Directed by Don Mancini
Starring Fiona Dourif, Brad Dourif and Danielle Bisutti
Available on Blu-Ray, DVD and RedBox
I’m kind of an odd fan of the Child’s Play films. While I don’t own any Chucky merchandise, I can actually appreciate the films. I believe the first three Child’s Play movies are all quite good, which is rare for any slasher horror franchise. Bride of Chucky was an odd film, that came at a time when the modern horror movie monsters were dying off. Bride of Chucky reinvented Chucky and made him a bigger star than he had ever been before. It was a brilliant move by Don Mancini and it cemented Chucky among the top tier of slasher icons. Unfortunately it came at the cost of Chucky no longer being “scary”. Seed of Chucky followed and arguably should have been the death of the franchise. Seed played up on the elements that made Bride funny, but took them too far and ultimately ended up with a movie that was neither funny nor scary.
When Curse of Chucky was announced for direct-to-video, I didn’t put much stock into it. Seeing it released this past week, I decided to give it a watch. Some have called this a “soft reboot” but it’s definitely a direct sequel, actually tying this film to every one before it. Granted it doesn’t spend much time focusing on it, but it definitely is more tied to Child’s Play than the last few efforts. What’s so amazing about this movie, is that it manages to capture the spirit of the old Child’s Play movies and taps into some very scary other areas, without pretending the last two films didn’t exist. Don Mancini has done it again, reinventing Chucky back as that scary doll gave you nightmares in the early 80’s.
Fiona Dourif stars as Nica, a paraplegic girl who is frustrated with her life living under her mother’s care. Her mom appears to be a bit unbalanced and shortly after a mysterious package arrives containing a Good Guy doll, Nica’s mom falls to her death. Nica’s older sister Barb (Danielle Bisutti) and her family arrive to help Nica with the funeral and slowly they begin to notice strange things happening with the doll. Of course, sure enough the doll is Chucky, who engages on a killing spree, turning the old home into a house of horrors.
What works so well in this film is that they don’t rush anything. We know from the moment that Chucky shows up that he’s a killer doll, but we barely see him move for a long time. This isn’t because there’s no budget like the recent Puppet Master films, but rather to create an atmosphere. It’s amazing that they’re able to do it, but they succeed. The acting is all quite good and the set helps play up the creepy aura of the movie.
For years Chucky was after Andy Barclay, so it’s easy to wonder why he would seek out this new family in Curse of Chucky, but thankfully all is explained in a rather well done backstory. Brad Dourif even gets some screen time reprising his role as Charles Lee Ray. Some of the story is a bit forced, but it works well enough and some flashbacks from the original Child’s Play film help set the scene. Dourif and his daughter both play their roles well, with Chucky causing menace to Nica on both a psychological and physical level.
I’ve heard complaints that the movie is slow, but trust me it doesn’t lack in gore. It builds up to a crescendo of violence that includes some of the most insane death sequences I’ve seen in any movie for quite some time. The kills are fun and unexpected at times. The special effects are also top notch for the death sequences, including some of the best fake heads that I’ve seen on film. Continue reading
Killjoy Goes To Hell
Directed by John Lechago
Starring Trent Haaga, Jessica Whitaker, Victoria De Mare
Available on DVD and RedBox
More 31 Days of Halloween horror movie reviews! Killjoy has been around since 2000, when Full Moon started to roll out some new franchises. It was a strange time for Full Moon, as the video market was slowly dying, they had lost their deal with Paramount and they had oddly decided to double down on making even lower budget films. They opened up several new labels so as to not ruin the Full Moon brand and one of those included an urban label where Killjoy was produced.
The first two Killjoy movies didn’t do very well and I avoided them because they looked like crappy urban horror movies. Full Moon seemed to realize this as well, as Killjoy sat on hiatus for 8 years before returning in Killjoy 3 back in 2010. Now a new Killjoy movie is out just in time for Halloween. I never saw Killjoy 3, as I assumed it would be more of the same. However, while waiting for the new Puppet Master movie to come out (review coming later this week) I decided to look up some info on Killjoy 3 & 4. Ultimately I decided to give Killjoy 4 (AKA: Killjoy Goes To Hell) a spin.
I rather incorrectly assumed that like most slasher flicks, I could pick this one up without having seen the other movies. While that is partially true here, the fact is that Killjoy Goes To Hell is a direct sequel to Killjoy 3. Full Moon recently re-released Killjoy 3 under the banner Killjoy’s Revenge, lest you get confused when trying to track down part 3 before watching part 4. Now yes, you can watch this movie without watching part 3 and understand it, but it’s definitely better if you watch part 3 first.
Classic Series DVD Review
Starring Jon Pertwee as the Doctor, Katy Manning as Jo Grant
Written by: Bob Baker and Dave Martin
Director: Christopher Barry
I must be crazy. As I settled in to write my review of the Mutants (not to be confused with the original serial about the Daleks also called the Mutants), I wondered what other folks thought of the serial. As I’ve mentioned before, the Third Doctor’s era is definitely not my favorite. While there are some real gems in Pertwee’s time as the Doctor, there are several recurring things that I just don’t care for… And yet, I find myself at odds with the Mutants. While I quite enjoyed it, it seems nobody else does.
There’s a lot going for this serial, despite being a 6 parter (which are always hard to pull off) and it avoids some of the pratfalls that typically annoy me about the era. Sure the music is still pretty intolerable at times, but I found the score much more muted and almost non-existent at times. So let’s break it down, is this serial and the DVD worth checking out?
Dr. Who and the Daleks
Released by Anchor Bay DVD
Starring: Peter Cushing, Roy Castle, Jennie Linden, Roberta Tovey
If you’re a Doctor Who fan (and who isn’t anymore?) chances are you’ve run across references to a mysterious set of Doctor Who movies that were only released in England in 1965, and have a completely different set of actors in they. If you actually tried to find this movie you’d no doubt be disappointed to find that A) Copies in the United States are few and far between, and B.) most copies that are out there are stupidly expensive (used, beat up copies costing up to $20, and new, unopened editions costing anywhere from $50-100 on Amazon and Ebay).
Rather than let you spend the money, only to find out you’ve not quite found a diamond in the rough (but instead a cubic zirconium) I threw myself on the financial grenade and picked up a copy for 30 bucks on Ebay, and made myself watch it for you guys. Here’s the skinny!
Directed by Chandler Tuttle
Starring Patricia Clarkson, James Cosmo, Julie Hagerty
Chances are that if you’ve attended High School in the last 15 years or so you’ve probably read the short story Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut. Originally published in the early sixties, Harrison Bergeron is a staple of American classrooms, and a much beloved work by the second greatest American author, after Mark Twain.
The story tells the tale of Harrison Bergeron, who lived in a time when all people are equal. Not just in terms of rights and privileges, but in every way imaginable. No one is stronger, faster, or smarter than anyone else. Those with talents or skills are all handicapped with weights and mental disruptors to keep them from taking unfair advantage of their brains.
Harrison, an extraordinarily gifted young man, refuses to be handicapped, and as such he is arrested, locked away, and then escapes. Harrison takes over a television studio, declares himself the emperor of America, then flies with a ballerina.