FILM :: REVIEWS… THE RE-ANIMATOR (1985)… HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER (1986)… VAMP (1986)

To follow up on my first film review post: I’m taking these first posts to catch up with reviews of what I have watched so far in 2013 from the world of horror. Whether older films through a more mature pair of eyes or new movies from the genre, I’ll be capturing it all here moving forward.

With each review, I am also sharing minimalist movie posters I have created for every film after watching it. (More on my film poster project at large, here. )

Here are three more I have watched in 2013 so far…

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FILM :: RE-ANIMATOR
YEAR :: 1985
DIRECTOR :: Stuart Gordon

reanimator_horror

Where to start with this one? There is just so much awesomeness going on with this film — an HP Lovecraft story brought to life with absolute trash perfection.

This is a film about mad scientists, glowing secret formulas and reanimated body parts with anger issues. Really, it’s a perfect palette for director Stuart Gordon to play with and he handles it with just the right amount of reckless abandon. He treats the material with a deft blend of deadpan seriousness and hyperbolic craziness. The result is truly memorable with scene after scene of deliciously nutty drama soaked in blood, guts and adrenaline.

I absolutely love the cast on this film. Jeffrey Combs is flawless as Herbert West, the scientist with the formula and the grisly drive to raise the undead. David Gale plays the perfect foil to West as a perfectly evil rival scientist with a creeped-out sexual attraction to his colleague’s college daughter, the innocent but very sexy Barbara Crampton as Megan Halsey.  With Bruce Abbott as a reluctant partner to Herbert and lover to Megan and a fun supporting cast beyond.

The film with leave you in stitches and give you some unforgettable images to dream about afterwards. Buckle up. This is a wild ride.

strangelogoforblog_4andahalf_stars

RATING ………………. 4.5 STARS

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FILM :: HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER
YEAR :: 1986
DIRECTOR :: John McNaughton

henry_horror

Emotionally raw, brutally honest and indie in feel, “Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer” is the real deal.

Made for just $125,000 with an independent cast from Chicago’s Organic Theater Company, founded (in a bit of Jungian synchronicity for this post), by “Re-Animator” director Stuart Gordon, the film takes a work-a-day approach to the subject, giving it a true sense of the real. McNaughton deserves very high praise for this treatment. Stunning.

It is this true sense that gives the film its power. It is a gray, drab, water-stained portrait of a drifter who kills remorselessly to assuage the boredom in his life. Everyone who is a fan of Anthony Hopkins’ campy portrayal of Hannibal Lechter needs to watch Michael Rooker’s powerful, dull embodiment of psychopathy here in the title role. No camp. No comic relief. No mercy.

He is supported brilliantly by Tom Towles as the ultra-creepy Ottis and Tracy Arnold as his Ottis’s hapless sister who is fascinated and attracted to Henry’s raw power. All of the performances here are honest and give the film undeniable emotional electricity.

Though years have passed since the film was made, it has not blunted in any way. It still gives us an unrelenting peek at the life of a true psychopath at work.

strangelogoforblog_4andahalf_stars

RATING ………………. 4.5 STARS

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FILM :: VAMP
YEAR :: 1986
DIRECTOR :: Richard Wenk

vamp_horror

Holy 80’s. If this didn’t have the amazing Grace Jones in it, I would shudder to think of its value.

Goofy, sloppy, bad and only partially charmingly so, this film encapsulates the fun-but-scholcky side of the 80’s horror scene. This is part titillating (quite literally, I might add) frat-ready fantasy, part cornball comedy with a few plastic chills all wrapped up in the poor (think destitute) man’s version of Scorsese’s pitch perfect 1985 film “After Hours.”

Though it isn’t horror and unless you just want to glimpse the awesome Grace Jones at the height of her powers, just skip this and watch “After Hours.” You’ll be more frightened and a heck of a lot happier.

strangelogoforblog_1andahalf_stars

RATING ………………. 1.5 STARS

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I will continue to post catch-up reviews as I march towards the new stuff. Stay tuned!

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Author: David Edward Johnson

A bit about me :: My name is David Johnson. I'm a senior creative with over 20 years of experience. I am currently serving as the Director of User Experience and Product Design at Inmar. Previously, I have served as the Global Digital Creative Director for Whole Foods Market, several agencies at the VP level and co-owned my own agency in New York for seven years. I love genre film, a full range of music, art, kung fu, TM, design, good food and a great joke. I'm based in Austin, Texas and addicted to BBQ.

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