Harvey Bernhard

Harvey Bernhard

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The Final Conflict Review


OK
The third installment in the Omen series -- and popularly referred to as just The Omen III instead of its "official" name -- wraps up the story of Damien Thorn, starting where we expect and finishing up with its logical conclusion. Easily the weakest entry in the trilogy (a fourth was made -- for cable -- but it's widely ignored as non-canon), it's lacks the thrills of the first two entries, but it's still a watchable experience.

Damien is now grown up, and being played by a creepy Sam Neill with such menacing fire that it's a miracle his career recovered to the point where he'd become mostly known for blonde "good guys." Having run Thorn Industries for seven years, Damien uses his powers to coerce the American ambassador to England into committing suicide, then finagles the appointment for himself. Exactly why he needs such a job is never explained, but it does bring the story full circle, as Damien's original dad in The Omen held that very position.

Continue reading: The Final Conflict Review

Damien: Omen II Review


Very Good
Somewhat unfairly maligned as a hokey, schlocky series, The Omen has always been far more sinister series than its sequel-happy reputation would indicate. The movies are about the devil's son wreaking havoc on earth, for God's sake -- and not only is that about the most classically "evil" character you can get, he also tend to be unstoppable. Good never triumphs in these movies. But really, it can't... how would they keep making sequels?

No longer a toddler, Damien: Omen II finds our young antichrist shipped to Chicago to live with his aunt (Lee Grant) and uncle (William Holden -- yeah, that William Holden). He's a hugely successful titan of industry, which is perfect for Damien: Eventually he'll become the boss of Thorn Industries, a great vantage point for ruling the world as the dark lord.

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The Mack Review


Weak
Scraping the bottom of blaxploitation is this cult classic, The Mack, featuing Max Julien as an ex-con straight outta the slammer and looking to re-take his place at the top of the Oakland pimp scene. Good God, for two hours this dribbles on, filled with big hats, elaborate canes, and tons and tons of hos. While Richard Pryor's appearance threatens to elevate The Mack above pure crap, the tired and incredibly offensive story merits virtually no attention.

The Beast Within Review


Bad
Really, truly Godawful werewolfish kind of movie, which gives us Ronny Cox and Bibi Besch, the latter of whom gives birth after being raped by a werewolf, starting the cycle over again and again and oh the humanity. Though it has a few creepy scenes -- including one grotesquely unforgettable transformation -- the movie on the whole is a real disaster. Nonsense, hammy acting, and the most tired of plots... it's a Beast indeed.

The Lost Boys Review


Weak
The Lost Boys is a movie I'm sure its participants want frozen in time. Back in 1987, Jason Patric had potential, Jami Gertz was an It Girl, and the Coreys were at the height of their powers. This is not the movie to remember that era. Aside from a good ending, you never want to reach for the covers or turn on all the lights.

Brothers Sam (Corey Haim) and Michael (Patric, with Scott Valentine's hair), along with their hippie divorcee mom (an oddly cast Dianne Wiest), move to Santa Carla, California, a small town home to a busy boardwalk featuring an amusement park, derelicts galore, and a slight vampire problem. Much to his regret, Michael befriends a group of vampires headed by Kiefer Sutherland, and slowly becomes one. Sam, full of good intentions and a logic fueled by comic books, comes to his aid, enlisting the help of two gung-ho amateur slayer siblings (Corey Feldman and Jamison Newlander) to kill the unknown head vampire and turn Michael back to his normal teenage self.

Continue reading: The Lost Boys Review

The Goonies Review


Very Good
The Goonies has convinced me that sterility might not be such a bad thing.

The Goonies stars Sean Astin and Corey Feldman in their formative years, as leaders of a ratty group of kids who live in the boondocks. When wealthy developers threaten to move in, they discover an old treasure map, and set off in search of "the rich stuff" to save their admittedly pathetic way of life.

Continue reading: The Goonies Review

Harvey Bernhard

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