Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Halloween Horror Franchise – Day of the Dead (1985)

dayDirector: George A Romero

Writer: George A Romero (Screenplay)

Starring: Lori Cardille, Terry Alexander, Joseph Pilato, Jarlath Conroy, Anthony Dileo Jr, Richard Liberty, Sherman Howard, Gary Howard Klar

 

Plot: A small group of military officers and scientists dwell in an underground bunker as the world above is overrun by zombies.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fitting Conclusion to Trilogy

 

Story: Day of the Dead starts by taking us to the world now completely over run with zombies as we follow a group of survivors including Sarah (Cardille), John (Alexander), Miguel (Dileo Jr) and Rhodes (Pilato) who are hiding out in an underground military bunker.

We see the tensions rising early on between the military side and the scientific side within the bunker as Dr ‘Frankenstein’ Logan (Liberty) has been working finding out more about the zombies. When the tensions reach boiling point we see the base breakdown much like how we have become familiar with through the series of films.

Day of the Dead was set to be the final part of the original trilogy and it continues to bring us further into the world overrun by zombies. This time we don’t get any build up to who these characters are but we know the relationship between the two different minds has been strained to the limits, this is a huge plus because too often we spend time having to meet characters and work out their relationships. Another interesting plus to this film is the concept behind trying to teach the zombies as we look into the idea they will be learning from what has been happening. This might well be the weakest of the three films but it does have one of the most iconic scenes with Bud the zombie using the gun.

 

Overall: This is the weakest off the three but still a classic in it own right.

Rating80

 

 

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Jeffrey Combs Weekend – Re-Animator (1985)

Director: Stuart Gordon

Writer: Dennis Paoli, William Norris, Stuart Gordon (Screenplay) H.P. Lovecraft (Story)

Starring: Jeffrey Combs, Bruce Abbott, Barbara Crampton, David Gale, Robert Sampson, Gerry Black

 

Plot: A dedicated student at a medical college and his girlfriend become involved in bizarre experiments centering around the re-animation of dead tissue when an odd new student arrives on campus.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: One for All Horror Fans

 

Story: Re-Animator starts as we see Dr Herbert West (Combs) latest experiment in Switzerland go terribly wrong he returns to America. Back in America he joins the class with highly regarded student Dan Cain (Abbott) to which he roommates with. It doesn’t take long for Dr West to clash with his teacher Dr Hill (Gale) who has been doing similar studies with different results.

When Dan learns of Herbert’s experiments he agrees to help in the studying much against his girlfriend Megan (Crampton) and her father Dean Halsey’s (Sampson) wishes, this leads to Herbert getting kicked out and lots of sneaking around, as they look to prove you can bring the dead back to life.

When Herbert and Dan bring someone back from the dead Dr Hill gets jealous and want to steal the abilities they have as his own research leading to the bodies to pile up because when people come back from the dead they are all the deadlier.

 

Thoughts on Re-Animator

 

Characters/PerformanceDr Herbert West is the scientist determined to prove you can bring the dead back to life, he is socially awkward and always believes he is correct. He will do anything to prove his science. Dan is the honest medical student who has a bright future a head of himself but soon finds himself caught in the middle of West and Hill experiments. Megan is the innocent girlfriend of Dan and daughter of the Dean. Dr Hill also believe he knows everything when it comes to dealing with the human brain but once Wet arrives he wants to learn from his ideas to steal them as his own.

Performance wise, Jeffrey Combs shines in this role as he is both creepy and brilliant in his delivery of his lines. Bruce Abbott is good as this character with Barbara Crampton makes for an iconic couple of scenes in horror. David gale is good as the jealous doctor fully making us believe his desires.

StoryThe story is clearly the next advancement of the Frankenstein idea with a scientist who wants to bring people back to life. This does have enough of twist to be its own story and brings in a fresh approach to how the reanimating is performed, we do also have the mad scientist and a love story that makes this a very entertaining horror film.

Comedy/Horror/Sci-FiThere are moments of comedy in this film and I sure people will have a laugh or two, the horror adds to both the comedy and sci-fi elements of the film because we get to see graphic kill and body horror in this film. the idea of bringing people back from the dead helps with the sci-fi side of the story.

SettingsThe settings used in this film do come off the normal for the style of film with the morgue scene being the most iconic of all of the settings being used.

Special EffectsThe special effects are all practical ones and they all look fantastic even after 32 years, this is just amazing to see what they did.

Final ThoughtsWhen it comes to horror I do think this is something all the horror fans will enjoy, the effects are brilliant the graphic blood also makes it feel over the top too.

 

Overall: Must watch for all horror fans.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985)

madDirector: George Miller, George Ogilvie

Writer: Terry Hayes, George Miller (Screenplay)

Starring: Mel Gibson, Bruce Spence, Adam Cockburn, Tina Turner, Frank Thring, Angelo Rossitto

 

Plot: After being exiled from the most advanced town in post-apocalyptic Australia, a drifter travels with a group of abandoned children to rebel against the town’s queen.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simple Finish

 

Story: Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome starts as Max (Gibson) is rob in the wasteland when he heads after the person responsible he ends up in Bartertown making a deal for 24 hours of his life to search for his belongings.

The leader of the town is Aunty Entity (Turner) recruits Max to eliminate The Blaster from the pig power factory to keep her reign over the people. This means Max challenges The Master Blaster to a one on one fight in the Thunderdome with the winner getting the freedom and Max getting his belongings back.

When Max backs out of the deal he finds himself facing the wheel that will decide his fate in bartertown. After being exiled Max sets out on a revenge mission to get his stuff and bring down the home of the thunderdome once and for all.

 

Thoughts on Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome

 

StoryThis is the third story of the Mad Max saga and this time around we dive deeper into the dystopian world where we meet different pockets of survivors that Max must interact with to make a better future for the right ones but like before he wants to keep to himself and go about hi business only getting involved when he is affected by the choices. This story feels bigger but this is also part of the downfall in this one because it was the simple story that made the last one so great.

Action/ThrillerThe action feels different but does lack the use of vehicles this time around and feels like it is in the post-apocalyptic world we are sold on. This also doesn’t feel as edge of your seat anymore because of the number of characters involved.

Characters/PerformanceMax continues to be the character that fights for the right things but also the one who wants to be isolated from the others. The villain continues to be over the top with Tina Turner taking this role well but otherwise this also feels like a step back from the last outing in the series.

SettingsThe settings are created to make us fully believe we are in the post-apocalyptic wasteland with both main settings coming off bigger and much more settled that last time which is one of the highlights of this film.

Special EffectsThis outing doesn’t have as many special effects with well-planned stunts that all come off.

Final ThoughtsThis feels like a step back in the franchise even if it still keeps the basic idea together for the mad world this works very well indeed.

 

Overall: Tidy conclusion to the saga but easily the weakest of the three.

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The Breakfast Club (1985)

casting card

 

Plot: Five high school students, all different stereotypes, meet in detention, where they pour their hearts out to each other, and discover how they have a lot more in common than they thought.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Classic Teen Comedy

 

Story: The Breakfast Club starts as five high school students Claire (Ringwald) the Princess, Andrew (Estevez) the athlete, John (Nelson) the criminal, Brian (Hall) the brain and Allison (Sheedy) the basket case have to attend detention on a Saturday under the watching gaze of Richard Vernon (Gleason). The five are all from different corners of the school and would never spend time together on a normal day.

The five students learn about each other’s problems as they learn that their own problems might not be the only issues in their worlds. We see them bond over the day sharing all their secrets and become friends for just one day.

The Breakfast Club is a classic that has only just been watched by me in the year 2016, well it only took me 29 years even though the film is set 3 years to the date before I was born. I found this such a brilliant story that perfectly shows how different kids can be at school even when they have to spend time together they feel different but are all searching and dealing with the same issues. This shows just how difficult school years are when you are going through them because your future is thrown at you at this age the most. I can’t find a bad thing to say about this film even at over 30 years old.

 

Actor Review

 

Emilio Estevez: Andrew Clark is the athlete who is part of the wrestling team seen to be the future star athlete but this time in detention is to teach him to have a back-up plan. He sees himself a better than the rest of the group while trying to do the right thing. Emilio shows his range through this film much like every one of the kids here.

Paul Gleason: Richard Vernon is the teacher who has to keep the student in line on the Saturday detention. He treats all the students like failures constantly putting them down to try and show his power over them. Paul fills the villain role without being a truly horrible person just how the kids see his character.

Anthony Michael Hall: Brian Johnson is the brains of the students always out to do extra work to get the best grades to impress his parents. He doesn’t like how John treats him but also tries to impress the fellow students. Anthony is great in this role going from quiet geek to part of the gang.

Judd Nelson: John Bender is the criminal who is used to his time in detention because he is your classic bully troublemaker. He starts trying to get to know the students but is a classic case of bad parenting leading him to act out searching for attention. Judd steals the movie being the most interesting out of the 5 as we see just how many moments his character has been through.

Molly Ringwald: Claire is the princess always doing what her parents say and never getting into trouble, well until this time. We see how she acts as if she is better than the rest of the students in detention. Molly is great being the typical girl who thinks her future will be handed to her.

Ally Sheedy: Allison is the basket case or as we would call know the one struggling with mental health issues. Allison is the loner of the school and out of the students she is the last to fully come out of her shell. Ally is also great grabbing our attention without any dialogue for first half of the film.

Support Cast: The Breakfast Club has a supporting cast with most just being the parents dropping the students off, we get to see how they see their children.

Director Review: John HughesJohn gives us yet another classic 80’s comedy that showed how difficult growing up really is.

 

Comedy: The Breakfast Club has good comedy moments to go hand in hand with the serious moments.

Settings: The Breakfast Club is set within the high school during one day showing how these students have lost their day but gained friendships.

Suggestion: The Breakfast Club is one that I do think everyone should have watched at least once. (Watch)

 

Best Part: The serious moment where we learn about the characters.

Worst Part: Allison would be treated a lot different if this film was now.

 

Believability: This could easily be real characters.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $38 Million

Budget: $1 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

Tagline: Five strangers with nothing in common, except each other.

 

Overall: Don’t you forget about this one.

Ratingcard

 

 

Rocky Week – Rocky IV (1985)

rocky 4Director: Sylvester Stallone

Writer: Sylvester Stallone (Screenplay)

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Burt Young, Carl Weathers, Brigitte Nielsen, Tony Burton, Dolph Lundgren

 

Plot: After iron man Drago, a highly intimidating 6-foot-5, 261-pound Soviet athlete, kills Apollo Creed in an exhibition match, Rocky comes to the heart of Russia for 15 pile-driving boxing rounds of revenge.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Toughest Test

 

Story: Rock IV starts as Rocky (Stallone) is still champion but a new challenge comes to the shores of USA, the Russian’s bring their biggest name Drago (Lundgren) an amateur boxer who has been bred to destroy, he doesn’t say much living his wife Ludmilla (Nielsen) doing all the talking. Apollo (Weathers) decides he wants to face Drago in an exhibition match to see just how good Drago is.

When Drago kills Apollo in the ring the world sees how good Drago really is and now he has set his sights on Rocky. Rocky gives up his title so he can go to Russia for this fight against everyone’s wishes but he wants to prove to the world Drago is beatable.

Rocky IV really has a much small but similar storyline to what we have seen before, it is Rocky going into a fight against someone who is bigger, stronger and a favourite in a fight. We do have the highest level of personal story on this with the death of Apollo in the ring but once you see past this we just see the same training montage, the same fight, the same discussion about whether to fight or not. A standalone film this is ok but in the end we have seen it all before.

 

Actor Review

 

Sylvester Stallone: Rocky is the champion of the world when the big Russian turns up wanting to fight him, Apollo jumps in to take on the Russian only to get killed in the ring. Rocky gives up his title to avenge Apollo’s death in Drago’s backyard of Russia. Sylvester gives the performance we have all come to know in this franchise.rocky

Talia Shire: Adrian doesn’t think either men should fight Drago and after Apollo’s death she is completely against Rocky even considering fighting the giant super athlete. Talia again really doesn’t get used as much as she should.

Burt Young: Paulie is the manager of Rocky now following him into every battle even the one in Russia. Burt starts to get a bigger role but gets forgotten in the final third.

Carl Weathers: Apollo sees the Russian Drago comes to America and wants to be the first person to face him in the ring. Against all advice from Rocky he steps in the ring with his cocky nature only for it to be his final fight. Carl gives us a good performance giving his character a final farewell.

Dolph Lundgren: Drago is the Russia super athlete who has come to America to prove himself in the ring, he has been trained with science to be stronger than any fighter we have seen yet. He kills Apollo in the first match leading to him having a fight against Rocky. He is an emotionless fighting machine that does his talking in the ring. Dolph makes for a great opponent for Rocky being bigger and stronger than anyone he has faced before.drago

 

Support Cast: Rocky IV continues to have the trademark boxing characters being used in the film.

Director Review: Sylvester StalloneSylvester gives us what we want to see in this film and increased emotional level and an underdog beating a strongest enemy.

 

Sports: Rocky IV has the deadliest boxing match we have seen Rocky in to date and the first one that doesn’t include him.

Music: Rocky IV is filled with classic 80’s montage music.

Settings: Rocky IV takes the action to Russia to show Rocky against a hostile crowd.
Suggestion
: Rocky IV is one for all the fans of the franchise to enjoy but it isn’t the strongest entry in the franchise. (Franchise Fans)

 

Best Part: Drago is the best opponent for Rocky

Worst Part: Seen it all before now.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Yes

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $128 Million

Budget: $30 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

Tagline: He Could Have Stopped The Fight. He Could Have Saved His Best Friend’s Life. But Now, The Only Thing He Can’t Do Is Walk Away.

Trivia: When shooting the film, Sylvester Stallone decided that for the shooting of the fight, he and Dolph Lundgren should hit one another for real, so as to increase the intensity of the scene. After doing three takes of Rocky taking shots to ribs, Stallone felt a burning in his chest, but ignored it. Later that night, he had difficulty breathing and was taken to a nearby emergency room. It was discovered that his blood pressure was over 200, and he had to be flown on a low-altitude flight from Canada to St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica, where he remained in intensive care for eight days. What had happened was that Lungren had punched him so hard in the chest, Stallone’s heart had slammed up against his breastbone and began to swell, cutting off the blood supply and restricting the oxygen flow throughout the body.

 

Overall: Weakest entry to the series to date

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