Posts Tagged ‘horror’

Most of you right now are probably thinking to yourself, “Man, I’m hungry.” But some of you may be wondering, “What in the hell is The Catcher? Is that the movie with acting god Freddie Prinze Jr.?” No, silly, that’s Summer Catch. The Catcher is far, far, um, different from that film.

First of all, if you do not know who David Heavener is, you should probably look that man up on IMDB and watch every single one of his films as soon as you can. As it stands, I’ve seen Lethal Ninja, Massacre, and now The Catcher, a “masterpiece of cinema.”

The plot is as follows: A former big-time baseball player in the minor leagues, David J. Walker (Heavener) is upset at his fellow teammates for bitching him out for losing their last game of the season. In one teammate’s words, “I’ve been here six years and you screwed up my chance to get in the majors.” Um, I’m pretty sure if you’ve been there for six years and still haven’t moved up the ladder of success, one member of your team is not the one to blame.

Yes, that is the entire plot.

The film takes place inside a baseball stadium. ALL 76 minutes of it. Oh, I’m sorry. There’s also a flashback scene at the beginning with Joe Estevez yelling at a small child for what feels like seven hours before said youngster cracks him over the head with a baseball bat and kills him.

I don’t even know how someone thought this would come together to make any kind of coherent film. David Heavener does what he does, I guess. I’ve actually talked to the man over the phone before and he’s a nice enough guy, but good Lord he needs to stay away from crap like this. The other actors in the film don’t even deserve mentioning except maybe the great Joe Estevez.

Here’s a guy who is Martin Sheen’s brother, but apparently did not take any of the acting talent from his sibling at the same time. He yells, screams, and contorts his face throughout his small part in the film much to the delight of anyone without ears that has to sit through his wonderfully horrific performance.

That withstanding, this film is of the horror/slasher genre, so you’d at least expect some slick kills, right? Wrong. What we get is a handful of lame death scenes, some very crappy sound effects, and only ONE cool death. Let’s just say that the killer sticks the baseball bat in an orifice that no one should ever have to experience discomfort in unless your name is Rip Taylor.

Not to mention that this film sports a terrible “twist” ending and some awful cinematography that would make Uwe Boll blush. I give this a:


and may God have mercy on whoever has had the discomfort of watching this drivel.

Worth Peepin’? If you can find it and if you enjoy the cinematic equivalent of getting slapped in the face with a hammer over and over again, yes.

“I don’t believe in God.” — Bob (Dennis Quaid)

As I was looking through all of my archived reviews (a whopping total of three if you count The Tonight Show), I came to the conclusion that I am going to start looking like a movie fan-boy if I just constantly see what I want and shell out praise for classics of the past. Granted, Night of the Living Dead (1990) was by no means a classic, but it was still fairly enjoyable as was Youth in Revolt.

So I thought to myself, “Brendan…can I call you Brendan?” To which I responded, “No, that’s Mr. Wahl to you.” I then shuddered in fear at my own power over myself and responded, “I apologize, Mr. Wahl. Anyway, how are you going to write a negative review if all you do is watch good movies?” I then said, “Well, maybe I’ll go see one at the theatre that could go either way.” And as I was wheeled out of the pink-padded room, I thought that it would be a good idea to go see the film Legion.

I’ll never live that one down.

So if you don’t know the story, it basically comes down to this. I’ll even give you the official plot summary right off

“An out-of-the-way diner becomes the unlikely battleground for the survival of the human race. When God loses faith in humankind, he sends his legion of angels to bring on the Apocalypse. Humanity’s only hope lies in a group of strangers trapped in a desert diner with the Archangel Michael.”

Upon reading this I thought it might be entertaining like the movie Feast or perhaps like The Mist. With the R-rating I thought, well, at least if it sucks there will be some decent blood and gore. Well, here’s the issue with that. This movie treats itself 110% seriously.

The first problem with the movie lies in the acting. When Tyrese delivers the best performance in a film, it’s time to seriously stop and consider what we’re witnessing here. Now I’m not saying that I expected Academy Award-winning performances or anything but almost everyone in the movie was chewing the scenery like it was beef jerky!

I never expected to dislike Dennis Quaid in a film, but he takes the cliche line, “I don’t believe in God” and overplays it to the nth degree. We get it, you’re an atheist which is ironic because the whole thing is about angels trying to attack and blah blah blah, you might reconsider your faith in the end, blah blah.

The other actors are nothing special either (as mentioned before, except for Tyrese). Lucas Black overdoes his southern drawl as much as he can to remind the audience that “gosh-darn it, he’s a good ole boy! Yee-haw!” Paul Bettany plays the lead (I guess) and plays an unemotional angel like…well, an unemotional human. I usually like Bettany in most things, but I think his problem here was the opposite of everyone else’s. He underplayed it too much.

Acting aside, the visual effects were pretty good for the most part with Doug Jones in particular (you might know him as Abe Sapien in Hellboy) looking really bad-ass as a crazy angel-possessed ice cream truck driver. Sometimes, the effects didn’t work so much at all though. For instance, in a scene I’m sure everyone has seen in the trailer, an old woman enters the bar and it turns out she is also possessed by an angel and starts to crawl all over the ceiling. This is the most laughable scene in the film where it’s supposed to be played for sheer shock value and scares. It just doesn’t work.

I think that’s all I can stomach in regards to this film so let’s just pull this review train to a stop. I can say vehemently that this film is DEFINITELY NOT worth peepin’.


Note to Self: IMDB is not to be counted on for ratings. 5.9/10 for this mess? Yeesh.

Most everyone I know who is any kind of a zombie freak will say that Night of the Living Dead is one of their favourite films of that genre. There were tons of films featuring zombies that preceded the cult classic, but this was the first film to really treat them seriously and present it in a coherent story with flawed characters and solid craftsmanship.

Any zombie freak will probably also tell you that George A. Romero is one of their heroes, a zombie guru if you will. This is the man who took $114,000 and made one of the most influential films of the past fifty years, Night of the Living Dead, in 1968 with a small crew and a small group of talented yet unknown actors. From there, he went on to do Dawn of the Dead (probably my favourite of the series), Day of the Dead (an underrated gem), Land of the Dead, and Diary of the Dead.

With all this in mind, one can only imagine that when the headline popped up (it probably read something like this: “GEORGE A. ROMERO’S CULT CLASSIC SET TO BE SHAT ON”), people were none too happy about an all-time favourite being remade into a modern film. I had my doubts too before settling in to watch this film. Were they warranted?

Well, not really. The 1990 version of Night of the Living Dead was directed by horror makeup guru Tom Savini, who did a pretty admirable job in his directorial debut particularly with the moments he liked to refer to as ‘chair-jumpers.’ There’s a good use of night scenes and moonlight to elicit the mood and Savini orchestrates these fairly well.

It’s also a good thing that Romero himself came back on board to write the script again (this time by himself; the original was also co-written by John A. Russo) and it definitely shows as much of the dialogue has been lifted from the original film. I won’t bother going into detail about all the little nods to the original film he throws in there, but suffice to say there’s quite a few of them and they’re fun to spot rather than being in-your-face like some remakes.

The story is pretty basic. A number of survivors set up shop in an abandoned farmhouse to escape the oncoming zombie invasion that’s taken over a small area of land in Pittsburgh, PA among other locales. It pretty much follows the original film to a tee despite some minor changes which I won’t bother going into detail about for fear of creating spoilers.

One thing about the original that was somewhat lacking was the character of Barbara. In the 1968 classic, she is relegated to not much more than a yelping banshee rather than a character that serves any kind of real purpose in the crux of the storyline. In this version, Barbara starts out like you remember her originally entering the first film,  as a fragile woman helpless towards everything, but that all ends fairly abruptly. Barbara instead becomes an ass-kicking machine that tries to point out some of the stupid logic employed by the other survivors throughout the film. She almost acts as the cynical member of the audience watching the film and almost makes it easier to digest some of the actions of the characters. It doesn’t hurt that actress Patricia Tallman plays her with a lot of humanity and really nails the part.

Tony Todd is someone else who deserves a mention as an actor who really nails the ‘Ben’ role to a tee. He has a lot of the same mannerisms and looks a lot like Ben too, but it doesn’t stop there. Tony makes the character his own and imports a lot of humanity into him as well. Although one of the weaker points of this version of the film is that compared to the original incarnation of Ben, I don’t care for this character nearly as much. This is probably intentional though as the real star of this version of Night of the Living Dead is Barbara rather than Ben. Besides that, there are no real downsides to his performance aside from one really strange “theatrical” moment near the beginning of the film where he seems to channel Charlton Heston and screams at the heavens.

The rest of the cast is fairly okay. Tom Towles chews the scenery as Harry Cooper a little too much for my liking and William Butler does alright as another one of the survivors.

Of course, you’d expect the directorial debut of a man like Tom Savini to be a film filled with blood and gore, but surprisingly the man holds back quite a bit. Even more surprisingly though, it actually helped more than it hurt in several scenes. In some scenes, however, it would’ve been nice to get a big gory pay-off, but the film doesn’t show us diddly squat and it feels a little weak.

So what to give this film as a rating? Well, despite some of the problems with the acting (excluding Patricia Tallman and Tony Todd) and the lack of gore sometimes becoming a little distracting, I give this film a rating of:


If you’re gonna watch either this or the original, watch the Romero classic. This one is still worth peepin’ though as it does a decent job of attempting to recreate the magic from the original and bring in some new elements that don’t feel too contrived for the most part.