Tuesday Terrors: Four New Films Reviewed (Mania.com)

By:Tim Janson
Date: Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Source: Mania.com

Welcome back to Tuesday Terrors as we return from a short hiatus to bring you all the happenings in the world of horror.  

 

Trailer for Hatchet III.  Concluding the saga begun in Adam Green's hit 2006 thriller, Hatchet III follows the vengeful Marybeth (Danielle Harris) as she continues seeking out a way to destroy Victor Crowley (Kane Hodder), a hulking, seemingly-invincible sociopath rampaging through a sleepy Louisiana swamp. 

 

While a heavily-armed team of mercenaries takes to the bayou surrounding Crowley's home, Marybeth finds herself begrudgingly teaming up with a local policeman (Zach Galligan) and his ex-wife (Caroline Williams) - an expert on the maniac who may have uncovered the secret to ending his murderous rampage once and for all.

Trick ‘R Treat animated Statue coming in August.  Decorate your desk at work or at home with the Trick 'R Treat Sam Animated Table Top Plush! This 8-inch tall statue actually walks and plays music and audio taken from the horror movie Trick 'R Treat. Just press the button on the left foot of the Trick 'R Treat Sam Animated Table Top Figure and watch him go!

Shadow of Night, the sequel to A Discovery of Witches, out May 28!  Shadow of Night picks up exactly where A Discovery of Witches left off: Diana Bishop and Matthew Clairmont, a witch historian and vampire geneticist respectively, have timewalked to Elizabethan England on their hunt for a magical alchemical manuscript, Ashmole 782—its sudden appearance and sudden disappearance have upended the delicately ordered world of magical creatures (witches, vampires, and daemons), threatening to unleash unprecedented metaphysical chaos.

 

Casting for Stephen King’s A Good Marriage.  Joan Allen, Anthony LaPaglia and Stephen Lang are set to star in the Stephen King adaptation A Good Marriage.  

 

Darcy Anderson discovers her husband has been keeping an especially terrible secret for years. What happens when, on a perfectly ordinary evening, all the things you believed in and took for granted are turned upside-down? What do you do and who do you call on when you discover that your good marriage has been built on a nightmare foundation of torture and murder?

 

John Carpenter to direct a Dead Space film?  Ok so nothing is ACTUALLY in the works here but Carpenter recently mentioned the following in an interview:

 

"I maintain that Dead Space would just make a great movie because you have these people coming onto an abandoned, shut-down space ship and they have to start it up and something's on board. It's just great stuff.  I would love to make Dead Space [into a film], I'll tell you that right now. That one is ready-made."

 

Sleepy Hollow coming to Fox.  There has been a couple of Sleepy Hollow potential TV series kicking around for the last year are so and one is coming to Fox.  From co-creators/executive producers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci), Sleepy Hollow is a modern-day retelling of Washington Irving's classic.

 

Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) is resurrected and pulled two and a half centuries through time to find that the world is on the brink of destruction and that he is humanity's last hope, forcing him to team up with a contemporary police officer (Nicole Beharie) to unravel a mystery that dates all the way back to the founding fathers.

 

Trailer for The Night Visitor.  The Night Visitor is a new horror/Sci-Fi found footage film.  The film stars Brianne Davis as the mother of six-year old Ricky, who’s being tormented by a demented Alien.  Gary Cairns, Blanc-Biehn, Mark Gantt and Tara Buck co-star.

Trailer for Under the Bed.  Directed by Steven C. Miller, the film from XLrator stars Jonny Westin and Gattlin Griffith as two young boys up against a sinister force lurking under their bed. 

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes plot details.  The Fox film has begun shooting and some plot details have been revealed.  A growing nation of genetically evolved apes led by Caesar is threatened by a band of human survivors of the devastating virus unleashed a decade earlier. They reach a fragile peace, but it proves short-lived, as both sides are brought to the brink of a war that will determine who will emerge as Earth's dominant species. Andy Serkis, celebrated for his performance in the last film, reprises his role as Caesar.

 

The Town that Dreaded Sundown Reboot in the works.  A remake to the 1976 cult classic is in the works and will star Veronica Cartwright, Gary Cole, Joshusa Leonard and Addison Timlin.  Timlin plays a young girl who survives a copycat massacre at the film’s annual tribute screening and sets out to solve the mystery of who’s recreating the unsolved Sackhead murders, using clues from her own past.  Cartwright will play the grandmother to Timlin's character (who lost her parents to an accident).  Cole and Leonard are police deputies.

 

Nicolas Cage to start in Hotel 33.  The story is based on the presumed event surrounding the disappearance of 32 people on the opening night of the Grand Hotel in Williamsport, Pennsylvania in 1953. Cage will play a detective investigating the event, and while he does so, four teenagers break into the now-abandoned hotel for a night of festivities. Things soon go awry, and the detective is forced to turn his attention to discovering the mysterious happenings surrounding the strange disappearance of two of the four teens.”

 

Nightmare on Elm Street Series 4 coming in July.  NECA will be releasing the 4th series of Nightmare on Elm Street figures in July.  These definitive 7-inch tall versions of Freddy Krueger celebrate the Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare. From Freddy's Dead comes Powerglove Freddy complete with brand an updated head sculpt, powerglove right arm and removable hat. Also from Freddy's Dead, we have Fred Krueger: The Springwood Slasher featuring the likeness of actor Robert Englund as he appeared as Freddy before the burns. Freddy is presented in his human form with photo realistic portrait, gloved right hand, unburned left hand, and removable hat. This is how Freddy looked before he became the monster that haunts your dreams. These Freddy Krueger Action Figures are poseable, incredibly detailed, and movie true.

 

Elijah Wood’s Maniac Trailer.  Written and produced by Alex Aja and Gregory Levasseur, the film finds Wood playing Frank, a man - haunted by seedy memories of his promiscuous mother - who works in a mannequin shop by day and stalks 'n kills women by night. Things take a turn in his life when he meets a beautiful photographer.

U.S. Trailer for The World’s End.  In the film, 20 years after attempting an epic pub crawl, five childhood friends reunite when one of them becomes hellbent on trying the drinking marathon again. They are convinced to stage an encore by Gary King (Simon Pegg), a 40-year-old man trapped at the cigarette end of his teens, who drags his reluctant pals to their hometown and once again attempts to reach the fabled pub – The World’s End. As they attempt to reconcile the past and present, they realize the real struggle is for the future, not just theirs but humankind’s. Reaching The World’s End is the least of their worries. 

Casting News for Guillermo del Toro's The Strain.  Jonathan Hyde and Richard Sammel have joined the cast of Guillermo del Toro's The Strain.  Del Toro is directing the pilot for FX and shooting is expected to begin once he is done with the Pacific Rim press tour.

 

When a Boeing 777 lands at JFK International Airport and goes dark on the runway, the Centers for Disease Control, fearing a terrorist attack, calls in Dr. Ephraim Goodweather and his team of expert biological-threat first responders. Only an elderly pawnbroker from Spanish Harlem suspects a darker purpose behind the event - an ancient threat intent on covering mankind in darkness.

 

Reviews

 

Mama (Universal) Blu-Ray Review

Grade: B+

 

This modern day horror fable was produced by Guillermo del Toro and is based on a Spanish short film of the same name.  When a businessman named Jeffrey comes to financial ruin, he kills his partners and his wife and abducts his two young daughters: three-year-old Victoria and one-year-old Lilly.  He crashes his car into a densely wooded area and leads his girls into the forest where he finds an abandoned cabin.  He intends to kill his daughters but before he can, a shadowy figure kills him.  

 

Five years later two mean searching the woods find the girls living feral in the cabin.  Custody of the girls goes to their uncle, Lucas (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) who works with a therapist to help the girls readjust to living in a normal world.  The girls talk to an unseen figure they refer to as “Mama” whom their therapist believes is a make believe figure the girls made up when living along for five years.  But Lucas is attacked by a terrifying figure and left in a coma and the girls are left in the care of Lucas’s girlfriend Anabel (Jessica Chastain).  Annabel experiences several terrifying events in the home and it quickly becomes evident that Mama isn’t a figment of the girl’s imagination but a vengeful spirit who is highly overprotective of the two little girls.  The Therapist discovers that a woman who was a patient in a mental asylum in the 1800s had her baby taken from her and her spirit has been searching for her ever since.  

 

While the buildup takes longer than it should, Mama presents one of the more terrifying spirits seen in modern horror films.  Director Andy Muschietti doesn’t go overboard with ‘gotcha’ moments but when he does use them, they are to tremendous impact.  Furthermore, he deviates from the norm when it comes to reuniting Mama with her baby’s remains.  Normally this is the part where we would get our happy ending but Muschietti has one last horrifying but brilliant twist to the story.

 

Chastain, in a role very different from Academy Award nominated role in Zero Dark Thirty, plays a character who initially lacks the confidence to take care of the children but eventually accepts a more maternal roles first out of necessity and later out of love.  Not a modern classic but definitely a notch above most other recent haunted house films.

Hellgate (IFC Midnight) DVD Review

Grade: C-

 

Cary Elwes stars as Jeff Matthews, an American businessman who is visiting Bangkok with his Thai wife and son.  After leaving the airport they are in a horrific auto accident which leave’s Jeff’s wife and son dead and him in a coma.  When he finally wakes up, he finds that he is haunted by grisly visions of spirits who are imploring him for aid.  Jeff eventually seeks the aid of a spiritualist who help him.  She tells him that he has left a part of himself in the spirit world.

 

But to free himself from the hauntings he has to let go of his family but doing so involves battling demonic creatures who seek to keep his family’s souls for themselves.  Matthews eventually meets another American who also lost a family member to the demonic creatures.  Warren Mills (William Hurt) is a fellow American and kind of an old hippie sage who agrees to lead Matthews to the Hellgate in order to finally put his loved one’s souls to rest.  But to do so he has to cross over into a spirit dimension populated by slavering demons who want to keep him there.

 

Hellgate is a very low budget film and apparently what budget they did have went to Elwes and Hurt because it certainly didn’t go towards any convincing visual effects.  What effects the film does have comes mainly in the way of makeup.  A lot of it is typical Asian-style horror makeup…you know, women with long dark hair and dark eyes popping out to provide cheap scares.The “demons” look more like zombies with mouths dripping in blood and pale eyes.  

 

Elwes and Hurt are old pros and give fine performances as you would expect but they are caught up in a production with bad material which crawls at a snail’s pace. 

The Frankenstein Theory (Image Entertainment) DVD Review

Grade: D

 

The Frankenstein Theory is a classic case of a great idea but with lousy execution.  The film’s premise is that Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein was a fictionalized account of real events.  Professor Jonathan Venkenheim believes that the story was true and was based upon the accomplishments of his ancestor, Johann.  His theory got him suspended from his university and now, to prove his theory and to clear his family name, he goes on a quest to get evidence of the Frankenstein Monster’s existence.

 

He heads to the northern most part of Canada with a documentary film crew in tow, recording every moment and giving the film a quasi-found footage quality.  They first meet a man who claims to have had an encounter with the creature.  They hire a guide named karl who leads them to an old, abandoned Yurt (think cabin) where at night they hear strange baying and growls outside.  Jonathan attributes it to the monster although the rest of the crew is skeptical…despite the fact that they seem to freak out over the slightest noise.

 

When one of their snowmobiles is vandalized overnight, Karl leaves to track down whoever did it which continues the horror genre’s long tradition of stupidity by supporting characters.  Raise your hand if you think we ever see Karl alive again.  The film continues in this tiresome fashion with the crew being freaked out and Jonathan insisting that the creature is feeling threatened by their presence so naturally he wants to pursue the creature.

 

The Frankenstein Theory reminds me of one of those old 1970s docudramas where they search for Big Foot but the only thing the audience searches for is the exits.  There’s no payoff, we never get to see the monster except for some vague, fleeting glimpses.  I mean come on, even a low-budget film can produce decent makeup effects if you try hard enough.  What we get is a big guy wrapped up in animal skins.  Oohh…scary!  The Frankenstein Theory is painfully slow and boring.  The only character we care about—the monster—is one we never get to see. 

 

The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia (Lionsgate) Blu-ray Review

Grade: C

 

Ok so who was the genius who thought that the “Haunting in Connecticut” name was so important that they had to come up with a title this silly and unwieldy?  I mean if you’re telling me this is The Haunting in Connecticut 2 wouldn’t you assume the film might take place in Connecticut?

 

Andy and Lisa Wyrick have moved to a house in rural Georgia along with their young daughter, Heidi.  Soon, Lisa’s sister Joyce (Katie Sackoff) shows up and despite a strained relationship with Andy, he allows her to move into an abandoned motorhome that is on their property…which somehow still has working plumbing, electricity, and a land line.  All of the females in Lisa’s family have shown the ability to see spirits and Heidi begins to demonstrate this ability when she sees the spirit of Mr. Gordy, the former owner of the property who died years earlier.

 

The Wyricks discover that their home was a central station of the underground railroad used to hide slaves in the 1800s.  The man who hid the slaves, was murdered by local Klansman for helping the slaves.  But we also…apparently…learn that the man wasn’t as altruistic as he seemed.  A taxidermist by trade he left some of the slaves trapped where they starved and died and later stuffed and mounted their bodies.  I say apparently because Ghosts of Georgia is confusing as all hell.  Are these ghosts friendly or not friendly?  Are they trying to help or hurt young Heidi?  After discovering the bodies of several dead slaves in a secret chamber in the remains of an old house the family thinks their trial is over but the horror is just beginning.

 

It’s too bad that the film is such a confusing mess because there are some nice visual effects here and some genuinely creepy moments.  Heidi and later Joyce puking up a mix of sawdust, maggots, and worms stand out as memorable scenes.  The film is so disjointed however it ruins any enjoyment.  It’s like taking a comic book, cutting it up into individual panels, and putting it back together in random order.

 

Tim Janson is a columnist and reviewer for Mania Entertainment. He writes Level Up, the weekly look at videogames and the horror dedicated column, Tuesday Terrors. Tim has written for Fangoria, Newsarama, City Slab Magazine, Twitch Film, and Cinefantastique. He is a member of the Horror Writers Association (HWA). Be sure to follow him on Facebook and Twitter.



Series: