Christopher Figg

Christopher Figg

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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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Dog Soldiers Review


Weak
It's a little bit Predator. It's a little bit American Werewolf in London. It says so right there on the DVD case. Too bad it's nowhere close to as much fun as either of its inspirations.

I'm guessing the "dog soldiers" in question are the bipedal werewolf creatures who attack our would-be heroes, a group of military soldiers on an exercise in the Scottish highlands. (Then again, for all I know, they're meant to be the dog soldiers.) When the soldiers come across another squad -- their torn-up remains, anyway -- they realize their little wargame has become a fight for survival against the werewolves on the loose.

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Fast Sofa Review


Weak
I found Fast Sofa, the novel, in the discount bin in early 1994, intrigued that it came with a 45-rpm vinyl soundtrack attached right into the binding. The story, about an L.A.-livin', heavy metal obsessive named Rick who takes an odd (and pretty short) road trip, most notably visiting his favorite porn star, Ginger, in Palm Springs.

Amusing enough, and a quick read. And Fast Sofa, the movie, keeps the guts of this road trip intact -- enough to realize that our pal Rick is on a real road to nowhere. Jake Busey makes for a creepy and considerably miscast hero, though Jennifer Tilly's wanton Ginger is enough fun for the both of them. Stealing the show, however, is Crispin Glover, as a shut-in sophisticate named Julian who tags along on the latter half of Rick's abortive journey. His outfit alone is reason enough to rent the tape.

Continue reading: Fast Sofa Review

Virtual Sexuality Review


Good
Decidedly bizarre British sex comedy (sans sex) about a girl who cooks up her dream man in a virtual reality game, only to find him come to life. Quirky yet not very filling due to the plethora of stereotyped characters and hokey plotting. Note for those seeking titillation: very little nudity.
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