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Cain's Way (1970)
Could have been better, but not too bad.
26 May 2000
Cain's Cutthroats is a fast paced and violent western worth seeking out. It is the story of an ex-Confederate army captain named Justiss Cain who is one day visited by his ex-gang of thieves and killers who served with him during the Civil War. The gang has hopes of Cain joining them in order to "give it to those blue belly yankees." When Cain (who has changed for the better since the war) refuses, it leads to a fight which ends with his family being killed and him being left for dead. Once Cain is nursed back to health by a preacher/bounty hunter passing by, the hunt is on for the gang. For Cain it is revenge he seeks. For the preacher, it is the reward money to be gained!

The performances by the cast are fine. The actors playing the gang do a very good job of making the audience root against them. John Carradine is probably the most memorable as the preacher. He is funny, witty and at times very crazy! The action scenes, although well handled, are a bit excessive due to some very bloody exit gunshot wounds. As for the ending, although satisfying and just, I found it too abrupt. Fans of rare westerns will want to seek out this little known oddity and also the Barry Shear film, The Deadly Trackers; which Cain's Cutthroats reminded me of. Happy Hunting!!
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Next of Kin (1982)
Stylish Outback Horror
28 April 2000
This Australian horror film is a fine addition to the massive genre. The story is about a woman named Linda who comes back to her home town in order to take possession of a home for the elderly which she has inherited as a result of her mother's death. As Linda adjusts to moving back home and catching up with old friends, her troubled past begins to haunt her. Things get even harder for her when she finds her mother's diary and begins to read through it. She learns that her mother had feared that someone was watching and following her. Also, some of the patients had died under suspicious and mysterious circumstances. Soon Linda begins experiencing the same fears and events her mother wrote about in the diary. She is now being watched, followed and her patients are dying off as well. She learns the truth of what is happening in the films tense and devastating conclusion.

Next of Kin's plot is handled very well by the entire cast. Although dismissed by some as a basic slasher movie, co-writer/director Tony Williams use of music, shadows and slow-motion add much style giving the film a unique edge. The stalking scenes and action laced conclusion are very well done and bound to satisfy any horror fan out there. This is one film to seek out. Happy Hunting!
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Acting A+ Photography A+ Direction A+ Movie C- !!
12 April 2000
Spirits of the Dead had everything going for it. Talented actors and directors, beautiful locations, good music, etc. but was lacking in the most important category, which is strong story-line. All three stories start off strong but quickly lose their punch way before their conclusions; unlike the stories in The Dead of Night (1945) which started off good and ended with a bang!! The stories in Spirits of the Dead are very slow (making them seem longer than what they really are) indeed. The best thing about the movie was seeing beautiful Jane Fonda running around in some very tight and provocative costumes. This film is a text book example of style over substance.
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Funeral Home (1980)
A fun updated version of Hitchcock's Psycho
23 March 2000
William Fruet's film, Funeral Home, is for the most part Psycho with kids. The movie starts off with a teenager visiting her grandmother in a small town. Both plan to turn the house that the grandmother lives in (which was once the town's funeral home) into a summer house for passers by. Tenants soon show up and then quickly disappear. Soon the teenager and the town's new young deputy investigate the disappearances and discover that this coming and going of out-of-towners has been happening for some time. They finally discover the answer to the mystery in the film's scary ending.

The performances by both the older cast members and younger actors are very good. Watching the deputy character gather clues to build a case added alot of charm to the film as well. Although shot on a low budget, it is still very well produced and the action scenes are very well staged indeed. Horror fans should give this one a try next time they visit their video store. Happy Hunting!
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Didn't see the film; had to listen to it instead.
21 March 2000
Silent Night, Bloody Night is an eerie and suspenseful story with good performances, unique scripting and some truly frightening blood curdling scenes. However, instead of this being a rewarding viewing experience, it was a very frustrating one. This is due to the fact that most of the film was shot in total darkness. The action scenes (with the exception of the first killing) cannot be seen; not because they take place off-screen, but because it is too dark for the viewer to see. This film was obviously made on a low budget, but the budget should not be used as an excuse. If you can afford to make a feature length film, you can afford lights. Its so hard to believe that the film makers did not do anything to fix it up and make it easier for the audience to view. The cinematographer should have known than it is not possible to capture an image without light. What makes this more of a shame is that I don't think anything, not even DVD restoration, can help. Darkness is darkness no matter what is done to clean up the image. For those of you who want to "see" this film for its great story which has not lost any of its punch, do so. But remember, there is nothing wrong with your VCR or the film inside the tape, its just the way this film was shot.
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The Evictors (1979)
Spooky and Fun Backwoods Terror
17 March 2000
The Evictors, like Charles B. Pierce's other efforts (The Legend of Boggy Creek and The Town That Dreaded Sundown) is a spooky story based on actual events. This story centers around a house with a violent past. That past, however, does not stay dead. Instead it comes back to terrify any new occupants seeking to live in that same house. There are fine performances, some truly spooky scenes, and several twists towards its conclusion to keep the viewer entertained. Fans of this film should definitely seek out Pierce's other titles mentioned above. Happy Hunting!
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An effectively done spiritual thriller
25 January 2000
This is a sharp supernatural thriller worth seeking out. The pace may be a little slow for some, but those who are patient will be pleased with the use of their virtue. Shirley MacLaine plays a Manhattan socialite who realizes that her brother has in some way changed. For example he now practices the Santaria religion, he speaks very good Spanish, and his health is not quite the same. MacLaine is then warned that her brother may be slowly becoming possessed by the spirit of a Spanish decapitator. Not knowing what or who to believe, she dives into the world of the Santaria faith in an attempt to get some answers on what is happening to her brother. As time goes on, the danger increases and getting the answers she seeks may prove to be fatal. Director Warris Hussein does a good job in building the suspense for the viewer and creating a frightening atmosphere to those who are not familiar with Santaria. The performances, lead as well as supporting, are first rate especially Perry King (who plays the brother) who is truly frightening towards the film's conclusion. This is very well done, and highly recommended.
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