Monday, March 11, 2013

The Sequel Spectacular! - Horror Leftovers Reheated One More Time

I've reviewed some great and lousy films for the blog. But I don't want you to think that the movies on the blog were the only terror flicks I was watching. The problem was that I didn't want to watch the next horror movie in my "To Review" list without getting the previous review posted. These days my mind has a hard enough time keeping my normal thoughts straight. It doesn't need any extra movie-review trivia clogging my neural highways. But I still wanted something to watch. So I started searching Netfilx and the net for the seldom-heard-of, sequels, trilogies, and series of the movies I've reviewed.

What I got was a long list of (generally) terrible movies. But hey, this is horror. One of the only genres that embraces B-Reels and low budget production. If they are bad enough, they become funny at least. So I set out to get you the the most basic reviews of these sequels so you don't have to sit through them. Don't say I never did anything for ya. The reviews are short and cursory, mostly because they weren't memorable enough for anything more. Enjoy and yell at me in the comments. 

Sequels and Series Bellow: 
Hellraiser 1-4
[Rec] Series
From Dusk Till Dawn Series
The Return of the Living Dead Series
30 Days of Night Sequel
Carrie Sequel
Ginger Snaps Trilogy

All Kinds of Spoilers Bellow

Hellbound: Hellraiser 2

A poor, disturbed Kirsty is once again the target of Pinhead, his cronies, and the undead Julia. We get a little more background on the Cenobites and the cube in a very Labyrinth-like setting. If you liked Hellraiser because of the cool effects and gore, then you will like this movie, there is lots. But the movie gives you three different plot lines and fails to bring them together. I even found the lore about the Cenobites and the cube disappointing.

 Basic Review: Skip It

Hellraiser 3: Hell on Earth

In number 3 we lose all main characters except for Pinhead himself. A club owner with a love of the macabre buys artwork containing Pinhead. After some killing and resurrecting, Pinhead goes on a rampage until his timely banishment via the cube. I liked this flick more than 2 simply because it has a crazy massacre at its climax. A whole night club gets ripped up. And pinhead makes more Cenobites, which is cool. The plot and the dialogue are weak, but over all I think it makes a good B-Reel movie. If you like classic gore effects you'll like this movie.

 Basic Review: B-Reel.

Hellraiser 4: Bloodlines

 I know that there are nine Hellraiser movies, but this is the last one I could stomach. It follows the blood line of the original makers of the cube. It starts in the 1700's, jumps to the 1980's, and ends up in future. After making the cube, the maker's descendants are constantly trying to destroy it. I liked the beginning, showing the creation of the cube. The meat of the movie, the 1980's section, is boring with lame Cenobites and mediocre gore. The future part is on a space station and is really just stupid. It's like watching Alien, but you don't give a crap what happens. Honestly, I think my brain tuned out for the last 15 mins of the flick.

 Basic Review: Skip It

[Rec]2

If you loved [Rec], but were left wanting more, not to fear because [Rec]2 brings back everything you loved to begin with. A SWAT team, lead by a priest, enter 'The Quarantined Building' to discover the source of the infection. It's found footage style once more with multiple cameras, shoulder cams, and night vision. We are in the exact same building/set as the first movie, but with some extra hidden passages and tunnels, it doesn't feel stale. A few of the original characters pop up too, which is fun. The zombies in the film are a little different than the first. The director chose to play up the demonic/possession aspect of the zombie virus. It creates a different feel entirely, but just as scary. 

My Opinion: See It

[Rec]3: Genesis

This movie really deserves a complete review of its own. The story follows the wedding and reception of Koldo and Clara. The introduction is found footage style, but once zombies start popping up, it switches to straight filming. I think it was a great choice, because it gave the director a chance to really strut his stuff. And the cinematography is beautiful. Throughout the movie, there are stunning tablos, almost like still frames, that leave an impression. Seriously, this movie just looks good. The zombies are still of the demonic variety, but a little dialed back from [Rec]2. The setting is at a wedding reception hall, so we get to stretch our legs a little more than we had in the apartment building. I really liked this movie and really think it is a classic zombie movie in the making.

My Opinion: See It (really, go see it).

From Dusk till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money

This movie follows a group of bank robbers pulling off a heist in Mexico. Throw in a couple of vampire bites, and chaos ensues  This movie lacks the two best parts of the original, namely George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino. It lacks a lot of the humor that the first film gave us. The acting is bad, the effects are bad, the dialogue is bad. The final scene, a standoff between vampires and tons of police officers, is pretty cool, but not cool enough to redeem this movie.

My Opinion: Skip It

From Dusk till Dawn 3: The Hangman's Daughter

If you've always wanted a vampire movie set in early 1900's Wild West Mexico, good news, there is exactly one in existence. I was actually hopeful when I saw Bryan Cranson was in this flick, but my hopes were quickly dashed. While I'm glad they tried to add the over-the-top gore back into the series, it wasn't enough to make up for the plot. There are like 4 different plot lines dumped on the screen that never come to a satisfying conclusion (Seriously what is the deal with Cranson's character?). If you are a pure action-gore fan, you might enjoy this one.

My Opinion: Skip It

The Return of the Living Dead Part 2

If you took the original The Return of the Living Dead, took out the nudity, added a little more humor, and gave it happy ending, you would have exactly this movie. Both Thom Mathews and James Caren play the exact same roles as the original. This time they are grave robbers, but they still freak out the same and turn into zombies. This is obviously on purpose because the film makes a joke about it. The humor in the show is a little more on the nose. More slapstick comedy instead of the satire comedy of the first film. Its got lots more of those great 80's special effects and yes, Tarman gets some more screen time. I don't think it's as great as the first film, but it's still pretty good.

My Opinion: B-Reel

The Return of the Living Dead 3

Now, if you liked the zombie motif of the original The Return of the Living Dead, but hated all the humor and comedy, then this is the film for you. It follows a teenage couple exposed to the zombie virus and military's attempted containment. It brings back the nudity and teenage rebellion of the first film while delving a little more into the un-killable zombie universe. The movie has great and graphic special effects and some pretty good acting.

My Opinion: See It

The Return of the Living Dead 4: Necropolis

This movie kinda has a Resident Evil feel to it. A group of teens attempt to rescue their friend from a secret zombie-weapons lab. Needless to say, zombie outbreak ensues. The effects are okay, but this is the first film in the series with CGI gore, and I'm just not a fan. The dialogue is bad, the characters and acting are boring, and I find myself unable to recall much about it even though I just watched it 4 days ago. Forgettable would define it pretty well.

My Opinion: Skip It

The Return of the Living Dead 5: Rave to the Grave

Wow, it's not often I hate a movie, but I hated this movie. It follows some kids who get their hands on a zombie-barrel and use it to make a drugs to sell for a party. Do kids make drugs out of unknown military chemicals these days? I'm I just out of the loop? When the premise of your movie forces you to lower the intelligence of all your characters, you're gonna have a bad movie. The best way to define this movie is to take a classic 70's horror movie, with all its stereotype characters and cheesy dialogue, and re-shoot it with modern camera. Clique doesn't even begin to describe the writing in this movie. It's like being a senior in high school and watching a 7th grader try and tell you jokes. It just doesn't work.

My Opinion: Skip It

30 Days of Night: Dark Days

The original 30 Days of Night is to its sequel, what the original Alien was to its sequel (well, that is, if James Cameron was a terrible director). In both cases, the scary factor was replaced with an action-adventure factor. And that's a bad thing in my opinion. This movie is set in California, with the previous love interest joining a vampire-killing crew. It kinda feels like Blade or John Carpenter's Vampires, but not as good as either one. There is plenty of blood and gore, but the plot is full of holes, the acting is bad, and it feels like they are trying to hard. With no Alaska and no 'days of night' this movie ain't worth the time.

My opinion: Skip It

The Rage :Carrie 2

I almost want to call this movie a loose remake of the original. It goes though a lot of effort to show contemporary (90's) teenage life to contrast the original. And it does feel like a teen movie, despite the fact that all the actors look to be in their thirties. The lead girl, Rachelle, is a forgotten step-sister of Carrie White, and goes on a similar killing rampage. The rampage scene is cool and the bullies are more deserving of death. But the movie isn't scary, is poorly written, poorly acted, and has a plot line that is awkward and forced. Save yourself the time and just youtube the last scene.

My Opinion: Skip It

Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed

The story follows Brigitte, who's werewolf-virus was never cured, simply controlled by an elixir. She ends up in rehab, forced to make new friends as she is stalked by another werewolf. I'm not gonna say this movie is good, but I did like it better than the original. It's quite a bit darker with some good physiological scares thrown in at the end. It is beautifully shot and has good effects. Still, the plot feels directionless and the acting leaves much to be desired.

My Opinion: B-Reel

Ginger Snap Back

Don't you hate it that there aren't any 1600's French-Canadian Frontiersmen Werewolf movies? Yep, that's right, they did it. In the most bizarre logic, the series took the iconic sisters and sent them back in time to their Canadian Pilgrim ancestors. I suppose it was an attempt to make an origins movie for the Beast of Bailey Downs, but it didn't even do that. I have no idea what the plot of this movie was. The acting is mediocre and the dialogue is dripping with cheese. I'm almost positive that the creative idea for the werewolves was 'gorillas with wolf heads'. Wow. They spent a lot of money to make a terrible movie.

My Opinion: Skip It

So there you have it. All the sequels and series you don't have to watch. If you like B-Reels, watch the B-Reels, or just get back to watching some Horror Classics.

13 comments:

  1. Good write-ups. I'm a sucker for sequels. I know 90% of them are terrible but I gravitate towards them anyway. I think I've seen most of these. I did the whole Hellraiser series last year.

    Return of the Living Dead I only watched a week or so ago. Good to know that 2 & 3 are worth watching.

    Completely agree about Ginger Snaps. What the hell was that prequel about? The makers completely missed the point about what made the first two good.

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    1. Props to you for making though the whole Hellraiser series. I, like a lot of people, was really intrigued by Pinhead and the Cenobites. I watch a few hoping to get some cool background or lore. Hellraiser 4 just took the steam out of me. Are there any in the last five installments that are worth seeing?

      and once someone can explain to me the insanity of ginger snaps 3, I'll be sure to let you know.

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    2. Yeah, the rest of the Hellraiser series is pretty rubbish. I would save yourself a few hours and skip them. However if you want to read what happened in them check out my review.

      http://collectedcinema.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/The%20Hellraiser%20Series%20%281987-2011%29

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  2. Personally, I like sequels, especially when they're dumber and bloodier and fully embrace their total pointlessness (House on Haunted Hill II or Piranha II being good examples). Of those above that I've seen, I'd agree with what you say about Carrie: The Rage (tho I like Mena Suvari's big butt and really enjoyed seeing Amy Irving get it through the eye), Living Dead 2 & 3 (tho in both cases I'd say "when you got nothing else to watch), and Hellraiser 4 – I think with the exception of the self-aware Jason in Space (or whatever it was called), there hasn't been a good space-set sequel yet. Rec 2 was a film that simply pissed me off: a regurgitation of one that was so desperate to bring in more bodies that they came up with a stupid secret passage sub-plot and dick-ass kids that you wanted to die. Hellraiser II was a real thrill when it came out but has aged badly (tho it's fun in its own way). I liked D2D III – it knew it was no masterpiece and that it couldn't even come close to the first one, but it had a good setting (old west) and a lot of humor. A masterpiece in comparison to the latest sequel I just saw, Silent Hill II, which limper than a dead man's dick.

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    1. I glad you touched on the outer space aspect of Hellraiser 4. And you're right, it is amazing how awkward a movie can be when the director attempts to shake up the genre by setting in space. While there aren't a ton of sci-fi horror movies, I think there are enough to for a sub-genre to clearly point out the possers eg Hellraiser 4, Dracula 3000, and Leprechaun 4.

      I'll give you the point too about REC 2's forced plot line. The directors were trying to use the same setting, in the same style, while remaining connected to the original plot. They defintly had to get creative if not heavy handed. But personally, the new dynamics of the zombies was enough to hold my attention.

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  3. Thanks for your recent comment of my blog, HMM.

    You've got a smashing site by the way. Please feel free to join mine via Google Friend Connect for some additional exposure.

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  4. Really wanted to like rec 3 but really just couldn't, was really disappointed - massively!

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    1. ugghh. right to the heart.
      only the reasoning behind your disappointment can remove this arrow you shot at my heart.

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  5. I so much like what you are doing with your blog..sorry it took me so long to follow. All the best on shredding some horror movies out there. Will you review any TV shows?

    Keep writing!

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    1. you know I haven't been big into tv lately. any ideas of what I should be following?

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  6. Damn, I wasn't even aware that nine Hellraiser movies were made.

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    1. Trust me, no one knows. And they most likely better off living in that ignorance.

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