Vampires (1998)

Director: John Carpenter

Writer: Don Jakoby (Screenplay) John Steakley (Novel)

Starring: James Woods, Daniel Baldwin, Sheryl Lee, Thomas Ian Griffith, Maximilian Schell

 

Plot: Recovering from an ambush that killed his entire team, a vengeful vampire slayer must retrieve an ancient Catholic relic that, should it be acquired by vampires, will allow them to walk in sunlight.


Tagline – They’ve been around for 600 years…and they’re very, VERY thirsty.

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable addition to the vampire genre

 

Story: Vampires starts as Jack Crow (Woods) and his gang of vampire hunters including Anthony Montoya (Baldwin) as they clean out a nest of vampires only they can’t find the master. Celebrating the success of the day the gang party but when the Master Jan Valek (Griffith) arrives looking for revenge he kills every member of the team except Jack and Anthony while turning Katrina (Lee).

Jack ordered to rebuild the team, must first regroup before he goes against his orders with a new priest Father Guiteau (Guinee) using Katrina as bait to locate Jan Valek who is in search for a legendary relic that would allow Valek to walk in the sunlight.

 

Thoughts on Vampires

 

Characters – Jack Crow is the leader of the vampire hunters, he has been hunting them his whole life, training other to aid in his quest to kill them all. He is ruthless in his action not accepting excuse from any man, woman or priest. Anthony is the only other member of the team that makes it out of the attack, he is a trusted second to Jack but keeps a secret from him during this story. Katrina is the young lady that gets bitten by Valek, Crow uses her to find him while she must battle the turning process. Jan Valek is the ancient vampire that has been terrorising for centuries, he isn’t getting killed as easily as others and now he targets immortality in the day light.

PerformancesJames Woods is great in this leading role, he takes the aggression needed to make us believe the vampire hunter is doing the right thing also showing the loyalty required in his performance. Daniel Baldwin is good but not to the level of Woods while Sheryl Lee does make for a good sexy vampire figure. Thomas Ian Griffith does make for a great vampire villain too being imposing in every single scene.

StoryThe story follows the old school vampire hunters hunting vampires but this time the enemy is stronger than they have ever faced. This film does move away from the gothic tones of previous film and takes us into a realistic setting for our characters to do battle with the vampires. This does work for the story because we now need to see a new less traditional style to vampires even if the story follows the normal it is a fun watch.

Action/HorrorThe action comes with the battles with the vampires, it is bigger than normal for the genre and we get plenty action. The horror comes from how we see the vampires disposed of along with how powerful Valek is

SettingsThe western settings make this feel like a race against time for gunslingers to stop an outlaw, which is what the idea was going for.

Special EffectsThe effects all seem practical with the fire behind the sunlight being some of the most horrific in the vampire genre.


Scene of the Movie –
Valek’s revenge is bloody.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It was slightly confusing why stakes were used when they didn’t kill.

Final ThoughtsThis is a very enjoyable modern take on the vampire genre, it adds action and realism to a traditional gothic style of film which on one hand works but the other hand could get people not enjoying it.

 

Overall: Vampire fans must watch.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Sci-Fi – L – Lifeforce (1985)

Director: Tobe Hooper

Writer: Dan O’Bannon, Don Jakoby (Screenplay) Colin Wilson (Novel)

Starring: Steve Railsback, Peter Firth, Frank Finlay, Mathilda May, Patrick Stewart, Michael Gothard

 

Plot: A race of space vampires arrive in London and infect the populace.


Tagline – In the blink of an eye, the terror begins.

Runtime: 1 Hour 56 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Clever Sci-Fi Film

 

Story: Lifeforce starts when an international space mission to research Halley’s comet finds a mysterious artificial object, they investigate finding three human like bodies around bats, bringing the bodies back Dr Bukovsky (Gothard) unintentionally lets the female space girl (May) escape the facility.

With the girl on the loose and bodies starting to pile up Col Caine (Firth) and returning from space Col Carlsen (Railsback) must race to stop her spreading the infection around London.

 

Thoughts on Lifeforce

 

Characters – Col Carlsen is one of the astronauts that located the strange vessel in space, the lone survivor from the mission and tormented by the events, though eager to make sure he stops what she has spreading. Col Caine is bought into finding out what is going on and cleaning it up before it is too late, he must work with Carlsen which shows the difference between the two as he is calmer in the investigation. Dr Fallada and Dr Bukovsky are both trying to solve the case from a medical standpoint both learning from each incident that happens. The Space Girl is the gorgeous woman from space that uses her beauty to seduce the men into giving them her lifeforce.

PerformancesThe performances in the film are good throughout, Steve Railsback shows the panic required and Peter Firth keeps everything looking calm through the film. Mathilda May looks stunning in her role which mostly revolves around her walking around naked for most of her screen time. An early role from Patrick Stewart is nice to see here too.

StoryThe story follows the idea that man had been enter space and never knowing what was out there, this plays into the horrors of what we could find in space, a virus, an infection and species that could take over our lives. We ask the question, ‘what would happen if we bought it back?’ this obviously shows the worst case scenario and one scientist would warn people about. The story keeps everything feeling interesting as the truth comes out and by the end of the film you will also be happy to have the conversation about space travel.

Action/Horror/Mystery/Sci-FiThe action in the film comes from the chaos caused trying to contain the spread, which is military style. The horror comes from what the vampires do when they suck the lifeforce out of their victims, this is a wonderful set of scenes to watch. The mystery keeps us guessing to what the main intentions the vampire shave by coming to Earth, we watch as this is getting solve through the film. the sci-fi side of the film explores the ideas that we could find unknown threats in space that cause chaos back on Earth as we continue to learn about the space around us.

SettingsThe film is set in and around London which is nice for the horror scene, we see iconic location destroyed too.

Special EffectsThe practical effects are wonderful as they look like a blink of an eye to where things go, the CGI moments are not the best though.


Scene of the Movie –
The effects between the mummified sides.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The end does feel rushed.

Final ThoughtsThis is a clever sci-fi movie that shows the weaknesses in going into space which could bring horrors to Earth, the effects are wonderful, and the acting is strong throughout.

 

Overall: Sci-Fi film for fans of the genre.

Rating

 

 

Arachnophobia (1990)

logoDirector: Frank Marshall

Writer: Don Jakoby, Wesley Strick (Screenplay) Don Jakoby, Al Williams (Story)

Starring: Jeff Daniels, Harley Jane Kozak, John Goodman, Julian Sands, Stuart Pankin, Brian McNamara, Mark L Taylor

Plot: A species of South American killer spider hitches a lift to the U.S. in a coffin and starts to breed and kill.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Fun Creature Feature

Story: Arachnophobia starts with Doctor Atherton (Sands) has he searches South America for a potential new species of bug or spider. When the expedition discovers a new spider it ends up being the photographer who gets bitten which the bite becomes deadly killing him instantly. The body just s happens to get flown back to America and this small town where one of the spiders catches a ride.

Next we meet the Jennings family Dr Ross (Daniels), Molly (Kozak) Tommy ad Shelly who are moving into a new house in the small town right next to where the spider gets lose. Dr Ross has moved down to get all the patients but the out going Doctor decides to postpone his retirement make the family move even more difficult. As time goes by the spider breeds with the local population and this small town starts to get over run with these killer spiders.

When one of the neighbours dies suddenly Ross’ time settling is has become difficult, with the out going doctor refuses to leave and even branding him for the death of his only patients. When the out going doctor dies of a spider bite Ross finally get the power he needs to investigate the mysterious deaths. Ross does his research getting Doctor Atherton to look into the deaths, exterminator Delbert McClintock (Goodman) could be the towns only hope from the problem.

Arachnophobia is what you always want to see when you hear the words creature features. It is filled with your generic characters that all make the story unfold easily, it fills the horror creature idea which is easy to do building the horror needed because everything comes off with the idea being simple with the addition of new species in a new environment. It is going to be 25 years old this year old and hasn’t aged a day. This will be a good story for any horror director to use that keeps everything simple showing how creature features should be done. (7/10)

Actor Review

Jeff Daniels: Dr Ross Jennings is the new doctor for the small town, he has a massive fear of spiders. He moves to the small town to take over the doctor surgery but when the out going doctor changes his mind, he ends up struggling to gain the patient list. After a couple of sudden deaths in the town he wants to investigate only to find out there is a new species of spider in the town and it is deadly. He must face his fears and win over the town from the deadly spiders. Jeff gives a good performance showing he has the comic ability without being a full comedy. (8/10)ross

Harley Jane Kozak: Molly Jennings is the wife of Ross who has given up her successful job to move to the country, she is the spider catcher in the house hold. Harley does a solid job in the supporting role but never seems to get enough screen time. (6/10)

John Goodman: Delbert McClintock is the town exterminator who gets bought into try and solve the problem, he is no nonsense and kind of enjoys killing any pests. John pretty much steals the show with his supporting role that is the funniest character in the film. (7/10)debert

Julian Sands: Doctor James Atherton is the scientist who discovers the spider in South America, he is studying the new species back home in America but unaware that one of the spiders escaped back with a dead body. He has to come to the small town to help figure out how to stop the spiders from taking over. Julian fills the smarter character role perfectly. (7/10)atherton

Support Cast: Arachnophobia is filled with the generic towns people that all add to the overall story.

Director Review: Frank MarshallFrank manages to give us a good creature feature that is filled with good tension. (7/10)

Comedy: Arachnophobia isn’t a full blown comedy but doesn’t take itself too serious. (7/10)

Horror: Arachnophobia puts our characters in a good horror situation where everything is coming up in everyday life. (7/10)

Thriller: Arachnophobia keeps us guessing about who will get killed next. (7/10)

Settings: Arachnophobia puts most of the action in a small town which helps show of the spread of the spiders will cause the problems. (9/10)

Suggestion: Arachnophobia is one for all the fans of the creature feature fans will enjoy. (Creature Feature Fans Watch)

Best Part: Final battle.

Worst Part: PG rating is the weakness.

Action Scene Of The Film: Ross v the King & Queen.

Funniest Scene: Most of Delbert’s scenes.

Believability: It could happen but not to this level. (5/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $53 Million

Budget: $31 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes

Tagline: Eight legs, two fangs and an attitude.

Overall: This is pure creature feature fun that will keep you entertained throughout.

Rating75