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HELLBOUND: HELLRAISER II – Christopher Young

January 10, 2019 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The 1987 film Hellraiser, based on the novella The Hellbound Heart by British horror author Clive Barker, was an unexpected critical and commercial success at the box office, and as such an immediate sequel was commissioned to cash in on the new popularity of Pinhead and his merry band of ‘cenobite’ demons, who live in a realm of hell where pleasure, pain, and suffering are one. The resulting film, titled Hellbound: Hellraiser II, takes place in the immediate aftermath of the first film, and finds protagonist Kirsty (Ashley Laurence) – having escaped from Pinhead (Doug Bradley) – recovering in a mental institution under the care of Dr Channard (Kenneth Cranham). However, it is revealed that Channard is secretly obsessed with cenobites, and has been searching for the ‘lament configuration’ puzzle box that summons them for years. Despite Kirsty’s desperate pleas, Channard recovers the bloody mattress that Kirsty’s stepmother Julia (Clare Higgins) died on in the last film, and uses it to resurrect her; so begins a gruesome, desperate game, as Channard and Julia explore the realms of hell together, while Kirsty tries to stop the cenobites once and for all. The film was written by Peter Atkins and is directed by journeyman Tony Randel, taking over duties from Barker. Read more…

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HELLRAISER – Christopher Young

September 14, 2017 2 comments

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

In the early autumn of 1987 the movie world was introduced to its newest horror franchise: Hellraiser, based on the acclaimed novella ‘The Hellbound Heart’ by British author Clive Barker. It was directed by Barker himself, making his filmmaking debut, and contains sinister themes involving sexual experimentation and sadomasochism, dressed up with a darkly romantic sheen of gothic horror. The plot involves an ancient puzzle box which falls into the hands of the amoral Frank Cotton (Sean Chapman) and which, once solved, releases a group of demonic figures known as Cenobites, who then abduct and subject their unwitting victims to endless torture. Years after Frank’s disappearance his brother Larry (Andrew Robinson), Larry’s daughter Kirsty (Ashley Laurence), and Larry’s new wife Julia (Clare Higgins) move into Frank’s old house; Larry is unaware that Julia had a passionate affair with Frank before he disappeared. A common household accident results in the skinless corpse of Frank somehow being resurrected in the attic; in order to finalize his reincarnation, Frank needs a fresh supply of human blood, which the still-obsessed Julia agrees to provide. However, the Cenobites have found out about Frank’s escape from ‘hell,’ and their terrifying leader, Pinhead (Doug Bradley), resolves to bring him back – at which point Kirsty finds herself caught in the middle of the nightmare. Read more…

THE MONKEY KING 2 – Christopher Young

July 22, 2016 3 comments

monkeyking2Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Xi You Ji Zhi: Sun Wukong San Da Baigu Jing – known in English as The Monkey King 2 – is the second in the series of Chinese films based on “Journey to the West,” one of the four great classical novels of Chinese literature, which was written in the 16th century during the Ming Dynasty by Wu Cheng En. Directed by Cheang Pou-Soi, the film continues the adventures of Sun Wukong, a monkey born from a magical stone who acquires supernatural powers. Following the events of the previous film, when he rebelled against heaven and was subsequently imprisoned under a mountain for 500 years, Sun Wukong (Aaron Kwok) is released and becomes the companion of a monk named Tang Sanzang (Shaofeng Feng), who is on a journey to India on a quest for enlightenment. However, their journey is fraught with danger, not least from Baigujing, White Bone Spirit (Gong Li), a demon who seeks immortality, and believes Tang Sanzang has the power to grant it to her. Read more…

A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 2: FREDDY’S REVENGE – Christopher Young

October 29, 2015 1 comment

nightmareonelmstreet2THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

In the wake of the massive, and unexpected, success of A Nightmare on Elm Street in 1984, New Line Cinema realized they had a potential franchise on their hands. Audiences had responded very positively to Freddy Krueger, the wisecracking maniac with a striped sweater and a gloved hand full of knives who kills people in their dreams. Despite him having apparently been vanquished at the end of the first film, they found a way to bring him back for a sequel, and A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge got the green light for release on Halloween weekend, 1985, under the direction of veteran Jack Sholder. With the exception of Robert Englund as Freddy, the film featured an all-new cast, focusing on Jesse Walsh (Mark Patton), a teenage boy who moves into a new house with his family, without realizing that it is the same house where Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp) fought Freddy years previously. Before long, Jesse is having nightmares about being stranded on a school bus with two girls and being stalked by a deformed killer; Jesse and his friends soon uncover information regarding Freddy’s legacy, but things quickly turn violent, and it becomes apparent that, instead of Freddy murdering people in their dreams, he is actually possessing Jesse’s body so that he can carry out murders in the real world. Read more…

THE MONKEY KING – Christopher Young

November 14, 2014 5 comments

monkeykingOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

In Chinese folklore and mythology, the story of The Monkey King is as important and well known as The Iliad and The Odyssey are to the Greeks, or as The Wizard of Oz is to Americans. Technically, The Monkey King is part of “Journey to the West,” one of the four great classical novels of Chinese literature, which was written in the 16th century during the Ming Dynasty by Wu Cheng En. It tells the story of Sun Wukong, a monkey born from a magical stone who acquires supernatural powers. After rebelling against heaven and being imprisoned under a mountain for 500 years, he later accompanies a monk named Xuanzang on a journey to India, and subsequently brings Buddhism to ancient China. The story his been told in film and on TV several times, but never so lavishly as in this big-budget 3D Chinese film (Xi You Ji: Da Nao Tian Gong in its native language), which is directed by Pou-Soi Cheang and stars Donnie Yen and Chow-Yun Fat. It is the first of three planned movies, and is essentially the origin story – beginning with the birth of Sun Wukong and ending with his imprisonment for his crimes under the Five-Peaked Mountain. Along the way he acquires incredible powers, battling the armies of the gods and the armies of the demons to find his rightful place in the heavens. Read more…

THE RUM DIARY – Christopher Young

November 2, 2011 2 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The Rum Diary doesn’t quite know what kind of film it wants to be. On the one hand it’s another wry look at life through the alcohol-soaked and frequently hilarious lens of the late Gonzo author Hunter S. Thompson, on whose novel this film is based, and on whom the lead character Paul Kemp is clearly modeled. On the other hand, it’s a comparatively serious examination of the American suppression of native culture of Puerto Rico in the 1950s, specifically the way in which rich industrialists manipulate the system and steal from the local landowners in order to line their pockets. Then again, it’s a romance, in which the Kemp character falls in lust with the beautiful young wife of a shady entrepreneur. But, most of all, it’s a love letter to Puerto Rico itself – the unspoiled beaches, the sunny climes, the generous people, and the seemingly unlimited supply of alcohol that keep the wheels of the island greased. Read more…

A SYMPHONY OF HOPE: THE HAITI PROJECT – Christopher Lennertz et al.

October 2, 2011 1 comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

On January 12, 2010, the city of Port-au-Prince in Haiti was effectively flattened when it was struck by a magnitude 7.0 earthquake. Within a matter of seconds over 50,000 people had been killed, and over a million people left homeless. Diseases such as cholera blighted the survivors and thwarted relief efforts, and since then the humanitarian crisis in the country has reached staggering proportions, with over 250,000 residences destroyed and basic services and infrastructure left in ruins. Reacting to the global call for help, film composer Christopher Lennertz was inspired to act. Calling upon his fellow composers and other members of the Los Angeles film music community of musicians and engineers, Lennertz teamed up with the charity Hands Together to create A Symphony of Hope: The Haiti Project, a musical fundraising project intended to help the people of Haiti. Read more…