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Sunday, 24 February 2013

The Hobbit DVD release








Due to recent illness ( OK it was the flu, but a REALLY bad flu) I missed the announcement by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment officially announcing that the marvellous The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey DVD release date for March 19th, 2013. As well as the DVD there’ll be a Blu-ray/DVD/UltraViolet and 3D BD/DVD/Ultraviolet Combo Pack. Hurrah!!
Sadly, the releases don’t seem to include any deleted or extended scenes included in the specifications, so as in the LOTR releases is seems that we will have to wait until the extended editions come out later this year







As far as i can see, special feature in the March release are;
  • New Zealand: Home of Middle Earth
  • Video Blogs
  • Start of Production
  • Location Scouting
  • Shooting Block One
  • Filming in 3D
  • Locations Part 1
  • Locations Part 2
  • Stone St. Studios Tour
  • Wrap of Principal Photography
  • Post-production Overview
  • Wellington World Premiere
  • Theatrical Trailers
  • Dwarves
  • Letter Opener
  • Bilbo Contract
  • Gandalf Wagers
  • Gollum Paths
  • Game Trailers
  • The Hobbit: Kingdoms of Middle-Earth
  • Guardians of Middle-Earth
  • Lego The Lord of the Rings
  • Standard DVD copy of An Unexpected Journey (2D)
  • UltraViolet digital copy An Unexpected Journey (2D) (expires 3/19/15)


Having said all that I may wait until the rumoured December release date to coincide with the next theatrical instalment for the extended version. Being the nerd that I am, the extended versions of LOTR are the only ones that I ever watch - so The Hobbit, which I seem to remember ran at over a zillion hours means that it may take the rest of my life to see all the extended material, scenes and deleted scenes. It's a dirty job, but someones got to do it........ Ah, to hell with it. I'll get the ordinary DVD in March and then the extended one too.........


Saturday, 16 February 2013

The Changeling (1980) - revisiting an old flame




"How did you die, Joseph? Did you die in this house? Why do you remain?"


I was driving home from work a few days ago when a song from the mid-1980's came on the radio that I hadn't heard in ages. The name of the song isn't important, suffice to say it was bought for me by my first love ( do I hear an ahhh, bless him?) and I must have played it to death at the time, I loved it. The memories of that time and and the people who were in my life that suddenly filled my head were intoxicating - such is the power of music. Yes, I started thinking of the particular person who bought me that song, as I said, she was my first love and well, it was a special time in my life. Such is the way my mind works, I started thinking of the science fiction and horror movies that we used to watch together. 
Her favourite count..

She was a huge classic Horror fan, particularly of Dracula in his various incarnations ( she had a particular obsession with Frank Langella's performance I seem to remember) 
and it's fair to say that she is arguably one of the biggest influences I've had in my education in the genre. 

The one single movie that has pride of place in my memory banks from that time was in fact a film that I proudly 'discovered' for us both. She had been isolated at home after being diagnosed with tonsillitis and after a few days of moping around ( yeah, what a suck) I decided to wander down to my local video store to find something to take my mind of things. This being 1984, the video rental industry was still pretty much in it's infancy so finding something new and worth watching was always a challenge in itself, I remember being less than hopeful of finding anything that would catch my attention. After what seemed like hours of deliberation whether to watch a movie I had seen a hundred times or a movie I had seen five hundred times my eyes caught sight of a dark looking video case with an orange effect lit  wheelchair in the dimly lit shadow of what looked like a child. The video case was hidden away on the far end of the shelf and by its immaculate condition it was clear that it had hardly been rented - the movie was called 'The Changeling'

As one does, I read the blurb on the back and it should be immediately put down on record that I didn't hold out too much hope of it being that good. Yes, it starred George. C. Scott, one of my favourite actors ( and in my humble opinion, still the best 'Scrooge' there has been on the silver screen). However, the rest of the movie's synopsis didn't inspire many other positive feelings. I had never heard of it, even though it was only four years old at the time (thanks to 'her' I regarded myself as something of a horror movie aficionado) and it's themes of haunted houses, ghosts and seances seemed derivative at best. At worse it also apparently lacked any gore, blood or scream queen element to it either, a recipe for disaster it seemed to my horror-loving mind. So I asked the dependable video store assistant about the movie, a man whose opinion I invariably trusted. He told me that the film had been in the store for over a year with just a handful of rentals. It had done nothing on it's cinematic release and gone pretty much straight to video…… and yet……and yet……he said that without fail, every single person had returned the movie and told him that it was quite simply the scariest and most terrifying film they had ever seen. He seemed particularly amused about one customer who had stated that they couldn't sleep with the light off since seeing it. High praise indeed. I was intrigued. I was desperate for something to watch from the horror genre and then tell 'her' about it. I decided against renting it. I instead bought it outright on the spot.

It was only when I was on my way home that I started to doubt whether or not video store man was exaggerating and had just landed another sucker to buy one of his 'never gonna sell products' with a made up pack of lies about it. There was nothing for it but to put aside my doubts, turn of the lights, draw the curtains, take the phone off the hook and put on the video.

The movie scared the living crap out of me………….





 
"It's a nice house, the attic needs a bit of fixing up though…."


The plot is cunningly simple. The always excellent George C Scott plays Dr. John Russell a well known classical music composer. The films begins with him and his family on a winter holiday in upstate New York where his wife and daughter are killed in a traffic accident.  Following their deaths he moves across country to Seattle and starts to try and rebuild his life where rents a large dilapidated mansion and slowly begins to teach again and start re-writing his musical scores. However, nightmares of the accident that killed his wife and daughter continue to haunt his dreams

Soon, Dr Russell soon realises that all is not right in his new home - in fact it seems to be haunted. The ghost turned out to be the spirit of a boy who makes its existence know by various incidents such as loud banging noises coming from the attic, shattering windows, abruptly opening and shutting doors, and dramatically appears during a seance. Russell, sceptical and still grief stricken, slowly realises that the ghost is looking for him to provide some form of justice and so investigates the identity of the dead child and finds that the mystery is linked to a powerful local family.

So there you have it, a clever yet effective chiller. Yet outside it's loyal fan base, this movie is still widely ignored yet its contemporaries of the time such as The Amityville Horror have gained a huge following whilst being immensely inferior to this movie. So I think it's time we redressed the balance eh?

So why is this movie so good, and yet even today is relatively unknown outside it's loyal fan-base? As I mentioned previously, the themes within it have been done a thousand times in horror stories - the haunted house, objects suddenly moving through their own accord, mysterious loud noises, a initially disbelieving owner slowly realising that the ghost is real, a medium holding a seance - all familiar themes and often badly made. What perhaps makes this movie superior is its dedication to slowly building up the audiences tensions through careful and sympathetic character development and then providing scenes of genuine terror where often the terror lies not with what we see ( because often we see nothing) but instead leaving our imagination to digest and experience for itself. 




"Oh Bugger……"
Perhaps one of the factors thats sets The Changeling apart from films of a similar nature are the actors performances - they are simply stunning. Scott as Dr. Russell in particular gives us a warm, confident yet vulnerable individual who slowly changes from a figure of disbelief, moving through terror, to a point where he truly wants to help the spirit of the murdered boy. My favourite scene comes when the boy's spirit is first trying to communicate with Russell - it's a sneakily simple yet effective set-piece that simply involves Russell first hearing, then seeing a child's rubber ball bouncing down the wooden stairs. After taking the ball and throwing it over a bridge into a river he returns to the house…… only for the now wet rubber ball to come slowly bouncing down the stairs again. There is no blood, no violence, yet the feeling of true terror that Scott portrays simply through his facial expression and reactions is truly amazing. See the clip below to get a flavour of what I'm saying.




The 'ball on the stairs' scene  - simple yet effective horror




Another simple yet chilling scene of The Changeling takes place during the seance and John Russell's subsequent listen to the audio recording of the seance. The deeply unsettling atmosphere it creates as we see the 'inhabited' psychic medium frantically scribbling down the spirit's answers to her questions with ever increasing savagery is excellent. Again, the scene is beautifully acted by Scott as his character is clearly unsettled, his facial expressions and reactions to the seance bely his own still remaining skeptical belief about the experience…...until he replays the audio recording of the seance in which he hears a child's voice answering the psychic's questions. The two scenes that i've just described ( as is the famous 'wheelchair moving on its own' sequence) all sound rather tame and insipid, but believe me, it is horror at its very very best.



The Seance scene - its been done countess times in movies, bit never as well as this.





The Changeling could be described as being old-fashioned in it's 'Hitchcockian' approach to film making - instead of 'diving' straight into the blood and gore instead decides to treat the audience with a modicum of intelligence and patience. It pull slowly ushers the audience into its grasp, at first understanding then challenging our own sense of scepticism until it generates a genuine richly textured horror.



This may not end well…..

The movie's concentration on character development makes us care for these people, even when we discover the horror perpetrated by the murdering father we still can understand why he did what he did, even though its was act of pure evil. This in turn makes the film's atmosphere become ever more chilling and unsettling. So when the film's most terrifying events finally take place, the audience has been psychologically prepared for being well and truly frightened out of their skins. 


A final element of this stunning film is the use of the house - as in any good haunted house movie it should become an additional cast character in itself. The masterful direction makes the perfect use of the big spaces to help focus attention on Russell's grief and loneliness The camera of tens looms around the set to give the sensation of the ghost watching and listening to the new occupiers. The house is always a main character making sure that the chills are genuine, the attic room in particular is the personification of eeriness. the soundtrack too should not be forgotten as the movie is constantly accompanied by some sweeping musical arrangements from Ken Wannberg (the music box theme composed by Howard Blake), without ever taking away the audiences attention from the film itself.


So there you have it - in the space of a few moments my mind moved from a much loved piece of music, through a much loved girl I once knew, to a movie that I love.

If anyone reading this has never seen this truly amazing piece of film-making, then rent it, stream it, download it, or watch the various sections of it that you can watch on youtube. If you have seen it before, well watch it again…..

































Sunday, 10 February 2013

Siberian Hellhole - A novel.








A new Facebook friend of mine asked me recently to have a read of his new novel and provide a little review of it if I wouldn't mind - of course I said I could oblige, for two very important reasons. Firstly it was a free copy of the book I was sent to read. I'm not saying that I'm cheap, but it meant I could quite happily provide an opinion knowing the experience hadn't cost me a penny (OK, maybe I'm slightly on the cheap side). Secondly, well after all, it makes a change to be asked and entrusted to provide ones opinion on a piece of work rather then me deciding to force my musings on the unsuspecting world.



So it was with a keen sense of anticipation that I began Michael Mulvihill's horror story. The story is set in modern day Siberia and the protagonist, Tobias is a caretaker looking after a small area of land for a major Oil company. He's a sympathetic and likable character who has fallen on hard times in the Russia that is now very different (and not always for the best) from the days of the Soviet Union. Times are hard, crime is rife and the people seem to have lost their identity and protection that the old controlling system seemed to offer
































As in any self-respecting horror story the world we find ourselves in becomes instantly authentic. The reader is immediately sucked into Tobias' weary boredom with his job and general dissatisfaction with his life which very quickly turns into an ever increasing sense of paranoia and foreboding. We are under no illusions that things are not what they seem in Tobias's world. The scene, for example,  where the mysterious white hand appears and tortures Tobias within the first couple of chapters is genuinely unsettling. I won't go into to many details of what Tobias' experiences are (delusion or not as the case may be) at the White hands, er, hand. Lets just say the brain investigation is suitably deliciously detailed, whether you like your human brain raw or fried……




Slowly it becomes apparent to us that the piece of land that Tobias is looking after only happens to be a recently opened gateway to hell which is about to spew forth all manner of dastardly and satanic forces into the deliciously named 'Vodka Valley' and its local residents. So thats a bit annoying then. Not that this is a straightforward by-the-numbers forces of evil take-over of the planet. Things aren't helped for the devil's cause as there is a continuing battle of wills and priories by the various 'evil factions'. The continuing attempts at one-upmanship between Asmodeus, demon leader of dark forces, and Ethagoria Nebsonia, master of the Siberian Vampires are a joy to read. It seems that its not only us humans who have problems with disagreeing factions stopping us, or in this case, the devil, getting things done.

Siberian Hellhole is horror story yes, there are some genuinely explicit scenes of pure Horror contained therein. However, it is far more than that. The characters are extremely well structured and each have a rich, textured tapestry that instills feeling of immediate dislike or empathy, depending on the individual concerned. In the case of the devil, you could say both feelings are instilled. The blossoming relationship between Tobias and his love interest Lyuba is both believable and authentic. For me, the character of Affanasi, the owner of the Chekov bar and his transformation to a fully fledged vampire is extremely well written and poignantly believable.

It is also an intelligent horror story containing elements as difference as Perestroika, philosophy, the power of religious faith and the ultimate battle of good over evil. Michael also draws upon his own background as a psychologist in some passages that draw upon detailed analysis of the human condition. Overall, it is a satisfying and thought provoking horror story of the battle between the forces of hell and a reassurance of a populations spirituality.

Highly recommended. 





Michael Mulvihill is a Dublin based was a long-time contributor to BLACK PETALS e-zine. This includes his issue #61 poems: A Love Story Beautiful, Capitalism’s Modern Architecture of Love, Red BrickThe Securocrats, and Toxic Addiction (+ the poems, Fatigued, O Mother, and Spike-Inverted Hearts for BP #58; “The Cleaner and the Collector” tale & all 6 BP #56 poems; BP #50’s story, “The Soul Scrubber”, and as featured vampire poet with A Vampire’s Dilemma: Love, Becoming a Vampire, Vampire Insomnia, and Vampiric War in The Kodori Valley; BP #49 poems, I, the Vampire, The Reluctant Vampire of Tbilisi, Vampire Observations, and Vampire Psychoanalysis). The 30ish author published a short story, “Ethagoria Nebsonia,” in BP in 1998 and had a poem, “The Bombing,” in The Kingdom News about a domestic tragedy in Ireland. Rest in peace and rise again, thou sweet and terrible soul! 



Thursday, 7 February 2013

Three Sci-fi & horror movies… so bad that they're so good!


I may be running the risk of offending a few people in this blog entry. After all, having someone (in this case, yours truly) blithely inform you that the movie you may love, possibly above all others, is actually at its core pretty rubbish could ultimately push one to violence. Indeed, at the very least, it could lead to a rather strongly worded rebuttal in the comments section of a blog or Facebook page :-). This stuff is important. In a similar vein, I can remember not so long ago watching a 'top 10 worst depressing songs' or something - and at least half of the list were in my personal favourites songs, live ever…… as Yoda would say, "Offended was I". So, in a somewhat half-hearted attempt at a disclaimer;

"The views in this blog are entirely my own. They are not based on anything but my own twisted opinions and everyone has the right to disagree & indeed point out any inaccuracies or biases ."

 Though if I'd mentioned Starship Troopers in this list then only a fool would have disagreed with that choice. The only thing that kept it out of this 'so bad it's good list' was the fact that Starship Troopers is so bad that it's bad. End of. Even the delicious Denise Richards couldn't save that movie.


So here are 3 movies that are contenders for the award of ' So bad that it's good'…… 





ZARDOZ (1974)



"The gun is good. The penis is evil." …

So proclaims the the big floating stone head who is worshipped as a god, Zardoz, in the frankly staggeringly bizarre film of the same name. Let this blog act as a warning to you, this film is strange, unsettling and will have a long lasting effect on your psyche. There are many reasons for this, some of which I'll go onto into shortly. However the main reason is that for the whole of the film a rather hairy Sean Connery walks around dressed only in a red nappy, Bandoleers and knee-length leather boots. I kid ye not. 



Sean Connery, rockin' the Red nappy, Bandolier & leather thigh boot combo.






The story is set in the year 2293, and yes, it's a another case where the dear old planet Earth is in a bit of a post-apocalyptic mess. This time it is inhabited mostly by group known as the Brutals, who are in turn controlled by an immortal people known as the Eternals. Eternals use certain grades of Brutals, called Exterminators, as a hand-picked warrior class who wear, erm, red nappies. The Exterminators worship the god Zardoz. There you go, clear as day.


When a less savage and far more intelligent Brutal named Zed (played by Sean Connery, in his 2nd movie outing since a certain Mr Bond) hides in the Zardoz head on one of its flights, he discovers that his venerated deity is in fact a fraud. Nappy-wearing Zed learns that this deception has been arranged by the Eternals in order to mollify and control the overtly aggressive masses. Zed isn't happy. So much so that he becomes the focal point of rebellion for the Brutals and a faction of the Eternals who have become bored and disenchanted with their immortal and perfect lives.

Are you still with me? You are? Blimey. 

Anyway, not wanting to give much more of the plot(?) away, there then takes place time travel, genetic enhancement and the excuse to show as many naked women (nothing necessarily wrong with that) as the director John Boorman had the time to fit in. All presented in periods of trippy acid induced cinematographic visuals that clearly had their origins in the recently ended 1960's. It's all bonkers, just bonkers.



Why this movie should be bad 

Now, as I've mentioned already, this blog entry is about movies that are so bad that they are actually good. Well I'm not sure if this film easily fits into that list, to be honest I've seen it a few times whilst flicking through the satellite channels and the viewing of it is always slightly disquieting ( Yes Mr nappy-wearing Connery, I'm talking about you). But for some reason that I've never been quite able to put my finger on, it holds a special place in my affections.
Yes, it bombed on release and now has attained the status of a true cult classic - that in itself isn't that unusual. What I find interesting about this movie is the extreme opinions it instills in people, as some of the vitriol towards the film on some websites make quite clear. Indeed, there are famous anecdotes of people queueing to see the film on its original release making a point to tell as many people as possible waiting in line for the next showing just how bad the film is. The film at times makes absolutely no sense, its bonkers on so many levels and Sean Connery has the constant look of a man who wishes he had not decided to leave the Bond franchise to Roger Moore.

What actually makes this film good is….

What the film is is a genuine attempt at a different type of science fiction move. Some people seem to think that sic-fi films in the 1970's started and ended with Star Wars, forgetting that other original ideas sometimes had brave people to attempting to put them into the public arena. For years I struggled with the question as to whether the makers of the film were trying to be seriously philosophical about the warnings of a religious dystopia, or whether they were just having a bit of a laugh and just trying to produce a piece of hippy induced fun. Only now do I realise that it doesn't matter, the only thing to do now if you happen to catch a showing of the film is to grab a glass of wine and simply lose yourself in the experience.

If you don't mind being confused, bemused and generally don't mind periods where you'll be staring at the screen in pure disbelief, then this is the movie for me and you. I love it.



Please watch this clip. I think the word you are looking for is 'Bonkers'






FLASH GORDON (1980)



Boy oh boy, am I going to step on some toes with this next entry in the list. After all, it's a film that didn't perform well on it's release (except for here in the UK, where it went ballistic) but has gone on to be the cult of all cult sci-fi movies. So before I go any further, let me make one thing clear. Which is simply this, I adore this film, i really do. It forms an integral part of the rich tapestry of my movie going experience, it's something i never tire of watching and probably never will. The film works, it delivers, even though it shouldn't. Be honest and lets face it, it shouldn't really work, because on a number of fundamental levels, it's rubbish. 

However, before we discuss the pro's and cons of this most kitsch of all science fiction movies, for those few of you that haven't seen it, here's the plot. 

American Football star Flash Gordon ( er 'played', by Sam Jones) is on a chartered plane caught in a meteor storm. However, this is no 'ordinary' meteor storm, oh no. For it has been caused by intergalactic tyrannical despot Ming the Merciless (played by the magnificent Max Vin Sydow) who has vowed to first play with then destroy Earth. When the plane is hit, the pilots, well, disappear. Consequently, as the only other person on the plane with our hero is  travel journalist Dale Arden, Flash being Flash decides that he will have to land the plane himself. Dale meanwhile screams a little. The plane crashes near the greenhouse-lab of disgraced  NASA scientist Dr. Hans Zarkov (  a deliciously over the top performance by Topol), who at that moment is about  to launch his home built rocket ship to visit Ming’s world and broker a peace between the Earth and the alien despot he believes is causing the Earths climactic problems. As you do.



Sam ' i can act, honest I can' Jones



Both Flash and Dale end up on Zarkov’s rocket and land on Emperor Ming’s planet (the wonderfully named Planet Mongo). It is a world that is surrounded by a number of moons, each of which is inhabited by a different alien race, all who have in turn been condemned to servitude by the horrible Emperor Ming. He's a bad, bad Alien. Realising that Earth and the human race is in danger of an impending annihilation , and with the secret help of Ming princess (more of HER in a while), Flash leads a revolt of the enslaved alien races against Ming and his cyborg army.  




Nope, nothing homo-erotic about this picture at all



Why this movie should be bad 


There's purposely little or no attempt at scientific realism, the alien costumes are like something out of psychedelic version of a camp Arabian nights. The studio sets are in-your-face multi-prime coloured cardboard stages and the special effects include firework spark trailing model spaceships together with 1960's Barbarella psychedelic background skies (yes, yes i know, all done purposely as an homage - but it's still complete 1960-esque kitsch). 

Oh, and lets not forget that the acting ranges from being as cardboard as some of the sets to about as wonderfully over the top as it is possible to get (yes, Brian Blessed, I do mean you). If all that wasn't enough, the dialogue at time is painfully corny bordering on terrible ( "Flash, Flash I love you, but we only have 24 hours to save the Earth") and some of the plot set-pieces are frankly eye-poppingly absurd - Flash fighting Ming's guards by playing American football to name but one.

Maybe it's because some elements of it are so bad is what make us love it. 



What actually makes this film good is….


The strange thing is that some of the things that make this movie bad also contribute to the love that people feel for it. Take the acting for example. On the one hand Sam Jones being nominated for a Golden Raspberry award speaks for itself, his performance is spectacularly bad. However Brian Blessed, Max von Sydow and Topo; are in that order spectacularly good. Indeed, Blessed as Prince Vultan registered the Yorkshire-born actor into our collective consciousness for THAT one line of dialogue, which I shall refrain from repeating here. Even now, well into the 21st Century, it is the one of the most often quoted lines from any genre of cinema. 

Another point on the 'this is actually bloody good' scale is just how daring, offbeat and downright sexy the film is. There are some scenes of great tension and others of some violence that seemed to find it's way under the censorship radar. The 'right of passage' scene on Arboria where the initiation of the young tribe member involves placing the hand into the rock, risking the stab and poisoninous slow death of the creature within is spine tingling in its tension. The action sequences, apart from the American football fight, are excellent - the attack by Brian Blessed and his boys on the war rocket Ajax is as good as any  thing. Watch the clip below if you don't believe me.

Though it may not be as overtly sexy as a movie such as Barbarella, the movie's wardrobe for the female cast was more than enough to fulfil many a young mans fancy. How some of the innuendo and dialogue particularly from the lovely Ornella Muti (Princess Aura) again got past the censors is only something we can be eternally thankful for.  




Princess Aura - I think the inter-galactic word is 'Blimey'!


In the end, Flash Gordon is a visual feast that never takes itself too seriously. I think part of the problem on it's initial release was that people confused the intentions of the film, there is no moral or philosophy on the human condition that accompanied other films of the genre at the time of release. Instead, the movie is a well-intentioned, big budget piece of kitsch that embraces all that is good about the old science fiction television serials1930s movie serials. It's simply a piece of fun. Sam Jones still can't act though.
I


The attack on Ajax………"DIVE'!!!!




Bugger, I can't help myself……I got to the end of the entry for this movie without saying it……but I have to say it…..I have to ………..  "GORDON'S ALIVE?!"

There, I feel much better now.




THE HOWLING II - Your sister is a Werewolf (1985)



Hmm, this third and final entry may be slightly pushing it to fully qualify for the 'Its so bad that its good' award. However, I'm going to give it my best shot and as with the other entries I'll let you, my dear reader, decide if it should be included here or not. 


The movie begins pretty much as the first Howling ended with Ben White attending the funeral of his sister, journalist Karen White, the heroine of the first movie. Ben meets both Jenny Templeton (Annie McEnroe), one of Karen's colleagues, and Stefan Crosscoe (played by the ever dependable Christopher Lee), a mysterious uninvited guest who tells him Karen was a werewolf (As you do). Providing videotaped evidence (remember, this is the 1980's) of the transformation – and turning up to destroy Karen as her undead body rises from the grave ( putting an even greater downer on the funeral service) – Crosscoe convinces Ben and Jenny to accompany him to Transylvania to battle Stirba, an immortal werewolf queen (played by the entirely delicious Sybil Dannin).


Stirba - the Werewolf bitch


Along the way, the trio encounter Mariana (Marsha Hunt), another sexually athletic werewolf temptress, and her servant Erle.  Arriving in the deepest darkest Transylvania, Ben and his intrepid friends are unaware that Stirba is hidden away in her nearby castle planning a dastardly ending for them as she summons up her  witchcraft powers. Eventually, the adventurers do battle with Stirba in an assault that involves disguised dwarves, mutilated priests, and supernatural parasites ( I kid ye not) before the final confrontation between Stirba and the happy band of adventurers.


Why this movie should be bad 

There are some of us that take our sci-fi/fantasy/horror lore pretty seriously (Do NOT get me started on vampires turning all pretty and  sparkly shiny as they enter sunlight )  - so whoever just muttered under their breath the word 'geek' you can leave the classroom now...…

For one of the most vociferous criticisms of The Howling II is it's depiction of the mythology of werewolf lore, due to the fact that the film blatantly mixes vampire related mythology in place of werewolf mythology. Whether this was pure ineptness and laziness on the part of the makers is open to question. For a start, claiming that werewolves must be staked in the heart with a metal stake in order to kill them (silver bullets only put them into a coma) is more than enough on its own to get any self respecting horror fan slightly delirious with rage.  proclaiming that the seat of power of the werewolves is Transylvania, and that laurels of garlic can ward off potential vampire attacks. Furthermore, the film claims that those werewolves from Eastern Europe are immune to silver weapons and can only be killed by weapons made of titanium……….titanium??!!
Now I'm not saying that we should be slavish to myth and lore- bit blimey, this films takes the biscuit when it comes to 're-mything' . Yes I know it's a made up term but just wait for even stronger terms I may use if I ever write about the vampire/werewolf car-crash of mythosim that was butchered by the Twilight series.....

In addition you have a cast whose performances are as universally terrible as one could imagine. Even movie stalwarts like the majestic Christopher Lee fall into the trap of 'hamming' it up. Indeed, Mr Lee has often gone on record as saying that this movie was without doubt the worse thing that he ever did.



What actually makes this film good is….


So the case for the prosecution is pretty strong isn't it? A fine movie has its memory trashed once again by a sequal that contains bad horror lore, bad acting and a seemingly unending excuse to have multiple acts of werewolf sex.

The thing is, yes it is a bad movie for those reasons and more. However it does have a certain charm ( and I'm not just talking about Sybil Danning). In fact I've often found parts of the movie laugh-out-loud funny - and this is one of the joys of this film,  in that it is completely unintentionally and sometimes side-splittingly funny. Who could not love dialogue that includes lines such as "Is that dwarf staring at us...?"  A line that is said with no trace of irony at all. Soon they become Mace-wielding dwarves! I ask you, just what is there about that not to like?



someone get me out of this movie, NOW!



I won't even try to recount some of the terrible dialogue that Christopher Lee had to say, but lets just say that he must still have the odd sleepless night over it. All I will say is that the scene where he "blends in" at a punk night club by wearing sunglasses and jeans is pure comedy gold on it's own.

Yes this is bad horror, but its through the  unintentionally bad horror that it hits a true seam of comedy gold. So much so that when I'm feeling a little on the fed up side, this is often my go-to movie of choice to make me realise that bad a my life may seem at this point, I've never produced such such a true piece of tripe as is The Howling 2.





What's not to like?