Shrieker (1998)

shrieker_1Shrieker (1998)
AKA Shriek

Starring Tanya Dempsey, Jamie Gannon, Parry Shen, Alison Cuffe, Thomas R. Martin, Chris Boyd, Jenya Lano, Jason-Shane Scott, Brannon Gould, Rick Buono

Directed by David DeCoteau

Expectations: Low.

On the general scale:
onestar

On the B-movie scale:
twostar


Right upfront I’d like to say that despite the ratings I’ve given to Shrieker, it is enough of an enjoyable movie to make for a fun B-Movie watch. The parts that work do so fairly well… it’s just that everything else is really annoying. And because annoying characters and lame, meaningless dialogue eats up far less of a film’s budget than creature FX, the annoying stuff makes up a lot more of the runtime, making the film feel like something of a fun chore. Bet you’re just chompin’ at the bit to watch the film yourself, huh? 🙂

Shrieker opens with perhaps its best scene, where a couple of doctors at a hospital are killed by the Shrieker. Why the hospital has hallways lit like an abandoned warehouse, I don’t know, but I do know that it made the scene far more confounding (and therefore interesting). B-Movies should never pass up an opportunity to make the film more interesting, although I’m sure this (and perhaps most “interesting” things like this in B-Movies) arise out of budgetary concerns more than anything else. Anyway, the doctors get killed and we soon find ourselves 50 or so years in the future as a group of college kids have decided that housing on campus is too expensive, and squatting in this abandoned hospital is far more attractive.

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Curse of the Puppet Master (1998)

curse-of-the-puppet-master-movie-poster-1020540866Starring George Peck, Emily Harrison, Josh Green, Michael D. Guerin, Michael Sollenberger, Marc Newburger, Scott Boyer, Jason Dean Booher, Robert Donavan, Jason-Shane Scott

Puppet Cast: Blade, Jester, Pinhead, Tunneler, Leech Woman, Six Shooter, Matt, Tank

Directed by David DeCoteau (as Victoria Sloan)

Expectations: Pretty low after the last one.

On the general scale:
twostar

On the B-Movie scale:
twohalfstar


After the abysmal Puppet Master 5, Charles Band wisely gave the series a few years off before coming out with film number six, Curse of the Puppet Master. It’s a definite improvement in the trajectory of the franchise, returning to the basic suspense / horror framework from the initial three films. Curse of the Puppet Master is not without its share of problems though, but thankfully they don’t detract from the fun too much as long as you’re willing to just roll with them.

It all starts on a dark and stormy night (really, it does) as a shadowy figure that looks like André Toulon shuffles past our puppet friends who are imprisoned in a large cage. He carries a medicine bag into the forest and then sets it on fire. It’s clear that something just isn’t right about all of this, but you’ll just have to stew in it a while longer before all the chips are in hand. If I give away too much of the story, the whole she-bang will unravel because this plot has been around the block more times than a French whore. As I’ve said before though, if they are able to fill in the gaps with good FX and quality filmmaking, I’m game every day of the week. Director David DeCoteau keeps the film fresh with some clever shots and atmospheric lighting, resulting in a film that provides enough fun to satisfy long-time fans, as well as introduce newcomers to the puppets and their unique brand of mayhem.

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