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Hatchet III (2013)

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I did not care for Hatchet as it seemed to be too much like other horror films of the 2000s.  The characters were not likeable, the music was horrible and the only good thing was the practical gore effects.  Otherwise, despite writer and director Adam Green being a big fan and casting a number of horror movie veterans - including Kane Hodder as Victor Crowley - there wasn't much there to get excited about.  I knew that at some point I would watch the rest, but I wasn't too thrilled about that, especially after Victor Crowley turned out to be too much like Hatchet . When I watched Hatchet II , however, it felt like what Green was trying to do clicked.  Derivative as it was the movie worked.  So, despite how I came into the series, I have been hoping to close the door on it and see how it originally concluded before the unfortunate coda. Marybeth (Danielle Harris) is once again the only survivor of Victor Crowley after Reverend Zombie (Tony Todd) attempted to bring those respon

Sledgehammer (1983)

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I remember a few years ago with one of the iterations of the iPod Apple advertised it showing scenes from a movie shot completely on a phone.  I never watched it, but the shots from it looked not too removed from what a professional director or cinematographer should achieve.  Most likely the person filming was a professional of some sort and could make a convincing short film using any type of film medium. For the longest time the only medium was film.  There was 8mm, with or without sound, often used for home movies but also as a tool for people like Steven Spielberg to make some of their first films as a kid.  16mm was a blessing to many low-budget directors, allowing them to make something that could get shown in a drive-in or a grindhouse theater without breaking the budget and, for those who had studio backing or rich parents, there was always 35mm and 70mm.  Even 16mm, though, cost money to both obtain and develop, which meant there was an investment in time and raising the fund

The Marvels (2023)

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It was bound to happen at some point.  Call it superhero fatigue or just growing indifference to the product that Disney and other major film studios have been putting out for over a decade, but The Marvels was the first out-and-out failure that Marvel Cinematic Universe has had since The Incredible Hulk .  There have been superhero movies that have done worse, but they were never officially part of the MCU, or were swept in later.   Despite a number of people blaming Kathleen Kennedy and female-fronted superhero movies the problem is that in the last few years good MCU films have become few and far between.  The last great one was The Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 , and Disney almost messed that situation up by firing James Gunn due to some unfortunate tweets he had made long before he was working with the MCU.  It's a combination of many things combined that have nothing to do with comic book heroes.   The television shows, though some have been decent to good, dilute the movie

Troll (1986)

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The one thing that can be said about Troll is that it was ambitious.  John Carl Buechler was a special effects artist who also spent some time writing, directing and acting in the same sort of low budget films he did creatures for.  Prior to Troll he had directed The Dungeonmaster , and had done the creature effects for the Gremlins  knockoff Ghoulies.  Not content to just do another in a long line of movies about little creatures run amok he decided to write and direct a major fantasy movie starring Noah Hathaway of The Never Ending Story  as well as having June Lockhart and Sonny Bono in small roles.   The problem is, ambition is often limited by budget, and Troll was made for Empire Pictures, Charles Band's predecessor to Full Moon Productions.  As good as Buechler was at creating animatronic monsters on a budget he was limited to doing the best that he could.  Despite its limitations Troll still manages to be an entertaining film. Harry Potter Sr. (Michael Moriarty), his wife A

Spookies (1986)

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Gremlins unleashed a slew of little vicious creature movies in the 1980s.  Critters is the most memorable, followed by low-budget fair such as Troll and Ghoulies that, while not great films, at least provided some decent effects and were passable enough to watch on cable during Halloween.  They all made a bit of a profit even if it came from video sales and cable repeats, but they became part of the background of an '80s childhood. Into this line of films came Spookies , with a title that was an obvious attempt to keep riding out the trend.  Originally called Twisted Souls, the movie was written by Thomas Doran and Frank M. Farel and directed by Doran and his film school friend Brendan Faulkner.  It does include a slimy reptilian monster similar to the creatures in Ghoulies or Troll, but that's as far as the comparison went.  Instead, this turns into a bad zombie flick toward the end instead of the House ripoff it seems at the beginning.  Billy (Alec Nemser) runs away from hom

Casablanca (1942)

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Classic movies are classics for reason, just as in literature.  Also, just as in literature, being a classic doesn't always mean that the movie will appeal to everyone.  Citizen Kane is one that comes to mind.  It is a classic not so much for its story - which is quite good to begin with - but because of many of the cinematic innovations Orson Welles used for the first time, or borrowed from filmmakers outside of the United States, to bring his movie to fruition.  To put it in perspective, Birth of a Nation and Triumph of the Will are also classics for many the same reasons, and watching either of them for reasons beyond the technical brings the entire idea of what classics mean into question.  There are those times when the reason a movie is considered a classic is just because it holds up so well and the majority of people, despite the age of the film, antiquated story telling or technical limitations of the time, still continue to watch and like it.  Casablanca is one of those. 

Horror Express (1972)

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This is not a Hammer film, but it sure feels like it, despite being a low-budget Spanish production directed by Eugenio Martín, mostly known for westerns and torrid romance dramas.  It's a by-the-numbers horror film, but the main hook is that it has Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing together, both in substantial protagonist roles, with Telly Savalas popping in toward the end to liven up what is already a good monster film on a train.  Professor Alexander Saxton (Lee) discovers a mummified primitive human in Manchuria and prepares it to be shipped home.  The first leg of the trip is from Shanghai to Moscow.  While waiting Saxton runs into Doctor Wells (Cushing), a colleague and sometime rival who is traveling with his assistant Natasha (Helga Liné).  When a thief dies trying to steal what is in the crate police become suspicious, and even more so when a baggage handler (Victor Israel) dies on board the train after Wells asks him to have a look. Inspector Mirov (Julio Peña) takes cha