Richard Stanley

Richard Stanley

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The Abandoned Review


Weak
What if I told you that two plus two equals three? You wouldn't believe me, because that's a lie. Two plus two equals four... not three. Meaning, when you add two and two of anything, you get four. Except with The Abandoned, the movie equivalent of a rookie algebra error.

That's a shame, because The Abandoned is the first genuinely scary movie of the year. The film knows how to make spines tingle and hearts pound. There are moments when characters are walking through dark, desolate hallways and grimy, web-infested bedrooms that contain enough tension to cut with a knife. But there isn't much cutting... the tension just builds and builds. And at the end of the equation, things just don't add up.

Continue reading: The Abandoned Review

Dust Devil Review


Good
When Richard Stanley appeared in 1990 with his first film, the cyberpunk splatter flick Hardware, the buzz was hot. While Hardware was surprisingly successful, it wasn't a great film. But it did have a unique style and color that suggested Stanley was only to move onto bigger and better projects. The fall was almost guaranteed.

What happened to Stanley's career (and in particular the sorry fate of his existential sophomore effort, Dust Devil) is a story of almost diabolical circumstance and cold corporate brutality. For a filmmaker like Stanley, starting his career with a genre picture was a fatal misstep but one that couldn't be avoided. Hardware set him up. When U.S. distributors Miramax saw that Stanley had delivered a follow up that was an art film more akin to the work of Alain Resnais than Tobe Hooper, they flipped. Cut from 120 minutes to a trifling 86 minutes, Dust Devil was butchered into incoherence. The British company funding the film went bust and everything went to hell. The cut version (or versions) of Dust Devil were dumped unceremoniously onto a paltry number of screens and quickly relegated to the video graveyard. Richard Stanley limped on, buoyed by a cult fan base, only to see his dream project descend into the creative nightmare that was 1996's The Island of Doctor Moreau.

Continue reading: Dust Devil Review

The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996) Review


Unbearable
A glaring example of just how bad Hollywood can be, the second remake of The Island of Lost Souls is undoubtedly the worse of the two. Marlon Brando wins the prize as worst actor ever, a beached whale in clown makeup with a (really) little person (sporting a fleshy tail, natch) as his mute sidekick. The story adds nothing to the Dr. Moreau legend -- with David Thewlis a plane crash victim who is semi-imprisoned on the island along with a megalomaniacal Val Kilmer -- aside from some modern-day genetic engineering reactionism and some of the cheesiest special effects this side of Ed Wood. Simply awful, a train wreck that takes two hours.
Richard Stanley

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