Monday, April 29, 2013

Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)

After murdering the King on their wedding night, the evil Queen throws little Snow White in the dungeon and takes over the kingdom. Years later, Snow White is an adult and escapes from the dungeon into the dark forest.

The Queen hires a Huntsman to track her down. The Queen's brother and his goons accompany him on his quest, promising a reward when the task is completed. But once he locates his target he is immediately betrayed so he let's Snow White go. When he meets her again, she promises to pay him to help her escape.

They run through the forest, meet some dwarves, go to Fairyland, get chased by the evil goons, and Snow White ends up eating a poisoned apple from the Queen who has shape shifted into her long lost childhood friend.  This begs the question if the Queen can shape shift and find Snow White at a random campsite, then why didn't she just take care of this herself rather than put in motion this whole mess when she hired the Huntsman?

The movie looks fantastic.  The make up, scenery, effects, sets, and everything is top notch.  The most impressive effects are the mirror as a flowing liquid/person form, plus the birds flying in through the roof to splat into a puddle on the floor and then out of the puddle  crawls the Queen looking like black liquid.

Also the actors who played the dwarves, such as Nick Frost, are flawlessly imaged as dwarves. No idea  how they did that, but it is amazing. If you didn't recognize the actors, you'd think they were played by midgets. Did they squash them in post?  Add their heads onto real midget bodies? Is it all cgi?  I don't know but it looks great.

Charlize Theron chews the scenery as the Evil Queen. She's quite good and over the top, which perhaps is due to the vacuum that is Kristin Stewart as Snow White, who only has two expressions - mouth open or mouth closed. My friend Tristan mentioned her expression always looks like she's put her hand in something icky and is hoping no one notices. Spot on, my friend, spot on.

As for the entertainment factor, although it's visually appealing, it's not very exciting and the movie based on a board game Battleship movie was more enjoyable.  Not because it was better, but because it was worse, so much ridiculously worse.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

War of the Dead (2011)

You'd think combining Nazis and zombies would guarantee a fantastic horror movie. But you'd be wrong because once again someone has screwed it up.

During World War II, the Nazi's experiment with bringing the dead back to life using Russian solders as test subjects.  After a few years, the experiments are halted and the corpses buried.

The US sends a team of special forces to look for the bunker where the experiments took place. Their mission is to destroy the building and any zombies they find inside.  But the zombies seem to be above ground as well.  Throw in a Russian soldier, lots of running and you've got this movie.  They run through the woods. They run to a house.  They run through a barn. They run to the bunker.  Here come the zombies!  Everybody run!

While the film looks good and the acting is decent, the biggest problem with this movie is that it takes place mostly at night or in an underground bunker. So every fight scene is full of quick cuts and unidentifiable men fighting in near darkness.  So we couldn't tell who was fighting, which ones were the good guys, who was in the shot, or what was happening. Someone's getting beat up. Who is it? I don't know, but I'm sure the guy whose head just got rammed into a cement wall is the loser.

You only get to see a few zombies up close as most of them are silhouettes running through the darkness. The makeup was decent but the film was pointless.

Devil Seed (2012)

Three college students rent a house and head out to party at the local clubs before starting another year at school. Drunk girls Alex and Jessica decide to stop at a psychics while they're staggering home after the bars close. Odd that a psychic is open at 1am, but then again, I guess they'd probably do pretty good with the drunk college kid business.

When the psychic gives Alex a reading,  she sees something horrible, freaks, and tells them to get out.  Maybe she should have told them what she saw, or provided some sort of info, other than get the hell out of here.  But since they're both drunk, they leave.

The next day Alex can't remember a thing.  Jessica thinks that weird since Alex had some weird reaction at the same time the psychic did.  But she drops it since Alex has no idea what happened.

Soon Alex is hearing noises in the house, having nightmares, and getting scratches on her body.  Since this all started happening after she moved into the new place, it seems odd that she wouldn't ever consider staying somewhere else to see if it's residence specific or attached to her.

To acerbate her problems, her boyfriend is sleeping with their other roommate and this roommate hates her.  The boyfriend implies to the hater that it's because Alex won't sleep with him and they've been dating for two years.  To be fair, if she told him this up front, he shouldn't complain because he knew what he was getting into.  But either way, he's a jerk.

The problem with devil movies is that if you've seen the Exorcist, nothing else is that scary.  Plus all devil movies tend to be derivative and this is no exception - it's a foul mouthed, virginal, possessed girl who hates the reluctant priest that tries to help her.  As we watched this movie, we became incredibly bored and drifted into a coma.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Sheltered (2009)

A group of friends go on vacation, pick up some lame hitchhiker surfers because they're cute, and drive into the path of a hurricane. For some reason they aren't too concerned about the impending storm and stop to see if they can get a drink in a small town that's been evacuated.

The bar is deserted but Joey, the bartender, decides to serve them after becoming smitten with one of the girls.  While grumbling hostile brother William angrily stares at the group, friendly Joey steps over the body behind the bar and pours everyone another drink.

When the groups car won't start, they take up Joey on his offer to stay at his house until the hurricane passes and move the party there.  The girl Joey likes starts having visions of people who aren't there and there's something off about William and Joey. But the message from a strange girl who breaks into the home is that it's the friendly Joey they really need to keep an eye on. Of course no one listens to the message from the doped up freaky girl.  You can't blame them, but you may want to take it into consideration since you don't know him and there's definitely something strange going on.

It's not a very good movie which is why it's on a dvd set with lots of other films which only cost five bucks.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Silo Killer (2002)

Holy moly!  As soon as I saw the first scene I thought, "uh oh." Why don't I learn my lesson and watch the trailer before renting a movie? 

A group of friends head out to the desert to camp and hunt.  On the way they stop for gas and are told about an escaped killer from the nearby prison.  A few of the girls want to go home, but the guys convince them any killer is going to be long gone. Who would want stay in the lonely, isolated, non-populated desert with the abandoned silo which is perfect for hiding from the law?

Soon the guys are hunting, the girls are hanging out at camp, and the two bikini girls who rode in the camper they were towing have wandered off to do some topless sunbathing.  I never did figure out who these girls were.  Were they hitchhikers?  Did they know them previously?  Did they pick them up at the gas station?  Isn't it dangerous and illegal to ride in a camper being towed? There was room for all of them in the SUV's.

Nearby a killer in an old man Halloween mask carries an ax.  From the movies title, you'd think he'd be killing in the silo but you're wrong.  You'd also think there'd be lots of blood in a serial killer movie, but you'd be wrong again.  All the kills are done off screen, which is probably because the filmmakers did their own effects (with the exception of hiring a pro for the gunshot scene).

Speaking of the gun shot scene, it involves two guys in suits who drive around the desert and keep burying things.  We're never shown what they're burying, but it must be illegal because they don't like the Sheriff.  The surprising thing about these characters is that they have nothing to do with the rest of the movie.  They appear to exist only to pad out the running time because if you removed their scenes, it would make absolutely no difference.

There are scenes where the main characters have stupid pointless conversations, a running gag about Lyle having a different iron on t-shirt which states each activity he's participating in, unfunny dialogue,  random talking, and long winded stories with lame punchlines.  It seems like they were just making it up as they went along and - after hearing the interview with the director - they were.  That is not a good thing.

The video is not visually appealing.  Some scenes are washed out, others appear to have filters or after effects making the scenes swim in an overall tone of yellow, blue, or green.  The sound appears to have been recorded live as there is sometimes background noise.

According to the interview in the DVD extras, the equipment for the movie cost around $16,000 and the production costs were $6,000.  The film was shot in a month. The blood was corn syrup and red food coloring.  At one point, they mention that when we see a characters legs have been cut off, they had dug a hole in the ground that he could put his legs into.  No kidding.  That's exactly what it looked like, too.

Also in the extras we have an interview with the guy who played Lyle, who states "Lyle is a very likable character."  Really?  He's not.  I actually went back and listened to that sound bite a couple of times as I thought I had misunderstood him. Lyle is a jerk.

Now all the guys who are interviewed regarding their involvement with the film seem like nice enough guys. And it's cool that they were able to commit to making and completing a movie, but the problem is that it's not good.  I commend them for their follow through, but not for their movie.

My favorite part was the directors interview as he inadvertently sums up exactly what is wrong with movie making today - they're too easy to make. You don't have to have any skill, creativity, or make an effort.

Here's an excerpt from the interview with Bill Konig, the director:

"Keith grabbed one camera. I grabbed the other.... We rarely looked at the script.... Most of the characters were making up a lot of their stuff up as they went anyway.  I would just say Keith am I in your shot.... He'd say no.  And he'd ask if I was in his and I'd say no. And then we'd say, alright let's roll and somebody do something funny or somebody cut somebodies leg off or head off. And we'll try to put it together and make a movie out of it."

"Basically in todays day and age with technology how it is today, any schmuck - as you can see - can make a movie because it's all there. It's all just pushing buttons now.  We throw that camera on auto focus and just run wild with it and it does everything for you.... We don't have to do much, hit a button here or there, piece of cake."

So much for cinematography, writing, and artistic intentions.
Get ready to watch most of the movie in blue, yellow, green or washed out.
The saddest missing posters ever - it just says Missing.
Oh this isn't hard on the eyes at all.
Oh god, he's got a shirt for everything
Duke needs to learn how to spell
It's the sleepy grandpa killer
Somebody got a haircut during this scene
Can you not walk around him?

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Storage 24 (2012)

When a military plane crashes in the city, it's contents are spread over a large area, including a storage facility where a large box has landed and broken open.  Charlie and Mark are headed to the storage area to pick up Charlies things.  His girlfriend Shelly  just broke up with him and he's a bit of a mess.

When they arrive, there are problems with the gates at the front door and maintenance is fixing it.  Once they're inside, they head to the storage room and find Shelly already there with two friends.  Things get awkward and hostile, but soon there are strange sounds from inside the building.  Slash slash kill kill, it's a big old alien creature and he's going to take your head off.

With the electricity going on and off, and the front desk guy and maintenance guy missing, the group tries to figure out what's going on. In the process, they meet a divorcee who lives in his storage locker to keep his ex wife from getting any more money from him - great life choice there buddy.

They lock themselves in his storage room and try crawling through the vents to find bigger storage units which might contain weapons.  Not the best idea but what else can they do?  There's a creature roaming the halls.  Note: if you insult an alien, it's not an effective means of protecting yourself from death.

When we decided to watch this, the conversation went "yeah it's got a monster, sounds great."  "But it's British."  "Oh...... well that may not be so exciting."  That proved to be true, but it's good to see a monster that's not CGI.  It's well done, but just not that interesting.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Shark Week (2012)

Drug lord Tiburon, who has gross dirty fingernails and smokes cigars, sends his goons to stick hypodermic needles in the necks of eight people who he deems responsible for his sons death.  They're all transported to an island and must participate in shark week. Anyone who survives will win their freedom. If they refuse to be involved, they're dead.

Now when someone says you must fight for your life because it's shark week, I expect to see lots of biting shark action, not a group of people sitting around sniping at each other and their captor unveiling that they've stumbled into the next area where they'll be attacked by a shark.  Because in actuality shark week means one shark per day at a point when they all fall, or are forced, into the water.  So 99% of the time, they're safe. Although they do fall through the Earths crust at one point, so I kept hoping for that to happen again.

The Asylum is responsible for this mess which means there's a good synopsis, but the actual rendering of the movie is boring and you'll keep hoping something exciting happens, which it won't. Why do I keep watching these? Oh yeah, because they have good titles and synopsises.

Watch unappealing characters talk about why they shouldn't be blamed for the son's death.  Watch old guy Tiburon sit in a chair and look at monitors with video of his guests via cameras all over the island.  Watch his old girlfriend with her strange eye twitch (and then be horrified to discover she's not actually old, it's Yancy Butler and she just hasn't aged well - I thought she was about 60 but she's only in her early 40s.)  Watch out for sharks, but seriously there's no worry of that because once they've met the one per day they're allotted, they're all set.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Blood Gnome (2004)

Damn!  Who wouldn't want a Blood Gnome?  They're all gnomey and bloody and... aw heck, they suck.

Crime scene photographer Daniel is newly back at work after spending time in a psych ward after his wife was murdered. (Maybe if he didn't have photos of his dead wife at the crime scene hanging on his living room wall he'd make a quicker recovery?)

A killer is targeting people in the bondage/S&M scene and Daniel is on the scene with his camera.  He starts seeing little killer gnomes through his viewfinder and on the camcorders view screen.  No one shall ask why Daniel never plays the video tape or develops the film when trying to convince law enforcement and friends what he saw, which are invisible blood gnomes. Aw Daniel, really? What the hell.... yeah, just keep screaming about blood gnomes, not like it'd help to use the proof you have.

Instead of doing the logical thing,  Daniel decides he needs to learn more about these kinky sex practices and hires Divinity, who starts giving him some lessons.  Trust me, you don't want to see Daniel in bondage. Little do Daniel and Beth know that the blood gnomes belong to someone Divinity knows.

The gnomes are rubber with no moving parts, manly of the ladies look sort of manly, and Daniel is kind of gross. Don't miss the hair raising scene where he talks to the blood gnomes via a primitive instant message application on his computer. And by hair raising, I mean ridiculous.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Rise of the Zombies (2012)

Damn you, Asylum!  Why so boring?  I love the crazy ideas and using leads who used to be super famous, but holy crap, your pacing is lackluster, your dialogue is tedious, and your story lines are deadly dull.  For god's sake, its freakin' zombies! How can you mess this one up?

After the zombie apocalypse, a small group of survivors hole up in Alcatraz to work on a cure.  There is also a doctor on the mainland that they know of who is experimenting on primates and is seeing good progress with his current vaccine.

But wouldn't you know it, those pesky zombies have figured out how to swim or walk across the bottom of the ocean and are trotting out of the water on the shores of Alcatraz.  And even though it's a prison which housed the worst offenders and would have a good lock down capabilities and guard towers, the zombies are up the hills and into the corridors lickety split and chomping commences. Why not have someone in the guard towers to watch the land and sea? Not that I'd have thought zombies would come over from San Francisco, but I'd be concerned about marauding survivors who didn't have the best intentions.

At this point, most of the group decides to leave the island in their only escape vehicle - one rubber raft which isn't he best bet to cross the SF bay, especially with the added water zombie threat.  But Dr. Levar Burton stays on the island to help his recently bitten zombie daughter and continue his experiments for a cure. Oh this isn't going to go well at all.

The others set out to find the primate doctor and get to the reported safe area.  But you just know that's not going to work out either, because it's the damn zombie apocalypse, suckas! At least everyone who gets bitten does so by their own stupidity.  Really guys, there's a zombie menace everywhere you go. You may want to be a bit more careful as to who's around and how to escape unscathed. And stop hanging out near windows and prison cells that zombies can reach through.

Also don't ever punch a zombie in the face. It makes you look like a moron.  If it's teeth don't cut your knuckles and infect you, the gallons of zombie blood flying into your mouth might not be the best thing in the world. Idiots!

Osombie (2012)

In the bid to take down Osama bin Laden, the military busts into his compound (which looks just like the inside of a storage facility). Suddenly the doors to the storage units open and out stumble zombies.  Our armed forces commence fighting and locate Osama in a room at the end of the corridor.  Right before he's shot, he injects himself with an experimental serum and all is well because he's dead. Oh wait, no it isn't. Because as the helicopter is flying his body over the ocean, he comes back to undead life and starts trying to chomp on our heroes. Oh no!

Meanwhile in the desert, the worst special forces unit ever patrols the desert, fights zombies, and helps a stupid girl find her freedom fighter brother, whose none too bright either.  The elite fighting squad are gradually whittled down to just a few people since they don't notice zombies in the wide open landscape, often miss their targets, let zombies get close enough to surround and bite them, and don't notice tons of wires lying on the ground as part of booby traps. You name it, they're incompetent at it.  And these are our peacekeepers?!

Get ready for a soldier who takes off his shirt whenever he fights, a soldier who only tells old lame jokes you heard as a kid, and the freedom fighter brother who believes in conspiracy theories and thinks Osama is still alive.... well to be fair, he's undead so he's still moving about but you won't see him that much.  It's mostly random undead until the end. The kills and blood are cgi.  Ridiculous premise, kind of fun but laughable.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Darkening Sky(2010)

Eric is doing his doctoral thesis on the origin of mythology, specifically UFO mythology.  He is obsessed with it, much to the dismay of his girlfriend. He also suffers from migraine headaches, has a strange scar on his abdomen, and has fleeting childhood memories of something happening to him, which was apparently an abduction.

When his girlfriend disappears the night after she told him to move out, Eric is worried.  He's even more worried when there is a message from her boss asking why she never showed up for work.

Eric asks his new neighbor Harold if he saw anything weird the night before.  He didn't, but he sends his niece Beth over to talk to him.  It turns out she believes her boyfriend was taken by a UFO and she's trying to find him.  He had all the same symptoms as Eric - the migraines, the scar, memories of a childhood abduction.

Beth convinces Eric to go to a UFO seminar that night.  While skeptical, he decides to attend, but can't take any of the presenters or audience members seriously. As more and more evidence appears to point to his girlfriend being abducted by aliens, the only person who will listen to him is Beth.  She believes that the aliens are coming back to get Eric, just like they did with her boyfriend.

Is is really aliens?  What really happened to his girlfriend?  What's his neighbor doing? Why is Eric's former professor so interested in whether he's going to complete his PhD?  This is a weird movie with a twist at the end that I didn't see coming. So I give them credit for that.  But at times it is long winded and until you get about a half hour into it, there's not much going on.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Boardinghouse (1982)

In 1972 Dr. Hoffman and his wife, who are Nobel prize winners for their research in telekinesis, are found dead in their home.  Over the next ten years, everyone who buys the house dies a mysterious death.

Jim inherits the property after his uncle's death. He decides to make it into a boardinghouse, putting an ad in the newspaper looking for attractive young women to rent the rooms.  Next thing you know, the ladies have moved in, and are ready for fun with Jim and his large backyard pool.

But there is evil in their midst.  Is it the house?  Is it the creepy gardener?  Is it Jim's telekinetic powers? Or is it Jim's propensity to wear bikini underwear?

The movie clocks in at close to two hours, which is far too long.  While the film has some charm, it gets tedious at times since nothing is happening.

If you choose to watch this be prepared for lots of scenes of the backyard pool, women in bikini's, scenes that go nowhere, Jim in thong bikini's, a pie fight, the bands butts, scenes that seem to cut off in the middle, bad acting, lots of telekinesis, and a performance by the band 33 1/3, who are actually Lightstorm,  the real band of our two leads, Jim and Victoria.

Yellow pants, leopard thong, cowboy hat?
Jim's a fashion plate.
According to the interview and commentary track with John Wintergate (Jim/writer/director) and Kalassu (Victoria), the film was meant to be a parody of horror films.  But their distributor wouldn't release it as he said no one would be interested. So it was re-edited to be a horror movie.  They say this is why things don't make sense.

The problem I have with this explanation is that parodies are amusing or downright funny, and the film isn't funny.  So it fails as both a horror film and a parody.   I'm left wondering if they may be pulling a Tommy Wiseau (The Room), and stating it is supposed to be funny since people are already laughing at it.

In the interviews John and Kalassu come off as nice people, and it's impressive that they are still a couple after so many years.  The commentary tracks are interesting, but Kalassu often stops John from telling behind the scenes info.  She jokingly insisting that the telekinesis was real and that they shouldn't give away their secrets.  This is a detriment as part of the fun of a commentary is finding out how certain effects were done.  I would have loved to know how they did the telekinesis soap scene, but Kalassu stops John from talking about it.
Yeah, I really don't want to rent a room from this guy.
It's James Brolin's brother - seriously, it really is.
She's got a poster of herself on the wall.
All I could think when I saw this scene
was that's a huge slice of salami.
Oh no. This we do NOT need to see.
Pie fight!
I really hope that's a wig.
Good god no! Don't ever play a show on the edge of a pool.
Is there something wrong with my eyes?
I feel like I'm watching a Lita Ford video.
This is not my idea of telekinesis.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Shark in Venice (2008)

After his father disappears on an expedition, Professor  David Franks (played by the incredibly lifelike Steven Baldwin) and his girlfriend Laura head to Venice to try to figure out what happened.  He talks to the police who assign someone to go diving with him in the canals.  They also insist that there are no sharks in the canals.

When David explores the area where his father was diving, he finds an underwater cavern which opens up into a secret room.  The path through the cavern is filled with booby traps like in Indiana Jones, but not as competent.  The traps are easily avoidable since the triggers seem to be a foot ahead of where the actual death traps deploy. So they swing or protrude harmlessly in front of David.

The Italian Gene Simmons, 0part of the Mafia who David's father was working for, tries to make David an offer he can't refuse. Somehow David refuses it and soon his girlfriend is kidnapped in a bid to force him to take them to the treasure.  I'm left thinking the sharks are just an afterthought added onto a movie which reads quite a bit like an low rent Indiana Jones script.

 Let's see... father disappears on an expedition, looking for treasure from Crusades, main character is a professor who searches for long last antiquities, he finds a cave with booby traps and treasure, villain tries to force him to reveal location of treasure, etc.  Yup, just add sharks and it's a different movie. 
And where else can you see someone blow up a shark?
Gene Simmons!?
He appears to be wearing a Bavarian folk skirt
All that's left after the shark attack? His head
They blew up a shark!?!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Severed (2002)

Two people are killed in a parking lot by a large man. The policy are called and give chase, (leaving the bodies behind and neglecting to call for back up).  The man kills the cops.  We're thirteen minutes into the movie and there is no plot.

Here we go - a murderer is lopping off heads.  The murders have been going on for three years.  There are no witnesses.  The police decide to assemble a special unit and hire a specialist to look into this case  because the killer "...was taking one head a month. Now he's taking one head a night."  Seriously?  I would hope you'd do something about it before it got to one murder a night.

The most ridiculous dialogue occurs when a bounty hunter meets with a voodoo lady to try to get info on the killer.  He hands her cartridges found at the latest crime scene.

Crackpot Voodoo Lady - "I'd like to hold onto these."
Bounty Hunter - "Okay, but they are evidence so I'll need them back."

Oh my god! Are you kidding me?  Since when would anyone involved in an investigation leave crime scene evidence with a civilian who does voodoo?   That's just crazy.

Also amusing is that when the killer screams, he has a normal voice, but when he speaks it's a Satan voice.

The acting has some really awkward line reads.  There often isn't enough light in the scenes and the dialogue is hard to hear.  Another winner - and when I say winner, I mean waste of time -  of a movie from the long line of $5 cheapie DVD movie sets.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Dead of Night (2004)

Mental patient Gerald kills some staff, breaks out of the asylum, and ends up hiding in a local cemetery.  Meanwhile at the high school, the popular kids are beating up on geeky Carl until new kid Mel forcibly removes jock Darryl's fist from Carl's face. The arrival of the principal breaks up the fight between Mel and Darryl.

Inexplicably Darryl apologizes and invites the geeks and Mel to the gang's party that night at the cemetery.  Carl is psyched to be included while his friend Howard is more skeptical.  Note to geeks:  Never accept an invitation to party with the popular kids, especially when your last interaction was them telling you what a geek you are and beating you up.  Don't you know it's always going to end up with some horrible prank at your expense?

When Carl and Howard show up at the party, they are tied up and dumped into a grave. Hey geeks, it's all in good fun. We're just hazing you so you can join our cool kid group.

But what no one knows is that there are strange creatures in the cemetery. What are they? What do they want?  Where did they come from? What does Gerald have to do with them? You'll never know.

Once characters are turned into creatures, all they do is slowly walk in tandem through the school. Oooh isn't that scary, kids? Oh and the monsters wear rubber masks which move as they talk, but not in a good way.  The mouths don't move but the masks do from the movement of the actors chins while speaking. Plus the monsters speak with an effect on their voices which makes their dialogue incomprehensible much of the time.  When you can understand it, lulls you into a sleepy state.
Note to movie makers: when your cast looks like this...
... make sure your stock footage of high
school students is from a caucasian school
Just your typical high school student. He's not a day over 18.
This is what we have to fear from these creatures
The rubber creature masks.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Hide and Creep (2004)

Well I didn't expect this. We've full frontal male nudity within first five minutes of film. Yikes!  And it's not even a hunky guy, which makes it considerably more shocking. It's just out of nowhere and you'll wish they got this man some pants quicker than it happens.

Chuck, a small town video store owner, finds a zombie in his shop.  He thinks it's just a crazy homeless guy and tries to stop him. Well you know you can't just stop a zombie, and after a short skirmish, Chuck dispatches of him.  So he calls the police to report the death.

The Sheriff is out of town and the secretary is useless. So Chuck ends up leaving the zombie in the police station with a note to call him, and then goes to get some lunch.

On the other side of town, some hunters go to investigate noises in the woods and find zombies munching on a friend.  They quickly figure out what's going on and run back to the cabin to get their guns. This makes the fact that Chuck couldn't figure it out really annoying since he was just talking to a customer about zombie movies.

Eventually Chuck, the hunters, the secretary, and her ex-boyfriend end up working together to try to escape the town and contain the zombie outbreak, whichever works.

This is a low budget horror comedy. Some of the jokes aren't that good, and the characters can be annoying at times. But overall it's okay and kept my attention.  The segment in the supermarket was the best part and the PA announcements regarding the zombies were pretty funny. Overall I liked it and can over look it's flaws.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

John Carter (2012)

Civil War vet John Carter searches for gold and is captured by the Cavalry who requests his help to fight Indians.  Carter escapes but the Calvary gives chase and then he runs into   Indians.

After hiding in a cave, he runs into a being from another world who he kills in an altercation. John grabs the beings blinking medallion and is transported to a strange barren landscape where he appears to have acquired super jumping powers.

Shortly after finding a nest with eggs which birth adorable little aliens, Carter is captured by a four armed, twelve foot tall race of aliens.  He also discovers there are other people on the planet who look like him, and figures out he has somehow ended up on Mars where there is a war going on.

The first problem with this movie is that you need the right actor to play John Carter.  Carter's reactions are right out of a Clint Eastwood western, Dirty Harry or Indiana Jones movie.  But not every actor can pull off that delivery. So instead of endearing himself to the audience with his independence and refusal to blindly follow authority, he's more like a cantankerous, obnoxious, unlikeable guy.

Second big problem is the pacing is often tedious and plot points contradict themselves.  There's action, then romance, then long scenes of dialogue that you'll drift through waiting for something to happen.

The biggest problem is why did anyone think naming this John Carter was a good idea?  Who the hell is John Carter?  Why should I care?  It sounds like it's going to be serious adult themed drama, not an action scifi movie based on Mars.  Why not John Carter of Mars?  Or John Carter and the Alien Planet?  Something to clue people in on the fact that it's a scifi action film.  But John Carter? Boring!

The movie is based on the Edgar Rice Burroughs books, which influenced many filmmakers. This leads to another problem. Even though this is the source story for a lot of ideas of modern scifi film making, it looks derivative as it's ideas have been appropriated by others and done before.  So as you watch you think of Star Wars, the adventures of Indiana Jones, or Avatar or some other scifi movie.

The best parts are that the movie looks fantastic and unlike many movies, the CGI looks good and not like the actor is in front of a green screen.  Also the alien pug is absolutely adorable and it's speed makes it even cuter.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

The House that Would Not Die (1970)

Aunt Ruth and niece Sara move into a huge old house that Ruth inherited from a long lost relative.  Manly neighbor Pat stops by to say hello as he's surprised that anyone is living in the house.  He invites them to a party so they can meet some of the local folks.

Turns out their new house is a mystery to the townfolk as Ruth's relative wouldn't let anyone inside. Everyone is curious to see what it looks like and there are rumors of a haunting so they also want to hold a seance.  Ruth and Sara think it might be fun so the gang comes over and they raise a supernatural ruckus.

Soon Sara is acting strange and falling into trances, and Pat is  getting rough with Ruth and being scary.  The portrait above the fireplace falls on the floor and the door to the cellar is found open when it had been closed. Also people start seeing ghostly figures from the Revolutionary War period.  Spooky.

The spirits in the house start gaining more power. They begin taking over Sara, even when she's at Pat's house.  And Pat's getting super creepy.  The kind of creepy where no woman is going to want to be alone in the same room with him, even if there are other people in the house.

One of the things I like about older films is that they have long shots where the camera follows the action unfolding.  Instead of the quick cuts that make up a scene in modern films, the characters have to relate to each during the scene.  It's just far more interesting and can really help to build tension.

Barbara Stanwyck plays Ruth.  When I was a kid, I only knew Stanwyck as the old lady on The Big Valley. She annoyed the hell out of me.  But actually she's a really good actress. She does a great job in this.

So if you're in the mood for an older film which is more about atmosphere than blood, this is a decent movie.  It's more along the lines of 1963's The Haunting, just not as good.  Be aware that if you need those quick cuts to keep from being bored, you'll want to avoid this.  This is story based and the tension builds based on the performances.  When Pat gets possessed, he's really uncomfortable to watch as there's something extremely menacing about him.

I have to mention the updated graphics for the movie.  The cover and main menu make it look like a recent horror movie with an eyeless Marilyn Manson ghost coming to get you. This is bound to disappoint everyone. Anyone who falls for the new cover will be disappointed by getting an old film.  While anyone who'd be interested in old film will ignore it due to the new cover made to appeal to teens.  Nice marketing ploy.
You think you're getting this....
...but you're really getting this

Friday, April 12, 2013

Hard Rock Zombies (1984)

A fun loving band goes on tour and ends up in a town where they were warned not to go.  The townsfolk don't want them there and don't like their big city rocknroll ways.  The real mystery is why the band was asked to play two shows in this town.  Surely whoever owns the local venue wouldn't have booked them?

The townsfolk try to make them cancel, but the band is expecting  a big talent scout to come to see them.  They are also staying at the family estate of a female hitchhiker wearing short shorts that they picked up on the way. Her family is a bunch of freaks who like to murder unsuspecting people who pick up the daughter.

The movie is bizarre and includes Nazis, a werewolf granny, Hitler, zombies, dwarves, wacky music montages of the band, and some of the most ridiculous zombie walking ever which looks like a cross between a robot and bad 80s dancing.

There is also a ridiculous scene where people trapped by zombies come up with the theory that "Ghouls don't like heads."  So they get huge cut outs of celebrities heads and hide behind them to try to escape.  As you can imagine, it doesn't work out so well.

There's also a love story between the lead singer and a teenager girl who looks way to young for him. Creepy.
His hair is disturbing
The strangest promotional tool for a band ever
Dancing! Skateboards! Mimes!  Silly Poses!
It's wacky music montage time!
Caterpillar brows is far too young for you.
The band is electrocuted by maniacs
Apparently zombie bands wear Kiss makeup
Nothing good can come from this
Ghouls hate heads
Yeah, you just knew that wasn't going to work