Sunday, October 31, 2010

'Deep Blue Sea' Moments: H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds (2005)

Hold your collective gasps, people- this segment is back!  It's been a while, I know.

Our hero (C. Thomas Howell) and a priest are hiding out from the aliens.  While the latter is talking, a tentacle-like thing swoops near him.  Thankfully, Howell is quick to stab the thing with some sort of toxin he has made.  The thing makes a weird noise and retreats.

The sudden facing down of death and being saved makes the priest regain his lost faith.  He makes a speech about how there is hope for life and that life will continue...
Naturally, this prompts the alien thing to pop back in, spit some goo on the man and cause his face to melt!  Should have seen that one coming, buddy!
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So maybe don't go talking about how life is great until you've made sure that the creature is gone.

See you next time I find one of these.  Ciao.

No Treat Here : Mr. Halloween

Happy holiday, pagan scum.  Seriously though, Halloween is not really *my* holiday, since I haven't really dressed up since I was a teenager.  Add in the fact that I tend to be working for every Halloween in the last five years or so & you get a holiday that I'm not 'big on.'  I have nothing against it, mind you.  Any holiday where women wear costumes that begin with the prefix 'Sexy' or 'Slutty' & really want you to stare at them is a plus for me.  So last Halloween I did a little trick and reviewed Dark Star, since it was made by John Carpenter.  This Halloween, I'm going to be a purist.  However, since this is still my site, I had to find something that I can guarantee that almost nobody would bother talking about.  A long Netflix title search led me to this film: Mr. Halloween.  Never heard of it?  Well, good for you.  Honestly, you're better for not having heard of this 2007 direct-to-video film.  You could hope that it turned out to be better than most of my holiday fare- i.e. Peter Rottentail, Psycho Santa or Pocahauntus- but you'd be wrong.  In fact, the only thing it has in common is the star sharing the same last name with a character from Halloween- Loomis.  Other than that, don't get your hopes up.  Get out your unexplained magic fluid for my review of...
The film begins with some random, off-screen death.  To make matters dumber, they play some newsperson talking about the problems that a small town is having.  Basically, numerous kids have gone missing over the last few weeks.  This awkwardly segues into a teenager watching the news on her TV, since watching someone watch TV is so thrilling.  She apparently got pulled away from some sort of board game involving zombies that I'm too apathetic to actually look up.  Besides, this movie just reeks of being Canadian (watch me be wrong now), so we probably don't even have it here.  She's hanging out with her two best friends, one of whom she has a crush on.  They engage in some 'real' (read: bad) conversation before leaving.  One of the guys- a future Brian Posehn- is going to hang out with a young friend of his.  Eighteen year-olds hanging out with kids that don't be more than twelve is not weird, right?  As a bonus for weirdness, he wants the kid to go to his basement to watch a 'scary movie,' under the pretense that his audio equipment is better down there.  Where's that Chris Hanson guy when you need him?  After the film, he takes the kid to see Mr. Loomis' Horror House.  Yes, the star and his character name are the same- how sad.  The film's title comes Loomis' nickname, based on his house.  The film finally picks up when the pair get attacked and captured.  About freaking time!
Okay, so here's the situation: Loomis captures teenagers and props their bodies up (some living) in his Horror House as decorations. That sounds interesting enough until you realize that this movie is too cheap to really make use of the premise. Never mind that Loomis wears a version of the mask on the box art maybe once while giving a tour. The guy's friends get worried about him, so they go all Scooby-Doo on Loomis' ass. Unfortunately, the town Sheriff (who's totally not in on it) and his deputy (who's also our heroine's cousin) are not much help. The pair go to the haunted house, but narrowly avoid finding out the truth. Fun fact: the guy is the son of the actor playing Loomis. Mind you, it's not part of the story, but it's really freaking obvious! After killing the best friend and injuring the young guy, the villain seems to get away with it. How do I know? Because the movie jumps ahead one year! Apparently, this guy only work on the holiday, so we can't have the story flow in a logical manner or fashion. During that time, nothing seems to have happened and our heroes have not visibly-aged in the slightest. You think that the guy's barely-pubescent mustache might have filled in a bit during the last 365 days, but I guess not! More kids have gone missing, but our heroine still holds out hope. Yeah, about that...
We get more talking and more shots that refuse to end. Seriously, one shot of the pair walking and talking doesn't end until they're about two blocks away from the steady camera. Oh yeah, they're also not talking during the end of it either. So, just to be clear, you're padding out your run-time at my expense- thanks. After another chat, the pair run into Loomis and...just kind of leave. He apparently follows the girl home, however (after another long, drawn-out shot), and kidnaps her. She discovers that the kid from before is still alive and has just been kept this whole time. No, really. They draw this out for a bit, having the deputy come by and get killed, before we learn the whole story. Apparently, Loomis died some fifty-years or so ago, but his brother (the sheriff) brought him back to 'teach teenagers to respect adults.' How did he do it? It has something to do with an unexplained machine pumping some unexplained fluid into Loomis, but that's all they say. Eventually, the Sheriff goes to 're-kill' Loomis, but gets killed. The pair make a break for it, but ran back into the Horror House. You stupid, stupid people! After a drawn-out chase, the kid dies and the girl escapes, managing to cut Loomis in half with his own, fully-operational guillotine. In the Epilogue, she lays flowers on the marker for her friends, only to be killed off-screen by Loomis (or, at least, his legs). The End.
This movie sucks today and all year round! The story sucks, the acting is bad and the production quality is on par with a school play. I mean, just wow! The DVD's lone extra- save for a Commentary track that I skipped- is a look at the original, six-minute film that the people made in 2001. You turned your six-minute film into an eighty-minute on, but at what cost? You clearly didn't have that much material, but you tried to make the whole thing fit. I'll give you credit for trying, I guess. There's almost no real gore in this film & what little you get occurs only at the key screenplay points (the forty-five minute mark, the hour mark, etc). Other than, you get a dull as dishwater film that consists of people walking, talking and not conveying anything all that interesting. Honestly, the characters are so generic and uninteresting that I feel nothing for them. Never mind that the story is so full of holes that it could pass for a dead mobster from the 1920s. Seriously, how does this 'zombie Loomis' thing work anyhow? They never explain it! Do yourself a favor and do anything else on Halloween.
Next up, November brings us a whole new month to endure shitty movies. First up, an obscure, kung-fu film with a ridiculous plot and possibly the worst dubbing of all-time. Stay tuned...

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Blockbuster Trash: Horror (2002)

I could have waited another year.  Last October when I switched the page to entirely horror films for that month (a change that's mostly become permanent), I narrowly decided against reviewing this film, as well as The Last Horror Movie.  I still haven't bitten the bullet on that one yet, by the way.  However, I did see this movie and now you get to endure it alongside me.  In 2002, low-budget auteur (aren't they all) Dante Thomaselli made his 'masterpiece'- a confusing mess of a film that blows its creative wad about twenty minutes into it's 70-minute runtime.  The film tells the conjoined tales of a group of 'teens' who just broke out of a drug treatment facility and a 'religious' family that is doing weird, sacrificial work to their daughter.  When these two stories careen together, the real film begins...and just sort of meanders to the finish.  It is, however, a contender for Weirdest Stunt-Casting in Horror Film History.  Who does it star?  The Amazing Kreskin.  For those of you who don't know who Johnny Carson is, this man was a hypnotist and over-all stage performer.  Apparently, he was in high-demand in 2002 and took this acting gig.  Fun fact: in 2009, Kreskin did a stunt where he would prove that UFOs exist or he'd give $50,000 to charity.  When none showed up, he claimed that they came by after the cameras left, hence he wouldn't pay.  Nice guy, huh?  Get out your inexplicable zombies for my review of...
A young woman is hanging up Christmas decorations (I guess I'm about two months early- oops) when she hears a noise.  It comes from a black goat, who was walking in the snow.  How did it make a noise again?  This freaks her out, leading her to bang on the door asking for her parents.  A moment later, a freaking man with a full goatee missing the mustache shows up and puts her in a bag.  Thanks for cooperating with him, honey.  After the credits, we cut to a group of idiots in a van.  One of them runs in, as the movie lingers on the dead body of a guard.  As it turns out, the guy shot the guard, who worked for the Drug Rehab Facility that they were in.  They drive off for a bit, indulging in some drugs from a bag.  Where did they get them?  According to the leader, it came from a visiting Pastor that was there the other day.  Yeah, that's a believable story!  In the other story, the girl wakes up and sees some freaky shit.  That guy who abducted her is apparently her father, who is a faith healer.  When the mother sees the girl watching a ceremony from the window, she alerts the father.  He responds by doing a hand gesture, causing the girl to faint.  Sure- why not?!?  In addition to that, her grandfather (Kreskin) is a hypnotist who does such great tricks as 'You're stiff as a board' and 'you can't stand up.'  Hurray?
Eventually, the two stories careen into one.  One of the druggies wakes up to find his face all blue and covered in freaky veins.  The group runs into a house, which just so happens to be the one where the girl is being held.  The lead guy wanders in, sees the couple as floating pumpkins and shoots them.  When the girl wakes up, she's upset to find her parents dead.  Yes, I can see why you loved the people that drugged you and kidnapped you.  You must be...from Stockholm!  After this, all hell breaks loose.  The movie pretty much loses all narrative focus, choosing to show random scenes with no rhyme or reason.  Speaking of which, we see a dream/flashback where the girl walks home with the grandfather, he disappears, a monster bites her and, when she talks to the parents, she says that he died a week ago.
More randomness- why not?!?  This is the breakdown for you...
* A horny couple from the teen group get separated after the guy throws up blood on her.  He wanders off and gets killed by zombies.  By the way, there are zombies here.
* The girl from the duo goes into the attic and gets killed by something I don't recall.  It must have been interesting.
* The remainder wander around for a bit, while we get random dreams and shit.
* Kreskin spends nearly ten minutes on a group hypnosis session that adds nothing.  This is apparently all real though, assuming you believe the Producers.
* The lead girl gets killed by zombies in the woods, but they can't afford a death scene, so she just sort of gets surrounded and dies.  Hurray.
* In the end, we see via a flashback that Pastor Kreskin (not his name) gave the guy the drugs, setting this whole thing up.  Hurray- it's over!
This movie sucks- long and hard.  It's a seventy-minute film that just sort of meanders between plot-less scenes for the last forty.  There's an overall narrative (kind of), but it boils down to 'how do we get out of here?' and nothing more.  It's just a pretense to use the grab bag of random horror ideas that Dante had lying around.  Why couldn't he have just skipped coming in to work on this day?!?  He wasn't even supposed to be there!  The thing starts out promising enough with the goat and all, but quickly spirals downhill from there.  Much like Mega-Shark vs. Giant Octopus, it has enough interesting moments to fill a trailer & nothing more!  Was there a point to this movie?  Honestly, I'm asking you!  The story is nothing, the acting is bad and the effects are barely-there to begin with.  You can just keep skipping this movie like I did.  There's no need to see it.  You can see the ghost and the floating pumpkin heads here.  Watch something better this Halloween season.  The Abominable Dr. Phibes is available on disc somewhere and just waiting for you to pick it up.  Take me home, silliest actor credit ever...
Next up, I won't skip out on a Halloween film this year.  All joking aside, this one is a film that is so bad that it will make you skip the apples and go right for the razor blades.  Stay tuned...

Friday, October 29, 2010

'90s Trash: Unknown Origin

It's hard to talk about low-budget, direct-to-video films from the 1980s and '90s without mentioning Roger Corman.  Considering that the last film he really directed was 1990's Frankenstein Unbound, it is amazing to think that he's had so much impact.  Well, here's a bigger number for you: between 1980 and 2000, Corman is credited as Producer or Executive Producer on 216 films!  Damn!  So yeah, as you may have guessed, this is one of those films.  If you like The Thing and you like Aliens, but felt that both films were too clever, I have a film for you.  The film stars Roddy McDowall and William Shatner's daughter Melanie (who was also the sister from Subspecies II and III), as well a bunch of other people that I don't know.  Fun side note: the Captain is played by Alex Hyde-White, the man who played Mr. Fantastic in Corman's Fantastic Four.  Let's get right to this, shall we?  Get out your blue Kool Aid for my review of...
The opening text crawl explains that "In the year 2020- man has used up and destroyed most of the Earth's resources."  Don't go all 'hippie' on me now, Roger!  The point of all this is to establish that the world is kept running by deep-sea miners.  Of course, we've used up "most of the Earth's resources," so there are plenty of resources...on Earth.  The crew of the ship in question is a motley one, including a former American Gladiator woman, an old man, a bossy Captain, a black nerd, a stoner technician (good combo), a character who's totally not a robot and Roddy McDowall.  Every ship should have a Roddy McDowall!  There's trouble on the ship when their workload quota is raised and everyone must work in the mines, even Roddy and his robot.  In addition, a government employee (Shatner) is sent down to oversee them.  During some mining with the old man and McDowall, the former gets exposed to some radiation due to an accident by the latter.  The Captain bitches at him about the error, but he's pretty nonchalant.  They receive a distress call from a Russian ship.  They discover a lot of corpses and one angry man, who ends up getting shot by the captain.  The robot gets shot as well, revealing it's form.  Yeah, we all knew!  In addition, they bring on a sample of rock that's 1,000,000+ years old.
Quick side note: their control room is clearly the same one from Carnosaur 2.  I mean, just look at that (above).  Anyhow, one of the crewmen gets exposed to something from the material brought on board & gets sick.  When he goes through some spasms, the Gladiatrix breaks quarantine to try and save him, but fails.  Guess what happens to her.  When she gets infected, she smashes things up and dies.  The Captain orders them to burn the bodies (plus the Russian ones), but McDowall presses to be allowed to do an autopsy.  He's only given 48 hours to do so, however, and must make do.  During this, he resets the robot to fix an error caused when it was shot.  Keep an eye out for that plot point to come back later.  During all of this, the old man is recovering from his radiation poisoning.  Unfortunately, he gets attacked by an alien puppet...I mean, creature that attacks him.  He is found in the room alone, but he somehow managed to break out of the restraints.  This leads to numerous 'he's infected- I don't trust him' exchanges.  I hope you like those, because there about 600 of them in the film.  The group splits up like in Aliens and looks for the creature, but ultimately just ends up spraying each other with gas and burning a parakeet.  Oh joy.
I hope you like 2nd and 3rd Act plot twists, because there are about 700 of those!  Basically, a bunch of people shoot at the aliens, some of them get killed and people complain about how they 'can't trust anyone.'  The Captain is a complete tool, offering to give up his gun as a trust exercise- only to pull it back out again a moment later.  Eventually, we learn that the aliens can place spores in the dead bodies that they use up.  This allows them to kill some alien puppets...I mean, deadly creatures and still have people be possessed.  The major target is McDowall, who has reprogrammed the robot to help him.  He sets the base to self-destruct, gets an escape pod ready and calls for a ship to meet him.  He does all of that without losing his glorious accent too!  His plan is foiled, however, when he gets burned alive by the stoner guy.  In one twist, we learn that the old man is possessed and he too gets killed.  Shockingly, the stoner is also a host and gets shot too.  It all comes down to the Captain and Ms. Shatner (who's done a lot of nothing here) who...are both possessed by some aliens.  Why did they kill the spores earlier?  Because these aliens are dicks and want all the power for themselves.  As the ship blows up, the pair agree to split up and wreak havoc on the rest of the world separately.  The End.
This movie sucks.  I mean, it's so generic and silly that it defies all attempts to make it sound really interesting. You took the aliens from Aliens, throw in a dash of intrigue and possession from The Thing and put it all in an environment that is basically space.  Yes, it's underwater, but the motif still fits.  Speaking of being underwater, the film likes to randomly cut to establishing shots of the base, even though they remain stationary the whole time.  Oh good, you're still on the ship- thanks!  The acting in this film ranges for good (McDowall) to dull as dirt (Shatner).  Nobody is really terrible, but they do nothing to distinguish themselves.  If you want to be in a movie so bad, try acting!  The effects in this film are nothing to write about, so I won't.  If you have to see every direct-to-video film, have at this movie.  If not, you can skip this movie.  You've seen this movie twice when it was better- Aliens and The Thing.  Enjoy this shot of an obvious stunt man covered in goo.  Way to use that angle, guys!
Next up, how good can a film with a super-generic title be?  Does it help if I told you that it starred a famous hypnotist from The Johnny Carson Show.  Stay tuned...

The Worst Idea For A Film EVER!

How do you take a disturbing idea that makes Hostel look like The Wizard of Oz and make it worse?  The answer- it's porn parody!
The Human Sexipede.  That's all I need to say.  It's real.  People have seen it.

See for yourself: http://thecinemasnob.com/2010/10/25/reviews-the-human-sexipede--paranormal-activity-2.aspx

For the record, 'No, I will not be reviewing this.'  I just felt the need to say that for some reason.

That is all.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

_____th Post Special Collection

With my biggest milestone reached, let's take a look back at the earlier milestones.  A lot you probably weren't around when they actually happened, so enjoy.

100th Post: This first Special involves my response to some of the more dubious moments from the classic films Creepshow and Creepshow 2.  It was so controversial that it got a reaction six months after it was posted.

Links: http://mondobizarrocinema.blogspot.com/2009/04/ohhhhcreep-out.html + http://mondobizarrocinema.blogspot.com/2009/04/ohhhhcreep-out-part-2.html

200th Post: This second special involves my review of the film that I inadvertently-named the site after.  Is it a fitting namesake or an ironically-bad film?

Link: http://mondobizarrocinema.blogspot.com/2009/07/shockumentary-mondo-bizarro.html

300th Post: This third special involves me reviewing one of the worst films I've ever endured- Creepshow 3. How can you be painfully-unfunny, boring and not scary at the same time?  Find out.

P.S. Next time take my word for how bad the film is, Carl.

Link: http://mondobizarrocinema.blogspot.com/2009/09/300th-post-special-creepshow-3.html

400th Post: This was a minor Special, so did something different.  This is look at a really odd period in film history involving people making a ton of sequels without the actual star.  Which star?  Read on...

Link: http://mondobizarrocinema.blogspot.com/2009/11/400th-post-special-van-damme.html

500th Post: This epic Special involves a rip-off of one film I hate by a studio I hate even worse.  It's a culmination of crap that manages to be epically-bad.  Find out exactly how...

Link: http://mondobizarrocinema.blogspot.com/2010/01/500th-post-special-asylums-monster.html

600th Post: What's better than a classic tale or a puppet show?  If you guessed, both- you're right.  See how it came about here...

Link: http://mondobizarrocinema.blogspot.com/2010/03/600th-post-special-dantes-inferno-2007.html

700th Post: The Asylum is back with a rip-off in name only of a film that I hate almost as much as Cloverfield.  Will an original film be better than a carbon copy?  Not likely.

Link: http://mondobizarrocinema.blogspot.com/2010/05/700th-post-special-resident-demon.html

800th Post: After an American remake of the French film Taxi, a Bollywood version was a natural.  Want to see how true the cliches of the genre really are?  Read on...

Link: http://mondobizarrocinema.blogspot.com/2010/07/800th-post-special-bollywoods-taxi.html

900th Post: Oh look, they made a sequel to that film above.  It's even less logical and full of pointless-dancing.  Check it out...

Link: http://mondobizarrocinema.blogspot.com/2010/08/900th-post-special-dhoom-taxi-2.html

I hope you enjoy this look at the (recent) past and I hope you stick around if the site runs for another one-thousand posts.  Ciao.

1,000th Post Special: Faces of Death

One-thousand posts, huh?  Yeah, I clearly have no life.  Thanks for indulging me in this for so long though.  It's good to know that I have company here.  After all of this time and so many posts, what kind of film would suffice?  How about the most controversial film ever released on video?  Yeah, that would do it.  Believe it or not, this film that was allegedly banned in forty countries (actually five) is readily available from Netflix.  I know- I was surprised too!  This is actually the 30th Anniversary re-release from 2008 which has been restored for future generations.  You guys couldn't have spend your time doing something more important?  There's famine in several nations, but you felt the need to work on this instead?!?  Well, let's get to it.  Get out your blood-less squibs for my review of...
The film begins with about five minutes of bodily dissection.  I hope you aren't eating during this movie...although, I can't see why you would.  Eventually, we meet our narrator- a doctor who is obsessed with studying death.  In an attempt to make the film 'arty,' they show his 'dream' about death that led him on a 20+ year journey to study death.  Considering the fact that he's a Pathologist, why was the dream necessary? On to the death...
                                                     
We see a collection of bits involving animals being killed.  Gee, how was that movie banned again?  If you're a vegetarian, this is probably stuff you've seen before though.  You get to see in-depth coverage of cows being dissected in a slaughterhouse.  Oddly, our narrator is seriously offended by the process of making food kosher.  Considering that this whole bit shows bodies being cut into pieces, why does this one bit seem bad to him?  I just watched a cow skull be broken down, but that part was bad.  Oh yeah, we also see a totally-real restaurant where customers kill a monkey and eat it's brain.  Sure- why not?!?
The film is also nice enough to show us seals being clubbed.  The narrator is a bit contradictory, however, as he first says that the people were hired by the government to help control the population.  Mere seconds later though, he says that they do it because the pelts are worth so much money.  Pick one!  We see footage of poachers killing alligators.  Gee, it was sure nice of them to let you film them doing an illegal activity!
Speaking of illegal, the film shows us what is supposedly a political assassination.  Two things ruin the effect though.  First, the man has no blood come out of his bullet wound made from a few feet away.  Secondly, the press conference where this supposedly occurs at has more than one camera angle, including a close-up of the man not speaking.  After that, they explain that the act was done by a famous French assassin.  This man is nice enough to invite them to his house and speak to them...in English.  Don't worry- they couldn't have just called the cops and/or military to come with them!  Still think being an assassin is cool?!?
The fake footage continues as we see a police raid that has gone bad.  The victims inside the house are surprisingly-clean for being cut-up with a knife.  In addition, the man shot by the police from about a foot away with a shotgun doesn't bleed.  You have no problem with showing real blood, but you can't use any fake stuff?  There's a scene where a man is supposedly-killed while playing near a bear.  Of course, they show this by having the cameraman be knocked over, despite him being several feet away when the 'incident' occurs.  Who thought this was real again?
After even more 'death' and trauma, the film decides to wrap-up with a positive message.  No, really.  They show a woman give birth to her child, apparently symbolizing that life goes on.  Oh good, that totally matches up with the shot of the man being 'killed in the electric chair' earlier.  The End.
This movie sucks- controversy or no controversy.  The idea is simple, but they can't make up their mind as to what to show.  They didn't want to fill a film with animals being killed, so they tried to work in some real material.  Of course, if they actually showed real murder, this film would be illegal!  This leads to a ton of really fake scenes that do nothing but draw you out of the film.  So you get ten minutes of sheeps and cows being killed, followed by some super-fake footage of people being shot.  Who's the audience for this?  "I love seeing animals killed and I wish that you could imply human death- what do you got for me?"  Never mind that a lot of this footage is either self-indulgent or something that you can watch on National Geographic at 3 o'clock in the afternoon.  If you believe that most of this is real, you're an idiot.  This movie is either a gross-out (thanks for the shots of Holocaust victims, movie) or just dull.  If you don't buy into the fake footage, it's just painful.  In spite of all the controversy, the film is either laughably-bad or boring.  It might be worth a look to the more extreme viewers out there, but a lot of you won't make it past the first five minutes.  Take us away, shot of the most '70s man ever...
Next up, another Roger Corman film shows up on the page.  This one is an obscure one that rips off both Aliens and The Thing- yea.  Stay tuned...
  

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Doom House!: House II- The Second Story

What makes a film a sequel?  The return of popular characters?  A setting that has more trouble to cause?  A familiar power manifesting itself in a new way?  All of these are valid definitions in their own way.  This leads me to House II: The Second Story.  Do any of these elements occur in this film?  No, No and No.  William Katt is not back as the author, replaced by two dorks, one of whom gained minor fame on Ellen's sitcom in the '90s.  The titular house is also not there, since it was freaking burned down.  The monsters don't return either, replaced with even goofier ones.  In fact, there is only one connective thread: Kane Hodder.  As both a Stunt Man and the Stunt Choreographer, Mr. Hodder has a part in House 1, 2, 3 and 4.  I'll get into those other two films later though.  So what's this film about?  Well, it's about a house- hence the title, I guess- which holds a treasure.  This leads to a grand adventure, a zombie prospector and a giant chicken.  This is going to hurt, isn't it?  Get out your crystal skulls for my review of...
The film begins with, well, a ton of comedy.  Mind you, it's comedy on par with Lucky Stiff, so don't get your hopes up.  Basically, our two leads are living in a house that has always belonged to their family.  They're joined at certain points by a set of supporting characters, including a silly redhead (the former Ms. John Ritter, Amy Yasbeck) and a love interest character.  They don't add much to the film though, so let's just move on.  Of course, I should also mention that Bill Maher has a small role here, as he did a ton of these kinds of movies in the '80s.  We haven't forgotten, Bill!  Our heroes learn about a treasure hunt that was once undertaken by their great-great grandfather.  They are convinced that a map they subsequently find is related to the treasure. The pair go out to the yard only to discover a different kind of treasure: the mummified body of their great-great-grandfather.  Don't worry- he's alive.  No, they don't really explain how.  He awakens and tells them about the treasure that they must go out and seek.  It's a crystal skull that has some sort of powers that I can't be bothered to remember.  This is not getting better...
Finding the object necessitates a trip to another dimension.  Yeah, that thing that was weird in House is just kind of accepted here.  It's a jungle-style environment that is about as low-rent as you can get.  Picture the jungle scenes from Night of the Sorcerers and you've got this film.  Their adventure includes a battle with some jungle animals and a pterodactyl.  Eventually, the pair escape from the area with the treasure.  You know what that means, right?  Party!  Unfortunately, the presence of the object leads to some undesired guests showing up to try and steal it.  Add in some awkward 'don't look behind that door' comedy and you have a nice party.  With a costume theme, a spandex clad Kane Hodder can walk in without a second glance.  He makes short work of the zombified grandfather and our heroes, but they manage to escape back into the jungle dimension.  Sure- why not?!?  They try to take out the giant of a man (credited as 'Gorilla'), but fail in all of the ways you would expect.  Thankfully, a claymation dinosaur thing shows up to kill him and just sort of leaves.  Thanks, plot device!  Unfortunately, another demonic force is lingering about: a zombie cowboy.  I wish I was kidding.
The skull's presence creates all sorts of messes in the house and trouble comes often.  They end up with a giant chicken in the house because, well, just because.  A cult ends up in the basement of the house, which turns out to be quite gigantic.  They are led to this by an electrical short of some kind, prompting them to call an electrician (Cheers star John Ratzenberger).  Yes, this series is two-for-two with Cheers stars.  He proves oddly-accepting of this whole thing and helps them fight off the cult with some swords.  I get that this is a comedy, but I would like some logic here, please.  When the danger finally appears to be over with, the zombie cowboy rises up from the dinner table and steals the skull.  Not only that, but he shoots the great-great-grandfather.  Despite him surviving for nearly 200 years in a grave, this kills him.  It probably has something to do with the skull, but still feels really dumb!  The villain captures everyone save for our lead actor (Arye Gross) and challenges him to a showdown.  They have a face-off and...the guy misses every shot and runs away.  He eventually gets a burst of courage and confidence and does better in the rematch.  He manages to blow up the zombie's head and, big surprise, the house burns down.  The End.
This movie...is just plain silly.  The plot is weird, setting up a loose structure to allow the film to just meander about in whatever direction it feels like.  Seriously, what is the focus of the movie?  We have dinosaurs, a cult, giant chickens and Kane Hodder in a Speedo.  Is this the Mad Libs screenplay I've always, um, farted about?  The tonal switch to full-comedy is not as jarring as you might think, but is still distracting.  This is what would have happened if Universal had actually greenlit the original screenplay to Jaws 3- Jaws 3, People 0.  I have to wonder who was begging for this, that's all.  Just to note: I watched both House and House II in the span of about four hours (counting a small break).  If you really want to see how different the two films are, do it this way!  It's hard to recommend this film to many people because it is just so damn silly.  I love goofy movies, but this movie was still weird to even me.  If you have a real quirky taste, you may love this movie.  A lot of you will probably just wonder why the hell this is called House II.
Up next, a monumental event happens at Mondo Bizarro- my 1,000th post.  To celebrate, I review one of the most shocking and polarizing films from the video age.  Stay tuned...

Impossibly-Cool Cover Art: One Crazy Summer

Comedies come around quite often.  John Cusack has starred in many of them.  How many of them come along with this kind of background art though...
Oh my God, Pac-Man has escaped from jail!  Run for your lives from this fruit and/or ghost-eating menace!

...oh, that's just the sun.  What a letdown!

Next up, what's better than the monster on the cover?  How about the monster looking goofy on the cover?  Stay tuned...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Doom House! : House (1986)

The film House is a weird case.  It's a series that ran for four films and seemed to do alright for itself.  However, most casual fans of horror will not ever bring this up.  Some of them have probably seen it- but they don't ever talk about it.  In fact, among all the horror series that I've covered- be it Ghoulies, Subspecies or Pumpkinhead- I have yet to really get many requests for it.  The catch is that it's a highly-regarded first film.  As far as the rest of them, not so much.  Let's focus on the original film though.  It's the tale of a novelist who moves into a new house, but finds out that he's not alone in there.  Oh yeah, 'Norm' from Cheers and 'Bull' from Night Court are here too.  Get out your randomly-bloody dress for my review of...
Early on, we don't know a lot about our hero.  We know that he lost a son due to some sort of accident in a pool and that he's a novelist working on his next book.  Thanks for the extreme close-up of the fan in a book-signing line, movie.  The house seems nice enough.  It's big, spacious and has a hot blond who likes to use the pool.  By the way, I hope you like this lady's ass, because the movie sure does!  The problem: he's got a neighbor who wants to chat.  That neighbor- George Wendt- eventually gets the hint through a bit of really awkward dialog.  Oh wait, it's supposed to be funny.  Inside, the man starts to plan out his novel, but gets caught up in some Vietnam flashbacks.  These seem really out of place, but do eventually tie in to the plot.  They also include Richard Moll, so that's a plus.  The man starts to get into the stories too much, however, as he dresses in the gear for the part while writing.  I'd hate to see what Stephen King does!  On top of that, a monster from his closet tries to attack him.  This leads the man to set up a line of guns facing the door & dive out the front door to celebrate his victory.  Naturally, the neighbor is outside the house doing...um, something. Break out the ironic trombone- again!
The neighbor is a big fan of the author and is worried about him.  Is the stress of writing a book and the loss of his son driving him mad?  He calls the man's girlfriend- an actress- and tells her that she needs to visit.  Her arrival goes well, until she turns into a puss-looking monster.  If the monster from Dagon had a pimple that become a living being, it would be this thing.  The man shoots the monster, which turns back into his girlfriend.  The neighbor calls the cops, thinking that the man offed himself.  This sets up some awkward comedy involving the man hiding the body and it nearly being discovered a few times.  Ha ha- it's funny because she died.  This monster won't stay dead though and has to be cut up and buried in separate holes in the ground.  More comedy ensues as the woman from earlier shows up and dumps her kid off with him.  However, the disembodied hand gets on his back, forcing our hero to cover for the limb's removal.  He also gets more flashbacks to Vietnam that still don't quite seem to synch up.  Random moments that don't make sense- get used to that.
Eventually, he's not alone in his quest to deal with the trouble.  The guy just sort of goes along with his request, but changes his tune when he sees a real monster.  At this point, things just get weird- yes, even by comparison.  The man is dragged into the closet by the monster and ends up in his own flashback from Vietnam.  However, the dead soldiers- especially Moll- are pissed.  He makes his way back to the real world and must do battle with a giant, zombie version of Moll.  The guy is packing heat too!  He chases our hero around with a gun, but there is some good news.  The guy's dead son: he's alive now.  Yeah, he gets pulled in from another dimension apparently and is alive again.  Screw you, God!  After a lot of build-up, the man realizes that he has the true power and blows up Zombie Moll with one of his own grenades.  In true Corman fashion, the house burns down.  The wife arrives just in time to greet the now-not-dead son, so all is well.  Does anyone question this bizarre miracle?  No.  The End.
This movie...is actually pretty good.  Don't get me wrong- it's weird as hell.  However, I was pretty entertained by this film.  I wish that some of it could have been strung together in a more linear fashion, but it's a minor complaint.  Sure, some of the jokes are hit and miss, but it's an overall strong package.  The acting is decent, the plot works and the practical effects are good.  It's really only when they delve into digital and rear-projection stuff that it falters.  To be fair, the right technology just didn't exist at the time.  It's not like those jerks at The Asylum who have no excuse!  If you're going to seek out a weird, horror film from the '80s, you can certainly have a good time with this one.  Will my good luck continue with Part 2?  Given that it's title is a pun, probably not.
Up next, let's look at the sequel which shares neither the characters, plot or setting.  Oh yeah, Bill Maher is here too.  Stay tuned...

Lost in Translation: The Howling

It's tough being a country that's not quite France, but not quite anywhere else in Europe.  Evidently, they take their frustrations on movie posters like this one for Joe Dante's hit film...
Oh my God- giant werewolf in the sky!  Run, naked lady, run!

Yeah, I don't get it.

Next up, we learn that Bruce Lee can be more disrespected than with just Bruceploitation.  Dragon Kick!  Stay tuned...

Monday, October 25, 2010

WTF?!? Spain: Killer Tongue

Spain, Spain, Spain- what were you thinking?  Try to look at what exactly they did here.  We've got a Spanish production with two American leads in it and the film is made in English.  However, all of the credits (see the title card, for example) are in Spanish.  The film is about a Bonnie & Clyde wannabe couple who get separated for a while.  During their time apart, some alien hijinks occur that make things a bit tricky for them.  Through in a creepy prison warden, some nuns and some gay stereotypes & you've got the plot.  Who greenlights this kind of thing?  Well, since I already watched it, you get to know all about it.  Get out your deus ex meteorite for my review of...
The film begins with a couple out on a robbery spree.  They hold a pair of security guards hostage as they drive away.  As they finish escaping, they tie the two guys up and drive off.  There's clearly a scene or two missing here because when we see the guy next, he's in jail.  We learn through a flashback scene that the duo agreed to reunite when he got out of jail & reclaim their loot.  Who?  What? Why?  Don't worry, they use the time saved to give you some of the worst comedy acting this side of, well, Lucky Stiff.  The prison warden is none other than Robert Englund, proving that you can go lower than A Nightmare on Elm Street 6.  Kudos, buddy!  So what is the girlfriend doing in this period of time?  It's simple- she's a Nun.  Yes, apparently cloisters are very easy to get into.  After all, if that whore from School of the Holy Beast can get into one, why can't she?  Trouble comes up when a newspaper decides to do a photo shoot of the nuns doing a carwash.  You can question that logic, but you will soon learn that this is the most logical plot point in the film!  The warden gives the guy a hard time, as well as showing off his awesome toupee.  Why does he have a toupee?  Because the screenwriter thought that this was funny.  I don't know- just go with it.  Oh yeah, a comet crashes into the Earth and does some freaky stuff...
I'm going to bombard you with a whole slew of ridiculous statements, so stay with me.  The comet's crash has many curious side effects.  First off, it transforms the woman, putting her into some sort of weird bodysuit.  Secondly, it turns her tongue into a living, alien entity.  Third, it transforms her group of poodles into horrible, gay stereotype men.  No, really.  Don't ask me why this object causes that effect, because I have no damn clue!  As we learn, the woman loses her normal taste buds and can only eat one thing: people.  Thankfully, one of the recently-released prisoners stops by to get killed.  That's not his goal, mind you, but it is the end result.  When the woman finds out about her curse, she takes it out on, well, her tongue.  The entity does not like this and fights back.  Eventually, it pops it's way out and begins to...talk to her?  Yes, this is happening.  In jail, more trouble happens with the warden, but the guards aren't helping him all that much.  Our hero finally gets free, but his problems are just beginning.  One of the nuns ends up in the clutches of the killer tongue woman, but escapes.  Thankfully, she finds another snack to tide her over.  The nurse wanders around the desert for a while until she runs into the guy.  I smell romance...and some evil tongue action.
When the woman finds out that her guy is getting it on with another woman, she pushes the pair over a cliff in the gurney that they were making out on.  Do you want to explain why they were there?  I didn't think so.  After feasting on another person, we go away from the woman to see those guards from before.  Their sub-plot involves them tracking down the woman after seeing her face in the photo of the nuns.  Don't worry- this goes nowhere.  It all boils down to the film's few survivors- the guy, one of the prisoners and Englund.  They do something logical and try to shoot the damn thing.  However, their attempt to drive away leads to a really silly car chase.  It's just above the one from Maniac Cop 3 since it has the woman driving while the alien tongue is flailing about through the sun roof.  What was it planning to do exactly?  All of this leads back to- you guessed it- the Church where the nuns were originally.  The group do battle with the woman and her killer mouth appendage until...the movie just kind of ends.  Yeah, they kind of cop-out here and just close with the woman doing narration in...somewhere.  The End.
This movie sucks!  The key problem is this: it's just too weird.  Maybe it's a case of the story being translated badly.  Maybe I just don't get it.  Maybe it's just dumb!  The film has weird comedy moments, followed by people dying and then more comedy.  On top of that, the comedy is all over the place.  We get people over-acting, people yelling a lot and people making funny faces.  Plus, we get Englund wearing a toupee, the horrible stereotype characters and the prisoners being abused.  Yes, that last part is supposed to be funny.  Here's the thing: this is a Spanish film, but it has a pair of English leads and was done entirely in English.  However, the freaking titles are in Spanish!  I know that I mentioned that before, but it bears repeating- dammit.  I wanted to like this movie- honest.  I mean, how could I not like a movie with this title?!?  However, it proved to just be a big disappointment to me.  Maybe you'll like it better.  Either way, at least you've heard about it now.  Have fun or share my disdain.
Up next, I tackle the first of two films in an '80s horror series.  Will the films have anything to do with each other though?  Stay tuned...

VHS For the Win: Digital Man

Cyborgs are just an awesome idea.  However, many low-budget films manage to ruin that.  Will this one break the mold?
That is simultaneously both awesome and stupid!  The actual suit looks cool and that gun is great, but the guy looks like the Principal from Masters of the Universe!  So close, movie!

Side note: the trailer to this film is actually on my VHS tape of Scanner Cop 2.

Next up, you think killer car films are solely about female cars?  Well, this macho car intends to change that!  Stay tuned...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Comedy?: Lucky Stiff

It's a little-known fact that Anthony Perkins directed a pair of films.  I guess that's the price you pay for being so iconic in one role.  Mind you, the other one was Psycho III, so I guess it's easy to forget.  The other film, as you may have guessed, is this film.  It's a comedy about cannibalism and the recently-cleared Donner party.  Mostly, it's just an excuse to do fat jokes.  Should you get your hopes for this obscure little film or will you just be reminded why it is so?  Get out your rake traps for my review of...
The film tells the tale of a man with luck worse than those rabbits who keep getting their feet cut off for necklaces.  He's set to be married, but his bride changes her mind...at the altar.  You couldn't have timed that any less awkwardly, honey?  In spite of that, he still goes on his honeymoon...alone.  That makes for a silly plot, but not a whole lot of sense?  Anyhow, he decides to spend the holidays/his honeymoon in a ski resort, which is just chock full of couples.  To make matters worse, the only room that is left is a honeymoon suite!  Break out the ironic trombone!  More awkward comedy ensues as he pretends to be a couple when talking to a person outside of his hotel room door.  Here's a thought: don't talk to him!  Things look up as he finds a pretty blond woman in the hotel, only to find that she has a boyfriend.  Actually, that's not the whole story.  It all has to do with an earlier scene involving a creepy family at a cottage...
You see, the lady is part of the modern (in 1988) descendants of the Donner Party.  Her family apparently still kills and eats men, just for fun I guess.  The last person they brought him didn't meet the family standards, so a new one had to be found.  Guess who is on the menu now?  We get some silly 'romance' scenes between the two, which mostly consist of the pair posing in front of some bad rear-projection effects.  This will really make you appreciate shitty green screen work that would eventually come!  We also get some goofy physical comedy that is about as cliched as you can get.  Gee, I wonder what will happen when the fat guy goes skiing?  I'm sure he won't crash into signs or anything.  During all of this, a female friend arrives to talk to him. She's the 'I've been your friend, but I'm secretly in love with you' type that you see a lot.  Want to take guesses on where this story is headed?  The 'boyfriend' from before turns out to be the brother, who eventually knocks our hero out after a 'comedy' scene.  He's saved at the last minute, however, by the woman.  She doesn't care- it's just that grandma is coming to the family dinner and only eats fresh meat.  Eww.
The plot moves the group over to the family house, which leads to some wacky 'comedy' of its own.  Since this is set around Christmas, our heroes need to get some presents.  Of course, their presence there- to be eaten- should be enough, but we need to pad out the runtime.  They go to a store in the middle of the night which is run by a weirdo.  The guy says weird things, they make small talk and then they leave.  That accomplished a lot- thanks.  Eventually, the family all comes together and has some weirdness.  Yet again, this adds nothing.  All of this is just a build-up to the woman from before breaking our hero out while in disguise.  As they go outside, the family of the man from the store surround the police.  We get some sort of Hatfield and McCoy explanation for this.  Pick a family from a story & stick with it!  Eventually, the two families put aside their dispute in order to kill our fat hero.  As him and the woman ride off on horses, they both crash into a tree...for no reason.  Our hero decides to stand up for himself and fight the family.  He does this by setting up a series of rakes under leaves, which the people step on and knock themselves out.  The brother puts up an actual fight, but gets crushed by our fat lead.  The Donner woman just sort of gives up and allows him to leave.  Finally, the man finds a woman who will agree to marry him and actually follows through with it.  Hurray- The End.
This movie sucks!  Where to begin?  The plot is silly, the acting is bad and, oh yeah, it's really not funny.  Humor can be subjective and i'm sure sure that a ton of things I like would be considered to be 'un-funny' by some readers.  I can't help the fact that I love Battlefield Baseball- dammit!  My problem here is that the film does nothing that's really original.  Other than the whole 'Donner Party' angle, you've seen this movie about 60 times already.  Speaking of which, what an odd storyline to bring in!  Was there a big call for films about cannibal families in the mid-80s?  I don't get it!  I wish that I could recommend this movie.  It's obscure, it's quirky and it's directed by a man with only two directing credits.  I just hope that I have better luck with The Ninth Configuration!
Up next, I take a look at a Spanish film starring 'Freddy.'  It involves an alien being, a comet and some nuns.  Stay tuned...