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Overlord – A Crimson Screen Collectibles Film Review

By

Westley Smith

Overlord follows a group of World War 2 paratroopers on the eve of D-Day (hence the name of the film as Operation Overlord was the code name for the Battle of Normandy). Trapped behind enemy lines, a rag-tag group of soldiers must take down a radio tower in a small town in Nazi occupied France before the beach invasion on June 6th 1944 can proceed, but what they find is far more horrifying than just Nazi soldiers.

(L-R) Jovan Adepo as Boyce, Dominic Applewhite as Rosenfeld in the film, OVERLORD by Paramount Pictures

There is nothing really new to see with Overlord that hasn’t been done countless times before, whether it be in a war film or a horror movie with crazy Nazi experiments  – think of Overlord as Saving Private Ryan meets Re-Animator meets Frankenstein’s Army.

Jovan Adepo as Boyce in the film, OVERLORD by Paramount Pictures

The film is filled with cliché war and horror movie moments, jump scares that sting with a loud music cues, and characters that are not likeable or fleshed out, making everyone forgettable. Though the acting is strong from the entire cast and everyone is working hard to deliver the material, there just isn’t enough character development to become invested in these men and women to care about them.

Overlord also suffers in tone, swinging wildly from a hard hitting war movie one moment to a balls-to-the-wall horror film the next.  It never really knows what it wants to be: a war film or a horror film? Pick one!

Mathilde Ollivier as Chloe in the film, OVERLORD by Paramount Pictures

One of the films biggest problems is that it presents itself as a horror film first, set during the darkest days of World War 2, but it takes more than an hour for the horror to start.  Sure there are some hints that something is going on around this town where the radio tower is, but it focuses so much on war drama and war suspense that you begin to forget Overlord is a horror movie and it comes off like you’re watching just another World War 2 film – and not a very good one at that; a platoon of soldiers would not be chatting while walking through heavily Nazi occupied France in the middle of the night (ON THE EVE OF D-DAY) like they were strolling through Central Park, but with the hard of hearing Nazi’s in this film, (they don’t even hear gunshots in a town they patrol and occupy) they’d probably be fine anyways.

(L-R) Iain de Caestecker as Chase and John Magaro as Tibbet in the film, OVERLORD by Paramount Pictures

With the added horror element of Nazi experimentation there’s no explanation why they are doing these experiments other than one line: “A thousand year reich, needs thousand year soldiers”. So are they trying to create super soldiers from the dead soldiers? Yes? No? Then why experiment on the town’s people, who all look like they were melted for some reason? Why are certain re-animated dead acting like crazy zombies, while others act pretty much normal just with super strength? So many unanswered questions.


There is just too many head-scratching moments in this film for it to be taken seriously as either a good war movie or a good horror movie – though there are some good suspense and action sequences the film still fails on both fronts.

4 out of 10 stars.

Laurie Strode Is Getting Her VERY OWN Action Figure by NECA!!!!

Happy Halloween indeed!

Fans of Halloween (2018) and those looking forward to the 7” Michael Myers Ultimate Edition figure, things just got exciting.

For the first time ever Laurie Strode (in Jamie Lee Curtis’ likeness) is going to get her very own action figure, produced by NECA.

Like the Michael Myers figure coming later this year, Laurie Strode will be sculpted from how she appears in the 2018 film. No word yet from NECA of when we can expect the figure or if it will be in the Ultimate Edition line (fingers crossed it will be) or if the figure is going to be a Con exclusive – here is hoping for the former as this figure would be a nice edition to any horror enthusiasts collection.

Tune back in to The Crimson Screen Collectibles for more details as they’re made available. And if and when Laurie’s figure goes up for pre-order, look to us so you’ll be sure to snag one for your horror collection.

Neca To Reveal Ultimate Jason Voorhees (09) Figure on Halloween!!!

What a glorious Halloween it will be for fans of Neca’s Ultimate Friday the 13th line of figures when they unveil their newest Jason Voorhees figure tomorrow.

Per NECA’s Facebook page, they will be releasing full reveal and details on their upcoming 7” Ultimate Jason Voorhees from Friday the 13th (09) on October 31st 2018.

Not much is known at this time about the figure, and this news has sure come out of nowhere, as fans were speculating that maybe a Friday the 13th: Part 5 Roy Burns 7” figure was in the works – maybe it still will be, but only time will tell. This isn’t the first time NECA has produced the ‘09 Jason figure, as one was released to coincide with the rebooted film and came with an extra head either wearing the sack or the hockey mask and a machete.

Rest assured, this figure is going to come with a ton of accessories though.

Check back in with The Crimson Screen Collectibles to see when you can pre-order this awesome figure in the Ultimate Edition line of Friday the 13th figures from NECA.

Halloween (2018) – A Crimson Screen Collectibles Film Review

by

Westley Smith

There is a lot to unpack in David Gordon Green’s Halloween, making it stand out from being just another run-of-the-mill sequel to the John Carpenter classic. From a strong story, to the deep character development of Laurie Strode, to the suspense and brutal kills, and the relentlessness of an absolutely terrifying Michael Myers, Halloween (2018) may be the most faithful to the original than any of the other sequels in that it hits on one key point and drives it home: Michael Myers is purely and simply…evil.

By erasing the sequels, including 1981s Halloween 2, Green and co-writer Danny McBride and Jeff Fradley started with a fresh slate, bringing the shape back to what made him scary forty years ago. In the original film, there was no motive for Michael’s decision to kill his sister, Judith Myers, and then go on a killing spree on Halloween Night fifteen years later; he just did. It wasn’t until Halloween 2 that we found out he and Laurie were brother and sister. Stripping the brother and sister angle away allowed Michael to return to his purest form of evil.

Picking up forty years after the events of the first film, Michael Myers is being held in a sanitarium, when two journalists come to meet with him, hoping to get him to speak to them about why he went on a murder spree in 1978. When unresponsive to their questions, his iconic mask is shown to him as motivation, unleashing the dormant evil inside.

Green pays homage to Carpenter’s film in feel and tone, but makes Halloween (2018) his own while at the same time not totally distancing themselves from the other sequels either.

The opening credits, which are exactly like the 1978 film but with a twist: this time the Jack O’ Lantern is flat and begins to reform as the updated Halloween Theme plays, setting the tone that Michael is coming back. For keen viewers of the franchise, there are elements from almost every Halloween sequel peppered throughout the film: the garage killing from Halloween 4. The knife steeling from Halloween 2. The bathroom scene from Halloween: H20 or Rob Zombie’s Halloween reboot.

Even though Green and CO. throw these scenes in their movie, they don’t feel like a rehashing of material, but honor them in a way that feels fresh and updated, also as a wink to the audience that they too have seen all these films in the series and they’re not trying to totally do away

with them

.

 

 

Jamie Lee Curtis returns to the role that started her career and plays Laurie as a completely broken woman, whose traumatic encounter with Michael left her mentally scarred and unable to function like a normal person for the last forty years. She has become a survivalist, locking herself away in her home, complete with a safe room loaded with guns.

Curtis as Laurie Strode is a more broken character than what she was in Halloween: H20. Where in H20 Laurie had somewhat moved on, changed her name, moved to another state, when finally her past caught up with her and she was forced to face it. Here Laurie is consumed, even at the expense of her family, with making sure Michael Myers stays behind bars, but secretly prays that Michael gets loose and comes after her – so she can kill him once and for all.

Green keeps the tension of the film tight for almost the entire one hour and forty-five minute runtime, only letting a few moments of comic relief in to break that tension, allowing a deep sense of foreboding dread to build until the final showdown between Laurie and Michael.

John Carpenter’s score (along with his son Cody Carpenter and godson Daniel Davies) may be the best score of Carpenter’s career. With the re-tooling of the original Halloween theme and cues, giving the score a more metal/rock vibe helps set Halloween’s (2018) tone apart from its predecessor and lets the audience know it’s going to be a more intense ride.

While Halloween (2018) has sufficient amount of subtext to please older fans of the series, with callbacks and homages to the original series, there is also enough innovative material to make it feel fresh and scary to a whole new generation of fans.

9 of out 10 Stars

Hell Fest – A Crimson Screen Collectibles Film Review

By
Westley Smith

With the upcoming release of Halloween (2018) on October 19th, March’s Strangers: Prey At Night, and last year’s Terrifier, it seems there is a small resurgence of slasher films.  Hell Fest (seemingly coming out of nowhere and hitting theaters September 28th) fits this mold of modern slashers perfectly, while at the same time calling back to films from the 70s and 80s.


Fans of the genre should catch this one on the big screen while they can. Hell Fest could easily be the next series of yearly Halloween films as Saw or Paranormal Activity used to be, and before those, Halloween – before they were released in August, which started with Halloween: H20 in 1998.

Hell Fest is simple in its premise, much like the era of slasher films it’s emulating: A group of snarky college kids go to a Halloween theme park, “Hell Fest”, only to be stalked and murdered by a masked man known as “The Other”.

Though Hell Fest does not tread new ground in the slasher sub-genre, nor challenge the rules of the genre either, like Scream, that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything fun to be found here.

For one, the location and the set-up for the film is fantastic. Being inside a Halloween theme attraction can be scary on its own, with things popping out, people dressed up trying to scare the customers, not to mention the whole unsettling feeling one gets just stepping into those places – rooms that get smaller, narrow hallways, strobe lights, things touching your face in the dark – only add to the atmosphere and claustrophobic feeling of the whole place. Now imagine if someone was  trying to murder you while you were inside one of these places and you had fight get away from them thought scary props, twisting hallways, and dark rooms.

A scary thought, right?

The second thing that stands out in Hell Fest is “The Other”. Not only is his mask scary, (much in the way Michael Myers’ mask is scary because it’s emotionless) but his character is realistic.  “The Other” could be anyone: your brother, friend, even your neighbor. That thought alone is scary, and makes anyone who’s visited (or thinking about visiting) a Halloween park wonder about the ‘actors’ that are scaring them.

Who is the person behind the make-up or the mask? What are their intentions? To scare or to maim?

Again, this idea is nothing new. The Houses October Built dealt with this subject as well. But the difference between Hell Fest and The Houses October Built is that Hell Fest is more grounded in reality, making it feel as if it could happen.

As stated before the setting of Hell Fest is fantastic, and the production designer went to great lengths to put the characters in a a seemingly real life Halloween Park – the neon lighting, the mechanical monsters popping out of the walls and dropping from the ceiling, ‘actors’ in costumes jumping out at our protagonists as they venture their way through Hellfest – that works for the perfect backdrop for the story.

Getting back to the retro feeling of the film, Hellfest relies on old-school F/X rather than CGI. There are some rather satisfying kills in the film, though it is not overly gory.  Still, gore hounds should be pleased when the blood does flies.

Director Gregory Plotkin, allows the story to unfold around the group of kids slowly (much like films of the 70s and 80s would, as the body count grows) but keeps the pace by moving the kids through Hell Fests’ scary rooms and rides. His camera set-ups in these sequences are brilliant, allowing the audience to experience the scares of Hellfest as they unfold to the characters, almost as if the viewer is walking with them. He crafts several unnerving and suspenseful sequences and a few misdirects that cause our characters to get split up (in a logical manner) and eventually get picked off one by one.

Though most of the characters are the run-of-the-mill horror cliché characters that have been in countless slasher films before, there is something about this cast that elevates them above some of the others – especially the quirky romanced between Natalie (Amy Forsyth) and Gavin (Roby Attal) that is both endearing and innocent and makes the viewers instantly root for them. Still, these characters are college kids and they are doing such antics while out looking to have fun at a Halloween park, and are played that way with no deep motivations or characterization – which makes the film a hell of a lot of throwback fun that it isn’t bogged down with needless character development.

The shining light maybe “The Other” He’s equally creepy as he is dangerous in an unassuming way, with his expressionless mask and his ability to blend in with the crowd around him; you can never tell where he might pop up or who he may be – the person next to you, one of the security guards, the executioner?

There is one disappointment of the film and that’s the minimal use of Tony Todd (Candyman) who may have a total of five minutes screen time. Though his voice is peppered throughout the film, adding to the creepiness, he is vastly underused in the film.  If Hell Fest is a success, and sequels are greenlit, one wonders if Todd’s character will have a bigger role in future instalments of the franchise, because the feeling is that there is more to his character than what was shown in the film.

Hell Fest is a fun, throwback slasher flick that gets to the spirit of going to a Halloween attraction but adding another element of danger. If you love slasher films of the past, this is a film for you, so go check it out at the theaters this weekend and hopefully this can become a yearly event like Saw, Paranormal Activity, and Halloween used to be.

9 out of 10 stars.

Vestron Collector’s Series: Dagon and Beyond Re-Animator Coming in July

In the ever-popular Vestron Collector’s Series Blu-Ray releasing July 24th 2018, are two H.P. Lovecraft tales of terror directed by Stuart Gordon and Brian Yuzna.

For Vestron’s 15th Collector’s Series release is: BEYOND RE-ANIMATOR

Synopsis:

After causing the Miskatonic University Massacre, Dr. Herbert West has been serving a prison sentence for the past 14 years. When Howard, a new young doctor, comes to work as the prison MD and requests Dr. West’s assistance, Dr. West discovers that Howard has something he left behind 14 years ago….

Special Features:
• NEW Isolated Score Selections & Audio Interview with Composer Xavier Capellas
• NEW “Beyond & Back” – An Interview with Director Brian Yuzna
• NEW “Death Row Sideshow” – An Interview with Actor Jeffrey Combs
• NEW “Six Shots By Midnight” – An Interview with S. T. Joshi, author of I Am Providence: The Life and Times of H.P. Lovecraft
• NEW Production Art Gallery by Illustrator Richard Raaphorst
• Audio Commentary with Director Brian Yuzna
• Still Gallery
• Vintage EPK Featurette
• “Dr. Reanimator – Move Your Dead Bones” Music Video
• Theatrical Trailer
• Optional Spanish and English SDH subtitles for the main feature

For the 16th Vestron Collector’s Series Release is : DAGON

 

Synopsis: Residents of a fishing village tempted by greed evolve into freakish half-human creatures and must sacrifice outsiders to an ancient, monstrous god of the sea.
Special Features:
– NEW “Gods & Monsters” – A discussion with Director Stuart Gordon, Interviewed by Filmmaker Mick Garris
– NEW “Shadows over Imboca” – An Interview with Producer Brian Yuzna
– NEW “Fish Stories” – An Interview with S.T. Joshi, author of I Am Providence: The Life and Times of H.P. Lovecraft
– NEW Conceptual Art Gallery from Artist Richard Raaphorst
– Audio Commentary with Director Stuart Gordon and Screenwriter Denis Paoli
– Audio Commentary with Director Stuart Gordon and Star Ezra Godden
– Vintage EPK
– Archival Interviews with Stuart Gordon, Ezra Godden, and other Cast & Crew
– Theatrical Trailer
– Storyboard Gallery
– Still Gallery

Both Blu-Rays release on the 24th of July. PREORDER yours here at The Crimson Screen Collectibles – https://shop.thecrimsonscreencollectibles.com/collections/blu-rays-dvds

Living Dead Dolls Presents: Michael Myers from Halloween

You can’t kill the boogeyman!

Straight out of the 1978 John Carpenter film ‘Halloween’, The Living Dead Dolls present Michael Myers. “The Shape”, as he’s referenced in the film, has become one of the most recognizable icons of modern horror.

Nothing but darkness pierces through the all-new face sculpt of Michael’s expressionless white mask. Featuring rooted hair and presented in his film-accurate blue coveralls, the terror of Haddonfield comes equipped with his signature kitchen knife accessory.

The Living Dead Dolls Presents Michael Myers stands 10” tall and features 5 points of articulation.

He is packaged in a die-cut window box, perfect for display and containing the pure evil within.

Order yours here: https://shop.thecrimsonscreencollectibles.com/collections/mezco-figures/products/michael-myers-living-dead-dolls

Coming soon from MEZCO TOYZ: Mega Scale Exorcist with Sound Feature

 

Mezco unleashes the Mega Scale Exorcist with Sound Feature figure and it’s sure to make your head spin.

Standing at a menacing 15 inches tall, Regan MacNeil from The Exorcist is presented in a real cloth nightgown from the film. The possessed youth says 6 iconic and hair-raising phrases including “It burns!” and “Keep away! The sow is mine!”. The devil is in the details and each of them have been captured here; from Regan’s untamed real hair to her crazed, piercing eyes and maniacal grin. This Mega Scale Exorcist figure features 11 points of articulation for dynamic nightmarish poses. 

Breaking onto the cinematic scene in 1973, The Exorcist became the first horror film to be nominated for an Academy Award. The film tells the spine-tingling story of the demonic possession of a young girl, and a mother’s fight to save her daughter through an exorcism. 

The Mega Scale Exorcist figure comes packaged in a collector-friendly window box, perfect for display. 

PRE-OREDER yours TODAY: https://shop.thecrimsonscreencollectibles.com/collections/mezco-figures/products/mega-scale-exorcist-with-sound-feature

The Strangers: Prey at Night (Review)

By

Westley Smith

The Strangers: Prey at Night finally arrived in theaters a decade after the original film.

Not a lot has changed since the first movie and The Strangers: Prey at Night pretty much follows the same formula set up in the first film.

Cindy and Mike (Christina Hicks and Martin Henderson) along with their son, Luke, (Lewis Pullman) are taking their daughter, Kinsey (Bailee Madison) to a boarding school, after several incidences with her behavior has landed her in hot water. While heading to their destination, they plan to spend the night at Cindy’s uncle's place at Gatlan Lake, a small community of trailers that during the fall becomes completely vacant, except for the owners. But little does the family know that the Strangers have already made Gatlan Lake their next hunting ground.

Leading up to the family arriving at Gatlan is the normal character development we’ve seen in most horror movies of this kind. In this case, character development is put on the back burner for more suspense and tension. There really isn't much time given to the characters or their motives other than to establish the basic fundamentals for the plot to unfold and to get the ball going and for the blood to start flowing.

This is the films biggest problem.  With little to no character development, leaves the viewer unable to become invested in these people, and when the tension is amped up, and their lives are on the line, you don’t really feel all that invested in their safety because the characters are so flat and generic.

That isn’t to say the film is bad just because of the weak characters. It is a rather well-crafted horror/thriller that had plenty in the bag when it came to the scares and suspense. The setting in the community was fun, expanding the idea of the first film of just two people locked inside of a house to a deserted community filled with multiple trailers, playgrounds, and cars to trap and terrorize their victims.

Johannes Roberts direction was creepy and stylish, crafting several nail biting scenes that were as unnerving as they were bloody. One can tell his love for the slasher flicks of the 1970s and 1980s, using shots (techniques that are rarely used now days) from movies of that era, giving the film a retro throwback vibe. He keeps the tension high, the atmosphere dark and dreary, while supplying some fantastic jump scares in the process.

Speaking of retro. The soundtrack by Adrian Johnston is worthy of noting, with a stylish synth score that paired well with the Roberts style of filmmaking.

The film never feels slow or boring, and at a runtime of just one hour and twenty-five minutes, you get what you paid for: to see the Stranger stalk, hunt, prey, and murder their victims.

The Strangers: Prey at Night is a worthy successor to the original, even if the characters were a little underdeveloped, but it’s still a fun, stylish horror/thriller that should please most fans of the genre.

8 out of 10 Stars

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Death Wish 2018 (Review)

By

Frank Ford

The remake to the 1974 Charles Bronson film, Death Wish, hit theaters this past weekend starring Bruce Willis and helmed by horror director Eli Roth – stepping far away from his horror roots with this modernization of the Bronson classic.

As with most remakes there are several questions to be asked: is the remake necessary; is there something different to be said; does it need to be updated for a modern audience?


Majority of films that get remade do not meet the above guidelines; most are remade because of a brand that a studio can cash in on – A Nightmare on Elm St, Halloween, and Friday the 13th. This is a quick and easy way for the studios to make money with an already built-in fan base and hopefully get a few of the younger generation into the seats with a lazy retelling of a classic movie.

But the best remakes are the ones that not only pay homage to the original but add something new to the films. John Carpenter’s The Thing maybe the best example of this - though at the time of its release, The Thing was a bomb and took years for people to discover its brilliance.

So these same questions need to be applied to Death Wish: is the remake necessary; is there something different to be said; does it need to be updated for a modern audience?

The answer is: Yes.

But does the 2018 Death Wish do this successfullly? Yes and no.

There is enough updated in Death Wish from is ‘74 counterpart that it feels fresh and new for modern audiences, while at the same time throwing a call-back to the original film when it’s needed – epically the ending. But the modernization is only technology, and not ideology; there are no looming moral question about gangs, gun violence, murders, or the repercussions of Kersey’s actions if he’s caught – this is a story that is set morally in a different era.

A lot has changed in the United States since the 1974. Culturally, racially, and politically we are in a different world some forty-four years later; even if snippets of the past seem to be coming back. The 1974 film is a movie made of its time – a rough around the edges, grindhouse-style film with Bronson at his gnarled best getting revenge on the punks of 1970s NYC. It is a tale of a man pushed to the breaking point, where he takes the law into his own hands and dishes his own brand of punishment.

Death Wish 2018 is pretty much the exact same story just set in modern times. And though the two movies share the main character of Paul Kersey, and a vigilante plot, little else is the same.

This time around Bruce Willis plays Paul Kersey, a respected Chicago surgeon who takes it upon himself to find his wife’s murderers and clean up the streets of Chicago, where crime seems to be at an unprecedented all-time high. Paul Kersey, at first, is a soft-spoken, caring doctor who’s willing to save every life, including gang-bangers and thugs because that’s his duty as a doctor. He’s a man devoted to his wife Lucy (Elizabeth Shue), his daughter, Jordan, (Camila Moore) and his out of work, broke brother, Frank (Vincent D’Onofrio). But when his life is forever changed with Lucy’s brutal murder, Kersey flips from soft-spoken nice guy to stone-cold killer and he does so with such ease that it’s scary – almost like the Kersey character had some dark monster living inside of him all along, just clamoring to be set free.

Death Wish 2018 isn’t as heavy handed with its message of vigilantism as the ‘74 film was, but at the same time, it still asks the question should someone take the law into their own hands, when the system fails. It’s shown several times in the film how bogged down the police are with unsolved crimes in the city the size of Chicago, and that another murder is just another name added to a wall. Kersey does everything by the book before he takes the law into his own hands: talking to the police, following up with them, giving them any and all information that would help them find his wife’s killers.

As stated above, the social commentary of the original Death Wish is not as present in the 2018 film. Death Wish 2018 is meant to entertain, and be a fun Bruce Willis/Eli Roth escapism revenge action film with a touch of social commentary about gun violence, gangs, and vigilantism to make you aware, but not to pound a political message down your throat. The film makes no effort to hide what it is trying to be, or what it is trying not to be – and it is definitely not trying to be politically correct.

Willis is cast well in this role, even if he is wooden and phoning it in at times. But in the scenes when he decides he wants to act, he’s actually pretty good and you can see his range as an actor shining through. Vincent D’Onofrio is the stand-out in the film, and an actor no matter what film or TV project he’s in, always give it one-hundred percent. It’s too bad that he wasn’t in the film more, and wasn’t given an opportunity to flex his acting chops more.

Being a first-time director of an action-thriller, Eli Roth handles the material well, and gives ample screen time for the characters to develop and story to unfold, before kicking the film into high gear with well-crafted suspense, action, and shootouts set pieces. He also gives us a very nasty torture scene that will have you squirming in your seat. If Roth continues with action/thrillers, he has a big career in the genre as he showed skill crafting the film.

With Death Wish, Willis and Roth are not looking to make anything more than a satisfying revenge movie, like those of the 70s or 80s. And let’s face it, if you’re going out to see Death Wish 2018, you’re going to see Bruce Willis dish out some justice on those who wronged him. The film sides with Kersey in the end, and that his actions were justified, as did the original Death Wish. But that is the point to the Kersey character arc and Death Wish itself; he begins to feel what he’s doing is justified, even if it’s wrong in the viewers eyes. Kersey is not a hero; he’s the anti-hero and you’re not supposed to like what he does during the film, nor are you supposed to want to be him.

8 out of 10 Stars.

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