Sunday, April 3, 2011

Studio 666 (2005)

The movie opens with a crappy music video from a crappy band. Then we cut to band members Cassidy and Neal in their apartment. Cassidy is mopey and blows her brains out all over Neal.

Three months later, the band visit a psychic that Cassidy used to frequent to get advice on whether they should finish their album or not. If I went to a psychic and the guy had his face painted like the Joker and was wearing a red union suit with a jock strap on the outside, I would've been out of there. But they stay long enough to get a reading and for Neal to punch the psychic in the face.

They decide the album needs to be completed and head to a recording studio for an all night session. While in the bathroom, Dora gets possessed by a bloody Cassidy. Then she starts wearing sunglasses to hide her green glowing eyes, acts weird, and begins killing her friends. It's all pretty tame since the blood smeared on Dora is the color of red lipstick and the stabbings are not shown on camera.

At one point the camera is behind Dora who is kneeling. She looks up and to the left. Cut to a front view of Dora looking to the right. Sooooo, there are two Dora's and one is Cassidy as Dora's doppleganger? No, it's just bad editing.

The end of the movie is even more nonsensical than the rest of it. Both the psychic and Cassidy show up at the recording studio. Cassidy whines some more, (which the possessed Dora has done throughout the night), and after some more stabbing, she stops trying to kill people and apologizes. Huh?!?

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Las Vegas Serial Killer (1986)

After six years in jail, a serial killer, (same guy from Steckler's 1979 film, The Hollywood Strangler Meets the Skid Row Slasher), is released from prison on a technicality. He heads to Las Vegas, walks around, and immediately starts killing women.

In another story line, two guys drive to Vegas, steal a purse, stand on the street making lewd remarks about women, steal a wallet, get a pizza, try to rob a hippie, and steal a briefcase. What does this have to do with the serial killer strangler? Nothing. And don't expect it to as the plots don't cross paths until the end of the movie, at which point it abruptly stops. I definitely didn't see this twist coming. It's mind boggling.

In typical Steckler fashion, the film has lots of padding. There is footage of a rodeo, a parade, a party, an air show, burlesque dancing, and men watching the dancing. The weird thing is that the dancer appears to be wearing a swimsuit and her outfits are actually more revealing off stage.

The sound was done in post production so you hear disembodied voices instead of actually seeing people speak. Also the majority of the film has narration to explain what is going on. It's not a good film, but it's so odd that I kind of like it. Then again, I am partial to Steckler's films, even though the quality is questionable. He had his own style and tou definitely know what you're getting into when you see his name.

The Feeding (2006)

Game wardens try to evacuate a mountain due to recent animal attacks. They believe the animal to be a rogue mountain lion and are concerned that an animal is attacking humans.

A group of college students already hiking up the mountain set up camp for the night and are attacked by a sad looking werewolf. Thankfully it is a bad werewolf suit and not bad cgi. I'd much rather see someone dressed as a werewolf than a completely fake cgi werewolf that obviously was added in post production.

There's not much of a plot. The werewolf chases the students, the game wardens try to track whatever is killing people, and we all suffer.

Grizzly Rage (2007)

Four friends cut the padlock to a wooded access road, go four wheeling in their jeep and accidentally run over a bear cub. They search for water for the radiator as it was damaged when the jeep went into the woods. They also discover there is a mother bear who is pissed.

The kids flee in the jeep as the mamma bear shakes the trees with it's massive roar and vows to follow them to the ends of the earth to make them pay for what they've done. A bear chasing stupid kids in a jeep hoping to kill them? Could be tension filled, but sadly it is super boring as the movie consists of the kids making stupid decisions and contemplating whether the bear will destroy them or not.

When they accidentally drive off another road, the guy with the bandana decides to run back toward the bear to get help. He figures they know how far they've come, but don't know how far they would have to go to forward find civilization. Yes, but there is a giant bear following you. Rule to live by - never head toward a large furry creature who wants you dead.

After running for a while, bandana dude stumbles across a dilapidated shack, starts knocking and shouting, "Hello?" After getting no response, he uses a tire iron (which he brought to defend himself against the bear), and breaks the padlock on the outside of the door. Yes, you read that right, he was knocking and shouting for help at a shack which was padlocked from the outside! Please mighty grizzley, could you just kill him now? Thank you, amen.

The Maze (2010)

A group of friends heading for a day of fun at a corn maze, get lost and then their car breaks down. By the time they get back on the road, the maze is closed for the night.

The kids decide they are going to go in anyway and play a game of hide and seek. This is truly unfortunate as there just happens to be a killer in a hoodie hanging out in the corn maze. Yeah... the killer appears to be a slightly built teenager. Why is he there? If he's waiting for someone to kill, it's only sheer luck that they decided to go in after dark.

The killer chases them, but the kids aren't bright enough to find their way out. Damn it, kids! It's a corn maze. It's not like there are walls. Either barrel through the corn in a straight line until you get to the edge, or try to be stealthy and creep through the stalks. You don't have to go running up and down in the maze. You'll just get lost. They don't call it a maze for nothing. Sigh.

There is also an incredible Scooby Doo moment when the smart girl's glasses get knocked off. She pulls a Velma by getting down on her knees and feeling around for her glasses while asking for help. The killer comes up, hands her the glasses and she thanks him thinking it's her friend. Once she puts on her glasses, zoinks! There is also a prequisite twist ending that is lame.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Assault of the Sasquatch (2009)

An unscrupulous poacher captures a sasquatch, drugs him and throws him in a crate in the back of his truck. On the way back to town, he is arrested for an unrelated charge and the truck is put in the impound lot.

When the sasquatch wakes up, he breaks out of the crate and starts roaming around town, looking in windows at girls, and killing. Two teens who are members of a bigfoot society capture it on video and attempt to track it as it moves through town. One of the kids plays it as over the top as he can and screams all his lines. You'll find yourself wanting to kill him, and the sasquatch kindly obliges.

Eventually the sasquatch ends up smashing through the glass doors of the police station and the people inside - police, the poacher, civilians who have far too much access to restricted areas - try to escape it's wrath.

There is also a subplot about a super annoying college girl whose mother was killed by a robber and a criminal whose brother was the robber and was killed by her father, who is the sheriff. Dun dun dah!

Death Machine (1994)

Dante is a psycho who works for Chaank Armaments and is responsible for their top secret experiments with killer robots that are part human. The experiments have not gone completely as planned since the robots tend to kill indiscriminately. Cale, an annoying big shot lady executive, discovers the secret project and demands that the board fire Dante. But Dante is given free reign at Chaank because everyone is afraid he will kill them.

In a side plot, some freedom fighters plan to break into Chaank to blow up their safe and their technology. Cale and the freedom fighters get trapped inside the building when Dante unleashes a killer robot to take care of them. This could probably be resolved by Cale going out with Dante, but damn it, she's got principles!

Brad Dourif stars as Dante and is creepy as ever. The characters have names like Sam Raimi and John Carpenter. Also the chases through the industrial office building corridors have a decidedly Alien feel to them.

2001 Maniacs: Field of Screams (2010)

Two privileged rich girls are crossing the country in a camper as part of a reality show. When the camper breaks down in the middle of nowhere and there is is no cell reception, they decide to camp for the night. The next morning, they wake to find the Pleasant Valley Traveling Jamboree set up right across from their camper.

While on the surface, it appears to be a carnival, it is actually a group of hillbilly cannibals seeking retribution for Northern aggression during the Civil War. Normally they kill Yankees who visit their home town festival. But the local law enforcement is suspicious due to all the missing people who visit town. So the hillbillys have decided to take their killing on the road. And what better place to kill Northerns than up North?

The reality show producer is thrilled to see the Jamboree since now they won't need to travel south. They can just pretend.

I'm not a big fan of hillbilly inbred cannibal movies, especially when they aren't that good. It was too over the top and the reality show concept of the Paris and Nicole clones were annoying.

Mr. Ice Cream Man (1996)

When I watched the trailer for this one, it appeared to be shot on film and was kind of gritty looking. There were also old cars and metal playgrounds. The whole thing looked like something out of the 1970s. So imagine my surprise when I put the dvd in and found a crisp, shot on video movie from the 1990s.

Kids in the neighborhood have been disappearing so the police come to the grade school to speak about safety. After explaining how dangerous strangers are, the detective gives each kid a plastic whistle to use in case anyone tries to hurt them. He also admonishes the kids to only use it in an emergency, and surprisingly enough the kids do not spend their recess period blowing into the whistles.

Joey, who lives with his sister because his parents are dead, invites his friends to his birthday party. It's a sleep over and there will even be an ice cream man there. When his friend Roland heads over to the party, an ice cream truck peels around the corner and starts chasing him. Unfortunately Roland is incredibly stupid. Instead of heading for the nearest house, he runs straight down the middle of street with the truck right at his heels.

After a quick shot of Joey wondering where Roland is, we cut back to Roland still running, except now he's out of town and the sky is dark. There's no explanation as to why Roland keeps running aimlessly, why he doesn't get off the road so the truck can't follow him, why the truck can't drive fast enough to catch up to a fat kid, or why Roland has been running for hours since it was light when he started and now it's night time.

This is one weird film with horrible acting and a nonsensical plot line. And honestly, I still am not sure whether the kid playing Roland is an incredibly horrible actor or if he's retarded. He's about twice the size of the other kids and acts as if instead of really running, he's only pretending to run.

Death Clique (2005)

A group of high school students goes away for the weekend to clean out the home of ones recently deceased grandmother. James invites his foster brother John which causes eye rolls. No one wants John to join them for the weekend because they don't like him.

On the trip, the kids discuss former classmate Bobby Nichols who had been in jail for murdering his entire family. They can't believe he's already been released and a few of the kids fear that he may come after them.

Once at the house, the group relaxes and decide to play Truth or Dare. In the course of the game, they discover that most of them had some kind of connection to Bobby. One girl secretly dated him but tell anyone because he was the school outcast. She was afraid he'd blame her for the time spent in jail since he was actually out with her on night of the murders. She did not testify in his defense because then her friends would know she was dating him. Uh yeah.... maybe you should be worried.

One dare sends one of the guys into the woods to pick wild flowers. Oh no! What an incredibly horrifying dare. Not only is it lame, but it's night, he doesn't have a flashlight, and there were no signs of flowers during the day. When he gets into a fight with someone in the woods, it is too dark to see what is happening or who is involved.

The movie has a low budget, based on the production values and mediocre acting. There is a twist ending which isn't so much of a surprise due to twist endings being so cliched in horror movies.

Army of the Dead (2008)

Amy surprises John for his birthday with a desert racing in Baja with his friends and former arachaeology professor. Things get a little awkward when one of his friends shows up with Jenny, a girl who is obsessed with John. Amy isn't happy since John cheater on her with Amy, but for some reason, Amy agrees to let Jenny go on the trip. They head off into the desert with their guide for a super happy weekend of racing.

After racing all day, they camp under the stars and celebrate John's birthday by giving him a sword which is an authentic ancient artifact. Not sure how they could afford that, but since John studies archaeology, he loves it. Also not sure why they would bring something so valuable on a trip to the desert. I guess because it may be the only thing to save their stinking lives later in the film.

The Professor tells everyone the story of his search for Vasco da Gama's hidden cache of gold which is rumored to be buried nearby. Years ago a friend found an ancient coin which they believed to be part of the treasure. After hearing screams in the night, the Professor awoke the next morning to find his friend had disappeared. No one ever saw him again.

Legend has it that those who look for the gold will be killed by da Gama and his men. But apparently the legend and his friends disappearance aren't much of a deterrent for the professor. His ulterior motive for going on the trip is to locate the gold.

There is cgi blood which is very unconvincing. There are also skeletons right out of a 1960s movie that look just like the skeleton on the cover. I liked the skeletons since it was different from what you usually see nowadays. However, the entire skeleton army moved in tandem. I'm not sure if that was a budgetary decision, or all they cared about was filling the screen with skeletons.

Most ridiculous dialog:
"So because you covet the treasure, we're all screwed."

Day of the Dead 2: Contagium (2005)

A group of patients working in the yard at the Ravenside Mental Hospital find a container in the weeds and bring it back to their dorm. Unbeknownst to them, the canister contains a vial from a 1968 military experiment gone wrong which turned people into zombies.

When they open it, strange little pretty objects are released into the air and the next day the group awaken to Elmers glue on their faces and a cough. Seems they have been exposed to a virus which gives them a collective consciousness and slowly turns them into zombies.

One of the group bites a sadistic orderly who becomes infected and becomes a zombie fairly quickly. When he bites others, they immediately change and the whole building becomes a blood bath.

The only exposition comes from Jerry, the son of the military private who stole the vial in 1968. Jerry explains that everyone in the group is dead and that once they start eating flesh, it will make their transformation into zombies quicker. As a punch line, Jerry is promptly eaten.

There are many things that don't make sense. There is supposedly a cure for the virus in the hospital, but after a fight in the drug room, there is no more mention of or looking for the cure. The group who opened the canister have a collective consciousness which sporadically includes the evil orderly but no other zombies. Also Dr. Heller is familiar with the virus but he does not do a good job of protecting himself, and his one phone call does not produce any help for the situation.