Edmond (2005)

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An encounter with a tarot card reader leaves Edmond (William H Macy) questioning his life, sending him spiralling out of control. After being told by the fortune teller “You are not where you belong”, Edmond goes home and tells his wife that their marriage is over. However this is only the first of many drastic events that Edmond finds himself in as he struggles to understand the meaning of his life.

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Edmond first seeks solace in a bar where he meets a gentleman who listens to his woes and offers him some advice. Then finding himself seeking the company of prostitutes to give him some sort of pleasure, but growing frustrated when it doesn’t offer him the release he seeks. As Edmond further explores the city he finds himself in more dangerous situations, eventually leading to murder.

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Based on stage play also written by screenwriter David Mamet, Edmond is a dark trip in to the mind of a man who has struggled to find meaning in a world he fears has none. Edmond seems to just want someone to listen and understand, but he looks for it in all the wrong places. The film is directed by Stuart Gordon who likes to deviate from the Lovecraft style horror from time to time, and he does well here. I must admit that the film did shock me when I first saw it, as the violence Edmond delivers to one woman was shockingly brutal.

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William H Macy is always worth watching and I find he is an incredibly diverse actor who can play roles you never thought him capable. I know many will not have heard of this movie, and for those that have I want to say don’t believe the bad write ups, and make your own minds up. The movie also features small supporting roles from Mena Suvari, Julia Stiles, Denise Richards and even a cameo from Jeffrey Combs. I highly recommend it.

4/5

JM

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Bride of Re-Animator (1989)

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Those docs are at it again. Still toying with life after death, doctors Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs) and Dan Cain (Bruce Abbott) are looking to further their research and not only reanimate death bodies, but to actually create life from a number of parts. Fleeing from a civil war in South America where they have been since the events of the first movie, they have now set up home in a caretakers house next to a cemetery. There they can work in peace, or so they think.

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As now there are two flies in the ointment. One is Dr. Graves (Mel Stewart) who has been toying with the re-agent that was left behind after the hospital massacre in part one. Second is Lt. Leslie Chapman (Claude Earl Jones), who has his own reasons for wanting to find out what Herbert West and Dan Cain are up to. Bride of Re-Animator also sees the return of Dr. Hill (David Gale), or his head at least. After being reanimated by Dr. Graves, Dr. Hill tells him he wants revenge on Herbert West.

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Dr. West and Dr. Cain however are solely concentrated on bringing together body parts, to give life. However it will not be as easy as they hope, all leading to a bloody showdown with Dr. Hill and his assortment of freaks. This for me was a weaker movie than the first. It just took too long to get going in my book, and resulted in everything been thrown at the wall towards the end, hoping something would stick. I lay blame at Brian Yuzna, who I just don’t rate at all as a director. For me this series should have always been directed by Stuart Gordon, who just seems to understand the material better. Although this is a weak sequel, the worst in the series is Beyond Re-Animator, which is part 3. That film is also directed by Yuzna, having Spain double for America.

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This film is not terrible, but in comparison to the first movie it is clearly inferior. There is some great gore and some funny moments with mischievous reanimated body parts. I would say it’s worth a watch if you have a few mates round as I’m sure you’d enjoy it. As always Jeffrey Combs is always worth watching, he just gives his all in whatever role he is in.

3/5

JM

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From Beyond (1986)

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Dr. Edward Pretorius (Ted Sorel) and Dr. Crawford Tillinghast (Jeffrey Combs) are researching the effect that a resonator has on the pineal gland. They believe that stimulating the gland lets people see a reality beyond our own that is otherwise invisible to the naked eye. Crawford activates the resonator and begins to see strange creatures floating around him. When he is bitten by one of these creatures, he tells Dr. Pretorius to turn the machine off. Dr. Pretorius refuses, telling Crawford that it’s giving him a feeling like no other.

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Crawford flees the laboratory and is stopped by the police. When the police find Dr. Pretorius dead, they charge Crawford with his murder. Crawford is committed to a mental asylum where he is then interviewed by Dr. Katherine McMichaels (Barbara Crampton). Crawford tells Dr. McMichaels about what happened in the laboratory. Together with a detective Bubba Brownlee (Ken Foree), the three go back to the laboratory to find out what really happened to Dr. Pretorius.

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Directed by Stuart Gordon (Re-Animator), and based on a story by H.P. Lovecraft, this is one crazy film. It is packed to the rafters of gory and gloopy practical effects. The script and acting are a tad wobbly at times, but it adds to the overall charm and ‘B-Movie’ feel to the film. Jeffrey Combs is always good value for money. He always delivers a solid performance, no matter what the overall film is like. Ted Sorel plays the part of the perverse Dr. Pretorius brilliantly. His transformation into the hideous monster is great, and he delivers his lines with relish. I like Barbara Crampton, but she feels wasted here. She is mostly just a damsel in distress, but she reacts in some strange ways throughout the movie, even getting dressed up in bondage gear during one strange scene.

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I have never read the short story that the film is based on, so how faithful it is I couldn’t really say. But as it’s Stuart Gordon and he directed another Lovecraft tale in ‘Re-Animator’ , you know it’s a pretty safe bet for some gratuitous violence and an overall tongue in cheek tone. I really enjoy this movie, however it’s not for the squeamish, so if guts and gore aren’t your bag then steer clear. For the rest of you gorehounds, dig in and enjoy.

4/5

JM

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