Thursday, January 31, 2013

Evil Things (2009)

The problem with most point of view/found footage movies is that it's like watching someones home movies. In other words, it's only interesting and/or funny to those involved or possibly their loved ones. Do I really want to watch a bunch of strangers sit around, crack lame jokes, and act stupid?  Nope, not really.

So here is another in the long line of found footage movies where one character wants to be a director and he shoots everything they do, to the annoyance of his friends.  He even shoots when they are trying to get through harrowing events, and he's got the best battery ever because it never dies.

A group of college students head out to an isolated home owned by one's Aunt.  On the way there, a van with tinted windows seems to be stalking them. It shows up everywhere they go, and even follows them on the road.  Definitely creepy and alarming, but eventually they turn and the van goes straight by.

The next day, the group decides to walk through the woods and gets lost.  No one shall ask why they didn't just retrace their footprints in the snow.  They spend the entire day in the woods bickering and screaming at each other.  Then they start to hear strange noises which they insist can't be animals.

Now I don't know if you've ever lived or stayed in rural areas, but I've heard some ungodly noises coming from the woods in the middle of the night.  That's because animals make some really messed up sounds that would make you run screaming for the hills if you thought your house was haunted.  Then  a little cute fox would trot out in the backyard and you'd realize the noises were from him.

Finally after wandering around for hours in the dark, they see the lights of the house beckoning and are happy once again. Um, does no one think this is odd?  They left mid morning and now the house is all lit up like a Christmas tree. You people are stupid

Later there is a loud banging on the front door and the gang finds a package on the porch.  It turns out to be a VHS tape. Yes that's right, a VHS tape.  I was hoping that this plot point would be derailed when the house didn't have a VCR, and we would watch the kids shrug and throw out the tape.  But   luck was not on my side. When they pop in the tape, they find it contains footage of them shot by the mystery person in the van. Super creepy!

The group starts to fray around the edges as there are disagreements as to what to do and how to keep safe.  One tip I would give is that if your cell phones don't work and you miraculously get a signal so you can dial 911, don't let the hysterical babbling girl make the call.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Soul Brothers of Kung Fu (1977)

aka The Tiger Strikes Again, aka The Last Strike, aka Kung Fu Avengers

Okay, I'm going off pronunciation here, so I may not have spelled the names correctly.  After a long trip in a small boat, Wei Lung, Shao San, and Chow Yun arrive in Hong Kong and get crappy jobs.  They share an apartment and are like brothers -except for female Chow Yun who is the  honorable romantic interest.

Wei Lung and Shao San find that racism is alive and well in Hong Kong when they observe a young soul brother in knee high tube socks being beaten by a gang of thugs.  They come to the young man's aid and are subsequently fired for fighting on the job.  The young soul brother is named Tommy and in the spirit of all that is good with the world, they invite him to live with them.  So now there are four unemployed people living in their  tiny apartment.

Shao San takes up gambling, while Wei Lung gets into the ring and beats the hell out of people.  Tommy trains with Wei Lung in hopes of learning  to protect himself and I have no idea what Chow Yun is doing.  She gets engaged to Wei Lung so I guess that's something.

But the Triad boss isn't happy that his goons were beaten up when they were practicing their racist  bullying so he plots revenge.  In due time, Chow Yun meets an unfortunate accident, Wei Lung needs rehab for his serious injuries, and Shao San has a huge gambling debt and decides to marry a nasty bar girl. Tommy is the only one unaffected and remains Wei Lungs faithful sidekick.

It all comes to a head later when Wei Lung (played by Bruce Li) dons Bruce Lee shades and yellow sweat pants with black stripes down the side as he extracts his revenge from anyone who gets in his way.

The dubbing is amusing and have your typical 1970s voices  I used to watch Kung Fu Theater on the weekends, and it sounded like whoever dubbed them had a stable of voice actors as you'd hear the same ones over and over again.

Dialogue is often ridiculously vague:

"Hey boss, there's a stranger in here who's giving us some trouble."
"Okay, pass the word on to all the other places."

At one point, the background music is an instrumental part of McCartney's Live and Let Die.

The VHS includes an alternative ending with fingers going into heart and a very different outcome for poor little Tommy.  Also I don't even think that picture on the cover is from the movie, because he looked way younger than that, as seen below.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Clown Murders (1976)

Four buddies at the polo club decide they haven't done a good caper in awhile.  So they decide that it would be a great joke to grab Alison, the wife of Mr. Sutherland, on the night of the Halloween party.  The couple has plans to sign the paperwork at midnight to close on a house. Not sure why anyone would have a closing at midnight, but there you go.

One of the guys is ordering the costumes for the polo club Halloween party and purposely messes up the costume order.  Everyone ends up with clown costumes. This way it will be impossible to determine who grabbed Alison since everyone at the polo club is dressed like a clown.

While it begins as a prank, it quickly escalates after Mr. Sutherland calls the police and an alert goes out for kidnappers dressed as clowns.  Also the radio report mentions a ransom note, which freaks out the guys since it's a joke not a kidnapping.  All eyes turn to Charlie since he used to date Alison and is the mastermind of the plot. He's not happy that she got married after he'd left to travel for a number of years.

As the group gets in deeper and deeper, they see no way out of this stupid prank.  Relations withint hte group deteriorate and blame starts being thrown around.  Then someone dressed as a clown starts trying to kill them.

This is a depressing, slow, dialogue heavy movie with lots of fat jokes about the overweight guy who's always got a sandwich in his hand.  And no one wants to see John Candy in a serious role that includes a sex scene.

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Last Exorcism (2010)

A documentary crew are filming Preacher Cotton Marcus, who  doesn't believe in demons or possession.  But he does like to help families find peace. So he is headed out to perform an exorcism which he claims will be his last.  He's never encountered a real possession in all his years of exorcisms and is tired of pretending.

He explains to the filmmakers what he is going to do, as well as the different ritualistic items that he will use to banish the non-existent spirit from the person who believes they are possessed.

When he arrives at the familys farmhouse, he reassures the father there is no need to worry and his daughter will soon be on the way to recovery.  But things don't go as planned and the daughter shows no improvement. In fact, Marcus sees things he's never seen before and starts wondering if his last performance is the first time he's seeing something real.

When the trailer for this film was running on tv, I thought it looked super spooky.  But the movie is heavy on dialogue and only creepy in a few scenes.  Now I don't mind lots of dialogue if it's well written, but in this case it isn't particularly compelling.

However I will say that I did not see the twist ending coming, so good job with that as I don't think the ending was ever implied. Heck, so many movies with twist endings broadcast it early or uses cliches so you see it coming a mile away. Not that I liked the ending, I just give it props for surprising me.

Now here's a good rule for living a long life -  if you see a satanic cult in the middle of nowhere at night  doing a ritual, get the hell out of there.  Don't check it out.

Also I found it amusing that the girl is drawing freaky pictures with people dying in a fire, getting  chopped up or beheaded, and the response is "they're only drawings."  Yes, but since she's also killing cows and horses, you should really take the drawings into consideration. Silly people.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

State's Evidence (2006)

A bunch of pretentious teens decide to kill themselves after their pretentious friend Scott brings a video camera to school and tells them he's documenting his last pretentious day on earth and is going to commit suicide.  Really?  So Scott's idiot friends are so soft headed that just because Scott is smugly blathering on and on about how freeing his decision is, they're all willing to kill themselves?  For the love of god, of course they are.

At first, Scott is put off by their suggestion of joining him since they haven't put the thought into it he has.  Plus the gang wants to get their own video cameras and document their last day on Earth as well, which will push the whole suicide thing back a day.

But when one of the kids suggests they edit everyones footage together, Scott thinks that is a great idea.  He believes the tapes will end up as state's evidence and will be studied to determine why they all killed themselves.

Scott and another teen reel off dialogue about the philosophical writings of Kant and Descartes, but they come off as pretentious, arrogant cretins trying to be intellectual.  It's like when kids think they're being really deep, but they really don't have a clue.  So angsty teens might think the rhetoric is meaningful, but otherwise it's just jibber jabber.

As in all plans that involve a group who are not all dedicated to the same ideals, one of the teens goes rogue. So instead of taking it as a spiritual awakening, or whatever crap Scott thinks he's selling, this kid takes it as a chance to do anything with no consequences for their actions. Oh yeah, this is going to be great.  Thankfully the other kids are horrified by this psychos actions, but at that point it's really too late, unless they do something other than go to sleep... oh, well so much for that.

When I saw this cover, I wasn't sure whether the teen in the middle was a girl or a boy. Turns out it's Scott, who is clearly a male in the movie, but that's one girly looking photo.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Dead End Drive In (1986)

When Crabs takes Carmen to the drive in, and tells the owner he is unemployed so he can get a discount on tickets.  During the night, two of his tires are stolen.  Unable to leave because the drive in is miles from town, they discover there is no public transportation that stops there, and it's illegal to walk on the road.

The two are forced to stay there, but the good news is the government will provide vouchers for food.  There are groups of people living in cars, tents, and makeshift shacks.  Most of them are okay living there as they were already unemployed. But Crabs is not happy at being detained and wants to leave.  No one will let him, so he plots his escape.

It's social commentary disguised as horror film. The drive ins are essentially prisons where they lock up the useless, outcasts, and criminal  members of society. Those who don't contribute to society are sent there and the discount for being unemployed provides a new source of prisoners..  The majority of them are fine with roaming the drive in during the day, getting vouchers for food, and watching movies at night.

It's Australian and it's post apocalyptic.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Werewolf: The Beast Among Us (2012)

A 19th century small town is plagued by a series of deaths which appear to be from a large animal.  People suspect there is a werewolf at work and a call goes out that anyone who slays the beast will be handsomely rewarded.  This leads to one hunter turning in a wolf in hope of getting the money.

A group of werewolf hunters comes to town and asks for a higher bounty than what is offered.  They state that what the town is dealing with is not your normal werewolf, but one that is extremely powerful.  The townsfolk agree. Young Daniel, an intern at the local doctors office, offers his help but is rebuffed.

Daniel does not take kindly to this as he is a strapping young lad with the face of a little kid.  But then he removes his shirt, reveals a six pack, and proceeds to do some blacksmithing.  Yes, because blacksmiths are normally shirtless while forging hot molten metal. They don't bother with safety or pesky heavy aprons to protect their flesh from burning. No worries there at all.  You can just hear the producer thinking, "A little something for the ladies...."

I was not expecting much from this movie, so it was much better than I hoped.  It's fairly entertaining but nothing special.  The fight scenes in the dark are hard to see, which is not good.  But for once we have scenes where the doctor knows a werewolf biting people. When people come in for treatment and are bitten, no mincing about, the doc shoots them.  Hurrah for common sense.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Dead (2010)

Africa is being overtaken by the dead who are coming back to life and attacking the living.  After the last plane out of the war zone crashes, Lt. Brian Murphy finds himself the only survivor.  When he meets Sgt. Daniel Dembele, whose village has been decimated by the living dead, the two team up to try to get back to their families.

While there is often no dialogue in this film, it is never boring nor is there any padding to flesh out the film.  This is more about characters, atmosphere, and building tension than about gore. So if you're looking for lots of blood and zombie action, you wouldn't be happy with this.  But I found it to be an effective movie.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Bleed (2002)

After a first date where she stays overnight with her new boss Shawn, (red flag), Maddy agrees to accompany Shawn to a pool party so she can meet his friends.

Shawns friends turn out to be total dillholes.  Chris steals Maddy's bikini top and refuses to give it back until she shows her bazooms.  Then Shawn's ex Tilly flirts with him, parades  around topless, talks a lot about how they used to date, and kisses him right in front of Maddy.  Needless to say, Maddy is not amused.

But except for an outburst of anger, she can't mind all that much since she doesn't leave the party.  And when Chris comes over to apologize, Maddy giggles and forgives him (red flag).

Later everyone piles into the hot tub and one of Shawn's friends lets slip that they have a secret. It's called the Murder Club.  In order to be in it, you start by shoplifting, then you move on to armed robbery, and finally escalate to murder. What sort of idiot tells a stranger that they murder people?

Now if I'm on a second date, and my date and his friends unemotionally tell me they kill people for fun, my mind is racing trying to figure out how the hell to extricate myself from this situation without getting killed.  But not Maddy, she's not sure if it's a joke or not, but she's intrigued (red flag).

A day or so later, Maddy is in a parking garage when a woman dents her car.  After the lady is rude to her, Maddy goes nutso and repeatedly bangs her head against a cement column.  Unfortunately for Maddy, she's picked the only woman in the world with a skull like a grape, and it bursts in a torrent of blood. Oh yay, now Maddy can be in the Murder Club!

And it just gets stupider from there. Turns out Murder Club was a joke.  When Shawn tells the gang what Maddy's done, they try to figure out what to do.  The options they consider are: a) notify the police; b) pretend they don't know about it; or c) provide an alibi and protect Maddy.

Shawns opting for the third as he says Maddy is their friend too - which she isn't, they've only met once.  Others argue that if they go to the police, they will be implicated and are just as guilty because they pressured her to join the club. Huh? I don't remember that. And even if they did, so what?  She's responsible for her own decisions and actions.  Also if she wanted to be in the club, then why not start at shoplifting?  Why start with murder? Argh, stupid people!  They all deserve to die.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Whisper (2007)

Ex-con Max wants to open a restaurant, but the bank won't give him a loan.  So he decides to take some old friends up on an offer to make a big score by kidnapping the eight year old son of a wealthy woman.

After they grab the boy, the group head to a remote cabin to wait for instructions from the mysterious Mr. Jones who is behind the kidnapping.  Max has brought his fiance Roxanne, for some inexplicable reason. She says she's good with kids, but that doesn't seem like a good enough reason to include her in this criminal activity.

Once they are in the cabin, things start to go wrong.  And instead of being frightened, David just takes everything in and starts to make the kidnappers uneasy. He seems to be able to get inside their heads, knows their secrets, and they begin to be afraid of him.

An okay way to pass an hour or so, but nothing special.  Micheal Rooker is one of the bad guys.

Monday, January 21, 2013

7 Nights of Darkness (2011)

A reality show sends six people to an abandoned asylum to spend seven nights.  Each day they have to complete a task and whoever manages to stay all seven nights splits a million dollar prize.

The characters are generic and you won't care about any of them.  Two are super annoying - Lena who wants to connect with the spirits, and Carter who is a total fraidy cat.  Most of the characters are just there for the money and are skeptical about whether ghost exist or not.  But they do suspect the producers have rigged some scares for them.

The girls are way over dressed to be exploring an abandoned building.  Why do girls in movies always insist on wearing nice little tops or skimpy outfits to go exploring dirty, abandoned places?  It's ridiculous.

The characters talk incessantly and often speak over each other.  Consequently I'm left wondering how they're going to hear anything paranormal if it happens.  Disagreements arise and there's lots of yelling. So much yelling!  The dialogue sounds as if they're making it up as they go along, which is not a good thing.

When Lena becomes catatonic, the group brings her back to her room, leaving her in a sleeping bag.  The next day she's no better but they leave her again.  She's also not eating so she's definitely messed up. Why doesn't someone get her out of there?

The guys aren't very bright. When they are tasked with taking a photo of someone strapped in a chair, they turn off their flashlights so they don't wash out the photo. Really?  Have you never used a camera before?  Flash photos can be taken with the lights on. So its not necessary to shut off your only light source - other than as a plot device.

People disappear. Characters lock themselves in rooms and think they'll get a cut of the money even though they aren't completing the tasks. Duhr, no reality show is going to let you get away with that.  And Carter inspires even more hate. He's this wimp the whole time, panics at the thought of doing anything, and then decides he's going to man up to become the group leader. Yeah, it works out pretty much as expected.

The final scene after the credits will make you sigh and sadly shake your head.  We can blame Allen Kellogg who is credited as director, producer, writer, editor, actor, special visual effects, and camera operator.

Investigating ghosts isn't spooky with the lights on. 
Getting all Michael Cera in an interview.
We go from typical POV shot.... grainy footage from the production cameras.
More non-spooky, non-atmospheric scenes.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Inside (2006)

Sometimes I buy those cheap horror dvd sets.  For example, this movie was on a pack of twenty movies for ten dollars.  Now I know that these are low budget and most of them will suck.  But there's always the hope of finding one that is so sincerely inept that it's hysterically funny, or a cheaply done film which is charming despite its limitations. Needless to say, I am usually sorely disappointed.

But what is truly annoying is the trend of putting movies on horror sets that are not even horror movies. Seriously?  There are certainly enough crappy horror movies out there to fill hundreds of horror sets.  So knock it off with trying to pass off other movies as horror.

Case in point, Inside.  While it has similar elements to Stephen King's Misery, Inside doesn't have any of the elements to actually be scary.  The torture scenes are more about brainwashing where they strap him to a bed and make him watch self help dvd's for several days.  Not the same thing at all as getting hit with a sledge hammer or axe.

The premise is that Alex, whose parents died in an accident, likes to follow people and spy on them.  He is particularly taken with a couple who take out the same book over and over from the library where he works.

He follows them home, then watches and listens through the window or back door.  One night he decides to go into the house for a better look and gets caught.  Contrary to most peoples reactions to finding a stranger in their house, the woman asks him to stay because he looks exactly like her dead son. Stupidly enough, Alex does.

After staying overnight, Alex decides to leave and is hit by a car in front of their house.  Instead of calling an ambulance, they decide to nurse him back to health.  The woman believes he actually is their son but doesn't remember them.  The longer the film goes on, the crazier she becomes which might make you think it's a horror flick.  She won't let him go.   Could this be horror? Is she going to kill or maim him?  No.  She's going to pressure him into admitting he's her dead son.  And by pressure I mean  make him watch a self help dvd 24 hours straight and not him feed him until he admits he's her son.  Geez kid, just say it to placate her and get her to unstrap you.

I couldn't feel bad for Alex since he's sneaking into someone's house to listen to them argue, and then hangs out all night bonding with the grieving mom.  Even though he was a prisoner, his room is nice and if he says he's their son, he gets great treatment.  But he's a little slow on the uptake as once he decides to admit to being their son, he doesn't wait long enough to gain their trust before trying to escape. Lame!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

On Bloody Sunday (2007)

After an opening scene of a mother and daughter - who are they?   Do they have anything to do with our story? - we cut abruptly to Isabel, a reporter for the high school newspaper.  Isabel is trying to break a big story about an illegal underground fighting ring.  Some popular kids who are working on a class project with Isabel manage to get her and her friend Zeek into one of the fights.

Isabel, who doesn't know the meaning of the word discrete, brings a tape recorder and shoves a mic into a guys face to ask him what he knows about missing teenagers in the area.  Isabel and Zeek barely manage to escape without being beaten to a pulp.

Next Isabel discovers an online bulletin board which has announcements for underground fights.  In another brilliant sleuth-like move, she posts a message asking who is responsible for the posts about the fights because she's doing an investigation about them.  Good god she's not only an idiot, she's a lousy journalist.

When she gets an invite on Myspace to a Street Style bike event, she jumps at the chance to investigate.  Why she believes there's a connection between the underground fighting, teen disappearances, and the bike event is never revealed.  But I'm sure it's faulty logic based on her methodology.  Also she fails to realize that the invite she received was via a high school group on Myspace.  In other words, anyone belonging to the group was invited, not exactly a private, secret, personal invitation.

When she shows up at the street event, the kids competing tell her to leave because she doesn't belong there.  Uh, so maybe they shouldn't have posted the invite to the public group for their high school?  Our intrepid reports starts to leave as asked, but then decides to make a stand to the anonymous person who invited her.  Does she still not realize it was a generic Myspace group invite? She's standing on a dark lane yelling, "You got me out here.  What do you want with me?"

There are tons of continuity errors and plot holes.  Continuity issues include:
  • scenes that go from day to night and back again
  • a message about bike event is posted in past tense, yet the event is occurring at that very moment
  • the bike event is 45 minutes away - she gets there on her own, but drives back with Zeek. How did she manage to get there?
  • It's the mothers story, yet the time line makes no sense. Her daughter is in either high school or jr high, but Myspace didn't exist when mom was a kid, so what's up with that?
Isabel is a horrible reporter and if she was dealing with real criminals, she surely have been killed by now.  I hope she doesn't decide to go into journalism because she'll be dead within a week. Ridiculous film with ridiculous ending, and did they really think we couldn't guess who the killer was?

Most ludicrous dialogue-

Detective:  Let the big boys handle this
Isabel (angrily):  So you can take my leads?!

Oh god, just let them kill her.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Blood on the Highway (2008)

Three friends go on a trip, get lost and end up in the small town called Fate, where they've been warned not to go.  When they stop to get gas at a convenience store, the clerk doesn't look well.  He's very pale and has blood on his mouth.

After the clerk bites Sam, they take off, forgetting to pump the gas.  When they run out of gas, they manage to hole up in a house with three other people and discover the town is full of vampires.  Will they survive?

Overall it was an okay movie.  There was a point where I thought it was really promising, but at times it was tedious and a lot of the humor falls flat.  There are a few really funny scenes, as well as some painfully unfunny jokes.  If you're a teenager or like lowbrow humor, you'll probably enjoy it more than I did.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Steve Niles Remains (2011)

In an opening right out of Night of the Comet, after an unexpected event occurs, only those who were protected in some sort of steel lined space are left alive, while everyone else turns into zombies.  Our characters were in car trunks, storage rooms, etc.  Various survivors hole up in the hotel and try to figure out what is going on and what to do.

After twenty minutes of average zombie action, there is a switch to  serious character development with lots of exposition which throws the brakes on the pacing.  It feels awkward and actually made me care less about the characters.

After trying to engineer an escape, some of the survivors get trapped in a bus and are saved by a small military convoy.  At first they're excited, but there seems to be something else going on as the military keep them confined to the lobby of the hotel.

The military are secretive, treat the survivors like captives, and are not to be trusted.  You'll end up disliking them more than the other characters, except the a-hole survivor who pushed another person into the zombies so he could escape.  He's the worst of the survivors.  And why does anyone trust this type of guy?  They saw him do it, but they still don't take precautions to make sure he doesn't sacrifice them.

In a different take from other zombie films, the dead sleep all sleep at the same time and do so standing up.  So a street full of standing, sleeping zombies has the potential to be successfully navigated.  Also the zombies outside the city are getting faster and when they enter the city they start eating the slower moving city zombies.

At the end, you're left not caring about any of the characters as they are mostly annoying or ruthless.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Dead and Buried (1981)

Potters Bluff is a small town full of friendly faces, but recently it's also been the scene of multiple grisly murders, mainly of tourists and hitchhikers.   What makes this even more alarming is later when the murder victims start showing up in town, wandering the streets, and socializing as if they had never been killed.

Sheriff Gillis is puzzled by this turn of events and unsure how to proceed with the investigation.  But Dobbs, the local  mortician, is happy about all the business he's getting.

The movie has a fairly slow pace, but has a creepy overall feel to it.  There are some disturbing murder scenes, especially the opening one as it's so unexpected.  Also I did not see the twist ending coming.

My favorite scene occurs when a man is hit by a car.  The driver gets out and finds a severed arm in the grill.  As he's looking at the body on the ground, he feels a tap on the shoulder.   It's the arm.  As he turns to look, the guy on he ground gets up, smacks him, grabs the arm and runs off.  Wow.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Apartment 143 (2011)

Paranormal investigators are called in to investigate an apartment where a father, daughter and young son live.  The father is concerned that the apartment is haunted and the acitivity seems to be increasing.

When the team arrives, they find the dad a nervous wreck and an angry teenage daughter who hates the dad as she blames him for her moms death.

Strange things start happening almost immediately. Noises, thumps and banging occurs.  Pictures fall off the wall.  The father is alarmed.  But no matter what happens the professor is always calm and collected, even if someone gets thrown across the room.

Is it a poltergeist?  A ghost? Or did their Mom's spirit follow them from their old house?  It's just another POV movie.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Boogeyman 2 (1983)

I've never seen Boogeyman, but apparently much of the footage from this film is from the first one. Lacey returns to her childhood home where she and her brother were regularly beaten by their mothers boyfriend.  While there, she accidentally breaks a mirror.  She brings the shards home, but there is one piece missing.  In a fit, she throws the mirror into the sink and it bursts into flames.

Lacey's friends want to make her story into a movie, and throw a party where they try to exploit her tragic past.  One of her friends husbands, Mickey, doesn't want to have anything to do with the film as he doesn't think they should exploit her.  Everyone else is fine with using her.

The killings are done by a big white hand holding a small piece of the mirror, which apparently can control inanimate objects as we have death by electric toothbrush, shaving cream, garden hose, exhaust pipe, corkscrew, BBQ tongs, a slamming window, and an exploding car.

Meat for Satans Ice Box (2004)

Satan's Ice Box is the local meat market, and the town is full of cannibals who eat runaways and strippers since no one will miss them.  Blah.  Nothing more to it. Don't bother. It's painfully bad.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Haunting of Whaley House (2012)

College student Penny works as a tour guide at Whaley House, a  historic home which is supposed to be haunted.  After Penny tells her friends about a tourist on her tour that freaked out after  claiming to see a ghost, her friends cajole her into letting them in after dark to look around.  One friend invites his cousin, who in turn invites a noted psychic.  Penny is not amused at the extra guests.

With the exception of Giselle, who has the good sense to not want to be there,  the rest of the group are excited to explore the house and maybe see ghosts.  The psychic is able to communicate with entities in the house and after some questioning, the group ends up trapped in a bedroom due to an unseen evil force.

After they manage to get the door open, Giselle decides to leave, but a ghost causes her to fall down the stairs.  The group hears her scream and gathers at her side to see if she's still alive by moving her head. Yikes!  Yes, it's always a good idea to move an injured persons neck back and forth after a fall.

Penny's boyfriend suggests they call 911 and Craig goes nuts.  He says everyone will think they killed her because they broke into the house. Whaaa?  Where the heck did he come up with that kind of logic? I'm flummoxed by his reasoning. Huge drama unfolds as they argue whether to leave her there to be found in the morning, or try to get help.  What a great friend.

This is better than many films by The Asylum because there aren't as many dialogue heavy scenes. However that's not saying much so watch at your own risk.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Fear Itself (2007)

Marshall and his girlfriend Julia, Brad and his girlfriend Chelsea, and their friend Taylor love pulling pranks on people.  However their idea of pranks are actually malicious.  When a teen accidentally spills soda on Marshall, they humiliate him by pulling off his swim trunks and gathering a crowd to laugh at him.  They shoot Megan with paintball guns in the middle of cheerleaders practice while she's being held high in the air. This causes her to fall to the ground and hurt her ankle.  And for some reason the gang thinks using foul smelling paint will make her unpopular.

A few days later when Megan hobbles up on her crutches and tells them someday someone will make them pay for their stunts, they all scoff.

Marshall decides their pranks need to go further.  He wants to find out someones deepest fear and then torture them with it.  For example, if someone was afraid of spiders, they'd throw them in a box full of spiders.  Yeah, Marshall's a swell guy.

They decide to invite a guy who has a crush on Taylor to party at a cabin.  Then they start talking about what they fear and the guy reveals he has claustrophobia.  Shortly after that, they slip him a mickey.  When he wakes up, he's in a pine coffin and they're throwing dirt on it.  Needless to say, he freaks out.  I think anyone would freak out even if they didn't have claustrophobia.

The prank goes wrong when the hole they dug caves in and they have to dig him out.  Geez guys, couldn't you just pretend he's in a hole and throw dirt on the coffin?  It's not like he'd know the difference.  Once they dig out the coffin, they pull him out, find him unconscious, anonymously call 911, and leave him there.  Great job, jerks.

This is a movie where I saw the opening scene, and thought "uh oh."  It appears to be shot on digital video.  The sound seems to have been recorded live since the background noise is loud. At one point the background music is mixed louder than the dialogue.  The title sequence and all the music are right out of a soap opera.  During Chelsea's family scenes, the mic overloads.  A whole segment in and around a house is filmed in fog vision, but I think it's some sort of soft focus or after effect. Either way there's no reason for it so it's just confusing.  Also Chelsea's family listens to soft jazz during dinner.  And geez people,  can we please have an accident scene where the characters don't turn the victims head to see if they're okay?

Also confusing is when Brad does this amazing dive into the pool, Chelsea gets upset and tells him to stop doing stunts as she couldn't bear to lose him.  Huh?  It was a fantastic twisting, rolling dive that could only be done by someone who knew how to dive. It's not some idiot flailing off the diving board.

The biggest problem with this type of movies is you just don't like any of the characters.  How can we like people who think it's fun to humiliate others, and have no regard for anyone elses feelings?  Also it really isn't a prank when you're targeting people you want to get even with for something they did, even accidentally.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Star Crystal (1985)

A 2032 Mars expedition walks on the surface of the planet and brings a large rock back to the ship.  They hope to sell the Mars rock for profit, but "According to this rock probe, the rock is full of electronic circuitry."  Um, wouldn't that mean it's not a rock?  Sadly they don't even consider this and learn a lesson the hard way when an alien pops out and cuts off the oxygen supply.

The abandoned ship is brought to a space station, which promptly blows up.  Five survivors managed to board the ship before the explosion. In shock, they realize that they only have three months of food, the ship is not made for long missions, and it will take two years to reach the Earth. Planning to stop at reserve stations along the way to replenish their food, they set about getting the ship ready and assigning duties.

Lt. Billy and Dr. Kimberly both have a bad attitude so it's going to make for a long ride and a long movie.  Capt. Roger is an engineer who knows computers, and since the ship is controlled by a computer, he's in charge. Not everyone is happy with this decision because they aren't very bright.

The layout of the ship is ridiculous.  There are five rooms connected by hallways, and by that I mean little tunnels which you can't stand up in.  It's like they're hamsters.  Also the doors are only 1/2 size so even once you've crawled on hands and knees to the end of the tunnel, the doors aren't high enough to walk through. So you'll need to be stooped over there as well.   It makes no freaking sense.

Soon they realize there is an alien on board because it starts killing the crew.  The alien's name is Gar, which is the sound I made while I shook my fist at the resolution of the movie. Yes, it's the heartwarming story of an alien who eliminates the crew on a spaceship before realizing he has nothing to fear from them so they can all be super good pals forever and ever. Queue schmaltzy music and wacky montage.

Puzzling questions abound - why does the ship warn the oxygen is depleted after the crew is dead? How come when the alert is sounded at the space station, no one moves and with the exception of the five survivors, everyone stands around staring at each other until the station blows up?  Why isn't anyone smart enough to know a sphere full of electronic circuitry is not a rock? Once it cracks open, why do we only see a crystal and some goo, but no electronics?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Death Race 2 (2010)

A crime boss hires Luke to help coordinate a robbery.  But when the guys with him screw it up, Luke ends up killing a policeman.  After a car chase, he is caught and sent to jail, where he becomes the protector of Lists, a nervous nerdy kid. Why was Lists sent here?  Everyone else is a hardened criminal that could bash your face in with a rock, while Lists is the pasty kid who plays Dragons and Dungeons with his nerd friends on a Saturday night.  Seems like he got a raw deal.

The prison broadcasts pay per view events called death matches, where caged prisoners fight to the death.  But when a riot breaks out, the warden pulls the plug.  The announcer comes up with an idea for Death Races, a three day event with the prize being a release.

The crime boss is afraid Luke will talk at some point, and puts out the word that he'll pay a bounty to anyone who can kill Luke.  Most of the other cars in the race are trying to take him out.  So when Luke burns up in his car, everyone thinks he's dead. But then the mysterious Frankenstein shows up to race like no one has ever raced before.  Mediocre at best.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Wiseguys vs. Zombies (2003)

When a shipment of drugs disappears, Mr. Delbrone sends two goons to retrieve them and kill the thieves.  The thugs, Gus and Freddy Six Times, spend a long time beating some poor guy to get info on where the thieves are hiding.  Gus has a penchant for long boring sililoquies which made me hope he would be the first zombie victim, but to no avail.

Gus and Freddy get the drugs, kill the thieves, and put their bodies in the trunk of the car.  When they end up in a small town, Gus insults the gas station attendant and in turn the Sheriff decides to hand out some Southern justice.

As Freddy tries to smooth over the situation, hothead Gus launches into another obnoxious tirade which causes the Sheriff to impound their car.  When a banging is heard from the trunk, the Sheriff pops the latch and finds zombies who start roaming the town chomping on everyone they can get their hands on.

Turns out the drugs make people into zombies with peanut butter on their faces. Yup, it appears the zombie makeup is peanut butter and grease paint.  There are zombies with blood spurting from their heads as if from a faucet, but it's not as cool as it sounds because this movie is totally freaking awful.  Don't waste your time.  I'm not sure why I did.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Amityville Haunting (2011)

I'm going to puke and I blame the Blair Witch.  If you're going to do a found footage movie, at least try to make it non-nausea inducing.

The Benson family gets a good deal on a house because it's the freakin' Amityville murder house. At the end of the walk through, the realtor dies which wigs out Mom, but Dad thinks its fine. Coincidence.  Then a mover drops dead while they're moving in, but Dad doesn't think that's a big deal either.

Tyler, the son, wants to be a filmmaker so his video camera is always on. Unfortunately he knows nothing about camera work, and doesn't seem to care. So  we are left with shaky, swinging shots that are not only annoying but literally sickening.

When they keep finding the back door open at night, the parents blame their difficult teenage daughter, who denies it's her.  So Dad installs security cameras all over the house. But next time the door opens up and the alarm goes off, he doesn't bother to check the video to see what caused it.  In fact, when the alarm goes off, he doesn't even bother to shut it off. His neighbors must love him.  Instead of looking at the security footage, Dad says the alarm must have scared off whoever opened the door.  Well, why not see who it was?

Film purports to be real footage,  but hopefully viewers are too smart for that. It's no secret that the family dies.  Not only does the cover tells us this, but it's pretty much a given with found footage movies.  So the family annoys us and are completely wiped out in five days. You'd think people would be a little more careful about moving into a house with this history.  But no, I'm sure another movie will be coming down the road with another idiot family that thinks they can last more than five days in the multiple murder house.  One murder?  It's the guy. Every family murdered?  Burn the house.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Slithis (1978)

aka Spawn of the Slithis

High school journalism teacher Wayne Connors becomes interested in a series of mutilation killings, which started with dogs and have progressed to humans.  When he hears a news report of an old couple killed in their home near the canal,  Wayne goes there to investigate.

When a cop shows up, Wayne questions him about the mud in the living room, but the cops don't think it's relevant. Wayne collects a sample which he sends to his friend Dr. John. John discovers it's organic mud which takes on the characteristics of whatever it absorbs. He knows of a previous study of silt exposed to radioactivity via a leak at a nuclear plant and the organic compound was named Slithis.

Police dismiss Wayne's theory of a giant killer slime creature because... well, it sounds insane.  They're leaning towards the theory of a mutilation cult, and let's face it, almost anything sounds better than a radioactive mud monster.

To prove his theory, Wayne and Dr. John shut off the towns Locks once the tide goes out.  Their earlier dive near the nuclear plant revealed there were no fish in the area. They believe Slithis is killing for  nourishment. So they're going to cut off it's access to the canals. Good idea. Too bad they didn't think far enough ahead to realize Slithis would need to find another food source and start attacking people in the marina.  Nice job, Wayne.  You're now responsible for peoples deaths.

Oh Slithis... the pacing is typical of a slow 70's movie.  It is more dialogue based than kill based, and there is no gore.  It's an old fashioned monster movie and I like it, even though it can be boring at times.  If I'd seen this as a kid, it would have creeped me out, but now it's kind of amusing.  There are also cool shots of 1970s Venice, CA.

"...the smell of fear hangs like a stench over the canals." - radio news broadcast

Oh yeah, derelicts love a guy in a panama hat. 
Disco ball in your living room? Must be the 70's.
I had no idea turtle races were popular at nightclubs.
Only in the 70's could a man wear high waisted pink pants.
The way to a woman's heart? An 8x10 glossy of your
bad self on the coffee table framed by two candles.
The Slithis attacks and the 8x10 glossy has been replaced
with a black and white drawing - WHY!!!????

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Wolf Town (2010)

Kyle uses the pretense of going to an isolated ghost town with a friend to try to get close to a girl he likes.  But when she shows up, she has her boyfriend in tow which totally blows Kyle's plans.

After they arrive at the ghost town, Kyle thinks he sees a wolf, but no one believes him.  Kind of odd since they're in the middle of nowhere so it's not inconceivable that wolves would be in the area.  But I guess it makes it convenient for a surprise wolf attack - surprise to the characters, not us.

So that's about it. Some kids stuck in a ghost town with no cell reception and wolves on the attack.  But it's not very exciting.  The wolves are real, rather than cgi, but they look cute and old instead of young and menacing.

I have a problem with Kyle driving his fancy convertible on dirt roads, as well as leaving the top down.  Just because you're in the middle of nowhere doesn't mean there isn't someone around, or that someone might show up, or that a bear might use it as a toilet.  The top down does figure into it as the wolves steal their knapsacks and disable their car. Okay, they didn't but I was really hoping they would. So there's the twist.

Also what is up with this girl Kyle likes?  First she wears a short skirt to explore an old ghost town. How about thinking about safety rather than fashion?  Second, she invites someone else to go with them, but doesn't check with the person driving to see if it's okay or even if there's room.

If someone invites you somewhere in their car, usually you ask if it's okay to invite someone else. You don't just bring someone with you. Damn it, that's just rude!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Red State (2011)

Depressing movie about a church who protest funerals, murder homosexuals, and place online sex ads to entrap sinners so they can kill them. I've seen a lot of positive reviews of this, but I couldn't get through it, even though I like Micheal Parks.

The Divide (2011)

When New York City is decimated, eight survivors take refuge in the basement of their apartment building and hope for rescue.  Soon they are facing armed intruders in hazmat suits and the prospect that help may not be coming.

The stress of being trapped together, a dwindling ration of supplies, and a feeling of hopelessness brings out the worst in some and causes others to crack.  They split into two groups, which could essentially be described as those who have lost their humanity and those who endeavor to retain it.  The film is dialogue based with little action, and the movie is depressing and unsettling.  Needless to say I did not enjoy it.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Season of the Witch (2011)

In the 14th century, Behman and Felson are warriors for the medieval church who decide to desert after they are ordered to kill a town full of people, including the women and children.  They stop in the first town they arrive in to get supplies and refresh their horses.  But they are arrested when the design on the hilt of their swords reveal they are Templars.

The two are tasked with transporting a witch to an isolated abbey for a trial. The witch is blamed for causing a plague that's running rampant, as plagues are known to do.  The monks at the abbey have a book filled with rituals that can destroy the witch and her power.

Behman and Felson take on the task, as they have no other choice. But since they are soft hearted regarding women and children, they insist that she be treated fairly.  It's the wise cracking knight,  feel good, witch movie of the season.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Slayer (2006)

Oh boy, is that the best they could do for the cover?  This does not bode well.

Hawk, the head of an elite military squad is sent to South Africa to fight vampires.  But to complicate things, his ex-wife Dr. Laurie Williams is in the area doing research. Uh oh.

The main problem I see is not the romantic entanglement, but that Hawk and his crew are the worst vampire hunters ever.  People repeatedly go into the woods, meet vampires and get killed.  They have a book on vampires, but still don't realize that they need to kill them with stakes, not bullets. Good god.

You will get no satisfaction from this film with it's capitalist/corporate greed message which is put forth by the vampires as their attacks are due to the loss of the rain forest and animals that live in there which they need to survive. Vampires for ecology? Come on!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Deep in the Woods (2000)

A group of actors heads to an isolated mansion in the woods for a performance.  When they arrive, they discover that the audience will consist of only their millionaire host and his super creepy young son.

The actors enjoy their hosts hospitality, even though he's a little odd, his butler is sketchy, and his kid stares and never says a word.

The police show up and ask if they've seen anyone in the woods.  There's a murderer on the loose and he may be in the area.  The group laughs it off.  When he leaves, they run outside to roam the woods at night.  People get separated, some purposely disappear to be together, and others wander back to the house on their own, which is when the first murder occurs.

Once the murder is discovered, they try to locate all their friends so that they can leave. When their car won't start, they realize they are trapped at the mansion. But they aren't sure who the murderer is, and whether it's the escaped lunatic, someone in the home, or maybe even one of them.

This is an okay film, but the ending wasn't very satisfying.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Policewomen (1974)

Lacey Bond is a policewoman in a man's world.  After single handedly foiling a major jailbreak, Lacey is recruited to work undercover.  But first she's going to have to prove that she can do such manly things as target shoot, drive a car, and do martial arts.  Things a woman obviously can't do.  Oh stupid woman, how will you ever survive without a man leading the way?

After a series of tests, the three men are split on their opinion.  One was very impressed with Lacey.  Another is on the fence because she's a woman.  The last is convinced that when faced with adversity, the little lady will surely break a heel, meltdown in a fit of tears and go back to the kitchen where she belongs.

Lacey spends much of the film being overly sarcastic to anyone who says she's not qualified for the job or suggests shes a woman.  The men spend much of the film speaking condescendingly to Lacey and trying to put the little lady in her place, which  apparently should be helpless and subservient to man.

Lacey is paired up with a male partner to do some undercover work.  They are to go to Catalina, pose as a vacationing couple, and get information on a drug shipment.  But they spend most of their time by the pool and in the hotel.  Also her partner grosses all of us out by keeping his wallet down the front of his swim trunks, yuck.

The two turn out to be lousy spies as they end up following drug lord Maud and her all girl gang out into the ocean where there is supposed to be a drug pick up.  Here's a tip - if you can tell one of the girls is someone you previously busted, then she'll probably be able to see and recognize you as well.

Ridiculously after they board Maud's boat, the male partner is beaten up. Luckily Lacey beats up everyone else and makes sure the gang gets arrested.  Then she sails Maud's boat back to the marina, claiming she found it adrift.  Yes, nothing odd about that.  It's certainly not unusual to be swimming out in commercial fishing lanes in the middle of the ocean.

Later Lacey manages to infiltrate the gang after being suspected of working for the police. But before this, she lets them beat the hell out of her and threaten to kill her  and never tries to defend herself.  Yet she's a martial arts expert that can take down a huge man.

Watch for the Gold Smuggling scene where the girls pretend the gold painted bricks they are unloading are actually heavy gold.  One girl  carries the brick all hunched over with her arms handing down by her knees. Yes, that certainly convinced me that you're carrying real gold.

I think this may be a TV edit as the words god damn were removed from the film. Also I had read there was a scene with male nudity, but there wasn't any in the version I saw.

I actually enjoyed this one, although it was slow at times.  But the 1970s fashion and ridiculous sexism were laughable.