Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Instant Asylum: The Beast of Bray Road

Well, it's not a rip-off (at least directly)!  This *original* film by The Asylum is supposedly based on some real events that I'm sure didn't happen.  So, you took a break from ripping off stuff like Transformers and I Am Legend to just steal from real life?  That's...better?  According to Wikipedia, this is a fairly-popular Urban Legend from the '80s and '90s.  Great, so we're neck-deep in Boggy Creek II territory!  From what I can tell, the film borrows somewhat loosely from the myths and just decides to make some shit up.  They also explain everything, which kind of goes against the point of making a film about an Urban Legend.  Of course, there are numerous films where Jack the Ripper is identified and caught, so I guess history is cinema's bitch!  Sarah Lieving is here again, which I'm sure will help this film.  I should also mention that this film shares a connection with a few other films by The Asylum that I've covered in the past.  More on that later.  Read on as we attempt to burn...
In the Pre-Credits scene, a woman ditches her drunken boyfriend to go home alone.  After a convenient car failure, she is killed by the beast.  Only her head appears in the film after this...
Our lead is Jeff Denton, playing the Sheriff who is new in town.  Incidentally, Denton is also the lead in 2005's King of the Lost World (as its 'Jack'), The 9/11 Commission Report and Dracula's Curse.  I mention that for reasons that will be clear later...
Andrew Lauer (who was in Legion of the Dead and Lost World) is also here for a small part as a redneck.  Why is he here?
As I mentioned, Sarah is here, this time playing a Bar Owner who is 'sassy.'  Wait- she was in Lost World, Dracula's Curse and The 9/11 Commission Report too.  Hmm...
In an odd bit, Lauer's abusive spouse is killed off by the monster, which doesn't kill the wife.  She never reports him missing and the scene is never mentioned again.  As a side note, Lauer has now been killed in Asylum films by a giant spider, a mummy and now a werewolf.
A Cryptozoologist (Thomas Downey) shows up in town to investigate the creature, which upsets the Sheriff.  Hold on- he was also in Dracula's Curse and Lost World too.  Plus, he was in War of the Worlds with Lauer and Lieving (in cameos).  How cheap is this studio?
Oh right- the plot.  The monster wanders around, looks silly and spends too much time on-screen.  It's a giant fur coat, people!
In the climax, we learn that Lieving was the monster all along.  She tries- successfully- to convince a Deputy that the Sheriff is the monster, despite the blood all over her lips and the giant bite wound on the Sheriff's neck.  Your cops suck!
It all concludes with a battle between man and she-bitch...I mean, beast.  She burns up, but this sets up a sequel...that will never be.  The End.
Woof woof.  The plot of this movie is silly, shallow and repetitive.  Basically, the monster kills random people- be they whores or rednecks- while our heroes just kind of wander around.  There's a whole sub-plot where a bunch of people in town- including the Deputies!- try to exploit the monster's appearance for profit.  Does it go anywhere?  Nope.  When your movie barely reaches 70 minutes, you've got to fill in the gaps somehow!  The whole thing is just so repetitive and tries to compensate with gore.  There's nudity too, although not much to speak of.  To be honest with you, the film has so little to talk about that I was more interested in pointing out how The Asylum clearly shot several films back-to-back instead.  When a tangent gets more attention than the plot, what does that say?  All in all, I can say that I've seen Sarah Lieving killed on-screen twice now.  I've waited a long time since Monster's cop-out to say that!
Up next, September begins with a pair of Mexican Dracula.  Viva la vampiros!  Stay tuned...

Instant Asylum: Invasion of the Pod People

How do you fail at making Exploitation?  Today's film is a 2007 'effort' by The Asylum to cash in on the big-budget film The Invasion.  In case you didn't know, that film was was Remake of the 1993 film, which itself is a Remake of the 1973 film...which is itself a Remake of a 1956 film.  The difference is that those two films were good, while the 2007 ones are not.  While it's fun to talk about the mainstream version being cut and re-cut by the Wachowski Brothers to add more action, I'd rather talk about this abomination.  Rather than discussing the plot in my own words, I'll read you the short summary provided by Netflix- "Melissa (Erica Roby) has noticed some changes in her female friends and co-workers lately. Namely, they've been disrobing and engaging in lesbian lovemaking. Once she traces this trend to a mysterious interstellar plant, Missy makes a troubling discovery. Those lesbians weren't her friends at all -- they were alien clones!"  Prepare for disappointment as I try to stop the...
We begin with a blatant theft of the opening from the 2007 film...only made cheaper.  Considering how little this film explains the titular creatures, this intro seems super-pointless!
Asteroids strike the Earth?  It's a shame that you can't actually afford to show that.  Instead, here is this shot of a local fire (which may actually be in Monster)...
This is the real villain of this movie.  Just stop and consider that for a moment before you move on.  I'll wait.
Instead of actual visual effects, you get a bunch of these weird shots of people *apparently* emerging from the pods.  The DVD cover has a naked woman emerging from one, but you knew that we would never see that here.
This guy warns our heroine about the threat of the clones.  Naturally, he does so by showing up at her house and threatening her with a gun.  After he's had his say, he kills himself...just so we can be 'shocked' to see 'him' later.
Sarah Lieving is a very important character here.  She's so important that she has one Scene before being turned into a Pod Person in the next one.  Thank you, pointless cameo.
Remember the whole 'lesbian' plot that is mentioned in the synopsis.  Well, it's all built around this one, three-minute scene.  I hope you weren't going to see the movie just for this (for many reasons)...
On the plus side, Sarah Lieving gets killed!  Yea- I hate her for...reasons that seem more petty as time goes on (Editor's Note: Still not sorry in 2014 though).
After a lot of confusion, betrayal and...mostly talking about things, our secondary heroine makes her escape...only to get caught.  

I bet you didn't expect the film to end focused on someone other than the lead, did you?   The End.
Eat me, movie!  The plot of this film is slow, tedious and...well, slow.  The original film worked because it dug deep into the hysteria of the time (The Red Menace) and presented real characters.  The 1973 version worked due to its strong writing, scientific focus and a great cast.  This movie fails because its characters are one-dimensional, the pacing is terrible and there is no real pay-off.  It's like making a movie about Godzilla, only you make it a plot point that Godzilla turned into a person and was planning to rob a bank.  I can excuse a lack of CG in the original two films, since it pretty much didn't exist.  In this film, there is no excuse for at least a couple of effects to make the tedium better.  On the plus side, I didn't hate Sarah Lieving here.  She had about six minutes on screen and died, so maybe that's what she should stick to.  I'm just kidding, Sarah...mostly.  This film is really not that interesting, unless you're a fan of these movies or watch them ironically (like me).  I'll leave you with this image of a newly-spawned Pod Person...with a band-aid on their elbow.  Oops.
Next up, Instant Asylum wraps up with a werewolf movie.  The real monster of the film, of course, is Sarah Lieving...god dammit.  Stay tuned...

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Lost in Translation: One Million Years B.C.

Dinosaurs are something that every kid loves.  Raquel Welch was a woman that every guy loved.  These two made for a great combination, but also led to this weird poster...
Remember when Gamera showed up and ate one of the guys from Schoolhouse Rock?  No, me neither!

Next up, a month-long look at some Hammer posters.  These things will make Christopher Lee cry!  Stay tuned...

Instant Asylum: Ballistica

Asylum films will never cease to exist!  After reviewing far too many of them, I decided to do three more.  It's the same kind of logic that led me to start something called Project Terrible and to take part in it!  I'm telling you- i'm a glutton for punishment.  With that noted, here is the first of a trio of Asylum films that are *currently* available for Streaming via Netflix.  Ballistica is not labeled as an Asylum film in its credits, but it's listed as one of their films on the Asylum's homepage.  Are they ashamed of this film, but too stupid to hide all of the evidence?  Are the Producers too ashamed of The Asylum and trying to make you ignore the connection?  While I lean towards Option 2, it's not that important in the long-term.  Even if you didn't see the trailer on their page- which SPOILS the Third Act Twist- you could tell that this was an Asylum film.  Shot in Los Angeles?  Check.  Silly plot and effects?  Check.  Repeat actors?  Big check!  This time, we have Paul Logan, the star of Mega Fault, Mega-Piranha and The Terminators.  Which former stars are here?  Martin Kove and Robert Davi.  This one is not going to be pretty.  The Asylum does action in a movie that has a lot of bizarre and random filler.  To find out the full details, read on.  Let's find out just what the hell this word means...
Our hero begins the movie by diving out of a plane and breaking into a Russian plant to capture a scientist trying to make a bomb.  He catches him and his assistant, taking them outside.
Our hero shows off his action skills by standing between two groups of men and shooting them with his guns.  Yeah, you'd die from that.  Thankfully, the bullets are CG and can't do shit.
A man higher up on the food chain (Davi) arrives and tries to push for change.  Using 'The Scooby-Doo Rule,' he's obviously the villain and the film is clearly building up to this.
Things go bad on the second mission, as the bomb they tracked is actually a fake.  They send Logan and the boss out, which makes our hero mad.  Thankfully, he can train in 'Ballistica' and show off his abs.  You work out...but you can't act- deal with that!
All of this is a set-up to an awkward and drawn out romantic angle.  These two have the sexual chemistry of Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, as opposed to Tom Cruise and Jeremy Renner in the MI:4 trailer.
Nearly an hour into the film, we get flashbacks to Logan's sad back-story involving his dead wife and son.  Of course, they can't afford to show us the car bomb explosion that killed them, so I hope you just enjoy these cheap shots done in the backyard of the house they rented for the film.
When the bomb resurfaces, Logan and his boss rush into action.  The boss makes sure to grab his ugly vest that he bought from a Gift Shop in Arizona.  After all, he has to wear the clothes for their reused footage in the 'War Room' to match!
Finally, we get the showdown between Logan and the man that killed his son.  He only appeared five minutes earlier and they merely say that he did it...but it's personal.  Well, they say it is.
After the main villain is killed within two minutes, we get the wrap-up of the 'mole inside the group' plot.  It's resolved off-camera as Davi reveals that the CIA Director (who was never shown once) was bad.  No, really.
Needing a better climax than, you know, the one they set up, we get a chase and shoot out between Logan and the blond.  After a goofy scene, a mistimed CG explosion and a silly Chekov's Gun, Logan wins and rides off into the sunset (with some whore).  The End.
Sadly, this is the best they've ever done.  The plot of this movie sucks, but it does so in a pretty entertaining way.  Paul Logan has all of the charisma of a dead possum on the highway, but does look the part.  Good luck keeping that action career going for another ten years, Paul!  The rest of the cast are pretty forgettable, save for Martin Kove and that God-awful vest.  Seriously, did you pick that our did they, Martin?  The action scenes are the real selling point and they are...goofy as all hell.  The CG bullets look sillier than the EMF Gun effects from Eraser- which was made 13 years before this film.  The whole idea of the 'Ballistica' is stolen right out of Equilibrium, which made their Gun Katas look realistic (enough) and actually explained what they were.  This movie's use of them is equivalent to the now-infamous 'By the way, I can do a Hadouken' scene from Street Fighter: Legend of Chun-Li.  Did they really think that people would buy this?  That said, the movie's execution of it's goofy plot is kind of fun to watch.  See Paul Logan invade the same building three times (once in 'Russia,' another time in 'China' and finally in Los Angeles).  See Martin Kove in that vest.  See this goofy-ass movie and have a good laugh.  I leave you with this shot of  Kove's wall of terrorists, which apparently includes Andy Dick...
Next up, The Asylum turns the remake of a remake of a good movie into one with Sarah Lieving and lesbians.  They couldn't possibly screw up Exploitation, could they?  Stay tuned...

Monday, August 29, 2011

VHS For The Win: Blood Delirium

I think that I'm crazy.  The fact that I'm covered in blood right now might be related, as to this movie shows...
When you've got two giant heads and a Van Gogh staring at you, something is wrong.  Why is Van Gogh here- I have to know?!?

Next up, the faux VHS box art for a sequel that wasn't actually released.  Even so, it is total win!  Stay tuned...

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Strange Killers (In Pictures): Blown

Should I really be surprised by the results here?  When I discovered a movie about a killer blow-up doll, I was not expecting anything good.  Even if a great Director like John Huston was involved, this would be massively-terrible.  However, this one is not just terrible in the way that you might think.  Instead of just being stupid, it's also a 'comedy.'  Yeah, it's one of those movies.  Much like stuff along the lines of Skeleton Key 2, this movie thinks that it's funny and is convinced that you will agree.  I don't.  I was expecting something stupid, but I got something that was stupid and unfunny- not a good combination.  Not one to waste my pain, I still decided to review this film...if for no other reason than to warn you.  If you like bad jokes, a plot that keeps stopping to 'take a piss' and just general awfulness, this if your movie.  In fact, it only does one thing useful...but more on that later.  To see just what 'fail' looks like, read on as I prepare to have my mind...
Did I mention that this plot is random?  Well, one of the first shots is of a zombie head that talks while spilling 'vomit' out of its mouth.  What does that have to do with anything?  Nothing, really.
Essentially, our leads prepare for a Bachelor Party and, inadvertently, piss off a voodoo queen...who live next door.  As dumb as this plot is, they also stop to make fun of their own actors...about five times.
The framing device here is that we are watching the movie on 'Mastercrap Theater,' a fact that the host hates.  That might be funny- a la The Bad Movie Police- but the 'host' is clearly one of them and not much better.  Fail!
The movie is full of moving images that you cannot 'un-see.'  While not as jarring in still-frame, this is one of them.  Ew.
As if to make us further want to watch something else, one 'gag' involves the host switching the video to Night of the Living Dead.  Unless you're playing it with Rifftrax, it's nothing I can't get on 8,000,000 different DVD releases.
This is the face of evil- the rubber, non-moving face of evil.  They didn't make a doll/mannequin/CG creature that looks like a blow-up doll.  No, they used a real one and covered it in Kero Syrup.  On the plus side, the movie is only 50 minutes long, leaving time for...
A 25-minute video lecture on how to sell your stuff on EBay and make a profit.  No, really.  I kept thinking that this was some sort of gag, but it's not.  WHY IS THIS HERE?!?
End your 'movie' with mocking the cast one more time.  It's not like they worked hard here or anything.  The End.
This blows!  Obvious puns aside, the plot here sucks!  Quite frankly, even if it was any good, they could barely focus on it for more than five minutes.  Between the plot, the cutting to the Host segments and randomly-cutting to other movies like Night of the Living Dead, the thing had no momentum.  They were barely even trying, so why should I?  This movie sucks and I don't want to waste any more time on it.  This face sums up my feelings about the movie in all the wrong ways...
Next up, we actually take a step up in quality to the Asylum (won't ever hear that again!).  Come see a film about guns, action and invading the same building three times.  Stay tuned...
  

Friday, August 26, 2011

Holy Random DVD, Batman!

Amazon keeps recommending this set to me, so I thought I would show it to you.  Take note of the films listed and join me below the picture...
Okay- why the hell is this a DVD set?  What do the films have in common?

Release time?  No.  They are 1979, 1983 and 1994, respectively.
Country of origin?  No.  Two films are American, while the third is Italian.
Shared actor?  No.  There is no common actor among the three.
Do they all have aliens in them?  No.  The first two do, but the third one is about science gone awry.
Similar setting?  No.  You have a big city, a small town and a boat (*insert Lonely Island joke here*)

With all that said, why the hell is this a DVD set?  I demand answers!

NOTE: I'm sure that it's just that one company owns all three.  It's just more fun to be mad at it.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Strange Killers: Black Roses

It's a nice day for some black roses.  The counterpoint to Rock & Roll Nightmare, today's film is also by John Fasano.  It features a rock & roll band that spreads the word of demonic possession and murder across the country.  Of course, this is a low-budget movie, so let's focus the plot on just one small town.  This creates an odd sort of plot inconsistency, but I'll get to that in a bit.  On the plus side, there is no Jon Mikl-Thor this time, either buff (and freezing) or paunchy (and silly-looking).  In his place, we have...nobody I have the slightest clue about.  Apparently the band in the film is a real rock band, but I'm too apathetic to look them up.  All you need to know is that this film is very '80s and takes a while to really get going.  To see the end result, read on.  If you're going to a Wedding, make sure you don't get the...
In the intro, a demonic rock band is playing a set in what appears to be New York City.  It makes you wonder what WASP was doing at their concerts, doesn't it?  A man- who is not important or ever mentioned again- tries to stop the show, but only succeeds in opening the door and being crushed by the fleeing mob.  This opening calls the entire plot into question, but it does at least give us some creature effects.  We don't get those for another thirty minutes or so.  The story changes to a small town in the middle of 'The Heart of America' which is featuring a concert series by the band from earlier.  The teens are all excited and the old people in town talk about Satan coming to town.  Yes, people were like this in the '80s.  Of course, people were like this in the '80s, making the film pretty-dated.  The main focus of the tale is on the Poetry Teacher, clearly the most important Teacher in the school.  Seriously- you're going with him?  Hey, it's your movie, fellas...
The band performs their show, managing to fool the old people in town with a fake-out opening performance, before going into their loud stuff.  Their whole plan hinges upon the people not forgetting their wallets/purses or possibly going back when they hear the loud music.  Anyways, the music begins to make the teens do bad things and progressively worse things.  How does it do that?  Good question, actually- the film never really answers it.  At one point, the kids just act mean.  Later on, they actually become demons that can morph to and from that shape.  I should also point out that the film's message is a bit skewed, since the 'demonic music' actually is a bit demonic in the first place...but I digress.  Things get more serious when murders start to occur, including one man killing his father and another killing their mother with a car.
Things are all building to a head and they continue to get sillier.  A sub-plot involving one girl being attracted to the Poetry Teacher builds up to her becoming a demon and killing the guy's girlfriend.  As bad luck would have it, the girlfriend is the Mayor's daughter.  This actually doesn't impact the plot all that much, so it makes you wonder why they included that.  She tries to seduce him at his home, but quickly abandons that plot and just turns into a giant puppet.  He kills her, only it wasn't her...sort of.  This movie's contradictions hurt my brain!  All of this builds up to the final concert- duh.  The band transforms on stage once again, leading to random shots of teens in the crowd also transforming.  John Fasano loves his awkward puppets, so they're in full-force here.  Confronted on stage by the band, our hero learns that they only played live once before (the intro) and things went badly.  How did the transformation and riot not make the News?  How are they not in jail?  In a lame conclusion, the stage is set on fire and the band flees, leaving the murdering teens to live with the guilt.  In the Epilogue, the band plays somewhere else...since the murders didn't make the News either.  The End.
Rock and roll truly is the Devil's music!  The plot of this movie has potential, but is mostly just silly.  The whole idea is full of ridiculous things, which is to be expected from a film like this.  The problem is that there is not a lot of internal logic for what happens.  A lot of '80s films are goofy (most are, to be honest) but there is usually some sort of explanation for what happens.  As silly as Neon Maniacs was, they bother to explain that the creatures have been hiding for years, thus explaining why they're an Urban Legend.  This movie...pretty much does nothing.  It just uses the all-purpose 'Satanic worshipper' trope and expect you to move on.  I'm a film critic- I don't just ignore shit like that.  Those gripes aside, the movie is kind of fun, but the pacing is a bit off.  It's pretty much the same case as Rock & Roll Nightmare- it's loaded on the back-end with silly effects.  The actual effects aren't quite as funny though, so the pay-off is not quite as even.  If you ever wanted a double-bill with Nightmare, choose this.  If you pick Intercessor, well, you always lose.  Take us away, conveniently-shot puppet..
Next up, a film so stupid that I almost feel ashamed talking about.  Of course, I gave up on my pride sometime around my second Nudist Camp Horror Film, so the fight goes on!  Stay tuned...