Monday, June 29, 2009

Resident Evil: Extinction (2007)

I haven't seen the other Resident Evil movies and I haven't played the video game.  Not knowing the back story and having nothing to compare it to, it was a bit confusing as to why Alice has special powers.  

A virus has spread over the earth and turned most of the populace into zombies who can run fast.  A convoy of survivors is traveling in search of other survivors.  When some zombie crows attack them, they get unexpected help from Alice who then joins the group.

Alice is hiding from a company called Umbrella who wants to grab her as her blood holds the key to immunizing themselves from the plague.  Alice has clones, so I'm not sure why they can't use clone blood.  Instead they spend all their time tracking Alice.

The movie didn't have any character development and the plot is pretty thin, but it did keep me entertained.

Spontaneous Combustion (1990)

Brad Dourif has always given me the creeps.  If he's in a film, I get squeamish about watching it because he has played such disturbing characters.  I wasn't interested in seeing this movie, but boy was I wrong.  While his character has serious problems, he showed what a good actor he is by not being creepy at all in this.

Sam's parents were test subjects in atomic experiments. His mother became pregnant during the experiments and both parents died by spontaneous combustion on the day that he was born.  

As a adult, Sam is having headaches and finds that when he gets angry, fire streams from his body.  When he gets angry at someone, they end up being burned alive.  Sam figures out it has something to do with the fire in his body and the experiments on his parents.

The end was fairly predictable and Sam's fate was not what I would have wished, but overall a decent story and worth watching.

Witchhouse 3 (2001)

A woman leaves her abusive boyfriend and goes to stay with two friends who are doing a documentary on witchcraft.  The three women get drunk and decide to do an incantation which summons a spirit. 

Strange things start happening in the house.  Sadly none of the women are smart enough to figure out that it is due to their ritual.  You would expect people doing a documentary on witchcraft to be more aware that this could happen. 

Then again, the primary filmmaker doesn't seem to be very professional. Her interview method consists of chasing someone on the street dressed like a witch while screaming, "do you want to be in a documentary on witchcraft?"  

Nothing to recommend this one.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Mr. Hell (2006)

Oh god, this is just awful.  As a child Tyler found her father murdered and was almost killed herself by Mr. Hell, a serial killer who collects his victims eyeballs.   Tyler's playground was the restricted laboratory her father worked in and Mr. Hell meets his demise in toxic chemicals as he tries to kill Tyler.

Now Tyler is an adult and she's a security guard at the same laboratory facility that is being cleaned by an incompetent toxic waste team who somehow bring Mr. Hell back to life. 

This is a difficult movie to get through and leaves you wishing you hadn't wasted your time.  There are so many reasons this doesn't work.  But the thing that sticks in my mind is Mr. Hell is supposed to be charming and have an IQ of 160, but comes off as a moronic homicidal buffoon.

Incubus (1981)

A small town sees a series of murders which involve women being brutally raped.  Dr. Sam Cordell, who oozes an unsettling sleaziness, comes to believe that it is the work of something not human due to the severe injuries sustained by the victims and the massive amounts of red semen found at the scene.

In a subplot, the doctors daughter has a boyfriend who has nightmares of women being raped and murdered before each murder occurs.  He becomes the prime suspect, especially after stating that he can't remember what happened and thinks he might be the murderer!

The most ridiculous part of the movie is when Dr. Cordell decides to induce sleep in the boyfriend which will cause him to dream and another murder to take place. Way to go, doc!  

The other ridiculous scene takes when a band featuring Bruce Dickinson performs at a theater in town.  It just comes out of nowhere and they do silly light effects, which are kind of cool but very much the stuff that was impressive in junior high.

Equinox (1970)

A group of college students head into the woods to have a picnic and meet a professor who has made a discovery.  The group finds the cabin destroyed and the professor nowhere to be found. 

When they hear cackling laughter coming from a cave, they venture inside and find an insane old man in the dark with a creepy ancient book that he passes to them, insisting they are now it's caretakers.

The group is plagued by strange claymation monsters, and Asmodeus, the forest ranger who changes into a drooling, sunken eyed creep trying to take possession of them.

The acting is weak, the students hair changes lengths throughout the film,  and there are some laughable moments.  But this started as a student project and for that, it's quite an accomplishment.

Frank Boers Jr. aka Frank Bonner went on to become Herb Tarlek on WKRP in Cincinnati.  Also of note is the films influence on Sam Raimi's Evil Dead.  Also one can not help but be reminded of the satire, Lost Skeleton of Cadavra, when the ranger steps out of the bushes.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Family (2006)

Harold is the perfect neighbor.  He's quiet, neat, and when the new neighbors drunkenly crash into and destroy his mailbox in the middle of the night, he fixes it before they get up in the morning and insist that they don't owe him anything for the trouble.   He's the perfect dinner guest and an all round nice harmless guy.  But his public persona is just a front for what lies underneath, a total psycho with a family comprised of his victims.  

This is a very effective film, well shot and well acted.  I honestly didn't see the ending coming, which was a nice surprise.  I enjoyed the movie, even though it was unsettling.  Also there was a nod to the Three Stooges.  While Harold was in the hospital, you can hear them paging Dr. Howard and Dr. Fine over the loud speaker, which is right out of one of their short films.

Zombie Island Massacre (1984)

A group of tourists on an island in the Caribbean take a bus trip to attend a voodoo ceremony.  Once the ceremony is over, the group heads back to the bus where they find the driver has disappeared and their bus won't start. 

The tour guide heads off to a pay phone down the road but never returns.  A newlywed couple who went off into the bushes ends up murdered and the remaining group decides to head off to a mansion that one remembers seeing on the way in.  

This leads to more murders by unseen people in the woods who one would assume are zombies due to the title of the film.  However the name is misleading as the only zombie in the movie is the one at the voodoo ceremony and there is a lame twist ending.  

Of note is the appearance of Rita Jenrette, who appeared in Playboy and whose Congressman husband was involved in a scandal that landed him in jail.  

The Damned Thing (2006)

As a child Kevin saw his father go insane, kill his mother, and attempt to kill him.  But what makes this harder for Kevin to bear is that it was some unseen force that drove his father and many of the townsfolk to murderous rage.

Now an adult and sheriff of the town, Kevin surrounds his house with security cameras and has a huge surveillance room in his home.  He seems to wait in fear of the unseen evil returning for him.

While the story is intriguing, it never offers enough information and the end leaves you with a "huh" kind of feeling.

House (2008)

A bickering, unlikable couple on their way to marriage counseling stumble across a strange accident and a creepy sheriff.  The imbeciles, on the advice of the spooky sheriff, take a short cut through the woods down a dirt road - oh good heavens! - and end up skidding off the road after a suspicious object slashes their tires.  There is another damaged car at the same spot which does not bode well for our intrepid travelers.  In true cliche fashion, their cell phones can not find a signal in this desolate area.  

Heading back to the main road, they stumble across a massive guest house that they did not notice on the way in.  Nothing suspicious about that.  They decide to stay the night since it is pouring rain, even though the staff is nowhere to be found and the last date in the guest book is twenty years ago. Nope, no need to be alarmed by any of that.

The couple from the other abandoned car appears. Then the creepy  staff appear out of nowhere. Top that all off with religious overtones and a freak outside known as the Tin Man who demands one dead body by sunrise or he'll kill them all, and you've got one big mess on your hands.

Everything that happens screams out for the couples to use a few brain cells and realize something is off.  But they keep getting in deeper and deeper until they're stuck in the house with the creepy hillbilly staff and a killer outside.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Horror Planet (1981)

aka Inseminoid

An archaeological dig on a new planet uncovers exploding madness and strange aliens who impregnate one of the women.  People go insane, act stupid, and somehow lose their guns when they really need them.

The film starts out okay with some Alien type story line but degenerates into the pregnant lady screaming incessantly and lots of wrestling. If only there were wrestling bears... giant mutant alien bears.

Working Stiffs (1989)

Consolidated Temp Agency or Con Temps for short, has a plan to make lots of money.  They kill their employees then bring them back as workaholic zombies.  This way their clients get great workers and they can pocket all the paychecks, thus increasing their profits.

The zombies look normal, unless they've been stabbed or if they eat salt.  Salt is the real detriment here as one taste of it and our temp workers turn into blue faced, hollowed eyed stiffs.

The only person who notices the odd behavior of the temps is a temp worker from another agency who asks her brother to help figure out what is going on.  At one point while her brother distracts a zombie worker, our non-zombie temp takes a hammer out and pounds repeatedly on the zombies hand and he never even notices.

For a no budget movie, this holds up really well.  The comedy often  falls flat, but it's not that painful forced comedy of many low budge movies.  It's not a great movie by any  means, but it does have it's own charm and I enjoyed watching it.

Mad Doctor of Blood Island (1968)

A trip to Blood Island is about what you'd expect - full of killing, blood and green blooded monsters.  Well you wouldn't expect that last part, but that's what's a-doin' the killin' and the blood lettin'.

Three people head to Blood Island all with a different agenda:  a woman is looking for her father; an islander is heading home in an attempt to persuade his mother to move to the mainland; and a doctor, played by an Elvis-y John Ashley complete with sideburns and big collars, is investigating the illness on the island.

The mad doctor spends most of his time wandering around and doesn't do any experiments on camera.  Also of note is the camer work which sickening zooms in and out repeatedly while the monster is stalking and killing his victims.

The film has an opening disclaimer about how if the audience drinks a vial of green blood it will keep them from being infected.

Urban Legends: Final Cut (2000)

Students at a film school are finishing their thesis project in a bid to win the coveted Hitchcock Award, which practically guarantees success in Hollywood.  Amy, who has followed in her father's footsteps as a documentary filmmaker, is stumped on what to do for her thesis until the campus security guard mentions a serial killer who murdered his victims by using methods of death from urban legends.

After the best student in their class commits suicide, Amy starts working on her film and people start disappearing.  Is it a serial killer or a student trying to eliminate his competition in the pursuit of the award?  

An okay slasher flick with a few movie being shot within a movie twists.