Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Kindred (1987)

 The Kindred (1987)

Amanda's deathbed request to her son, John, was for him to destroy all the lab notes etc. from her last experiment. She also blurts out he had a brother. At the funeral John meets Melissa, who claims to be his mothers biggest fan. Together with some of John's friends they go to Amanda's house, but none are prepared for what they find there.

Years and years ago I vaguely remember walking into the horror section of my town's local video store and of course going straight towards the horror section. There I strolled down the two beloved aisles gazing at all the colorful and truly stunning eye catching artwork on the covers. One of these covers sorta blended in, not having the color such titles as A Nightmare On Elm Street 3 Dream Warriors had, or packed the punch April Fools Day had it's cover. Instead what I remember gazing at was a simple black and green dark cover with what appeared to be a large baby bottle on the cover with a creature lurking inside. I can't tell you if I had ever rented this title (If I had, I seriously don't remember it.) But I do remember several times afterwards while renting videos or tape hunting I would come across the same cover over and over again.

Just this past May when I attended Spooky Empire in Orlando, I was perfectly content after meeting Zach Galligan. Still, I decided to go into the vendor rooms and look around simply to kill time with my friend. Knowing I couldn't buy too much since I had to pack everything up in my one tiny suitcase a few days later, I looked around before stumbling upon a tiny little table selling bootlegs. Here I found myself highly amused since they had Return Of The Living Dead II presented by Joe Bob Briggs when it originally aired, bloopers from the original Nightmare On Elm Street, Spinal Tap the work print, and Jack's Back. I decided to snatch up these titles simply because I have a horrible addiction with buying bootlegs no matter how shitty they are. In fact my friend even pointed out that the bloopers on the Elm Street DVD most likely had the same ones on my blu-ray box set. Instead I just shrugged, not minding I was blowing five bucks and snagged it simply because of the cartoon badly photo shopped DVD cover. Sad...I know. Among these titles I found The Kindred, and right away that classic cover caught my eye. Without so much as a second thought I snagged this and went about my way.

Less than a week later after I arrived safe and sound back in MA, and the night before Adam Green's awesome silent auction I decided to pop The Kindred in to pass my evening. 

I was blown away.

My friend Nate had checked out this same exact title less than a month ago on tape and raved about it. Now I know exactly where he was coming from. In fact just last night I decided to pop this in a second time just a few weeks after originally viewing it, and it's safe to say this has found it's place in one of my all time favorite monster movies.

The movie tells a simple tale of a young doctor who's brilliant scientist mother has fallen ill after a sudden heart attack. When she wakes, she's dazed and terrified claiming he needs to go back to her secluded sea side house and burn all of her journals and experiments dealing with his brother Anthony. Confused, the young doctor doesn't understand...he's never had a brother nor has ever heard about somebody named Anthony. Shortly after his mother passes away taking the answers to that mystery with her. At the funeral, the doctor meets a gorgeous young woman named Melissa who closely followed his mother's work. Taking her along with his girlfriend and med school friends, they decide to spend the weekend going through all of his mother's things and trying to sort out exactly what she was talking about before she died. 

Right away things don't feel right. The group arrives in the large house only to smell something rotting underneath the floorboards of the back deck. In the doctor's old childhood room, his mother had turned it into a lab, and strange noises are heard at night. Trying to search for answers, the young doctor isn't the only one who is searching for Anthony. An old friend and fellow scientist Dr. Lloyd, seems to be running dangerous and back door experiments himself. 

On one stormy night that weekend at the house, the group discovers the terrifying truth of who Anthony is.

Okay so, here we have it. Perfect ingredients for a great splatter movie. First off you have a great cast. As much as people give Rod Steiger a hard time for appearing in this movie, I honestly have to say the man has been in worse. I mean just a decade or so before he was in the first Amityville movie. He's no stranger to horror and believe it or not this was actually a pretty decent movie! The group of doctors and med students that follow all do a great job as well. In fact actors Amanda Pays and Peter Frechette truly steal the show here. 

With a great setting (loved the sea side home, likeable characters for once, and a very awesome set up, The Kindred shys away from the typical slice and dice that decade had become overloaded with. Besides a few cheesy moments and some dated effects, this movie is nothing short of brilliant. In fact had they made more movies like this as the decade came to a close, maybe...just maybe horror wouldn't have taken such a long dirt nap in the early 90's. In fact had The Kindred maybe been made a few years later maybe it would have been an even stronger film even though I'm almost certain it would have fallen into a deep abyss where so many great underrated movies went. The Kindred still fell in this very abyss but lucky for it's strong cast, great script, and amazing effects it has a small shimmering of light behind it. 

This movie catches the audiences' interest right away. I love the set up of how Dr. Lloyd gets his bodies and how truly crazy he is.

I loved how terrified Amanda, the mother character is when it dawns on her that her experiments are still alive and well in that house. The look of pure horror that enters her eyes is amazing. Also the Melissa character, who seems so mysterious. Loved the exchange between her and Brad "I promise never to kiss anyone uglier than you." In fact these two were my favorite characters. Also that beautiful lullaby that plays through the entire movie. A song the young doctor's mother used to play for him as a child to calm him down and now plays to smooth her experiments. If anyone can find an MP3 of that song I would love it. Not only is it beautiful it's haunting which perfectly fits with the theme of the movie. 

I loved once things began picking up (The watermelon attack is laughable but I still enjoyed it.) I loved the big reveal behind Melissa's character, in fact it's my favorite scene out of the whole movie and features some truly breathtaking special effects. This plot twist, which I won't give away is so out of left field you seriously have to take a second to truly try to understand what happened.

Loved the gross slimy creature effects that are smartly used and not overdone until the big ending. The stormy night, the crazed scientist, and the poor people trapped inside are what makes the perfect ending. Loved how instead of becoming a typical slasher with a high body count, they kept the characters you cared about. More than often I hate it when this happens but this time I acutaly liked it a lot. In fact those ending scenes of the creatures behind the flames seen through the windows, and then our cast shaken but alive and smiling as they drive away. A perfect way to end such a thrill ride.

So if your looking for a well written story with amazing practical effects, and some totally jaw dropping scenes, go check out The Kindred. Trust me, it's amazing!

5 stars!

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