Saturday, May 27, 2017

'90s Trash: Embrace of the Vampire (1995)

Alright, so is the Original any better?  Today's Film is Embrace of the Vampire, a 1995 Horror Film that is more notable for other stuff besides scares.  Basically, this was one of many vehicles for a now-adult Actress to go 'Look- I'm grown up!  Cast me as an Adult!'  For other examples, see, well, just about every Poison Ivy Film ever.  Speaking of which, Alyssa Milano was in Poison Ivy 2 because of this Film's success.  If you saw my Review of the 2013 Remake, you mostly know the Plot.  Young girl, Private School, Vampire and Nudity.  This one is a bit different, so belated kudos to the Remake.  The basic Plot is still the same just with a few differences that I'll highlight.  To find out whether or not this has more than just Alyssa Milano's boobs (as nice as they are), read on...
In some random Exposition (that comes after long opening Credits), this guy has a trist with a Royal Lady (or something).  Afterwards, he just lays there in the Forest (for some reason) and is converted by 3 topless Vampire Ladies!
He then exposits- to nobody- that his long life will come to an end in 3 days if he doesn't convert Milano.  Why 3 days?  That's when she turns 18.

In other words, this Film makes a point of sexualizing a '17 year old' (Milano is 23 here FYI).
In addition, he has to make her want him, as opposed to just taking her...which he can apparently just do quite easily.  Got all of that?
Milano is an Art Student who was quite literally cloistered until recently and 'repressed.'  Yes, this is her Poison Ivy 2 Character.

She's still a Virgin, although possibly not for long.
To help convert her, the Vampire destroys her cross (by simply holding it!) and replaces it with an Ankh.  Her friends accidentally help as they try to 'loosen her up.'
Well, she does so a little bit after many random visions (not scary ones like the Remake) and...the same bit of basic Fan Service.
The visions continue, now including her boyfriend and the girl from above.

Interesting note about this Scene.  The vein on Martin Kemp's head is not make-up.  He actually had a Brain Tumor that he wasn't aware of!
Oh and Jennifer Tilly is in this for a few minutes.  I just thought that you should know this.
Can our Heroine save herself from corruption?  Can her love last?

In spite of the Vampire suddenly shooting lightning (really), the answer is...yes.  Anti-climax ahoy!
Silly, Cinemax-y stuff.  This whole thing is pretty forgettable save for the obvious stuff.  The whole thing is very melodramatic.  Everyone tries to act like this is all super-serious stuff.  Honestly, it really isn't.  A Vampire waits until an arbitrary deadline to try and convert a co-ed.  That's it.  It has all sorts of silliness happen, from Ankhs that glow blue to disintegrating crosses to telepathic Vampires.  I guess he's telepathic, since he seems to appear to her and nobody else.  Do they explain this?  Nope.  They also don't explain how 3 Students go missing and nobody bats an eye either.  The whole thing is a pretty loose Story to connect a bunch of Scenes of Nudity.  Let's not pretend otherwise, alright?  As far as that goes, no complaints.  The whole thing is just so shallow, in spite of them slapping 'The Nosferatu Diaries' on the Title.  Just like The Mermaid Chronicles (aka She-Creature), there is no other Film in the 'Series' that I can find.  If you watch this for the reason that most people do, I suppose you won't be disappointed.  Just don't expect a complete and total Film to go along with those Clips that are probably online anyway.
Next up, some random nonsense that has been building on my Computer.  Most likely, Japan is involved.  Stay tuned...

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Lost in Translation?: Star Wars- The Empire Strikes Back

I meant to use this one for May 4th...but forgot.

As luck would have it, another Star Wars Day happens this Month, so...why not?

While this is not for A New Hope, it is bad-ass and I did spend time 'sprucing this up,' so...
Bad.  Ass.

Japan is always good for making bad Films seem good, so when they get something great like Empire, they cannot lose.

May the 4th...er, 25th Be With You.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Quick Reviews: The Creature Below (2016)

Since only Stuart Gordon can do actual Lovecraft wrong, what happens when someone does *almost* Lovecraft?  Let's find out...
In a surprisingly-quick opening, a woman essentially recruits herself for a deep sea dive...when things go awry.
The Equipment is smashed, but she is saved.  She has no memory of what happened down below.
Fired by the Suit's Creator/Owner, she investigates the event on her own and finds...an Egg!
Now stranded back home, she discovers that something has come out of the egg.

Unfortunately, the Film can't afford *great* Special Effects, so enjoy not seeing much.
What is the secret of this creepy creature?  Will this actually be Lovecraft at any point?
Will this creature doom humanity?  To find out, watch the Film.
Some good ideas, but some issues with the execution.  Let me just say this again- if you can't do CG good, don't.  I get that this is a Low-Budget Movie.  That's fine.  They do a good job of not having bad CG most of the time, but commit that sin a few notable times.  That aside, the actual Film is good.  It is all about one Character going through a slow, steady transformation.  This is as Lovecraft as you can get without being Lovecraft!  The Monster is not super-unique, but they made sure to do 99% of it with Practical Effects.  They build up suspense by not showing you the whole thing, rather than just looking cheap.  Its Monster Vision- seen above- is also quite interesting.  That was how Prince saw everything right?  For the most part, it all works.  If you can focus on the good Acting, unique Story and bleak, but interesting, Tone, this one works pretty well.  Like I said- the distractingly-bad CG at times is the only real downside.  It does something else I haven't seen often- thank Steve Jackson Games in its Credits!
A good Film that unfortunately tries to do too much sometimes.  Just don't do CG if you can't do it right, guys.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Impossibly-Mistranslated Cover Art: Swamp Shark

Alright, so here is the basic Story...

In Japan, they market awful stuff like Jersey Shore Shark Attack with amazing posters- seen here.

One of them is called Flying Jaws- even though it is for Swamp Shark.  However, it is also known under a different Title if you look hard enough...
Yes, Frying Jaws.  Yes, it is real.

Granted- I added some pizazz to the whole thing in Photoshop...but I did not change that 'L' to an 'R.'  I'm not that good.
Some terrible clich├ęs are true, apparently.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Quick Reviews: Galaxy of Horrors

With all the focus on Outer Space and Horror right now, I might as well do an Outer Space Horror Anthology Film...
In Deep Space, a man is stuck in his Cryo Pod.  The A.I. won't let him out and tries to calm him by endlessly-playing Sci-Fi Horror Shorts.

Yes, that is the Framing Device.  Yes, it is silly.
There are 8 Stories, so I really can't go in-depth on them here (especially if I want to avoid SPOILERS).  So here is just a taste...

- A tale of a contaminated future.
- A tale of a strange, possibly-living Computer.
- A tale of a man with a curious phone app a la Siri.  Can he trust it?
- A tale of people trying to create life differently in a bleak future.
- A Terry Gilliam-esque tale of a linked-in future where transactions can be fatal.
- For an Alien connection, a tale of intrigue in Deep Space on a floating ship (also in B&W for no reason).
- A tale of weird creatures revealing themselves in a future Nightclub.
- A tale of a woman drifting in Space where the destination may be worse than her current location.

To find out how these all work out, watch the Film.
Well, it is what it is.  Anthology Films are a tricky thing.  Have too many parts and they end up being too loosely-connected and random.  Have too few parts and each one is never quite the right length.  As this one goes, there are really too many for my taste.  The biggest problem is just how vague the Theme is.  This is just Sci-Fi Horror.  Some are set in Space, while some on Earth.  Some are in the far future, while some are in the vague present.  Some have Aliens, while some just have Technology.  The individual parts are all so different that this hardly feels like a Film.  Having said that, most of the individual parts are pretty interesting on their own.  With a different connection and some variety in the wraparound part, this could definitely work.  As it is, Galaxy of Horrors is a mish-mash that never quite gels.  Just to add to the connections, here's something a la Star Wars...
The Anthology format and randomness of the tales keeps it from building momentum.  The individual parts will either work or fail you on their own though.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Impossibly-Cool Cover Art: Link (1986)

In defense of this one, it is the closest one to being honest.

On the flip-side, it advertises how well it did in France.  Don't tell America that!

So let's check out yet another Poster for Link...
While a bit odd, I do like this one.  It doesn't lie about the Plot for the most part.

That said, Link's pose is not exactly scary here...

This didn't get too much touch-up, but I did play with Blurring a little.  It hopefully makes the foreground stand out a bit more hopefully.
Still a good one, if a strange one too.

Quick Reviews: DC's Vixen

As the World now awaits the new Black Lightning, let us take a look back at the previous Black Superhero made for the CW('s Streaming Site)...
In a Cold Open, we flash forward to Vixen being chased by The Arrow and The Flash.  How did we get here?
It all goes back to her past, when she was gifted a mysterious necklace by her absent Mother.
The guys with their own Shows show up and offer to help her, but she wants to go her own way.
People come looking for her magic totem.  On top of that, they are family!
Can she get in touch with her powers to become a Hero?
Will she become the Vixen that she needs to be? 

To find out, watch the Film/Episodes.
Vixen is actually pretty good, so why was it only on CW Seed?  It is only a shame that this had to be on their Website.  Just like Star Trek: Discovery, I have to ask why this was only on the Website.  That strangeness aside, Vixen is pretty darn good.  There is a lot of exposition to dump into this one, but it mostly works.  The Story works, introducing all of the people and the information that you need.  The use of the other CW Characters is a little forced at times- like why is only Firestorm there to save Central City-, but it makes the Universe feel unified.  Even if they aren't the best Voice Actors, it is still nice to hear all of the Actors here.  Vixen's Powers are presented in a neat, cinematic way.  The way they show the transparent spirits when she summons their powers looks nice.  This 'Movie' is a collection of shorter Episodes (7 in total), so the mix is a little odd at times.  Overall, the whole thing works to set up a Character that would show up...twice on Arrow in the next 2 Years.  Yes, I know that she was meant to be in Legends of Tomorrow.  In any event, you should check this out if you like the CW Shows, even if it does constantly tease bigger things.  In a Film/Show with magic Totems, the one thing I question is this- how did this guy hack into a bunch of TVs a mile away with his Cell Phone?
The cutting of the Episodes together is a little awkward at times.  Even so, this is a good, fun Origin Story.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Quick Reviews: Beneath (2013)

Is this Larry Fessenden Film just another 'fish tale' or something that doesn't get enough attention?  To find out, read on...
A group of soon-to-be-College-Students go to cross a Lake to- you guessed it- party.
They have all sorts of random drama- two brothers feud, a girl with conflicts, etc.- as they cross.
When a group of them decides to go swimming as one of them tries to warn them about a vague threat, something shows up!
It's just a fish.  What is the big...
Oh, I see.

Drama ensues as this Monster Movie turns into Melodrama as the group debates how much bad they must go to survive.
Who will live?  Who will die?  Will you like any of them by the end?

To find out, watch the Film.
Not a bad Film, but not what I expected.  What sounds like an interesting, if claustrophobic Creature Feature is much more of a Morality Play.  Yes, you could make a case that *most* Horror Films are some kind of Morality Play.  This one is much more overt, as the Creature is just the thing keeping them in the Boat.  There isn't much to this creature- he's just a killer Fish.  The real hook- pun intended- is supposed to be the interaction between these Characters.  You will either like it or you won't.  I started out liking everyone, but really didn't by the end.  Nobody was really a good person near the completion of the Film.  If I don't like you, why do I care much about your plight?  Beneath is an interesting Character Drama hiding in a Creature Feature.  That is either an interesting aspect of the Movie or a complete misdirection.  This is still a good Film overall...but it isn't exactly what I was hoping for.  On the plus side, you get to play the 'Which Film/TV Show Do I Know Him From?' with this guy...
An interesting idea for a Film.  The problem for me was that I just didn't like anyone by the end one bit.

Impossibly-Cool Cover Art: Appointment With Fear (1985)

I found this online and just felt like 'prettying' it up a bit.

This one is a bit of a mystery to me, but at least I can still enjoy the Art Design...
I have no idea what any of this means...but isn't it awesome?!?

There's no way that this one is actually this cool, right?

For those that were wondering, here is what it looks like normally.

Much less cool- if you ask me.
I still love that giant knife though.  What is this Film even about?