Rasputin: The Mad Monk – Film Review

Yo Ho Ho! Want to know more about some freaky guy who stared his way out of poverty and into the realms of riches? Yes? Then read on biatch…

This Hammer Horror film stars Christopher Lee as (you guessed it!) Gregory Rasputin. It starts off at a quaint little pub, where the landlord’s wife is bedridden with the most horrendous fever, so much so that it has rendered her so weak to stay awake. Enter Rasputin: a giant-Russian-Lumberjack of a guy (if there is such a thing). He is brought into the bedroom where the wife so sleeps, and then proceeds in his healing process. It must be said that his hands are like SHOVELS!!! They’re so big that when he places his hands over her face, enclosing them slowly over her like a tomb, they completely conceal her. And that stare – it’s the most intense imaginable. It reminded me of that gopher creature on youtube who turns around and gives the camera a devilish stare (maybe Rasputin reincarnated?). Anyway, so he expels the fever from the landlord’s wife, and dunks his hands into a jug of water found on the windowstill, to rid the fever from his hands (he trapped it in there, you see). He’s then rewarded with lots of alcohol, and a song and dance. He dances with a young lady whom he quickly takes to a barn full of haystacks for some lovin’. But then the young lady’s fella spotted them at the pub, and followed them there – he tries to kill Rasputin with some kind of cutting tool (A hoe?) but is out fought by o’ Greggers. The end of this act concludes with Rasputin deciding he wants to go to the city, once told that “The city is no place for common folk like you” (I paraphrase, but you get the gist).

Hay now.

So now he’s made his way to the city, and he’s in another bar. A doctor is practically demanding that people go up against him in a drinking contest as he believes no-one could possibly outdrink him. It’s only when the mention of money is heard by Rasputin that he takes him up on his challenge, and drinks him under the table. Sure enough, the two of them become friends so after.

One more important thing happens at this bar – a lady in waiting to her majesty downs a heavy drink and starts laughing manically. Rasputin, who is dancing at the time, takes great offense by this and give her the stare of a thousand deaths, telling her that she will come to him and apology for laughing at him. The lady in waiting’s brother, sat with her, is appalled by such vile behaviour on Rassie’s side of things, but the bearded one doesn’t care any less, and goes back to his seat. Charming!

It was indeed hypnotism what Rasputin did, as the red haired lady at the bar manages to track him down. He is squatting at the ex-doctor’s abode whom he beat in the drinking challenge last night and apologies to him. He tells her to get on her knees and slaps her, then says that she will cook for them like a common peasant. Then she tells them that she will not as she is a lady-in-waiting to the queen. Rasputin changes tactics now, knowing that she is of some real use to her after hearing this, and hypnotises her again with his wide daemonic eyes, telling her that she will cause an “accident” whereby the son of Tzar will need his methods of healing to get better. And that so happens not long after he tells her to – she pushes the young lad off of a pillar, knocking him out cold on the ground.

After Rasputin heals the son and tells the queen that “He’ll be fully recovered by the morning,” he somehow worms he way into living at the majesty’s abode. He also (by hypnotizing the queen) got his ex-doctor friend reinstated as a doctor – ergo, she hires him as her doctor, and fires the other one.

After Rasputin heals the son and tells the queen that “He’ll be fully recovered by the morning,” he somehow worms he way into living at the majesty’s abode. He also (by hypnotizing the queen) got his ex-doctor friend reinstated as a doctor – ergo, she hires him as her doctor, and fires the other one.

After hypnotizing the queen, the red-haired lady is no more of use to Rasputin, but she gets to clingy to him. What does he do? Answer: he puts he in a trance, telling her to kill herself. And later, she does – her brother find her in her room, wrists slit and blood drawn. Bloody awful stuff.

He is a very fickle man

But all Rasputin’s good fortune can’t go on for much longer, if the lady-in-waiting’s brother and his scheming officer have anything to do with it. They devise a plan whereby they invite Rasputin to meet up with the officer’s sister – the other lady-in-waiting (whom he earlier described as “The prettier one”). He falls for the set up and comes to the place he is told to, and is left to wait in a room whilst she gets ready. On one table is a decanter full of sweet sweet alcohol, just how he likes it. He drinks a couple of glasses of this. He sits down. Next to him now are a box crammed full of marvellously presented chocolate bites (well, I thought they looked good). He takes one, two… about eight of them, and chucks them into his mouth like a gluttonous pig. He then suddenly gets stomach pains and falls to the floor in agonising pain. This is because the drink was laced with poison and the chocolates were injected with… poison! He’s been poisoned!! But like the super-freak he is, he manages to get up. The brother is shocked by this (he’s been spying on him the whole time) as Rasputin tries to kill him. Eventually, it takes both the officer and the brother to end Rasputin’s life. Rasputin gets thrown out of a window, and the brother gets stabbed in the back with a flying dagger.

I’ve got to take into consideration that this is a Hammer Horror film, so the accuracy of such a story is most likely a mixture of facts and OTT fictions. But who knows. I certainly don’t – I only just watched the film about ten minutes ago and know nought about the Rassmeister, apart from what this film has shown my brain.

Life is like a box of chocolates: you never know what you’re going to get… perhaps, poison?

But, as a viewing experience, I would like to award Rasputin: The Mad Monk a….


The House at the End of the Street – Film review (by BEAR)

In this blog entry I will be reviewing The House at the End of the Street. Have you watched it? No? Well even so, read on, and you will discover what BEAR has to say about this “Horror film”.

This film opens with Elissa and her mother moving into a new neighbourhood, getting to know the place, meeting the locals, ya’know – settling in ‘n’ that.. It seems like the picture perfect, all-american small town, until Elissa is told that the house an the end of the street has some bad history: two people living there were killed by their young daughter, brutally (note: “brutally” isn’t the daughter’s name, merely an adjective).

(Elissa, and her mother, Sarah. Elissa is much taller than Sarah, according to this picture)

Curiosity gets the better of this young teenager (played by Jennifer Lawrence) and soon enough she befriends the young lad who lives in this house, all alone. His name is Ryan. He seems kinda normal; I mean, nothing you would immediately be concerned about if you brought her over to your mothers for dinner. This is actually what happens, but the mother was the one who invited him over, as an excuse to lay the ground rules (basically “Don’t you dare be in my house or your house with no one else about, bucko!”) And of course, the two teens disobey this only rule, with Elissa making it okay by finding a lame ass loophole to it.

(Elissa, with Ryan, the loveable weirdo)

So they go to the house at the end of the street where the guy lives, and almost immediately, he kicks her out of the property. Not because she was unpleasant company or because she burped heartily at the table without saying sorry, but because the boy has spotted his “sister” dash around the corner, taking a kitchen knife with her. Now, the absent-minded viewer of this film may now be thinking, “This looks like the guy is doing a heroic deed on quite a few levels: he’s trying to protect Elissa by showing her the door, and he’s trying to hide his ‘sister’ from the world”. Wrong, sir! Very wrong. What you should be doing is questioning why his ‘sister’ is being portrayed as a psycho knife-weilding maniac. “Well, earlier, he told Elissa that she was the one who killed his parents. This adds up to the rumours of the house which Elissa had heard earlier,” you say. Wrong, sir! Wrong again. It’ll all become apparent soon, my dear child.

The insanity known as Ryan’s sis runs out of the house and into the woods, where eventually the guy catches her, covering her mouth so that the frisky couple nearby don’t hear her screams for help. I’ll spill the beans now (because BEAR can’t take this burden any longer): this is not her sister. It is someone whom he has captured and locked in his dungeon basement. Kinky. But kinky no more – he snaps her neck like a chicken, by… accident? He seems quite distraught when it happens, like he had the intention to do it, but afterwards he becomes a different person and doesn’t understand why he did it.

(The first “Sister”)

But the twist is about to come!  He enters Rene’s Corner – a small little cafe on the outskirts. In there he is mopping about on his bar stool in front of the counter, and the girl behind it happened to notice. She seems to take a shine to him, trying to snap him out of his despondency with comments like, “Your Rebel Without a Cause attitude isn’t fooling anyone,” or something like that. And she’s wearing this distinguished hoodie jumper. Take note of that, because the director will be soon insulting your intelligence in a few minutes…

Yes, the guy has a new prisoner in his dungeon, and would you believe it – it’s the girl from the cafe! The waitress! And if you’re still confused to whether or not this is that waitress from Rene’s Corner, the camera lingers on the hoodie that is found on the chair nearby. Well. I. Never. Who da funk it? And if you aren’t Sherlock Holmes (like BEAR is) then here it is: the guy is the killer!!!

So the weirdo misfit that hardly no-one likes except from the cute hot gal (makes sense, dunnit?) is the lunatic killer. Okie Dokie – we’ve established that thus far. But SHHHhh! Elissa doesn’t know this yet. Lets keep going. (I almost gave away what I thought of the film then didn’t I. Just kidding.)

Outside, on the school grounds. we find him breaking a jock’s leg by twisting it 180 degrees. Sure the jerk started on him first, and he was outnumbered, but that was some freaky manuever he just pulled off there. Bruce Lee would have been taking notes on that, for sure.

The house at the End of the Street(Ryan beating up jock guy)

So where does this whole horror film all add up towards. Can you guess? Correct – the guy tries to replace the waitress with Elissa. Whilst the guy fled the scene on foot, Elissa takes his car and drives to his house. He’s not there (what a surprise). And it gives her time to do some snooping around his haunt. She stumbles upon the floor entrance to the secret dungeon, after initially hearing a sound which turned out to be a tumble dryer spinning loudly. Then she sees it – the “sister” that is – strapped to the bed, and drugged with sedatives. And the guy find her there, and orders her away, explaining that it’s for her own good. And whilst he tends to her, Elissa is upstairs in the kitchen, and happens to look at her hand, finding a contact lenses stuck to it. Remembering what she saw in the bin earlier in the kitchen, she empties the contents of it into the sink, and finds what she’s looking for: the outer packaging of a box of contact lenses. The lenses are designed to make someone’s eyes go blue in colour. Before she left the dungeon, she looked at the peculiarity of the girl’s eyes; how one was blue, and one wasn’t. Before, she might have pasted it over as one of David Bowie’s unknown love-childs floating around the many states of the US of A, but now all the pieces fit perfectly into place (and if it didn’t, the wallet with the girl’s photo ID surely did the trick). But she’s caught red handed with the evidence by the guy, who knocks her out using the front door as she makes some whimsical excuse to leave. She’s taken away, and her mobile phone is left unnoticed by the front door.

(“Aha! That dungeon gal’s eyes didn’t match colour, did they? I think I sussed it – this cannot be a red herring,” Thinks Elissa, in her fictitious mind, which is not voiced over in the movie for some strange reason)

(“Told ya.”)

A policeman comes around, under the orders of Elissa’s mother as she’s realises that her daughter had been forwarding all the house calls to her mobile (the clever trevor). He leaves, after the guy tells him she’s not there, but then gets the feeling he should try ringing Elissa’s mobile. He does, and realises he can hear it coming from the inside of the house (it’s by the front door, as BEAR mentioned just a second ago). He inspects inside the house, but because he was too much of a dopey doughnut, gets pushed down the stairs, and then shot by the guy. Meanwhile, in the dungeon, Elissa is using the intense heat of the incandescent towerlamp to burn the ropes that tie her to a chair. She burns her arm in the process, making BEAR think, “There must of been an easier way to do that.”

(It’s behind you [the lamp!!!])

And so begins the cat and mouse finale between the both of them as Elissa can’t find a way out of the house. She’s trapped, but doing her best to stay away from him. Eventually her mum comes to the rescue, only to get stabbed. But in the face of adversity, the good prevails the bad, and Elissa finds the policeman’s gun and shoots him several times. And miraculously, he tries again to kill her, to make her his sister (because if you hadn’t of noticed by this point – he’s completely barking bonkers), but the mother runs up and plummets him in the head with a hammer, putting the final nail in the coffin for this psycho killer chap.

(Take that, psycho-boi!)

The storyline of the film is quite generic, if you ask BEAR, and full of many mistakes. The policeman would never have entered the house alone – he would have called for backup. How did the first captive we see know that the key was on the top of the door, and to barge into it, and slide a piece of card to get the key? Why? Why? WHHHYYYYY!!!??

But it’s not awful, don’t get me wrong – it ain’t that bad. It could definitely do with a bit of polishing up – because the story’s there, it’s just the execution of it wasn’t. It’s meant to be a horror movie but BEAR did not jump of fright at all. Not once! There wasn’t even a chance of it. What gives? A horror movie without the element of scare defeats the purpose of making it a horror movie. Am I missing something here? I can’t be the only one tired of rehashed, regurgitated storyline bile.

So in conclusion, BEAR found this film to be quite lacklustre, but it was mildly entertaining and had it’s moments (The leg breaker scene and the cafe “twist” were it’s noteworthy moments).

Overall, BEAR rewards The House at the End of the Street… 5/10