Monday, May 30, 2011

Fright World (2006)

A bunch of friends go to an old amusement park which is about to reopen and run into a serial killer. Sounds great, you think.... but you are sadly mistaken. There are so many after effects you feel like the filmmakers got some new software and wanted to make use of all the neat-o effects possible. Also it's a Brain Damage film, which I try to avoid. There were three of us watching and none of us could last even ten minutes - and that says something considering that we made it all the way through the Asylum's Battle of Los Angeles and Death Racers on the same night.

Battle of Los Angeles (2011)

When an alien ship takes up residence over Los Angeles, the military are sent to attack and the battle of LA begins. As the survivors at a military base try to escape the barrage of hostile fire, they meet up with a jumpsuited woman wielding a giant sword which can kill aliens. She turns out to be part of a resistance movement. The survivors band together to try to save the city.

That's about as close to a plot as you can get with this movie. From the beginning, it's all biff bam boom - nonstop fighting and explosions. As a joke I had said that I hoped this was the entire movie. Well ,the joke was on me.

Characters come and go without any exposition, even though they are supposed to be different locations the buildings are the same, and for some reason no one seems to realize that if they manage to destroy the space ship, it's going to fall directly on top of downtown Los Angeles.

Death Racers (2008)

The Asylum... wow what can I say? Not only do they give us a rip off of the remake of Death Race, but they put the Insane Clown Posse in it. Wow. Words can not describe it.

Criminals are recruited to race where they get points for killing people. The ultimate goal is to kill evil villain, The Reaper, as whoever kills him gets tons of points and winning the race means they win their own freedom. The teams compete in the Red Zone where the criminals live, and the event is televised.

The dialogue is not funny or clever, and even though this takes place in the future, the ICP haven't aged a day. The effects aren't very good and there isn't even that much racing in the film. When they do race, there are times when people run up along side the cars. Really? If they're going so slow that someone can run along side their car, how much of a race is it? Only watch this is you like ICP or Asylum rip off movies.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Salvage (2009)

A shipping container washes up on the beach and shortly afterwards there are several murders in town. The military swarms the neighborhood and orders everyone to lock themselves in their homes. But one mother, whose estranged daughter has run away to a neighbors house, is willing to do whatever it takes to get to her daughter and make sure she is safe.

I didn't find this to be all that suspenseful and I really disliked the main characters. The mother is estranged from her daughter after giving her up in a divorce. Even though it's Christmas eve and she knows her daughter is arriving that day, she still brings home a man whose name she can't even remember. Also the man has mislead her into believing he is single, but he's married with children. Their dialogue does not bring out any inner characteristics that makes you care about whether they live or die.

Also a major problem with the story is that the military has cut all forms of communication to the neighborhood. No ones cell phone will work. Yet at the one point where it is inopportune, the daughters cell phone suddenly goes off.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Doghouse (2009)

Vince's friends decide to cheer him up over his impending divorce and take him away for the weekend to a remote English village where there are four girls for every man. When they arrive, the town appears deserted. When another person finally appears, it's a woman who haltingly walks down the street before being tackled by a man in military uniform.

The guys rescue the woman, but when they checks to see if she is okay, she stabs one of them and they discover she does not appear to be human.

Soon more zombie women appear and start chasing them. There are no men in town other than the military man. He explains that the military chose this town for a secret experiment that only affects woman and it had gotten out of hand. There are women with axes, swords, and scissors all wanting to dispatch of the men. Even the female bus driver who drove them to town has turned into one of these creatures.

I had never heard of this film and it was actually pretty good. It's not comedy gold or scary horror, but it's still an enjoyable watch, although I wasn't fond of the ending.

Mega Shark vs Crocosaurus (2010)

Lt. McCormick is a naval engineer who is an expert on sharks and believes Mega Shark is still alive. The Admiral doesn't believe McCormick which is a shame since the next thing you know Mega Shark destroys the ship. McCormick's girlfriend dies and then the shark kills everyone else on board except McCormick (who is played by Steve Urkel).

Meanwhile in the Congo diamond mines, the Crocosaurus is accidentally unleashed on an unsuspecting world and eats everyone in sight. To figure out what happened at the deserted mine, the company hires crocodile expert Nigel Putnam, a cut rate Indiana Jones with a questionable accent.

The military brings together McCormick, Putnam, and Special Agent Hutchinson, a lady who acts like an angry robot. Along with the navy, they pursue the two creatures who are battling it out with each other when not killing people.

The sizes of the shark and croc are inconsistent and change based on what is convenient. The crocosaurus comes out of the diamond mine, yet when a worker runs inside it to hide, the croc can only get a foot in there. Similary the shark has a fin bigger than the ship, but then jumps over the boat and is obviously not as large.

The cgi is really bad even for this type of movie. Also the ending involves a volcano.

The funniest scenes -
  1. The crocosaurus knocks a helicopter out of the air with it's tail. The copter crashes on the beach leaving Hutchinson unconscious, while Putnam and McCormick run off to track the creatures. Later at a key moment, Hutchinson and the copter fly up to rescue our two heroes. Huh? So.... where did they get a new copter? Also it's not really wise to trust a pilot who was recently knocked out and has a gaping head would. Concussion anyone?
  2. The woman who hires Putnam leads him into the jungle wearing a pencil thin skirt and stiletto heals. how can she even walk?
  3. Putnam kills an animal and straps it to his back to carry it. It is obviously very light, but even worse it's legs are stiff and in the stance that you'd see when an animal is in a museum. So they just tied a taxidermy specimen to his back.

976-EVIL II (1992)

Dean Grubeck is a pillar in the community, but he is also a serial killer. When there is a witness to his fifth kill, the Dean is arrested. His one phone call is to 976-EVIL where the devil gives him the power of astral projection. Spike (from the first movie) and Robin, a girl that the Dean likes, team up to try to stop the Dean from continuing his killing spree.

The quality of the movie is pretty low which is evident right from the start when we get nudity before the credits. Also is there really anyone who is stupid enough to put on their white tshirt while still in the shower? Good god.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Ghost Lake (2004)

Whenever I watch a movie that has boobs before the credits, I know there's going to be something lacking in quality. When Becky hesitantly goes out for the night, her mom and wheelchair bound dad are killed by a gas leak. Unlike real gas, this is visible, which makes no sense since they definitely should have noticed before they succumbed to it.

Consumed with guilt, Becky heads to the family's summer cottage and on the way almost runs someone down in a rain storm. The man turns out to be Stan, who lives in a neighboring camp.

Legend says that the ghosts of the lake come back every thirteen years to claim new victims. The lake is man made and a town in the valley was covered by water. Becky keeps seeing things that aren't there and things that haven't happened yet. When she sees a powerboat capsize, she dives into the water to save the occupants. There are four people and she has no life preservers or floatation devices - so how is she going to save all four? Luckily it was all in her head. So she just ends up wet and feeling stupid.

She becomes friends with Stan and starts dating him, but the Sheriff warns her to stay away from as Stan has a bad reputation in town. The movie is confusing as there are scenes of the past and present intercut with other scenes that are either foreshadowing, visions, or insanity. It's confusing, doesn't make sense and you aren't always sure what is going on.

The movie has midi keyboard music for the sound track and cgi blood for the effects. There are also some awkward line readings such as, "John was holding his wife, whose head was bloody in his arms." There are also several obvious mistakes such as the zombie dude whose head is not entirely covered by makeup- perhaps some of it came off in the water? Plus when Becky sees the zombies on the beach, the shots of Becky in the boat and the zombies on the shore at shot a different times of day as the lighting is completely different.

The movie can best be summed up by this dialogue:
Grandpa - "Why is all this happening?"
Becky -"Understanding it doesn't matter. Surviving it does."
Nothing like absolving yourself of providing any sort of explanation for anything that has happened in the movie.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Quaratine (2008)

A news team who are spending the night in the fire station go on a call to go to an apartment building where an old lady appears to be injured. As the police and fire fighters try to calm her, she attacks them.

When they try to get the injured cop out of the building, they discover the doors are locked from the outside. Soon their cell phones stop working, the cable goes out, and they are met at every exit by armed military who seal the doors and windows.

As the injured and sick start to exhibit a drooling or frothing at the mouth, a tenant - a vet who is caring for them - is puzzled as they have the symptoms of rabies, but rabies doesn't gestate that quickly.

Everyone is confused as to why they are being detained until the CDC show up in hazmat suits and respirators to take blood samples from the sick. Then the fireman reveals that there is a suspected biological or chemical threat. As the illness spreads and more of those trapped in the building become infected, it gets harder for those not infected to survive.

While the characters start off smart, they seem to lose intelligence as time goes on. You could argue that they are panicked by the turn of events, but some of the things they do are just so stupid. When reporter Angela and cameraman Scott are using the cameras night vision, they reason that if the creature can't see them and can't hear them, then it can't find them. Pretty smart - however immediately after that they decide to try to sneak by it. Seriously? You really think this is a good idea? Won't it hear you? I figured they meant to sit tight until the coast was clear.

Also when the little girl bites her mother and then runs off, the cop who finds her tries to coax her out of the closet by offered his hand and telling her it's okay. Really? Because she just bit her mom in the neck and everyone else who has been sick turned into one of the creatures. No worries, let's just try to be nice to the little kid. That situation turns out about how you'd expect it.

Plus Angela goes from being a strong woman to a total screeching wreck. While it is possible that this could happen due to the circumstances, and you could even argue it's a realistic portrayal of someone who is out of their mind in terror, it is annoying as hell. Shut up! Shut up! Shut up! It was driving me insane. Just because it might be realistic does not mean it's going to be good in the movie.

But my biggest question is why did it take so long to discover whose dog it was? You can't just anonymously drop dogs off at the vet for treatment. Yet they state that they figured out the location of the building from the address on the dog collar. Makes no sense, especially since the family wasn't abandoning the dog, just trying to get it treatment.

The movie is shot with one camera as if from the point of view of the cameraman. They actually manage to do a good job with this. I get motion sick very easily and the hand held camera didn't bother me at all.

Stag Night (2008)

After they are kicked out of a strip club, a bachelor party heads to the subway to go to another club. They end up on the same train as two strippers they had seen earlier that night. When one of the guys refuses to stop harassing one of the girls, she maces him. As the train stops to let another train pass, the group pries open the car doors and exits to escape the after effects of the mace.

Before they can reboard, the train drives off leaving them stuck on the subway platform which they soon discover hasn't been used since the 1970s.

Most of the group decides to walk down the tracks to get to the next station. In a case of bad timing, they arrive just in time to see a group of men breaking into the vending machines. When a cop intervenes, he is killed and the murderers spot the kids as they are trying to get back down the tunnel without being seen.

The kids head into the tunnels while the murderes, who resemble Klingons and only talk in grunting sounds, chase them around and kill whoever they can catch. The band of lunatics lives in the tunnels and it is apparent that this is not a new activity for them. As our intrepid band of partiers tries to survive the night, they must work together and face their own inner demons. Will they survive?

The movie sort of exists in it's own sphere as there is no explanation for anything that happens. Who are these people? Where do they come from? Why can't they speak? Why are other subway dwellers subservient to them and how do they stay safe? Why do they keep credit cards and cell phones since they don't appear to know what they are? Why are they breaking into the vending machines when they have no use for cash and appear to be cannibals?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Death's Door (2008)

Madam Camille is host of The Seance Hour, a tv show that uses studio tricks to simulate spirit activity. Even though her mother was a psychic, Camille doesn't think she has the gift. She just wants to help families get closure.

Her producer is only interested in ratings and money so to make things more exciting, he hires an actor that he wants Camille to expose as a murderer. On the same show, they also have a guest, Rev. Prof. John Simons, who is attending to disprove Camille's psychic abilities.

Turns out the joke is on him when Camille starts having real visions and discovers there really is a murderer at the seance. After Camille is possessed, an evil spirit enters the building and begins using it's supernaturl powers to kill. Oddly enough many people die before Camille decides she needs to close the door to the spirit world with another seance.

The POV spirit cam is around before the seance releases the evil spirit, which is very confusing. Is it a different spirit? Is it an error in continuity? It's never explained. But the biggest problem with this movie is the ending. Seriously? What just happend? Did this just go all Dallas on me? Was it all reversed due to his brother grabbing him? Was it just a vision? I had to watch the directors commentary to figure out their intention.


The whole movie happens within the brief moment of a handshake and shows what could happen if the Rev. Prof. doesn't do the right thing. Not sure how I'm supposed to get that, but that's what the commentary said. Though that still doesn't make sense since Trish has disappeared.

Xtracurricular (2003)

Brittney and Ally have been best friends for years. Brittney is a genius and Ally is the best athlete in school. She's even the star of the football team. But when Chris, a boy from Los Angeles, moves to their small town, their friendship falls apart as they both get drastic make overs and complete for his attention.

While most of the actors appear to be of high school age, the hot popular blonde girl looks much older which makes things slightly confusing at first as I thought she was a teacher.

Chris is very charming and all the girls want to date him. But it turns out he is not what he appears to be. In fact he's really horrible and a lesson in friendship is learned.

If you're like me and saw the trailer with the killer robot and thought "wow a killer robot movie!", be warned - the robot is only in it for two minutes at the most. So disappointing since it was the robot that made me want to see this.

The Craving (2008)

A group of college students on their way to Burning Man take a short cut through the desert and end up getting lost. When the passengers suggest backtracking, the driver tells them he lost the road a long time ago and has no idea how to get back. Seriously? How stupid are you? It was questionable whether this was even a real road or not when looking at the map. So if you're in the desert and the road disappears, TURN AROUND!!

As they drive further, they see a shack in the distance and head for it. When they get close, they see the weird guy who stole a dog earlier in the movie. The guy shoots their radiator and one of their tires which causes the driver to go into a ditch and roll the van.

Without any transportation and feeling like sitting ducks, they decide to find the nut with the gun. In the ensuing struggle, one of the kids shoots the weirdo. After covering the body, they decide to try take his truck, but it won't start. They end up staying in the shack for the night which is when they discover there is a creature outside that wants to kill them.

The rest of the film is takes place in the shack while they try to figure out how to escape. The monster is seen in silhouette until the end of the movie and is not all that scary. There is no explanation for where the monster comes from, why it is after humans, or why it only comes out at night. Also how does the virus spread? Is it the smell? If so, why doesn't everyone who smells it turn? Why do their eyes turn orange? What makes those who turn want to get near the monster? It's just a whole lot of questions and an unsatisfactory ending.

Also be fore warned - this is a Brain Damage film. I try to avoid their movies as they are tortuous. This one is probably the best one I've seen, which isn't that much of a compliment considering how bad the other are.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Cirque du Freak: The Vampires Assistant (2009)

Best friends Darren and Steve sneak out one night to attend the traveling freak show on the edge of town. One of the acts involves a large spider that Darren is enthralled with - he loves spiders. Steve, who loves vampires, thinks the spiders owner, Mr. Crepsley, is a vampire.

After the show, Darren sneaks into the dressing room and steals the spider. Steve sneaks back stage to ask Crepsley to make him a vampire since he has a horrible home life and no real reason to live. Crepsley refuses.

The vampires have split into two groups, the Vampanese who kill humans, and the Vampires who do not. Crepsley is with the latter as they figured out if you only knock someone out and drink a little of their blood, you can live peacefully without being pursued by angry mobs.

When Darren brings the spider to school, it bites Steve who falls into a coma. Desperate to revive his friend, Darren makes a deal with Crepsley to become a vampire and be Crepsley's assistant. When Steve finds out, he is furious as he was desperate to become a vampire. He is easily recruited by Mr. Tiny, who works with the Vampanese and is an enemy of Crepsley. The two sides have been at peace for years, but Mr. Tiny is trying to start a war between them.

This movie is a kid friendly and entertaining. It's production values and story telling are so much better than the low budget stuff I usually watch. But if you're looking for something scary, this isn't it.

Zombies! Zombies! Zombies! (2008)

A researcher accidentally makes a drug which turns people into zombies. The researcher makes extra money by selling drugs to a low life, who steals the new mystery drug from the lab. When he shares some with a prostitute, she steals the rest and distributes it to her friends.

The prostitutes and strippers, who hate each other, both show up at the same diner after work. When several of the prostitutes turn into zombies due to their drug use, the rest of the group plus a pimp and bouncer find refuge in the strip club down the street, where they try to figure out how to survive.

When they discover where the drugs responsible for this plague came from, two of the group drive over to the lab to see if the researcher has an antidote. The researcher holds out a syringe containing the only antivirus, and a zombie attacks which causes the serum to be injected directly into one of the survivors. If you guessed the zombies would need to bite the guy to get the antidote, you'd be correct.

From the cover, I thought this was going to be bottom of the barrel stuff, but it wasn't bad. I wouldn't really call it a comedy, but it was an okay way to spend an hour or so. Nothing really ground breaking or original, but much better than the title would lead you to believe.

Houseboat Horror (1989)

A lame band and a film crew rent a houseboat and head out to the lake to shoot a video. They stop to shoot where coincidentally four years earlier, another film crew was blamed for a fire where people were killed and disfiguered.

The band acts stupid, the film crew shoots, a local lady acts weird, and people start disappearing on the first night. At first the assumption is that the missing crew went back to town. But as more people disappear and bodies are discovered, they decide to run for their lives!

They sail away, but somehow the killer manages to board the boat. There is no explanation for what happens next.

The movie features bad music videos, complete with wacky drummer antics courtesty of Des "Animal" Mckenna. For some reason I thought there were zombies in this. So if you're under the same mistaken impression that I was, you'll be sorely disappointed.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Immortalizer (1990)

This is only movie I've ever seen where someone gets stabbed with a gun.

The plot is similar to 1964's The Atomic Brain where a rich old lady hires pretty young servants so she can get a young body for a brain transplant. However in this one, it is a doctor who has a business where rich old ladies and men seek young bodies for eternal young and brain transplanting.

The doctor procures bodies by sending his squad of mutants into the city to search for good looking young people. Luckily for the mutants, two couples decide to take a short cut through an alley and before you know it, they are carted off to the doctors laboratory.

One of the kids manages to escape and tries to get the sheriff to help his friends. Unfortunately the sheriff doesn't believe the kid's story since in order to get his attention, the kid threw a rock through the police station window. Plus in another stupid move, he actually says that monsters grabbed his friends. Way to go brainiac!

The kid manages to escape and hides in a neighboring house whose occupant decides to help him since she sees that there are weird goings on across the street. She pretends that a friend recommended the doctor to her, gains entrance, and starts poking around the building. Apparently there are only four staff members as the nurse has to leave surgery to answer the door.

Eventually it all works out, sort of, although the Sheriff still doesn't believe what the kid says even though the first part of the story about his kidnapped friends turned out to be true.

Most disturbing thing about the film is not the fact that these immoral experiments are going on, but when the old lady gets her brain transplanted into the young body, but she's still got the old lady voice. Shudder!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Reeds (2009)

A group of friends go away for the weekend but the boat they've rented is unavailable. After a brief argument, they are offered a boat at a different location. When they arrive they find a group of surly teens sprawled all over the deck. After some awkward moments where the teens ignore repeated requests to vacate the boat, the teens leave.

The friends plan to visit a pub after the first day of boating, but the old map they brought makes it impossible to decipher why way to go through the reeds. When they spot a boat in a parallel channel, they decide to follow it hoping it is going to port for the night.

The passageway gradually narrows until it is slightly wider than the boat making travel very difficult. As night falls, an underwater obstruction pierces the boats hull and skewers one of the passengers. As their cell phones can't get a signal, one of the group sees a fire in the distance and heads off on foot in hope of getting help. Turns out the fire is attended by the same teens who were on their boat. It's all down hill from there as there is something or someone in the reeds with a lust for blood.

While the atmosphere is effective for most of the movie, the ending is unclear. Is it a time loop? What is up with the black eyes? How does one guy see himself in the reeds?Will no one notice that five friends who went to rent a boat haven't returned? There's a big difference between a bunch of teenagers who disappear and no one knows where they were going, and a group of adults who disappear on a boating trip. Also how could you not recognize your girlfriend even if she had been burned since she is wearing the same clothes as when you left her?

Mr. Jingles (2006)

Maniac clown Mr. Jingles hacks up a family before being shot and killed by police who were standing around outside. The only survivor is young girl Angie, who is sent to a sanitarium and isn't released until she's of high school age.

Angie moves in with her aunt and cousins, who live in the same town the murders took place in. Some how Mr. Jingles is awakened and seeks revenge on Angie. Yeah, that will teach her to let her parents get murdered by an evil clown.

Angies cousin's have a party and some of their friends think it will be funny to dress up as Mr. Jingles, seeing as Angie just got out of the sanitarium. The problem is that Mr. Jingles shows up looking for Angie and carnage ensues.

Wow, this is really getting to the bottom of the barrel, even worse than it's supposed prequel, S.I.C.K. (Serial Insane Clown Killer). At the beginning when the mother is stabbed, she is obviously holding fake innards under her shirt, which she drops after getting attacked. Also Mr. Jingles is played by Dr. Rudy Hatfield. Seriously? You're going to list your degree? It makes you look pretentious and that's the last thing anyone should be when they're in this movie.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mulberry Street (2006)

On a sweltering day in Manhattan, numerous people are bitten by rats. As if the bite isn't bad enough, the rat saliva contains a virus that turns the victim into a ravenous rat person who attacks and eats humans.

The tenants of a building on Mulberry Street band together to try to defend the building and themselves from the rat-like human creatures that are running the streets and burrowing through the walls. As chaos and the virus spread throughout the city, the subways closes and people head into the street to try to get home.

Clutch heads out of the building and works his way to a neighborhood bar to attempt to bring his neighbor home. Her teenage son is at home as she works nights at the bar. Clutch's daughter is coming home from a military hospital and must try to get to her father's apartment and safety.

The characters in the film are different from many of todays horror movies. They are normal people, not unnaturally pretty college students or glamorous people. They care about their neighbors and are decent human beings. It's nicely done and does not use cgi.

Die-ner (2010)

A serial killer in an isolated diner late at night kills the waitress and cook. A short time later, a couple who are fighting show up and order food. There is lots of talking and not much action. The pacing is slow and the dialogue couldn't hold my interest. I didn't get more than twenty minutes into it before I shut if off. The zombies hadn't even shown up yet.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Ring of Darkness (2004)

Boy band Take 10 hold open auditions for a new lead singer after theirs disappears. Shawn, a guy who is so serious about music that he carries a guitar over his shoulder everywhere he goes, is pressured into auditioning for the band by his new girlfriend.

He is chosen as one of three finalists invited to the band's mansion where the finalists will compete for the lead singer position. The band must decide between the singing and dancing stylings of Max (an undercover newspaper reporter doing an article), Jonah (an enthusiastic singer who really wants to be part of the band), and Shawn (a disinterested guy with a bad attitude who wants to play his own songs).

While the manager loves Shawn, one of the guys in the band keeps having trouble with him and states that "we don't need someone who's going to make waves or ask questions." Yes, so let's pick the guy who has an edge. He's trouble. He doesn't care about the band and that makes him appealing to girls.

When the band reels off the long list of what they expect from a new member, they note that they demand perfection. But when they break into a dance routine, it's obvious that their synchronized dance steps are off. Oh boy....

Take 10 may seem like your typical boy band, but there is something drastically wrong with them - and not the typical argument that they're in a boy band. At night they don sunglasses and walk in slow motion through the fog while a dance beat plays. Like many of David DeCoteau's films, the walking goes on and on and on, running the gamut from fast motion to slowmo. It's pretty annoying.

The movie has some full length songs and videos which you'll have to suffer through. Also at the end, I'm not really sure what they are supposed to be. Zombies? Monsters? What are they?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Coons: Night Bandits of the Night (2005)

Ty and Zack head off to Raccoon Creek Campground for the summer hoping for lots of drinking, fun, and parties. Bad news as the raccoons in the area are targeting campers and their attacks cause people to die or turn into raving drooling lunatics.

Most of the actors play multiple roles using obviously fake wigs, beards, and mustaches. Although it's played for laughs, its just not funny. I only laughed once. Fearing an attack from an infected kid, the ranger says "I've got a tranqulizer." He pulls the trigger and a shotgun blast hits the kid sending blood flying. There is a pause and the ranger says, "Oh.... No, I've got bullets." It doesn't translate well on paper, but it was the only time I laughed out loud.