Monday, January 31, 2011

Project Terrible: Zombie Campout

Never has the word 'Terrible' been used so appropriately!  Riddle me this, Batman- you've got $5 and a hand-held camera.  What do you do?  If you answered 'become an amateur journalist to uncover the secret wrongs done by those in power,' you'd be a good person.  If you answered, 'make the 6,000,000th direct-to-DVD zombie flick to hit the market,' you'd be a terrible person.  Since 'terrible' is the word of the day, we're going to have to 'enjoy' another zombie flick.  I love zombie films...when done either in a stupid, but funny way or in a good way.  This is neither.  If you want to know what the difference between 'so bad it's good' and 'bad,' this is a great test subject.  The film is the brainchild of Joshua D. Smith, the man behind Zombie Campout, Zombie Campout.  Yeah, he has one film on his Resume.  However, to compensate, he's credited as the Writer, Director, Producer, Editor, Stunt Driver (Boat), Gaffer, Zombie Extra, Production Manager, Special Effects Supervisor and Casting Director!  It's a wonder that he didn't just shoot the film with a cast consisting of himself in six different wigs!  The film is, who cares?  Let's just get out our raw meat so we can *sadly* attend the...
The film begins with a group of four people at a campout.  Well, we're jumping right into the mix of things, huh?  Good- I want this to be over with quick.  A pair split off and one of them is killed when...the credits begin.  Oh, so this is one of those 'how did we get here' moments, right?  No.  It's just thrown in to screw with you.  The film actually begins with a guy getting ready to go out on a campout.  He goes through a number of outfits and reads a magazine called 'Trucks and Boobs' which features a blurb about...Zombie Campout?  You created a fake magazine (I hope) to put a blurb about your film's title into the film itself, humor?  The set-up is simple: a guy and his girlfriend take her single friend and his single friend out for some fun.  On the way, they pass a woman driving around topless and...oggle her for about five minutes.  Who needs plot when you have pointless, unfunny non sequitur moments?   They run across some more women and just kind of talk to them.  They run into a Sheriff who tells them about a meteor shower coming that night.  Instead of watching, they lay around and make-out.  The meteors strike down in California, so it naturally causes zombies to rise from their graves in Texas, where the movie is set.
At this point, the movie alternates between boring scenes of the principal characters talking and zombies randomly-killing people.  Speaking of random, the movie is never clear what kind of tone to go for.  In one scene, zombies toss a woman's body parts into frame in a comedic fashion.  In another scene, they grab a four-year old kid and eat her!  Comedy or drama- pick one!  Our heroes do a whole lot of nothing, constantly managing to stay just adjacent to the plot and never interfering.  Be proactive, people!  Eventually, they realize that zombies are loose, but it's too late.  No, they don't all die.  I just stopped caring.  Forty-minutes- that's an impressive run, movie.  The End (for me).
Eat me, movie!  The plot of this movie is...a joke.  Unfortunately, nobody is laughing!  It's all about a bunch of people who go through over half of the runtime without realizing that zombies are loose.  It's like Shaun of the Dead- if it was directed by the zombies in it!  This movie is just an insult to everyone who dares to actually watch it.  On the plus side, it's probably only insulted a handful of people in the last nine years.  In addition, it's cast has gone on to be in a whole lot of nothing, while Joshua D. Smith's most recent credit is doing Still Photography and working the Sound Board for a film called Bikini Detectives.  No, really.  Look it up if you doubt me!  The movie tries to cover it's lack of humor, bad writing and lackadaisical directing with a lot of fake blood.  It doesn't work.  The gore is plentiful, but it really makes it look like the zombies are just spilling Fruit Punch all over people.  When your film's list of Goofs is longer than your list of Cast, you've made a bad movie.  When your Director/Producer/Writer/Editor's name appears in the credits 24 times, you've made a bad movie.  When your zombie film is not scary and nobody is laughing, you've made a bad movie.  This is a Terrible movie- with a capital 'T.'  Thanks, Carl- I'll be sure to send some especially horrendous stuff to you in Round Two of Project Terrible.
Next up, more Project Terrible as Carl brings me a horror anthology film.  It features cowboys, government agents and the worst framing device since Cat's Eye.  Stay tuned...

VHS For The Win: Shakma

What's in a name?  If a film about a killer monkey were known by any other, would it still throw it's feces?  To test that theory, here is...
Somebody loved Monkey Shines, I see.  On the plus side, this has the guy from Blue Lagoon and a man who once played an ape- Roddy McDowall.

Up next, we must face down a future peril to come.  Of course, this one took place 11 years ago.  Stay tuned...

Sunday, January 30, 2011

RPGore: Knight Chills

Role-playing with a vengeance!  Honestly, I couldn't come up with something funnier than this- the actual tagline to the movie!  The Producers were so proud of this word-play that they slapped it on the front of the DVD itself.  That gives you an idea of what kind of quality to expect here, don't you think?  This 2001 horror film is about a group of role-playing gamers who end up bringing an evil and angry spirit down upon them.  The reason for all of this is extremely-silly, so it makes for a fun review- at least, I hope so.  It's a very low-fi production value, but still looks like Avatar compared to tomorrow's film!  On the plus side, you may actually get some joy out of this film if you like bad acting and pacing that's slower than a sloth in the car-pool lane.  Put on your coat, since we're experiencing...
The film begins with a group of young adults meeting up for a role-playing game session.  My God- it's the work of The Devil, Charles Band and Tom Hanks!  The group consists of a jock (why is he here?), a stoner guy, his girlfriend, a generic girl with no character traits, a normal guy with a goatee and one guy who's a bit too into the game.  You see, he has a bit of a problem separating reality from fantasy.  He portrays a Knight in the most generic D&D-style campaign imaginable.  Not only that, but he often refers to himself as his character name.  Yeah, you might be just a bit insane.  He also has a thing for the stoner guy's girlfriend.  The part that's actually weirder than the knight guy, however, is the fact that the D&D-style game is run by the group's former-History teacher.  They spend Saturday nights in their ex-teacher's basement (which has wallpaper designed to look like stones)?  To the movie's credit, this is actually a plot point...which amounts to nothing.  In one intense moment, a fight nearly breaks out between the jock guy and the knight based on an in-game incident.  Scary?
Eventually, the Knight guy makes a play for the girl he likes when she has a fight with her boyfriend.  Yeah, it doesn't go well.  On the way back, the kid snaps and crashes his car into a tree.  The car even explodes, the tree was made out of C-4?  The two police officers in the whole city question the teacher about the kid's death- see, I told you so- but this just ends in him being suspended.  They imply that there was some earlier incident with the game, but this is another plot thread that goes nowhere.  The group goes to his funeral, whereupon the stoner guy (who's now the lead) discovers a rose on the Knight guy's grave.  You see, the rose was the guy's signature, since he was from the Order of the Rose or some crap.  That night (no K), the movie actually lives up to what it was supposed to be.  Oh good- you're only half-over!  The jock guy is bitched out by his dad before he goes out to collect more trees.  By the way, this film is set on Christmas- I wished I'd known earlier!  Anyhow, an armored man appears in the clearly-sprayed-from-just-off-camera mist and kills him.  Similarly, the generic guy (who's not our lead) goes to take the trash out back at his Convenience Store and is killed the same way.
The police officers are a bit suspicious, given that both guys were killed with swords and in the same D&D-style game.  Their plot thread is pointless, however, since they never solve jack shit.  The generic girl is worried and talked to at her office, some lady.  She gives the woman a long speech about how evil the D&D-style game is and leaves.  You can guess what happens, right?  In a mildly-interesting twist, the girl of our Knight's dreams is attacked by a mugger, only for the Knight to appear and slay the man.  The teacher and the stoner guy finally meet up & figure out the gist of what is going on.  The teacher, by the way, is freaked out when he finds a map of his house made up like a dungeon map.  They meet up at the teacher's house, since they figure that the house is the next target.  The teacher leaves to go check on his wife for a bit and eventually returns.  He discovers that the stoner guy is dead (killed off-camera- lame) and he hears footsteps upstairs.  He finds the Knight with his son, whom the former is trying to take as his 'squire.'  He tries to talk the kid out of it, but he appears to be possessed.  The Knight and his new squire walk through a now-open door, another dimension.  They don't say, so why can I?  The End.
Botch roll!  The plot of this movie has potential, but the low-budget and bad pacing ruin it.  The killer Knight idea could certainly make for an interesting movie...if someone else made it.  Here, the movie takes half of it's runtime just to set up the plot and characters.  When it finally gets going, most of the kills are over in two seconds and uneventful.  The most gore you get is indirect- when the blood of the mugger ends up on the girl. There are two things that can distract people from how bad your movie is: breasts and blood.  This movie has none of the former and very little of the latter.  As a result, the stilted acting and bad writing are on full display throughout.  I wanted something decent from this thing, as I love silly premises and D&D-style gaming.  This movie wasted both and I wish that I could recommend it.  It's just too hard to do so.  I'd have to roll at least two or three Natural 20s to do so.  That's not happening, so let's just move on.
Next up, Project Terrible brings you another movie.  This one features zombies, lots of driving and a budget of roughly $5.  Stay tuned...

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Blockbuster...Class: Outlander (2008)

Vikings vs. Aliens!  With all the talk of Cowboys fighting groups,- whether it's in a bomb like The Warrior's Way or a possible hit like Cowboys vs. Aliens- I think it's fair to give someone else a chance in a movie that barely got any attention.  This 2008 film was released Direct-to-DVD and just sort of hung around for a long time.  Even now, how many of you have actually seen this movie?  How many of you have passed it on the shelf in a Blockbuster or other regional video rental store?  I know that I'm certainly guilty of it...or I was.  I finally saw this movie and decided to pass the knowledge on to you.  The plot involves an alien man crashing down in Norway, but he's not alone.  Can he face down a crisis that has arisen from his own past and make a new life?  Will he succeed where his people have failed?  Just to note- this is a fairly-new film, so beware of the almighty SPOILERS!  Shine your steel, because we're going to meet the...
The movie begins with a ship flying through space and crashing down to Earth.  It's here that we learn that the Special Effects are actually pretty good here.  Could this movie actually turn out to be kind of good?  The man (Jim Caviezel) swims out of his craft and retrieves some items.  It's here that he first removes his Stargate-style armor.  Sadly, we never get to see it again.  He sets up a beacon that will signal his home planet's fleet, but it will take a few Earth days.  He also uses a device that zaps him full of the information about the world he's in and allows him to speak Nordic.  Oddly, Nordic sounds a lot like English!  The place: Norway.  The time: 700 A.D.  Well, of course it's A.D.!  Nothing happened in Norway in 700 B.C.!  While wandering around, our hero stumbles across a village full of dead bodies.  Great- he got lost and wandered into North Vietnam!  Actually, this is foreshadowing of what is to come and a major plot point for later.  He's captured and loses his fancy ray-gun, something else that we never see again.  He's taken captive and brought to a village of Vikings led by...John Hurt.  That's odd casting, right?  He has a red-headed daughter who is set to be wed off to a man that she doesn't love.  Thankfully, 'Jesus' is in town to make you swoon.
The Vikings are skeptical of the man's story, especially since all of his proof is at the bottom of a lake.  When a darkly-lit, CG monster attacks, they're a little more believing.  They let him go with them on a hunting expedition where they go into a cave and...kill a bear.  The village celebrates and our hero is wary of spoiling their good time.  Unfortunately, another threat lingers about on the outskirts.  You see, that village from before was under the care of a different Viking Chief (Ron Perlman) and he blames the others for it.  He attacks, leading to a decent battle where he is routed.  Him and his men wait out in the woods and plot their counter-counter attack when a mysterious beast picks them off one-by-one.  They flee into the other village, who initially just shoots at them.  It's here that the monster first makes his real presence known.  He's basically a mix of Godzilla and the monster from The Host, with a body that glows blood red.  It's freaky, to say the least.  The men agree with Caviezel to make a trap for the monster.  It's a tough thing, but they manage to get it trapped in a pit full of fire-water and light the sucker up!  Unfortunately, he's pretty fire-resistant- damn racial bonuses- and keeps killing.  On top of that, he/she has spawned a brood which attacks from the other side.  In the chaos, both Perlman (see Deep Blue Sea Moments) and Hurt are killed.  We're all boned, huh?
The villagers agree to move to a new home, since their weapons cannot kill the beast.  Caviezel, however, and gets a small force to stay behind.  He retrieves metal from his ship's debris and gets it made into some new weaponry.  Screw you, causality!  In a sad moment, he explains the origin of both himself and the beast to the Chief's Daughter.  Yes, an hour and twenty-minutes in is a good time to explain who the character is!  Basically, his race went around killing everyone and everything who had stuff that they wanted.  They nuked a bunch of these monster things, but not all.  One of them got on Caviezel's ship and killed many, leading to the crash.  In the present, Caviezel leads a small team to the monster's cave after the lead one captured the Chief's Daughter.  They go into the cave and face some stiff resistance, leading to most of the ancillary characters they brought along being killed.  So long,, Steve, was it?  It's a bloody struggle, but the little monsters are killed and the eggs are smashed.  However, 'momma/papa' is still there and he's pissed!  He kills the second-in-command guy and nearly takes out Caviezel before the Chief's Daughter comes to his aid.  In a dramatic scene, Caviezel stabs the thing as it holds onto him, causing it to fall.  He leaves the village and goes back to his signal device, being followed by the Daughter.  As his rescue ship comes, he smashes the console and they just leave.  Oddly-incurious lot, huh?  He buries the dead and leads the village to peace and prosperity.  The End.
Norse mythology be damned!  The plot of this movie is certainly quirky, but I kind of like it.  It doesn't force itself on you too much, letting it flow naturally.  Unfortunately, the pacing is a little off.  The middle part of the film is a bit too long, focusing too much on Caviezel fitting in with the tribe.  That and a whole sub-plot about him liking this kid don't need to be here.  At 110 minutes, the movie could use a trim in a few places.  Even so, I liked it.  The Special Effects are good and the action is nice.  It's a good mix of bloody and subtle that works for me.  The acting is pretty good here too, as Caviezel plays his role with a subdued sense of fear and bravery.  Hurt is good here too and Perlman offers his usual sense of bravado to the film.  If you can accept the premise and setting, you can have a good time with this movie.  The monster alone is worth more attention than the film gets.  Even if you aren't a big fan of genre-bending movies, give this one a look.
Up next, a movie that proves that role-playing games truly are dangerous.  That's right- they drive people to make shit movies like this.  Stay tuned...

Impossibly-Sad Cover Art: The Chaperone

Wrestlers in movies are either hit- They Live- or miss- Hell Comes to Frogtown.  Then there are movies like this...
Much like the original poster for The Tooth Fairy, this looks like a parody of movie posters.

It's not.  This is real!  WHY?!?!?!?!?!?

So much for being 'The Cerebral Assassin,' huh?

***USER COMMENT: 'It's like they airbrushed stupid onto his face!'***

Friday, January 28, 2011

Weird Killers 2: Kiss of the Tarantula

What's creepy, crawly and oh so hairy?  A tarantula, of course.  If you like these famous spiders, then you'll have one reason to like this movie.  Will you have others though?  This movie shares company with The Killer Snakes as films that have managed to rip-off Willard.  Speaking of which, I wrote my original review of Snakes in August 2009.  In it, I commented on the lack of a Region-1 DVD for Willard.  Guess what?  There still isn't a damn DVD!  Fix it!  Oh right- this movie.  A girl loves her spiders and find a reason to take revenge on people.  There's a little more to it than that, but not much.  Get out your lip sheen as we take the...
The movie begins with a woman wandering around in a field.  This leads us back to the past as we find out the woman- as a young girl- has a traumatic childhood.  She loves spiders, but has a family that does not feel the same way about her.  When her 'uncle' spends some alone time with her mother, this finally pushes the kid over the edge.  She puts one of her tarantulas in the room and it crawls all over the lady.  It bites her, I guess, since the movie doesn't shown any of that.  Since we have real spiders and real actors, this basically entails a spider standing on someone and them instantly dying of shock!  Hey, it worked for the frogs in Frogs.  We jump ahead to the present and find that our heroine is pretty happy.  She continues to live with her dad, who, by the way, works in a mortuary.  That's not so weird, except for the fact that they also live there!  Yes, they live in a Mortuary.  Ew.  In addition to that, the girl has a collection of friends- spiders.  This won't end well, will it?
Not surprisingly, something bad happens.  A bunch of guys decide to leave a party and go into our heroine's basement.  They discover her collection and decide to mess around with it.  By 'mess around with it,' I mean 'they stomp on a couple of them.'  I'm not clear why they do that, but whatever.  They're generic bullies aka plot points, so let's go with it.  Our heroine is comforted by her uncle, but she still has plans of her own.  The bullies go on a date with their ladies later and it's time for killing!  Our heroine sneaks up to their car in the dark and places a bunch of spiders in it.  Yes, they fail to notice this.  When the spiders make their move- after about five minutes of wandering- all of them die.  Yet again, they just kind of make funny faces and die of...something.  One guy manages to close the window on his neck in the process too!  That's just silly.  The police look into the murder, but don't find a lot of clues.  It's about this time that the movie put me to sleep- I'm not kidding- so let's see what else I remember.
Seriously, this movie is just...Ambien, apparently.  The police investigate the incident and one of them gets too close to the truth.  Time for a spider kill!  Some odd stuff happens involving the Uncle too, as he finds out that one of the girls in the attack actually survived, walking on her.  We get a random scene where she freaks out when she sees a common spider.  Was that to explain to us that spiders attacked her?  If so, we saw that scene!  She confronts him at the house/Mortuary and he...chases her into the woods.  In the dark of night, he catches her and chokes her to death.  I can't say that I saw that plot point coming.  The police continue to investigate the crime, but this plot point goes nowhere.  Ultimately, our heroine uses a toxin from one of her tarantulas on her uncle and pushes him down the stairs.  This paralyzes him enough for her to put him up in a rig.  She pulls out the corpse of the recently-dead girl, places him in the coffin and places her back on top of him.  The father sees nothing and she gets away with it.  As the text in front of her face says...
What has eight legs and sucks up 90 minutes of your life?  This movie!  The plot is simple enough and works, I guess.  Nothing really surprising happens, save for the uncle killing that girl.  Even that is kind of set up by him being sleazy early on.  Even so, murder is a step up from adultery- at least in my book.  The real hook of the movie is the use of the spiders. kind of disappointing.  As I said before, the use of real spiders and real actors kind of neuters this film's ability to be interesting or shocking.  Mind you, Arachnophobia managed to do this right.  The difference- that's a good movie.  This movie is just a bad Willard rip-off that has a pace so leisurely that it almost appears to be going backwards!  I wanted to love this movie, but it was just a big, hairy mess.
Up next, Blockbuster Trash brings you a film that involves Vikings, Jesus and aliens.  I'm not kidding either.  Stay tuned...

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Weird Killers 2: Horror of the Blood Monsters

Al Adamson- master of the awkward film-splicing!  This genre director is famous for a lot of really shitty movies & this is one of them.  The movie is a mix of space footage, vampire footage and a caveman movie from The Philippines.  No, really.  As far as I can figure, Adamson mixed the Foreign film with a bit of exposition scenes, but couldn't sell it.  Like a lot of his other films then, he added a new opening explaining that it all related to a vampire plague on Earth, spruced up the title and here we are.  Like most Al Adamson films, this one features John Carradine.  Was your freaking theater company worth all this crap, John?!?  The film's plot is a mess.  In fact, I barely feel like I can call it a plot.  It's like emptying your refrigerator out into a bowl, mixing it and saying that it's dinner.  This is one of those train wrecks that you kind of have to see.  Be prepared for the shocking sight of the...
In an introductory scene, we are explained to that a vampire outbreak has occurred on the Earth.  All of this is done via narration, mind you.  As if I didn't know that this film was heavily-edited, the lack of dialog tells me right away!  A bunch of vampires attack people, but I don't know who any of them are.  The narrator explains that the source of the plague came from outer space, leading to the older footage...
We get a long sequence of people preparing to go into space.  This long, tedious scene is brightened up by a bit of random and nonsensical editing.  We cut from shots of the crew in Mission Control from behind to close-up shots of different actors standing in front of a black drape.  In most of the shots, the drape is obvious and the shots linger!  The crew eventually launch their ship via stock footage, but Control loses contact with them due to some drawn-in effect.  Thankfully, the ship has a set of cameras inside it that show them what they did.  That's...silly.  In addition, they also have cameras outside the ship that filmed the event too.  Why would you have that?  Anyhow, they reach a planet.
Unfortunately, that planet is overrun with Chroma-Spectral Radiation.  Yes, they just made that up.  Basically, the planet changes color at whim, at least adding something interesting to this mess.  If you're wondering why this plot point exists, you'll find out in time.  While our heroes wander around the plot- save for Carradine, who stays on the ship- we see a tribe of cavemen running around.  Oddly, they never meet up with or interact with our heroes.  It's like they were in two different countries at two different times or something!  They actually do interesting stuff like fight humanoid lobsters...with shells on their backs.  Which guy in the Costume Department got drunk this time?!?
These guy continue to actually do stuff that's interesting, even if they're awkwardly-dubbed.  Our actual heroes need some generic science goo to power their ship again & the cave-woman that they rescued knows about such a thing.  Her fellow cavemen go into, well, a cave, and fight some bat creatures.  They take the stuff and leave.  Following that, our heroes walk in separately...and just leave ten seconds later.  That was...anti-climactic.
Our heroes wander around some more and pretend like they actually have some bearing on this plot-souffle.  At one point, one of them wanders around the Arizona Desert...I mean, the mysterious planet, but stops when he sees a wondrous sight- dinosaurs!  It's amazing how he sees them, considering that they're from One-Million B.C.- a film released thirty-years earlier!  The two don't interact and he just kind of leaves.  Odd.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention a random scene in which the two people in Mission Control go off and have sex.  Yes, there is only two of them.  Instead of normal sex, they lay in bed while lights flash.  If you wanted to see the precursor to 'helmets on the head' sex from Demolition Man, this is it.  Does it serve any purpose?  No.
Speaking of no purpose, we get more dinosaurs.  Al Adamson decided to take footage from two different dinosaur films here!  Why?  Because he could, I guess.
The film has to wrap up, but it also needs to randomly mess with the plot.  First, we get the lead guy on the planet get randomly-killed by one of the fill-in cavemen.  That sure accomplished a lot.  Next we get a bit where the other guy professes his love for the cave-woman, but says he has to leave anyways.  As he goes to do so, he dies from radiation poisoning.  Um, okay.  The others make it on board as Carradine explains the reason why.  Don't worry, this plot point has no bearing on the remaining time here.
To wrap up the cavemen's plot, they have a big battle right out of their own movie.  There's not even a hint of anything to tie this to the 'astronauts' story- it just happens.  It's actually decent too, even if it's all colored yellow or green.  Our heroes prepare to leave in possibly the most blatant model shot ever and...that's it.  No wrap up for the vampires.   Nothing.  The End.
Ano the hell is going sa dito!  The plot of this movie is, like I said, not really a plot.  It's a pretense so flimsy that it would probably be used as a levy in New Orleans!  There's no coherency, except for when it is awkwardly-crammed in.  For example, we see cavemen running around and, suddenly, we see different ones chasing the woman.  She's not in the Filipino footage, but they do try to edit around that.  Want to know why the planet is constantly changing color?  Because Tanga- the film from The Philippines- was shot in black-and-white!  An entire plot point was just made up to allow Adamson to use this footage, as well as the stuff from One-Million B.C. and Unknown Island.  You can't make this shit up!  I'd love to see someone try to use this idea in the modern day.  Oh right- they already did that in Shakedown (2002).  Check that movie out, by the way, as it is hysterical!  As far as this film goes, it is funny at times.  It's funny to watch Carradine continue to act in this movie, despite not leaving the ship.  It's funny to watch the mixing of footage from different decades and countries.  If someone were to go into this film without all this knowledge, however, they might think that it's just a giant mess!  Well, it is.  It's worth a laugh for all you exploitation fans or fans of schlock.  Just don't expect any blood monsters...or coherency.
Next up, a film about spiiiiderrrrrsssss.  You're going to rip-off Willard again, aren't you?  Stay tuned...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Project Terrible: Beware! Children at Play!

I only punish myself!  Back when I came up with the idea of Project Terrible, I didn't really foresee just how much crap I would end up watching.  I didn't think about Troma!  In hindsight, it does seem fair- since I got Carl (ILHM) to review The Capture of Bigfoot.  The difference, however, is that his film was hated by Lloyd Kauffman, while mine was hated by it's initial screening audience!  The finale of this movie is apparently famous for causing over half of the audience to walk out in disgust.  How bad could it be, you ask?  Well, the film is the tale of a group of children that go crazy in the woods and become cannibals.  Question answered?  On the plus side, this- like nearly all of the films for Project Terrible- are available to watch for free on streaming services.  On the negative side, this- like nearly all of the films for Project Terrible- are available to watch on streaming services!  Just like pulling off a bandage, it's best to just do it quickly.  The Sign says...
The film begins with a child being chased in the woods.  In hindsight, this appears to be a bit of foreshadowing- assuming that I want to give them credit for that.  It turns out to be the kid and the father playing around.  We see them out in the woods, with no sign or mention of a mother/wife.  After more camping, they go for a hike when dad steps in a bear trap.  He tells the kid to stay calm, but that doesn't last as we get a series of awkward transition scenes meant to imply that a lot of time has passed.  This can be done properly, but it isn't here.  The dad starts to lose it and starts spouting random lines about eating people, the Devil and all that stuff.  We've got a long, fly plot point coming way out of left field!  This leads to the credits and the introduction of our lead.  He's an author of scandalous books about the occult and the supernatural.  They called him back home to help with the rising crisis of kids disappearing from town over the last few years.  How nice of you to skip past those major events, movie!  A lot of people in the town are wary of the guy, but he does what he can to help them.  It's a good thing since we find out the kids are alright...but killer cannibals.  They show off the budget by cutting a guy in half with a scythe.  Ow.
Unfortunately, the movie has the awkward habit of jumping from plot points that are interesting to those that are boring as hell.  For example, seeing a woman getting attacked in the woods and having pieces of her eaten- interesting.  Seeing the townspeople wander around- not interesting.  To be fair, a lot of the boring stuff is just set-up for the more interesting.  Case in point: we get a sub-plot where the guy consult a psychic for help.  While dull, it's not as much padding as it was in The Zodiac Killer.  The point of her scenes?  To have her wander into the woods and get killed by the kids.  They keep picking up more of them too, as kids can just be kidnapped and instantly turned evil.  Explain, movie!  The movie does try and explain the cannibal cult thing, but it makes it worse in a lot of ways.  Are you ready?  The kids follow their leader 'Grendel'- aka the kid from the beginning- and chant about 'tearing flesh.'  Yes, this is a cult based around 'Beowulf!'  Why?  How?  The best part is how the hero and his wife figure it out.  Just with the chant of 'tearing flesh' and other similar statements, the woman goes 'That sounds just like 'Beowulf.''  Sigh.  I never thought I'd see a 1,000+ year old story mentioned in a Troma film.  On the plus side, it wasn't Tromeo & Beowulf!  Having seen enough, the townsfolk come up with a plan, which leads into the infamous ending.
Their plan: just kill all of the kids.  They think that they're possessed by demons, so it's time for them to die!  I would have suggested group therapy, but whatever.  The lead wants to save them, even after they kill his wife- very forgiving.  He shows them that 'Grendel' has no power and tries to break them up...only for the town to arrive.  This leads to nearly ten minutes of children being shot, stabbed and maimed on camera.  Most of these kills have blood shown, while others are worse for a number of reasons.  One of them has an adult put a revolver in a kid's mouth and blow his brains out- right against a piece of plywood with the 'Smiley Face' symbol on it.  Another has two people line up and blow the kids head up Dawn of the Dead-style!  The worst one though, is a little more subtle in its creepiness.  The town's only black kid runs up to his mother, the town's only black woman.  He runs up to her crying 'Mommy,' she picks him up and...stabs him in the back with a knife!  That's cold!  Oh yeah, they also kill the guy with a point-blank shot to the head.  One kid survives, however, setting up a sequel...that the PTC would never allow.  The End.
I billhete ou!  The plot of this movie could work as a film, but it fails on a couple big levels.  On a shock level, it does succeed, however.  The problem is that it's built around these kids being 'evil' and doing stuff like 'acting.'  The kid actors just can't handle the material.  This stands in stark contrast to films like Battle Royale, which actually succeeds in that regard.  One hilariously-bad scene involves the kids beating the Sheriff to death.  The girl closest to the camera is supposed to be bludgeoning him with a rock.  First, the rock bounces out of her hands!  Second, she lightly taps the thing against him in a motion that wouldn't unsettle dust!  They're in good company, however, as the adult actors are nearly all terrible too!  Unlike a lot of Troma films, the actors can't fall back to the 'we're over-acting for comedic effect' excuse, since this isn't a comedy!  What kind of movie is this then?  Is it a serious drama showing how society can be corrupted?  Is it a film that shows us that the roots of violence in our children come from us?  Does it diagnose our society as one that sees violence as the only solution to our problems?  No.  It's a shitty movie that tries to shock you by having kids kill people.  It doesn't work.
I hate you so much
Next up, a movie that defies all kinds of logic.  It involves space, vampires and cavemen from the Philippines.  Stay tuned...

Poor Bastards of Cinema: Naked Killer

In this *neutered* Chinese thriller, a cop is convinced that a mysterious woman in town is the same one that he used to know.  The fact that she looks exactly like her and merely changed her name was his first hint.  They go on a dinner date where he presses the issue.  Thankfully for him...
A guy from the second scene of the film shows up & he should be able to recognize her.  Unfortunately, he says that it's not her and throws a little 'tude.  He gets mad and leaves, since he was just in their for dinner or something.
As soon as he crosses the street, he is hit by a car.  This turns out be driven by a rival assassin who was 'doing her a favor.'  Of course, how would they know to come?  How would they know what was said?  If they did hear what was said, why did they kill him?  He didn't help in any...oh screw it, he's dead.
What did this guy do to deserve this?  He worked at a Hair Salon in the beginning and shows up here, only to get killed.  That's just...sad.

I mean, he was an annoying, gay stereotype, but he was a person!

Next up, one movie brings us two Poor Bastards of Cinema.  It was written in the stars!  Stay tuned...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Weird Killers 2: The Seamstress

How is this supposed to sound scary?  I'm sorry- but what is going on here?  Have we used up all of the interesting monsters and or professions?  Hell, we had two movies about a killer Dentist!  This...this is just silly.  It gets better though.  The movie stars Lance Henriksen, since I guess they could scrape up $5 to pay for his bus fare.  I wouldn't be so harsh towards you, Lance if you didn't do the following films: Pirates of Treasure Island (The Asylum), Alone in the Dark II and Mimic III.  Incidentally, when you do two Sasquatch films in one year (Sasquatch Mountain and Abominable), this is a sign of things that should be changed!  Do you even want to know the plot of this movie?  I didn't think so.  Let's just get our thimbles on as we go to visit...
The film begins with some long, confusing narration.  We're off to a great start already, aren't we?  Next we get a middle-aged guy randomly being killed in the woods without next to now context.  This leads to a long section where a young woman is driving a car around and narrating her back-story.  Her father is a reporter who had a rocky relationship over the years.  He's become obsessed with looking into the story about a seamstress that was mysteriously killed years ago.  Yeah, this film is basically a goulash made out of various J-Horror and K-Horror tropes, with a little bit of cliche Slasher Film for spice.  She goes to talk to a man about the incident, but she's talked down by the angry guy.  I thought that he would be happy to get accused of murder!  She goes to talk to her friends about the incident and we see hints of a past relationship that caused some issues.  In addition, there is the fact that I don't give a shit.  They all agree to go to a nearby island that may be the center of the whole thing.  Boat trip!
You'll thrill at the excitement of...people sitting around on a beach.  Nobody will be seated for the Pointless Banter Around the Camp Scene!  The only interesting thing is that one of the couples announces that they're now engaged and they proceed to run off into the woods to have sex.  Good luck with the investigation, people who aren't 'doing it!'  Our heroine wanders around for a bit and passes by one of the other guys as he's apparently 'doing it' to himself by a tree.  Thanks, movie.  He explains that he was doing it for 'pacing' as he has plans to make it with the film's third female.  Speaking of which, the couple interrupt their 'whoopie' when the guy 'has to go.'  As if to up the 'yuck factor,' he takes one of his fiancee's socks in lieu of, well, you figure it out.  Speaking of random and unnecessary, we get footage of Lance Henriksen as the nearby town's Sheriff.  He eventually goes to the guy we saw earlier and beats him  Speaking of off-camera, the newly-engaged guy is found dead, naked and tied to a tree with barbed wire.  At what point did he take all of his clothes off again?  On the plus side, something happened...even if we didn't get to see it.
The killer in the woods continues as he takes out the girl who isn't engaged or the Final Girl.  She's tied up in a tree and falls into a fire, which subsequently explodes out.  Stop drinking gasoline- it doesn't make you cool to pay homage to Top Secret like that!  Back on the mainland, Lance threatens to torture the guy some more, since he told the girl about the island or something.  He doesn't actually torture him, however, deciding to take him to the island.  The ex-fiancee bites the dust now as she confronts the evil spirit attacking them and has her throat cut.  The jerky guy who has not merited a mention so far runs off, seemingly-safe from the attacks.  That just leads our two main characters, one of whom is seeing random visions of her father.  He warns of things too late to do any good and leaves obtuse clues for her- thanks.  Lance arrives on the island and forces our heroes to go back into the woods.  He explains the plot in some detail- finally!  A group of people- including himself- were responsible for the death of a teacher/seamstress on this island.  He brought the guy there since he was one of them as well and his sacrifice can end the curse.  We see a whole slew of people hanging from the trees as our heroine changes the curse by killing Henriksen.  She leaves with the film's sole survivor as the credits roll.
Ow- my thumb and my brain!  The plot of this movie is obtuse in all of the ways that it shouldn't be!  The film has a simple revenge scheme, but wraps it in so much crap and confusion that I can't really laugh at the tropes.  It's okay, movie- you can take the time to explain the plot.  On top of that, the pacing is just hideously-bad.  I've seen glaciers melt faster than this movie!  What's the point in dragging this shit out?!?  The movie is just an excuse to string together a series of weird killings and dream sequences/foreshadowing events.  Lance is barely in the movie and, quite frankly, he's better for it.  He's in a shit movie, but at least he barely wants to be in it.  The monster footage is alright, but not worth the time.  Just skip this movie and you'll save yourself 90 minutes of nothing.  It's like the first half of The Langoliers when it should have been stupid enough to laugh at.  You know, like the second half of The Langoliers.
Next up, I actually review the film for Project Terrible.  It's going to be Troma-licious.  Stay tuned...

Lost in Translation: Eyes Wide Shut

With the final week of Stanley Kubrick Month, we cover the last film in his catalog.  It was controversial, to say the least.  Naturally, it also got a freaky, Foreign poster..., Librace became the Phantom of the Opera.  If that's not it, I'm at a loss!

Next up, a film about a helicopter becomes something much different.  Is it a surprise at this point?  Stay tuned...

Monday, January 24, 2011

Weird Killers 2: The Zodiac Killer (1971)

The only thing scarier than a fake killer is a real killer.  This Drive-In film decided to milk that idea to make a quick buck.  For you younger readers, I'll give you a basic overview of the infamous Zodiac Killer.  A man went around killing people in the streets with a gun, except for when he did it in the daylight with a knife.  Yeah, there's some debate over whether it was a single guy or multiple people.  The killer(s) sent out letters detailing the crimes in a weird code that was related to the Zodiac symbols, hence the name.  His legacy has been cemented due to two things: the fact that he was never caught and being portrayed as the villain in Dirty Harry.  That's a good film that waited a while to cover the guy, while this one wanted to strike while the iron had blood on it.  How do you make a film about an anonymous serial killer?  By giving him an identity, slapping logic in the face Superfly-style!  This is going to be interesting- that is assured.  Get out your horoscopes as we go to meet...
The film begins with a bit of dialog from the famous reporter threatened by the Zodiac Killer in a letter.  It's funny because it just happened!  The film proper begins with a woman walking down the street and being killed.  We then get a man sitting in his car and being shot too.  Who are they?  The movie never mentions these events, so let's move on...
We are introduced to a pair of people here, both of whom seem really fake.  One is a bitter, angry old man, while the other is a bitter, angry mailman.  Just to note: this movie was made long before the 'going postal' cliche.  It's just as stupid though.  One of them is obviously The Zodiac Killer, which just goes against the whole 'unsolved crime' thing.  Gee- I wonder if it's this guy...
His buddy is a big Red Herring and makes a big fuss by yelling and screaming.  He eventually gets into a police stand-off, whereupon he claims to be The Zodiac Killer.  They shoot him and he dies.  This angers the real guy who is, shock of all shocks, the mailman.  I totally didn't see that obvious thing coming.
The film attempts to recreate some of the alleged murders by the famous killer.  That's not creepy at all, especially since these things happened only a couple of years earlier.  They even do the oft-debated 'Zodiac Killer in costume' scene reported to the Police.  Uh oh.
The drama is killed, however, when the masked man nearly slips walking down the hill!  Was that the best take you had?  After killing the duo with a knife (no gun anymore from hereon out), he walks back to his car and uses a phone booth- still in costume!  He takes his mask off while he talks on the phone- even better!
After this, he pretty much just goes on a series of random killings.  No rhyme, reason or letters.  You just wanted to film random killings, but thought that the Zodiac Killer thing would sell more tickets, huh?  Aside from it being the same actor involved, these have jack shit to do with anything!  He also wears funny outfits and disguises during the kills...
That's pretty much it for the rest of the film.  He kills someone in an elevator, kills an old man at a rest home and attacks a woman in her car.  My favorite is when he attacks an old woman after blowing her tire out with his gun.  He has her check under the hood, whereupon he proceeds to slam it down on her and JUMP UP AND DOWN ON IT!  He's like a kid with a new bed!  After all of that, the movie ends without a conclusion- even advertising it as such...
Real events are for pussies!  The plot of this movie is barely-there, combining a horribly-tacky version of the Zodiac Killer's killing spree.  I should also note this fact courtesy of IMDB- "Producer/Actor Anthony Begonia's parents were classmates of one of the victims." Nice, huh? About halfway through, the Producers give up on this idea and just have the guy run around killing people for no reason. Good commitment, guys! The worst part is that this film is meant to show you the evil in the random killings done by the man, but most of the victims are not given names! These people are deemed so unimportant and killed off so quickly that they get billed by names like 'Elevator Murder,' 'Car Hood Murder' and 'Tire Iron Murder.' Ouch. In addition, the movie is just insulting to viewers. One great example comes when the two detective characters go speak to a psychic. He adds nothing to the plot, tells them nothing and fills up 5 minutes of screen time! Given that the movie clocks in at just under 90 minutes, that's sad! This movie is worth a watch for the schlock factor, but nothing else. Actually, there is one other thing. Consider this: the movie is about a postal worker going around a city and shooting people in their cars. Sound like a famous killing spree that would come a mere 4 years later? That's right- this movie predicted the Son of Sam killings! Freaky.
Next up, Project Terrible brings us to a Troma film that features children.  Please be Tromeo & Juliet II: This Time It's Not Tromeo & Juliet!  Stay tuned...