Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Orange Crap: Hallow's End

Another crappy film for this Hallow's Eve.  Today's film is Hallow's End, a movie that is not exactly at the top of anyone's list.  I could have done Trick R Treat, I suppose, but where's the fun in that?  Mondo Bizarro is all about shit that you don't know about.  Whether those films are good- that's the interesting part. So what is this film about?  It's a film about a bunch of College Students setting up a Haunted House for charity and things go awry.  It's hard to really explain any more than that in the introduction, so let's move on.  It's important to know that this is a low-budget affair and has to be judged appropriately.  Obviously, I've mocked $40 million films and $4,000 dollar films- it's all equal.  The film is...something.  To find out more, read on...
The film starts strongly enough with some Druid-like guys chanting around a book.  I'm not exactly clear on how important this is in the grand scheme of things, but it's good.
In the Present, a Fraternity is setting up a Haunted House as a Charity Event.  This means lots of Soap Opera-style acting and relationships.
Seriously, most of the film is about these people and their interlocked love triangles.  It's...really annoying.  This is a horror film, right?
The only upside I can see is that the Haunted House looks pretty neat.  Maybe they could have just made that and not a movie.  Just a thought.
Finally, nearly an hour into the film, the horror elements occur.  The magic book they got delivered earlier causes everyone to become what their costume is.  The hot Asian girl dressed as a Vampire- she's now an actual Vampire.

I'd like this plot more if it wasn't a) really boring and b)done better in House of Fears.
"Yaar, I wish I was in a decent movie.  Go back to sleep now, audience!"
On the plus side, most of these unlikable characters are killed.  That's the reaction they were going for, right?
In the End, our hero and his former-girlfriend-turned-widowed-lesbian escape the house in...mid-evening.  Was the sun melting outside?
However, it doesn't truly end until we see that the guy who gave them the book was Satan.  We also see that the Book is now in the possession of the widowed-lesbian and she ponders whether or not to use it.  The End.
This movie..could have at least been good.  Seriously, the movie has a neat premise behind it.  What went wrong?  In case you just skipped to the end, they waste over two-thirds of the film on Soap Opera crap.  If you want to make a Soap Opera, do it.  By the way, I got a film like this last Halloween, didn't I?  To be fair, that one may have actually been a Soap Opera plot intentionally, while this one just seemed to want to focus on a bunch characters and their back-stories.  The problem is that this is marketed as a Horror Film and it barely delivers in that regard.  There is room for all kinds of films, but I don't see why this has to be included.  This could have been a short film- say an hour or so- and I would have liked it better.  The fact that they wasted so much of my time just makes me care all the less.  Maybe they could throw in a brief lesbian scene or two to spice things up...
Next up, I continue to do the Halloween series backwards.  Might as well begin November with Michael Meyers, right?  Stay tuned...

Orange Crap: The Pumpkin Karver

Double your shitty costume fun!  Today's film is The Pumpkin Karver, a movie that you can simply judge by the title.  Blah blah blah don't judge a book by its cover blah blah blah.  For anyone who says that, I give you The Pumpkin Karver.  While it's low on the echelon of stupid movie titles that give you the right to judge the movie- see Over-Sexed Rug-Suckers From Mars or Surf Nazis Must Die-, it is still some stupid shit.  Does changing the 'C' into a 'K' make the movie seem scary?  No.  Does it make a lick of sense?  No, again.  So what is the movie about?  It's essentially one of those 'Is the guy the killer or is there really a killer' movies.  Obviously, this can be done right.  Obviously if I'm reviewing this movie, it is not.  In a random note, this movie features Amy Weber.  If you don't know her, I don't blame you.  Basically, she was a Fitness Model (still may be- I don't know) who briefly became a WWE Diva (getting in one game) and appeared in Dangerous Seductress (a Mondo Macabro release).  It's been three years since I even mentioned her name, so that's good news (for her).  To find out just how this movie goes wrong, read on...
Skipping past most of the long opening, a guy pulls an elaborate prank where he pretends to be a serial killer.  Ladies- that's a catch!

Unfortunately, he forgets that her brother is still there, so he gets stabbed to death with a pumpkin (k)carving knife.
Yeah- that was a funny joke.

Oh and nice fake blood.  It TOTALLY looks real.
 After this, we jump ahead quite some time (about a year or so) and meet...these guys.
Yeah, we're supposed to care if they live or die.  Show of hands?

Thus begins a random set of scenes involving killing...
...and this character, who is clearly a Red Herring.  They should have just made that his name like the joke on Duckman.
Now here's where it gets weird.  The Pumpkin-Masked Killer appears before our hero and...shoots lightning at him.  Yeah, I don't get it.

So is the idea that he's imagining this...or I don't know.
Oh and the whole sub-plot with him and this blond meets a sudden and abrupt ending.
In the End, it appears that our hero killed Red Herring while he thought that he was killing Pumpkin Masked Killer.  The Police don't think that he killed anyone.

Oh and that guy in the middle is TV Pitchman Tony Little.  Why he has this random Acting role is anyone's guess.
Oh and our hero turns into the killer (who's name is Alec)...or something.  I'm past caring.  The End.
Trick or lame!  This movie has an interesting idea- a killer may or may not be coming back from the dead for revenge.  So what could go wrong?  For one, the acting is bad.  This, combined with the sub-par writing, makes me not care about any of these characters.  Speaking of the Writing, could they pick an idea and stick with it?  Is he the killer?  Is the killer an evil spirit?  Honestly, I'm still not sure.  Given how lame the movie is, you can imagine how little sleep I've been losing over this.  I don't want to hate (most) movies, but some of them just give me so little choice!  All of this film is sub-par at best and terrible at worst.  The pacing is weird, leading to long stretches of nothing between some fairly-brief kills.  I cared for none of the characters and their deaths pretty much nothing to me.  There are hints of a good movie in here, but that's all you get.  If only I had some sort of Neuralizer or something...
Next up, another shitty Slasher film set on Halloween.  This is what I get for ignoring Trick or Treat.  Stay tuned...

Monday, October 29, 2012

Like Mikels: The Corpse Grinders II

I hate myself for buying you.  Seriously, I hate myself.  That's the only explanation for me spending money on this, even if it was only $2.99.  Today's film is The Corpse Grinders II, a film that doesn't have the word 'The' on the actual title card.  When the film doesn't even have the exact same title on the film itself as it does on the box, that's a bad sign.  It's not the most criminal sin- although that is also in this film-, but it is a notable one.  So what's the story on this film?  Basically, Ted V. Mikels pulled an H.G. Lewis and randomly made a comeback for the video market.  Nobody is sure why, really.  Before he made Mark of the Astro Zombies, he made this piece of shit.  Why a film about people making cat food out of people needed a sequel- nobody is sure.  This film is kind of a like a Remake-quel, something I really hate.  It does feature new content- stupid-ass aliens.  As foreshadowing for Mark, we get shitty aliens fighting.  The resolution to this, however, is even worse than that movie.  That's the film's biggest flaw: resolution.  To find out just how bad things really are, I DARE you to read on...
Just like Mark, we get a shitty text crawl.  Essentially, there are Dog Aliens...
 Who look like midgets wearing shitty, Latex masks and disappear after the first five minutes & some Cat Aliens...
 Who are a bunch of Community Theater Actors in silly outfits that have a space ship interior that looks like Ted V. Mikels' house.  You were thinking that- you know it!
The plot- the Nephews of the villains from the original film decide to do the exact same thing.  Wow, that was really creative, Ted.

On the plus side, I totally got this shot by accident.
Ted V. Mikels- in what the box calls a Cameo- plays a pointless Scientist who almost solves the plot...and then gives up on that to fly with aliens.  No, really.

Ted V. Mikels wrote himself to be the hero...and then shits all over that idea.  Why?  Who knows?
In a direct copy from the original, a Doctor and Nurse investigate the Cat Food Company...just because.  The woman almost finds out the truth, but is misdirected.  When the Doctor shows up, they leave...never to be seen again.

Seriously, their sub-plot just fell of the side of the world!  Say Hi to Michael Dudikoff for me.
In another sub-plot, a group known as ASTAPP (no lie) makes a deal with the Cat-Aliens to supply them w/ cat food in exchange for gold.

Did I mention that the Cat-Aliens founded Atlantis, made the Pyramids and mastered Alchemy?  Oh, well, they did.
To cover up their secret, the two Nephews kill an ASTAPP Agent and...there is no closure for it.  Here's the thing...
 Despite being the most obvious criminals ever (including a bit where they get an Embalmer to use 'Chicken Flavored' Embalming Fluid), they never get caught.  In fact...
 They sell 400 Crates (have to be exact...I guess) of Cat Food to the Aliens and get rich.
The film ends with the Cat-Aliens traveling back to their planet with Cat Food and Ted V. Mikels in tow.  No, really.  The *god-damn* End.
Seriously, that's it!!!  Where the hell do I begin?  The Acting is terrible.  The Special Effects are terrible.  The Production Design is terrible.  There's no incredibly-fake Presidential seal this time, but there's plenty else to make fun of.  The whole thing is not scary, funny or the least bit entertaining.  I would have better spent $3 if I had spent it paying a guy to shiv me!  On the plus side, it's still not as bad as Psycho Shark.  So, what else can I say?  Well, WHAT THE HELL WAS THE POINT OF THIS?!?!?  Oh dear God, your shitty movie has to at least have a reason to exist.  You want to make money- sure.  You want to make your own horror icon- fine.  You want to rehash a 1971 film and throw in Aliens for no reason- NO-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O.  Good grief, Linus- this film is awful.  It sure as hell builds up my excitement for M3: Astro-Zombies and M4: Astro Zombies.  The worst part is that I'll have to not mention this for a while whenever Ted V. Mikels dies.  Obviously, it's not something that I want to happen, but someone who actually thought that a pointy mustache like that was a good look can't live forever.  Highlanders have style, yo!  Dolores Fuller is also in this movie, proving that she can be in worse things than Ed Wood movies.  So, in summary, you should be thankful that Netflix doesn't carry this movie.  If you see it on Clearance anywhere, resist the urge.  On the plus side, this movie is so stupid that it inspired a double-Stinger.  You can choose between Camera Battery Charger in close-up for no reason (as a prop) or Redneck Gandalf (who is against the idea of you 'passing')...
Next up, a two-part look at Halloween films.  First up, a shitty Halloween Slasher film.  Stay tuned...

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Because I Watched It: Dementia 13 and White Zombie

Well, I did promise this, didn't I?

First up, a 1963 Thriller Directed by Francis Ford Coppola.  You can thank Roger Corman for this one...
Second, a reminder that some good horror can be related to Rob Zombie, even if it is tangentially.

This long-forgotten classic is one of the best Poverty Row films out there.  You can point out the dated elements of it, there's no denying the power of Lugosi's performance here.
Got any suggestions for future editions?  If so, leave me a message.  It would be a nice change from all of the Anonymous Spam Messages I've been getting lately.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Instant Horror 'Crap': Hands of the Ripper

A good movie that just happens to be short on ideas.  Today's film is Hands of the Ripper, a Hammer film that has gotten a major cult status over the years.  It has a Blu-Ray release, while films like Rawhead Rex hasn't been released on DVD since 1999.  Yes, that still bothers me.  The plot is a curious one, as it tries to delve into Psychoanalysis.  For one thing, it's 1971, so not all of it is all that credible.  Second, this is a Period Piece Thriller, so the main character is a follower of Freud...while he's still alive.  My main problem- which I'll go into in the review- is that the film is kind of one-note.  It's an interesting note all the same, but it doesn't have much to say.  I don't hate the movie, but will have to attach that caveat to any recommendation.  To find out more about this film that you may not have seen yet, read on...
The story focuses on two people: a Doctor and a young woman.  She's the daughter of Jack the Ripper and saw him kill her mother.  Years later, she meets up with this man after...
She inadvertently kills the woman who took her in as a child.  To be fair, she was under hypnosis (more on that later) and the woman was selling her virginity to a rich guy.

Yeah, you got poked instead, lady!
Even though he could *wrongly* set up the rich guy as the killer, the Doctor blackmails him into helping him find out about the young woman.  This plot thread doesn't really go that far, but does establish the problem with our hero- his obsession.
The problem is that our heroine is susceptible to a very specific post-hypnotic suggestion.  She has to see a glinting light and then be kissed on the cheek in order to make her go into a rage.

To be fair, the second part of the trigger does build up suspense.  However, you know it's going to happen every time!
As a whole, this sums up the film really well.  It's got window-dressing (a sub-plot with a son and his blind fiancee), but is mostly just about this exact scene (tweaked only slightly).

I don't really have anything else to say about that.  The End.
Good for a bit, but pretty one-note.  The film is not bad.  It does a great job of setting up the characters, setting and story.  I have no complaints in that department.  I will say that certain characters are introduced only to die (a staple we see a lot these days) and others exist only to pad out the run-time.  I'm sorry, but I did not care about the son.  Hell, even his blind fiancee is a blatant bit of pandering to an audience too.  This character really has no place in the film.  The biggest problem is just repetition.  The film eventually becomes a way to pass the characters from one kill scene to another.  Run away- find a prostitute.  What happens to the prostitute?  She's killed.  One psychic lady even meets the same fate as the Paranormal Expert in Paranormal Entity- exposition, exposition, die.  At least the one in Paranormal Activity 3 was only in the trailer (yes, this also still bugs me).  The other thing is the character of the Doctor- he can't take a hint.  After thinking that the girl killed her faux mother, he takes her in to study her.  After the second killing, he covers it up.  The same with the third and fourth killings too.  You have to be REALLY obsessed with being against Capital Punishment to hide actual murders to further your cause.  His obsession passes the point of logical reality for me, taking me out a bit.  As a funny side-note, I like that the town is running through the streets with torches after a *single woman* is killed.  I get that you dealt with Jack the Ripper a decade or so ago, but it's still a bit silly!  If you can accept the simple, one-note premise of the film, it is chock full of atmosphere and is overall good.  Just remember- it's all this guy's fault!!!
Next up, a terrible film that I only bought because I hate myself.  Ted V. Mikels is back to torture me once again!  Stay tuned...

Project Terrible: Round 8 Announcement!

The Blogger vs. Blogger Challenge is back, baby!

Round 8 is going to include all of the members you've previously seen.  The Girl Who Loves Horror, Gaming Creatively, Cinema Gonzo, Let's Get Out of Here and Maynard Morrisey's Horror Diary are all here!

I'll update this post as the film choices become more clear and official.

Round 8 will be a bit shorter for others, as they are kind enough to squeeze it onto their calendars.  A more balanced Round will return as soon as possible.

Films that I've given out are...

* Shaolin Dolemite
* The Bermuda Triangle (1975)
* 1313: Bermuda Triangle
* The Dead Undead

Films given out for me and others include...

* Message from Space
* The Legend of Boggy Creek
* Birdemic: Shock and Terror
* Haunted Poland
* Fading of the Cries
* Snowbeast

As you can see, this Round is going to be full of crap.  Take heart, dear readers, that you will not be watching them- we will.

Be sure to keep an eye out for all of the Project Terrible 'goodness' this November!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Instant Horror Crap: Dolly Dearest

Oh joy, the rip-off of a franchise that I don't care for.  Today's film is Dolly Dearest, a 1992 film trying to be Friday the 13th.  No, of course not- it's Child's Play.  To be fair, the killer doll idea is not a bad one.  At a certain point, however, an audience says 'Hey- it's just a doll.'  It's at that point that you have to explain why they don't just smash it.  Very few of them answer this conundrum very well, which is part of my problem with this sub-genre.  Enough vague insults- let's move on to the actual film.  It's Child's Play- only it's in Mexico with an evil spirit in a girl doll.  I can see the creative juices just flowing off of the page!  The film stars Denise Crosby and Sam Bottoms aka the brother of Timothy Bottoms.  Timothy is someone you might remember for playing George W. Bush is both That's My Bush! and DC 9/11.  How he did both is still beyond me.  This film is not easy to find, as evidenced by the clearly-VHS print that Netflix has on Streaming.  Why someone demanded a Blu-Ray release for Heavyweights and not this is also beyond me.  Regardless, let's see why this film is both hilarious and awful...
A man invests the last bit of their family's money into a Doll Factory in Mexico.  In hindsight, it seems like a poor business model.  As un-luck would have it, an Evil Dead spirit escapes from a Crypt and inhabits one of the dolls.
The family's daughter quickly bonds with the doll, making this film into an awkward combination of an Exorcism movie and a Child's Play rip-off.  Joy.
The doll- and later dolls- decide to kill random people...because.  Since they're dolls and this is a shitty horror film, the kills take about five minutes to set up every time.  Thanks, Slasher Filler!

Oh and Rip Torn is (barely) in this movie.  It's not worth noting, save for his hilarious (and inconsistent) accent.
Since there is no Police- since the Police in Mexico are famously-lax (ha ha)-, there's no evidence of the doll being that dad doesn't buy it.
The silliest moment of the film comes when our Resident Mom confronts the doll, which sits in a chair to taunt her.  Seriously, they thought that this was both scary and not at all funny.

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Gah- who designed the doll to make the Exorcist face?!?  I mean, would that be a feature that you'd want to make?!?
Since this movie's ending is so stock- they blow up all of the dolls-, I don't even feel like showing a real still.  Stock explosion shot, ahoy!  The End.
It's stock as hell, but it is funny.  The good parts of the movie are generally the silly parts.  That's not to say that there's not some good Acting in the film.  Crosby and Bottoms both do good in their parts.  I liked Rip Torn here, but for all of the wrong reasons.  Half of the time, he looks like he's reading his Cue Cards from just behind the camera.  The other half of the time, he's doing this weird vaguely-Romanian accent.  Although he's barely in the movie, his attempts are fun- again, for all of the wrong reasons.  Speaking for the wrong reasons, the special effects.  The doll shots are made of decent animatronic work (I think that the Editing helps) and midgets in suits.  Seriously, it's that obvious!  It's still better than that weird bear thing from Barbarian though (which was actually a kid- creepy!).  Other than that, there are barely any effects to speak of.  That's good, since the one optical effect is crap and the one prosthetic shot sucks.  As a whole, it's a cheap rip-off, but it's still more fun to watch and laugh at than Child's Play 3.  Take us away, Ghana cover art I found online...
Next up, one last film (since I suck).  How about a Hammer film about someone who really can't stop murders.  Stay tuned...