Amityville 4: The Evil Escapes (1989)

What makes a great horror villain?

A good backstory helps, perhaps an incident in a monster’s life that made them a monster, that motivates them to keep on killing year after year, sequel after sequel. Jason Voorhees, for example, was left to drown by negligent camp councillors before magically resurfacing and wreaking bloody vengeance on generations of teens at the infamous Camp Crystal Lake. Other contributing factors are a villain’s appearance (Michael Myers’ iconic mask); an interesting gimmick […]

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Tales From the Crypt: Demon Knight (1995)

Even in the disjointed and scattershot, decades-long history of Tales from the Crypt, Demon Knight is an outlier.

From the E.C. comics of the 50’s to Amicus’s two 70’s anthology films to the HBO series in the early 90’s to whatever the hell is going on at TNT right now, the three feature-length films sporting the Tales from the Crypt banner stand in stark contrast to everything that came before. For starters, they’re not anthologies, and—if you can indulge me donning my Asshole Film Critic Hat for a moment—not very good […]

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The Glimmer Man (1996)

Seagal has starred in so many second-rate movies during the past two decades you sometimes forget he was once a rather formidable action star.

Back in his early to mid-90’s prime, he starred in some pretty decent efforts, the kind with enough of a budget to attract some top-level acting talent. Take The Glimmer Man for example. Keenan Ivory Wayans may not be first choice when it comes to a humorous, street-talking sidekick, but he’s too good for the kind of bargain-basement efforts Seagal now stars in. Similarly, Manhunter’s Brian Cox and The Shawshank Redemption’s Bob Gunton are both very fine actors whose mere presence can elevate any old nonsense you care to throw at them […]

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Avenging Force (1986)

Dudikoff and James are back in tandem, proving without a shadow of a doubt that they are the very cream of the Cannon crop.

Forget Seagal, Van Damme and . . . well, not Stallone and Schwarzenegger, but for me Dudikoff and James come in at a close third. Any action movie aficionado worth their salt is aware of the iconic duo’s legacy, and for those who aren’t they are the Mel Gibson and Danny Glover of the B-movie scene, starring in such high-kicking classics as the American Ninja series […]

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976-Evil (1988)

After mainstream success as the fritter-faced Fred Krueger, Robert Englund swapped his razor-fingered glove for the camera, making his directorial bow with supernatural horror 976-Evil. Thankfully, Englund’s was a short-lived career.

That’s not to say the movie is terrible. It is adequate. Unspectacular. Banished to mediocrity by cheap sets and bad special effects. But the main problem is the total lack of scares on offer. For all the gore and the violence, this never really feels like a horror movie. There is nobody to care about, nobody to root for, and, most importantly, nobody to fear […]

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Night Of The Creeps (1986)

How my childhood would have fared without Fred Dekker-penned genre classics such as Night of The Creeps is anyone’s guess, but one thing is certain: it wouldn’t have been anywhere near as colourful.

Night of The Creeps starts in a spaceship and detours to 1950’s America where an axe-wielding killer is terrorising rock ‘n’ roll kids. Subsequently, the viewer is hurtled, via an alien parasite and monochrome axe murder, to the bad pop eighties of a college campus full of frat packers, where shortly after a pledge prank gone awry weird stuff begins to happen and folks begin to die […]

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Intruder (1989)

By the turn of the 90s, the censorship boards at the BBFC and MPAA had all but slayed the slasher movie.

Back in the early 1980s, the ‘video nasties’ scandal would trigger a moral outrage, a diet of shock politics and tabloid sensationalism striking fear into the population, leading to the once explicit sub-genre’s descent into mediocrity. Many tricks and gimmicks would succeed in stretching its lifespan, and no more so than in the Friday the 13th series, which would rely on 3-D, false promises, impostor killers, Carrie clones, and iconic (if barely seen) locations to keep the lolly rolling in, all of it tied to a new tongue-in-cheek meta approach that would somehow make a protagonist out of the inimitable masked killer […]

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Cathy’s Curse (1977)

The film that puts the “uh??” back in Canuxploitation

Much like the titular character in Cathy’s Curse, the home that begot the film put its very soul at risk. The Canadian government, aiming to jumpstart the country’s fledgling cinema scene in the 1970’s, instituted an enormous tax credit for any production of a feature film in the country. While this paved the way for the likes of David Cronenberg, Ivan Reitman, and Bob Clark, it also opened the floodgates to the seediest of American producers and Hollywood outcasts looking to abuse the tax haven […]

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Slumber Party Massacre II (1987)

Back in 1987, Fred Krueger took his first steps in becoming the horror genre’s first bona fide rock star.

With Wes Craven back on board to beef up the characterisation, Chuck Russel’s The Dream Warriors salvaged a waning franchise following the debacle of Freddy’s Revenge, catapulting Krueger to commercial superstardom. Still the scourge of nightmares, the character would shed his darker dispositions to become the ethereal circus master of a marketing campaign that exceeded all expectation, resulting in the kind of unlikely merchandising never before achieved […]

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Money Train (1995)

Back in 1992, Ron Shelton’s low-key comedy-drama White Men Can’t Jump gave us more than just basketball.

The story of two racially opposed hustlers who would form an unlikely bond both on and off the courts, the movie proved a surprise hit thanks to a heartwarming screenplay and the magical onscreen chemistry of its lead players. The film was even a favourite of legendary director Stanley Kubrick, who was probably in need of a little cheer from time to time […]

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