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Teen Movie Critic

Reviews for the week starting on October 30, 1995

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MOVIES IN THEATRES

The final chapter in my Halloween monster bash and just in time for Halloween, too. This week: Vampires, werewolves and sharks, oh my! I hope you enjoyed my reviews and the movies I recommended. Pleasant dreams!

Vampire in Brooklyn (1995)

Vampire in Brooklyn
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Well, once again, another Eddie Murphy film disappoints. The story of a Caribbean vampire, who comes to Brooklyn in search of the perfect woman, is reminiscent to a 1970's film called "Blacula". Murphy himself isn't all that bad. Once again, he gets to play a range of characters, as he did in Coming to America. Besides playing the vampire, he plays a preacher, who drinks too much and an Italian hood. In the mean time, he finds the perfect woman, in the form of a New York cop (Angela Bassett). She also turns in an equally fine performance. The supporting cast is okay, with Kadeem Hardison in the Renfield role and Allen Payne as Bassett's partner.

Despite some good performances and an interesting style of storytelling, the film doesn't quite work. I thought that with Wes Craven helming the project, it would be an imaginative experience. Sadly, Craven just uses every cliche from every Vampire film. However, I'm glad to say that this isn't as sexist as some of the recent film work that Murphy has done. Still, the film is pretty entertaining. It just needed some work on the script, that's all.

My Rating = Two Stars

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MOVIES ON VIDEO

Here's four films on video and/or laserdisc.

Jaws (1975)

Jaws
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A great white shark terrorizes a small shore community, stalking and killing the summer tourists. Three people are sent to hunt the shark. One, a salty sea captain (Robert Shaw), who is simply bent on killing it, not unlike Moby Dick's Captain Ahab. Another, an ichthyologist (Richard Dreyfuss), who wants to capture the shark for study. And finally, a local cop (Roy Scheider), who simply wants to protect the public from this killing machine. They trail the shark out to the ocean, where the shark ends up attacking the ship.

Buckle your safety belts! All three performances (Scheider, Dreyfuss and Shaw) are excellent, as is the endlessly, imitated score. Steven Spielberg's first major hit, Jaws still scares the living daylights out of people. Plus, it's full of action and comic relief. Spielberg shows great restraint in his handling of the menace. We don't see the shark, except for bits and pieces (no pun intended) under water, for about an hour and twenty minutes into the movie. As a result, when the shark first appears on the screen, it made grown men scream. Definitely one of the best films of all time. Jaws also had some sequels, though what follows, lacks in comparison.

My Rating = Four Stars

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The Hunger (1983)

The Hunger
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One word for this film: BORING!. This tale of vampirism and immortality, is nothing but four hours of scenes with blowing curtains and bloodletting. When there is some action, it's never very fulfilling. The story is about a vampire (Catherine Denueve) and her immortal mate (Rock star, David Bowie), who's immortality appears to be wearing off. He starts aging rapidly, so Denueve must now find a new mate. She finds her mate in the form of a doctor (Susan Sarandon), who is working on a cure for premature aging- Yes, you heard right.

The film couldn't be any less exciting than the story. The dialogue is pretty dull, the scenes of blood-letting are stupid and the endless amounts of scenes that have curtains blowing, is a complete bore. The only really good scene in the film, is the lesbian sex scene between Sarandon and Denueve. Part of the interest is the fact that Denueve and Sarandon are acting. It gives it a level of reality that would be lacking in a porno film. It's one of the more erotic sex scenes I've ever seen put on film. It's the only real good scene in the film. However, if the viewer's tolerance for the other scenes doesn't hold up, they will most likely fall asleep during the first half hour.

My Rating = Two Stars

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An American Werewolf in London (1981)

An American Werewolf in London
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Despite what some people will think when they see this film, this is not a spoof of horror films. It seems to be a conventional horror film, with a razor-edge sense of humor. Two American friends (David Naughton and Griffin Dunne) are walking the English moors, when a werewolf attacks them. The locals come and kill the beast, but not before Naughton is bitten and Dunne is killed. Later, while Naughton is being treated for his wounds, Dunne comes back in ghost form, warning Naughton that he will turn into a werewolf. Not taking heed to his warning, Naughton tries to go about an ordinary life in London. Eventually, he turns into a werewolf and starts roaming the streets of London, killing British citizens.

Despite some terrifying scenes, there are plenty of moments with comedy from Naughton and Dunne. Rick Baker's oscar-winning make-up is the highlight of the film, which shows Naughton transforming from man to werewolf. Wait till you see the climax. Though the scenes of transformation are a little long, the film is still enjoyable enough to keep your interest.

My Rating = Three Stars

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Creepshow (1982)

Creepshow
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A tribute to the old EC comics ("Tales From the Crypt", "The Vault of Horror", etc.), this film takes us through five horror tales, that live up to the expectations of EC fans. The first tale, "Father's Day", is about an old man, who comes back from the grave to claim his birthday cake. The second tale stars screenwriter Stephen King as a dopey farmer, who finds a meteorite, which starts to turn him into a plant. The final three tales are virtually tributes to EC. "Something to Tide You Over" is about a jealous husband, who buries his wife and her lover in the sand, up to their necks and waits for the tide to come in. But, like most bad guys in EC, the two lovers come back and the bad guy gets his just deserts. The best story is "The Crate", about a huge box that harbors a hairy monster, who kills anybody that comes near the crate. Funny and scary at the same time, it's a story that would have made William Gaines proud.

The fifth, and final story, tells the tale of a greedy, Howard Hughes-like millionaire (E.G. Marshall), who is a clean freak and is horribly afraid of germs and insects. Ironically, his house is overrun by cockroaches, which crawl all over the place. The final scene shows Marshall, dead, with thousands of roaches, bursting out of his body. Creepshow is a, for lack of a better word, loving tribute and certainly lives up to it's title. I always found it funny that the initials for EC was "Educational Comics". Education indeed. Like never stick your hand into a crate, which is clearly labled "DANGER-DO NOT OPEN". That is the spirit of EC and Creepshow.

A sequel followed, but if you were a fan of the first film, you will be sadly disappointed with the second.

My Rating = Four Stars

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