Sunday, August 31, 2014

Savage Harvest 2: October Blood (2006)

Low budget horror director Tyge returns to his hometown after an actor dies on the set of his latest film.  He meets up with his friend Deke and Deke's roommate Zack, who's a pretty strange guy.  He also sees his ex-girlfriend Ashley who informs him that her sister Mikki has committed suicide.

Mikki was the only survivor of a massacre ten years ago.  Now Ashley has received an odd tape of her sister and she wants to uncover what really happened that night.  Zack is also interested in what occurred since he has never been the same since members of his family were killed in the same massacre.

Tyge, Ashley, Deke, and Zack decide to go to the scene of the killings and go over what everyone did that night.  They end up in the woods where there's a demon and a Native American curse.

The movie is almost two hours long and the first part is mostly exposition.  It would have been a good idea to edit the films length to tighten up the story.  The acting isn't very good.  Ashley talks about Mikki like she just died but her sister died in 1998.  I actually liked the first Savage Harvest better. Not that it was good, but it was more ridiculous which made it more entertaining at points.

Ridiculous dialogue-

"Half our class was morons and they're the ones that never left town." - said by Zack, still living in town

Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Bates Haunting (2012)

The best thing about this movie is the cover.  Based on the title,  the house resembling Norman Bates home in Psycho - there's even a woman with a knife silhouetted on the second floor - and the description that states this movie takes place at the Bates Motel and Haunted Hayride, it was reasonable to assume this has something to do with the Psycho house and motel.  But no, there is actually a family named Bates who run a haunted hayride on the East Coast, and the movie takes place there. So it's kind of a neat way of advertising their haunted attraction.  I say kind of because the movie is pretty bad and they barely show any of the haunt. So in a sense it's not much advertising at all.

A year after Agnes saw her best friend Lily die in an accident while working at the hayride, she is still a mess with a bad attitude.  She dropped out of college, can't keep a job, and doesn't care about anything but her friend Clyde and getting high.

Her Dad, who is also the Sheriff, figures it would be a great idea for her to get over this whole traumatic best-friend-burned-to-death-in-front-of-her-eyes thing So he gets her a job at the haunted hayride in the merchandise booth.  Agnes has a bad attitude about everything so she's not too pleased with this turn of events, but for some reason goes along with her Dad's plan.

Her new boss, Junior, seems a bit retarded, but it's not clear if he really is supposed to be or it's just the way the actor played the part.  As Junior shows her around the farm, she meets some of the haunts cast members who invite her to a party that night. They have one every year prior to opening day.

Agnes invites Clyde so he can help her check out the big dragon head which burned Lily to death a year ago. No one shall ask why she thinks examining a giant prop a year later will yield any clues to whether Lily was murdered or it was a tragic accident.

When two people are murdered at the cast party, Agnes wants the haunt shut down. But her Dad shushes her since the town depends on the haunt and tomorrow is opening day and a little death isn't any reason to shut the place down. Public safety be damned!

Why someone is killing people at the long running attraction.  Is it retarded Junior?  Is it the drunken dragon operator who's just been released from jail after serving time for frying Lily?  Is it a random stranger?  Do we care?  Slightly, but once you find out who it is, it won't make any sense due to the long term ramifications.

The movie has cameos by Ryan Dunn and Bam Margera.  Ryan plays a guy waiting forty minutes for a pizza, and Bam opens the movie by doing a commercial for the haunted hayride. Yup, no point to either of these.  Then there's the music which sounds like something out of a cartoon or sitcom whenever someone says a line that's supposed to be funny.  It's out of place and makes the dialogue even more awkward since it's not that funny to begin with.  I guess the one thing about the movie that worked is I did look up their haunted attraction.  So their movie/advertising sort of worked.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Movies I Couldn't Get Through

Bunraku (2010)

Hey a movie with Josh Hartnett, Woody Harrelson, Ron Perlman, and Demi Moore?  Why does this movie not sound familiar?  Well I'm guessing because it's got a similar feel to Repo: the Genetic Opera.  I hated that movie.

A narrator speaks as we are shown desolate scenery from a post apocalyptic future, and damned if I didn't drift off.  Visually the movie looks good, but you have to be prepared for the cut out scenery and sets. You have to be able to suspend disbelief in your audience in order for them to buy into the premise, and this just didn't do it.  All three of us agreed to pull the plug on this one since we couldn't deal with it any longer.

Borderline Cult (2007)

Oh hell, no.  I'd rather sit through all of Bunraku, which is at least a competently done movie.  Borderline Cult one has 1 star on Netflix, and a 1.7 rating on IMDB.  It's about three serial killers who team up.  The first five minutes are so bad, there's no reason to go further.

Gingerdead Man 3: Saturday Night Cleaver (2011)

This is a Full Moon film, so I knew what to expect, but it was so much worse than I'd imagined. I'm not a Full Moon fan, but my friend, who's seen every Full Moon movie, couldn't even make it through this.

The Gingerdead Man is released from captivity by activists and  travels back in time to the disco era, where he begins killing. He starts with girls in bikinis at a car wash.  Ugh, this is unwatchable.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Inhuman Resources (2012)

If you're looking for a movie that takes place mostly in one room, then maybe this will suffice. After being found in an elevator holding an ax next to a decapitated body, Thomas Reddmann was convicted of being serial killer known as the Headhunter.  Reddmann insists he's not guilty, but ends up in the local sanitarium.   A few years later, the news reports Reddmann is killed while trying to escape.

Shortly after this news, six people are kidnapped and wake up in a dark office chained to desks with computers.  A man arrives who claims to be their boss. He calls himself Red and looks just like the Headhunter.  When the six victims realize they all were involved in the arrest or trial of Reddmann, their situation seems even more dire.

Red runs a tight ship.  Those who commit an infraction get a line carved into their foreheads.  Five offenses results in termination. For an innocent man, Red's certainly willing to decapitate those who are terminated for not following the rules.

Oddly enough their cuts barely bleed.  No one shall ask if Red uses the dullest knife ever or these six have mutant foreheads.  If you're ever cut your forehead, you know they bleed like hell.

Red quizzes each person about their testimony or role in the investigation. Then he assigns them to review the trial transcripts and evidence to discover the real killer.

This movie is fairly tedious and doesn't have a great pay off at the end.  Also it's annoying to watch someone get multiple punishments for the same infraction.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Ghoul (2013)

Timmy, Barry and Doug are best friends who spend their days exploring the woods, playing in the cemetery, and making an underground fort in a huge hole.  Timmy has a pretty good life, but both Barry and Doug are being abused by a parent.

When Doug falls through the ground at the cemetery, the boys discover a deep hole with a horrible odor.  They also discover a hole in the floor of the cemetery tool shed which leads to a tunnel. So they decide to come back the next night to investigate.

Years ago there was an accident in the local mine. One of the survivors swore that he saw something down there, and the legend of the ghoul was born.  After that whenever a person or pet disappeared, it was blamed on the ghoul.

When three teenagers disappear and another teen is found dead, Timmy wonders if it is the ghoul at work.  Things get unbearable for both Doug and Barry, and all three boys end up at the cemetery one night and something is after them.

When the protagonists are kids, there's always the question whether the film is intended for kids or adults.  Super 8 and Stand By Me revolve around kids and their exploits, but the movies are well done and adults can enjoy them too.   This movie seems to be aimed at teens, but it includes issues of child abuse, suicide, and infanticide.

The trailer I saw was pretty good so I was unaware that this was a TV movie, which explains why it's pretty tame.  Surprisingly the subject of child abuse is shown throughout the movie.  Doug's mother is molesting him, which he reveals to Timmy who he swears to secrecy. While Barry's father is drunk,  angry and physically abusive.  There's never any resolution to these situations so we're left wondering if the kids final experiences have empowered them so they can get out of the cycle of abuse, or the poor kids are going to keep being victims.

The movie is supposed to take place in 1984, but there is no way to know that without the movie telling us.  There's nothing in the feel of the movie or the clothing to portray this.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Blood Shed (2104)

Grumpy Gabriel lives in his car, is out of seizure medication, grimaces a lot, and receives an envelope with a key to his deceased parents storage unit.  There's not much of interest in the unit except for a trunk, and Gabriel doesn't have the key.

The storage facility has a number of homeless people living in it. Most of them are extremely annoying.  Gabriel sneaks into the facility at night work on getting the lock off the trunk. No one shall ask why he brings a hacksaw rather than a bolt cutter.  Lock 1, Gabriel 0.

In another plot line that will soon intersect, the ghost of a young woman is killing people who live in the storage facility. If any of them are pregnant,  she drags them to captivity in her basement lair. The not so convincing pregnant stomachs appear to have the texture of an orange. The women also end up covered in what appears to be tar, but just can't be.

After discovering Gabriel inside again, the Russian creep who owns the facility locks it up for the night, trapping Gabriel, the homeless, his office assistant and her friend inside.  Good luck with the ghost.

The first thing I expected based on the title of this movie was a shed.   Instead the movie takes place in a facility where people rent storage units.  I kept waiting for a shed until one of the characters told another to get out of her shed. So I guess it's a regional expression.

The movie is similar to many recent movies where people wander around without much dialogue, and then when the dialogue starts, you wish they'd shut their mouths. Also there is surprisingly little blood in the blood shed.  And why does Gabriel keep sniffing?  Does he have a cold, allergies, too much coke, or is it some sort of acting that is way off base?

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Ladies and Gentlemen the Fabulous Stains (1982)

Teenager Corrine is fired live on the nightly news after an outburst at the local burger joint.  The attention leads to an interview in which she reveals (while smoking) that her mother recently died from lung cancer, and she's glad she got fired because now she can concentrate on her band, whose other members are his sister and cousin.

When Corrine finds out the Metal Corpses and the Looters are playing at a local club, she goes to the show in hopes of getting advice.  After being blown off by Billy, lead singer of the Looters, the tour manager recognizes her from the news. He's looking for an opening act and asks her band to join the tour.

The problem is the girls can barely play, Corrine sings in a monotone, and they aren't prepared to actually perform.  The other bands don't respect them, and the audience doesn't react well to their shaky performance.  A few shows into the tour, the guitar player for the Metal Corpses overdoses and dies backstage.  When a reporter asks about him, Corrine takes this opportunity to promote her band by stating she was his girlfriend.

By the next show Corrine has changed her look and attitude. She's belligerent toward the crowd and although she's wearing a see through shirt and essentially bikini bottoms, she emphatically states the Stains don't put out.

While TV newsmen see her as a joke, teenage girls and a female reporters see her as someone who can voice empowerment and feminism in the male dominated world.  Corrine and the Stains are surprised when at their next show, there's a huge crowd of teenage girls who have dyed their hair just like Corrine's, a style which causes them to be labeled skunks.  Things are looking up for the band and they feel like they're on the path to success and fame.

But all is not well, for Corrine is not mature enough to deal with the burgeoning attention, and hasn't had the best upbringing. Soon she steals Billy's song, which is a surprise to the Looters when the Stains open a gig by playing their song.

Rocknroll fables usually don't work out well. The music business is fickle and it's often who you know or being in the right place at the right time that makes or breaks you.  So don't expect a happy ending with riches and dreams realized.

On the commentary, Diane Lane and Laura Dern talk about how this movie was the catalyst for girls to form bands. Perhaps I misinterpreted their discussion but it sounded like they were unaware that there were all girl bands in the 1960s.  There were some great all girl garage bands. Then in the 1970s we had more well known bands such as The Runaways or the Go-Gos.  While the movie may have influenced some girls to form bands,  the Stains weren't a good band and doesn't provide a fairy tale ending.

I first saw this movie on NightFlight, probably in the mid 80s.  The reason I revisited it, other than it's a rocknroll movie, is that the Looters are played by Paul Cook and Steve Jones (Sex Pistols), and Paul Simonon (The Clash).    After the Sex Pistols, Paul Cook and Steve Jones formed a band called The Professionals.  There was a cool record store in my town back in the 80s, and they carried the Professional debut LP, which I bought.  The song that Corrine steals in the movie is an actual Professionals song.

Also of note, the Metal Corpses two main members are from The Tubes - Fee Waybill and the guy who plays the guitar player who overdoses - and Black Randy and the Metrosquad also appear in the film.

What I want to know is how the heck did they get away with Diane Lane in a see through top when she was fifteen?  Plus there's a shower scene, but mostly the nudity is hidden  What's interesting is that I found an article online written by a girl who was an extra when she was a teenager. She, her younger sister, and two friends were Skunks in the mall scene, where a hundred or so girls are dressed like Corrine.  She said that after everything was set up, wardrobe gave everyone the red see through shirts and urged them to remove whatever they had on, and wear the provided top instead.  The parents had already disappeared from the set when this took place. Creepy.
Ray Winstone as Billy and Paul Simonon
Diane Lane as Corrine with her skunk hairdo

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Episode 50 (2011)

A team of paranormal investigators are contacted about visiting a haunted asylum with the purpose to either provide proof of the supernatural, or to debunk the claims of a haunting.   The twist is that they will be competing against another group who want to prove spirits exist, and are biased since they're very religious.

The paranormal research team has a TV show. They've done 49 episodes and have debunked claims at every place they've been.  So they are skeptical and expect a repeat of their previous investigations.  For some reason, they believe this is their big break.  Perhaps their show is just cable access? Don't know whether I drifted off or they never provided info on what level of TV they were on.

Since this is a found footage movie, it's obvious that our skeptical investigators are bound to run into something unexpected and deadly.  As with many point of view/found footage movies, not much happens for the majority of the movie.  There aren't any characters that are particularly appealing and you won't care when something starts making them rue the day they ventured into this place. The acting is very pedestrian and typical of low budget found footage films.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Monster in the Woods (2012)

The director of a low budget film is told that his movie needs more sex and violence. So he takes his crew and actors into the woods to shoot additional footage. Once in the woods, the director is accidentally killed by a boom mic. People begin to disappear due to the monster in the woods, but the the new person in charge insists they keep shooting.

The movie is a mixture of point of view shots and regular footage.  This is explained by stating they're doing a behind the scenes feature.  There's nudity and sex before the credits, which is one of the signs a movie is won't be good.  There are characters that are introduced about half way through the film and have nothing to do with the previous plot.  The reason the monsters are there is explained at the end, but it's not a satisfying explanation. Blah.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

All Cheerleaders Die (2013)

When snotty cheerleader Alex dies in a cheerleading accident, her friends move on a little too quickly for nerdy Maddy who was filming Alex at the time for a class documentary.  Maddy wants to make a tribute video, but her time interviewing the cheerleaders and football stars lead her to decide to ruin their senior year.

Maddy is able to grab the open cheerleading spot and goes from unpopular nerd to cheerleader overnight.  She ditches her best friend, a goth Wicca (so you know she's not popular), and begins working from the inside to cause trouble between the football team and cheerleaders.  When the football star decides he doesn't like what's happening, things get really messed up and result in a fatal accident.

This starts out slow, but over all is fairly decent. The biggest problem is that there's no way to get past one stupid plot point.  The Wicca girl has a pouch of runes that she carries with her, and the runes end up controlling some teens who are undead.  Yet when the Wicca girl goes to class, she puts the freaking thing in her locker... at school.... which is unlocked.  Seriously?  Why wouldn't you wear it around your neck, or carry it with you? Does your school actually have a rule about not carrying pouches?  If so, don't they let you carry purses or bags?  What the hell were you thinking?

Though there is an ending (rather than one of those crappy movies which say to be continued at the end), the movie is set up for a sequel.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Orca: The Killer Whale (1977)

After a killer whale saves a crew member from a shark attack, strange looking Captain Nolan pays the helpful species back by deciding it would be a great idea to hunt one down and sell it for a profit. However his harpooning isn't the best and instead of hitting the happily swimming male, he lances the female.

Nolan has already been warned by Rachel, the towns resident whale psychologist, and Annie (played by Bo Derek) that he shouldn't mess with the whales. They mate for life and capturing one could mean you've taken away a whales mate.   Unfortunately for the killer whales, Nolan's a dick.

When they pull the female aboard, the crew discovers that Nolan killed a mother and her unborn whale child.  Orca is not amused.  In fact, Orca is so pissed that he decides he won't rest until Nolan pays for destroying his family.  In a strange coincidence, Nolan reveals that his wife and unborn child were driving to the hospital when they were killed by a drunk driver.  If only a drunk Orca behind the wheel, then we wouldn't hate Nolan as much.

Vengeful Orca starts sinking boats in the towns harbor, because that's what revenge crazy killer whales do.  A Native American shows up to make sure we know that Orca is sinking all the boats except Nolan's because he wants to fight Nolan at sea.   Nolan ain't gonna mess with no bat shit crazy Orca, which is essentially the same as telling the town to go to hell because Orca's on a killing spree that can only be appeased by Nolan facing him.

Whale psychologist Rachel tells a class that killer whales are smart and that if we were as smart as whales we wouldn't need words because we could communicate telepathically and words would just be redundant and retarded, (yes, Rachel actually says retarded).  Soon Orca proves her right by sinking all the boats, busting a hole in the towns gas line,  setting the fuel tanks on fire, and knocking over the supports on the dock so she can chomp on Annies broken leg.  After this, not only does Orca hate Nolan, but so does the whole town. I'm not sure whey they don't just throw him in the water, but they're trying to force him out of town on his own accord.

Released a few years after Jaws, this isn't as interesting a film. It's scarier to have a killer shark randomly attacking people, than a killer whale out for revenge against the guy who killed it's mate and child.  You want the shark in Jaws to die because he kills for no reason, but you feel sorry for Orca whose been traumatized.  You're routing for Nolan to die, while wondering why all the other crew members need to go out on his ship because you know they're going to taste Orca's vengeance.

There's an unintentionally funny scene with Rachel with a voice over talking about how cold it is on the boat.  She's lying under the covers and appears to be naked. No one shall ask why she doesn't just put on some clothes, as that would probably help her feel warmer.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Almost Human (2013)

A panicked Seth shows up at Mark and Jen's house stating their friend Rob disappeared on the way.  Seth is freaked out because  whatever took Rob followed him there.  Mark goes outside after being warned that something's out there and disappears in a beam of light.

Two years later, there are strange lights, power fluctuations, and weird happenings in town.  Seth thinks something bad is going to happen.  He's been having nosebleeds and strange dreams about Mark.  So he tracks down Jen.

Jen has been working at a local diner and is engaged to another man.  Her co-workers are alarmed to see Seth because when Mark originally disappeared, Seth was blamed by the authorities, but there wasn't enough evidence to charge him.  Seth tells Jen he thinks Mark is coming back.

In a nearby town, Mark appears in the woods, which is unfortunate since he's large and naked. After killing a couple of hunters, he starts trying to get back home, killing anyone who gets in his way.  Why is Mark back? Where has he been? Is he an alien?  What the hell is going on?

Overall it's an okay low budget movie, but the alien screeching sound is so annoying.  There has to be a middle ground between sounds that might be made in times of terror, while taking into account that no one wants to hear this repeatedly. It's not scary, just irritating.

The movie is set in the late 1980s and takes place in a rural Maine town, which I assume was in tribute to Stephen King. Also there's a gratuitous alien sex scene out of nowhere, which is gross.

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Last Days on Mars (

Hey, it's your last day before going home.  You know what happens when it's your last day on the job?  You die.

On their last day on Mars, the Commander of the multi-country mission calls everyone back to their base to prepare for their six month trip back to Earth.  The Russian cosmonaut, who found a new organism and wants another sample, cons his way outside by telling the Commander that there is a necessary repair to be done.

While attaining another sample, the surface crumbles beneath his feet and he falls into a chasm.  The man with him shouts a mayday to the base, and most of the others arrive to assess the situation.  After deciding to attempt a rescue, the others head back to the base to find it empty, and two sets of footprints heading away.

The two people holding down the base are surprised when shortly afterwards, their two missing crew members reappear. They're even more surprised when the removal of their helmets reveal skulls rather than faces. As if that isn't bad enough, these creatures are in a blood frenzy and communications are down, which will be a problem if the others return and aren't aware that there's something there that's out for blood.  And if they are aware, then how will everyone fight off or subdue whatever is inhabiting the bodies of the crew?

This movie will probably remind you of the Thing, Alien, or many other space movies, but if you can get past that, it's actually pretty well done.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Bell From Hell (1973)

aka La campana del infierno

John is released from an asylum, jumps on a motorcycle, and visits an old man sitting in the woods.  Who? Why? Where? No idea.  Then he takes a job at a slaughterhouse prior to heading home. In a bit of foreshadowing, John quits after a few days stating he's learned enough.

He heads home to the estate left to him by his mother, where his Aunt and three cousins have been living. John believes they orchestrated his being committed to the asylum so that they could live a life of luxury in his mansion.

John's a bit of a jerk, with practical jokes consisting of make up so that his eyes appear to have been gouged out. Yes, you're so funny John.  He also tells a visitor that his Aunt believes she can see the ghosts of his three cousins, knowing that the girls will be returning shortly from their excursion. Sure enough, as they come in out of the fog, the man bolts believing that he is also seeing three ghosts.

This is one of those slow moving films that I don't enjoy. John is creepy and torments his relatives.  But it's not a good revenge movie because it's not clear if they really had John locked up.  One thing of note is on the final day of filming, the director either fell or jumped from the bell tower, and died.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Blast Vegas (2013)

With a name like Blast Vegas, and the wave of destruction behind the two characters on the DVD cover, I expected there would be some sort of huge explosion in this film. But I'm guessing it refers to little nerdy Frankie Muniz having a swell time when he meets a nerdy girl (i.e. pretty girl made to look plain).

The plot involves Nelson (Frankie) and his fraternity pals going to Las Vegas for vacation.  The guys steal an ancient Egyptian relic from the lobby of the hotel, and inadvertently unleash an evil curse on the city.  This involves a large creature a-stompin', sand storms a-blowin', and buildings a-crumblin'.  Lord help us!

Nelson and his friends are safe inside, but he insists on going to the restaurant where he planned to meet Olive on a date.  He's only known her one day, but he's prepared to sacrifice his life, as well as his friends, in order to find her. Lucky for him, lounge singer Sal knows the town like the back of his hand, which includes a series of underground tunnels that go from building to building below the city.

What you've got is another Syfy movie that's fairly generic in plot and execution, but is an okay way to pass the time if you're hanging out with nothing to do.  It wasn't horrible, but it isn't going to reel you in and keep you on the edge of the seat either. The situations and plot are cliche, so anyone who's seen a lot of movies will be able to predict everything that happens.

One thing that's funny is the streets are deserted, yet when they drive down the road, people are constantly running out in front of them. There's one car on the road, yet these people just have to get in front of it.  The best thing about the movie is Barry Bostwick, who plays lounge singer Sal.  Bostwick has had some interesting roles lately, not that this is great, but he's good at hamming it up.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Cyber Tracker (1994)

Special Agent Eric Philips has a home security system named Agnes 4000.  Agnes can detect sarcasm, wakes him up in the morning, and even turns the shower on and off.  Philips is a little too friendly with Agnes, but then again, his wife is dead so he's lonely.

Philips has been assigned to protect Senator Dilly, head of Cybercorp and a proponent of the Computerized Judicial System.   Instead of having a trial, the government makes the decision of guilt.  If they believe you're guilty, they dispatch a huge, muscular, human-like cyborg to dispense justice. Justice consists of blowing someones head off.

When anti-Cybercorp freedom fighters, the Union of Human Rights, show up at Dilly's rally with the intent to kill him, Philips spots one of the gunman and stops the assassination attempt.  Dilly thinks this is a-ok, and asks the head of security to test Philips loyalty to see if he's one of them.  Seems like he's already pretty loyal, but Dilly wants Philips to get with the program, which is being willing to murder anyone associated with the freedom fighters.  Security says that's a stupid move since Philips is new to the team, but Dilly wants to dispense with formalities and get right down to the murder test.

When Philips balks, Dilly frames him and a police bulletin goes out just as Philips is heading into the police station to report the murder.  On the run from the law, Philips ends up being captured by the freedom fighters and forced to infiltrate the evil Cybercorp headquarters.  So there you go.

It's a pretty ridiculous movie, but I'm always willing to watch Cyber movies since they tend to predict the future in unintentionally silly ways.  So it's got that going for it, but not much else.
Cyborgs of the future
Glad they have to technology to determine which one is
hostile. I would have gone with the one holding the gun.
Luckily they had an 8x10 glossy of the suspect
Wooden pallets aren't the best protection from gunfire
Why has Cybercorp put their log on the US flag?
You've got some robot on your shirt

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Dire Wolf (2009)

aka Dinowolf

Scientists take marrow from a Dire Wolf fossil and combine it with human DNA, resulting in a creature they keep locked in a tank.  One day the creature escapes (as they do), kills security and night workers, and leaves the building to run through the woods of the small town nearby.  Deaths in the area sky rocket and those who see the creature aren't sure what it is. It has mangy hair, a large rubber mouth, and looks fairly ridiculous.  But it can rip your intestines out so don't make fun of it.

The military sends in two agents who represent themselves as FBI agents to the Sheriff who happens to check in when the night security guard doesn't show up at the local diner for breakfast, which he's done every work day for five years. Meanwhile the game warden, who is the adopted son of the Sheriff, is harassed by local yokels.

This is a Fred Olen Ray film, but doesn't have the charm of some of his older Bmovies. It's similar to something you'd see on the Syfy channel.  It's okay to have on while you're doing laundry, but is a bit boring if you're not doing something else while you watch.  There's never an explanation of how the creature escapes, or why the genetic lab doesn't have better security.  Good god, you've got a huge dire wolf/human hybrid - make sure the damn thing is locked up tight.

I'd never heard of a Dire Wolf, other than the old Grateful Dead song of the same name.  Apparently it's an extinct animal about the size of a gray wolf, but in this case it's bigger than most humans.  The film stars Maxwell Caulfield (Grease 2) and Gil Gerard (Buck Rogers).  When the security guard states a noise was probably a draft, I mistakenly thought he said it was probably a giraffe, which made me wonder why a giraffe was in a genetic research facility. They should have gone with that because it wouldn't be ripping people's throats out.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Sleeping Beauty (2014)

Casper van Dien is a King with a terrible accent. His real wife and daughter play the Queen and Princess, which makes me think they saw a cool castle while on vacation and decided to find funding for a movie and pulled a Will Smith by casting their child.

When the Princess is a baby, a witch casts a spell that when she's sixteen, she will prick her finger on a spindle and fall into a coma, as well as the entire kingdom.  The good witches counter that spell stating she will be woken by the kiss of a Prince.

Naturally the King gets rid of every spindle in the Kingdom.  He also locks the Princess in a tower until her sixteenth birthday, at which time there is a huge feast and she's allowed out.

I swear the witch said when she was 16, but the family believes the spindle incident is to happen prior to age 16.  Is this an issue of continuity, or purposely done? No idea.  Of course, the Princess is a stupid teenager and on her first night of freedom, she sticks her finger on a spindle, falls into a deep sleep and takes the Kingdom down with her.

One hundred years later, the cowardly nasty Prince Jayson's whipping boy, Barrow, has pieced together a map showing how to get to the castle in her kingdom.  When the Prince gets hold of this, he and his thugs drag Barrow with them on their journey to claim the Kingdom and kiss the Princess.
Of course we all know fairy tales don't let cowardly princes win the hand of the fair Princess.

This is another film by The Asylum.  Nuff said.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Airplane vs. Volcano (2014)

After both pilots die, a passenger plane ends up stuck on auto pilot circling over the ocean where a slew of volcanoes have suddenly arisen and started to spew smoke, ash, and lava.  Passenger Rick says he knows how to fly a plane, which is great, except that no one knows the code to disengage the autopilot.  So Rick randomly yanks on the stick to keep the plane from being hit by bursts of red hot lava.

Meanwhile in the passenger cabin, everyone panics and one pain in the ass causes problems and acts sketchy.  The Air Marshall  handcuffs the troublemaker to a bar in the restroom, where the jerk immediately begins trying to escape.  There is never an explanation as to why he's so nervous, angry, a troublemaker, or why he insists that Rick is going to kill them all. He even tries to force others to open the door and throw Rick off the plane.  I guess the guy's just a dick.

It seems like the writers were desperate for anything to go wrong or ratchet up the tension.  There is a ridiculous scene where the drink cart takes off on it's own, barrels down the aisle to the back of the plane, and bangs into a man's elbow.  The other passengers acts like it took his arm off.  No one shall ask why he didn't move his arm to avoid being hit.

Top volcano expert Lisa has gone to the military base to try to connect with Frank, a scientist on the plane who was going to work with her to study the new volcanoes.  Sergeant Tully insists that the military should try to save the people on the plane, but curmudgeon General Rhyker who doesn't have time for that. He's okay with letting civilians die.

Well, if there's one thing this movie has going for it, the action starts very quickly.  About ten minutes into the film, Lisa knows the volcanoes have erupted, the plane encounters ash and volcanoes poking up out of the ocean, and shortly afterwards the pilots are dead. The cover states this is based on a true story. Perhaps they are taking liberties and mean it's not a good idea to fly near an active volcano.  The film is filled with cliches, and there were times where I would say the dialogue right before a character did.  Also when they tried to shut off the auto pilot by flipping a switch, I joked that they'd just jettisoned their fuel.  Next thing you know, fuel is streaming out of our CGI plane.  Good god, so predictable.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Alien Abduction (2014)

Oh my god, can someone please explain to filmmakers that just because something is supposed to be handheld footage, it doesn't mean it needs to appear to be shot by a chimp afflicted with tremors?  Fifteen minutes into this thing I was completely motion sick and had to avert my gaze to keep from vomiting. So unless this is some brilliant piece of film making, which it isn't, they're already on my bad side.

The Morris family decides to go camping and heads to Brown Mountain in North Carolina.  Eleven year old Riley records the family vacation. The movie states Riley is autistic, but you'd never know it since he doesn't display any signs and interacts with his family like any normal kid.

The first night Riley notices lights outside the tent, and convinces his older brother and sister to investigate. They see lights in the sky which appear to be UFOs, based on the way they move.

The next day the family heads to another location and gets lost on the twisting mountain roads.  The GPS goes bonkers and their cell phones can't get a signal.  This causes an unusual amount of concern. It appears the family doesn't realize that there are remote places in the US which can't get a signal.  They also don't realize that when driving in remote areas, it's a good idea to keep your eye on the gas tank to ensure you can get to the next town.  I've done several cross country trips and you always calculate how far between towns, how much your tank holds, and fill up early to make sure you don't run out. It's just common sense.  Then again, the family didn't bring a map in case their GPS didn't have a signal so they're not the most logical people.

As the family argues about where they are, how much gas they have, and Dad's bad driving, they come upon a car haphazardly at the side of the road. It's door are open and there are no people to be seen. Around the corner are two more cars.  Then a mess of cars abandoned in the same manner are blocking a tunnel through the mountain.

Since they don't have enough gas to go back the way they came, the father decides to investigate, insisting that the people must be nearby.  No one shall ask why multiple abandoned cars blocking the road wouldn't alert them to the possibility that something horrible has happened and they need to get the hell away as soon as possible.

The dad, who resembles Zach Galifianakis, sees someone on the other side of the tunnel and shouts to it.  Yes, because when I find a road with abandoned cars blocking it, I don't err on the side of caution. Any person-like shape must be a friendly face, not some hillbilly cannibal, aliens, the government, a zombie, or whatever caused all the cars to be abandoned.

Alright, the alien appears, it screeches, dad is scared.... and we shut the damn thing off. I was nauseous and my friends thought it was everything wrong with film making.  Tristan stated if he taught a film class he would use this as how not to make a film, and compare it to Dark Skies which he thought was a good film. I haven't seen that so I can't weigh in on that opinion.  But found footage films need to figure out not only how to shoot so it doesn't give someone motion sickness, but also how to tell a damn story.  Watching a family argue about Dad's driving doesn't make interesting video. It's just like being trapped in a car with a bunch of unpleasant people.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Frankenstein Theory (2013)

PhD John Venkenheim hires a documentary crew to go on a journey to Alaska with him while he tries to locate the Frankenstein monster.  John believes that he is the descendant of one of the Illuminati, and that his relative was involved in the making of the legendary creature.  He has letters in his possession that parallel the opening of Mary Shelly's Frankenstein novel.  While this has always been portrayed as a work of fiction, John theorizes that this was a ruse and the book depicts a real story.

John, the crew, and a guide head into the Alaskan wilderness based on John's calculations of where the monster would be.  No one shall ask how a man built in the 1800s from human body parts is still walking around.  Anything made from flesh and organs will either age or rot (if sewn together from dead bodies).

This is another one of those found footage movies where instead of a compelling script or story telling, we're stuck watching people talk and waiting for something to happen.  If you're expecting lots of monster, you'll be disappointed.  I wasn't even sure what the monster looked like until I saw the DVD cover. Yup, that seems to be the hulking thing that was in the dark.  

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Black Forest (2012)

Tour guide Casmar, who has bed head and may be hopped up on goofballs, leads a tour group into the Black Forest. It's rumored that supernatural things occur here and there may even be some fairies running around.  It is also the area made famous by the Brothers Grimm's fairy tales, which are full of trolls, death, and other things waiting to teach you a lesson or kill you.

After the tourists are led to a rock circle on top of a hill, like a little Stonehenge of sorts, Casmar does a ritual which brings forth a fairy in the center of the circle.  The worst mother in the world steps into the circle when beckoned, even though she's holding her seven month old baby. The child is promptly stolen by the fairy, who disappears into nothingness. Well, I'm sure the baby is better off, even if it's going to be raised by a pack of rabid hedgehogs. Who brings a baby to a magic ritual in the Black Forest?!

Though Casmar has disappeared, this is never mentioned and the group sets off down a path that wasn't there before in hopes of finding the baby.  Instead they find a cabin which they take refuge, and meet a woman who seems willing to help them survive. She is also the spitting image of the dead wife of one of the tourists.

Ah, but we're in a fairy tale, so things are not always as they appear.  This becomes quickly apparent to our mother of the year when she gets put to sleep by an old woman who stabs her ,since she doesn't get the gist of the fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty.  Soon fairy tales are coming to life everywhere, and some of the group are quicker to pick up on this than others.

This is a Syfy movie, so that pretty much tells you what you're getting.  One issue with the movie is that the Black Forest, which is the site of all these nightmare fairy tales, is a very cheery sunny place.  There are colorful mushrooms, bright fields, and wandering brooks.  It looks like a very pleasant place.

Also I question why no one notices that every group of tourists that Casmar takes on his Black Forest tour never come back.  Perhaps it's because most of them aren't very likable?

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Alien Prey (1977)

 aka Prey

An alien lands on Earth, kills a couple making out in the woods, and assumes the appearance of the male. After wandering onto an estate, he runs into Jessica and Jo.

Jessica owns the estate and Jo lives with her. At first it's difficult to determine if they are sisters, friends, mother/daughter or lovers. But since there's a love scene later, it becomes clear that Jo is her girlfriend, which is unfortunate since she's domineering, jealous, abusive, irrational and doesn't want Jessica to have any contact with anyone else.

The alien, who appears to be injured and introduces himself as Anders Anderson, is invited back to the house by Jessica, much to Jo's annoyance.  Eventually he's invited to dinner and to spend the night.  When out of earshot, Jessica advises Anders to lock his door since she suspects that Jo had a hand in the disappearance of the last man who stayed at the house.

Anders acts odd and Jessica suspects he is from the asylum nearby.  But Jo forbids her to contact the asylum or the police.  Instead she tries to manipulate Anders and Jessica and make them both ill at ease. She makes disparaging remarks about them and when they have a little party, she puts Anders in makeup and a dress. She is desperate to make sure Jessica doesn't connect with Anders.   Surprisingly, although he is an alien, Anders picks up on her control issues immediately.

I am not fond of dull British horror movies of the 1970s. This is mostly talking between the three characters. I don't necessarily mind this if there is tension or suspense, but this just wasn't interesting.  There's a drowning scene which is in slow motion, and never seems to end.  Plus the alien has a dog nose, which makes him look like someone using greasepaint rather than a scary alien.
Dog nose and pointy teeth? Must be an alien.
Vegetarians have an awkward dinner with the alien

Friday, August 1, 2014

Legacy (2010)

In another installment of cheap movie theater, famous author Ari Larsen has been in hiding for years. But now she's back at the family home, with her sister and Uncle to help her get acclimated.

Ari's an author who has a best selling book about her dad who was a serial killer. He killed her mom in front of her and took her with him on a killing spree, making her take photos of his other victims.  Even though her fathers body was never found, it's believed that he's dead.

Now someone is killing people connected to Ari and using the same method as her dead father. The FBI is involved and the Sheriff isn't as good a guy as he seems.

Wow, I didn't enjoy this one at all.  The characters were annoying and it wasn't very interesting.