Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Jack's Back

Watched November 17, 2013

Starring: James Spader, Cynthia Gibb, Robert Picardo,

I don't think I comprehended how much I like James Spader until I saw this movie. It's not so much that his performance is outstanding, it's more that you seen him shirtless a lot. When I picked up the VHS, I knew that it wasn't straight up horror but I figured it would be some fun as the premise is based around a serial killer.

A serial killer has begun killing prostitutes on the 100th anniversary of the Jack the Ripper murders. The police are on the case but they don't have much to go on, but they do end up linking all the prostitutes to a health clinic. John (James Spader) is a doctor who works at the clinic and is also curious about the connection to the clinic. He begins to do his own research trying to figure out who the murderer may be. He is suspicious of one of the clinic technicians, Jack (Rex Ryon) so he follows him after work. John finds him at the apartment of clinic's patients, he busts in to see that the woman covered in blood. Jack tries to flee with John in pursuit, they end up in a city government building, where Jack says he just was giving the woman an abortion, but they he tries to strangle Jack. They get in a big tussle, it ending with Jack hanging John to make it look like a suicide. 

*SPOILER* Cut to John waking up from a nightmare, or so we think. It's not John, but his twin brother Rick who through some weird twin connection saw the murder. The cops think it was a suicide because they also think that John is the serial killer. Rick is now on the mission to clear his brother's name and find the real killer. Rick meets up with Chris (Cynthia Gibb) who worked with John at the clinic. They have some instant chemistry, but Rick doesn't know exactly how to clear his brother's name. The cops question Rick and they hypnotize him since he claims to have details about John's murder. In his hypnotic state he relives the last moments on John's life and sees who killed John, it was Jack! They find Jack but can't link him to any of the prostitute murders. Several people come up as witnesses that John couldn't have committed some of the murders because he was out of town on a business conference. The killer is still out there and the cops now think it's Rick. 

Rick has another hunch and goes to the house where Jack lives and steals a bag that has some dirty latex gloves in it, tying Jack to the murder of the last woman that was killed the night that John was also murdered. The real killer is preparing to kill again. He heads to Chris's house where she is sleeping. He breaks in, in turns out the real killer is the head of the clinic and a total asshole as we have seen throughout the film. Luckily Rick busts through the window to save Chris and the cops show up because they were following Rick, thinking he was the killer.

Chris and Rick embrace and the end but they don't kiss which makes sense because they both were almost murdered. There aren't any sex scenes in the movie, which is a little bit of a letdown but is also really logical because Rick just lost his brother and people are being murdered left and right which isn't really a turn on, for most people anyway.

Since he plays twins you get twice the James Spader action, you get straight laced doctor Spader and bad boy shoe salesman Spader, who wears sleeveless shirts. If you don't like James Spader, don't watch this movie, but otherwise it's a good thriller with some cool twists.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Fright Night

Watched November 11, 2013

Starring: Chris Sarandon, William Ragsdale, Amanda Bearse, Roddy McDowall

I picked up Fright Night 2 while in Portland digging through the Goodwill bins, but I'd never seen the first one. Luckily, Jen had a VHS copy to loan me so I could catch up before we watch the sequel. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this movie, it was a treat after all the crap I usually watch.

Charley (William Ragsdale) in a regular teen who lives in a normal suburban neighborhood. He's a big fan of Fight Night, a horror show on TV hosted by Peter Vincent (Roddy McDowall). He's got a sweet girlfriend Amy (Amanda Bearse) who he's pressuring to go all the way, but she's not ready. 

One night he notices that someone is moving into the empty house next door. He sees a coffin being brought into the house and is immediately suspicious. Charley continues to watch his neighbor and becomes convinced he is a vampire, after all he watches Fright Night all the time and he knows the signs. The new neighbor Jerry (Chris Sarandon) sees Charley spying on him in the bushes, so he later tries to kill Charley by throwing him out the window. Obviously Charley is right that Jerry is a vampire. Charley tells this to Amy but she is doubtful, to quell his fears she pays Peter Vincent to come over to Jerry's house to help prove that Jerry isn't a vampire. They get Jerry to drink fake holy water, so it appears that he isn't a vampire. Charley is still suspicious but he doesn't have any more proof, so he leaves with Amy and his crazy friend Evil Ed (Stephen Geoffreys). 

The night is not over yet, Jerry is aware that Charley knows his secret. Jerry bites Evil Ed, turning him into the goofiest vampire ever, with amazingly huge teeth and fangs. Peter Vincent goes home, thinking that it's all a silly joke, but then he's attacked by Evil Ed.  Meanwhile Amy and Charley are trying to run away from Jerry, they try to lose him in a night club. Jerry is very attracted to Amy, she looks likes one of his former lovers. In the club, Jerry casts a seduction spell on Amy and takes her back to his house. Peter Vincent is now convinced that vampires are real, Evil Ed turns into a wolf to attack him but Peter stabs him. There is a fantastic sequence of Evil Ed morphing from a wolf back to vampire as he dies.

Peter and Charley meet up to head into Jerry's house to get Amy back. Jerry has bitten Amy and leaves her to painfully transform into a vampire. Peter and Charley are confronted by Jerry's bodyguard, they shoot him multiple times but he keeps coming back. Finally they stab him and he melts into green goo and a skeleton that fades away, it's awesome. Now they have to get Jerry who can escape them as a bat and as fog, plus Amy is now a vampire. Peter is convinced they can save Amy by killing Jerry before sunrise. Jerry retreats to the basement as the sun is beginning to rise, and it seems that all is done for our heroes. Through chance they break a blacked out window that begins to let in the sun, they continue to break windows until Jerry is blasted with sunlight and destroyed.

This movie is great! The special effects are excellent. Chris Sarandon is so good as the vampire. I love the over the top vampire teeth on Evil Ed and Amy. I highly recommend this movie, it's funny and scary. If the sequel is even half as good I will enjoy it, so stayed tuned for Fright Night 2.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Day of the Dolphin

Watched October 13, 2013

Starring: George C. Scott, Trish Van Devere, Paul Sorvino, Edward Herrmann

Before watching this movie, all I knew about it was from The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror episode that parodies it. That episode is pretty great so I figured the source material should be at least a little fun. The tagline on the back of the box is " He unwittingly trained a dolphin to assisinate the president."

Dr. Jake Terrell (George C. Scott) is a marine biologist who has been working with a dolphin named Alpha on an island lab. He has been keeping the exact scope of his work a secret but some pieces of it have leaked out regarding teaching the dolphin to talk. Curtis Mahoney (Paul Sorvino) is a reporter who makes his way onto the island to try to discover what is the nature of the research. Dr. Terrell and his wife Maggie (Trish Van Devere) get a little warning on this and hide Alpha, instead letting Curtis on see Beta, the new female dolphin.  I'm not sure why Dr. Terrell is so secretive about his research, but he does think that what he is working on with Alpha could be used for evil.

Dr. Terrell ultimately does give a presentation of Alpha's speaking abilities to bunch of old men, who have some sort of sway. Alpha answers Dr. Terrell's questions, the men aren't totally impressed and they keep asking Alpha weird questions that he can't answer.

The group of old men are some sort of secret organization and they steal Alpha and Beta. This is where we learn of their plan. Since Alpha can speak and understand specific commands they plan on using him to blow up the president's yacht. They do this by strapping a backpack bomb on Alpha that is magnetized and when Alpha swims under the boat it will attach to the hull.  It's a very strange plan and is ultimately foiled because Alpha puts the bomb underneath the bad guys boat.

If you really like dolphins perhaps you'll enjoy this film, there is a lot of footage of the dolphins just frolicking in the water. When the dolphins talk it sounds terrible, lots of Fa loves Bea and Fa love Pa. Fa being a shorter version of Alpha and Bea a shortened version of Beta. It's such a strange concept that you might think it would be more enjoyable but it's long and boring. One of the stranger scenes is when Dr. Terrell is showing Curtis his reel to reel tapes of Alpha progressing with language. Instead of just playing one at a time he just starts playing one after the other so they're all playing horrible dolphins sounds layered on top of each other.