Thursday, October 23, 2014

Rare TV Flix: Look What's Happened to Rosemary's Baby

This was...necessary?  Today's film is Look What's Happened to Rosemary's Baby, a TV Movie Sequel to the Roman Polanski's iconic film.  Why?  I can only imagine that it had to do with another popular Film about Satan- The Omen.  That movie came out around the same time as this one and was obviously quite a hit.  It is kind of like how a DTV Sequel to The Haunting in Connecticut came out in 2013- just because.  That kind of thing is alot more common nowadays, where as in the 1970s and 80s, it was done with TV Movies- e.c. The Spell.  It was also done alot back then by way of TV Shows- even if most of them are not remembered.  You doubt me?  Well, there's Shaft.  The King and I.  Beyond Westworld.  Where was I now?  Oh right, this movie.  Fun Fact: one of the two Editors on Rosemary's Baby was actually the Director of this film!  The Story jumps ahead quite a bit, which is kind of a nice touch.  I have gone on record as saying that one of my least favorite Films of all time is Damien: The Omen II, since it is just so damn pointless.  It is the same Film, only with the titular child slightly older.  Ugh.  Is this completely-forgotten Film worth a look today?  To find out, read on...
Right off the bat, we get re-used (or re-done) dialogue from the end of the more famous film.  It is...kind of cheap and annoying.  Setting the pace well, movie.
We cut to 8 Years Later (appropriate!) and see a lady (Patty Duke) that looks nothing like Rosemary.  She takes the kid- Andrew- away from the Cult, which is quite easy.

You didn't even lock the door?  Hail Satan, my ass!
We learn that the kid has some sort of powers, which are demonstrated here with the same effect as Zoltan: Hound of Dracula- and can't control them when he's mad.

I'm curious to see the adventures of Rosemary and son as they...what's that?  Hold on a sec...
The Cult uses their power to control 'Dad' and use him to set up Rosemary.  She ends up being separated from him FOREVER and...

I guess we jump ahead in time to see a now-Adult Andrew/Adrian, who's played by...Stephen McHattie!  Say wha-aa?!?
Adrien is conflicted about his mysterious past and acts out against some Bikers- just because.  Silly eye effect again- yes, please!
His new, fill-in Mom (how does he not remember the lady who raised him until he was 8?) and the Cult Leader (Ray Milland!) try to push him towards the destiny they have in mind for him.  Feel familiar?
They eventually do a ceremony (which involves painting his face like he's a kid at a party) doesn't work.

His constantly-helpful friend meets his end around this time, since...well, that's what happens to guys like that in Horror Films.  Poor Bastard of Cinema in the future?
In spite of the ceremony failing (since he hasn't killed), they let him live and he plans to come back to get them!
However, that doesn't work out so well and his new girlfriend (who helped him at a Hospital) is run over by a car and left for dead.  He wanders somewhere, never to be seen again.

In the End, however, the girlfriend is now the new Rosemary!  Dun dun Whatever.  The End.
Eh, not so good.  The idea of doing a continuation of the Story is not bad.  In fact, the Author of the Book did just that.  If I can ever get a consistent timeline for Fiction vs. Fiction, I'll have to do that too!  In the meantime, let's discuss what the film does right.  It keeps the Cult menacing (in a behind the scenes way) without making them too campy.  Having Ray Milland there helps keep it as normal and not goofy as possible.  While he did shit like this and Frogs around this time, he still had presence.  Stephen McHattie does as good of a job with this role as possible too.  The character of Adrian/Andrew is really only half-written, so he has to do alot of the work here.  Good for you, Mr. McHattie, even if you were better in Pontypool.  As for the rest, it is pretty generic TV drivel.  It is not laugh-out-loud bad most of the time (save for one Adrian dances in that make-up- see below- at the Party/Rave).  There is just so much laziness here, like how they write out Rosemary or how the husband drifts in and out.  I also like that he's only aged in the side of his hair (now with some gray) over the last twenty-ish years!  I guess you can thank Satan...but they don't explicitly say that.  Some of the ideas are good, but the execution is not.  Adrian conflicted by his powers is shown only once and not that well.  It is a neat idea overall, but definitely belongs in the bowels of The 'That was a movie?!?' Files.  Well, except for this Mime...
Next up, a Horror Sequel that seems fitting with Friday's new release.  With the daughter of one of The Monkees, how can it fail?  Stay tuned...

Monday, October 20, 2014

Lost in Translation: Alien (?)

I'm not going to lie- I don't know what this is supposed to be.

Let me clarify: I know what it sounds like it is supposed to be...but they can't have gotten it so wrong...could they?
I know- it says Alien, but...what is this really?

To be fair, these Ghana Posters are always pure ridiculousness, but what is the message/theme here?  I see a Planet, two faces, a knife and (I think) an explosion.

So yeah....weird shit.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Rare Flix: There's Nothing Out There!

It is hard not to see how this might have inspired a few Films.  Today's movie is There's Nothing Out There!, an oft-talked-about, but rarely seen Horror Film currently owned by Troma.  I guess they had a $1.50 left over in the Budget of Toxic Avenger 14: What Do We Have Left?!? and got it.  I kid, I kid.  It was probably closer to $5.  So what is the film about?  A bunch of young(ish) people go to a House in the Woods...where they are set upon a weird Alien Monster.  So yeah, this Film may have inspired Cabin in the Woods.  Before you go, 'That Film is based on a common Trope that this Film partakes in,' I should note that one of the Characters is constantly acting against the Cliches of the Genre since he saw 'alot of Horror Films.'  Convinced yet?  On top of that, you have the Scream influence.  To be clear, I mean the 1990's Horror Classic (to many), as opposed to the 1981 Film where nothing freaking happens!  The question is this: as an actual Film, is it any good?  To find, read on...
The film begins randomly in a Video Store with...

Wait!  Just to be clear, you all know that a Video Store was what people used before the invention of the Redbox, right?  Just checking.
She has a dream (I think) where she is attacked via Jump Scares made up of VHS Boxes for Films like...Rats: Night of Terror and Demons 3: The Ogre?!?  Random!
Anyhow, she's killed by some sort of Alien thing in the Forest (don't ask).

A bit later, our heroes go to the same Forest, but one of them (Mike) is against the trip when they pass the empty car.  He's self-aware...but they pretty much ignore him.
After randomly meeting some skinny dippers (none of whom get naked- odd!), the group settles in, while Mike continues act nervous and META.
Two of them go off into the Forest and get attacked by the beast, while one of them is telling a Story about a Couple in a Slasher Film.  More META.

Oh and there IS something out there.
After some time-wasting, some banter and a comedic Fight Scene, the creature attacks again, now using some sort of laser beams.  Why would you question that?
Mike gets really wary after a couple more attacks and has a theory: they might be in a Horror Film.
Oh and here's a shot of this guy's face melting.  They put the work into this, so let me show it.
Things get really goofy in the latter half, including a part where the lead guy swings to safety by using the now-visible Boom Mic.

Through a series of mirrors, flashlights and the stove, they take out the Alien.  Is all well?  The End.
It was mostly worth the wait.  I heard about this movie a long time ago back on, but never saw it.  When I discovered Troma's YouTube Channel (with most of 'their' films made at least 10 years ago on it), I added it to my Favorites.  That was...a long time ago.  When I decided to refocus on Horror Films again for October, I realized that I couldn't ignore this any longer.  For what it tries to be, There's Nothing is quite fun.  It is paced a bit oddly and not every joke sticks.  If viewed in a modern context, it actually fares better than it probably did then though.  While it was referencing the still-popular Slasher Genre and was probably fresh, the Meta aspects are probably more appreciated now.  You can thank Scream for that, I suppose.  It is only fitting since Jamie Kennedy's Character in those films is basically 'Mike' from this film.  That's not necessarily an insult towards Craven's film- just a fact.  The problem here is that there are gaps between the really good stuff and the Acting is not super-great.  It gets a bit of a pass as a Comedy, but still not a complete one.  As far as representative of Horror Movie Fans in Films, 'Mike' is a bit obsessive, but proves to be right on everything.  That's a point for you, movie!  As a sum of its parts, There's Nothing Out There! is a fun and silly Horror Film.  It is not consistent enough to be a true Classic, but it is fun fare nonetheless.  Before I go, I must ask- is ladies in Bikinis holding light bulbs a fetish?  Given that faux Cannibalism is, I can only assume that this is too...
Next up, let's cover a Made-For-TV Sequel that most people probably don't realize exists.  Before NBC made their 'Special,' this baby came out.  Stay tuned...

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Zoned Out: Dead Run

We're back and this one is all about a man delivering some strange cargo...
This week, we look at the case of a man in need of a job, a man with a secretive job to offer and two Cast Members from Star Trek: The Next Generation (which would premiere about a year later)  This is a man on a...
A man (Steve Railsback) is looking for work as a Truck Driver.  The problem: he's had too many wrecks and nobody will hire him.

Can you help out, guy in the Bar?
He gets him a job driving a Truck with some...mysterious cargo.

In my experience, if your Boss wants you to ask no questions, you're either working the Mafia, the RNC or Satan.  You can decide what's the worst.
They arrive at the Processing Plant to deliver the Cargo and the people there are...odd-looking.  Steve is a bit concerned.
It turns out that this job is all about transporting Souls to Hell- represented by the Warehouse.  The guy who brought Steve in has a secret of his own- he's actually a lost soul!
After helping him get captured and transported to where he belongs, Steve is greeted by his Boss- Q (not the Winged Serpent)!

He promotes the guy, although our hero has some doubts about the job all the same.
He decides to work within the system and stops his next load in a vacant area.  He asks them why they died and what they did in life.  When he determines that some of them- including Brent Spiner!- should not be going to Hell (which they don't explicitly say), he lets them go and points them to 'the lighter path' (Heaven).

He can't take people there, but he can give them a chance.  The End.
For a segment about people being delivered to Hell, it is surprisingly-optimistic.  It is not quite as silly as the one about a Leprechaun (obviously!), but it is not as bleak as 'Gramma' either.  The Story is certainly interesting, even if they are vague about how it all works.  The Acting is good too, with everyone playing their parts well.  There is certainly some maudlin Acting too, but that is par for the course in TV Shows like this.  They are not always subtle, you know.  As random and esoteric as this whole thing is, I still liked it quite a bit.  One thing The Twilight Zone is good for is giving you a random variety of tales.  Some of them are Classics, while others don't hold up as well.  Someone out there may not like the more famous Episodes, but love the more ridiculous ones.  It remains to be seen how Segments like this will be remembered in the long run.  As for me, I can always enjoy stuff like the precursor to Hell Cop from Highway to Hell.
Next up, 'Herschell' wakes up in the future.  Can he make a new life here or will the truth ruin everything?  Stay tuned...

Intentionally-Deceptive Cover Art: The Mummy Resurrected

***The following PSA is courtesy of Mondo Bizarro and its Associates***

Hey kids, did you like Stephen Sommers' The Mummy Films?  Even the one where they kind of cheated by having Jet Li in it, but some people (like me) still liked it?

If so, then you are in luck!
Wow, this looks neat!  I didn't know that they had made a new Mummy film already?  I actually read IMDB News too!

...oh, right- they didn't!  This, like the Cake, is a lie.

Here's the Promo Cover Art before this thing ended up on Netflix/Demand...
That's actually not bad.  As a bonus, it is also not a giant lie meant to trick people into watching a Film with currently all 1-Star Reviews Online.

The Lesson: Don't Trust a Film By Its Cover.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Rare Rip-Off Flix: Little Witches (1996)

At long last, I get to say this: bitches be tripping!  Today's film is Little Witches, a 1996 Film that is totally original and definitely not inspired by any other film that come out about six months earlier.  So what is this film about?  Well, isn't it obvious?  It is about Witches.  It is not about those fun ones who make their friends rap.  It is not about those famous ones who turn you into a Mouse.  It is not even about those ones from three different Dario Argento Films (and one Luigi Cozzi one).  Yes, I do take any excuse to reference Teen Witch and Dario Argento together- who wouldn't?  In this totally-unique film, a group of teenage/College-age girls get magic powers, become evil and wreak havoc.  Yep, totally-original.  On top of that, they worship 'He Who Comes,' which doesn't remind me of any other movie Monster.  Will evil triumph and prove to be stiff as a board or will it's threat be light as a feather?  To find out, read on...
A Hundred Years or so ago, some Witches tried to summon a Demon, but were stopped by a Catholic Order.
In the Present (of 1996), a group of six girls at a Catholic School get stuck staying over for Easter Break and one of them, is, well, a bit slutty.

By that, I mean 'very slutty.'
During some remodeling, the Chamber from the beginning is discovered by the Construction Crew, the main guy turning out to be a proto-Taylor Lautner.

Seriously, you know you're showing off when the Police finding a dead body is not a good enough excuse to put your damn shirt back on!
The bored group decides to wander into the Chamber and get drunk.  They decide then to recite some ancient chants, which awakens a spirit.
This lets a book loose that they then use to start casting spells and reciting incantations.  How do they know it works?
Because they make it rain!

Okay, it rains horizontally from a completely improbable angle (that is clearly just a sprinkler system)...but that counts, right?
One person stands in the way of the group summoning their new God- The Guardian.  Instead of an obscure DC Comic Character, it is...Zelda Rubinstein?
The group- minus Faith and her boy-toy- go full evil and kill her- plus the real Guardian shown here.  They make their big plan- which involves sacrificing Proto Taylor Lautner- and summon He Who Comes...
...which turns out to be a cool-looking, but barely-functional puppet that kills the one girl whose soul isn't saved...for some reason.  It just kind of falls into the well and the movie ends with Faith in confession...for some reason.  The End.
Eh, it's...pretty bad.  So yeah, in case you missed it still, this is basically The Craft.  The climax is more like The Unholy, but the inspiration for the film is clear.  Is it a direct Rip-Off?  Well, the film came out in December 1996, while the more famous film came out in May 1996.  Is this an early Asylum film?  Kind of, yeah.  Since I don't know the people behind the film and didn't ask them, I can't say definitively.  It is hard to see this as just a coincidence.  So what does the Film have going for it?  Well, there's lots of random Nudity.  That's always fun.  There's...the puppet Demon from the end, which is never in frame all that well and barely does anything.  There's....did I mention the copious amounts of pointless Nudity?  Not to break a 91-minute Film down to just that, but this Film is pretty shit.  That's all I have to say.  Here's the Stinger...
Next up, I watch a film that i've put off for like...forever.  It's from Troma, but only because they bought it and put it on YouTube (thank God!).  Stay tuned...

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Rare Rip-Off Flix: The Spell (1977)

At last, we dive deep into some crazy TV trash.  Today's film is The Spell, a Made-for-TV Rip-Off of a much more famous film.  What film?  Well, let's get to that...a bit later.  I'm such a tease.  This 1977 Film tells the tale of a young lady who is picked on by her classmates for being fat...which she really isn't, but whatever.  You'll never guess how she lashes out at them!  So yeah, it's basically Carrie.  As was noted in one review I saw of this film, it was kind of a smart marketing move.  You see, there was no PG-13 back in the 1970s, so the market for Horror Films like Carrie was hurt by the strict R-Rating (assuming you didn't just use your Fake I.D.).  So if you knew that people were big for a film like that and couldn't see it in Theaters, just make your own!  It is also worth noting that its Director and Writer mainly did this kind of stuff, although the later did some pretty bad ones like The Omen IV (plus Poltergeist III).  The film has some hilariously-dated aspects to it and one Supporting Player who would make it big a bit later.  Is this a hidden gem or something that never should have made it past Betamax?  To find out, read on...
Rita is picked on for being...fat, I guess.  I don't question the idea, just the way she actually looks.

The Ice Cream Man at least shoved a pillow in the kid's shirt- try harder!
After one of the 'mean girls' picks on her and shows off her 'stripper-in-training' skills, she suddenly falls to her death...I think.  They aren't clear on that last part.

The real question- why did she fall?
The notable Supporting Cast Member is the one that plays Rita's younger Sister.  That Star- Helen Hunt!

Before she would be Mrs. Jack Deth, she was the snotty little Sister to Not-Carrie.
When the odd behavior of Rita and some strange circumstances in recent times, the mother starts to investigate things...when she's not fighting with Rita...or her husband...or Helen Hunt.

Laser-like focus, people!
She goes to see the Mom of the girl who died earlier who...dies about as fast as the guy in Paranormal Entity.  She dies in a much sillier way by being set on fire internally (I think) and running through a glass door with smoke leaking from her pores.
Now more driven, Mom...continues to get dragged into family drama.  Yeah, this is much less Carrie and more August: Osage County.

In a movie that they just borrowed from Suspiria (branching out), the Gym Teacher is involved in some sort of Cabal that may involve Rita.
The explanation involves the California area being a well-spring of Psychic Energy.  Is it stored in the San Andreas Fault?  Can we see Psychic Quake this year on Syfy?
As a Carrie rip-off, there Prom Scene.  No, they threw that away by having Hunt say that 'Everyone was afraid of her' after the fall, so this won't happen.  Kudos?
Instead, the Mom confronts Rita, with this seemingly-becoming the pre-Prom bit.  It flips the Script, however, by the Mom actually being a powerful ESP User herself and subduing her daughter.

Of course, she did all that research when she was by herself (and got that lady killed) to fool...the audience then?  Lame.  The End.
Damn, this one is...kind of oddly-put-together.  While obviously being 'inspired' by Carrie and Suspiria, this one focuses so much on the family drama.  You get people fighting, people fighting and...people fighting some more.  I guess this is kind of real, given how one person can throw the whole dynamic off in a small, tightly-knit group.  The problem is that this just makes the movie feel like a slow crawl to a point rather than something interesting.  The most interesting part- the lady dying from internal heat- is actually shown twice (when the Medium sees Mom's memory of it...I think).  It says something when you are replaying a Scene so quickly- perhaps it is the TV Movie Medium (the other one).  The Cast does a good job with it, even if it has a real Soap Opera quality to it.  Fun Fact: the Mom (Lee Grant) appeared in this, Airport '77, Damien: The Omen II and The Swarm in a 2-Year Period.  Oof!  Susan Meyers (who played Rita) would appear in small parts over the next 20 years and be a Voice Actor on the Anime Battle Athletes (whatever that is).  What helps the film (in a weird way) is its hilariously-dated and cheesy Score, which just sounds like a PSA is playing out at all times.  Is it a better TV Version of Carrie than the Bryan Fuller one?  No, not really.  That one is consistently silly, has Carrie summoning meteorites and features the 'Silent Hill!' girl.  Other than one silly kill, the best thing this has going for it is an early (and odd!) example of Godwin's Law...
Next up, let's keep the 'Haven't I Seen This Before?' Train going with a film lingering in my Queue.  Can you make Teen Witches that don't help their friend rap?  Stay tuned...