To follow up on my first film review post and this one: I’m taking these first three 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 four more I have watched in 2013 so far… This catches me up…


YEAR :: 1975
DIRECTOR :: Alfredo Rizzo

Ummmm… Yeah… What can I say? This was bad. Like really bad. Simply awful writing, terrible dubs, wooden performances and thoroughly confusing plot all add up to one abominable film. Even a bevy of really gorgeous 70’s italian ingenues regularly au naturel in classic gothic settings throughout the movie can’t save this one. Films like this CAN be funny in how bad they are. There CAN be a charm to it. This film… Nope.

Want a taste? Just check out the trailer. It really gives a sense of the godawful experience this is.


UGH! What a shambles.
RATING ………………. 0.5 STARS


YEAR :: 2002
DIRECTOR :: Chuck Comisky

I am a lover of all things cryptozoological. I always have been, even since the days of my youth. I think it’s the possibility of finding real-life “monsters” in the world around us that intrigues. A sort of a repudiation of the rational and a belief in something greater.

Unfortunately, this film captures none of that.

When a member of a scientific / reality TV expedition to Loch Ness dies in a “mysterious” diving accident, the legendarily unorthodox and ruggedly good looking expedition leader Blay comes to  handle things personally. More odd happenings and strange attacks plague the Loch.  Can Blay and his team succeed against a highlands “locals only” mentality and their fears to solve the riddle of the Loch? Do we care?

Unfortunately not. Nothing MAKES us care, here.

I LOVE a good monster movie in the classic sense and especially one with a crypto bent, but this sucker is flat, flat, flat. The script simply stinks and Comisky’s direction is totally uninspired. The actors have poor material to work with, but their performances do nothing to help us find any emotional resonance. It’s like everyone was aiming for a TV-quality movie from the 80’s and they still fell short.

I wouldn’t spend any time on this one. It reeks like bad haggis. If you’re searching for something in the Loch with more of a soul, go for 2007’s “The Water Horse.” That one isn’t perfect either and it’s somewhat geared for kids, but it’s damn good comparatively. That’s a far better bet than this sinker.

RATING ………………. 0.5 STARS


YEAR :: 2012
DIRECTOR :: Drew Goddard


FINALLY… Something different.

AWESOME concept with this one. I won’t share too much as almost anything would act as a spoiler. I think the summary on IMDB is a solid “interest piquer” ::

Five friends go for a break at a remote cabin in the woods, where they get more than they bargained for. Together, they must discover the truth behind the cabin in the woods.

At first glance this would seem to be another de rigueur young, sexy sleepaway slasher pic. BUT, this film couldn’t be farther from that. Creative, self-aware and genuinely fun, writers Josh Whedon and Drew Goddard (who also directs) give us so much more in “Cabin.”. In the process, the film both uses and lampoons horror genre clichés a la Wes Craven at his best, shifting the viewer’s perspective and giving us a laugh.

The cast is spot on, giving us sexy thrills, harrowing screams and classic horror bravado in turns. They evoke just enough pathos that we wince when the writers remind us we’re watching a horror movie by showing us just how disposable they are.

This is a great film for genre-heads and non-horror fans alike. It’s that good. Don’t miss it.


RATING ………………. 4.5 STARS


YEAR :: 2012
DIRECTOR :: Tim Burton


I am SUPER TEMPTED to give this a one word review…


But I love so much of Tim Burton’s other work that I think the film deserves a few more words to explain why.

It’s SUCH a shame that is is such a fail. There was so much to work with: truly classic source material, a very solid cast, a real budget, Tim Burton’s eye. But all of that just wasn’t enough to overcome a terribly weak script. Really, this is a perfect example of why there has to be some substance behind the style. Without deft, truly meaty writing, images (even the most compelling), fall flat.

I did want to give the movie SOME points for style. It is, at times, quite stylish: Great soundtrack, very nice cinematography, fun style nods to the original “Dark Shadows.” But even these have their detractors as they ultimately serve a flawed master in the story.

It’s worth a watch if you’re a die hard fan, but I feel that your time is MUCH better served by simply watching the original series.

RATING ………………. 2.5 STARS


Again, this catches me up. Stay tuned for more moving forward!


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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