Archive for Brian Yuzna

The Dentist (1996) Review

Posted in Dentist with tags , , , , , on September 22, 2013 by Last Road Reviews

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THE DENTIST

*** ½ Out of 5

Tagline- It’s Been Six Month. Time for Your Check-Up!

Release Date- October 18th, 1996

Running Time- 92-Minutes

Rating- R

Screenplay- Dennis Paoli, Stuart Gordon & Charles Finch

Director- Brian Yuzna

Starring- Corbin Bernsen, Ken Foree, Linda Hoffman, Molly Hagan, Virginya Keehne, Jan Hoag and Earl Boen as Marvin Goldblum

Released in 1996, on first thought most will probably write The Dentist off as just another stupid horror flick, but there is actually more here than one might expect. Obviously The Dentist isn’t a classic of the horror genre, but it wasn’t attempting to be anything more than a fun flick. But what this movie does have is a solid cast and some excellent filmmakers involved. Stuart Gordon best known for directing Re-Animator and From Beyond was one of the writers and Dennis Paoli was also one of the writers and he was also one of the writers on Re-Animator and From Beyond plus a whole slew of other Gordon flicks. Corbin Bernsen is the most notable of the cast and he’s one of my favorite actors; Bernsen is best known for his role as Arnie Becker for 8 seasons on the courtroom drama L.A. Law and Bernsen also has several films under his belt and he’s known to the modern audience for playing Henry Spencer on the USA show Psych. What I love about Corbin Bernsen is he’s an actor who can play dramatic roles as well as comedic roles and of course for playing sleazy type characters and hard asses, but he’s also an actor not afraid to ham it up and be a little silly and over the top like he was here in The Dentist as Dr. Alan Feinstone.

The Dentist often gets mixed reviews, but sometimes I think people take the movie a little too seriously and I suppose with Stuart Gordon and Dennis Paoli involved expectations might run a little high, which is understandable based on their body of work, but if you just go in and take the movie for what it is a silly low budget horror flick you might find yourself entertained by it. Like I said the Dentist isn’t a classic of the genre, but its a highly entertaining film. In many ways its the last of its kind as a couple of months later Scream would be released and it would totally reinvent the horror genre and low budget films like this were either getting even lower budgets or trying to copy the format of Scream. Even though the Dentist was released before Scream after what followed this film almost feels out of place.

The screenplay by Dennis Paoli, Stuart Gordon & Charles Finch is what it is; it’s not meant to be a deep character study or anything like that. The script is meant to be a little silly and just entertain and I do think Paoli, Gordon & Finch succeed at doing that’ no doubt this isn’t one of Paoli’s and Gordon’s strongest work of their career, but it’s still a fun script. There isn’t much character development, but it didn’t hurt the film. Overall the script is a lot of fun and that’s all that really matters.

Director Brian Yuzna from the start sets up a fun tone and while the pacing can be slightly sluggish early on its never boring and as the film goes on the pacing gets stronger. There isn’t much suspense, but Yuzna goes for a more fun tone and for the most part he succeeds. Brian Yuzna has had a bit of a weird career; he’s done some solid work like the underrated Return of the Living Dead III and two Re-Animator sequels as well as producing the first part and he was also involved as producer on Warlock & From Beyond and even was a writer on Honey, I shrunk the Kids along with Stuart Gordon, but Yuzna has also made some poor movies like the god awful Silent Night, Deadly Night 4: The Initiation and he wrote Silent Night, Deadly Night 5: The Toy Maker, which wasn’t the worst movie, but wasn’t all that good either. But with The Dentist, Yuzna makes a very fun movie and while I don’t think this is his best flick I think it’s one of his most fun flicks.

The cast was actually pretty good something you most likely wouldn’t expect in a low budget horror picture like this and the performances were also strong. Corbin Bernsen is one of my favorite actors and he seems to having a total blast and was just wonderful. Ken Foree also stars playing a Detective, Foree of course is best known as Peter in George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead and Earl Boen also appears and he’s one of those actors you may not know his name, but once you see him you’ll know who he is. Virginya Keehne as Sarah I thought was an excellent performance; she’s playing a teenage girl who is finally gonna get her braces off after 2-years and she gives a far better performance than one might expect; while the character might lack some depth, Keehne has the awkward and shy teenage girl down to perfection. Molly Hagan and Mark Ruffalo also appear.

The Dentist is by no means a masterpiece of the genre, but it’s quite a lot of fun; after a somewhat slow stat it picks up and becomes highly entertaining and was followed by an equally as fun sequel.

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Silent Night, Deadly Night 4: Initiation (1990) Review

Posted in Christmas Themed Horror Reviews, Silent Night, Deadly Night 4: The Initiation with tags , , , , , , , on December 12, 2012 by Last Road Reviews

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INITIATION: SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT 4

** Out of 5

Release Date- October 28th, 1990

Running Time- 85-Minutes

Rating- R

Screenplay- Woody Keith

Director- Brian Yuzna

Starring- Neith Hunter, Maud Adams, Clint Howard, Tommy Hinkley, Allyce Beasley and Reggie Bannister

As if we really needed a 4th installment, but we ended up getting one regardless of the fact; Silent Night, Deadly Night 4: Initiation is a sequel by name only and has no connection to the previous 3. I wouldn’t be surprised if the title Silent Night, Deadly Night was thrown on for marketing reasons. The original was the best part of the series and in my opinion an underrated slasher flick that is a bit better than often given credit for and also captures the Christmas feel, but each sequel the Christmas feel was less and less and if not for a few decorations you wouldn’t even know this was set on Christmas.

There also seems to be some confusion over the Ricky character played by Clint Howard; Ricky of course was the name of the killer in the 2nd and 3rd parts of the series, but the Ricky character in this one is meant to be a different character. I suppose the confusion stems over the name and in a scene where Ricky is watching TV and a scene from Silent Night, Deadly Night 3 appears with the lead character getting attacked by a killer in a Santa suit (the only time in that movie the killer wears that) and when someone asks Ricky who he is, he responds with the Santa Killer, but I think he was referring to the TV rather than who he was.

Let’s just cut straight to it; Silent Night, Deadly Night 4 is one terrible flick with very little redeeming qualities going for it. There really isn’t much of a plot or much of anything for that matter, but the one thing the movie does have going for it is the weird factor; if anything the weirdness of the movie keeps it watchable, but very barley watchable at that.

A reporter investigating the bizarre death of a woman who leaped from a building in flames finds herself mixed up in a cult of witches who are making her part of their sacrificial ceremony during the Christmas season.

The screenplay by Woody Keith is rather terrible and sloppy with no real plot points and mostly boring characters that add nothing to the film. He wrote a rather strange script, but there really isn’t anything here interesting at all and it’s hard to believe this script was given the green light. The characters are dull and lifeless and the script is just so poor and pathetic.

Director Brian Yuzna has made some decent films, but this was just terrible; Yuzna directed the cult classic Return of the Living Dead III, which I personally find highly underrated and he also directed The Dentist & The Dentist 2, which are campy fun and he also directed Bride of Re-Animator and Beyond Re-Animator as well as producing the original Re-Animator. I don’t think Brian Yuzna will go down as one of the greats, but he has directed and produced some solid films and I’m a fan of his work, but what happened with Silent Night, Deadly Night 4?

Of all the Brian Yuzna movies I’ve seen this has to be his very worst film; there is no sense of pacing or anything remotely interesting. We simply go from lame scene to lame scene. Though one scene, which features Ricky chasing after Kim (Hunter) has some decent suspense, but not enough to make it anything special. Like I said earlier on the weird factor this movie rates highly. Like I said I enjoy some of his movies, but this was simply horrible. The movie just has no clear direction and it seems everyone involved wants to create a David Cronenberg type flick, but they all failed miserably.

The cast is fairly decent with Cult actor Clint Howard and former Bond girl Maud Adams as well as Reggie Bannister best known from the Phantasm series and Allyce Beasley best known for the TV series Moonlighting; the performances weren’t bad, but the actors have very little to work with; Neith Hunter a former model plays the lead character Kim and she also delivers a fairly good performance with the very little she’s given.

Like I said in the opening of the review, Silent Night, Deadly Night 4: Initiation is a sequel by name only with no connection to the previous 3 and if not for a couple of Christmas decorations and two scenes you would never know it was set at Christmas time, which if you are making a movie called Silent Night, Deadly Night I think Christmas should play more of a part. The original film was excellent and part 2 was horrible, but at least was fun, but this one is by far the worst of the series. At times its a chore to sit through.

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