The Burning (1981) Movie Review

Director: Tony Maylam

Writer: Peter Lawrence, Bob Weinstein (Screenplay)

Starring: Brian Matthews, Leah Ayres, Brian Backer, Larry Joshua, Jason Alexander, Ned Eisenberg

Plot: A former summer camp caretaker, horribly burned from a prank gone wrong, lurks around an upstate New York summer camp bent on killing the teenagers responsible for his disfigurement.

Tagline – A legend of terror isn’t a campfire story anymore!

Runtime: 1 Hour 31 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Typical 80s Slasher

Story: The Burning starts after the prank going horribly wrong, leaving the victim horrendous burned, five years later he is released from hospital with the best work possible done for him. He heads back to the camp where the incident happened to stalk more victims.

With the campers including Todd (Matthews), Michelle (Ayres), Alfred (Backer) and Glazer (Joshua) going through the typical American camp experiences from the 80s, they start getting picked off by the deranged killer.

Thoughts on The Burning

Characters – Todd is the lead counsellor on the camp, he is trying to keep everyone in order even if he is known as a lighter touch whatever the kids do, he must think of a way to save the kids from the killer. Michelle is the other counsellor who goes on the canoe trip, she must take the survivors back to safety before being able to get help, she is also stricter than Todd on the campers. We do get the typical range of campers, the cocky jock, the girlfriends, the prankers, the slutty ones, the wholesome ones, we have the ABC of horror traits characters.

PerformancesThe performances through this film are not the strongest, the screaming and shouting is mostly over the top, while the lurking or searching scenes get the best out of the actors.

StoryThe story here follows a killer who sets out on his own form of revenge after being disfigured by a prank gone wrong at a local summer camp. This does follow everything we would know from an 80’s slasher, it does focus on the idea of sex, drugs or misbehaviour is dangerous and will get your killed, you know the typical warnings in the horror. We do have a large number of campers to follow, which does seem to give us too many characters to follow, while the instant revenge idea and lack of criminal punishment on the kids in the original incident is shocking.

HorrorThe horror side of this film is the best part, the suspenseful lurking of the killer, is clearly the most interesting side of the story.

SettingsThe film is set in the one camp location, we do go through the locations you would expect to see in 80s slasher.

Scene of the Movie – The lurking.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Why would the killer only go for a knockout blow on Todd, while killing the rest?

Final Thoughts This is a typical 80s slasher that does the basics right with the horror side being the best part, while other traits are overused.

Overall: Typical Slasher.

Annabelle (2014) Movie Review

Director: John R Leonetti

Writer: Gary Dauberman (Screenplay)

Starring: Annabelle Wallis, Ward Horton, Tony Amendola, Alfre Woodard, Kerry O’Malley, Brian Howe, Eric Ladin

Plot: A couple begins to experience terrifying supernatural occurrences involving a vintage doll shortly after their home is invaded by satanic cultists.

Tagline – Before The Conjuring there was Annabelle

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Standard Horror

Story: Annabelle starts when Mia (Wallis) and John (Horton) look to start their family with a baby due any day, one final present is the doll we know as Annabelle to complete a collection, one terrifying night Mia and John only just make it out alive after a couple of cult members attack them, dying in the house, one clutching the doll.

Once the baby arrives they move to Pasadena to help follow John’s career and to hopefully start once again, only for the doll they thought they had dumped to follow them there, which soon leads to unexplained events happening around their new apartment.

Thoughts on Annabelle

Characters – Mia is the wife and soon-to-be mother who hears the screams next door which leads to the invasion from the cult visitors, barely surviving a stab wound to the chest, needing to move away from the home where this happens with her first child, she finds herself still haunted by the evil of that night, needing to find the answers to the demon that is trying to take her daughter’s soul. John is the doctor husband of Mia, he will support his wife, only to never experience the horrors himself, he is always just out of reach of the demon haunting Mia. Father Perez is the one that comes to offer support, not just with getting through the traumatic events, but dealing with the demon that has starts following them. Evelyn is the local woman that befriends Mia through her move to the new city, she has her own story that she is willing to share with somebody in need.

PerformancesAnnabelle Wallis in the leading role is the highlight of the performances, this is mostly because she has the most to do, with her fear both before and after having the baby coming through strong. Ward Horton doesn’t do anything wrong, it is hard to bring the pretty blank character to life, while Tony Amendola and Alfre Woodard do all they can in the supporting roles.

StoryThe story here follows the first encounter with the Annabelle doll, we see one family getting haunted as the evil surrounding the doll is looking to take the soul of their baby. Annabelle was one of the most famous parts of the Warren’s artefact room, it is known as being the most powerful, which is why it is interesting to see how it first came about being evil. Seeing the family slowly getting haunting, mostly if not all the mother figure does follow the trait of every single horror movie where the family gets haunted, with the father figure barely experiencing a thing. It is a routine jump scare set up movie, only giving us time to explore the world around it over time, with needing to make the biggest deal with the research side of the haunting. It is an easy watch though which is always good enough for the horror audience to experience.

Horror/MysteryThe horror in this film is mostly slowly built up jump scares, we have one that is a true stand out, with the door being run at, but after a while you know when each one will happen, with the mystery side of the film almost being tagged on to fill gaps.

SettingsThe film does the clever horror location trick of moving the family to stop it being just a ghost haunting film, instead moving it to the demon that is haunting the family, thought it does seem to want to be Rosemary’s Baby with the location choice.

Special EffectsThe effects are strong with most looking more practical than CGI, with how the demon looks, when we get small glimpses of it.

Scene of the Movie – The little girl running at the door.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The husband doesn’t experience a thing.

Final Thoughts This is a nice simple by the book horror that doesn’t do a thing wrong, despite being formulaic with how everything unfolds.

Overall: Formulaic Horror.

Blood from Stone (2020) Movie Review

Director: Geoff Ryan

Writer: Geoff Ryan (Screenplay)

Starring: Vanja Kapetanovic, Gabriella Toth, Nike Khitrova, Eric Cotti, J Michael Silver, Aaron Castillo,

Plot: Darya has escaped life as a vampire bride to a desert town of bright lights and casinos but Jure tracks her down and makes himself at home amongst the gamblers and drunks. As the bodies pile up, the law comes for them, forcing a clash of modern forces against immortals from a dying era.

Runtime: 1 Hour 56 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Blood from Stone starts as we meet the two vampires, Jure (Kapetanovic) and his bride Darya (Toth) who are roaming the desert town filled with casinos and out of towners, Jure looks to pick off passer-by, while Darya knows they need a smarter approach, making a connection to supply the blood lust needs.

As the two split, Jure gets caught up inside a new rampage, catching the eyes of the news, while Darya looks for her own way out, while leaving her own string of bodies behind.

Thoughts on Blood from Stone

Characters – Jure stumbles through the night life of the city where he is looking for tourists to pick off for his own feeding purposes, which will see him get caught in his own rampage, spiralling out of control, drawing attention to their way of life. Darya wants away from Jure, she has a connection who supplies her blood, but her new relationship sees her dating a doctor, while picking off strangers to feed the blood lust. We meet the victims the pair both line up, as well as the people that could help both of them escape this world for good.

PerformancesVanja Kapetanovic as the spiralling out of control drunk reckless vampire is entertaining to watch, you see the loose cannon side of his character through the film. Gabriella Toth brings the more innocent approach to her role, with the goodness at times, but the blood hungry side when needed too, showing how she isn’t always in control.

StoryThe story here follows a pair of vampire lovers that start to go their own separate ways, leaving their own path of destruction as they look to run the next stage of their lives. This story shows the two having new attempts at separate lives, like a vampire break up, where they look for new partners, while getting caught up in their blood lusted filled ways, showing us how even vampires when they break up can go down strange paths. Certain decision does end up getting caught up in the repeating action to what the pair both end up doing.

SettingsWe are set in a casino filled town, similar to Vegas, but not on the same size, with the smaller scale helping the vampires get away with things.

Scene of the Movie – The cinema screening.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The repetitive hunts.

Final Thoughts Blood from Stone is a nice spin on the vampire genre, bringing them into the everyday world, where the vampires have adapted to the night life of the casino world.

Bullets of Justice (2019) Movie Thoughts

Director: Valeri Milev

Writer: Valeri Milev, Timur Turisbekov (Screenplay)

Starring: Danny Trejo, Timur Turisbekov, Doroteya Toleva, Yana Marinova

Plot: During the Third World War, the American government initiates a secret project code named “Army Bacon” in order to create super soldier by inbreeding human being with pigs. 25 years later a breed called “Muzzles” have occupied top of the food chain, eating and farming humans like animals. Rob Justice is an ex-bounty hunter working for the last line of human resistance – a group of survivors hiding in a nuclear bunker deep underground. His mission is to find out how muzzles came to power and destroy them.

Runtime: 1 Hour 19 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Bullets of Justice starts as we hit the post-apocalyptic world where a world war destroy a large portion of the world and a new species known as Muzzles were raised, half human, half pig, becoming the new threat for humanity. Rob Justice (Turisbekov) is looking to find the leader of the Muzzle army to stop them creating more, in a final attempt to fight off and save humanity.

Thoughts on Bullets of Justice

Final Thoughts Bullets of Justice is a film that feels like it has been released in the wrong era, it looks like a complete 1970s grindhouse style action horror, it knows the levels of entertainment it is reaching for, which isn’t going to be for everything, and nor would anything that involves a film that has humans fighting half human, half pigs. It is meant to be offensive with how everything is portrayed and isn’t afraid to hold back on the gore, nudity or grossed out behaviour. This is one you are either going to love, or switch off very early on because you can’t take anymore, being the movie that is perfectly created for the right audience.