Time to expand on my new Return of the Living Dead hypothesis. I think it’s kind of anti-Star Trek. The theory goes with Star Trek that only the even numbered ones are any good (I heartily dispute this regarding part 4: Save the Whales), and Return of the Living Dead is the opposite. So far, 1 is gold, 2 is garbage, 3 is Silver, 4 is utter garbage. So presumably, following on, 5 (Rave to the Grave) will also therefore win a medal of some description, possibly a bronze. Well, no, it’s not that good. However it did at least make the final and hasn’t embarrassed itself in any way. For a start, it does actually resemble a Return of the Living Dead film, and while I hate the central character Julian (John Keefe from Part 4) the presence of gore, comedy and nudity automatically raise it above the quite filthy depths that Necropolis had sunk the series to.
This is a Return of the Living Dead film, so nudity, gore, laughs and Spoilers lurk below. Read More…
So, for those that aren’t familiar with this, one of Jarv’s golden rules of cinema is that if there’s a large gap between a sequel and it’s predecessor then 99 times out of 100 it will be awful. Examples range across the different genres, including The Godfather Part 3, Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 and so forth. The reason being is that if someone chooses to exhume a long-buried franchise, then chances are it’s motivated entirely by money and a hope to cash in on some hazy name recognition. There are films that break this rule, notably Rise of the Planet of the Apes, but that’s countered by Burton’s stinking remake, and who can ever forget the Star Wars Prequel atrocities? Return of the Living Dead 4: Necropolis (they dropped the 4 for release) has further handicaps to overcome, not least of which is that it’s a Sci-Fi Channel film, and was shot back-to-back with its vastly superior sequel in Eastern Europe. It’s no surprise for me to tell you up front that this one ain’t a winner.
Contains crap zombie babies and spoilers below. Read More…
BRAAAAAAIIIIIINNNNNSSSS!!! The Return of the Living Dead Series. Part 1: Jarv looks back at Return of the Living Dead 1-3.
Next up on my quest through horror movie series is the incomparable Return of the Living Dead. The original Return of the Living Dead (here on referred to as ROTLD)was one of my first Vault reviews from way back in the Summer of 2009, and to be honest, it doesn’t read anywhere near as well now as I thought it did. I followed this with ROTLD 2 in November 2009, and again, it’s not my most sophisticated piece of criticism ever. I finally took on ROTLD 3 last year, as part of my quest to watch every Brian Yuzna film ever made, and the review is a bit better. But what is Return of the Living Dead, I hear you ask?
I’m starting to develop a real soft spot for Jake West. I’ve only seen two of his three full length films so far, this and Evil Aliens, and he strikes me as a potentially fantastic schlock director. Evil Aliens was unashamedly crass, frequently hilarious and contained moments that could best be described as genius. Doghouse, his third film, has much more of a budget to play with and attracted a fine cast but still manages to contain the anarchic humour and flat-out carnage of his earlier effort. Read More…
The mid-season break of TWD has come and gone and 13 episodes of poorly thought out drivel and melodrama worthy of Desperate Housewives or a soap opera has rightly cost Frank Darabont his job. The absolutely heartbreaking thing about TWD is that there are glimpses and glimmers of a good show in among all the crap on screen. Almost every episode has one decent, good or interesting thing happen in it. Unfortunately the few good things are surrounded by 20 or 30 awful ideas, bad story choices, horrible writing or illogical and dumb antics by our less than plucky or interesting, for the most part, band of survivors. TWD has much in common with the ultra crappy NBC superhero suckfest Heroes first season. They give you just enough decent stuff in certain episodes to keep a viewer interested or a cliffhanger that makes you think hey they finally got it! Then the next episode, it kicks you square in the nuts with dumbness and gives you a Nelson Muntz HA HA.
I don’t know what’s happening to me, I’m not alive, I’m not dead, I’m just so lonely.
Jarv’s Rating: Two and a half Changs out of four. This film is unfairly maligned. There are serious problems to it, and tonally it’s way off, but overall this is a solid zombie movie with a fucking spectacular central monster. Seriously spectacular, actually.
My apologies for this run of incessant schlock. Ordinarily, I do try to mix it up a wee bit, but I’m on a quest to 100% both Stuart Gordon and Brian Yuzna films before I come to the hideous Birthday Series. I say hideous, because I watched 3 minutes of Xanadu earlier and aside from being horrified that it had Gene Kelly in it, I was forced to turn it off. In the meantime, in order to prepare myself for the forthcoming awfulness, I’m stocking up on my Schlock reserves so I’ve got fun films to think about while my brain is melting.
That 3 Years I spent in solitary…. I did some of my very best work!
Jarv’s Rating: Two and a Half Changs out of Four. While the law of diminishing returns is definitely kicking in with the Re-Animator series, there’s still much more to like here than dislike.
I’m feeling both extremely pleased and extremely cross with myself. Pleased because as of this morning I have now completed the Re-Animator series and am approaching completion in both 100% Stuart Gordon (and brilliantly now also 100% Brian Yuzna), which is, let’s face it, a billion times better than the 100% PWS Anderson that I accidentally managed last month. However, I’m cross with myself because this is easily the best non-Evil Dead horror trilogy that I’ve seen and I should have epic reviewed it in Frank and Droid style. Moreover, I’m actually cross with the world in general, because there isn’t a Re-Animator Box Set available. Why the fuck not? I really want to buy it, and I think it would sit proudly on my shelf with the Pot of Gore, Attack Pack and Evil Dead collections. Read More…
What would a note say, Dan? “Cat dead, details later”?
Jarv’s Rating: 3 and a half Changs out of 4. A fucking absolute classic of its kind: gross, irreverent and frequently hilarious, this is an absolutely essential zombie film.
Re-Animator, or “How to get a head in medicine”, is notable for a few reasons. Firstly, it is arguably the only successful Lovecraft adaptation out there (don’t give me that shit about Dagon being anything more than worthless), although I will take Carpenter’s In the Mouth of Madness as a Lovecraft-inspired film. Secondly, it also spawned several sequels, the first of which: Bride of Re-Animator is a gross and hilarious reworking of Bride of Frankenstein tied in to the Re-Animator mythology. Thirdly, Re-Animator represents a career high for almost everyone involved in it, certainly Jeffrey Combs will never put in another performance even remotely in the same league as his turn here, and finally, it’s just fucking gold from start to finish, combining some midnight-black comedy with excellent practical effects, and a skyscraper high level of entertainment. This is a storming film. Read More…
I did already know this before I started this review, but of the 3 Resident Evil films that I’ve seen, this is the one with the least to do with the games, and despite basically not being a Resident Evil adaptation, the only one that stands watching once. I’m not sure about rewatchings, as there was years between me seeing this film twice, but having watched it again, I am surprised to say that it manages to scale heights that this series otherwise gets nowhere near by being deeply, deeply mediocre. Funnily enough, almost all the problems it has are directly as a result of that steaming sack of excrement Apocalypse, in that Extinction goes miles out of its way to tie up the loose ends from part 2, and clean out the extraneous and aggravating characters that added nothing to the story. There are other problems, sure enough, but in comparison to the other two films in this dismal soul-destroying series (that is trying its damndest to make me hate cinema, Paul W.S. Anderson, and Resident Evil games) that I’ve seen to date it’s really not that awful.