Sunday, January 24, 2016

Death Curse of Tartu (1966)

A group of college students accompany their archaeology professor and his wife on a trip to the Everglades, where they plan to do some research. Upon arrival, they find the campsite of the man they are supposed to meet, but he is nowhere to be seen.

While their professor tries to translate a stone tablet, the kids run off to the edge of the swamp to make out, listen to the radio, and dance very badly.  What they don't realize is that they are partying on Tartu's burial ground, and that he is not amused.

Native American legend states that Tartu left a curse that if anyone desecrates his sacred burial site, he will return from the dead in the form of an animal to exact his revenge.  So look out kids, you're about to be killed by creatures that live in the swamp... and a shark.

This is a ridiculous movie and might be enjoyable if it ever really got going. But it's a slow paced and not much happens.   The deaths occur in the daytime and the viewer can see the threat to the kids far sooner than the kids do - even though there's a giant alligator right ahead in the clearing. The damn thing isn't even stealthy.

If a director asks you to jump into the Everglades to frolic in the water, you'd have to be nuts to comply.  There are real alligators in there!  The water must have been really cold because the male actor is involuntarily shivering like crazy and gritting his teeth while trying to pretend he's having a great time. Yippee!

Of note, director William Grete also directed Sting of Death and the Shatner vehicle Impulse, which is an amazing bad movie from Shatners lean mid 70s acting era.

There's an issue with corpse continuity
Surprisingly, this is a dance move, not a reaction of horror 
Dorky dancing in the swamp
Come on in, the waters freezing
Tartu knows when you're dancing on his grave
Tartu threw them the old switcheroo and hit them with a shark
What's he doing back there?
Welcome to my tomb, I'll be your living nightmare
Tartu - the only ancient Native American who wears flesh
colored tights and has visible pantylines

Monday, January 18, 2016

Logan's Run (1976)

In 2274, humans live in a city in a bubble where they are free to pursue whatever pleasures they desire, and live a life of luxury.  But when they turn 30, the gem implanted in their palm changes color, signaling they must go to Carousel. There they spin and rise in the air until they ascend to a rebirth.

But those who choose not to comes to Carousel when called are known as runners.  Those who doesn't come when called, are tracked and eliminated by the Sandmen, employees of the government who maintain order and ensure everyone obeys the law.

Logan 5 is a Sandman.  He and his fellow Sandmen don't understand why someone would choose to be terminated rather than reborn in Carousel.  But the runners believe that Carousel is not what it seems, and resent that the government controls their lives.  The runners wish is to get to Sanctuary, where they will supposedly be safe and begin a new life.

When Logan is assigned to infiltrate the Runners, in an undercover operation to lead the Sandmen to the Runner underground, he balks.  But the government does not take no for an answer. They activate Logans gem which indicates he is to report to Carousel.  When he doesn't show at Carousel, they brand him a runner and send the Sandmen after him.  Logan goes to a suspected ally of the runners, and asks for help, but since he was formerly a Sandman, they are suspect of his intent.

I like the plot, and love the feel of the movie, even though the effects are dated. It's a bit slow at times though.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Last Shift (2014)

Rookie cop Jessica is assigned to work security at the old police station on the last shift before it closes. The building is already locked up and the phones forwarded, but they need someone there to let in the hazmat team.  There's no explanation as to why the hazmat team can't schedule a time to show up, rather than randomly coming by in the middle of the night.

Since the place is already closed, Jessica will be the only one on duty.  When she arrives, the surly officer on the previous shift is antagonistic and tells her not to leave the building.  It's not a good start, but its uneventful compared to the rest of the night.  She hears noises, a homeless guy breaks into the building, and furniture is moved around.

When arresting the homeless dude, she gets locked in a cell for awhile before the door opens as mysteriously as it closed behind her.  She gets repeated phone calls from a girl that needs help.  She sees people but can never find them, and all the furniture in one room gets stacked up in a pile.

At first she thinks she's begin hazed because she's a rookie. But when she calls the new station, she's told that the building she's in is rumored to be haunted by the Payman family, a cult-like group similar to the Manson family, who died in the cells.

I can understand why a rookie wouldn't want to call for help when she feels she's being hazed.  But a bum broke into the building, so why not ask someone to bring him to the new station to book him.  And when she finds out people think the building is haunted, and they moved to a new building due to the incidents, you'd think she'd be smarter.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Deathgasm (2015)

When his mom is sent to jail, metalhead teen Brodie goes to live with his Christian aunt and uncle.  On the first day of school he discovers his jock cousin is a bully, and saves a geeky kid from being beaten up. Later he meets Zakk, another teenager who loves metal, at a local record store.

Brodie and Zakk decide to start a band and enlist the geeks that Brodie helped on this first day of school.  Obsessed with a rare metal album, they break into a residence which is rumored to have been used by the band.

After getting into a confrontation, they grab some sheet music while running out.  The tune turns out to be an unreleased song , and they decide it would be perfect for their band.  What they don't know is that the song summons a demon, and people in town will become possessed and turn into psychotic zombies / monsters.

I'd heard good things and thought the trailer was great.  I had really high expectations and while I liked it, I wasn't crazy about it.  So I may have expected too much.  On the other hand, both the friends who saw it with me loved it.

As a side note, I'm not sure why they had to make Zakk such as ass.  He was a horrible friend, and it seems like they could have had him be an okay guy without interfering with the plot.

Death metal and ice cream cones

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Day of the Mummy (2014)

Jack Wells, a bargain basement Indiana Jones, is hired to find the tomb of the cursed king Neferu.  His employer Carl wants him to locate the diamond known as the codex stone.  Carl is played by Danny Glover who phones it in over a video link while seated in a comfy looking library in what appears to be a luxurious home.

Middle aged womanizer Jack teams up with a high maintenance professor, a female security person, and two twenty something guys with a background in archaeology.  The woman has no business working in security since she can't even slap effectively, has no knowledge of diplomacy, and is overcome by Jack's charms on the first night.

Carl oversees Jack's adventures in mummy seeking by requiring him to wear glasses with a camera in them that allows Carl to view a live feed. Jack also wears an earpiece so Carl can give directions to him.  Go google glasses, go!  Jack may look like a dork in his black horn rims, but he still pulls the girls without even trying.

Actually I'm assuming Jack looks like a dork. Since he's behind the glasses we just see his point of view and it's nauseating. If you're prone to motion sickness, you'll feel nauseous through some of this film. You'll also get more shots than you'd ever want of Jack's feet.

This was a tough one to watch. Not only because of the motion of the camerawork, but because it was tedious.  We fast forwarding through part of the movie until we hit a mummy.  Although a previous explorer working with Carl was set upon by the mummy shortly after entering the tomb, Jack and his buddies stumble around in there for hours without running into trouble.

The whole video glasses schtick looks like something out of a 1990s video game.  So that's kind of amusing.  Danny Glover occasionally pops up in a little square in the lower left side of the screen when he wants to interact with Jack.

At one point, the group walks for two days to get to the area that they believe the undiscovered tomb is located. Because how would I know it happened unless it's shown to me?  They mention that there is no way to drive to the area, but later they are attacked near the tomb by men with guns who drive off in a jeep. Sooooo.... I guess they should have parked a little closer.

Half of me loves that Jack doesn't fit the stereotype of buff
young stud. The other half is thinking he shouldn't be shirtless.
It's like being in a haunted attraction.
Be prepared to see Danny Glover in the lower left hand
corner of the screen and nowhere else.
Oh great, like we need to see Jacks feet again.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Turbo Kid (2105)

If you like BMX bikes,  80s post apocalyptic movies, cheesy soundtracks, and movie cliches galore, you'll really enjoy Turbo Kid.  It's an 80s style scifi and is kind of like Max Max if the lead was a teenager on a BMX.

In the post apocalyptic world of 1997, water is a scarce commodity.  Villain Zeus, who you can tell is evil due to his eyepatch, controls the land and those he doesn't like end up fighting to the death in an in ground swimming pool.

The Kid is an orphan who spends his days riding his BMX and scavenging for items to trade for water.   He has an underground hideout which he fills with a collection of old toys and comic books.

One day while hanging out at an old playground, he meets Apple, an impossibly cheery girl who immediately attaches herself to him.  He is not amused.  While at first Apple is incredibly annoying, her hopeless optimism eventually becomes endearing, as is her joy when the Kid gives her a gnome stick.

With Zeus making people's lives miserable - even more miserable than living in a post apocalyptic wasteland - the Kid ends up in a position to join the fight against him.  Get read to see BMX bike chases, a robot graveyard (which is more a robot pile than anything else), and some cartoonish or Pythonesque humor in dark moments.  Be on the lookout for the 1/2 a body which flies yup in the air and lands on the head of another person as they're staggering around. Trust me, it's really funny, and something I've never seen before.

Turbo Kid is an enjoyable throwback. My friends loved it, but I wouldn't go that far. At times I found myself getting slightly bored, but then something else would happen and I would get sucked back into it again.  Overall, it's a fun film.