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Reed Alexander’s Horror Review of ‘Leprechaun’ (1993)

If you didn’t like this movie, why the fuck did you watch it?

And now for an old classic in fucking BAD movies. Look, literally everyone going into this movie should know it’s a giant shit show. They didn’t even attempt to make it sound like serious horror back when the were producing it. But it’s been 26 years at the time of this review. There is zero reason for anyone to not know the Leprechaun franchise is basically one long running joke. They were just trying to figure out how loony-toons they could get with the concept. Shit, by nowadays standards, with movies like Sharknado, this franchise didn’t even go far enough.

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Reed Alexander’s Horror Review of ‘Hell Fire’ (2015)

The Devil, Some Hookers, and Gore. Oh my!

I’ve been on an indi kick lately and I wanted to share with you all a gem that randomly fell into my lap.

It didn’t start out perfect. Audio! Fucking audio people! There was so much echo and feedback it was hard to hear what people were fucking saying! I shouldn’t have to watch an English movie with the subtitles on! Especially one that was loud enough to be heard normally if it wasn’t for all the earsplitting distortion. Man, don’t get me wrong, the dialog is solid and even natural, and the soundtrack is pretty smart too. But Jesus FUCKING Christ, wish someone had checked the levels on the god damn audio. Thought I was going to have a migraine.

The cinematography was good though. I’ve gotta say that the camera filters were fascinating. It reminded me of an old disco video, or that scene from Carrie (1976) when she final goes full psycho and kills everyone at the prom. It was really quite brilliant use of filters. The angles, the shadowing, the colors. It’s a far smarter way to hide the shit practical FX than with “shaky camera,” and it creates a darker and grittier atmosphere.

So, the opening monologue seemed to be completely needless. It was kinda neat to do opening introductions like Smokin’ Aces, but maybe just cut out the “I’m the Antichrist” bullshit? We could have figured that out later, and it would have been a lot more fun to find out naturally. That’s kinda neat, right? Narrator introduces the characters, the plot takes off, and then we find out he’s the Antichrist. It feels like something I should have to save for the spoilers.

But let’s talk about the pace! After the needles exposition, HOLY FUCK do things get going! This movie does not fuck around! GOD DAMN what a fucking ride! The first 30 minutes were almost as violent as the original Oldboy. Dude, the fight scenes are bananas! You think they might jump the shark with the second big blowout, but it just keeps getting crazier.

Look, this is definitely not a movie for all adult audiences. It certainly is an acquired taste. But Horror Heads are guaran-damn-teed to love it.

SPOILERS!!!

There was a lot of shit during the fight scenes that should have left way more marks. Apparently, they didn’t have the makeup budget for that. Everything from getting bashed in the head to punched in the face. There were too many times to count when me and my wife were like, “That should have left a mark.”

How the fuck didn’t they check on Frye when they thought they killed her? I get that Frye manifested an evil duplicate of herself and that the Antichrist accidentally killed the duplicate (see? Bananas), but the moment he thought he killed her, someone should have fucking checked. I mean seriously! That was some fucking amateur hour shit, and this movie isn’t exactly full of professional criminals.

And you’re telling me the Antichrist could have just raised some zombies and had them kill the son of God the whole damn time?!? Seems like an easy workaround. Can’t kill the son of God because you’re the Antichrist? Raise some fucking zombies to do it. Why hire some damn pimp and start this whole movie to begin with? I know, we couldn’t NOT have a movie. Just saying, kinda a big plot hole.

Frye also pulled a cringe-worthy horror movie trope by going to the police and informing them the Antichrist was killing people. First off, she’s a seasoned street walker. She may not be book smart, but I guarantee she ain’t no fool. Second, why the fuck did she drive off in a car, almost to freedom, only to ask a complete stranger to bring her back? I mean, she could have just asked for a phone, called the cops, and fucking went on her way.

Anywho… Say it with me now, in your best Morbo impersonation, “THERE WERE NO SURVIVORS!!!” That’s honestly the only way you could end this movie. Somehow the Antichrist just barely manages to scrape by while the cops storm the place and shoot Frye.

Overall though, shit was bonkers and way too much fun to pass up!

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Reed Alexander’s Horror Review of ‘The Sand’ (2015)

Would someone please give these kids a budget?

All right, this movie got a bad wrap.  The way people talk about it, I was expecting full blown Birdemic or even Troll 2.  Okay, it was bad, but basically it was bad because the CGI was fucking shit. This is a shoe-stringer from an independent studio. I expect the kind of quality that I’d get out of Gravitas or Uncorked. AND, on the rare occasion those studios produce a gem.

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Reed Alexander’s Horror Review of ‘Dagon’ (2001)

‘Evil Dead 2s’ fucked up flipper-baby cousin.

The movie was awful and campy and tropey as fuck! AND IT WAS FUCKING AMAZING AND I LOVED EVERY SECOND OF IT!!!

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Reed Alexander’s Horror Review of ‘White Noise’ (2005)

‘Stir of Echos’ with EVP

After a string of embarrassingly low budget movies, I decided to review something with a little Hollywood clout.

You know, it’s not a bad movie, but it’s just so lukewarm compared to movies in its class.  I’d compare this one to Stir of Echoes, and every time I do, I’m just going to end up saying, watch that instead. We can pretty much cut to the punch line here. Everything this movie does, Stir of Echoes does better, just with fewer shameless jump-scares.

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Reed Alexander’s Horror Review of ‘The Intruder Within’ (1981)

From the Bargain Bin: ‘Consistently inconsistent’

This is the last stop on Reed’s history or shitty creature features. While none of them were particularly good, every one was a part of my childhood growing up and shaped the horror nut whose reviews you read today.

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Reed Alexander’s Horror Review of ‘Xtro 2: The Second Encounter’ (1990)

The worst offender in a long line of ‘Alien’ (1979) ripoffs…

This movie is so forgotten I practically had to do a deep web search to find a watchable copy. Seriously, just try to type it into the regular search and see if you can come up with a watchable copy. It won’t come up. In fact even major horror fan pages don’t mention this movie in their “complete list” of Alien themed movies. I have the distinct feeling this was a straight-to-video production. It took me forever just to find a bootleg copy that wasn’t dubbed in some language I don’t speak. When I finally did find one, the quality was so poor it was almost comical. Kinda like watching scrambled porn. The recording was clearly from an old VHS and the auto tracker kept popping on the screen in Spanish. If you know what either of those things are, you probably had some pretty kick ass horror movie memories like me.

What’s the point of spending hours trying to find this movie on the internet so I could watch it after all these years? You may remember from several of my older reviews from movies like Leviathan and DeepStar Six. I watched these when I was very young and I’ve had a hard-on for monster movies and horror ever since, so it’s nice to take a stroll down nostalgia lane and see if these, honestly terrible, movies still stand up to my childhood memories.

Xtro 2 was not one of those that stood the test of time. I mean, I liked re-watching Creature and a ton of other movies from my childhood, but this one was just plain awful. It was still great in the sense that it was riff-worthy material, and you could have a lot of fun with it just like that, but by no means was it good horror or even good-bad horror.

The acting was predictably awful, but it was even bad for horror, almost porno levels bad. The plot made no fucking sense. Hell, the gestation of the creature didn’t make any fucking sense. Most of the movie is pretty boring, with fleeting moments of excitement when the monster pops up, and that’s fucking criminal for a creature feature.

Beastie was neat though. Really loved the rubber monster design here.  Just wish they could have done a little more with it in the actual fucking movie.

Riffers only, do not watch.

SPOILERS!!!

I can’t fucking believe that I didn’t know Nicholas Lea was in this movie! I guess it’s no surprise. I was like… 8… 6 when I saw this the first time and probably didn’t even know who he was? It would be almost another 16 years before I would watch it again. I guess your career had to start somewhere though, Lea. Still, he was probably the best actor in the movie even though it was a supporting role. Is that really a spoiler?… hmmm, I guess not. 

How the fuck does this ‘interdimensional alien’ work? Scientists bring over an alien from another dimension that was using a woman’s body as a host. There was a gratuitous ripoff of the chest-burster scene from Alien, and then the rest of the movie is basically one long ripoff of Alien and Aliens after the next. But the alien came out of the woman’s body almost fully formed. I could see how it might have been able to hollow out a cavity and just pop out when it was big enough, but wouldn’t she just die?

So, you figure this thing needs to stick, Idontfuckenknow, larva or something into people like a wasp, but then in just lays like… Spores? Eggs? Something like that in the one guy and he pretty much explodes into a cloud of spore/egg thingies. Now, you could have just done that from the very start with the first lady, and maybe even had a more interesting concept that wasn’t a total blatant ripoff of the chest-burster scene. I guess in those days, getting the Aliens money was more important than maybe making a halfway decent movie.I could just say “Watch Alien,” as it’s a better movie with better actors. However, if you’re a hardcore riffer, this movie may be amusing.

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Nicholas Cage: What Does He Contribute to Horror?

Nicolas Cage is slated to play the male lead in a movie adaptation of “The Color out of Space” by H. P. Lovecraft. So, are we going to get a deep and thoughtful rendition of an incredibly complex story line? Or are we going to get the usual “Not the bees” hammed up acting that Nicholas Cage is well known for?

I hit the threads to ask fellow horror heads in Frightland what they thought and it broke down pretty simply.

It should be noted that the sample is about half what I consider acceptable (no less than 300 reporting) and my targeted sample group are horror fanatics who have specific biases.  However, those are the biases are what I’m after. First, the hard numbers.

When asked if they thought Nicholas Cage was an appropriate fit, those surveyed had this to say.

Stats: Sample size 144
Nicholas Cage is a fine actor and will do a great job 62 43%
Nicholas Cage’s over the top acting will fit the genre 41 28%
Nicholas Cage is not fit for this movie 20 14%
No Opinion 21 15%

Though just barely, I am immediately hit by the fact that individuals who didn’t care one way or the other, outnumber individuals who believe Cage is going to bomb.  Even if just by one. There are two primary camps for support. Those who believe Cage is actually a good actor and can handle it. Not sure how familiar these people are with his filmography but it’s their opinion.  The second camp believe that Cage’s usual over the top method acting is actually perfect for Lovecraftian setting. This may be a good point. Lovecraft delves deeply into madness and if anyone does a ‘frothing at the mouth raving lunatic’ right, it’s Cage.

For those who believe Cage is a decent actor, it is true his filmography is filled with smashing performances. Matchstick Man, Raising Arizona, and 8mm. Even films like The Rock, as campy as it was, Cage did a fine job. He’s clearly capable of amazing acting… but then we start to look at his track record in horror and it seems like his quality level takes a nosedive.  In several of my reviews, I’ve told him to please leave horror and never come back.

We don’t have to just use examples like “Not the bees” from The Wicker Man.  He hasn’t exactly had a great track-record with horror at all. The worst being Vampire’s Kiss which was so over the top, it has since become a series of memes that have launched his campy ridiculousness into legendary status.  Cage went so over the top in Vampire’s Kiss we got full blown ‘So Bad It’s Good’ with levels not seen since Troll 2.

In my review of Pay the Ghost, I was surprised to be hit by a lukewarm performance as opposed to the hammy over acting.

In my review of Mom and Dad, literally the only bad acting was Cage, and he was surrounded by a bunch of nobodies.

But with 8mm under his belt, Cage clearly shows he’s capable of the edgy subtlety necessary for Lovecraftian stories.  And that doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for one of Cages full blown over the top zany moments. We all remember Bruce Campbell’s  scene from Evil Dead 2 when confronted by laughing furniture, or when actor Sam Neill completely cracks at the end of, In the Mouth of Madness.  Most recently, fans of the good ol’ fashioned Cage freak out point to Mandy, where his over the top acting filled the role almost too perfectly. It was like a natural fit.

Current director Richard Stanley, maybe keenly aware of Cages ability to deliver both and if he has the capacity to wrangle in the great ego that is Cage, it could work out perfectly.  While there is something about horror that Cage never really seems to get a handle on, using 8mm again as an example, if The Color out of Space is presented more as an ‘investigative thriller,’ maybe he won’t ham it up until eventually given clearance from the director to, so to speak, ‘go full Cage.’

Looking at the director’s filmography, nothing stands out as a particular gem and the list is depressingly short over a very long time period.  I wonder if this director has the clout to reign in an ego like Cage and rangle up appropriate acting.

In the end, there is a slight glimmer of hope that Cage can pull off Lovecraft.  It’s likely just a matter of presenting it to the actor in the correct way. If it can be done, The Color out of Space may deliver the final adaptation for the story to be taken seriously in cinema.  However, I’m not holding my breath. We literally only have 8mm to point to as the right style for Cage, that and a director I strongly doubt has the level of clout needed to direct Cage.

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Reed Alexander’s Horror Review of ‘Creature’ (1985)

My favorite in a long line of ‘Alien’ ripoffs

I figured I should pull up some horror movies from my childhood to sort of explain where my weird sense of appreciation for the genre stems from…

MAN, you know you’re the Kmart version of another franchise when the picture on IMDb is a faded crinkled movie poster, creases intact.

Not even the Kmart version, this is like the AIMS or Bradly’s version. That shit they were schlepping right before they went out of business. I think I just dated myself…

Anyway, you may know that I’m a HUGE fan of circa 70-90s rubber monster creature features, and this movie delivered my favorite rubber monster as the Kmart version of Ridley Scott’s masterpiece Alien. I always had a soft spot in my heart for this obvious Go-Bot (Transformers impostors of the 1980s… man, I really am dating myself) and used to rent this movie frequently when I was about 10 to 12.

The plot was a direct ripoff of Alien, the crew was practically a ripoff of Alien. The setting might as well been from the discount H.R. Giger bin. The movie might as well be called Ridley’s Rejects… but I love it all the same.

I don’t know why I love it. Maybe it’s my giddy childhood nostalgia for the rubber monsters of my past, or maybe it’s the complete wash of obvious borrowed material that always gives me some level of glee, but I love this movie.

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Reed Alexander’s Horror Review of ‘Residue’ (2017)

Time is an illusion, your life is meaningless and nothing is real.

Kicking off out last Lovecraftian horror before the release of my new novella “In the Shadow of the Mountain,” already available for pre-order, we’ll look at an absolute fantastic b-rated Lovecraftian style movie, that is creepy, cerebral, and silly. Order it here!

Continue reading Reed Alexander’s Horror Review of ‘Residue’ (2017)