Critters (Amazon Prime Review)

15 – 85mins – 1986


 

FURRY FANGED FOOTBALLS

The Brown family’s rural Kansas farmhouse is about to become the chomping ground of a horde of hungry, malevolent alien vermin in this quintessentially 80s sci-fi/horror comedy, which plays out like Gremlins meets Ghoulies – with a multitude of iconic pop culture references thrown in for good measure!

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A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (Blu-ray Review)

18 – 97mins – 1987


 

INTO THE FIRE

“Welcome to the snake pit!”

Both ANOES creator Wes Craven and breakout star Heather Langenkamp return to Elm Street after sitting out subtext-heavy, quick-fire follow-up Freddy’s Revenge (reviewed HERE). Like its immediate predecessor, Dream Warriors hits the ground running with a wealth of fiendishly fresh ideas and retrofitted backstory, contributing emphatically to dream-stalking child-killer Freddy Krueger’s (Robert Lake Placid vs Anaconda Englund) grizzly mythology.

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A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge (Blu-ray Review)

18 – 87mins – 1985


THE DEADLY DINOSAUR

“Something is trying to get inside my body…”

Set five years after the original Nightmare (reviewed HERE), quickly-produced sequel Freddy’s Revenge sees high schooler Jesse Walsh (Mark Patton) and his family move onto Elm Street – and into the former home of dream-stalked survivor Nancy Thompson. Upon reading Nancy’s left-behind diary, Jesse is bedevilled with horrific night terrors and uncharacteristically violent outbursts. From beyond the grave, Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) needs a host body to carry out his revenge against the community’s youth.

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It (Cinema Review)

15 – 135mins – 2017


 

IT FOLLOWS

Tweaking the timeline of Stephen King’s thousand-word tome slightly, the filmmakers behind this box office-record breaking horror hit have, very shrewdly, hit upon a meta jackpot. While Derry is still the US town plagued by the eponymous clown-faced being, the decade has been shifted to the late 1980s and the frequency of its child-napping attacks reduced from 30 to every 27 years. Not only does this mean that the newly-greenlit sequel will take place in the modern day, its also a nice little nod to the fact that It first haunted audiences 27 years ago in ABC’s 1990 mini-series (reviewed HERE).

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A Nightmare on Elm Street (Blu-ray Review)

18 – 91mins – 1984


 

SLEEP DISORDER

“Everybody’s got to dream, young lady.”

Inexcusably falling into the ‘genre classic I’ve somehow never seen’ category, I remedied my unintentional aversion to Wes Craven’s Elm Street franchise by picking up the 5-disc Blu-ray boxset recently, which neatly includes all 7 original entries and only skips on the 2010 remake (which, shamefully, is the only one I had previously seen).

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Annabelle: Creation (Cinema Review)

15 – 110mins – 2017


 

TOY STORY OF TERROR

With my recent rewatch of 2014’s unfairly-maligned Annabelle (reviewed HERE) still haunting my memory, I tentatively headed to the cinema ALONE to see the new and far more warmly-received prequel to a prequel, directed this time around by David F. Sandberg, who recently sent shivers down my spine in short film-expanded horror feature Lights Out.

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Annabelle (DVD Review)

15 – 95mins – 2014


 

DEVIL’S WELCOME

“It cannot truly ever be destroyed…”

Set before but filmed after James Wan’s 2013 horror hit The Conjuring (the sequel of which I reviewed HERE), Annabelle is the creepy doll-centric spin-off which has recently been given a Creation story, now in cinemas nationwide, which itself is set before but filmed after Wish Upon director John R. Leonetti’s period frightener.

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Me Before You (DVD Review)

Image result for me before you film

12 – 106mins – 2016


 

JUST LIVE

A former artistic director of the stage, Thea Sharrock makes her feature film debut (following a TV gig on the BBC’s Shakespeare project The Hollow Crown) with this bold and poignant adaptation of Jojo Moyes’ bestselling romantic tearjerker, which the author also penned the screenplay for.

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze (Blu-ray Review)

PG – 88mins – 1991


 

OOZE THE DADDY?

“What did you expect, that they’d come out quoting Macbeth?!”

Arguably, Golden Harvest/New Line Cinema’s fast-tracked return to the sewers finds a better balance between bandits and buffoonery than its schizophrenic predecessor of the year before, ramping up the silliness of the obviously preposterous scenario while toning down the ass kickin’ and dulling the pitiful relatability of the real world elements. The recouped and recovering Foot Clan, for instance, are this time portrayed more in a Power Rangers-esque Putty Patrol mould of faceless drones.

From endless pop culture references (“Wax on, wax off!”) to an intrinsic role for the mutagen-containing contaminated cannisters which brought life to the subterranean slice scoffers, all of the most popular and instantly associated elements of the franchise are back for The Secret of the Ooze. Even arch nemesis Shredder (François Chau) manages to dig himself out of the junk yard following his diving “death” during Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles rooftop climax!

But there is also much that has changed since the first film, with Paige Turco replacing Judith Hoag as April O’Neil – who now works for Channel 3 rather than 6 – while love/hate romantic counterpart Casey Jones is not even mentioned! Donatello is sounding a lot less like Corey Feldman, too – while the improved animatronic turtle heads courtesy of Jimt Henson’s Creature Shop are more malleable to such an extent that they are almost too expressive. On a sidenote: this film is dedicated to the legendary Muppets puppeteer, who sadly passed away in May 1990.

It’s a huge shame that the opportunity to bring brainless brutes Bebop and Rocksteady to the big screen was scuppered by a difficulty with legal clearances, with wolf Rahzar and snapping turtle Tokka (both voice by Frank Welker) instead being the mutagen-modified monsters a vengeful Shredder forces scientist Jordan Perry (David Warner) to create to fight his enemies in a “freak versus freak” revenge plot.

“Didn’t we see these guys on Wrestlemania?!”

As much as I initially favoured the injection of more comic frivolity, come the climatic showdown I did start to crave a dose of the dramatic. Instances where Shredder contently looks on while his infant-minded creatures are fed poisonous donuts during a fight scene strains credulity. The in-universe incorporation of Vanilla Ice’s “Ninja Rap” theme song into proceedings when the battle spills over into a dance club in which the star is performing is acceptable as a camera-winking cameo, but the scene stretches on waaaay too long – and when Shredder steps onto the stage only to be defeated by loud music, you do start to question whether you’re watching Bill & Ted!

“Go ninja, go ninja, go!”

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze starts strongly but this bodacious demand-dictated big screen re-tread ultimately falls foul of sequel-itis: more of the same, but BIGGER – which we literally get when Shredder gets a muscle-bulging, armour-enhancing dose of mutagen. As voice-of-reason Splinter (Kevin Clash) remarks with a (realistic) roll of his eyes: “Oy!

CR@B Verdict: 2 stars