Tyler Perry’s Boo! Madea’s Halloween – Blu-ray Review

The year 2016 will be remembered for many things, but one of the oddest events was the strange clown epidemic that seemed to sweep the nation during the latter half of the year. I, like most people, am not a huge fan of clowns, but I am far from being terrified of them. My good friend is terrified of clowns to the point that even a photo of one makes him uncomfortable. Madea (Tyler Perry) has similar feelings when it comes to clowns and her thoughts are also made perfectly clear about them (and many, many other things) in Boo! Madea’s Halloween.

Boo! is the seventh big-screen outing for everyone’s favorite loudmouthed, opinionated, gun-toting woman who doesn’t take any lip, and definitely doesn’t take things lying down. When she’s tasked to babysit on Halloween night, it’s a battle of wits, child rearing tactics, and scares as Madea does her best to keep things under control in the only chaotic way she knows how. From punching clowns to confronting a sketchy frat house, Madea is a woman who takes no prisoners and always has the last word.

Boo! Madea’s Halloween has some very funny moments, especially when Madea is paired with Aunt Bam (Cassi Davis) and her friend Hattie (Patrice Lovely). Tyler Perry has been able to create a very expanded universe in which Madea exists both on film and on stage where she originated. It’s a testament to his talents as a writer and as an actor that Madea has grown and flourished as a comedic character for over a decade.

Along with the Halloween hijinks, the films also touches on more serious topics about family, the importance of raising children with boundaries and limits, and the value of honesty. Like all Tyler Perry productions, there’s always a message woven into the narrative even with Madea is at her wackiest (and she gets pretty wacky in this one!).

The Blu-ray includes the featurette Why We Love Madea!, a look at the character over the years with comments by her creator, Tyler Perry. It also includes Boo! From the Crew with the cast and crew delivering their best “Boos!” to try and scare the audience.

If you enjoyed the previous six Madea films, you will definitely enjoy Boo! Madea’s Halloween. And even if you haven’t seen them, it’s still worth a look!

Boo! Madea’s Halloween is available January 31, 2017 on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital Download!

What’s your favorite Madea movie? Leave a comment and let us know!

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6 Plots – DVD Review

6-plots_3ddvd

Horror is an interesting genre. Done correctly, it has the power to terrify and linger with an audience long after the film has ended. Done poorly, it can frustrate an audience and leave the bored with either the predictability of the story or the complete lack of suspense. It’s a fine line between doing horror right and doing it wrong with horror films coming out of the woodwork every week either in theaters or on video.

Enter 6 Plots, a 2012 teen horror film from Australia, that has an intriguing concept that unfortunately fails to pay off in any way. It’s a clever twist on the Saw genre of torture porn films, but there are a lot of elements missing throughout the film’s narrative that cause it to become less entertaining as the movie plods along.

Horror films tend to deliver a strong female protagonist whom the audience can empathize with at the start of the film. Whether it’s Laurie Strode in Halloween of Sydney Prescott in Scream, it’s important that we as an audience have a lead character that we are ready to take a journey with through the horror that is about to commence. In 6 Plots we are given Brie (Alice Darling) who is part of the “It” crowd at her school and is also into partying, drinking, and drugs. She has no tragic backstory that causes us to empathize with her, she’s just one of the popular kids like the other six of her friends whom she joins for a weekend party at a beach house.

Upon waking in the aforementioned – but now darkened – beach house, Brie quickly discovers that all of her friends have been taken and buried in wooden boxes by a mysterious person who contacts her with a demented talking smiley on her phone with two rules: no parents, no authorities. If either of those get introduced into the mix, her friends will start to die. The killer uses technology to live-stream the fates of each of Brie’s friends to her as she struggles to find them before it’s too late. Oh, and they all have their phones so they can communicate with each other. And the killer is live-streaming their fates to the world as well.

The issue here is that it’s a clever concept that lacks any real suspense. I think it’s mainly because we have no vested interest in any of the characters. We know them as a group of popular kids who party, but we have no other real information about them. I know, I know, it’s a horror movie and they’re just bodies to be counted as the death toll increases. I get it. The problem here is that they aren’t really presented as good people so their deaths are not as shocking or traumatic for the audience as they probably should be.

Now, as a fan of the Saw franchise, I enjoy seeing the contraptions made by Jigsaw actually brought to life as time runs out for his victims. It’s what makes those films work. Here, each victim is trapped in a box and meets a similar fate through confinement. While the method of death may change, there’s no real change in how they die. They just do since they can’t really do much else. As Brie rushes to save the day and gather clues as to where they are and who remains, I found myself losing interest since the deaths became more repetitive than clever.

So, let’s talk about the finale, which also lacked any cathartic moment, no true revelation as to who the killer was and what their motive in doing all of this truly was, either. Granted, we do get a general idea as to who and possibly why, but it would have been nice to be given an idea how the killer pulled off such an amazing feat as drugging seven people, dragging six out of the beach house, sealing all six in wooden boxes, burying them throughout the city in a specific pattern, then making sure each box had a unique death attached to it via remote. Whew! Hope the killer had some help!

There’s also no vindication for those that remain alive. Even the final moments of the film where we do get a hint as to who the real killer was lack any real heft that would make us think a huge twist had just been revealed. I wanted more, and got much less.

To their credit, the filmmakers did create a visually dynamic world in which their film takes place, and the concept is solid. Also the use of the most advances tech by the killer was pretty impressive. It is in the overall execution of the film’s story that things falter and derail.

I wanted to like 6 Plots. I was excited when I saw the DVD cover that touted it as “Buried Meets Saw.” However, the end result was more anti-climactic TV movie, or mundane episode of The Secret Life of the American Teenager or even BBC’s Skins than gritty and gory horror.

Special Features include The Making of 6 Plots.

6 Plots is available now on DVD and Digital Download.

What’s your favorite scary movie? Leave a comment and let us know!

Haunted Histories Collection – DVD Box Set Review

Haunted

Just in time for Halloween, The History Channel presents this 20 episode Haunted Histories box set filled with ghouls, ghosts, zombies, and witches. Continue reading “Haunted Histories Collection – DVD Box Set Review”

Friday the 13th Parts 1, 2, and 3 DVD Review

Friday the 13th Part 1

Chchchch—Kakakaka, an immortal sound in horror if ever there was one. Yes folks, it’s that time again, that certain day that only happens in certain months, a Friday on the 13th day of the month. And we all know what that means…time to cash on old superstitions and worn to death genre films!! What better set of films to upgrade than the Friday the 13th films…..uuhh again?

Yes that’s right, Paramount is releasing newly updated versions of the first trilogy from the Friday the 13th series, corresponding with the coming remake no less. However there were no coupons to see the new film, and even stranger there were no promos of any kind for the new remake on any of the discs, an odd tactic indeed. Still, what you do get, is a nifty, if not a little unbalanced, package.

Friday the 13th Part 2

Up first is the original Friday the 13th, made as a strict rip-off of the success of Halloween (fans put your blades down, the creators repeatedly say this themselves), this little atmospheric gem still holds a special place in most fans hearts, despite its lack of a certain character. Fans should also have cause to celebrate, as this edition marks the first time the film has been uncut on DVD.

The second, Friday the 13th part 2, also keeps a special place in fans hearts, despite lacking a certain hockey mask. The opening especially remains a minor masterpiece unto itself, which I shant spoil for those who haven’t seen it. Sadly this DVD version is still the cut version, a fact they mention in the special features; seeming to imply that the cuts have been lost to time.

Friday the 13th Part 3

The third, Friday the 13th 3-D (creative titles, yes?), must also retain a special watermark in horror fans minds, as it marked the first time Jason donned the infamous hockey mask and made horror iconographic history. This DVD edition should also be of special interest to fans as well, as it presents the film in both a 2-D and 3-D versions. And though somewhat primitive in its appearance, the 3-D is a neat edition and fun enough with two pairs of glasses.

The discs, in addition to all receiving high definition transfers and 5.1 sound upgrades, have a decent trove of special features as well. The first film features a commentary by director Sean S. Cunningham and various other cast and crew, as well as featurettes: Fresh Cuts: New Tales from Friday the 13th, featuring interviews with most of the principals (except Kevin Bacon of course), The Man Behind the Legacy: Sean S. Cunningham, which is an interview with the not so creative director who unashamedly tours his mansion “that Friday the 13th built” where he discusses the desperate circumstances that led to him wanting to make a quick buck and his pride in helping to create a subgenre of cheap horror films for a blue collar crowd, A Friday the 13th Reunion: taking place at a recent horror convention and featuring the primaries from the Fresh Cuts doc at a Q&A, and finally Lost Tales of Crystal Lake- part 1, which looks like a student film that won some contest to be on the DVD (it doesn’t even have Jason in it, pretty lame) and the trailer.

The second film features a continuation of the same docs, just carried to the second disc. No commentary this time just some more featurettes: Inside “Crystal Lake Memories”, which is an interview with the author of the book of the same title, where he discusses the cuts made, particularly in part 2, Friday’s Legacy: Conventions, more interviews from the conventions scene, Jason Forever, which features four of the key players of the iconic figure discussing the role at a convention panel and in interviews, Lost Tales of Crystal Lake- part 2, more of the same drek (seriously a waste of time, uugghh), and the trailer.

The third film has no features excluding the trailer and the optional 2-D and 3-D versions of the film.

Overall a decent package, though I don’t understand why they would release just the first three, as the fourth really does end the first half of the saga (and is a much more entertaining film then the first three combined). I suspect the thinking is to release the next three when the remake comes out on DVD/Blu-ray, or just release a whole new collection of all the films together as special editions, who knows. For now though, I’d dip into these offerings here a third time, as they are packed with great features and priced to own. And of course, don’t forget to check out the remake….?