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Headcrusher (1999)
Well, movie ... if that's how you want to be about it ...
28 January 2005
Warning: Spoilers
We picked this up as a part of a Brentwood set, under the title "The Broken Skull." Shot directly onto video, with widely varying sound and lighting quality, this movie winds up with a hyperactive quality that may inspire the viewer to feelings of nervousness, confusion and irritability - and not in a good, "Evil Dead" kind of way.

Without going into spoilers, what appears at first to be a simple revenge ghost story becomes increasingly convoluted and bizarre. While there are some interesting ideas here, the overall effect is likely to leave you scratching your head and saying "hunh?"

This is a very, very gory movie. The gore effects range all the way from full bloody head appliances to a silly Video Toaster effect that has to be freeze-framed to be (dis)believed. The "Fangoria" level of gross-out effects in this film is really amazing and should likely please the gore-hounds while making anyone with a weak constitution feel a bit on the queasy side.

The Broken Skull is also an extremely noisy movie. It features not only ambient noises (captured by mikes and not replaced in post), but there is a lot of shrieking. No, no, I mean a LOT. A lot, a lot! Characters scream, wail, howl and yell, chitter and laugh maniacally. Turn down the volume if you value your eardrums and your nerves! But you can't fault the cast for their enthusiasm, they really eat up the scenery and sometimes the effect is rather entertaining. In particular, the actress playing a certain Vietnamese immigrant delivers all of the above with a remarkable amount of gusto.

In fact, very few of the actors were wooden. Some of them may have overacted a bit (oh, just a wee smidgen!), but most of them are certainly fun to watch go off. The cast is ethnically diverse and kudos to the filmmakers for that. The two middle-aged white women, however, are two of the most spiteful, exasperated characters since the shopkeeper in the MST3k classic "the Brute Man." Just watch them seethe at all the other characters, it's fun!

In closing, the Headcrusher may not become a horror icon on a par with Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers or Freddy Kruger (or even the Leprechaun), but we can definitely say this ... this was a movie.
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CreepTales (2004 Video)
Fun in the vein of Tales from the Crypt
10 December 2004
When people mix horror and comedy, or cobble together a bunch of smaller films, the results are not usually pleasant. This is why I was pleasantly surprised by this goofy little collection of stories, loosely knit together in the manner of Creepshow, Tales from the Crypt, etc.

It appears to me that the enterprising filmmakers took several short (or perhaps unfinished) scary flicks and put them together with a funny story to bind them together. This surrounding story is played with cheesy delight: hunchbacked ghouls want to watch a scary movie, so they have a party and steal a video tape from their uncle's tomb. The uncle then comes after them, with predictably gleeful results!

Some of the segments are very weird and eerie, ala Warped and Howling Nightmare (a segment that feels unfinished to me). On the other hand, most of the tales are very silly. Some, such as the Closet, Snatcher and Sucker (the only one where they really go for the gross-out) were very wacky, Tales From the Crypt fare. The segment entitled Groovy Ghoulie Garage, despite the exceptionally goofy title (and ending), is played very gamely and a great treat for those of us who loved the old horror comics (Eerie, House of Mystery) with the 'shock endings' (that you could see coming a mile away) to every story.

Overall, a really high-spirited little collection of B-grade horror. Perfect for a party of your own or viewing when you need a chuckle!
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Relentlessly silly film
26 November 2003
This is certainly not the worst movie I've ever seen, but the silly factor is WAY out of hand in this. I love campy horror films, but the 70's stylings and goofiness of this one made it hard not to cringe. Thankfully, the music is actually fairly well-written and most of the acting is passable, but the whole movie is so ridiculous that it is more of a mess than a fun camp-fest.
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Bizarre and enjoyable condensed version
23 July 2002
One of Shakespeare's coolest plays, adapted in a very peculiar format. A Russian company, in conjunction with the Royal Shakespeare Company of Britain created this off-beat little version of the classic play. Combining drawn animation and puppet animation, the effect is weird but ultimately enjoyable. The monstrous Caliban has never looked more freaky and the spirit Ariel is a oddball, bird-like creature. Okay, they chop a Shakespeare down to half an hour, so there are a lot of sacrifices made, but all in all, the weird animation, well-done voices and nice music are absolutely worth a watch.
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Crash and Byrnes (2000 Video)
Silly, Formulaic buddy cop flick
3 September 2001
I saw this one on cable. The acting is passable, but the direction is confusing and spastic and the story is pretty uninspired. It is basically a big formula buddy cop film about two "mismatched FBI agents" whose zany antics make for the rather thin character bits in this piece. Overall not unwatchable, but pretty tired stuff.
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Bizarre and haunting animated feature
25 June 2000
One of the most absolutely strange and beautiful films I have ever seen. Set on a unbelievably freaky alien world filled with creatures and settings that absolutely defy description. I can not add anything that the other comments have not said, but any fan of animated films or science fiction should see this one immediately!!!!!
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Nostradamus (1994)
Good, but by no means great, bio
27 January 2000
I must say I enjoyed this film, but I agree with the other comments that it was horribly disjointed. It was absolutely gorgeous to look at (I would rate it up there with Elizabeth or Rozencranz & Guildenstern are Dead in that respect), but it is pretty hard to follow. Having read a short bio on Nostradamus recently, it seems that they got their facts right (there was some speculation, but isn't there always in such films?), but it seems rushed, like the director is trying to fit too much into the time alloted. Overall an enjoyable picture.
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Amazing, poetic, tragic, funny masterpiece
27 January 2000
Gray can make the English language jump through hoops like none other. He recounts a number of events, tied together by his writing of a manuscript (the "Monster" of the title), some sad, some uproariously funny, all in his characteristic, sarcastic manner. If you liked "Swimming to Cambodia" you will love this one. I actually thought this was a bit more interesting and better told than "Swimming to Cambodia". A real masterpiece.
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Cast a Deadly Spell (1991 TV Movie)
Blend of tension and humour
27 January 2000
It is rare to find a film that can actually be funny and still mount very real tension (Ghostbusters and Galaxy Quest are two examples that have succeeded). This film does so in very good noir-ish style. Rife with inside jokes that should appeal to any fan of the hard-boiled detectives, horror movies, Lovecraft and film noir. Fred Ward and David Warner are perfectly suited in this film.
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Get Crazy (1983)
Still funny after all these years
27 January 2000
Over the years I have probably viewed this picture about 20 times, and I really don't get tired of it. It is so full of silly things, injokes about the Rock n Roll 'thing' and absolutely outrageous performances that it is always fun to watch and to show to friends. Malcolm McDowell's scene-chewing Jagger-Bowie character of Reggie Wanker is an absolute highlight and look for some amazing personalities in roles in this movie. This is one that never loses its charm.
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Masterful monologue
21 December 1999
"Swimming to Cambodia" is an amazing piece of work. One of Spalding Gray's monologue pieces, it features him taking a story that seems like it should have been only mildly interesting and turning it into poetry. Directed by the incomparable Johnathan Demme and featuring music by the brilliant and eccentric Laurie Anderson, Gray recounts his experiences in the filming of "The Killing Fields." Gray's words tell of bizarre, disturbing, exciting and moving experiences in exotic locales. His words move from beautiful to disgusting, hopeful to horrifying, and always with a masterful lyricism that places him as one of the absolute masters of the English language! The book (published 1985) is supposed to be a great read, but the film of Gray himself telling the stories is an experience beyond compare. Spalding Gray's genius will be greatly missed.
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Good, but not great, Rathbone/Bruce adventure
21 December 1999
A nice Holmes & Watson adventure, but I thought it lacked some of the zip of the earlier films. The Basil Rathbone/Nigel Bruce team is always a joy to watch, and Henry Daniell is a fittingly sinister Dr. Moriarity, but this film seemed a tiny bit less exciting than Hound of the Baskervilles, Adventures of Sherlock Holmes or Sherlock Holmes and the Spider Woman (my favourite!).
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