Wednesday, October 30, 2013

DVD Movie Review #9 The Clown Murders

Hello All! I hope you guys are enjoying your week as this is the last week of the scary stuff and then on to the other holiday stuff. Today we have a lovely movie from the early films of John Candy which by the way was not a comedy but a horror film of all things. I bring you the Clown Murders. 

Ok We start with our intrepid heroes being members of a nice little country club on the verge of a lovely little halloween party. It turns out that one of the characters is sweet on a girl that just got married and is getting rid of the house that meant so much to them. Of course they decide to do what any sensible friends would do and that's dress up as clowns knock out the husband and kidnap the girl. You know, as a joke....ha ha...idiots...
Well they manage to kidnap the girl but realize much to their surprise that the police are out looking for them. After going through a bunch of foul ups with the police showing continuously how stupid they are they end up in a house where they hold up until they can figure something out. They of course then have fun going at each other pointing fingers and contemplating murder. And of course somewhere at this part a clown murderer shows up. 
I do not lie to you, this is a very very VERY boring story with action and possible terror happening only in about the last 20 minutes of the film I must say that the other hour and change goes to show you how incompetent the characters are and how bad things can get when you are drunk and mad at one another. I will say that John Candy is present throughout the film which is much better than "It seemed like a good idea at the time" where he gets high billing yet hardly shows his face. Other than being boring the acting is only so so and the visual is terrible. This movie was fuzzy from start to finish. Above is proof of the film quality and that John Candy is indeed in this film. 
Finally I am of course going to talk about the "killer clown" as pictured above. They give him a demonic resounding voice for some reason still unknown to me. After making a half hearted attempt and eventually adding a little to the small death toll. I know that showing the clown's Identity in the end is to make a point to the plot but it is lost on me. I am not even certain this character was needed. Other than that and some creepy clown music (which is much better than the lame keyboard soundtrack that this movie is focused on) you are pretty much lacking in the scare department. 

I give this movie a 4/10 due to it being very very Boring. I am posting a scary pic below just so you can get a little terror from this  :) 

Used:     $3.74 
New       $8.11 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

DVD Movie Review #8 The Secret of Crickley Hall

The Secret of Crickley Hall

Yay! This is the last one for a while until I can get back to watching again. This movie from our friends at BBC is a nice little 3 part TV movie eventually amounting to 3 hours. It is a nice little haunted tail that can pull you in for more.

The Secret of Crickley Hall is a tail about a family plagued by the possible death of their missing son. They move out to Crickley hall on a job for the husband in an attempt to forget the past. Unfortunately things only get worse as the mother keeps hearing her son and believing him alive along with having the mystery of the death of the orphanes that used to inhabit this old english building.

As creepy places go Crickley hall does an excellent job of having you look over your shoulder hearing the voices of children running around or being beaten by the place's cruel headmaster. The tone of this is overall slow over the last three hours and it takes the end of the first episode before your interest is fully involved. The scares are to the minimal level with a creepiness about the place and the scenes with the headmaster can be very intense especially if you don't like seeing violence towards children.

The story takes place on two fronts with the first being in the present with the family dealing with the loss of their child and playing with the ghosts. The other front deals with the past back in 1943 telling the story of the children and headmaster we see as ghosts in the present. The past story and mystery that unfolds has an element that draws one in and has you guessing until near the end. The overall story makes you also wonder about weather the missing child is still alive as well till the end. I of course will leave that answer to you when you see this.

I do really think the cast is good here with the acting being solid and believable. It does end up having a slight soap opera feel to it by the end. The music is also quite nice as well not over involved. I am not terribly involved in the story and had a hard time getting into it. As a three hour movie it may be better to be split up. I think that if you are looking of a scary film then this is not the movie for you but as a mysterious daytime haunting this movie does certainly fit the bill.


Best Used:     $12.98
Best New:     $14.99

DVD Movie Review #7 Grave Encounters

Grave Encounters

Here we go again for another of my DVD reviews. Grave Encounters embodies the spirit of the season. I have watched it three times thus far and find it worth watching yet again. This movie is very much a one with a pretty high scare factor it is one that I believe all can be sure of for the season.

Grave Encounters is the name of one of those wonderful TV series meant to poke at shows such as Paranormal State ( where a group of paid actors and a psychic go into haunted places speak with the ghosts there and make a creepy atmosphere. So as they are exploring a haunted asylum it turns out that they get a little bit more than they expected to find.

This film is done as another one of those found footage types that became popular after Blair Witch kicked off the format in the 1990s. I have kind of gotten weary of it as there seems to be an overabundance of them now and there don't really seem to be too many original ideas since the Blair Witch Project. This one does have a few original bits that did not occur during the Blair Witch movie. The style combines what we know and love about found footage with the more original style of Paranormal Activity.

This has multiple styles to it such as a fixed cam that they have established throughout the premises and the shaky cam that is the prime example of our viewing throughout the film. The cam allows for transitional scars that combine both Blair Witch and Paranormal Activity. The movie starts out very slow at first to the point where you may start to fall asleep at the beginning. It is kind of nice how you see small stuff such as the movement of a window and eventually the spirit pulling on the hair of one of the actors. This of course is just the star of the long process.

Who couldn't enjoy a nice creepy mental hospital as a setting. Long hallways with different rooms where people died in terrible ways. There is even a nice long tunnel that connects buildings on the campus. Included in this is a nice background of torture of maiming by an insane doctor (nothing new here). The winding hallways make for a nice place to have the long part of the story where they are seemingly trapped endlessly wandering.

Lastly lets look at the scar factors involved which put it above other types that only give you minimal visual effects. This has very scary encounters with the ghosts in the asylum and due to the fuzziness of the camera the budget doesn't have to be too terribly large to pull it off. You actually get the feeling that you are being chased as the film goes on to its inevitable conclusion.

In the end I feel that this film has a fair amount of creativity if only it didn't have the level of boredom that also comes with he early moments of the film.

I give this particular movie a rating of 7/10.

Best Used:     $14.12
Best New:     $9.88

DVD Movie Review #6 Paranorman


Hello, I am back again. I didn't get to do much DVD watching the last week but this weekend we are remedying the situation by trying a nice horror movie marathon. This review is for the movie Paranorman. This is the movie that comes from the same people that brought us Coraline. Paranorman utilizes the same style of animation and witht eh same creepiness.

This movie stars Norman, a little boy who has the power to see ghosts much like another lovely little movie we all might know. He is of course looked at as a freak when he is at school with his only friends being outcasts much like himself. Norman quickly has adventure thrust upon him as he is asked to try and keep a witch from spreading chaos and destruction on his home town.

Unlike the last movie I reviewed Paranorman is ore about giving you light scars for children and a lot of horror movie references for people. This movie reminds me of Frankenwennie in a way as it does like to pay homage to the genre. Whereas Frankenweenie likes to pay attention to the 30s and 40s horror this one is more inclined to reference the 1960s-1980s time periods. Many of the touches are subtle and the feel is pretty good. This movie definately brings across it's point when it comes to creating a lightly creepy family friendly atmosphere. I do feel that the movie doesn't take as much time as it should to let us enjoy the character interactions and the subtlety.

The movie is a beautiful sight to enjoy showing the full range of ability by this group. I loved their interactions and work when doing Coraline and at the same time love it here as well. it is hard to believe that stop capture animation has come as far as it has. The voice acting and music are also very well done utilizing talent such as John Goodman and even leaving with a fun song sung by the voice acting staff. This is top notch in this area I am saddened that it did not take any nods in that category at the academy awards but stop capture is largely ignored in those areas.

Of course I shouldn't hold off in relation to the story. I feel that there are some nice twists on the traditional genre that are good to give the audience a little bit of extra enjoyment in the film. I really did enjoy the twist involving the zombies and the witch though it did seem to become a little predictable at the end. Don't really care too much overall as the whole comes out well. This film has managed to gain an academy award nomination for best animated feature. It surprised me when it came up but but it was a nomination well deserved.

I give this particualr movie a rating of 8/10.

Best Used:     $8.47
Best New:     $14.96

Sunday, October 20, 2013

DVD Movie Review #5 Silent Hill Revelation

Hello again and it's time for my next review in time for Halloween. This time I am reviewing the second film in the Silent Hill franchise Silent Hill Revelation. This film takes place years after the first film with the little girl now being a teenager having to change her name to Heather as they are "on the run" and of course trying to make sure that she matches the character in the game they were trying to work on recreate. Of course as an homage to the series many may not have noticed but the father takes the name Harry Mason in order to try and do better.
The movie follows the young girl's adventures trying to solve the mysteries of her birth taking her back to silent hill and of course trying to avoid being killed by twisted monsters or psycho cultists. Of course during this time period Heather also needs to work on a little romance with one of the cultists. Of course I know that romance is the one thing I'm looking for while on the run from monsters and in fear of being sacrificed.
To me the acting was fair yet not award worthy. I do feel as far as makeup was concerned the choice for heather was right on. Below I am including a comparison to the video game see which is which.
Of course in my mind Silent hill is all about the creepy atmosphere and the crazy deformed critters that wander the world eating or just ripping people to shreds. I love some of the scenes where Heather has to confront the horrors the CGI is pretty good on this film and the makeup is very well done to where the critters are quite believable. Take a look at this strange compilation creature below.
The movie overall was a tad disappointing for those like me who were waiting patiently like me. The plot is not really that original and the movie is uneven at times. As a person that is not a fan of the games you would probably not get a lot of the references and at the end may be left a little confused overall by this film and will not be that impressed. As someone that has enjoyed the games I can say that there are plenty of tidbits thrown at fans such as the critter above or the nurses below which are staples of the series. The story mimics the 3rd game on many angles and if you have played that game you will have another good reason to see this film...unless you are like some that hated the 3rd game ;)
Now the last part that I am checking out is the music. I was very disappointed with the laziness of the first Silent hill film with them recycling the soundrack from the 3rd game complete to the end song (which if you played the 3rd game it plays at the opening). This one doesn't seem to be utilizing any additional creativity here with many of the musical pieces being from the same source as the first film. I am glad that they did seek out some original music for the end credits.

The DVD I got had only a behind the scenes featurette but otherwise it is not anything wonderful though I am glad to have such on a normally stripped down edition. In the end I will give this edition and the movie a 7/10.

Now I will leave the fans of one of their favorite Silent Hill baddie and of course the pricing options below :)

Best Used:     $4.98
Best New:     $9.97

Friday, October 18, 2013

DVD Movie Review #4 The Gregory Horror Show

Yeah It looks like we are back again for another review. I have finally completed watching the Gregory Horror Show. I've had this on my shelf for a long time but as it is Halloween I have been working on trying to get through things.

The Gregory Horror Show takes place in three separate series and one spin off.  Each of the three volumes has a full season and part of the spin off included. It is a fairly good value for the money involved. This show takes you though a haunted world with a variety of different characters.

The first series follows a man who has been tired of his average depressing life and has wandered into the strange place called "gregory house" to spend the night away from his burden. Things start to twist and turn as one strange and terrible thing happens after another revealing a plot to take his very soul.
The Second season follows a woman who had exchanged everying in life for her career and is having regrets. This series follows along the same wavelength as the first season except it does itself a little more in dept related to the story of what Gregory House is all about
The Third Season takes place on a train with Gregory as the main character trying to find his salvation. This story moves differently as it takes place from his prospective and though it is more comical it has plenty of disturbing aspects that leave you thinking.
Last but not least is the spin off that follows the House's nurse Catherine working in a very demented hospital where more patients die than recover (mainly as Catherine drains them of all their blood). This series is a tad more comical than the others it is a little disturbing but when you have been watching the other stuff it is not so bad.
Overall this series has a very strange and creepy vibe. The Blocky old school computer animation leaves me a little behind overall but it is something that you get used to as you watch the show. The biggest issue I have with the series is that it makes you feel like you are playing an old school game making choices as you go along the way. I also feel that the series doesn't really take itself seriously after a while towards the end and it becomes more of a twisted humor show than a horror show. But as it is this Halloween if you are looking for a cheap but fun ride check this series out.

Rating:     7/10

Used     $23.20
New     $9.99

DVD Box Series #5: I Love Lucy Collection

I Love Lucy Collection 

Here we are again with another box set review. This time it is the I Love Lucy Box set. This series is an epic and important series that defined the sitcom. I used to watch this series a lot as a child and a teenager and to this day have been glad to have finally obtained this set.

The Packaging is rather solid containing a nice heart shaped box that has two little wallets containing the discs of the series. It also contains a nice booklet that has nice pictures and info on each episode of the series. My problem with these sets is that they tent to be prone to scratching and I worry about how long this series will last in the current case. The Hard plastic shell is also delecate and should not be opened too often otherwise it will break. Due to this flaw I can only give this a 7/10.

The content is really nice including all of the I love Lucy show including the original pilot, the Lucy & Desi comedy hour and the I love Lucy Movie. I am really pleased to see this show finally fully released and could easily pick an episode to watch over and over again. The cultural issues are still a little behind the time but at the same time it does give you a full impression and some of the comedy still works. Because of the fun acting and wonderful ensemble this is a series that will stand the test of time. 9/10

Of course when we talk about content lets talk bonus features. There are several featurettes and it includes old commercials as well as excerts from the original radio show that had started it all. You also get some restored opening animations as well as tv spots that make this a fun ride. I love Lucy the Movie is probably one of the best special features that gives you that extra boost. 8/10

In the end here is the summary:
Case:                                        7/10
Content:                                   9/10
Quality of the Show:                 8/10
            Total Rating:              8/10

Now I am sure you are asking yourself “where can I get this and what will it cost me?” I love as it helps me check many many stores at one time for the best deal. is also a good place for anime and asian sets when they start to go out of print. I will give you the best used and new price as per that site*.

*Please note that these deals change day to day so the prices could get better or worse. The prices are for these specific editions so you may find the show for a better deal.  

Average set:     New     $82.97 ebay
                        Used    $67.94 

I managed to find this particular set on amazon for about $60 when I originally bought it so you may still be able to get a deal there.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

DVD Movie Review #3 Upstairs Downstairs Series 2

Here we are again for another review. This time we are doing a part of a series I've been slowly watching called upstairs downstairs. If you like Downton Abby this is the original series that spawned it all. It is a little drier than Downton but the drama is still there and it draws you in considerably as the series goes alone.

Today's review is of series two which takes place between 1908 and 1910. It begins with a wedding and covers multiple social issues having to do with setting up a new household with new servants entering the picture.
The drama continues as the household falls into peril and you ave to watch and see how the romance ends. This series comes together. The intermixing of different households and personalities takes shape as drama unfolds and different characters address issues such as unwanted pregnancy and blackmail.

The series also covers other political view of the day such as the suffragette movement and the difference between involvement by the aristocrats and the regular people. The coverage is very well done it comes together in the end with the death of the king with this season winning an Emmy award.

The series is in full color unlike series one and has shown some improvement in the picture quality. The music is of fair quality not really showing a great deal of variation. Of course picture and music qualities isn't too bad considering it was in the 70s. Of course if you are used to the excitement of Downton this will still take some getting used to. The acting is very well done and very believable I at times was moved by the drama.

The case is nothing special being your average 4 disc set in a regular dvd case. The special features are nice giving you several commentaries and interviews as well as part 2 of a very nice documentary on the making of the show.

Overall this is a quality series and part 2 is an improvement showing the series getting better as it goes. I will give this series a 7/10.

Used     $7.98
New     $15.94

Sunday, October 13, 2013

DVD Movie Review #2 Uncle Sam

Well I know things are speeding up a bit but I am trying to keep my self at a pace not long after I've watched a film so here I go with my next review for Uncle Sam :)

You know I see this film in the movie store and you know I just had to get it how many people can resist a cover like this?

This movie is much better than I thought it would be but this could cause the same problem which is that it is a little too serious to be made full mockery of but not serious enough to be a truly scary movie. The movie follows a child and his mother who I think live with her sister in law as her husband "Sam" died in action and of course came back as an undead american hero with murder on his mind.

Well Among other things...

The movie's acting is not too terrible yet doesn't really warrant anything special which takes out the laughter factor. There are some amusing spots with many of the less desirable in the movie getting kills and of course having Issac Hayes involved makes everything better :)

Uncle Sam in the end is a lovely little tail of murder seen by most people many times and yet at the same time there is something lightly amusing about a man in an Uncle Sam Costume slaughtering everyone in sight.

With that I will wrap up and give this movie a raging of 4/10.

Used     $5.98
New     $9.44