The House of Sand and Fog – Movie Review!

A 2003 American psychological drama starring Ben Kingsley and Jennifer Connelly.

“Abandoned by her husband, recovering drug addict Kathy Nicolo, living alone in a small house near the San Francisco Bay Area, ignores eviction notices erroneously sent to her for nonpayment of business taxes. Assuming the misunderstanding was cleared up, she is surprised when Sheriff’s Deputy Lester Burdon arrives to forcibly evict her. Telling Kathy that her home is to be auctioned off, Lester feels sympathy for her, helps her move out, and advises her to seek legal assistance to regain her house.”

That is when Kingsley moves his family into the home after a lawful purchase and Kathy is intent on going back to regain her home. What appears a simple feud soon take a dark turn as the family is treated with hostility. Although they are a good family and have done nothing wrong. It highlights the perception people have of immigrants and how they are treated differently than those born in a country. From work, to home ownership they are looked down upon.

Since the feud seems to be growing, in a relatively small and tight plot, it does open big doors to much potential. But the narrative take a narrow turn and focuses entirely on the negative, the miserable and in the end everyone suffers and leaves you wondering just who suffered the most or if Kathy was indeed in the wrong… personally at the end of the movie I saw her as the one who had done wrong.

I think the acting is superb. And this little gem popped up on Amazon Prime and I’ve left it for a while because it looked cheap, but was good. Granted that in some places the plot was a little bizarre and the direction skewed and awkward but it added to the reality of the movie scenes. Lighting and quality was good, and so was the set pieces of the house.

It is also rated a 15 but in my honest opinion the themes are so strong and at times sickening that I really don’t recommend anyone under 18 to watch this. There are scenes of a violent nature, sexual scenes, self harm and more which are not for under 18 – so please consider raising the age movie critics.

Well this is short because to talk about the movie in depth would ruin it. It’s an adult psychological drama and I would argue borderline horror. It was interesting to watch this movie adaption which I took a chance on. Unfortunately it was a one time viewing and a such I deduct a star;

3 1/2 stars

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Stonehearst Asylum: Movie review.


A British powerhouse movie, starring some well known names: Kate Beckinsale, Jim Sturgess, David Thewlis, Ben Kingsley, Michael Caine & Brendan Gleeson.

Running at 1 hour and 52 mins with an IMDB rating of 6.8/10.

“The year is 1899, and medical school graduate Edward Newgate (Jim Sturgess) is the newest clinical recruit at Stonehearst: a mental asylum for the privileged and wealthy. He’s keen to gain as much experience as possible, but Edward observes the techniques of his superior Dr Silas Lamb (Kingsley) with increasing concern, as Lamb’s practice strays far from convention.”

Set within an isolated asylum, this is a gothic, haunting psychological thriller. I watched it last night, and I could vaguely recall some details so I suspect I have watched it before. Overall it was good, with good acting and an interesting storyline. Of course, it is based on Edgar Allan Poe’s Gothic-thriller Eliza Graves.

Edward Newgate arrives at the asylum which is in the midst of winter. It isn’t long before he is suspicious and it is revealed fairly soon that Dr Lamb, the man in charge, is in fact crazy and has locked up the staff and is essentially letting the crazies run the asylum. So, what does the doctor do?

Throughout there is talk of escaping with patient Eliza, but nothing comes of this. Instead, Lamb becomes increasingly disturbed and conducts some horrific experiments, saying that the whole show is essentially a big ‘experiment’ and he doesn’t believe in conventional medicine. Lamb is an ex military doctor.

Newgate soon discovers there is no way to escape without taking out Lamb and helping the other staff escape. It all escalates to a point where Eliza is forced to save Newgate from electrotherapy, during a conversation which reveals that he has followed the lady there all the way from London where he witnessed his professor conducting an experiment on her.

Slightly obsessive and deranged. Newgate has to crack the code or secret to the mad Dr Lambs mental condition. In the words of Dr Salt (Michael Caine), he has to crack him.

The film raises some good ethical and philosophical points, including treating patients without medication and instead allowing them to express themselves, and that compassion goes a long way in treating the insane. But take note that this takes place at the turn of the 20th century, 120 years ago when psychiatry was primitive and experimental.

Overall a good watch with some cracking acting. I would of liked to see Caine play a bigger role and Gleeson, but that was not the case and it’s Thewlis with the most screen time after Sturgess and Kingsley.


Rating: 4 out of 5.

American Psycho : Movie Review

“A wealthy New York City investment banking executive, Patrick Bateman, hides his alternate psychopathic ego from his co-workers and friends as he delves deeper into his violent, hedonistic fantasies.”

Lion Gate Films – American Psycho (2000)

IMDB rate American Psycho at 7.6 / 10. Total run time of 1 hour 40 mins approx. Christian Bale portrays Patrick Bateman in this instant cult classic horror flick from 2000. Bale is 26 when he stars in this movie, and it remains one of his most iconic roles. Not only is this a frightening film, but it is acted so brilliantly. Bale won an award for best actor in a leading role*

American Psycho – call me crazy – is in fact a movie that falls under multiple genre headings. Notably, comedy, albeit it is not easy to understand for some. However, not to sound big headed, I found it easy to pick up on this humour. It’s a black satirical comedy at the end of the day! It falls under drama, thriller and possibly romance as well.

So, here we have a young rich wall street banker in the 80’s. He’s living a rich lifestyle, hanging with rich friends at his private clubs, doing cocaine at nightclubs, sleeping with prostitutes on a regular basis as well as his beautiful girlfriend (Reece Witherspoon). The film opens by giving us this insight, I say insight because actually, we are quickly realising how big this guys ego is, and how full of himself he is. He is so sure of himself, so confident. We quickly learn his beauty routine, workout routine and general life routine. We know that he is of a higher societal class and is going far in his career with friends who kind of look out for him.

We also start to see how minor and insignificant things cause him inconsolable rage. The design of a business card by Paul Allen? Check. His fascination with music, in particular, Genesis and Phil Collins? Later he adapts his murderous personality so that he’s listening to his victims music, embodying their lives and fooling people into believing he’s someone he isn’t. Paul Allen so happens to be the first victim we see. A brutal axe killing, pre planned. Bateman is cold and calculating. He has all his furniture covered, covers himself and then unleashes the inner… psycho. He’ completely self-obsessed and mad.

Later on as he continues his killing spree whilst avoiding officer Willem Dafoe he is ******* street walkers while flexing muscles in the mirror. Going on dinner dates, becoming generally more murderous and the craziness doesn’t stop there. It’s funny, because he is so obsessed with himself and we know this.

It’s a good movie, and the acting is great. The story line is not too unbelievable either. The part that confuses everyone is the ending. Patrick Bateman knows he’s gone too far after killing dozens of people, stuffing their bodies in other peoples apartments and the like whilst lying to his friends. The end is the nail on the head. Bateman, on a murderous spree, kills police, multiple guards and citizens and then hides in his office to call his lawyer and confess all his sins.

We expect that the police will be there to arrest him. Instead, the apartment with the bodies has been recently re-painted, and the bodies gone. The woman hosting an open viewing of said apartment says this, ‘it’s best if you don’t come back,’ to which Bateman replies ‘I won’t.’ What is going on here? Is she a part of some clean up crew that is covering up his murders? Has his lawyer sorted all this out? After all, he’s being paid by Bateman.

Bateman is on edge, scared and heads to the club where his rich friends are. He meets his lawyer, tells him the truth again, and the lawyer thinks it is a joke. In fact, not one person in the club has anything to say when Bateman confesses out loud what he has done.

He sits down with his friends… we learn and understand a dark secret about this club and the people in it. Take away what you will, but Bateman is not alone. In fact, his lawyer even says that Paul Allen is alive and well and that he is fed up with this sick joke now.

I recently re-watched American Psycho, and you know what? I am going to watch it again, because it really is a great movie, a staple of American film making and acting. In the top 5 of Christian Bale films.

RATING: Watch this classic horror movie!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Puppet Master (1989): Movie Review

IMDB rated this movie: 5.6/10

Wikipedia states:

“Puppet Master is an American horror film series which focuses on a group of anthropomorphic puppets animated by an Egyptian spell, each equipped with its own unique and dangerous device (although not in all installments of the series are the puppets portrayed as threatening) and are represented as heroes, antiheroes and antagonists.

Produced by Full Moon Features, the series was established in 1989 with the eponymous first installment, which has since been followed by ten sequels, a crossover with the characters of Demonic Toys, a 2018 reboot entitled The Littlest Reich, a spin-off film about the puppet Blade, an upcoming spin-off about Retro Puppet Master’s Doktor Death, two comic book mini-series, an ongoing comic book series, a Multiplayer video game released in 2014 endorsed by Full Moon themselves and numerous other collector’s items.”

The trailer for Puppet Master

Puppet Master has become somewhat of a cult classic movie. I first had the pleasure of watching a few of the films as a child, back then the whole concept was exciting, frightening and lovable. Sadly, it didn’t receive critical praise. However, it has spawned many sequels, some arguably better than others.

So where to begin. Andre Toulon, the puppet master, uses an ancient Egyptian spell to animate the puppets, he also uses a green liquid (the formula) to animate them and sustain their lives! The film opens with two men in black, nazis, who are entering the Bodego Bay Inn, Toulon’s residence. The camera follows the little pattering footsteps as Blade – the lead puppet – is running his way through the hotel to warn Toulon of the nazis, of which he is already aware. Toulon commits suicide before the nazis can get into his room and kill him. Not before he can store Blade, and the other puppets into his now infamous puppet case.

A dramatic and overwhelming scene, a movie moment, but this movie moment doesn’t come with no surprises. Of course, to learn the background of Toulon one must watch the other puppet master films. Toulon has been on the run from the nazis for a while and they want the magical formula and secrets that Toulon uses to animate the puppets. The location, a hotel right on the edge of a cliff to the sea, is perfect. A seemingly claustrophobic nightmare, with the addition of the intriguing nazi back story which is further explored in the other movies.

50 years later in 1989, the secret is discovered by Neil Gallagher. Soon he sends messages to his psychic friends Alex Whitaker, Dana Hadley, Frank Forrester and Carissa Stamford – who posses both supernatural and psychic abilities – who arrive to find his wife Megan.

Each uses their power whilst simultaneously being unaware or glimpsing the animated puppets and the chaos they bring. Somewhat vengeful of Toulon’s suicide 50 years prior (I’d guess) they unleash themselves and one by one, they begin to hunt down and kill the new guests. *Note: the hotel is closed to normal guests.*

The Puppets: Blade, Pinhead, Tunneler, Leech woman and Jester. Although small, are well animated in terms of production value which is low for a first movie. (expected). Overall at this point just prior to the puppets killing people, it has been a slow build up, with good acting, good lighting and audio, the scene and sets are good and consistent and the story does somewhat hold itself together.

The puppets do though pose a threat, they are small and sometimes the shots of them waiting to do something do drag out and it makes you wonder why not just kick them away. I guess this is part of the make-believe aspect and the movie magic. We have some great characters but the action is a let down.

Mike and Megan seemingly being the only survivors are confronted by Neil, who has used the ‘magic formula’ to reanimate himself. Much more to the dismay of the puppets than anything else. They seem to be instructed to kill him, and to protect the secret.

Megan is seen at the end of the movie reanimating the stuffed dog, and we know at this point that she has learned the method too.

At the end of the day, this has some good suspense, acting, plot and overall movie magic that you would expect from a lower budget movie. It does still hold up well in terms of animation and cgi, but the puppets are exactly that, they are controlled by puppeteers, and no amount of filming method can change that.

I have managed to watch 5 of them, so something must be working. Personal highlights for me are the rare characters Torch and the common Blade. They have become screen legends much the same as Freddy (A Nightmare on Elm Street) and Jason (Friday the 13th). Film 3 and 5 are quite good in developing a proven method beyond what you might anticpate.

Will I continue to watch these films until I have seen all 12 movies? (Possibly more to come) The answer is yes. Despite our Toulon puppets wanting to kill people, they are also in certain movies, the heroes. They are a form of anti-hero and a much needed variation in todays over loaded cinema world full of remakes and cgi buffs.

Overall score: 4 stars – potentially an overlooked but hidden gem.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Day of the Dead (1985) : Movie Review


Another long overdue movie review of yet another George A. Romero classic. Day of the Dead (1985), run time of 1 hour 36 mins and rated 18.

“Day of the Dead is a 1985 American post-apocalyptic zombie horror film written and directed by George A. Romero, and produced by Richard P. Rubinstein. The third film in Romero’s Night of the Living Dead series, it stars Lori Cardille, Terry Alexander, Joseph Pilato and Richard Liberty as members of a group of survivors of a zombie apocalypse sheltering in an underground bunker in Florida, where they must determine the outcome of humanity’s conflict with the undead horde.” (

This film like Dawn of the Dead, places emphasis on strong female lead characters. Lori is a scientist working alongside her other scientific buddies John and Dr. Matthew “Frankenstein” Logan. Their mission, to find a reason for the zombie apocalypse and find a cure so to speak. Governed, protected and bullied by notorious military man Captain Rhodes and his band of angry and aggressive soldiers. The outlook for her is bleak, as we start by seeing her crossing off the days on her calender.

The opening scene in Day of the Dead sees our heroes flying over a deserted city where they land in hope of finding other survivors. Queue, camera pans to the jawless, balding and thin white haired zombie. The title fades in and we are left wondering how bad the world has gotten. Showcasing an increasingly gory creativity from legend Tom Savini, also known for his work on the other “of the dead” films.

This opening scene is iconic and also fed future apocalyptic and zombie movies. “Hello, is there anybody there?” The relaxing music contrasted with the dark and dreary set is perfect. “Hello, can anybody hear me? Hello!” Shouting only brings out a few shambling dead, a large crocodile and fear. This iconic scene was replicated in Danny Boyles 28 Days Later. This is the one of the best scenes in movie history, although I have only seen it in standard definition so far, as the blu-ray version is difficult to get hold of!

Our group lands back in a fences off area, on the top of an underground bunker. The fences surrounded by the undead. Fans will notice the increase in zombies compared to the predecessor. Lori is soon down in the underground base, and hear is where the claustrophobic terror begins.

The experiments are being carried out and Dr. “Frankenstien” is becoming increasingly obsessed with the idea that you can reason with the zombies and that the dead are capable of reasoning. Bub, his favourite zombie and experiment, brilliantly acted by Howard Sherman, is portrayed as a friendly and yet somehow frightening monster that reflects society well. The whole concept is terrifying. Society the groups of undead, and the bunker of arguing and increasingly stressed survivors looking to somehow cure this disease and live alongside the dead. We soon learn that humans are outnumbered 400,000 to 1.

The bunker itself comprises two main sections: the labs, sleeping areas, canteen etc and the caves, where two of our survivors, pilot John and his friend McDermott are living in a caravan with extensive relaxing set up. The soldiers have barricaded the caves so that they can reel in the zombies into this makeshift undead pen, where they literally use a stick which grabs the necks of the zombies, like the ones they use on animals. This allows them to take their specimens to the labs where experiments are conducted. Another groundbreaking scene, and one which has been replicated in famous films and television. The Walking Dead took this idea as Hershel and Rick do the same on Hershel’s farm, and store the dead in a barn. Romero actually reimagined the idea in Survival of the Dead when the survivors would heard undead to try and get them to eat something other than the living.

See the source image

Soon our soldiers and Captain Rhodes are becoming increasingly frustrated with the scientists futile attempts to discover a cure. Another iconic scene in the canteen sees Rhodes argue with Sarah (Lori) in which the scientists are trying to ask for more undead and more time. Rhodes orders his man Private Steele to shoot her, and we as an audience realise how serious he is and just how miserable this situation is. Steele is Rhodes muscle and followers orders pretty unquestionably.

So things have heated up, tensions are high and communication is failing. Sarah pays John and Bill McDermott a visit.

This is an important scene. John and Bill already know where things are going and are conscious of where they are now. Things are bleak and the experiments are a waste of time. There is no explaining the dead. Reminiscent of Dawn of the Dead when the group are surrounded by excess and luxury items yet have no goals other than to survive. This is the same, the groups has what it needs and yet, is still determined to find something that they cannot find. John explains that all those records and throughout history the records have become useless as there is no human left to read them or care about them and that they should live their lives instead and begin to procreate and rebuild society. A very real goal.

Soon the soldiers lose more men and have discovered Frankenstein experimenting on them. Rhodes kills the Dr. and Bub, his zombie experiment, is left abandoned. Sarah’s boyfriend Miguel and increasingly insane soldier, left a mess from stress and the apocalypse, left with one arm, makes a break for it, heading to the lift shaft where the survivors come and go. He sees no hope at this point and selfishly, decided to let the zombies in for the gore fest finale. On everything that has happened at this point, this has been a tense, insane build up to the inevitable. There is no hope and the scientists and soldiers have wasted their time trying to cure the undead than actually make a break for it and go live – or survive. I know what I’d choose. I’d take that chopper and go live on a tasty beach somewhere.

So, Tom Savini has a blast with the effects in the final scene in which hundreds of zombies swarm the caves and labs and begin to eat the soldiers one by one. Rhodes, showing his real loyalty, leaves his men and makes a run for it. Sarah and John make for the cave exit and intend to escape in the chopper with McDermott. There journey through the caves is extremely frightening. You wonder whether they can escape. Of course, Rhodes meets his gruesome and silent end as Bub, seeking revenge, shoots Rhodes multiple times, and then Rhodes is devoured and torn in half by the undead. The most brilliantly disgusting scene in any zombie film ever made.

Sarah, John and Bill reach the chopper and escape. A cut here and then they are on a beach, and she is again, crossing off the days on the calender.

(Bonus content – as seen on the Arrow dvd 2 disk special edition of Day of the Dead – Lori became unwell during the filming and afterwards was awfully sick alongside a few other crew. George Romero also stated that a lot had to be cut to attain an R rating and that this was his favourite film in the franchise.)

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Battery: Movie Review

A zombie apocalpyse movie. A drama, thriller, adventure, part-comedy… whatever it is, it leaves a big impression in your mind. This, ladies and gentlemen, is how to do an apocalypse movie, with zombies.

Release date: 04 Jun 2013 (US)

Director Jeremy Gardner

Starring: Jeremy Gardner, Adam Cronheim

Rotten Tomatoes says 80% for this movie.

The Battery. A low budget zombie horror that focuses on two former baseball players thrown together in order to survive. Right off the bat (excuse me) I will say this, if the director and cast and crew had more money, say a couple of million like most modern cinema, then this could have been perhaps ten times more intense, thrilling and built-on.

So, we have 2 former baseball players surviving the back alleys and woods of New England. Most of the film is spent in the wilderness fishing and just trying to get by. The main characters Ben and Mickey are the forefront, highlight characters who this apocalypse character study focuses on. Their relationship goes from this intense, not-really-that-happy to a hard boiled, emotional rollercoaster. I couldn’t believe some of the actions of the pair.

There is hope. There are few zombies. As we learn what each character likes and dislikes and their general behaviour, we begin to notice how much of the world has gone, and what little remains. Staying in buildings is unsafe, Ben and Mickey sleep and travel in a small car. I was impressed by the realism of the survival of the pair, both carrying rucksacks of essentials and sleeping in a very comfortable looking boot. When zombie films try to depict large, scathing bases or near-death attempts to find a safe haven, they overlook the everyday, and the basics. For this reason, the movie is already above most others. Eating tuna from metal tins, fishing and drinking bottled water.

The film doesn’t shy away from the profane, our survivors don’t mind raiding those houses and stealing gear, but it’s survival isn’t it? I watched the movie with patience, enjoying the journey of Ben and Mickey, even the disturbing tactics that Ben employs to try and get Mickey to kill a zombie. It is a slow burn movie, and you need to be patient and appreciate what this has to offer.

The second half of the movie is where the horror builds, and where our characters relationship has been leading. I won’t spoil it too much, but throughout there has been minimal walkie talkie contact with a mysterious enclave, which give clear instructions to ignore any messages received from Ben or Mickey. Until Mickey goes convincing himself that this enclave is friendly. It takes them stopping on the road, to retrieve fuel from an abandoned vehicle, for them to really realise how much of a mistake they have made by attempting to contact this ‘group’. We don’t see them, and that is another shining star in this movie. There is a lot of suggestion and tension, which works extremely well. Camera angles and shots allow us to see 1 point of view at a time, beautifully shot I may add, with some great landscapes of New England.

Overall, this movie would in my opinion appeal to real-true zombie apocalypse fans. Appealing to those with patience and an appreciation of good artistic style. Bonus: The script and chemistry between the lead characters is almost flawless, minor a couple of lines. I will award this groundbreaking, genre-shifting movie a huge:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Color out of space: Review!


Smashing 86% on Rotten Tomatoes. A well made, competently acted horror adaption. Loosely I may say, based on the HP Lovecraft novel.

I watched this movie just over a month ago. It is a strange, surreal and frightening film. I recommend for any horror film fans.

Nicolas Cage has had a reputation for starring in lower budget movies over the last few years, many of questionable quality. This is in my opinion, one of his best in recent years. It is shear terror from the start.

Let me just start by saying, that it is based on the Lovecraft story, therefore there are additions and differences to the book and anyone who has read the book should still give it a watch.

After a meteorite crashes into their farm, strange things begin to happen. It starts with small happenings, a leaching space monster, seemingly leaking into the world, spitting out these ‘fairies’ and changing the landscape slowly and surely, beginning to infect the occupants and any animal it comes into contact with.

It starts slow. It builds the tension and horror fantastically. I really was hooked waiting to see how Cage could handle the situation. Not much can be done. The ‘color out of space’ takes you down an increasingly disturbing nightmare, which accumulates in mass insanity, demonic space creatures, an unforgettable merging of mother and son, and a barn scene that I won’t forget anytime soon.

Brilliantly shot, the director has worked the scenes with skill, the lighting and special affects, are not overbearing and the warm feeling contrasts well with the darkly twisted story.

I won’t say too much about the ending, but by the time everyone has had their fair share of this insanity and meteorite madness, the film begins to wind down and warp our minds as the farm and our characters are whooshed into another nightmare of a world.

Offering a genius build up of horror and scares, this 2020 film is sure to become a cult classic. I can seriously not forget the film, it’s fantastic acting, directing, lighting, special fx, set design and so on. This is going to be remembered for a long time.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

(Well done Nicolas Cage for starring in a good film)