Friday, August 31, 2012

Alien Opponent (2010)

When an alien ship crashes in a junkyard shortly after the murder of the owner, his wife and his mother-in-law (who killed him) decide to pin the killing on the alien.  Then they realize they can't collect their big inheritance without a body, which is in the junkyard with the alien.

They go on tv to offer a $100,000 reward to whoever can retrieve the body and kill the alien.  Tons of idiots show up the next day in hopes of getting rich quick.  The alien does not take kindly to a mass of idiots trying to kill him as he just wants to be left alone to  repair his ship.

There are a few characters that are briefly introduced to us before the carnage starts, but mostly it's just people streaming in and out of the story line.  The most enjoyable one is Roddy Piper who  plays a priest that teams up with a couple other reward seekers.

There are some funny moments in the film, and the requisite back stabbers who manipulate, start rumors, and cause general distrust among the competitors to ensure that will be the ones to get the money.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Curse of the Headless Horseman (1972)

After Mark's uncle dies in an accident, he brings his hippie friends to the Wild West town he's inherited.  The narrator informs us that Mark must make the ranch, i.e. ghost town, profitable within six months or ownership will revert to the creepy caretaker Solomon who lives on the property.

Mark and his friends fix up the town and put together a show for tourists, while creepy Solomon warns them about a man on a horse who rides through town looking for a head.  Mark ignores this talk, but makes sure to keep on all the gunfighters who worked for his Uncle so that they can entertain the tourists.

The film has lots of padding.  There is a long sequence in the theater where most of the group sits in the audience while they take turns heading up on stage to sing songs, do yo-yo tricks, and perform improv comedy.  If this is an indication of what the tourists are going to see, they're going to be very disappointed.

There's a whole lot of talk about nothing and the first kill doesn't happen until fifty minutes into the film.  The foley is questionable, especially when a girl hit by a truck on a dirt road sounds like it's a car on cobblestones.  Watch for the adult female tourist carrying the Superman lunchbox.   This was done by the same guy who did Carnival of Blood.

Ridiculous dialogue:

"It's a super generation gap."

"Try as he could to save her life, he could only fail."

"All these people have been splattered with real blood?  Who but a doctor would have access to that much blood?"

Carnival of Blood (1970)

Newly promoted Assistant District Attorney Dan takes his fiance Cathy to Coney Island on what is supposed to be a date, but turns out to be an investigation into a recent series of murders.  Cathy is not impressed, but who would be since trying to track down a serial killer isn't what a newly engaged woman wants to do on a date with the man of her dreams.

Cathy's neighbor Tom runs a booth at the park.  His assistant Gimpy, played but Burt Young of Rocky fame, covers the booth when Tom needs to run errands.

Suspicion for the killings is thrown onto several characters:  Dan is a little too intense; Gimpy is weird and antagonistic; and Tom can be super crazy scary when he's angry.

The victims are all females who are irritating, rude and nasty.  In fact there is only one woman in the whole film who is nice.  I'm not sure if that's the filmmakers view of women as a whole, or it was just a convenient way to make us okay with their deaths.  I usually don't even think about that, but this was so blatant that I did wonder if the writer hated women.

Overall the film has the feel of a Ray Dennis Steckler movie.  There's lots of padding and pointless conversations.  That being said, I find Stecklers movies to be oddly charming, although this film tends to border on tedious at times.  But I guess the same could be said of Steckler's films.

The thing I enjoyed the most was the footage of Coney Island from the late 1960s.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Starcrash (1978)

David Hasselhoff, Marjoe Gortner, and Carolyn Munro star in this outer space ripoff of Star Wars.  Hasselhoff is Prince Simon who is stranded on a planet after a spaceship crash.  Gortner is Akton... well I'm still not sure if he's part robot or what's going on there as he can play with electricity in his hand.  Munro is Stella Star, a Han Solo type of character, who wears tiny little costumes no matter where she goes.  And Christopher Plummer.... wait, how did he end up in this mess?

Evil bad guy Count Zarth Arn plans to take over the universe while Munro and Akton try to stop him while looking for Simon, the lost son of the Emperor (Plummer).

There are robots, bouncing cavemen, special effects right out of Mystery Science Theater, an Emperor who can stop the flow of time, a bad guy who chews the scenery, a doomsday device, and lots of laughs.  While there are times that the film slows down, the next ridiculous thing will be along soon, such as Stella working in the mines wearing a bikini.  Yes, she's the only one in the mining prison colony who wears a bikini instead of a loose drab outfit.  Ridiculous!

The Key (2008)

A group of friends help buddy Dylan with his documentary and spend the weekend at an abandoned building rumored to be haunted.  But Dylan has a hidden agenda. His grandfather was a Freemason who told him stories of a treasure located within the building.

Dylan has surreptitiously chosen this site to film because he wants his friends to help him find the long lost treasure hidden there.   I guess Dylan figures he can cover more ground with a group since the building is huge.  But as he hasn't told any of them about the treasure, it's not like anyone is actually looking for it.

His plan changes when three friends in a love triangle start fighting and one decides to leave.  In order to get him to stay, Dylan finally tells them all why he invited them for the weekend.  There's also a curse, but he's not all that concerned with mentioning it.

And so begins a completely nonsensical scene where Dylan remembers that his grandfather left him a key hidden in a book.  How could he forget?  It's a key to the treasure and that's why they're there.  The key reminds one of the girls about a creepy door she saw while exploring. She insists this must be the door the key goes to.... because it's just so creepy and all.

When they arrive at the door - which you'd assume must be incredibly creepy since she made note of it before she was told there was any evil afoot - we discover that it looks like every other door in the building.  Even more puzzling is why they believe the key is for this door since it isn't locked.

A normal door that is not creepy in any way...
...and the incredibly creepy door to nowhere.
It's also odd that they refer to it as a door to nowhere.  When they open the door, you can see the slant of a ceiling and possibly a sink.   To make matters more ridiculous, since they didn't need the key to open it, they decide the key must be intended to lock the door.  What the.....???   Wouldn't you look for a different door that was locked?  Why would you even think of that?  No reason other than to advance the plot since they need some way to release the demon.

And speaking of releasing the demon, you'd think that means we actually get to see a demon.  Ah but your standards are too high, my friend. What we get instead are actors pretending to be choked or flinging themselves around the room.  It's something right out of a 1960s Star Trek episode.  In fact, the demon isn't visible until literally the last three minutes of the film and then it's just some doofus in a monks robe. Good god, the terror!
Oh my god! I'm being choked by an invisible demon
The picture often seems to be slightly out of focus and there is uneven mixing on the sound.  One character might be too soft to hear while the other is at a good volume.  The film gets really crappy looking after they open the demon closet.  I'm not sure whether it represents the change in the atmosphere due to the demon or if it's just bad movie making.  Well it's bad either way since the focus isn't consistent and the lighting is terrible.  If this was intentional, then that makes it worse.
Pre-demon lighting
Post-demon lighting
Other things that don't work for the film?  The first kill is fifty minutes into it.  The opening credits list D-Rizzle as one of the actors. He also does music for the film, including the song over the end credits which is a rap tune called "Take a Shit".   Seriously?  Not only is it a stupid thing to write a song about, but it's even stupider to use it over the credits of your movie.  Also the DVD has no menu or chapters and doesn't even autoplay when you pop it in.  And that dvd cover?  Yeah, there's nothing like that in the film.

The funniest thing is I kept wondering why Justin looked familiar.  When he lost his hat, I realized he reminded me of a cross between Shaggy and Velma from Scooby Doo.  Right after that thought occurred, he got into a fight and lost his glasses.  Oh Shaggy Velma... what will we do with you?
It's Shaggy and he's wearing Velma's glasses.
None of the screen shots have been altered.  The odd colors and soft focus are how the film actually looks.
Does this shot mean someone is peering between the books and watching them?  No.
Should the characters hair blend into the darkness? No.
Should you randomly roll paint on the wall to imply abandonment? No.
Should you wear pearls to explore an abandoned building? No.
Can our characters escape a locked glass door? No.
Can your ample bazooms stop the walls from closing in? No.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Not of This Earth (1988)

Nadine is hired to be a live in nurse for Mr. Johnson, who has some sort of ailment that requires regular blood transfusions.  Johnson, a secretive man who always wears sunglasses, is an alien scout trying to determine if Earth is a good planet to take over.  He picks up hookers and sends their blood - or tries to send their bodies - back to his planet.  The aliens need blood to survive, hence his constant transfusions.

The opening credits include all sorts of monsters and death scenes that are not in the film, so don't get too excited.  It's just a jumble of scenes from other Roger Corman movies.  Traci Lords stars as the nurse and was better than I expected.

Blood Moon (1989)

Students start mysteriously disappearing from a private girls school and neighboring boys school.  When a teenage couple sneak away to the woods one  night for some extracurricular activities, a killer with a barbed wire noose chokes them and gouges their eyes out. Yuck!  The thought of a barbed wire noose is horrible.

After the quick kills at the beginning of the movie, the film veers off into a teen comedy plot line where the townies are being harassed by the rich prep kids.  The rivalry culminates at a weekend dance when the preps are humiliated by being sprayed with a water canon.

There is also  a romance between a townie and a rich girl, following stereotypical plot lines where they  sneak around because they're dating outside their class, before going back into the slasher part of the film.

The band at the dance is called Vice. They sing a song called Blood Moon which has a ballad style verse but then kicks in at the chorus.  It contains the lyrics:

Love is the messenger
And death is his rage
Blood moon a-rising

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Howling Reborn (2011)

Combine Twilight, The Howling, and a lead who looks like Daniel Radcliffe, and you've got The Howling Reborn.  High school loser Will pines for popular girl Eliana, who is dating cool kid Roland.  Roland doesn't like Will looking at his girl, so he beats Will up and threatens worse if Will's attention continues.

Eliana becomes interested in Will due to his creepy semi-stalker obsession with her and invites him to a party.  While there, he gets drugged and starts to feel as if he is being chased by a growling creature  which he fears is a werewolf.

After the party, Roland tracks down Will to administer another beating.  But Will's tired of being pushed around and finds he has some sort of superhuman strength.  After Roland is beaten up and left bleeding, he pulls a gun and chases Will, only to be pushed to his death.  Will starts wondering he if is a werewolf.

There's lots of teen angst leading up to graduation.  Then on graduation night, (yes the class is graduating at night), Will's mother - who he'd been told died when he was born - shows up.  As his mother tries to indoctrinate Will into her new life, the school becomes a blood bath while the graduation ceremony takes place outside.

There is no tie in to previous Howling movies.  It's purpose appears to be to revitalize the franchise by giving the werewolf story a Twilight spin.  It's not so much a horror movie as a teen movie.  There are voice overs by Will with super deep comments that teens will identify with, but adults will find trite.

Evil Eyes (2004)

Jeff is a screenwriter who is hired to write a script based on a filmmaker who murdered his own family and then killed himself.   Jeff delves deep into his research, watches the killers film, visits the house where the murders took place, starts having nightmares and then whatever he writes in the script happens in real life.

After trying to get out of writing due to his fear that any horrible thing he writes will occur to someone he knows, he gets writers block.  With the production company putting pressure on him,  Jeff decides that the only thing that could inspire him is to move into the murder house with his wife Tree. Yes, that's right, his wife's name is Tree.

Once they move in, Jeff's nightmares get worse, weird things happen, and he starts thinking about killing his wife.  Is he crazy?  Is it all coincidence?  Does he have some sort of biological connection to the killer?  And why isn't this movie better?  It would have been far more creepy and enjoyable with Udo Kier as Jeff.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Nazis at the Center of the Earth (2012)

Researchers in Antarctica are kidnapped and brought beneath the surface into a world inhabited by the infamous Dr. Mengele and his nazi zombies.  Mengele transplants living tissue, organs, and bone into any nazis who are wearing out.

With the help of some of his captives, Mengele brings to life Robo-Hitler, who is right back at it with his plans for domination.  But long monologues full of exposition drag the movie to a stand still.

Here's the problem I have with the movies put out by The Asylum.  Great title, great idea, but the execution of said great idea is not all that interesting.  Just because you're a low budget movie doesn't mean you shouldn't try even a little bit to be entertaining and competent.

You would think a movie couldn't miss with zombies, nazis,  and Robo-Hitler. That's right, Hitlers head in a bubble with a huge robot body. On top of that he owns a UFO that he can use to fly right out of the Earth and cause havoc.  But somehow, even with all this, the film ends up getting a reaction of myeh.

Paranormal Incident (2011)

A group of friends working on a thesis (which is never explained) go to an abandoned lunatic asylum for the weekend.  The team is split into believers and skeptics, a point which is repeatedly hammered into your head - even though when it comes down to it, the skeptics aren't very skeptical at all.

The movie is told in flashback form by John, who is in the hospital, being questioned by police as to what happened to his friends.  He's a suspect in their murders, even though no bodies have been found.

The movie is mostly told via P.O.V. footage from the cameras the group brought into the building.  It's strange that the police  think John is a suspect since the footage shows he was not at the scene when his friends died.

In fact, John excused himself before they started the investigation.  He and Tess were planning to scare the others by having John coming back to the asylum around 3am to make noises.  Seems like a stupid idea for multiple reasons, including that this is work for their thesis.  Also questionable is that when John leaves he padlocks everyone else in for the night.  God forbid there should be a fire or medical emergency where they actually need to leave the building.

Unintentional humor is caused when the group attempts to leave due to the spirit activity and can't find a way out.  As they sit at base camp and discuss the problem, in the background there two air conditioners in the windows, one of which appears to have blue painters tape around it to keep out  drafts.

Another movie where people go looking for ghosts, then freak out and run away when something scary happens.

Creatures (2011)

A group of friends traveling to New Orleans for a vacation take a short cut through swamp country and end up in a backwater town. While stopped at a hillbilly store to buy some beer, the gang is told the story of Lockjaw, a gator man.

It seems there was a backwoods incestuous swamp family who lived in the swamp. When a crazy swamp gator kills Grimley's pregnant sister/wife, Grimley goes insane.  He hunts the gator to its lair, kills it, and consumes it.  This causes him to transform into a mutant half man, half gator who takes his anger out on anyone who happens to come near the swamp.  And thus Lockjaw is born.  Why must these crazies always target people who had nothing to do with their twisted fate?

After insulting the hillbillies, the gang asks them to provide a map to the House of Grimley.  Yes, always good to ask the pissed off hillbillies to draw you a map to an abandoned tourist attraction.  When the group arrives, there isn't even a path.   But since it's getting late, they decide to wander into the swamp and camp next to the old Grimley house.  Ummm, what?

Even if they weren't concerned about the legend, it's a swamp! So it's crazy to camp out there, what with the gators, mosquitoes, and angry hillbillies, not to mention the legend of Lockjaw. Soon they feel as if something or someone is watching them.  Is it the hillbillies?  The creature of legend?  Whatever.

You won't care about the characters, and while I applaud anyone who uses a monster suit rather than cgi, it's not a good looking monster suit.  Also why do they call the gator man Lockjaw?  If he's got lockjaw, he's not going to be much of a threat.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Metal Tornado (2011)

Good god! Run for your lives!  It's a metal tornado!  Actually it's more apt to say a magnetic vortex filled with swirling metal debris which was sucked in by the massive magnetic pull in an experiment gone wrong that supposedly had no design flaws and has just been sold for big money.

A scientist discovers a design flaw in a program he devised to harness energy from solar flares.  When he tries to call the company he formerly worked for, they are in the midst of selling his idea and don't want to deal from him.  Within a few minutes of this call, his design flaw kills him.

When the first practical run of the program is complete, the scientists monitoring it notice that 2% of the energy has been released.  But what they do not know is that this energy has caused a magnetic vortex and our metal tornado is off and running.

As the tornado ingests cars, grocery shelves, and gas pumps, those who saw it don't think to mention it to the investigators.  Oh, there is one guy who is blind without his glasses, but his wife emasculates him and no one takes him seriously. We get about half way through the movie before someone decides it's important to mention that a magnetic funnel is responsible for the damage.

Lots of eye rolling is to be had at the plot point cliches, dialogue and stupid characters doing exactly what you'd expect them to do - ignore the obvious.  Hilarity ensues when they look at the inventors files and he has one labeled Design Flaws.  Thankfully the scientists are not made up of the Insane Clown Posse and they know how magnets work.

Cheerleader Massacre (2003)

Anytime there are boobs in the credits, you know you're in trouble.  It's not even part of the storyline.  It's just clips of topless ladies with the actresses names next to the nakedness.  Next thing you know they're in a jacuzzi squirting chocolate syrup on each other.  This is still the credits!  Whenever I see embarrassing nudity in a movie, I always wonder if there's a conversation that begins, "Hey Mom and Dad, I'm in this movie....."

Also I'd like to point out that it's not a good idea to show a woman with huge bazooms and then go to a woman with tiny breasts because it makes them look even smaller.

So if you want to see naked women and you're too young to rent porn, I guess this would be the movie to watch.  We were barely able to make it past the credits before the wretchedness  compelled us to shut it off.