Thursday, March 22, 2007

Corpses Are Forever (2003)

Malcolm Grant, a CIA operative, awakens to find he has no memory of his life. But under the influence of a hypnosis serum, Grant flashes back to a world in black and white where he has shorter hair, an Australian accent, fights zombies, has nightmares from a serial killers perspective, and is searching for his kidnapped son.

In the present, Grant is told that zombies walk the earth, and the only hold outs are Alaska and some of the Florida Keys. But oddly enough, the film only has about ten or fifteen zombies in it, and they are easily dispatched when Grant does a slow spinning kick that comes nowhere near them. In fact, he looks more like he's doing ballet rather than any sort of martial art.

The other problem with the zombies walk the earth premise is that in more than one scene, there is the sound of traffic competing with the dialogue. Did the zombies learn to drive or did the filmmakers assume we wouldn't notice? Even worse are scenes where cars are on the road in the background or the scene where Grant is informed the world has been overrun by zombies, but out the window of the office building there is traffic driving by and a person walking along the sidewalk. Eek!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The House on Sorority Row (1982)

Another early 80s slasher film, although this is a decent flick which stands out due to the competent acting and a different take on the standard plot, especially for a sorority movie. Horrid sorority mother, Mrs. Slater, always makes the girls leave the house as soon as school is over. But this year the girls decide to use the house for an end of the year party.

Mrs. Slater blows a gasket when she walks in on the girls getting drunk, and chastizes them. Ringleader Vicki sneaks her boyfriend into the house to put her new waterbed to use. But Mrs. Slater bursts in and slashes the bed with the head of her cane, ruining Vicki's encounter with her boyfriend. Vicki vows revenge, coming up with a plan involving the other girls and a gun. She's going to pretend to shoot Mrs. Slater. Doesn't sound like a good plan to me, but then again I'm not an insane sorority girl.

As expected their prank goes horribly wrong and Vicki accidentally shoots Mrs. Slater who falls back into the scummy green pool that never gets cleaned. Once the girls determine she is dead, they decide to tie her up in sheets, weight down her body, and dump her in the pool. Ah yes, a brilliant plan - no one will ever find her there.

That night, they hold their party as scheduled, and as with any drunken party where a pool is handy, several people end up jumping in. The girls are afraid someone will turn on the pool lights and see the body. But when the lights are turned on, they are shocked to see nothing in the pool. Thus the rash of killings commence.

Is Mrs. Slater still alive? Has she come back from the dead? Or is someone else killing the girls? Worth watching if you're into slasher films, or if you're into the band 4 Out of 5 Doctors, who play at the sorority party. They even have a song called Mr. Cool Shoes. Eeeek!!

The Initiation (1982)

Kelly has nightmares about stabbing her father after walking into her parents bedroom and seeing him in bed with her mother. Immediately after the stabbing, a strange man walks into the room, gets in a fight with her father, and catches on fire. As he thrashes around in flames, she and her parents run from the room. She's had this nightmare since she was nine years old, when she was in a coma for a few months, and has no memory of anything before the coma.

She decides to do a research paper on dreams for her psychology class, and her TA just happens to be a graduate student doing dream research for his masters degree. He talks her into seeing his research space in the basement, and convinces her to let him monitor her dream state. I thought he was going for a graduate degree in psychology, but later he says it is parapsychology, which is not the most scientific type of psych and I'm not sure if I would want to let him near my brain.

Running parallel to this story, Kelly is also pledging a sorority in which the initiation is for her to steal the key to her fathers building, which turns out to be a multi-story mall. Then the four pledges are supposed to steal the security guards uniform. What the pledges don't know is that Meagan, the bitter pledge master, plans to scare the hell out of them.

This leads to much running around the mall at night, with the obligatory testing the stores merchandise scenes. There is confusion, killing, people getting lost, more killing, and an ending that just comes out of nowhere. Did I happen to mention at the beginning seven prisoners escape from a sanitarium and Kelly's parents are concerned? Yes, well you'll forget all about that as the movie goes on since it really isn't revisited again. Then the ending will pull you up by your shoulders and slap you silly, leaving you asking what sort of relevance it has to anything.

And this movie wouldn't be complete without the "Come As Your Favorite Suppressed Desire" costume party at the frat house. One guy shows up dressed as a penis. A giant, head to toe, penis costume with a small cut out for his face. So.... his desire is what? I don't even want to make a guess.

Girls Nite Out (1982)

A very strange slasher film as there is no killing until a good length into the movie, and a complete lack of nudity. The film also has a sountrack that has lots of bubblegum music from the 60s and 70s, which is strange as it takes place in the 80s. On the night of the big football game, celebratory party, and scavenger hunt, the school's mascot is murdered, and his suit stolen. It's a very silly looking bear suit, but the thief takes four knives wrapped together with tape, puts them in the paw of the costume, and uses his deadly bear claws to kill students on campus while they are scavenging for the required items.

Hal Holbrook plays the campus security guard, whose own daughter was killed several years ago. And yes, it was during the schools big scavenger hunt. He even gets a call from someone claiming to have killed the current students as well as his daughter. But the real murderer hung himself in his cell earlier in the week.

The main suspect is Mike Pryor, a big brooding guy with a bad mullet, whose girlfriend is making out with the mascot at the party, even though she arrived with Mike. She's planning on dumping him later that evening, but feigns innocence and even takes a haughty attitude with Mike when he tells her he saw what she was doing.

Another suspect is Maniac, whose girlfriend just dumped him and is dating another guy. He runs into them at the party, and is upset that she won't get back together with him. However due to the strong homosexual overtones between Maniac and his best friend Teddy, I don't think he'll be lonely very long. These guys are overly touchy and get drunk in their bedroom, while bare chested. Maniac is also missing his pants, and Teddy is clinging to him like ugly on ape.

Teddy has a steady girlfriend, but also flirts with the waitress at the campus eatery, and girls at the party. Teddy's not such a great boyfriend since usually being a good boyfriend means you don't try to pick up other girls when you're at a party with your girlfriend. And you definitely don't go into a girl's bathroom while she's taking a bath and hand her a washcloth when she asks for a towel. Teddy is such a tool.

As with many early slasher films, there is a twist ending which you may, or may not, see coming. The killings are tame even by 80s standards, and most of the kids look way too old for college. But on the plus side, one of the guys who worked on the film had the last name of Hellfire, and the waitress in the film has a bicycle horn in her waistband. Honk honk!

Women's Prison Massacre (1983)

Also known as Emanuelle Escapes From Hell and Blade Violent, this badly dubbed Italian movie is the only one I can think of in which one prisoner insults another by calling her a "haughty hottentot." Emmanuelle, an investigative reporter, is framed and sent to prison while following a story on drug smuggling. Poor Emmanuelle. The female prison guards and female warden make her life hell, and so does their flunkie, Albina.....the albino.

Yeah, you heard me, an albino. And what a fine albino she is, due to her puzzling blunt haircut and bright red lipstick. All I could think of during her scenes was that I was watching either a Cloris Leachman character from a Mel Brooks movie, Edgar Winter's sister, or Rutger Hauer in drag.

Soon the prison opens it's doors to four escaped male convicts, lead by Crazy Boy. Before they are even put into a cell, they have over powered the female warden, female guard, and lone male guard, who stupidly gives up his weapon during a stand off. Crazy Boy and pals proceed to use the prison as a playground, while outside there are plans for the police to break into prison, since they are no match for four armed men. Yeah, it's as stupid as it sounds.

The police break in through a window in the hospital ward. Since it has bars, they repeatedly crash against it with their boots, alerting the semi-drugged and injured Albina, who promptly reports the happenings to Crazy Boy. Unfortunately, the police only go with three guys in gask masks, and a video camera operator, who they have not even bothered to equip with a mask. So I guess once they use the gas canisters, the video will quickly jolt to a nice view of the floor.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Slumberparty Massacre (1982)

Chicks. What's up with them? They have all girl slumber parties where they take off their bras and get all naked and stuff. Uh, no they don't. Having been to slumber parties as a teen, there was never a time when anyone got any naked. Nope. Just didn't happen.

And just for the record, if you answer your door and a pizza delivery boy with his eyes gouged out falls into your living room, the proper response is to shove the dead eyeless kid outside and slam the door. It is never proper to drag his corpse inside.

Spellcaster (1988)

Rock TV vj Rex brings a group of contestants to an old Italian castle where they will compete in a treasure hunt to find a million dollar check. Their host, Diablo, never makes it to dinner, but he does have a servant who pases on his regrets and takes care of the guests.

The guests are stereotypes and the killings are pretty tame. Adam Ant plays Diablo, but is rarely in the movie, which is unfortunate since that is why we chose to watch it. Mostly you see long fingernails around a crystal ball, and later on you find out it is Diablo. Also of note is this is a Charles Band film- enough said.

Brainscan (1994)

A babyfaced, lonely rich kid named Mike (Edward Furlong) spends his days playing video games, being president of the schools Horror Club, spying on the girl of his dreams next door, and hanging out with his only friend Kyle. After Kyle sees an ad for a new interactive game called Brainscan, Mike calls the number in the ad and skeptically asks questions about why the game is so great.

Even though he doesn't order it, the first disk arrives in the mail a few days later. Mike plays the game, which is a first person through the eyes of a killer adventure. It is so intense that Mike feels as if he were actually the one who stabbed the victim and removed his foot.

The next day, after raving to Kyle about the game, he finds out that a man in their town was brutally murdered and is missing a foot. As Mike realizes that the murder in the game was real, the Brainscan game vomits up a kind of creepy, kind of retarded looking guy named Trickster. He goads Mike into continuing the game, and each time Mike plays, he gets in deeper and deeper.

This movie wasn't bad, although it was really more of a thriller than a horror movie. The beginning of the movie seemed a bit slow, but the plot and continued harrassment by Trickster, who was really annoying, were effective. Frank Langella was sufficiently cold and business like as the police detective.

The interactive videogame plot has been worked to death, but this one is worth watching.

American Scream (1988)

Completely inexplicable movie with no real plot and scenes that go nowhere and make no sense. It's not funny enough to be a comedy, but not scary enough to be called horror. However it does have one thing going for it - Blackie Dammett as the preacher. He's creepy, he's spooky, plus he's the father of Anthony Keidis.

A family and two of their kid's friends, head off for a winter vacation in a small town. While the parents are treated well and have a great time, the teens are menaced by the townspeople who appear to hate kids. In fact, there are no kids anywhere in town, only adults.

There is also a strange man who drives around with his dead dog, a freaky couple with a baby who -when shown later - might be eating it, a guy in lederhosen who keeps staring at the kid while he's in the restroom at the dance, and a smiling head on a spike. And not one damn minute of it makes any sense at all.

We were confused. We were flummoxed. We were discombobulated. Random, bizaare, incomprehensible. Swine movie.......