Sunday, November 30, 2014

Mine Games (2013)

aka The Evil Within

A group of friends goes away for the weekend to an isolated cabin, which is large enough to accommodate around eight people.  After veering into the woods to avoid what appears to be a man in the road, the group resumes their trip when they can't find anyone around. But soon they have to abandon their van due to damage on the undercarriage that results in the loss of fluid needed to keep the van running.

Although they aren't sure of the address, they think the house is within a couple miles, and walk to the cabin.  When they find a note on the counter addressed to two of the group, they assume they've found the right house.  As they're waiting for the couple they are supposed to meet there, they decide to let the partying commence!

As the night goes on, the group feel as if they're being watched.  When the power goes out, Michael goes out to restart the generator. But upon his return, he acts strangely, prompting his girlfriend to ask for the millionth time if he's taking his medication. He must be a mess since she's overly concerned about his medication intake.

The next day, with no sign of the friends they're supposed to meet, and no cell reception, they go exploring and find an abandoned mine.  Once inside, two of the group split off from the rest so they can eat some mushrooms.  As the group is leaving, two guys decide it would be a funny prank to lock Micheal in an old store room, and he freaks out.  Ever notice that pranks nowadays always seem to be mean spirited and people just slap the work prank on their actions to avoid any responsibility for acting like jerks?

Back at at the cabin, one of the guys discovers he's lost his wallet. So two of them head back to the mine.  While retracing their steps, they find two dead bodies. That's creepy enough, but what's even worse is the bodies look exactly like them.

Due to their tendency for pranks, no one takes their story seriously. So we're left with a scene that basically goes, we found our own corpses. No you didn't. Yes we did. Let's get the heck out of here. No lets wait.  No we need to go back to the mine. Okay.

How crazy is that? If I saw my own dead body somewhere, I wouldn't go back to see it again. Everything starts going nuts from here. How can they be dead if they're still alive?  Who would have killed them? They heard something in the woods the night before - was it the killer? Or is one of them the killer?

To make things more confusing, one of the group is a psychic. She's having strange visions, which are either hallucinations from the mushrooms, or psychic visions.  But most importantly, she can't be a very good psychic since she shouldn't have gone to this damn house in the first place.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Assassin (1987)

The President's body guard Jay Killion, known as Killy, is assigned to protect the First Lady, Lara.  But Lara doesn't like having a babysitter, and does everything she can to make Killy's job harder or slip away without him noticing.

Killy says it's too dangerous for the First Lady to drive through the streets in a convertible, but Lara brushes him off because she wants to be accessible to the public.  Guess she forgot about a little thing from 1963 called the Book Depository in Dallas.

When a policy motorcycle breaks through the crowd and enters the parade route, no one is suspicious, which is odd since that's outside protocol and he's pulls in next to the the First Lady's convertible.  Killy assesses the situation, and pushes the first lady onto the floor of the car before there is an explosion on the bike.  Killy is the only one who thinks that it's suspicious that the mystery cops bike exploded, no one can identify the man, and he ran off into the crowd after it happened.  You get the feeling if it weren't for Killy, the entire First Family would already be assassinated by now.

In another example of an oblivious First Lady, she slips away to her vacation home so she can go out on her fathers yacht.  When the Captain decides to refuel prior to picking her up, the boat explodes.  Killy warns her that this is another attempt on her life and she needs to stop ditching him.  First Lady Lara thinks he's being overly dramatic because sometimes boats explode.  I'm not sure what type of exploding boat she's used to seeing, but I've never seen any boat explode, and I live near the ocean.

The film is funny because it's so dated and filled with action cliches.  There's also a ridiculous sexist perspective where the women are treated as if they're dumb dames.  It's hilarious, even though it's horrible.  There's also some uncomfortable moments when you realize that his female Chinese partner is named Charlie Chang, which often sounds like he's calling her Charlie Chan.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Haunting of Cell Block 11 (2014)

aka Apparitional

The show Ghost Sightings has been told that their rating aren't good enough, and unless they find something to add excitement to the show, they'll be cancelled.  Later as they group is discussing what they should do for their next case,  Mr. Gaffney drops by the office insisting on seeing them.  He claims he owns an excessively haunting location and he needs them to get rid of the ghosts.

Since it appears this location might offer something exciting to increase their ratings, Joel and his crew make the long drive, stopping at a small town diner to get a quick bite to eat and ask for directions.  The locals aren't happy when they hear where they're headed, and warn them not to go. There've been multiple people who've gone there and died.  The gang laughs it off since nothing scary and paranormal ever happens on their investigations.

When they get to the prison, their guide shows them the areas with the most reported activity, and warns them not to stay the night.  Joel isn't worried because, as he says, "we're professionals."  This turns out to provide much amusement (or annoyance, depending no how you look at it), when his camera  guy points his camera at the floor every single time something happens.  No wonder they have no footage of anything paranormal.  Maybe the camera guy should be fired if he can't hold the camera upright whenever something occurs.

After the group's Medium is attacked and injured, they decide to vacate the premises, but discover that someone has padlocked the front door.  Since this is the only way out of the building, they must figure out how to survive the night, and treat their injured team member who needs serious medical attention.

This is another movie about ghost hunters actually finding something, even though they usually don't.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Amityville: A New Generation (1993)

Keyes lives in a building with loft apartments for artists, and a common area that everyone (except the landlord) wants to use to hold a showing.  While at a coffee shop around the corner, Keyes takes a photo of a homeless man across the street.  When he approaches the man to give him money since he thinks he will be able to sell the photo, the man insists on giving him an old creepy mirror.

Keyes neighbor Suki borrows the mirror, and shortly afterwards her vindictive ex-boyfriend is found dead in her apartment. Suki's upset and starts painting crazy eight foot canvases which she suspends from the ceiling and uses nooses to make them move up and down.  Well.... that doesn't bode well.

When a detective calls Keyes to come to the morgue to identify a body, he's afraid it may be Suki since she's been acting strange.  But it ends up being the homeless guy that gave Keyes the mirror.  The guy had Keyes name and address in his coat, and the detective wants to know their connection.

Keyes mentions he only met him once, but offers to pay for his burial, which raises eyebrows.  Why  pay for the burial of a man he met once?  Keyes becomes obsessed with investigating the mans life. So he drives to a soon to be closed psychiatric asylum where the nurse is perfectly willing to show Keyes the confidential medical files, as well as squawk on and on about the man's background.  When she hears the man gave Keyes a gift, the nurse freaks him out by stating it must have been a mirror.

Although Keyes has been having nightmares for a week, which coincides with his possession of the creepy mirror, Keyes can't seem to it this together.  It all comes to a head at the art show in the building, which is notable for the stupidest art piece ever -  a TV with a rife mounted on top pointing towards a chair.  The rifle is on a timer set to go off sometimes before the year 2001.  Wow.

So wait, you're asking, I thought this was an Amityville movie?  But it takes place in a loft in the city? So what does this have to do with the Amityville house?  Almost nothing.  This is about the cursed mirror that came from the house.  It's the only connection, and once or twice we see the house in the mirror, or Keyes has nightmares about the murders which were committed on Thanksgiving day.  (Happy Thanksgiving!)

This is a direct to video film (like you didn't know), and it shows.  I can't imagine anyone looking for an Amityville movie will be happy to discover it doesn't take place in Amityville and is about some stupid mirror which is loosely tied into the title.  Boooooo!!!

Update: I forgot to add these screen shots:

Would you accept a creepy mirror from this homeless man?
The only time the Amityville Horror house comes
into play is when it 's image shows up in the mirror.
Todays photography lesson - don't use a zoom lens
when you're trying to take a portrait.
The worst art ever - the timer will set off the gun some time
prior to 2001, hope no one's sitting in the chair it's aimed at

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Bullet to the Head (2012)

Sylvester Stallone mumbles his way through another film while wearing strange looking unnaturally dark colored brillopad hair. Stallone plays a hitman named Bobo, who accepts a contract on a corrupt cop. After Bobo and his partner make the hit, his partner is murdered, and Bobo barely escapes the same fate.

Detective Kwon arrives in New Orleans to investigate the death of his former partner.  After seeing the two bodies in the morgue, he puts together that Bobo and his now dead partner were responsible for the hit.  He tracks down Bobo in a bar, and converses with him to let him know he's on to him. But upon leaving, Kwon is attacked by corrupt police who don't want him looking into the hit, and Bobo ends up coming to his aid. The two start working in an uneasy alliance since whoever ordered the original hit wants them both dead.

I'm not a Stallone fan, but my friends forced me to watch this action flick, and he hasn't aged well. Sure he's muscular and physically in good shape, but when you see his face from his younger days, yikes!  Also his hair is starting to resemble the strange creature that lives on Steven Seagal's head. Plus he is getting super mumbly in his dialogue. Sometimes it's actually hard to understand him even though he's speaking English.

However I have to say for an action movie, it's not bad.  It's not ever going to be held up as one of the great action films, but it was okay and made good use of the typical cliches you'd expect.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Primer (2004)

Aaron, Abe, Robert, and Phillip are engineers who use Aaron's garage to work on their own projects after being at the job all day. Aaron and Abe disagree with the other two on what actions they should take, and start working on their own project in which they accidentally discover time travel.

Building a machine - essentially a box - that is large enough for a person, Abe rents a storage space to test his theories. Later when he meets up with Aaron, Abe give him binoculars and directs him to look across a field - where Aaron sees a man who appears to be Abe walking into the storage facility with an oxygen tank.

The two start experimenting with time travel, and put it to use playing the stock market.  But as they keep going back in time, strange things start happening. And now that they both know how to use the machines, there is the possibility that one or both of them from other days are also going back in time, meaning there would be multiple versions of them in the same time.

This is an interesting, yet confusing movie. It's like Algebra - if you miss one of the main components or don't get it, then you're lost later on.  The movie doesn't dumb down the tech speak, trying to be realistic, and it's impressive that it was reportedly made for only $7000.  It's obviously not a big budget movie, but it doesn't look like it was so cheaply made either.

There's multiple time traveling which overlaps, and gets extremely confusing.  Also unlike many time travel movies where you just punch in a time and date, and voila!, you're in the past.  Here the traveler must spend the same amount of time in the box that you go back in time. So if you got back in time five hours, you've got to be in the box for five hours. Argh, getting confused again.   Someone actually made a chart which explains each time line, which is also confusing.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Crush (2013)

Bess is a super shy, insecure, awkward teen who has a crush on Scott, a popular soccer star. at her school In this day of technology, she is able to stalk Scott by reading his posts, using a phone app that tracks where he is, and reading newspaper articles about his sports prowess. Wow, that's a lot easier than when I was in junior high and you had to hang out in the hallways hoping your crush might walk by.

Scott's best friend is Jules, his ex-girlfriend.  Jules flirts with Scott and wants a relationship, but he's focused on rehabing his knee injury so he can get back on the field.  So he tells her he just needs a friend right now.  Jules says okay, like you do when you agree to be just friends, but you're waiting to find a way to turn it into more than that.

On the last day of school, Scott finds a note in his locker about how he's so special and only his secret admirer can really appreciate him. It provides a date and place to meet.  Scott's flattered, but not interested enough to show up for the meeting, which leaves Bess sitting awkwardly alone waiting for a guy who'll never show up.

Bess works at a record store where her older co-worker Andie commiserates about what it's like to have a crush that is unrequited.  Andie is kind to Bess, even though Bess is so shy she's a weirdo, and points out that she should consider Jeffrey, a boy from school that is essentially stalking her in the same way she stalks Scott.  But Bess isn't interested and asks Jeffrey to stop following her.

When Bess sees their former teacher Ms. Brown slipping Scott her number at a local coffee shop, she blurts out that she hopes he won't call her because she can't appreciate him.  The creep factor increases when Bess pulls out a drawing of Scott's that she retrieved from the school trashcan earlier in the year.  Scott tells her to leave him alone.

Shortly after that Jules becomes the victim of graffiti on her window warning her to stay away from Scott, as well as a murder attempt at a high school party.  Scott says it must be his stalker, but when a topless photo of Jules that was on Scott's phone ends up being sent to everyone in school, Jules thinks Scott is to blame for everything.

The movie has twists and turns, and the identity of the stalker is in question. Is it quiet weirdo Bess? Is it her stalker Jeffrey who doesn't like her paying attention to other boys?  Is it Scott's friend/rival who likes Jules and wants to be the star of the soccer team? Or is it the little girl from the beginning who has grown up and had no problem pushing her male best friend off a roof because he kissed another girl instead of her?  Yikes!

It's an okay film, but it's been done before.  The strangest thing about this film is that every woman who is named in the film is interested in Scott.  He's not bad looking, but it's not like he's got this  killer personality or is super charming.  Holy cow, what is this power he has over women?  And when his former teacher slips him her number, you just want to throw your hands up in the air.  Why?  I know the papers seem to be loaded with stories of teachers having relationships with students, but really?  Good god, women, get a grip!

Bermuda Tentacles (2014)

Captain Trip Oliver,  head of some undefined special forces unit, is called in to rescue the President of the United States after the Pres is jettisoned in an escape pod from Air Force One.  But Admiral Linda Hansen doesn't cotton to young Trip because they butted head the last time they worked together. Trip disobeyed orders and members of his unit died.  Trip blames the Admiral for the mens deaths, and the Admiral hates that Trip didn't follow orders.

Even though the Presidents pod went down in the Bermuda Triangle.  No one shall ask why they didn't make the pod buoyant so the President didn't have to worry about running out of air.

There's nothing to be alarmed about though because the best men are.... oh wait, are those massive tentacles surrounding the  boat and waving at  the crew?  Before you know it, the fleet is being attacked by terrible cgi tentacles.

Trip and his crew jump into the Prometheus, the experimental underwater vehicle they've been authorized to use once the Admiral gives the okay. But as we all know Trip's a rebel who lives by his own rules, and takes risks to get the job done.  Trip orders his crew to to take off in the Prometheus and then shuts off the radio so they can't hear the Admiral screaming.  Now to rescue the President if they can find his pod.

Good god, this is terrible.  Love the title, but that's it.  The cgi is really bad.  The story is full of cliches, which can sometimes be fun, but this is so tedious that the cliches don't provide any amusement.  Linda Hamilton plays the Admiral, and she has not aged well. I'm not sure if they purposely made her look old, but she appears to be a smoker with all those lines on her upper lip.  Also if this was the only thing I'd ever seen her in, I'd say she was a terrible actress. Half her scenes consist of her making crazy eyes at the other characters, or in response to something that is said.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Violet and Daisy (2011)

Violet and Daisy are two teenage girls share an apartment, squeal with joy over their favorite pop star, and hope to earn the money to be able to afford the new dress in their idols clothing line.  But unlike other teens with similar lifestyles, they’re also paid assassins.

After a very Tarantino opening sequence  the two decide they are getting burned out and need to go on vacation.  But the offer of one last well paying job will provide them with the money they need to buy the dresses they want, and they decide to take the job.

After breaking into their victims apartment, they case the joint and sit down to discuss their next steps.  Unlike good hit men, the girls fall asleep while waiting for their man to come home, and awake to find him sitting across from them in the next room staring at them.

Surprisingly, he's not alarmed at finding these strangers in his home, or concerned that they're there to kill him. While the girls argue about completing the job, their victim asks them questions about their own lives, which is not the best way to maintain a perfect hit record. Once you interact with a person, it's no longer impersonal. So their victim becomes human rather than just an anonymous job.

Their target also tells them that if they are planning on killing him,they'd better work quickly since there is another group of men interested in killing him, and they're going to want to take credit for the hit so they get paid, as well as maintain their reputations.

The juxtaposition between two seemingly innocent teens obsessed with a pop star, and their job as hit men is interesting.  But if you're looking for a back story as to how the girls were recruited, you'll be disappointed.  There are a few scenes of violence, with one being fairly disturbing, but a good portion of the movie is a dialogue between the girls and their target. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Demented (2013)

Three couples celebrate the end of the semester by vacationing at a large house owned by ones father.  Everyone’s having a great time until they receive a call from the father to report that there have been missiles launched at the US.  The house doesn’t have cell reception and there is no tv so they can’t monitor the news.  No one shall ask why they don’t use the radios in their cars.

A vote on whether to leave or stay ends up being in favor of staying put.  Later that day, a dog shows up in the yard.  It looks odd and is drooling.  They idiotically go outside to investigate.  When the dog charges at them, they lock themselves in the house, and decide to retire for the night.

The next day, the dog is still there. More idiocy commences when one of the guys decides he's had enough of this dog and goes outside with a bat.  Yes, because it’s always a good move to approach the  crazy, drooling dog.  After dispatching the dog, one of the soft hearted and soft headed kids decides to bring the dog to the local animal control. 

As he drives into town listening to the radio, he hears broadcasts warning everyone to lock themselves in their homes, There are also reports of biological weapon attacks.  

When he spies a car off the road ahead with a lady standing beside it, his kindness and lack of cranial functioning causes him to disregard any warning he's heard and he stops to offer her help.  As he approaches, she turns two reveal just what you'd expect - she's infected and insane, or demented, if you will.  

After managing to get away from her, he drives back to the house, and screams that they have to leave. As they’re arguing about it, one of the demented jumps throughout the window and the action begins.  Here the movie goes into overdrive as we have the group trying to figure out how to survive and escape from the demented.  The stereotypical coward character is among the friends, and the crisis brings out the worst in some of them.

David’s girlfriend is so freaking annoying.  She screams a lot and it actually sounds like the actress is hoarse, which makes it sound even more annoying.  I realize that some people just scream a lot, but seriously, when making a film find a happy medium between the amount a person may actually scream, and how irritating it is to the audience to constantly hear someone scream.

Also what sort of moron shuts a door with their fingers in it? It's so unnatural. Plus that’s how you’re going to get bitten, or if you're lucky, just break all your fingers.

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Conjuring (2013)

Roger and Carolyn Perron, and their five daughters move into a large old home they've just purchased.  While the kids are playing, they accidentally knock a hole in the closet wall. Surprisingly, Roger discovers that it is not actually a closet, but an entryway to the basement where the door had been walled over.

Going into the basement, Roger and Carolyn are surprised to discover a furnace and tons of items owned by previous owners.  No one shall ask why the Perrons would buy a run down house without getting a home inspection or, more importantly, confirming that they actually had a furnace.

Strange things start happening, and the family ends up terrified in their own home. They are unable to leave since all their savings have been invested into the purchase of the home. Desperate for a solution to their nightmare, Carolyn seeks the help of Ed and Lorraine Warren, paranormal researchers who are lecturing at a local college.

The Warrens are renowned paranormal experts who have successfully helped others with their hauntings. The couple has a large locked room in their house filled with evil or haunted objects which they've removed to provide peace to the affected families.

Based on Carolyn's desperation, the Warren's agree to take the case and arrive at the house with their crew to investigate.  The level of activity increases and things get super creepy pretty fast as the evil spirits don't appreciate the Warren's interference.

This is one creepy, scary movie. The film mostly uses atmosphere to generate the scares. I prefer this type of film to one that uses blood or gore for scares. If a movie can successfully pull off a scary or tense atmosphere, then your own imagination will prove to be far scarier than whatever the filmmaker could imagine.  This one was scary enough that I don't think I could have watched it in the theater - since it's a huge dark room where some thing could sneak up behind me.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Cyborg (1989)

In a post apocalyptic US, Jean Claude Van Damme is a Gibson Rickenbacker, a man who doesn't care about anything. That's because his family was killed by a gang of muscle bound pirates who dress like something out of The Road Warrior.

A number  of years later, Gibson has gotten rid of his ratty looking wig, and is still walking around the city.  He runs into a Cyborg whose partner was just killed by pirates, and tries to save her.  The Cyborg lady was tasked getting a cure for the plague to Atlanta.  She has the potential cure in her brain circuits.   No one shall ask why the scientists don't have any back up of this cure for humanity, or why they sent her with a single escort instead of a convoy of armed guards.

The pirates like to kill everything that moves. So after believing they've killed Gibson, they grab the Cyborg and head out to Atlanta. It's some sort of power move that is never explained, but I guess they figure it's easier to kill doctors than to kill guys with muscles. Since our Cyborg has the potential cure, they're using her as a bargaining chip for.... something.

Just like Gibson, the pirate leader is named after guitars. Our bad guy answers to the name Fender Tremelo. Oddly enough, even though Fender is very distinctive looking, Gibson doesn't realize this is the same man who killed his family until half way through the film when he's crucified by the gang.

This movie is completely disjointed.  Quite a bit of the film is in flashbacks to show what happened to Gibson and his family.  Also surprisingly, based on the title, the Cyborg has little to do with the movie after the initial set up.  Mostly it's just Gibson fighting the pirates, doing well and later getting the crap beaten out of him. Also Fender seems to have a self replicating team of pirates, since Gibson kills off a ton of his men, yet the size of Fender's gang never decreases.

Due to the apocalypse and the questionable intellect of the characters, get ready to hear little or no dialogue, interspersed with Fender screaming, "Arrrrrrrrrrrr!"  That seems to be his response to almost anything, other than occasionally whipping off his sunglasses and making a lame threat. It becomes extremely annoying near the end of the film when every second of the film seems to be filled up with his annoying bellowing.

This is a Canon / Golan-Globus film, which will either make you say yay or uh oh, depending on your preference. I'm always up for watching their films from the 80s since they tend to be ridiculous or fun. Notice that I didn't say good, but usually they're entertaining.

Watch for the scene where a character is kicked onto a hook in the wall. He stumbles back into it, but in the next scene he's hanging on the hook at least a foot off the floor. Hilarious.
Nice wig.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Dark Feed (2013)

Oddly enough when I first saw the cover, i thought it was a faceless guy in a hooded sweatshirt.  But it’s obviously a woman in a nurses outfit, which would make sense since it takes place in an old asylum.

A woman is roaming through an old asylum... oh hell, did her blood just wake up the evil that lives in the asylum?  Yeah, that’s not cliche.  But here we go - blood goes into the drain and a dark shadow spreads across the wall.  This surely won’t go well for the film crew making a movie there.

Chris arrives at the asylum to watch the filming of a low budget movie he's written.  No one seems to want him there.  There’s no reason provided for his visit, and since he doesn’t do anything except get in everyones way, and the crew seems irritated by his presence, let's just assume he's there for plot convenience.

Since he's ignored by most of the people on the set, Chris hangs  out with the still photographer and interns, one of whom is a cute girl. Turns out the interns have been told to baby sit him, which doesn't make Chris feel welcome, but then again they’re the only friendly people on the set. 

Cast members start to be affected by the evil, and start acting strangely.  Chris sees some strange things, but hey they're making a horror film, so it's not that far off base when weird things happen.  But soon it becomes apparent that something is horribly wrong since people are dying. Meh.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Deep Star Six (1989)

A crew is nearing the end of a six months stint at an underwater station excavating at the ocean floor in preparation to build platforms for missiles from the Navy.  Unfortunately they picked the one spot on the ocean floor where there's a huge crater that continues an alien monster.

When the crater is discovered, some of the crew don't think it's the best idea to put the missile platform there.  But the Captain decides the only option is to blow up the crater to see what happens.

When they send a remote into the massive hole to broadcast a video feed of what's there, the stupid thing goes blank and they can't get it to respond to commands. So the two crew members in the manned sub go after it, hoping to avoid trouble for losing the remote.  After horrified looks and screams all around ,they are never heard from again.

After the secondary station is attacked and ends up precariously hanging on the edge of the crater, the gang back at the base decide that the threat of the unknown attacker, plus the standstill due to the chasm where the platforms should be, means they should abandon the station for their own safety.

As expected, things go horribly wrong and the crew can't leave.  Much of the trouble stems from the resident coward who regularly makes bad decisions and is prone to panic. In fact, the coward may be responsible for more deaths than the actual creature. And how the heck did an alien get into a subterranean chasm under the ocean anyway?

Matt McCoy spends the movie smiling and smirking, even when giving his condolences to a grieving fellow crew member.  He's much more suited to sitcoms since he can't seem to stop cracking a smile, even at the most opportune moments.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Timestalkers (1987)

A year after the tragic loss of his wife and son in a car accident, history professor Scott McKenzie is convinced by best friend General Joe Brodsky to attend an Old West auction. They bid on and win a couple of trunks. While Scott is perusing the ephemera contained within, he stumbles across an tintype - which appears to be printed on heavy paper.  It depicts three desperadoes in their coffins. In the background, Scott discovers a man who has a 1980 era pistol.

Thinking he's been ripped off since the photo couldn't possibly have been taken in the 1800s, Scott does further research and starts to wonder if perhaps something else is going on.  He is approached by a woman named Georgia who wants to see the photo so that she can track down where it was taken, for whatever historical thing she's supposedly working on.

The two stop in a deserted tourist old west town a couple of hours away which has a mountain range that matches the photo.  Hot damn, if Georgia doesn't turn out to be a time traveler trying to track down Dr. Cole, the man in the photo.  Cole is an evil scientist who's gone back in time to kill the ancestors of Georgia's father who demanded that time travel be used for good and not personal whims or evil.  No one shall ask why Dr. Cole decided to go 700 years into the past rather than perhaps tracking down her father as a child, and pushing him off a cliff.

Future lady Georgia searched out Scott because he wrote an amazing treatise on the theory of time travel.  Yes, I'm sure it's still relevant 600 years later, as she says. The two team up to try to stop Dr. Cole and hijinks ensue.  Georgia dresses up as a Union soldier, which is confusing since I'm not sure if the movie is asking us to suspend disbelief and think she actually is fooling the rubes in the 1800s just because she's got her hair tucked up under her hat.  And what the hell is up with Scott, who takes a scarf and ties it around his head like he's Jimi Hendrix.

This is a made for TV movie. The first scenes into the past are a sharp, unexpected jolt that occur during the auction.  All of a sudden there's this sound effect right out of Star Wars and what looks like an explosion that wipes the screen into a different era. It happens multiple times before there's any context so you're not sure what's going on.  Also it seems like maybe they couldn't decide what sort of movie they wanted to make so they threw a western and the future into a drama.

Time travel is accomplished with the aid of an item that reminded me a of a glass doorknob. Every time they travel, the ground is scorched in a circle around them.  Dr. Cole cleverly uses time travel to position himself within a military zone and then comes into the present to avoid going through military security.  Clever, but I always wonder why no one ever materializes half inside a wall since it would be hard to judge exactly where the buildings were at a different time period.  Klaus Kinski is Dr. Cole, and every time you think he can't look any crazier, he ups the ante and looks even more insane.  Also I find William Devane's large teeth very distracting.

The movie is fairly typical of made for tv fare, but the ending leaves more questions than it answers because it messes with time which would create a paradox.  

Why that certainly is a male Union soldier, but my
1800s brain can't make heads nor tails of that scarf.
All you need for time travel is a glass doorknob
Uber creepy, crazy Kinski

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Hey...Stop Stabbing Me! (2003)

In the matter of a few hours, Herman graduates from college, gets kicked out of the dorms, finds out his parents are away on a three month vacation, and has his belonging stolen when he hitches a ride to a friends house.  He's hoping to crash with his buddy for a week or so until he finds a job. But his buddy is newly married, and his wife, who Herman's never met, hates him.

While wondering what to do next, he finds a flyer advertising a room for rent and hitches a ride to the address.  Then his luck changes.  He gets the room, finds a job, and gets a girlfriend.  

His roommates are a bit strange though.  Blaine does gardening and seems nice until he catches Herman using his comb.  Icky is always sick. Demon has a thing about people leaving clothing on the floor.  Allan gets angry when asked not to play his drums first thing in the morning, and then the takes on the person of Chartreuse, who is writing a symphony about how much he hates Herman.  Also there is something in the basement stealing Herman’s socks.

When Herman moved in, his room was full of stuff, as if someone already lived there. When he asks about it, he’s told the guy who lived there disappeared.  But there are signs with names on them in the backyard near freshly turned earth, and Herman's told the names are of all the roommates who disappeared.  Blaine believes they’ve joined a cult, but Herman begins to suspect those are graves and there’s a serial killer in the house.

This is a super low budget horror/comedy which appears to be made on VHS.  It’s the type of thing that I am always afraid of watching because it’s obviously low budget amateur, but this one is actually pretty funny.  The only complaint I have is that it seems to run out of steam and should have been a little shorter.  But it’s ridiculous and made me laugh out loud at some of the bizarre stuff that happens. 

There’s also a second movie included on the DVD, Sledgehammers at Dawn, made by the same people.  I barely managed to get through it. It doesn’t have the same charm as the first one, and the humor mostly falls flat.

Friday, November 7, 2014

The Hooker Cult Murder (1973)

aka The Pyx

Detective Jim Henderson is called to a crime scene where a woman has fallen to her death. The woman turns out to be Elizabeth, a local prostitute and heroin user.  Henderson suspects that this was a murder rather than an accident, and sets out trying to piece together what really occurred.

Since the film begins with Elizabeth's death, the scenes consist of Henderson and his partner tracking down leads and interviewing people who knew the victim.  These scenes are interspersed with a chronological view of Elizabeth's last days so that we find out the details of what truly happened to her as Hendersons investigation processes.

Christopher Plummer is Henderson and does a good job in the role. Karen Black plays Elizabeth and is likable and sympathetic.  It's actually more of a police/crime drama than horror, although horror does play into things in the last part of the film.  

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The ABC's of Death (2012)

The ABC's of Death is an interesting concept.  Assign each letter of the alphabet to a different filmmaker and give them free reign over their vision of death.  Many segments are in a foreign language, so if you don't like subtitles, you will have a hard time with a lot of these short films.

Since everyone came up with their own concept, the film is all over the place.  So it can be tough to have recently watched a disturbing violent short and then all of sudden you're watching a cartoon about a lighter piece about a woman using the bathroom at a party. Also some pieces just seem to trail off.

The segments are hit or miss, with most of them being a miss for my taste.  I watched each one since teach segment is about five minutes long. My favorite one was the letter Q which was handled by Adam Wingard.  Credit to the guy who got Z and didn't do zombies.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Cut Throat (2001)

When the lead actress is murdered on the set of a low budget slasher, things go on as usual. You'd expect that people would have some reaction, but since they think they're working on the next Scream, no one cares much about the deaths occurring on set.

The filmmakers are out of money, and things keep going wrong. But they still cast a new lead actress who gets her dopey friend a job. More murders and strange things happen, and still no one particularly cares.

This isn't very interesting, and certainly not original.  Probably a good idea to skip this one.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

My Amityville Horror (2012)

Most people are familiar with the Amityville Horror.   The Lutz family get a great deal on a beautiful house. What the parents don't tell the children until they are moving in, is that the house was the scene of a mass murder by Ronald DeFeo who killed his parents and four siblings.  Creepy enough without the Lutz's purchase including the furnishings of the dead family. Soon all hell breaks loose and the family is harassed by spirits, suffer from possession, and flee the house - all within a month of purchasing it.

Daniel Lutz, the oldest child, has never publicly spoken about what happened in the house.  The psychological wounds weigh heavy on him, and he wants to try to get closure to an experience that has dogged him his entire life.  While some may question his motives, it could be as simple as wanting to move on with his life and not let a one month period when he was ten define his life any longer than it has.

If you're expecting new details on the haunting, you'll probably be disappointed. This is a character study of a man scarred by his childhood.  While telling his story, it's obvious that Daniel has a chip on his shoulder.  Who could blame him since it's the type of story that people won't believe.   Whether you believe the haunting or not, everyone has different reactions to trauma - some block it out and others relive it if they talk about it.

Even if there was no haunting, Daniel was still traumatized by his childhood. After his parents divorce, he took on responsibility of taking care of his mother and younger siblings.  This is not only a lot of pressure for a kid, but would probably lead him to resent anyone who takes his place as the protector of the family.

Daniel is a very angry man and was a troubled child, skipping school and fighting with his stepfather, George Lutz, who he hated.  In fact, he still spews hate towards the man he states had no parenting abilities whatsoever.  If his recollections of George are accurate, then George was a terrible father.  When the filmmakers and Daniel visit noted paranormal researcher Lorraine Warren, who consulted on the house in the 1970s,, her comments seem to confirm that George was a tool.

At the time of the hauntings, David was about ten years old. It would be easy for a parent to fabricate a haunting and convince a ten year old it's real.  So the question is whether the hauntings were real, were made up by the parents, are the continuation of a con by the family, or are a coping mechanism to try to deal with some sort of childhood trauma.  It's all speculation as to which you want to believe.

Although there are glimpses of humor in him and you really feel bad for the emotional scars he obviously carries - more for the family dynamic than the haunting - when Daniel stares right into the camera and his eyes go cold, he's one scary dude.  I would not want to make this guy mad because I get the feeling he's not going to take any crap from anyone.  Geez, the kid left home around fourteen years old and lived in the desert.

If I have a complaint about the film, it's that there is a clip used at the beginning where a woman states the house was never haunted and it was all a scam for money.  Who was that? The woman resembled Kathy Lutz - was it her? If so, what was that clip from?  Did Kathy Lutz confess to fraud, or was that someone else?  It would be easy enough for parents to convince a ten year old and younger siblings that their house was haunted.  I just wish there were more information regarding who that woman was in the clip, and if it was Kathy, why she was admitting this.

Whatever the truth, hopefully being able to tell his story will bring some peace to Daniel Lutz.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Neverlake (2013)

Jenny, who has a British accent even though she grew up in the United States, was raised by her grandmother.  When she gets to be sixteen, her father invites her for a visit to his home in Italy.  Contrary to her expectations of a warm embrace and time spent reconnecting, her father drops her off at home with a pushy housekeeper who insists her father has instructed that she take daily doses of vitamins, aka unknown pills.

Her father is doing archaeological research on the nearby Lake of Idols, and informs Jenny that she is not to touch the idols he's found in the lake, or any other relics in the home.  His office is kept locked and he won't allow her in there, even when he's there.  While he promises to spend time with here, he never does and Jenny decides to explore the nearby woods.

The Lake of Idols is nearby, and there she meets a girl who has a cloth tied around her head to cover her eyes. She tells Jenny she is blind and must get back to her home.  Jenny helps her, and finds that the girl lives in a huge building that is either a hospital  or asylum.

Jenny sneaks in with her new friend, meets a small group of children, and after a brief visit promises to return.  Since she has no friends, she visits daily, bringing books and poetry to read to them.  The children warn her to make sure no one sees her coming or going because the adults are not to be trusted.

Soon Jenny beings investigating what her father keeps locked up in his office, and has an experience with the supernatural while at the lake with the children.  Something is not right, but she isn't quite sure what is going on.

The film is story based and at times I found it a bit slow.  But you can't help but feel for Jenny who is left feeling lonely and ignored by her own father.  Olga is usually the only one around and she is  domineering and creepy.  As a teenager, Jenny is essentially at their mercy, since she has to rely on  transportation from her father. The whole situation is unnerving, even the strange children she befriends.  The film looks nice and overall it's okay.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Septic Man (2013)

When the government mandates a small town be evacuated due to a contaminated water supply, septic man Jack is given a large sum of money by a mystery man who asks him to stay and solve the problem.  Jack questions whether he should do it, but decides to take the money due to his desire to provide for wife and soon to be born child.

While Jack is in the subterranean sewer tunnels trying to find the source of the problem, he finds a hatch to an even lower level. When he opens the hatch, he's greeted by a terrible smell which he investigates, without any sort of respirator.  Unfortunately for Jack, he's knocked into the disgusting sewer water when the hatch knocks him on the noggin.

With a possible head injury, Jack tries to find a way out of the sewer and proceeds to yell for help. It's not likely that anyone will find him due being several levels below ground and a mandatory town evacuation, but what the hell.

The description of this movie said that Jack undergoes a hideous transformation, and 45 minutes into it, he's just a screaming guy with crap on his face.  Over and over we watch Jack scream, explore tunnels, and puke.  It gets old.  Although I expected no one to find him down there, two other characters are introduced, but are annoying.  Based on the trailer (which made the movie look really interesting), Jack does start to look like monster, but when we gave up after 45 minutes, he hadn't transformed.

The film is pretty disgusting since it's focus is on sewers, and the bacteria in the water causes projectile vomiting and diarrhea.  The movie was made by those involved with Monster Battle (which I absolutely hated), and Pontypool, (which I loved).  So I was interested to see where I would end up on the scale for this one. Ultimately I was disappointed.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Thale (2012)

Leo and Elvis clean up crime scenes after the police are done with them. It's a disgusting job, but somebody's got to do it.  Their newest assignment is to clean up the sight of a suicide.  But as they're ripping out some blood stained wood, they find a secret room which leads to other secret rooms.

Elvis decides to look around, although Leo warns him to wait until they call their boss.  But soon Elvis is opening doors and finds a room with filled with canned food and another room which looks like it may have been used as a lab.  There are jars with strange things suspended in liquid, and a large tub filmed with milky liquid with tubes going into it.

Soon they find a young woman, or at least she appears to be a woman. Elvis starts  playing cassettes found in the lab.  They were made by the man who kept her there and detail an experiment performed, as well as other creatures of her own kind who are trying to find her.  As Leo and Elvis wait for their boss to show up, there are noises outside and someone starts trying to kick down the door to get inside.

This is an odd, atmospheric film.  There's not a lot of action or blood, and at one point I almost considered fast forwarding through part of it.  As with many foreign films (it's Norwegian), the dubbed voices display a lack of emotion and are disgracing. So you'd be better off using the subtitles.