Movie Review – The Philadelphia Experiment (2012)

The Philadelphia Experiment
Directed by Paul Ziller
Courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment
Release Date: June 11, 2013

philadelphia experiment blu

Director Paul Ziller may not be a name you are familiar with, but he is responsible for several Syfy Channel projects that I have enjoyed. I can now add THE PHILADELPHIA EXPERIMENT to that list of titles. This film is a remake from an 80s classic, but I have to admit that it definitely does the original justice. While filled with typical Syfy Channel-budget special effects (meaning they’re mediocre), the film itself is taut and tense, a welcome excursion into science-fiction.

If you are not familiar with THE PHILADELPHIA EXPERIMENT, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Anchor Bay:

In 1943, a secret government project attempted to create a cloaking device that would make warships invisible. But during the first test, the USS Eldridge successfully vanished…and could not be found again. 70 years later, the Navy destroyer momentarily reappears on a Pennsylvania runway allowing the sole surviving crewman to escape and a local lawman to board. What is behind a sinister reactivation of the project? Where will the massive ship materialize next? And what will become of two men trapped in a time/space catastrophe? Nicholas Lea (”Kyle XY”), Michael Paré (of the original film), Ryan Robbins (”Falling Skies”), Emilie Ullerup (”Sanctuary”), Gina Holden (SAW 3D), and Malcolm McDowell (A CLOCKWORK ORANGE) star in this electrifying remake of the ’80s hit about the allegedly true military operation known as THE PHILADELPHIA EXPERIMENT.

I have to be honest and confess that I didn’t expect much when going into this one. I remember the original from way back in the day, and I remember liking it…but I couldn’t see how they could update the plot to fit into this century. I’m glad I gave this film a chance, though…this is a fun watch and it’s impressive to see how they improved upon the old one.

THE PHILADELPHIA EXPERIMENT is shot well and looks great from a cinematic standpoint. Although it has a shoestring budget, the film looks expensive for the most part. My sole complaint about the visuals, as I mentioned earlier, are the less-than-impressive CG effects which tend to run rampant in Syfy Channel films. Thankfully, these are not so bad as to detract from the enjoyment of this movie.

I am particularly impressed with the acting in the film as well. Nicholas Lea does a great job in his role, as do Michael Pare (who was also in the original film) and Emilie Ullerup. But Malcolm McDowell steals the show for me. I’ve been a fan of McDowell’s work for many, many years, and he always impresses on-screen. The same can be said here.

Overall, THE PHILADELPHIA EXPERIMENT is a win for me, and fans of Syfy Channel’s movies will love this one. I recommend giving it a look, although if you don’t like what you see on Syfy, you probably won’t like this one. The film hits store shelves tomorrow, on both DVD and Blu-ray.

MSB

Movie Review – Nailbiter (2012)

Nailbiter
Directed by Patrick Rea
Courtesy of Lionsgate
Release Date: May 28, 2013

Nailbiter

I had the pleasure of catching NAILBITER at the Texas Frightmare Weekend last year (in 2012), and I absolutely loved it. At the time, I didn’t realize they had a distributor already, so imagine my joy when I realized it was Lionsgate. The company has a true hit on their hands with this one. This is a top-notch horror flick that will have you squirming in your seat and begging for more!

If you are not familiar with NAILBITER, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Lionsgate:

Forced to take refuge from a deadly tornado, the Maguire family finds shelter in an abandoned storm cellar. As the storm passes, the family tries to make their way out, only to realize that someone – or something not quite human – is holding them captive. Struggling to get out alive, they soon find out they aren’t alone.

This film is amazing, from start to finish. It is visually excellent, the writing is sharp, and the suspense is so tight that you could play it like a guitar. In short, this is an amazing jaunt into horror that fans of the genre will love.

NAILBITER has some astounding visual effects for being a lower-budget film. The CG used for the twister meshes perfectly with the physical environment, creating a believable and heart-pounding setting. The creature effects are nice, too; they are original and terrifying, two attributes that create a truly compelling monster.

But the true winner here is the story. Director Patrick Rea creates a new Midwestern mythology for a creature straight out of our nightmares. Granted, the explanation behind what is really going on is vague, however I find this actually works for the film. It helps to create the tension onscreen, and it also leaves the viewer with an immense sense of unease as the credits roll.

NAILBITER is epic in scope and I love how the movie ends, with leaving potential for a sequel. I would love to revisit this world again and maybe have the father visit Wellsville on a quest for revenge. I highly recommend this one and suggest you check it out soon. This film should appeal to horror fans in general, especially those of you who prefer creature-features. Give this a look for sure.

MSB

Book Review – Zippered Flesh 2: More Tales of Body Enhancements Gone Bad! (2013)

Zippered Flesh 2: More Tales of Body Enhancements Gone Bad!
Edited by Weldon Burge
Release Date: February 3, 2013
Publisher: Smart Rhino Publications

zippered_flesh_2

I recently had the pleasure of reading several unique anthologies that have been published by presses new to me. One of these presses is Smart Rhino Publications, a small publishing firm based in Delaware. Although they are small, they have some excellent titles. One of these is ZIPPERED FLESH 2: MORE TALES OF BODY ENHANCEMENTS GONE BAD! This collection of stories almost defies normal classification; within these tales are horrors and wonders that you must read to believe. In short, this is one hell of an anthology!

If you are not familiar with ZIPPERED FLESH 2, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Smart Rhino Publications:

So, you loved the first ZIPPERED FLESH anthology? Well, here are yet more tales of body enhancements that have gone horribly wrong! Steroids from Hell. Horrendous piercings. Bizarre brain modifications. Obscene amputations. Facial reconstruction. Self-mutilation. Implants. Chilling tales by some of the best horror and suspense writers today, determined to keep you fearful all night (and skittish during the day).

This is definitely not an anthology for the faint of heart! But the talent in this book is very impressive. I have to admit that I have never heard of many of these authors, but I definitely want to check out more of their work. Each author brings a unique perspective to the subject matter, making this collection a must-have for fans of horror and bizarre tales.

And ‘unique’ is an excellent way to describe this book. The stories in ZIPPERED FLESH 2 are not traditional by any means; these are true tales of the original. From piercings to amputations, these stories will definitely stick out in your mind long after you have finished them.

One of my favorite stories in the book is “The Sun-snake” by Christine Morgan. In this tale, an ancient civilization “honors” the winner of a competition by transforming him into the Sun-snake, their embodied god. This is achieved by several gruesome surgeries that bind his legs together. I particularly like this story because of the vivid imagery involved. Morgan does an amazing job of conveying the scene and the images from this one will haunt me for a long time.

ZIPPERED FLESH 2 is a big win for me and is a book that definitely needs to be on your horror bookshelf. It is available now, so give it a look.

MSB