Saturday, July 26, 2008

Flesheater (1988)

Bill Hinzman - the guy who was the first zombie in the graveyard in Night of the Living Dead - is all over this film. He is writer, director, producer, editor, actor, and cinematographer. This is another example proving that the number of times a person's name appears in the credits is directly proportional to how bad a film will be.

A group of college students go on a hayride and plan to spend the night outside on the farm. On their ride, they pass a farmer pulling a stump out of the ground... the stump of the living dead!! Uh no, not really.

As the farmer is filling in the hole, for some reason he starts brushing leaves off what appears to be a plot of potting soil under which he finds a stone with pentagram carved into it. Thinking it's damn kids and their pranks, he digs it up and discovers another stone with an inscription on it about evil being buried there. Oddly enough the farmer then rips that up and pushes more soil away to reveal a wooden lid buried only inches below the surface, which he opens up to reveal Bill Hinzman who promptly pulls him into the box and takes a bite out of him. Thus begins our zombie killing spree in which Bill and everyone he kills wanders around killing people.

There is no cohesive plot. Once the zombies kill everyone in one location, they go to another and kill everyone there. That's all there is to it. There is full frontal nudity, which always surprises me as I can't understand why girls get naked for low budget films like this. The film ends by ripping off Night of the Living Dead.

One thing of note is the growling sound that accompanies the zombies. Since when do zombies growl like animals? This is not a good zombie flick, but it does have Bill Hinzman.

The Mist (2007)

After a windstorm knocks out power and over turns trees in a small Maine town, local residents end up holed up in the supermarket after one of their neighbors comes running into the store warning that there is something in the mist, which is moving into the parking lot.

As the hours pass, large bugs and strange creatures appear in the mist and try to get into the store. The stress forces some of those inside to side with the crazy religious lady who says god is punishing them, that she is god's conduit, and has predicted what is going to happen. It is not a good situation and it's getting dangerous for those who have not decided to follow

I knew the ending of this movie before I saw it as someone I once worked with told me about it as the ending made her feel sick. Days later she was still extremely disturbed and upset by the outcome.

I think this is the only film I've ever seen where there is someone instigating trouble and you know something needs to be done, and it actually gets done. Hurrah for that.

The biggest problem I have with this is if he was driving down the Maine turnpike, how the hell did he end up running out of gas on a dirt road in the middle of the forrest? Come on!

Razorback (1984)

Beth Winters, a female reporter who is pro animal rights, goes to Australia to do a story on the slaughter of kangaroos. She goes into the outback and makes a nuisance of herself, which makes her a target of the owners of Petpak who are making dog food out of the 'roos.

The Petpak brothers are really creepy, but Beth still goes into the middle of nowhere to aim her camera in through their factory windows. Ohhhh so stupid. It doesn't end well as the brothers end up ramming her car with their vehicle, which resembles something you'd see in Mad Max. While it appears the boys are about to make her pay, from out of nowhere comes Razorback, the giant killer hog, who ends up gobbling up the injured Beth.

Her husband Carl flies out to try to figure out what happened to his wife and for some reason ends up on a hunt with the Petpak brothers in which he is stranded in the outback. Razorback only shows up every once in awhile and there is an old guy who keeps trying to catch him as he kidnapped and ate his grandson. Yeah, it's just a big mess as there is a serious lack of Razorback in the film. Giant killer pig concept - excellent; lack of titled character - lame.

Death Valley: The Revenge of Bloody Bill (2004)

A debate team on their way to a competition are car jacked by a drug dealer looking for his partner who ran off with their money. They track the partner to a ghost town where the partner stumbles upon them and bloodily warns them that they need to get out of town before they are killed. This prompts one student to remember that this is the town where Bloody Bill was killed and that he'd issued a curse on the town before he died. No one is as concerned as they should be, which is too bad as the zombies will soon be after them.

This is a sorry excuse for a film. The acting is sub par and the story is ridiculous. There is a sign showing the population at the town entrace which increases everytime the zombies kill someone. But when zombies are dispatched, the number doesn't go down.

The dvd had an extra entitled Zombie Dance. That sounded kind of interesting, but it was not to be. I have no idea why it they called it the zombie dance as it was just a collection of photographs with bad music playing.

There was also a short Behind the Scenes feature which consisted of interviews and people joking around, in which the jokes would probably be funny if you were on the set, but they fall flat if you weren't involved.

The girl who plays Mandy states that Mandy is a lovable charcter, everybody has a little Mandy in them, and that you have to have sympathy for her. She is dead wrong on all counts. Mandy is a royal pain in the ass who you want dead as soon as possible.

The most interesting thing about the Behind the Scenes is that there was actually some good zombie make up in the film. When I was watching the film, I thought the zombie makeup looked terrible. Perhaps the worst ones ended up in best camera position? I don't remember seeing any good makeup in the film, but there were some really nice zombies behind the scenes.

The makeup for Bloody Bill is ridiculous and one of the worst in the film. Look at the dvd cover. I thought that was probably just a bad drawing. Nope, that is what Bill actually looks like and it looks stupid.

Let me leave you with this exchange - The movie is in the $1.00 budget dvds at Walmart. When the clerk saw my purchase, she said, "Oh I bought that movie too. It was pretty good."

"Really?", I asked.

"Well...," she paused for a minute. "It was okay. I mean, for what I paid for it I guess I can't complain." Yup, that sums it up.

Acts of Death (2007)

aka The Final Curtain

Theater students sneak into the campus theater to have the lamest party ever. They plan to initiate the new girl, which consists of slipping her a mickey and date rape. As if that isn't mind boggling horrible enough, the date rapists girlfriend video tapes the assault, which goes horribly wrong and the girl ends up dead. Stupidly enough they choose to do get rid of the body. The next day the group are asked to stay for a late rehearsal and start getting picked off by an unknown killer stalking the halls.

The one thing going for it is that it has Reggie Banister, of Phantasm fame, as the night security guard. The pacing is absolutely tedious, the acting isn't very good, the characters are annoying and unlikable, and the ending is a long way to go for nothing. Plus there are plot developments thrown into the last few minute of the film that make you wonder if perhaps they didn't know how to end it, or realized that the ending made no sense so they threw this in.

In the Spider's Web (2007)

A group of people are camping and hiking in the jungle for reasons that are never fleshed out and their relationship, if any, is never explained. But their guide is an idiot and so are they as they sleep on the jungle floor without tents, blankets, or netting for bugs. Surprisingly enough they do not encounter any problems with this until the last night of their trip when one of the women is bitten by a spider.

The group determines that they can not get her back to the nearest town before she dies and decide to try to find a legendary white doctor who supposedly lives nearby in the forrest. Yes, if I'm ever bitten by a spider, I'd prefer my friends to randomly wander through the dense jungle trying to find a rumored doctor in a hut rather than get me to an actual town that they know exists.

They stumble a across the doctor living with a tribe and while he tends to the woman, three of the group head back to town to find some help. The other two stay with the doctor, but while out exploring run across a cave which houses not only loads of cgi spiders but the doctor's secret.

Please enjoy the spiders on strings, or as we liked to call them, the yo-yo spiders.

Star Slyderz (2005)

This is one of those films you'll either think is great or completely stupid. Part satire and part sophomoric humor, it looks like a kids space show right out of the 1980s, complete with catchy theme song. In fact, I thought my friends had told me this was filmed in the mid 80s and I wouldn't have known different with the costumes and sets looking the way they did, other than the copyright info. What a fantastic job these guys did on a zero budget. It's a truly bizarre film and thankfully there are no cgi monsters.

The story follows Captain Johnny Taylor, whose father Jason was killed while Captain of the first Star Slyderz. The president asks Johnny and the Star Sliderz crew to rescue his daughter from the clutches of Gorgon, an evil space criminal who plans to destroy the earth. Making the mission even more important is that Johnny's father was killed by Gorgon's right hand man, Mortikai. Oh yeah, and I should mention that this is a musical, but in the best possible way.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Neon Maniacs (1986)

Teenagers partying in the park are killed by a group of mutated maniacs. Contrary to the title, they do not glow brightly, but the neon refers to their bodily fluids as they glop they leave behind in neon.

Natalie, the lone survivor of the attack, tells the police what happened but they don't believe her. In fact, none of the parents of the missing kids believe her either. Everyone keeps saying it must be a prank. Yeah, what a great joke. Hey gang, let's all disappear and have Natalie tell everyone we were slaughtered. We'll all have a good laugh over that one.

The only person who actually believes Natalie is Paula, a junior high student who is into monster movies. In a disturbing casting move, Paul appears to be close to thirty even though she is playing a kid, which is symbolized by her baseball hat being slightly askew. It's also odd to see a horror movie loving kid to film a vampire movie during the day.

When Natalie won't talk to Paula, she takes it upon herself to go to the murder scene and try to get some footage of the killers.
She tracks the monsters to under the Golden Gate Bridge and using her movie camera, (which would have been an out of the ordinary thing for a kid to have in 1986), she attempts to film them but is seen by the monsters and has to flee. But not before discovering that their Achilles heel is water.

Natalie starts dating delivery boy Steve and the two end up teaming up with Paula as the maniacs keep trying to kill Natalie. Their brilliant idea is to try to dispatch the monsters at the battle of the bands Halloween dance at the high school where Steve is singing his horrible songs.

This goes horribly wrong as everyone is in costume and by the time they see the maniacs, it's too late and there is a panic with everyone forgetting to use their water pistols on the creatures. This leads to the police finally considering what Natalie has to say seriously. I'm not going to say more than that, except that this is one of those movies that has no real resolution and I'm not sure if they just couldn't figure out how to end it, or were preparing the way for a possible sequel.

Burst City (1982)

aka Bakuretsu Toshi

In Japan of the future, which looks like the barren post-apocalyptic world of Mad Max, punk bands live in abandoned factories and come together at night for drag racing and music. Add to this a biker with metal chest plate and his mute sidekick in a sidecar, plus some yakuza taking over the neighborhood and using gangs as forced labor. Oh you just know that's not going to go well.

The box has a synposis, but quite honestly I couldn't follow any sort of plot while watching it. Don't expect it to make sense and don't expect there to be any resolution. I did enjoy the bands, especially the Battle Rockers with their amusingly titled "Wild Supermarket". If you want more info on the film, I'd recommend reading about it either at KFC Cinema or Midnight Eye, both great Japanese cinema sites.

Be Kind Rewind (2008)

I like Jack Black. I think he's funny. But why does he have to make such crappy movies? In this one, Jack plays Jerry who ends up magnetized when he tries to sabotage the electrical station next to his garage. His magnetism accidentally erases all the tapes in the video store where he hangs out.

Once his friend Mike, who is taking care of the store while the owner is away, figures out what has happened, he and Jerry remake Ghostbusters as the woman checking in on them wants to rent it. They can't find he film on vhs in any other rental store in town, and she'll tell the owner they messed up if they can't provide the movie.

There are some funny scenes in the movie and the remakes are funny, but overall it's a generic big budget comedy with a cliched ending. Another disappointment and a reason I try to avoid mainstream films. This is another in the type of film I would call good background noise for a Sunday afternoon spent cleaning the house.

Life Without Dick (2002)

I was flipping around the channels on basic cable when I saw Sarah Jessica Parker killing that dumbass Johnny Knoxville. That made me very happy, so I continued watching. Harry Connick Jr. plays an accountant whose Irish mobster brother-in-law promotes him to hitman because he seems unhappy in his job as an accountant. But since he hasn't even made one hit in the year that he's been a hitman, it all comes down to his current assignment, which is to kill local PI Knoxville who is also Parker's boyfriend, and Connick likes Parker.

I hate to admit it, but I got sucked into this comedy of errors and watched the entire thing. It's not that great a movie. In fact, the comedy falls flat, but it's an okay Sunday afternoon movie and I'm sure many women would enjoy hearing Harry Connick Jr. sing Danny Boy. I wouldn't rent it, but if I was looking for mindless entertainment while I was doing something else, I'd let it play in the background.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Vampire Wars: Battle for the Universe (2005)

aka Bloodsuckers
In the future, there are space vampires, so there is a need for Vampire Sanitation (V-SAN), who responds to distress calls and kills whatever vampires are running amuck. They have a five man team, which includes good vampire Quintana (who can smell other vampires) and rookie Damien.

There are three types of vampires named Voorhees, Leatherfaces, and Nosferati, plus a new species which turns out to be a little phallic worm that inhabits a host in order to track and feed on humans. The worm is unintentionally hysterical when Quintana interrogates it, and when it's huge mouth let's out a girly scream, you'll die laughing.

It's not a very good movie, but it is fun to watch as there are plenty of ridiculous moments, lots of Alien ripoffs, and bad dialogue.

The Hitcher (2007)

Two college students heading off for the weekend with friends, almost hit a man on a deserted stretch of road in New Mexico.  As it is pouring out, Jim thinks they should give him a ride, but Grace thinks that is a bad idea.  

They meet up with the man at a truck stop down the road and when he asks Jim for a ride into town, Jim feels obliged to help.  Unfortunately Grace's feelings were correct as the man turns out to be a psycho who torments them until they are able to throw him out of the car.

Even though they are unnerved, they end up pulling off the road to sleep and the next day are passed by a family in a station wagon, who are giving the same psycho a ride.  They crash their car trying to warn the family, and stumble upon the poor family later, who have become victims. Driving the family's car to a truck stop to ask for help, they are arrested for the murders. 

The original Hitcher movie scared me, but this one didn't have the same effect.  I didn't feel the tension the first movie had.  Plus the characters did some really stupid things.  If a psycho killer and the police are after you, would you really feel comfortable enough to get naked and take a long shower?  This killing machine keeps showing up everywhere they go, yet they aren't concerned about being naked and vulnerable.

Black Heat (1976)

Anyone who buys this dvd for the cover is going to be sorely disappointed as neither person pictured is in the movie due to this being a 1976 Al Adamson blaxploitation flick.  

It seems to me they should market the cover towards someone who might actually want to see it, rather than those who will be totally alienated once they see what they've purchased.  I wouldn't take a second look at this cover.  The original poster art is much better and let's you know exactly what you're getting.  Personally I hate updated cover art as it is always worse than the original and is completely generic.

Kicks Carter and Tony are after two local bad guys, Guido and Ziggy.  Carter's reporter girlfriend carries around a movie camera which takes up a huge portion of the front seat of her car.  Tony's girlfriend has a gambling problem which gets worse after his death in a car crash engineering by Ziggy.

There is an incredibly bad lounge song called "No More Mail Until Tomorrow", and yes the lyrics are as bad as the title leads you to believe.  

There are also several misspellings in the film, such as the "Neigbor" Hood Pool, or the boxes marked "amuniton".

Not one of the better movies of this type, especially since it is noted in the liner notes that the movie had two different opening reels so that it could play in two types of theaters, either as Girls Hotel (naughty girls getting in trouble), or Black Heat, (action blaxploitation flick).  

The Day After Tomorrow (2004)

Paleoclimatologist Jack Hall warns the vice president of the coming danger due to global warming and his recent experiences on an ice flow. But does the VP listen to Jack? No, of course not. Granted, Jack said there would be catastrophic destruction within a thousand years, but how was he to know his timing would be off by a thousand years and the global destruction had already started. Um, well, yes, I guess his credibility does come into question, doesn't it.

Jack's son Sam, played by Jake Gyllenhaal - who looks way too old to be in high school - has gone to New York for a scholastic endeavor, which places him in the middle of disaster as New York is about to be hit by a tidal wave, followed by temperatures so cold that gasoline freezes.

When Sam and his friends hole up with other survivors in the NYC Library, Jack tells him to stay inside and he'll come get him. Jack and his two co-workers head off in a pick up truck to rescue Sam, which prompts the question, how are they going to fit everyone in the cab? And more importantly, what kind of crappy rescue is this?

It's an interesting and scary premise, but there are too many questions that arise, such as:
  • how was Jack able to sink his ice ax into the glass roof of a building?
  • if continuous exposure to the outside air temperature is deadly, then why does Jack think he'll succeed with a pick up truck, snowshoes, and a tent?
  • if the storm is covering the northern US and Washington DC has already been written off, then how can Jack make it to Manhattan when he's walking?
  • wouldn't wolves go after easier prey, such as the sickly or recently deceased?
  • why the wolves?  Wasn't the global destruction enough?
  • does there always need to be a sassy homeless man in movies that take place in New York?
  • why does the statue of Liberty look so small compared to the size of Jack?
  • if light showing beneath the door, then shouldn't the cold air have been able to get in and freeze everything in the room, even with a fire going?
  • how did Jack get in touch with anyone once he was in Manhattan since the cell phones didn't get any signal and the pay phones were frozen under water?

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Boy Eats Girl (2005)

I was disappointed in this film. The trailer was very well done and the description on the dvd went along with the trailer in making it seem like the movie was about the difficulty of high school and the lead character having a girlfriend who he was trying not to eat. Perhaps I am too literal, but that really wasn't what was going on in the movie. Maybe if I'd never seen the trailer I would have been better off.

Nathan wants to date his friend Jessica, but hasn't gotten the nerve to tell her. When she doesn't show up to meet him, he sees her out with the school sleaze and his heart is broken. Unfortunately he doesn't realize she has been trying to find Nathan and only accepted a ride home due to the downpour.

Nathan goes home, seeks solace in alcohol, and places a noose around his neck. In another unfortunate event, his mom chooses to walk through the door to turn down his music and Nathan expires. But not for long as mom has a book on rituals to restore life and Nathan is back on his feet again.... unfortunately the book is missing some pages and Nathan has been resurrected as one of the undead. This is the start of the zombie plague that breaks out in town after Nathan bites the ear off the high school bully at the school dance.

I'm not sure if I should wait a few months and watch it again, or if it's just an average movie. I was expecting something really different after the way the trailer portrayed it. So disappointing, but perhaps if you don't have expectations, it's okay.

Superbad (2007)

During the beginning of the movie, I was wondering why this was supposed to be so funny. I'm not into crude teenage boy humor where they talk about sex and girls in graphic detail that teenage girls would be horrified to be mentioned. However, once the plotline involving the fake id and the party started, the vulgarity was put aside for the most part and I actually thought the movie was funny.

Seth and Evan, best friends forever, are about to graduate from high school and have gotten into different colleges. When Seth's partner doesn't show up for their home economics class, he is paired with Jules, a girl he is interested in, who invites him to a party she is having that night. Seth and Evan haven't been invited to a single party during high school. They're excited to go, especially when Evan finds out Becca, the girl he has a crush on, will be at the party.

When their friend Fogell says he's getting a fake id, Seth tells Jules that he has a fake id. When she asks him to pick up the alcohol for the party, he agrees. The story really gets going once Seth, Evan, and Fogell meet up outside the liquor store. From there it's chaos and the goal of providing alcohol as well as getting to the party are in jeopardy.

If you can get past the crude beginning and overlook the weak ending, it's got some good laughs and is worth seeing.

Burial Ground (1981)

aka Le Notti del Terrore

I decided to watch this film because the vhs cover art is great and it was released on Vestron Video. Little did I know this was the same movie I saw years ago in a local theater that was on it's way out, and was a film that completely creeped me out, not so much due to zombies but rather to the incestuous freaky little boy, Michael.

The movie begins when a professor exploring a crypt awakens the undead, which prompts the ridiculous line "I'm your friend" as the zombies converge upon him. Cut to some upper class couples jaunting off for the weekend at a villa and to meet the professor - yes, the same professor who has just been eaten by zombies. Needless to say their choice of holiday plans goes very badly.

The couples cavort about the estate and then the undead begin to rise. It takes the couples a little while to figure this out as they are too busy making out. When they decide they must get back to the house, one of the girls ends up getting her foot caught in a bear trap. No, I'm not kidding. Even better, once they pry her leg out of the trap, the skin isn't even broken. It's just slightly discolored.

After they free her from the trap, they are able to get inside before the zombies get them. Unfortunately the couple in the basement are not so lucky and the husband is consumed. The mother and freaky little Michael manage to escape and meet up with the others.

The group tries to figure out how to keep the zombies out, but they aren't too bright. At one point, they even postulate that the zombies might not actually be after them, so why not let them into the house.

The film is ridiculous and disturbing. The dubbing is bad, especially when it comes to Michael as he appears to have been dubbed by an adult trying to sound like a child. The actor who plays Michael is obviously not a child, which is possibly because I don't think it would be legal to do what the incestuous plot requires. Yup, he's really creepy.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Days of Darkness (2007)

A meteor that looks like a vertebra hits the earth and people start turning into zombies. A group of survivors hole up in a bunker on top of a hill and try to formulate a plan for survival. One of the woman is a porn star and talks repeatedly about it, which makes you pray the zombies will soon eat her.

While there are zombies outside the compound, what the survivors discover is that the meteor also had some sort of alien life form which incubates in the zombie host. This leads to a really disgusting scene, which I must confess was original. I've never seen an alien sack that made me so squeamish.

The characters are annoying and the explanation as to why this particular group did not turn into zombies is incredibly lame. Also if you're looking for zombie action, there's not much. The carnage that does occur is due to the stupidity of the characters, so you don't feel sorry for them.

Angel of Death (2002)

aka Semana Santa

Mira Sorvino walks around looking sad while trying to solve the murder of twins. Along with her partners, she investigates an attack and slayings by a man in a red pointy hood, who appears to be part of a secret society.

The murders bring her in contact with an old woman who confides the story of her youth, which involves the atrocities of war and trauma. The information she provides about her youth is helpful in the murders the cops are investigating.

I found the film barely interesting enough to keep watching, but not horrible enough to mock.