Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Pandemic (2009)

Small town vet Sydney notices something is wrong when people and animals are getting sick with similar symptoms and dying.  While examining a bloody virus filled horse, Sydney touches the fluids on the sick animal and then puts her finger to her lips. Aarrgghhh!!!

After she places a call to the CDC, the military shows up within the hour. While this is a fantastic response time, it does not bode well for the town, which is confirmed when the military  quarantines the area.

Spencer, a local conspiracy theorist, teams up with Sydney, and the two start trying to uncover the truth, which the military does not want them to know what's really going on.  Soon not only is the town physically cut off from the outside world, but all communications are down as well.

The cover makes you think this might be exciting, but it's not.  It's pretty slow and the artwork is misleading since nothing like that happens in the film.  The location is a small desert town and I don't remember any gas masks.

Also Sydney is kind of annoying and always doing stupid things. Not only is there the bloody horse incident previously mentioned, but she goes into the morgue and puts on a surgical mask and rubber globes which are being stored inside the morgue next to the infected bodies.  Are those really going to protect you from that unknown virus, or are they already contaminated?  That is not a sterile environment.  If someone touched the body, and then the mask and gloves, she's already doomed.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Eliminators (1986)

Evil scientist Abbot Reeves builds cyborg Mandroid and uses him to test out his time travel machine.  After Mandroid successfully returns with no ill effects, Reeves inexplicably decides it's time to scrap the half man/half robot creation. Whaaa?  Why the heck wouldn't he do something else with this modern miracle of science?

Mandroid manages to escape Reeves secret lab with the help of Dr. Taheda, who is killed in the process.  With his legs removed and torso strapped into his mini tank style transport, Mandroid slowly and awkwardly breaks through a wall, travels an unidentified distance, and sneaks into a top secret facility while disguising himself by donning a hat and rain poncho.

When scientist Nora Hunter hears that Reeves is responsible for the creation of Mandroid, she realizes he stole her designs.  No one shall ask how Reeves was able to build Mandroid, while Nora's only built a tiny annoying robot sidekick. But since it's the 80s, it may be because she's a lady.

The two band together to track down Reeves, which involves a trek into the jungle after hiring lovable rogue and river guide Harry Fontana.  Their plan for revenge and protecting the planet from evil Reeves keeps hitting snags, what with Reeves henchmen after them,  a butch river guide trying to get Nora's business and destroy Fontana's boat, and out of nowhere, a clan of cavemen who kidnap Nora and Fontana. What ever will they do?

This is a fun movie because it's so ridiculous.  But at times, as with many average movies, it gets a bit tedious.  Overall, it's funny to watch Mandroid in his silly tank, as well as the dated special effects, and recycled plot lines.

Ladies and Gentlemen... the Eliminators
They could actually run faster than this thing rolls
Nice faux metal paint job on that outfit
Another annoying 1980s robot sidekick
What a brilliant disguise! There are no cyborgs here.
Just when you thought the disguise couldn't be more
obvious and awkward, they add a ridiculous bandage
Our rogue hero and the attractive lady scientist
Mandroid and with robot sidekick on his shoulder 
Out of nowhere, they're kidnapped by cavemen
What do you get if you cross Robert Englund with Ironman?

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013)

In the sequel to Insidious, the Lambert family move into Josh's mother Lorraines home after the death of medium Elise. The police suspect Josh had something to do with her death, but Renai doesn't believe her husband is capable of murder.

Although the move to Lorraine's was to try to get away from the supernatural happenings in their house, it doesn't bring any relief. The first night in the home, strange things start to occur and soon Renai is seeing a vision of a creepy ghost lady who screams at her, and later knocks her out with a punch to the face.  Josh is acting strange and doesn't remember the song Renai wrote for him, which starts Renai thinking there is something wrong with him and wonders if he's possessed. Their oldest son has started having nightmares and seeing ghosts.

Lorraine gets in touch with Carl, who worked with medium Elise. He  brings dice which he uses to talk to spirits, along with a couple of paranormal investigators. The dice guide the group to an abandoned hospital where Lorraine used to work and all hell breaks loose from there (as if hell wasn't breaking loose already.)

If you haven't seen Insidious, learn from my mistake and watch it before you watch the sequel. I was lost during the first part of the movie as I had no background on who the people were or what had previously happened to them. Also they start the story with Josh as a child, but when they cut to present day, young Lorraine looks so much like Renai, and Renai's son looks so much like young Josh, that we weren't sure if they were different people. We were all thinking, did that woman just age a whole lot or is she not the same person? In other words, Lorraine looks damn good for her age.

This is one creepy movie. Even though the movie starts off with the cheap scare tactics of people talking softly and then a loud blast of scary music, there are some good scares once the film gets going.   These are even more effective if when you were a kid you were scared of what might lurk in your closet at night.

One thing about horror movies is that people keep putting up with strange scary things.  The baby's little play stroller with the blinking lights and loud noises keeps going off, but no one thinks to take the batteries out, or throw the damn thing outside. How many times does it need to go crazy, wake the baby, and scare the heck out of you before you do something other than turn it off?

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Sisters of Death (1976)

During a sorority initiation - which involves placing a revolver to each pledges head and pulling the trigger - something goes horribly wrong and one pledge dies.  Seven years later, the surviving sisters each get an invitation to a reunion.  Surprisingly they all decide to attend, and meet up at a motel.

As they are getting reacquainted, two men approach and say they've been hired to drive them to the reunion destination.  Oddly enough, other than one girl who hesitates, the others happily traipse over to the white jeep with the sheets covering the windows and get in with the two men they just met.  Yes, there's nothing suspicious about any of that. I'm sure they'll all be fine.

Several hours later they arrive at their destination, which is an isolated mansion with an electric fence surrounding it.  The girls are slightly alarmed when the guys drive off, but when they see the pool and a long table full of booze and food fronted by a banner that states Welcome Sisters, they're excited.

But they won't be for long since the mansion is owned by the father of the girl who was killed, and he's convinced it was murder rather than a tragic accident.  He wants revenge against whoever killed his daughter, and he's prepared to kill everyone to get to the girl that's guilty.  He's also prepared to take out the two guys who dropped them off since they decided to hop the fence and hit on the girls rather than leaving.

Even though everyone is freaking out about staying safe and getting out alive, no one really does anything about it. At night, they each go to their separate rooms, and there are times when the father is glaring at them from across the room, but no one jumps him. Good god man, he doesn't even have a gun. Just knock him out already!

There's not much going on here.  The kills are off screen and theres barely any blood.  While you're left wondering if one of the girls is a killer, the fact that the Dad is willing to kill everyone doesn't make him a sympathetic character.  Of note, Claudia Jennings is one of the sisters and Joe Tata, who later played Nate the owner of the Peach Pit on Beverly Hills 90210, is one of the guys who drives the girls to their destination.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Scotland, PA (2001)

In what is essentially a black comedy retelling of MacBeth set in the mid 1970s, Mac and wife Pat work at a hamburger stand where their manager is stealing from the till. When they report this to Duncan the owner, he fires the manager and decides it's time for his sons to learn the business, neither of which are particularly interested.

Duncan tells Mac and Pat about his plans to expand the business.  Pat, who is bitter that Mac is not manager and thinks they could make lots of money if they owned the restaurant, urges Mac to murder Duncan and steal the money from the safe to make it look like a robbery.  While Mac isn't fully committed to murdering Duncan, after accidentally hitting him in the head, things get out of control and soon Duncan is dead.

At first, everything seems to have worked out fine.  They buy the hamburger stand from Duncan's sons using the money stolen from teh safe, add a drive through to the restaurant, and business starts booming.  But there's a detective hanging around that seems to suspect things aren't what they seem to be, Mac's friend Banko is asking questions he shouldn't be, and Mac is not the same person he was before.

A familiarity with MacBeth is probably helpful when watching this movie, but not essential. Although there are definitely things that might not be as interesting or amusing if you don't know the original story.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Murder So Sweet (1993)

aka Poisoned by Love: The Kern County Murders

Ladies man Steve can't be faithful to anyone. That's why he's on wife number four and Edie, who was wife number three, is still ticked off at how she was treated. Edie tries to warn Steve's current wife that he's not to be trusted, but it falls on deaf ears.

Steve has dreams of being more successful in the racing circuit and starts being friendly with race winner Glen Emory, who has a pretty young daughter, a huge house, and a successful business.  Soon wife number four is dead of a mystery illness, and Steve is engaged to Glen's daughter.

Seems like Steve is the most unlucky fellow around because those closest to him seem to die unexpectedly from mystery ailments that come out of nowhere. But Edie is on to him, which causes strain on her new marriage.  But she doesn't want anyone else to die so she calls the police who aren't that fond of Steve to begin with.  Wow, was this a Lifetime Channel movie?

This was based on a true story.  Although this is on a horror movie set, it's a tv movie drama and there's no horror at all.  There are feelings of unease since you don't know if he's going to kill more people who don't deserve it.  But there's no blood, and the poisoning scenes involve Steve looking at someone who is contentedly eating ice cream.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Dead Season (2012)

A zombie virus decimates the population leaving small pockets of survivors. Elvis and Tweeter band together to get to the coast where they find a boat and head to an island to escape the zombies.

But when the arrive, they find other inhabitants have already set up a command post where former military man Kurt is in charge.  There seems to be something a little off about Kurt and his people. But then again, how can you tell who to trust during the zombie apocalypse?  Are they truly accepting you as part of their group, or trying to lull you into a false sense of security so they can do.... something.   In other words, this is pretty much like every zombie movie.

Although the island is supposed to be safe, zombies have managed to get there.  So everyone needs to be careful, but you just know someone is going to get careless.  Tweeter is an extremely annoying woman, and I wasn't all that fond of Elvis either.   And since Kurt has a secret and isn't the most likable person, we're left with no one to route for and don't care what happens to any of them.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Iron Sky (2012)

A secret society of Nazi's living on the dark side of the moon waiting to have their revenge?  What could be better?  Well, it turns out a lot, judging by this movie which is surprisingly dull.

Near the end of World War II, a Nazi contingent escapes capture by leaving Earth and hiding on the moon. After years of training, indoctrination, and planning on the perfect time to attack, the Nazi's change their revenge timeline when a US space mission lands on the moon a little too close to their city for comfort.

The concept is great. The trailer is great.  The movie... nope, not so good. The characters are dull.  There's some really lame comedy with maybe a couple of laughs. I don't remember them ever explaining the logistics of how the Nazi's got to the moon and built their giant moon city (although to be fair I could have already been lulled into a stupor if they did explain it).  Udo Kier is sufficiently creepy, but even he isn't very interesting in this.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Force of Execution (2013)

In a change from his usual movies where he befriends a small child to show how sensitive he is and then kills everyone, Steven Seagal is a Mr. Douglas, a large, mumbling,  emotionless crime lord with a little goatee and what is possibly supposed to be a Southern accent. It's damn strange whatever it is.  When he sends Hurst, his number one hitman,  to go undercover as a prison guard and kill a snitch, gang leader Iceman points out the wrong target.

When Hurst returns to bad guy central, Mr. Douglas says he's been a loyal number one hitman for fifteen years but this mistake is unacceptable.  Douglas has Hurst severely beaten and breaks his hand, but as a sign of respect he's allowed to live. This allows Hurst to become a drunken bum who cries in frustration because he can't hold a pistol and live in a dirty room above a restaurant in a bad part of town.

After Oso and Douglas's girl, who run the restaurant downstairs, are targeted by Iceman's gang, Hurst starts protecting them and informs Mr. Douglas that the Iceman is planning on taking over his territory.  Isn't it nice that even though Douglas destroyed his life and crippled his hands, Hurst is still loyal?  Aw now we're going to see some action.

Based on Seagal's age and size, you can probably guess we're not going to see much action from Seagal. He dons sunglasses, a hat, a scarf, and grabs a big gun. While there are a few fight scenes with Seagal where he heavily thumps someone on the noggin, most of the action is done by Hurst, who should be starring in his own action movies since he's got some good moves. Too bad the action is few and far between in this film.

The strange thing about this movie is everyone is a bad guy and how are we really supposed to root for a killer?  Are we supposed to sympathize with Hurst because his livelihood of assassination was taken away after his hands are smashed?  Because the real question I have is why didn't he drag his bloody carcass to a hospital so he could be treated and his hands would heal, rather than having two useless appendages that are only good for clumsily slapping on either side of a bottle of liquor?

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Mega Shark vs. Mecha Shark (2014)

While towing an iceberg to Egypt, the crew of a tugboat notice a problem and before they can react, the iceberg splits releasing mega shark. Heaven help us!  What else could the military do, but send in their newest nautical project Mecha Shark, a massive mechanical shark piloted by the least competent woman in the world.

I'm not sure why they picked Rosie to pilot their experimental fighting shark. She releases torpedoes but the misses the shark and sinks a US submarine full of sailors.  She admits to not being able to shoot and aim at the same time. She is jostled into unconsciousness, and snores away until Nero, the mecha shark's computer, rescues her and sets the shark vessel free from where it was trapped on the bottom of the ocean.  

After bringing her home to recuperate, her husband Jack decides he doesn't want her back in the mecha shark since she's so weak from that jostling incident. So he installs Nero as the autopilot in the newest, biggest government shark.  Jack and Nero talk a lot and Nero's voice is very distracting since he sounds like KITT from Knight Rider.

Debbie Gibson appears to help them with her massive shark knowledge. For some reason that is not adequately explained, Rosie has to fly in to talk to her even though there's nothing said that they couldn't have discussed over the phone.   Debbie is probably only in the film about ten minutes total and is mostly seen by herself talking into a phone.

The Asylum comes up with fantastic titles, but as usual the execution is fairly uninteresting, and we're talking a giant mechanical shark fighting a giant real shark. How can that be boring? Yet somehow, it is.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Cold Prey II (2008)

Cold Prey II picks up where the first movie left off. Jannicke, the only survivor, is discovered by the police while driving back to town after investigating an abandoned car.  She's brought to the local hospital, which only has a skeleton crew since it's closing date is near.

The police and doctors aren't sure if they believe Jannicke's story that a lunatic killed her friends in the abandoned ski lodge, and then she killed the killer.  The jury is out as to whether she is insane or not, and the police head out to the old lodge to investigate the story.

Once the bodies are found, they're brought back to the hospital and Jannicke is sedated after going nuts beating on the killers body.  But as in all horror movies, just because a killer is dead doesn't mean he's going to stay dead.

I liked this one better than the first movie, which was a pleasant surprise since usually sequels aren't as good.  This has the feel of older slasher flicks and shares similarities to Halloween 2 with the injured survivor in the hospital and the killer stalking the hallways.

It's nice to have a movie with likable characters, as opposed by the typical annoying jerks that seem to populate many horror movies these days. Although there isn't really any new ground broken with this one, it's entertaining and I really enjoyed it.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Eddie the Sleepwalking Cannibal (2012)

Lars, a once famous painter who suffers from a creative mental block, takes a job at an elementary school whose principal hopes Lars presence will help the school raise money. When Lars arrives, he can't help but notice Eddie, an adult mute with the mind of a child who is allowed to hang out at the school due to his recently deceased aunt who provided financial support to the school.

Since Eddie no longer has a place to stay, Lars offers to let Eddie stay with him for awhile. What he doesn't realize is that Eddie sleepwalks and kills animals, and eventually people.  Making this even more awkward, is that when Lars discovers what Eddie is doing, the blood provides him with inspiration to paint, which he hasn't felt in years.

This black comedy is good, but not great. There are some funny scenes and the story revolves around the relationship between Lars and Eddie, as well as Lars cover up of the mounting number of deaths in this small town.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Ghost Ship (2002)

In 1962 the Antonia Graza disappeared without a trace and what happened to her remains a mystery.  But an gruesome opening scene involving a large cable clues the viewer in that something went very wrong on board and the passengers were purposely killed.

In the present day, an expert salvage crew is approached to recover what appears to be a large ship. Due to the possible payoff, the team decides to take the job, even the man who hires them won't reveal the location unless they bring him with them.

When the crew locates the ship, they are surprised to find it's the long lost ocean liner.  The crew starts exploring and soon enough strange things begin to happen, with the most frequent being the sighting of a little girl by the one female crew member.  Then one of the other guys starts hearing singing. What the heck is going on?  Is it a ghost ship (i.e. the ship can go appear and disappear at will) or is it a ship full of ghosts?  Is there someone else on the boat? Where did the cigarette come from?

If you're looking for a film with a lot of scare, then this isn't it.  There are a few creepy moments, but there aren't really any scares in this.  But it was entertaining enough, even though the twist at the end was predictable.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Scream of the Banshee (2011)

College professor Isla Whelan receives a mystery box in the mail. Inside are a map of section three of the Universitys storage area and a gauntlet.  Research student Otto immediately puts on the iron glove and pretends to punch things.  Because if there's one thing we know about historical artifacts, it's that you should use them as toys, and not worry about treating them with respect or wearing archival gloves when handling them.  I was really hoping when he put his hand inside some old tyme spider monster would bite his finger off.

While trying to locate the marked location on the map, they find a hidden room behind a shelf of boxes. Surprisingly no one seems concerned, or even mentions, that the this shelf full of cardboard boxes containing priceless historical relics and papers has multiple  rivulets of water running down it and soaking everything.  This should cause alarm due to the damage that could occur to anything stored there, and may explain the awful smell they keep mentioning.

The secret room contains a single box which has the word Duncan written on ite.  Professor Whelan writes Duncan on her arm, which is just plain odd for a fifty something year old woman to do.  When they open the box, they find an ancient iron box which they peg as something from templar knights in 12th century Ireland. They also discover that it opens if they jam the gauntlet into it.

Inside is the pointy toothed decapitated head of a banshee, which they assume is probably a person or animal even though it looks like this:

They assume it's harmless.... because harmless things are always locked in iron boxes hidden behind fake walls in secret rooms. No worry of any decayed flesh, ancient molds, or diseases for these archaeologists. And when the head finally screeches, explodes into nothing, and everyone's ears bleed, there is confusion but no concern or visits to the hospital.

But they'll soon find out that when you've heard the scream of the banshee, you're marked for death. Those involved start having nightmares and strange things begin to happen. This prompts them to try to do some research into who Duncan might be, and what that thing was. In a ridiculous scene Professor Whelan suggests perhaps their nightmares are due to this thing being from a LSD experiment. Because as we all know, 12th century Ireland was a hotbed of LSD activity.

There's also some blather about the professor's estranged daughter and her boyfriend. And then we've got the involvement of nutty old former archaeology professor Duncan played by Lance Henrikson.  We were convinced Lance was never going to be in scenes with any other actors, but were proved wrong in the end.  But don't expect to see much of him in the film.  And since this is a Sfyf film, that's pretty much all you need to know.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Under The Bed (2012)

After two years living far away with his Aunt, Neal returns to a welcome home party which makes him feel awkward, his Dad's new wife, and a feeling of dread to be back in this house.

His younger brother Paulie has moved into his old room, and Neal wants to know if he's seen anything that looks like the drawings in Neal's old sketchbook. Paulie doesn't want to talk about it at first, but eventually tells Neal that he knows Neal isn't crazy because he's seen it too. But he hasn't told his dad or stepmother because he doesn't want to be sent away like Neal.

Their Dad is at the end of his rope because Neal is sullen and Paulie is having trouble sleeping.  Their new stepmother runs interference to keep Dad from blowing up at the kids. But after Paulie gets attacked in his room one night, she thinks Neal is trying to hurt him.

The kids are just worried about what is under the bed and are trying their best not to become it's next victim.  They're not sure what it is, but there's growling, fog, and slime. It comes out at night so they try to keep the light on, but the monster is able to manipulate things to put them in the dark. So the question is will their Dad inadvertently give them to the monster, or will they find a way to survive?

While this is entertaining overall, it has a slow start and they don't let the viewer in on what is going on.  We aren't aware of why Neal is afraid to go in the house, or what happened to his mother. Some of the local teens harass Neal by making jokes about him setting fires and his mom's death.  There's tension with the Dad but it's not clear why he's such a dick.  And here's another movie where a parent with a teen thinks their best bet is to lock the kid in their room for the night.  What if there's a fire?

At one point the stepmother goes into the garage to do laundry and things begin to bang around for no reason. It's daylight so how is this happening?  Is the monster targeting her now? This leads nowhere and is never mentioned again.

This is more of an old fashioned horror movie, like The Hole, Fright Night, or Lost Boys.  While it takes a while to really get going, there are some surprisingly bloody kills. Neal is a big of a pain at first, but he's a good older brother and does all he can to keep Paulie safe. Plus Dad is such a jerk that nothing Neal does is going to look bad.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Top Cop (1990)

Here's another one from the Explosive Cinema action collection. I know I'm not going to be able to get through all of the movies on this collection, but the 1980s-1990s movies have some entertainment value. Not a lot, since they veer from entertaining cliches to dull action sequences, but they're worth a shot.

Top cop Vic Malone is a loose cannon who's always getting under the Captains skin because he never follows the rules.  We can tell Vic's a tough guy when he breaks up an illegal movie operation by walking onto the set and killing everyone.

Vic's partner Frank is ticked off, not only because Vic didn't call for back up, but because he didn't include Frank in the fun.  Vic explains that he didn't include Frank because he didn't want him to get in trouble, plus he's got a family and kids. This is the action movie equivalent of saying that Frank's only got a short time to live.

 The Captain sends Vic and Frank to Washington DC where they'll be on stand by in case they're needed to testify in the trial of drug lord Johnny Costello.  It's obvious this was a different time for airport security since the Captain asks him not to bring his weapon to DC. 

But since you never know what's going to go down, Vic carries his gun on the trip, which comes in handy in the airport bathroom when two muggers demand Vic and Franks wallets.  Well what other option does Vic have than to kill them. Now he's got another police captain yelling at him about following the rules. 

Vic and Frank head to the hotel bar to drink and stare at the pretty ladies, but get involved in a tussle on the dance floor after a couple gets in a physical altercation.  Well what do you know, they picked the one hotel in town where drug lord Johnny Costello likes to dance. And he's none to pleased to have some bearded buffoon tell him to stop beating a woman who made the mistake of wanting to quit dancing when she found out he actually came with another woman.  Luckily Vic carries his trusty grenade with him and threatens to blow up Costello and the entire bar.  

While Frank and Vic bond with the girls they rescued, Vic is handed a note with unintentionally gay overtones from Costello since it states, I always get what I want, and I want you. After a night with the girls and before they can testify, Frank ends up dead. Vic is in a rage, which is his usual disposition, and blames Costello. But the Captain mentions a serial killer called The Avenger who uses the same M.O. 

Vic wants to stay in town to investigate Frank's murder, but the Captain tells him the trial is over, Costello is free, and Vic needs to get the hell out of town.  But before he leaves, Vic manages to get in the way of the investigation, get yelled at several times by the Captain, make some homophobic slurs to Costello's effeminate butler, get dragged out of the room for manhandling the butler, and vows to find Frank's killer, which he spends the latter half of the movie doing, (when he's not being yelled at by a superior).

This movie is full of cliches. Just to run down a few:
  • a good cop who doesn't follow the rules
  • his partner is murdered
  • he'll do whatever it takes to bring his partners killer to justice
  • he's assigned a new partner that he doesn't want
  • his new partner is a rookie
  • although he kills tons of people, he's never locked up, just gets verbal warnings
  • the drug lord has a younger brother who's a stooge
  • there's a shoot out in a junkyard

 As for cliched dialogue, there's tons of that too:
  • I am too old for this shit.
  • I never threaten. I make promises.
  • You guys are dead. You just don't know it yet.
  • Victor Malone is a good copy but he doesn't follow the book.

While there are many times this movie is amusing, there are more times that it slows down and isn't that interesting.  Vic seems perpetually angry, always spitting out his lines with a scowl on his face.  He may have mistaken scowling for emotion.  There's a very awkward sex scene which comes after a first date that seems fairly innocent. It's not like there was any smoldering sexual tension prior to the abrupt cut from a sunny day walking down the street, to a night in the bedroom.  Also Vic reminds me of Jett Black from the Stranglers portraying a low rent version of Mitchell (which was already a second tier cop movie).
Vic and his perpetual scowl. That Vic is one bad mother....
"Shut your mouth."  Just talkin' about Vic.
Frank, there's a Tribble on your head
Only Vic could get into a shoot out in an airport bathroom 
So Urkel is my new partner?
Nothing threatening about that posture.
Why does this bruise make me think of Adam and the Ants?
The most disturbing thing is that it looks like his disembodied
head is perched on some weird mound of flesh
Walking a foot apart? Hand in your pocket to avoid
accidental contact? The body language says it all...
but the script says they're ending up in bed together.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Sightseers (2012)

Tina decides to go away on vacation, much to the dismay of her overbearing manipulative mother who has never forgiven her for the accidental death of the family dog.  Boyfriend Chris, a writer, has a trailer they can use for the road trip, and a list of attractions  they must see.

After mom is unable to guilt Tina into staying home, the happy couple head off on their journey. But at their first stop, Chris and Tina get irritated by a man who throws his trash on the floor and refuses to pick it up.

Later as they're leaving, Chris backs over the man with the trailer.  Tina is horrified, but not enough to stick around until the policy arrive or call an ambulance.  As their trip continues, the dead bodies pile up and things keep getting more desperate.

This is a black comedy, and there are a few disturbing scenes.  I think sometimes I expect too much humor from a black comedy. It's okay but not a lot of laughs.  None of the characters are likable, which means sometimes the killers and victims are both so unlikable that you don't care if they all die.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Scorpion (1986)

The 1980s were a time of fast cars, big mustaches, and shirtless bullies, all of which you'll find in this middle of the road action movie.  Scorpion is the code name of top DIA agent Steve Woods. He has a military and martial arts background, which proves to be useful when he beats up an entire bar prior to getting his first assignment.  Steve drives multiple Porsches, wears slacks, and looks like a Sears catalog model.

Steve is called in to defuse a terrorist situation and rescue the hostages, which he accomplishes by donning tiny white shorts and kicking the crap out of anyone who gets in his way.  After the melee when he's asked about the hostages, Steve reports  they're all okay. Yes, they're fine. Other than the trauma of being taken hostage by four people with automatic weapons, threatened with imminent death, and witnessing a female hijacker get shot to death, every one's fine... especially the children.

After putting a surviving terrorist in protective custody after he says he'll spill his guts about the organization, Steve's best friend is mortally wounded while guarding the prisoner in a location that turns out to be not so secret.  Angry Steve is determined to find out who has the big mouth.  He's got everyone breathing down his neck because the only witness to the shooting has disappeared and only Steve knows where he is located.  

From this point on, the film slows down as Steve argues with the muckity mucks in charge, poses in his Haggar breathable fabric slacks, and is stalked by a weird German guy who is one of the killers.

Be forewarned - the first ten minutes of the movie are in a foreign language. There are no subtitles, but luckily nothing important happens, except to establish that Steve can beat up an entire town of foreigners.

Aw yeah, you don't want to mess with that font
Top agent or Sears catalog model? you make the call
This town is serious about their bar fights.
They shut off the jukebox any time a fight starts.
Wearing jean jacket with no shirt?
You'll never be a catalog model.
The most disturbing thing about the guy disrobing in the
control room while they negotiate with the hijackers?...... 
... Steve is now wearing his short shorts. 
Oh crap, it's the weird German guy
Hey! It's Lloyd Bridges and Julie Hagarty in Airplane! 
This looks like something out of Chorus Line
Nothing says I'm a top agent like senseless vandalism

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Jug Face (2013)

Ada lives in hillbilly land with her hillbilly family who periodically gather around a pit which heals any ailments they may have due to their sacrifices to whatever the hell lives inside it.

Mentally challenged Dawai (who I kept thinking was named Dwight due to the hillbilly accents) makes jugs with faces on them,  hence the title.  What are the jugs? Why are there faces? What the hell is up with that pit?  Nothing is explained during the first half of the movie.

There's not a lot of horror, but there are a lot of hillbillies. Most of the movie is about the strange family relationships, Ada's arraigned marriage, and Ada hiding a jug with her face on it.  So if you're looking for monsters, ghosts, scares, or lots of blood, you'll barely find them here.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

There's Nothing Out There (1990)

A group of friends decide to spend the weekend at a house in the woods where they'll party, make out with their girlfriends and have fun.  One the way there they pass an accident scene, which prompts Mike, the lone guy without a girl in tow, to tell the others it's a sign they need to turn around and go home.  You see, Mike loves horror movies and he's convinced that this isolated cabin in the middle of the nowhere near a single car accident where the driver is missing is a preview of what is to come - mainly their deaths.

The other three couples on the trip get increasingly annoyed with Mike and his suspicion that something is wrong.  Some of the gang is wishing Mike had never been invited, but Nick says he's fun to have around.  While Mike insists there's something in the woods, the rest say there's nothing out there.   But since we are in a horror movie, we know Mike is right and then they start finding green goo around the house, people disappear or others get attacked.

There are tons of horror cliches to be found and Mike is the only one who recognizes any of them, or knows any way to deal with what is happening.  While the movie is a comedy, it's often so spot on that it ends up being exactly what it's trying to spoof.  That doesn't mean it's not fun or doesn't have some good lines though.  Mike is kind of annoying at first, but after awhile I got used to him and he was the one sensible guy in the film.  There are amusing scenes throughout the movie, and the hilarious use of the boom mic to escape the monster.

Don't let the Troma label on the cover put you off.  I'm not a big fan of the typical Troma movie. In fact I usually avoid them, even though I like Lloyd Kaufman and the fact that he's been able to keep Troma alive.  

During the opening scenes in the video store, it's fun to see how many of the posters or VHS covers you recognize and can name.  

Mike:  "Don't you know what just happened?  Those kids were born to be murder victims, and just paid us a visit.  Don't you realize the significance of that? 

The teens
Nick's bangs are a work of art
Don't look into it's eyes
That looks odd