I used to be a very fanatical gamer, until a completely insane online Call of Duty session pretty much ended my gaming days. I lost interest in the virtual gaming world, and went back to old school gaming otherwise known as boardgames. But that does not mean that I don’t look back on my gaming days with some great memories. One of my favorite horror games was Resident Evil. I remember a scene from the first game where you walked along a quiet corridor, and you pretty much knew something was going to happen. And ofcourse it did in the form of a horrible dog that came crashing through the window. I literally let my controller drop from my hands, that’s how much of a jumpscare I got. In 2002 Resident Evil made it’s way to the big screen, and has so far spawned five sequels. Today I rewatched the first movie which I had not seen for quite a few years.
In Resident Evil the Umbrella Corporation has taken over the world by storm. The public knows the company only from their consumer goods, but the true money comes from their bioweapons research. It is a secret that they have been able to hide so far. But then something goes horribly wrong at one of their underground facilities known as the Hive. A special group of commandos is sent out to investigate. It is not long until they meet up with a mysterious woman who has lost most of her memories, and is only known as Alice. It soon becomes apparent that the artificial intelligence of the facility called the Red Queen has taken matters into her own hands. Most of the staff of the Hive have been killed off by her or so it seems. The real reason for this behaviour however is that the genetically engineered T-virus has been unleashed in the Umbrella facility. A virus that has truly horrifying consequences, as Alice and the commandos are about to find out…..
I guess pretty much everyone that is a gamer knows that most movies based on popular videogames, have been a total waste. However I have always liked the Resident Evil films. Yes I guess they could fall into B-movie territory, but that doesn’t mean that they are not a lot of fun to watch. Quite honestly I had forgotten a lot of details from this first film. I was also pretty amazed that this movie is already 15 years old. Resident Evil does not have a perfect script, but that is not why you watch a movie such as this in the first place. On the action and horror front however it really does things right. The action scenes are done well, and the creatures featured in the film are pretty amazing to look at. Especially the fan favorite Licker monster taken straight from the games.
One other reason to watch this movie is actress Milla Jovovich. She plays the part of Alice, and does so very convincingly. If you pardon my language, she really knows how to kick some serious zombie ass. Her co-star Michelle Rodriguez also portrays a strong woman, and both women have a great onscreen chemistry that works incredibly well. The rest of the cast is pretty forgettable, except for maybe James Purefoy, who tries to make the best of the script that has been handed to him. All in all though this first Resident Evil movie does a pretty good job of bringing the game to life. Even if you have never played the games before, you will enjoy this film if you are into horror or action movies. The movie has a good pace, and certainly can’t be accused of being boring. Sometimes it’s just okay to sit back and watch a nice and simple popcorn movie, as I like to call it.
In 2015 fans of Alien received word that Neill Blomkamp, director of the fantastic science fiction movie District 9, had plans to make a fifth Alien movie. Supposedly it would take place after the second Alien film, and pretty much ignore the events of Alien 3, a movie that many fans were disappointed by. It would also see the return of both Sigourney Weaver and Michael Biehn to reprise their roles as Ripley and Hicks. However, when director Ridley Scott made it clear that he had plans to make a sequel to Prometheus, the project for Alien 5 was put on hold. A real shame if you ask me, for I would have loved to see Ripley and Hicks back in action. And that brings us in a roundabout way to Alien Covenant, which is a sequel to Prometheus, but a prequel to the first Alien movie. You still with me on this? Okay, now if you want some more information about Prometheus, you can find it here. Without further ado let’s dive into Ridley Scott’s new film.
Alien Covenant takes place ten years after the events of Prometheus. We join the crew of a gigantic colony ship called Covenant, which is on a mission to a distant planet to raise a new human civilisation. During the trip something goes horribly wrong and the ship get’s damaged, waking the crew from their cryosleep. While they are trying to make repairs to the ship, a transmission is intercepted from an unknown planet. A transmission that appears to be of human origin. Abandoning their original plans, the inexperienced captain of the ship decides to check out the origin of the signal. When they finally arrive on the planet, it seems to be a match made in heaven. The planet appears to be perfect for colonisation. But looks can be very deceiving as the crew of the ship is about to find out. For the planet hides a horrifying secret. A secret so terrible that they will all soon have to fight for their lives and survival is by no means certain….
One of the biggest complaints that people had about Prometheus is that it focussed very little on the Alien Xenomorphs. With this film, Ridley Scott brings the alien monsters back with a vengeance. From a story point of view, the movie does an okay job. We definitely get some more answers to the questions about the origins of the Alien species, as well as the fate of the survivors of the Prometheus. Still, the story is not one of it’s stronger points. This movie really brings back the horror to the franchise and in that regard it succeeds. Their are some truly terrifying and very gory scenes in the movie, that really are not for the faint at heart. Some of the new creatures in the film, are incredibly well designed. The movie starts off a bit slow, but picks up the pace in the second act, and ends in a satisfactory way.
The actors in the movie are all relatively unknowns, except for Michael Fassbender, who this time around also plays a different android called Walter. As in Prometheus, Fassbender again steals the show, with a very good role. The female lead this time is played by actress Katherine Waterstone, who plays the role of Daniels. Daniels can be compared to Ripley in many ways, as she is also a strong woman that eventually gets to fight against the horrifying monsters. The rest of the cast was okay, but the characters they played had little to no substance to to them, and as such were pretty forgettable. In the end the movie was a good addition to the Alien franchise, but I did not enjoy it as much as Prometheus. Still, it was nice to see the Xenomorphs back in action, and with the script for the third installment already finished, I can’t wait to find out what will happen next.
Why are we here? It is a question that has not really been answered throughout human history. No matter what you believe in, I think everybody will agree that there are a lot of things in this world, that can’t and probably never will be explained. But there will be certain points in your life when you will find yourself asking that very same question. Why am I here? One thing is for sure, I am still looking for that answer. Well, before you start to think that I have completely lost it, and my blog is turning into a centre for philosophical debates, let me quickly put your minds at ease. This small introduction served as a stepping stone to my review for Prometheus, the prequel to Aliens. For it is exactly this question, and many others like it, that are featured heavily in this movie.
In the year 2089, the archeologists Elizabeth Shaw and Charlie Holloway, make a discovery in Scotland that may very well alter the course of human history. Certain cave paintings give clues to the origins of the human species, and seem to include an invitation for mankind to travel towards a distant moon in the far reaches of the galaxy. The invitation seems to have been made by the creators of the human race, a mysterious species called the Engineers. Soon an expedition is funded to travel towards the distant moon, and find out the origins of humanity. Both Elizabeth and Charlie are joining this expedition and travel in stasis aboard the science vessel Prometheus. After a long journey they arrive at their destination, and together with the rest of the crew of the ship, begin to make preparations to explore the moon. However in the ancient ruins of the planet, lies a terrible secret. One that may very well mean the end of human life as we know it….
Prometheus was a movie that was received with very mixed reviews at the time of it’s release. Fans of the Aliens franchise, expected a film that was very different from the movie that it turned out to be. As such a lot of fans were extremely disappointed by it. I do not count myself as one of them, for I absolutely loved this film. Even though there are enough scenes in the movie that are truly horrific, this movie simply isn’t a horrorfilm in the style of the first Alien movie. Instead it provides a background story for that film, while it also stands completely on it’s own. This is science fiction at it’s best. The way the movie looks is simply amazing, and that alone is a reason why this film is worth the watch.
Another reason is the acting that was on display for this film, especially by the amazing Michael Fassbender. He plays the role of the cold but highly intelligent android David. The chilling way that he portrays this character is absolutely stunning, and I think it is one of the best roles of his career. The role of Elizabeth Shaw is filled by actress Noomi Rapace, who also does a fine job. She is not Ellen Ripley ofcourse, but a powerful woman nonetheless who tries to make the best of it in a very hostile environment. The rest of the supporting cast, most notably Idris Elba and Charlize Theron, are great as well, even though their roles are relatively minor.
As far as filling in the blanks for the Alien movies, this movie does not completely succeed in that mission. A lot of answers that one might hope to find here, are left unanswered. As mentioned above this movie is not Alien, but it does not pretend to be so either. It is however a great piece of science fiction storytelling, with some very cool special effects and terrific acting. Those that hope to find the same experience as the original Alien movie, might have to steer clear of this film. If you love science fiction, with a light touch of horror thrown in the mix though, this film is well worth checking out.
In 1979 director Ridley Scott unleashed a science fiction horror movie called Alien onto the unsuspecting human race. With the tagline “In space no one can hear you scream”, there was plenty of screaming that was done in the movie theatres. Needless to say, the movie became an instant classic and set up a new benchmark for horrorfilms. Seven years later the sequel Aliens was released, and it has become my alltime favorite science fiction movie. Not only did it feature a great story, fantastic special effects, and plenty of exciting and thrilling scenes, but there were also a bunch of unforgettable characters. Two of them, Corporal Hicks and the young girl Newt, actually survived at the end of the film. Unfortunately in Alien 3 they were killed off in 10 seconds at the start of that movie. There were many fans that were very mad at the way that this was done, and it did not show those characters the respect they deserved.
In 1987 Dark Horse comics was approached to do a comicbook series that continued the storyline from Aliens. That black and white comic became a huge succes and afterwards many more books were produced. Last year the first six issues were reprinted and released in a very beautiful hardcover graphic novel. Since these comics were made before the release of Alien 3, it tells a completely different story. As such you could compare it to the books of the Star Wars Expanded Universe, that now officially aren’t canon anymore since Disney took over. But honestly I could not care less about that, as this book was highly enjoyable to read.
The comics take place on Earth, a few years after the events of Aliens. Newt is now a grown woman, and Hicks is still with the Colonial Marines, even though his colleagues seem to despise him. Both Newt and Hicks have their own traumas to deal with, and find it really difficult to cope with their experiences on the doomed colony of LV-426. But dark forces are at work on Earth. It seems that the Aliens are highly wanted material for the bioweapons industry. Certain things are being set into motion to bring the creatures to Earth. Hicks meanwhile is hired for a mission to the homeworld of the Aliens, and along the way will get reunited with Newt. But time seems to be running out for everyone, as something goes horribly wrong while trying to capture the Aliens. And soon Earth will become the target for a new hive…..
This 30th anniversary edition is a truly beautiful graphic novel. All the pages have a black finish on the outside, and every page is made of very sturdy paper. As mentioned the book contains issues 1-6 of the original comic. Also included is a short story called Lucky, and a pin-up gallery of the covers and some additional art. Rounding out the book is a fore-and afterword by both author Mark Verheiden and artist Mark A. Nelson. The black and white art for these comics is truly amazing and really recaptures the spirit of the movies. Ofcourse the movies were, at times, pretty graphic, and that also comes back in this book. That’s why this certainly won’t be for the faint at heart. The storyline is very good, and honestly much better than the Alien 3 movie. Sadly the company at the time did not have the rights to the Ripley character, so you won’t be seeing her in any of these pages.
This book is simply put a must buy for every Aliens fan. The book looks great and has been a joy to read from start to finish. Even though most of the storylines are complete, the ending has left things wide open. Ofcourse the series was later continued with further issues. What might interest you to know, is that after Alien 3 was released, Dark Horse decided to change the names of Newt and Hicks to Billie and Wilks. This was ofcourse done to ensure that the comicbook could still remain canon. Here though, they reprinted the books in the way they were originally released. I highly recommend this book to every Alien and science fiction comics fan out there.
I give Aliens: the original comics series (30th Anniversary Edition), a 9 out of 10 score.
Who wants to live forever? Ever since I first saw the movie Highlander, about the immortal Connor MacLeod, I have always been wondering about that question. Yes, there are certainly some cool things about never having to worry about dying. But on the other hand, it also brings with it a lot of pain. The one thing that would hurt me the most would be to see everyone I care about pass on, while I continue with living. So, to answer the first question I began with: not me. And with that out of the way, I will start with my review for the Korean drama series Goblin, that focuses a lot on immortality.
Goblin starts in the past where we first meet up with general Kim Shin, who continues to be succesful on the battlefield for his king. After returning from another battle where he emerged as the victor, he is betrayed by the king who is jealous of his succes. Kim Shin is killed by his own sword, on orders of the king. However, instead of dying he gets reborn as an immortal Goblin, a protector of souls. The sword he was killed with, pierces his chest, and can only be removed by the woman who will be his bride. Once that happens, he will finally be able to move on to the after life and find peace. After having lived for 939 years, he might finally have found that woman in the form of the lovely highschool student Ji Eun-tak. But Ji Eun-tak also has a very troubling past, and a secret of her own: she can see ghosts. Kim Shin, meanwhile has found a kindred spirit in an amnesiac Grim Reaper, who guides souls to the afterlife. This is the beginning of a great, tragic but also very funny adventure….
First off an apology is in order to the wonderful Kay from Kdramakisses. I have promised to write this review for so long that it almost seemed it would never be finished. I finally managed it, so Kay this one is for you. (And go ahead and visit Kay’s blog while you are at it, the number 1 source for Korean dramaseries). Goblin is an absolutely heartwarming series, that is almost impossible not to like. The best thing for this series are it’s characters. Ji Eun-tak, played by the wonderful Kim Go-eun, is a character that I guarantee you will fall in love with. The acting portrayed by Kim can’t even be called acting. It is so natural, that she simply convinces in every single scene. But the two male leads, Gong Yoo as Kim Shin and Lee Dong Wook as the Grim Reaper, are also one of the reasons you should watch this drama. Their comedic bickering, and warm friendship is an absolute delight to watch.
Goblin is a very unique series that mixes a lot of different genres together. When the series first begins, you would think this was going to be a big, bloody historical piece. But when the series moves towards the present it turns into kind of a comedic romantic drama with fantasy elements. Later on in the series, it shifts tones again, to include a few horror elements. This might put off some viewers, but I was not disturbed by it for a single moment. The humour for this show was absolutely terrific, and for someone like me, who usually doesn’t like comedy, that is telling a lot. There were a few scenes that literally gave me tears in my eyes from laughing. Don’t be fooled though this is definitely not a comedy. It is however a feel good show, even though there are also a lot of sad things that happen throughout the series.
The series runs for 16 episodes (18 if you include the two special episodes that focus on the making of the series), but not every episode was of the same quality. Especially during the middle of the series, I found the series to be a bit slow. Luckily the pace picked up again in the later episodes and it all ended in a pretty satisfactory way. Goblin became one of the most succesful Korean dramaseries ever made, passing even the recordbreaking Descendants Of The Sun, and it is hard not to see why. With a great and very unique storyline, fantastic characters, and a terrific atmosphere this series will leave you with a smile on your face once you finish it. And sometimes that is all you need.
Last week, on part 1 of this special feature, I presented my favorite monster movies that had at least a bit of a realistic feel to it. For those of you that might have missed this post, you can find it here. Now though, all hell breaks loose, as I am now going to feature the terrible creatures that are not of this world. And some of these are so incredible frightening, that at times you wonder what on Earth must have gone through the mind of the person that thought these things up in the first place. Anyways, sit back, grab a cold drink, and prepare to scream.
1. The Thing (1982)
John Carpenter’s remake of the 1951 classic movie The Thing from another world, is one of the best monster movies ever made. In The Thing members of a research facility in Antarctica are under attack by a creature that can take on the same shape as anything it touches. As nobody is able to trust one another, paranoia soon grows rampant. The creature effects in this movie are stunning and absolutely disgusting. Even to this day, they are very impressive to say the least. But the true strength in this film, lies in the concept itself. With literally anyone who could be the monster, who can you trust? Great stuff, and in my opinion this is an absolute must see movie.
2. Tremors (1990)
This movie has fun written all over it. Starring a young Kevin Bacon, a small town is threatened by a group of gigantic worms that live under ground and are attracted by noise. This movie has a lot of funny and scary scenes at the same time, and with great creature effects, this is just another highly enjoyable movie. This film has spawned four sequels and even a tv series. Supposedly a second tv series is currently under development, with Kevin Bacon reprising his role. The original movie is still the best though, and after 27 years it has withstood the test of time very well.
3. The Relic (1997)
This is a pretty underrated movie, that might not even be known to a lot of people. Based on the novel of the same name, the Relic tells the story of a frightening creature that has unknowingly been transported to the basement of a Chicago museum. When people start to die, a homicide detective joins forces with a anthropologist to find out the truth. I honestly have to admit that the novel was better than the movie, but still this is a very enjoyable monster romp. The creature itself, designed by legend Stan Winston is amazing, and the dark atmosphere and unique setting ensure that you will definitely be entertained throughout this movie.
4. The Host (2006)
The Korean movie The Host, is one of the more unusual monstermovies on this list. In Seoul’s Han river a truly repulsive monster resides, that suddenly emerges and begins to attack people on the shore. A father fights to protect his family from the creature at all cost. Usually, in a film such as this, we get to see the monster later on in the film. But here the creature is shown right from the start and in full daylight. With a story that is part comedy, part horrormovie, and also part drama this really is a very unique monster film, and one that I was highly impressed by.
5. Cloverfield (2008)
Cloverfield was steeped in secrecy before it was released. Nobody quite knew what to expect from this film, as the trailers showed very little of what was going on. This was a movie in the found footage category. A group of friends in New York get caught up right in the middle of what at first is presumed to be a natural disaster. However it turns out that a gigantic monster has invaded the Big Apple and is on a rampage. We get a lot of shaky cam shots, that actually made people ill while watching it in theatres. I had no such problems however, and found it to be a fantastic experience with a very well designed creature.
6. Virus (1999)
Virus tells the tale of the crew of the salvage ship “Sea Star”, that during a storm comes across a Russian vessel seemingly abandoned at sea. However it soon becomes clear that a terrible evil has invaded the ship. This movie features some great actors including Jamie Lee Curtis and Donald Sutherland. But the real stars for this film are the very well designed robotic/organic creatures. This is a highly underrated gem of a movie, with some terrific performances by the cast, and a truly frightening atmosphere. This is one of those films where you wonder why it received so many negative reviews at the time.
7. Aliens (1986)
I have featured this movie a couple of times on my blog, on all kinds of different posts. But if I were to leave this one out of this list, I would really be doing something wrong. Yes the original alien movie was great, but this sequel was superior in every way. When a group of marines travel to the newly established colony on planet LV 426, they encounter a breed of deadly alien xenomorphs. Together with Ripley, the sole survivor of the spaceship Nostromo, and who has encountered the creatures before, they must find a way off planet before it’s too late. I have seen this movie too many times that I can count, and I am honestly still in awe of the incredible creature effects that are featured in this film. This movie is just simply put an alltime classic.
8. The Descent (2005)
The small British horrormovie the Descent is a truly frightening and claustrophobic experience. A group of girls travel down into an unexplored cavesystem, but encounter a horrifying breed of creatures. A struggle for survival begins, but with the way back pretty much cut off, their chances of getting out alive are slim. This movie is definitely the most terrifying one of this list, and that is in part because of the truly tense atmosphere that this movie has. Even though this film had a pretty low budget, it does not show that in the least. If you like to be truly scared this movie is definitely for you.
And that as they say, is that. Now is this list complete, and does it feature all of my favorite creature feature movies? I would have to answer that one with a big and resounding no. Predator, King Kong, Godzilla to name but a few, are also favorites of mine. But as this post is already pretty long, I have decided to stick with the 8 movies that are featured on this post. Maybe in the future I will do another one of these, as I really had some fun writing this.
But these are my favorites, and as always I am looking forward to the “out of this world monster films” that you like the most. Are any of them featured above? Are there any others you like? Let me know in the comments section below. Thank you for reading this one, and I will see you all at the next post!
It has been quite a while since I did a special features post. A couple of weeks ago I was trading thoughts with Karandi from 100wordanime (and yes this is also a shameless plug to get you to follow her blog if you have not done so already), after she reviewed the movie Deep Blue Sea. I thought it might be interesting to write a post about my favorite movies that feature some kind of creature scaring the crap out of people. After having recently seen the movie Anaconda, I recalled this conversation, and now finally I have gotten around to writing this post. Sorry it has taken me a while to do so, but I still hope you will enjoy reading it. Why part 1? Well, in this post I will focus on movies that are at least somewhat realistic, and part 2 will focus on science fiction movies that feature terrible creatures from beyond. Well, enough small talk, let’s get on with it!
1. Jaws (1975)
To not include this classic Steven Spielberg movie, would simply be impossible. For maybe the only soul on this planet who has yet to see this film, I will give a short description of what it is about. The summer town of Amityville is all of a sudden being terrified by a great white shark, with a taste for human flesh. After a number of people have been attacked, it is up to the local sheriff, a marine biologist and a shark hunter to take care of the beast. A titanic struggle between man and shark soon begins. Yes, this movie is now 42 years old, but wow it is still one of the best monster movies ever. Even though the sharkeffects may, at times, feel a bit dated, the movie is still very effective in bringing up the scares and the tension. A classic film in every sense of the word, this is an absolute must see movie.
2. Alligator (1980)
After Jaws there were a lot of attempts to cash in on the success of that film. Most of these were very bad, but there were also a few movies that were quite entertaining. Alligator definitely fell into that last category. The premise for this film was pretty simple: a baby alligator was flushed down the toilet, but managed to survive and grow into a gigantic monstrosity. The beast eventually left the sewers and began attacking the local residents. This movie is a bit of a cult classic, but highly enjoyable. It does not take itself very seriously, but there are enough tense moments in this film, that will have you hang on to the edge of your seat. In no way will this one beat Jaws, but it is definitely not a bad movie.
3. Rogue (2007)
Staying with reptiles, the 2007 Australian movie Rogue features a giant crocodile. An American journalist encounters a giant man eating crocodile while on assignment in the Australian outback. He is trapped on a small island that is beginning to flood. And with a hungry crocodile nearby, that is really not a good place to be. This movie starts of somewhat slow, but makes up for it in the second half of the film. The creature effects for this one are truly astonishing, and especially near the end of the film you start to wonder how on Earth they managed to accomplish that. This is a relatively small, but very tense and exciting movie.
4. Arachnophobia (1990)
Now, I am not afraid of spiders, but after seeing this film, I could definitely develop a fear for them. A doctor discovers a new species of spider in the South American jungle. Travelling back to the States, the spider eventually manages to breed with a domestic species, and this is the beginning of a nightmare for the residents of a small town. Now, if you like movies with jumpscares, this one will give you more than you might have bargained for. I remember when I saw this film in the theatres for the first time. I had never seen an audience jump out of their seats so many times, myself included. It is a great and fun film, with a lot of tense moments, and some very decent special effects.
5. Cujo (1983)
Cujo is a movie that is based on the novel by Stephen King. A friendly St.Bernard gets bitten by a bat and contracts rabies. A mother and her son are trapped in a car, while the dog stalks them. It is the middle of summer, so the heat is scorching and time is running out for the both of them. This is a truly tense movie, and one of the better Stephen King films out there. What is interesting to note, is that they used a real dog for this movie. You really wonder how they have managed to train an animal to do all the things you see in this film. It is all very convincing and very scary.
6. The Ghost and the Darkness (1996)
This movie is a very underrated gem. A bridge engineer while on assignment in Africa, has to enlist the help of an old hunter as his crew gets attacked by a pair of lions. It is not long though that the two of them discover that these are no ordinary lions. What is really interesting about this movie, is that this film is based on a true story. With veteran actors Val Kilmer and Michael Douglas cast for the two lead roles, this film really is a joy to watch from beginning to end. Filmed mostly in Africa, the scenery alone is one of the reasons to watch this movie.
7. Bait (2012)
After the release of Jaws there have been so many sharkmovies that I have really lost count. Amongst all these it is very hard to find something original, but Bait really tries to be different. A tsunami strikes at an Australian town, and a number of people become trapped inside a supermarket. To add to their problems a couple of great white sharks have become trapped with them….This was really a very unique sharkmovie, simply because of the truly original setting. It was simply a blast to see people taking the fight to the sharks with only supermarket appliances. The result was a fun and exciting film, that was a really enjoyable watch.
8. Burning Bright (2010)
This small, and relatively unknown film was truly a surprise. A woman together with her autistic younger brother becomes trapped inside a house during a storm. This would not be so bad, except for the fact that a tiger has been let loose inside the house as well, in order to kill them. This tense thriller really had some seriously scary scenes. Again filmed with a live animal, it served up some very realistic and horrifying moments. It is always nice when you don’t expect much from a film, and it turns into something totally awesome. Burning Bright is such a film, and I highly recommend seeking this one out.
Well, that just about does it for part 1 of this special features post. Ofcourse this list is by no means complete, as there are definitely a lot of other animal movies out there, that are every bit as enjoyable as the ones on this list. However for me, these movies were definitely my favorites. Coming up somewhere next week, will be part 2 of this post where I am going to focus on my favorite science fiction monsterfilms.
But now, it is over to you, my readers. What is your favorite animal monster movie? Are any of those movies perhaps included on my list? Let me know in the comments section below. As always thank you very much for reading, and see you at the next post!
I have always enjoyed watching horrormovies featuring some kind of animal that terrorises people. It all started ofcourse with the Steven Spielberg movie Jaws. A classic in every way, this film was responsible for spawning a whole range of movies that featured some type of animal vs man. Over the years, I think nearly every animal on Earth must have been in some kind of horror film. Ofcourse some of these were seriously bad and incredibly cringeworthy. However occasionally a movie comes along that seems to be a B-movie, but is so enjoyable that you take that for granted. The 1997 movie Anaconda definitely falls into that last category.
In Anaconda a documentary crew heads off down a tropical river in the Amazon, in search of a mystical tribe. While travelling down the river they come across a shady character who is trapped on a boat during a storm. The man introduces himself as Paul Serone and tells them he hunts snakes for a living. When the journey continues, the head of their team, dr. Cale, becomes seriously injured. Serone tells them he knows he a shortcut across the river, which will take them faster to a hospital in order to save their friend. While skeptical, the remaining members of the crew including filmmaker Terri Flores, agree to follow his advice. But soon it becomes apparent that Paul has ulterior motives. Not only does Terri have to face the increasingly more psychotic Paul, but she will also discover just what it is he is after. Soon they will have to face a monstrous snake, and the fight of their lives will begin in earnest. Will they all survive, or will they become snakefood….?
Anaconda does little to to hide the fact that this is obviously a B-movie. Although the impressive cast that is involved in this movie would have you guessing otherwise. One of the reasons to watch this movie is veteran actor John Voight. He plays the role of snakehunter Paul Serrone, and it is obvious that he is having a blast playing him. The character he portrays is a seriously evil one, but he plays the role so well, that you can’t help but root for him at times. Also included amongst the cast is Jennifer Lopez, who plays the feisty Terri Flores who is more than a match for Serrone. Finally we have Eric Stolz who plays dr Cale in a small but important role, and Ice Cube who provides some comic relief.
The special effects in this film are a mix of animatronics and CGI and they are both a hit and miss in this movie. Some of the effects are pretty impressive, but there are also scenes that are seriously bad. But then again that is also part of the charm of this film. Anaconda serves up just enough thrills to make this movie exciting enough. It is a bit slow to get going, but in the second half of the film the tension begins to increase and we get a couple of fun scenes with the killer snake. There is no real gore or blood to speak of, so if you like your horrorfilms more in the style of a thriller this one is for you. Anaconda is a fun B-type horrormovie, that serves up an hour and a half of mindless creature filled fun. While this film certainly won’t win the award for Best Picture, it is entertaining enough all the same. And sometimes that is just all you need.
It has been called one of the most influential films of all time. A movie that many feel is responsible for causing Anime to become popular in the Western world. Based on the Manga of the same name that consisted of more than 2000 pages, a lot of people still find this one of the finest anime movies ever created. I am ofcourse talking about the masterpiece called Akira, directed by Katsuhiro Otomo, the man that also created and wrote the manga. So why is this movie so incredible, and still after all these years a classic that has withstood the test of time very, very well? I will get to that question shortly, but let me first start with describing what this movie is about, for those that are not yet familiar with it.
In the year 1988 a strange psychic event occurs that completely obliterates the city of Tokyo. Soon after, World War Three starts, and Tokyo is rebuild into a new city called Neo Tokyo. The movie itself picks up the story right after these events. It is now the year 2019, and Neo-Tokyo has become a city with wide scale riots and motorcycle gangs that rule the streets. One of these gangs led by the young Kaneda, one night gets into a fight with another gang called the Clowns. During the fight one of Kaneda’s best friends, Tetsuo Shima, nearly runs over a strange boy who is right in the midde of the street. Crashing his motorcycle, Tetsuo is seriously injured and is taken to the hospital. Once there it soon becomes clear that the boy he nearly ran over, was no ordinary boy but someone who possessed strange psychic powers. And it appears that Tetsuo has now somehow also received these powers. Meanwhile Kaneda desperately searches for his friend, while being pursued by secret government forces. However Tetsuo’s powers soon begin to grow out of control, and the event that destroyed Tokyo so many years ago might repeat itself…..
It had been a very long time since I had last seen this movie, but seeing it appear on Netflix was enough to make me rewatch this film. And it is still every bit as powerful as when I first saw it. The animation for this movie is simply amazing. In every scene there are so many things that are going on in the backgrounds, that you will probably see new ones every time you watch this movie. With so many details presented in each frame, the city of Neo-Tokyo truly feels like it is a character itself.
And speaking of characters, that is one of the other highlights of this film. The young and somewhat cocky Kaneda, the hero of the movie, is someone that is incredibly hard not to like. He provides most of the comic relief in this film, something that is very much needed as this movie can at times be seriously depressing because of it’s dark themes. Kaneda’s quest to find his friend is at times heartbreaking, especially during the final parts of the movie where he is forced to make some really tough decisions. Tetsuo is a character a lot of people might relate to. A person who has always stood in the shadow of someone else, and now comes into possession of something truly incredible. The powers change him entirely and it comes down to that age old saying: “power corrupts”.
The story of Akira is very dark, and it certainly is not a movie for everyone. There are some very brutal and graphic scenes throughout the film, and it definitely established at the time that animation certainly was not only for kids anymore. It is amazing that a film that was made almost thirty years ago now is still such an incredibly powerful movie. It’s fantastic animation, thought provoking storyline and dark and tense atmosphere make this an absolute must see for every anime fan out there. Akira is a timeless classic and will still be worth seeing even after another thirty years from now.
I think pretty much everyone as a child must have done some kind of prank. One of the most common ones of these are to either ring the doorbell or knock on someone’s door and run away. One has to wonder now what was so fun about something like that, but children seem to really have a barrel full of laughs while doing this. Why am I bringing something like this up? Is it some kind of misplaced sense of atonement for the pranks that I used to do as a kid that I am doing here? No, really no worries about that. The reason I am bringing this up, is that someone took this childhood prank and turned it into a horrormovie. Well…kind of a horrormovie anyway.
Don’t knock twice focusses on mother Jess, who nine years ago had to give up her daughter Chloe to an orphanage. Now, she wants her back, but Chloe wants nothing to do with her anymore. One night Chloe and her boyfriend visit an old house, where according to legend a witch resides. They knock twice on her door, and then quickly leave. This seemingly innocent event, soon begins to have very dire consequences. Chloe begins to see strange things, and weird events force her to leave her own house. In desperation she flees to her mother, who at first though very happy to see her, does not believe her story. However it isn’t long before Jess has to face the fact that a demonic spirit is targeting her daughter. Will she be able to save her, or will Chloe end up as yet another victim of this ancient evil…..
I have to say that the premise for this film was very original. Based in part on the legend of Baba Yaga (from Slavic folklore), it was the storyline that grabbed my attention for it. While there certainly are some horrorelements in this movie, I would classify this film more as a thriller. Unfortunately, it is not a very suspenseful one. The movie has a few interesting scenes, but it was not enough to keep me on the edge of my seat throughout the entire film. The acting in the movie was pretty decent, especially by Katee “Starbuck” Sackhoff, who played the role of Jess. She really plays a very convincing role as the desperate mother, who will stop at nothing to win back the love of her daughter.
This movie isn’t terrible, but it is not great either. The film is at times pretty slow, and some of the twists you can definitely see coming from miles away. The movie obviously had a low budget, but still it managed to hide that fact pretty decently. All in all there are worse movies out there, and together with the original story and the acting, just manages to keep it’s score on the positive side.