Saturday, October 21, 2006

October Horror Reviews

SERIAL KILLING 101 (2003)- I checked this out because Tom Weaver (yes that Tom Weaver!) recommended it in his Fangoria column. In an attempt to impress a cute classmate (singer Lisa Loeb who’s too old for the part), high school senior Casey tells his guidance counselor that he wants to become a serial killer. He gets the girl’s attention but even with her help he’s less than successful at becoming a killer. The pair runs through a checklist of serial killer traits, none of which describe Casey, but they forge ahead anyway to often amusing results. Meanwhile the local murders of teenage girls might be the work of a real serial killer and Casey’s choice of future vocation marks him as a suspect. He starts putting his newfound knowledge to use to find the killer but does he want him as a mentor or to stop him? Although the film is never as funny as it could be it’s still pretty damned good. The film has a great cast giving it their all and one corker of an ending. Recommended. (3 stars)

THE EYE (2002)-- Hong Kong scare film in Cantonese with English subtitles. A woman blind since the age of 2 is given a cornea transplant that restores her sight. It also seems to give her the ability to see ghosts! The film is quite good and packs an emotional punch even though I feel it gets a bit unfocused at times. Also, there are leaps of story logic that I might understand if I were more in tune with the culture. As it stands I wanted more info on a couple of topics but the strength of the story won me over completely. Directed by Hong Kong filmmakers the Pang brothers who will be making their American horror debut soon with THE MESSANGERS. Good stuff for adventurous viewers. (3 stars)

BONEDADDY (1998)-- Rutger Hauer is a retired Chicago medical examiner turned crime novelist. His newest book is a fictionalization of his most famous unsolved case involving a serial killer that taunted the police by sending them the bones of victims. Publication of the book brings the killer back out to play but everyone but Hauer thinks it must be a copy cat. Femurs start showing up and the finger bone of suspicion points to someone new every ten minutes but as the suspects narrow it looks like it might be someone very close. Hauer is very good playing the world weary egomaniac who is respected but disliked by everyone he knows. This is a better than average Canadian made thriller with a pretty good script. Nothing earth shattering but I like watching Rutger in a lead role. He’s a natural. (2 & 1/2 stars)

BODY PARTS (1991)-- I had wanted to see this movie for years and its out on DVD now so I finally scratched the itch. Too bad. The movie starts well with Jeff Fahey losing an arm in a car accident and getting a replacement from a convicted criminal. The film has brief moments when it’s OK but it consistently veers into crap territory and become so completely unbelievable that I was rolling my eyes for the last 20 minutes. It has a few interesting ideas floating around but the game cast including Brad Doriff and Kim Delaney can’t save it. It’s a shame since the core question of where in the human body ‘evil’ resides is worthy of a good horror film. This just ain’t it! (1 star)

AMITYVILLE II: THE POSSESSION (1982)- Has there ever been a good Amityville film? This one is a prequel telling the supposedly true story of the family that was murdered in the house. Kind of entertaining in a laugh-at-it kind of way. The family would have had to be idiots to not notice the supernatural things happening 5 freakin’ minutes after they walk through the door! Invisible grasping hands, floating furniture and free flowing blood from the walls are only a few of the tell-tale signs of EVIL that these folks ignore to their detriment. Actually the film seems more of a take off on THE EXORCIST than anything else although they do spice it up with incest and an abusive father. Entertaining for many wrong reasons this one also has the great scene of a lawyer trying to defend his client with a plea of Demonic Possession! Love it! (2 stars)

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