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Movie reviews (titles starting with P)
02-04-2017, 06:11 AM (This post was last modified: 02-04-2017 06:30 AM by goodcop2000.)
Post: #1
Movie reviews (titles starting with P)
Pandorum (2009)
3 carnivorous beasts

Pandorum is an enjoyable, dark horror/sci-fi flick. It's a pretty interesting story which unfolds slowly as the astronauts recover their memories and discover things on the ship. The feel of the movie is like a mixture of Alien and I Am Legend. Not a masterpiece but a fun watch if you like those types of movies.

The People Under the Stairs (1991)
4 creepy houses

The People Under the Stairs is twisted, gruesome, and a lot of fun! The story feels more like a dark fairy tale than a horror. It follows a young boy from the ghetto nicknamed Fool who is desperate to make money for his family. He throws in with some neighborhood criminals to burglarize a rich slum lord's house. The break-in leads to bizarre discoveries in the home, including a young girl who is never allowed to go outside. The characters are a little over the top but they are very interesting and well acted. The action is entertaining and keeps the viewer engaged. Director Wes Craven does a nice job with this underrated film.

Pet Sematary (1989)
4 evil cats

Since it is one of the better screen adaptations of a Stephen King novel, I really like Pet Sematary. The acting was good, not great, but it is just such a fun story. Like a wreck on the highway, it's impossible to not take a peek at the carnage. When the film's main protagonist discovers the resurrecting powers of an ancient burial ground, we know that it will inevitably lead to disaster but all we can do is watch the terror unfold.

Phantasm (1979)
3 silver balls

The positives for this movie are the excellent score that plays on your nerves (reminiscent of Halloween), the creepy atmosphere, a few scary moments and images, and a memorable ending. It's a rather strange movie overall. As is customary for B movies in the horror genre, it has pretty bad acting and a questionable plot. The movie is a bit dated at this point and has some '70-style freakishness to it. I would say it's worth watching if you are a lover of horror movies and enjoy seeing older ones, otherwise you will probably feel like you're wasting your time with this one.

Phantasm II (1988)
3.5 silver balls

Many of my favorite horror movies are from the 80's so it is not a big surprise that I enjoyed Phantasm II more than the original film. Two characters from the first movie, Mike and Reggie, reunite and decide to go after their evil nemesis, the Tall Man. There is some pretty entertaining action in the film, including a battle between two men with chainsaws. I like that the plot is a little more linear in this installment, but the ending is kind of cheesy.

The Phantom of the Opera (1924)
4 subterranean lairs

If you don't mind the exaggerated motions and melodramatic acting that goes with silent films, The Phantom of the Opera is pretty entertaining. Everybody is probably familiar with the story line. A mysterious figure lurks in the bowels of the great opera house in Paris and casts his favor upon one young singer, Christine Daae. She is drawn to him at first but soon comes to realize that he is dangerous and unpredictable. The Vicomte Raoul de Chagny loves Christine and is desperate to save her from the Phantom's influence. It is an excellent story and this movie adaptation is definitely a landmark in horror cinema. Some of the striking images in the film are still remarkably effective - the Phantom slowly rowing his boat through the dark depths with the train of Christine's dress floating behind, the Phantom stalking menacingly down the stairs at the costume ball, and of course the famous unmasking of the Phantom. If you have interest in the early history of horror movies, this is a must see.

Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959)
1.5 ray guns

I finally got around to watching this Ed Wood Jr. movie that many people call "the worst movie of all time". I've seen too many other awful movies to agree with that but it certainly is a bad movie and I found it hard to sit through. The odd combination of aliens (who look human), zombies, and vampire-like characters just did not mesh for me. The very low budget sets and special effects didn't really bother me but they didn't help the cause. I did enjoy the performance of wrestler Tor Johnson as the big, bald zombie. He managed to look scary and creepy in spite of the film's overall cheesiness.

Pontypool (2008)
4 tasty brains

This Canadian movie handles a zombie outbreak in a novel manner and pulls it off quite well for the most part. The main characters work at a radio station and are stuck there while death and destruction reign in the town outside. The movie has great tension because the story of what is happening is learned piece by piece and the viewer is kept waiting for the outside events to intrude upon our heroes. The movie loses some luster for me when it gets around to explaining how the outbreak occurred. In order to break new ground, the makers of the film forgo the usual virus explanations. Their ideas are interesting but strain believability, even for a zombie film. Most of the actors are terrific, though, including Stephen McHattie as the shell-shocked disc jockey. Zombie aficionados who appreciate a more cerebral style (ala 28 Days Later) should enjoy Pontypool.

Population 436 (2006)
3.5 mysterious towns

I love the premise of this movie which is that a worker from the Census Bureau is sent to a small town to find out why the town has reported the same number of residents for a 100 years. Some of the plot is predictable but this was a pretty enjoyable movie. I didn't know Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit acted but he was my favorite character in the movie.

Prom Night (2008)
1.5 barely bloody axes

I will give the filmmakers props for trying to make a scary film without resorting to explicit violence and gore. In fact I don't think I've ever seen a less gory "horror" film. Unfortunately, I don't think I've ever seen a more boring one, either. The plot of this movie was so basic and predictable that it could have been written by a high school student or perhaps a clever chimp.

Prometheus (2012)
3 cave paintings

Director Ridley Scott returns his attention to the Alien universe in this film which is set prior to those films but is not a direct prequel. Instead, this is a story about a mission to a distant planet in an effort to discover the origins of human life on Earth. Archaeologists Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) head the party of scientists but they have to share power with Janek (Idris Elba), the captain of the ship, and Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron), a representative from the mega-corporation funding the trip. Needless to say, events do not go as smoothly as planned during the exploration of the target planet. As you would expect from Scott, there are some beautiful visuals and effects, but the plot is just not very good. The acting performances are also sub-par. Considering the greatness of Alien and Aliens, Prometheus is a pretty big disappointment.

Prophecy (1979)
3 deformed beasts

Prophecy is absolutely a preachy environmental awareness film, but it still manages to be entertaining. Rob (Robert Foxworth) is a public health worker who takes on a special research project for the EPA. He travels to Maine to evaluate the environmental impact of a logging operation which is being protested by a local Native American group. Rob's wife, Maggie (Talia Shire), accompanies him on the trip. When visitors in the forest start disappearing, the loggers blame the natives, but something much more dangerous is on the prowl. The special effects are not great, but there are some exciting moments in the film. Talia Shire, most famous for the Rocky franchise, gives a really nice performance.

Psycho (1960)
5 unharmed flies

If Psycho is not the greatest horror movie ever made, it certainly deserves to be in the conversation. Fifty-four years after it was made, the movie is still great! In case you are one of the two people out there who do not know about Psycho, the story is about Marion Crane (played by Vivian Leigh), a young woman who makes a rash decision and goes on the run to avoid trouble. She stops at a motel and meets the friendly proprietor, Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins). However, a conflict between Norman and his mother over Marion's presence leads to dire consequences. Alfred Hitchcock packs the film with suspense and his black and white cinematography is beautiful. The actors are terrific, with Perkins giving the performance of his life. Bernard Herrmann's soundtrack is amazing and really adds to the film's atmosphere. Psycho is unforgettable and should not be missed!

Psycho II (1983)
3 grilled cheese sandwiches

No sequel could possibly measure up to the Hitchcock horror classic Psycho but Psycho II, set 22 years after the events of the original, is surprisingly good. The plot twists kept me guessing right up to the last scene which delivers one last surprise for the road. If you are a fan of Norman Bates and his disturbed mother, this is well worth your time.

Pumpkinhead (1988)
3.5 winged demons

This horror film came out when I was a senior in high school but somehow I didn't get around to watching it until 25 years later! I really enjoyed the performance by Lance Henriksen as Ed Harley, the grief-stricken father of a young boy killed in an accident by a reckless teenager. Harley, in desperation, unleashes a demonic monster to seek revenge for his son. The rest of the actors are average but the monster is portrayed well. Being a father, I easily identified with Henriksen's character in a manner that probably would not have been true if I had watched the movie as a young man. Overall, the film moves along at a nice pace and is fun to watch.

Puppetmaster (1989)
2.5 murderous dolls

I really wanted to like this movie. The opening theme song was creepy and catchy, a perfect fit for a low-budget horror. The beginning scenes showing elderly puppet maker Andre Toulon interacting with his animated puppets were very good and I loved the design of the various puppets. Unfortunately, Toulon only makes a brief appearance and the rest of the movie moves into the future and features a group of people with psychic powers who are summoned to an old hotel where they encounter the killer puppets. The actors are not very good and the characters are boring, in spite of their psychic powers. Even the murder scenes are not very exciting. Despite my disappointment with this movie, I will probably check out some of the sequels in the future, hoping to see Toulon in a bigger role, leading his puppet army.
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