The Ruins

Film, 2008

It seems like the book this movie was based on might have been very good; it has character subplots that develop over the course of the story, a spooky setting and maybe even some themes. But if they existed in the book they’re all completely fumbled here. And without any characterization, atmosphere or themes to speak of, all we’re left with is a torturous hour and a half of people gorily chopping each other up for no real logical reason. It is horrible to sit though, in every way imaginable.
1


The Gate II

Film, 1990

(Disclaimer: I was drunk when I watched this movie) The Gate II seems like fan fiction sequel to the original The Gate, written, directed and starring one of the members of the supporting cast of the original (Louis Tripp). It wasn’t, but I guess what I’m trying to express is that The Gate II seems more like a fun throwback at the original Gate than a serious continuation of the original’s plot and atmosphere. It takes every opportunity to glorify it’s only holdover from the original film, who has sacrificed all of his characterization as a troubled kid in favor of being a mystic hero. The special effects are still there (if not even better on the technical side), but the tone has switched from terror to comedy by prominently featuring a duo of bumbling young criminals. Still worth watching, but put your bar real low. 1.5


Wishmaster 2

Film, 1999

I actually liked this a lot more than the first Wishmaster. I’m sure this film’s predecessor lowering the bar helped me enjoy the=is one more, but I had a lot of fun with it. It was looser and goofier. It lacks the above average special effects of the first one, but has a couple of inspired set pieces. They play a little more with the themes involved (greed, risk), but the plot holes are a mile wide. For fans of goofy, pre-turn of the century “horror” only. 1.5


Wild Guitar

If you’re looking for a weird, dreadful old rock and roll movie, you can’t do much better than this. The criminals are great, but what’s up with the sellout ending? Also, the music’s not as cool as the title “Wild Guitar” would imply. 2/5


Wishmaster

Film, 1997

This terrible movie is only made watchable by some great special effects (but not as many as you would think, with it being directed by Robert Kurtzman of legendary effects group KNB) and by inviting the viewer to play “spot the horror star”, because it’s packed full of them (Tony Todd, Sam Raimi’s brother, Kane Hodder, the voice of Angus Scrimm, Kurtzman’s KNB partner Howard Berger, and on and on, all present due to the involvement of said director). There are some nice moments of horror, but it’s shot too cleanly to really look scary- watch it on a dirty old VHS if you can. The sound on my DVD copy (a double bill with it’s direct-to-video sequel) was horribly mixed- I had to manually adjust the volume the entire time. The opening scene contains a few quick shots of the best looking animated skeleton I’ve ever seen. 1


The Tingler

The Tingler is everything you want out of a B Movie. Weird, awkward, inept and possibly psychologically disturbed, it exudes just the right levels of wtf-ness. Most times when you decide to watch a bad old movie you end up regretting it, losing an hour and a half of your life to boring nonsense, but The Tingler is entertaining all the way through. Plus, there is something kind of flat-out, non-ironically brilliant about Castle’s movie gimmicks. 3.5/5


The Deadly Spawn

Not the most boring 80’s horror movie I’ve ever seen, but far from the best. Some good monsters and good gore, but too many loosely edited scenes of scenes of people wandering around aimlessly to be fun. I think they were trying to build tension. There is a hilarious scene with a bunch of old ladies hitting the worm-things with their purses though. 1.5/5


Ghoulies

Well, I finally saw it. After being traumatized by it’s cover since I was a child, I finally saw the movie behind it. Unfortunately the madcap Ghoulies action that the cover promises never really comes to pass, and there’s not one Ghoulie in an adorable little shirt in the whole movie. The plot centers mostly around a guy becoming obsessed with black magic and his stupid friends, who the filmmakers couldn’t possibly have made you care less about. Highlights include a scary (though totally superfluous) clown doll, some creepy midgets and a weird lady killing a guy with her whip-tongue. Those three elements got it an extra half star from me, but certainly don’t make the movie worth it. 1.5/5


Mr. Halloween

Film, 2007

It’s great to see such enthusiasm for filmmaking, but this could have used several more passes through the editing room. It has very low production values. The actor who portrays the villain is great fun to watch- I would love to see him in a larger budgeted bad horror movie! 1


Stomp! Shout! Scream!

It’s not a tribute to old beach party monster movies, it IS an old beach party monster movie. With a killer soundtrack. 4/5