Nightbreed (Film) Review

nightbreed-directors-cutJill and I are big fans of Hellraiser, arguably Clive Barker‘s most recognisable work to date, and so I was pretty stoked to be dipping back into his world with this, a film I’d never seen before. (He also wrote Candyman (1992) which I bloody love with all my heart).

I don’t really want to give too much away in the first paragraph but I found myself scratching my head a few times and I don’t mind telling you I haven’t a scooby about what I’ve just seen. That’s not to say there aren’t moments of pure wonderment.

Barker’s imagination is quite something and one dodgy flick from the 1990’s can’t take that away.

Or can it?

*Spoilers* – although if you ain’t seen this in the 26 long years that have passed since its release, I would say you can’t really be that precious.

Nightbreed (1990)

Director: Clive Barker
Stars: Craig ShefferDavid Cronenberg, Anne Bobby

IMDB Synopsis: A troubled young man is drawn to a mythical place called Midian where a variety of monsters are hiding from humanity.

My Review:

Our hero, poor man’s Angel (even though Buffy/Angel came later) dreams of a place called Midian, where monster dreams come true. Not really, but monsters do try to live there together in their version of sweet harmony.

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“I loved you in Buffy. Uh, a TV show from the future…”

He’s a bit distant and messed up, so his girl Lori (Bobby) has him seeing a psychotherapist called Dr Decker (Cronenberg). Dr Decker is pretty much the worst psychotherapist of all time as he convinces Angel, real name Boone (Sheffer) that he’s a serial killer. The kicker? It’s actually Decker doing the killing, and brutally at that! Clever, non?

To drive his plan home, he drugs Boone and persuades him to hand himself in. Things got confused for me quite quickly but if I recall correctly, Boone gets hit by a truck, there’s a hospital scene, we meet our first monster, Narcisse (Hugh Ross) and his face gets torn off. (Narcisse btw harvests dead men’s faces to wear over his own apparently grotesque features). Seems legit.

Boone flees the hospital and heads to Midian which is basically a crappy underground village beneath a cool graveyard. Here he bumps into some monsters that aren’t that happy to see him and one of them bites him. He gets away from them only to run into the fuzz and Decker, who pretends Boone has a gun. You don’t have to ask the pigs twice to draw their weapons and poor Angel is cut down fast in a hail of bullets.

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“What do you mean I’m not a patch on Kirsty from Hellraiser?”

So that’s that then. Lori is devvoed but suspicious about the circumstances in which Boone dies, and frankly she has a right to be, especially since Boone’s become the walking dead. She travels to Midian herself to work shit out (though at this point she doesn’t know Boone has resurrected).

She meets the best character at a bar on the way and her new friend agrees to accompany her to Midian the next day. When they get there they split up (always a good idea). Lori goes skipping through the catacombs, while her friend gets brutally murdered – nooooooooooooo! Seems Decker is tracking Lori and he thinks she’ll make pretty good Boone bait (seems he’s figured out that Boone isn’t dead).

Decker wears a ‘Kid from The Orphanage/Trick ‘R’ Treat‘ style sack cloth mask and I dig the aesthetic frankly. He’s also rather stab happy. Lori, meanwhile, finds a very odd looking creature that turns into a ginger kid and meets a bunch of monsters.

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Zip it, Button Eyes

You get the impression that the brain storming (thought cluster?) sessions for the monsters must have been fun, though as we get to the end, we meet Hand Chin and I’m not sure how much work went into him.

Lori meets Boone again, much to her delight; Decker runs rampage, there’s a lot of monster politics, I got lost, we meet a priest. There is a story in here about a prophecy (Boone saving the day) and then a battle between good (Midian and the monsters) and evil (?) (the priest, the babylon). It’s very confusing and a shambles, sorry. The monsters are cool though.

In the final fight, led by Boone, there are lots of casualties and imaginative deaths. There’s a happy ending of sorts and one of the most manipulative scenes in cinematic history, in which Lori tries to kill herself so Boone has no choice but to ‘turn her’ immortal, so they can live happily together forever.

I’d have refused on principle.

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Tribal is so done

My Thoughts:

Confusing (maybe it’s me), not very linear and boring in places, this has some great creatures and a nice philosophy about peace loving monsters driven out of society by non-humans (fucking non-humans). It’s a tale as old as time and it does try. It’s nowhere near as strong as Hellraiser, but I had a soft spot for Decker, whose motivation I can’t even be arsed to work out. And the porcupine lady.

I’m being kind here but I should add that I had to read Wikipedia to fill in the blanks on all the bits I lost track of, which was most of it. Call it my heart not being in it, but it just made me want to go and visit Pinhead and Julia again.

My Rating: 2/5. Messy. Points given for the gory deaths.

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This year’s Christmas card was going to be well edgy

What did Wifey think ? Was she willing to live in sweet harmony with the monsters or would she prefer to take a carving knife to the whole thing? Find out here.

Killer Mermaid (Film) Review

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“I Know What You Did Last Summer meets Splash!” No.

It’s mermaid time, bitches and I, for one, am thrilled! I love me a mermaid story in pretty much any capacity, but an evil one? I am so in.

It was my turn to choose the film for Jillian & Christa’s Great Blog Collab 2015, Part 3.

I did think this film was called Killer Mermaids (plural), suggesting multiple fishy babes, but I was mistaken. I avoided all reviews/trailers so as not to spoil the bound to be incredible premise and I’m glad, for this was a fishy treat to the very end (sort of).

Let us begin.

The Film:

Killer Mermaid (2014)
AKA “Nymph” (Original title “Mamula”) – so good, they name it thrice

Where to Watch: 

US Netflix

The Premise:

Two young American women go on a Mediterranean vacation and uncover the watery lair of a killer mermaid hidden beneath an abandoned military fortress. What was once a carefree adventure becomes a deadly fight for survival. (via IMDB)

The Trailer: 

Viewable here.

The Uncondensed Version:

We open with an underwater scene reminiscent of Jaws but without the John Williams soundtrack (there is music and it is trying to be Jaw-sy but failing dismally). The POV shot takes us on a tour of an abandoned shipwreck before veering straight for the surface.

Next we see a series of cheesy holiday snaps between a bald man and his cutesy blonde companion. It’s typical cheeky fair, having japes in a Mediterranean setting while taking lots of pictures. All set to a Euro trash disco track that mentions partying a lot.

It’s night time. Baldie and Blondie are by the shore. Blondie takes off her top and asks Baldie if he’s just going to stand there staring. He closes his mouth and strips, but is distracted by a sound rather like (bad) singing. He walks to the edge of the water and is gone. Blondie is inconsolable and while she is screaming for help, a man (?) in Wellington boots comes up behind her and swings a hook/anchor type affair into the back of her head and drags her off. It doesn’t look good for Blondie.

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“She wore an… itsy bitsy teeny weeny… black and silver sheer bikini…”

Enter our heroines, Kelly and Lucy, two Americans out for a good time. Lucy is obviously the good time girl because she can rock a bikini like nobody’s business, while Kelly is a little more serious as she’s covered up and keeps talking about work. She’s a writer and her editor is bugging her about writing a piece on the town they are visiting.

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Frankenstein’s Army (Film) Review

Frankenstein's Army banner

It’s time for the next exciting instalment of Jillian & Christa’s Great Blog Collab 2015 and believe me, this one’s a corker. Our short list is getting ever plumper and more bizarre, which makes me feel very excited about my Sundays.

This week was Jill’s choice.

NB: You know the score re: spoilers. There are some.

The Film:

Frankenstein’s Army (2013)

Where to Watch:

US Netflix

The Premise:

Toward the end of World War II, Russian soldiers pushing into eastern Germany stumble across a secret Nazi lab, one that has unearthed and begun experimenting with the journal of one Dr. Victor Frankenstein. The scientists have used the legendary Frankenstein’s work to assemble an army of super-soldiers stitched together from the body parts of their fallen comrades — a desperate Hitler’s last ghastly ploy to escape defeat. (via IMDB)

The Trailer:

Viewable here.

The Uncondensed Version:

We start with a home video of a young solider, Dimitri, pledging his allegiance to Stalin. He and his party appear to be going on a secret mission and Dimitri claims to be proud of the fact.

Dimitri appears for most of the rest of the film as a disembodied voice from behind his camera, for he has been entrusted to record the journey for posterity. We meet the other guys through his eyes and they are a rag tag bunch if ever there was one. We are treated to a montage of sorts (love a montage) while the boys take selfies with the local villagers and generally lark about.

Continue reading “Frankenstein’s Army (Film) Review”