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Shadow Builder

USA 1998
produced by
Andy Emilio, Ash R. Shah (executive), Daniel Chuba (executive) for Applecreek Productions
directed by Jamie Dixon
starring Michael Rooker, Leslie Hope, Shawn Thompson, Andrew Jackson, Kevin Zegers, Tony Todd, Hardee T. Lineham, Catherine Bruhier, Gordon Michael Woolvett, James B. Douglas, Richard McMillan, Charlotte Sullivan, Andrew Sardella, David Calderisi, Lawrence Bayne, Eric Murphy, Paul Soles, Billie Mae Richards, Nicole Stoffman, Toby Proctor, Tara Crooks, Steve Blum (voice)
screenplay by Michael Stokes, based on a short story by Bram Stoker, music by Eckart Seeber, special effects by Mark Rice, prosthetics by Francois Dagenais, animatronics by Paul Jones, visual effects by Hammerhead Productions, CGI effects by Waveform Digital

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Available on DVD !

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A wayward priest (Lawrence Bayne) and his coven summon a demon, the titular Shadow Builder (Andrew Jackson, voiced by Steve Blum), and while this coven is soon eliminaed by priest assassin Father Vassey (Michael Rooker), the Shadow Builder escapes, and heads for an insignificant small town somewhere in the US to find a boy who's free of original sin to sacrifice him. Father Vassey though is hot on his trail.

The sin-free boy is Chris (Kevin Zegers), who lives with his aunt Jenny (Leslie Hope) ever since his mother died. He lives the life of a normal 12 year old, and that Jenny has a secret relationship with Sheriff Sam (Shawn Thompson) is probably the most shocking thing that has happened in this sleepy little town for a long while ... until the grave of Chris's mother is opened by the Shadow Builder one night, and when a cop (Gordon Michael Woolvett) catches him doing so, the cop is killed - but in such a bizarre way nobody can make heads nor tails of it ... nobody but Father Vassey, but it takes him quite a bit to convince the Sheriff, Jenny and Chris what's really going on - and by then the Shadow Builder has already possessed half the town and tries to get to Chris just in time for the next solar eclipse. And the Father Vassey, the Sheriff and company have just one trick up their sleeve: Since the Shadow Builder can't stand light, they get local madman Covey (Tony Todd), who's fascinated with all things light and constantly builds himself light systems, to have their backs - but does this sound like a good enough line of defense? ...

 

Ok, if the writer of the source material, Bram Stoker, had you expect something from the gothic side of things, then you might be disappointed, this film is pretty much as middle-of-the-road 1990s low budget US horror as they come, with everything that comes with the genre, like a script that doesn't feel 100% thought through, some bizarre effects destined to gross one out, CGI effects not always up to the task (little wonder given the year of production), a stereotypical representation of smalltown America, the young kid who acts much too smart and mature for his age, a couple of horror "names" (Michael Rooker and Tony Todd) giving standout performances, and an all around attitude that seems to be hell-bent on not offending anybody too much. So in all, Shadow Builder is anything but a genre classic - but at the same time it's lots of irreverent genre fun, and if you're at all into horror from an era when you still went to the video rental to pick up a VHS tape of whatever it was you fancied, then this one if definitely for you!!!

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD