Silver Emulsion

Film Reviews

Hideous! (1997)

Hideous! (1997)

Starring Michael Citriniti, Rhonda Griffin, Mel Johnson Jr., Jacqueline Lovell, Tracie May, Jerry O’Donnell, Andrew Johnston, Mircea Constantinescu, Alexandru Agarici

Directed by Charles Band

Expectations: High, the trailer on Video Zone was pretty awesome looking.


 

Hideous! falls into that strange category of films that succeed in being entertaining, despite an overwhelming amount of stupid moves that would otherwise equal a film abomination. I suppose one could argue that Charles Band is a master of such feats. Apparently, it didn’t do as well as they would have liked though, as there was never a sequel when it’s obvious they could have gone on a tirade of these kinds of movies if the market supported it. It’s kind of a shame because I’d love to see what other types of fucked up, half-grown human fetuses the team at Full moon could have conjured up.

The plot of Hideous! is played completely for laughs. Right from the get-go the light tone is established with three hard-working dudes working at a sewage treatment plant, fishing out random things from the sludge. With all this talk of sewage I almost thought I was watching a Troma movie for a second! The guys pull out a grotesque blob of flesh and one of the men recognizes it as something special. He quickly whisks it away and puts it in the hands of Belinda Yost (Tracie May), a dealer in all things deformed. This begins a struggle between two of the biggest collectors of rare mutations that eventually lands everyone involved stuck inside a castle, hunted down by the little nasties. Yeah, pretty much the Full Moon go-to plot, but the film is designed strictly to entertain and it does just that, as long as you have your expectations set properly.

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November 16, 2010 Posted by | 1990s, Comedy, Good Trash, Horror, Movie Reviews, Rating: 2 Stars | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Uncle Jasper reviews: Vamp (1986)

Vamp (1986)

Starring Chris Makepeace, Sandy Baron, Robert Rusler, Dedee Pfeiffer, Gedde Watanabe, Grace Jones, Billy Drago

Directed By Richard Wenk


 

Let me get this out of the way. Vamp is a fucking hoot. It’s a genuinely superb horror comedy in the same vein as Fright Night and Night of the Creeps, but it oozes enough style and a quirky tongue-in-cheek swagger to really set itself apart from the pack. There are a lot of vampire films out there, and a lot of those were made in the 80s, but only one of them features the 9 foot tall, Manute Bol lookalike Grace Jones as a freaky vampire stripper who partakes in jugular snacks from young frat boys and rips the hearts out from insolent servants.

Indeed, Vamp strikes its campy tone right off the bat and runs with it. From the clever first scene you know exactly what you’re getting into. The action follows Keith and AJ, a couple of college dregs doing what they can to enter some freaky, high-brow fraternity. With their hope almost lost, they pledge to bring in booze and strippers in a last ditch attempt to gain acceptance. With the help of uber-prep Duncan (played by Gedde Watanabe of Sixteen Candles fame) the trio embark on a trip to the big city in search of the alluring “After Hours Club”. Yeah yeah, I know what you’re thinking… this is no different from the goofy college boy antics I’ve seen before in Animal House and Revenge of the Nerds. Can’t argue with that, but it’s during Vamp’s second act that things take a turn for the better.

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November 15, 2010 Posted by | 1980s, Comedy, Horror, Movie Reviews, Uncle Jasper Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

Starring Richard Dreyfuss, François Truffaut, Teri Garr, Melinda Dillon, Bob Balaban, J. Patrick McNamara, Warren J. Kemmerling, Roberts Blossom, Philip Dodds, Cary Guffey

Directed by Steven Spielberg

Expectations: Love it. Haven’t seen it in a while.


 

Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind is a masterful film, bursting at the seams with a wealth of beautifully composed shots, wonderful John Williams music and a great sense of wonder. This is the kind of film only a budding filmmaker could have made, a true love letter to the dreamer fueled on passion and heart. This is made all the more interesting by the fact that in this case, the dream itself is implanted into our hero’s mind by the extraterrestrials. Much in the same way, Spielberg has inserted his own vision of first contact into millions of minds, forever changing the way we look at aliens.

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November 13, 2010 Posted by | 1970s, Drama, Movie Reviews, Rating: 4 Stars, Science Fiction | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Uncle Jasper reviews: Blind Fury (1989)

Blind Fury (1989)

Starring Rutger Hauer, Terry O’Quinn, Brandon Call, Noble Willingham, Lisa Blount, Nick Cassavetes, Rick Overton, Randall “Tex” Cobb, Meg Foster, Sho Kosugi

Directed By Phillip Noyce


 

Sometimes you just have to roll with your intuition. No matter how silly and bizarre your idea initially looks on paper you just gotta go on with that gut feeling, confident that there is something about it that just feels “right”. I would imagine that’s how director Phillip Noyce and writer Charles Robert Carner felt as they sat down gingerly, committing this unique slice of 80s action to celluloid.

Blind Fury is a film that once again proves just how versatile and universal the Japanese samurai film was. After the Italians made Yojimbo into a western, and George Lucas threw a little bit of The Hidden Fortress into Star Wars, I guess it was only a matter of time before we had Rutger Hauer combing American highways as a Vietnam veteran incarnation of Zatoichi, taking on the mob almost single-handedly with his walking cane which housed a razor-sharp samurai sword.

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November 11, 2010 Posted by | 1980s, Action, Comedy, Martial Arts, Movie Reviews, Uncle Jasper Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Uninvited (1988)

Uninvited (1988)

Starring Toni Hudson, Eric Larson, Alex Cord, George Kennedy, Clu Gulager, Clare Carey, Rob Estes, Shari Shattuck

Directed by Greydon Clark

Expectations: Low. I don’t know anything about this except it has a killer mutated cat.


 

Well, I gotta give this movie credit. I’ve never seen a horror movie about an escaped lab cat that has a mutated version of itself living inside it that crawls out of its mouth to kill those that do it wrong. That’s about where the imagination ends in Uninvited, but with such a killer setup, it would be a shame if they wasted it. Thankfully they don’t, and the killer cat mutation stuff is fantastic, it’s just everything else surrounding it that’s kind of lame. As a low-budget horror film from the late 80s though, it should be expected that “the other stuff” is gonna be fairly sub-par.

Uninvited is yet another entry into the “stuck in a location being hunted down by an unseen killer” subgenre of horror that I mentioned in my Crash and Burn review yesterday. The subgenre is brilliant in its simplicity and absolute flexibility. It’s like Madlibs for the movies, where if you can think up a good location for the people to be stuck in, along with a creative type of killer, you’ve pretty much got yourself a winner. Films within the subgenre become instantly recognizable by these two traits alone, and simply by mentioning them you should be able to jog your friend’s memory to recall what film you’re talking about. Horror fans will forever remember Uninvited as “the one where the mutated cat kills people on a yacht.”

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November 10, 2010 Posted by | 1980s, Horror, Movie Reviews, Rating: 1 & 1/2 Stars | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Crash and Burn (1990)

Crash and Burn (1990)

Starring Paul Ganus, Megan Ward, Ralph Waite, Bill Moseley, Eva La Rue, Jack McGee, Elizabeth Maclellan, Katherine Armstrong

Directed by Charles Band

Expectations: Moderate. I don’t expect the movie to be good, but at least it has giant robots.


 

Oh Crash and Burn, why did you go and pull the bait and switch on me? Why do you promise another big robot spectacle ala Robot Jox, only to provide a sub-standard Blade Runner / Terminator / Alien mashup? I should know better than to go in with distinct expectations, but they really got me this time. The clever ruse of putting a giant robot on the box art and titling the film Robot Jox 2: Crash and Burn in some markets should have clued me in, but I was coming off the high of watching Robot Jox and what can I say? I was pumped.

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November 9, 2010 Posted by | 1990s, Horror, Movie Reviews, Rating: 1 & 1/2 Stars, Science Fiction | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Uncle Jasper reviews: Robot Jox (1990)

Robot Jox (1990)

Starring Gary Graham, Anne-Marie Johnson, Paul Koslo, Robert Sampson, Danny Kamekona, Hilary Mason, Michael Alldredge

Directed By Stuart Gordon


 

My scarce memories of Robot Jox stem more from the trailer than from my first (and only) viewing of the film way back in the early 90s. When Will and I were scheduling reviews for the remainder of 2010, I plopped Robot Jox on there as an excuse to revisit this long forgotten gem after all of these years. Imagine my surprise when Will got back to me with the news that it was an Empire film! …Doh! Being only about 11 years old at the time, I obviously had no idea. Since Will is our resident expert on all things Charles Band, I was a little wary about taking the reigns, but he has given his blessing and I’m proud to contribute my first entry into the long running Empire / Full Moon series here at Silver Emulsion!

Any movie fan who even occasionally dips their feet into the waters of Science Fiction no doubt has seen their share of dystopian futures. You have heavy-handed, big-brother police states like 1984, rain-slicked neon cyberpunk slums ala Blade Runner, and the savage survival world of Mad Max. That’s all fine and dandy, but all we really need to solve the serious problems of the future are gigantic fucking robots stomping the balls off of each other out in the arid hills of Death Valley.

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November 8, 2010 Posted by | 1990s, Action, Movie Reviews, Science Fiction, Uncle Jasper Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Falkenau, the Impossible (1988)

Falkenau, the Impossible [Falkenau, Vision de L’Impossible] (1988)

Starring Samuel Fuller

Directed by Emil Weiss

Expectations: High. I have been eagerly anticipating watching this since I reviewed The Big Red One a couple months back.


 

After moving to France following all the NAACP hoopla surrounding his last American film White Dog, Sam Fuller seemed to finally get the adoration and credit he always deserved at the hands of many European filmmakers and fans. One way they showed this gratitude was by making documentary films about the man, starring and narrated by Fuller himself. This is the first of these that I will be reviewing for the site and it is an apt place to start after recently looking at Fuller’s epic WWII film, The Big Red One. That film ends with the liberation of the Falkenau concentration camp, and it is this event that is the main subject of this documentary.

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November 5, 2010 Posted by | 1980s, Documentary, Movie Reviews, Rating: 3 & 1/2 Stars, Short, War | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Uncle Jasper reviews: Challenge of the Masters (1976)

Challenge of the Masters [陸阿采與黃飛鴻] (1976)

Starring Gordon Liu Chia-Hui, Chen Kuan-Tai, Lau Kar-Leung, Kong Yeung, Wong Yu, Lau Kar Wing, Lily Li Li-Li, Fung Hak-On

Directed By Lau Kar-Leung


 

I was a little nervous on revisiting Challenge of the Masters after such a long time in-between viewings of it. It’s a film that I have a long history with since copying it off of a well-worn VHS copy back during the infancy of Blockbuster Video. Yeah, that’s how we did shit back in the days before digital distribution, instant streaming, and the rise of the World Wide Web. Back then, I had no idea what the deal with the Shaw Brothers was. I recognized Gordon Liu in a couple of other films, but directors, actors, and choreographers meant very little to me at the time. I just knew that when I saw that big, fat SB shield accompanied by the thundering fanfare, it was going to be a higher grade kung fu film than I was used to getting. Challenge of the Masters wound up becoming my favorite martial arts film of the Shaw Bros studios. Now revisiting it 17 years later, I can safely say that is an accolade which still stands.

The film is an “origin story” of sorts to the character of Wong Fei-Hung, whom Gordon Liu plays masterfully here. Jet Li did such a good job of making him seem like a righteous and invincible badass in the Once Upon a Time in China series, that it may come as a shock here to find the character portrayed as a clumsy, unsophisticated, buffoon of sorts, prone to bouts of self-pity and frequent temper tantrums. This is all for the sake of the film however, as Challenge of the Masters presents the ultimate journey in martial arts cinema by taking the “unteachable” teenage Fei-Hung and details his transformation into China’s most well-known folk hero.

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November 4, 2010 Posted by | 1970s, Action, Foreign, Martial Arts, Movie Reviews, Uncle Jasper Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Ghost Writer (2010)

The Ghost Writer (2010)

Starring Ewan McGregor, Pierce Brosnan, Olivia Williams, Kim Cattrall, Tom Wilkinson, Timothy Hutton, James Belushi, Eli Wallach

Directed by Roman Polanski

Expectations: Low. As much as Polanski is a great, this looks like it will be so-so.


 

The Ghost Writer, the new film from Roman Polanski, is a thinly veiled tale about Tony Blair Adam Lang (Pierce Brosnan), a British ex-Prime Minister who is being accused of war crimes, specifically of turning terrorists over to the CIA so that they could be tortured. One of the terrorists died and now while the shit hits the fan, ghost writer Ewan McGregor must come in and help Lang finish his memoir. Lang’s previous ghost writer was found washed up on the beach, a belly full of booze and the cause of death questionable. McGregor gets down to business and over the course of the film uncovers some information his unfortunate predecessor was investigating when he died.

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November 3, 2010 Posted by | 2010s, Drama, Movie Reviews, Rating: 2 Stars, Thriller | , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments