Tuesday, November 29, 2011

REC (2007)

A TV crew doing a documentary piece on Firefighters goes out with the team on a call to an apartment building where an old lady is acting strange.  When the policemen and firemen try to help her, she attacks them, biting one of them in the process.

When they attempt to get help for their injured co-worker, they find  the building has been sealed off and authorities outside announce that they are quarantined.  A health inspector is sent in to test those in the building to see who is infected.  The virus, which is spread via saliva, was detected by the Vets office when a tenant brought in their dog.

This is shot from the cameraman's point of view which keeps the viewer right in the middle of things, rather than as an observer.  The movie is much better than the US version, Quarantine, which kept the cause of the outbreak hidden for most of the movie.  There are less plot holes.  Also the reporter is frantic but not as annoying as she doesn't screech and blubber throughout the last part of the film.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Wake the Witch (2010)

aka Awaken the Witch

Dude, don't wake the witch. I woke her once and she was a total ass.  The title on the cover is slightly different from the title on the film.  I'm not sure why they made such a slight change. It doesn't really matter.

There is a legend about a witch buried in the woods.  Chains were used to keep her in the ground.  So if you find a chain and follow it to her burial spot, you can call for her and make a wish - but you have to wish quickly as otherwise she'll kill you. Uhhhhh yeah, that's a game I really want to try.

Three friends find a chain in the woods and one decides to follow it and try to wake the witch.  Soon after her attempt to wake the witch, she has some sort of seizure and is taken to the hospital.

One girls older brother is staying at home as he has been sick.  He's acting strange and keeps going into the woods.  When he ignores her shouts, she wanders into the woods to find him but is chased by a bunch of hunched over kids wearing dirty hoodies.  Oooo, isn't that spooky?  Well, I suppose if I were actually in the middle of the woods and it were dark, I'd be frightened.  But the scene takes place in the daytime and it's on TV, so it's not doing anything for me.

This movie is bare bones and done by amateurs.  It's not the worst thing I've ever seen. But quite honestly when the streaming Netflix went dead an hour into it, I wasn't that sad about missing the last 52 minutes of it.  That's right, this thing is almost two hours long.  Time to learn how to edit, people.

Hatchet II (2010)

Picking up right where the first movie left off, final girl Marybeth  manages to escape the island and wrangle up some people to go back to the swamp, help her get her father and brothers bodies, plus try to kill Victor Crowley who is still haunting the place.

The characters are mostly stereotypes and you know Victor's going to get to work a-killing them all.  Marybeth is shrill and annoying.  Tony Todd plays Reverend Zombie, who helps Marybeth round up the gun toting strangers for her quest, and ends up having a showdown with Victor on the island.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Alien Raiders (2008)

This is a decent flick - except for the horrible title and obvious ending.  A small town supermarket is over run by a group of masked intruders in what initially appears to be a robbery.  The group rounds up employees and customers and appears to be searching for someone specific.  One of their team mentally scans people in the store, and those deemed okay are segregated from those who have not been checked.

An off duty police officer, who happens to be in the store, calls in to report the masked intruders.  The intruders exchange gunfire with the officer, who is hit.  The group's scanner is killed.

At this point, the group panics.  It turns out they are scientists who are trying to eliminate dangerous aliens among us and with their scanner dead, there is only one other way to tell who has been absorbed by aliens and it involves using a knife.

The police arrive with a hostage negotiator who turns out to be the father of one of the hostages, a young cashier.

While I enjoyed the film, the ending was really obvious. Plus there were some questions that went unanswered:
  1. How did the scientists know that the alien would be at that supermarket at that particular time?  Wouldn't it be more likely that if it was definitely going to be there, you could concentrate on employees rather than customers?
  2. How could a team who obviously had prior experience tracking and eliminating aliens, (based on all the videotapes of prior missions), not do a complete sweep of the building?  
  3. Even if they believe they have the king, why let anyone else leave without scanning them?  They still might be infected and a second scanner has arrived.
  4. When the teen cashier argues that she knows they will be killed and need to escape, why does anyone listen to her?  First, listening to her father's stories of hostage negotiation does not mean that she has the same knowledge.  Second since the intruders already let some people go there is no reason to think they won't let the others go.  Lastly, the scientists are obviously looking for someone specific rather than a random search, so if you have nothing to hide you should be okay.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Jonah Hex (2010)

Jonah Hex mumbles his way through the movie and makes us realize that our time would be better spent reading old comic books.

Comic covers below and tons of other covers can be found at the awesome web site, Cover Browser.

Children of the Corn 7: Revelation (2001)

Jamie hasn't been able to get in touch with her grandmother and decides to visit to make sure she's okay.  Her grandmother lives in a seedy apartment building right next to a cornfield.  The few neighbors left in the building and the front desk person haven't seen her grandmother in awhile and aren't any help.  So Jamie decides  to file a missing persons report with the police.

After she decides to stay in her grandmothers apartment, Jamie goes to the local supermarket where she meets some creepy Amish type kids.  The kids keep showing up wherever Jamie goes, and keep getting creepier since they never say anything, continually stare at her, and seem to appear and disappear in the blink of an eye.

There are children and there is some corn, but that's about the only connection this has to spooky kids killing people in cornfields.  The movie mostly takes place inside the rundown apartment building.  Also I thought this town was in the middle of nowhere but there are skyscrapers and a large city in the background which makes the lack of people and police all the more strange - but not strange enough to be interesting.

Rise of the Undead (2005)

This was difficult to get through. There is bad cgi before the credits start, and an hour into the film there is a revelation that would have been creative in the 1970s, but now is such a cliche that you'll wish you'd never wasted your time on this.

A group of strangers end up in a nearby building trying to escape multiple fireballs and explosions that are rocking the city.  Personally I'd want to get out of an exploding, flaming city, but oh well.  They run into Jay who provides exposition regarding bio warfare (which doesn't explain the exploding buildings) and advises that the safest thing to do is to head to an underground military base two miles away.

Apparently the bio warfare turns people into zombies that pop out from dark rooms and hallways.  The problem about watching a fight for survival in a dark room is that you can't tell what is going on, nor can you tell the zombies from the humans. It's even more confusing when the darkened fight all of a sudden switches to brightly lit footage of feet running by the camera.  Huh?

As the zombies mount further attacks, the number of survivors dwindle until there is only one left.  And this is when you'll rue the day you decided to watch this, as all of a sudden the lone survivor wakes up.  That's right, wakes the fuck up.  It was all a dream.  Everyone is still alive.  In another annoying plot point, two of the strongest characters decide to give up trying to survive,  even though it hasn't even been a day.

That leaves us with some sort of cgi energy creature that exists only within the dark and is in the building.  Luckily the group manages to produce a camera from thin air and use the flash to ward off this dark energy creature. Hurrah... no wait, I hate them all and want them dead.

The dialogue is often a lower volume than the sound effects and music.  There is a super long boring story told by a bad actor about his grandmother's spider monkey.  One scene is shot from the same camera angle with characters in different positions. Consequently it appears as if the characters teleport back and forth to different positions during the scene, which is stupid rather than artistic.  Lastly, at one point, one of the characters says "Does it really matter what it is or why it's happening?"  Yes, yes it does.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Venom (2005)

When an old voodoo lady accidentally runs her car off a bridge, local tow truck driver Ray helps two teens try to save her. Once she is free from the car, she insists that Ray go back into the perilously hanging vehicle to retrieve her suitcase. When he does, the case flies open, cgi snakes are released and the car, with Ray in it, plunges into the murky water below.

The suitcase in question had been dug up from a graveyard and was filled with the souls of evil that the old lady milked via her voodoo. Ray's dead body becomes possessed by these souls, and they want revenge and for some reason it is against the teens.  Eventually the only safe place they can find is the hoome of the old lady which is out in the middle of the swamp.  Nothing new or fantastic, just a generic horror movie.

The Hazing (2004)

aka Dead Scared

Five pledges to a combined fraternaty / sorority are given a list of items to find for a scavenger hunt.  One of the items is an ancient text that their professor is rumored to own.  Two of the pledges decide to break into his house to find the book, which seems fairly excessive for some stupid scavenger hunt.  While looking for the book, they find bloody bodies in the basement and the professor  performing some sort of ritual on the corpses.

After being chased upstairs by the professor, they accidentally almost kill him during a fight and call 911 before leaving.  At the hospital, the professor dies and his spirit gets the pledge to read an incantation which allows him to possess the pledges body so he can start killing again.

The professor dies several times while at the hospital, but no one notices.  Once they notice there's a problem, he kills the doctor and others.

The pledges end up at the frat house.  The members tell them the story of the killer who used to live in the house, and have rigged the house to scare them.  When the professors spirit shows up, he causes havoc.  Brad Dourif is awesome as the professor and is the high point of the movie.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Fear Chamber (2009)

A serial killer who sometimes paints his face like a Juggalo is abducting young women.  Detective Nick Ferguson, who was stabbed in the chest and let the killer escape, vows to track the maniac down due to his guilt that there are more victims.  Nick starts having visions of girls that are abducted by this madman.

True to cop movie cliches, Nick has a drinking problem, feels guilty about his wife's murder, has a supervisor who questions his methods, is consumed by this particular case, and is ultimately suspended and must turn in his badge.

It's slow moving and drawn out, with little to keep you interested.  There's a twist ending which is just sort of "oh" and not the big reveal it's supposed to be because you just won't care.  Richard Tyson chews up some scenery as the face painting doctor, but he's not given much to work with - so fair play Mr. Tyson, fair play. Oh and as with any movie, the appearance of nudity before the credits means we are in for a long ride.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Don't Go In the Cellar (2008)

A group of college kids decide to have a party in an old lunatic asylum.  The asylum, though long abandoned, is clean and appears to be someones home rather than an old hospital.  There is a sectional sofa in the living room (yes, they have a livingroom), a hallway with knickknacks on bookshelves, and doors that look like bedroom doors.  In fact the entire interior screams I'm a suburban home.

The cellar door and walls look like a set.  The college classroom has folding tables and the teachers desk appears to have a black table sheet over it.  Best of all is the padded room which is made from paper and staples.  I actually didn't realize it was supposed to be a padded room for quite a while since it doesn't look anything like padding.

The main character is a girl with such severe fear of interacting with other people that it doesn't seem possible that she could actually attend college. Her older sister doesn't help matters by being extremely controlling and over protective.

The class has been studying the asylum and for extra credit they decide to do more research on it as a group project.  Their idea of research is going to the asylum to party and then after a couple of hours, they'll start doing their research.  Oh yeah, that ought to be some really accurate research.

After the kids kick off their party, they meet Wendall, whose sole purpose seems to be to stand in the padded room and tell people not to go into the cellar.  As is usual in horror movies, the warning is not heeded and everyone ends up at one time or another going into the cellar.  Good job, college kids!

IMDB lists the budget at $1.2 million. If that's accurate, I wonder what that money went to because it certainly wasn't spent on actors, props, or sets.  Seriously, it looks like it was filmed in someone's house -  sectional sofa, knickknacks, bookshelves, hollow core doors, even signs of a cat. Note that from the outside, the asylum door is solid, but once they are inside, there is a window and the door looks like your standard living room door.  Also of note, Randal Malone plays Wendell. Enough said.

The cover does not depict anything from the movie.  The asylum looks nothing like the building on the cover, and there are no cells.

Deadfall Trail (2009)

One of the reasons I picked this up this collection is that Deadfall Trail looked interesting. The cover art shows three guys walking into trees,which turn out to be the teeth in a giant skull!  So imagine my surprise when I watched the movie and discovered it is not a horror film.

Julien, John, and Paul head out for a three week trek in the wilderness.  Julien and John are used to going into the woods in survivalist mode, but Paul has never done this before.  Julien is disgusted at this piece of information and believes that Paul will be a detriment to their trip.  Julien insists they each only bring a bottle of water, a knife and a small satchel.  No maps, food, or tents are allowed.

The ultimate goal is never really established, other than communing with nature and eating peyote once they decide they have reached the right destination. And that leaves the viewer with too many questions.  How did the three of them decide to head into the woods together?  Why doesn't Paul know how bare bones the expedition was going to be?  Why doesn't Paul listen to the advice the more experienced guys give him?   Why did John decide to invite Paul when Paul has no survival skills and Julien is high strung about the way things are done and has no patience for newbies?

Unfortunately Julien's fears about Paul prove to be well founded when there is an accident seven days walk into the wilderness. While this is supposed to provide tension, it doesn't as the characters are kind of annoying. Julien seems like a dickhead, Paul is an idiot who doesn't take the seasoned trekkers advice seriously, and you can never figure out why the three of them are on this trip together.  So you end up being annoyed at two of the three characters and wondering why any of them thought this was a good idea.

Slaughterhouse Phi: Death Sisters (2006)

Yup, you know how bad this one is going to be just by looking at the cover art.  During a hazing ritual at an abandoned orphanage, one of the pledges accidentally dies.  Instead of calling for help or reporting the accident, the pledge leader decides to bury the dead girl.  You'd think the other pledges might be suspicious when they never see her again, but no.

A year later, the police have given up and her father has stopped pestering the sorority about his daughters whereabouts.  So the pledge leader decides it's okay to do the same hazing ritual in the same place.

Unbeknownst to them, the ghost of the dead girl has been murdering people.  A photographer takes a girl to the house to take some photos.  When she doesn't want to drop her top, the guy  physically assaults a girl after setting his camera on auto to take photos the assault. Yeah, not too bright, that one.  Fortunately the ghost shows up and save the day... until she also kills the girl.

Rusel Malone plays the detective, who looks so unlike a detective in his wood paneled basement office.  But we know he definitely is a detective by the trench coat and fedora he wears.  He's suspicious of the sorority girls, but has no evidence.

The ritual goes horribly wrong again due to the appearance of the murderous ghost.  When one is killed, they all run out of the house.  Inexplicably, they stop running once they get to the front porch.  After a long discussion, they decide that they need to go back into the house to get a cell phone to call for help... even though someone was just murdered and a killer is in the house.  Although the house is supposed to be thirty minutes from nearest town but you can see another roof off to the left of the driveway.  Gah!!  Terrible!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Hobo with a Shotgun (2011)

Hobo Rutger Hauer rides the train into town and finds a city full of fear, crime, violence, and immorality.  The city is run by The Drake and his sons, all vile human beings who terrorize the residents and control all the illegal activities in town.  So powerful are they, that they kill and torture those who cross them in broad daylight in front of witnesses without fear of reprisal.

When the hobo gets caught in the middle of a pawn shop robbery where the robbers threaten to kill a baby, he decides to take matters into his own hands.  He buys a shotgun and decides to clean up the town.  This causes the Drake to put a bounty on his head and the whole town, including the police, try to kill him.  The only one who stands by him is the hooker with a hear of gold that he rescued from Drake's son.

This is violent and depressing and definitely harkens back to the grindhouse pictures of the seventies.  You'll feel dirtier for having watched it.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Late Fee (2009)

A couple heads to the video store on Halloween only to find the owner locking up for the night.  They convince him to let them in as they swear they only want two movies which they'll pick up asap.

The owner, dressed as the devil, is having a Halloween party for his friends. He recommends two videos, which they rent. The rental agreement is the size of a book and the owner warns them to have the movies back by midnight or pay the price.

Oddly enough the couple is still getting trick or treaters at 10 pm, and complain about the interruptions since they're trying to watch their movies.  Geez people, just turn off your damn porch light!  Also there is no way they can get through both movies in two hours, but somehow there is a rip in the time space continuum and they manage to do it. However they do not return the videos per their agreement, and shortly after midnight there is a knock at the door.

First, be forewarned that this is an anthology.  If you don't know that going into it, it's very confusing when the story switches to a different movie all of a sudden.  The late fee story exists only as a way to patch together two short films, The Pick Up and Damnation, which are supposed to be the videos they're watching.  I wasn't aware that this was an anthology and got completely confused when it cut from the renters on the couch to several people and a location I'd never seen before.  Honestly, I had no interest in either short film since the description and movie title did not give a hint that this was an anthology.

The Stay Awake (1987)

A group of girls at a private school are staying awake to raise money.  The school is deserted except for  the girls and their chaperon who are staying in the gym.  The spirit of a serial killer enters the building and starts murdering whoever he can get his hands on.

It's never clear why the killer is targeting these girls, especially since he was executed in the US.  How did his spirit get to Europe?  Wouldn't it be easier to go after a girls school in the state where he died?

Also someone should have told the special effects team that a gooey, scaly monster with jelly candy eyes is not so spooky.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Terror at the Red Wolf Inn (1972)

aka Terror House

Regina receives an envelope with no return address that contains a letter telling her she's won a vacation.  Naive Regina calls the number provided, even though she didn't enter any contest, and is so overcome with giddy excitement that she doesn't question when she is told she'll have to leave immediately to redeem her prize.  Nor does she falter when she is told by the pilot of the private charter plane she'll be taking to an unknown destination that she will have to call her mom later.

When she arrives at the Red Wolf Inn, she meets two other college  girls who won vacations, Inn owners Evelyn and John, and their grandson Baby John, who is college aged but seems a little soft in the head.

The Inn is beautiful, the owners friendly, and Regina thinks John is cute.  Evelyn cooks huge, delicious meals for everyone.  It's uncomfortable to watch the eating scenes as people are gorging like they haven't eaten in days.  It's bizarre.  Their cheeks bulge with food and yet they continue to shovel it in.  Everyone agrees the ribs are the most tender, tasty things they've ever eaten. Yet we know this is going to end badly since there is too much emphasis on the food and Evelyn doesn't want anyone near the walk in meat locker in the kitchen.

Regina, although a complete ditz, is still likable which is surprising since she doesn't think twice about taking this vacation and doesn't pick up on clues that something isn't right at the house.  She doesn't even get creeped out by the very odd incident which occurs on the beach. Baby John beats a shark to death  while repeatedly screaming, "Shark!" like a crazy man, then turns to look at Regina and deadpans, "I think I love you," before he walks off.

The biggest question I have is about their method of operation to procure women.  Wouldn't it be easier to pick up hitchhikers rather than send anonymous letters to college co-eds?  If anyone had been around in the dorm, Regina would have told them she'd won a vacation.  What percentage of letters get a response, and what are they paying their pilot who must be on call to bring women out but never bring anyone back?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday (1993)

I thought I saw all the Friday the 13th movies in the theater, but I don't remember this one.  I can't believe I didn't see it, but it doesn't look familiar.  Perhaps I blotted it from my memory since Jason isn't really in it.  Can it really be a Friday the 13th movie when Jason inhabits other people's bodies (by slowly dribbling a large black slug into their mouths, gross!)  Serious, if Jason is represented on screen as a different character who is possessed rather than a huge behemoth in a hockey mask, it's really not Jason, is it?

Only a Voorhees can kill a Voorhees, or so the legend goes, which is what causes all this trouble and leads those left alive to end up in the Voorhees Mansion which has trap doors in the floors.  Huh?  Since when did the family have a mansion and why would they have trap doors?

In a finale that can only be described as laser show Jason, good triumphs over evil again... until next time when we get a teaser for the next Freddy vs. Jason movie.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Drainiac (2000)

If you expect to see anything like the monster on the cover, you'll be sorely disappointed as the only thing you'll see is some slime and some things that look like meat tentacles.

Julie's abusive dad leaves her to clean up an isolated old house he just bought.  When her friends decide to bring her lunch, they are followed by a creepy bully who tries to assault one of the girls.

There is green slimey goo in the basement. It eats a hobo.  Yet when the kids are there, it does not appear.  The meat tentacles appear in Julie's dream and also erupt from the toilet to devour the unsuspecting bully.

A stranger shows up at the door, claims the house is haunted by a ghost in the pipes and asks for help doing an exocism.

There is not much monster in the film.  Just some green goo, a few meat tentacles and some cgi stuff during the exorcism.