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Pumpkinhead Review


OK
Toward the end of the '80s, special effects artists had literally become gods. They had instigated and then escorted in the genre revisionism of the era, while taking their physical art form as far as the pre-computer days would allow. Such names as Tom Savini, Rob Bottin, Chris Walas, and Kevin Yeager were all championed by a burgeoning collection of horror geeks giddy over their latex and Kayro skill set. By 1988, the late Stan Winston was also a member of this visionary Valhalla. His work on Terminator, Aliens, and Predator made him a creature-creating king. And as with many in his order, it was thought he could translate his talent into the field of directing. Pumpkinhead proved them right.

Ed Harley (Lance Henriksen) is a single father running a small grocery store along the outskirts of town. He loves his little boy Billy (Matthew Hurley) and dotes over him incessantly. When a group of teenagers wander into town, motorcycles in tow, Harley senses trouble. Sure enough, an accident involving his son turns fatal. Devastated, our parent turns to a hillbilly family for help. Seems they know the whereabouts of a legendary witch who can unleash a vengeful spirit known as Pumpkinhead. Knowing he will never rest until something is done, Harley makes the necessary blood sacrifice, and unleashes the deadly demon. Little does he know that while his boy will be avenged, his own soul is in mortal danger.

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The Deaths of Ian Stone Review


Good
If Groundhog Day collided with Final Destination and The Butterfly Effect after getting rear ended by The Matrix, you'd have The Deaths of Ian Stone, an imaginative and unpredictable science fiction thriller that lends itself to the most recent 8 Films To Die For, After Dark Films' nationwide nine-day horror film festival held annually in November.

Groundhog Day, of course, followed an everyman as he relived a comically different version of the title day after day. Ian Stone approaches the frustrations of an all-American guy being stuck in a déjà vu time warp, as well, except with a lot more blood. Everyday, twenty-something Ian Stone (Mike Vogel) wakes up living a different life, and before the end of the day, meets a horrific death.

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Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film Review


OK
All good things deserve a documentary about them, so why not the slasher film?

This Starz-produced documentary (which oddly has no director credited) gives a dutiful breakdown of the slasher flick's birth, death, rebirth, redeath, and so on until we reach the present day. As you might expect, progenitors Halloween and Friday the 13th get the bulk of screen time, with a goodly amount of footage devoted to interviews with the cast and crew (no Jamie Lee, alas). Every angle is covered, from special effects to script, but the film mostly focuses on the cultural impact of the slasher movie: Kids loved 'em, critics vilified them, and parents weren't happy at all when Santa Claus started killing people.

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Wrong Turn Review


Terrible
Wrong Turn follows the same simple recipe of most other horror movies before it - take a half dozen dumbass kids, toss them into a leafy forest patrolled by freaks, and blend everything with the finest red blood available. The concoction is a little salty, but mostly it's just a bland imitation of earlier, finer creations.

Chris Finn (Desmond Harrington) is on his way to a job interview when he turns off the main highway to get around a massive pile-up that has clogged the interstate. The dirt road he finds takes him into the woods where his trip comes to a halt when he crashes into the SUV of five wannabe-campers who are stranded with a flat tire. Chris joins the dim-witted group of two couples, Carly and Scott (Emmanuelle Chriqui and Jeremy Sisto) and Evan and Francine (Kevin Zegers and Lindy Booth), and their friend Jessie (Eliza Dushku). The gang ventures deeper into the woods in search of a working phone to call for help; of course, their cell phones are out of range! Their journey eventually leads them to a log cabin where they soon discover a trio of disfigured, inbred inhabitants that have no need for a phone, but every desire for freshly killed meat.

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She Creature Review


Weak
Where did this very strange movie come from? Certainly it was never in theaters... which might be explained by its plot oddity, about a couple (Rufus Sewell and Carla Gugino) who encounters a captive mermaid and figures she might be their ticket out of the land of low-rent carnies. Oh, and it's a period piece and a psychological thriller of sorts. Utterly baffling, it's still oddly watchable if for no other reason than to try to figure out what accent that is that Gugino is trying to emulate during her many monologues.

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Stan Winston

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