Saturday, July 30, 2011

Van Helsing (2004)

Van Helsing fights Frankenstein, werewolves, Mr. Hyde, Igor, and Dracula in a botched attempt at a vampire story, with extremely distracting CGI. The problem with movies such as this is that there is so much emphasis on the cgi, and while it looks cool, it also looks fake. It is so obvious that Van Helsing is not actually interacting with Mr. Hyde that it distracts one from enjoying the scene.

As Van Helsing attempts to fight everyone under the sun, Anna and her brother make a poorly planned and ineffective werewolf trap, in which her brother is bitten. Anna is wearing makeup, has styled hair and is in high heels, but she can still run faster than a werewolf. How odd.

Poncey old Dracula walks the floor, walls, and ceilings of his castle while his winged vampire women wreak havoc on the village due to Van Helsing's interference with a sacrifice. Dracula has tons of vampire babies hanging from the ceiling in Killer Clowns From Outer Space type cocoons. He also has minions that look like the dwarfs from Phantasm.

Anna won't let Van Helsing kill her werewolf brother. When Van Helsing protests that her brother will kill people, Anna screams out the lamest excuse ever, which is that it's not his fault.

There is a triumphant musical score, people keep losing their guns, and a carriage blows up with stakes on the seat which throws the stakes into the air, skewering a vampire chick.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Death Clique (2005)

A group of friends head out of town to spend the weekend helping one clean out her grandmothers isolated house. Just before they leave, they learn that Bobby Nichols, an outcast at their school who was arrested for killing his entire family, has been released from jail due to lack of evidence.

The first night the group decides to play Truth or Dare and finds out that they all had some kind of connection to Bobby. When one girl reveals that she was secretly dating Bobby, and could have provided him with an alibi when he was accused of killing his family, the group becomes afraid that Bobby might want revenge.

Shortly after this one of the guys is dared to go into the woods to pick a handful of wild flowers. Seriously? What kind of lame dare is that? It's stupid since it's night, and he doesn't have a flashlight. He wanders deep into the woods and is attacked. During the fight it's too dark to tell who is who, so you have no idea who is getting beaten up.

The kids aren't as mortified as they should be when they find out their friend knew Bobby was innocent of mass murder, but let him go to jail anyway leaving the real killer was on the loose. This is low budget, low production values, and mediocre acting.

Prison of the Psychotic Damned

When I saw the trailer for this movie, I was convinced I should pass on it. But then the footage showed the characters at the Buffalo Central Terminal and I had to see it. I should have gone with my first instinct.

In a move sure to destroy her career, a professor brings a rag tag bunch of misfits to the abandoned terminal building to hunt ghosts and make a documentary on their search.

Let's meet our cast of characters.
  1. Professor Rayna Bloom - seems no nonsense at first, but eventually you realize she's kinda psycho. You can tell she's the professor as she has her hair up and wears glasses.
  2. Jason, the camera guy - immature, delusional about his effect on woman (it's not good), and thinks fart jokes are hysterical.
  3. Nessie, Rayna's friend - wants to help Rayna with her work, dresses and acts like a six year old, but looks forty. Her mittens have strings on them going into her coat sleeves. It's never clear whether she's retarded or if there is something else wrong with her cranial functioning, but at least she's usually happy.
  4. Aurora, the psychic - the least obnoxious character as she has no personality, but she has a legitimate reason to be included in the ghost hunt.
  5. Kansas, condescending goth - nasty, bitchy, antagonistic loser who is only there because her daddy makes her do stuff to keep her trust fund. Has no redeeming qualities and her inclusion in this excursion shows that Rayna has no powers of critical thinking and will definitely lose her funding.
The group has never worked together before, don't get along well, and three of the five have no idea how to work any of the ghost hunting equipment. Jason has to explain what the equipment is and what it does. They don't get any instructions on how to use it, but that's okay since the ghost hunt doesn't begin until we're almost an hour into the movie.

Nessie turns out to be a bad choice as a helper. She freaks out after seeing a weird looking guy, which everyone convinces her is a homeless guy. But the viewer knows he isn't due to the bloody mess that is his face. Later when Kansas sees someone who they assume is the same guy, Nessie runs away and says she can't do the ghost hunt. Seriously? What does she think they are doing there? If she can't handle being with five other people in the day time, what is she going to do when it's night and they find something paranormal?

To make it seem spookier than a closed railroad terminal, the story goes that hundreds of people have died in the building. The Professor states it was turned into a prison and an asylum where doctors operated on people. Also a serial killer took up residence there and increased the body count, so it's the most haunted place around.

There are flashbacks that have sound effects which are hilarious, even though they aren't supposed to be funny, such as the sound of the guys head hitting the desk. The flashbacks are annoying as they are cliche stuff that filmmakers do with the sudden jarring loud sounds intended to make you jump.

The opening scene in the movie is completely pointless. If you left it on the cutting room floor, it would not make one difference, except to make the movie more enjoyable. The film opens with 10+ minutes of Kansas alone in her room, dancing, reading bad poetry, cutting her wrists, and sitting in the bathtub. It adds nothing to the storyline and doesn't provide any explanation for why she is such a jerk.

Also there is a weird scene where Rayna destroys Jasons cell phone after it goes off. She insists there are no cell phones in the building during the investigation. You'd expect it to come up later as a plot point, but phones are never mentioned again. I suppose it's just a way to show us why no one used their phones, but you would think the characters would mention it.

But the main problem with the movie is that when you have unlikeable characters, especially those who are nasty human beings that you wouldn't want to spend even one minute in the same room with, the viewer doesn't care when they die. In fact, I was rooting for Kansas to get it. She was so annoying. I felt slightly sorry for Nessie as she was so simple. But when Jason thinks Nessie has gone off on her own because she wants to have sex with him, you just wonder what sort of an idiot he really is. So much stupidity.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Octaman (1971)

Researchers in Mexico conducting experiments to measure radiation discover a strange little Octopus creature. After being unable to get funding for more research, the group turns to a promoter who hopes to capture a larger creature that he can make money off by charging people to see it.

After they capture some small creatures, a large rubber suited monster that appears to be an Octopus who walks on land, comes to get the little creatures back. The Octaman walks around a lot and waves its tentacles, but they are not capable of really doing anything so it isn't very threatening. In fact, it's a bit like a larger, less kid friendly version of the costumes for Sigmund and the Sea Monsters.

The film is often dark and there are many scenes where it's supposed to be night but it's daytime, or it's supposed to be day but
it's night. So there's some continuity issues.

The creatures eyes remind me of sparkly Candlepin bowling balls and it's mouth reminds me of the Salt Creature from Star Trek.

It's slow moving and can be tedious, but I love the Octaman costume. It's nice to go back to the days when monsters were men who wore rubber monster suits rather than CGI monsters.

Splatter University (1984)

When Julie Parker is hired to teach, Father Jansen tells her that there was a murder in her classroom and she is replacing the victim. Julie is unnerved, but accepts the job as she can't afford to refuse it.

Her students are unresponsive and uninterested in her lectures. She befriends a female teacher and starts dating Mark, another teacher at the school.

Soon the killer is on the loose again and Mark is a suspect as he dated the previous victim. When Julie asks him about her, he says he barely knew her. Suspicious.

I don't like when films start with a story, then via a caption on screen we are alerted that it is years later. This one is bizarre in that after the first scene where a dangerous patient escapes from the psycho ward, there are three captions in short succession. The captions are:
  1. "Three years later - St. Tristans University" (after the psycho escapes)
  2. "Next Semester, Yesterday" - Huh? (after the teacher is killed)
  3. "Three Weeks Later" (after the new teacher is hired)
That's just weird. Another movie with a twist ending that you may or may not see coming.

Plaga Zombie (1997)

When several college students are infected with an alien virus, it quickly spreads and turns people into zombies. Med student Bill, computer geek Max, and ex-wrestler John West combine forces to fight the zombies who are overrunning the city. The action takes place within an apartment building, as opposed to Plaga Zombie: Mutant Zone whose background is the town.

This is true low budget film making as it was shot on a single camcorder by twenty year olds. While that type of description strikes fear in my heart, this is decent and was shot better than many no budget movies. There is lots of gore, but it's really basic effects made with whatever they could get their hands on. Not all of it is great, but some of it is pretty gross looking. The make up appears to be greasepaint, although IMDB states it was cake frosting. I suppose it could have been.

The first movie in what was planned to be a trilogy, it is available on the 2 dvd set with Plaga Zombie: Mutant Zone. It is much better than I would suspect a group of friends could do with a video camera. There's a ton of crappy movies these days because everyone has access to cameras that shoot video and editing software. It would take more effort back when these were made, which culled out some of the awful and inept potential filmmakers.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Dark Ride

Twenty years ago, twins were murdered inside a dark ride by a psycho who had taken up residence there. In the present day, the ride is due to be reopened. A group of teens in a van going to spring break find a brochure for the grand opening and decide to sneak in to see it. On the way, they stop to pick up a female hitchhiker who is pretty nutty in a seemingly harmless way.

The teens decide this would be a great place to spend the night as it will save money on a hotel room. They sneak into the dark ride and start exploring. (Technically it isn't a dark ride anymore since the track has been removed.) The group has fun until they realize they are not the only ones there and the door they came in is now locked from the outside.

In a bad stroke of luck, the killer has escaped the asylum that very night and is ready to continue his killing streak. What better victims than a group of kids who break into a place they shouldn't be?

Evil Weed (2009)

Emily and Danielle bring their friends up to the Hamptons for the weekend. One of their friends brings a bag of weed that has been tainted by an unknown creature. It's not real clear what the creature is or why it killed the Mexican field workers. But there's Mexican folklore about radiation and a creature from atomic fallout. So I guess it's a fairly recent legend since atomic fallout hasn't been around that long.

Whoever smokes the weed turns into a weird monster with stupid teeth and huge fingernails. For some unknown reason - in order to advance the plot? - everyone keeps hiding in the shed. It seems ridicluous as there's only one way out and there are no windows to see whats going on outside, but there you go. Stupid kids and their stupid contaminated weed.

Don't Open Till Christmas (1984)

Kates father is killed at a Christmas party while dressed as Santa. Even though her boyfriend Cliff was there, he brings her to a friends studio for a photo shoot where, in order to help her through the holidays, he pressures her to pose naked with a female model. When the model whips out a Santa suit, Kate bolts. Great boyfriend that Cliff is, he decides that Kate is a pain in the ass and what he could use is a sexy Santa.

After both of them wander outside, the model flashes Cliff. The police observe this action. Cliff and the model run in opposite directions and the model ends up in an alley with the killer.

Though numerous people wearing Santa suits are murdered, the police still can't determine the killers motive or pattern. Durhr. The possibility that the killer is the lead detective, boyfriend Cliff, or the newspaper reporter keeps you guessing.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Bloody Murder (2000)

Counselors arrive at Camp Placid Pines to prepare for the campers. Most of them are friends, but there is bad blood between a couple of guys who were on the football team together.

The first night they decide to play a game called Bloody Murder. The rules are simple. The person who is it hides while the rest of the players break up into groups to find him. Once found, whoever is it screams Bloody Murder and everyone must get back to home base before being tagged. If you're tagged, you're it.

There is a legend of a kid named Trever Moorhouse who supposedly wore a hockey mask and killed campers with a chainsaw. Some of the counselors are a little leary of running around the woods at night, but with peer pressure in force, they all decide to risk it. Later Jason scares Julie by pretending to be Trevor, complete with hockey mask and chainsaw.

The next day Jason has disappeared. The head counselor seems completely unconcerned about his missing counselor. In fact it takes several more counselors disappearing before he decides to do anything.

Some observations (besides the fact that the killer's appearance and location are right of out Friday the 13th):
  1. Whitney can't swim. But Dean takes her out in a boat and dumps her overboard because he's a dick. Once she's safe, she is amazingly calm for someone who almost drowned.
  2. Why is there bad blood between Brad and Jason? The explanation is that Brad was the last person Jason competed against before he blew out his knee. So nothing happened to cause this feud?!
  3. Jason seems really immature, but there is nothing to show he has a history of violent behavior until someone mentions it.
  4. There is an old guy named Henry who shows up out of nowhere and says they're all doomed.
  5. The camp is said to be isolated with no one living near it. Yet later when someone asks if anyone has seen Henry lately, the response is that he's probably at his house over there.
  6. The camp has Jarts with metal points.
  7. Whitney goes to the kitchen and grabs a box labeled "Snack."

Chopping Mall (1986)

aka Killbot

I love the feel of the 1980s slasher films. Maybe it's because they weren't all about gore. Maybe it's because everything hadn't already been done before. Also I like the old artwork better than the generic type of cover art a lot of horror movies have now. Not that the stories or characters were all that brilliant, but they had a charm that current films don't have.

Securetronics are hired to protect the mall with their new line of robot security forces called The Protectors. As the developer meets with the store owners in the mall, he assures them that "absolutely nothing can go wrong."

The robots will zoom around the empty mall after it closes, and if they encounter anyone, they will request their ID badge. As long as they show the robot their badge, they will be allowed to go on their way.

The first night the robots are put into service there is a lighting storm that hits the mall, short circuits the control panel, and causes the robots to become killbots. As if that isn't bad enough, it is also the night that a group of teens who work at the furniture store decide to sneak in after hours to have a party with some girls. As is expected, carnage ensues.

Johnny Splatter (2009)

Corey Feldman is Johnny Splatter, a rock star who kills himself, intending to come back from the dead and seek revenge on his enemies, who have been invited to the reading of his will.

This short film is thirty minutes and involves Roger Corman. Its a fairly standard guy comes back from the grave for revenge type of film.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Silent Scream (2005)

To thank his students for helping with his research, Dr. Banon gives them the keys to his island cabin for the weekend. Before you start thinking beaches, the film takes place in Michigan in the middle of winter, so think ice, snow, and freezing temperatures. After class most of the kids take a school van and one kids car out to the island. Not sure why they take the extra car other than for plot convenience as there is plenty of room in the van.

Shortly after they get there, they break into different groups either to make out or sit by the bonfire. It's pretty fun until a mystery killer wearing a parka walks out of the woods and starts picking them off. In fact, most of them are dead within several minutes.

The next day the rest of the class arrives, but can only find Mark and he has no idea where anyone else has gone. On the way there, Nicole spotted Derek's car sitting by the side of the road. She heads back to see if anyone is there and finds Steve who is freaked out because Derek is dead.

By the time they get back to the cabin, two more friends are dead. Immediately suspicion falls on Mark as no one knows where he is, and everyone who came with him is missing. After a long discussion, they come to the conclusion that they should leave, but by that time both vans tires are flat.

Again the killer in the parka steps out of nowhere. Mark ends up rescuing Steve as the killer has injured him, and they barricade themselves in the cabin to wait for morning. With Nicole being a black belt in jujisu, you'd think that was some type of foreshadowing for some ass kicking. Nope. She's completely useless and flails around in the snow when the killer shows up. The ending has several twists.

There is ridiculous dialogue where Mark comes back to the cabin and instead of telling him their friends have been killed upstairs, they say "go look upstairs, Mark." Wouldn't it be natural to warn him so that he doesn't have to see that instead of discovering their bodies by sending him upstairs?

Also if everyone in a class has the same nightmare about going to the island and dying, wouldn't you decide to maybe not go to the island at all? And if you did go, and it looked exactly like in your dream, wouldn't your intution tell you that this was a bad idea and you needed to leave?

Beneath the Surface (2007)

Emo kid Ethan is in love with cheerleader Kayleh who is dating a total tool. Ethan and Kayleh used to be best friends when they were little kids. When they start studying together for a test, they find that they still enjoy each others company and start spending lots of time together. This doesn't go over well with her boyfriend.

When Kahleh dies under what Ethan believes are suspicious circumstances during a party at her boyfriends home, Ethan is overwhelmed by grief. Although it's ruled a suicide, Ethan believes that her boyfriend is responsible for Kaylehs death.

After becoming friendly with his new neighbor, an eccentric anthropologist with an interest in voodoo, Ethan decides to dig up Kayleh and bring her back to life. However once the potion takes effect, Kayleh is a mindless shell. She will obey only Ethan and only do exactly what he asks her to do.

This is a decent low budget picture, although if you're looking for gore you won't find it here. The sound is kind of annoying as the music is loud and the dialogue low, so I was constantly turning the volume up and down.

Tintorera: Killer Shark (1977)

I'm always up for a killer shark movie, but I could not watch this. The biggest problems with Tintorera? It is incredibly boring, but more importantly they actually kill sharks, fish, and turtles. I'm all for the death of fake sharks, but when I'm seeing someone shoot a shark in the head with a speargun, well thats just not what I want to see. And why kill a turtle? It's minding it's own business, then wham, it's dead. Geez.... just be prepared to watch living creatures get killed and a story line that moves slowly and goes nowhere.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Robo Geisha (2009)

Two sisters are abducted by a steel company to join a team of cyber geisha assassins. The older sister has always been cruel to the younger girl and treats her like a servant. But the younger one is gifted in fighting skills and surpasses her sister in training.

Evil is represented by the Goblin Squad. They shoot shurikens out of their butts. The younger sister becomes a hidden geisha who works from the shadows to fight corruption. She has a buzz saw in her mouth and Geisha Napalm shoots out of guns in her wig. Between the everyone, there are guns in chests and knees, and swords in armpits and butts.

The trailer is awesome. It made me want to see the movie and while parts of the film were cool, it wasn't that good.

Best dialogue:
"There's shrimp in my eye! I can't see!"
"A giant castle shaped like a robot? It can't be!"
"I too have an ass sword."- "It's embarrassing."

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Dreamaniac (1986)

Two sisters throw a super lame party for their sorority at the house of one's boyfriend. Adam, who writes heavy metal songs, summons a succubus who shows up at the party, has sex with him, and starts killing the guests. Adam is bewitched so he has no problem with the deaths of the guests. There is only male nudity (butts) and the females only strip down to bras.

Adam is supposed to be into heavy metal. But there is only one time in the movie when he holds a guitar and it is acoustic. He hits the strings, which are out of tune, contemplates the noise he's heard, then looks inspired and writes something down in his notebook. Ridiculous.

The Vanguard (2008)

In post apocalyptic 2015, zombies called biosyns walk the earth. Max, our hero who also happens to be deaf, has lived alone in the woods for five years. He rides a souped up low rider bicycle, and looks like a hipster Rasputin.

The world is in chaos with only small pockets of survivors. Besides the zombies, there is a conglomerate that wants to kill Max as he is a threat to their business and a resistance movement looking for a cure for the biosyn infection.

Max joins forces with a brainwashed soldier sent out to kill him, and two scientists searching for the resistance. The group must fight their way through the zombies roaming the countryside and stay one step ahead of the killers looking for Max.

The problem is it's not that interesting, and lots of things don't make sense.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Mom (1991)

Sweet old lady Emily Dwyer rents a room in her house to creepy oddball Nestor. When Emily decides to invite Nestor to dinner for a home cooked meal to get to know him better, it back fires when he turns into a monster and bites her.

Reporter Clay Dwyer goes to check on his Mom after no one has seen her for a few days and finds her sick in bed with Nestor taking care of her. Although he's uncomfortable with Nestor, he heads off to work, telling her he'll be back later to check on her.

When he returns that night, he sees Mom and Nestor getting into a taxi and follows them to a run down part of town. He observes them heading down an alley with a homeless person, goes to investigate and finds them eating the poor man. Horrified Clay runs off, but later returns to the scene on his job as a news reporter.

Clay confronts his mother, has a showdown with Nestor, and tries to keep his Mom from killing anyone else. He becomes consumed with keeping his mother locked in her room so she can do no more damage. But there are instances when she manages to get out and since Clay won't feed her, she's so hungry she has to take matters into her own hands. Clay is seen several times at murder scenes and ends up disposing of evidence which makes one wonder if he will eventually be the scapegoat for the crimes.

Jeanne Bates is fantastic as Mom. Even though she is a killer, she was an extremely sympathetic character. While her son means well, he was pretty annoying and I had to root for his Mom because she did such a great job with the role. There's some blood and guts, but more often it's about the the story than the gore.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Russell Mulcahys Tale of the Mummy (1998)

An archaeologic expedition discovers the tomb of Talos which has a warning on it's door. Ignoring the warning, all are turned essentially to pottery or sand (which is pretty cool), although Christopher Lee manages to blow up the entrance before literally falling to pieces.

Years later his diary of the dig ends up in the hands of Sam Turkel, who heads out with another team to uncover the unseen tomb. The team wears hazmat suits and manages to open the door without dying (always a plus). However, Brad has visions and goes crazy, and Burke, in an incredibly stupid move, climbs into the tomb to grab an amulet and falls to his death.

The antiquities are brought back to England for an exhibit. The opening of the exhibit correspond to a series of murders in which different body parts are stolen from the victims. A detective teams with Sam to try to solve the mystery of what is happening, as insane Brad insists the alignment of the planets signals the end of the world and the return of Talos.

The film features cgi mummy wrappings flying around, and they look really bad. We couldn't even tell it was supposed to be bandages. When one character held up a piece of it, it appeared to be a piece of tape.

It's a mediocre movie, but not a bad viewing as long as you discount.... oh never mind, it was okay. There are a few special effects that are neat, mostly in the beginning, while others like the flying wrappings are horrible. Even seeing the wrappings lying in the sarcophagus, we had no idea what it was supposed to be because it looked that bad.

Universal Soldiers (2007)

A professor develops the ultimate solder, which in this type of movie always equates to an unstoppable killing machine. When things go horribly wrong, as they do, and the soldiers break free from the lab, a team of Marines is called in to take control.

Unfortunately this is the worst Marine unit ever and all they do is bitch, moan, and freak out about the cyborg soldiers who will probably kill them. Plus they argue about whether they should head to the amory for weapons, or to the lab for access to the mainframe. Uh, wouldn't that be the call of whoever is in command? Last time I checked, military units were not democracies.

The Marines are shooting randomly at the cyborgs even though they have limited ammunition, and are running around the countryside trying to keep from getting killed. Sound exciting? Well it's not because it's all a whole lot of nothing happening except a bunch of unlikable characters -who are in no way Marines except for their generic military fatigues- whining and arguing about everything. They do not know how to hold their guns and they move like a group of civilians with no military training who have never even seen movie or news footage of soldiers.

Plus they are constantly freaking out about everything, spend most of their time arguing, feeling sorry for themselves, and being insubordinate. Seriously? They would not have survived in the Marines. These are not the best or even the adequate. These are the incompetent.

When they get a call on the walkie talkie that a rescue team is on the island, they rejoice (which is great as they had been telling poor me stories about how difficult their childhoods were). Next thing you know the walkie is squwaking with screams but the tack sharp Marines can't figure out what's happening and keep asking what's going on. Come on! You're on an island with rogue killer cyborgs, the rescuers are at the lab, and you can't figure out what is happening?

Another ridiculous scene occurs when the team fearfully make their way along the path. They are tense after the first attack of the cyborgs - who run fast in the background, go up trees, and appear to have costumes out of 1960s Star Trek episodes. Suddenly their captain is caught in a snare that leaves him hanging upside down from a tree. The appropriate reaction based on everything that has occurred is to go into defensive mode, and watch for the enemy while someone cuts him down. As Marines, they should be a cohesive unit and protect each other. But their reaction is laughter. Ahaha, you're hanging from a tree. Isn't it funny? No, it's not. You're in danger and cyborgs are loose. Get a grip man!

The sound is horrible and often seems like perhaps they were using cheap mics that overloaded. There's distortion and clipping on lots of characters, but it's not consistent. The Marines yell alot so maybe it is as simple as the mics overloading.

We couldn't get through this one. It was so bad and going nowhere. They give no background of what is going on, nor any exposition. You just pick up the plot from random things the characters say, such as all of a sudden one asks how they're going to get off the island. So they're on an island? How would I know that?

But the biggest question of all is, when will scientists learn that they should develop an almost unstoppable killing machine, rather than one who might get loose and kill its developers?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Donkey Punch (2008)

Three girls on vacation agree to accompany three guys to a yacht for a party. The guys turn out to be the crew and when they get drunk, they decide to impress the girls further by taking the yacht out for a spin. The characters are stereotypes.

The guys tells stories of sexual prowess as they're looking for some action and the ladies man brings up a story about the donkey punch. (Look it up if you don't know what it refers to as it's ridiculous.) Later during a drunken sexual tryst, the awkward guy enthusiastically decides to try it, and the trip turns ugly.

The guys decide to cover up what happened, which is stupid as there is no way the girls will go along with it. What happened was an accident and a stupid one at that, but it's not as bad as what their plan to stay out of trouble.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Chain Letter (2010)

A high school student receives a chain letter via email which states he needs to pass it on within twenty four hours or die. So he sends it to his friends. Some of them pass it on, while others promptly delete it. Too bad because it's from a serial killer who uses technology to track whether they have forwarded it, and if not, he kills them using chains (get it, chains?)

The students are all in the same history class and their history teacher is anti-technology. He believes it is all consuming and there is no privacy anymore. So he uses a device to block cell phone signals for up to fifty yards so the kids can't use their phones during his class. You'd think this would foreshadow something, but it doesn't come up again.

One of the kids figures out what is going on and contacts the detective on the case. The detective goes off to look for the killer in an abandoned factory without any back up or telling anyone exactly where he'll be.

The biggest problem with this movie is that various clues are thrown out as to who the killer is, but there is never any real explanation. The movie just sort of stops. There is talk of an anti-technology cult who may be using technology to kill, and a local man wounded in the war whose families factory closed due to the economy. Are they working together? If so, how did they team up, and why would the local man want to kill innocent teenagers? Is the history teacher part of the anti-technology cult? And who was the guy who showed up at the police station pretending to be the profiler? None of this is ever explained.

Also the motives for the killings is suspect. Usually horror movies kill kids because they are callous jerks, go places they shouldn't go, commit crimes, or have sex. But there is no real reason for these kids to die. We dont' really know anything about them, but they aren't shown doing anything wrong.

The movie is book ended by the same footage of a couple leaving their house and their kid being chained behind their cars. Putting it at the beginning just causes confusion for the viewer. There is no reason to show this at the beginning as it hasn't happened yet. It makes no sense within the context of what is going on.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Dead Noon (2007)

A large cowboy kidnaps a girl and tells her the story of Frank, an evil gunslinger who dies, goes to hell, and beats Satan at cards which earns him a return to Earth. Once back, Frank goes to Boothill to revive his posse using his new powers of the undead. This leads to the question, shouldn't Frank revive his gang rather than the posse as they would be the ones who brought him to justice? Someone needs to learn the language of the Old West.

Cut to present day where Sheriff Logan Kane is going on his honeymoon and has given brother Stuart his badge. Stuart is bitter about always being second to Logan. Perhaps it is because he's sort of self absorbed, such as when he gets a desperate call from a deputy being chased by the undead posse and is completely cavalier about the need to help.

Even though Logan is on his honeymoon, he's decides the town needs him. His poor bride expresses her disapproval (and who can blame her?) as Logan turns the truck around. Then all of a sudden his brothers girlfriend (who is in love with Logan) is in the car. Huh? Where'd his wife go? Is this a dream? Is the girl wishing she were with him? Nope, it's just bad continuity. So at the 35 minute mark, we've probably seen 15 minutes of story and 20 minutes of people running around or shooting guns.

The movie is full of people making bad decisions. Okay, you're in the middle of the desert. Ahead in the road, there is a dead gunman. To the left and right, there are dead gunmen who have skulls for heads. They're approaching each side of your car. What do you do? The girl in this situation gets out of her car and runs away. Seriously? Oh movie, what is wrong with you?

And why do the hunters shoot the undead guy when he walks up to them? They don't realize he's already dead and freak out thinking that they killed someone. So then why did they shoot him? It makes no sense.

But I think the biggest question mark revolves around Frank's quest to kill Logan. All he cares about is exterminating Logan because he is the great great grandson of Frank's old west nemesis, Sheriff Kane. Um, so why doesn't he just kill Stuart? Since he's Logan's brother he would also fit the bill. Plus he's not so smart so he's a much easier target.

The film is filled with cgi blood and fire. There is a kid in a barn who keeps doing unnecessary flips while trying to escape the undead. And the driving scenes look like something out of the 1960s with a projection screen behind them to show landscape outside the truck. Also the beginning and ending with Kane Hodder as the large cowboy was apparently added later which explains why it makes no sense.

Day of the Nightmare (1965)

A wife finds hidden sketches of a woman which were drawn by her artist husband. Shortly afterwards the policy show up to ask if she's seen a woman who looks just like her husbands sketches. They have reason to believe the woman was murdered. The wife pleads ignorance even though her husband is often away for days at a time due to his job. The wife is stupid.

Doris Mays, a creepy looking man in drag, shows up and tries to kill the wife. Why? No idea. What's going on? No idea. There is a chase through an amusement park which is kind of interesting, if you like to see footage of 1960s amusement parks and I do.

Later I discovered the movie was missing the entire beginning that set up the plot. Ah, so that's why it made no sense, starting with a lady in drag on a plane who intended to kill the artists wife. There's a whole bunch of the movie missing which showed the husband in an apartment with models, nudity, and him being a total freak. If only I'd seen that, it would have at least made the plot understandable.

2010: Moby Dick (2010)

A modern day telling of Moby Dick with Ahab being a naval man with a metal leg. In 1969, the great white whale chomped onto a submarine and only Ahab made it out alive. Now in 2010, he wants his revenge and he's going to use the navy's sub to do it.

The major problem with this movie, besides it being made by The Asylum, is that even though Barry Bostwick is chewing the scenery, his soliloquies are super boring. Another big problem is that everyone keeps talking about how white the whale is, but it looks gray.

Other plot holes - Ahab states that the whale has lured them to shallow water, but wouldn't a submarine's first priority be keeping track of the depth of the water? Also after the sub drives the shark into a reef , Ahab ponders how to get the sub in since the water is only 12 feet deep. Wait a minute.... so how'd the shark get in there? He's three times the size of the sub!?!

On the plus side, Ahab's leg gets blown off and he makes a new one out of a wooden cross. Also he pilots a rubber dingy while screaming insanely and holding a rocket launcher on his shoulder. Cool but not enough to save the movie as seeing pictures of those two scenes would satisfy my interest.

Sam's Lake (2005)

A group of friends take Sam to the lake to cheer her up because her father recently died. Oddly enough Sam seems fairly happy as opposed to Kate who is super mopey due to a recent break up.

The first night Sam, her friends, and an old acquaintance who lives at the lake sit around a campfire telling scary stories. Local legend has it that there was a teenager who escaped from an asylum, murdered his family, and was never caught. He is said to roam the woods to this day.

The abandoned house that they saw on the way to the cabin is the murder house. The group goes into the house and discovers an old journal which reveals the twist in the story and signals the start of the killings.

The movie is mostly talk and nothing much happens until the end. Also there is a generic warning from a local at the general store, but as in most horror movies, no one asks for explanation and ignores it.