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Reviews Written by
Spike Owen "John Rouse Merriott Chard" (Birmingham, England.)
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   

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It Happened to Jane [DVD]
It Happened to Jane [DVD]
Dvd ~ Doris Day
Offered by HalfpriceDVDS_FBA
Price: £7.47

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite a Lobster Newberg., 4 Oct. 2015
This review is from: It Happened to Jane [DVD] (DVD)
Doris Day is an astute businesswoman who deals in the mass production of Lobsters. When her latest delivery goes awry due to incompetence of the E&P Railroad, she decided to take them on. All while affairs of the heart try to come into play.

Nothing really wrong with the film as such, it's all very harmless, a pleasant romantic comedy, with a likable cast (Jack Lemmon & Ernie Kovacs join Day)to while away the time with. It's just not a very interesting story, one where the love arc plays second fiddle to a bunch of over cooked sequences elsewhere. Whilst what could have been a strong feminist front never quite gets driven home. 6/10


The Ghost Of Frankenstein [DVD]
The Ghost Of Frankenstein [DVD]
Dvd ~ Cedric Hardwicke
Price: £5.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Your father was Frankenstein. Your mother was lightning., 3 Oct. 2015
Of course the problem with the Frankenstein sequels, of the Universal Studios kind, was that they had to follow the genre firework that was Frankenstein (1931) and the monolithic titan that followed that one in 1935, The Bride of Frankenstein. These are tough acts to follow; still are actually!

Son of Frankenstein (1939) managed very well, it had Basil Rathbone in it and Bela Lugosi giving great horror oomph as Ygor. Boris Karloff bowed out as the monster after that one, leaving an iconic legacy and an insistence that the monster didn't speak. The result of Karloff's (ahem) request has proved divisive amongst Frankenstein fans, does it need a voice for personality, or is it better off as a lumbering rage machine only? Point being that in this one, he gets a voice, courtesy of Lon Chaney Junior's stint in the role, and it's not exactly a success.

Ghost of Frankenstein represents the start of the decline of the franchise, a noticeable drop in quality across the board. It's like Universal caught the cash cow disease and decided that quantity and not quality was what mattered. They would eventually team up the bolted necked one with Abbott and Costello, with fun results, but the horror aspects began to wane here in 1942. Lugosi is on hand for some more Ygor mischief, Cedric Hardwicke and Lionel Atwill as scientists with opposite ideals are reassuring presences, while Evelyn Ankers is sexy and costumed with a great eye for detail.

At just 67 minutes in length the film thankfully doesn't have time to be boring, though action is in short supply, so hooray for castle destruction and fire unbound! While Woody Bredell and Milton R. Krasner, via their photographic lenses ensure Gothic atmosphere is consistently ripe. Right, it's time for Universal Monster Tag Teams next... 5/10


Black Christmas [DVD]
Black Christmas [DVD]
Dvd ~ Katie Cassidy
Offered by Jasuli
Price: £5.31

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Eye eye, what we got ere then?, 2 Oct. 2015
This review is from: Black Christmas [DVD] (DVD)
There's a running eyeball motif throughout this revamp/reimaging of Bob Clark's much revered culter of the same name (1974), after sitting through it you may, like me, feel like extracting your own eyeballs and playing ping-pong with them!

Bunch of pretty sorority girls get menaced and mangled by a deranged killer who has come home for Christmas...

This lacks everything that made Bob Clark's film so effective. The less is more approach has gone, thus there is very little suspense, and in place is a gigantic back story for the killer. The characterisation of the girls, some acted by some very capable actresses, is practically non existent, so very little emotional heft to draw you into a state of caring for them. There's some good gore on show, but since tonally the pic is all over the place, it's never once scary or ironically funny.

A poor show all round. 3/10


Saw V [DVD]
Saw V [DVD]
Dvd ~ Tobin Bell
Offered by A ENTERTAINMENT
Price: £3.21

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars If you're good at anticipating the human mind, it leaves nothing to chance., 2 Oct. 2015
This review is from: Saw V [DVD] (DVD)
Jigsaw is dead. Does he have another apprentice to carry on his brand of bloody judgement? Will there be more elaborate traps to test the human condition to the max? You betcha.

If you are a fan of the series, and chances are that if you have sat down to watch this latest part then you must be, this one has enough about it to tickle the senses. Yet there's no getting away from the familiarity breeding contempt factor, narratively it offers nothing new, and irritatingly it becomes quite evident that it's obviously setting up the next film in the series. It's a sad state of affairs when the flashbacks involving Tobin Bell (Jigsaw) prove to be the film's only strengths, well there is the death traps to keep us awake I suppose... 4/10


THE HAUNTING OF SARAH HARDY (1989) VHS SELA WARD~MICHAEL WOODS~MORGAN FAIRCHILD**MEGA RARE VIDEO**
THE HAUNTING OF SARAH HARDY (1989) VHS SELA WARD~MICHAEL WOODS~MORGAN FAIRCHILD**MEGA RARE VIDEO**

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mommie dearest, would you light the gas lamp?, 2 Oct. 2015
Directed by Jerry London and adapted to teleplay by Thomas Baum from the novel, The Crossing, written by Jim Flanagan. It stars Sela Ward, Michael Woods, Roscoe Born, Morgan Fairchild and Polly Bergen.

After a troubled childhood that saw her father die and her mother go mad to the point of suicide, Sarah Hardy (Ward) blossoms into a beautiful woman and marries a handsome man. In spite of her close friends concerns, Sarah and her husband decide to move back to the family home of her childhood, The Pines. It's not long before strange occurrences begin to unnerve Sarah at The Pines. Is her mother not really dead, is it a ghost, or outside influences with ulterior motives?

I genuinely feel bad pouring some scorn on this TV movie, because I so wanted to like it, to grasp a bit of freshness in what has become known as the Gaslight sub-genre of horror. Sadly it's just not very good. It's awash with soap opera operatics, some very poor acting, a confused tonal flow (am I mystery, horror, a message thriller?), an out of place porn movie jazz like musical score, and an ending that beggars belief. The mansion design is great, and there's some nice night time photography during the outer grounds sequences, but it's a difficult film to recommend to those after a good old fashioned mansion based spooker. 5/10


The Fury [DVD]
The Fury [DVD]
Dvd ~ Kirk Douglas
Offered by The Happy Zombie
Price: £5.75

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars With powers like yours., 2 Oct. 2015
This review is from: The Fury [DVD] (DVD)
The Fury is directed by Brian De Palma and adapted to screenplay from his own novel by John Farris. It stars Kirk Douglas, John Cassavetes, Carrie Snodgress, Charles Durning, Amy Irving, Fiona Lewis and Andrew Stevens. Music is by John Williams and cinematography by Richard H. Kline.

De Palma once again indulges in the strange world of psychic abilities and telekinetic powers, with mixed results. On one hand it features strong performances, some masterful techniques by De Palma, a superb score by Williamms, and an ending fit to grace any horror film past or present. On the other it's exposition heavy, too draggy in the mid- section and much of the screenplay isn't narratively cohesive. Yet getting through the chores is worth it, the last third of film enters the realm of the weird and the bloody, gripping in texture and execution.

Far from perfect but when it hits its straps it soars. 7/10


Mirrors [DVD] [2008]
Mirrors [DVD] [2008]
Dvd ~ Kiefer Sutherland
Offered by A ENTERTAINMENT
Price: £3.54

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The mirrors. They're so clean., 2 Oct. 2015
This review is from: Mirrors [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
Mirrors is the American remake of a little known Korean film called Into the Mirror. The plot has Kiefer Sutherland as a recovering alcoholic cop, who whilst on suspension is taken to working as a security guard at a large burnt out department store and starts to see terrifying images in the many mirrors about the place...

You would think that Mirrors was a flop. The critics hated it and the horror hordes were very much divided on it, the latter of which is to be fair the norm for any big horror movie release. Yet it didn't flop, it did very well at the box offices of the world and has a decent 6.2 average on IMDb, which for a divisive horror film is well above average.

Mirrors overstays its welcome, there really was no need for it to run to just under two hours in length. While elsewhere there's some pretty poor dialogue, parts of the screenplay are pointlessly soap opera in nature, while some thinking will make you scratch your head in bewilderment at events outside of the brilliantly monolithic department store.

However, does Mirrors create a genuinely spooky atmosphere (the interiors of the store are creep fest nirvana), insert some shock moments to jolt you out your seat? Is it visually stylish, with sound work to match? And does Sutherland (and to a degree Paula Patton as his wife) overcome the trite parts of the script and give effective and committed performances? The answer to those questions is yes.

Does the ending cop out in any way? Insult the audience? No! It doesn't do that either.

It has flaws, but they are not insurmountable for the horror fan who's just looking for some good scares, atmospheric dread and some stylish touches from the director (Alexandre Aja). If you haven't seen it then give it a try, judge for yourself, you might be pleasantly surprised at what you find. 7.5/10


Teenagers From Outer Space [DVD]
Teenagers From Outer Space [DVD]
Dvd ~ Tom Graeff
Offered by unclejohnsband
Price: £2.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Rock Lobster and the Skeleton Crew, 27 Sept. 2015
An alien race come to earth with less than honourable motives in their genes...

Gargons Will Rule The Universe!

Ah, well, one needs to have a modicum of interest in the "Z" grade sci-fi schlocker craze of the 1950s to even watch this picture. To understand why it exists, with a knowledge of budget restrictions etc, allowances can be made. Yet it's so dreadfully performed and constructed it asks for giant leaps of faith even from the most hardened of cult schlock fans.

In truth there's only enough material here to have filled a half hour Twilight Zone episode, in fact thinking about the acting this would have made a good silent feature. There's some fun in the ray guns used, which reduce living beings to skeletons, and the flying saucer is funky, hell there's even the notion that aliens get horny as well. But come the time when the rock lobster puts in a show, you wont know whether to laugh or cry... 3/10


Chinatown [DVD]
Chinatown [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jack Nicholson
Offered by A ENTERTAINMENT
Price: £5.19

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars He nose you know!, 24 Sept. 2015
This review is from: Chinatown [DVD] (DVD)
Chinatown is directed by Roman Polanski and written by Robert Towne. It stars Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, John Huston, Perry Lopez and John Hillerman. Music is by Jerry Goldsmith and cinematography by John A. Alonzo.

Private investigator J.J. Gittes (Nicholson) is working on an adultery case but quickly finds himself embroiled in murder and corruption.

The gathering of Polanski, Towne, Nicholson and Robert Evans (producer) put their respective skills together to craft one of the most lauded neo-noir films of all time. It's a searing picture awash with the staples of the film noir and gumshoe detective movies that graced cinema in the 40s and 50s. From the characterisations (suspicious femmes - mouthy coppers - sleazy kingpin - tough protagonist in a whirlpool of unravelling layers), to the hard boiled script, violence, sex and brutal revelations, it's a noir essential that only lacks chiaroscuro and expressionistic swirls to seal the complete deal.

Allegoraries unbound, iconography assured and dialogue now in the lexicon of legends, Chinatown is not to be missed, not just by fans of noir, but fans of cinema, period. 9.5/10


The Amazing Spider-Man 2 [DVD] [2014]
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 [DVD] [2014]
Dvd ~ Andrew Garfield
Offered by MusicnMedia
Price: £4.74

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Spider-Man stuffed once again., 24 Sept. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Marc Webb returns to direct what Sony had hoped was the second instalment of a longer running reboot of the Spider-Man franchise. Writing this now, I'm armed with the knowledge that once again the web slinger will get another reboot in 2017, which after viewing this sequel comes as no surprise.

It's not so much that it's a bad film, or a bad Spider-Man film at that, it's just that it feels all very familiar, whilst simultaneously hugging the same pitfalls as Sam Raimi's Spiderman 3. Webb tries to juggle a screenplay with 3 villains (well two and a half really), a tricky romance between Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) and Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), and of course there's school, a best friend and affairs of the home heart to deal with.

The introduction of Electro (Jamie Foxx) is a good move, inputting a new villain into the spidey world is most welcome. Yet in spite of Foxx earning some level of sympathy with the characterisation, it never really works and unfortunately draws comparisons with a certain Mr. Freeze from another franchise. Dane DeHaan comes in as Harry Osborn, soon to be Green Goblin, again the tortured soul act is well performed, but come Goblin time the make up and effects work is laughable. While Paul Giamati as Aleksei Sytsevich - cum - Rhino, is having fun but is barely in the picture.

Stone is the best thing in it by far, while Garfield works hard, but there is no getting away from the fact that they both are - and look - too old for their parts. The action is fun and pulse raising, but there's not enough of it to sustain a running time of 2 hours and 20 minutes. Though on the plus side Webb and his team are to be applauded for choosing a story line that is ultimately bold and contains a great emotional whack. All told it's a shaky entry to the spidey world, one that once again forced Sony into another rethink. Lets hope the next journey spidey goes on has some clarity and streamlined sense. 6/10


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