Talisman (1998)

talisman_1Starring Billy Parish, Walter Jones, Jason Adelman, Ilinca Goia, Constantin Barbulescu, Oana Stefanescu, Claudiu Trandafir

Directed by David DeCoteau

Expectations: Low.

On the general scale:
twostar

On the B-movie scale:
threehalfstar


Like a lot of B-Movies, the logic employed in Talisman is shaky at best. What separates Talisman from the pack, though, is how well-realized and enjoyable it is; multiple times while watching it, I thought, “Wow, this is legitimately a good movie!” I don’t think it’s quite there for straight-up mainstream people, but Talisman is far better than your average late-period Full Moon film. I’ve held off on watching this one because, for reasons I’ve forgotten, I thought it would be dumb, so it’s a nice surprise to find it’s actually a competently made picture from underrated low-budget maestro David DeCoteau.

Elias (Billy Parish) is a new student at the Gornek International School for Boys, a boarding school where troubled kids are sent when they’ve exhausted their last traditional option. Apparently, there’s only seven kids who fit this description, and judging by the dominance of Burke (Jason Adelman) over the “student body,” the school isn’t all that strict. They might have some strong disciplinary measures, like locking everyone inside their rooms at night, but the rehabilitation of these delinquent youths is obviously far from the minds of the staff. But whatever, this isn’t called Boys School, it’s called Talisman, so I don’t care if the fictional school makes sense, or is “doing the right thing for these kids.”

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Lurking Fear (1994)

Lurking Fear (1994)
AKA H.P. Lovecraft’s Lurking Fear, Shocking Fear

Starring Jon Finch, Blake Adams, Ashley Laurence, Jeffrey Combs, Allison Mackie, Paul Mantee, Vincent Schiavelli, Joseph Leavengood, Michael Todd, Cristina Stoica, Luana Stoica, Adrian Pintea, Ilinca Goia

Directed by C. Courtney Joyner

Expectations: Moderate. If nothing else, Jeffrey Combs is in it.

On the general scale:

On the B-movie scale:


Lurking Fear is yet another Full Moon film based upon an H.P. Lovecraft tale, but this is definitely one of the minor entries into that sub-genre. Ever since Stuart Gordon scored a major genre hit with Re-Animator, Full Moon has loved going back to the Lovecraft well and Lurking Fear shows them trying that schtick without Gordon’s involvement. It doesn’t work out near as well without him at the helm, but the film is definitely interesting enough to hold your attention.

The story starts off as a couple of separate tales that eventually intersect. The only problem is that once they do it kinda feels like each story’s characters have done a Purple Rose of Cairo and walked out of their movie and into another. I guess this is because the gangster story starts in the city, and the deserted town story feels distinctly removed from that setting. It creates a disjointed feel to the overall movie that even white-eyed, subterranean-dwelling mutants can’t fix. Although I do have to give them credit for creating characters distinct enough to feel like they come from their own worlds.

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Josh Kirby… Time Warrior: Chapter 4, Eggs from 70 Million B.C. (1996)

Starring Corbin Allred, Jennifer Burns, Derek Webster, Barrie Ingham, Steve Wilder, Gary Kasper, Ilinca Goia

Directed by Mark S. Manos

Expectations: Low, these are really trying my patience as they wear on.

On the general scale:

On the B-Movie scale:


OK, I’m barely going to be able to gather the necessary energy to write about this one. It’s definitely better and more tolerable than Part 3, but only slightly. So slightly in fact that those not paying close attention might not even notice! In some ways, I actually think Part 3 was better, if for nothing else than it allowed me enough ridiculous occurrences during its runtime to make for a good review. I can’t exactly say the same for Eggs from 70 Million B.C., so perhaps this is the lesser film. Oh what the fuck am I saying? Am I actually trying to convince myself that the goddamned toy movie was better? Trapped in Toyworld was clearly the harder film to slog through.

In this one Josh Kirby and the gang are rocketing through time in the time pod. They start to slow for no reason and they discover some eggs that have attached themselves to the pod’s intake vent. The doctor wisely decides that they should bring the alien eggs inside to investigate them. Good idea, Doc. Thanks for all the help. The eggs quickly crack open revealing cartoonish worms, but it’s OK because they’re cute and cuddly. Look, he’s tickling me! Oh, but it was all a clever ruse by the lead worm, as before our heroes can realize what’s happened his wormy friends have eaten their way through every duct, vent and shielded cable the pod has to offer. Thankfully in this world all that means is that they drop out of the time stream and into the Earth inhabited by the Asabeth’s half-human people. Convenient.

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Vampire Journals (1997)

Starring David Gunn, Jonathon Morris, Kirsten Cerre, Starr Andreeff, Ilinca Goia, Constantin Barbulescu, Mihai Dinvale, Dan Condurache, Mihai Niculescu, Petre Moraru, Rodica Lupu, Floriela Grappini, Diana Lupan

Directed by Ted Nicolaou

Expectations: High. The trailer sold me on this many months ago, but I wanted to get through Subspecies in order to see it in context.

On the general scale:
twohalfstar

On the B-Movie scale:
threestar


After the rousing, impressive finale of Subspecies III, there aren’t too many ways to go with the series that would seem wholly plausible. So for the next entry in Full Moon’s premiere vampire series, writer/director Ted Nicolaou completely changed his focus, starting with a fresh batch of ancient vampires and the desirable innocents they pursue. This gothic group is only marginally connected to the Radu storyline (OK, besides one off-hand mention of Radu, it doesn’t seem to be connected at all), but the delicious backstory is enough here to satisfy fans of gothic cinema and Full Moon films alike.

Zachary is a rare beast, a vampire with a conscience. Drawn into the vampire’s world unwillingly and witness to the death of his love, Zachary vows to destroy the bloodline that created him. He arms himself with an enchanted sword and with a wonderful, bloody decapitation the movie begins. His main quest lies in Bucharest, where the devious Michael Bolton-esque vampire Ash stalks Sofia, a classical pianist. Zachary must remain vigilant and save the girl from his evil clutches!

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