives the moments before his death he learns the reason for his return and gears up ready to continue the legend of The Crow.

The Crow: City of Angels decided to just try and copy everything from the first film with a slight different origin story but the revenge side of everything is just the same. I do think it loses the dark tone the first one had and because this isn’t as dark the impact just doesn’t come off. I found this film just didn’t understand the darkness needed for the idea and ends up feeling toned down version. (5/10)

Actor Review

Vincent Perez: Ashe Corven/The Crow is the man murdered along with his son, his life is over until Sarah brings him back to life with the power of The Crow so he can get revenge on the men who took his son and his own life. Vincent is a solid lead but doesn’t have the same level as Brandon Lee. (6/10)

Mia Kirshner: Sarah is all grown up now and mastered the power of the Crow, when she gets nightmares about the death of Ashe she brings him back from the dead to take out the people responsible for his death. Mia doesn’t seem to capture this role enough for my liking just becoming a basic supporting character. (5/10)

Richard Brooks: Judah Earl is the leader of the gang running the city, it was his men that killed Ashe but much like the villain from the last time he is very spiritual with all his decisions. Richard gives a similar performance to what we saw first time but doesn’t end being as creepy. (6/10)

Support Cast: The Crow: City of Angels has a genetic supporting cast filled with villains for our new Crow to take out.

Director Review: Tim Pope Tim doesn’t manage to ogive us a film that has the same effect as the first one making this feel cheaper and low production quality. (4/10)

Action: The Crow: City of Angels has simply action sequences but nothing stand out. (4/10)

Fantasy: The Crow: City of Angels puts us in the fantasy world of people coming back from the dead. (8/10)

Settings: The Crow: City of Angels makes the city very dark from start to finish making us feel like we are part of the dark world. (8/10)
Special Effects: The Crow: City of Angels has to be slammed for the effects that are a huge step back from what the first one had you can easily see the CGI being used. (2/10)

Suggestion: The Crow: City of Angels is one to try but I wouldn’t be recommending it to anyone fast. (Try It)

Best Part: Difficult to pick something really.

Worst Part: The effects are laughable.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Has 2 More sequels

Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $17 Million

Budget: $13 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 24 Minutes

Tagline: Believe in the power of another.

Overall: Disappointing sequel to a classic that sucks all the fun out of the film

Rating 40

Halloween Kingathon – Misery (1990) From S.G. Liput

Banner-3Misery is review by S.G. Liput of Rhyme & Reason

miseryFans love to love the things they love

And laud those they’re enamored of

And worship every word they write

And watch their windows late at night

And read about their lives and likes

And help them when misfortune strikes

And care for them when they are hurt

And compliment and maybe flirt,

Encourage them to write their best

And punish them if they protest

And show them sides one does not show

And never ever let them go!

________________

 

MPAA rating: R

When I first counted down my top 365 films, I have no idea why I forgot Misery. Rob Reiner’s second adaptation of a Stephen King story (after Stand By Me) is among his best films and won Kathy Bates an Oscar for her progressively scary portrayal of crazed fan Annie Wilkes.

This wouldn’t be a Stephen King tale without a writer character, in this case James Caan as Paul Sheldon, a novelist who has earned wide acclaim for a historical drama series about Misery Chastain. With so many writers in Stephen King’s bibliography, it makes me wonder if he conceives his stories by imagining himself in a frightening situation. What would it be like to have an accident and be forced to depend upon your biggest fan, only to find out that she’s a nutcase? Such is the situation for poor Mr. Sheldon, whose broken legs make him dependent on the good will of the seemingly benevolent Annie Wilkes, with her cutesy euphemisms (“dirty birdy,” “cockadoodie”) and her cozy snow-bound cottage.

Stephen King movies have a long history of making ordinary things excessively creepy, from hotel halls and a Plymouth Fury to sewer drains and Johnny Carson’s intro, and Reiner continued that trend, plunging various scenes in impending dread with just an approaching car or a turning key or a ceramic penguin. Paul’s tentative exploration of Annie’s house while she is away is especially edge-of-your-seat, despite his being confined to a wheelchair. Much of the tension and the film’s effectiveness is owed to Kathy Bates, who creates Annie’s swinging moods with terrifying sincerity. I can attest that there are people like that out there, people who seem perfectly normal on the outside but change for the worse at the slightest provocation. In some ways, her unpredictability makes her scarier than many more obvious villains. I mean, I’ve empathized with characters unsatisfied with a story’s ending, like Pat in Silver Linings Playbook or Gus in The Fault in Our Stars, but I’ve never before seen someone’s disfavor expelled so violently.

As the depths of Annie’s insanity are revealed over time, Paul’s determination to escape and his ability to act grows, even after her particularly painful method of keeping him under control. By the time their mutual enmity comes to a head in intense and bloody fashion, the viewer wants to get away from this madwoman almost as much as Paul does. The anxiety that this film produces is its success, as are the wholly believable performances from Bates, Caan, and the lesser players, such as Lauren Bacall as Paul’s agent, Richard Farnsworth as a curious sheriff, and Frances Sternhagen as his sarcastic wife. Sure to make people pause before announcing themselves as anyone’s “number-one fan,” Misery literalizes the disturbing relationship between “fan” and “fanatic.”

 

Best line: (Sheriff Buster’s wife Virginia, teasing him about a fake affair after he collects Sheldon’s novels) “Well, whoever she is, she sure likes to read a lot.”

(Buster) “Virginia, I’m flattered that you think I have that kind of energy. I figure that if I can’t find Paul Sheldon, at least I’ll find out what he wrote about.”
(Virginia) “Well, what do you expect to find? A story about a guy who drove his car off a cliff in a snowstorm?”
(Buster) “You see, it’s just that kind of sarcasm that’s given our marriage real spice.”

Rank: List-Worthy

New Releases – 23rd October 2015

The Last Witch Hunter witch hunter The last witch hunter is all that stands between humanity and the combined forces of the most horrifying witches in history.

My Guess for Rating – 60%
My Anticipation Rating – 40%
Will It Be Number One In UK? – No

Paranormal Activity Ghost Dimensionparanoral The plot is unknown at this time.

My Guess for Rating – 30%
My Anticipation Rating – 30%
Will It Be Number One In UK? – Yes

Mississippi Grind grind Down on his luck and facing financial hardship, Gerry teams up with younger charismatic poker player, Curtis, in an attempt to change his luck. The two set off on a road trip through the South with visions of winning back what’s been lost.

My Guess for Rating – 70%
My Anticipation Rating – 60%
Will It Be Number One In UK? – No

Paper Planespapaer planesAn imaginative children’s film about a young Australian boy’s passion for flight and his challenge to compete in the World Paper Plane Championships in Japan.

My Guess for Rating – 60%
My Anticipation Rating – 60%
Will It Be Number One In UK? – No

Pay the Ghost pay the ghost A professor frantically searches for his son who was abducted during a Halloween parade.

My Guess for Rating – 50%
My Anticipation Rating – 40%
Will It Be Number One In UK? – No

Movie Reviews 101 Pick of the Week – Mississippi Grind

Halloween Kingathon – Dolan’s Cadillac (2009)

Banner-2logoDirector: Jeff Beesley

Writer: Richard Dooling (Screenplay) Stephen King (Short Story)

Starring: Christian Slater, Emmanuelle Vaugier, Wes Bentley, Greg Bryk, Aidan Devine, Al Sapienza, Karen LeBlanc

 

Plot: A young man attempts to seek to avenge his wife’s death after she is murdered by a Las Vegas mobster.

 

Verdict: Different Revenge Film

 

Story: We have seen the revenge film done plenty of times and each one tries to offer something slightly different to the idea. This has a few changes but could easily be confused for the same. We have the witness murdered to stop a criminal being convicted and charged of his crime. This leads to the husband having a break down and complete loss of faith about the system and out to seek revenge for his murdered wife. He plans his revenge but instead of it being him taking the crew out one by one he goes straight to the source and we have a lengthy revenge moment which last nearly a good quarter of the film.

 

With this whole story we do get the Stephen King touch which you will see most notable with the revenge moment which gives our hero a conflict because of what goes on, but as King does he lets us have a moment of completion where we don’t know what will happen in that moment. It does have its slow build as we have to go through will he be able to kill or not as well as a confrontation with the man he is after who sends him a message. It is a solid revenge thriller but could be considered just another member of the revenge film selection. (7/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Christian Slater: Dolan human trafficker who has expected standards which does not include drugs. He likes to send messages before going further but with Elizabeth he makes a statement. He makes enemies with other gangs but he knows he has nothing to fear. Good performance from Slater who makes a good villain. (7/10)

 dolan

Emmanuelle Vaugier: Elizabeth wife who witness’s Dolan murder some of his trafficked goods, but even after getting warned she refuses to back down and ends up paying the ultimate price. Good performance even though it comes off as a very annoying character. (6/10)

emmunauelle

Wes Bentley: Robinson quiet life teacher who agrees to support his wife when she wants to stop Dolan but after she is murdered he has to question himself and what he stands for. He plots revenge but finds the act harder than he thought and his plans keep changing but he has to take revenge for his wife. Good performance from Bentley who shows he can play the role of anti-hero. (7/10)

 robinson

Greg Bryk: Chief loyal henchman of Dolan who is a perfect shot as well as being a good ear for conversation with Dolan. Good supporting performance though he falls flat during the final moments. (6/10)

 cheif

Supporting Cast: The support cast is mainly stereotypical characters be it a driver, a FBI agent or local sheriff that all make good supporting characters but no one really shines in these roles. (6/10)

 

Director Review: Jeff Beesley – Nice directing and with the final revenge moment we get a very nice use of the idea that is very intense. (7/10)

 

Thriller: You do want to know what Robinson will do to Dolan and when he will do it from the moment his wife is murdered. (7/10)

Settings: Each setting almost gets over looked for the main story until the final revenge moment. (6/10)

Suggestion: This is one to be trying, I went with it because of the name Stephen King, but this could be enjoyed by all the revenge film fans, but don’t expect any gore. (Try It)

 

Best Part: The revenge plot.

Worst Part: Does have slow moments while building up to final act.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $10 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

 

Overall: Tidy Thriller From Stephen King’s Mind

Rating 71