Starring Letícia Román, John Saxon, Valentina Cortese, Dante DiPaolo, Luigi Bonos
Nora Davis (Román), apparently an American, though played by an Italian actress, arrives in Rome to care for her sick Aunt. She meets her Aunt’s attractive doctor, Marcello (Saxon), an Italian played by an American, and the two are instantly attracted to one another. Later, after a bad episode where her Aunt’s health fails, Nora runs out to the streets and witnesses a murder, or at least she thinks she does. The police believe she had a hallucination brought on by trauma. Slick, incredibly lithe camera movement highlight what was an early example of the Italian giallo genre( horror or thriller). Beautiful visuals and star in hand, the film gets by, but is never truly thrilling or surprising. Still, very entertaining.
Starring Edward Woodward, Christopher Lee, Britt Ekland, Diane Cilento, Ingrid Pitt
Righteous, determined Seargeant Howie (Woodward) comes to Summerisle, an island inhabited by a pagan religious cult, to investigate the disappearance of a young girl. Tempted and repulsed by the people who deny the girl even have existed, Howie finds it increasingly difficult to think straight. Horror icon, Christopher Lee plays Lord Summerisle , King of the heathen island. Thoroughly bizarre and mysterious, The Wicker Man boasts one memorable sequence after another. Edward Woodward, with his theatrical delivery of the lines, is spectacular, and in other circumstances would make a perfect hero. Here though, there seems to be no hope at all, and the end is suitably devastating. Beautifully shot, written, and performed. At times hilarious and shocking, and I loved the outlandish musical numbers. I could see this film influencing David Lynch, especially his series, Twin Peaks.
Starring Adrienne Barbeau, Jamie Lee Curtis, Janet Leigh, John Houseman, Tom Atkins, Hal Holbrook
A mysterious, glowing fog has swept in to Californian coastal town, Antonio Bay, on its 100th anniversary, and with it comes vengeful undead figures, killing whoever gets caught in the fog. Several of the town’s characters attempt to get to the bottom of the strange happenings, with Father Malone (Holbrook) discovering his grandfather’s old journal, revealing the truth of the matter. A beautifully crafted, slow burner, not unlike John Carpenter’s next movie, The Thing, which is a horror masterpiece, but The Fog has less of bite than that film. There are a couple of nice jump scares, but the thrill of the luminous fog is significantly less than that of an alien capable of replicating your peers.
Starring Matilda Lutz, Alex Roe, Johnny Galecki, Vincent D’Onofrio, Bonnie Morgan, Aimee Teegarden
Watching a certain videotape prompts some strange entity to call your closest phone, and give you seven days to live. That is, unless you get someone else to watch the tape. Unwilling to ensnare anyone else, Julia (Lutz) and her boyfriend, Holt (Roe), investigate, hoping to break the cycle once the mystery has been unraveled. The Ring movies never held up to questions of logic, but they moved past that with creative visuals, strong acting, and genuine horror. The original Japanese version never bothered with explanations, making it scarier. This newest entry, with none of the cast or crew from the first two American remakes, wants to explain everything. That was a horrible idea. This film is so boring, which is remarkable for a “horror” film. Even the hack-jump scares aren’t exciting, since they’re hollow. I know that this is a PG-13 film, and the two main characters aren’t going to die. That takes the thrill out of all of the “danger.” The acting is fine, given that the actors have nothing to work with. I hope D’Onofrio made a lot of money to justify him being in this. To be fair, his scenes in the movie are the only ones even slightly interesting (though still not good).
Starring Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, John Hannah, Arnold Vosloo, Patricia Velásquez, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje
Rick and Evelyn (Fraser and Weisz) return, now married with a son, as does her brother, Jonathan (Hannah), and the mummy. The plot hurdles along, involving the villainous mummy’s attempt to bring back The Scorpion King in order to slay him, and gain control of his army. Typical sequel in which the filmmakers pile on more action and more special effects. Of course, less is often more, as is the case here, still, a very entertaining action adventure, striking the right tone for the picture. The special effects are badly dated, but somehow still thrilling at times.
Starring Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, John Hannah, Arnold Vosloo, Patricia Valesquez
Technically a reboot of the classic ’30s Boris Karloff-monster movie, this film honestly has more to do with Indiana Jones than that picture. Siblings, Jonathan (Hannah) and Evelyn (Weisz), find an intricate map to an lost treasure buried away somewhere in Egypt, but need the help of a brash American, Rick (Fraser), to get there. Along the way, they meet a competing group of fortune seekers, and are met with resistance by a mysterious desert tribe. Once the treasure is found, it comes at a heavy price, unleashing an ancient evil in the form of a mummy onto the world. Scary, well-paced, action-packed, brimming with strong characters, and a nice corny romance. Basically, just a lot of fun. For all the flack Brendan Fraser gets, he does this role very well. Consider how boring Tom Cruise’s The Mummy was, for all of its seriousness.
Starring Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rafe Spall, Justice Smith, Daniella Pineda, James Cromwell, Geraldine Chaplin, Toby Jones, Ted Levine, Jeff Goldblum
The fifth entry in the Jurassic Park franchise, and second film in the reboot trilogy, sees Owen Grady (Pratt) and Claire Dearing (Howard) returning to the shut down theme park in order to save the remaining dinosaurs from an impending volcanic eruption. Of course, there are other people involved who turn out to have ulterior motives, and dinosaur chaos is unleashed once again, this time primarily on the affluent estate of patron Sir Benjamin Lockwood (Cromwell). This far into the franchise, you wonder if it’s fatigue or simply a sub-par entry, but this was an underwhelming experience. Despite some impressive camerawork, including a scene with two characters stuck in a pod while water fills in, at no point does this film provide any legitimate thrills. We’ve been down this rode before. It’s time for the franchise to veer. On top of that, the pacing seemed awfully fast, especially in the beginning.