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Feb 082017
 

I’ve seen some movies about giant monstrous spiders and the most memorable one to me was Eight Legged Freaks, but that soon changed when I saw Big Ass Spider!. This is about a giant spider, which was an experiment gone wrong, that’s on the loose. It starts small, but only gets bigger, not to mention stronger and faster.

The movie starts with exterminator Alex Mathis (Greg Gunberg) waking up on the ground in the middle of an intense battle against the giant spider. Then suddenly, it cuts to an earlier time. It’s so hard to follow a movie when it does that, especially when I see it for the first time.

As the story goes, Alex gets bitten by a spider and treated at the hospital. Suddenly, a mysterious spider comes out of a dead body and starts attacking people. Now this spider is bigger than any other and is smart enough to unzip zippers, open sewer grates, and snatch rolling quarters with ease. That’s definitely out of the ordinary.

Alex offers his services as an exterminator with the help of security guard Jose Ramos (Lombordo Boyar). He is such a comedic character and is very helpful in his own way.

Then suddenly the military is involved. Major Braxton Tanner (Ray Wise) intends to hunt down this spider before anyone, Major Tanner doesn’t take him seriously.

Of course that doesn’t stop Alex and Jose. They track the spider themselves as the army does the same. As the spider continues to grow while loose in the city, it catches and eats people really fast. It was creepy enough when the spider attacked in its small size.

Also assisting Major Tanner is Lieutenant Karly Brant (Clare Kramer). Alex likes her, even though she can come off cold. Eventually Karly does warm up to him, but she’s a soldier first.

I met Clare Kramer at Mini MegaCon 2009 and still remember how sweet she was.

It’s interesting that Lloyd Kaufman has a cameo. I thought he looked familiar.

This was a good movie with plenty of Sci-fi action and humor. As creepy as this spider was, I have to say that the scariest movie spider would be the one on Arachnophobia. It may be a lot smaller, but still very deadly.

Oct 192016
 

As much as I enjoyed the first film, I couldn’t wait to see its sequel Hotel Transylvania 2 and believe me it was well worth it.

Much has changed at Hotel Transylvania. Now that humans and monsters live in peace and harmony, Dracula (voice of Adam Sandler) approves of human guests and his daughter Mavis (voice of Selena Gomez) is married to Johnny (voice of Andy Samberg). Could things get any better?

Yes they can. Mavis and Johnny have a son named Dennis (voice of Asher Blinkoff), who is half human, half vampire, (a.k.a. a dhampir) and just adorable. Dracula is very close with Dennis. In fact, he even disguised himself as a nurse to see his grandson. That’s just not something you would ever expect Count Dracula to do.

Johnny’s family is introduced in this sequel. His father Mike (voice of Nick Offerman) is always so serious as he tolerates everyone around him. Johnny’s mother Linda (voice of Megan Mullally) tries to be kind but always ends up putting her foot in her mouth, making things become awkward.

Dracula has high hopes for Dennis to show his vampire side, but it hasn’t surfaced yet. Secondly, Dennis’s favorite monster is Kakie (voice of Chris Kattan) a TV monster that’s friendly like Elmo and bit corny.

After seeing how the numerous wolf pups can move around like a wild tornado, Mavis believes that the hotel is not a good place to raise Dennis and considers moving to Johnny’s hometown in California. While the two of them are gone, Dracula sees this as an opportunity to inspire Dennis. So Dracula and his friends Frankenstein (voice of Kevin James), Wayne the Wolfman (voice of Steve Buscemi), Griffin the invisible man (voice of David Spade), and Murray the mummy (voice of Keegan-Michael Key) take Dennis on a road trip to their old haunts. Even Blobby the blob monster comes along for laughs.

Once Mavis finds out, she is so determined to get back to the hotel, she actually carries Johnny and their luggage herself while flying back to Transylvania as a bat. I never thought Mavis was that strong. I guess it goes to show that you should never underestimate the power of a concerned vampire mother.

Here’s a cool addition. The hotel has an organ player, who is none other than the Phantom of the Opera (voice of Jon Lovitz). It’s neat how he was thrown in so randomly. That got me thinking. There’s no mention of what became of Quasimodo after how he was left in the first movie.

It isn’t until much later when we see Dracula’s father Vlad (voice of Mel Brooks). Although Vlad dislikes humans even more than Dracula used to, the real threat is Vlad’s servant bat monster Bela (voice of Rob Riggle) and his bat crew, since they’re always up front about it.

I really like this movie and find it even funnier than the first one. I also saw online that there is a third installment in the works. I have no doubt that it will only get better from here.

May 042016
 

It’s been a long time since the fourth installment of the Tremors franchise, which left the impression that it was all over. Now it’s back with Tremors 5: Bloodlines. Once again Burt Gummer (Michael Gross), the only original character to return, is back fighting graboids and other monsters to come from them.

Burt is now famous because he has a series about being a survivalist and has his own brand of marinade made from cactus juice. You’ve got to admire Burt’s level of resourcefulness.

While filming an episode, Burt is approached by videographer Travis Welker (Jaime Kennedy) who is wild on a motorcycle and becomes Burt’s new cameraman after the old one leaves. Travis is also a big fan of Burt and intends to expand his brand, despite Burt’s reluctance.

Soon Erich Van Wyk (Daniel Janks) from the South African Wildlife Ministry arrives and tells Burt of a graboid problem in South Africa. It’s hard to believe since they are confined in Perfection, Nevada, but there is no better man to handle the problem than Burt Gummer.

We all know how Burt likes to be over prepared. However, the gun laws in Africa are too strict forcing Burt to result in basic firearms that aren’t nearly powerful enough to kill a graboid or their kin. At least Burt can use his electronic seismic vibration monitor and heat blocking gear.

Burt is also known for his hilarity. The best example in this movie is the scene when Burt ends up caged and left for dead. Even with his survival skills, the heat from the sun causes Burt to go insane.

Eventually the monster reveals itself as a new and even more advanced breed of graboid. It’s like a combination of all three types (graboid, shrieker, and ass-blaster) with an even creepier presence and clawed feet like a raptor. What will the franchise come up with next?

I’ll tell you what, a queen graboid that can leap out of the ground along with detachable snake tongues that attack separately, is creepier than any of the other graboids they had before.

This was an interesting sequel to help bring back the Tremors franchise after 12 years. Will there be another sequel with Burt and Travis teaming up again? Only time will tell.

Mar 302016
 

The classic comedy trio of horror stars from the 60s, Vincent Price, Peter Lorre, and Boris Karloff, unite once again in The Comedy Of Terrors. Unlike some of their earlier horror classics, this movie is not based on an Edgar Allan Poe poem.

Undertaker Waldo Trumbull (Vincent Price) struggles to keep his funeral parlor in business. In an effort to save money, Trumbull and his assistant Felix Gillie (Peter Lorre) reuse the same coffin after every funeral. That first scene uses that fast motion comedy like on The Munsters. It leaves me laughing every time I see it.

The original owner of the funeral parlor was Amos Hinchley (Boris Karloff). He’s now old, sick, and senile, not to mention deaf and gullible.

Hinchley also has a daughter, Amaryllis (Joyce Jameson). She is Trumbull’s wife and an aspiring opera singer. However, Amaryllis is miserable because Trumbull is often drunk and is always mean to her. As for Amaryllis’s singing, it’s okay at first. Then when she reaches the high notes, they cause hilarious results.

With the landlord Mr. Black (Basil Rathbone) demanding the rent, Trumbull gets an idea. He and Gillie go to Mr. Black’s house to kill him and make him a customer. However, the plan is in jeopardy when it’s revealed that Mr. Black has a condition that he goes into a deathlike sleep and wakes right up unexpectedly. It’s so funny when that keeps happening, as though nothing can kill Mr. Black.

Throughout the movie, Amaryllis’s pet cat Cleopatra is in the thick of things with reactions that are hilarious like when the cat can’t stand Amaryllis’s singing. It certainly was an interesting use of cat humor.

This was a good horror film for its time. It’s really the level of comedy that makes it a classic, especially after how great The Raven was in the same manner.

Jan 132016
 

One of Edgar Allan Poe’s most famous poems is The Raven. I first heard about it as a segment on the very first Simpsons Halloween Special. Then shortly after I discovered that back in the 60s there was a full-length movie about The Raven based on that old poem, but with many new additions.

Dr. Erasmus Craven (Vincent Price) is a sorcerer mourning the loss of his wife Lenore (Hazel Court). Then it’s revealed that Dr. Craven has a daughter, Estelle (Olive Sturgess), and that’s just the first of many added elements to the movie that were not in the original poem.

The raven that comes to Dr. Craven through his window is actually another sorcerer under an enchantment and can say a lot more than just “nevermore”.

This sorcerer is Dr. Bedlo (Peter Lorre). He loves wine and has hilarious antics. The chemistry between Peter Lorre and Vincent Price is so great that I can always tell that whenever they team up, it’s easy to see that the movie will be a hilarious horror feature.

Dr. Beldo also has a son named Rexford (Jack Nicholson). Even though The Raven was one of Jack Nicholson’s earlier films, I can’t get over how amazing it is to see how young he looked back then.

The main villain is master sorcerer Dr. Scarabus (Boris Karloff). It was he who transformed Dr. Bedlo in an unfair duel and took his magic equipment. Now Dr. Bedlo wants revenge. Dr. Craven joins him after realizing how powerful Dr. Scarabus has become and that Lenore’s spirit is also involved.

First when Dr. Bedlo takes him on, Dr. Scarabus stops him easily. He actually melts Dr. Bedlo’s wand by blowing on it. That’s a funny highlight when Dr. Beldo reacts to it by saying, “You dirty old man.”

The real display of power is shown when Dr. Craven and Dr. Scarabus battle in a magic duel to the death. The effects may appear cartoonish compared to today’s standards, but are still just as exciting.

This is a real horror classic and it’s so poetic how Vincent Price narrates as he recites part of the original poem. He’s such an amazing actor. In fact it was this movie, The Raven, that first got me interested in other Vincent Price horror films of that era. I’ll be blogging about some of those in the future.