Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Black Dynamite (2009)

When Black Dynamite's younger brother is killed by the mob, BD sets out to clean up the streets. You can feel the influence of Dolemite, Jim Brown, and Jim Kelly all over this flick.

While the movie is a dead on satire of 1970s blaxploitation films, it is so accurate that sometimes you'll feel like you're watching a bad 1970s movie. Sometimes I was laughing out loud, while other times I was going into a stupor because it was so spot on. I did enoy the boom mics dipping into the shot, the awkward line reads, and the really funny scene where Black Dynamite screams at a kid who wants to grow up to be just like him.

Whoever did the soundtrack did a great job and must be really familiar with this type of movie. They nailed the mood and song structure. I also loved the cartoon closing credits.

28 Days Later (2002)

After animal rights activists break into a laboratory to free the animals, they are infected by a monkey with the rage virus. The virus quickly spreads through England turning people into zombies, aka the Infected, and desimating the population.

28 days later, Jim wakes from a coma in a London hospital to find the building and the city deserted. Being unaware of what has taken place, Jim roams the streets desperate to find human contact. After escaping from the Infected, Jim learns what has happened from two other survivors.

Eventually Jim and three others pick up an automated radio signal from the military and decides to head toward their destination in the hope that someone else is still alive. But the results of their quest are not what they had hoped for and they soon discover there are things even worse than fighting off the Infected.

The film was not what I expected. I had heard how scary it was, but instead found it more filled with tension than horror, (although I suppose the two can overlap). The idea of fighting to get to safety and then finding out that what you've sought out is worse than what you had before is very disturbing.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Carny (2009)

Lou Diamond Phillips is the sheriff in a small town being visited by a traveling carnival. The local preacher believes the carnival must be stopped, but Phillips tours the grounds with the head carney and declares things in order.

Everything would have been fine except for the freak show which included the living legend, the Jersey Devil, that the carny's bought on the sly to deliver to a private collector for lots of cash. If only the nasty teenaged preacher's son hadn't thrown his popcorn at the Devil, it wouldn't have gotten out of it's chains and gone on a killing spree in town.

This is an okay movie but nothing special. Sometimes it is amusing when the Devil's size is not consistent throughout the movie.

Rot: Reunion of Terror (2008)

First I should mention that the girl on the cover is not in the film, so anyone considering renting it for that reason should skip it. In fact, the best idea would be to skip it all together unless you want to see the weakest conclusion ever.

Another in the list of obnoxious characters you don't like and want dead style of movie making that is so popular these days. A group of high school friends is invited to an informal reunion at a cabin in the middle of nowhere. Their host never shows up and the group spends their time trading quips and being idiots.

Only one of them remembers how to get back to the main road and as people start disappearing, they break off into little groups to wander the woods looking for the missing friends.

The explanation for the killings and the killer's revenge on the last surviving member of the group is one of the lamest I've ever seen. Seriously? That's how you're going to punish him? It may not even work. Sure it would cause fear and anxiety, but even if it did work it could take years and years to even cause you problems.

Also of note is the opening which features someone flipping through a yearbook and cutting out pictures of our main characters. The yearbook photos all look the same except for the ones of our cast. They don't have the same background and they are closer to the camera. In fact, the photos appear to be head shots. Good grief! Plus this is another movie with an attractive girl hooking up with an overweight guy she just met.

Dead Tone (2007)

aka 7eventy 5ive

Ten years before the movie takes place, a group of friends are having a sleep over while all their parents party in the next room. An odd occurrence to be sure, but it makes it so much more convenient for the killer that the kids prank called. After all, he might have to make an effort to make the kids orphans if the adults weren't all in one room.

Back to the present, some of the kids are in college and making the same type of prank calls - keep the random person you've dialed on the phone for seventy five seconds and make them believe whatever outrageous story you've concocted. A pretty lame game to begin with, but even worse when it was the catalyst for the death of your parents.

The group ends up at a huge party at a mansion in the middle of nowhere where they play the game again. Oh imagine that, they've called another killer. Will he show up at the door in the middle of nowhere? Of course he will due to the incredibly stupid party goers who give the address out to the psycho who's been repeatedly calling for the past five hours.

As seems to be the trend in recent horror movies, the main characters are obnoxious jerks that you won't care about and their death will bring relief from their stupid mutterings. Also what is up with movies paring an attractive girl with the dumpy awkward guy? It's showing up in more and more movies.

Oh almost forgot, Rutger Hauer shows up once in awhile as a detective whose been working on the cold case of tracking down the killer from ten years ago.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Terror Train (1980)

After a fraternity prank gone wrong, one of the pledges ends up in an insane aslyum. Three years later, the fraternity charters a train for a graduation costume party. But as the students board the train, one of their friends is killed and an unknown person gets on the train wearing his costume.

When the killings start, Alana realizes that everyone who is dying had a hand in the prank. The conductor who found more than one dead body does a search of the train and tries to keep the students together so no one will be harmed. But you know how that goes. There is always someone who wanders off and figures by hiding alone in a deserted area they will be safer than remaining with the others.

Typical 80s slasher with Jaime Lee Curtis, but the train setting means that no one can escape. Also David Copperfield does card tricks accompanied by dance music. It would have been better if he was also on roller skates.

The Tooth Fairy (2006)

Peter buys an old house to turn into a bed and breakfast. When his girlfriend Darcy and her daughter Pamela arrive for the weekend, Pamela meets a little girl who tells her the legend of the tooth fairy. Years ago the house was home to a witch who would kill children after taking their last baby tooth. Coincidentally Pamela has one baby tooth which is quickly knocked out in a fall.

For some reason that is not explained - perhaps that her home has been renovated? - the tooth fairy starts killing guests at the house and even some of the locals.

The strangest thing about this movie is that Darcy and Pamela do not seem to think it's important to tell anyone of the violent attacks on their person. First Darcy is attacked and almost raped at a gas station. When she arrives at Peter's she doesn't mention it at all until he asks about her broken window. How could it not be the first thing she said? Why didn't she call the cops?

Second, when Pamela is riding her bike through the woods and a hooded figure jumps out of the woods and knocks her off her bike, she never says a word to her Mom. Are you serious? You were just attacked by a freak in the woods and you tell her you fell off your bike?

Dawn of the Mummy (1981)

Fashion models head to Egypt for a photo shoot in the desert and run into tomb robbers at a newly discovered burial site. Even though the robbers shoot at them, the models approach and ignore the robbers request not to enter the newly blasted hole leading to the tomb. The photographer insists on shooting near the sarcophagus and sets up all his lights and equipment.

The tomb is cursed and soon the mummy rises to seek his revenge. He brings with him a team of mummy-zombies who tear into the town during a wedding ceremony.

The acting and dubbing aren't great, but they look fantastic compared to the hideous blond wig worn by the lead robber, Rick. Also when the local crazy old lady yells to the mummy it sounds like she is calling him surferman. The whole thing was really bad, but it was fun to watch with other people because everyone was laughing at it.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Recon 2022: Mezzo Incident (2007)

Anytime a film starts with the caption, "ten years earlier", you know you're in trouble. The weird thing about this is that I never saw it say it was back in the present. Did I blink and miss it? I don't know. I didn't see any difference from ten years earlier to the rest of the film.

The story involves a group of soldiers that go to an ice planet to search for alien species the Mahar. When the group does stumble across them, they engage in a gun battle in which neither side hits anything. They all stand out in the open firing shot after shot, and yet no one dies. It's pathetic.

A huge part of the film is made up of people walking. They walk on the ice and in the underground tunnels. It would be better to have more action since the walking isn't for any sort of character development. Also the acting is atrocious and the characters are not likable.

My favorite part of the movie was when the ice worm with the mullet came crashing up through the ice and chomped into one of the soldiers, The group looks around, swings their guns into position and one of the soldiers cries out, "It's under the ice!" Yes, nicely done, master of the obvious.

Dreamscape (1984)

Alex, a young genius who is telekinetic, is recruited by Dr. Novotny to participate in his experimental process of entering the dreams of others. Dr. Novotny believes that this can be used as a psychological tool to help people overcome their nightmares. Once in the dream, the psychic can observe what is happening or can interact and change the outcome of the dream.

There are several psychics involved in these dangerous experiments. One of the psychics goes insane while in an other's dream. Also there is talk that one must be careful while projecting into someones mind as it is possible to kill them in their dream.

The star psychic in the study seems to be involved in under handed things and is threatened by Alex's ability to help cure others of their nightmares. When the President of the United States comes to the clinic, Alex and the other psychic must face off as they are both looking for a different outcome to the nightmares.

Murder Party (2007)

On Halloween night, Chris finds an invitation to a murder party on the street. Rather than spend the night alone watching movies, he decides to go to the party.

The party is in a seedy warehouse on the bad side of town. When Chris arrives with his pumpkin bread, he finds that the party is really an art project where pretentious artists are going to kill him and compete for a grant from a rich benefactor.

The premise of the film is interesting and the set up goes well. But once Chris is tied to a chair, the film degenerates into a tediously long conversation between the annoying, pretentious artists. There are a few more interesting spots along the way, but it never reaches the potential of the plot.

There were three things that made me laugh.
  1. The line about how anyone stupid enough to come to a murder party deserves to be murdered.
  2. After eating the pumpkin bread, Sky falls to the ground because she's allergic to non-organic raisins, and ends up with a huge bloody gushing hole in her head.
  3. Chris's pathetic attempt to escape from the closet in which he dumps a pile of junk in front of the murderous group, dodges left, dodges right, and then runs away.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Jennifers Body (2009)

Needy and Jennifer are best friends. Needy is a shy dorky girl with a steady boyfriend and Jennifer is the hot bitchy cheerleader that sleeps with any guy she wants. When the two go to a local club to see the band Low Shoulder, a fire erupts during the bands first song and most of the concert goers die.

Jennifer and Needy escape and the band asks Jennifer to go somewhere with them in their van. Needy begs her not to go, but Jennifer is interested in the lead singer. Bad move since the band is looking for a virgin sacrifice which will please the dark powers and enable them to become rock stars.

The only problem is Jennifer lied about being a virgin and ends up becoming a succubus that must consume living flesh, which she gets by killing the boys who want to sleep with her. Needy is the only one who notices a change in Jennifer and sets out to try to stop her.

Billed as a horror comedy, it falls short on the comedy. Overall, it was okay, but not great. Although I did get a laugh out of the band breaking into Tommy Tutone's 867-5309 (Jenny).

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Triangle (2009)

Jess joins her friend Greg and his friends for a day trip on his yacht. When a storm arises from nowhere, the boat capsizes and the group is left sitting on the upside down vessel waiting to be rescued.

After a few hours, the group are able to board a passing ocean liner named the SS Aeolus, that appears to be deserted. As the group hears sounds on board but can find no one, the tension builds and soon a masked killer starts firing at them.

At first this movie seems to be about a boating accident in the Bermuda Triangle, but it ends up being a huge never ending loop of occurrences that are shown from different viewpoints. You start to understand what's really going on, but then it just keeps going and you'll find things that make you question the holes in the plot.

When we got done watching this, I thought, "what a total mindfuck." Though it was billed as horror, it's more of a thriller. On a side note, after this we considered watching Chuck Norris in the Octagon, but had had enough of movies based on geometric shapes.

American Ninja 5 (1993)

Good god, this is awful. From the title, I expected another sequel in the American Ninja series, but I was sadly mistaken. Instead of a martial arts flick, what we have is a family film with bad comedy overtones. David Bradly doesn't even play the same character, although technically he is American and he is a ninja.

The story line revolves around ninja Joe, who is entrusted with the care of his friend's 12 year old ward, Hiro, a wise cracking orphan. They stow away on a plane heading to South American in an attempt to rescue Joe's girlfriend Lisa who has been kidnapped.

Lisa's dad is a scientist who is working on a chemical that will kill living creatures but leave everything else intact. Sadly he does not realize that he is working for an evil man who plans to use this knowledge to take over the world. Why doesn't anyone ever consider that if someone is going to fund this type of project, it may not be used for peaceful purposes?

Glock, the evil guy, has an army of ninjas and a super ninja named Viper who dresses in a red satiny cape. In order to combat this army, Joe teaches Hiro ninjitsu. Hiro must be a natural because within a day or two he is competently beating any ninja that comes his way.

The dialogue in the film is more suited to a poorly written children's movie than an action movie. The music is something out of a happy fun time comedy, which is really inappropriate in chase scenes. So if you're looking for a kid's movie, then perhaps this is for you. Otherwise if you're thinking this is another American Ninja movie, you'll be sadly mistaken and rue the day you wasted your time.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Pray For Morning (2006)

A group of college students decide to spend a night in an abandoned hotel where five students were murdered years earlier. Using pictures of the crime scenes, they decide to visit every room where someone died. They don't have any info other on the room numbers, but somehow they manage to find each room in the huge old hotel.

Even though it has been abandoned for years, the electricity still works, there are no cobwebs, and the carpet in the lobby and on the main stairs looks clean.

In one of the rooms, the group finds a hand hidden in the wall. This starts the supernatural flowing and the killing begins.

As the students try to save themselves, they do lots of stupid things. They split up even after vowing to stay together. One student sits in a chair and doesn't even put it up against a wall leaving his back exposed so that anything can come up behind him. Also when they can't locate a friends, one person suggests he is joking around. Yeah right, because there have been so many jokes already. Just forget that people are getting killed all over the place.

Best of all, they see a little kid in the stairway with blood on his head. One of the girls has already seen ghosts in the building and warns the others that he's dead, to which the one of the guys responds, "No, he's just a kid." Aaaaarrrggghhhh!!!

And I would be remiss in not mentioning that Udo Kier is an evil magician from Vaudevillian times. Isn't it scary boys and girls?