The Weekly Horror Movie(s) Thread
Giving credit to Wally Dangerously, because it's a spin on a thread he created a little while ago.
The idea of this thread is to post about overlooked, underrated, forgotten, cult classic horror films (past and present), or horror films that are flying under the radar. And you're welcome to defend a critically panned horror film also.
The Conjuring, Friday The 13th, Halloween '78, the original Nightmare On Elm Street, and Night of the Living Dead 1968 are examples of films that are off-limits for this thread, because I'm not looking for widely praised and successful horror films.
But to add to that, you can submit a post about Halloween III: Season Of The Witch, A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, or Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives. While it's true each film is apart of a well established, and popular horror franchise, there's more than enough room to spark a debate for said film receiving an unfair amount of criticism or said film falling into a category for being overlooked, underrated, forgotten, maintaining a cult classic status, or possibly surpassing the original in the series for overall quality.
Also, if you're wondering, yes, this thread will contain spoilers. I'll start things off with one of my all-time favorites:
Fright Night Part 2 (1988)
Plot- Three years after the events of Fright Night (1985), Charley Brewster (Roddy McDowall) reunites with Peter Vincent to stop a different vampire.
Jerry Dandridge's (Chris Sarandon) sister, Regine (Julie Carmen) wants revenge for her brother's death, but Peter Vincent (Roddy McDowall) runs into some problems with a reluctant Charley Brewster (William Ragsdale). Charley is trying to focus on college, his new girlfriend, Alex (Traci Lin), and he wants to put the past behind him. A series of bizarre incidents bring Charley and Peter together for one more fight against Regine and her entourage, but Regine gains the upper hand with one bite........
Filling Chris Sarandon's shoes for the primary antagonist in the sequel was not an easy task, but Julie Carmen did a wonderful job as Regine. Carmen's has the sex appeal, her performance has a nice flow to it, and she's the female counterpart for Sarandon's Jerry: a smooth, charismatic, and devious seductress. To give an example, Charley temporarily lowers his guard after Regine lures him into a dance:
As far as Charley goes, with the exception of going to college, a new girlfriend, and a new college friend named Richie (long story short, Regine turns him, but Richie hides the bite marks with make-up), you won't see any major changes for his character. And of course, Roddy McDowall is still good for a few laughs, as the jumpy coward.
Part II features some noticeable changes, with Regine having an entourage, including Belle (another vampire), Louie (a werewolf), Bozoworth (a supernatural being, who eats insects). Remember, in the 1985 original, Jerry had Billy to watch his back, and that's it. On a side note, and I know this sounds like a nitpicky complaint, but Belle and his rollerblades annoy me. For some strange reason, Belle needs to use his rollerblades to attack his victims, and it's a slow motion shot every time it happens, so the attacks feel repetitive.
Also, there's no Amanda Bearse or Stephen Geoffreys as Evil Ed. I don't have any real complaints about Traci Lin as Alex. Geoffreys was good for comic relief (with one serious moment, when Jerry turns him in the alleyway) in the 1985 film, and you can say Jon Gries Louie is his replacement as the goofball.
I enjoy Fright Night Part II, but I have two major pet peeves for this one. For starters, they actually expect you to suspend disbelief to the point, where you can seriously buy into Peter and Charley denying the existence of vampires? Charley and Peter don't fully trust or believe in each other until the tail end of the film, when they join forces to fight Regine, and it's just ridiculous after the events in the first film. To make matters worse, they open the movie with a highlight reel of the big fight between Jerry (as a VAMPIRE), Peter, and Charley before they cut to Charley's therapy session. Unbelievable.
The big plot hole for Regine's revenge is really irritating. It's no secret Regine wants to enslave Charley for all eternity as a vampire, because she wants revenge for her brother's death. Well, the thing is, Peter is the only one, who knows about Regine's blood ties to Jerry. In fact, after Regine mentions Jerry, they never make an effort to elaborate on Jerry's death, so instead of a revenge story with some real potential and depth, it's just a "we have to kill another random vampire" storyline for Charley and Peter.
Part II has some noticeable flaws, and it's not prefect, but the sequel is an enjoyable film, and it's worth a try, if you're a fan of the original. Also, I have a thing for 80's horror, and Part II's nostalgic aura is something to remember. Everything from the characters, to the atmosphere, the music, and the look of the movie screams 80's, and Part II is one the rare films I can watch over and over again without getting tired of it.
As far as sequels go, it's not better than some horror number twos, but at the same time, it's nowhere near as bad as some other horror number twos (i.e. A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge). The main problem is, the 1985 original is praised as an all-time classic, so Part II had to deal with the task of living up to high (and unrealistic) expectations.
A few bonus points for the genuine surprise with Dr. Harrison (Charley's Psychiatrist) turning into a vampire to attack Alex at the train tracks, and the ending, with Charley and Peter working together to stop Regine. The look of hopelessness on Ragsdale's face, Regine salivating in the thought of enslaving Charley, the timing, and McDowall's last second save to pull the rug out from underneath Regine. Everything leading up to the moment of Regine's demise is executed to perfection, and it's an easy choice for one of my favorite death scenes:
Fingers crossed for Scream Factory securing the rights for a collector's edition DVD/Blu-Ray set someday. Part II is out of print (has been for years now) on DVD and Blu-Ray, so of course, if you want a DVD or Blu-Ray, you're going to pay an outrageous price online ($400 and up for the Blu-Ray). To add that, I've read a number of reviews complaining about terrible VHS picture quality for the DVDs, and there's no sense in spending so much money for a standard one disc DVD.
I lost a long reply here weeks ago, disappointed there hasn't been more chatter here since.
I'm not a vampire fan, but both Fright Night Films had their moments. I really enjoyed the second films dance scene and can't give credit to Chris Surandon in any movie he's in whether I like it or not( The Princess Bride, Let The Devil Wear Black.) In conclusion, Fright Night 2 is a sure thing for any horror fan especially if your into 80s/90s nostalgia.
The movie I picked for this thread is the 1989 film Clownhouse by Victor Salva. I consider myself a horror movie fan as far as Michael Myers (aka The King,) Jason, Freddy, Chucky etc go but I'm not the type to search out non-brand name killers. If every horror movie was good, I'd watch, but there's alot of garbage out there in this genre.
What isn't garbage is Clownhouse. I've been a horror movie fan all my life and I didn't see/hear about it till my mid 20s. I finally saw the movie and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
The thing about this movie that is so scary and actually horrible, is that the director was molesting the lead, 12 year old male character. He also directed movies like Powder and the Jeepers Creepers series.
I watched the movie before knowing all of this, but after watching and looking up the back story, it added to creepiness of the film. The lead character in the film is obviously scared and disturbed and it's because he actually is.
I usually only enjoy horror movies I grew up with but Clownhouse is a must for any horror fan whose never seen or heard of it. The monster who made it is still making movies "Jeepers Creepers 3" in prod, but with a young Sam Rockwell and a well made film, this movie is probably in the argument for best clown movie ever made, considering it was 2 years before IT.
Yeah, I kind of forget about this one, but I'll post a proper update (probably The Descent) soon.
As far Fright Night Part II '88 goes, the DVDs and Blu-Rays are still horribly overpriced, but a little while ago, Amazon released a limited number of VHS tapes (not sure if they still have them) for the movie. I was browsing around, I picked up a copy (a little over twenty bucks with shipping and handling), and luckily my old VCR still works.
If you're talking about the state of current/modern horror films, good (or great) horror films are out there, you just have to look for them (low profile Indie horror films, foreign horror films, or arthouse horror). More often than not, a lot of people generalize, when they see the same, same old with generic and formulaic mainstream horror films.
Ouija 2014 is a good example for something more recent. A bland, boring, and generic horror film, but it's a mainstream Hollywood horror film, so of course, you'll see all the commercials on TV and ads for the film plastered across social media.
The Town That Dreaded Sundown remake and Darker than Night (or Más Negro Qué La Noche) are two of my favorite horror films in 2014, but I can guarantee you not too many people knew about both films, because you had to do some real research to find them. I'm jumping around for the years now, but you can add the Maniac remake starring Elijah Wood to that list, and the first two REC films (the third is trash, and I haven't seen Apocalypse yet).
To add to that, I haven't seen The Babadook yet, but I've heard nothing but high praise for it, and for 2015, I'm really looking forward to It Follows, and the early reviews are praising it is a modern classic.
Another problem for the perception of horror films (this is past and present) is the habit of studios milking a great, good, solid, or so-so horror film to produce a shitty or sub-par franchise/film series (i.e. Saw and Paranormal Activity for modern examples) with one or two (three if you're lucky) memorable films, and a barrage of sequels. In some cases, the sequels are decent or surprisingly entertaining, but more often than not, you can just tell they're squeezing everything as much as they possibly can for another film.
Although, I'll say this, I'm glad Hollywood decided to bail on the trend of unnecessary J-horror (Japanese horror) remakes. They had something with The Ring, but the bandwagon really hit a wall with One Missed Call.
I'm not knocking mainstream horror films, because I enjoy most of them, but for every Insidious (the first film, Chapter 2 was pure dogshit) or The Conjuring, you'll have an Ouija, The Devil Inside, another forgettable found-footage horror film filled with unnecessary jump scares, or another unnecessary remake (i.e. A Nightmare On Elm Street 2010) to tip scale the other way.
The Descent (2005)
Plot- After a whitewater rafting trip, the relationship between five friends takes an unexpected turn, when Sarah (Shauna Macdonald) loses her husband, Paul (Oliver Milburn) and her young daughter, Jessica (Molly Kayll) in a gruesome car accident. Unbeknownst to Sarah, Juno (Natalie Mendoza), one of her close friends in the group, was having an affair with Paul.
One year later, Sarah is struggling to cope with Paul and Jessica's deaths, relying on medication for help, but Juno suggests an expedition to a cave system to reinvigorate Sarah. Together, Juno, Sarah, Beth (Alex Reid ), Sam (MyAnna Buring), and, Rebecca (Saskia Mulder) reunite for spelunking, with some help from Juno's new friend, Holly (Nora Jane Noone).
Inside the cave system, a passage collapses behind Sarah, blocking the only known exit. But the group runs into a bigger problem, when flesh-eating creatures (or crawlers) emerge. The blind creatures use sound to hunt, and Holly's broken leg complicates the life-or-death dilemma.
My Thoughts- Patience. You'll need a lot of it for The Descent, because the movie kicks into high gear at the fifty-six minute mark, and the total runtime clocks in at 1hr. and 39 min. On paper, I know that sounds like a lengthy and tedious "twiddling your thumbs" wait, but the slow burn build is worth it, because The Descent delivers one hell of a payoff.
Director/writer Neil Marshall slowly builds the tension one step at a time. The exit collapsing behind Sarah, the confusion and anger, when Juno tells the truth about the expedition (more on that later), Sarah being the only one, who notices the crawlers tracking the group (Sarah's sightings are dismissed as hallucinations at first), Holly breaking her leg, and brief shots of the crawlers quietly waiting in the background.
It's only a matter of time before the crawlers attack. The constant teasing from Marshall really works, because you know the main characters are walking into massacre. It's one setback after another, as the story unfolds, and you can feel the impending sense of doom before the crawlers launch the first attack.
It's one close call nail-biter after another during the fight against the crawlers, and here's one of my favorite scenes:
Friendship, betrayal, loyalty, and revenge. Four very important themes in The Descent, and each theme is intensified during the ups and downs in Sarah and Juno’s relationship.
Throughout the movie, Sarah suspected something between Juno and Paul, but she wasn't 100% sure. And to add an eerie touch to the situation, you get the feeling Paul was on the verge of a confession (Paul's uncomfortable body language in the car, and the look of guilt on his face are two dead giveaways) before the fatal car crash.
Natalie Mendoza delivers a solid and believable performance, and Marshall deserves some bonus points for the way he chooses to portray Juno. Juno stays in a grey area, because you want to believe she feels remorse for the affair, but at the same time, Juno never openly apologizes to Sarah for the affair, and she never offers an explanation. Instead, Juno believes the spelunking trip will cheer Sarah up, and she plans to name the undiscovered cave system after Sarah.
But here's the big problem with Juno's goodwill mission: For starters, Juno deliberately lied about the cave system. Originally, the group agreed on a spelunking trip to a known cave system (or a "tourist trap"), but Juno decided (without asking or consulting the group) to lead the group to the unknown cave system for a real adventure. There's a scene, where Sarah and the others gang up on Juno to call her out on all the BS behind her motivations, and in certain scenes, you get the feeling Juno is a pretentious phony with a big ego.
To end the movie, Sarah and Juno are the remaining survivors, and Sarah reaches a breaking point with Juno. When the crawlers launched their first attack, Juno accidentally wounded Beth with a pickaxe to the throat (she mistook Beth for a crawler), but Juno never told the truth about the accident. After Beth's death, Sarah finally learns the truth about the affair, and she maims Juno with a pickaxe to the leg. Sarah escapes, and a wounded Juno is left alone to fight a pack of crawlers.
Think about what Sarah did for a second. She could've easily killed Juno with no real problems, but she made the choice to cripple Juno, because she wanted her to suffer a slow and agonizing death at the hands of vicious flesh-eating creatures. That's revenge, and you can say Sarah had genuine feelings of hatred for Juno. The irony for Sarah crippling Juno? Throughout the movie, Juno flat out REFUSED to leave the cave (motivated by guilt and a second chance) without Sarah, when the remaining survivors were more than willing to escape, leaving Sarah alone in the cave with an "every man (or in the case, woman) for himself" mindset.
You can feel a grand sense of triumph and relief, when Sarah finally escapes the cave......but she didn't escape. Sarah pulls over on the side of the road to vomit, and she sees a pale Juno (covered in blood) sitting next to her. Here, it's revealed Sarah never escaped the cave. The escape was one big dream, and Sarah is still trapped in the cave. She hallucinates a celebration for her daughter's birthday (a reoccurring hallucination throughout the movie), but in reality, Sarah is kneeling on the ground, and she's staring at a torch.
The Descent is a chaotic, tense, and claustrophobic horror film, featuring a solid cast, and believable performances. The Descent is loaded with graphic violence, blood, and gore, and Marshall creates a series of striking visuals behind the camera. The crawler's lair (or "The Killing Floor") is one that sticks out. It's a horrifying and gloomy setting, with the bones of animals and humans scattered across the ground, and you'll see one of the more memorable gross-out moments in the movie, with Sarah slowly rising to the top in a pit of blood (look at the movie poster, if you need a visual). And the genuinely shocking swerve at the end really works, because Sarah as the sole survivor was supposed to be the big feel good moment in the movie, but they pull the rug out from underneath at the last second.
Characters and a story with real depth separates The Descent from other gory bloodbath horror films. It's a story about friendship, deception, betrayal, revenge, survival, and how far people are willing to go, when they're pushed beyond their limits.
You know, I haven't seen a properly good horror movie in a long time. I guess you can blame that on my better half being terrified of anything that can be slightly deemed horror. Nonetheless, I might give these two movies a watch and see if I can rekindle my interest in the franchises therein.
I did notice that the new Paranormal Activity, one of my favourites (I know, I know) was pushed back to the layer half of the year. Obviously this is a decent move for business but really has left a giant horror shaped home in the cinematic universe for a long time. I think the last horror movie I seen in cinemas was The Babadook. And that was a while ago now, come to think about it.
So what do you think, is there any good horror movies out there right now that I am missing? Are you like me and hate the start of the year since there isn't really any big horror movies on the horizon until at least August?
A lot of red flags and uncertainty surrounding the Paranormal Activity franchise. The fifth film (Or Ghost Dimension) was supposed to hit theaters in 2013, and on top of that, Paramount changed the release date twice for the current date in October.
The Marked Ones was a nice surprise, but the movie had an underwhelming run at the box office, and you can blame a lot of that on the stigma attached to Paranormal Activity 4.
I don't know if you're into slashers or not, but The Town That Dreaded Sundown is a mix of a murder mystery/slasher horror film, and they take a breaking the fourth wall approach, with tie-ins to the 1976 film. Darker Than Night is an atmospheric horror film, with a solid cast and a slow burn build, but the wait is worth it.
For 2015, we have to wait until June to get to the first big release with Insidious Chapter 3, followed by the Poltergeist remake in July. But as I said before, it all goes back to researching and looking around before the big name films hit. It Follows (will have to wait for more details, but for now, I'm pretty sure the movie hits theaters on March 13th on a limited release) currently holds a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes (with 24 total reviews counted), and a lot of early reviews are praising it as a modern horror classic, but for the most part, the marketing campaign is limited to word of mouth.
Over the last handful of months, Netflix has revived my penchant for revelling in off the radar non-Hollywood machine lower budget Genre films, so I though I'd draw some attention to some gems that I've enjoyed- so I'll start with this piece of surreal art that won't be for everyone:
Panos Cosmatos's directorial debut:
Beyond The Black Rainbow
Released initially in late 2010, with film festival versions in 2011, and the final American cut in 2012. A basic plot synopsis- in 1983, a young girl with extreme mental powers spends her life under heavy sedation and experimentation in a futuristic specialized facility, where she is the chief subject of a disturbed doctor whose intentions are unclear, until she determines that she needs to attempt to free herself, will not begin to do justice to what this film delivers as a viewing experience.
Simply put if you can't see yourself enjoying a movie that intentionally dispels any attempt to "make sense" in a traditional manner, while delivering a sensory onslaught, and occasionally(or constantly depending on your viewpoint) bordering on a unique degree of pretension, then don't even waste your time on the trailer.
As for a description that can best give a degree of understanding to what it is that this film actually delivers before watching it, my best attempt would go like this:
David Cronenberg decided he wanted to return to his roots in the Sci-Fi horror field, while choosing to take a time machine back to the early 80s to make the film. The only entertainment that he brought along on the trip was a tablet loaded with 2001: A Space Odyssey, MK Ultra conspiracy videos, and the entire Daft Punk discography. As well as a sheet of LCD.
Now if that sounds at all intriguing than this film may be worth your effort. Some people believe the movie was intentionally created to be viewed during an acid trip.
Other warnings: There is only one prominent speaking role in the entire film, and along with disturbing and possibly confusing imagery, the minimalist dialogue is delivered in a painstakingly deliberate fashion.
I LOVE the film but it is decidedly immersive and assaulting and aimed at those who appreciate bizarre works of sci-fi cult cinema that are specifically pointed toward visual and visceral engagement.
Other oft-cited and/or easily spotted influences: Goerge Lucas's THX 1138, the original Tron, the works of Bava and Argento(Suspiria perhaps especially), David Lynch films(most notably Eraserhead), Aronovsky's Pi, Tarkovsky's Solaris, Daft Punk's Electroma, other works of Stanley Kubrick beyond 2001, and as for more recent films- the works of Gaspar Noe.
Chopping Mall/Killbots (1986)
Plot- Six shopping mall employees/couples use a furniture store in the Park Plaza Mall for an after hours party, with Rick (Russell Todd) and Linda (Karrie Emerson) as the lone married couple in the group. After work, Mike (John Terlesky) and Leslie (Suzee Slater), and Greg (Nick Segal) and Suzie (Barbara Compton) start the party. Ferdy (Tony O'Dell) and Alison (Kelli Maroney) are having second thoughts, but they reluctantly agree to join the party after a talk with Greg and Suzie.
At first, the party is a success, and Ferdy falls for Allison during a late night showing for Attack Of The Crab Monsters 1957. Unbeknownst to the group, a series of lightning strikes damages the control center for the mall's new security force: Three armed robots (or "killbots"). After the first set of malfunctions, the robots murder two technicians and Walter (a janitor).
Leslie pushes Mike to buy her a pack of cigarettes during the killbot's first patrol. One of the killbot's murders Mike near the vending machine, and Leslie tries to escape after discovering Mike's corpse, but a robot uses a laser blast to kill her during a chase.
The remaining survivors are trapped after the mall's state of the art security system locks and blocks every exit in the mall, and the doors don't open until 6:00 am. Rick, Linda, Greg, Suzie, Ferdy, and Allison plan a strategy to fight the killbots and escape the mall, but a series of careless mistakes complicate a tricky dilemma. Will the group survive the night? Or will the killbots eliminate all the trespassers?
My Thoughts- First of all, the opening in the trailer is 100% false. Rick, Greg, and Ferdy DID NOT break into the mall. The entire group camped out in the furniture store before the mall officially closed. The shot of Rick, Greg, and Ferdy breaking the glass in the trailer is from the scene, where they break into the sporting goods store to steal weapons, so they can even the playing field in the fight against the killbots. My only guess for the false advertising is to add a more dramatic effect to the trailer.
If you look at the movie poster above, there's a chance you're thinking Chopping Mall is some brutal and bloody gore fest. A creepy robot hand holding a bag full of body parts? It's too much!
Well, to be honest, Leslie's death scene is the only true gross-out moment in the trailer. Leslie's head literally explodes (pay attention to the 0:37-0:40 time frame in the trailer) after a laser blast from one of the killbots, and it's a nasty sight, but that's about it. Sure, you'll see a fair amount of blood throughout Chopping Mall, but it's nothing too extreme.
The Killbots? Yeah, they're really not intimidating, and you won't see anything resembling the creepy hand in the poster. They're a perfect fit for an 80's horror film, but the killbots have a clunky design:
Click for Spoiler:
If you go into Chopping Mall expecting a hardcore bloodbath, you'll be disappointed. It's that simple. Chopping Mall is a VERY cheesy 80's B-movie. It's a low-budget (i.e. the special effects for Walter's death scene) horror film, and you'll know what type of movie you're in for after a few corny one-liners. A few of my favorites:
"They know we're in here. They're trying to french fry us!"
"Let's go send those fuckers a Rambo-gram!"
Bottom line, you're not suppose to take Chopping Mall too seriously. I mean, it's a movie about eight teenagers trapped inside a shopping mall, and killer robots are hunting them. What else do you expect?
Although, two familiar horror movie tropes in Chopping Mall really annoy me. The first is the usual "Let's split up!" trope, and the other one involves Suzie freaking out in the air ducts. Longs story short, the women retreat to the air ducts, so they can safely crawl to the parking garage. Suzie (randomly) freaks out, forcing the group to follow her into the mall, and of course the killbots attack. Yeah, let's abandon a safe and secure hiding spot, and completely ruin a good plan, so we can increase our chances of walking into a massacre. :disappointed:
With all that said, Chopping Mall is a fun little old school 80's treat, if you're into campy and cheesy B-movie horror, and it's on a long list of my personal 80's horror favorites. A few good laughs, and there's just enough blood, gore, and nudity (courtesy of Barbara Crampton and Suzee Slater) to satisfy the most die hard horror fan.
For me, Chopping Mall features a few memorable moments. One that sticks out is Greg, Ferdy, and Rick walking together in slow motion with weapons (Ferdy is clutching a propane tank :lmao:), and the blaring theme song in the background is a perfect fit. The other is Alison shouting "Have a nice day!" as she throws a road flare to destroy one of the killbots.
Also, Chopping Mall features one of my favorite theme songs. It's catchy, and Chopping Mall's main theme has a strong nostalgic 80's vibe to it:
Oh, and if you're wondering, who the sole survivor is, it's Alison....and they throw a little curveball, with Ferdy (you're lead to believe Ferdy is dead after he risks his life to save Alison from a killbot) joining her at the end. You can see Alison as one of the final survivors coming from a mile away. She's the cute and innocent heroine, the scene where she meets Ferdy for the first time is a dead giveaway, and here's a pic from that scene:
Click for Spoiler:
For those, who don't know, Julie Corman (Roger Corman's wife) produced Chopping Mall. Originally, Chopping Mall was released as Killbots, but the movie was a failure at the box office, so they re-released it as Chopping Mall. Also, they don't refer to the robots as killbots in the movie. You'll see killbots in the opening credits sequence, but that's it.
To add to that, two versions of Chopping Mall exist. Apparently, the TV edit features extra footage, including more scenes with Alison and Ferdy, and there's the scene with Ferdy and Alison watching Attack Of The Crab Monsters (ironically enough, Roger is the director for that film).
I say apparently, because I don't own the DVD. Last time I checked, Chopping Mall is still available on DVD for reasonable prices online, or you can buy it in one of those eight horror movie pack DVD sets. Although, you should do some research (I have to look at the films included in the set) first and be careful. More often than not (this is coming from experience), the VAST majority of films in five, six, or eight pack horror DVD sets are just awful. There's a reason why you're paying five bucks or a little bit more for five or eight movies.
The Midnight Meat Train (2008)
Plot-Living in New York City, Leon (Bradley Cooper) is a struggling photographer, who's looking for his first big break. Leon constantly scours NYC for the perfect photograph, but Leon accidentally uncovers a horrific secret, when he decides to follow and investigate a butcher named Mahogany (Vinnie Jones).
Leon suspects something fishy, when he recognizes a missing model from one of his photographs, but no one believes his story about a butcher murdering unsuspecting passengers during nighttime hours on a subway train. Leon decides to put his career as a photographer on hold to focus on Mahogany, and in the process, he ignores his girlfriend, Maya (Leslie Bibb), his friend Jurgis (Roger Bart), and Susan Hoff (Brooke Shields), the one person, who's more than willing to legitimize and support Leon as a photographer.
When a detective dismisses Leon's pleas, his obsession with Mahogany leads him to a one on one confrontation on the subway train. Unbeknownst to Leon, Maya and Jurgis break into Mahogany's apartment to look for clues, and Mahogany captures Jurgis. Maya joins Leon on the train in an attempt to recuse Jurgis, but Mahogany quickly derails any plans for an escape. Is Leon willing to risk everything to stop Mahogany's murderous rampage?
My Thoughts- When you think about all of his Oscar nominations and Oscar nominated films, it's easy to overlook or forget about Bradley Cooper starring in The Midnight Meat Train. Cooper delivers a solid performance in the leading role, and he did a good job of pulling off the unhinged side of Leon's personality during his descent into madness, but director Ryuhei Kitamura breathes life into this film. The Midnight Train is loaded with striking visuals, and Kitamura's vibrant approach and his inventive work behind the camera helps the movie rise above average status for your usual horror movie bloodbath.
Vinnie Jones doesn't speak one word throughout the movie, but he makes up for a lack of dialogue with a believable intimidating demeanor and facial expressions, and he's a perfect fit for the Mahogany character. Leslie Bibb is decent enough, as the supportive girlfriend, and her character is limited to sporadic appearances, but Brooke Shields is a nice addition to the cast, as the icy and pompous ("punctuality means nothing to me; it's a virtue for the mediocre") mogul. Also, Quinton Jackson has a small part as a passenger, but he doesn't last too long in a fight (Mahogany receives some help from the conductor) with Mahogany.
The only real drawback I can think of is the relationship between Bibb and Cooper. The boyfriend/girlfriend relationship between the two feels cliched, and as a couple, Leon and Maya's story doesn't add anything to the film. There's a scene, where Maya tries to break Leon's habit of constantly snapping pictures of Mahogany. Leon tries to play along, but he's clearly not interested in taking pictures of Maya, so Maya bursts into tears. This scene is a prime example of overkill, and you just get the feeling they're trying to force a disingenuous sympathetic reaction for Maya.
The Midnight Meat Train teeters on the edge for crossing a line of absurdity, when the mysteries behind Mahogany murdering innocent passengers and the creatures are revealed during the big finale. And it's not hard to put the pieces of the puzzle together, when Leon develops a taste for bloody meat (he's a vegan) towards the end.
Still, The Midnight Meat Train is one of the more memorable Clive Barker adaptations (the movie is based on Barker's short story of the same name), and I won't go as far as labeling it an all-time classic, but with more time, The Midnight Meat Train is definitely capable of achieving a strong cult classic following. The Midnight Meat Train is a brutal, gruesome, and bloody mystery/horror film, and there's more than enough savage mayhem to satisfy any gore fiends.
Also, The Midnight Meat Train is not for the squeamish type. The death scenes are graphic and nasty, the aftermath of the big fight between Leon and Mahogany is loaded with genuine gross-out moments, and you might need a few barrels to measure the amount of blood here.
There are several of these types of movies from the 1990's. I could spend days talking about them but the first one that comes to mind is this one:
Plot: This movie is about the classic Rumpelstiltskin character from the old fairy tales. He ends up cursed in the midevil times until someone sheds a tear on his shell(something like that). His shell is found in an antiques store and the main character/damsel sheds a tear on it and he comes back to life to start killing and stealing babies again.
My Thoughts: This movie was actually pretty good. That is if you like the funny/gory horror movies like Nightmare on Elm Street or Child's Play. It had a mediocre plot, however, the acting and action is actually pretty good. Also, did I mention that this movie is funny as hell. I used to like to get high or drunk and watch this with my friends and we'd laugh our asses off.
If you haven't seen it, I suggest that you do. You'll like it.
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