Thursday, September 29, 2011

Vampire Party (2008)

aka Les dents de la nuit

Friends Sam, Alice, and Prune manage to get invitations to Medici Night, an exclusive party that takes place in a secret location, and is the stuff of urban legends.  The trio, along with other guests, are flown via helicopter to an old castle where an invitation is required for admittance.

Inside the castle is a rave where the crowd are going wild.  But what the party goers don't realize is that inside another entrance  there is a different group of party goers waiting to attend.  For in reality, the party is a ruse to provide dinner for a large group of vampires.

The rest of the movie involves the main characters trying to escape the castle.  Somehow they all manage to avoid being bitten when the feasting on blood began.  There are some laughs, but the film is not like Airplane, as it says on the front cover.  It's okay, but not a laugh riot.  I don't think I laughed out loud even once.

Scream (1981)

A group on a rafting trip decide to spend the night in a ghost town.  When one of them is killed, they question whether the killer is a stranger or one of their group. Although the victim died while wandering off on his own, two others wander off alone during the night and meet their demise.

The next day they discover their rafts are gone. The nearest town is thirty miles away and no one will send a search party until they don't show up at their scheduled destination that night.  Despite the presence of a killer in town, the group decide to wait for help rather than leave.

Later in the day, two lost dirt bikers arrive and the group convinces one to let them borrow his bike to try to get help.  That night an old man on a horse, along with a dog, come into town with the body of one of the dirt bikers.  The old man tells them a confusing story about a sea caption and then leaves.

If you're looking for thrills or a revelation of who or what is doing the killings, or even a glimpse of the killer, you'll be sadly mistaken.  There is not a lot of dialogue and the music is right out of an early 80s tv show, think Hardcastle and McCormick or Magnum PI.  It's pretty slow moving and there isn't really a pay off since the killer's identity is left open ended.

Graveyard Disturbance

Five teens shoplift at a small store while traveling in a custom painted Van with portraits of Madonna and Duran Duran on the side of it.  While trying to escape from the police in the Obvious Mobile, the group turns down a dirt road they believe is a short cut and end up stuck in the mud.  After a long walk, they bed down in the ruins of a church for the night but soon awaken to strange noises and discover a neon sign designating a pub in the basement of the ruins.

The inhabitants of the pub are super sketchy, but our little group sits down to order food and drink.  When they notice a glass globe about three feet wide filled with valuables, the Proprietor tells them that anyone who can spend the entire night in the crypts can claim the treasure.

Oddly enough the group devise a plan in which David will volunteer to be locked in the crypts for the night.  Once the pub closes, then the others can sneak back in to join him.  It doesn't make any sense on so many levels.  You want to grab them and shout, "Hey kids, notice how that container is filled with cash, jewels, and gold?  Well, that means that all those other people before you have failed." Well I guess you'd want to do that if you cared about them, but they're not the most likeable folks.

After the others are in the crypts, they locate David and bodies start rising from coffins while strange monsters lurk in the dark hallways until roused by the groups appearance.  All the kids want to leave but can't figure a way out.  There is a weird eyeball monster and one of the bodies in the crypt has a rotten head but a normal body.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Forget Me Not (2009)

While celebrating their high school graduation, a group of friends drives out to the cemetery to play a game they used to play when they were kids.  One person is the ghost, and everyone they tag becomes ghosts until one person is left.  When the vengeful spirit of Angela is awakened, the group become targets of her wrath as they were responsible for her getting hurt as a child.

Sandy, who used to be Angela's friend, is the only one who can remember things as they were.  As each of her friends dies, it is as if they never existed. The remaining members of the group start thinking Sandy is having a breakdown.  None of them have any memory of the people who die or their houses or cars which appear long abandoned.  It all becomes a race against time as Sandy tries to figure out what is really going on, how to stop it, and why she is the only one who can remember people who were their best friends.

While it's an interesting concept, there are a couple of problems.  Since Angela is not dead, how can her spirit interact with and kill those who did her wrong.  Also, Angela's reaction to her best friend playing a game with the other kids is kind of psycho, which makes her a much less sympathetic character.    Based on her outburst, you can actually identify with the kids who decide to play a prank on her.  Let's face it, no one likes to hang out with a big baby.

But the biggest problem is the ripple effect that would come from friends not ever existing.  Someone is erased from history, yet their friends lives remain almost unchanged, except for a lack of memory.  So if TJ never existed, the house he lived in would be long abandoned?  No one else would have lived there for years?  Did I blink and miss that he had fixed up an abandoned house?  It would be much more effective if someone else lived there.  Or someone else was driving the sports car.

When the movie begins, we randomly cut from scene to scene, all with different characters.  We aren't told who they are or how they relate to each other.  Also all the girls look very similar, so we kept getting confused as to whether the new scene had a new girl, or one who'd already been interacting with other characters.

Lastly, the ghosts, or whatever they are, that kill the kids look like a cross between the twitchy Japanese horror spirits, Marilyn Manson in the Beautiful People video, and someone in an Ace Frehley costume made out of duct tape.

Kull the Conquerer (1997)

When Kull beats the King in a sword fight, the dying monarch bestows his crown on Kull.  The heirs to the throne band to gether to plot Kull's death by reanimating the Red Witch.  The witch puts a spell on Kull in order to become his bride.  When the witch poisons him on his wedding night, the heirs are ecstatic until they discover the witch has changed her bargain with them and intends to remain in power.

Kull bands together with the palace psychic and her priest brother in order to destroy the witch and the men who sought his death.  Kull is a benevolent King who makes positive changes in the kingdom, like freeing the slaves.  Oh that Kull, he's such a good guy.

The music vears from metal to orchestral and back again.  Much of the movie could be from a Manowar metal video. There are a plethora of cod pieces in this flick.

The Thaw (2009)

When you title your movie, you should try to make it something that will generate some sort of interest so people will want to see your film.  The Thaw, besides being really generic, is almost a tongue twister and sounds like whoever is saying it has a lisp.  How about for the next one we call it The Thcrewdriver?

Dr. Kruipen, world famous expert in global warming, is in the Artic doing research in hopes of convincing people of the seriousness of this issue.  While tracking a polar bear, he discovers the melting ice caps have revealed a wooly mammoth.  However the mammoth is infected with some sort of parasite which is not finicky about who or what it inhabits.  

Three students majoring in Ecology who were chosen to work with Kruipen are already on their way.  The fourth member of their team, Kruipen's daughter, is only there due to feeling forced into it by her  often absent father.  

Due to the risks associated with his find, Kruipen asks the pilot to tell his daughter there is a change of plans and she can not come out to the site.  She refuses to accept this since she has traveled so far, as well as the fact that she is angry at her father so she's not going to do what he says.

When the pilot, college students, and daughter arrive at home base, they find it deserted and also find the carcass of the polar bear in the lab.  When one of her father's crew shows up badly injured and no one at the camp will answer on the radio, two of the students head out to find out what happened.  The parasite is at the site and back at the base, and as it infects people, the chances of survival get slimmer.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Brain Twisters (1993)

Professor Phillip Rothman, who looks like a cross between Alice Cooper and Rik Ocasek, is using his students in a research project for a company called Biotonics.  Skanky Michelle is doing poorly in class, so she offers sex for a good grade.  But Rothman would rather have her assist in his experiment meant to measure emotional responses to nerve stimulation.  Somehow this relates to computer game research.

Michelle is afraid of having electrodes hooked up to her head.  Rothman tells her, "If it's too much to handle, push the escape button."  My rule?  Count me out if your experiment is risky enough to need an escape button.  Too bad Michelle didn't have the same self preservation instincts since Rothman's experiment has the side effect of causing uncontrollable anger which leads to attacking and/or killing other people.

Meanwhile Laurie, who is in the same class and is doing work study for Rothman, finds her best friend murdered.  The Detective asks her to accompany him when they tell her friend's fiance, Ted.  They find Ted working as a waiter, order a meal, and then tell him the bad news.  As can be expected, Ted reacts badly.  But it gets weird because there are pinball sound effects, Ted looks strange, and then he jumps out the window.

Police are suspicious of Rothman because he claimed Ted's body and has a signed contract stating the body can be used for scientific research.  Rothman feigns innocence, but since his experiments involve cutting the heads off corpses, you know there's a problem.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Lost Boys: The Thirst (2010)

The author of a series of teen vampire novels recruits retired vampire hunter Edgar Frog to help find her younger brother who disappeared at a rave.  She believes he was taken by vampires who plan to use him as a sacrifice at a huge underground rave about to take place nearby.

The new drug supplied at the raves is called Thirst.  Kids are given the drug which contains blood from the alpha vampire, thus ushering them into the league of the undead.

Along with Edgar, the novelist also hires a reality TV host who thinks this is like his show, a fake.  Edgar is not happy about this development, but decides to lead the mission as if he lets the obnoxious TV host go off on his own it will surely be a disaster.

Alan Frog, who was bitten by a vampire, contributes to the cause by making equipment that Edgar can use to kill the vampires.

While it can't complete with the original movie, it's still better than the sequel from a few years ago which featured random teens who come to stay in town and meet vampires.  The Frog Brothers are central to this movie, which makes it work.

The Apple (1980)

Metaphor-heavy, social commentary wrapped in a disco bow, The Apple is set in the "future" (1994) and tells the fable of a duo who discover that they must sell their souls to Satan to get ahead in the music industry. Naive duo Alfie and Bibi travel from a small town to compete in a world singing competition but are beaten by a band sponsored by BIM, Boogalow International Music.

When Mr. Boogalow offers them a contract, they are ecstatic until Alfie starts to read it and decides not to sign.  Bibi betrays Alfie by signing the contract as she is willing to do whatever it takes to make it big.  Soon Bibi is selling out concerts all over the world, with throngs of fans mobbing her everywhere she goes.  She's also under influence of speed as Mr. Boogalow keeps his artists in a state of subservience with pharmaceuticals and thinly veiled threats to do what he requests.

Alfie wants to make it on his own, but is going nowhere.  He  misses Bibi and sees how shes changed.  So he tries to save her from herself, the star machine that is BIM and Mr. Boogalow who is Satan.   There are lots of songs, dancing, and discoing all over the place.

As always, anytime someone in the 1980s tries to picture what the future looks like, they get it horribly, hilariously wrong.  There are many flashy, glittery, silvery ridiculous outfits.

Yup, no religious overtones in this scene.
In 1994, everyone will dress like this.
Bibi wears silver spandex and makes it big.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Dark Harvest 3: Scarecrow (2004)

aka Skarecrow

Well, if there's one thing I can say about this - unlike Dark Harvest 2 - there certainly is a killer scarecrow in it.

A group of friends, who don't seem to like each all that much, head up to an old family cabin for their annual weekend retreat. On the way they stop for gas and receive a warning of death from a crazy old blind preacher. They ignore it and continue to the abandoned cabin, which is inexplicably spotless.

Although there were remarks about the water being undrinkable and no one has used the place for years, as soon as they arrive one of the girls wants to take a bath. Very strange considering it only took  an hour to drive there.  Why wouldn't she bathe before the trip? Makes no sense.

Due to the flashback at the beginning of the movie, we know that the family ran an illegal moonshine operation and seized the land from the actual owner. Bad news as the old lady was a witch and her curse immediately brought death at the hands of her scarecrow. And what our semi-young vacationers do not know is that the witch cursed the moonshiners descendents. Hurrah for the fun weekend ahead!

There is lots of beer and plans for the pursuit of the opposite sex. One couple heads out for a romantic  walk across the field. When the girl refuses to put out near an old scarecrow, the guy punches her in the face.  Her blood splashes the scarecrow, disappearing into it's clothing. Uh oh, that can't be good.

As per usual, the first couple to have sex are the first to suffer a casualty. The rest of the film is everyone running around, trying to figure out if the cabin owner is the killer, and trying not to die along the way.

The acting is atrocious. There were times I actually laughed out loud at the line reads. The film is supposed to take place in 1981, but we only know that because they said so. There is nothing 1980s about this movie, including the clothing and hair styles. The camera work is often very jerky, especially zooming out from closeups, and has a home movie camcorder feel to it. The behind the scenes footage shows that they did not have soft boxes or any real lighting.

Confusing scenes which go nowhere and have no impact on anything:
  1. Bandana guy gets something several inches long stuck in his finger while in the basement. He states,"ow that smarts," loses a fingernail, and it is never mentioned again.
  2. Although they carry in water from the well to fill the bathtub, later they use the tap and have no trouble getting water to wash a cut.
  3. Allie has a psychic vision and passes out when touching an old book - which is barely dusty after having been in the basement for years. But its never explained why and none of her visions are useful or involved in the plot.
  4. There is a POV shot from the vantage point of the girl in the sex scene, with the camera going up and down to simulate whats going on.
  5. There is a cat scare.
  6. Allie keeps taking deep breaths as if she is sniffing something, but it turns out to be just bad acting as she is trying to seem out of breath.
  7. Cindy disappears from front door and Allie freaks out. She picks something off the floor and rubs it on her face. It turns out to be Cindy's hair, ewww!
  8. When Allie screeches, she sounds like a cross between a crow and an old witch cackling.
  9. Allie is making noises, but its unclear whether shes making animal noises or if they're supposed to somehow represent her fear.
  10. Someone needs to let Allie know that screeching is not a substitute for an emotion.
  11. Brent claims he never knew about the bulkhead that leads from the outside into the basement. But it's not hidden. There's a bulkhead outside and a door in the basement .
  12. Why is Allie so freaked out by the old scarecrow. 

Dark Harvest 2: The Maize (2004)

aka The Maize: The Movie

The first thing you need to know is that there is no scarecrow in this movie. Did you hear me? No scarecrow.  Not only that, but we are treated to a movie that was originally called The Maize: The Movie.  Seriously?  That title screams to be ignored.

You know you're in trouble when you notice that the lead actor is also listed as writer, producer, director, cameraman, and assistant to the editor.  What enthusiastic amateurs often don't understand is that its a good idea to get another opinion involved to provide constructive criticism so you don't end up with an unwatchable mess.

Shy Walker has questionable psychic abilities which have previously predicted vague horrible consequences in the near future.  While handing out Halloween candy, he has a vision of harm coming to his daughters.  When a phone call to his wife reveals that the girls are somewhere inside a corn maize, Walker rushes rescue them.

The girls are dressed as vampires and are making a video about being lost in a corn maize. Duh. At one point, the camera zooms in and out as the older sister has the younger one scream while filming her mouth from less than a foot away. Seriously, they show footage of the girl screaming for several minutes.  It gets really annoying.

The girls run into a couple of semi-creepy little girls who speak in tandem and are looking for a lost locket.  After realizing these girls may not be alive, the daughters drop their camera and run off screaming.  As night falls, they find themselves lost in the maize.

Luckily their father is looking for them... still. Hour after hour he walks through the corn maize trying to find them. Is it really so big that they can't hear each other yelling? Why doesn't his wife, waiting outside the entrance, ask for help from the people running the place? They'll know how to get through the maize.  Or why not send out a search party?

I guess because otherwise we would only have about ten minutes worth of footage.  The film is mostly people walking through the corn maize. Plus a long sequence of the father digging in the dirt.  The spotlights shining on the actors are very distracting as they are supposed to be alone in the corn maize.  Yet there is this spotlight only on them.  When Walker is handcuffed and manages to pick the lock, I thought, "gee, it's a good thing someone is shining a light on his hands otherwise he wouldn't be able to do that." 

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Megafault (2009)

An extremely sickly looking Brittany Murphy stars as a seismologist who has a theory about a megafault lying under the middle of the US. When a massive earthquake starts moving along this fault, Brittany gives a few words of advice, checks out the scene, and then spends the majority of the movie concentrating on the safety of her own family. She also has a fondness for the explosives expert she saved from the origin site of the earthquake, and the two use all her resources to try to save his mother as well as her family. So much for misuse of government resources.

As the quake travels across the plains with nothing to stop it, Brittany and the explosives guy attempt to use his knowledge to create a twenty five mile canyon which will hault the quakes progress.

The quake also causes a super volcano to surge under the ground, melting peoples shoes and eventually their heads. Oddly enough their clothes are intact until after their head melts.

Brittany's husband and child are given special treatment and are flown home on a military plane. The plane crashes, but somehow both end up wandering out of the woods alive. In keeping with the family tradition of self absorbtion, they do not make any attempt to check if the the pilots managed to survive also. Later husband and daughter hitch a ride with a trucker carrying a rig full of oil which is unfortunate since they're near the dreaded super volcano and must outrun the faultline which threatens to blow up the rig. The brilliant plan to unhitch the rig works.  But in it's post-explosive cgi glory rolling down the road,  if you'd replaced it with a cgi dinosaur on fire it would have looked very similar.

I don't know whether it was the makeup, or if Brittany was very ill or hopped up on goofballs, but her appearance is very distracting.  She does not look well.

Murder Loves Killers Too (2009)

A group of friends rent a cabin and head out for a weekend of partying. The cars engine blows, but luckily they are close enough to walk the rest of the way. From the outside the house looks huge, but inside is two bedrooms, bath, kitchen/living area, plus an upstairs room with a pool table.

Before our group can start partying, our killer has grabbed one of the girls. It's quick and unexpected. Everyone figures shes gone for a jog. Her boyfriend decides to go after her and meets a similar fate. The remaining three start partying and get smashed.

The killer, a benign looking middle aged man, starts picking them off one by one, and very shortly we are down to our final girl. She manages to hide from the killer, even though there aren't many places to hide. Ultimately she does some really stupid things which put her right in the killers hands. Isn't that always the way?

The last part of the movie heads in a completely different direction, which is when it loses all its momentum. It might have been okay if it was shorter or if the end wasn't fairly predictable.

The most ridiculous part of the whole movie is that even though there are signs that someone else is staying at the cabin, they completely ignore this. There is a car in the driveway, the door is unlocked, the door to the deck is open, the bed appears to be slept in, there is remnants of a cup of coffee, and the fridge is stocked with food. One person questions it, but the others couldn't care less. Silly college kids, you die now.

Witchboard III: The Possession (1995)

When his landlord shows unemployed stock broker Brian a Ouija board that he claims can predict which stocks to buy, Brian is understandably skeptical. But when the stock takes off, Brian heads back for another Ouija session. To Brian's surprise, his landlord gives him a ring and then commits suicide by jumping off the balcony.

After the funeral, Brian steals the Ouija board, borrows fifty thousand dollars from a loan shark, and tries to make a killing on the market. Unfortunately he does not have the sixty two thousand five hundred dollars that he needs to pay back within twenty four hours. When the loan shark's goon tries to chop off Brian's finger, blood is spilled on the box housing the Ouija and Brian is the only one who leaves the office alive.

Brian's attempt to destroy the Ouija only succeeds in an accident which stops his heart. His wife Julie calls paramedics who seemingly resuscitate him. However Brian has changed. At first it's little things like his hairstyle. But soon Julie is wondering who this person is, as he hits on her best friend right in front of her. Shortly after this she discovers her husband is actually stuck in the mirror and his body is inhabited by demon who intends to impregnate her. Oh the humanity!