Friday
Jul062012

Who Was This Made For? GHOSTRIDERS (1987) Review

Don’t you just love genre-blenders? It almost always feels like a weird science experiment that could either go horribly right or horribly wrong. The balance of horror and comedy has already been proven to work if placed in the right hands (Shaun of the Dead), and action and horror also work very well together (Maniac Cop). Heck, even something as drastic as a horror/musical/comedy/romance has been pulled off with remarkable success before (Phantom of the Paradise)! But what about a horror/Western? Gold had already been struck in that field with the fantastic Ghost Town in 1988, so shouldn’t this be able to work again? Let’s see.

 

Ghostriders (1987) Review

 

100 years ago, a band of outlaws were put to the death by a Reverend out for justice. In the present day, the descendants of that Reverend and the mob that lynched the outlaws are living normal, peaceful lives in a small town. However, the ghosts of the outlaws feel this is the time to return and begin stalking a small group of friends through the local woods. Can these demonic bandits be stopped? And who will survive to tell the tale?

 

NEVER before in my whole experience in film-watching have I been THIS insulted by a movie. Sorry to just come right out with my opinion, but I HATE this movie with every inch of my heart. Before this, I always believed that Backwoods was the worst movie of the glorious ‘80s. Then this came along like a homing missile filled with excrement and aimed right at my head. And it hit me. Hard. To me, the perfect genre-blender is one you can show to fans of one genre and they love it, then show to fans of the other genre and they love it too. Ghostriders fails miserably as a Western, and fails even more miserably as a horror movie.

 

First off, it’s not a badly made movie. The acting is all at least competent and the camerawork is alright, but everything else…forget it. The main problem with Ghostriders is that it is BORING. The movie is excruciatingly dull, filled with zero-suspense, zero-gore, zero-thrills, zero-EVERYTHING. The biggest problem is them setting it completely in the woods. Maybe if the “ghost riders” had invaded the actual small town, I wouldn’t be ranting on about this. But no. The entire film is comprised of the main characters (who are all flat, uninteresting, and unlikable) running around the woods, with the occasional shoot-out.

 

Looking for an action movie? Here’s what you get as far as action goes: the ghost riders fire at them. They hide behind a tree and fire back. The ghost riders fire back. The people fire back. They hit a ghost rider. The ghost riders fire back. The people fire back. The people run away. That is literally all you’re getting. Over. And over. And over. Like I said, there’s no suspense, the characters might as well have been cardboard standees, and there’s ONE, count ‘em, ONE explosion. And it’s a relatively small one.

 

Looking for a horror movie? Forget that, too! Maybe if the ghost riders’ faces were all decayed, I could give this film some points for cool antagonists. Nope! Not here! They’re just people with beards. There’s no gore at all (we see a little bit of the red stuff when people get shot, though), the deaths are all the same and uninteresting, and did I mention there’s no suspense to be found anywhere? Oh, and you must be thinking, “Well, I’ll bet this has a great climax!” No. It doesn’t. I won’t spoil it, but one character rigs up a booby trap that sounds like it’s going to be AMAZING, and then it doesn’t work. Then I was thinking, “It’ll work at the last second!” It doesn’t, and just to add onto THAT insult, the way it does end is predictable and horrible. Of course, what did I expect?

 

Ghostriders isn’t just a bad movie. It’s a bad movie that spits in your face and shoots your puppy. It frustrates you to no end and constantly taunts you with something better, then backs out at the last moment. In the end, I don’t know who the target audience for this is at all, and I don’t think the movie knows either. It throws (no, make that “lightly under-hands”) stuff at the wall and sees what sticks, and in the end, nothing does. It has the potential to be an action-packed thrill ride, a scary, suspenseful movie, or at least a “so-bad-it’s-good” adventure, and doesn’t do any of those, instead choosing to walk safely down the middle line of blandness. Thankfully, this one’s never been released on DVD and resides in well-deserved limbo on VHS. Let’s hope no one digs this one up.

The Verdict: Ghostriders is a beyond-boring, listless task that will make you want to throw yourself out a window (I’m not joking; while watching it, I really did feel like jumping out a window because that’s at least exciting). Avoid at all costs.

Score: 2/10 (because it’s at least competently made).

Thursday
Jul052012

My Favorite Horror Victims: Frank, BLOOD SONG (1982)

**Spoilers for the movie Blood Song (1982)**

Blood Song is a 1982 slasher that is primarily remembered because 1950s teen idol Frankie Avalon stars. Only instead of getting killed like in 1969’s Haunted House of Horrors, this time he’s on the other side of the hatchet. I like the movie. It’s fun seeing Frankie play a flute-playing, crazed mass-murderer, I liked the final girl, the final chase is awesome, it’s sometimes gory, and it also has (in my opinion) one of the more interesting slasher victims in the subgenre.

Frank is the father of Marion, the final girl. Throughout most of the movie, Marion wears a leg brace because of a car accident that happened when Frank was drunk at the wheel. Frank is grumpy most of the time, and his wife and daughter seemed to have distanced themselves away from him because of said accident. Frank also has a strong dislike for Marion’s boyfriend Joey, because he is the son of the man who apparently attempted to go out with his wife (when they were all in their teens).

The minute Frank comes on-screen, you have already judged that he is the stereotypical jerk father. However, as the film progresses, we begin to see a tortured soul of sorts; a man who has dug himself in a hole so deep, his family has never forgiven him for it, and acts like a cranky old man as a result. We see brief moments throughout of him trying to make amends, but neither Marion nor his wife accepts. Towards the end, he actually goes up to Marion’s room and knocks on her door just to apologize for everything, but she locks her door and turns her music up just to ignore him.

And when Frankie’s killer breaks in and begins hacking him with his hatchet, Frank fights back, but ends up getting knocked down. Marion comes into the room, and Frankie begins to go after her. Instead of just playing possum longer (which might have led to his survival), Frank shoots up, grabs the killer, and yells for her to run. Then Frankie finishes him off.

Poor Frank. He was so misunderstood. Even though you were a member of The Dirty Dozen, you couldn’t fight off Frankie Avalon. Maybe if that lamp you threw had hit me, you would have kicked the crap out of him. Somehow, that’s not that comforting. Either way, you’re still one of my favorite horror movie victims, so be happy about that.



Wednesday
Jul042012

Top 20 Horror Movies NoT On DVD Yet

 

A lot has happened since I composed a list of my favorite horror movies not on DVD, including several movies that I included (or would include in this one) getting releases! Blood Diner  and 976-EVIL II, two films that would have definitely made the cut, got releases in two Lionsgate 6/8 packs. Killer Workout , Death Spa and Ghosthouse all got MOD releases on Amazon. Others, like Death Valley, Deadly Blessing, The Boogens, Death Ship, and Night of the Scarecrow are getting releases in the future on either DVD or Blu-Ray. So what's left to choose? Well, let's take a look:

TOP 20 HORROR MOVIES NOT ON DVD YET

20. DEMON WIND (1990)

All fart jokes about the title aside...never mind, keep telling them because Demon Wind movie is bad. Not just your average bad, I mean baaaaaad. Fortunately, it also happens to be wildly entertaining for just that reason. In fact, I would say that this is just as funny (and bad) as Troll 2, if not more so. A character gets turned into a doll and no one cares, two more characters show up halfway through and serve no purpose but to bump up the body count, a girl points a stick at a passing car with a stick for nearly two minutes straight, and then there's the climax that would make the end scene of Rock 'n' Roll Nightmare shake its head. And it's all as great as it sounds. The demon make-up effects are really good, and Lou Diamond Phillips plays one of the demons! I am not joking.

19. TWISTED NIGHTMARE (1987)

Why did I choose such a seemingly drab image to represent the awesome power of Twisted Nightmare? Simple; Mr. Mustachio over there on the right is Dean. Cringe in awe at the name. Dean might be the biggest jerk I've ever seen in any slasher, and he's definitely one of the most entertaining characters in any film. EVER. Dean throws a beer can at a hitchhiker and yells insults at him. When the group draws to see which couple gets to sleep where, and Dean & respective other get the floor, he insults all of them, says he's going to leave in the morning, and says how he always hated one of the girls' brothers, who was mentally challenged and was burned alive. That night, when Dean begins to whine about how his back hurts from lying on the floor, his girlfriend makes an innocent suggestion that he sleep on the cot. Dean reacts by getting up, yelling at his girlfriend, and throwing the cot against the wall. Sure, Twisted Nightmare has some great deaths, a huge body count, and more funny bits, but Dean m'boy, YOU are the reason this is on the list.

 

18. TO ALL A GOODNIGHT (1980)

To All A Goodnight has a special place in history for being the first full-on slasher to feature a killer in a Santa suit (Christmas Evil was released the same year, but I don't consider that a full-on slasher). There really isn't much to say about To All A Goodnight other than it's exactly what you expect. It's got a killer dressed as Santa, a decent body count (in the double digits), some gory deaths, nudity, etc. The only other thing of note is that this was David Hess's directorial debut (who also has a cameo in it). It's very generic, but if you're into slashers, it's worth watching.

17. SILENT MADNESS (1984)

Like To All A Goodnight, Silent Madness is pretty generic, but with a few fun twists. For one, the film was released to theaters in 3-D, but on video, those effects (the scene where the killer throws an axe at the camera stands out) come across as corny, but that only adds to the fun. There are some good, bloody kills, enough suspense to keep it interesting, and the acting is all good. It even has Sidney Lassick as the quintessential fat sheriff! Once again, there's not much to say other than it's a fun watch worth seeking out.

16. SLAUGHTERHOUSE ROCK (1988)

Slaughterhouse Rock is just one of those movies that couldn't fail (for me, at least). Eighties pop "icon" Toni Basil starred, there was a soundtrack by Devo, it was late-eighties, took place on Alcatraz, and it's a demon-possession flick! Well, it's not as awesome as it sounds, but it's still fun. My one complaint with the film is the soundtrack by Devo. It's GOOD, but none of their more notable songs make appearances (sorry, no "Whip It"). This is also one of the most hated horror movies of 1988 (2.8/10 on IMDb), which I really don't get. The film also builds up to when one of the characters gets possessed and goes on a killing spree, but the murders aren't that impressive (despite one where a guy gets punched through the face). But still, it remains entertaining with the awesome fashions, the trademark comedic duo, and the cheesy effects. Good stuff.

15. THE OUTING (1987)

Before Wishmaster, there was The Outing. Basically, it's a genie (or "Djinn," technically) picking off a gorup of teens one by one in a museum. There are some great creative and bloody deaths, as well as a few good characters. At the end, we get to see the Djinn, and it's awesome. There's also a security guard who's also an opera singer so he sings like that when he's walking around the museum, and after the credits, we get to see him take a bow! It's good, even if the cover is misleading (it builds it up to be set in the woods). Still, a fun watch.

14. MASTERBLASTER (1985)

Okay, so Masterblaster isn't really a full-on horror movie, but I still love it. It's really more of an action film, even though it IS a slasher movie, technically. I love the plot, with a paintball tournament in the woods and someone begins killing people off for real. Everything about this movie is extraordinarily cheesy, from the opening title song, to the stereotyped characters, to the killer's more-than-ridiculous motive/end speech. The movie isn't very bloody, scary, suspenseful, etc., but the characters are all entertaining, the score is campy, and the laughs flow like wine. It's essential.

13. TAG: THE ASSASSINATION GAME (1982)

Okay, now this one's an even bigger stretch. TAG: The Assassination Game is a weird movie because it's too comedic to be a horror movie, yet too serious-minded in places to be anything else. At first, it sounds like a straight comedy: at a college campus, the most popular game is TAG, a game where students, armed with rubber dart guns, are assigned to kill each other off like hit men until only one person, the winner, remains. Throw in Robert Carradine and Linda Hamilton as his love interest, you've got comedy gold, right? Nope. Instead, we also follow one student (played by Bruce Abbott from Re-Animator, Bad Dreams, and more) who begins to take the game a little too seriously and starts to use a real gun. The film isn't terribly funny, but it's entertaining enough just watching the kids play the game, and it does manage to build up suspense during the end chase scene. Overall, it's good entertainment that deserves the digital treatment.

12. THE BRAIN (1988)

A lot of people dislike The Brain because it dares to be different. Yes, it's a giant monster movie from the eighties, and I'm sure a lot of people were expecting a movie purely about a giant brain eating away the population of a small town, and we get that...sort of. It's about a TV show on independent thinking hosted by David Gale (Re-Animator) which uses a giant brain to telepathically take control of all the viewers. Now, one teen has to stop the channel from going nationwide, which is hard, because the show has everyone believing he is a murderer. The film itself is a potpourri of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Crazies, and just your average monster movie, and the combination surprisingly works. The monster effects are phenomenal, with the brain being one of the best monsters of the eighties (in my opinion). And yes, there are plenty of scenes where the brain eats people. There's random boobs, some good gore (someone gets cut in half!), I love the underlying message (that people will believe anything that's put on the TV), and yes, David Gale says, "There's food for thought!" when the brain eats someone. And it's as awesome as it sounds.

11. HIDE & GO SHRIEK (1988)

What a great title, and the movie lives up to it. Mark this one up as one of THE cheesiest slashers of all time, and believe me, I've seen my fair share. In this one, a group of teens decide to spend the night in a furniture store owned by one of their dads. Soon, someone begins killing them off one by one. Simple as that, but with a catch. Have you seen Terror Train? Remember how the killer there took the costume of the previous person he killed so he could trick other people into thinking the killer is that person? Well, the killer here does the same thing...only with clothes. Even if it's a female. Even if it's a negligee. Yeah...this movie has some serious gay undertones that would make Elm Street 2 blush. Anyway, this movie is still great! The first thirty minutes or so is a hilarious time capsule of everything that made the eighties awesome (including a montage to the beat of "Walk this Way"!), some suspenseful and creepy parts later on, and some FANTASTIC gore effects by Screaming Mad George, including THE BEST decapitation I have EVER seen! And, of course, there's the absurd and highly offensive reveal of the killer. This is essential viewing for all parties.

10. ROCKTOBER BLOOD (1984)

Now THIS is a rock/horror movie! Initially, I wasn't a huge fan of Rocktober Blood. I loved the beginning and the ending, but that was it. Upon future viewings, I began to be really entertained by the middle portion! I love the aerobics scene, the absurd "killer in the jacuzzi" scene, and even the grave-robbing scene! It's all cheesy goodness! However, I still stand by my reasoning that the beginning and the end scenes were the best, with the end scene being (possibly) my favorite scene in any horror movie. It's THAT awesome. The soundtrack is great, with the music done by the famous metal band, Sorcery! They even make an appearance at the end! This is sleazy slasher goodness at its finest, people!

9. WITHOUT WARNING (1980)

Who can't appreciate a good alien movie? Or one starring Jack Palance and Martin Landau? Without Warning is great. It's a little slow-going, but it builds tension and suspense incredibly well! We never get to see the alien until the final minutes, and the way they reveal it is brilliant and terrifying. There's also some great, flying saucer-looking things that suck blood out of their victims. There are some obvious similarities to Predator, with the whole "alien hunting humans for sport" idea, and Kevin Peter Hall has played both the alien here and the Predator. Cameron Mitchell even makes a brief appearance! And I STILL say Megamind ripped off the look of the alien.

8. ISLAND OF BLOOD (1982)

To follow up on the latter film, who can't appreciate a good, straightforward slasher? Island of Blood is a stand-out for many reasons. For one, the setting is great. It's an island with an abandoned schoolhouse on it, so we get two atmospheric settings in one! Then there's the premise of a movie crew filming there, so we get to see many hilarious scenes where characters rehearse their dialogue, so we get to see bad actors acting bad intentionally! Then there's the gimmick of the killer, who kills according to the lyrics of a sadomasochistic punk song (lyrics include "Boil me! Stab me! Spear me!"). The kills themselves are all good and gory, including the killer rigging a pool to heat up to boiling temperatures so one character gets boiled alive, a chainsaw dismemberment, a decapitation, and more. Then there's the sarcastic kind of humor underlying most of the dialogue that really was funny at times. Of course, good luck finding a copy that isn't REALLY dark, but thankfully, I happened upon a really clean one, so I got to see everything in gory detail. Why doesn't a DVD company pick this up and clean it up for the good people of the world?

7. MIRAGE (1990)

Well, at least some of these were released to VHS! Mirage didn't even get THAT luxury! A shame, too, because this is a genuinely good movie! The setting is the criminally underused desert, and Mirage makes it work with flying colors. I love how vast they made it seem, which adds to the hopeless and almost surreal atmosphere of the whole thing. The characters are likable, the kills are gory, there's plenty of suspense, and the black truck the killer drives is really menacing! The pacing itself is great, and I thought the movie was never boring. 1990's best movie, in my opinion.

6. THE MUTILATOR (1985)

I've always loved The Mutilator ever since I first saw it. Don't get me wrong; this is in NO WAY a good movie whatsoever. It is, however, a huge barrel of fun! Everything about this movie is purely amateurish, save for one key aspect. The acting is atrocious, the opening title song is out of place (but fun nonetheless), the writing is bad, and so on and so forth. However, while all those aspects add up to entertainment on their own, where The Mutilator REALLY shines are the kills. The film lives up to its name with a vengeance, with a gutting via boat propeller, a great decapitation, and in the film's most iconic death, a woman gets a fishing gaffe up through her vagina and out her belly that is as revolting as it sounds. The effects were all done by the legendary Mark Shostrom, and are the reason this movie is still remembered today!

5. PRISON (1988)

It takes a special kind of skill to blend gore and genuine scares as masterfully as this. I saw Prison a year ago and remembered loving it, but I began to doubt it was as good as I remembered it to be when I went in for the rewatch. Once the end credits rolled, I realized I was still in love. This movie is fantastic! One of the biggest gripes I've heard with the haunted house subgenre is, "Why don't they just leave?" Well, here, they can't! They're all trapped in cages just waiting to be slaughtered by this vengeful spirit. The acting is really good, and it even features Viggo Mortenson in the lead! Most, if not all, the inmate characters are likable, with the guards and warden being really, really despicable human beings (the guard that gets the iconic barbed wire death has to be one of the biggest jerks of all time). The kills are another standout, because they're not your average, run-of-the-mill deaths and tend to get very creative. This was Renny Harlin (Elm Street 4)'s first movie, and it's unbelievable how accomplished the whole thing is.

4. THE KINDRED (1986)

Once again backing up my opinion that eighties monster movies were the best monster movies is this little ditty. The Kindred is directed by Stephen Carpenter and Jeffrey Obrow, who also directed the phenomenal low-budget slasher The Dorm that Dripped Blood in 1982, as well as the not-so-great-but-still-kind-of-entertaining haunted tiki doll movie The Power in 1984. However, for their last film that they directed together, they went all out and gave us this beauty. Featuring two Oscar-winners (Rod Steiger, Kim Hunter) and some phenomenal, slimy creature effects, this is way better than your average monster flick. The score actually sounds suited for a big-budget movie, and there's some real suspense in there, especially considering all the characters are likable (with the exception of the antagonist(s)). Oh, and a woman turns into a fish for literally no reason. It's great.

3. TERRORVISION (1986)

What else is there to say about TerrorVision? It's a fun, campy, sci-fi/horror/comedy that works! The characters are all entertaining, the creature effects are great (the work of John Carl Buechler, nonetheless), all the acting is intentionally hammy (the parents are played by vets Mary Woronov (Night of the Comet) and Gerrit Graham (Phantom of the Paradise)), and the opening title song is AMAZING. Yet another made by Charles Band's Empire Pictures, this is easily one of their best in how fun it manages to be. Fortunately, for everybody unfortunate enough to have never seen this, it is streaming on Netflix in HD! Now let's just get that Blu-Ray release going!

2. THE KEEP (1983)

I first watched The Keep because I thought it would make great background noise while I surfed the web. However, as time passed I found myself looking more at the movie than the computer. When the film ended, I had no idea what it was about; all I knew was that I loved it. I soon read the book by F. Paul Wilson (which is now my favorite book of all time) and understood the plot completely. I re-watched the movie, and now that I knew the plot, I LOVED it. Plot wise, this movie is a mess. It's hard to follow at times, and important plot points are sometimes said in one line and that's it. However, the way this movie was made is stunning, to say the least. The cinematography is absolutely brilliant and the score by Tangerine Dream is mesmerizing. The acting is great, and features a fairly impressive cast with Jurgen Prochnow, Scott Glenn, Gabriel Byrne, and Ian McKellan. They're all great, but McKellan steals the show as Dr. Cuza (his speech at the end still gives me goosebumps). The Keep was originally around three hours long, before Paramount cut that down to the 90-minute runtime we see today. Where is that footage? Precisely the reason this needs a Blu-Ray upgrade. If something this great was originally twice as long, imagine how amazing the original cut was. Now imagine it in HD. The 90-minute version is on Netflix in HD, so if you don't believe me that this film is great, at least give it a spin. You won't regret it.

1. GHOST TOWN (1988)

Who would have thought a western ghost story would work? Well, to any naysayers out there, this is my reply. Ghost Town. It's #1. It's fantastic. Now, for strictly horror fans out there, you might want to pass this one up, because it's a pitch-perfect blend of action and horror, meaning it works just as well as an action movie as it does a horror flick. Yes, this is another Empire Pictures movie and is, in my opinion, their best. The acting, for the most part, is good, the effects are good, the action is constant, the characters are likable, and while it's not very gory at all, there are some great Western-style shoot-outs. The villain is appropriately menacing (with a face that's half decayed), and Bruce Glover (Crispin's dad) even makes an appearance! Like I said, if you only like horror movies, steer clear. However, if you enjoy both horror and Western movies, consider this a must-watch. Don't ask me why it's no on DVD or Blu-Ray.

Well, there's the list! Of course, no list would be complete without some honorable mentions:

Destroyer (1988) - Fun B-movie satire/slasher with a great cast (Anthony Perkins, Lyle Alzado, Deborah Foreman, etc.)
Blood Beach (1981) - Good monster movie that's like Jaws, only on the beach and not the water. John Saxon and Burt Young are great, too.
The Town that Dreaded Sundown (1976) - The scenes with the killer are fantastic, but the police investigation scenes tend to drag.
The Horror Show (1989) - Goofy little supernatural slasher. Very reminiscent of Shocker.
The Invisible Maniac (1990) - It's a little slow, but once it begins to pick up, it's great. From the director of the classic Psycho Cop 2 (Adam Rifkin).
Psycho Cop (1989) - So-bad-it's-good Maniac Cop rip-off with some neat kills, awful (but in a good way) one-liners, and the most paranoid characters EVER.
The Supernaturals (1986) - I'm a sucker for military horror movies, and this one's no exception.

Well, I hope you enjoyed my list! I've had a fantastic time here at HorrorBid thanks to all of you, and I only hope it continues to be this great from here! Oh, and in case you were doubting that Hide & Go Shriek has gay undertones, here's another image:

Wednesday
Jul042012

The Gummy Bear On A Stick

I couldn't resist. The minute I laid eyes on it I knew I had to have it. It's the gummy bear on a stick. It's big. It's delicious. Why am I posting this? Because you all should go out and buy one. Or you could buy the World's Largest Gummy Worm (which looks great), but this one isn't too shabby and it's a heckuva lot cheaper. I think I'm in love.

Tuesday
Jul032012

A Nineties Giallo? THE NIGHT BRINGS CHARLIE (1990) Review

Besides Scream, Dr. Giggles, Mirage, and a few others, the nineties were a pretty bad year for the slasher film. In the early-nineties, we were still getting some low-budget efforts that came in way too late in the game, and in the late-nineties, we got a whole bunch of slashers trying to replicate Scream with horrible results (The Clown at Midnight). So imagine my expectations when I came across The Night Brings Charlie, a 1990 slasher. I found the artwork to be provocative, so I watched it despite the negative reviews I had read. Is this actually a nineties slasher worth watching?

 

THE NIGHT BRINGS CHARLIE (1990) Review

Someone is killing people in the small town of Pakoe. A vicious killer is using a tree saw to hack through the necks of various people around town, taking the heads as souvenirs. The local sheriff is baffled, and the coroner is concerned for his two daughters’ well-being. The prime suspect emerges as Charlie Puckett, the disfigured local tree surgeon, but when they take him in, it soon becomes clear that the murderer is still out there. Can they catch the killer before more heads roll?

Just to come right out with my opinion, I don’t think The Night Brings Charlie is all that bad. I have seen some really scathing reviews, calling it “The worst slasher ever” and stuff like that. Seriously? The absolute worst? Have these people seen Backwoods? Anyway, I thought it was decent, but had the potential to be much better. For one thing, I love the title. It’s not your typical slasher title, and it’s very provocative. The artwork itself is very atmospheric as well.

I love, and I mean I LOVE, the killer’s look. It’s very simple, just a wool hat, goggles, and a sack covering the lower half of the face, and a lot of people say it makes the killer look like a Tuskan raider (and it does), but I still think it’s awesome. The look itself was cool, and it came across as rather creepy when it was shot just right. Sure, it was reminiscent of Jason's look in Friday the 13th Part II, as well as the Phantom Killer in The Town that Dreaded Sundown, but weren't the looks in both of those effective? Same for The Night Brings Charlie.

There’s a decent body count as well, and while some kills were a total cop-out (offscreen), some of the others are really great! There’s a great decapitation early on, someone gets hedge clippers through the hand and getting run over, and there’s also a kill I’ve never seen before: someone gets killed via a piece of farm machinery grabbing his throat (imagine one of those claw machines at the arcade (only huge) picking up someone by the neck).

There is an interesting twist that occurs forty-fifty minutes in, but other than that, the film plays it almost completely straight. There a few brief moments where you can tell the writers are having fun with the material, like one scene where the killer marks the population sign down one after killing someone, or the sheriff’s secretary, who’s such a miserable attempt at comedy, it actually does come across as humorous how hard they’re trying to make her funny as she spouts such classic dialogue as, “I told you that coffee would give you diarrhea!” after the sheriff says “Oh, no.”

The film does have the tendency to drag when we follow the sheriff investigating or the coroner’s two daughters, and none of the characters are very interesting. Some characters seem like they’re going to be important later in the plot (I’m thinking of one of the daughters’ ex-boyfriend (I think; it’s never explained) with the horrendous hair). The film did feel like an Italian giallo in its pacing, mystery, and even reveal of the killer. Of course, it doesn't even come close to being as stylish, but the similarities are still there. The acting wasn’t anything special either, but the film itself is competently made. It’s well-shot and well-edited, despite some poor writing. Oh, and another point of interest is the HUGE amount of Pepsi product placement all throughout.

I like The Night Brings Charlie. It’s a well-made movie for sure, but there’s not a lot that stands out. Sure, it has a fantastic looking killer, some inventive deaths, a few spurts of really good gore, and one neat twist, but that’s about it. At times, it does feel sort of like an early-nineties version of the giallo, what with the police investigating, and one scene that happened forty-fifty minutes in was very reminiscent of just that. This is another slasher that hasn’t been released on DVD, though if it is released, I’m curious if it would carry the same rating as on the VHS by the Film Advisory Board: EM for Extremely Mature, because this movie has “Extreme Language, Extreme Violence, and Nudity.” I wish the movie could live up to that extreme rating.

The Verdict: The Night Brings Charlie is an entertaining watch, even though it’s really nothing special.

Score: 6/10