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Movie reviews (titles starting with N)
02-03-2017, 02:51 AM (This post was last modified: 05-08-2017 03:06 AM by goodcop2000.)
Post: #1
Movie reviews (titles starting with N)
Near Dark (1987)
4 dripping fangs

Near Dark and The Lost Boys were both released in 1987 and both featured the story of a young man unexpectedly drawn into a vampire coven because of his attraction to a girl. Both movies had definite 80's flavor (clothes, hairstyles, etc.), catchy dialogue, and original takes on the vampire mythos including vampires with very different looks than the traditional Count Dracula type. Somehow The Lost Boys ended up raking in 10 times more at the box office. Other than being a little less polished of a final product with respect to editing/continuity, I think Near Dark is just as good a movie. Adrian Pasdar and Jenny Wright display a nice chemistry as the star-crossed lovers and Lance Henriksen and Bill Paxton give memorable performances as members of the vampire troupe. The special effects are very good as well and the introduction of horror into a rural western setting is interesting.

Needful Things (1993)
2.5 baseball cards

This adaptation of Stephen King's final novel about Castle Rock, Maine has a very rushed plot that leaves many of the details out and has a terrible ending. The story is about a store owner who is new to town. The man sells various curiosities in his shop but his real work is sowing strife and malice among the residents of Castle Rock. Unfortunately the acting performances are not very good and there is very little character development to make the viewer care about anyone's fate. Special effects are very limited with kills taking place mostly off screen, but it appears that they saved the special effects budget for some nice explosions at the end.

Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy (2010)
4 striped sweaters

Never Sleep Again is a really interesting documentary about the making of the A Nightmare on Elm Street movies and television series (which I did not even know about). Although I am a big fan of the movies, this documentary was full of information I did not know. It discusses the decisions each director and writer made to mold Freddy Krueger's image and story, the methods used for the special effects, and the challenges that each movie presented for New Line Cinema. The makers of the documentary did a fantastic job getting all of the producers, directors, special effects men and actors to open up and speak honestly on camera. The biggest name actors whose careers were launched by the Nightmare movies, Johnny Depp and Patricia Arquette, are conspicuously absent, but almost everyone else is included and they provide very entertaining stories. The documentary sounds long at four hours but the time flew by for me. Now I just wish I had time to watch all the movies again.

New Nightmare (1994)
4 striped sweaters

New Nightmare is an entertaining, self-referential movie that features Heather Langenkamp (who played Nancy in the first and third Nightmare films) as herself. As Wes Craven works on a new movie script, strange events begin to plague Heather's family. She soon realizes that Freddy Krueger may be more than just a movie character. Langenkamp gives a great performance and most of the cast does well. The weak link is eight year-old Miko Hughes who plays Heather's son, but even he has some nice moments. It is fun to see several actors and crew members from the earlier films playing themselves, including Craven. The best thing about New Nightmare is that Wes Craven returns as writer and director. He brings a darkness and edge back to Freddy that is sorely missing from several of the prior sequels.

The New York Ripper (1982)
4 black gloves

The New York Ripper is an Italian giallo from director Lucio Fulci. It has a better, tighter plot than his more acclaimed Don't Torture a Duckling. The story is about police trying to track down a serial killer who is stalking young women in the city. The acting performances are pretty good, especially from Jack Hedley as the lead homicide investigator. Actress Daniela Doria, whose characters are viciously murdered in two other Fulci films (City of the Living Dead and The Black Cat), plays one of the potential victims in this very violent and graphic movie.

Night of the Comet (1984)
3.5 tasty brains

Many would call Night of the Comet campy but it's just a movie that doesn't take itself too seriously and is a product of its time. Ok, the movie is very dated by the fashion and music, but I was a teenager in the 80's so it doesn't bother me. What's important is the story and I really like the story in Night of the Comet. It's not as scary as modern movies that have zombies roaming in hordes but the smaller amount of zombies in the movie made me appreciate those scenes more. The premise is that for the first time in eons a particular comet will be passing by the earth, putting on a spectacular, colorful show. The unanticipated side-effect of the comet is the death of most of the world's population with the small remaining percentage slowly turning into zombie-like creatures. I found the behavior of the surviving teenagers that we follow to be very believable. What 16-year-old among us wouldn't use the end of civilization as an opportunity to drink some beer, shoot guns, drive a police car, and shop for whatever we want? What our valley girl protagonists find out too late is that zombies are not the only dangers out there. I recognized the lead actress from The Last Starfighter and she and the rest of the cast all perform adequately. For me, this is a fun movie to watch.

Night of the Creeps (1986)
3.5 slimy worms

This movie is a mix of Shivers, Revenge of the Nerds, and Night of the Living Dead. It's not a big fancy plot but the characters are fun and the alien mind-controlling parasites are creepy (no pun intended). There is a nice blend of humor and horror and I was completely won over by the following exchange of dialogue: Detective Cameron (looking out the window of a sorority house at an approaching group of recently zombified frat boys) - "I got good news and bad news, girls. The good news is your dates are here." Sorority Sister - "What's the bad news?" Detective Cameron - "They're dead." One fun fact about the film is that many of the characters and places are named after well-known directors (James Cameron, Sam Raimi, David Cronenberg, George Romero, etc.)

Night of the Demons (1988)
3.5 ill-advised Halloween parties

This is a fun movie for 1980s horror film fans like me. A bunch of kids decide to party at an abandoned funeral home on Halloween. What could go wrong? The acting is definitely B-movie level but the cast does include '80s horror favorite Linnea Quigley. The film displays creative camera work and pretty good makeup and special effects for a limited budget. There is also some good music in the soundtrack including a song from legendary alternative band Bauhaus.

Night of the Demons 2 (1994)
3 ill-advised Halloween parties

There is nothing original or scary about this sequel. It's a purposely campy rehash of the first film with worse acting and lesser special effects. For some reason, I still find it entertaining.

Night of the Demons (2009)
1.5 evil spirits

The acting is this remake of the 1988 film is very bad, especially the performance by former child star Edward Furlong. Even the big name, Shannon Elizabeth, seems very uncomfortable and ill-suited to her role. The uninteresting plot is about a group of young people trapped in a house where demons are trying to take possession of their bodies. There are not many likable characters to root for as the demons try to kill everyone off. The appearance of the demons is okay but overall the special effects are not dazzling. The only bright spots for me are a very brief cameo by scream queen Linnea Quigley and the inclusion of Zombie Girl's Blood, Brains, and Rock 'n Roll in the soundtrack.

The Night Evelyn Came Out of Her Grave (1971)
3 torture dungeons

This film is an interesting mix of Italian giallo and gothic horror with lots of gore and sex thrown into the mix. The plot revolves around a wealthy man who has a hard time dealing with his wife's death and acts out in violent ways. The acting is a bit over dramatic but not bad. The kill scenes are interesting and well designed but the special effects are low budget. A creepy musical score enhances the film's atmosphere.

Night of the Living Dead (1968)
5 tasty brains

George Romero's Night of the Living Dead is not only groundbreaking but just a great zombie flick. I've bumped the rating on this movie right to the top because Romero created the post-voodoo zombie here and set the standard for future zombie films. The movie follows the journey of a young woman named Barbara who picks a very unfortunate time to visit a cemetery. When the dead begin to reanimate and attack people, Barbara flees to a nearby country house where she attempts to survive the ordeal with a group of strangers. If you are a fan of the Last Night on Earth game, you will recognize the Defend the Manor House scenario. Almost any zombie movie you watch will owe something to this film. See it now!

Night of the Living Dead (1990)
4 tasty brains

This 1990 remake of George Romero's 1968 classic black and white film is not the same level as the original but that would be asking too much. It's a fun zombie film with some very good scenes, especially when the heroes are trying to fight their way through the crowd of zombies outside. Candyman fans will enjoy seeing Tony Todd in a very physical leading role. The clever ending is different than in the original, but just as jolting.

Night of the Living Dead 3D (2006)
1.5 tasty brains

I'm sad that George Romero accidentally let his 1968 classic become part of the public domain because that allows people to use the film's name and characters in an awful movie like this one. There are three small things I like in this movie and they all take place in the first 5 minutes - 1) the movie begins with a clip from the beginning of the 1968 original which is a nice sign of respect, 2) Johnny wears sweet leather driving gloves as he drives Barbara to the cemetery in an homage to the original, and 3) the actress playing this version of Barbara (Brianna Brown) is smoking hot. Now the negatives - a bad plot, very bad acting, and terrible special effects. I advise viewers to not taint their memory of Night of the Living Dead by watching this unworthy remake.

Night of the Living Dead 3D: Re-Animation (2012)
1.5 tasty brains

This movie is about Gerald Tovar, Jr., who inherits a mortuary and finds that some of his residents are a bit more active than most corpses. The plot makes no sense and most of the acting is poor. Even the special effects are pretty bad. The only reason I enjoyed any of the film was the decent performance by Andrew Divoff from the Wishmaster series as Gerald. I was excited to see an appearance by Jeffrey Combs from the Re-Animator movies as Gerald's brother, Harold, but his performance was not impressive.

Night of the Seagulls (1975)
4 blind zombies

Night of the Seagulls is the fourth and final installment in Amando de Ossorio's Blind Dead movies and may be the best. It's faster paced and has a more straightforward plot than the earlier films and a good ending. The first three movies all had tortured explanations for how the protagonists ended up running into the evil dead knights. In this one, a doctor and his wife movie to a remote seaside village to take over for the retiring local doctor. They find themselves shunned as outsiders and soon begin to suspect things are not right in the village. The "creepy little village" angle is a nice addition to the plot and the filming locations are very scenic. The acting and dialogue are improved and the voice dubbing is not bad. The earlier movies had dubbed versions that were inferior to the subtitled versions, but I have not located any subtitle version of this one. One of the strange quirks in the series, scenes changing back and forth between daytime and nighttime for no reason, is still apparent in this film. The soundtrack is nice and in their last appearance the undead Templar Knights still look good.

Nightbreed (1990)
3.5 mausoleums

The version I'm reviewing is the Director's Cut of the film which many people prefer to the original release. Nightbreed was written and directed by horror author Clive Barker. He weaves an entertaining tale and builds a very imaginative fantasy world. The story involves a young man who discovers a hidden society of creatures the world would call monsters and there is a serial killer subplot thrown in as well. The special effects are very well done and David Cronenberg, known for his directing, gives an excellent acting performance.

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
3.5 pumpkin kings

I didn't know what to expect from The Nightmare Before Christmas, an animated Disney production that was deemed too scary to be released under the Disney banner. I recently watched it with my 8 and 11 year old kids and we all enjoyed it. The story revolves around Jack Skellington, the king of Halloweentown, whose residents produce Halloween each year. Jack is bored with Halloween. When he learns about Christmas, he decides that he and his cohorts could put on a much more interesting version of Christmas than boring old "Santy Claws". The imagination that went into the movie is impressive. It takes a lot of effort to make characters both lovable and creepy. The movie's catchy songs were written by Danny Elfman, who also provides Jack's singing voice.

Nightmare Castle (1965)
3 metal shackles

Nightmare Castle is a gothic horror about a man who discovers his wife is cheating on him and takes extreme measures. The acting is good from all the main characters including well known horror actress Barbara Steele. The movies starts off slow but has a good finish.

Nightmare City (1980)
2.5 armed zombies

Nightmare City is an Italian zombie apocalypse film. The plot and soundtrack are okay but the acting performances are mediocre. The makeup on the undead hordes is good but the special effects used for the kills are weak. There are some very cheesy moments like when a TV explodes as if it is a Molotov cocktail. Despite some glaring weaknesses, this is still a fun movie to watch for zombie fans.

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
4.5 striped sweaters

I think the original A Nightmare on Elm Street is one of the best horror movies of all time. I saw it when I was 15 years old and I still remember how much it scared me! There were a lot of good horror movies being made in the early to mid 80's but in the slasher genre, this film was easily the most original and imaginative. Freddy Krueger is a terrifying villain for teenagers and parents alike since he always goes after the children. The actors, including a 21-year-old Johnny Depp, all did a very nice job with the exception of the actress playing Nancy's mother (Ronee Blakley) who gave a wooden, emotionless performance. Enjoy this movie then get a good night's sleep but, two, Freddy's coming for you...

A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge (1985)
3 striped sweaters

The second installment in the original A Nightmare on Elm Street series is one of the weakest, mainly because it gets away from the successful formula of the first movie. Instead of playing on the theme of a killer who attacks people in their dreams, this movie is more of a "possession by evil spirit" story with Freddy Krueger trying to take over the life of a young man named Jessie (played by Mark Patton) who moved into the same house where the heroine Nancy lived in the original film. Patton is a bit amateurish and even annoying at times but the rest of the cast does an okay job. For Freddy aficionados there are some very entertaining scenes, especially one where Freddy bursts his way out of Jessie's body while a terrified friend watches and another where Freddy wreaks havoc at a high school pool party.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)
4.5 striped sweaters

Dream Warriors is the best of the A Nightmare on Elm Street sequels, on par with the original film. While Freddy throws out a few of his now-trademark humorous quips, the movie still retains a darker rather than comedic tone. Some of the great features in this movie: the return of Nancy and her father from the original movie, much better acting than the 2nd film, the story of Freddy's heritage, the big-screen debut of Patricia Arquette and a too-small role for Laurence Fishburne, the special abilities used by the teenagers in their dreams to fight Freddy, the first appearance of the mysterious Sister Mary Helena, some '80s punk rock fashion, a naughty nurse, and a theme song by Dokken! This is a classic '80s horror film.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988)
3.5 striped sweaters

In this 4th Nightmare on Elm Street entry, Freddy Krueger is accidentally reanimated and picks up where he left off by going after the "dream warriors" who survived in the 3rd film. Actress Lisa Wilcox is introduced as Freddy's new target, Alice, and she gives one of the best acting performances in the series. Some great effects including Krueger's body knitting itself together in the grave and a memorable "death by roach motel" scene. While not on the level of the best Freddy movies, this one is still a lot of fun.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989)
2.5 striped sweaters

Lisa Wilcox reprises her role as Alice and does a nice job again. However, A Nightmare on Elm Street 5 has the distinction of being my least favorite movie in the series. Freddy Krueger is presented as more of a comedian than a scary villain and there are some bad blue-screen special effects. Even worse, there are a number of cartoonish scenes and effects that completely ruin the normally eerie tone of Nightmare films. Only spend your valuable time watching this film if you if are a true Freddy fanatic!

A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)
3.5 striped sweaters

If you like the original film made 26 (!) years earlier, then you should like this one. It retains most of the plot and the creepy atmosphere of the earlier version, especially during the dream sequences. I was prepared to dislike a new Freddy in comparison to Robert Englund but Jackie Earle Haley was terrific. The teenage targets and their parents were all decent and after a slow start, I thought Rooney Mara came into her own as the new "Nancy". Really the only negative for me was that the movie was so similar to the first one that there were no real surprises. Still, after all these years, the murder of Freddy Krueger and his return in dreams is a great story.

Nightmares and Dreamscapes: Autopsy Room 4 (2006)
2.5 scalpels

This episode of Nightmares and Dreamscapes is an updated version of a classic episode from Alfred Hitchcock Presents where a paralyzed man is accidentally mistaken for dead and taken to the morgue. The plot is not bad but uninspired dialogue and mediocre acting drag the episode down.

Nightmares and Dreamscapes: Battleground (2006)
4 sneak attacks

I've always loved this Stephen King story about a professional hitman going up against a group of very unlikely foes. This episode does a great job bringing the story to life. John Hurt contributes a fine acting performance in a role with no dialogue. The episode is not really scary but it is fun and full of action. Fans of the horror classic Trilogy of Terror will notice a nice reference to the film.

Nightmares and Dreamscapes: Crouch End (2006)
2 ancient creatures

This episode is based on a really good Stephen King story in which King dipped his toes into H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos. The plot revolves around a tourist couple who get lost in a strange neighborhood in England and find themselves faced with shocking sights. Strange camera angles, distorting camera lenses, and a bizarre soundtrack are used to enhance the atmosphere of the episode as the couple descends into madness. Unfortunately, bad CGI special effects and erratic acting, especially from lead actress Claire Forlani, detract greatly from the quality of the episode.

Nightmares and Dreamscapes: The End of the Whole Mess (2006)
3 video diaries

This episode of the Nightmares and Dreamscapes series tells a touching story about a young genius who tried to save the world. It features a nice acting performance from Ron Livingston whose work I really enjoyed in Band of Brothers.

Nightmares and Dreamscapes: The Fifth Quarter (2006)

This particular episode of Nightmares and Dreamscapes is an entertaining crime thriller about an ex-con getting wrapped up in a dispute over loot between criminals. The cast does a nice job.

Nightmares and Dreamscapes: The Road Virus Heads North (2006)
2 yard sales

I like the premise of this episode which is basically about an evil painting. However, poor acting (even from star Tom Berenger) makes this one feel like a cheap made-for-TV movie.

Nightmares and Dreamscapes: Umney's Last Case (2006)

This is a rare example of an adaptation of a Stephen King story that I like better than the original story. In fact, I wasn't really a fan of King's short story, but this episode of Nightmares and Dreamscapes fleshes the tale out much better. The plot is about hard boiled detective Clyde Umney. As everything starts going wrong for him, he realizes his life is not what it seems. William H. Macy does a very nice job in multiple roles in this episode.

Nightmares and Dreamscapes: You Know They Got a Hell of a Band (2006)
3 slices of pie

This episode of Nightmares and Dreamscapes adapts a rather silly story about a couple getting lost on a road trip and finding themselves in a strange little town. It's not scary, but it's a fun watch for fans of old rock and roll.

The Ninth Gate (1999)
3 unanswered questions

I enjoyed watching the bulk of this movie, which has a kind of Davinci Code feel to it but is a bit slower-moving. The big weakness of the movie is the ending. There is a gradual build-up through the whole movie promising a big finish but the end does not deliver either great excitement or a lot of information wrapping up all the questions. As the credits rolled, I was wondering what the heck happened. I went online to research the meaning of various clues in the movie and now I understand the ending. Post-viewing research really should not be a necessary part of watching a movie.

No Way to Treat a Lady (1968)
3.5 foreign accents

The plot for No Way to Treat a Lady revolves around a serial killer who seeks out attention by taunting the police. The movie is theorized to have inspired the true life Zodiac Killer's communications with police. The plot is well written with an ending sequence that is not very believable but suspenseful. Some funny moments are mixed into this crime drama which gets great acting performances from Rod Steiger as the killer and George Segal as the investigating detective.

The Norliss Tapes (1973)
3 evil sculptures

There are a few moments when this made-for-TV movie is dated and unintentionally funny, but overall I enjoyed it. The story is pretty good and I like the "film noir" type narration by the main character. The movie is not gory at all but has some decent thrills and chills at a 70's era level. I was a little distracted by the monster's blue skin and I don't know if that was a quirk of the makeup artists or degradation of the original film quality. One final note: the film ends very abruptly with a major unanswered question and a teaser for a sequel that apparently was never made.

Nosebleed (2008)
2 drops of blood

Nosebleed is a strange black and white short (only 9 minutes long) starring David Arquette. It had an Eraserhead feel to it and I really didn't get it or enjoy it.

Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979)
3.5 dripping fangs

Director Werner Herzog's adaptation of the Dracula tale is very different from any other that I've seen. Dracula's appearance is based on Count Orlock from the 1922 film Nosferatu. The film features amazing shooting locations and landscapes as well as a striking soundtrack. It's deliberately slow-paced, with Herzog lingering on images while you drink them in. The use of real bats and rats is a nice touch. The actors employ a dreamy, surrealistic acting style which I found jarring at first but pleasant once I got used to it.

Nothing But the Night (1972)
1 sleepy viewer

It's surprising and disappointing that a film with two horror legends like Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing can be so bad. I forced myself to watch the first 45 minutes to give the movie a chance but I really wanted to turn it off after the first mind-numbingly boring half hour. I fast-forwarded and watched the final 15 minutes and the ending was much better than the beginning but not good enough to justify watching this movie.

The Number 23 (2007)
3 pet detectives

This movie is about a man who becomes obsessed with a mysterious novel and, of course, the number 23. It has a pretty interesting plot and Jim Carrey does a nice job in a semi-serious role. Unfortunately, the movie's last 15 minutes feel like a weak limp to the finish line.
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