Tag Archives: where wolves

Hotel Transylvania 2 (2015)

“Drac’s pack is back.”

Directed by Genddy Tartakovsky
Starring Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Kevin James, Steve Buscemi, David Spade, Keegan-Michael Key, Mel Brooks

Dracula (Sandler) oversees the marriage of his daughter Mavis (Gomez) and her human boyfriend Johnny (Samberg), opening the Hotel Transylvania to non-monsters with the aid of buddies Frank (James), Wayne (Buscemi), Griffin (Spade) and Murray (Key) (Frankenstein’s monster, a werewolf, the Invisible Man and a mummy.) Not long after, Mavis announces her pregnancy, and soon the family is joined by Dennis (Asher Blinkoff).

Continue reading Hotel Transylvania 2 (2015)

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Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (2009)

It's remarkable how little Michael Sheen looks like Michael Sheen in this picture; more a gracile Russell Crowe than a seriously ripped Simon Pegg.
It’s remarkable how little Michael Sheen looks like Michael Sheen in this picture; more a gracile Russell Crowe than a seriously ripped Simon Pegg.

“Every War Has a Beginning.”

Directed by Patrick Tatopoulos
Starring Michael Sheen, Rhona Mitra and Bill Nighy

In ye olde Transylwherever (I’d say at least five centuries south of Captain Kronos, but it’s hard to say for sure,) the war between the savage werewolves and the corsetry-pioneering vampires wages on, despite the captivity of William, the first werewolf. Then the birth of an apparently human child to a captive werewolf leads to the creation of a new breed of immortal; the shapeshifting werewolves known as Lycans.

Continue reading Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (2009)

Underworld: Awakening (2012)

Never mind the dialogue, check out the corsetry.
Never mind the dialogue, check out the corsetry.

“Vengeance Returns”

Directed by Måns Mårlind and Björn Stein
Starring Kate Beckinsale, Stephen Rea, Michael Ealy, Theo James and India Eisley

Following directly from the end of the previous movie, we open with a narrated montage to get rid of Scott Speedman’s character and accelerate the plot into the future, because fuck continuity; am I right?

Anyway, humanity finds out about the Lycans and the vampires and a purge begins under a militarised medical establishment led by Dr Jacob Lane (Rea). Selene (Beckinsale) and Michael are blown up and she wakes upside down in a cryonic tank twelve years later, collects her combat catsuit, battle corset and eight inch assault heels from a cupboard right beside the tank and murders her way out of the building to look for Michael. Instead, she finds a vampire named David (James) and a girl named Eve (Eisley) who turns out to be a hybrid, and her daughter.

Continue reading Underworld: Awakening (2012)

Underworld: Evolution (2006)

underworld-evolution-movie-kate-beckinsale-original-poster-print

“My God. Brother, what have you done?”

Directed by Len Wiseman
Starring Kate Beckinsale, Scott Speedman, Derek Jacobi and Tony Curran

After the events of Underworld, Selene (Beckinsale) and Michael (Speedman) go into hiding in the wilds of Caucasistan*, hunted not by the now-defunct vampire establishment but by the last elder, Markus Corvinus (Curran), first vampire, winged hybrid, and wearer of some seriously samurai loon pants.

Continue reading Underworld: Evolution (2006)

Werewolf: The Beast Among Us (2012)

Sadly, only about half of these characters have a substantial role in the film.
Sadly, only about half of these characters have a substantial role in the film.

“There wolf! There castle!”

Directed by Louis Morneau
Starring Ed Quinn, Guy Wilson and Stephen Rea

A family is attacked by a werewolf. The young son is the sole survivor, and years later is a hunter of werewolves with his own team of Transylvanian steampunk Expendables. Charles (Quinn) and his crew have put down dozens of beasts and have a fearsome reputation when they are called on to hunt a particularly dangerous foe; a beast with all the power of a werewolf, three days in which to hunt, and all the intelligence of a man.

Continue reading Werewolf: The Beast Among Us (2012)

The Wolfman (2010)

Now I understand... and it's time to leave the woods.
Now I understand… and it’s time to leave the woods.

“The Legend is Alive”

Directed by Joe Johnston
Starring Benicio del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt and Hugo Weaving

Actor Lawrence Talbot (del Toro) is summoned to his family home by his brother Ben’s fiancee, Gwen (Blunt) with news of Ben’s death. Ben was killed by some beast in the woods near Talbot House, and Lawrence determines to track and destroy it. His father (Hopkins) seems oddly sanguine about the whole business, while Inspector Aberline (Weaving) of Scotland Yard has his eye on Lawrence.

Continue reading The Wolfman (2010)

Red: Werewolf Hunter (2010)

Red
This is going to hurt, isn’t it?

“A SyFy Original Movie”

Directed by Sheldon Wilson
Starring Felicia Day, Kavan Smith and Stephen McHattie

Once upon a time there was a little girl who lived in the woods, but this story isn’t about her. It’s about her ancestors. Virginia ‘Red’ Sullivan (Day) is a federal agent (agency unspecified) and the latest daughter of a family of werewolf hunters. When she brings her fiance Nathan (Smith) to meet her family, the last thing she expects is for it to become their last stand.

Continue reading Red: Werewolf Hunter (2010)

Van Helsing (2004)

Sadly, Universal did not own the rights to the kitchen sink.
Sadly, Universal did not own the rights to the kitchen sink.

“Adventure Lives Forever*”

Directed by Stephen Sommers
Starring Hugh Jackman, Kate Beckinsale, Richard Roxburgh and David Wenham

Amnesiac badass Gabriel Van Helsing (Jackman) is the chief monster hunter of an interfaith order based in the Vatican and devoted to protecting the world from evil. Dispatched to Transylvania along with friar-engineer Carl (Wenham), he is tasked to help Anna (Beckinsale) the last of the line of Valerious, to fulfil their family duty and destroy Dracula (Roxburgh).

Continue reading Van Helsing (2004)

The Hammer Horror Drinking Game

dracula drunk
“What was that? Ten shots?” (Image from Dracula: The Dark Prince (2013), which seems like a shoe-in for this site)

Since this seems to be a popular feature, let’s have another go at getting blind drunk through a terrible movie (for those of you who drink). This one is built for classic Hammer gothic horror, but will work for just about anything with a castle and some gore in it.

The master will not join you for dinner, for he does not drink… wine.

Music, please!

  • The film features a ‘name’ monster (Dracula, Frankenstein)! Take a shot
    • In the title! Take a shot
    • But they pretend it’s going to be a surprise! Take a shot
  • A scene takes place in a rustic inn! Take a shot
"No, no; I'm not local. I'm Father Sandor, from Lanarkshire."
“No, no; I’m not local. I’m Father Sandor, from Lanarkshire.”
  • In Eastern Europe! Take a shot
  • But the locals have Devon yokel accents! Take a shot
  • Necklines are a little bit too low for a proper period piece! Take a shot
    • Or for any proper period piece! Take a shot
    • Or for any self-respecting erotic thriller! Take a shot
    • And they actually fall off given the slightest encouragement! Take a shot
  • The monster apparently falls in love with the heroine on first sight! Take a shot
    • And spurns a faithful thrall because of it! Take a shot
  • A vampire is old school enough to cover his neck nibbling with a lifted cape! Take a shot
  • Some poor fool gets bled into a coffin/murdered for parts! Take a shot
When the moon is in the eighth house of Aquarius...
When the moon is in the eighth house of Aquarius…

 

  • A character goes where they clearly shouldn’t! Take a shot
    • Alone! Take a shot
    • And barefoot! Take a shot
  • Characters refuse to respond to obvious danger signs! Take a shot
  • Characters ignore the immense creepiness of a servant or coachman! Take a shot
  • Characters ignore the one member of their party who is aware of how fucked they are! Take a shot
  • The expert throws in a new piece of monster lore! Take a shot
    • Which is a vulnerability! Take a shot
    • And it’s what kills the monster! Take a shot
  • The expert completely overrules an existing piece of monster lore! Take a shot
    • And someone dies for later relying on it! Take a shot
  • BONUS: The vampire doesn’t drink… wine! Empty the bottle

From the Archive – Underworld (2003)

Underworld

 

Directed by Len Wiseman
Starring Kate Beckinsale and Scott Speedman

For fourteen hundred years the vampires have been at war with the Lycans (that’s werewolves to you and me); both races immortal – barring serious accident or bad cases of killing – and apparently none-too-bright. The Lycan general, Lucian, has been dead six centuries, and for all that time the vampire elite, the Deathdealers, have been on the verge of wiping out the last werewolves, but have never managed it.

Selene (Beckinsale) is one of these Deathdealers and while hunting Lycans she realises that they are showing an unusual interest in a human, Michael (Speedman). She also stumbles on a den of werewolves larger than any seen since Lucian’s death. She is all suspicious and stuff, but the leader of her coven, the aptly named Kraven (Shane Brolly), is too busy trying to get into her knickers to care. Oh; and the vampires are about to have a transfer of power between two of their elders.

Selene investigates Michael and gets the hots for him. Lucian – whose death was somewhat exaggerated by the only witness, Kraven – also shows up looking for him. Michael gets freaked out at the sheer number of fangy, gun-toting maniacs coming after him for one reason or another.

There’s a whole lot of killing and bloodshed and betrayal, then Michael and Selene fulfil Lucian’s plan by turning Michael into a super-hybrid of Lycan and vampire and offing Bill Nighy, lord of the undead.

What’s wrong with it?

Underworld is one of those films in which a whole bunch of good ideas get pissed away in a frenzy of fast-editing and wacky SFX. There are moments when the idea of a centuries old war, of a vampire populace yearning to forget about the war and get on with being all cool and Goth and stuff and the torturous and Byzantine politics almost get interesting, before some ludicrous set piece or clunky line of dialogue (“Silver nitrate! Bet you didn’t see that coming!”, oh, you were up all night for that kiss-off) brings the whole thing crashing back to Earth.

There are also a great many instances where you just wonder how these slackers have lasted as long as they have. Lucian’s Lycans wipe out a train full of veteran Deathdealers with nary a scratch in return, yet Selene can drop them by the dozen. Lucian successfully hides his existence for centuries, then Selene stumbles on his army and he lets Kraven – his creepy, weasel-traitor, unloved ally – be dragged into his lair with a gun. How did this lot manage to last so long.

A friend is quite insistent that I mention here that Selene tells Michael that he saved her life, when she’s actually undead, but the fact is that she isn’t undead. Undead is a word that never shows up in Underworld and all evidence suggests that these vampires are as vital as anyone.

What’s right with it?

Well, there’s some cool Gothy bits and impressive special effects, and the lead characters manage to be reasonably sympathetic, despite an excess of kewl. There are also some splendid ideas, however little time may be given over to them. And Bill Nighy; always good for the money. Many people also rate Kate Beckinsale in leather as a big draw, but by that standard you’d have to say Van Helsing was a winner.

How bad is it really?

None too. I mean, there’s some decent action, they don’t get bogged down in their own stupidity nearly as much as they could and at least it isn’t Underworld: Evolution. Or Blade II.

Best bit

Okay, it’s been a while. Nothing really sticks out.

What’s up with…?

  • Ultraviolet bullets? I mean, huh?
  • Kraven’s kiss-off line to Lucian? “Silver nitrate! Bet you didn’t see that coming.” Well, he didn’t see anything coming, did he, otherwise he would have taken away your gun and you could have shot him with silver bullets, exploding rounds or whatever. The silver nitrate is the chemically-questionable icing on the explody death cake.
  • Mr Razor Wire Whips? Come on; you’re just asking to get et.
  • Bill Nighy is the Lord of the Undead?

Ratings

Production Values: High. A little too much darkness, but basically sound. 4

Dialogue and Performances: A film somewhat lacking in snappy one-liners, which is a shame as it’s the kind of film that really needs that lift from time to time. The dialogue that there is isn’t bad, but it’s basically just, y’know, functional. There’s no zip, no fire, no poetry; not even bad angst poetry. 12

Plot and Execution: PWP, turned up to 11. Erm, the stuff with the blood and the big monsters and…stuff. Oh, you’re the spit and image of the girl I used to love. Huh? The film does well to avoid getting mired in all this crap people are spitting out by way of exposition. 13

Randomness: Bill Nighy is the lord of the undead?* 7

Waste of Potential: With a little more script work and a little less devotion to po-faced sombreness, this could have been a hell of a lot of fun. It’s still fun, just not a hell of a lot of it. 9

Overall 45%

*Although in fairness, since this review was first written, this has become a thing.