Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Body Snatchers (1993)

In another body snatching remake, a teenage girl notices strange things happening once her family moves onto an army base while her father makes sure the base follows EPA requirements. There's nothing new in this film, other than lots of teen angst and hunky army pilots. The characters are given a brief introduction and when they die, you really don't care. There is some female nudity which might intrigue teenage boys. The absorption of the human body and the screech of the aliens is creepy. Other than that, there's not much here.

The Adventures of Young Van Helsing (2004)

Michael Harris is a descendant of the infamous vampire hunter, Van Helsing. Yet Michael doesn't know it because his last name has been changed to protect him from the evil that might try to harm him.

Michael is your typical teen - exceedingly awkward, has a crush on a popular girl, and is the lead singer of a yet to be named generic radio friendly rock band. His rival for the girl's affection is brutish Karl, a football player and bully, who beats up Michael before going to his early admission college chemistry class. Karl is an odd looking chap who looks like he's about thirty. It's kind of creepy.

Meanwhile a doltish professor on an archaeology dig revives a creature who searches for Van Helsing's missing scepter and his heir, Michael. The creature manages to find him easily enough, speaks in subtitles, and has huge fake teeth which make him look less spooky and more stupid. The one cool thing is that he also has red eyes.

The props in the movie are far too cheap for something with this type of budget. They look like wood that has been badly spray painted gold.

There are continuity errors in the car chase scene near the end of the movie. When the interior of the car is shown, it is night. Yet when they show the car racing along the road, it is daytime.

The movie has way too much of the band, which Michael ends up naming The Van Helsings. We are then forced to watch them play at the high school in dance in long scene with no real point, other than to promote the generic rock song being played. And the bass player is the worst at faking playing the bass.

There are flashbacks to the original Van Helsing in 1905. He is always out of breath, in a community theater way, and he has a young Hindi sidekick. Unfortunately the sidekick is played by an obviously caucasian child with greasepaint and a turban slapped on his lily white cranium. Very sad, indeed.

This is the type of film that give kid/teen movies a bad name. It's poorly written and doesn't engage the imagination. Scarily enough, it sets itself up for a sequel involving a werewolf.

Larva (2005)

The new vet comes to town and discovers a mystery parasite inhabiting some local cows. Host Tender Meats are testing their scientifically altered genetic feed in town as they wish to increase their profits - and who doesn't. As everyone knows the best place to test questionable new feed is in a cattle town where townsfolk eat their burgers rare.

The Doc figures out there is a parasite problem, but the Ceo of Host Tender Meats doesn't like the Doc's new fangled ideas on food safety. At a town meeting he claims the Doc is a trouble maker who doesn't realize that actually doing something about the life threatening parasite will mean ruining the town's tourism and industry. In other words, the town will lose money.

Jacob, the only cattleman in town who believes the truth, and the Doc find a large beastie running through the rafters of Jacob's barn. The parasites are growing, mutating, evolving, and that's not good. Neither is Doc's method of investigation as he touches the mystery parasite with his bare hands. Geez....

The creepiest things about the movie are the parasite evolves into something that looks like a child size piece of spinach with a spine, and David Selby plays the evil old Ceo of Host Tender Meats.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The Tripper (2006)

I wasn't expecting much from this movie, but I liked it. A group of hippies and their non-drug taking friend (always a bad combination) head off into the woods to go to a music festival. Unfortunately they've picked the one festival with an insane killer in the woods who wears a Ronald Reagan mask and does a bad Reagan imitation. The movie is book ended by some heavy handed political stuff, which will make you comatose. There is also a scene with male frontal nudity.

The Mad (2007)

Billy Zane plays the epitome of deadpan dads by turning in his best Steven Seagal imitation. A family stops in a small town to attend a fair and decides to stay overnight. This turns out to be very unfortunate since the special that night is tainted organic beef from the local farms.

Those who consume the tainted burgers turn into toothpaste drooling zombies in less than an hour. I'm neutral on this movie because there are a few pretty funny things, but the comedy isn't that great and the horror isn't that scary.

However, I will give it some credit as I can't think of any other movie in which a meat pattie disappears on it's own and later takes a bite out of a human. Yup it's the only film I can thin of which features killer meat.

Fido (2006)

When the head of Zomcon moves into the neighborhood, the Robinson's get their own zombie. After the great zombie war, all zombies were relegated to the wild, which is separated from living areas by a chain link fence. But with Zomcon's zombie collar to control their killing ways, zombies have become servants to the Leave It to Beaver world.

Little Timmy Robinson, child outcast, names his family's zombie Fido and makes it his pet. During an outing in the park, Fido eats a busy body neighbor, which causes panic and a zombie outbreak within the confines of society.

An amusing look at the 1950s with zombies, with a sub plot about romantic relationships between zombies and humans. Billy Connolly does a nice job as Fido.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Wolfen (1981)

When a rich couple are killed, Detective Dewey Wilson is assigned to the case. Wilson's investigation takes him in directions he hadn't anticipated as it begins to appear as if the killings were made by some sort of animal. If only it were Bigfoot....

I expected a typical werewolf movie, but this delves into suspense and the supernatural more than straight horror. Albert Finney is excellent as Dewey Wilson and James Edward Olmos delivers a great performance as Eddie.

The cinematography is very nice. Shot in the South Bronx while it was full of abandoned buildings and piles of rubble , the modern ruins are both horrifying and beautiful. The crumbling church is amazing.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Gangs of the Dead (2006)

A meterorite falls from outer space, crashes through a bridge, lands on a group of homeless people and turns them into drooling zombies. While the hobo zombies lumber down the street, two gangs meet in a warehouse to conduct some business and the undercover police operation prepares to take them down. Unfortunately on the way to make the bust, the police encounter the zombies and havoc ensues.

The two gangs, two officers, and a weatherman all end up making a stand in the warehouse. Even in times of the earth being overrun by homeless dead, they still can't work together to ensure their own survival.

Those looking for a true zombie film will be disappointed as there is not so much zombie in the film, as there is stupid gang members. Also the zombies have green skin and drool a thick blue liquid, which is just plain strange and not as scary as if they were drooling blood.

Devil's Prey (2001)

Five friends are handed a flyer for the ultimate rave and decides it would be a great idea to attend. The rave is in the middle of the country in a barn, there is no cost to get in, and the drinks are free. 

The group are kicked out of the rave supposedly because one of them is selling drugs.  (Isn't this supposed to be the ultimate rave?)  As they drive away from the rave, they hit a girl with their car and then get run off the road by a gang of hooded masked figures. Of the five friends, two are nice and the other three are jerks who take drugs and are completely unlikable.

The hooded guys are known as The Shadows and wear masks that look like evil Micheal Jackson clown faces. It makes one wonder how they can see anything as they are roaming through the woods at night.  Charlie O'Connell plays the nice kid.

The Unexplained: Poltergeists

A&E's series, The Unexplained, gives us stories of poltergeists from people who claim to have experienced this phenomenon. Is there conclusive proof of their existence anywhere in this epsiode? No, but that doesn't mean there isn't some enjoyment in watching people talk about their experiences seeing figures or having ladders walk towards them!

The best story revolves around the country bar of Bobby Mackay, where poltergeists push people down the stairs and try to drop ladders on them. One fellow claims to have encountered a man in the restroom who had a handlebar mustache and 1800s clothes. The narrator then tells us that the bartender found the fellow's "almost lifeless body" on the bathroom floor. The overly dramatic language tries to hide the fact that the guy fainted due to  excessive heat and possibly the ghostly figure.

The man claimed that the ghost looked just like one of the two men who killed a girl in 1896 and threw her head in the well in the basement. Amusement is added to the story when the man claims that if he takes off his cowboy hat, he looks just like the judge who was at the two men's hanging (he doesn't.)

From Beyond (1986)

Dr. Katherine MacMicheals, in 1980s glasses which take up more than half her face, is called in to examine physicist Crawford Tillinghast. Crawford is believed insane after he is found running from the the house of Dr. Pretorius, leaving the doctor on the attic floor lacking a head.

Crawford insists the Resonator is to blame as it allows creatures to come from another dimension and that is what killed Dr. Pretorius. Katherine's tests reveals that Crawford's pineal gland is enlarged, and she uses this info to convince the hospital to let her take Crawford back to the attic of death, where everyone gets in trouble with the Resonator. Pineal glands enlarge, sexual deviancy reigns, and strange creatures appear in the house. It's freaky H.P. Lovecraft and Jeffrey Combs, which is reason enough to see it.

Captain N: The Game Master (1989)

Episode: Kevin in Videoland
What can I say, but wow is this bad. Teenager Kevin and his dog Duke are sucked into the tv while Kevin plays a Nintendo game, and end up in Videoland, where Kevin must help characters from various videogames. Kevin is Captain N, and he helps the good characters fight against the villains, who are lead by the ugly Mother Brain.

This episode used the same footage of Kevin over and over. Basically the show is one long commercial for the Nintendo system and it's games. This is something that should only be watched by those who are nostalgic about seeing it on Saturday morning tv in their youth.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Hot Wax Zombies on Wheels (2000)

Remember those really crappy movies they used to show on "Up All Night" on the USA network? They were supposed to be funny but were un-watchable. There was plenty of gratuitous nudity and a story line so ridiculous that you just knew the film was based on one bad joke and lots of boobs. Well this is one of those films - except it's recent and though the plot is nonexistent, it's really stupid and not a great film, you can watch it.

An evil gang of zombies opens a hair salon in a small town, where they can rid everyone of their body hair. Anyone who gets a wax turns into a zombie. These are not your standard zombies though. There is no staggering, no rotting flesh, and no zombie makeup. In fact, the only way you can tell they are zombies is that they talk about how glad they are to be rid of their "pesky body hair" and are overly interested in sex.

Why are the zombies doing this? I have no idea. They never tell us. The whole town becomes zombies except for two crusty old sea captains, a barber, and his friend's girlfriend.

There is an error in one scene where the evil zombie lady is chasing the heros on her motorcycle and her front wheel is not moving at all. Yes, I know they film it on a trailer, but they should have shot it so that you could not see that her tire was stationary. It looks ridiculous.

Pumpkinhead 4: Blood Feud (2007)

When the Hatfields accidentally kill one of the McCoy's daughters, and beat up Ricky McCoy because he's dating their sister Jody, all hell breaks loose as Ricky asks Pumpkinhead to wreak havoc on everyone named Hatfield...except for Jody because he loves her, but kill the rest of her family because it would serve them right.

Yes, the Hatfields and McCoys are still fighting it out in the fourth installment of Pumpkinhead. And what better to ensure that you can live forever in peace with your fiance than to kill her entire family? Ricky seems to be a little short sighted on his quest because I can't think of anyone who would thank their betrothed for the complete destruction of their feuding family.

Ed Harley (Lance Henricksen) shows up every once in awhile to say that calling Pumpkinhead is a really bad decision. But he's never direct about why, so no one gets what he's talking about - wouldn't it be easier just to tell Jody that in order to stop Pumpkinhead she has to kill Ricky? Before the poor thing figures it out, there's only one member of her family left. And actually, she doesn't figure it out, Ricky does.

The town, homes, and interiors look like something out of the late 1800s, which is disconcerting since you keep think you're looking at the old Hatfield-McCoy feud and the something will occur to remind you that it's present day. Also the two families are interchangable as each has five million members and except for the fathers and grandpa in the wheelchair, they're just a sea of nameless faces. Who just got killed? I don't know. They all look the same.

Also since they all live in the same house, you'd think Pumpkinhead would dispatch them all in one night. But he takes his sweet time about it, leaving the family to wonder what is happening and why they are getting killed. This leads to speculation that it is a bear, to which one replies, "It ain't no bear doing this. Bears don't just go after one family." No truer words have ever been spoken.

Also watch for the accents flying all over the place. Some sound like southerners, others sound like French Canadians. What the hell is up with that? Ricky is especially bad and goes in and out of his confusing accent.

And thanks to the filmmakers for not using CGI for Pumpkinhead. I'm so sick of CGI monsters which may look nice, but are obviously not real. It's much more effective to have a real monster in the film.

The Slaughter (2006)

A group of stereotypical college kids head out of town to clean up a house that has been uninhabited for forty years. I'm not sure how they got this job since they are the worst workers in the world. Only two of the group take the job seriously, while the others focus on having sex, smoking weed, or sulking.

The guy who hired them is a total ass, and for some unknown reason, hangs out at the house with the kids, who he obviously can't stand. Before they've even started cleaning, he threatens that he will sue them for breach of contract. He also gets the leader to agree that they will clean without getting full payment. It makes no sense.

There is a flesh covered book in the basement and a scary demon lady who keeps appearing. The water in the attic starts working and prompting one girl to take a bath. Why do people insist on taking baths when they aren't dirty and the tub is in a huge attic in an abandoned house?

This is one of those stories where everything has to line up and certain things must occur in order for the demon to return to earth. The zombie makeup is decent, but the scary demon lady has one of those stupid devil voices and herky jerky movements.

Stupidest line - "I guess when I blew myself up, it reversed the power."

Stupidest visual - the spooky demon lady creature wears underpants.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Death Warmed Up (1985)

Death Warmed Up is an odd film from New Zealand in which a doctor is experimenting on peoples brains. I'm a bit fuzzy on the whole thing, but a young man named Michael is hypnotised by Dr. Archer Howell and kills his parents. He is captured and sentenced to jail time.

Years later after being released, Michael goes on a vacation with his girlfriend Sandy, and another couple named Lucas and Jeannie. They end up on the same island where Howell now has a lab and Michael wants revenge. The four enter the tunnels on the island, get lost, meet two mutants they had gotten into a fight with on the ferry, and are chased around the tunnels by the mutants on motorbikes.

One of the girls gets injured and the other wants to take her to the hospital. But Michael says no because that is where Howell works. The mutants break out of the hospital tunnels and start roaming the streets, which apparently is not unheard of as when the bar owner hears there is trouble at the hospital, he knows the mutants are on their way.

The four friends end up being taken to the hospital by the doctor's goons, who save them from the mutants for some reason. Then havoc ensues. Michael and Sandy are the only ones who make it out of the hospital, but he's crazy and the movie ends oddly, with Michael walking off and Sandy crying next to the car.

One thing to note in this film is a beach scene where the guy is wearing a little bathing suit and he has an enormous package. It took up a major portion of the screen and prompted the thought, "he's got an armadillo in his trousers." It was that huge. But the really odd thing is that it was so prominently featured because the cameraman appeared to lying on the sand right next to his leg. Very very odd. See this film if only to gasp in disbelief at his massive crotchal region.

Offerings (1989)

A young boy who doesn't talk falls down a well after being scared by one of the neighborhood kids who picks on him. Cut to ten years later - he's been in a mental institution because he killed his mother, who was very abusive. Did the fall somehow make him snap? What were his injuries? We never know.

But now he's lying in a bed at the local sanitarium where he is heavily sedated. Unfortunately the new nurse waits a few seconds too long to give him his sedative, so he kills her and escapes. He then proceeds to track down and kill all the kids who tormented him. Oh those kids.... The interesting thing about this slasher flick is that all the violence happens off screen.

Tourist Trap (1979)

Chuck Connors is a freak who owns a tourist attraction that the new highway has bypassed. So he doesn't get many visitors anymore. But I'm not sure who would really want to go there to begin with as it's mostly creepy mannequins strewn about the yard and standing around in the house.

Apparently he's also telekinetic since things fly around and kill people stupid enough to come to the close tourist attraction. I guess since Carrie was a hit they decided to have things flying around this movie.

Bram Stoker's The Mummy (1997)

Egyptian artifact hunter Abel Trelawny is mauled by a mummy in his own home - the indignity!  His daughter Margaret comes home and tries to solve the mystery of what attacked her Dad.  

With the help of his old assistant Corbeck and her exboyfriend, who is curator at an Egyptian place, they set out to solve the mystery of Abel's mummy attack.

Ridiculously enough, Abel has a mummy under the stairs in the basement and another in a packing crate packed in shredded paper. But stupidest of all, he has Queen Tera, the mangy seven fingered mummy, in his study.  Gee, ya think maybe it's a bad idea to store the Queen of all curse-mongers in your study? 

Nightmare Weekend (1986)

"Hey, you're quality and I'm quality", is the best pick up line the pinball tough can muster. If only the movie were also quality, but no, that would be too easy. A scientist turns personal objects into a small metal ball, which rolls or flies over to a person and goes into their mouth. With the ingestion of the strange silver ball, the subject turns into a drooling mutant, which makes one wonder why a scientist would work to perfect this product.

Needing subjects for his useless experiment, three young women end up going to his house for a vacation. They swim, cavort while scantily clad, and have sex with guys they pick up at the local bar, which is an incredibly lame place.

There is a subplot about the scientist's daughter, a rollerskating teen with a primitive computer that talks to her through a puppet named George. The puppet drones on in monotone, as it's a computer, and protects the daughter from any harm that may come to her - which is a good thing since her dad is a mad scientist.

The movie doesn't have any idea where it's going or where it's been. Nothing makes sense and people keep going to that lame ass bar to hang out.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Rocktober Blood (1984)

Rock star Billy Eye Harper goes nuts and tries to kill his girlfriend and backup singer, Lynn Starling. Lynn escapes, testifies at his trial, and Billy is convicted for murdering twenty-five rocknrollers (!?)

Two years after his electrocution, Lynn is leading his band and ready to rock. She's recorded the song Billy wrote for her, Rainbow Eyes, a horrible pop metal song that will get stuck in your head and make you regret ever hearing it.

As Lynn prepares for her upcoming tour, she does aerobics, takes a vacation, and is stalked by Billy, who seems to be back from the dead. Problem is no one else ever sees him. So is Lynn insane or has Billy really come back from the dead?

Billy is supposed to be scary but he really looks more like Mike Reno from Loverboy than a singer in a metal band. I think a huge part of the problem is the headband. And the Kiss type makeup.

Frostbiter (1996)

Two idiot hunters on Manitou Island break a sacred circle of skulls and release the spirit of the Wendigo. Other hunters get stuck on the island in a snow storm and take refuge in the old shack that is within the broken circle. The shapeshifting Wendigo tries to kill them all before they can figure out that they must close the circle to contain it and save themselves.

The music throughout the film is too loud, which makes it really hard to hear the dialogue. There is some claymation like something out of a Ray Harryhausen film.

Arachnid (2001)

A ragtag band of scientists and their nature guides crash land on an island full of spiders when their plane mysteriously stops working. There is a subplot about the female pilot looking for her brother, a navy pilot who has disappeared while flying a new plane.

There is lots of icky spider spit and their webbing looks like cotton candy. The characters aren't too bright. One of the women falls into a hole, something grabs her, and she loses her shoe. A guy then sticks his frickin' head down the hole to retrieve the shoe, real bright.

Oh yeah, and the giant spiders are alien life forms that come from outer space. But don't let that fool you because it's only touched upon and overall the movie is not that interesting.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Thrillkill (1984)

Carly writes programs for video games, which sounds very cool until you realize that it's the early 1980s when computers were the size of a car and games were in he incredibly primitive DOS format. (Do kids today even know what DOS is?)

Carly has just finished programming a new game called Thrillkill. Perhaps this game was cutting edge in 1984, but I find that hard to believe it as it's not even up to the level of something like Berzerk, from the early 1980s.

For the past three years, Carly has been siphoning money from her employer through fake accounts. Caspar, the head of the company, has figured out something is going on and sets out to make Carly pay for her disgressions. Caspar has a voice like Dracula and uses random pauses mid-sentence, kind of like a cross between William Shatner and Bela Lugosi.

The convoluted storyline involves Carly's sister showing up unexpectedly with a friend, a secret password written on a book of matches, and location of the stolen money hidden within the game, which one must play and beat in order to enter the secret password. How inconvenient.

With twists and turns in the storyline, and no one who is actually what they appear to be, there is potential for a good movie. Unfortunately, it's not a very good storyline, or a very good video game. In the words of Thrillkill, "Welcome to Thrillkill, the game that plays you." Uh yeah, right.

Terror in the Swamp (1985)

A professor and his lackey experiment on a Nutria (a small rodent) to produce a large animal that can be hunted for it's giant pelt. The man sized rodent with a tail is running wild in the swamps, which anagers hillbilly brothers Jessie and T-Bob because their traps are being poached.

Rumors of a monster in the swamp prompts the offer of a reward for a fur-bearing animal weighing more than one hundred and fifty pounds. This sends tons of Cajuns into the swamps, riding in boats filled with shotguns and alchohol.

The sheriff decides to send Green Berets to locate the monster. They stomp carelessly through the woods and end up shooting at a kid, which makes one wonder if they are Green Berets due to the color of their hats, rather than any real military training.

There is a crazy swamp lady who laughs too much, T-Bob cries, and a shack explodes during a fight. The Nutria is never seem very clearly as it is too dark in the woods to tell what he looks like, but the one glimpse we do get appears to be a man in a shabby ape suit.

Also there is Officer Bruce, not the brightest guy on the force. When Bruce finds clear mystery liquid in a jug, he sniffs it and takes a big swig. He also decides it is a good idea to spray insecticide on the river where the drunken rednecks are boating during the monster hunt. The clouds of insecticide make it difficult for anyone to see and cause the hillbillys to discharge their guns, drive in circles, and drink even more.,

The Visitor (1979)

Eight year old Katie is an odd, creepy little child who finds a gun in a present box at her birthday, wields it like a lunatic and shoots her Mom, paralyzing her from the waist down. Mom hires housekeeper (Shelly Winters) who knows there is something evil about little spooky Katie. Detective Jake Durham (Glenn Ford) is investigating the birthday party shooting and knows there is something not quite right with Katie. But he doesn't get much done when a bird flies into his car and he promptly dies.

Katie scares everyone except super old Jersey (John Huston), who wears khaki outfits, babysits her, and has come to the US to walk on rooftops in front of a line of bald men holding boxes. While Katie dispatches everyone in her path, Jersey always has the upper hand in their interactions. Katie gets angrier and angrier until, in a scene right out of "Enter the Dragon", Katie chases Jersey into a room of mirrors. Her frustration grows as all she can find is his reflection, and in anger smashes mirror after mirror.

There is only one genuine scare in the film, which is when Mom comes home after leaving Katie in the hospital, but finds her playing Pong in the living room. Oddly enough Mom doesn't seem concerned as to why or how Katie has come home, but apologizes for their fight earlier in the day.

When creepy Katie turns around, she is a monster with light is streaming out of the holes in her face. She pounces on Mom, drags her to the second floor, and then throws her down the stairs. This is when Jersey sends the freakin' birds.

Anticipating the public fury over Jersey's birds of death, the movie ends with happy kids in hot Jesus Heaven, while Katie smiles and gazes about lovingly. To make the point perfectly clear and avoid the lawsuits for emotional trauma, we are then treated to the phrase, "We don't kill kids. We just kill evil." Well played, Jersey....well played.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Rise: Blood Hunter (2007)

Lucy Liu is Sadie, a reporter for a local paper, who stumbles upon a vampire, ends up his next victim, and wakes up in the morgue as a vampire with no idea what's happening. You'd think a vampire who decides to kill the vampires who killed her would make for an exciting plot, but you'd be dead wrong.

The movie is mostly Liu standing, walking, and staring. There is a whole lot of nothing in this movie, and what is there, is slow moving and often pointless. There are flashbacks all over the place and most come on without warning so it may take you a second to realize that the film has cut back to when she was human.

In one scene, she stands on the edge of a bridge, watching the traffic below before deciding to throw herself over the edge. The next thing we see, she is in a bed with bandages on her face, being nursed back to health by a man who says "Welcome to Mexico." So I guess when a vampire falls off a bridge, they land in Mexico. Uh yeah.....

On the plus side Sadie has a crossbow which only takes her 4.3 seconds to load. On the downside, she spends most of her time standing around doing nothing. Adolescent males should note that Liu is naked a few times during the film.

The Quick and the Undead (2006)

Ryn Baskin, a cut-rate, spaghetti western, Clint Eastwood type, collects pinkies from zombies as the US government has a bounty on zombie fingers. His rival, Blythe Remington - a soap opera name if ever there was one - steals Ryn's bag of pinkies, leaves him for dead, and plans to infect people with the zombie virus in order to make more money on pinkies.

The US looks like a spaghetti western, with dusty ghost towns dotting the landscape. Remington and his gang hole up in a huge building which isn't ideal for securing against zombies. Ryn, who is immune to zombie bites because he sucks out the poison, follows them to get his bounty back and havoc ensues.

The zombies are few and far between. While some of the makeup is pretty good, the zombies themselves are fairly lame and appear not to have any idea how to effectively stagger.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Terminal Justice (1995)

When I first looked at the cover, I thought it said Cybertech PhD, which sounded ridiculously awesome!  But alas, it was not to be.  Bobby Chase is  a cop who has night vision eyes due to a tragic eye accident during the war in Russia.  After his old partner is killed, Bobby vows to track down the killer.   

In another part of the plot, Bobby is assigned to protect an actress whose image was used for a virtual reality sex program.  There are threats to kidnap and clone her, so Bobby must be on guard.

Luckily it's 2008 and the police can link right into his night vision eyes so they see everything he does.  Yes, 2008..... a bad choice for a future film as it's not far enough into the future.  The computers of the future are laughable, and all the future technology is embarrassing.

Mutant (1984)

Two brothers end up in a small town where something is amiss. They find a dead body which disappears after they try to report it, making the local sheriff label them as troublemakers.  Then the younger brother disappears.  When the older brother tries to figure out what happened, he discovers that the town has a zombie problem.

Chiller (1985)

In the cryogenic storage chamber there are shuffing feet covered in tin foil. This rouses our guard to investigate, thus finding his replacement who jumps out from behind a storage tank, as well as a leak in one of the containers.

The leaky cylinder contains Miles Creighton, a big league executive who died ten years earlier. His mother couldn't bare to part with him and had him crygenically frozen until such time as the process of bringing the dead back to life had been perfected. Unfortunately the temperature in the container has dropped below the point where he can be refrozen and the only option is to attempt to revive the human popsicle that is Miles.

Thankfully Miles was wrapped in the finest tin foil known to man, thus preventing freezer burn, and doctors are able to revive him. He lingers in a coma until violent convulsions wrack his body, while an inept nurse fails to call anyone to assist him. Luckily it doesn't signal death, but life and Miles is deemed good enough to go home, where he immmediately creeps out his sister and finds that his dog hates him.

Mom declares her zombie son head of the company and he promptly throws out everything the company has done over the past ten years, including charitable activities, church donations, and snuffs out anyone who gets in his way. Even though he's super creepy, Mom worships him and hardly anyone questions what a jerk he is. No one even seems all that unnerved by the fact that he's been dead for the past ten years, which is very odd.

After the family priest figures out that Miles has no soul and Miles tries to rape his sister, Mom's brain starts cranking and she locks him in the freezer, only to send us right back into a loop to the beginning of the film where there are now multiple cryogenic container failures in the storage facility. Uh oh....

There is never any explanation for the tin foil feet in the opening sequence. Also it seems like a major design flaw to have to walk through the cryogenic storage room to get to the security control room. Their architect should be shot.

Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977)

When I think of Richard Burton and James Earl Jones, I think of two really great actors. So how the hell did they get into the mess that is Exorcist II?

While the movie asks if goodness brings evil upon itself, the movie's answer is a convoluted mess of nothing. Instead we get the Synchronizer, in which Father Lamont synchs up with little Reagan MacNeil via a hippie head band adorned with flashing lights. We are also treated to Reagan tap dancing to Lullaby of Broadway in the most disturbing see through hat, intercut with scenes of Father Lamont being chased and hit with stones while on his African trip to find the demon Pazuzu. Since the two are synched, the effect of the stones on Lamont's head causes Reagan to stagger and catapult off the stage during her tap dancing routine.

The film also features hordes of locusts, Dana Plato as a child who can't talk, a psychiatric institute with glass rooms which afford no privacy during treatment, Reagan's house of mirrors, and James Earl Jones in a giant locust suit. How could they go so wrong?

The most memorable moment of this movie is when Father Lamont tries to beat out a fire with a crutch. A crutch?!? How the hell is that going to help? In fact, if Lamont hadn't interfered, perhaps the flaming box of fire would have gone out after incinerating itself.

Instead Lamont's flailing crutch spreads fire throughout the basement passageway until Dr. Tuskin grabs a fire extinguisher to put out the flames. Yes, sad but true - there is a fire extinguisher in the hallway but Father Lamont chooses a crutch as a valid implement of fire fighting.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Nightmare at Noon (1988)

A mute albino in a van filled with computers puts a green glowing substance in a small town's water supply, which turns them into homicidal maniacs. Ken and Cheri Griffiths who are traveling through town in their RV and get trapped in town after the albino's minions turn on some sort of machine that generates a force field around the town. Sheriff George Kennedy and his deputy daughter try to control the town and stop the homicidal townsfolk from killing each other. 

Under Siege (1992)

Steven Seagal is Casey Rybek, a former navy seal who has been busted down to cook status after punching out a commanding officer. He's loved by the Captain and crew, except for a few officers who are sticklers and the irritating Commander Krill, played to annoying perfection by Gary Busey.

It's the Captain's birthday and Rybek is planning a special meal, but Cmdr. Krill locks the troublemaking Rybek in the meat freezer because he has plans of his own - namely flying in a stripper, band, and catering crew. Not the best idea when you're on a battleship carrying nuclear missiles, but no one really questions it.

Before you know it, the entire crew are locked below deck in the foc'sle, courtesy of Cmdr. Krill and the cut throat band mercenaries who came aboard under the guise of musicians and caterers. Led by the the animated Tommy Lee Jones as the currently insane fomer CIA agent William Stranix, the bad guys plan to load the nuclear missiles onto a stolen submarine, then sell them for millions of dollars.

It's a great plan except for one big problem and that hideous problem, such as it were, is Steven Seagal. Rybek's position as the cook belies the fact that he has special forces and counter terrorist training. Cmdr. Krill's disdain for Rybek as well as Rybek's propensity to state, "I'm just the cook," lead hijinks to ensue as Seagal proceeds to kill or maim everyone within a hundred foot radius.Under Siege is a fairly decent action movie and arguably Seagal's last flick before his expanding ego and waistline made his career self-destruct. After watching his recent films, I was stunned at how thin and young he looks here. It's too bad Seagal didn't have a better grip on why it's not a good idea to be in charge of everything on his own movies. If he had people around him who dared to say no, and who he was willing to listen to, then maybe he could have stayed on top of the action film genre.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The House on Skull Mountain

Wow! Check out Skull Mountain, how'd you like to have a house there? An excellent title and cool poster artwork belie the fact that this mediocre film is not so much about super creepy glowing eyed skull mountain, so much as it is about an old dead lady and voodoo. Thus it is a huge disappointment - unless you like voodoo films, which I don't.

Creaky old Pauline Christophe sends letters to her remaining kin, none of whom know her, and promptly kicks the bucket. When her long lost relatives arrive, they find Pauline in the ground and a surly butler who seems upset that the four descendents will be around for the reading of the will.

After the reading, the remaining Christophe's are stalked by death, which makes the living members wonder what the hell is going on. Particulary interested is Andrew, the only white member of the family, played by Victor French. Andrew is an anthropology professor at the University of Maine, and he wants to dig into the family history to figure out where he fits in the family. As he is only a few generations from Pauline, you'd think that would be fairly easy to discover without much research.

As the threat to the family members increases, the question becomes whether Pauline has come back from the grave for her voodoo revenge, or whether it is prehaps her snooty butler, who resents the family and is known to practice voodoo.

Anonymous Rex (2004)

Anonymous Rex proposes that dinosaurs did not become extinct, but currently make up ten percent of the Earth's population. The dinosaurs have developed hologram projections to disguise this fact. But they are able to identify each other by pheromones, particularly when sniffing the back of each others necks.

Dinosaurs have strategically placed themselves throughout society in positions of authority in order to help and protect their own kind. Their human disguises are so effective that they find themselves paying the price of never being able to truly be themselves, a conflicting burden indeed.

Daniel Baldwin, contrary to his usual questionable pseudo-acting, turns in a solid performance as one of two cops that are the main focus of the film. He and his partner discover there has been a rash of Dino-suicides and suspect that there is more to them than it appears, possibly murder.

The Dinosaur Cops (which would have been a much more enticing title for the film) are on the opposite political side from Raul, a dino who advocates unleashing hopped up, caraniverous dinos on the human population. Raul's theory is that this will start a war which will release the dinosaurs from their self-imposed prison of lies.

The film is a decent outing with an interesting idea, as long as you can stand some lame dialogue and cliche plot points.

Friday, October 19, 2007

The Being (1983)

Pottsville is a sleepy little town where nothing ever happens, unless you count the campaign to stamp out smt and the recent rash of random killings. Pottsville also boasts the "most sophisticated dump site in the country," which is something to be proud of, I guess, except that it apparently spawned the gooey icky monster that is killing everyone.

The town sheriff is constantly underwhelmed by the horrible events confronting the town, especially when he is face to face with large piles of goo. Even when the victim is his girlfriend...or wife or hooker. It's never clear what his relationship is to the human sized pile of gelatin in the bed, but since he was starting to take his pants off, he had some sort of intimate relationship with it. To add to the confusion, the sheriff is dating the girl at the local diner, which may be why he doesn't care that much about the monster made mess in his bed.

The town's mayor is involved in the cover up at the dump and is reminiscent of the mayor in Jaws who continues to deny any responsibility or possibility of a problem because it will cost the town lots of money. Once again, a mayor's concern about potential business earnings overrides the need for public safety and the sophisticated dumps place as a monster breeding ground is secure.

Scenes to watch for are: the opening scene with the kid running through the junkyard where day turns to night and back again; the junkyard kid crashing a car trying to escape the monster only to find the monster has somehow hidden in the trunk?!?;and the monster jumping on Martin Landau's back (now that's good movie making!)

Also listen for the music which sounds like someone has let a monster loose on the piano.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Chillers (1987)

Chillers is the story of five strangers stuck in a bus terminal late at night telling each other about their recent nightmares. Most of the actors are not very good and the stories all have fairly predictable outcomes. In fact, we had all seen this movie before, but none of us could remember any of the individual story lines. We didn't even remember the kid whose catchphrase was, "That's not scary." How could that not lodge in your head?

The stranded passengers nightmares are as follows:
  1. female swimmer who has sex with dreamy diver who turns out to be dead
  2. boy on camping trip whose scout leader is wolfy and crazy
  3. woman in love with newsman on her tv who turns out to be vampire
  4. guy who can bring the dead back to life with his thoughts accidentally revives psycho killer
  5. college professor with interest in a local dig is targeted by evil deity in student who visited dig site
The concept about the guy who can bring the dead back to life is the most interesting. But there are far too many unanswered questions, among them why does everyone come back looking perfectly healthy and clean in their funeral suit? Also when you call the parents of a dead child to say that you've brought the kid back to life, why wouldn't they immediately hang up the phone? And the parent's actually drive into town to pick up their recently un-deceased kid, and don't seem creeped out by this at all. Yikes!

By far the worst story is the woman who is in love with the local tv newsman. As she stares longingly at the tv, she starts a monologue that begins, "You don't bring me flowers..." which made me think she quoting from the Neil Diamond song of the same name. Thankfully that was not the case, instead she chooses to be even crazier by stating that even though he never thinks about her, she's happy to see him every night on the tv. Then she scares the hell out of every sane viewer by saying one of the stupidest lines ever said with total sincerity, "I love you, newsman!"

The one problem with Hollywood's tendency to cast unnaturally good looking actors, is that when you see people on the screen who look like your next door neighbor, it's unnerving.

Also of note - the guy who can bring people back to life is one of the lead actors in Invasion of the Space Preachers.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

The Dark (1979)

The city streets aren't safe after dark, especially when there's a killer with the nickname "The Mangler" on the loose. Mangler has been killing young women, but the blind man that is tip tapping along the dark streets every night better be careful. Look out man! Mangler's on the loose!...unless this is a very clever ruse and the blind man is the Mangler. Hmmmm....

Well that's just a bit too clever I guess, as the writers veer off into the wildly imaginative plot that The Mangler is really a space monster with laser eyes who sort of resembles Frankenstein. His laser eyes can even throw a man across a Monestery into a wall, which leads to the man exploding, woah! Sounds fantastic, but they only do it once.

William Devane plays a father searching for the serial killer that murdered his daughter, and looks like a cross between Steven King and Alice Cooper. With his David Cassidy shag, he feels comfortable walking around drinking coffee while wearing the world's ugliest bathrobe.

I love the dvd cover but the movie lacks excitement. And what's up with the blind guy? He's always tip tapping around the police out on the street during their investigations. Does he have some strange knack for walking near crime scenes? Or is he just completely lost, aimlessly wandering around town trying to figure out where the hell he is?

And what about the ending narration which states that "only the blind have nothing to fear in the dark." Huh? Is this to justify putting a blind guy in the film? Oh my aching brain!

Best dialogue:

"I could make a wild guess, but it would be wild and useless."

"Of the millions of possible alien encounters, man has had his first..."

"Mangler's a zombie.... Mangler's a zombie..." - newsboy on street

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Drive Thru (2007)

Orange County's rich teens sure love their gangsta clothes, pool parties, and haunted houses for yearbook fund raising. They also love fast food restaurant Hellaburger, with it's creepy Horny the Clown mascot.

McKenzie and boyfriend Fisher accidentally use a ouija board at the end of their rocking pool party, and unleash a force that keeps leaving clues to let McKenzie know who is going to die next. Unfortunately the clues are so obscure that they aren't at all useful and McKenzie essentially spins in circles with a bag over her head, metaphorically speaking of course.

The first clue was the license plate number of her friends, who left the party early to get food at Hellaburger. It seems like a rich girl such as McKenzie should have better food than Horny the Clown, but I guess since these friends were the ghetto white rappers of Orange County, they needed to get their fast food fix.

Once McKenzie figures out that the kids who are dying all have a connection to her Mom's old high school friends, Mom is forced to reveal her horrible secret, and we're forced to admit that this is way too much into Nightmare on Elm Street territory to be a coincedence.

Killer Clowns are inherently spooky, and a drive thru clown with his big head and large metal plated mouth is just plain creepy. But the writing is so horrible that it is completely distracting and overwhelms anything you might be able to say that would be positive. Only those who want to see evil clowns or dont' care about the quality of their slasher flicks should watch this one.

Lastly I must comment about the darkroom scenes. McKenzie is horrified as she hangs up her 8x10 glossy prints to dry. They show her friends at the time of their death. But in order to make her prints, she would have had to: look at the negatives; align and focus them in the enlarger; expose the photographic paper; put the paper in the developer to keep an eye on when to remove it and place it in the stop bath; then leave it in the fixer for at least a few minutes. Also it is customary to do a contact sheet from the negatives before this process to see which negatives are worth printing. So her darkroom experience is just ridiculous.

But not as ridiculous as the fact that her prints were black and white, the dark room only had b/w enlargers, yet at the police station, her photos are miraculously in color?!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Stephen King's Desperation (2006)

A small town Sheriff who is possessed by an ancient spirit named Tak begins hauling highway travelers to the local jail, if he doesn't kill them first.

David, son of Ralph aka Max Headroom, has taken up praying and sees a vision of his dead sister who hands him a lump of glowing kryptonite, which turns out to be green soap. David soaps himself up, slips through the bars, gets a gun to kill the dog the sheriff left in charge, and releases the rest of the jailed victims.

Once outside, the group loses it's grip on cranial functioning and hides in the old theater. Rather than running away or sending someone to get help, they hang out on the stage and talk, thus ensuring the death of a few more of the characters.

For such an all powerful deity, Tak's well is extremely lame, and as his disembodied voice uselessly yells for one of our heroes to go away, we are left wondering how he took over the Sheriff's body and killed everyone in the aptly named desert town, Desperation.

The credits list someone as "pie carver". Oddly enough I have no idea who that is as no one was addressed by that moniker and no one carved any pies.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Scream Baby Scream (1969)

This is a movie about artists and the evil that they do. Art students Jason and Janet are dating. Janet admires the bizarre paintings of local legend Mr. Butler, who paints pictures of disfigured people. Butler's creepy art along with his sauve manner leave Janet smitten.

Jason is insanely jealous, and hates Butler and his stupid paintings. Jason, Janet, and their friends take LSD for the first time and go on a motorcycle ride - real smart. They trip out, start seeing double, go to the zoo, and imagine they are in the monkey cage acting like monkeys.

There are purply faced monsters that kidnap people. The makeup looks pretty sketchy, and their presence is never explained. I suppose they could be the monsters that Butler paints, except they are normal looking guys with a little grease paint on their faces.

After Jason and Janet have a big fight, Janet goes missing. When Jason searches for her, he ends up at Butler's house and havoc ensues. The makeup on Janet is disturbing but incredibly unrealistic. It looks a lot like papiermache attached to her face.

The film is along the lines of the ultimate in killing for their art movie, Herschell Gordon Lewis's Color Me Blood Red. I'd recommend that movie over this one, but this does boast lines like, "Yesterday's nightmare is today's dream and tomorrow's reality." Huh?

Casual Fridays (2002)

If you're one of those people who likes to watch or tape unintentionally funny and stupid things you stumble upon while watching tv, then you'll love Casual Fridays. It's over an hour of clips from tv shows and infomercials that will make your head spin. You'll see clips of a dreadlocked Billy Idol from his Cyperpunk period, painful public access talent shows, talentless acting, badly written 80s tv shows, Gary Coleman in court, news errors, and much more.

The dvd is put out by TV Carnage and there are other volumes available as well.

Primeval (2007)

A news team is sent to Africa to film and capture a giant crocodile that is terrorizing the people of Burundi. They are teamed with a croc expert and Jacob Krieg, a man obsessed with tracking and killing the big croc. Jurgen Prochnow, who plays Krieg, kept reminding me of Quint from Jaws, due to his preoccupation with the killing the great beast.

Krieg has constructed a cage that will hold the twenty five foot long croc, who he calls Gustave. Or rather, Krieg thinks it will hold Gustave since there is no way to test a cage made to contain a giant crocodile.

Gustave's skin is too thick for tranquilizer darts, so they use a tracking device. They shoot it into Gustave when he's underwater and it magically attaches itself to him. As darts can't pierce his skin, it's a mystery as to how they got the tracker to stick.

You'd think a giant croc would cause lots of excitement, but it doesn't. The movie is tame and predictable, and only for people who love mutant nature gone wild.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Mercenary For Justice (2006)

Steven Seagal is a mercenary...for justice. Seagal plays John Seeger - which inevitably kept reminding me of Pete Seeger and Bob Seger. As is always the case, Seagal's Seeger is the best mercenary on planet earth, which is why a notorious gun-runner kidnaps his dead pal's wife and son. Seeger's pal died in his arms on their last mission, and Seeger promised he'd care for his pal's family. Just how the gun-runner knew that these two people were the bargaining chips that would force Seagal to break into a maximum security prison to rescue the gun-runner's son is anyone's guess.

Parts of the movie are hard to follow since characters appear and disappear, and many scenes don't make sense. But I guess that isn't much of a surprise since this is Seagal. Plus the director's name is Don E. Fauntleroy, which has to be an excuse for this somehow.

CIA agent Dresham and the weasel-y foreigner Chapel both have odd makeup that makes them look way too tan. But at least they don't look like Seagal whose hair is dyed pure black and appears to have the consistency of straw, even in his pronounced widows peak. I must admit I like his wardrobe, which consists mostly of black suits and bright solid colored ties.

This is the only movie in which I have heard someone referred to as a "poophole." Huh? The thug who attempts to rough up Seagal in the men's room utters this insult before attacking. Luckily for Seagal, he's not much of an opponent. But it is unfortunate for the urinals, for when Seagal throws the thug into the wall, the urinals swing side to side because they aren't bolted to the wall, only hung on it?! One urinal even falls to the floor revealing no pipes attached and no hole in the wall where the urinal previously was hanging!

Also there is a scene in which Seagal is in the back seat of a car one second and the next he's across the street and around the corner escaping in a truck. At first I thought it was a continuity problem, but then a character acknowledges Seagal's speed by stating "That man's a ghost!" No! No, he's not! The guy is a freakin' bear!

Attack Force (2006)

Can there be a more generic title? It doesn't even follow the traditional three word titles that most of Seagal's movies use. This title screams out laziness on the part of the film makers. Why couldn't they come up with something better? How about: Attack Force Zero; Attack Force Lawson; Seagal's Attack Force; Attack Seagal's Force; Force of Seagal; Attack Seagal Attack? The possibilities are endless.

Steven Seagal is Marshall Lawson, the most awesome of the awesome elite military agents. After a mission, Lawson and his team take a much needed respite. That's when a few of the good old boys on Lawson's covert special ops team end up out for a night of fun with a prostitute. Too bad, as this floozy is using the new drug CXT which gives her superhuman strength as well an insatiable urge to kill everyone in sight.

Seagal and his young love interest (who I pray was paid very well) investigate the deaths and find that a French lunatic is planning to dump CXT into the water supply, turning everyone into killing machines. That just will not do!

Seagal and his posse set out to kill everyone on CXT, who are easy to spot due to their lunging at people with knives, as well as their freaky eyes which go from normal, to white, and back again. Seagal and the remainder of his elite group are so amazing that they figure out who to kill by looking at their eyes.

The distracting thing about the movie is that there is a fair amount of bad dubbing. The worst of this is the person who dubbed Seagal sounds nothing like him. If they are not showing a close up while he's speaking, you have no idea who is talking. Even in the close ups, the voice coming out of Seagal is confusing as it sounds nothing like him.

With all it's confusion, I do have a few favorite parts:
1. Seagal flails like a little girl during a fight scene (of which there are not many);
2. Seagal's nemesis says "As you know, revenge is a two way street" (huh?);
3. At the beginning of the movie, there is a title on the screen to let us know the location and it says "France, Europe."

I like to think that Seagal wrote both of those gems. (Did I mention he wrote this movie, which I'm sure is why he is referred to as even more super-awesome than he usually is?)

Also of note is that the photo of Seagal on the dvd cover and index appears to have been severely photoshopped as his face is thin, but in the movie Seagal looks like Bloaty McPufferfish.