The Thursday List, Episode 6 (Late Edition)

"Chromeskull: Laid to Rest 2" (2011)
This is an impressive film, technically. Specifically, the makeup and effects of this film are impressive, mightily impressive. Unfortunately, saying that about a movie is rather like going to a concert and coming saying "Well, the seats were comfortable." Style is no substitute for substance, and this film was style heavy and substance poor. The script made little sense, but most of the actors managed well with what they had. All told, it wasn't really bad, though if it hadn't been for the special effects it would've been a bit below average. Recommended for fans of gore effects, not quite so for general viewers.

 "Scream of the Banshee" (2011)
When "SyFy presents" appeared at the opening, my heart sank a bit. As the movie progressed, my heart sank even more. The more the actors, brave men and women all, struggled against the bland and plodding script, the more they themselves sank into the SyFy swamp, an awful and hideous place wherein mediocrity and cheapness rule with a plastic fist (rather poorly painted to look like iron from a distance). It was obvious they knew as well as I that there was only one way for it to go, and in the end, we all went down together. At least they got paid for their time and energy, and it's still far and away and worlds better than Neighbor. Unless you want to make a drinking game out of watching it or you have a crush on Lauren Holly, this film is: Not recommended.

"The Omega Man" (1971)
This is an example of films that have aged about as well as Dorian Gray at the end of his story. The themes of Matheson's original 1954 novel, I Am Legend, are sweeping and universal, and it seems they were reduced down and twisted a bit to suit the cultural vogues of the beginning of the 1970s. They're clumsily handled in the script, and so instead of having an impact and encouraging you think it just preaches at you. The non-message parts of the film, on the other hand, are quite good. Heston's in great form and has some really good scenes, as does Rosalind Cash. It could have been better, but despite the ham-fisted handling of some of the themes and the near-comical 1970s-ness of it, it really is a slightly above average film, except for the ending. Oy vey. "The Omega Man" is worth watching, but don't go out of your way or be in a hurry to. Matheson's novel, though, should be required reading.

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