Shameless Plug

Review: Expect No Mercy (1995)

by Zeus | 2015-04-04

Review: Expect No Mercy (1995)

Expect No Mercy stars Billy Blanks, otherwise known as "the Tae Bo guy," and "No, you're thinking of Wesley Snipes." He's recruited by the FSB to infiltrate the Virtual Arts Academy, the front for an organization of deadly mercenaries trained not by ninja masters, but with virtual reality.

Continue reading →

Review: Room 33 (2009)

Horror Movie Mini-Review by Zeus | 2014-06-30

Room 33 (2009)

A van full of kids break down in a creepy forest and take shelter in an abandoned asylum. This particular bunch of kids belong to a women's roller derby team, so points for trying. Along the way, the team picked up a young preppy couple who crashed their car after swerving to avoid a deer -- or something. Allie (Austin Highsmith) is a brunette with a sweet personality, modest attire, and high chance of survival. Her boyfriend Chad, with his disheveled hair and eternally popped collar, looks like a frat boy undergoing some sort of cocaine-induced psychosis. (Imagining he was Dennis from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia got me through some rough patches.) Team strongwoman Sarah (Nina Hauser) also got me through some rough patches. She runs at full bitch and makes no apologies, nor should she have to. In a better movie, she'd be the female equivalent to Ash, a cocky loudmouth who insults their way to the end of the movie. But make no mistake, this is not a better movie. Allie is the obvious Final Girl, and Sarah is relegated to the thankless role of second-tier antagonist.

Continue reading →

Review: Absentia (2011)

Horror Movie Mini-Review by Zeus | 2014-06-19

Absentia (2011)

Horror movies often begin with the loss of a loved one, a powerful catalyst that forces the protagonist outside their normal lives, either physically (they have to move, e.g., to a haunted house) or mentally and spiritually (grief pries open psychic doorways best left sealed). But Absentia follows two sisters long after time has had a chance to heal their wounds, leaving only the scars of acceptance. In the lovely, wordless opening shot, a pregnant woman, Tricia (Courtney Bell), replaces faded missing person flyers with the last of a dwindling stack. It's been seven years since her husband Daniel disappeared without a trace. Today she will begin the process of declaring him dead, in absentia. The process opens up all the old wounds. She begins to see haunting glimpses of Daniel, alternately sobbing in despair and stalking the house in angry, accusing silence.

Continue reading →

Review: Below (2002)

Horror Movie Mini-Review by Zeus | 2014-06-07

Below (2002)

Below is a haunted house movie with a twist. Instead of a gothic mansion, the film is set aboard an American submarine during WWII. After a British hospital ship is torpedoed by Germans, the USS Tigershark is sent to rescue the survivors. Lieutenant Brice (Bruce Greenwood, Star Trek) barely has time to welcome Nurse Claire Paige (Olivia Williams, The Sixth Sense) aboard before they're spotted by a German warship. The Tiger Shark tries to escape by submerging and running silent, but a phonograph mysteriously screeches to life, and the crew is lucky to survive the ensuing depth charge attack. Lt. Brice suspects the Brits of sabotage. When he learns one of the injured patients is really German POW, he pulls his sidearm, and despite Nurse Paige's protests, puts a bullet in the man's head. Later that night, the phonograph once again awakens, belting out a taunting song that clears the German's name.

Continue reading →

Review: Grave Encounters (2011)

Horror Movie Mini-Review by Zeus | 2014-05-18

U.F.O. Abduction (aka The McPherson Tape) (1989).

When Ghost Hunters became the Syfy channel's highest rated show, knock-offs were inevitable. And the best, or at least the most entertaining, was Ghost Adventures. Host Zak Bagans brought two things to the table: An attitude that told ghosts, "Come at me, Bro!" and the gimmick of being locked inside overnight with no chance of escape, as if to put his team at risk from being torn limb from limb by ghosts. So far, that has yet to happen. Grave Encounters gives us all what we've been waiting for.

Continue reading →

Review: U.F.O. Abduction (aka The McPherson Tape) (1989)

Horror Movie Mini-Review by Zeus | 2014-05-07

U.F.O. Abduction (aka The McPherson Tape) (1989).

On October 8th, 1983 Michael Van Heese of Northwoods, Connecticut was videotaping his niece's birthday party when the family gathering was interrupted by a series of unexplained events. The power was cut to their home. Red lights appeared in the night sky. Michael and his older brothers Tommy and Patrick climbed a hill to investigate an apparent plane crash, but what they found was no normal plane. They were spotted by three figures that can only be described as alien Greys. The brothers fled home to warn their family and arm themselves. As the night wore on, the family was targeted by a series of increasingly strange attacks. Footsteps scuttled along the roof, something tried to force its way into their home, and one by one, the family members began to fall to a hypnotic state. In 1989, the Van Heese video, part of a government investigation on U.F.O. and extraterrestrial sightings, was made available to the public under the Freedom of Information Act. The members of the Van Heese family were never seen nor heard from again.

Continue reading →

Review: Supernova (2000)

Horror Movie Mini-Review by Zeus | 2014-04-27

Supernova (2000), James Spader pictured.

Supernova was originally pitched as "Hellraiser in Space." After seeing the end result, I have to wonder if they meant to say Leprechaun. The film opens with a flyby shot of a rescue ship, dipping inside to introduce the crew. James Spader plays Nick Vanzant, a pilot with a shady past. He's given the icy welcome by Dr. Kaela Evers (Angela Bassett, Strange Days). Bassett delivers every line as if she's too tired to argue anymore and just wants you to leave. More friendly (to say the least) is Danica Lund (Robin Tunney, the bald girl from Empire Records), who spends the entire movie having sex or walking around topless. She's a nice enough actress, but she's got a face that makes you say, "No, you can keep your clothes on." She couldn't have been more misscast if she had played Dr. Evers, the strong black woman. (Which, incidentally, she was. More on that later.) Yerzy Penalosa (Lou Diamond Phillips) plays Danica's boyfriend. Finally we have Benjamin Sotomejor (Wilson Cruz), who shares a creepy, growing infatuation with Sweetie, the ship's (female voiced) computer.

Continue reading →

Review: Twixt (2011)

Horror Movie Mini-Review by Zeus | 2014-04-19

Twixt (2011)

Hall Baltimore (Val Kilmer) is a horror writer whose book tour lands him in the back end of a hardware store, hawking his wares to uninterested locals. He's approached by Sheriff Bobby LaGrange (Bruce Dern, The 'Burbs), who reels him in with a wild-eyed offer to see something creepy. That turns out to be the shrouded body of a young girl with a five foot stake through her heart, the latest victim of a mysterious killer. Baltimore isn't very interested in the body, nor is he interested in Sheriff LaGrange's offer to team up and write a book about the killings. At least until later that night, when he slips away from his hotel into a black and white dreamworld, where he meets a haunting young woman (Elle Fanning) who goes by the name of V. She's a fan of his writing, but doesn't stick around when they come across a creepy hotel, the scene of local tragedy, forgotten by time and wrapped in shame.

Continue reading →

Review: Pulse (Kairo) (2001)

Horror Movie Mini-Review by Zeus | 2014-04-09

Pulse (Kairo) (2001)

The recent golden age of Japanese horror began with the excellent US remake of The Ring and ended with the infamous US remake of Pulse. By the time the original Japanese version was released in the states, it was dismissed as yet another movie about scary girls with long black hair. And that's a shame, because this movie doesn't leap out from the dark and go for the throat, it's happy just bumming you out.

Continue reading →

Review: The Battery (2012)

Horror Movie Mini-Review by Zeus | 2014-04-09

The Battery (2012)

Ben (writer/director Jeremy Gardner) and Mickey (co-producer Adam Cronheim) are two baseball players, doing their best to avoid a zombie apocalypse by keeping to the gorgeous backroads of New England. Ben survives by second nature. He clears out each house with a baseball bat, scavenging for supplies while cracking jokes. But he refuses to spend a night indoors -- being trapped inside by a hoard once was enough for a lifetime. Mickey is having a harder time adjusting to life among the undead. He hides behind the bulky earphones of his battery operated CD player, blocking out the world with indie rock. It's a point of contention: Ben constantly harps on him to turn it down and be aware of his surroundings. He even sneaks behind his friend, making loud zombie noises to prove the point.

Continue reading →

Review: Splice (2009)

Horror Movie Mini-Review by Zeus | 2014-04-02

Splice (2009)

In this modern day take on Frankenstein, Clive Nicoli (Adrien Brody) and Elsa Kast (Sarah Polley) are genetic engineers who play God, something that hasn't worked out well for main characters ever since the first Passion Play. Their corporate overlord wants them to create slug-like creatures and harvest them for medical patents. The slugs, Fred and Ginger, seem to get along. (The special effects are great, and they get the best scene in the movie, which I won't spoil for you here.) All is well until Clive and Elsa sneak off at night to combine human DNA (and not in the traditional way, if you know what I'm sayin'). Their illegal experiment results in a nasty, teardrop-shaped monster that stings Elsa's arm during the birthing process and nearly kills her. The proof-of-concept was never supposed to get this far. Clive argues they should kill it, Elsa isn't so sure.

Continue reading →

Review: Penumbra (2011)

Horror Movie Mini-Reviews by Zeus | 2014-04-02

Penumbra (2011)

A foul-tempered Spanish businesswoman named Magda (Cristina Brondo) is slumming it up in Buenos Aires, skipping work to sell her family's Argentinean apartment. Her dislike for the city and its locals is evident. She doesn't even care about the impending total solar eclipse.

Continue reading →

Sony's Innovation, Dedication, or Lack Thereof

Rant by Zeus | 2014-03-22

On the heels of the Oculus Rift, Sony has announced their own VR helmet. Project Morpheus is bound to be a technological wonder, but it's Sony's their technology I'm worried about.

Continue reading →

Links

You can find more of my work here:

A few of my favorite websites:

Grumblette Archive