Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Sickhouse (2007)

An old plague hospital in London is set to be demolished as authorities are concerned that there might be remnants of sickness inside that could start another epidemic. But archaeologist Anna doesn't care about the public's health, so she breaks into the hospital to finish her work and finds a secret tunnel which holds a small box.

Anna believes that there is evidence in the hospital that plague doctors working at the hospital killed children. The doctors are wearing hoods to protect them from the plague, and look like something out of Mad Magazine's Spy vs. Spy. Either that or like they have giant chicken heads, either of which can be creepy and stupid at the same time.

You can tell Anna is an archaeologist because she uses a brush on whatever she's working on. But she's not a very good one because she tends to use a pick ax on whatever is in her way and she doesn't use any safety precautions when entering the tunnel. When she opens the box she found, a blue mist comes out, unleashing evil within the hospital.

At the same time in a subplot that will soon come crashing into the storyline, four teenagers steal a car and joyride around the city while taking drugs. The completely annoying group look quite a bit older than the teens they supposedly portray, and it is not obvious until the plot points arise that one is deaf and one is pregnant. When they run over someone in the road and crash the car, they end up hiding in the very hospital that Anna is working in.

When the deaf Clive is attacked by a plague doctor, everyone goes nuts until Anna happens upon them and takes charge. Unfortunately her idea of taking charge is to offer plague boy a glass of water from the plague hospital water supply. Um, if they are demolishing the building, might the water also be unsafe? Then she tells them they need to get as far away from Clive as possible so as to keep from catching the plague.

Her other brilliant ideas are placing old plaguey Clive in a metal cage to keep him safe - How? How can that possibly keep him safe in anyway? - and sending the pregnant girl to check on him. Geez, out of everyone there, wouldn't the pregnant one be the last person who should check on him? How ridiculous!

The movie tops itself by having an ending which causes complete confusion and makes no more sense than anyone's actions throughout the film.

Rambo III (1988)

Once again John Rambo is approached by Trautman to help with a mission in Afghanistan. But Rambo is living peacefully in Thailand helping monks build a monestary and raising money for them via brutal fighting in arenas.

When Trautman is captured, Rambo decides to go in and rescue him. He heads into the desert, plays a game involving a dead goat, and ends up at the camp where Trautman is being held. Helping him are an Afghan guide and a boy who wants revenge as his family was killed in a raid on their camp.

There are subtitles for background chatter while Rambo makes his way through the camp setting bombs. It makes no sense to subtitle anything as none of it is relevant to the plot. If these were not there, it wouldn't make a difference. Much of the time, the camera is on Rambo, while there is a subtitle on a voice in the background saying something about how it's almost time to get something to eat. It doesn't matter. Yet, when the soldiers are yelling at Trautman or other captives, there often isn't a translation. Wouldn't that be the point where they should include that?

As in most Rambo movies, eventually he kills everything within reach.

Children of the Corn 666: Isaac's Return (1999)

19 year old Hannah goes to children of the corn country to find her mother, who she's never met. The desolate town contains not only info on her mother, but Isaac who promptly wakes up from the coma he's been in for nineteen years. His followers see this as the first sign of the prophecy where the first son and first daughter must have a child.

Stacy Keach stars as the town doctor and Nancy Allen stars as Hannah's mother. He Who Walks Behind the Rows - a name that is scary and stupid at the same time - puts in an appearance later in the film.

And in case you missed that it was twelve o'clock, ten million clocks ring to hit the point home.

Zoltan, Hound of Dracula (1978)

A construction worker opens a coffin containing a dog with a stake through his heart. The idiot pulls out the stake, thus awakening Dracula's dog, whose eyes glow in the dark.

The dog and Dracula's servant Igor travel to the US to find a descendant of the Count as they need a master to serve. Igor drives a hearse with a big bat on the back window, not discreet at all.

Revenge of the Cheerleaders (1976)

Aloha High School's cheerleaders run wild and are completely unlikable. They have sex in the school hallways, in front of teachers, and in the locker rooms. One girl makes out with a guy's butt while he's at work as an ice cream clerk making a lady a banana split. There are boobs and untanned butts flying everywhere, plus David Hasselhoff as a basketball star named Boner.

Every once in a while the cheerleaders and basketball team break into an ungainly song and dance number, which is embarrassing for all the participants.

The girls dose the school lunch with drugs on the day state inspectors are visiting, while the principal hopes to close the school and open a mall. It's mayhem and naked people everywhere, starring a bunch of cheerleading jerks.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo (1984)

Break dancers Ozone and Turbo team up with rich girl Kelly - whose dad doesn't like Kelly wasting her life dancing with the lower class - to save the neighborhood youth center, Miracles, which is about to be demolished by a corrupt business man who wants the land to build a shopping mall.

Will the break dancers save their neighborhood? Will they win the dance off against that rival dancing gang? Will they get the hell off the ceiling? And will the rich girl's father learn that just because someone has no money, dresses odd, and dances to the rhythm of the street doesn't mean he is a conman after rich people's money?

If you're looking for a cliche in action, you've got it:
  • neighborhood bands together to fight evil industrialist
  • rich girl's parents hate her urban friends but come to realize they are good kids
  • rich girl is told she doesn't belong by urban girl
  • rival dance groups put aside their differences to fight a common enemy
  • shy guy gets girl by being himself
  • shy guy asks older guy for advice about girls and is given lesson in the wrong things to do

Dragon Fighter (2003)

A status hungry scientist working in a secret underground cloning facility - yeah that's right, secret underground cloning facility - puts what he believes is a dragons egg in an incubator. Newly hired head of security, Dean Cain, is not only a former military man with the skills to fly a Black Hawk, but also a well learned brainiac in chemistry and biology, due to his parents being biologists. In fact, Cain reads heavy duty books on these subjects just for fun.

Though the other scientists are cloning experts, they don't seem to have a clue about what is going on within the complex or are alarmed when the doctor shows up with a large mystery egg. Cains knowledge of all things biological and chemical means that he correctly guesses that the patronizing doctor has found a dragon egg, and is very alarmed at the possible consequences. None of the cloning experts seems concerned about their fate.

The madman scientist only cares about his precious dragon egg, not what might happen once it hatches. Thus he balks every step of the way when faced with the danger that is hatching within their compound walls.

The incubator tank is full of pink smoke, so no one can see what is happening inside. As it is a sterile environment, two contamination suited flunkies are sent in to extract the newly hatched creature. Shortly after the two men enter, there is a terrific explosion that destroys the room.

What do you know, a dragon is now kalumpfing through the halls. Super idiot scientist still demands that no one harm his find, as all he can think about is the fame it will bring him. I'm thinking even a dead dragon would make him superbly famous, plus they're in a cloning facility so couldn't they just clone the dead dragon after coming up with a better plan on how to deal with it once it hatches?

The rest of the movie is sort of like Alien, except the dragon is obviously computer generated which makes it more amusing than threatening. I actually forgot that they were in an underground complex and thought that it was a movie taking place in the future. Ninety five percent of this movie takes place in the hallways and futuristic looking labs......which once again makes the film look very much like a sub par Alien.

Welcome to Spring Break (1988)

aka Nightmare Beach

After blowing the big game, Skip and his friend Ronnie head to Spring Break to have some fun. Ronnie confirms his idiot status by wearing a mesh tshirt, parking in the Demon's biker gangs spot, and giving them the finger. Ronnie confirms he is the responsible, smart guy by stating that they don't want any trouble.

Meanwhile Diablo, the leader of the gang who was electrocuted for murdering a teenager has gone missing from his grave. Soon a black motorcycle with a mysterious rider are killing people during Spring Break. The gang thinks it's Diablo come back to life, the local police department isn't sure.

There is a running gag about a young woman who convinces men she needs money and has sex to get them to contribute, a guy with new wave hair who steals money from vacationers, and a guy who continually plays pranks about being dead.

There is a continuity error in the film. When Skip holds a screwdriver to Doc's neck, at first it is a Phillips head. But when they show it again, it is a flathead.

The film features John Saxon and Michael Parks, who most people know from "Twin Peaks", but I alway like to think of him as the free wheeling motorcycle rider in "Then Came Bronson".

The Curse of the Crying Woman (1963)

aka La MaldiciĆ³n de la Llorona

Stupid woman, what with her crying and her curse...what the hell!? This black and white Mexican horror film has some nice atmosphere and very creepy eye makeup, but the translation is ridiculous.

Newly married Emily receives an invitation from her Aunt Thelma to visit. When Emily arrives, she discovers that her uncle Daniel has died in a terrible accident and her Aunt has not aged from when she last saw her years before.

Thelma is a strange woman as she is never around during the day and has no reflection. Turns out she has discovered the secrets of Marian Lane, the wailing witch, who threw her life away in exchange for power.

Thelma and her deformed man servant named Fred were not aware that Emily had remarried and are quite upset that she has brought her husband Herbert along to visit. Herbert ends up getting the brunt of the abuse in the movie as not only does the creepy zombie in the bell tower throw him over the railing, but he also falls through a trap door.

It is silly hearing all the Americanized names. But ever more ridiculous is that the zombie locked in the bell tower can reach through the bars on the door and unlock it the door from the outside.

Most ridiculous lines:

1. "You're coming close to the front door of the supernatural!"

2. "Why is that horrid monster in the house?" "Fred?" Uhhh, yes, the horrid monster's name is Fred.

Cybercity (1999)

aka The Shepherd

Why would anyone go see a film called The Shepherd? They wouldn't, which is why they titled the dvd Cybercity.

C. Thomas Howell is a shepherd - someone hired to assassinate those considered undesirable or a threat to society - whose wife and kid are dead, but he keeps reliving this via future-vision. He is asked to kill a woman and her child. The boy doesn't talk because he's "had a scare."

Roddy Piper is the Preacher who appears on video and hologram and half way through the film starts dragging around a massive cross.

David Carradine has a ventriloquist dummy that wears a wig and chokes C. Thomas Howell, who's ass gets too much airtime in the film.

Howell becomes attached to the woman and little boy, and decides to help them avoid assassination. They hide in a church which creepily enough has a bed behind the pulpit. Howell and the woman have sex while the little boy is in the same room. Yes, no need to be concerned about emotional scarring of the child.

Thomas's shirt bulges strategically at the chest to reveal his tattoo. Unfortunately the way the shirt pulls looks very feminine, thus undermining any attempt at tattoo machismo.

Best of all is the little future car they drive around in, which appears to consist of a golf cart with blue lights and cardboard doors. Hurrah for the cyber future!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Wisconsin Death Trip (1999)

Wisconsin Death Trip is based on the book of the same name and attempts to be faithful in it's narrative of death in a small Wisconsin town during the 1890s. The book is a collection of photographs and newspaper clippings from Black River Falls, WI, all of which involve death and hardship.

While I was fascinating by the book, the film was very slow moving. Overall the film had an antsy feeling which was very effective, but the whispering throughout drove me crazy - although not as crazy as the poor people that lived in Black River Falls.

I was very taken with the window smasher who appeared several times throughout the film. I would recommend the book, but I found the film difficult to get through.

Get Crazy (1983)

Max Wolfe loves rocknroll and is about to do his 15th annual New Years Eve concert. But villain Mr. Beverly wants to shut down the theater and put up a highrise. When Max won't let Beverly buy out his lease, Beverly vows to put an end to the concert.

With a typical rocknroll versus the establishment storyline and comedy that sometimes falls flat, the film still managed to be really fun and make me laugh. There is also a great cast including cult favorites Mary Waronov, Paul Bartel, Clint Howard, Malcolm McDowell, Lee Ving, Bobby Sherman, Fabian, Lou Reed, Howard Kaplan of The Turtles, and The Doors' John Densmore.

Lou Reed is great as Audin, the reclusive singer who comes out of seclusion to play the show as a favor to Max, and has the taxi driver take the long way to the show as he's having a burst of creativity.

Malcolm McDowell plays Reggie Wanker, a self obsessed rock star who wears a huge codpiece, drinks magic water, and talks to his penis - which talks back, eeek!

Other stand outs are Bobby Sherman and Fabian, who are very funny as Mr. Beverly's henchmen.

The Godmonster of Indian Flats (1973)

After a drunken night in town, sheep farmer Eddie wake up in the barn next to a large bloody mass of something. Luckily local mad scientist Dr. Clemons and his hippie assistant Mariposa happen by to hear Eddie screaming. The daft doctor immediately realizes that this yucky thing the size of a small child is going to solve his research theory.

Meanwhile back in town, Mr. Barnstable - a redundant name if ever there was one - a representative from a rich mining company, has arrived bringing offers to purchase everyone's land. This doesn't sit well with the local officials who do not want to give up control of the town.

The town officers come up with a plan to discredit Barnstable by blaming him for killing the Sheriff's dog and framing him for a shooting of a local man. As Barnstable is chased out of town by a vigilante group wanting to hang him, he happens upon Dr. Clemons lab (which looks more like a bunker).

Clemons has been raising the gooey thing from the barn, which he determined is a sheep embryo, although the sheep must have been intimate with an alien judging by the final result. The embryo has grown into the title character, the Godmonster - a massive misshapen mutant of a sheep that is larger and taller than a human being and has strangely long legs of different lengths.

Horror of all horrors, the Godmonster escapes and runs wild through the country side while Mariposa chases after it, only to finally catch up with it and say the oddest line ever in film, "I've been following you since the glory hole." Yeeehaw!

Wow, inexplicable, unfathomable, bizarrre... truly has to be seen to be believed.

Frankenstein's Daughter (1958)

Oliver Frank, a descendant of the infamous Baron von Frankenstein, is working on a potion that will bring the dead back to life. He slips the potion into fruit punch that he gives to Trudy, the niece of his boss Carter Morton, who is arguable a mad scientist. Trudy turns into a monster and runs around town in a bathing suit freaking people out.

This sequence of events leads me to the biggest question of the film - if Oliver is trying to make a potion to bring the dead back to life, then why is he giving it to the living? Sadly, there is no explanation.

After Trudy's friend Susie won't make out with Oliver while on a date, Olvier runs her over with his car so he can use her organs for his experiments. Oliver takes the secret passage into Carter's house so that he can use his lab. It seems odd that Carter doesn't know about the passageway, but no explanation is offered.

When Oliver is done with the monster that is Frankenstein's daughter, she doesn't leave via the secret passage, but walks straight out the front door?! The monster has an outerspace type of jacket and gloves, a massive bandage on her head, and looks like a melty faced Jack Carter. In fact, Frankenstein's daughter looks not so much like a daughter at all, but like a large ugly heavily bandaged man.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The House That Dripped Blood (1971)

A house reflects back whatever type of person you are and everyone who rents it dies.

This anthology has four stories:

1. a writer sees his story come to life when a creepy strangler starts killing people.

2. Peter Cushing sees a figure in a wax museum who looks just like his true love.

3. Christopher Lee plays a strict father who will not let his daughter have any fun.

4. an actor buys an old cape while making a vampire movie and strange things start to happen.

Ants (1977)

Construction workers anger a colony of ants, causing them to attack a nearby hotel. In a subplot, a rich jerk attempts to purchase the hotel from the old lady who has owned it forever.

When a young boy becomes covered by sticky, biting, deadly ants after doing some dumpster diving, a doctor declares that he died from a virus. The construction foreman Mr. Carr insists that the ants killed him, but the arrogant doc won't even consider that suggestion as he knows more than someone who works with heavy machinery.

Whenever ants swarm onto someone, they scream for help and fall flat rather than making an attempt to brush off the ants. It's really annoying. Later in the movie, one of the construction workers who gets ants on him screams that his leg has gone numb. It would have been helpful to explain earlier in the film that the ants had a numbing effect on people as it would make it much less irritating when people do nothing to save themselves.

Oddly enough, no one notices the massive swarms of ants advancing on the hotel, leading to the climax when the guests - including a lady in a wheelchair and a girl who gets dizzy from heights - get trapped in the hotel by the big freaking mass of attacking ants.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Scared Stiff (1987)

Psychiatrist David buys an old plantation that used to be owned by an abusive slave owner, George Masterson. The moves his girlfriend Kate a singer who makes music videos, and her son into the home. Kate starts having visions of the former owner and David finds a trunk in the attic which contains the body of a woman and little boy.

As Kate's supernatural experiences increase, David becomes cruel and uncaring, appearing to be possessed by the spirit of Masterson. But are Kate's experiences real or imagined? The question arises due to Kate and David having met when Kate was a patient in the psycho ward. David insists that her mental illness has returned, while Kate becomes frustrated when David will not believe that there is a threat to their safety.

The end of the movie is incredibly lame with Masterson turning into the strange creature pictured on the cover without any explanation.

Beyond the Door II (1977)

When Dora, her new husband, and creepy little son Marco move into a new home, strange things start happening. Dora starts seeing her Carlo (her first husband who committed suicide), Marco somehow gets into the basement even though the door is always locked, and inanimate objects become threatening.

Marco becomes increasingly creepy, telling his mother he is going to kill her. There are also a few scenes which suggest his incestuous interest in Dora. He also seems to have some sort of supernatural power as he pins his pilot stepfathers picture to a swing, which makes the plane go into a nosedive. He also draws picture of his mother holding a knife and his father with his throat cut. The question becomes are the happenings supernatural or is Dora going insane.

Capture of Bigfoot (1979)

Why do all Bigfoot movies from the 1970s have bad sensitive folk music ballads for their theme songs? Just another mystery for Bigfoot fans...

Two trappers capture a baby Bigfoot and are taking it back into town when mama Bigfoot comes calling. The two men are employed by local businessman and lunatic, Mr. Olsen, who is obsessed with having his own Bigfoot so he can make a fortune using the creature as a tourist attraction.

Olsen sends more trappers to look for the poor critter and havoc ensues. Local Ranger Steve Garrett tries to protect the creature, his girlfriends son (who is out roaming around in little Bigfoot country), and the town from Olsen and his brigade of Bigfoot inciting hunters.

The Bigfoot creature looks more like a yeti than the dark haired North American Bigfoot usually depicted in films, what with it's white fur and bad haircut. Like many 1970s Bigfoot films, there is almost no Bigfoot action.

Rambo: First Blood, Part II (1985)

I've spent my life avoiding Rambo movies, but since my friends rented this and wanted to watch it, I figured there was no legitimate reason to maintain my anti-Rambo stance.

John Rambo is dropped off in Vietnam on a secret mission to find out if there are any POWs still alive. He is given a camera (which seems to confuse his war weary brain), and told to take photos if he sees any prisoners. He is not to engage anyone or do any rescue operations.

Of course, this is contrary to Rambo's own moral compass and when he sees prisoners, he grabs one to bring back with him. Unfortunately the mission is a fake and the man in charge leaves Rambo to be captured by the Vietnamese.

As in all 1980s movies, the Russians end up being the bad guys. They torture Rambo until he escapes, kills everyone, and heads back to find the man who left him for dead.

The Alpha Incident (1978)

The opening line of the movie says it all, "This doesn't make any sense!" Scientists transport a virus from Mars via freight train with a biochemist posing as a conductor guarding it. Inevitably a not so bright railroad worker accidentally breaks a vial while investigating the contents of the top secret shipment, and is infected by the virus. When the train stops at a small station, the five railroad employees and the biochemist are quarantined while scientists frantically try to find a cure for the virus.

The small group must stay awake because the virus will kill them if they fall asleep. They ingest amphetamines, but then sit around boring the viewer into a near sleep like state. There isn't any action and the dialogue is not very interesting. The movie has a Night of the Living Dead type of ending.