Saturday, November 30, 2013

Project Terrible: The Alpha Incident

If a Tree falls in a boring movie, do I have to listen to it?  Today's film is The Alpha Incident, a back-up film given to me by Maynard Morrisey (of his titular Horror Diary).  I guess I ended up being nicer to him this Round than he was to me, even if it was entirely by accident.  Don't worry- I have the appropriate reprisal headed his way for Round 13.  Just a hint: it may involve gay Vampires.  So what is The Alpha Incident?  It's one of those great examples of how you just kill an interesting concept.  The story involves some sort of alien pathogen getting loose and infecting the residents of a (very) small town.  Sounds interesting.  It sure does!  The movie is not, unfortunately.  It's also worth mentioning that it was Directed by Bill Rebane, the man behind some real stinkers.  Aside from The Giant Spider Invasion, he made The Capture of Bigfoot- a movie so bad that it was featured twice on Project Terrible!  Damn son!  He also made the film Blood Harvest aka That Film Where Tiny Tim May Be Killing People With An Axe.  Do you really want me to review this movie?  Oh, alright.  To see how little actually happens in this movie, read on...
The film contains all of the excitement of two people talking on a train!  Enjoy this action shot!
In all seriousness, this is about some sort of alien microbe being transported via train.  When it leaks, the man must stop and see what to do.  Thrill as he dials!
Thrill as Orville Redenbacher here answers the call!  He says to stay put and let nobody escape!
The only hope for our hero and the people stuck with him rest on this Scientist with a beard that is made of suspiciously-curly hair.  I will leave it to you to infer what it's made of.
One of the men makes a run for it (a second time) and gets hit with a shot from a good 200 yards.  Inconceivable!

 In spite of that, he still runs off.  Doubly inconceivable!
Just to make sure that you can handle the thrill-an-hour tale, they have something freaky happen off-screen.  They could show you, but you just couldn't handle it.
There are good movies that are about people waiting out a disaster/event.  This is not one of them though.
Eventually, something actually happens on-screen.  One of the guys falls over dead (at around 85 minutes) and starts to mutate, proving that he was infected.  The Thing this is not.

Say- I just bought this movie on Blu-Ray.  I could be watching that instead!
Since it was unique to rip-off Night of the Living Dead back in 1978, our hero gets shot to death by the Government (who also poisoned the others), since they have no cure.

Oh good- I hated having hope in humanity.  Thanks.  The End.
Wow, this one sure was something.  Actually- scratch that.  There's almost nothing of note here to really talk about.  As I said in the Intro, I liked the premise.  It's just the execution that is shit.  Nothing of note happens most of the time, which just makes the premise seem all the worse.  A boring idea that becomes a boring film is not a surprise.  A good idea that becomes a boring film is just sad.  I like to think that obscure films like this are going to be hidden gems that I can recommend by saying stuff like 'You haven't seen this- but you should!'  In this case, you don't need to see it.  It's not interesting.  Skip it.  I would have if I had a choice.  Now if you'll excuse me, I have to make fun of people that are different than me and like a show that is inexplicably-popular...
Next up, a controversial Mondo film that was featured on VHS For the Win.  Will the DVD also Win or will they just be a bunch of Brutes?  Stay tuned...

(Legally) Lost in Translation: Atlantic Rim

Well, Maynard spoiled it for anyone who has read the Comments on a previous post.  Damn Austrians.

Just kidding, buddy- I was going to show this one anyways.

Here's Atlantic Rim in Europe...
That has so many silly parts.  The Actors names with their Credits- most of which are over a Decade old-, the re-used art and the German translation beneath it.

The Asylum = Too cheap to just make new Box Art for non-English Speaking Countries.  Sorry, Portugal!

As a bonus, here's the other format that the film was released in.  I expect you to review this version, Maynard...
Get right on that, will you?  Good lad.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Rare Flix: Lucker the Necrophagous

This is a one-note movie.  That note: pointless violence.  That's probably enough of a review for alot of you, but I will still keep going.  Today's film is Lucker The Necrophagous, a Rare Flick from Belgium.  It went out-of-print for a long time, so, naturally, someone had to find a copy.  Thanks a ton!  Basically, a crazy guy is going around and killing women.  When he does that, he does all sorts of lovely stuff to their corpses.  I don't think that I need to say any more than that.  If this sounds familiar, it does bear a similarity to Anthrophagous, a film by Joe D'Amato.  That film is most famous for a scene where George Eastman's killer eats a woman's fetus (actually an uncooked rabbit).  That's what you're trying to copy, huh?  Alright then.  Will this 1986 Cult Film turn out to be a Restored Gem or just a Polished Turd?  To find out, read on...
A Serial Killer named Lucker is in a Hospital after a suicide attempt.  I guess the budget was too low to actually show the scar from when he supposedly cut his throat.
He, of course, escapes and starts to kill the people in the Hospital.  There is literally ZERO security for this Serial Killer who is in a normal Hospital.  Damn you, Belgium!
He escapes the building- which is really easy when you have a lax Screenplay- and pursues new prey.

Before he can do that, however, he discovers that his lone surviving victim is still around.  He has to thank THE WORST NEWS TEAM EVER for listing the new address of the woman.  You have lots of blood on your hands, morons!
I suppose I could just save a lot of time and just start Cutting and Pasting this sentence: Lucker kills a random person just because they are there.
Oh and he does stop to take a power nap or two.  It is really tiring to kill, or so I've heard.
Listen- if you kill a lady and start humping the corpse for awhile, you are going to get tuckered out.

Again- or so I've been told.
He starts to kill more people, including two friends of our heroine, a random guy and the Landlord.  He leaves one of them alive to scream...and scream...and scream.

She's an all-scream version of one of those CDs you play at your house on Halloween.
More screaming.  She escapes.  More screaming.  Lucker keeps getting knocked down.  More screaming.
In the Finale, she catches Lucker climbing up an Elevator Shaft, closes the door and he seemingly falls to his death.  Well, until the Credits...if you care.  The End.
Ugh.  I don't hate gore in films.  There are many good films that are quite gory that I happen to love.  Waxwork is ridiculously-gory at times.  Cannibal Holocaust has gore so convincing that the Director was prosecuted for Murder.  So that's not the issue.  The issue is that this film is nothing but gore, screaming and the shock of people having bad things done to them.  There is nothing else here.  There is almost no Story.  There are pretty much no Characters other than Lucker (who barely qualifies).  It is just gore, implied Necrophilia and screaming.  There is ALOT of screaming.  Holy crap- shut up, lady!  I get being horrified when you find the bloody bed.  I get being scared by the threat of death.  I get being scared/horrified when he drags the other lady down in front of you.  That said, shut the hell up!  If you (as an Actress) can do nothing more than scream, why are you here?  In summary, it is dark, dreary gore with pretty much nothing else of redeeming value.  Take us away, unofficial Star Wars plug...
Up next, my final Project Terrible film.  Can I take another Morrisey pick or will this be the final Incident for me?  Stay tuned...

Mondo Bizarro and the 'Atlantic Rim' Mystery

I am teh greatest Detective!

Like many/all of you, I have spent the last few months saying to myself 'When is The Asylum's 'Atlantic Rim' coming out?'
Well, it did.  However, I suspect that some possible legal action led to a change.

See if you can spot it...
Yeah, it's a small change.

As a bonus, I'm going to include this shot from the film just for Bob.  He'll know why...

Now if Netflix will carry this or if The Asylum would send me a Screener (hint hint), I'll actually review it.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Found Holiday Footage: Alien Abduction- Incident in Lake County

Gather around for some 15 year-old Turkey.  Wait- that sounded more appetizing in my head.  Today's film is Alien Abduction: Incident in Lake County.  Does it sound familiar?  To many of you, it might.  To most of you, probably not.  Made in 1998, this was a Made-For-TV Film for UPN (which no longer exists) that was a huge publicity stunt.  Around this time, there was A TON of 'Are _____s Real' or 'Is There Evidence of _____' shows making the rounds.  'That Black Guy From The X-Files' (aka Steven Williams from Friday the 13th, Part 9) hosted one, as did Jonathan Frakes.  To find out the real story of this film, you have to go back a bit further.  In 1989, a guy made a film about the Van Hesse Family (which is on YouTube), which is often still called The McPherson Tapes...for some reason.  So, UPN came looking and hired the guy to make *a new* version of this story with updated Special Effects (via Adobe).  He made a 90-minute version with Disclaimers that showed up for the Act Breaks.  UPN removed those, cut the film down alot (not that I really mind) and added a bunch of talking heads (only two of whom are real people).  This film is amazingly-bad and fake.  This hasn't stopped A TON of people on YouTube to talk about how the events are real, but this film (and the one its based on are fake).  How?  Well, the Government saw the real tape and hired a guy to make TWO Versions of it, just to disprove it.  Sure- that's the ticket.  How is this a Thanksgiving film, you ask?  Well, it's set on Thanksgiving.  Yes, I have managed to avoid watching Thankskilling for another year!  To find out just how silly this forgotten piece of 'Let's see how dumb the audience can be' is, read on...
The film features a bunch of random talking heads that espouse how the film represents reality.  Like I said though, almost all of them are Actors.  The ones that aren't don't directly address the film's events- just the general theories.

Sorry, 'Al James.'
We learn that this is about the McPherson family, who went missing.  Naturally, they are all Actors.  The older brother Kurt, in fact, is a pretty recognizable Character Actor named Aaron Pearl.

Well, that or this was all real and the Aliens returned him with amnesia to star in such films as Wrongfully Accused, Fireball, Yeti: Curse of the Snow Demon & both X-2 (the guy who Stryker says to shoot whoever comes through the door- even if its me) and X-Men 3 (as 'Team Leader').
The family's power goes out and they wander outside.  They see a flash and, naturally, wander towards it.  Conveniently enough, the random static appears when they are doing a slow pan to show this space ship.

It's good to know that you can just add static to fix your film in Post-Production.
They see some Aliens wander out, apparently cutting open a Cow that is hidden in the mist.  Since the trio just gawk at them, the Aliens see them- after some static- and shoot at them.
Let's stop the review to talk about how they like to randomly-stop the 'story' to tell you about random shit.  This one- about the Theories- is especially funny.

In a nutshell, the present the 'UFOs are a Cover Story' and 'UFOs Inspired Films' Theories.  Both of this conflict with this being reality somewhat, don't they?
The group splits up after they are attacked by a 'flying light ball' and shit starts to happen.  The Aliens apparently want to taunt them by flipping random appliances on and making their 'implants' flare up.

Bonus points for having a talking head (read: Actor) explain that the little girl who is never scared is just possessed.  Aliens do that, I guess.
It all comes to a head when our cameraman goes to give an 'I'm scared' testimonial (do note that the film predates Blair Witch by a full year!) and suddenly finds an alien doing the whole 'I was behind the door' trick.
Apparently possessed (or something), the boy stands there as the Alien (who is roughly his height) takes the camera and points it at him.

It's not quite the 'Camera drops with dead body' trope from Cannibal Holocaust, but it does remind me alot of what would come a year later in Blair Witch.
The film ends with more talking heads theorizing about what happened.  One of them questions why the Aliens are so dumb, while another- who is real- just says that this shit could be fake.  My favorite is the guy who theorizes that humans could be stuck in an Alien Zoo.

Are Aliens real?  Maybe.  Is this film real?  No.  It's not a cover-up, folks- it's just a cheap Ratings grab!  The End.
What a load of gobble!  The film- the UPN Version anyways- is a big joke.  The best thing I can say is that it did a lot of the Found Footage Tropes before the Sub-Genre really took flight.  While this does *still* go back to Cannibal Holocaust, it is nice to see a film that bridges the gap between The Last Broadcast and Blair Witch.  Speaking of which, is a coincidence that both of the Directors of Witch went on to make films about Aliens?  Daniel Myrick did 2008's The Objective, while Eduardo Sanchez did 2006's Altered.  It probably is a coincidence, but it is still a weird one!  Other than being a piece of film/TV history, the film is stupid.  It is that endearingly-earnest kind of bad movie that can be easily laughed-at though.  I like that the 'put the camera down and help' line makes its way in.  The Aliens just look silly, playing into the cliches of what we expect them to look like.  There's no creativity in the design.  Likewise, the family just kind of hangs out in the house.  Granted- running through the Woods at night (who eats Thanksgiving Dinner at night, by the way?!?) with Aliens out there is not necessarily smart.  That said, the Aliens break in early and clearly can get to you.  Are you really safe in there?  If you want to see something that looks so fake now, but fooled so many (and still does, apparently), check this out.  I won't give the link out, lest the one guy who still owns the licensing rights gets it pulled.  If you want a good, Found-Footage Alien Abduction Movie, are probably asking too much.  If only we could all be this scared...
Next up, an ultra-rare piece of Euro Trash.  When you seem to be ripping of Joe D'Amato, you are in trouble.  Stay tuned...

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Remake Your Own Damn Movie!: Thir13en Ghosts (2001)

Are you just trying to ruin everything?  For all the crap Remakes we've seen in the last few years (see Platinum Dunes), it is important to remember that it is not a new trend.  There was that weird period in the 1990's when Roger Corman was Remaking his own films, for example.  On a related note, there was that time when films from the late 1950's and 1960's were all getting Remakes.  You got The Haunting, House on Haunted Hill and this film.  There are actually a lot of interesting similarities between the last two films.  Yes, they are both Remakes of William Castle films...but is that a good excuse?  No.  The film tells a similar tale to the Castle film, although it takes some major liberties with how the whole thing is presented.  On the plus side, Greg Nicotero and his Company worked on the film, so the Ghosts look cool.  Is this style over substance?  To find out, read on...
Unlike the Original, we see the Uncle.  Oh and he's a complete asshole that gets his men killed to capture the ghosts.

Look, the Uncle in the 1960's film was probably bad, but only seemed to hurt himself.
After collecting the 12th Ghost, he is killed.

This is is nephew.  Yeah, I'm sure that F. Murray Abraham and Tony Shalhoub are related.  Right.
The guy leaves a video will to Shalhoub, telling him that he has inherited his house.

What's silly is that the video stops and restarts itself two times!  How does a Quicktime file do that?  What unholy version of Snow Leopard is this?!?
Shalhoub's wife is dead- which is told to us via lazy narration during the Credits-, so he's there with his daughter (Shannon Elizabeth- who is apparently part-Lebanese), his son and his Nanny.  She's the only Black Character, but she actually survives.

One point for the movie, I guess.
The Lawyer actually dies first, as opposed to being the last potential victim in the original.  His death is a good pretense for some creative gore, even if a pair of Mythbusters would probably tear it a new one.

They haven't done this yet, have they?
As it turns out, the house is made up of glass-looking panels that are covered in runes to hold ghosts in.  The reason for this is eventually addressed and a bit silly.
This lady- who previously shows up twice- just kind of appears at the house.  She seems to be there to help, but is actually evil.

I'd question why she was suddenly working with the Uncle- who's also alive-, but she gets crushed by glass panes before it could become an issue.
The Uncle apparently faked his death to get Shalhoub there to use as a sacrifice- the Thir13enth Ghost.  Why he didn't just go 'Here- stay at my Mansion!' is anyone guess.

Anyhow, he uses the Ghosts as part of the Black Zodiac- which was probably a comic book in the 1970's- to do...something evil.  I stopped really caring at this point.
The Nanny smashes a bunch of shit and the magic whatever that was holding the Ghosts in check stops.  They kill Abraham instead, which I guess solves everything.

Oh and the Nanny goes all 'Amos & Andy' about how scared she was.  How progressive.  The End. interesting to look at, but otherwise dumb.  I hate it less than I remember hating it previously.  That said, I only hate it less because I really just don't care.  It is a big, shallow mess.  The Ghosts look neat.  The set design is interesting.  Other than that, it is a bunch of gore scenes, a bunch of jump scares and a plot that is either confusing or silly.  I seriously forgot what exactly the point of the whole 'Thirteen Ghosts' thing was and I only watched the film like two days ago.  Yes, I am too lazy to just look it up again.  So, in summary, it's not interesting enough to be terrible, nor is it good enough to be memorable.  Just like this guy, let's just split the difference somewhere...
Up next, I make a nice, long stretch to cover something 'new' for Thanksgiving.  If any film will bring out the crazy YouTube Trolls, it will be this one.  Stay tuned...