Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein (1994) – Rating 4 out of 5

Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein (1994) – Rating 4 out of 5

“He didn’t give me a name…”

Shocking, gruesome, cruel and sad and perhaps the best rendition of the classic tale I have ever seen. Directed by Branagh and starring Robert De Niro and Helena Bonham Carter we get a more comprehensive look at Dr. Frankenstein and his creation.

Frankenstein’s mother dies during childbirth while he is a late teen. Of course he wonders why life can’t be prolonged. Following in his father’s footsteps he goes off to university to become a doctor. Unlike the diabolical Frankenstein we see in the early black and white films this Frankenstein simply starts off as a curious student who wonders about the body and how to preserve life. He meets a professor (John Cleese) who also shares his interest and has made startling progress. The professor warms him of the dangers of his pursuit and tells him he has come “too close” to creating life…

After his mentor is killed during a cholera outbreak Frankenstein is determined to prevent death. He breaks into the professor lab and pours over his notes. He uncovers his mistakes and believes he has the answer.

He experiments prove successful and soon he has created his own life, although it’s nothing like he’d hope. His creation is a grotesque piecemeal of parts that have been brutally sewn together. Frankenstein fears his own creation and runs away.

The monster flees and is met with the same harsh treatment everywhere he goes. Victor abandons his experiments in order to live his life with his soon to be bride. But the monster returns after learning of how he was created and how he is a “defect” and an “abomination”. He curses revenge against Frankenstein and seeks him out.

Frankenstein has a showdown with the creature and is given a stern and philosophical talking to by his creation. His want is simple, to have a companion like himself. He will then disappear and never been seen from again. Victor can’t bring himself to repeat the experiment and so the monster vows vengeance.

The movie is shocking in its portrayal but that adds depth to the film. Frankenstein starts off naïve and innocent and just wishes to help people and through the deaths he suffered slips into madness to try and bring his loved ones back from the death. Many of the scenes are unnerving and brutal – the death of the mother during birth, Victor cutting up the bodies, the hanging for the wrongful death and the stitches that cover the monsters body. And the movies wild climax with Elizabeth being used to force Frankenstein to restart his experiments and leading them all to damnation.

Much more intense than previous attempts this film ranks a must see for the “classics” genre. This is a true hack and slash film, but it’s excellent late night viewing. Definitely worth seeing.


Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein – $5.99

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The Exorcism of Emily Rose – Rating 4 out of 5

The Exorcism of Emily Rose – Rating 4 out of 5

In an extremely rare decision, the Catholic Church officially recognized the demonic possession of a 19 year-old college freshman. Told in flashbacks, ‘The Exorcism of Emily Rose’ chronicles the haunting trial of the priest accused of negligence resulting in the death of the young girl believed to be possessed and the lawyer who takes on the task of defending him.

Emily Rose takes a different approach in presenting the idea of exorcism. The exorcism has already been and now Father Moore stands trial for negligent homicide in regards to her death. Erin Bruner (Laura Linney) is called in to defend the priest and his actions. She isn’t sure what to believe and she’s let one too many criminals go in her career. Ethan Thomas (Campbell Scott) is the religious prosecutor who believes Emily was mistreated or not allowed to be treated for schizophrenia and has died due to medical complications.

The story is told in flashback and assumed visions Emily may have had during her ordeal. We hear accounts from friends as to her state of being and ultimately from Father Moore who relays his account of the events in detail.

This is not a horror movie, but a dramatic documentary about demonic possession. Is demon possession real? Is there a scientific or religious basis for it? Witnesses and evidence are brought in to explain the phenomenon and both are equally convincing and plausible.

Scenes of Emily’s body contorted and stiff will make you cringe. The scenes of her “delusions” are just enough to have the right effect without being overstated. There is plenty of mood and atmosphere in this story and Laura Linney and Campbell Scott do a superb job of presenting the case in a most convincing way.

The main thrust of the movie is to cause debate and speculation on demonic possession and whether it is “real”. The Church has doctrine on Exorcism, but yet they don’t acknowledge it. The symptoms for possession looks remarkably like mental illness and a prescription of the wrong meds. So is demonic possession real or simply mental illness.

This movie presents multiple arguments and multiple facts to support those arguments. It’s very well acted by all parties and has plenty of “creepiness” to make it all the more suspenseful. No gore, no hacking and slashing, no nudity or teens making out in the back of a Camaro. Good story, strong plot and strong acting. Definitely worth seeing.

The Exorcism of Emily Rose (Unrated Special Edition)

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Exorcist III – Ranking 3 out of 5

Exorcist III – Ranking 3 out of 5

I don’t really see this as a sequel to the Exorcist and don’t think it really fits in with the rest of the story. We have a serial killer on the loose a cop trying to figure out what’s going on. Our cop has lost his faith and his ability to believe in the goodness of man and he’s also confronted a suspect who seems to be possessed by the devil. Although there are repeated elements from the Exorcist, I don’t see the two as part of the same story line.

It’s a good story on its own and shows the work of the devil as he interacts with the world through a serial killer. And what a crazy serial killer he is. Full of wild stories on how he handles the bodies, drains their blood and removes their organs. Quite the monologue with plenty of gory details. Brad Dourif as the Gemini Killer is worth watching the movie for.

Exorcist III is a fun haunt in its own right with some loose ties to the original Exorcist story.

Buy Exorcist III for $9.98

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Exorcist II – Heretic – Ranking 3 out of 5

Exorcist II – Heretic – Ranking 3 out of 5

As far as sequels go this falls into the same category as most, it doesn’t live up to the original. However, this sequel has a confusing plot, and really seems to be a forced story to capitalize on the success of the original. We really get no insight into the previous events and we go no advancement of the story. There are a couple of decent scenes but the past life dealings with Pazuzu lead to a fairly bland and uneventful ending.

Linda’s back and she’s more confused than ever. Some of the dialog comes off as laughable and some of the medical “procedures” just seem dumb. There aren’t really any tense moments like we get in the first film and we don’t have the same sort of tense showdown. In the original we have Regan battling with the devil himself, in this one, who knows what’s going on.

The movie is worth watching because there are a couple of scenes of note, but on the whole you don’t get anything out of this one.

Exorcist II – Heretic

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