Monday, October 23, 2006

October Horror Reviews

VISITING HOURS (1982)- Lee Grant plays a television talk show host and commentator who stands up for people she thinks have been wronged. Her latest crusade focuses on a battered wife convicted of an attempted murder of her husband. This stance so angers the nearly silent character played by Michael Ironside that he breaks into her house, kills her housekeeper and tries very hard to filet Miss Grant. It seems he hates women because of his strict upraising but since he seems to hate blacks, Mexicans and anyone who isn’t staring back at him from the mirror its hard to figure out his fixation on this poor lady. At least he’s an equal opportunity hater. Anyway, Grant spends the bulk of the movie in the hospital as Ironside continues to try to kill her. I have to be honest and admit the reason I rented this is because William Shatner plays Grant’s boss so I was hoping for a bit of Shatnerama. Didn’t get any of that- in fact the Shat Man is quite good throughout, But it was nice to see his toupee glisten in the stage lights. The film itself isn’t bad but it isn’t very good either. It’s a competently made, middle of the road film. Nothing special. (2 stars)

DON’T ANSWER THE PHONE (1980)- A mad killer is stalking and strangling women in Los Angeles. Ho hum. Not a bad little film and it has some nice touches but on the whole it’s only OK. We follow both the killer and the cops as they attempt to catch him as his spree goes more out of control. There are some good performances and the script is well laid out but there is also no real spark. A few important scenes are flatly directed and most of the humor falls flat. I can’t quite see what there is here that has garnered the film such a cult following. Nice DVD though. (2 stars)

DANCE OF THE DEAD (2005) - Tobe Hooper’s Masters of Horror episode. In a post-apocalyptic world Robert England runs a hip nightclub where he stages a horrible show. Victims of a plague-like disease are injected with drugs and human blood causing them to twitch around in a parody of dance. A young girl on her first night out in the dangerous side of town recognizes one of the hideous dancers and……ya know. That’s enough plot summary. This MOH episode was bad. That it was based on a Richard Matheson story makes me sad and all I can do is recommend you avoid it. Mr. Hooper hasn’t really hit the mark in a film in over a decade and although I continue to hold out hope for his return to form I think that with this short work I may have to finally give up. (Of course, THE MANGLER was reason enough!) Not that it’s terrible exactly- just pointless. As an exercise in nihilism DANCE OF THE DEAD could be called effective but as entertainment it’s a flat line. And even the 1 hour running time was over-long. 20 minutes could have been chopped out without much effort. (1 star)

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