The Sleeping Car (1990): As we all know from suffering through a lot of tripe, horror comedies are difficult. Case in point is Douglas’ Curtis film about David Naughton fleeing from his divorce to college, a very young new girlfriend (Judie Aronson) and into a haunted sleeping car where only the most rote of the spooky stuff will happen, so the horror part’s pretty much a non-starter. It’s also not helped by hatchet-style editing and the often made error of confusing shouting with things being creepy.
The comedy part isn’t any better, either, for the in theory decent cast (also
comprising Kevin McCarthy as hippie exorcist and Jeff Conaway as the scenery
chewer of the week) has to wrestle loads of terrible dialogue that can’t let a
second go by without trying to have a punch line. Which is a bit of a problem
when the punch lines don’t have any build-up time, none of them is funny anyway,
and the witty repartee comes over as stilted, stupid, and torturously
La Entidad aka The Entity (2015): Eduardo
Schuldt’s Peruvian POV horror film about the mandatory group of film students
not surviving their encounter with supernatural evil isn’t half bad, adding a
bit of Ringu and witch hunt horror to the usual mix (without directly
cribbing from there), and for once not ending on people running screaming
through the woods. That’s what a really creepy/cool looking graveyard’s for,
apparently. The acting’s a bit ropey from time to time, and one or two
characters are somewhat on the annoying side but the whole affair isn’t as
derivative as it first looks, is well paced and has some rather effective
moments of horror. It’s not a classic but well worth taking a look, I think.
The Raven (2012): It would be much easier to get through the
adventures of E.A. Poe, consulting detective, if the film – or its director
James McTeigue – had any actual idea of what it thinks Poe or his work were or
meant. Alas, it by far prefers hand-waving and the regurgitation of clichés
about the man and his works that does little to make the character feel like
more than a very special guest star in his own movie (and life). It sure doesn’t
help that John Cusack clearly doesn’t have any idea what the character he’s
playing is supposed to be all about either, nor that the script is as
generically serial killer thriller as you could imagine.
The production design is fine, at least, and there are many shots of fog
shrouded streets, as if the whole she-bang were taking place in London and not
in Baltimore, but fog-shrouded streets alone do not a good movie make.