Friday, December 25, 2015

Death From Beyond 2: Eternal Damnation (2008)

Okay the description for this film says, "Nefratis, the demon princess of Egypt, has reincarnated in the 21st century as Marcia; a young archaeologist.  When a film crew decides to film in Marcia's apartment, they must control their own lustful urges before they become the next victims of the demon princess that murdered her way into our century from a fiery grave in ancient Egypt."  Uh, what?

I don't think that was the movie I just watched. I don't remember a film crew or a young archaeologist. All I remember is tons of primitive CGI, generic music, numerous things that make no sense, and long scenes with no dialogue.  Oh and Nazi's, strange half skeletons that flit around while holding swords, and a hero that resembles George Constanza.

Based on the credits, one man is to answer for this. James Panetta is listed in the credits as: lead actor; director, producer; executive producer; costume designer; editor; casting director; cinematographer; and special effects editor.  Sure, when you do indie movies, you have to take on more roles in production. But there is also a correlation to the number of times a name appears in the credits, and how bad the movie turns out.

Some of the things to watch for (if you can make it through this overly long movie):

  • walls painted to look like stone
  • backgrounds made of fabric
  • tons of horrendous CGI
  • in the hospital hallway, a man in a suit and tie is asking a nurse questions about a patient and seems to have no knowledge of his condition. I thought he was a reporter until suddenly he tells the nurse to, "get in there and check his IV."  
  • blood pouring from a woman's mouth as she is held aloft by her neck, but no blood on the floor beneath her
  • a woman who finds her door open at night and looks around for who did it - yet the viewer can see someone run across the front lawn, from right to left
  • characters who don't move when something deadly is flying at their head
  • Berlin 1945 - it may seem like a viable option to use CGI background for this... but it's not
  • a musical interlude which rips off Floyd the Barber by Nirvana
  • people spending a lot of time shrugging, smiling, looking confused, sneering, looking evil, all while generic music plays
  • tons of scenes with no dialogue (and bad CGI just can't support the lack of dialogue)
  • awkward squats with a sword, while trying to take a threatening fighting stance

Cringe worthy dialogue:

"So I take it Charlies Not So Angels are no longer with us?"

Think anyone will notice the blanket walls,
or the nails and plywood painted like stone pillars? 
Get ready for a lot of this
Copyrighted material has been blurred for your protection
This is how she tried to escape the CGI screwdriver
Blanket walls should never be in your movie unless you're 10
Neon swastikas for the Nazis
George Costanza is ready for action
Your sister preparing for the local Rennaisance Festival
Someone needs to pay more attention to lighting
They've ramped up the CGI
Your heroes?  No, it's your neighbors LARPing in the barn.
Nothing to see here. Move along.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Creepshow 3 (2006)

Wait, there's a Creepshow 3?  Why have I never heard of this?  Oh, probably because George Romero and Stephen King have nothing to do with this, and it's crap. Basically two chumps got the rights to the name and tried to make a buck.

The anthology starts with Alice, the story of a pain in the ass teenage girl who ends up in a different dimension every time her father tries to use his new remote control for the tv.  It's pretty gruesome since she gets horrible boils all over her body, but it's pretty stupid also.

Next up is The Radio, about a mild mannered security guard who lives in a dive where pimps and prostitutes dwell.  He buys a radio from a weirdo on the street, and the radio starts telling him what to do to improve his life.  No idea why he goes along with this since it has him climbing into abandoned buildings and stealing cardboard boxes filled with cash, but there you go. Just do what the sexy voiced radio says.

Third we get the Call Girl, who is also a serial killer.  She gets a call from a young man who turns out to be something other than he appears.

The Professors Wife is about an old professor visited by two former students, who he's invited to his upcoming wedding.  When they meet his fiancĂ©, who is more than half his age, they aren't sure what to think.  But based on his work in robotics, and his penchant for pranks, they decide she must be a robot and set out to dismantle her.

Lastly, we have the Haunted Dog, which is the story of an arrogant, callous doctor who is doing community service at a free clinic.  On the way there, he gives a homeless man a hotdog that was dropped in the dirt. The man chokes on it, as the doctor ignores cries from passersby for a doctor. Soon the doc is seeing visions of the dead man offering him a hotdog.  Ooooo, isn't that scary boys and girls?

Well, it's obvious why this isn't well known. The characters are jerks and the stories aren't very good. They manage to have each tale intertwine by throwing characters into the background of other stories, making them overlap. But other than that sort of interesting schtick, it's a dud.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Alien 3000 (2004)

aka Unseen Evil 2

Alien 3000 sounds like a product that would be promoted on a late night infomercial, but alas, no such luck.  As I was watching the film, it seemed a bit familiar.  Then there was a flashback to a another movie and I realized I had inadvertently rented a sequel to the crappy movie, Unseen Evil. Notice it is being promoted under a complete different name....  Bah, I probably would have watched it at some point anyway but they definitely tricked me by using a different name.

Some twenty something friends find a treasure of gold, and are quickly killed by a creature that inhabits the cave - although not before getting a good laugh when a bat flies into the girls hair... because it's funny that your friends freak out over bats in their hair.  The viewer can enjoy that the bat appears to be on a string as it repeatedly bonks her on the head.

Next thing you know Kate is screaming and lying in hospital bed. Who is Kate? We're told she is the only survivor from a previous creature attack, which is confusing if you've seen the first film since she isn't played by the same actress. Heck, it's also confusing if you haven't seen the first film, since there are assumptions made that you'll know what the hell is going on.

Everyone believes Kate killed her friends, but the Paranormal Government Research Agency (PGRA) interviews her and asks her to bring them to the location where her friends were killed.  They have a military escort that is apparently made up of losers and rejects, who also happen to be incredibly unlikeable. As the movie goes on, it becomes obvious that no one on the trip believes Kates story. Seriously?  How bad off do you have to be when people who believe in paranormal activity won't believe you?

Why does the alien care when someone touches the Spanish gold in the cave?  How can two men survive a helicopter explosion without injury when they jump from the copter, then tuck and roll when they hit the ground? Why use flashbacks from the first film when the only character that's in both is played by a different actress?

Sometimes this type of film an be funny, or make you appreciate indie films that lack a budget but are well done.  Unfortunately this one does neither and is just crappy.  It's important to note that the alien on the cover bears no resemblance to the alien in the movie, which alternates between CGI and a guy in a monster suit.

If you look at the IMDB message boards for this film, you'll find postings by numerous people who claim to be investors in the film and that the production company ripped them off. Interesting. And when someone complained about the quality of the film, another person responded with,  "Dude, it has [Lorenzo] Lamas in it. You never buy a ticket... or pay to rent a movie with him in it."  Word.

If only their names were Danger and High Voltage
Is using a pencil to poke a creature a good scientific method?
No... no it's not
It's only a model.
Invisible Alien
Alien on an acid trip
Sometimes it's a guy in a monster suit....
...and sometimes it's CGI 
Helicopter blows up and crashes? Don't worry.
Just tuck and roll and you'll be fine.
Alien ship or pricker burr?
Yes, this is the door opening on an alien spaceship
More aliens? Yay!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Thor the Conquerer (1983)

When Thor's parents are murdered, he is raised by a mystic weirdo who can change into an owl.  Things seem to go okay until Thor is an adult, at which point he sees his first woman and is informed that women are things to play with that must obey you.  So basically, a weird guy with a costume out of Duran Duran's Wild Boys teaches our oiled up lunkhead that it's okay to rape women.  And old creepy is always watching when Thor brings women back to the cave. Ewwww...

After his first female conquest is killed, Thor decides to do some rambling and conquers another woman that he makes his plaything. Yeah, he sure is a swell guy.  Oddly enough when attacked by cannibals, his prisoner rescues him instead of running away, which earns Thors respect - or as much respect as any barbarian can have for a possession.

Thor is not a likable guy. He's kind of stupid, and believes the hype that he's going to rule the land, and it's okay to kill, steal and rape. He also has a terrible wig, or if that's his hair, he's in desperate need of conditioner.  There isn't much of a plot. So Thor wanders around getting in fights or looking at things. Then the weirdo owl mystic shows up, amazingly he doesn't smack his massive shoulder pads into the cave walls, and creepily watches Thor.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Dragon Lives Again (1977)

aka Deadly Hands of Kung Fu

After Bruce Lee dies, he wakes up in a fancy cave with the King of the Underworld. To prove his power, the King shakes a pillar which causes an  earthquake and explains he could destroy the world if he desired.   You'd think that the Underworld was Hell but since the King says he can send Bruce to Hell if he messes with him, then I guess not.  What is the difference between the Underground and Hell, and why is Bruce here?  No idea.

Through exposition we're that even though he doesn't look like Bruce Lee, that is because when you die your face and your body change. There is no explanation offered for why everyone who sees him instantly recognizes he is Bruce Lee.

When Bruce goes to a restaurant for something to eat, he is set upon by the blind swordsman, Clint Eastwood, James Bond, and some guys in skeleton suits.  He is nursed back to health by an old man and his young innocent daughter.  So the Underworld is just the same as Earth, with restaurants owned by good people who are victimized by organized crime?

Meanwhile there is a plot to take overthrow the King and take control of the Underworld.  This is being done by Bond, Eastwood, the blind swordsman, the Godfather, the Exorcist, and Emmanuelle.  If they can't handle it, they also have the help of Dracula and his zombies (which turn out to be the guys in skeleton suits).  In order to take control, they must kill Bruce. I have no idea why since he isn't in charge, and if they'd just left him alone maybe everything would have gone smoothly.

Emmanuelle tries to seduce him, but is thwarted when Bruce sees the rest of the villains peeking through a curtain of beads on the other side of the cave.  Couldn't they have waited until she finished?  And why take him to the cave when the villains lounge is a short way down the corridor?  Like everything else in this movie, it makes no sense.

When the villains decide to make another attempt on Bruce's life, he gets help from his friends, the one armed swordsman, Kwai Chang Caine (from the TV series Kung Fu), and Popeye.  You heard me... Popeye, complete with little sailor hat and corncob pipe.  What the hell.

And when you think you've seen everything, here comes Dracula - enjoying a walk in the daytime  -with his zombies.  But then Bruce shows up dressed as Kato from the Green Hornet.  You think nothing can top that until a herd of mummies show up and play Ring Around the Rosy with Bruce in the middle.  And it doesn't spoil anything to tell you that the movie ends with Bruce floating up into the sky to go back to Earth. It makes no freakin' sense.

This is one of the strangest kung fu films I've ever seen.  The soundtrack has clips from Enter the Dragon, James Bond, Morricone westerns, and even a brief clip from Carl Douglas's song, Kung Fu Fighting.  Bruce's moves are named after his movies. There are posters of the real Bruce Lee covering the walls in one scene, which is awkward since we're watching fake Bruce.  There is a lot of talk about Bruce begin well endowed and popular with the women.  Surprisingly when Dracula and his zombies pin Bruce down, his third leg (which has a shoe on it) kicks Dracula in the face.

In the most tasteless bit in the movie, Bruce apologizes to his wife Linda for cheating on her so much.  Come on!  Imply what you want, movie, and do your questionable exploitation of the dead, but don't bring his widow into it.  That's not cool.

Oh and why is there a guy in a union suit wearing a dinosaur head and holding a spear in the Underworld?  That's just weird.

Ridiculous dialogue

Is there something wrong? You're weird.

woman 1: Are you sure it's Bruce Lee?
woman 2: It so happens when a person dies their face and their body undergo a change....

They're the Godfathers private body's James Bond and the other is Clint Eastwood.

Clint: Bastard. Where'd you come from?
Bruce: You talking to me? You want to learn something? You sure you want to?
Clint: I don't give a damn who you are.  But since you're here with us now and yet you did not say hello, well that means trouble.

Bond: Brother, this guy fancies himself as a fighter. What a stupid jerk.
Blind guy: Hey brother, I reckon the jerk is taking the mickey.  We better rub him out.....

Bruce: Uncle tell me straight up. Have I a chance of getting back to Earth?

Man1: Here's hoping you become the King soon.
Man 2: Haha, thank you, but let's not count ze chickens.

Man 1: .... but then you are afraid of Bruce Lee.
Man 2: That's right. That's right. I really think he'll cause trouble.
Clint: Hahaha wah.  Why the hell are you worrying? We're all here, aren't we? That's enough. What's more, we have Dracula and he can summon up all those zombies to help us too.

God damn bastard! You're annoying my King!  And now that I'm here to protect him, I'm going to boot you in the ass!  You're gonna get yours, punk!

Proof that when you die your body and face change.
What the hell is going on with the guy in red
long johns wearing a dinosaur head?
Clint Eastwood and James Bond
Why are they called zombies when they dress as skeletons? 
Kwai Chang Kaine, Bruce Lee and... Popeye?
Meanwhile in the villains underground cave headquarters... 
That awkward scene where there's a poster of the real
Bruce Lee behind you while you're pretending to be Bruce
Dracula enjoying some sunshine
Zombies vs. Kato
Dracula's claws heading towards Kato's nether region...
...and he's taken out by the Third Leg of Bruce
They ran out of movie titles and came up with this
There's no consistency in the mummy suits
So.... that's different
Looks like the gym class is out of control
Ring Around the Rosey

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Facility (2012)

A research facility recruits volunteers to test a new drug, which is a crap shoot for anyone who volunteers. Since this is a horror movie, you know something is going to go horribly wrong.  The group of strangers are housed together in one wing of an isolated facility which has no other inhabitants.  They are forced to give up their cell phones and have no radio, TV or other electronic devices.

Since there is nothing to do except interact, we get some background info on each one as they converse.  Finally a movie in which the exposition is between strangers, rather than close friends who should already know everything that is being revealed.

The subjects are individually inoculated at regular intervals and each is scheduled for a series of shots. When the first volunteer has an adverse reaction to the injections, the rest of the group demands answers.  They are not comforted by the Doctors vague words and each fears they will have a similar reaction.

When the second person injected has a different, but equally bad reaction, the group panics and starts calculating when each person received their shot.  The thinking is that they watch whoever is going to potentially be affected next.  So if someone isn't affected, there's no way to know whether it's the person who received the placebo, or they are immune to the reaction.

The first thirty minutes of the movie are slow. It's British so that's not surprising. Then the action starts as people begin reacting badly to the drugs.  But then the movie starts to drag again near the end, so... meh.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Barricade (2012)

A year after his wife dies, Terry brings their children to an isolated cabin in them mountains that their mother used to love.  And by cabin, they mean a huge home.

Terry instructed the store owner to decorate for Christmas, so there is a tree all set up, and the kids favorite foods are plentiful in the freezer in the basement.  The next day they head out to play in the snow before a storm rolls in, but think they see someone outside.

Strange things start happening. Someone dumps toiletries all over the bathroom and Terry's medication disappears.  The kids are getting nervous, and everyone is getting the strange cough that the store owner had.

After seeing someone running by the shed, they bolt back to the house and lock the doors.  Terry decides to barricade his family inside to lock out whatever menace might be out there.

It's not clear if: Terry's missing medication means he's going psycho; everyone is coming down with a mystery disease that alters their reality; the cabin is haunted by an evil presence; or someone is truly outside stalking them.  When you find out what's going on, you'll be highly disappointed.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death (2015)

During war torn London in World War II, children were sent out of the city to protect them from being killed in bombings.  The head mistress Jean and teacher Eve are tasked with accompanying a group of children as they journey out of the city. At the last minute a young boy, whose parents were killed in a bombing the night before, is added to their charge.  The boy is still in shock and rendered mute, and Eve feels protective of him.

The group takes up residence in an isolate manor, which can only be reached by a road which disappears at high tide.  Eve feels uneasy there. It's been abandoned for years and she thinks she's seen someone else on the island.

After the deaths more than one child, Eve wants to leave, but the stern headmistress won't let her take the children with her.  So Eve and Harry, a pilot she met on the train, start looking into the history of the home and discover the story of the Woman in Black.

I really liked the first Woman in Black movie, but this one was disappointing.  It's very slow paced and there isn't much supernatural action.   The ghost only appears a few times, and Eve's repeated shouts for Edward get really annoying.  Also for an area that is under blackout rules, they sure have a lot of candles at night.  There isn't another homes for miles, so the light would be a prime target for bombers. So much for keeping the children safe....oh yeah, and you moved into a haunted mansion.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Exeter (2015)

When the church decides to renovate an abandoned asylum, Father Conway supervises the volunteers helping to clean out the building. High school student Patrick is serious about this work, but his friend Brian decides the best thing about helping the church with the asylum is that it would be a great place to have a party.  Patrick is not amused.

That night, there is a huge party at the asylum.  After spending the night doing stupid things that teenagers do, they decide to try a party game where someone says an incantation which causes a volunteer to become stiff as a board and light as a feather. This  allows the volunteer to be lifted up using only their fingers.  Surprisingly volunteer Rory, Patricks younger brother, rises a few inches before they drop him back to the floor.  Everyone laughs and Rory runs off.

Later on, when Patrick tracks Rory down, he is violent and seemingly possessed.  They try to help him, but common sense goes out the window... oh  wait, they didn't have any to begin with. At this point, the group begins a constant stream of even worse decisions.  Will there ever be a movie where people don't want to cover up an accidental death by doing something to hide it that would make them look 100% guilty of murder, if discovered?

Before you know it, they're trapped, there's a demon in the asylum, rumors of dead orphans, and the trapped teens even manage to carve a ouija board out of an old piece of wood.   Where else can you see a bunch of teens google how to do an exorcism, and maybe even find an exorcism app for their phone?

The most amazing thing about this movie is everyone's cell phone has a pristine connection and can access the web.  But who brings a laptop to a party in an abandoned building anyway? Stupid kids.....

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Satan's Blade (1984)

In celebration of Tony passing the bar, he and Al take their wives to the mountains for the weekend. While they're checking into the ski lodge, a group of women stop in looking for a room.

There happens to be one room that just opened up - due to a murder the night before.  The desk clerk doesn't want to tell them, but the old lady working with him says he can't rent the room due to the murder, and the legend. After everyone agrees they want to hear the story, she tells them about a killer who lives in the woods (or under the lake), and stalks all who come to the mountains.  Both groups decide to stay and end up in cabins next to each other.

I'm not sure if I'd stay there.  Although I must confess that one time I was traveling in a remote area far from home. It was getting late, and we just wanted to find a motel room.  We found a motel off the highway that had tons of customers and they had one room left.

But the desk clerk kept saying, "You want to stay here?... Are you sure you want to stay here?"  We did, but we were totally creeped out by his reaction, especially when we got in the room and there were trap doors in the ceiling and floor.  No idea why it he was confused that we wanted to stay there.  I'm wondering if perhaps it was known for drugs sales or prostitution. But at the time, we wondered if someone was going to kill us as we slept... yet we still took the room because we gambled on the odds of actually being murdered.  So I guess I can't fault the girls for taking the murder room. I mean, what are the chances someone would get murdered in the same cabin a day or two later?

As you can imagine, it was not a good decision to stay in the murder cabin, or to even go to the mountains.  The nearby lake contains Satan's Blade, a knife which glows red when it is first released into the wild, waiting for some poor unsuspecting schlub to come along and grasp it's handle.  Because who wouldn't grab a huge knife stuck into a tree in the middle of nowhere?

The strange thing is that in the extras there is an interview with the director, where he talks about how important continuity is to him. But one of the things that struck me when I watched the movie was that at one point Tony has a flaming torch in his hand. The next minute it's gone.  Since he was standing in the living room, he couldn't have just dropped it. What the hell?

This is not a great movie.  The acting isn't great.  The reactions of the bank tellers when they are shot, is so bad it's funny.  It's definitely a low budget flick and is the first movie made by the director.  In fact according to IMDB, it's the only movie he made. Overall it's fairly slow and mundane, but it might be fun to watch with a group of people.  I didn't hate it, but it doesn't fall into the category of so bad it's good.  It would probably be a great one for the guys from Riff Trax to tackle.

Bad sitcom dialogue with wacky inflections:

Al:  Hey counselor, we almost there yet? I'm starving.
Tony:  I'm driving as fast as I can.
Woman:  A little too fast maybe.
Al:  Ah, give him a break. It isn't every day you pass the bar exam.
Tony:  Listen to this. I'm the lawyer but he's defending me.
Woman:  Well, that's what Al's good for. He'll defend anyone.... especially if it means he gets to eat sooner.

Awkward model pose by blondie
Classic 80s wings 
Faux drunk
If only this were the killer
where the heck did they get the mask?
When there was a murder in your cabin last night, and there is
someone outside your window, don't open the door.
Boom mic alert