Thursday, June 21, 2012

VHS Memories XXX: The Horror of Anthony Hickox

30th edition of the series, let's get it on with a tribute to one of my favorite horror directors, Anthony Hickox!  Hickox is an English director who made several decent, fun horror films in the late 80's and early 90's.

 Anthony's debut is this fun, gory monster-fest starring Zach Galligan and Deborah Foreman as a couple of spoiled rich kids who end up tangling with an evil owner of a wax museum played by David Warner.  tons of references to old horror flicks abound with vampires, a werewolf (played in human form by John Rhys Davies), the plant from Little Shop of Horrors (though at first it's a pod from Invasion of the Body Snatchers), not one but two butlers (one really tall guy and a dwarf) and just a bunch more.

Highlights of the movie include the extended werewolf and vampire sequences, a nicely gruesome scene with a mummy and the balls-out finale that sees such sights as the dwarf butler being tossed into the plant, Deborah Foreman (the aforementioned dwarf tosser) turning into a one-woman killing machine, Patrick Macnee getting his head ripped off by the werewolf and David Warner getting dumped into boiling hot wax.  Great stuff.

 Next on tap was this sadly overlooked, pretty neat little vampire flick starring Bruce Campbell as a direct descendant of Dr. Van Helsing and David Carradine as a renamed Dracula.  A sort of hybrid horror western,  it tells the story of a small civil war in an isolated desert town where everyone is a vampire and they've managed to adapt to sunlight with extra strength sun-block amongst other things.  Hickox keeps things moving along nicely (though 104 minutes might be about ten minutes or so more than was really needed) and there's a great role for M. Emmett Walsh as a vampiric gas station attendant with a bit of a temper problem.

Performances are strong across the board with Carradine and of course, Bruce putting in good work.  It's an enjoyable, funny way to kill an afternoon.

 The sequel to Waxwork is a fairly decent, though somewhat lackluster follow-up with Galligan back looking to clear his girlfriend of a murder charge carried out by one of the things that managed to survive the first one (a severed hand).  This is accomplished through a series of time leaps that end up referencing stuff like Alien and a few other genres.  It's good fun but not essential, though Bruce Campbell turns up in a funny cameo.

 The third entry in the Hellraiser series goes off a little from the first two in that it has a slightly larger budget and scope.  Doug Bradley is back as the demonic Pinhead and Terry Farrell is our heroine for the evening, an intrepid reporter who runs afoul of the demon.

On a side note: Why is it always an intrepid reporter in the movies?  Aren't there any reporters in films who are lackadaisical?

Anyway, the film is reasonably well paced and entertaining with a few silly parts that drop it down a few notches in terms of quality from the first two.  Still, it's worth a look.

 Slightly better is this HBO werewolf action flick starring Mario van Peebles as an LAPD cop named Max Dire who gets drafted into a special ops unit run by Bruce Payne.  The members of the force are all werewolves (sort of, they get a little demonic looking and sprout claws like Wolverine) and Max ends up having to fend them off.  It's a decent enough cable TV movie but it's not one of Hickox's better films.

We end with Hickox's sequel to the first Warlock movie, also starring Julian Sands.  Sands plays a different Warlock here, on the hunt for some sacred Druid stones that will let him destroy the world.  It's a fun, cheesy, totally typical mid-90's horror movie with good work from Sands, an eclectic cast of character actors and some unintentional comedy here and there.  Tons of gore, some cheesy humor, a good/bad time.

Hickox has done a few films since then, most of which were rather forgettable.  Still, his early output is quite entertaining.

1 comment:

  1. Great write-ups! Always wanted to see Sundown. Will definitely check that out soon. Totally agree about Full Eclipse...That was a lot of fun.

    ReplyDelete

About Me

I've been a huge fan of action, horror and comedy for as long as I can remember.