Saturday, July 30, 2011

Project Terrible: (Trans)Mutations

After this, I only have one more to go!  George Pavlou is a Director with kind of an odd career.  As I stated in my Rawhead Rex review, he teamed up with Clive Barker to adapt some of his stories into films.  After three, the partnership was over.  Barker started working on his own films, while Pavlou moved into...children's television.  I shit you not!  Here's the part that I didn't mention: Barker started making his own films (starting with Hellraiser) because these ones turned out so bad!  It's good to know that you're a part of film history...even if it is in the most ironic and embarrassing way possible.  So what is this film about?  As the title *hints* at, it is about mutants.  If you're looking for a deep, dark film about monsters and death, watch Nightbreed.  While not the best Barker film, it is far better than this.  This is Project Terrible- are you really surprised?  Let's beat up Pavlou's dog as we check out...
Basically, a young lady goes missing and a hard-nosed detective is hired to find him.  He also used to date her, which makes him both an obvious and a bad choice!
Denholm Elliot is here as a scientist who...dammit, Denholm- why are you here?  I should talk about the movie, but I won't.  Poor Denholm.
On the bright side, Robert Z'Dar is in the movie.  Oh right- it's just the Elephant Man's cousin (he knows the Director).
Stop- dance break!  Remember, you can do what you want to do...in Living Color.
After a lot of boring scenes in nightclubs, the mutants stage a revolt against the man experimenting on them.  Shocking, I know.
The scientist and his men fight back (using a Gas Gun right out of the 1960's Batman show), but things don't go too well.  Any last words, Denholm?
I guess not.  The End.
You were better off with the random monster, George.  The plot of this movie is a slow burn...to a pretty silly climax.  Nothing all that interesting happens for a long time.  Incidentally, I should explain to any future filmmaker who might read this what subtlety is.  For example, this movie mentions how the heroine/MacGuffin has proven to be immune to the treatments...about five times.  Could you possibly have guessed that she was in fact a mutant after all?  Yeah- that was obvious.  The acting is alright, but nobody really stands out all that much.  Even Elliot is not that great here, but...he's still Denholm Elliot, dammit.  It's just a shame that the movie is so dull, uninspired and obsessed with nightclubs.  They're not interesting.  On top of that, the movie is so hard to get that the only available copy to me is a VHS transfer e-mailed to me by Maynard.  No DVD release for you either, Pavlou film!  If you want to watch a George Pavlou (stay with me)/Clive Barker collaboration, watch Rawhead Rex.  It's silly, ridiculous and random....but not boring.
Up next, August begins with some Forgotten Three-quels.  Come see the film which has Aragorn killing 'townies.'  Stay tuned...

Impossibly-Cool Cover Art: Tex and the Lord of the Deep

Do you like Indiana Jones, but wish it was an obscure, Italian film?  Well, you're weird...and in luck...
This looks awesome!  Not Indy battles a cult, whips diamonds and is flanked by the brunette Lana Clarkson (who wandered in from Gor).  Sold!

Next up, if you thought that Professors were old and stodgy, think again!  This one comes from Mexico via the Time Tunnel.  Stay tuned...

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Project Terrible: Dungeon of Harrow

Thanks for the No-Doze, Maynard!  I've seen a lot of dull films and this is one of them.  Is this movie a dull film like Web of the Spider or a terrible, dull film like Manos: The Hands of Fate?  Thankfully, it's more like the former than the latter, due to it's lack of Torgo and child brides.  The plot involves a boat crash, some sort of Manor Lord and a giant version of Shelton Benjamin (look it up, non-wrestling fans).  I wish I could say that this movie was interesting, unique or even held my attention for long stretches.  It wasn't and it didn't.  Of course, this is Project Terrible, so I shouldn't expect anything great.  I'll try to make the most of this situation and give you a good time.  For those of you who like to watch you suffer slowly, you're in luck!  Get out your hat of hope as we dare to enter the...
* A ship crashes into an island, leaving only two survivors.  On said island, a weird man lives in a castle with Manute Bol.
He's visited by a monochrome ghost that I'm sure is important.  Why it's important?  Who knows?
Our hero ends up as a guest of the Manor, while the Captain ends up in the titular Dungeon.  That hardly seems fair!
"I'm just going to hand out here for 80% of the movie," the Captain says, "This is actually more comfortable than it looks."
I should probably talk about the plot, but there's not much to say.  Instead, I'll ask about why smoke appears to be coming from this lady's head.  To quote The Hurricane, 'Wassup with that?!?'
Ooh, a ghost!  That should keep my attention for at least five....sorry, what just happened?
In The End, our hero takes care of the bad guys, but gets left behind on the island.  Apparently, he's been cursed...or something, with the film revealing him to be the gray-haired narrator from the whole film.  Oh- I thought it was Sam Waterston!
Why is there a keyboard impression on my face?  The plot of this film is just kind of there.  There's nothing epic in terms of it being bad, good or silly.  It's a haunted house film, but with no purpose or atmosphere.  Then again, I downloaded this from a website, since a proper DVD is not available from Netflix.  Does the lame, pan-and-scan transfer hurt the film?  Yes.  However, this film would not exactly have been great if I was watching it on a Blu-Ray Disc either!  There's not a lot to say about this movie, since there's not much to it.  I'm sure that some of you will get more out of this than I did.  Of course, you'd have to actually watch it to do so, making me fairly sure that I won't get any negative feedback on this.  Take us away, magically-disappearing blond wig...
 *** Wait- what happened? ***
Up next, a film by the man behind Rawhead Rex.  No, not Clive Barker (technically)- the obscure Director behind it.  Stay tuned...
  

'Deep Blue Sea' Moments: Xtro II

We've got another Deep Blue Sea Moment folks and this one comes...before the film.  Well, it wouldn't be the first one.  This one comes from Xtro II, a film I reviewed long ago (but re-watched recently).

The lead commando leads a group around the facility for the creature, but finds nothing.  He tells them to go back...
...which is the monster's cue to punch through the window with its mouth!  Didn't you learn from that guy in OREC?!?
Note how the creature completely destroys the man's face with the attack, but...
His face heals up in the next shot.  I mean, he's still dead, but at least he's not deformed and dead.
The moral of this story- don't stand near windows or panes of glass.  Bad things will happen to you!!!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Project Terrible: Blood Surf

What doesn't eat you alive, doesn't kill you.  Today's film is certainly not good.  However, it is one that I saw part of before on the Sci-Fi Channel (pre-name change).  Thankfully, that desensitized me to a lot of the movie.  Here's what you need to know: killer crocodile, surfers, model and Quint rip-off.  Yes, despite the title being a reference to something done to attract sharks, this movie is actually about a killer crocodile.  Sure, why not?!?  The movie combines many of the cliche characters that we have come to expect in a film like this too.  We have 'love-struck model,' 'dumb surfer,' 'oddly deep surfer,' 'money-grubbing boyfriend,' 'powerless authority figure,' 'horny native,' 'grizzled captain' and 'slut girlfriend.'  This movie is just so daring as it 'surfs' into 'uncharted waters,' huh?  Wear your useless, chainmail suit as we enter the...
Our heroes go to East Asia to film a documentary on a sport called 'Blood Surfing,' in which you throw blood in the water and surf near the sharks that are drawn in.  The effects for this are, well, pretty lame.  Isn't that right, shark from Jaws 3-D?
One of the surfers manages to hook up with the hot daughter of the guy taking them out to the island.  Better have fun, because her and her parents are abruptly killed in the next scene.  No deaths for thirty minutes and then three in about the next five?  Weird pacing!
Our heroes run afoul of some pirates, who try to kidnap them and rape the model.  Fortunately or unfortunately, the crocodile shows up, defies the laws of Physics and kills some of them.  Why would you lean towards the flying crocodile exactly?
The Quint character finally returns and explains that he wants to kill the crocodile because it killed his passengers years ago on a boat trip.  In a weird flip, the guy's girlfriend bitches at the producer boyfriend for trying to make a story out of it...and then asks him to convince the boyfriend to let them catch it on film.  This leads to some more Jaws rip-off scenes and some dubious bit of model work (circa John Carl Beuchler).
In an odd scene, the producer boyfriend tries to get away more quickly and runs right into the crocodile's mouth (a la Shark Attack 3, which would come two years later).  The girlfriend makes a snappy retort about his death, which is extremely harsh.  Was a he a jerk?  Yes.  Were you a couple 4 hours ago?  Yes.  You're cold, bitch!
For the finale, the remaining heroes run from the creature and manage to hide for a bit.  They nearly kill it with some rocks, but it won't stay dead.  In the End, the remaining pair 'Tarzan swing' across a chasm, causing a tiny model of the crocodile...I mean, the giant beast to get impaled and die.  The End.
What a croc of shit!  The plot of this movie is a bit stupid and lazy.  The pacing is all over the place as well, building up for over thirty minutes before any real action.  The characters are cliche (see the intro paragraph) and you don't feel for them.  Throw in the harsh character turn for the lead actress in the End and you've got characters who you don't care about.  The 'tragic' deaths include the dumb surfer who tries to stab a forty-foot crocodile with a knife, the girlfriend kicking the crocodile's corpse and 'Quint' getting eaten while trying to blow up the boat.  The film mixes in humor at really weird times as well, like showing 'Quint' hanging with his lower torso missing and the girlfriend's 'retort' after her boyfriend's death.  The fact is this: the movie takes place over three days.  Our heroine flies to the island with her producer boyfriend, but dumps him on Day 2 and is hooking up with the oddly-smart surfer by the End.  That's quite the bereavement period, bitch!  The effects here are pretty piss-poor, alternating between lame CG models, super-tight close-ups of animatronic heads and very-obvious model shots.  If you like dumb, monster movies, you can have some fun here.  It's not truly Terrible, but it's not good either.  Take us away, misguided close-up shot...
Next up, a stodgy, 'haunted house' film mixed with the 'marooned on an island' film.  The real dilemma- figuring out what is going on!  Stay tuned...

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Lost in Translation: Big Trouble in Little China (Part 1)

John Carpenter is a good Director, but has been plagued by a number of terrible, foreign posters.  This is just one of them...
Okay, I just have to ask you a simple question- did you guys even watch the film?!?  The hand and eyes I kind of get, but you could get that from any of the promotional art.  Good grief!

Next up, a less esoteric, but also dumber poster to the same film.  It makes me yearn for re-used pictures!  Stay tuned...
   

Monday, July 25, 2011

Project Terrible: Bloodthirst 2- Revenge of the Chupacabras

To see the review of Bloodthirst first, go here.  Make Austria proud!
There are many, many things wrong here.  Today's film is the sequel to Bloodthirst (duh), a film that my colleague- and fellow Project Terrible victim- Maynard Morrisey has already covered.  How did I end up reviewing the sequel and not the original?  It's quite simple...in that it's quite confusing.  Basically, the first film is not available readily in the United States (where I live), while it's sequel is not readily available in Europe (where he lives).  Netflix doesn't even have a listing for Bloodthirst, which is a bit odd if you ask me- especially since they still have one for Sin City 2.  Never mind the circumstances that led a low-budget film made in America to have one film not available in the States, while another to be!  They must have had one really f-ed up distribution deal.  So what is Bloodthirst 2 about?  Well, a Chupacabra- yes, only one- runs loose in the Woods.  Meanwhile, about six other plots are happening simultaneously, most of which don't involve it for most of the time.  Confused yet?  If not, I'll take care of that soon enough.  This low-budget dreck is enough to make your head spin!  Make sure to question the use of a plural in the title...
The film begins with some guys driving down the road.  They stop for no clear reason and run from...well, nothing.  They go back to their car and check on the trunk's contents- a woman!  At that point, the movie flashes back 1 Week (just to be pretentious).  The divergent plots are as follow...
- A young woman is kidnapped and held for ransom by the thugs.  They use a made-up light gun on her.  Why?  Because it's clearly not a Deus Ex Machina device for later, no sir!                                                     - A doctor covers up some creepy goings on in a Sanitarium.  I haven't been this shocked since Shock!
- A policeman/authority figure investigates both of these plots, while his scenes just kind of appear on their own.

- A priest is called to investigate a scene of demonic possession.  After wasting five minutes with a mini-sub-plot about him missing breakfast (no joke), he goes to a barn and dies at the claws of the Chupacabra.  That's not so much a plot as it is filler, I guess.
 *****
The movie just kind of drags its feet for a while, as it can't have the plot go too fast & can't afford too many effects shots.  You'll note the real irony of that last statement when you actually see them!  The lady talks to her kidnappers, but doesn't know much about them.  You see, their made-up gun renders her blind for several hours...which can't be too healthy in the long-run.  When you find out the truth (what little can be deciphered) about the kidnapping, this will seem even more dubious.  Meanwhile, the people in the hospital scheme against each other, with one of them killing the other two.  Before that, however, two of them wander around a mine where the police are also looking.  This is meant to imply that the monster is there, but nothing actually happens.  The cop, meanwhile, talks to random people and the lady's boyfriend looks for her too.  Don't worry- something will happen eventually!
Finally, some stuff goes down...and it sure is silly.  Due to earlier events, the kidnapped woman has a tracking device on her ankle (don't ask, please) and the kidnappers never took it off.  It finally gets activated, leading to the detective and the boyfriend both going to look for her.  She escapes while the lead kidnapper is away, but gets caught again.  He's killed by the Chupacabra (better late than never!) and it chases her back to the Cabin.  The dumb-ass co-kidnapper tries to sneak past the thing and dies.  The stepfather (did I mention him?) shows up and ends up being killed as well, but not before revealing that he staged the kidnapping.  Of course, that makes perfect...whaaaaa?!?!?  Our heroine runs for a little bit and ends up at the Sanitarium, allowing the filmmakers to wrap up that random sub-plot too.  Yes, it's all connected...somehow.  Thankfully, the boyfriend shows up and they can run away from the poorly-modeled CG monster together!  Conveniently enough, a pair of those stupid light guns are on the ground (how did they get there exactly?!?), so they kill the beast.  It turns into that weird guy from the beginning (who appeared to be killed by a Chupacabra) and the movie ends with no explanation.  Why start now?  The End.
 *****
Now this, this is Terrible!  The plot of this movie is...a bunch of random shit.  I mean, how much of that above made sense to you or seemed the least bit coherent?  If you found this plot to be logical, then you're the kind of guy who can actually explain the plot of Inland Empire.  By the way, I don't care, so don't explain it to me!  The difference between this film and that confusing movie is that this film is stupid, stupid, stupid!  Let's just diagram the title, shall we?  Bloodthirst- why?  They don't ever show the creature drink blood (let alone really show any blood), so how does this make sense?  No.  Revenge of the Chupacabras.  First off- what revenge?  A crazy guy escapes a Sanitarium and gets attacked by the beast.  I guess that's revenge...maybe.  The bigger problem- there is still only one creature!  How can you not grasp the concept of singular and plural forms of words?  When you have failed at basic Grammar, you have failed at life!  This movie is poorly-written, poorly-paced and is flat-out Terrible.  The only positive- the lead actress is kind of cute.  Take us out, pretty lady.
Up next, I cover a film about sharks, surfing and a giant crocodile.  Along the way, you'll learn to hate the cast and discover the meaning of the word 'croc-tease.'  Stay tuned...

VHS For The Win: The Varrow Mission

A VHS box is the big selling point for a film.  They should grab your attention and make you want to see more.  In a weird way, this film does that...
...um, Sentry is floating in space behind a ghost that fires laser blasts at a Spanish Church, while a skeleton seems concerned in the bottom left corner?  That's all I've got.

Do you want a fantasy film for kids that spits in the face of God?  You're in luck, you crazy bastards.  Stay tuned...

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Project Terrible: Army of the Dead

It's ba-ack!
Who armed that skeleton?!?  Today's film is an interesting one in theory, mostly due to my own history with it.  Long ago, in the age of walk-in video stores, my friends and I passed by this film many times.  However, I could never convince them to rent it.  Now, it's featured as part of Project Terrible, so you can decide who made the right call.  Is this movie Terrible?  Well, it's not good.  It doesn't *quite* reach the top of my shit-list (Hello, Hobgoblins 2 and Jaws in Japan), but it's not exactly one of my favorites either (Hello, The Abominable Dr. Phibes series).  Now if you don't have my twisted view of good and bad movies, you might consider this film to be Terrible.  The plot involves evil skeletons, stupid racers and gold in them there hills.  It's really silly and really stupid.  Hide your blood as we face off with the...
* In the opening, some Conquistadors are killed by shadow skeletons.  I wish they were just shadows, but this is actually just a way to tease the audience.  This is also the last time you see Conquistadors, save for some skeletons wearing the helmets later.
* Our heroes are a bunch of people going out in the Desert to prepare for a Dune Buggy race.  The 'Coach' tells them a tale of Aztec skeletons that kill people over their gold.  Why?  As it turns out, he's looking for it, working for some guys doing the same...who are waiting for him out there.  You planned a fake race to cover for your real dig?
* Eventually, the skeletons attack the group, using bows and arrows.  I know that I'm watching a movie with animated skeletons, but how do they have the dexterity to fire bows?  I'm just supposed to accept that, I guess.  Speaking of things I'm supposed to accept, we learn that the skeletons kill you and then you turn into one, thus growing the army.  Naturally, they mention this and it only happens once, despite about a dozen people dying!
* The cover of the DVD features a skeleton wearing a Conquistador helmet and holding a shotgun.  To the film's credit, this does happen...well, the second part does.  It's only for a minute, but it does happen.  It also doesn't make the movie good either though.
* With the body-count rising, our remaining heroes concoct a really silly plan.  The building they're trapped in has a working generator.  Using some MacGuyver-style science, they make a giant electro-magnet which will overcharge and kill the skeletons.  The guy, meanwhile, confronts the lead skeleton.  That's so stupid!  How could that possibly...
...okay, never mind.  One point for you, stupid science.  The End.
To be Terrible or not to be Terrible- that is the question.  The plot of this movie is just stupid.  I mean, really! It involves Aztec skeletons killing people who are trying to steal their gold.  That's...extremely shallow.  Is that their only motivation?  Our heroes- save for the Professor- aren't even after the gold.  The skeleton just kill them because one guy was and, I guess, they know about their existence.  I know that you're animated skeletons, but let me clue you in on something- nobody will believe them!  The plot offers up some interesting ideas, but never really makes use of them.  The special effects are...well, you can see them.  They don't look much better in motion either.  They are the only selling point here, as our heroes suck, the plot sucks and just about everything involved feels cheap.  As a real film, it's Terrible.  However, as far as other Project Terrible films go, it only sucks.  Take us away, man who is clearly out of blood now...
Next up, Maynard and I dissect a terrible film series in two parts.  While he handles the first one, I'll watch the sequel...which is also a lie.  Stay tuned...