Monday, June 30, 2014

Cheerleader Massacre 2 (2011)

Each summer two schools are chosen for a competition to determine which has the better cheerleaders.  On the way to the camp, the first teams bus is attacked by a little metal flying razor sharp frisbee which eventually kills everyone.  Since there was a breach at a local top secret science lab which deals in mechanics, then I guess we know where they came from, but not who has stolen them or why they're killing cheerleaders.

The other team shows up at camp as expected, except for the lone poor girl on the squad who has to work two jobs and couldn't make the bus with the rich girls. So her friend drives her and decides to hang out, which is pretty weird because usually uninvited and unregistered guests aren't allowed to stay at summer camps.

There are as many coaches as there are cheerleaders, which gets really confusing since they all look the same.  There's also a local news crew, a creepy maintenance man, the camp owner, and a group of guys driving up to camp to party with the girls. And you won't be surprised to find out that the plot of the movie seems to be to show bazooms, although the strange part is that the same background music plays each time it happens. So essentially they get their own theme song.

Technically there are cheerleaders and they are killed so I guess you could say it's a massacre. But it's not your typical slasher since it's different to have futuristic looking little machines flying, jumping, or looking like mechanical spiders.  Watch for the scene with the lone poor girl and her father as they sit on the stairs. In the far shot, the girl looks like she could pass for fourteen, but when they get close up  - whether due to lighting or make up or age - she could pass for his wife.

The resolution at the end isn't worth it.  The killer has a pretty cool outfit, but it's not used anywhere else (there is a chance I got distracted briefly at some point, but no one else remembered seeing the costume either).  

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Intimate Stranger (1991)

Singer Corey supports herself as a phone sex operator while she waits for her music career to take off.  Her typical night consists of being bored, chain smoking and pretending to be enthralled by whoever calls while satisfying their sexual fantasies.

One night she gets a call from some freak who says he wants a three way with her and the girl in his apartment who he tied up and is soon to be dead.  At first Corey thinks it's just some sick fantasy, but soon the sounds on the other end of the phone appear to betray not only torture, but that a murder has taken place. No one shall ask why Corey continues to listen to this rather than hanging up.

Corey goes to the police station to report the crime, but since she only heard it over the phone, has no evidence, doesn't know who called, and she's in the phone sex trade, they laugh her right out of there.  But an officer named Nick who overheard, and doesn't want to wait years to get promoted to homicide, offers to help in hopes that catching a killer will help his career.  So get ready for some illegal wire tapping, primitive computer hacking, and private information stealing.

The calls to Corey get creepier and creepier, culminating in the killer threatening her life.  Nick and Corey's investigation digs up a credit card, a rich widow, and a possible suspect, but nothing concrete to make an arrest.  So Corey just keeps on smoking and taking her sex calls while looking as bored as humanly possible.
Join the phone sex industry for excitement galore.
Debbie Harry, aka Blondie, stars as Corey, our singer/phone sex gal.  Any Debbie Harry fans will enjoy seeing her sing a few songs in the bar. But not everyone will enjoy her version of Piece of My Heart, made famous by Janis Joplin. While Janis made it a howler, Debbie takes it down a notch to make it a lounge type ballad that takes all the soul out of it.  Don't get me wrong. Debbie has a great voice, but it just didn't work for me.  She also sings I Ain't Gonna Eat Out My Heart Anymore.

The phone sex calls are surprisingly graphic, so if you're into Debbie Harry and phone sex, you'll enjoy that immensely.  Tim Thomerson plays the killer and is super disturbing and creepy.  The pacing is fairly slow and though you'll wonder if Tim will locate Debbie, overall the film lacks any tension. 

Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Scream of the Butterfly (1965)

After David runs over Marla with his car, their story is told via flashback while the District Attorney, Prosecutor, and Public Defender discuss the case, and debate about whether to make a deal or really put the screws to guilty old David. The Public Defender thinks none of this would have occurred if Marla weren't such a skank.

Twelve days after meeting, gold digging tramp Marla married rich simpleton Paul.  A few days into the  honeymoon, business calls Paul back to the office. So Marla goes to the beach alone and meets David, a Lothario punk who owns a stupid hat.

Soon Marla is spending all her time at the beach rolling on the sand with David. After a long day of cheating on her husband, she is disappointed to find Paul has returned.  Oh Paul, you poor deluded fool, but then again, you shouldn't leave your wife by herself on your honeymoon.

More trouble is brewing for Paul as Marla decides that it would be a good idea to murder him. That way she can have all his money plus her new man David.  But Marla doesn't know that David has been keeping secrets from her, and Christian, the older semi-drunk man at the bar, is one of them.

Ray Dennis Steckler was the cameraman, which is appropriate since this movie is similar to his movies.  The dialogue is awkward, the acting isn't that good, and sometimes it's boring.  But I'm all for any movie which has sixties bands and club scenes. Another plus is that the guy who played Paul also appeared in Steckler's, "The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Become Mixed Up Zombies."

Ridiculous dialogue-

Public Defender - And believe me, when I get through with him the whole word will know that he was such a gunboat in bed that this wife would rather have a fairy."

Bill (to Paul) - You're the luckiest guy I've ever seen.
Other Guy - You'll never beat him, Bill. He's too lucky.

Christian - This is like a bad play, all about a strange triangle with four people.

Marla - You don't even know what you're doing. Look at you. The great lover. You don't even know which side of the fence to walk on.

David - Christian! Christian! I got her to shut up!

I can't believe he landed a chick while wearing a Gilligan hat. 
Reaching toward the camera? This shot is so Steckler.
Lift a bottle of wine, find a head.
Flat top in 1965? The very definition of squaresville.
I never knew pouring burning hot sand on
someones chest was an aphrodisiac.
I don't know if I'm more distracted by Paul's pajamas,
or the amazing horse lamp next to the bed.
Let's see.... flat topped Paul in his patterned pj's? Or David?
Well that's not a pretty face.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

20 Feet Below: The Darkness Descending (2014)

Chelsea, an intrepid reporter with an almost complete lack of cranial functioning, heads down into the tunnels of the New York subway system to do an explosive documentary about the homeless.  She interviews Skeeter who volunteers to guide her around. After hearing about an area of the tunnels controlled by Angel and his gang, Chelsea convinces the unwilling Skeeter to show her where it is.

Angel is an educated thug spreading the word from God about destroying the corporate greed that runs this world. He and his gang abduct wall street types from the subway platforms and murder them, but his recent victim was high profile so now the police are involved.

While searching the underground for clues to the murder, the police force the homeless to get out, even if they have to beat them into leaving.  This doesn't sit well with the idealistic rookie cop who tells the others to treat people with respect, and tells the camera he just wants to protect and serve. Oh, he is so dead.

It's only when the cops are changing in the locker room that one mention that our bright eyed rookie  didn't come out of the tunnels. Seriously?  And you didn't look for him? The next day two cops go back into the underground to look for him, but that seems to be lackadaisical in nature rather than an actual police operation.

If the only thing I knew about being homeless was from watching this film, I'd think living in the tunnels under New York was awesome.  Everyone watches out for each other, has fun, and is friendly.  They sit around having singalongs. They don't worry about their guitars or personal property being stolen. There's a shower made from a broken water pipe, and apart from a few smudges of dirt, even their clothes are clean.  With the exception of Skeeter, these are the most well adjusted homeless people I've ever seen!

It would be a monumental task to try to capture all the cliches in this movie.  The list of cliched characters include:
  • pushy reporter in over her head
  • former cop who lost it after his wife was murdered
  • orphaned teens who don't want to be split up
  • free spirit artist (they even named her Harmony)
  • fresh faced rookie cop who just wants to protect and serve
  • the cop with a beef 
  • bad guys with silly haircuts
Chelsea continues to have a severe lack of brain activity and decides that would be a great time to film herself and do commentary while she's trying to escape from thugs by hiding behind a barrel.  She also blames Skeeter for leaving her alone in Angel's lair.  No one shall ask why she didn't leave when Skeeter repeatedly told her they shouldn't be there, it was a bad idea, he was going to leave, and she  needed to get the hell out of there immediately.

When Jake talks of his wife being murdered and dying in his arms, Chelsea digs deep and tells Jake she's not a stranger to tragedy because both parents got cancer and died in same year. Yeaaaah, not really the same thing. A tragedy would be both my parent got cancer, but then they'd went into remission and we thought they'd beat it, but then they were hit by a bus.

Keep a look out for the dreadful dreadlock wig on Harmony's head and her annoying hippie patter. Angel's dialogue is so boring that I found myself drifting off every time he went into one of his monologues regarding society, consumerism, and corporate greed.  Ultimately there's nothing original here, and the only reason I watched it was because of Danny Trejo.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Killing Mind (1991)

Isobel, a psychological profiler for the FBI, accepts a new position in the Special Investigative Unit of the Los Angeles Police Department. The SIU's office is in the basement of the LAPD, where all the files are stored for unsolved homicides.  After some sexist remarks and uncomfortable hazing because she's a damn woman, she's told that other than assignments here and there, she can pick her own cases to work on.

As Isobel ponders what case to work on, she stumbles across the files for the Ballerina Murder that occurred twenty years earlier.  She decides to work on this high profile unsolved homicide because as a child was at the crime scene and saw the body of the ballerina draped over the chain link fence.

The guys on the team take awhile to warm up to Isobel. She has an annoying habit of talking aloud whenever she is profiling a victim or killer.  Plus she doesn't know the rules, and is obsessed with the one case everyone tells her to stop investigating.

With the help of well known reporter Thomas Quinn who covered the case for the papers, Isobel feels like she's going to get her man.  She moves into the hotel room the ballerina lived in at at the time of her death to get a feel for the girl.  Creepily enough she also brings all the evidence boxes there, unpacks the victim's belongings, and puts photos of the crime scene and 8x10 glossy of the girl on the walls. Yeah, she's just a bit obsessed. She also starts to develop a personal relationship with Quinn, who becomes her confidant since the gang in SIU are skeptical of her investigation.

This appears to be a TV movie, and while it's okay, it's a fairly standard plot line where a cop is told to drop an old case because it's a waste of time, but keeps pursuing the investigation.  The killer is pretty easy to figure out, and the reporter lives in a cool old fire station in the middle of the city.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Shiver (2008)

Santi and his mom move to a small town in a valley which gets a lot of shade.  The move is recommended by a doctor due to Santi's sensitivity to the sun.  The kids at school think he's strange and call him a vampire.

When neighbor Tito tells the kids at school that he saw something in the woods, they don't believe him.  Schoolmate Jonas bullies Tito into going into the woods to search for the strange creature he saw.  Santi volunteers to go with them. Their search is successful, which is too bad since one of the boys doesn't make it out alive.

A few days later when Santi walks home late from school, he ends up at the scene of another murder.  Since Santi is new in town and strange, the townsfolk and police look at him as a prime suspect.

So we're left with a mystery. What is in the woods? What is on the roof of Santi's house?  Where did this creature come from and why does it kill?  And most importantly, how did it learn to slice the Achilles tendons of it's victims?

There is more tension prior to knowing what is in the woods, because then it's left to your imagination. Once the reveal is made, it's creepy but not very scary. There are some plot points that are easily figured out in advance, but overall it was worth watching.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Created to Kill (1976)

aka Embryo

While driving home on a rainy night, Dr. Paul Holliston hits a dog. In an attempt to save it, the good doctor brings it to his home operating room and removes four fetuses. He is able to keep one little pup fetus alive by injecting growth hormones into it, and remarkably it ages from embryo to adult dog in several days.

Wanting to test his success on a human embryo, he contacts a friend who works in the emergency room, and asks him to keep an eye out for a pregnant woman who has no hope of survival.  Soon there's a fetus is zooming his way.

Once again, the doctor's experiment is successful. But when he wakes up the next day, the baby has aged a year.  No one shall ask why he didn't consider this possibility after the rapid growth of his dog experiment. Damn, if the baby doesn't age at least a year each day until he's got a full grown woman with a dull expression standing in his lab.

Victoria, as he names her, is beautiful and absorbs knowledge extremely quickly.  When he finally introduces her to his family and friends, everyone thinks she's charming. But she can be kind of creepy when Paul isn't around, and she bonds with the dog who has become a snarling beast when Paul isn't looking.  Since she's essentially a science experiment, you know this isn't going to turn out well for  Paul and probably his family too, since they are the only constant characters in the movie.

Based on the pacing, I thought this was actually a TV movie, but about three quarters of the way through there's some brief nudity.  Rock Hudson and Barbara Carrera are the main characters, and they're fine in their roles, but nothing special.  The plot has an emphasis on not tampering in god's domain, as well as the timeless advice don't fall in love with your own science experiment.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Wall of Secrets (2003)

Okay, there are tons of crappy independent horror movies that would be cheap to license and slap onto these multi-dvd horror sets.  So why in the hell are they putting dramas/thrillers that are definitely not horror, but only have a tinge of something that could be deadly or supernatural in it?

This one was actually on the Lifetime channel.  When I had the Lifetime channel in my basic cable package, I would gladly watch their movies because I only had twenty channels and it would be something I hadn't seen before. But when Lifetime movies start masquerading as horror, well there's just something wrong with that.

The movie starts and we've got boobs, and then detectives looking at the scene of an apartment fire.  Are these related? Who the hell knows because there was no context and now it's one year later.  You could have left that part out and it never would have mattered. Since this is definitely a tv movie, I guess they just wanted to add some bazooms to the footage to entice people into thinking it's something more it's not.

Newlyweds Paige and Mark move into an apartment, which just happens to be the same apartment where two people died in a fire.  Mark is an up and coming architect, and Paige gave up a potential partnership in a law firm to move with Mark back to his hometown.  She's figuring she'll get a job once they've settled in.

Paige starts hearing strange noises in the apartment at night and voices seemingly coming from in the walls. Her next door neighbor tells her the apartment is cursed and asks Paige how well she knows her husband, and if he has a criminal background. Paige is not amused.

But Paige begins to wonder why her husband seems so irritable when she calls him, won't talk about his father, and seems to be hiding something from her.  Add that to Mark coming home late after the office told Paige he'd left hours earlier, and this is why it's usually not a good idea to marry someone you've only known for nine months.

There are various twists and turns, the best one resulting in Stephen McHattie making an appearance.  The worst is that Mark is played by Dean McDermot, who is the cheating husband of Tori Spelling. This was totally distracting because all I could think of when I saw  him was clips of the Tori/Dean tv show I'd seen on The Soup where they're in counseling talking about his cheating and their sex life. Blecch!  One side note - this reminds me of one of the most ridiculously titled Lifestyle movie ever, which coincidentally starred Tori - Mother, May I Sleep With Danger?

Also was it a plot point that the cripple moved his legs, or just an oversight during filming? He's sitting in a wheelchair, and then both knees move up - like when you flex up onto your toes.  You would think Paige would have noticed, especially since she's a lawyer and would need to be putting this type of stuff together.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Anatomy (2000)

aka Anatomie

Paula, one of the top students in the country, is accepted into a prestigious medical school.  This annoys her father because he believed she was going to work with him at the clinic, but her grandfather is ecstatic because he also attended the university and is proud of her carrying on his legacy.

While traveling on the train, Paula sees Gretchen who attended the same college and finds she was also accepted at the same medical school. When a young man named David collapses near her, Paula revives him. He tells Gretchen and Paula that he has a rare medical condition which occasionally causes him to go into cardiac arrest and die.  Boy hungry Gretchen gives him her number and they plan to meet again.

A day or so later in anatomy class, Paula is startled to find that the cadaver in front of her on the table belongs to David.  She becomes focused on how he died and who transferred his body to the university.   Her professor is uninterested and tells her to concentrate on her studies. But Paula goes back to the lab that night to gather a sample to send to a friend for testing.  David's blood had a thick rubbery consistency and Paula wonders if they can pinpoint what is causing this.

While getting her sample, Paula notices David has some initials on his ankle, and starts looking into what the initials might mean and who put them there.  She starts to believe they represent the Anti-Hippocrates society, a secret society that had a strong presence during Nazi Germany and performed unethical experiments on living patients.  Her classmates tease her about her suspicions and her professor tells her to stop looking into David's death. But when an anonymous creepy threat is left in her room, she believes even more strongly that this secret society is somehow involved.

Now I may be more paranoid than most people due to the horror movies and true crime shows that I watch, but it seems like even those who aren't paranoid would be more careful in their investigation. Since she doesn't know who may be involved, and the attendants in the lab act suspicious, she may want to be a little more discreet. Also it's not a good idea to go into a deserted lab at night when a few days earlier a psycho chased you around the deserted building.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Ghostmaker (2011)

When college student Kyle is hired to clean out a cellar, he finds an old casket, and tells the homeowner that it might be worth money and he can sell lit for her. But the lady isn't interested and makes him promise the item will be destroyed.  Kyle agrees, but he's not the most trustworthy person and decides to try to sell it himself.

As he's cleaning the inside, he discovers that underneath the padding is a complex series of gears.  Research reveals the  box was made in the 15th century by a man who was rumored to be in league with Satan, and who made the box as a way to  preview of what death is like.

When Kyle, his roommate Sutton, and their friend Platt decide to test out the box, you know it won't turn out well.  They get in the coffin and lie on top of the gears, and I'm already afraid that they're going to get their hair stuck in the gears.   Thankfully they end up having out of body experiences, and don't ever know the pain of pulled hair.

When Sutton discovers he doesn't need a wheelchair in the ghost world, and that he can spy on Kyle's girlfriend, who he's in love with, it's not a good sign for any of them.  Honestly though, who could resist a world where your useless limbs work?

The three agree that after their first experiences, they will stay out of the coffin until Platt can do more research. He's concerned about what it's actually doing to their bodies, which turns out to be a good idea since after one trip he's seeing creatures, having nosebleeds and getting headaches.  But Kyle and Sutton both have less noble pursuits in mind and each sneaks back into the box for their own nefarious reasons.

This had a decent budget, and looked good but the story was fairly slow paced. The effects weren't over the top and looked pretty good.  While Kyle isn't played heavy handed, the guy is a total jerk which is pretty odd for a protagonist. He steals his girlfriends credit card, swipes a rare book from the library where Platt works, smokes meth, and makes wheelchair bound Sutton pay all the bills and even answer the door when the bell rings.  So when his out of body experiences involve getting info to help him steal money and drugs, he's just being Kyle.  Too bad Kyle's a tool. Lucky for Kyle one other person in the film turns the corner for the worse and out does him.

The coffin with the gears just waiting to grab
the hair of anyone who lies down.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Time Guardian (1987)

In the future, killer robots called the Jendiki have attempted to kill the human race, and have almost succeeded,  except for one city that can travel through time. Say what now?  A time traveling city?  That's right - it's the city that travels through time. Hope it doesn't land on the survivors of the human race.

Warriors Ballard and Petra are sent into the past and end up in 1980s Australia, which has to be an abrupt culture shock.  There they just happen to meet up with geologist Annie, who has been harassed by local police.

The future city is protected by a force field that looks like a primitive video game, and the occupants have a plethora of stupid hats. Yup, it isn't the future unless you have stupid hats.

I'm worried about designers of the future because in every future movie, you can always guarantee four things - stupid hats, stupid outfits, stupid dances, and stupid bars.

Well, thankfully there aren't as many stupid hats in Australia, and they try to figure out how to save the humans of the future. But you know the Jendiki aren't going to let that slide because they hate the human race and will soon be trekking through the outback looking for the future warriors. Take that!

It's a silly movie, but what do you expect from a late 80s movie where a city travels through time. It's cool, yet stupid at the same time.

Ridiculous dialogue:

Ballard - I come from the future. From a city that travels in time, and we can chose what time zone we want to appear in. 
Anne - You're right. This is going to be very hard to believe. 
Ballard - Alright then. Forget it. Just take me to town. 

Silly outfits and lots of lights? Yup, it's the future.
High tech outer space city from the future that can
travel through time to...
.... a women in a pickup truck in 1980s Australia.
Carrie Fisher.....??!! No!!!!!!!!
It isn't the future unless you have stupid hats.
Let's not forget the stupid outfits too. 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Chatroom (2010)

Privileged William has just finished a family therapy program after years of self harm and alienation from this family.  Unfortunately William is either a sociopath or feels so powerless that he decides to take it out on others, and is nowhere near cured of his issues. He's just playing along so that he doesn't need to go to therapy and his family will leave him alone.

William sets up an online chatroom called Chelsea Teens and connects with four teens who feel isolated in the real world.  With William's prodding, they start sharing details of their lives and their innermost thoughts and fears. The problem is that in a chatroom, you don't really know who you're talking to, or their true intent.

Bad news for these kids since William is not emotionally or mentally healthy. He's set up the chatroom so he can manipulate others and hones in on Jim, the weakest member of the group. Jim has no real friends and feels disconnected from the real world.

William encourages Jim to delve into his painful emotions in hopes that he can convince him to commit suicide by pretending to provide emotional support and help him work through his pain.  Remember the good old days when kids who were disturbed killed themselves rather than killing innocent people?

The movie is mostly talking in chatrooms represented by the physical manifestation of a large building with lots of different rooms, each with the title of the room on the door.  Thankfully we're not left looking at a bunch of people typing on their phones or laptops. But even though we learn the groups biggest secrets, we don't really know much about them and William's problems aren't really fleshed out, leaving us guessing as to why he's such an asshole. Blah.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Death Promise (1977)

Martial artists Charlie and Speedy love to run through New York in their yellow jogging suits, and practice martial arts at their local dojo.  As they run, a narrator informs us of the evil of New York slum lords.

Charlie has the misfortune of living in a tenement building that some local business men, (cough cough slum lords), want to demolish because it's in the way of their amassing a greater fortune through development. Charlies father, an ex-prize fighter, also lives in the building and is none too pleased with the thugs who mess with the tenants.

Since the slum lords can't just kick everyone out of the building, they do whatever they can to make the tenants move.  This involves hiring goons to rip out the electrical wiring, shut off the water,  turn off the gas, and dump boxes full of rats in the hallways.

Whenever the tenants catch the thugs doing things such as trying to set the building on fire using gasoline, they angrily grab the thugs and then release them unharmed.  Charlie's dad is in charge and he says the thugs don't know who is hiring them. So there's no point to beating them because they can't learn anything from them.

As you may guess, the slum lords aren't happy about Charlie's dad organizing a resistance to their plans, so pretty soon he's lying in a pool of blood on the cold hard floor.  Awww no, now you've gone and made Charlie mad. And if there's one person you don't want mad, it's a guy who knows martial arts.

Charlie's master sends him off to learn an even deadlier martial art, and after studying Charlie returns and teams up with his old friend Speedy who has his own reasons for wanting revenge, besides the fact that he liked Charlies dad.

The rest of the movie is pretty predictable for a low budget martial arts action movie.  The one thing out of the ordinary is the scene in the high rise that consists of five minutes of men screaming. It gets pretty annoying.

I decided to check this one out since it stars Charles Bonet, who was in a movie called The Death of Bruce Lee, which is an unintentionally hilariously bad film which also stars Ron van Clief.  So I was curious as to what other movies Charles had done.

The great thing about this movie is it was filmed in New York in the 1970s, so the city scenes are really interesting.  Bonet isn't much of an actor, but that's part of why it's entertaining.  There are some good scenes featuring a guy with two nunchucks.

Ridiculous dialogue:

Speedy - Remember I told you I had my own reasons for helping you?  Well this is the sucker who killed my brother.
Charlie - Your brother?  What brother?  I didn't even know you had a brother.
Speedy - I don't anymore. This mother killed him.

Monday, June 9, 2014

The Fog (1980)

Late at night on the beach, a sea captain tells ghost stories to a group of children, and ends with the story that one hundred years ago, a ship was guided to it's demise by a fire set on this very same  beach that was set by the town founders.  Legend has it the ghosts of the doomed mariners will come back on the hundredth anniversary for their revenge. Oh and by the way, it's the towns one hundredth anniversary and tomorrow's the big celebration.

At midnight, strange things start happening.  Machines start on their own, cars honk, and clocks stop.  All the windows shatter in Nick's truck as he's driving hitchhiker Elizabeth into town, a glowing fog rolls in and moves against the wind, and a stone falls out of the church wall revealing a diary from one hundred years ago.

Turns out the legend is true. Now there's something in the fog that's out for revenge and wants six bodies in return for the original deaths.  Stevie Wayne, who owns the lighthouse and is the only DJ on the town's radio station, has a prime view of the cursed fog as it rolls into town.  Luckily everyone seems to listen to this station so her broadcasts regarding the streets that are cut off by fog route everyone to the church where they find Father Malone. Since he's read the diary, he's hip to what's going on but he's also pretty depressed about it and not much help.

This is the first horror movie I ever saw, and it totally freaked me out.  So I've definitely got a bias towards this one.  It's not as scary as it was when I saw it in the theater as a teenager, but it's still creepy.

There's definitely something inherently spooky about fog if you live in a seaside town.  It's beautiful and peaceful, but there are also hidden dangers just out of view.  John Carpenter's music is suitably creepy. The glowing fog and silhouettes of the sailors coming out of it are unnerving.  Plus it's got Jaime Lee Curtis during her scream queen run.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Low Blow (1986)

Within the first five minutes, Joe Wong kills three people and is admonished by the police because he's no longer a cop.  Surprisingly the only consequences for his actions are an irritated Captain who shakes his head and tells him not to do it again. Granted Wong killed armed robbers in the middle of committing a hold up at a deli, but still you can't just go around killing people.

Wong does detective work, among other things based on the long list on his door, and is hired by rich guy Mr. Templeton to find his daughter Karen, a college student who has disappeared.  Wong finds out she's joined the Unity Village on the edge of town which is also known as the Universal Enlightenment Commune.  To hammer the point home, Karen is shown handing over all her gold jewelry which is required in order to be accepted at the commune.  Any time you need to give all your possessions to the commune and there are guards to keep you from leaving, you're in the wrong place.

After Wong goes undercover and is conked on the head while visiting the commune, he is locked up with a cult member who tried to run away.  Luckily the guard isn't that bright, so Wong and the young man manage to escape.

With mounting pressure from Mr. Templeton to rescue his daughter Karen, Wong decides the only way to do this is to recruit the toughest men around. So he holds a tough man competition in a huge pit in the ground.  Since there is a cash prize, the toughest guys and one muscular woman show up to fight. Wong recruits the winners of the fights to help him raid the commune and free Karen.

This is another Leo Fong movie which means crazy Cameron Mitchell and Fong's lack of emotion are the most memorable parts of the film, unless you count the 80s synth score.  In a good bit of false advertising, the VHS cover shows a young muscled Caucasian man, but our lead is an Asian man pushing 60 with a bowl haircut.  Actually I love the VHS cover due to the massive fist that doesn't quite fit with the body.

Another emotion filled scene.
Cameron Mitchell looking suitably crazy.
Longest job title on a door ever
The CB mind control of the Unity Village
This doesn't seem in keeping with the name of the
Universal Enlightenment Commune.
The pit for the tough man contest, which allows weapons.
There are a disturbing amount of children watching people
beat the hell out of each other at the tough man contest.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Killpoint (1984)

When guns are stolen from an armory, Lt. Wong is assigned to work with an FBI agent played by Richard Roundtree, who doesn't appear much in the film.  Wong spends his days training and trying to track down villain Joe Marx and his number one henchman Nighthawk, who are selling the guns to local gangs.  That's about all there is to this one.

Cameron Mitchell, as Joe Marx, spends the film acting super creepy and crazy.  He wears an ascot, sometimes has daisies in his hair, and spends a lot of time talking to a little dog.  There is a bizarre scene in a diner where Marks keeps asking a waitress to shut up her screaming baby, but the waitress just prattles on and on, ignoring his increasingly crazy mumbling.

Leo Fong's acting leave a lot to be desired.  His diction is extremely stilted and his face doesn't betray any emotion. It's like your neighbors dad had to take over the lead on short notice, and he's not familiar with the script so he has to really concentrate to remember his lines.

This was originally released by Vestron Video, one of my favorite VHS labels because they released a lot of low budget movies with questionable acting, especially in the action and horror genres.

Ridiculous dialogue-
Agent Crawford - Wong? Isn't he the one that uh, his wife was raped and killed awhile back?
Captain Skidmore - That's right.
Agent Crawford - Is he going to be alright?
Captain Skidmore - No, he's not alright. Would you be? But I'll tell you one thing, he's going to get the job done.

Get ready to see this expression a lot.
Your crazy mumbling, flower loving villain.

Friday, June 6, 2014

The Tall Man (2012)

Jenny is a widow who works as a nurse in a small town that's fallen on hard times after the mine closed. She spends her days working as a nurse, and at night takes care of her young son.

Children have been disappearing from town. Local legend attributes the disappearances to a figure of legend known as the Tall Man.  Some people claim to have seen him, while others believe it's just a story.

One night Jenny, who is skeptical of the legend, sees her son being whisked out of the kitchen by a man in a black hood.  She gives chase, which leads to a great action scene as she chases the kidnapper and even hangs off his vehicle in her pursuit to save her son.  Unfortunately things don't go well for Jenny, but it's great to see a female protagonist who is not a weak screaming woman.

But things are not as they seem and there are several twists which send you places you didn't expect to go. I don't really want to say too much about the plot after the initial kidnapping and rescue attempt because if you don't know what's going to occur, it's going to throw you.   This is a twisty, turny movie which starts out great, but left me unsatisfied with the second half and resolution.

When I first heard of this film, I wondered if it was a Phantasm spin off due to the name but it has nothing to do with that film series.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Silencer (1992)

Angel, a young woman who looks kind of like Madonna with short black hair, is a top assassin who can't seem to quit the job, and gets her assignments from a video game.  At the first murder scene, she picks up a guy to throw the police off her trail, and once he's no longer useful picks up another guy.

The video game that Angel consults for each assignment is at a local bar and has primitive graphics.  I'm not sure why others in the area don't notice that she's getting a hit list from the machine since it talks, but there you go.  The game tells her each villains weakness with my favorite one just saying: legs. No one shall ask why the weaknesses are often ignored when she's stalking them for the kill.

A guy named George wears a leather jacket and spies on Angel via a video game.  He watches her and tends to show up everywhere she goes. How? Why? Who?  No idea.  Is he a ghost? Is it the same video game? Where the hell is George when he's watching her? It's just an empty black space. Is he supernatural? Aw hell, who the knows, but we do find out that George is her ex who is also an assassin, and she doesn't want to see him because he was abusive.

Gross old Morten Downey Jr. and his massive choppers will make your skin crawl as one of the villains.  Watch for him breathing after his death scene.  Angel leaves a Polaroid photo on his stomach and you can see if moving up and down with each breath.

This is not a good movie, but it's pretty amusing.  The movie has a theme song which is essentially a low rent, seventies style, James Bond theme with lyrics that go:

The Silencer
Her body is her weapon
The Silencer
The kiss of life or death depends on you

Ridiculous double entendre dialogue:

George, as he watches Angel handle her gun - "Trace the trigger with your finger, Angel.... Balance the barrel in your hand..... Caress it.... it's waiting to explode, Angel. Come on, squeeze it baby."

If you use a coin with a gun on it, you'll get
an assignment to assassinate someone
Where the hell is he?
Primitive video game graphics
Angel is a master of disguise.
Madonna wannabe looking for another assignment.
If only he didn't have any legs, he'd be fine.
How did he get on her TV? Who the hell is this guy?
Death makes stupid faces.