Movie Review – The Car

1977 Universal Pictures

GP Alert

The CarStraight from Hell’s body shop comes The Car!

I have to admit to being a serious junky when it comes to certain cheesy 1970’s and 1980’s horror and science fiction movies. I know they’re bad but I can’t help but loving them. It’s an addiction I can live with and I will happily feed it as long as I live. The Car is one of those movies that I just love. I first saw this movie on HBO and I must have watched it about twenty times or more. Even as a child I knew it was goofy but I didn’t care. To this day no matter what anyone says I will defend the entertainment value of this movie to the bitter end!

The Car is set in a small town out in the middle of the desert that becomes the target of a mysterious car that has a nasty habit of running over people. After two bicyclist and a hitchhiker are ruthlessly mowed down the police lock down the area in an attempt to trap the perpetrator and stop the vehicular homicide. What they didn’t count on is the fact the car has no driver and ordinary laws of psychics don’t seem to apply this hellish creation.

The Car is an easy movie to describe, it’s Jaws with a car. The Car is structured very much like Jaws and feels like Jaws just without the quality writing, acting, directing, and all that other silly stuff. Basically it’s a lame ripoff that happens to be a lot of fun.

There is nothing too complex about this movie. There’s a killer car on the loose and the law must find a way to stop it before it kills again. The plot is simple, the characters are simple, and that’s about it. There is some attempt to give depth to a few of the characters with a couple of subplots but it doesn’t really work all that well. The dialogue is atrocious at times and some of the camera angles and use of sped up footage are bizarre to say the least. But it doesn’t matter the Car is the star and the rest is just a bunch of filler. The existence of this car is never explained. Why it attacks this small town is a mystery. It’s just a good excuse to drive a cool car around and destroy things. Can’t ask for more than that in this kind of movie except maybe for some gratuitous nudity.

The good:

The title character. The menacing monstrous beast of a car built specially for the movie is one of my favorite four wheeled creations of all time. A heavily modified 1971 Lincoln Continental Mark III black coupe with no door handles, a lowered roof, one way windows, and a car horn straight from the depths of Hades.

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I love how the car just appears out of the desert and starts going crazy on this small town.

I love the music score by Leonard Rosenman.

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Kim Richards is so damn cute.

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Holy smokes! I never had any teachers like this.

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Or this!

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There are some cool locations in The Car.

dvd_snapshot_00.41.43_[2013.05.06_16.36.21] The not so good:

I can understand speeding up the footage of the car seeing as it has supernatural abilities but why speed up the footage of the police cars and motorcycle? There is a whole sequence where all the driving footage is sped up and it just looks goofy especially the footage of James Brolin on his motorcycle.

Random thoughts and observations:

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Not too many movies start off with a quote from the Satanic Bible.

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These two are equivalent to the first victim of the shark in Jaws.

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Filmed in CarVision!

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Uh oh, could be trouble. Quick duck and cover!

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Students practice marching at a fairground. This is the Jaws beach scene…

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…complete with a policeman keeping an eye out for the car.

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Not doing a very good job of it either. What’s the sun gleaming off from out in the desert? Hmmmmmm…

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The car even gets a shark fin sticking out of the water scene.

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The car is kept obscured by dust or only the front end is shown in the first half of the movie.

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The big reveal of the car forty six minutes into the movie. Too bad the nimrods who created the trailer showed the car in all its glory.

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Not something you want to see when you take a corner…

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…or when you turn around in your locked garage.

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“Wade I think I hear the car!”
That thing she’s holding is called a telephone kids!

During the end credits there is footage of the car riding through the deserted streets of a larger city. Was there a sequel planned at some point?

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The Car 2: Car in the City

Movie Review – Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter

1984 Paramount Pictures

Two Stars

Friday the 13th Part 4

Another year and another Friday the 13th movie this time without the extra dimension that part 3 included, back to regular old 2D this time around. As any fan of the series can tell you this wasn’t exactly the final chapter they kind of kept going after this and didn’t stop for quite awhile. Didn’t seem to bother anyone all that much that we were all lied to and told this was it no more Friday the 13th movies after this one. It’s almost like the title was just some gimmicky promotional stunt to get people into the theater. No movie studio would ever sink so low as that would they?

The “Final” Chapter of the epic Friday the 13th opus begins at the house last seen in Part 3. Jason is apparently dead and is hauled away to the morgue at the local hospital. Death is never quite permanent when old hockey head is involved and soon he’s  on the loose again looking for love in all the wrong places. He of course winds up on a collision course with a group of stupid horny teenagers and a man seeking vengeance against Jason for killing his sister. This revenge minded fellow intends on taking Jason down once and for all and putting an end to the mindless killing and mindless movies at the same time! Boy did he ever fail.

Part 4 was the first Friday the 13th movie I saw in the theater. I was too young to see the previous movies, although to be honest that didn’t stop me from seeing other R rated movies in the theater I guess I just never bothered with the first three Friday the 13th movies. I have to say this is not my favorite entry, it lacks some of the fun of the previous movie and takes itself too seriously. I just plain don’t  like most of the characters and I don’t particularly care for the overall tone of this movie for some reason, it feels kind of sleazy to me. It’s not like the other movies in the series are that brilliant this one just bothered me.

On a more positive note the music is still sufficiently creepy and special makeup pioneer Tom Savini returned to create some truly nasty makeup effects. The gore factor is definitely turned up a notch in this installment.

Not the greatest but not the worst in the series. In my opinion the Friday the 13th franchise started its downward slide with this movie and never quite recaptured the fun. Oh well it’s not like I was expecting much in the first place.

The good:

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She’s incredibly cute.

The makeup effects are particularly gruesome this time thanks to Tom Savini.

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Ouch!

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Double ouch!

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This effect elicited a great reaction from the audience as Jason’s head slid down the machete.

The not so good:

Holy shit are the characters lame in this movie. I know Friday the 13th is not known for its amazing writing and award winning acting but damn. Teddy and Jimmy are the most annoying of the bunch.

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The single most annoying character in any Friday the 13th movie.

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Followed closely by Crispin Glover’s character.

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Miss sweeter than sugar is way too serious.

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This is the worst outfit in any Friday the 13th.

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I hate the use of identical twins in entertainment. What a boring gimmick.

The mighty Jason hunter should have made a better showing but he’s as big a dweeb as everyone else in this movie.

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What a dork this guy is. He comes to Crystal Lake to avenge the death of his sister. Jason wrecks all his equipment and then kills him with a garden claw while mister mighty does nothing to try to stop Jason from cultivating his torso.

Amazing movie sequences #4: The incredible all knowing Jason!

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Jason cleaves Crispin in the kitchen…

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…then for some reason goes outside the house and climbs up to a second story window…

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…just in time to fling one of the slutbag twins out the window…

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…and onto a car that has extremely explosive windows. The twin put on some flesh tone tights before her fall.

Random thoughts and observations:

Tom Savini reportedly agreed to do the makeup effects on this movie so he could kill the character he helped create. Jason unfortunately didn’t stay dead long.

The original idea for the ending was to have Jason get his head trapped in a  microwave and have it go splat. I am glad they didn’t go with that concept.

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I used to play Zaxxon on my Colecovision.

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Suddenly a man appeared above the lake suspended by wires and with an arrow sticking out of his crotch. Weird.

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Nice plastic hammer.

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This is the only Friday the 13th movie to film at a location used in the previous movie.

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This really should have been the last movie in the series. Jason was hacked to pieces at the end not to mention this is probably the weakest of the movies up to this point…but it made money and money talks.

The evolution of Jason: 

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From this…

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…to this. Must be something in the water.

The Best and Worst Movie and TV Cars (ATV’s and Motorcycles Too)

Writing my review of Mad Max got me thinking about movie and TV cars and that of course led me to write up a list of my favorite and least favorite fantastical road and off road vehicles of all time. So here is that list. These are ordered by the release date of the movie or TV show.

The best:

66 Batmobile

The Batmobile created by George Barris in 1965 for the super campy 1966 to 1968 TV series. Awesome car despite the fact it would probably suck to drive in the rain.

Death Race 2000 II

The Gator Car or The Monster from the 1975 cult movie Death Race 2000. Cheesy as hell but I love the look.

The Car

The big bad-ass killer car from the 1977 movie The Car. Not a terrific movie but I just love the mean look of this beast. Also built by George Barris.

Landmaster

The 10 ton + Landmaster built by Jefferies Automotive for the 1977 movie Damnation Alley. It’s big, it’s ugly, and it’s awesome.

Corvette Summer

Made for the 1978 movie Corvette Summer this is a Corvette Stingray with modified bodywork, custom paint job, and with right hand steering.  I realize this is not from one of my favorite genres but I just love this car!

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The beaten Pursuit Special from 1982’s Mad Max 2/The Road Warrior. I love how it looked in the original movie but the extra juice tanks on the back and the battered look just add to the character.

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The Spinner from the 1982 masterpiece Blade Runner. A very cool flying car, not quite as nice as The Jetson’s flying cars but pretty close.

89 Batmobile

The super cool Batmobile from Tim Burton’s visually amazing 1989 Batman. Looks great, too bad it could only go 35 MPH.

The worst:

Paris

The spiny VW Bug from the 1974 movie The Cars That Ate Paris. Terrible movie and silly car.

The butt ugly solar car from the 1977 Logan's Run TV series. I loved this thing when I was a kid. Now not so much.

The butt ugly solar car from the 1977 Logan’s Run TV series. I loved this thing when I was a kid, not so much now.

Galactica 1980

The goofy flying motorcycles from the horrendous TV series Galactica 1980.

Megaforce

1982’s Megaforce featured every possible variation of badly designed vehicle whether it was a dune buggy, motorcycle, etc. Nothing scares a villain like permed rejects from Dance Fever wearing gold spandex and driving fruity weapons of mass destruction.

Black Moon Rising

The prototype super car from the 1986 movie Black Moon Rising. Looks like it got ironed. The title is the best part of the movie.

The Wraith

The unimpressive car from the terrible but very entertaining 1986 move The Wraith (or Wraith The). Stupid fun movie but the car never did anything for me…

...this may have had something to do with the fact Sherilyn Fenn was in the movie and the car was pushed out of my mind.

…this may have something to do with the fact Sherilyn Fenn was in the movie and the car was pushed out of my mind for some strange reason.

BF Batmobile

The tacky, cheesy, tasteless, and utterly stupid pimped out Batmobile from the sometimes entertaining 1995 movie Batman Forever. This thing makes my stomach churn.

Nemo Car

Last but not least is Captain Nemo’s gaudy car from 2003’s The League of Somewhat Above Average Gentlemen. Not too ostentatious at all.

Movie Review – Evil Dead II

1987 Rosebud Releasing Corporation

Two Stars

Evil Dead II

What a crappy poster.

In an attempt to top the sheer genius of the original The Evil Dead Sam Raimi unleashed a potent new element into the sequel, he added slapstick humor. How grand, how wonderful , how totally stupid !

The original Evil Dead was an insane and over the top balls to the wall horror movie. It had more energy and crazy bloody scenes than in ten other horror movies combined. It was creepy, it was nasty, and it was marvelous. I remember being excited to see the sequel hoping for more of the mad intensity of the first. What I got instead was Bruce Campbell and Three Stooges Meet Tom and Jerry!

Evil Dead II begins as Ash and his girlfriend Linda head for a getaway in the middle of nowhere. They arrive at a cabin that belongs to Archaeologist Professor Raymond Knowby, they don’t rent the cabin like in the first movie they just basically break in. Soon they discover the recorded translation of the Book of the Dead and Linda is possessed and killed, then Ash is possessed but fights off the evilness except for in his hand. Soon the daughter of the man who owns the cabin shows up with two local yokels and some guy with wicked eighties hair. Meanwhile the wife of the professor has been in the cellar all this time, possessed and looking a lot like Sam Raimi’s brother Ted.

I won’t go into any more detail because I just think this movie is a big misfire. If Raimi had wanted to make a lighthearted horror movie why not come up with a new story instead of rebooting the previous film? This is just totally ridiculous. The characters are horrible, the makeup looks silly, and Ash starts devolving into the fourth Stooge.

The weird thing about this movie is when its serious it’s not bad but then some over the top slapstick nonsense gets thrown in and the movie sucks again. This is one of the most unbalanced movies I have ever seen in terms of the tone. One second it’s horror and the next it’s a slapstick comedy. Some people seem to love that but not me.

The good:

There are some very cool visuals in the beginning of the movie before the jumping of the shark commences.

The scene of the force chasing Ash to the cabin and then inside the cabin are great.

I love the ending where Ash gets sucked into the vortex and winds up in the 1300’s.

The Vortex

Ash is flushed down the toilet of time.

Ash the Savior

Ash the Savior.

The not so good:

The altered storyline. It was fine the way it was told in the original movie.

The slapstick humor featuring sped up action and stupid sound effects is really silly.

The Loony Tunes Hand II

See Ash’s hand grab his face, see it smash plates on his head, see it run into exaggerated mouse holes.

Tom and Jerry

Wow what fun.

Dead Linda

The makeup of the possessed looks too goofy this time around.

Cartoon Style

Ash

Eighties Characters II

Billy Joe and Jake are about as subtle as a jackhammer to the head.

Subtle Acting

I like Bruce Campbell but he overacts like crazy in several scenes in this movie and not in a good way. I liked his character better when he was just a normal guy and not some exaggerated wisecracking Dirty Harry ripoff.

Subtle Acting II

Ted II

Ted Raimi as Henrietta, boy can’t tell it’s Ted at all! The possessed girl in the first movie was actually scary. This isn’t.

Random thoughts and observations:

I know Sam Raimi supposedly couldn’t get the rights to use the footage from the first movie but why change everything including the tone?

When Ash is picked up by the spirit and carried through the trees he seems to go quite a distance yet when he wakes up he only a few feet from the car and the cabin.

Approximately 17:45 seconds into the movie Evil Dead II jumps the shark when Linda’s corpse pops out of the ground and starts dancing.

Corpse Dance

No comment.

Approximately 25:30 seconds into the movie Evil Dead II jumps five sharks when Ash’s hand gets taken over.

It's the Loony Tunes Hand.

Ash’s hand gets possessed by the Three Stooges.

Approximately 01:07:05 seconds into the movie Evil Dead II jumps 100 sharks when Ash becomes Super Ash.

Groovy

Sorry but the first movie was far more groovy than this one.

Doesn't Match

The stop motion creatures don’t match the full size creatures.

Goofy

Nope doesn’t match.

Freddy Glove

Freddy’s glove is hanging above the door in the tool shed…

Freddy Glove II

…and now it’s in the cellar hanging to the left of the door.

Comparison between The Evil Dead and Evil Dead II:

Despite the argument from some fans that this is a sequel it’s really not. There is a short and highly altered recap of the first movie in the beginning that consists of all new footage but that is it. If anything I would call this a reboot and not a sequel.

Changes to the story include: There are now two characters who go to the cabin initially instead of five, a different actor plays Linda, Linda is now a dancer and she is dead within six minutes, the cabin is different, the bridge they cross is very different, the book is different and is discovered upstairs not in the cellar, and Henrietta, the wife of the professor is now the possessed person in the cellar.

Movie Review – Evil Dead (2013)

2013 TriStar Pictures

Two Stars

Evil Dead 2013

The most generic film experience you will ever experience.

The trailer for this movie actually made it seem like it might be good…and then I saw the movie.

The original The Evil Dead for those not familiar with the story is about a group of friends who go to a remote cabin, find the recorded translation to the Book of the Dead, and inadvertently unleash an ancient evil that possesses them one by one. That’s pretty much the whole story. They get possessed, they go nuts, and total pandemonium ensues. It’s a simple story told in a totally insane, purely chaotic, and mad manner. It’s absolutely terrific.

For this remake for some reason they felt the need to screw around with that simple formula and add in a back story about drug addiction. The cabin in this movie also now belongs to the parents of two of the characters and they added in some garbage about a group of fine looking backwoods yokels who help destroy those possessed. Also instead of playing the translation of the Book of the Dead from a recording one of the friends inexplicably can read the ancient alphabet used in writing the book perfectly. What a stroke of luck.

Evil Dead misses the point and is a totally generic horror movie that lacks the manic energy and cleverness of the original. I’m not even sure this movie would qualify as a remake of The Evil Dead, it’s more like a remake of all the horror movies made over the last ten years. Maybe they should have called this The Ring 3 seeing as it has the girl with hair over her face who makes cracking noises as she twitches. This movie just didn’t feel like the Evil Dead at all.

The Ring

Special appearance by that straggly haired girl from the Ring.

I just don’t get the need for all these remakes (besides the greed of Hollywood). Are people unable to watch a movie that’s more than twenty years old or something? The original The Evil Dead was actually a good movie so why remake it? Is it because it has funny clothes and you can actually see what’s going on? I just don’t get it. Movie like this are why I have no faith in Hollywood anymore.

The good:

Nice to see the old car in the back of the cabin.

The cabin at least looks like the one in the original.

The makeup effects are very well done. I am glad they used practical effects.

At least it’s not in 3D.

The not so good:

The characters are all total idiots. For instance the crackhead girl grabs the car keys then runs into her bedroom and shuts the door. The others hear the car start and seem surprised. What the hell did they think she was going to do with the keys in her bedroom, the bedroom with a window that she could climb out of?

I was laughing but not because I thought it was funny. I laughed at the constant beating the characters took and shrugged off like when David gets whacked once in the forearm and several times on his body with a crow bar.

Trashed Dude

This guy probably should have died long before he actually did. He’s like the Energizer Bunny.

Barely one word into the incantation and the demon spirit (or whatever it is) is already flying through the woods. Why did it even need the remainder of the incantation? Show some patience people.

The super evil guy at the end is some scrawny bitch who crawls out of the ground. Whoopee freaking shit.

Big battle in the bathroom with tons of screaming and noise but it takes forever for anyone to come see what’s going on.

Mirror

I am so sick of the face in the mirror crap. How repetitive.

Nice lighting. Did they use 40 watt bulbs?

The scene where the girl gets dragged backwards into the cellar made me laugh, it seems like every horror movie nowadays needs one person to get dragged backwards just when they think their safe.

Nice of the inbred yokels at the beginning of the movie to leave the Book of the Dead lying around in the cabin.  They wouldn’t have wanted to bury it or hide it somewhere? That barb wire and garbage bag they tied around it really kept it safe.

I hate the scene where the crackhead kicks the workbench and the gas for the chainsaw falls right into her lap. A stupid implausible shortcut.

The cameo at the end is lame. Ash’s character devolved into a wise cracking fool who doesn’t fit the tone of this movie at all. Maybe they should have waited until the sequel comes out and adds in some out of place Three Stooges humor then Ash would fit better.

Random thoughts and observations:

I like the original Book of the Dead more than the new one.

I like the original Book of the Dead more than the new one.

Comparison

Even though I think the makeup is well done I like the makeup of the possessed better in the original.

The tree gang bang was done better in the original. Can you see a pattern emerging here?

The tree gang bang was done better in the original. Do you see a pattern here?

In the beginning of the movie the yokels burn a possessed girl to free her from whatever it is that possessed her. Where do they burn her? Safely outdoors? No of course not they tie her to a wooden support beam in the basement of the cabin and torch her there. It would’ve been funny if the cabin fell down on them.

I found the scenes where the dark force moves through the woods far more effective in the original The Evil Dead and they accomplished those scenes with the camera mounted to a two by four and carried by a person on each side.

Movie Musings – If a vampire is an athiest would a cross work against it?

This question does not pertain to certain sissy pseudo-vampires who sparkle like diamonds in the sunlight and are so boring they keep going to high school over and over…real vampires don’t sparkle and only graduate once!

Seriously though, if questions about vampires can be serious, if a vampire doesn’t believe in god would or should a cross have any effect on them? Inquiring minds want to know!

Movie Review – Event Horizon

1997 Paramount Pictures

Three Stars

Event HorizonEvent Horizon is a seriously dark and twisted science fiction/horror movie. I saw this in the theater with my nephew and I wasn’t really that impressed on the initial viewing. I didn’t think it was a bad movie but it just didn’t catch my attention all that much. Over time my opinion changed as the movie grew on me and I came to appreciate it more.

Set in the year 2047 Event Horizon tells the story of the crew of the rescue ship Lewis and Clark on a mission to discover what happened on board the experimental vessel called the Event Horizon. The Event Horizon was the first ship to be equipped with a new gravity drive that generates an artificial black hole to connect two distance points in space and theoretically move the ship anywhere in the blink of an eye. During its maiden voyage in the year 2040 the ship disappeared without a trace. Now seven years later a signal is received and the ship is discovered in a decaying orbit near Neptune in an appropriately murky and stormy section of the upper atmosphere. The status of the ship and crew are unknown so the Lewis and Clark is sent to seek to find out what went wrong. Also on board is the creator of the Event Horizon and the gravity drive Dr. Weir. When they finally board the long missing ship they discover that the crew is dead and the ship itself is harboring a malevolent and dark force.

It’s weird the way this movie kind of snuck up on me. Even though I wasn’t a fan after the first viewing I bought it on DVD and found it to be a well crafted and scary movie. I’m glad I gave it a second chance. It’s not really on par with Alien in terms of quality but it’s a great looking movie with above average characters and performances and the story is compelling and sufficiently chilling.

Event Horizon is not a movie for the faint of heart. This is a creepy and disturbing movie that really goes right for the jugular. There are some truly nightmarish images and the atmosphere is oppressive and bleak and it does not make you feel all happy and joyful at the end. I am not easily scared but there are some scenes that totally freak me out in this movie.

If you are a casual horror fan or not a fan of the genre at all I would skip this but if you are a fan watch this movie late at night with all the lights out when no one else is home.

The good:

The cast is excellent.

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Laurence Fishburne as Captain Miller, possibly the most unlucky space traveler ever.

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I always like Jack Noseworthy no matter what he’s in. Very likable.

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I’ve had a crush on Kathleen Quinlan ever since I saw her in Twilight Zone The Movie in 1983.

Both the exterior and interior design of the Event Horizon are very impressive and unique. I have never seen designs quite like those featured in Event Horizon. There is almost a medieval feel to the interior of the ship especially in the engine room and the bridge. The set designs of the Lewis and Clark are just as good.dvd_snapshot_00.29.57_[2013.04.09_21.04.47]

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The decision to have the Event Horizon located in the upper ionosphere of Neptune was pure genius. The electrical activity creates a non-stop thunder-storm adding to the already eerie haunted spaceship theme.

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The haunted house in space.

The special effects are excellent. The model work is beautiful.

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The Event Horizon dwarfs the Lewis and Clark. Great shot.

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The not so good:

Sam Neil’s character succumbs to the evil just a little to easily. I would have liked to have seen somewhat of an inner struggle.

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Sam Neil sucks at shaving.

This movie may actually be a little too dark. I don’t mind dark movies but some of the briefly glimpsed images are brutal and Captain Miller’s fate is awful.

Random thoughts and observations:

The possessed Sam Neil character explains that the ship was pulled into a dimension of chaos and total evil. Could a truly evil universe exist? Evil by its very nature preys on beings that are good and unaware of their impending doom. In a totally evil dimension there would be no one to prey upon and if the evil beings prey upon themselves I can see the universe becoming barren of any life rather quickly. So unless this evil dimension is visited often by ships from other dimensions I can’t see how this concept would work.

My nephew Matt and I were discussing this movie and he mentioned that he doesn’t think the music in the opening credits fits the movie very well. I actually think it fits perfectly. The credits begin with the Paramount logo and then segue directly into a vortex leading, in my view, to a very dark place. The discordant music fits very well with the imagery in my opinion.  So in honor of my nephew, a fellow movie fan who really is more like a brother, I give you this: Event Horizon Opening Credits.

Like I mentioned earlier this is a basically a haunted house story in space but made even scarier by one fact: in a haunted house you can walk out the door but it’s hard to leave a spaceship that’s approximately 32 AU’s (roughly 2,976,000,000 miles) away from the Earth especially when your ride home gets blown up.

This movie is filled with cool visuals. Great looking movie all around:

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