Archive for June, 2010

What Happened to Mr. Romero?

Posted in Horror Articles with tags , , , , , , , on June 28, 2010 by Pass the Popcorn!

Few days ago I’ve seen Romero’s latest zombie flick, Survival of the Dead, and I must say it was awful. It was maybe the worst zombie movie he ever made (and I thought he couldn’t go lower than Diary of the Dead). After the movie ended, I had to ask myself one question: “What happened to Mr. Romero?”.

First of all, let’s take a trip through his life, biography and, of course, zombie movies (which will be the only one I will mention in this article):

“George A. Romero never set out to become a Hollywood figure; however, by all indications, he was very successful. The director of the groundbreaking “Dead” pentalogy was born February 4, 1940, in New York City. He grew up there until attending the renowned Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

After graduation, he began shooting mostly short films and commercials. He and his friends formed “Image Ten Productions” in the late 1960s and they all chipped in roughly US$10,000 a piece to produce what became one of the most celebrated American horror films of all time: Night of the Living Dead (1968). Shot in black-and-white on a budget of just over US$100,000, Romero’s vision, combined with a solid script written by him and his “Image” co-founder John A. Russo (along with what was then considered an excess of gore) enabled the film to earn back far more than what it cost…”

Night of the Living Dead (1968)

There isn’t much to say about this movie anymore, I already mentioned it in few occasions. First I wrote a full review of it and then I stated it as one of the best zombie movies ever made in my Top 15 Zombie Movies list. All in all, it was a perfect horror movie and a perfect way to start your carrier. A genre breaking classic. The movie also spawned 2 remakes, the first one in 1990. directed by Tom Savini and the second one in 2006. directed by Jeff Broadstreet.

Trivia:

  • Bosco chocolate syrup was used to simulate the blood in the film.
  • The word “zombie” is never used. The most common euphemism used to describe the living dead is “those things,” mostly by Cooper.
  • George A. Romero was the one operating the camera when S. William Hinzman (the cemetery zombie) attacks Barbara in her car by smashing the window with a rock. When Hinzman shattered the window, the rock barely missed Romero.
  • Screenwriter John A. Russo appears as the ghoul who gets his forehead smashed by Ben with a tire iron. He also allowed himself to be set on fire for real when nobody else wanted to do the stunt.
  • The filmmakers were accused of being “Satanically-inspired” by Christian fundamentalist groups for their portrayal of the undead feeding on flesh and of the Coopers’ zombie child (Kyra Schon) attacking her mother (Marilyn Eastman).

“At first I didn’t think of them as zombies, I thought of them as flesh-eaters or ghouls and never called them zombies in the first film. Then people started to write about them, calling them zombies, and all of a sudden that’s what they were: the new zombies. I guess I invented a few rules, like kill the brain and you kill the ghoul, and eventually I surrendered to the idea and called them zombies in Dawn of the Dead (1978), but it was never that important to me what they were. Just that they existed.” – George A. Romero

My Rating: 10/10

Dawn of the Dead (1978)

10 years after his directing debut, Romero made another cult horror movie, Dawn of the Dead which gained even more attention than it’s predecessor, it was a big success all around the world (especially in Italy). This movie was also included in my Top 15 Zombie Movies list. Al though Dawn wasn’t as creepy/scary as Night, it still offered an excellent atmosphere, great action sequences, awesome acting and social commentary. Despite the fact that ten years have passed since he delivered Night of the Living Dead, Romero still knew how to create an effective and gripping atmosphere. Everything in Dawn of the Dead was on a high level, including the zombie makeups and gory scenes. The movie was remaked in 2004 by director Zack Snyder.

Trivia:

  • The voice of Christine Forrest (George A. Romero’s wife) can be heard on a pre-recorded announcement in the mall (“Attention all shoppers…”).
  • Much of the fake blood used in the blood packets was a mixture of food coloring, peanut butter and cane sugar syrup.
  • Many effects were thought of on the spot. Tom Savini created many effects (such as the arm in the blood pressure tester) with no preparations whatsoever.
  • Some of the zombies (notably one in the tenement scene) were actual amputees.
  • Extras who appeared in this film were reportedly given $20 in cash, a box lunch, and a Dawn of the Dead T-shirt.

“I don’t try to answer any questions or preach. My personality and my opinions come through in the satire of the films, but I think of them as a snapshot of the time. I have this device, or conceit, where something happens in the world and I can say, ‘Ooo, I’ll talk about that, and I can throw zombies in it! And get it made!’ You know, it’s kind of my ticket to ride.” – George A. Romero

My Rating: 10/10

Day of the Dead (1985)

In his third zombie movie, Romero decided to experiment a little with this zombies. He gave them the ability to learn. In this experimenting he managed to make the most recognizable zombie ever, Bub. Al though Bub’s character was perfectly made, the rest of the movie seemed pretty shallow and dull. There was none of that truly creepy atmosphere like in Romero’s earlier works. I find Day of the Dead to be a pretty “average” horror movie, nothing revolutionary, I’m even considering it as a slight disappointment after Dawn of the Dead. Al though the zombie make ups and gory scenes were nice, that doesn’t change the fact that the movie could have easily been better. The scriptwriting seemed a little odd, some actors overreacted their scenes (especially Joseph Pilato who played Capt. Rhodes – he seemed unbelievable in that role) and character’s relationships are also awkward. However, if you are a zombie fan, this movie is a must see one. Day of the Dead also has a 2008 remake made by director Steve Miner.

Trivia:

  • All the extras who portrayed zombies in the climax received for their services: a cap that said “I Played A Zombie In ‘Day of the Dead'”, a copy of the newspaper from the beginning of the film (the one that says THE DEAD WALK!), and one dollar.
  • The only movie in George A. Romero’s “Dead” series where a zombie has a line of dialog (Bub says, “Hello Aunt Alicia.”).
  • The first film in George A. Romero’s “Dead” series to begin a tradition of having a clown zombie, as also seen in Land of the Dead (2005) and Diary of the Dead (2007).
  • The book Dr. Logan gives to Bub is Stephen King’s “Salem’s Lot.” Romero and King have been friends for many years.
  • The lowest grossing film in George A. Romero’s “Dead” trilogy. Nonetheless, it’s gained a cult following over the last two decades, and the director himself has stated that he considers it his best film.

“I always thought of the zombies as being about revolution, one generation consuming the next.” – George A. Romero

My Rating: 6, 5/10 I have this movie rated on imdb with 6 but I think that’s a too low grade for this movie, on the other hand I think grade 7 is too high for it so my final rating is 6,5.

Land of the Dead (2005)

Romero waited 20 years after Day of the Dead to release another zombie movie. This time he went one step further with his experimenting and gave the zombies in Land of the Dead the ability to carry/fire guns and other weapons like blades, which I consider to be a blasphemy. In Land of the Dead we also have a view of post apocalyptic cities and societies which were very interesting to watch. Too bad they didn’t receive much of  a screen time because those were the best parts in the whole movie. Another thing worth mentioning is the acting of, now passed away, actor Denis Hopper who played the “leader” of the town. Besides him, other actors were either very average or awful. Despite the movie’s nice post apocalyptic atmosphere, the script writing is very bad and full of plot holes. The main storyline in Land of the Dead is rather focusing on a giant tank named Dead Reckoning than on surviving of the human race against zombies. The movie’s ending was just horrible because the whole point of Land of the Dead (I will spoil it but don’t worry, you won’t miss anything) was that humans and zombies should live in peace. That was pure crap, I was so disappointed by everything. Briefly, although this movie is very bad, it is also the last watchable Romero’s zombie flick (everything after this one was simply horrible).

Trivia:

  • This is the first film of George A. Romero’s “Living Dead” series which uses digital effects.
  • There were four titles before “Land of the Dead” was chosen: “Dead City,” “Dead Reckoning,” “Twilight of the Dead,” and “Night of the Living Dead: Dead Reckoning.”
  • The zombie of Tom Savini’s biker character, who is killed in Dawn of the Dead (1978), can be seen in one of the scenes.
  • Partly based on the original, much longer script for Day of the Dead (1985).
  • A non-union zombie would make CDN$9 per hour, while a union zombie, for a minimum of 8 hours, would make CDN$158.

“The idea of living with terrorism – I’ve tried to make it more applicable to the concerns Americans are going through now”. – George A. Romero

My Rating: 5/10

Diary of the Dead (2007)

It seems that Romero haven’t had enough of his weird experimenting so he filmed Diary of the Dead through the “eyes of the camera” (the technic most notably used in the Blair Witch Project). I, personally, liked this idea but its movie performance was awful due to the script writing which was completely awful. Romero somehow managed to create a bunch of dull, static and uninteresting characters with loads of cliches. Diary of the Dead doesn’t have a real plot, it is more of a road trip movie filled with random, “strange” and stupid situations (which are full of plot holes). When making a movie like this one, you should pay special attention to the characters because they are the ones who hold your movie and its plot. If you make your characters retarded, there is a big chance that the whole movie will be retarded too. And that’s just what Romero did, he made retarded characters. My full review of this movie (in which I even analyzed most of the characters) can be found here.

Trivia:

  • Shot over a period of only 23 days.
  • In the scene with the zombie doctors, a voice can be heard on the radio inviting people to aim for the head. This is the voice of Tom Savini, a longtime friend of George A. Romero. In fact, this audio is lifted directly from the bonus features of the remake of Dawn of the Dead.
  • The documentary-within-the-film is called “The Death of Death.” This is also the name of George Romero’s four-part miniseries for the DC Comics zombie title “Toe Tags.”
  • Begins on the same day as Night of the Living Dead (1968), although the setting has been updated to the present day. The concept for the film evolved from an idea that director George A. Romero had earlier for a “Living Dead” TV series, which also would have begun on the same day as “Night of the Living Dead.”
  • George A. Romero has a cameo in the film as a police officer presenting a cover-up for the zombie outbreak at a press conference.

“My zombie films have been so far apart that I’ve been able to reflect the socio-political climates of the different decades. I have this conceit that they’re a little bit of a chronicle, a cinematic diary of what’s going on.” – George A. Romero

My Rating: 3/10

Survival of the Dead (2009)

And we finally came to Romero’s latest zombie movie, Survival of the Dead. The movie, itself, was so horrible that I find it to be even worse than Diary of the Dead. The plot is about two families who are living on a remote island and who are “in war” with one another. I found this storyline to be utterly stupid and very weak. The characters, their personalities and relationships were too much undeveloped, even for a zombie movie. Some “twists” in the plot were so awful that I either facepalmed from time to time or unintentionally giggled. The pure stupidity of Survival of the Dead can’t be easily explained, you’ll just have to see it for yourself. Because of the main storyline the zombies were put in the second plan. Through all the movie they were nothing more than free kills, a material for “cool scenes”. In addition to all that poor scriptwriting, we have some very bad CGI effects. I mean, some parts were simply horrible to watch. How is that possible to happen in a Romero flick? I won’t waste any more of my time on this garbage. Just.. don’t watch this movie because if you do, you’ll be asking yourself one question:  “What happened to Mr. Romero?”

Trivia:

  • This marks George A. Romero’s second time using the SCOPE format (2.35:1, 2.39:1, 2.4:1) for his Living Dead films. The first time was Land of the Dead (2005). The other Dead films were either shot in 1.33:1 (Night of the Living Dead (1968)) or 1.85:1 (Dawn of the Dead (1978) and Day of the Dead (1985)).

“I’m like my zombies. I won’t stay dead!”

“I’ll never get sick of zombies. I just get sick of producers.”

“If one horror film hits, everyone says, “Let’s go make a horror film!” It’s the genre that never dies.” – George A. Romero

My Rating: 3/10

Soooo…what happened to Mr. Romero?

My first (and only) guess would be that he grow old and due to that he simply lost his touch over the years. He has no more originality or whatsoever. He doesn’t make movies with any kind of passion, he doesn’t create “art” anymore. He simply started to “create movies”, nothing more. This is perfectly seen in Land of the Dead, Diary of the Dead and Survival of the Dead because they are “just movies” lacking any kind of soul or spirit his earlier works had. Furthermore, he managed to make his zombies plain boring during his long carrier. Now Romero is just a shadow of his former self. It’s a shame to see him, the grandaddy of all zombies, like that (the funny part is that he, literally, became the “zombie grandaddy” – he made his last 3 zombie flicks in his sixties)…just boring and unoriginal.

Dear George A. Romero, I believe we all appreciate your early works and consider them to be all time classic. However, it would be best for you to go to retirement now before you make another horrible mistake like Survival of the Dead. You really deserve it after all these years.

All additional information, trivia and quotes quotes were take from IMDB.

Drugs Bunny

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Top 15 Zombie Movies pt. 3

Posted in Top 15 Zombie Movies with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 26, 2010 by Pass the Popcorn!

Here is the third and final part of my list of top 15 zombie movies ever.

5. Planet Terror (2007)

In this movie the main female character (played by Rose McGowan) has a machine gun instead of her leg. Need more reasons to watch Planet Terror? : ) Anyways, this is a fantastic movie directed by Robert Rodriguez in which we have a “military” bio-weapon experiment gone wrong that turns people into zombie-like creatures. Planet Terror offers more than pure fun, it clearly is a masterpiece that will easily be appreciated by both horror and non horror fans.

My Rating: 9/10


4. Dawn of the Dead (1978)

Many people consider this to be one of the best zombie movies ever made, I couldn’t agree more. In his second zombie movie, Romero decided to put a group of survivors in a mall overrun by the living dead. That was a very effective idea due to the fact that both scriptwriting and directing in Dawn of the Dead are perfect. In the second part of the movie a biker group (lead by Tom Savini !) breaks into the mall and then all hell breaks loose. Dawn of the Dead is a really great movie!

My Rating : 10/10


3. Night of the Living Dead

It seems George A. Romero made another movie which deserves to be in the top 5 best Zombie Movies ever (and which I find even slightly better than Dawn of the Dead). His directing debut, Night of the Living Dead was a genre breaking movie at its time (and still is) and the first movie that featured zombies as flesh eating masses as we know them today. Needless to say that the movie was very controversial when it came out. Anyways, my full review about this movie can be read here.

My Rating: 10/10

2. Dawn of the Dead (2004)

The remake of  the ’78 classic left me completely astonished. I didn’t expect it to be such a good remake.. a remake that is even better than the original. The remake had much more action and even some comedy elements while the horror elements (and the interesting atmosphere)were left “untouched”. It was a perfect fusion of many different genres. I’d even dare to say that the characters from the remake are much more interesting than the ones from the original. All in all, best remake ever and second best zombie movie ever.

My Rating: 10/10


1. Braindead aka Dead Alive (1992)

And we finally came to my best zombie movie ever which is Peter Jackson’s Braindead! Braindead is one sick, gory, funny, silly, wonderful experience which may even be one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen. The movie follows a likeable man named Lionel Cosgrove whose mother gets bitten by a “rat monkey” and turns into a zombie. Now he has to deal with her and all other zombies that she made. In conclusion, this movie is absolutely perfect. If you are interested, you can read my full review here.

My Rating: 10/10

That would be all from my top 15 Zombie Movies ever list.

Still there are many more very good zombie movies who, unfortunately, haven’t made it to the list but are definitely worth mentioning:

Return of the Living Dead serial (1985, 1988, 1993, 2005, 2005) – the first one is awesome, can’t say that about the rest though

Fulci’s other zombie movies like The Beyond (1981) and City of the Living Dead (1980) – stupid, gory, funny

Fido (2006) – A very original modern zombie movie, check it out!

Day of the Dead (1985) – The worst one from the original “of the Dead” trilogy but still good

That’s all I can think of right now. More reviews coming soon. Cya till then!

Top 15 Zombie Movies pt. 2

Posted in Top 15 Zombie Movies with tags , , , , , , , on June 25, 2010 by Pass the Popcorn!

This is the second part of my list of top 15 zombie movies ever.  : )

10. Re-Animator (1985)

Based on a short story written by H.P. Lovecraft, Re-Animator is surely one of the most recognizable movies ever made. Like many other zombie movies, it also has some comedy elements in it that make it even better. Re-animator also spawned 2 sequels, which I, unfortunately, haven’t seen yet but I heard they are good. I will give them a try soon but I fear they won’t manage to create the atmosphere (and originality) that was in the first part. Oh yeah, I nearly forgot to mention that it has a really interesting soundtrack. All in all, Re-Animator is a classic.

My Rating: 8/10


9. Shaun of the Dead (2004)

A movie like Shaun of the Dead needs no special introduction. Every comedy/horror fan should be familiar with it. It is surely one of the best modern movies from both genres. Because of its perfect combination of intelligent humor, awesome performances made by Simon Pegg and Nick Frost and, well,  zombies, Shaun of the Dead soon became a cult movie which can be found in every “Top Zombie Movies” list. Definitely a movie to check out furthermore. Btw “Ever felt like you were surrounded by zombies?”  : )

My Rating: 8/10

8. Dead Snow aka Død snø (2009)

I’ve already wrote a review of this movie, you can read it here. Briefly, Dead Snow is a fantastic Norwegian Horror/Comedy with nazi zombies! It was one of the best movies of its year and, as you can see, has a very high ranking in my list. It is a very enjoyable gory experience that has many references to other cult horror movies like The Evil Dead. A movie that really deserves more attention because it is fun, fun, fun! By the way, many people took this movie way too serious so they found themselves to be disappointed by it. Don’t make the same mistake.

My Rating: 9/10

7. Zombieland (2009)

Zombieland was also one of the best movies of its year, along with Dead Snow. It is an extremly fun roadtrip movie with zombies, which offers very likeable, developed characters and many funny scenes. Despite the fact that Zombieland was slightly predictable from time to time, it still was a perfect movie to watch. I’d even dare to say that it was genre breaking in its own special way. Honestly, I can’t wait to watch the sequel, which should be finished next year.

My Rating: 9/10

6. Cemetery Man aka Dellamorte Dellamore (1994)

What can I say about this masterpiece? It is much more than your average Horror/Comedy. Dellamorte Dellamore even has a wonderful romantic story, beautiful storytelling and characters. It is an astonishing experience that made a huge impact on me. The main actor in it is Rupert Everett, most notable for being an inspiration for Dylan Dog’s character. This movie is perfect in many different ways. If there are still horror/non horror fans that haven’t seen it yet, do it now, you won’t be disappointed.

My Rating: 9/10

That’s all for now. Pt. 3 of my list coming tomorrow and then will you see my top 5 zombie movies ever.

*Edit*: Now that I think about it, I kinda prefer Shaun of the Dead over Re-Animator so I changed their places.

Top 15 Zombie Movies pt. 1

Posted in Horror Review, Top 15 Zombie Movies with tags , , , , , , , on June 24, 2010 by Pass the Popcorn!

I decided to quite the Debut Week event and start something else. I hope you don’t mind.

For today I’m going to make the first part of my list of Top 15 Zombie Movies ever(as you may know, I’m a big zombie fan ^^).

Some movies have the same grade but I still find some of them to be slightly better than others, the numerical order is important.

Anyways let’s go:

15. The Living Dead At Manchester Morgue (1974)

A very interesting Spanish/Italian zombie movie from the early 70s that approaches zombies in a slightly different way. I’d say it has more drama than horror elements but never the less it deserves to be on this list. The movie also has a very depressive end which is surely one of the best endings I’ve seen in my years of watching zombie movies. So if you haven’t seen this movie already, go for it! Just don’t expect to see your classic masses of zombies.

My Rating: 7/10

14. Zombie aka Zombie Flesh Eaters (1979)

Ahh, good old classic made by Lucio Fulci with loads of gore and memorable scenes (like the one where a zombie wrestles a shark – what more to say?).  This is surely one of the most recognizable zombie movies ever made. Although it has lots of plot holes and stupid parts, this movie offers a very creepy atmosphere and awesome zombie make ups A very fun movie to watch!

My Rating: 7/10



13. La Horde (2009)

French zombies! I must admit when I heard the French were making a zombie movie I didn’t know what to expect of it, I thought it would be average. I was wrong. The atmosphere and action sequences in this movie are simply breathtaking. It is a very fun movie to watch, especially because the characters are in very interesting relationships with each other. The zombie make up and the soundtrack are also awesome.  Great movie.

My Rating: 8/10

12. Dead Set (2008)

I know this isn’t a zombie mini series rather than a zombie movie but it definitely deserves to be on this list due to the fact it’s highly innovative. It perfectly combines the concept of Big Brother with loads of zombies. The sole idea is a very interesting one and the result is more than good. I’ve already written about this series before so you can check my full review here. As I said before, it truly is a breath of fresh air in the zombie genre. Be sure to watch it if you haven’t already.

My Rating: 8/10

11. Pontypool (2008)

Pontypool is simply a very beautiful movie. It has a perfect and special atmosphere which I can’t describe so easily based on very effective script writing and directing. Even the idea behind it is awesome by itself. The movie is set in a radio station where a group of people are stuck in the middle of a zombie outbreak. The actors did an astonishing job. You should definitely check this movie out. Oh yeah, the “zombies” in this one are more similar to the Infected from the 28 days later series than to classic zombies. I know that doesn’t make Pontypool a real zombie movie but it would be waste to not include it in this list.

My Rating: 8/10

That’s all for now. Pt 2 and 3 coming soon. : )





L’uccello dalle piume di cristallo (1970)

Posted in Debut Week, Horror Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 7, 2010 by Pass the Popcorn!

Director: Dario Argento

Writers: Dario Argento

Fredric Brown

Tagline: A stunning portrait in psycho-terror!

Plot: A writer is stalked by a serial killer after witnessing a murder attempt on one woman’s life.

Cast: Tony Musante – Sam Dalmas

Suzy Kendall – Julia

Enrico Maria Salerno – Inspector Morosini

Eva Renzi – Monica Ranieri

Umberto Raho – Alberto Ranieri

Review:

L’uccelo dalle piume di cristallo (or The Bird with the Crystal Plummage as it’s translated in English) is the directing debut of one of the most interesting Horror directors, Dario Argento. It is also the first part of his “animal trilogy” (the other 2 movies are Il Gatto a Nove Code (1971) – The Cat o’ Nine Tails and 4 Mosche di Velluto Grigio (1971) – The Four Velvet Flies). Even very early in his carrier Argento showed a natural talent for directing horror movies so The Bird with the Crystal Plumage didn’t disappoint me at all.

The movie’s plot is a simple “Argentian” story. It is about a man who witnesses a murder attempt and now is being stalked by a serial killer. Actually, many elements you see during this movie are also present in Argento’s later masterpiece, Profondo Rosso. In both movies the protagonist is an artist, who is from (or has been to) America, who witnessed a murder/murder attempt and is trying to recall clues from his memory, in both movies there is a serial killer involved in the whole story and most important of all, the twist at the end of both movies is very similar. So if you watched any of those two first, you could find the second one to be a little “predictable”. But don’t let that back you off! Both Profondo Rosso and The Bird with the Crystal Plumage are very amusing experiences you should check out furthermore if you haven’t already.

So besides some elements I have seen before, Argento’s directing debut offers much more. First of all, it has a very decent and slightly depressive atmosphere which was accomplished by nice luminance and amazing camera angles. Some of the best camera angles from the movie were the killer’s point of view (one of Argento’s trademarks) and the point of view of a man falling down the building (which was accomplished by actually throwing the camera down the building :] ).What I particularly liked in The Bird with the Crystal Plumage was some intelligent humor now and then, a nice bonus to the movie’s overall feeling. The kills were also done very well, especially the first murder attempt which was the highlight of the movie. The interesting soundtrack, composed by Ennio Morricone, is worth mentioning too. It excellently fits the 70s Italian horror atmosphere.

Argento put in his first movie many interesting but, unfortunately, undeveloped characters played by amateur actors. Because of this I think the movie could have been even better, if it wasn’t Dario’s directing debut and if he had a bigger budget, due to the fact it had a big potential. So the bad acting and character development might be The Bird with the Crystal Plummage’s biggest flaws. Yeah, I also have to mention some parts of the movie seemed a little unnecessary and pointless (like when our protagonist is being chased by a man with the yellow jacket who is trying to kill him) but that’s not that huge of a deal. The Bird with the Crystal Plumage is far from being a classic but it surely is above average. You should give it a watch if you are interested in horror/thriller movies and especially Dario Argento.

My Rating: 7/10… Argento’s directing debut turned out to be a very good experience.

The Last House on the Left (1972)

Posted in Debut Week, Horror Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 5, 2010 by Pass the Popcorn!

Director: Wes Craven

Writer: Wes Craven

Ulla Isaksson

Tagline: To avoid fainting, keep repeating “It’s only a movie…It’s only a movie…”

Plot: A pair of teenage girls are headed to a rock concert for one’s birthday. While trying to score marijuana in the city, the girls are kidnapped by a gang of psychotic convicts.

Cast: Sandra Peabody – Mari Collingwood

Lucy Grantham – Phyllis Stone

David Hess – Krug Stillo

Fred J. Lincoln – Fred ‘Weasel’ Podowski

Jeramie Rain – Sadie

Review:

The Debut Week continues and the next movie to be reviewed is Wes Craven’s directing debut, The Last House on the Left. When this movie was released it spawned a lot of controversy because of its brutal and often explicit scenes. Furthermore, Last House on the Left easily gained a cult status over the years due to the fact it literally spawned many more movies with similar thematics. Even today a great number of people consider it to be a genre breaking classic. Despite all the fame that surrounds this movie, I found it to be barely watchable.

The main problem is that Wes Craven made a very simple and naive story with no real character development or whatsoever. The characters are very much one dimensional with stupidly predictable dialogues. Actually, the whole script writing seems a little awkward. Some parts of the movie were really overdone and overreacted like when the bad guys are talking about popular serial killers (I mean, come on…like that is a character development – it was just ridiculous) while the other parts  seemed so naive and childish – for an example;  the scene where those 2 girls meet the bad guys who torture them afterwards. So you may conclude that The Last House on the Left is a very bipolar movie with parts which are either overdone or naive. So this kind of scriptwriting, directing and editing makes the movie very hard (and boring) to watch. Unfortunately, that’s not all of it. In the middle of movie Craven put a “comedy” scene, with 2 cops and a truck full of chickens, which was just awful and painful. I think that could may be the worst scene from any movie I’ve seen lately. Furthermore, the soundtrack is just ridiculous, it’s like it was stolen from a Looney Toons cartoon. I am also disappointed with the acting, I think it could have been at least slightly better because most of it consisted of pure overreacting which was pointless.

The only positive thing about Last House on the Left was the impact it had on horror movie industry. Wes Craven dared to make a step further in filmmaking while adding all those often controversial scenes. Visually, the movie could be considered a several years ahead of its time so I give kudos to Craven for that. I was very surprised to see some scenes in the movie but, unfortunately, they couldn’t change my overall opinion. In conclusion, The Last House on the Left is all about weak scriptwriting, poor directing and editing, awful acting and soundtrack, some nice scenes and a huge “hype” surrounding it. Craven definitely had better days in his carrier.

My Rating: 3/10… Don’t have high hopes for this movie because if you do, you could find yourself to be very disappointed.

Btw, many people say that the remake is much better than the original. That says a lot about Wes Craven’s directing debut.

Night of the Living Dead (1968)

Posted in Debut Week, Horror Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 3, 2010 by Pass the Popcorn!

Director: George A. Romero

Writers: John A. Russo

George A. Romero

Tagline: Pits the dead against the living in a struggle for survival!

Plot: A group of people hide from bloodthirsty zombies in a farmhouse.

Cast: Duane Jones – Ben

Judith O’Dea – Barbra

Karl Hardman – Harry

Marilyn Eastman – Helen

Keith Wayne – Tom

Review:

Now that I am back, after being away for some time, we can finally start with our Debut Week. We start this event with Night of the Living Dead, the directing debut of THE granddaddy of zombie movies, George Andrew Romero. As you may or not know, this was the first movie that turned zombies into flesh eating, slow moving masses as we know them today. Because of this (and many more things) Night of the Living Dead easily became a cult movie in the horror genre over the years. As for myself, I would dare to say this is my favourite movie made by Romero and one of my favourite black and white movies.

Night of the Living Dead was also released in color although I haven’t seen that version yet but, honestly, I don’t think that I will. The black and white colors simply fit the movie’s atmosphere perfectly and I don’t see why change something like that. Besides the tingling and depressive black and white atmosphere based mainly on emotions like helplessness and frustration, the movie offers a simple but effective script writing. The plot resolves around a group of strangers stuck in a farmhouse which is being attacked by zombies (like we haven’t seen that before) but this time is different, it is actually well written. The characters are developed enough (and what I particularly liked is that neither one character is entirely good or entirely bad; all of them have their flaws and virtues which gives the movie a whole new “realistic” dimension – even our main hero, Ben, is capable of hitting a woman and shooting another man) and the dialogues are strong and believable. The movie is also full with strange social commentary, mainly on the topic of racism but according to imdb (and the filmmakers) that was never intended. The social commentary that I have seen was that the human race is its own worst enemy, as seen in many scenes.

Even over 40 years later, Night of the Living Dead still doesn’t fail to scare, disturb or shock its viewers. It is full of parts that jut won’t leave you disinterested or apathetic. Even the movie’s ending is extremely shocking but I won’t spoil it out in case you haven’t seen it yet. The zombie make up is also very good for it’s time and the movie offers one of the most memorable zombies ever, The Cemetery Zombie. And all of this is followed by a surprisingly good soundtrack. Actually, the only flaw in this movie could be the acting which is far from perfect but still more than watchable. All in all, Night of the Living Dead, Romero’s directing debut, is an extremely good, classic and most of all genre breaking horror movie which I highly recommend to everyone.

My Rating: 10/10… An instant favourite and classic! Romero had a pretty strong start in his carrier with this movie.

Btw, this is my 50th review! Thank you all for reading me out regulary! More reviews are coming soon. : )