Three to start again...

"Frankenstein's Army" (2013)
World War 2 rages on, with the Communists storming through Eastern Germany, and while answering an advance unit's request reinforcement one Soviet unit finds far more than they ever bargained for, a secret Nazi lab in full swing making new kinds of super soldiers. The film's well made and fairly entertaining but does sag a bit in the middle, taking some too long playing one note before gearing up again for the run to the end. All in all, it really is a cut above average, even if just. Rentable.

"The Moleman of Belmont Avenue" (2010)
Two rather bumbling brothers have run their inherited brownstone apartment building into the ground, and adding to their woes, something's trying to eat every living thing in the place, starting with the tenants' pets. It lives in the basement, and it's up to the boys to stop the menace. It's not exactly a grabbing premise, and unfortunately the film keeps in line such. It's not a bad film. It's certainly not a good one, though Robert Englund stands out as Confab, a mildly creepy and at the same time cool older ladies man. The problem with the film is that only Englund seems to fire on all cylinders. Besides his performance and a few moments here and there, the film's really not that fun. Not recommended.

"Manborg" (2011)
I will only say that the poster says it all and that this film was made for $1,000 (Canadian). Beyond that, it's the best film on today's list and better than several I have reviewed on this blog. Watching it, it's the 1980s all over again. It's a marvelous pastiche. The nearly nonexistent budget is obvious in every frame, as is the ludicrous amount of fun, work, and love that went into it. "Manborg" is nothing but laugh-out-loud fun all the way through. It's definitely worth renting and/or buying.


Two night clerks alone in a soon-to-close old haunted inn. What could go wrong?

The Yankee Pedlar Inn is about to close after over a hundred years of business. Two clerks have desk duty for the last weekend. One of them is a mildly creepy but somehow almost lovably well-meaning guy who seems to be love with... his laptop, and the other is a rather cute, slightly clumsy, asthmatic young woman with a keen imagination and a desperate desire to... find the resident ghost. Oh, and Kelly McGillis is there, too. Between the tape recorder, the crystal, and the dark, locked basement what could possibly go wrong?

"The Innkeepers" (2011)
written and directed by Ti West.
starring Sara Paxton, Pat Healy, and Kelly MicGillis

How Is It?
It's old school horror and suspense, and it's done well. It's done really, really well.

The Players
All of the players in this film deliver spot-on performances, nothing over the top. Sara Paxton's Claire comes across pleasantly awkward, both socially and physically, and believably innocent, honest, and both serious and fun-loving. Pat Healy's Luke is quite believable also, never remotely unpleasant but with an understated and not well-hidden burden of loneliness. Kelly McGillis' Leanne rounds out the main character cast as the '80s tv celebrity turned mystical healer who is visiting the inn while touring on the convention circuit. The three work solidly together, as well as alone. Solid work all around in front of the camera.

Behind the Camera
Ti West can make a good movie. It was filmed on location in a real inn, and it was just the right place. West uses the interior geography of the place marvelously. It's homey and charming and quaint and all, and it's also a bit eerie, then pretty spooky, and then it's just plain sinister. And the real kicker is that it's never overdone, visually or audially. West keep the emphasis on atmosphere, ratcheting things up bit by both, punctuated with just the right amount of levity, and it winds up with the film really being, in my opinion, a course in how to make a haunted house movie. "Hometown Gothic" is how I would classify the film. For me it's reminiscent in feel to Robert Wise's 1963 classic, and quite possibly the finest haunted house movie ever made, "The Haunting", and that is high praise indeed.

The photography and lighting are good. The script is tight. The direction is top-notch.

The Verdict
I bought a copy the day after I watched it. It's a solid, dependable, excellent made film. It's a slow burn of a scare, and it's an excellent movie. "The Innkeepers" delivers. Highly recommended.