4 Shots From 4 Films: Special Stephen King Edition

4 Or More Shots From 4 Or More Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking!

Today, the Shattered Lens wishes a happy birthday to Mr. Stephen King!

In others words, it’s time for….

4 Shots from 4 Stephen King Films

Creepshow (1982, dir by George Romero, written by Stephen King, DP: Michael Gornick)

Maximum Overdrive (1986, dir by Stephen King, written by Stephen King, DP: Armando Nannuzzi)

Sleepwalkers (1992, dir by Mick Garris, written by Stephen King, DP: Rodney Charters)

The Stand (1994, dir by Mick Garris, written by Stephen King, DP: Edward J. Pei)

4 Shots From 4 Films: Dellamorte Dellamore, Nadja, The Stand, Wes Craven’s New Nightmare

4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking!

This October, we’re using 4 Shots From 4 Films to look at some of the best years that horror has to offer!

4 Shots From 4 1994 Horror Films

Dellamorte Dellamore (1994, dir by Michele Soavi)

Nadja (1994, dir by Michael Almereyda)

The Stand (1994, dir by Mick Garris)

Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994, dir by Wes Craven)


4 Shots From 4 Films: The Incredible Shrinking Man, Sleepwalkers, Team America: World Police, Captain Marvel

4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking.

Happy International Cat Day!

4 Shots From 4 Films

The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957, dir by Jack Arnold)

Sleepwalkers (1992, dir by Mick Garris)

Team America: World Police (2004, dir by Trey Parker)

Captain Marvel (2019, dir by Anna Bolden and Ryan Fleck)


4 Shots From 4 Films: Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Inferno, Cat’s Eye, Sleepwalkers

Happy International Cat Day from the Shattered Lens!

4 Shots From 4 Films

Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961, dir by Blake Edwards)

Inferno (1980, dir by Dario Argento)

Cat’s Eye (1985, dir by Lewis Teague)

Sleepwalkers (1992, dir by Mick Garris)

Catnip party at my place!

Horror Film Review: Sleepwalkers (dir by Mick Garris)


So, last night, I was looking for something to watch and I came across Sleepwalkers, a horror film from 1992.  And you know what?  I could sit here and I could get all snarky about Sleepwalkers and I could be hypercritical and all that other stuff.  It’s tempting because the film was written by Stephen King and Stephen King has had so much success that it’s easy to be overly critical of anything he’s involved with.

But I’m not going to do that.  Or, at least, that’s not my main objective with this review.  No, with this review, I want to pay tribute to cat named Clovis.

You see, there are several humans and humanoids in Sleepwalkers.  The film is about two energy vampires — Charles (Brian Krause) and his mother Mary (Alice Krige) — who have an icky incestuous relationship and who need to suck energy from virgins in order to survive.  Charles, who appears to be a teenager, has selected Tanya (Madchen Amick) as his latest target.  Tanya has loving parents (Lyman Ward and Cindy Pickett, who also played Ferris Bueller‘s parents) and there’s also a creepy English teacher (Glenn Shadix) who tries to blackmail Charles and ends up losing a hand as a result.  There’s several police officers, one of whom is killed when a corncob is driven into his spine.  And Steven King appears in an awkward cameo, along with Clive Barker and Tobe Hooper.

That’s right — there’s a lot of people in this movie but none of them made as big an impression as Sparks, the talented little kitty who plays Clovis.  Seriously, check Clovis out!

You see, there’s only one thing that can kill Charles and Mary and that’s the scratch of a cat.  From the minute that Charles and Mary move into their latest home, cats start to gather outside the house, meowing and just waiting for their chance to pounce.  And, when it comes time for the cats to finally make their movie, who is their leader?


After Charles kills Clovis’s owner, Clovis gathers every other cat around and we watch as, in slow motion, they run through the streets of the town.  That’s right — whatever else you may want to say about Sleepwalkers, this is a movie where cats finally get to kick some ass.

And who is the main ass kicker?

Little Clovis, of course!

At the end of the film, Tanya might not have many people left in her life but she’s got Clovis and, because of that, you know that everything’s going to be okay.


As for the rest of Sleepwalkers … well, it’s watchable but it still really doesn’t make a huge impression.  And, to be honest, that really is the fault of the script.  It’s hard to know who (out of the humans) you’re supposed to care about.  Charles and Mary are pure evil and Charles has a really bad habit of speaking in lame one liners.  Tanya, meanwhile, is well-played by Madchen Amick but, as written, she’s a bit of a nonentity.  There is one fun scene when Tanya dances but then again, you have to wonder why movies, regardless of when they were made, always insist on making teenagers dance to songs that were written decades before they were born.

Fortunately, the film has Clovis.  Not only does he save the day but he saves the movie as well!



Quickie Review: Masters of Horror – Cigarette Burns (dir. by John Carpenter)

Cigarette Burns was John Carpenter’s episodic contribution to the Showtime series, Masters of Horror. This 13-episode horror anthology thought up by Mick Garris (a fellow horror director best known for adapting Stephen King stories) which includes eleven other directors known for their work in the horror genre.

John Carpenter works off of a screenplay that posits an interesting premise about an infamous film that caused the audience it was shown to the first time to go homicidal. The story itself involves a man known in the film community as someone who can find and hunt down any copy of film no matter how rare. Norman Reedus (he of Blade II, The Boondock Saints) plays the cinephile who takes on the job to hunt down a copy of this infamous film titled Le Fin Absolue Du Monde. His client was played with relish by resident weirdo Udo Kier. Really, Kier could be given any role and he’ll add his brand of idiosyncracy and weirdness to the part. In Cigarette Burns he plays an obsessive fan of the rare film to the hilt. His contribution to the the climactic ending will bring a smile to gorehounds everywhere. Alas, it’s Kier’s performance that’s the highlight of the acting in Cigarette Burns. Reedus’ performance as Kirby Sweetman the cinephile leaves much to be desired. The screenplay itself was already average, but with genuine ideas that could be explored if the acting could raise it beyond its C-grade pedigree, but Reedus wasn’t up to it.

Carpenter’s directing really can’t be faulted for the major flaws in the screenplay and in his lead’s performance. It’s not early Carpenter, but his work in Cigarette Burns was much better than what he’s done in his last couple films. In fact, this tv show entry in Carpenter’s body of work resembles one of his more underrated films. I am talking about his ode to Stephen King and H.P. Lovecraft with In the Mouth of Madness. Instead of a book influencing the sanity of the reader, its a film that does it instead. A film that may or may not have divine origins that doesn’t just turn its viewers homicidal but bend their sense of reality.

I think with a better cast and a screenplay that’s worked on a bit more by its writers, Cigarette Burns could’ve been a great episode in the Masters of Horror anthology or, better yet, become a full-fledged feature film. Instead, it’s just a very good work from Carpenter with great gore sequences (courtesy of KNB EFX), but brought low due to a very rough screenplay and a lead actor in Norman Reedus who seemed stoned, drunk or both throughout his entire performance. It’s not something great, but a good showing from Carpenter that said he’s not as washed-up as many seem to be calling him.

Review: Masters of Horror – Haeckel’s Tale (dir. by John McNaughton)

Masters of Horror has been good but very uneven in its execution during it’s two season run on Showtime. Haeckel’s Tale is the last episode for Season One (Takashi Miike’s episode never got an official airing) and it sure ends the season on a disturbingly kinky compilation of twisted grotesqueries. The story is from a Clive Barker short story that’s been adapted by Mick Garris (fellow Masters of Horror director and also its brainchild) and produced by George A. Romero to be directed by John McNaughton.

One wonders why Romero would be producing instead of directing the piece. Scheduling conflicts prohibited Romero from taking the director’s chair and he instead recommended John McNaughton (his one film which earned him Master of Horror status is one of the best horror films of the last quarter century: Henry – Portrait of a Serial Killer). The fact that Romero was originally chosen to direct Barker’s Garris adapted short story means there’s got to be zombies or some form of undead within. I, for one, was glad that Romero decided that he wouldn’t be able to direct and chose another in his stead. Barker’s short story does indeed include zombies but it also has a heavy sense of the old classic technicolor Hammer Films vibe to it. Haeckel’s Tale under the capable hands of McNaughton takes those Hammer Films conventions and ramps it up into overdrive.

Even though John McNaughton really has only one true horror film under his belt (he also directed a little-known cult scifi-horror called The Borrowers which had fledgling effects shop KNB EFX still doing things guerilla-style), but his work in Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer more than earned him his horror creds. In Haeckel’s Tale, John McNaughton clearly has a bit of fun making the only true period piece in the whole Masters of Horror series. McNaughton goes for the classic Hammer Films look for this episode and it shows in the gothic, fog-shrouded atmosphere in the outdoor scenes. The look of the costumes and even the dialogue harkens back to those Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing Hammer Films.

The story is a mixture of the Frankenstein tale with a some Cemetary Man (aka Dellamorte Dellamore) mixed in. Haeckel’s Tale begins somewhere around the 1800’s and I’m assuming close to the end of it from the costume worn by Steve Bacic who played Mr. Ralston who arrives to seek the help of Miz Carnation who is purported to be a necromancer who can grant him his wish to have his dead wife brought back to life for him. Miz Carnation rebuffs Ralston, but after some begging she makes a deal with him to hear Haeckel’s Tale. If he still wants his wife brought back to life after hearing it then she would do so.

Ernst Haeckel (played by Derek Cecil)is a young medical professor whose obsession to conquer death mirrors that of a certain eccentric European scientist he so admires. Unlike his idol, Haeckel’s attempt to use electricity to put the spark of life back into a corpse fails dramatically. He’s soon investigating the rumor of a certain traveling necromancer who goes by the name of Montesquino (played by Joe Polito) who he thinks to be a fraud, but he soon finds out that Montesquino is all he says he is when Haeckel stumbles upon Wolfram (played by Stargate SG-1‘s own Maybourne, Tom McBeath) and his stunning young wife Elise (the drop-dead gorgeous Leela Savasta).

Haeckel quickly lusts after the young Elise, but as Wolfram will later tell him as the story nears it’s climax (in more ways than one), Elise cannot be satisfied by him or Haeckel. Her obsession with a dead husband she loves and cannot let go brings Haeckel to a scene that he cannot comprehend nor accept as something she truly wants. I must say that Leela Savasta’s performance as the dead-obsessed Elise is only surpassed by Anna Falchi’s own work as “She” in Dellamorte Dellamore. Leela’s pretty much spending most of her screentime fully naked and writhing around in an orgy not typical of most horror movies. It’s also in this orgy scene where we get the biggest Clive Barker feel to the story. Anyone how has read Barker earlier work knows the man can mix horror and sex like no other.

The ending of the episode brings to it a slight twist with Miz Carnation being more than she says she is. This Masters of Horror episode is not the best of the lot, but it is one of the better looking ones in terms of cinematography and it’s leads. It also doesn’t have much in terms of genuine scares. The story gradually builds up the dreads and disturbing images but never anything that will put a genuine heart-stopping scare on the viewer. Like McNaughton’s own foray into horror with Henry, Haeckel’s Tale lets the story’s own disturbing themes on obsession and the darker side of love put the horror in the story. It does have a nice gore-laden sequence courtesy of Howard Berger and Greg Nicotero and their KNB FX team.

In the end, Haeckel’s Tale is a very good episode which has its flaws like the rest of the Masters of Horror episodes. What sets it apart from the rest of the series entries is its unique Hammer Films look and the return of McNaughton back in the director’s chair as a horror filmmaker. It’s no Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, but Haeckel’s Tale will have enough disturbing images to burn itself to its audiences’ minds.