Tag Archives: Action

Blade Runner 2049, American/Uk/Canadian movie (2017)

The movie industry can sometimes be incredibly strange. In 1982 the original Blade Runner was released. A movie that many consider to be a groundbreaking piece of science fiction filmmaking. Throughout the years the film has become a cult classic, that has been gathering praise long after it’s release. Because when it was released 35 years ago, it did not perform very well, and even some critics did not give the movie very positive reviews. When the news was announced that a sequel was being made for this film, many people including myself, had to raise a few eyebrows. Why do you make sequel to a film that quite frankly doesn’t need one, and were there people really waiting for this at this point? When the first trailer was released for it, I became cautiously optimistic. For it really looked….good. With the release of the film now upon us, critics are giving the movie very high marks. With glowing reviews under it’s belt and cool trailers, one would think this film would become an overnight box office succes right?

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What do you mean this film isn’t doing well at the Box-office? 

Well, that’s where you would be wrong. Just like the original, the movie is currently under performing at the cinemas, so I guess in some cases history does repeat itself. This is going to be a bit of an unusual review for me, as I am not going to tell you much about the plot of the film. To do so, would be to rob of you of a lot of enjoyment as in this case the less you know about it, the more you will be surprised by it. What I can tell you is that this sequel takes place 30 years after the events of the first movie. The mighty Tyrell Corporation has gone bankrupt. Out of it’s ashes a new pioneer for the replicant technology, a man named Niander Wallace, arises. He has created a new type of replicant that is obedient and has been integrated into society to work as servants and slaves. The older types are still being hunted and retired by the cops known as Blade Runners. One of them, the Blade Runner known simply as K has stumbled on a secret that could shake the very foundations of society. Powerful forces will stop at nothing to prevent that secret from coming out…

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This is my response to that! 

It’s very hard to describe to you exactly what I thought of this movie. Perhaps it’s best to give you my state of mind as I left the theatre yesterday afternoon, after having sat there for almost three hours seeing the movie for the first time in IMAX. And that state of mind was very, very sad. Not because I hated the film, but because of the atmosphere that this movie manages to create. One of the things that I love in films is to escape in a make believe world for a few hours. What we have here however is a very bleak and depressing future, that seems to penetrate itself into the very core of your mind. Together with the brilliant music created by Hans Zimmer, and the incredible visual style, I don’t think I have ever seen a more depressing view of the future than what has been created in this film. It’s one of the main reasons why this has become a must see movie, but it’s not only the visuals that make the film so astounding.

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Hello little man. 

We also have a script here, that would not surprise me if it got nominated for an Oscar. There are so many layers in it, that it’s difficult to tell too much about it without heading into spoiler territory. Suffice it to say that one of the main things that I really liked about it, is something you might be surprised at: and that is the universal theme of love. K has a very unusual relationship, which is both beautiful and incredibly sad at the same time. But just like in the original it’s also the age old question of what it exactly means to be human, that makes it’s return. And even more than in the original 1982 classic, that question is even harder to answer in this sequel. Even though some of the trailers for the film would like you to believe this is an action movie, it really isn’t. It’s very slow moving, and while there is some action, the main part of the film is spent with K trying to figure out his place in the uncovering of the secret.

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I can see clearly now the rain is gone. 

Performance wise there is a lot to enjoy. Ryan Gosling plays K, and he manages to create a character that is both very human and at the same time also isn’t. This really is his journey, and for an audience to go along on that journey, you have to be able to create sympathy for your character. And Gosling certainly has excelled at that. The role of Niander Wallace is performed by Jared Leto. Though his character had a chilling aura, it certainly wasn’t a very memorable part. In fact it was his replicant enforcer Luv, played by Dutch actress Sylvia Hoeks that made a much more lasting impression. She played a great villain, and pardon my French: a perfectly evil bitch. And of course there is Harrison Ford who reprises his role as Rick Deckard. Even though time might have catched up with him, he can still pull off the part. It was an absolute joy to seem him make an appearance again, and the movie just would not have been the same without him in it.

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The first person to make a remark about my age is going to get it! 

So, are there any negative points? Yes, there are. The film clocks in at almost three hours, and that was just too long overall. Some scenes felt unnecessary, and could have helped with the pacing of the movie had they been left out. At times the film is just a bit too slow. But then again, this really isn’t much different from it’s original counterpart. Now on to the hard part: do I recommend this film? I can honestly say that this is an incredible movie, with a fantastic script, a believable and utterly beautifully created world and some high caliber performances. At the same time, this movie also won’t be for everyone. If you can’t handle slow paced films, and expect an action spectacle you would be wise not to go this movie. For fans of the original though, this almost feels like coming home. It’s a sequel that pretty much rivals and at some points is even better than the classic. And that is a very hard thing to accomplish. I won’t lie to you though, it’s bleak vision of the future will take you a bit of time to let go of. Also be prepared to have the movie spinning around in your head for a while. But that usually is a good sign.

I give Blade Runner 2049 a 9 out of 10 score.

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Final Destination, American Movie (2000)

Death comes in many forms. One thing is for sure: at one point your number will come up. I’m just glad I don’t know when that moment will arrive, nor would I ever want to know. There are people who believe that time is pretty much set, and you don’t have any influence on it whatsoever. I for one believe that’s partly true. I could go and try to jump out of a plane without using a parachute, but I guess than it’s pretty much a given that I would not survive the attempt. But that would mean I would have to get over my fear of flying, in order to enter a plane in the first place. So yeah, no chance of that ever happening. Okay, that’s enough of these morbid thoughts let’s get on to something more cheerful, shall we? How about a review for a horrormovie about death? Erm…wait….

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You did see that big fireball up in the air right?

What’s better than learning French in class? Well how about a schooltrip to Paris? And that’s exactly what highschool student Alex is about to do, together with the rest of his class. Arriving at the airport he boards the plane that will take him and his fellow classmates to the city of romance, flight 180. But then when he has just taken his seat, he experiences a terrifying vision. In this vision he sees the plane explode right after take off leaving no survivors. The experience was so real that he tries to leave the plane in horror. This ofcourse causes quite the commotion and eventually six other students together with a teacher exit the plane together with Alex. They are forced to stay behind by the airline, and flight 180 leaves for Paris. It doesn’t come very far however as the horrifying vision Alex had, becomes a reality and the plane explodes in mid air. Both relieved but also in total shock that they survived and basically cheated death, the survivors try to pick up their lives as best they can. But it seems death doesn’t take kindly to being cheated, as one by one they begin to die…….

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Erm, you do know that lipstick is supposed to on your lips, not on the rest of your face right?

I had a blast watching this movie again. Although it is not as big a classic as the other movies that I have so far been featuring in my Countdown to Halloween series, it’s still a highly enjoyable movie that will entertain most lovers of teen slasher films. I thought the concept of the film was pretty original. You sometimes hear about certain miracles that happen in real life with people surviving disasters or walking away from accidents, that under normal circumstances should have left them dead. Final Destination is of course taking things into the extreme zone, but that’s why we call this a movie in the first place. One of the things we watch films like these for, and please don’t deny that, is seeing these teens die in horrifying and inventive ways. And yes I do know how that sounds. Luckily Final Destination serves that up, and then some, but it is also pretty refreshing that it never gets really gory. The death scenes are certainly gruesome, but the red stuff doesn’t explode in fountains across your television screen.

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And erm, I’m also pretty sure that knives are not supposed to go in there either.

The cast of the movie is made up of your stereotype bunch of teens, or in other words actors and actresses that were much older at the time but still looked young enough to pass as teenagers. That said, the acting certainly isn’t bad, and a cut above the normal level for these kind of movies. Ali Larter is probably the best known actress from the film, as she has since gone on to play in several other horrormovies including the Resident Evil series. In Final Destination she plays Clear Rivers, the love interest for Alex, and she would also return for the second installment. She was the character in this film that I had the most sympathy for. The rest of the survivors were all pretty self centered but she at least had a bit of depth and some back story to her. Also worthy of note is a small, but highly entertaining role for veteran actor Tony “Candyman” Todd. His sinister voice and natural creepyness are always a joy to watch, and in this film that was no exception.

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Cleaning a bathtub can be a dangerous job.

The Franchise

From all the franchises that are featured in this special Halloween series of blog posts, this is the one with the least amount of parts. Final Destination went on to produce four more sequels until death finally called it quits. There have been rumors for a sixth installment for a while now, but nothing really concrete has so far emerged for that. The sequels all featured variations on the first film, with a big disaster occuring at the beginning of the movie, and a couple of teens escaping from that at the last second. I honestly have to say that the sequels were not bad. The fourth part for me was the overall weakest of the bunch, but the rest of them were actually quite entertaining. I especially liked the ending of part five, that featured a really cool twist. As usual though, the gorelevel rises a bit in the sequels, but it never reaches Saw-like levels thankfully. A trademark of the series is of course making you think twice about doing certain things, or exploiting a fear you might have had already. I am not a big fan of roller coasters for instance, but after seeing the opening scene of part three, I think most people will give them a pass. I have included the scene below for your viewing pleasure 😀

The Verdict

So there we have it. As they say, all good things must come to an end, and we have almost reached it for my Halloween series. But there is still one more movie to come, namely the John Carpenter classic Halloween. That one will be coming up next week. Let’s not forget the verdict for Final Destination though. As mentioned this movie may not be such a timeless classic, but it is actually quite a good horrormovie. With a fun storyline, pretty decent acting, and a couple of awesome deathscenes you could definitely find worse movies out there. If you like films such as Scream or I know what you did Last Summer, this one can be added blindly to that list. So over to you! Have you seen the movies from this franchise? Do you have any favorites? Or perhaps even a favorite deathscene? Let me know in the comments section below. As always, thank you for reading and see you at the next post!

I give Final Destination a 8 out of 10 score.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens, American movie (2015)

Earlier this week a trailer was released for a very small movie that is coming out in december. You have probably never heard of this film, but why not, let me just throw it out there in case you have: Star Wars: The Last Jedi. See? Told you that this is a pretty much unknown movie. Okay, all kidding aside: how awesome was that trailer! I will go into that a little bit more in depth below, but after I had seen it, it put me into the mood to rewatch Episode VII again, The Force Awakens. This film was responsible for relighting the fire that is Star Wars, not that it had ever gone out completely. With expectations going through the roof weeks before it’s release, one of the things that everyone was looking forward to, was the appearance of the original cast. Yes, classic characters like Han and Leia were back again, and fans at times broke out in tears at watching the trailers. (Not me of course, I am a man and I never cry….blinks back tears). But was the Force Awakens a good film, or merely a rehash of old things?

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The first one who says my lightsaber looks like crap, is going to get it….

The Force Awakens takes place 30 years after the Return of the Jedi. The Empire has been defeated, but instead of peace returning to the galaxy, a new threat has emerged. The First Order has risen from the ashes of what the Empire left behind, and is threatening to snuff out the last peaces of light that are remaining. The Resistance is desperately trying to find Luke Skywalker who nobody has seen for decades, but who they think might turn the tide of war. They have send one of their best pilots, Poe Dameron, to track down a lead for information as to where Luke might be hiding. But the First Order has tracked Poe down, and one of their most sinister agents, Kylo Ren, succeeds in capturing him. All hope now lies with Poe’s droid BB-8, in which he has hidden the clue to finding the Jedi Master. While on the run BB-8 soon encounters a young scavenger girl that goes by the name of Rey. She reluctantly agrees to help the droid, and together with a former stormtrooper they set out on the mission to find the Resistance. But the First Order is hot on their heals and this time this new hope for the galaxy, might be lost…..

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Yeah, I know I look pretty good for an old nerfherder. 

The Force Awakens has been hated and loved in equal measures. The hate mostly came from people that said the movie was just a rewrite of the first original Star Wars movie. And I guess they do have a point. Just as in the first film, we have something hidden in a droid that becomes the focal point of the story. We have a Death Star like superweapon in the form of Star Killer Base, and of course we have an untrained person that is cast in the unlikely role of hero. So yes, there is certainly truth in that claim. But to dismiss it just based on that is pretty unfair. For there are also a lot of things that this movie did that were just plain awesome. The return of the old characters for instance. The first time you see Han Solo together with Chewie is just a goosebump inducing moment. And ofcourse that moment returns when you see Leia again, reunited with her scruffy looking love interest.

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I really can’t believe that you are not a CGI effect.

But the new characters are also not to be excluded. Kylo Ren is one of, if not, the most interesting villain from the entire saga. He is not just a Darth Vader wannabe, a fact that is only enforced when he removes his helmet. Here we have a person that is conflicted throughout the entire movie. And that conflict comes to the fore in that scene, which I am not going to spoil, but for anyone who has seen the movie it should be pretty clear to which scene I am referring. And then there are Rey, the scavenger girl, and Finn the former stormtrooper. Both great characters in their own way. It is still completely unclear who Rey’s parents are, despite all the theories floating around on the web. It is exactly this fact that defines her character though. The unknown, the fact that she really as of yet has no clue to who she truly is. But she tries her utmost to become the hero though. Finn is the true antihero however. Right from the start he stands up to the injustice that surrounds him, and he almost pays the ultimate price for that. I could probably write another 1000 words for how much I enjoyed this film, but I am not going to do that. My final verdict for the film will follow soon enough, but let’s talk a bit about the new trailer.

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I just had to include a picture that features the fastest hunt of junk in the galaxy. 

The Last Jedi trailer

Unless you have been captured by a Wampa this week, you must have seen the new trailer pop up somewhere on the web. Or a better word for it, is first trailer, as we had so far only seen a teaser for the new movie. And it was worth the wait. One thing this new trailer has been doing is messing with out heads. There are so many things going on that may or may not be true, that it almost makes your mind explode. Is Rey joining forces with Kylo? I myself doubt it. I believe, as a lot of people have said, that the scenes have been purposely blended together to make it look as if they are one scene. Or….it is real, and we are really in for a hell of a ride. One thing we can be sure of is that this film is going to be very hard on the forces of light. It all looks very spectacular, and I for one can’t wait for december. What are your thoughts on the new trailer? Let me know in the comments section below. And of course, just because I am a nice guy, I have included it below for your viewing pleasure.

The Verdict

But of course with the excitement building for Episode VIII let us not forget the movie that restarted this adventure in a galaxy far, far away. Yes, the film certainly may have lacked a bit of originality, you will not hear any argument from me for that. But this was a Star Wars film in every sense of the word, and a pretty damn good one at that. The terrific characters, the special effects that were mostly practical, and of course the return of the old favorites all made it a great adventure to be enjoyed by everyone. I for one loved it, and it truly made me feel like a kid again (although that feeling is pretty much a part of me anyway). So see this one again before the new one hits the theatres in december. To close with a Star Wars phrase: it is your destiny……

I give Star Wars: The Force Awakens a 9 out of 10 score.

Demon City Shinjuku, Japanese (animated) movie (1988)

When anime was first introduced in my country, it was done in a way that was completely wrong. Even though that has been a long time ago, when I was in my early teens, I remember watching a news item that mentioned kids were being introduced to a new Japanese artform that focussed on strong violence and sex. As usual the media saw this as an opportunity to sensationalise this, and parents were in an uproar. The anime videotapes that you could buy back in those days, only seemed to bring out movies that were either hentai or contained incredibly graphic violence. And of course the tapes sold like crazy. Not a good way to start my introduction to the wonderful world of Japanese animation. A movie that was featured a lot in the news item I spoke of earlier was Wicked City. In it’s opening scene a man is making love to a gorgeous looking woman, that eventually turns into a spiderlike demonic creature. I swear that every man who saw this scene must have given up on sex pretty much right away….well maybe.

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It might not look like it, but this is one of the most touching scenes in the entire movie.

 

Wicked City was a horrormovie, but a truly disgusting one, with over the top violence and sexscenes that could almost be considered porn. It certainly showed the darker side of anime and is a film that while very infamous, is one you should pretty much avoid seeing. This rather long introduction serves as a stepping stone to the film I am about to review. Demon City Shinjuku is strangely enough directed by the same man that was responsible for the aforementioned movie. But it is a much better film, and could almost be considered as a mild version of the atrocious Wicked City. So there is really no need for concern, or to think that my blog has suddenly turned into a platform for promoting movies that push all the wrong buttons. Are your minds set at ease? Right, let’s get on with the review then.

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This is the prototype version of what we call Starbucks these days. 

High atop the roof of a building in Tokyo two men are locked in mortal combat. With supernatural energy dancing around them, swords clash back and forth, until eventually one of the men is defeated and dies. With a triumphant roar the victor, a man named Rebi Ra, sees the entire city going doing down in a powerful earthquake. He has been possessed by very strong demonic forces and promises that soon the entire world will be enslaved by demons from another realm. Ten years later the moment Rebi Ra spoke of is almost at hand. The World President, that is on a mission of peace to bring together the human race, suddenly gets captured by Ra. This is all part of his plan to stop the only person that might put an end to him, a young man called Kyoya Izayo, the son of the man he killed on the rooftops all those years ago. Meanwhile the president’s daughter, the beautiful Sayaka Rama, tries to enlist the help of Kyoya. At first he wants nothing to do with her, but when she enters the ruins of Tokyo alone, he decides to follow her in. The city is but a former shadow of itself though, and the horrors they find inside might be enough to stop them from preventing Rebi Ra’s plans to enter the entire world in eternal darkness…..

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I wonder what is going through their minds…..

One of the things I love the most about this movie is the incredible atmosphere it breathes out. The ruins of the destroyed city of Tokyo are brought to life in a truly breathtaking way. With subtle touches like still working traffic lights, skyscrapers that have fallen against each other, and other things like that, the city has become an almost living entity. You feel a constant sense of fear and dread, that is just perfect for a horrormovie. The story of the film is one of it’s weaker points. It simply serves to bring our heroes from point a to b, and encounter a new and potentially horrifying creature. And that is another thing this movie does well, the plethora of monsters it serves up. It’s not called Demon City for nothing, as our young hero Kyoya certainly has his hands full at fighting a number of horrifying abominations , while at the same trying to protect the girl.

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No way in hell would I ever enter a place like this. 

The two main characters of the film, Kyoya and Sayaka, are not exactly what you would call well developped. Kyoya is your basic cocky and kind of macho type male, that at first is rather annoying. In fact you kind of wonder how a guy like that can save the world. This all changes of course when he meets Sayaka. She brings an innocence with her, that tempers his bravado, and turns him into a different person. While Sayaka is, for lack of a better term, rather dull, she is certainly brave although also rather stupid. For her to be entering a demon infested city alone without any kind of weapon borders on suicide. All in all though, even though the pair won’t be winning the award for best anime characters ever created, they work just well enough to grow on you. In fact a certain scene with Sayaka near the end of the film is quite beautiful and rather touching.

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That really is a bad way to go out. 

Demon City Shinjuku is a pretty good horror anime film. While the animation is now almost thirty years old, it still looks good enough to draw in people who usually don’t like oldschool anime. With a great atmosphere, some cool fight scenes and horror that never turns gory, what we have here is a film that can be enjoyed by most people that like horrormovies. The only thing worth mentioning on the negative side of things, is that the end of the movie feels a bit anti-climactic. Still though, it doesn’t ruin the movie itself, and I highly recommend the film all the same. If you have trouble tracking down this movie, you can find it on YouTube for free in both a subbed and dubbed version.

I give Demon City Shinjuku a 8 out of 10 score.

Friday the 13th, American movie (1980)

Welcome…….to the second part of my Countdown to Halloween series. Let me start with asking you a question: how superstitious are you? Do you avoid walking under a ladder? Do you freak out when a black cat crosses your path? When it becomes the most dreadful friday ever invented, friday the 13th, do you lock all the doors and hide all day beneath the covers of your bed? Well, you may laugh at all these questions, but let me tell you that there are a lot of people out there who are actually more than afraid by things such as these. As for me? I’m sorry to disappoint, but I have never fallen prone to a superstitious moment in my life. That’s not to say that I have never experienced a bad friday the 13th, but do I blame that particular day for that? Of course not. But friday the 13th has also become infamous because of an entirely different reason. It is the title of a horror film franchise that went on to produce one of the most iconic horrormovie characters ever created: Jason Voorhees.

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Heeeeereeeee’s Mommy! 

It is a dark night, and the waters of the idyllic Crystal Lake seem peaceful. At the nearby summercamp two camp councellors sneak off to make love. Just when they are about to take off their clothes, they are interrupted by an unknown person and are brutally murdered. Yes, don’t you just hate it when that happens? Years later the camp, that has been nicknamed Camp Blood, is about to be reopened. A group of teenagers has been hired to help with the preparations for getting the camp ready again, and to eventually work there as the new councellors. But soon history will repeat itself. And that has everything to do with a young boy named Jason who drowned at Crystal Like while the people who were supposed to watch him were having sex. The teenagers at camp Crystal Lake are about to find out just how strong a mother’s love for her son can be. With a storm hitting the camp, and with more people disappearing by the second, survival is the keyword on everyone’s mind. But that might be very, very hard to achieve……

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Don’t you just hate it when you have an itch in your eye and you can’t scratch it? 

Friday the 13th is a cult classic. It is pretty much the type of film that is so bad, that it actually becomes fun to watch, and that statement is even more true for the enormous amount of sequels that were made. But more on that later. This movie falls into the slasher category, and can easily be described in one sentence: a bunch of horny teenagers head to summercamp in order to get killed. That’s pretty much all there is to it. It contains so many well known horrorcliches that it almost wrote the book on all of them. Stupid and idiotic decisions are chief amongst them. One of the most hilarious scenes is the one where our main heroine takes about two minutes to barricade the wooden door of the cabin where she is hiding from the killer. She conveniently forgets that there are three large and very breakable glass windows as well. And sure enough she finds that out a few seconds later when a body gets thrown through one of them. Great stuff.

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What do you mean I only show up in the sequel?!

But fair is fair, this movie does manage to create some great tension and jumpscares, and we should also not forget this film is now nearly 40 years old. For those of you that have seen the opening sequence of the horrorclassic Scream, (and I am heading into spoiler territory now), you might remember that the killer in this film is not Jason himself, but his mother. Played by actress Betsy Palmer, mother Voorhees is actually a very chilling and downright creepy person. It is one of those roles that has gone down in horror history as an absolute classic. The rest of the cast is mostly forgettable, but it is fun to note that a very young Kevin Bacon also has a role in this movie. Some of the kill scenes in the film are very inventive and together with the make up effects created by Tom Savini, these are pretty much the main reason to watch the movie.

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Classic Jason….such a sweet boy. 

The Friday the 13th franchise

After the success of the first movie a whopping nine sequels were made (11 if you count the Freddy vs Jason movie and the 2009 remake). With cheesy titles such as  The  Final Chapter, Jason takes Manhattan and Jason goes to Hell, we have a horror franchise that could not be taken very seriously anymore. Jason Voorhees takes over the role of the killer from his mother in part 2. After donning his iconic hockey mask in part 3, he would become the stuff of legend and one of the most well known horror villains in movie history. He has been drowned, electrocuted, shot, turned into jelly, and even turned up in the future in the tenth installment Jason X. Every time though, he returned to claim more victims in increasingly creative ways. With bad acting, a lot of nudity, and a bunch of teenagers that got more stupid with every film, these things have all become a trademark of this series. Still though, most of these movies are so incredibly bad, that they really have become an absolute joy to watch. They might be considered bad taste by a lot of people, but if you don’t take all of this very seriously, you will truly get a kick out of this series. Down below you can find a trailer for part VIII, Jason takes Manhattan, that gives you a great impression of what I am talking about.

 

The verdict

Having rewatched this first part, I can honestly say that this film is fun to watch purely for nostalgic reasons. It really hasn’t aged very well, and some of the wooden acting, and bad dialogue might certainly have some people switch off the movie way before the credits start to roll. Still, the terrific part of Betsy Palmer as the psychotic mother from hell, and some great jumpscares do make this a worthwhile watch for those who persevere. And it is without a doubt a classic in the horror genre, that for no other reason you should at least have seen once in your life. Next up in the Countdown to Halloween series is Nightmare on Elmstreet, that created an even more iconic horror idol, Freddy Krueger. As always, now it’s over to you! Did you see Friday the 13th? Or any of it’s many sequels? Do you have a favorite one, or maybe even a favorite kill? Let me know in the comments section down below. Thank you for reading, and see you next time!

I give Friday the 13th a 7 out of 10 score.

The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever : a fantasy novel by Stephen Donaldson (1977)

Every year on my birthday a group of my closest friends gather together in secret to come up with a birthday present for me. And that is quite a difficult feat, mind you, as my hobbies and the things I like are quite large. As such, it becomes harder every year to find something that I don’t already own. (But to my defense I have the same problem in deciding what to give them in return). Usually it takes them quite a while to come up with an idea, but this year apparently was the first time that it was quite easy. On that fateful day in March I received a huge box that contained a large number of books. I was at a loss for words as it truly was a wonderful gift, but I was even more surprised in finding out that it was a series of novels that I had never heard about. Today I finished the first of those novels, a huge 1154 page omnibus edition that contained the first three books of an epic fantasy series. This review is written for my friends who gave me this wonderful present, but for one in particular who shall remain nameless, because I know she doesn’t like stuff like this. But she was the one who came up with this idea, and I can’t thank her enough, for this book was truly wonderful from start to finish. And then again: you know who you are anyway!

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The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever is an epic fantasy series, that features one of the most unusual heroes that you will ever meet. In fact I can’t think of a single book character that I have ever hated more in my life than Thomas Covenant. But in the end you want to see him win the day too, which only contributes to the amazing skills of the writer. Thomas Covenant has been diagnosed with leprosy. His wife, unable to deal with this, has filed for divorce and has left him, together with their young son. The town he lives in despises him, and wants nothing to do with him. In fact they pretty much stop at nothing to get him to leave. Because of this Thomas has grown into an incredibly bitter man, that has no love for anyone. One day he gets hit by a car and falls unconscious. And it is then that strange things are beginning to happen.

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When Covenant wakes up he finds himself in an unfamiliair world, simply called “The Land”. He finds out that he has been summoned there by a creature that has been manipulated by an evil being called Lord Foul. Lord Foul’s evil threatens to destroy The Land, but Thomas might just have the power to stop him. And that power seems to be contained within the most unlikely place one could think of: the wedding ring on his finger which he could not make himself to stop wearing even after his divorce. Thomas, however doesn’t believe that all of this is real, and instead thinks it is something conjured up by his mind to let him deal with his leprosy. With the evil gaining power every single day, the plight of the good people of The Land becomes ever more desperate. But as long as Thomas remains an Unbeliever, Lord Foul has won the war without even having to strike a single blow….

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This omnibus Edition contains the novels Lord Foul’s Bane, The Illearth War and The Power That Preserves. As I mentioned above, I truly hated Thomas Covenant. You would think that with everything I told you about him, one would give the guy a break. But trust me when I say that you will grow to hate him as well. This man is pretty much unfriendly to everyone he meets, no matter how they treat him. He even ends up raping an innocent girl at some point, which was a truly loathsome act. But still, as the story progresses his character grows on you, and you really want him to pull through anyway, no matter what he has done. Stephen Donaldson has put together a very rich fantasy world, filled with a huge cast of characters and places. And I do mean huge as at the back of the novel there is a 8 page glossary of names for all the characters, items, and places that the novel contains.

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That was also the only negative point I could come up with. The sheer number of names and terms used in the book was so big, that I did find myself flicking to the back of the novel at times to look up who a certain character was. But besides that, this book is an incredible read from start to finish. It’s a pageturner that is hard to put down, and truly has that classic quality of  “Just one more chapter before I turn off the lights” (which usually means that you end up reading more than one chapter). The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant is a must read for people who like Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones. It’s rich mythology, terrific characters, and epic storyline will hold you spellbound all the way to the end. Even though I will now take a break in order to return to a science fiction universe, I can’t wait to get back to The Land, and continue with the epic adventures of Thomas. Even though I still hate that guy…..

I give The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant a 9 out of 10 score.

The Art and making of Alien Covenant, a Alien book (2017)

I sometimes just get the best gifts. This year the movie Alien Covenant was released, the follow up to Prometheus, and prequel to the legendary Alien movie directed by Ridley Scott. A lot of people were not very pleased with it, but I ended up liking it a lot as you can tell by reading my review for it. Knowing I am a huge fan of the Alien franchise in general, a very special girl that goes by the name of Ludija, bought this great book for me that deals with the making of this latest movie in the franchise. And what better way to thank her, than by dedicating this review to her. So Ludija: this one is for you!

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An example of the terrific artwork contained within this book. 

The best thing about this book is the lavish illustrations and photographs that are contained within it’s pages. Including stills from the movie itself, as well as artwork and behind the scenes photography, this book really is a feast for your eyes. All of the photographs have an incredibly high quality, and I can honestly say that some of these rank amongst the best that I have ever seen for books like these. The layout is very pleasing as well. The book is divided into chapters and pretty much follows the story of the film from beginning to end.

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Yup, never denied the fact that some of this artwork is pretty gruesome. 

The book starts with a (short) foreword by director Ridley Scott himself. This was just added as an afterthought I think, as Ridley seriously has not much to say. In fact, it is so short that I wonder why they bothered including it in the first place. The rest of the written stuff includes a few interviews with the cast and crew, and of course some outlines and background story about the making of the film. All of this is written in a pretty basic style, and doesn’t include overly difficult technical terms or things like that. It’s not exactly boring, but I do have to admit that I have read making off books that were much more appealing.

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The photography really has an incredibly high quality. 

That said, this book is worth it for exactly what it says on the cover: the art. I can also say that this book will only appeal to you if you were a fan of the film, as there is nothing else about this book to recommend. I for one loved it because of the beautiful artwork and photography contained within it. If I were to judge it purely on the written text I would give it a 6 out of 10 score. But it is the imagery that raises the final score for this book as you can see down below.

I give The Art and making of Alien Covenant a 8 out of 10 score.

 

Special Features presents: First full length The Punisher tv series trailer

Netflix has been expanding their list of Marvel tv series quite steadily. It all started with Daredevil back in 2015, and since then they have rounded out their universe with Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and the most recent one The Defenders. In season 2 of Daredevil a character was introduced that made an enormous impression on pretty much everyone. That character was Frank Castle aka The Punisher. Played by Jon Bernthal, who most people probably recognise as Shane from the Walking Dead, he single handedly created the best live action Punisher to date. It was pretty much inevitable that he would get his own series. In fact there were so many people that wanted this to happen, that it would have been weird if they would not have listened to the fans.

And listen they did as the first season of The Punisher will be making it’s debut later this year. Today the first full length trailer for the series was released, and I can honestly say that I was completely blown away by this. In fact I dare say that this is without a doubt the best trailer that I have seen for the entire year. The trailer is accompanied by the terrific song One by Metallica, and to say more about it is to spoil your fun. I have included the trailer for your viewing pleasure down below. Enjoy it, and please let me know what you think about it in the comments section. I would love to hear your thoughts about this one.

Event Horizon, American/UK movie (1997)

Every movielover probably has their own favorite kind of films. While some might have a very broad taste in movies (and I certainly count myself as one of them), there are usually some genres that have a certain preference above all the others. For me those are science fiction and horrormovies. And of course it is even better when a movie combines both of those genres. Ever since I saw the first Alien movie directed by Ridley Scott, I have always been on the lookout for movies that could rival or even surpass that classic masterpiece. But let us be honest, that is a very hard task to achieve as that film is pretty much in a league of it’s own. Throughout the years a lot of attempts have been made, and most of these have resulted in films that were mediocre at best. But there is one film that came unnervingly close and is in my opinion a highly underrated gem that is still awaiting discovery by many people. The name of that movie is Event Horizon.

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This pretty much redefines the word meatgrinder. 

It is the year 2047. Seven years after the research ship Event Horizon vanished without a trace, it suddenly reappears near the planet of Neptune sending out a distress signal. Soon a rescue vessel, called the Lewis and Clark, is dispatched to find out if there are any survivors and of course what has happened to the ship during all those years that it was presumed lost. Headed by captain Miller, he and his crew are accompanied by the mysterious doctor Weir, who was the original builder of the Event Horizon. It soon becomes clear that the ship was one of a kind, and had an experimental drive system installed that allowed it to create an artificial black hole. With this drive it could travel farther than any human vessel ever went before. When the Lewis and Clark eventually arrives at the location of the lost ship, captain Miller and his crew are about to find out just how far the Event Horizon truly went. Because there are some places in the universe that are better left alone, and seem to resemble hell itself…….

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Sam Neill’s role in Jurassic Park left him a changed man. 

Event Horizon is a movie that still creeps me out after having seen it multiple times. It is truly a very disturbing and chilling film, that throughout the years has created a cult following. In still think it is one of the best science fiction horrormovies that I have ever seen. For starters the atmosphere in this movie is what sets the tone right from the very first second. It’s dark, scary and you constantly feel as if the bowels of hell are about to open and swallow you whole. The amazing setpieces that were created for this film only add to this feeling. This was a time when the use of CGI backgrounds was pretty much unheard of, and as such everything was build by hand. And then we have the music for the movie that seems to have been created by a madman and will make you feel even more creeped out than you probably already are.

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Yep, that really is the man known as Morpheus. Now where is Neo when you need him?

The cast for Event Horizon is headed by two very well known actors. First up is Laurence Fishburn who plays the role of the heroic captain Miller. It’s amazing how young he appears to be in this film, but his performance is as solid as ever. Miller’s character is truly the driving force for this one, and you really feel his desperation when the horror of what is happening around him keeps growing and growing, and almost threatens to send him over the edge. The other well known actor in this film is Sam Neill and he performs the role of doctor Weir. And it is a role that you have never seen him play before, and that only makes it that much scarier. Weir becomes increasingly more unstable throughout the movie, and his descent into madness is something only a very capable actor can pull off. Needless to say Sam definitely succeeds in that and then some. The rest of the cast for this movie also manages to shine, most notably Joely Richardson and Sean Pertwee. Every single actor in Event Horizon contributes to the film in his or her own way.

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Don’t let the ship’s beauty fool you. 

I’m not going to lie here, this movie contains some very, very disturbing imagery. It sometimes might remind you of Hellraiser, and if you have ever seen that film, you probably know what I mean. Yes people, this is a true horrorfilm in every sense of the word, and as such it certainly won’t be a movie that everyone will enjoy. If you have a strong stomache though, and like to be scared out of your mind, this film is definitely the one to watch. It will at times leave you breathless, and might even give you nightmares after you finished it. But I guess that is also part of it’s charm, if you can call it that. If you are interested in finding out more about the background for this movie you might want to check out this great post written by mr. Bobinsky. It contains not only a great review but also some great info about the making of the film that I myself did not know about. And while you are there, you might want to subscribe as well, as it is a really cool blog. So, all I can say is: watch this film, and I dare you not to be scared while you are at it.

I give Event Horizon a 9 out of 10 score.

 

Castlevania, American (Animated) tv series (2017)

Some of you that have been following my blog for a while, know that in the distant past I used to be a very fanatical gamer. I played computergames pretty much non stop, and I did so with a lot of enthusiasm. All of that changed after a particularly nasty session of online Call of Duty. I will spare you the details, but let us just say that it involved a lot of cursing and broken controllers. Not one of my finest moments. After that night, I just stopped gaming altogether and went back to older hobbies including boardgames. The world of computergames is still a part of me however, and even though I haven’t played in ages, I still enjoy reading news and watching videos about new games that will hit the shelves. There are certain gameseries that are legendary and very well known by most people. A few examples are Doom, Resident Evil, Super Mario Brothers and Castlevania. Interestingly enough, for this last named series a four part animated show was released a few months back on Netflix.

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I think you might have something in your eye. Let me help you. 

The story of this animated series starts off in the year 1455 in Wallachia. A young woman doctor called Lisa is searching for the infamous Vlad Dracula Tepes, in order to enlist his help in acquiring scientific knowledge. Eventually the two meet up, and Dracula is pleasantly surprised by her great courage. He agrees to help her, and in turn Lisa tries to make him reconnect with his human self. Eventually they fall in love and are married. Twenty years later though, disaster strikes and Lisa is burned at the stake for witchcraft by an insane bishop of the holy church. Dracula is ofcourse furious and heartbroken, and he warns the people of Wallachia that they have exactly one year to make their peace. After that he will wipe out every single human being by his own hands. Dracula begins raising an army of terrible creatures to carry out his revenge. The only hope for the human race seems to lie in the hands of Trevor Belmont. He is the last remaining member of the disgraced noble Belmont family, who were experts in fighting monsters. However Trevor will first have to find back his faith in himself and decide if humanity is even worth saving…..

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Your hair smells lovely. What kind of shampoo are you using? 

I have always found the story of Dracula incredibly fascinating. Throughout the years there have been numerous adaptations of this classic tale in the form of movies and even tv series. The Castlevania gameseries has been around for quite a while and is very popular. I can’t say that I am very familiar with, having played only two or three installments of it, but I do know that it’s a gameseries with a pretty rich history. This animated show was a pleasant surprise. It drew me in right from the openingscene and did not let up for one second. The animation style is very good, but it’s also very graphic. This is certainly a series intended for a mature audience, as there are some incredibly gory scenes in it, especially in the first episode. The show is full of action and these scenes are brought to life by the animation in a great way, which certainly adds to the overall appeal of this series.

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Watch out you might get a whiplash from this…..get it? 

Another thing that is worth mentioning is the voice acting which is really topnotch. Richard Armitage brings to life the character of Trevor Belmont, and he seems to have a lot of fun in doing so. Trevor is a sometimes pretty sarcastic character, and some of the comedy relief in the show, that was a welcome reprieve from the pretty dark story, was provided by him. But the rest of the voice acting cast also did a fine job and included the likes of James Callis and Tony Amendola. These last two names should be familiar to most science fiction fans. Callis is of course best known for his role as doctor Gaius Baltar from the new Battlestar Galactica series, and Tony appeared in Stargate Sg-1 as master Bra’tac. It’s always important in animated series to have voices that act as if you are watching a live action tv show, and the cast for Castlevania certainly managed to accomplish that.

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Hi, I would like to make a purchase. 

The downside to Castlevania is that it’s only four episodes. This almost feels like you are watching a pilot and that it serves as the set up for the story that is yet to come. Luckily I can out your minds at ease and tell you that the series will indeed continue with 8 more episodes. Which in my opinion is very good news. I really enjoyed this first taste of what might develop into a pretty good animated show, if it continues along this path. If you like horror and vampire stories, or if you are a fan of the video game series, I highly recommend that you check this series out. It doesn’t take up a lot of time, as it is only four episodes of around 22 minutes each, but it’s time that is very well spent. I’m really looking forward to what the second season will bring, and I think it can only become even better than this first appetizer.

I give Castlevania a 8 out of 10 score.