Ashley Laurence

Ashley Laurence

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Hellbound: Hellraiser II Review


Very Good
Clive Barker was a virtual unknown when, in 1987, he cashed in his literary cachet to write and direct the bloody and brilliant Hellraiser. Based on his own short story, and centering on the underworld's own "explorers of the further regions of experience," aka the Cenobites, it stood in stark contrast to the slice-and-dice dynamic of a by-then exhausted slasher genre. When sequel time came around, Barker was off crafting his Star Wars of horror, otherwise known as the disappointing Nightbreed. So American director Tony Randell was brought in to helm the follow-up. The results were bigger in every way -- grander in scope, broader in mythos, and bloodier than ever before.

After Kirsty Cotton (Ashley Laurence) survives her first run-in with evil, she ends up at an institute run by Dr. Channard (Kenneth Cranham) and his assistant Kyle (William Hope). While he promises to help, it turns out the psychiatrist is obsessed with the Lament Configuration, the demonic puzzle box which unleashes the Cenobites. With the help of the bloodstained mattress where Kirsty's stepmother Julia (Clare Higgins) died, Channard wants to use a mute patient named Tiffany (Imogen Boorman) as a gateway, solving the cube's riddle and opening up a conduit to head demon Pinhead (Doug Bradley). Of course, such a strategy could lead to a literal Hell on Earth.

Continue reading: Hellbound: Hellraiser II Review

Hellraiser Review


Excellent
One of the unsung titans of the horror industry, Hellraiser got its start in modest fashion that certainly didn't seem headed for sequel city. To date, eight Hellraiser films have been released (four direct to video). A remake is planned for 2008.

Today, the plotline has been largely forgotten as side characters -- essentially, demons from Hell called Cenobites -- are the what have settled in people's minds and which have become increasingly the basis for the following films. But the original Hellraiser really isn't about Pinhead and his ilk. In fact, it's almost a love story.

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Hellraiser: Hellseeker Review


Weak
It was only a matter of time. The Hellraiser series, which began with a creepy as hell opening in 1987 and managed to stay fairly scary through Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth, has finally gone the way of Leprechaun and Children of the Corn.

Hellraiser #4 took place in outer space. Number 5 went straight to video.

Continue reading: Hellraiser: Hellseeker Review

Lightning Bug Review


Good
Lightning Bug is one of those rare films that actually gets better as it goes along. It starts out as a run-of-the-mill coming of age story, but eventually finds the idiosyncrasies that separate it from the pack. It opens with Jenny Graves (Ashley Laurence), a single mom with two children, moving from Detroit to a trailer in Alabama. Flash forward several years, when her sons Green (Bret Harrison) and Jay (Lucas Till) are in their teen and pre-teen years respectively, dealing with mom's new husband Earl (Kevin Gage), who has all the charm of a rattlesnake.

For the first five minutes, the film feels like a low-budget remake of 8 Mile as we expect a drunken Kim Basinger to storm in shouting "What y'all doin' in my trailer?" Not helping matters are somewhat clunky dialogue, acting, and editing. For about 20 minutes we're introduced in this manner to Green's world, populated by cousin-lusting teens, hard-drinking man-children, and our hero's own dreams of creating monsters for horror films. But by the time that love interest Angevin (Laura Prepon, That '70s Show) is introduced, things take a turn for the more polished.

Continue reading: Lightning Bug Review

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Lightning Bug Movie Review

Lightning Bug Movie Review

Lightning Bug is one of those rare films that actually gets better as it goes...

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