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A. Griffiths "Adrian" (London)

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The Evil Within (PS3)
The Evil Within (PS3)
Price: £35.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unbridled horror madness, 10 Nov 2014
This review is from: The Evil Within (PS3) (Video Game)
It's great to see another survival horror coming out, it has been a while, but I am not sure that The Evil Within adds anything new or better to the genre. I was excited to get the game and on loading it up I had high hopes, but the more I played of it, the less engaged I became.

The playing style is very similar to Resident Evil 4 and 5, it's an over-the-shoulder 3rd person game which sees you kitted out with weapons and support items, facing up to multitudes of grisly horrors. The plot is probably more flimsy though. The game starts with your character, police officer Sebastian, investigating a mass slaughter at a hospital. This is a great opening but just as you start to get intrigued by what might await you as you explore the ominous building, you are knocked out and awake in some kind of nightmare world. That's pretty much it for logical story progression, because the remainder of the game sees you running, creeping and exploring through one nightmare location after another, on a never-ending chase/pursuit. Sebastian encounters lots of drooling goons who have to be dispatched, and in the a lot of the stages I really enjoyed this. Don't be put off by reviews saying that weaponry is scarce, it's not true, I always had the means to kill enemies, and very rarely resorted to just running. The stealth kills of the game are great fun and require some hiding and creeping skills. A lot of enemies can be killed this way, which saves on ammo hugely. There isn't a huge amount of ammo, but most annoyingly this is further hampered by the game's absurd inventory limits. You start the game with the ability to carry less than 10 bullets, and have to use the game's collectible currency (jars of green "brain fluid") to upgrade them. Ten bullets is just mean. At the start of the game, I also found some matches. Matches are great for burning bodies so that they don't get up again. But I had about 3, and then when I found some more, I was soon told my inventory was full! Sebastian can carry 5 matches but he can't carry 6?? MATCHES??? This is enforced difficulty with a ridiculous edge to it. You have to trade in your green goo for upgrades to health, ammo and inventory limits, which is done at the games central hub - a kind of ghostly hospital, which is also the place you can save. The upgrade system is fun, as there is a wide range of statistics that can be improved with your green goo. Reaching the "friendly hospital" is done by locating rooms with cracked mirrors in them, and "passing through" the mirror to get there, or sometimes the game just drops you there anyway with no warning, and here is where my bigger gripe comes from.

There's never a sense of completion of a stage or a location because the game will constantly (and at arbitrary points) flip you into a new location, or morph the scenery into something else. A door in a mansion will open into a field of sunflowers. Staring at a painting will transport you into an underground slime pit. Climbing a ladder in a barn will bring you out in a subway station. Falling through a sudden hole on a garden path will land you in a torture chamber. The game just goes on like this. There are no maps to complete, so there's no satisfaction from knowing you've fully explored somewhere or opened every locked door. There's no guarantee that anything logical will follow on as a consequence of any of your actions. The entire game is just one big unending fun house of horror which you have to pass through, there are rooms with ceilings full of spikes that drop on you, giant spinning blades of death, floor traps, trip wires, sensitivity bombs, suddenly-appearing phantoms that instant kill you if they just put their hand on your shoulder, the list goes on and on, everything in the game is just an impediment put there with the sole purpose of making you get around it. All I knew to do was get Sebastian safely past every hazard in the environment, and at the furthest point attainable, the level would end, and you'd be taken to a new one to do the same thing again. This started to grate on me during the middle third of the game, although the last third improved a lot and some of the gameplay is really intense and exciting. Suffice to say that early stealth killing eventually goes out the window and you have to resort to full on "bloodbath" approach!

There are numerous boss fights, although some of them are not fights, as in some encounters the boss is un-killable, but you won't know this at first which is a bit mean. Some (make that most) bosses can kill you with one hit which means you spend a lot of time looking at the "load last checkpoint" screen - which takes a REALLY long time. If you make boss fights that need "trial-and-error" thinking (particularly The Keeper boss, and the "spider lady" boss) you should really give players a lot less loading time to get back into the fun as they are going to get very bored of seeing so much dead screen.

Now I have to move onto another downside to the game, which is how it looks. I have the PS3 edition, and I am assuming that game is not optimised for this platform because the quality of the visuals is terrible. The characters look ok close up, and the scenery is nicely crafted and detailed - but only when you stand right beside it! The game constantly has to "fill in" detail, which it does before your eyes, every time you turn the camera round. Walls, foliage, surroundings, everything takes a beat to "paint in" the detail, so as you walk about, everything about 6 feet way from you is a muddy smear until you approach and things blossom into clarity. It's a permanent effect throughout the entire game - even in cut scenes. There is also some very bad pop up, as objects further away don't even exist at long distance, and if you walk around one of the wider areas, things like hay carts, boxes, rocky outcrops, etc, suddenly materialise (in front of other things) as you walk across the terrain. It's been a long time since I have seen a game with this level of graphical limitation, and it definitely spoiled the immersive experience for me.

The game is definitely worth sticking with as the last couple of chapters are pretty cool and the finale is outrageously manic. Just be prepared to throw logic out of the window and go along for the ride, because that's all it is - a horror fun-ride
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 19, 2014 11:39 AM GMT

The Comeback: The Complete ONLY Season [DVD] [2006]
The Comeback: The Complete ONLY Season [DVD] [2006]
Dvd ~ Lisa Kudrow
Offered by NetsavesUK
Price: £10.53

4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, 20 Sep 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Funny and painful at the same time, The Comeback provides what you expect it to, with a carefully constructed "reality show" depicting faded TV star Valerie Cherish (Lisa Kudrow) attempting to rekindle her career by appearing in a dire sitcom. There's plenty to enjoy, with Lisa Kudrow doing a great job as the troubled star, and a supporting cast who also behave very naturally, which makes the "faux" reality footage look very convincing.

The situations conjured up to make poor Valerie look like an idiot are well handled, ranging from embarrassing domestic arguments, to on-set arguments while the sitcom is being made, but what I like is that Valerie is not a total stooge, and every now and then the show provides glimpses of her softer side, such as touching moments with her husband or reassurance from friends who genuinely like her. This is welcome, as the meat of the entertainment comes from showing her as desperate and publicity seeking at any cost, which is usually pretty funny and occasionally very biting.

Its a shame that the series is short and that there was no follow up second season, but the concept almost seems to be complete, as the final episode sees the premiere of the "actual" reality show, using all the footage we watched being shot throughout the previous episodes, and it caps the season nicely. Where Season 2 could have gone after this is up for debate, it might have been a very different show, because when Valerie finally gets to see how she is depicted in "The Comeback" , things take quite a different turn, and it's hard to see how the same style could have continued on after this.

I do have plenty of praise for Lisa Kudrow in this role, she does inhabit the character very well. in fact, as I mentioned before, none of the cast seem to be acting at all, so the central idea works very well.

Tokyo Gore Police (2 Disc Collectors Edition) [DVD] [2008]
Tokyo Gore Police (2 Disc Collectors Edition) [DVD] [2008]
Dvd ~ Eihi Shiina
Offered by filmrollen
Price: £12.15

4.0 out of 5 stars Great!, 13 Aug 2014
I've only seen a couple of Japanese "techno-horror" movies before this one, and have always found them a bit confusing, but I thought I'd give this a try and I found it to be really good fun.

Tokyo Gore Police is intentionally extreme and sensational in its use of blood and gore. If you choose to watch it, be prepared to see almost every part of the human body ripped apart in close up. Luckily the tone of the whole movie is one of black comedy, so although the effects are startling, they should not make anyone feel too nauseous. But if you can't stomach the sight of blood, I would stay away! The story sees a future version of Tokyo in which a new type of criminal is causing mayhem in the city and the futuristic police squad have a special "star officer" who excels in hunting them down. This special type of criminal is infected with a parasitic tumour that enables the host to turn wounds into weapons, therefore it isn't long before the screen is full of outrageously mutated characters who sprout knives, chainsaws and other killing tools from their own twisted flesh.

The movie starts as it means to go on with a shock gore effect pretty much within the first two minutes, and it barely lets up for the entire running time. Most of the action is directed at hysteria pitch throughout. In between action scenes there are fake commercials for tasteless products and recruitment messages on behalf of the police force. Japanese horror directors must enjoy parodies of TV advertising, as I had seen this before in "Stacy", which this movie resembles in a lot of respects.

There are very few quiet spots, but when they do happen, the movie benefits from a subtle but intense performance from Eihi Shiina as the leading character (the criminal hunter). She looks terrific, even though she spends a lot of the movie hardly saying a word. Mind you she is dressed up in some superbly fetishistic outfits, which also adds to the appeal. The look of the movie, is of course everything. The gore (of which there is a lot) is often jaw dropping, and yet sometimes also hilarious, and as a result the film is NEVER dull. Thankfully the plot is not complicated, and character motivations and fairly clear. I often have trouble unravelling character motivation in Japanese cinema, I assume it's a cultural thing, because they expressions on the actors faces often seems at odds with the translated English dialogue we get, but here it mostly seemed to make sense.

I should point out that I saw the DUBBED version of the film where all the dialogue is in English. This seemed very out of place, the American drawl given to all characters seemed very far away from their real cultural identity. I would have probably chosen the subtitled version given a choice, as the lip synching was terrible, as much as the accents were. However having dialogue in English did allow me to focus purely on the visuals. Oh and also the music – the movie features a terrific theme tune, very much like the gladiatorial anthem from "Kill Bill", which crops up throughout, and it really works wonders, elevating the stylishness of the movie still more

Watching Tokyo Gore Police made me curious to see more in the same style, so after seeing it I tried "Meatball Machine", which was only half as good, so in my opinion, "Tokyo Gore Police" is one of the better examples of the "high-gore" trend coming out of Japan.

Dark Sector (PS3)
Dark Sector (PS3)
Offered by SamuelUKMedia
Price: £14.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, 11 Aug 2014
This review is from: Dark Sector (PS3) (Video Game)
I bought Dark Sector because I had played everything else I wanted to play, and this was in the bargain bin for a few pounds. Well, I was pleasantly surprised. The marketing of this game was almost non existent, or at least it was never featured in any "best of" reviews or recommendations that I ever read. But it was fun.

The gameplay is exactly like Resident Evil (4 onwards), so anyone who has played that will feel at home here. But there really isn't any story to speak of - you play as a soldier carrying out a mission in Russia, when all of a sudden you are attacked by someone wielding a bio weapon, which infects you with a kind of demonic ability to use a kind of throwing star, that the game calls a "the glaive". This is the prologue. From here, you make your way through sewers, tunnels, town squares, factories and the like, until you've killed everything and reached the end of the game. That's really all can remember about the story, it's just one long fight against marauding enemies. There are a few (very few) cut scenes with some plot exposition, but I can't really remember anything significant in them, expect some people threatening you (can't even remembers the main characters name), and you getting angry, and moving on to do more killing.

However despite this shallowness, gameplay is fun. The glaive is a good gimmick, you throw it like a boomerang and with a good aim you can cut off limbs or heads. Even better is the guided flight where you see and steer the direction of the flying glaive in slow motion to aim it exactly where you want it. This was tricky but fun. Actually the controls are not great, I found them very slow to respond sometimes, and the sometimes multiple actions are mapped to the same button - for example triangle is both shield and stealth mode - tap or hold down was the difference, but I couldn't get it to work a lot of the time. Same goes for the explosion which was to press R3 while the glaive was in flight, this only seemed to work 50% of the time for me.

The game looks pretty drab, I was wondering if I would ever get out of sewers and tunnels for a while, The city parts when they happen, are much more fun to play, but on the whole the scenery is very repetitive, as are the enemies. Character models are ok, although the main hero (you) looks ridiculous, like a cross between Tom Cruise and a gorilla. There are some additional weapons and some customisation is allowed (this is really poorly implemented).

There are bosses too, which, unless you know what you are doing, are sometimes insanely difficult. I needed online help to see what to do - it's really not handed to you on a plate in this game. The final boss is a satisfying challenge, again though, I doubt I would have worked out what to do without help.

So all in all, this is a fairly simple and repetitive game but fairly solidly made, except for niggly controls and poor explanations of what to do. I enjoyed it, and for the price I paid, I am satisfied

Dead Silence [DVD] [2007]
Dead Silence [DVD] [2007]
Dvd ~ Ryan Kwanten
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £2.99

4.0 out of 5 stars I Like It, 8 Aug 2014
This review is from: Dead Silence [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
Dead Silence is good old fashioned horror entertainment, done right. Helped by a sense of style and great imagery, it's slim story works well enough and the movie does provide some good scares

So, to the plot - a creepy ventriloquists dummy is delivered anonymously to the door of a young couple. Naturally this precipitates something supernatural, ending in violence. The hero of the tale is the husband, who recognises the dummy and takes it with him on a trip to his childhood home which is now a ruined ghost town only inhabited by a few crazy folk. The rest of the story is spent unravelling the history of the town and why the dummy brings death to the people who come into contact with it.

The story is not complex but it's a good one, and it holds your interest. What supports it is the great look of the movie, with some spectacular sets and locations including several elaborate buildings. There's atmosphere in abundance, and the film is littered with lots of clever touches, like scenes changing from maps into real roads, or dissolves from drawings into flashbacks, plenty of fluid camerawork and unusual angles. Too much of this could have got gimmicky, but it's kept in check just enough. If anything it's the shots of the creepy dummy that start to get boring, as there are only so many times that slowly swivelling eyeballs are going to give you goosebumps

The acting is so-so, the film certainly does not live or die by the performances, but they are all fairly good. There are some gory scenes, and there is a pretty good twist at the end too. Because of the great camera work and sense of style the movie looks pretty classy. I can forgive a few plot-holes when I am being entertained, and "Dead Silence' is certainly a lot of fun

House on Straw Hill [Blu-ray] [1976] [US Import]
House on Straw Hill [Blu-ray] [1976] [US Import]
Dvd ~ Udo Kier

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Totally Average, 24 July 2014
This film caused a stir when it was classed as a "Video Nasty" in the mid 1908s. but before then I don't remember it being reviewed or mentioned in most reference sources. Which is probably because it's mundane and forgettable.

The film sees Udo Keir play a reclusive writer who has rented a remote cottage to bang out his next raunchy novel. Advertising for a typist produces sultry Linda Hayden as the (presumably) only applicant. As soon as she arrives you can tell from her frosty demeanour that she has an agenda of her own. Udo has his own problems, being troubled by continual flashbacks to some bloody trauma. The typing of the novel begins, intercut with a couple of appearances by British model Fiona Richmond as Udo's lover/prostitute, and couple of deaths of incidental characters as well.

None of this is very engaging or gripping. The performances are almost all pretty bad. Fiona Richmond really has no acting talent at all, her inclusion in the film is purely for visual purposes (she gets naked in every scene she appears in). Linda Hayden does have proven acting ability, but here she seems to have been directed to sleepwalk her way through the script. Udo Kier is dubbed, so his performance has no depth at all, especially as he is given some very ridiculous things to do, especially in his sex scenes with Richmond.
Actually, all the sex scenes are awkward and embarrassing, lacking any erotic charge and very poorly simulated. The same goes for the scenes of violence, in which those tiresome knives that squirt blood when drawn over skin are the tool of choice - I can't believe that when any of the knife attack footage was reviewed after shooting, they didn't realise how bad it was.

Eventually the thing comes to a close with a rather unsurprising "reveal", and the credits finally roll - thank god. It's hard to believe that "Expose" was banned as a video nasty with content as lame as this, but that's what hype and hysteria does. Apparently this new Bluray release is uncut, so that means the British VHS release was even less impressive than this - if that's possible.

Is it worth watching? If you like lots of female nudity, no matter how un-erotic it looks, then yes. Actually Linda Hayden comes across as far more alluring than Fiona Richmond, who I can now only remember for unwittingly displaying a mouth almost completely full of gold filings. But does it have tension, thrills and a gripping story? No.

The Wicked Lady [VHS] [1983]
The Wicked Lady [VHS] [1983]

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor, 17 July 2014
Other reviewers are right - Michael Winner's remake of the vintage classic The Wicked Lady turns out more like "Carry On Dick" only with bigger star names.

I can only assume the film was intended to be a comedy, but it's hard to tell as the film wavers all over the place. Faye Dunaway and Alan Bates act like they are in an uproarious bawdy romp, but the rest of the cast play it straight. Faye Dunaway is particularly odd, she continuously pulls the most bizarre comedy faces and bugs her eyes out in an effort to portray the scheming and greedy personality of the lead character Lady Barbara Skelton, whose exploits form the main story of the film. There's definitely a juicy tale here, with Lady Skelton robbing, seducing, lying and murdering her way through the cast to get what she wants, but the presentation here really wastes the material. The events of the story are dashed through at great speed, giving the viewer little chance to empathise with any of the characters, but as most of the emotions are portrayed in such a throwaway manner, I certainly never felt drawn in. Again Dunaway suggests no depth to the character she plays. But the presentation of the action is the real offender. There's no time for anything to sink in. As soon as the film starts, Lady Skelton is stealing a man, then next minute she's married, then stealing, then tricking, all without pausing for breath

There are some things to enjoy, including the beautiful English scenery and antique architecture, plus some nice performances from Denham Elliott and Prunella Scales in supporting roles, but the smaller parts, such as bawdy waitresses and strumpets (of which there are many), are wretchedly hammy. There are many scenes of nudity, all of which look completely incongruous for the period the film is set in, and exist only for titillation.

To sum up this is a very juvenile film with little depth, and a huge waste of talent and money.

Flesh Feast [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Flesh Feast [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Artist Not Provided

1.0 out of 5 stars Ghastly, 13 July 2014
I bought this for a few dollars in a second-hand store as I had long been curious about Flesh Feast as it is Veronica Lake's last ever movie. That's really the only thing it has going for it. Flesh Feast is an utterly forgettable, amateurish waste of time.

Lake stars as a "doctor" in some kind or nursing home/retreat who does secret experiments using maggots to restore youth. She is called upon by a foreign military group to treat their leader and this eventually leads to the "shock ending".

The film doesn't make a lot of sense. All the acting is poor, and Veronica Lake is no exception, although as all the dialogue is dubbed, it's hard to tell how good she may have been if the sound had been recorded live. If Veronica Lake was a beauty in her Hollywood heyday, she certainly isn't here. She first appears in a black suit and hat which do hint at a glimmer of sophistication, but this is soon discarded and she spends rest of the movie wearing either a white lab coat or what appears to be a hideously frumpy blue bowling shirt. The movie saves the most unflattering view of it's star for the ending, when Lake is seen in close up, laughing, which unfortunately showcases her mouthful of brown rotten teeth.

Inbetween gawking at Lake, most of the film is very boring. For bad movie fans though, there is one spectacularly hilarious scene when a young woman enters the forbidden laboratory and comes across a dissected corpse. It's hilarious because the body parts are hanging from the ceiling in clear view of the woman the entire time, but the actress feigns ignorance of the horrible sight until she has walked all the way across the room, past the legs, arms and head dangling inches from her nose (in bright harsh lighting no less), until she is finally cued to turn around, "spot" them, and then burst into the hammiest screams of horror you have ever seen. Much hilarity, and almost worth buying for that scene alone.

But when I say "almost" worth buying, I really mean that. The current DVD release by Telefilms International/Beverly Wiltshire Filmworks is atrocious. It's a DVD recording of a video tape, and not a very good one at that. The source video itself is fullscreen, blurry and comes complete with dropouts, wobble and flickers, all lovingly preserved in the digital medium. Worse still, the print that the video was made from is crackly and full of scratches, missing frames and blotches on the print. But as there appears to be no official release available, I presume this is currently the only way to see the masterpiece that is "Flesh Feast".

For the very curious only, and while this is the only print available, I advise paying no more than five dollars for a copy. If a new print of "Flesh Feast" is ever found and remastered, it might make it onto a Classic Bad Movie DVD list... but not in this state.

The Living Dead Girl [DVD]
The Living Dead Girl [DVD]
Dvd ~ Marina Pierro
Offered by deleted-dvds
Price: £14.67

2.0 out of 5 stars Not worthy of it's reputation, 29 Jun 2014
This review is from: The Living Dead Girl [DVD] (DVD)
I'm rather a latecomer to this movie, as I don't seek out Jean Rollin movies (based on what little I have seen), but as this is supposed to be something of a classic of it's type, I gave it a go - but it is certainly not converting me into a fan.

The slim story sees a dead girl named Catherine unexpectedly revived in her coffin when disturbed by grave robbers. She quickly attacks one of them, and then seemingly in a daze, makes her way rather unsteadily back to an empty castle which is her former home. Her newly living status comes to the attention of her former best friend Helene, who seems to think the best course of action is to keep Catherine hidden in the empty mansion, rather than seek help - even despite the realisation that her friend craves the taste of fresh blood!

I was really expecting something more stylish from this movie due to it's reputation, but I have to say I think it's really poorly made. Jean Rollin was no genius, if movies like this are the evidence. Several shots are out of focus, the acting is poor, the dialogue stilted and the gore effects are downright terrible. You can clearly see the tubes that squirt blood from a throat in one shot, and the bag that Catherine is squeezing in her hand to squirt gore from a stomach wound in another. All Rollin seems to be interested in is keeping his actresses nude, for as often and as long as possible. The two leads are both very attractive, and the ornate mansion is very picturesque, but that doesn't mean that Jean Rollin is using any talent to show that off. Anyone who is not part of the main cast is so obviously an amateur, and the direction of scenes involving extras is terrible - they continually stare directly at the camera, in almost evert shot. I guess the lighting is pretty enough in daytime scenes, but at night, everything is floodlit by flat, harsh industrial lighting. And the castle's underground vaults seem to have enough light to grow tomatoes in!

I also read that the portrayal of the relationship between the two women is strong enough to carry the film, but again, I don't think this is true either. As Catherine becomes more and more aware of what she is, things get more interesting, and there are moments that hint at some depth, but these are few. In conclusion, I am amazed that people rate this movie so highly. I think it is average at best. It has a lot of nudity, which seems to please a lot of viewers, but having acting and special effects that are as downright poor is they are here, strips this effort of any redeeming value.

The Killing of Angel Street
The Killing of Angel Street

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great story, 28 Jun 2014
This review is from: The Killing of Angel Street (DVD)
Wow I'm only the third reviewer of this movie? That's a real pity.

I remember first seeing "The Killing of Angel Street" on TV back in the
1980s and it left a lasting impression on me. Watching it again today, I felt
the same way. The story is simple, a corrupt property development
company wants to build a high rise apartment block in Sydney, but a few
angry residents and some tatty old terraced homes stand in their way. A
young woman named Jessica arrives home to find her father's house in
the middle of the controversy and events take a turn for the worse as
people who fight the demolition of the street start disappearing or
dying with no apparent reason. Jessica is torn between standing up for justice, or keeping quiet for her own personal safety

The acting is very good in this movie. Liz Alexander holds her own in
the starring role of the reluctantly battling protester against the
might of a huge corporation. Most other roles are also well played, and the street and derelict houses look like the real thing to me - if they are not the film makers did a very good job of setting up a fake street!

It's the events that drives the film, though and the opposition that
Jessica faces turns more and more nasty as the film moves on. You can
feel the helplessness of the character as she starts to realise that
nobody can be trusted, not even the police. The film gathers pace
towards the end (which I wont spoil), and leaves you feeling angry at
all the injustice that has been portrayed along the way. Which means that the film
works, because you believe it could really happen...the sense of
frustration is tangible.

The film is now REALLY hard to find, which seems a real shame as so few people today are going to get a chance to appreciate it, but there is an
Australian DVD release, which I recommend, as it's a film that rewards
your attention.

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