Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Ward (2011)

Runaway Kristen is arrested for setting a house on fire and is inexplicably placed in an asylum.  Kristen insists she's not crazy and shouldn't be locked up, which sounds what a lot of insane people say, so she's not doing herself any favors.

Luckily Kristen is assigned to the ward for pretty teenage girls so she's doing okay - other than the strange noises she hears at night, something supernatural roaming the halls, and the disappearing patients who were cured by Dr. Stringer. Well, they're either cured or they've been murdered.

The movie is okay but nothing special.  It's kind of spooky and has a twist ending that I didn't see coming.  There are also the standard issue unpleasant nurses, and electroshock therapy.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Kaw (2007)

It's Sheriff Waynes last day on the job. As is always the case in horror movies when someone is looking forward to a happy future, that means something terrible is about to happen.

When the school bus driver is attacked by birds, no one believes him since he's also the town drunk.  Wayne takes it into consideration, but let's face it. If a few birds act a little weird and get too close for comfort, the police are going to shrug it off and tell you to get on with your life.

But soon the ravens are back and madder than ever, and by mad I mean insane with blood lust. They're going to get anyone they can get their little point beaks on, including the girls basketball team returning from their game and driven by our drunken bus driver who is wary of the gathering birds.

Then the Sheriff's wife falls down a well (it's that last day on the job curse again) and is in fear for her life from Mennonites who're trying to hide a secret about their cows.  While Wayne and our other major players hole up in the local diner and try to keep the ravens from ripping everyone's heads off.

If this isnt' a Syfy movie, then it's the same type of film.  If you can deal with that, and like killer bird movies then this is for you.  Also of note is that Rod Taylor, who was in Hitchcock's The Birds, plays Doc.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Mexican Werewolf (2005)

In a small town in Texas something is killing livestock.  While some townsfolk think it is a coyote, the high school kids decide to party, get drunk, and hunt that some bitch, resulting in them discovering - while it's killing one of their moron friends -  that it is not a simple dog like animal.

Look at that cover. Does that look like a werewolf to you? No, no it doesn't because it isn't a werewolf. It's a Chupacabra, the goat sucking creature of legend. It isn't a Mexican werewolf, but let's face it, more people will rent or buy a werewolf movie.

In a side plot, Anna's father hatess her boyfriend Miguel because he is Mexican.  In fact, Dad hates Mexicans so much that he fashions a Chupacabra suit out of animal pelts so that he can dress up as the legendary creature and kill Miguel, who is alone on a werewolf hunting mission.  This is bound to go horribly wrong as anyone could tell, not the least of which is that people are hunting the Chupacabra.

This is a low budget movie and it shows. If you want to watch every movie with werewolf in the title, or see a Chupacabra movie and have low expectations, then you may want to watch it.

Monday, January 27, 2014

The Dead Pit (1989)

What could be better for a hospital than a hidden lab in the basement where an insane doctor does unethical experiments on unsuspecting patients?  Perhaps when said evil doctor comes back to life and brings his zombie patients with him?

Dr. Ramzi is a nutjob researcher who's looking at the causes of insanity (he's not helping). When Dr. Swan follows the sketchy  Ramzi and discovers his secret lab, instead of leaving and reporting his unethical behavior, Swan ends up killing him.

With a dead maniac and a lab full of murdered patients, you'd think that this would need to be reported to the hospital administration or security.  So no one shall ask why Swan thinks the best idea is to plaster over the door to the dead pit. Yup, this is going to come back to haunt him.

20 years later an amnesia patient referred to as Jane Doe is admitted to the hospital.  Coincidentally at the same time there is an earthquake which breaks the plaster seal on the dead pit.  Uh oh, Swan's in for a surprise.

Jane makes friends with Chris, a fire starter, who is in the loony bin because his lawyer is making arrangements for him to avoid jail time.  Jane insists her memories have been stolen, which makes her sound super crazy.  So you know no ones going to believe her when she says they were stolen by a dead doctor. Oh well, time for Ramzi and his zombies to get to work since no one believes a crazy person who sees dead people.

So even though this has zombies in it, there aren't very many and you'll have to wade through a lot of the movie to get to them. It's an okay movie, but probably a disappointment for those looking for zombies.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

+1 (2013)

In an attempt to cheer him up after his girlfriend Jill dumped him, Teddy convinces David to go to a huge party at a rich friends house. To be fair,  Jill dumped him after seeing him kiss her fencing rival after a match, so it's not like David didn't deserve it.  When the guys show up at the party, David sees Jill go in with another guy and becomes obsessed with getting her alone to apologize for his indiscretion.

Earlier that night, a meteor landed in the neighborhood, and there have been occasional power outages. When David, Teddy, and another friend end up on the second floor landing watching what's going on downstairs, and they realize that events are repeating themselves. The party had already moved out back, yet there is a double of each partygoer downstairs doing the same thing they already did earlier in the evening. What the hell?

Soon they notice that every time the power goes out the duplicates reenactments of their previous actions get closer to real time. So if their doppelgangers catch up to them, what's doing to happen?  Will they cease to exist?  Are their doubles trying to take their places?  Will the double kill them if they catch up to them?  If they kill their double, does that mean they'll die also?  And how will David and Teddy convince everyone else that what they're saying isn't just a stupid joke?  And David comes up with the interesting question that if the real Jill won't take him back, can he reconcile with the duplicate Jill?

If you go into this thinking it's a straight ahead horror movie, you're going to be disappointed. The first half hour was more like a teen movie, with a few strange things happening. Then the effects of the meteor crash start kicking in.  There's a nice twist near the end, but the ultimate ending leaves a lot of questions and isn't really explained.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Devil's Pass (2013)

aka The Dyatlov Pass Incident

Grad student Holly gets a grant to make a documentary on the 1959 Dyatlov Pass incident in which nine experienced Russian  skiers were found dead after failing to return from a trip.  The individuals had slashed open their tents and run off into the night while only partially closed in sub zero degree weather.  What caused them to do so is still a mystery.

Holly brings a cameraman (who is a conspiracy theorist), a sound person, and two guides. Usually I think of guides as someone who knows the area and has experience on the mountains in question or with that type of hiking.  But Holly brings a couple guys from college, and one talks about hiking the Appalachian Trail.  So I'm wondering why Holly wouldn't find someone experienced in hiking in snow or forging their own trail.

After traveling from the US and arriving in a small town near the site, Holly and her team find a local man to take them to the mountains. Luckily they've brought cameras whose batteries never need to be charged and only go dead if they need to review the footage.  So for the most part, they're all set.

There is a strange exchange when they make their freeze dried dinner. I think it's Holly who balks at eating the first item because she's a vegetarian.  Now if you had special dietary requirements, wouldn't you make sure to pack food you could actually eat?  Another ill planned part of the venture by Holly.

Sooner than they think, they're setting up camp at the original expeditions location.  That's when strange things start happening, such as the GPS and compass stop working, and Holly finds a door nearby buried under some snow which has some slight sign of radiation.  The group are hopelessly prepared for any sort of adversity that might arise, and since it's a found footage film, you know how they're going to end up right from the start.

The ending goes off in a different direction which ended up being kind of stupid. Found footage movies are usually not that great, but this one wasn't as annoying as most of them. If only they'd found a better way to end it because that last scene just didn't cut it.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Ninja 2: Shadow of a Tear (2013)

After buying jewelry for his wife, Casey is followed by thugs.  But our ninja is wise to their bad intentions, leads them into an alley  and when they demand his valuables, he beats the hell out of them. Go Casey, go!

Soon he's home having a nice dinner with his wife. As they happily bask in each other presence, he surprises her with the necklace he bought earlier in the day. It's the symbol for happiness, and they talk about how much they're looking forward to having their first child. In other words, she's going to die horribly within the next five minutes.

Sure enough, after returning home from a late night snack run for his pregnant wife, Casey finds her dead and the apartment ransacked.  Distraught, Casey decides to accept the offer from his friend Nakabara, played by Kane Kosugi, to train at Nakabaras dojo in Thailand.  But Casey is lost in his grief and while sparring at the dojo, he loses his temper and loses control.  So he goes off to get drunk and then beats some guys up at a bar.

The next day, when they discover a student at the dojo has been killed, and Casey notices the marks on his neck match the marks on his wifes neck, Casey becomes focused on his revenge. Ninja actions about to get real.

I love ninja movies, and seeing Kane Kosugi in one is very cool (even though he doesn't play a ninja).  I saw all Sho Kosugi's movies in the theater when they were released, and I've been a fan of ninjas ever since. Now, you've got to wade through a bunch of terrible movies to find the decent ones, but they're worth it.

While this is a good action movie, there's not a whole lot of ninja in it.  Sure, Casey has a lot of fight scenes and there's some great choreography, but ninja fans like to see the ninjas - stealthily appearing and disappearing at will.  But that's lacking in this film.  So if you can deal with Casey not being in a ninja outfit that much, it's a decent action flick and worth a watch.

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Child's Eye (2010)

Rainie and Lok go on vacation to Thailand with two other couples. When riots break out, they decide to leave, but by the time they get to the airport, it's closed.

Their driver drops them off at a run down hotel which causes Rainie to get  a bad feeling.  It doesn't help that three orphans keep staring at them as if there's something wrong, and the kids dog barks at them.

When they get caught in a riot outside the hotel, Rainie sees a ghost and another girl sees a ghostly hand reaching for her and faints. After regrouping at the hotel, the girls discover the guys have disappeared.  Rainie and her friends ask around but no one has seen them except for one of the creepy children who says the men have gone off with the strange woman who ate with them the first night. Yargh, a ghost!

The little girl tells them the story of the hotel and it's owners, which ends in a death and a limp. Rainie and her friends enlist the help of the little girl and her dog who barks when it sees ghosts. During their investigation, they end up being enveloped in fog, get separated, and see a strange little child dog monster. Yikes!

Asian horror can be super creepy and scary, but this one didn't really get going until probably half way through, and even then it turned out to be not so scary.  There are a couple of scenes with scares that made me jump even though I knew that something was going to happen. Overall it's pretty average, and there's much better Asian horror available.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

7 Below (2012)

While on the way to a resort, a van crashes into a tree after a girl mysteriously appears in the middle of the road.  The driver is killed and the passengers are bruised and shaken.  A passing motorist stops to help and offers them a ride. The group wants to head back to the gas station, but Jack (the motorist) insists that they go to his home since a storm is coming and they can't get back to the gas station in time.

A doughy Val Kilmer, woozy from a head wound, is acting like an a-hole. Then again, he was hitting on a woman in the gas station while his wife sat in the van, so he was kind of a dick anyway.  The others do the only thing you can do for a concussion victim - give him some alcohol and tell him to get some sleep.

Soon Val is dead and the rest of the travelers are seeing the ghosts of little girls, and the ghost of a boy with a big bloody knife.  As more strange things start happening and the deaths start stacking up, the remaining people decide to get out of there after Jack tells them they're in a murder house where one hundred years earlier a boy killed his entire family.  Oh so that's why we've been seeing a little boy stab a little girl to death in the upstairs bedroom. Yup, don't want to stay at that house any longer.

The characters are a bit dense, and you can't help but roll your eyes at the guy who can never open up to anyone but tells the girl he just met that he can confide in her.  And of course when you stay in a death house, there's going to be death a-coming, which is not as disturbing as Jack's incredibly fake laugh.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Sorority House Massacre II (1990)

Five sorority girls buy an abandoned house for a dirt cheap price and decide to stay overnight since the movers will arrive the next day. But only one girl knows they got such a good deal because it's the old Hockstater place, where a father killed his entire family.

After meeting their creepy neighbor who is lurking outside the window of their home, the girls take showers and change into lingerie. Then they grab a Ouija board so they can  contact the spirit of the killer, who they figure may still be hanging around.  As you'd expect this doesn't work out well for anyone.

We didn't realize this was sort of a comedy when we first started watching it. There were some funny parts, but also lots of lines that fell flat.  Also I'm not sure if everything we laughed at was supposed to be funny.  One girl ends up looking like Roseanne Rosannadanna (1970s Saturday Night Live character) when she lets down her hair.  I think the only woman in the film who doesn't take her top off is the police woman, and the acting is about what you would expect.  It was stupid but kind of a fun movie.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Some Guy Who Kills People (2011)

Ken's life isn't going the way he planned.  He lives with his mother (who thinks he's a loser), is recently out of a sanitarium after an attempt at suicide, has a daughter that's not a part of his life, and works at an ice cream store where he sometimes has to dress up as an ice cream cone.  Plus he sometimes has flashbacks to his days as a high school mascot, where after making a joke about one of  jock bullies on the team, Ken was kidnapped, tied to a chair, beaten, and threatened with immolation.

When the bullies who tormented him in high school start turning up dead, suspicion starts to lean towards Ken, especially since he's just out of the loony bin and can't account for his whereabouts during the times of the murders.  To complicate matters, the Sheriff is dating Ken's mother and is often at the table for breakfast and dinner.  Plus Ken's an artist whose work consists of mostly violent drawings, which are cartoonish in nature.

I liked this one.  Barry Bostwick is fantastic as the Sheriff, and was my favorite part of the film. He's got some great lines and played it perfect for the laughs.  The other actors also do a great job in their roles.  The dark humor works well, while Ken Corrigan's turn from depressed loner to an awkward father trying to bond with a pre-teen daughter is very effective.  You'd think that wouldn't be a great part of a horror movie, but the characters and writing make it work.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Hold Your Breath (2012)

A group of friends get together a few years after high school to go on a camping trip. While on the way, they get lost and go past a graveyard, which prompts one girl to insist everyone hold their breath.  My friends and I used to do the same thing... except we were twelve. The stupid stoner is too busy inhaling to play along and accidentally inhales the spirit of a serial killer because it just happens to be the anniversary of his execution and he's looking for a body.

When the gang stops near the abandoned asylum where our killer died, one couple goes off to hook up  - because there's nothing so romantic as doing it on a dirty old autopsy table in the morgue. The others search for them because they want to leave. All except the possessed stoner who hangs out at the car, gets rid of all their cell phones, and tries to look menacing.  But since he's a doughy stoner, it doesn't work very well and he just comes off looking like a dick.

Too bad they missed the opening scenes of the movies.  The warden at the sanitarium addresses those who've come to witness the execution by welcoming them and recapping all the crimes for the victims families. Doesn't seem like the best thing to do since no one wants to hear how their loved ones were horrendously murdered, but since the killer ends up stabbing himself and the warden in front of the witnesses before being fried... oh wait, that's traumatic also, so the poor families are emotionally scarred for again.

But back to our story - the kids are confused because soon the stoner is back to normal other than a cough and feeling like crap, while another one of the gang is looking menacing and being completely creepy.  Turns out the spirit of the serial killer can jump from person to person, which makes it hard for everyone to figure out who is possessed. So it's a good thing they run into a middle aged man at the  murder scene of one of their friends.  He's able to explain what's going on and offer a solution which leads to some not so great special effects.

I was surprised to see this was a film by The Asylum since they usually make movies similar to blockbusters and give them a similar name. But this is original, just not that great. I didn't loathe it.  So it's got that going for it.  However this is the only sanitarium I've ever heard of that actually executes their patients, and the only warden who doesn't understand that recounting the crimes to the victims families is not a good thing to do.
Spooky girl with the 1940s Andrews Sisters haircut.
Am I the only one who is reminded of Mick Jagger?

Monday, January 13, 2014

Dead Before Dawn (2012)

Casper is asked to watch his grandfathers shop, The Occult Barn.  But Casper has avoided going there since his dad died there as a result of an accident involving a giant urn.

When his friends and a girl he has a crush on come into the store and want to see a huge urn on the top shelf, he refuses.  But peer pressure and an attempt to impress his crush makes Casper pull down the urn so they can look at it.  Of course you know there's going to be an accident, which is unfortunate since an evil spirit lives in the urn and he's up to no good.

So when the kids jokingly quote cliche horror plot lines to come up with a big convoluted curse which includes that anyone they look in the eye will kill themselves and come back to life, the spirit in the urn makes it so. Before they know it they are fighting for their lives from Zemons - a combination of zombie and demon. I know they wanted that to be clever, but it just sounds stupid.

The trailer I saw for this one looked pretty funny, but the movie was only okay. Even the scenes that were funny in the trailer weren't funny within the context of the scene. If you put your funniest lines in the trailer and then the movie can't live up to it, it's just going to be a disappointment. And honestly the concept of Zemons was pretty lame. Just make them zombies and be done with it.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Ground Zero (2010)

Jairus and Greer are cleaners, i.e. people who discreetly clean up dead bodies and blood after a company feels the need to eliminate a so-called problem.  They're given big money to clean up five bodies in a warehouse. Since they're on a tight deadline, their employer calls in two dorky cleaners they've never met to help with the job.  Jairus and Greer are not amused since the two strangers have a less than professional demeanor.

What the teams don't know is that one of the bodies is an activist who broke into a lab and injected himself with a virus so that he could expose the evil dealings of the company.  While one of he cleaners is alone with the bodies, the activist comes back to life and bites him.  When he tells the others what happened, they don't believe him.

The virus is transmitted through saliva or bodily fluids, so now we have a cleaner who's coughing up massive amounts of blood before dying and - you guessed it - coming back as a zombie.

This is a low budget film, and while it's not the worst thing I've ever seen, it's not that good.  The characters are boring and involved in a profession that makes them not very likable.  The idea to show the zombie at ground zero is okay, but nothing new. There are only four zombies in the film, which would be fine if the script was engaging in some way, but it's just an uninteresting zombie flick.

Friday, January 10, 2014

The Bell Witch Haunting (2013)

Brandon and his family move to a new city just in time for Brandon's birthday party where he gets some fancy new video camera so he can start working on becoming a filmmaker. Like all found footage movies, this means he's going to shoot all the time, even when terrible things happen and he should be getting help or calling the police.  It also means we're going to be subject to lots of filler since we'll essentially be watching home movies of mundane things until the supernatural stuff starts.

Anyone who gets motion sickness is going to have a hard time watching this film as the footage truly looks like it was shot by a teenager with no knowledge of cinematography. The damn camera waves around and constantly shakes, which made me feel like I was going to puke.

In the first two weeks in their new house: the garbage disposal spits up blood all over Dad; there's what appears to be a pool of  blood near the foundation; strange noises are heard from the basement; kids who were guests in their home end up dead; their daughter wakes up screaming every night;  Dad cuts his arm, wanders off in the night, gets tasered and blobs of ectoplasm or blood fall out of his mouth; the worst electrician in the world is hilariously electrocuted; and every time they call 911 for help, the phone goes dead in the middle of the call.  Yet when a distraught Mom calls a priest, she ignores the big stuff to tell him that they have a lamp that keeps blinking off and on.

The common denominator in all the teen deaths is that they were last seen alive at Brandon's house. Yet the police don't seem to be able to put this together. Perhaps it's because there seems to only be one policeman in town. Office Bungalon is the one who finds all the bodies, responds to all the calls, and has a name which makes me think he's going to bungle everything.

So in case you haven't guess, this does not get high marks for watchability - except for Officer Bungalon.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Ghoul School (1990)

Two thugs break into the local high school because they've heard the janitor keeps... something... hidden in the basement.  The janitor is a drunken loser who drinks hand sanitizer, but when he's tortured he won't give up the location of his secret stash of whatever.

When the thugs find a hidden room with nothing in it, they are oddly enthralled as if it might be the key to what they are seeking. They push a button on the wall and something I can't identify happens - is anything happening here? Are water drops falling on them? - which makes them slowly crumple to the floor. Whatever that button did, it also causes water to spill out of the faucets, drinking fountains, and a hose going into the pool where the swim team is practicing.

The mystery liquid causes the swim team to turn into zombies. But you won't realize they're zombies until other characters start referring to them as such.  The zombies have pointy teeth and blue skin. Sometimes just their faces are blue, other times it's their whole bodies. Perhaps since these zombies are wearing swimsuits, props ran out of blue makeup at some point? Or there was no continuity person?

Meanwhile in the auditorium, the band Bloodsucking Ghouls is practicing for their big show.  There is lots of unintentional laughs since the music doesn't match up to what their actions.  There is a keyboard solo, but no keyboard player.  There are big drum fills, but the drummer isn't playing fills.  And most obvious of all, the guitar player drops to his knees for a wailing lead to end the song, but the music ends - and he keeps playing while the soundtrack is silent.

The film comes to a screeching halt when there appears to be randomly inserted footage of an awkward Joe Franklin being assailed by the dated unfunny jokes of Jackie the Joke Man, whose support of this film is obvious due to half the cast wearing t-shirts with his name on them. Also has Joe Franklin ever used a phone before? Because he seems to have a problem holding it up to his ear, and it usually hovers an inch or so away his head.

This is one messed up movie. In the commentary, the director keeps apologizing for how bad it is.  Even though it's not good, I kind of enjoyed it. It's relatively short and makes no sense. Highlights of ridiculousness include:
  • a basketball team that doesn't sink a single shot and doesn't seem to know how to do a lay up
  • multiple horrible poofy mullets
  • a lady with a Dee Snider wig (commentary from the director mentions he has no idea why they thought it was a good idea to put this horrible wig on her)
  • the kid with the glasses and a droopy lip - is he imitating Bill Murray from Caddyshack, or did he have a stroke at some point in his life?
  • the lead singers girlfriend who wants to manage the band (right out of Spinal Tap)
  • the principals saying that there is a natural spring in the basement and the school bottles it's own water (if it weren't for the fact that they bottle the water and nothing ever happened prior to the thugs entering the mystery room, I'd think this was the source of the zombies)
  • the premise that there is a room in the basement with mystery liquid that can turn people into zombies - where the hell did this room come from? Why would anyone put it in a school? Why hasn't there ever been this problem before? Why would someone put a button in there that releases something to make people turn into zombies? Who is responsible for this fiasco?
Bad Dialogue-

"I think they're putting a little too much chlorine in the pool." - the running joke in the film

"I'm feeling very, very peculiar. Very, very... something." - Joe Franklin

Can there ever be too many Jackie the Joke Man shirts?
The inconsistent zombie make up,with the strange pointy teeth
The band's going to drive the kids crazy with excitement
Dee Snider?
Joe, the phone goes next to your ear, not an inch from it.
Mullets galore! The guy on the top left is the poufiest swirliest mullet.
After the blue faced zombies, I didn't expect this

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Evil Dead (2013)

A group of friends goes to a cabin in the woods owned by David and Mia's parents.  They are there to help Mia detox and plan to stay for the weekend. Mia keeps saying that something smells awful, but no one else notices it.

Eventually they go into the basement and find a room full of dead animals hanging from the ceiling.  They also find a book which they bring upstairs.

Now if you found a book and it said DO NOT READ in huge red letters, and also told you not to read, speak, or think of the words, would you ignore its warning? Hell no! You should avoid that book like the plague.

We had an interesting discussion regarding going into the cellar and finding the book and dead animals.  At first we all said these kids were stupid for bringing the book upstairs and reading it. But after thinking some more, Michelle said she would probably do the same thing (she owns a bookstore and it would definitely peak her curiousity).

If a book had DO NOT READ on it, I probably wouldn't pay any attention to the warning. But when said book is found in a room with recently deceased animals hanging from the ceiling, that's a whole other story.  I would want to get the hell out of that cabin due to the dead animals.  If the animals were just bones, I would figure they'd been there a long time. I'd be creeped out but probably stay.  But newly dead animals tells me whoever killed them might be around and might come back.

So these stupid kids stay at the cabin and things go all wiggedy whack and people die.  It's actually not a bad movie, but I didn't care about the characters. But if a jeep falls on your arm and the ground is muddy, it will mess you up, but your arm will sink into the mud.  When my brother was a kid, his leg was run over by a 600 pound ox cart that was full of kids. The only reason his leg wasn't crushed was because it had been raining and the weight of the cart pushed his leg down into the mud.  Sure he was sore and used crutches for a week or so, but he didn't even break anything. And that was his freakin' there.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Ghost Team One (2013)

When roommates Sergio and Brad find out that Fernanda, a girl they're both interested in, believes in the paranormal, they say  they're making a documentary about a ghost Serg caught on camera upstairs in their home.  Fernanda volunteers to join their paranormal team and while doing research on the house, discovers that several murders occurred in the home.

The guys decides to set up cameras all over the house, and attempt to contact the ghost using a Ouija board.  But any time something happens, the guys flee the house in terror.

This is supposed to be a parody of paranormal found footage movies, but the problem is it's not funny.  There were only three  things in the whole movie that made me chuckle.

  • the lights go out in the middle of a seance, but turns out to be due to all the video cameras overloading the circuit breakers.
  • When an argument breaks out while using the Ouija board, Serg yells, "It's not a game!" and Brad shouts back, "It's not a game?!? It's made by Hasbro!"
  • After Brad has an intimate encounter with the ghost, he's referred to in in interview footage as a paranormal sex survivor
Along with a lack of laughable moments, it's not scary either, and most of the characters aren't very likable. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

The Demons of Ludlow (1983)

Hey, it's another Bill Rebane movie!

The town of Ludlow is celebrating it's Bicentennial and the deceased grandson of the founder sent an old white piano from the UK. It's never explained how a deceased person sent a piano, but it makes about as much sense as many of the random unexplained scenes in this movie.

Debbie, a reporter who lived in Ludlow until she was nine, is there to report on the Bicentennial celebration, which seems to consist of a barn dance.  But she's heard stories about the town from her grandfather and recalls that the piano was previously in town. So she's curious as to why that wasn't mentioned when the mayor introduced the celebrated gift. When she starts looking into the history of the town, she can't find anything which strikes her as odd.  Also all the old timers get cranky when she asks them about the towns history and the piano.

Turns out the town is cursed and the Preacher is the only one concerned about it.  Ludlow was cast out of town for being evil and vowed revenge on everyone for cutting off his hands. Why he waited until the Bicentennial to get revenge is beyond me. It seems it would have been much more satisfying to get revenge against the people who actually wronged you, rather than on their descendants.

The best thing about this movie is that there's a piano demon.  The worst thing is that the movie is slow paced and we never really see the demon, other than it's hand. We see Ludlow in ghost form, but that's not the same as a piano demon.  Also I actually nodded off a few times during the last part of the film. So if the demon did appear in the film, then I must have been asleep at that time.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Cold (1984)

aka The Game

Three millionaires invite nine people, (a band and some twenty somethings), to an island mansion so they can participate in a game.  While the band plays, everyone else dances and parties until the millionaires sit down and explain what's going on.  Well, it's not so much an explanation as a vague reference.

The millionaires reveal three things about the game.

  1. It's called The Game
  2. The survivor wins 1 million dollars.
  3. Everyone will want to leave once the game begins, but if they do, they're disqualified.
They have until the next morning to decide if they want to leave, but no one does since they all want the million dollars.  As soon as the game begins, strange things start happening, including a strange fog which is accompanied by freezing cold air.

People begin disappearing, there is blood on the floor, the millionaires chuckle and dance down the hallways, plus there's a strange hunchback living in an abandoned house  - which begs the question why is there an abandoned house on the millionaires island retreat? Sometimes peoples mouths move as if they're talking, but there is no dialogue. Oh and did I mention the shark in the swimming pool?

This is a low budget movie filmed in Wisconsin.  The acting isn't very good, and there's an especially bad performance by Shelly, who I hope is putting on that terrible accent rather than that being her actual speaking voice. 

The film is book ended by rhyming narration, with the ending narration basically confirming that the viewers confusion is well founded.  The creature on the cover does appear in the film, but only a couple of times. It looks creepier in the movie.

This film was directed by Bill Rebane, who also did The Capture of Bigfoot, The Giant Spider Invasion, and Monster A-Go Go.  The latter two were each an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Silly Dialogue:

"We'll be playing a game that we call... The Game."

"Don't be so edgy. Come on you'll get me going too."
"I'm sorry. I don't mean to.... want some pickles?"

Saturday, January 4, 2014

G.I.Joe: Retaliation (2013)

The Joes are sent on a mission that turns out to be a set up meant to eliminate the team, and destroy their reputation by casting them as traitors to their country. Only three of the Joe's survive an attack on their camp, and somehow make it back to the US where they begin investigating who set them up.  The stupidest Joe wants to let someone in charge know they're alive, but luckily the other surviving Joes let him know the error of his tiny brain.

Meanwhile Storm Shadow rescues the Cobra Commander from his watery prison, but an injury while escaping causes Storm to go into hiding at a retreat on the side of a sheer mountain face.

Back in the US, The President announces that since the Joe's are disgraced and incredibly dead, they are unable to fulfill their duties. So he is appointing a new security team, and that team is Cobra. Um, did everyone forget about the destruction Cobra has previously done? You'd think that would be a sign that there was something wrong with the President, even though no one would  guess it was a double who was in league with Cobra.... except the Joes. Dun dun dah!

Well, there's a whole bunch of plot holes here, plus people getting injured whenever it's convenient to the plot.  There's dialogue that makes no sense, and cringe worthy puns. But I did enjoy the ninja scenes. In fact, it would have been better if it had been focused on the ninjas.  Also it would be better if Hollywood stopped making movies based on toys and board games.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Moon Stalker (1989)

A family vacation in a snowy campground is interrupted by an old man in an old car towing a crappy camper.  At first Dad is upset that someone is encroaching upon the private space he's found for the family.  But that night the family decides to visit the old mans campfire to keep him company. They listen to him tell stories of his son Bernie and the fun the two used to have camping before Bernie got sick.

Things go well until the old man gets a little too angry, slams down an ax, and creeps everyone out.  The family quickly excuse themselves and go back to the safety of their camper, which ends up not being so safe. Because it turns out Bernie is actually still alive, has a bag over his head, and is chained up inside the crappy old camper.  Soon Bernie is chopping away at the family who have a might nice microwave that the old man wants.

Meanwhile over in another part of the woods, there is a Wilderness Counselors Camp. Yes, it's a camp to train counselors, which is odd on it's own but it's even stranger since it's in the middle of the woods and check in is at night.

Soon Bernie has found his way to the counselors campsite, people are disappearing, and two counselors go off looking for the cabin, where legend has it, Bernie used to live.  Aaaaand the counselors end up in their underwear in the cabin after falling into a stream.

I'd heard this was really bad, which is why I wanted to track it down, but it's actually just a low budget, not so great movie. It doesn't get into the pantheon of so bad it's good, or so bad I loathe it. There's questionable acting and a practically nonexistent plot which boils down to crazy Bernie kills everyone he meets with an ax.

Ridiculous dialogue-

"Don't let her get away, boy. She's one of them that put you away. She's a camper!" - Pops

Amorous couple going to tent to be alone (and a girl who's going to be very disappointed):
Girl - We have to be back at the campfire in a half hour.
Boy - That's twice as much time as I need.

You know it's the 80s with a title screen like this
The worst family vacation ever
poster board and markers
Driving at night with sunglasses?  No wonder he got lost 
The headband, the hair... what the hell?

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Murder Mansion (1972)

aka Maniac Mansion, aka La mansiĆ³n de la niebla

Various characters in multiple vehicles end up crashing, going off the road, or stopping due to a horribly thick fog. All of them end up at a mysterious mansion next to a cemetery.  The young woman who owns the house advises them not to leave until the morning when the fog should be gone.

When her guests ask about the portrait of an older woman above the mantel who resembles her, she explains is is her grandmother who was thought to be a witch. Her grandmother and chauffeur were killed one night when their car crashed into a wall.  She also mentions the town being abandoned after a rash of vampire incidents, but no one seems all that concerned about any of this news - other than the woman who was slowly chased by the chauffeur and old lady.

There are also some flashbacks to the roaring twenties parties that her grandmother used to have during the houses heyday.  But I can't tell you much about this movie since it couldn't hold my interest.

I picked up this movie on Chilling Classics, one of those 50 movie packs which means the picture is full screen and the quality of what you'd see if they were showing it on late night TV in the 1980s - soft and washed out.

When I started watching it, I realized I'd seen it before, but I couldn't remember much about it. After seeing it again, I realized that I didn't remember much because it didn't hold my interest.  I'm still not sure what happened after they decided to go to bed. There's a hidden passageway, wrestling with the ghost chauffeur, guests start dying, and someones got daddy issues.