This Day in Horror

20 August 2010

Piranha 3D 2010 - REVIEW


As a child sitting as close to the TV as possible watching man eating fish devour everyone in sight, I was in awe of the carnage and mayhem before me. Piranha (1978) proved that you could poke fun at an epic film i.e. Jaws and still end up with campy greatness. As I said in my review of the original film, I was afraid for years to go in the lake for fear I'd become fish food. With Alexandre Aja pulling the strings on the remake, I was hoping for the same outcome. Unfortunately, what I got was a hot mess of T&A, bad scripting, shitty story lines and over acting. I'll give it to Aja, he came through on the death and destruction but even being the Gore Whore that I am, it wasn't enough for me to give the film more than a half nod.

A massive underwater quake unleashes thousands of prehistoric piranha. The timing is perfect as it just happens to be Spring Break and hundreds of thousands of drunk, horny college kids have descended upon the town of Victoria Lake, AZ. Seismologist Novak (Adam Scott) and his team are brought in to surmise the damage. Escorted by Sheriff Forester (Elisabeth Shue) they venture out to the quake area. Two of the team go in and only one comes back (well sort of). The conundrum now is how to get everyone out of the water and off the lake in one piece. It doesn't help that Sheriff Forester's son Jake (Steven R. McQueen) has gone rogue leaving his siblings to fend for themselves, on the lake of course. Throw in Eli Roth and a wet T-shirt contest and even gunshots can't get the sand rats out of the lake.

After the opening sequence with a drunk Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) in his denim shirt and black knit hat singing 'Show Me the Way to go Home' (real horror fans will get that one) I thought "Oh yeah, this movie is gonna ROCK!". Turns out other than gore, full frontal nudity of Danni (Kelly Brook) and a floating penis, that was the high point of the film. Shue and Scott did a decent job with the shit script they were given. Dreyfuss and Christopher Lloyd had extremely small cameos and ass kicker Ving Rhames wasn't given nearly enough to do. I found Forester to be dull in his character and acting and Jerry O'Connell was so over the top in his portrayal of wild, wild, wild Derrick Jones that I was glad the piranha tested out the how many licks question on his, uh, spirit.

While the film was laden with piranha attacks, people being run over by boats, electrocutions and even a mishap with a cable, OUCH, there was pretty much nothing to the script. The dialogue was so bland and riddled with predictable one liners. It almost seemed like Pete Goldfinger and Josh Stolberg were just trying to fill time in between piranha attacks. As remakes go, it stayed pretty true to the original but then again, the story line can pretty much only go one way. As it were, I'm surprised they didn't give the piranha legs to walk on land with.

The 3D was just awful, especially in the opening sequence. I had to take my glasses off several times to avoid getting cataracts or some shit and spent the rest of the day with a massive headache. On the plus side, the CGI was very good and the piranha attacks were extremely violent. The carnage left behind looked awesomely realistic... not that I've seen a half eaten corpse IRL but I can imagine. There's no doubt, gore fans will dig it. It's not a terrible movie, I've seen worse, but if you're looking for storyline, I'd suggest something different. If all you want is tits, ass and blood, this is definitely the film for you.

14 August 2010

Madman 1982 Coming to DVD


It's the final night for the season at a summer camp, and all of the counselors and children have gathered around the campfire to tell ghost stories. The director of the camp tells the story of Madman Marz, a deranged man who killed his family with an axe, not far away from the camp. Naturally one of the kids make fun of the story, but what no one realizes is that the legend is real, and that Madman Marz is still lurking around in the woods by the camp.


A couple of months ago I was channel surfing and came up on this film on Chiller (the best channel EVER... YEAH!). I started watching it and right away I could tell it was one of those campy horror flicks that I love. It was late so I set it to record and watched the rest of it a couple days later with every intention of reviewing it. Well, every day life got in the way and, like I said, months have passed. I searched blockbuster.com and found it wasn't available. I searched a little further and found that it FINALLY has a DVD release date of September 28, 2010. I myself have already reserved my copy and I suggest everyone else do the same!

Piranha 1978 - REVIEW


With the release of the remake to this 1978 cult classic being just around the corner, I figured it was time for a review. I hear people all the time talking about being traumatized by Jaws. How it scared them out of the ocean for some time. Well this film, WAS my Jaws. We didn't live near an ocean so sharks always seemed so mythical to me. But lakes? There were lakes everywhere and we visited them quite often. I can't tell you exactly how old I was when I actually watched this film but I DO remember watching it. I remember refusing to get in the water because I was afraid to get eaten. Hey, I was kid! Cut me some slack!!

When a couple of hikers go missing while trekking through the woods, Maggie McKeown (Heather Menzies), a big city skip tracer, is sent to the backwoods of Texas to find them. Along the way she meets up with Paul Grogan (Bradford Dillman) and convinces him to help her. Grogan leads her to an abandoned military research facility where crazed Dr. Robert Hoak (Kevin McCarthy) is busily conducting a variety of experiments to create a strain of piranha that can survive in rivers and oceans and capable of devouring everything in their path. After finding some of the hikers belongings, they mistakenly drain the pond releasing the flesh eating fish into the local river system. It doesn't take long for them to realize that anyone using the river is in danger, including Grogan's daughter who is at a summer camp miles downstream. The army is brought in to help but seems more interested in covering it up. Especially Colonel Waxman, (Bruce Gordon) who along with Buck Gardner (Dick Miller) has invested a shit load of money into a resort set to open the next day. It's a race against time for McKeown and Grogan to release a poison into the river and stop the deadly piranha before they reach the ocean.

Piranha is fast paced, gory fun that has some stellar effects considering it's rather low budget. Joe Dante is one of the best at turning low budget horror into an instant cult classic. While The Howling remains my favorite Dante film, Piranha runs a very close second. Although stuffed with movie references/jokes in the typical Dante manner, Piranha is nonetheless well-made enough to offer suspense and thrills in between the gags. John Sayles managed to bust out a script that was cliched and campy but also made it work well. It has a fairly strong plot and some hilarious dialogue exchanges. One of my favorite being:
Whitney: The piranhas...
Buck Gardner: What about the goddamn piranhas?
Whitney: They're eating the guests, sir.

Along with McCarthy and Miller are some other recognizable horror faces. Barbara Steele shows up as Dr. Mengers and iconic Keenan Wynn has a small part as Jack, Grogan's BFF. As far as casting goes Dante definitely made good choices. The chemistry between McKeown and Dillman is surprisingly good. In fact, for a campy, low budget horror, the acting is damn good. That's what I love about Dante. He uses what he has, no matter how small, and makes greatness out of it. He doesn't settle for anything less than perfection. It's just a shame EVERY director doesn't follow through that way. Dante knows he's cashing in on all the Jaws fame with this film but doesn't care. He proves that right off the bat with the video game scene.

Bottom line... even after 30 years this film still holds up as a quirky, campy, horrific and fun ride. It's a must see for any horror/gore fan. Especially if you plan to see the remake. I am in no way saying this film is the best ever... it has it's downfalls but all in all, it's just an outstanding movie. It's most definitely one any genre fan should have in their collection.

05 August 2010

Camp Blood - Friday the 30th - UPDATE

Well folks it seems this time I'm one of the last to know. I came back from vacation all excited about going to the Camp Blood con in a couple weeks and imagine the buzz kill when I found out it'd been postponed. Seems there has been some inner turmoil that has pushed back the date of the con to May 2011. Bummer, but organizer John Gray has assured everyone on forums and blogs that the show WILL go on.

In the mean time, for those of you flying in anyway, John is working on putting together a little something so that your trip isn't a total loss. Details should post here as they come available. Let's all show him our support and patience as this situation is not of his making.

Slash you all in May!