Mar 222012
 

Cujo Stephen King 1983Director: Lewis Teague

RatingR

Running Time:1hr 33min 

Release Date: 8/12/83

GenreHorror

CastDonna Trenton (Dee Wallace), Tad Trenton (Danny Pintauro), Vic Trenton (Daniel Hugh-Kelly), Steve Kemp (Christopher Stone)

SynopsisBased on an early Stephen King novel of the same name. Cujo is about a rabid dog named Cujo. As his disease gets worse he attacks several people and eventually terrorizes Donna Trenton (Dee Wallace) and her son, Tad (Danny Pintauro), while they are trapped in a stalled car miles away from help.

Analysis: I can remember seeing previews of this movie when I was younger and they are probably the origin of my dislike and fear of big dogs. Over the years, I am pretty sure that I have seen almost every film based directly on Stephen King novels, but I couldn’t remember seeing Cujo. Once I started watching it, I realized that I had.

The problem is that film doesn’t create a lasting impression, no memorable lines, no great acting, and is jus 2 hours of a dog slobbering and people screaming in a car. According to some sources, they had to strap down Cujo’s tail to his leg because he though he was playing during attack scenes and his tail would wag. I wish that I could have found something about this movie that would have provoked strong emotions like that for me.

Pro:

  • Cujo’s slow decent into rabidness and psychotic insanity.
  • Tad (Danny Pintauro), looked so scared at time that it the audience want tho project him.
  • There is a really good camera shots of sunrise and moving shadows

Con:

  • Takes place during summer, but there are bare trees everywhere and sometimes the actors look cold because filming occurred late in the year.
  • There is a Spinning camera shot in the car that is really annoying.
  • Some of the dialogue from the book does not sound good when spoken.
  • The ending was abrupt.

Conclusion: During a few short years during the mid 1980s, Hollywood attempted to cash in on Stephen King’s rising popularity. Some of them were pretty good movies like The Dead Zone and Stand By Me. Others were rushed out the door and into theaters as quickly as possible, and Cujo is one of these. Stephen King has admitted several times that he was so into his alcohol addiction at the time that he does not remember writing the book. I wonder if anyone involved with this film feels the same way? Don’t bother with this one, if you need to fill you Stephen King fix, see The Shining or Carrie.

 

Frank’s Ratings

(1-5)

Characters

2

Story

2

Special Effects

1

Would Watch Again?

1

Average

1.5

 

Mar 212012
 


Director
:George A Romero

Rating: N/A

Running Time: 1hr 36 m

Release Date:10/1/1968

GenreHorror, Zombie

CastBen (Duane Jones), Barbra (Judith O’Dea), Johnny (Russell Streiner), Harry (Karl Hardman), Helen (Marilyn Eastman), Tom (Keith Wayne), Judy (Judith Ridley)

SynopsisEvery modern zombie/living dead movie, comic or novel can trace their roots to this film. It begins with an adult brother and sister, Johnny (Russell Streiner) and Barbara( Judith O’Dea), bickering in a cemetery. After the ghoul kills her brother, Barbara runs to a farm-house where she meets, Ben (Duan Jones). At the point that Barbara has gone hysterical, they find that an older couple, Harry (Karl Hardman) and Helen (Marilyn Eastman), their sick kid, and a younger couple Tom (Keith Wayne) and Judy (Judith Ridley) are hiding in the basement.

Ben and Harry have an ongoing and violent debate about whether they should all go into the basement and lock the door of if they should continue to fortify the house.

Gradually the survivors get themselves killed one by one and only a few remain. Meanwhile, the authorities on the outside have begun to restore order. Will any of the survivors will remain by the time that help arrives?

Analysis: I can remember seeing Night of the Living Dead (NOTLD) dead for the first time one Halloween night when I was 6. I was sitting alone in my basement surrounded by candy from my night’s haul, and as the film went on, I got more and more terrified. The scene where Barbara sees the corpse with the missing face on the stairs made me turn it off and go running for my parents.

Once I got a bit older, I bought the VHS version of the film. After watching it many times, I had several attitudes towards it. At first, there was still shock from the first time I had seen it. Later, as I graduated to other more modern horror films like A Nightmare on Elm Street and Return of the Living Dead, I started to see the relative non-goriness and black and white of NOTLD as quaint and even funny at times and then I stopped watching it all for a long time.

Just the other day I caught it again, and I can now see it for the great film it is. Even though future living dead films rely more heavily on extreme gore, NOTLD does really well without it. I think this is due to a few things. For one thing, the use of black and white make the film seem older and gives it a creepy crime scene photograph look.

Race was a very divisive issue during the 1960s, but the fact that Ben is black and the rest of the cast is white is very interesting because it is not an issue in the film. Harry and Ben argue, but not about race, but about how each has an idea of the safest way to survive and that the other person is wrong.

Women on the other hand are not portrayed very well. Barbara is completely hysterical for most of the film. Helen pushes her thoughts aside and defers to her husband. Judy is just along for the ride. Even thought it wasn’t a great film, at least the 1990 remake gave Barbara some spunk.

The film also has some really memorable lines, including that famous one, “They’re coming to get you Barbara.” Also, some of the best lines come from the TV and the radio. I think my favorite is when a report is interviewing the police chief and asks, “Are they slow-moving chief?” Chief McClellan replies, “Yeah, they’re dead. They’re all messed up.”

The most interesting thing about this film is that even though the ending is pretty dark, there is still a hopeful note compared to most zombie films. In future zombie films, the living dead are killing everyone and nobody is safe. Here, it seems that this is just a slight bump in the road and Sheriff McClellan and his volunteer posse of rednecks will save the day!

Pro:

  • Nice early version of zombies, but George Romero’s zombie rules are not quite developed.

  • Well done effects on half eaten corpse on stairs.

  • Great use of media like radio TV to provide speculation about source of zombies.

  • At one point Tom hits grasping hand and it disintegrates, nice special effect.

  • Young cute couple that should have been heroes end up dying and turn into a BBQ feast!

  • Nice use of fire effects with burning zombies and people.

  • Gritty shocking series of pictures at end.

  • Gun toting rednecks our only hope! I always knew it!

Con:

  •  Zombies using tools to smash windows and a club at one point and them being scared of bright lights and fire.
  • Some of the music is overly dramatic.

  • Barbara is annoyingly weak and hysterical.

ConclusionThis one started the modern living dead craze. I highly recommend this if you are interested in zombies!

 

Frank’s Ratings

(1-5)

Characters

3

Story

2

Special Effects

3

Would Watch Again?

5

Average

3.25

 

 


Mar 202012
 

Director: Allister Grierson

Rating: R

Running Time:1hr 48 m

Release Date: 2/4/2011

Genre: Action Adventure, Thriller

CastJoshua “Josh” McGuire(Rhys Wakefield), Frank McGuire(Richard Roxburgh), Carl Hurley (Ioan Gruffudd), Victoria “Vic” Elaine (Alice Parkinson)

Synopsis: In Papua New Guinea, a father, Frank(Richard Roxburgh), and son, Josh(Rhys Wakefield) lead a team in an underwater cave expedition. As Frank and Josh are showing Carl (Ioan Gruffudd), the financier of the expedition and his girlfriend, Victoria (Alice Parkinson), a large storm arrives. Torrents of water wash the team down deeper into the caves and kill several along the way. They desperately search for a way out as their air runs out and previous problems between father and son come to a head when the pressure increases.

Analysis:Avatar’s James Cameron helped make the Australian film Sanctuary. With Cameron’s on board and all the great scenery and diving experience of the co-writer, this film has an advantage over some other low-budget films. Despite this, it wastes these assets by skimming on plot and characters.

Pro:

  • Good job on the diving scenes, especially one where a diver runs out of oxygen and sucks air out of air pockets on cave ceiling.
  • A scene where the divers find a WWII Japanese tank is pretty neat.

Con:

  • When another character dies, Carl overreacts and blames his father. The character seems more reasonable in the rest of the film.
  • Like road flares in other movies, glow-sticks burn out very quickly yet in the real world they can go for many hours or days.
  • When trying to make their way out of the caves, they make an inexperienced diver take the rear when they are swimming through a narrow cave and don’t check to see if she makes it for a long time.

Conclusion: High hopes, but ends up being like an Australian Deliverance without the hillbillies. If I could turn back time, I would have seen Deliverance again instead!

 

Frank’s Ratings

(1-5)

Characters

2

Story

2

Special Effects

2

Would Watch Again?

1

Average

1.75