Thursday, May 31, 2012

Jim-kata: Camel Spiders

Do you even know what a Camel Spider is?  I'm not asking the Director- Jim Wynorski-, I'm asking you.  Seriously, ever heard of this thing?  I hadn't.  Thanks to Wikipedia, I found out and boy does this movie not do them justice.  Camel Spiders are more akin to a Scorpion, but were misidentified centuries ago and people just stuck with it.  They're the animal equivalent of the Dutch Angle.  This film has all of the elements of a bad/silly Syfy Channel film.  It has Brian Krause- sorry, Brian-, CG animals and C. Thomas Howell.  If Wynorski were not involved, I'd swear that this was an Asylum film!  Fun fact: this is another film in which Wynorski is credited as 'Jay Andrews.'  Yes, continue to make porn under your real name and THIS under a fake one.  I assume that 'Andrews' is the fake name, since why would you MAKE UP a name like Wynorski for yourself?  This movie is full of amazing gaps in logic that I just have to cover.  I'll make it as SPOILER free as possible though.  To find out what Camel Spiders aren't, read on...
The film begins in Afghanistan with some soldiers fighting terrorists until the titular spiders kill the bad guys.  Krause and a woman take the body of a soldier home, not realizing that the coffin is housing two Spiders.  Bear this number in mind.
Howell is in this movie playing a Sheriff.  His role early on is to do a bad, fake accent and pose in front of Green Screens.  Yea.
Less than two days after the body is warm, nearly a dozen Camel Spiders come out.  They are also shown in the Desert BEFORE this happens, making more questions be raised.  Speaking of which...
Camel Spiders don't spin webs!  A simple search of Wikipedia would tell you that.  Second...
 In Plot B, a group of College Students and their Professor run across this giant Camel Spider.  While the Professor gets 'all up in its grill' (and dies), the students say that it only has six legs.

In most shots, this one has 8.
My favorite gaffe involves a line about the film taking place in Arizona.  That's silly because a shot of Howell's Police Car has a California license plate.

Either this character is an idiot or they're plot takes place in another state, which would make no sense.  Count the Spiders, people!
Basically, the film is actually two films.  One is about the College Students running and hiding.  The other is about the people in a town- including Krause and Howell- running from the Spiders and hiding.  Most of the cast- which has over a dozen people- are just annoying schmucks.

This guy, for example, is afraid that a photo of him with a gun will show up on Facebook.  No, really.  It prompts this reply...
Unfortunately, the College Student plot ends with a bit of a whimper and a vague resolution.  It's pretty sudden and downer.
The other plot ends with, well, this.  You do the math.  The End.
Your film makes biologists cry.  To be honest with you, I had some fun with this movie.  It's a non-porn Wynorski film, so it has a certain charm.  However, the plot is riddled with hole and scientific gaffes.  Here's my favorite: the Spiders take over a chunk of California (see below)/Arizona really quickly.  Did the two in the crate mate constantly- and both be different genders- to create a tiny army so quickly.  Furthermore, there's a variety of sizes here, ranging from tiny to 4-6 feet.  That would imply that the things age quickly and that somewhere, there is a batch of them continually screwing at regular intervals!  There's also the crap about them having webs (never) or being poisonous (only ones from India are).  Here's the best part: there's no sci-fi angle to them.  They weren't bred by scientists, nor did they nest near toxic waste.  The film, for all purposes, tells you that real Camel Spiders can do all of this!  If that's the case, why haven't we been attacked?  Seriously Jim, your movie is just plain silly.  If it had focused on just the main story (and trimmed down the cast), this would have been a blast.  As it is, it's uneven and hilarious at points.  Take us away, plot hole causing license plate...
Next up, a wrap-up with a film meant for May.  Will aliens be found and will they not make a good movie?  Stay tuned...

Seeing Double: Seconds Apart

I'm seeing double-shit!  This is Seconds Apart, a DVD/Blu-Ray release from last year.  I thought 'killer twins with psychic powers- could be worse.'  What I didn't realize is that this film was less about horror and more about some guy trying to make 'art.'  Yeah, it's one of those films.  Split-screen shots, weird dream sequences and visual tweaks that serve no purpose other than to look interesting.  In the film's heart, it's just a weird exercise in cinematic art- not a film.  There's a plot, but it's barely there.  I won't SPOIL too much here, but I'll give you a general overview.  If you decide to watch the film or not, it's your call.  To find out what I think, read on...
These are our villains.  They are psychic twins.  They kill people, but only in the pursuit of film-making art.  Oh- I get it.
Mad TV alumni Orlando Jones- not to be confused with Orlando Jordan- plays a Cop with Tragic Back-Story #480.
This guy- from Carnivorous and The Last Exorcism- plays the father of the twins.  His back-story and reveal are, well, odd.  I won't SPOIL it here, no matter how much I want to.
Our evil twins continue to kill people- including a scene where they force/trick guys to play Russian Roulette- for their movie and desire to 'feel something.'  Only love can get in the way.
 'Hey- aren't you Robert Kirkman, Writer of The Walking Dead?'

'No, I'm a character actor named Rusty Tennant.'

'Oh- never mind then.'
Our hero figures out that a group was training psychic twins, do something.  Seriously, their motivation is never explained.

All things considered, this movie makes things worse by explaining, so it's all for the best.
These kids are so adorable and evil.  They're like killer squirrels summoned by Satan.

To find out their fate- and that of our heroes- watch the movie.  The End.
Eccentric crap.  I'm sorry, but this movie just ruins its potential.  It's a film about killer twins who use psychic powers to kill people.  It goes wrong, like I said, with the arty crap they throw in.  Does it help the movie?  No.  Our hero has burns all over his body and goes to a Therapist who puts him in...a dream state to have his burns worked on.  I'm sorry, but is that a thing?  It's all just a pretense to have him go through a bunch of dream sequences that eventually explain the back-story of him and his wife.  Could you have dragged this out anymore?  Furthermore, he has a dream sequence later where he explains key plot himself.  I guess it's supposed to be him figuring stuff out, but it's played out as him going 'Hey me- stop being stupid!'  This leads to the mother of all 'holy symbolism, Batman!' moments that I've ever seen.  If you take nothing away from this interesting, but plot-hole strewn film, it should be this...
Up next, Jim Wynorski unleashes more silly monsters on the world.  When a film can't pick a monster size, you know it's going to be great!  Stay tuned...

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Trashy Trash: Nude Nuns with Big Guns

A title says it all sometimes.  This is Nude Nuns with Big Guns.  Need I say any more?  It's part of a new generation of movies emulating the Grindhouse (literally and figuratively) mystique with violent content, nudity and strange titles.  A lot of these are mixed bags, while others are, well, Ticked Off Trannies With Knives.  That.  movie.  hurt.  Regardless, this film intrigued me long ago with its title and box art last year.  How is the film?  To find out, read on...
Getting the tits right from the beginning?  Great.

The plot involves a bunch of Catholic Churches that are a front for drug dealers.  No, really.
When one Nun tries to steal some drugs, the group- save for one- are killed.  The survivor- she's drugged up and made into a prostitute who gets sexually-assaulted by...the guy from A Haunting in Salem.

No normal roles for you indeed, Mr. Oberst!
She survives the attack and is rescued by the drug den's chemist.  That's right- even the people who make the crack that is forcibly-injected into unwilling prostitutes can have hearts!
Having seen 'a vision from God,' our naked Nun heroine decides to go on a path of murder and revenge!  Conveniently, much of this happens in flashbacks told by other people.  Weird.
 This pair are the most evil of evil people.  Actually, there are about a dozen random, evil people.  Way to focus, movie!
 Let's take a moment from the plot to insert this lesbian scene.  Thank you- the review may continue.
Where was I?  Oh right, a group of Bikers called Los Muertos- creative- are the main henchmen here.  They are horrible people and just exist to get shot to death.
Nun rape- this movie has it.  It happens twice.  I think that speaks for itself.
 Will the villains get what they deserve?  Will a naked Nun fire a gun at least once?  Will a man get his dick shot of?  Yes to all three of those.  To find out more details, see the movie.  The End.
This movie is pretty damn crazy.  It's full of violence, nudity and depravity.  The plot is bleak and full of painful moments.  Good people die...or worse.  That said, this is a rape/murder revenge tale, so that's par for the course.  This movie is certainly dark, featuring about four or five rape scenes in it.  That's a lot, even for the sub-genre.  I will say that this movie tries a bit too hard.  Much like Planet Terror, it's not all that much like an actual 'Grindhouse' film in a lot of ways.  This movie is darker, bleaker and more violent than those films ever were (as far as I know).  Seriously, Nun Rape happens twice in this movie!  Another thing that's odd is the morality of the whole thing.  Our heroine is out for revenge for what happened to her- fine.  However, she was partaking in the production and trafficking of drugs for a long time beforehand.  Her first kill is the guy who saved her, which she explains is her first test of resolve.  That's a weird bit of logic, but I guess 'God' told you to do it.  In The End, this movie is a mixed bag of trashy goodness.  If you actually pick up a film with this title, you'll probably like it.  It's not that great though, no matter how much picture blocking I must do...
Next up, a recent horror film full of silly powers, stupid plot twists and arty visuals.  Mad TV cast member for the win!  Stay tuned...

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Holiday Bug-Killing: Starship 3- Marauder

Sorry, but this review was done on a military time-table.  I consider it my service to those who serve in the Military to give them a Holiday to enjoy without this weirdly-shitty movie.  Why the third film?  Why not, I say?  In all seriousness, this movie is on Streaming, while the 2nd film is on Disc.  More than that, this one is the return of Casper Van Dien!  Yeah, this is totally a big deal.  That's why the film had a meager, Direct-to-DVD release with some minor promotion.  For a film series based on a pretty famous book, it's been pretty sad to see the follow-up.  Anyhow, this movie returns to form with the ridiculous satire, but works in slightly-better CG effects and an especially goofy plot.  The subtitle relates to a silly, Deus Ex Machina that will show up later.  Don't worry- I'll get to it in time.  All you need to know is that this film has all of the same elements as the original- right or wrong.  Is it as good?  To find out, read on...
The intro is strong, keeping the satirical tone of sci-fi News Reels.  It's still an exposition dump, but it is more amusing than most.
(Still Not Juan) Rico is back and he's...slightly higher rank than he was before.  Kind of missed an opportunity to make him a General or President, but whatever.
 Things go bad when a base run by Rico is overrun by bugs.  The military's Sky Marshall flees, but...
...his ship crashes on OM-1, a bad place to be.  At least he doesn't end up in a desert.
At this point, the film breaks down into two parts (minus random News Reel crap): the people wander around the planet, talking about God or just bickering.
 Meanwhile, Rico is sent to die, only to find out that he's being sent on a secret mission to rescue the guy who the military doesn't say is missing.  Why fake his death again?
The whole desert trek ends with the group making it to a ship...only to be confronted by a giant, psychic bug.  As it turns out, the Sky Marshall has 'gone native.'
The titular Marauders- led by Rico- show up and are, wait for it, giant mech suits.  I bet you were expecting something less obvious.  Oh and these Deus Ex Machinas face almost no resistance and simply get away from the aliens.
In the aftermath, Rico leads a new squad and the film's secondary leads kiss while a planet is blown up.  Only in a Starship Troopers film.  The End.
War is hell...if you pay attention.  Here's the thing: this movie has some decent effects, nice staging and plenty of the stuff you'd expect.  It's got overly-broad satire.  It's got exploding heads.  It's got a random scene with nudity- naturally.  Here's the other thing though: it's pretty shallow.  The action scenes are full of random, silly flourishes like people being decapitated in shadows and the like.  The satire is so ridiculous and there's no context to it.  The military is never really penalized for anything they do and, if anything, they get much out of it.  So am I supposed to be offended or laugh at the paralyzed guy murdered to cover up other actions?  The military of the original film was made up of assholes, but never really did stuff like they did here.  Here's the really wacky part: organized religion plays a key part in the film.  No, really.  After an hour of random bug/people killing, we get a Christian character who eventually converts our heroine.  This leads to the Federation embracing religion, leading to, well, nothing.  What was the point of this odd, preachy sub-plot rearing its head?  It's so serious and maudlin that I just don't get it.  Regardless, this film is full of the stuff people liked in the original film, just cheaper and less interesting the second time.  Now where did I leave my shovel?  Ohhh crap.
Next up, a crazy-ass film that I've been dying to review for a long time.  Will this film not live up to its ridiculous title?  Stay tuned...

Monday, May 28, 2012

*Holiday* VHS For the Win: Universal Soldier 2

In honor of the men and women who serve without getting recognition, here's a film about soldiers that also got no recognition (except from me, apparently)...
Say what you will, but this is a good advertisement for using 3-D technology on our box art.

'Ooh, I can watch the movie and- AAHHH!  A GUN!!!!'

To see how the actual film turned out, see the review here.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Rare Flix: A Return to Salem's Lot

This is much less of a Return and more of a confusing, first visit.  In 1979, Salem's Lot was made for television.  In 1987, Larry Cohen decided to make his own version.  Rather than build off of the book or follow the mini-series, he went off in a weird direction.  It's hard to explain, really.  The film does take place in Salem's Lot and features a man returning to town for the first time in nearly 30 years.  That makes you think that it is a Remake, but that's not entirely true.  This film builds off of the ending of the previous film adaptation (sort of) by having the town be full of Vampires.  Of course, that is ignoring the idea that the Vampires are supposed to be hunting our heroes.  So what is this film?  I'll be damned if I know, but it is a Larry Cohen film.  That makes me interested, whether he's just a Writer (Phone Booth, Maniac Cop 1-3) or as a Director (Special Effects, It's Alive 1-3).  This film is nothing if it's not weird, so let's just dive right in...
In Central America (both films begin like this- odd), Michael Moriarty ('natch) is a Journalist covering Native rituals, which, well, involve people dying.  He covers the story, but doesn't stop the deaths.  He = heartless.
 He's called back to America to help out his son, who's not exactly fitting into society.  He takes his son to his old home- Silent Hill.

Oh sorry, it's actually Salem's Lot.  I mean, Jerusalem's Lot.  Salem's Lot?  Just pick one, movie!
In the first Vampire scene, you learn that one thing is different here- these Vampires are rubber masks.  Freaky, but definitely different than in Salem's Lot!
The Vampires take Moriarty in and give him a strange task: make their 'Bible' and tell their tale.

Speaking of their tale, they claim to have come to America on the FOURTH ship that left England in search of 'religious tolerance.'  Vampire Pilgrims- awesome, but silly as shit!
Moriarty's son is drawn into the group and begins to turn.  Was he bit?  Apparently not (given how the film ends), but that just raises more questions.

For one- how is (Jeru)Salem's Lot so close to Madison County?
You know what most Vampire Films are missing?  A Nazi Hunter!  That's right- A Return to Salem's Lot features a character who's a Nazi Hunter.  I can't stress that enough.
Our heroes work together to kill the Vampires during the day, since they only have like two guys guarding them.  You've been alive for hundreds of years, but can barely defend yourselves?  So sad.
After the big showdown, our heroes burn their coffins, putting an end to these oddly-ineffectual Vampires existence, save for one of them...
The Town's Mayor puts up a fight, but also meets his end.

The day is saved, thanks to a heartless Journalist, his Bi-Polar son and a Swiss Nazi Hunter.  Don't get to say that every day.  The End.
No matter what this is, it's weird!  What can I say about this movie?  It could be a sequel.  It could be a Remake.  Regardless, it's a bizarre film.  The Vampires are bizarre.  The story is full of odd events.  The whole thing is just kooky.  Whether it's Moriarty having sex with his old girlfriend (who's the same age as before) who's a vampire or Moriarty asking his 13 year-old son if he got lucky, this movie is odd.  I'm not sure how GOOD it is though.  The tone and pacing are strange & it never quite got going in the way that I was hoping for.  It would tease something big...and just peter out.  The finale is good, although its pacing was certainly odd.  One thing I should say is that I'm neck-deep in Vampire films, both with the Salem's Lot films and stuff for June.  It makes some of this stuff blend together, something I can guarantee won't happen to you if you watch it.  Speaking of which, why is this one also hard to find?  The first one had the stigma/legality of being a Made-for-TV movie, not to mention being an IP based on a book.  This one is just 'Based on Characters Created by Stephen King.'  That's code for 'We made some crazy shit, so here's your check, Mr. King.'  As a whole, the film is a mixed bag of crazy.  Take us away, sign that confuses things even more...
Next up, a Holiday that's all about the Military and their service.  For me- an excuse to talk about giant bugs.  Stay tuned...