Before we commence the reviewin’, I want to share the teaser poster for upcomin’ fright flick THE LAST FRANKENSTEIN! I can assure you creeps this is going to be one hell of a flick (and not just ‘cuz I’m in it). Any way, scope that poster, read more about the film here, and slap ’em a like on Facebook!
Now, let’s see about these reviews—torture porn, voodoo, slashers, and ninjas (?!!). This one has something for… well, for somebody… possibly…
THE SERPENT AND THE RAINBOW
• RELEASE DATE: Available February 23rd on Blu-ray
• WRITTEN BY: Richard Maxwell
• DIRECTED BY: Wes Craven
• STARRING: Bill Pullman, Cathy Tyson, Zakes Mokae
Ya know, creeps, a veritable S-ton of my revoltin’ reviews for this website contain either me bitchin’ and moanin’ about how I have to watch yet another zombie flick or how I am revisitin’ a film that I saw once, decades ago, and then promptly forgot almost every single detail of. Guess what? This one could technically fall under both categories! I know, the excitement you feel is downright palpable!
THE SERPENT AND THE RAINBOW involves the misadventures of a globe hoppin’, potion drinkin’, balls trippin’, constantly narratin’ anthropologist named Dennis Alan (Pullman) who heads to Haiti to investigate claims of a drug that can turn folks into virtual zombies at the behest of a pharmaceutical company. As you can imagine, that plan goes over as well as a fart in a submarine as ol’ Dennis runs afoul of an evil (and government sanctioned) voodoo practicin’ super bad dude (Mokae)—the kind that turns people into zombies and steals their souls. Dennis also gets buried alive, wakes up next to headless corpses, and gets his sack nailed to a chair at one point. This would cause any rational thinkin’ dude to get the F outta Dodge (probably dragging that chair with them), but ol’ D-Man presses on, which of course causes his life to spiral even further down into an abyss of crazy goings-on.
Not really a total out-and-out fright flick, this is never the less a real spine tinglin’ good time. Treating the voodoo religion with gravitas while still offering up supernatural shenanigans, ol’ TSATR bridges the gap between psychological thriller and horror flick with ease (although admittedly by the end the more serious build up is blown away by over the top nonsense). And why wouldn’t it, since its die-rected by the late, great maestro of the macabre, Wes Craven.
Now, if I find this film so entertaining today, why didn’t it resonate with me back in ’88? Simple: I was expecting all out Hollywood zombie spills and chills, and this flick ain’t about that at all. This is an examination of where that archetype originated (much like the 1932 Lugosi classic WHITE ZOMBIE). Also, the picture is set during a period of intense political upheaval and is loaded with thoughtful examinations of practices most of us just don’t understand, which gives it a bit of weight a lot of horror films just don’t contain. Too heady a combo for a dude that was just lookin’ for a good gut munchin’ fracas at the time.
So the film is solid enough to warrant a purchase, but what about the extras? Honestly, they are a tad light. You get a 20 minute “making of” doc, a trailer, TV Spot, Photo Gallery, and a commentary by actor Bill Pullman. Not bad by any means, but not the super duper goodies dump that some of Scream Factory’s releases contain.
If you dismissed this film upon first viewing like yours cruelly, I urge you to give it another go. THE SERPENT AND THE RAINBOW is a more mature and nuanced fright flick than the norm, but it’s engaging and interlaced with some great, hallucinatory bits of pure terror to keep us horror hounds at attention. It’s a true terror treat from Craven that sometimes gets over shadowed by his other (admittedly awesome) more famous fright flicks, and it deserves it’s time to shine!
• RELEASE DATE: Available Now on DVD
• WRITTEN BY: Dan Brownlie, Dani Thompson
• DIRECTED BY: Dan Brownlie
• STARRING: Debbie Rochon, Dani Thompson, Suzi Lorraine
What do an old rotary phone, a bloody hand, and a whimsical misspelling have in common? Well, besides the now infamous (and still under investigation) Daniel XIII Gimmie Cash-A-Thon of 1986, they all appear on the cover art belonging to our next flick for review, titled SERIAL KALLER! Let’s see if this tale of menaced models can reach out and touch someone (touch them anywhere above the waist, that is).
SERIAL KALLER is the gripping yarn of a bevy of beautiful babes who get all semi-nudified upon ye olde internet, stalked, and slayed by what they suspect is a cray-cray fan they teased on their “show”. Pretty basic slasher material.
I will tell you straight up, this thing has more boobs than bloodshed (though there are some spurts here and there). Is that a bad thing? Well, depends on what you are lookin’ for in a fright flick like this, although if you picked this up after reading the description I’d be willin’ to bet demons to doughnuts lady flesh was definitely on yer fevered lil’ mind.
This isn’t a bad flick, by any means; it moves quick, it delivers what it promises, and has another good performance by one of my fav scream queens, Debbie Rochon. If ya dig the slasher genre, you’ll dig this… just don’t expect a revolutionary take on the genre or nothin’.