Thursday, October 31, 2013

Lock Me Up (Holiday Edition)!: Halloween Night

When you're copying an arguably-bad copy of a good film, what chance do you have?  For this special day, I bring you Halloween Night- courtesy of The Asylum.  What a fitting film to watch on the exact same night.  You guess what inspired this 'original film' yet?  Yeah, it's Rob Zombie's (implied quotes there) Halloween.  Joy.  So can the knock-off of a shitty Remake be good?  Of course not.  This film came out in 2006, but it's so 'stock' and stupid that it could have been made in 1982.  In fact, it actually steals from movies that aren't even the ones that they're supposed to be!  On the plus side, they spend almost no time setting up their Michael Meyers stand-in, in contrast to Zombie's super-long First Act.  On the negative side, they spend almost no time setting up their Michael Meyers stand-in.  You can either have forty-five minutes of character set-up or five minutes- no middle ground!  The story involves an ugly killer, a party full of idiots and lots of low-budget murder.  If you ever wanted to watch a film and go 'I can do those effects better,' this is your film.  Is it a Trick or a Treat?  To find out, read on...
A kid sees his Mom killed by masked men.  They turn out to be working for his Dad, who hired them to kill her, but...didn't want them to kill her.  I'm confused, but don't look to the movie for answers really.
The kid- who was somehow not visible- runs about three feet and a steam pipe bursts...somehow and burns him.  Well, that couldn't be too...
Really, movie?  That little bit of steam burned him THAT bad.  Was his skin made out of Vellum?

This overly-burned fellow is taunted by his Guards at the Asylum (get it?!?) and kills them.  This scene takes a total of 90 seconds roughly, so it has zero impact.  Build-up is for losers!
In the main plot, a bunch of annoying people are setting up for a big Halloween Party.  The group includes Jerk Guy, Lead Guy, Lesbian Couple, Final Girl and Couple That Is Going To Die.

Oh and the killer is now on the loose.  He apparently escaped from the Asylum- which I'm pretty sure is a Government building in Los Angeles- off-camera.  Big shock.
In a bit they stole from Halloween 4, the killer shows up at a Gas Station.  Instead of an explosion, this ends with a douche bag guy getting killed and is costume being used as a disguise.

'Michael Meyers' tricking a lady disguised as her boyfriend in a costume- that was in Halloween 5.  However, that film did it for ONE scene.  This film makes it last for the next 70 minutes!
Basically, the guy kills party goers between random sub-plots (like the lesbian couple being...well, lesbians).  Since that's boring as hell, let me highlight something I found weird.

On the left, the Wood Fear Statue from The Fear: Halloween Night.  On the right, this guy in a Troll outfit from Halloween Night.  Eerie, right?
Our Lead Guy sets up an elaborate scenario with a fake fight, fake Policeman showing up and even fake escape in order to fool everyone.  Why?  It's all good for a laugh.

Seriously, it's kind of an asshole and it only leads to more deaths.
Something was bothering me while watching the movie.  I couldn't figure it out until I started writing this review.  Here's what I'm seeing...
Anyhow, this all leads to more deaths, the killer finding his mother's body and being killed.  Or is he?

Taking a page (read: the Ending) from Boogeyman 2, the guy somehow switched the bodies and just kind of leaves.  I'm sure the massively-scarred giant will blend in.  The End.
This is no treat.  Big shock: The Asylum made a crappy film.  Is this film worse than Rob Zombie's Halloween?  It's hard to say, since I don't like either of them.  For what it's worth, Zombie's film at least had a point: explain the background of Michael Meyers.  I don't give a shit about that, but whatever.  This film is just a bunch of murders and lesbian scenes.  That will work for some people, but not me.  This is just crap.  Even the gore is not that great, to be honest.  The stuff that happens on-screen is amateurish at best.  A guy gets stabbed, for example, but it's in super-tight close-up.  When they cut, the knife is suddenly sticking out the side of the face.  Take away the stage blood and it looks like the old 'Arrow through the Head' bit.  As for the 'Meyers' character, he looks like 'Zombie Dad' from Amityville 8.  While that guy was the best part of that movie, that movie was made in the late 1980s.  This film was made in 2006, so this is just sad.  Hell, even the worst of the Redneck Make-Up work in Wrong Turn looks better than this.  So, in summary, it's a crappy Halloween knock-off of a Halloween Remake.  Need I say any more?  No.
Next up, the actual review I meant to do earlier.  The Dead are Walking and hopefully you're entertained.  Stay tuned...

Lost in Translation: Night of the Living Dead (Part 5)

It's Halloween!  In honor of that day, here's all of the Night of the Living Dead Cover Art that I didn't use...

First up, a weird-looking foreign one for the 1990 Remake (hence why it was excluded)...

Next up, the official Box Art being used in lazy re-releases of Night of the Living Dead.  It's...something.
Two points for trying, but this one has you beat....
Silly- yes.  Somewhat misleading- yeah.  Featuring no shots of the movie- you bet!

Lastly, we have to close with some implied nudity among the Zombies...
So the world is blue, skeletons rise from the dead too and this lady stepped into a small batch of fog.  Right.

To be fair, this is a naked Zombie Lady in Night.  That's not her though- just for the record.

Enjoy your Halloween and remember that is only one version of 1968's Night of the Living Dead...even if there are about 600 different Covers for it.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Because I Watched It!: An Important Halloween Special from 1976

I don't do parties.  If I wanted to hang out with people, I'd get married.

However, as a favor to those of you who are 'party people,' here's something to entertain those Naughty Nurses, Naughty Cops and Naughty Nautical Nuns.  It's a piece of pop culture history courtesy of YouTube...
Netflix doesn't carry the DVD, so this is the ONLY way to watch the 1976 Paul Lynde Halloween Special.  You're welcome.

Why should you watch?

* Amusingly-dated look.
* Margaret Hamilton returning as The Wicked Witch
* Billy Barty pulling a Truck

Oh yeah, it also features the first TV performance of a little band called KISS.  Enjoy.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Grapple Crap?: Dark Rising

Christian!  Christian!  At last, you weren't cut out of the movie!  Today's film is Dark Rising, a low-budget film that happens to feature WWE Star Christian.  That's pretty much the only reason I rented this film.  I don't know about the Director.  I don't know about any of the other Stars.  I hope you were good enough to justify this decision, Mr. Christian.  The story involves some sort of alien-demon things attacking the Earth (or a small part of Canada) after one of their prisoners escapes.  Will our heroes- who just happen to be out in said Woods- be able to survive the onslaught?  Will they find an excuse for Christian to do a Wrestling move or two?  Will the film manage to actually good?  To find out the answers to those questions (and a couple more), read on...
In a pretty interesting intro, a man tells a story to his little girl.  It seems like they're setting this up to be told via Narration, but nope.

Instead, weird creatures show up and kidnap the girl.
Some vague time later, this guy is preparing the speech he's going to use to propose to his girlfriend on...this little girl.  There's a fine line between being cute and creepy, dude.

This guy is our lead, so, realize quickly that this film is trying to be 'off-beat.'  Semi-joy.
Hey look- Christian!  He's the most interesting guy in the film, so, naturally, he disappears from the film on several occasions for no good reason.  Joy.
A young woman- who is the little girl, obviously- escapes from the bad guys (basically skeletal knight guys) and appears in the Woods.  This brings them coming to our world...eventually.
Something happened!  It's not much in the grand scheme of things, but you won't see me complaining right now.
The creatures work by biting/attacking the group and transforming them.  Christian narrowly escapes being transformed by the hero's love interest, since that sub-plot was doomed to go nowhere.  Well, it does lead to this...
After they talk, our hero chops the mutated girl into pieces.  He seems to like the dismemberment almost as much as the closure.

Seriously, he's enjoying this a bit *too* much.
Skipping ahead, our heroes make one last stand against the creature.  Poor Christian is mutated and battles faux-Xena here.

In a bit of tragic irony, she kills him with his own finishing move: the Killswitch!  Imagine seeing Hulk Hogan leg-dropped to death and you get the picture.
In the End, the creatures are stopped and our heroine tries to live a normal life.  Of course, we need to make a Sequel (which Netflix doesn't carry BTW), so the two leads meet up again for the next conflict.  The End.
Alot of potential (again), but not too great of a pay-off.  The story is good enough, but they stretch it a bit.  There's very little that drives the thing forward.  It's one of those films where they just pile up sub-plots in an attempt to resemble a full plot.  If you can get past the slow pacing, there is some good stuff.  Christian (aka Jason Reso) is the real show-stealer.  Granted- he's given a pretty stock 'I'm the guy who's sarcastic' character to play.  What's great though is that he uses that cliche to really liven the whole thing up.  Without him, it would be a bunch of decent acting just waiting for a strong plot.  There are some unique ideas here, even if the creature(s) are basically a cross between Full Moon's Demonicus and those Skeletons from Army of Darkness.  If you come in looking for a laugh or two and have an open mind, Dark Rising is a decent-enough film to check out.  If any of the people behind it read this, I will review the sequel(s), but I can't without a Screener or something.  Hint hint.  In closing, I just want to remind you that this film was made (so presumably-set) in 2007...
Next up, I celebrate the recent return of The Walking Dead with a review.  Trust me- I couldn't possibly be misleading you.  Stay tuned...

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Project Terrible Returns (For the 13th Time)

Since good taste is dead and we're all insane, Project Terrible returns yet again!

For newbies, here's a quick synopsis: we pick bad movies for other people to watch, while they do the same to us.  Your job: to laugh at our pain.

So there's absolutely no downside (for you, that is).

Films in this Round include...

* Creep Van
* Hansel & Gretel Get Baked
* Super Cyclone
* The Asylum's Monster
* Senorita Justice
* 500 MPH Storm
* Oogieloves in The Great Balloon Rescue
* The Black Knight Returns
* Battledogs
* Apocalypse Z
* Strays
* A*P*E

There are even more, as we have the most packed Round we've had in a while.  More people = more pain for you.

In addition, this will be the first chance to see Bob's Reviews appear officially on Mondo Bizarro (as opposed to Gaming Creatively).  Keep your eye out twice as often now.  *wink, wink*

Stay tuned throughout November for the Reviews.   Links will be up on the Sidebar here, as they should be on the other sites'.  

Friday, October 25, 2013

80's Class: Wolfen

This is, unfortunately, the Bronze Medal Winner of 1981 Werewolf films.  Today's film is Wolfen, a film that is wrongly-placed in the shadows of two great films.  Those films- The Howling and An American Werewolf in London.  How can you possibly win?!?  If viewed on its own, Wolfen is a neat experiment in film-making history.  It's got a really interesting caliber related to it as well.  It stars Albert Finney, a very underrated Actor who often gets overlooked in favor of Brian Cox (they were both in the Bourne films, incidentally).  It's Director is Michael Wadleigh, a Director who never overstayed his welcome.  His Filmography includes this film, the classic Documentary Woodstock and...that's it.  Two films.  Seriously, that's it.  On the Writing side, we have Whitley Strieber (who wrote the book on which the film is based), Wadleigh, David Eyre and Eric Roth (who's Un-Credited, mind you).  Eyre has no other notable Credits, while Roth has worked on a number of films that include The Good Shepherd, Ali and Forrest Gump.   That sure is alot of build-up, huh?  So what is the movie about?  It's about killer creatures in New York that may or may not be wolves.  Okay, they are obviously wolves, but there is a lot more going on here.  To find out what, read on...
The film begins with shots of empty tenement buildings in New York being destroyed.  It bothers some creatures that see in Predator-vision.  Oh right- this one came six years earlier.

Anyhow, the creatures targets this rich guy, his girlfriend and, you guessed it, the black guy.  He is the first to die, but he won't be the last.  Keep an eye out, folks.
Two Detectives- Finney and Gregory Hines- investigate the crime.  It turns out that the rich guy is the son of some *super-rich* guy who's big on land deals.  The suspect, it seems, is not human.
Apparently the Police use some sort of weird body-imaging scanner thing to tell if you're lying or not.  Now you see where the TSA got it from!

Oh and it's foreshadowing for stuff with the creatures or whatever.  My joke is better.
Hey look- the bald guy from Back to the Future and Masters of the Universe!

Yeah, he has an actual name- James Tolkan.  Again- my joke is better.
Tom Noonan is the film's resident Wolf Expert and he manages to deliver an Orca-style speech about how awesome Wolves are.  This one is better and alot more accurate!

Naturally, he is later killed by the Wolves.  He should have seen that coming.
The key suspect is the lead Indian working on the Brooklyn Bridge- played by Edward James Olmos- who likes to 'channel animal spirits' and run around naked.

Naturally, Chief Red Herring is not the bad guy.  Shocking, I know.
A couple of attempts to catch the creatures fails, leading a shaken Finney to consult with the Indians.  They give him some hints as to what motivates the creatures and what to do.

For once, a logical use of the Magical Indian Trope!
The film builds up to a major climax on the streets of NYC involving the magical Wolves (it makes more sense when they explain it), our heroes and the Police Chief.  The latter falls victim to the creatures' patented 'Jumping Hand Removal' attack and dies.

Our heroes get cornered and things look bleak.
Finney finally realizes that the attacks were prompted by the construction work intruding upon the creatures' hunting grounds, so he smashes the model for the new buildings.  Magic Wolves understand Symbolism it seems and they leave.

Throw in some good (but pretentious) narration and we're out.  The End.
Honestly, it's good, if a bit dense.  Wolfen is not going to be everyone's idea of a good Horror Film.  I can make peace with that fact.  If you can get into the story, it's pretty damn good though.  It's got a very unique visual style to it, which makes me kind of sad that Wadleigh didn't work more- especially in films like this.  It is very 'arty' and I won't make any excuses for that.  The Story plays out well and they put in enough P.O.V. mayhem to keep you entertained.  I won't lie and say that the film is on the same visceral level as The Howling or An American Werewolf in London.  Both of those films feature some amazing transformation sequences, especially when you consider that the former did it with very little money.  The film is definitely more about the Characters and the atmosphere.  For example, Tom Noonan is killed off-camera.  He's attacked on-camera and then the scene ends.  We don't see his body, but we do see a guy (badly) riding his bike, so we know that he's dead for sure.  You'd rather see him torn apart, right?  I'm with you, but it works for this film.  As a whole, it's a very under-appreciated take on the Werewolf film.  It's got a lot of good people involved and deserves better than to be 'that Werewolf film that's not as good as The Howling or American Werewolf.'  Now, let's make this nice and awkward...
Next up, an Indy film that I pretty much rented to see one guy in it.  Will Christian be enough reason to watch this weird mess?  Stay tuned...

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Repost of the Living Dead: Night of the Living Dead (1990)

***Since people love Re-Dubbing the original 'Night of the Living Dead,' I figured that I can 'Re-Dub my own Review of the Remake.  Why not***

This was a review that was intended to be in October during my pure horror month, but it is now.  So that's where we are. This film has sort of an odd place in history, as it comes over twenty years after the original film, nine years before the big re-release and another seven years before the 3-D remake in 2006. This is not counting all the many re-dubbing mixes of the film for 'comedic value.' At least the Rifftrax DVD offers you the chance to watch it with or without commentary.   Oh and their live show is tonight.  Go see it (unless this review is being read much later.  The other big thing to note is that the film was directed by Tom Savini, who has only directed one other movie (in 2004) since this. I'm sure that there is a story there. Well, enough talk- more zombie killing. This is...
Do I really need to tell you the plot of this movie? It's the same, really. Well, one thing or two is different about it...

-Tony Todd plays our black lead. This sort of goes against the casting logic of the first film (casting a black man just because he was the best actor), but okay.  In fairness, he is also the best actor here too.
-The lead heroine does not go comatose and stay that way for 80% of the film.

After a talking to by Todd, she actually becomes assertive and strong. This feels like Savini did this on purpose, especially if you hear the way Todd's speech goes.
-The man who plays the husband from the cellar is less one-note than the original actor, although he is mostly rage and dissent.

-Naturally, the zombie make-up is great. Plus, no CG blood. Hurray!
-One small plot-hole: our heroine loses her coke-bottle glasses in the initial attack and never regains them. However, she is still a crack-shot for the adventure...somehow.

I should try that out...and I just shot my foot.  Moving on...
-The way the young couple dies is less stupid than in the original. This time, they can't find the key to the gas tank and try to shoot it off. Later, our hero finds the key and feels really bad about it.

-The big thing is that the ending is changed. Tony Todd's character gets bitten and turned, getting killed when the hick farmers show up. Instead, our heroine shoots the older guy and covers it by saying that he was a zombie. This is because he abandons Todd's character earlier. See- you can use different, ironic twists for your endings, makers of 2005's War of the Worlds and 2006's The Wicker Man!
The movie was good, although it was not so different that it necessarily warranted a remake. Mind you, there are some noticeable improvements in the writing and acting. The thing you will notice most about it is the use of color and the gore effects. That's fine and good, but how many people were complaining about either of them in regards to the original? The direction is fine, but nothing really stands out about it that makes you either go 'man, that guy should never work again' or 'that guy is great!' Fun fact for you though: this movie co-stars Bill Moseley and the 3-D remake features Sid Haig. It is interesting to look at this movie in comparison to the video game 'Left 4 Dead' and see just how similar the black character is to Todd here. If you have never seen any of the Dead films (some of you must exist somewhere), this is not a bad place to start. Of course, anything is better than Night of the Living Bread. Yes, that is a real film title.
Up next, the teaser from before.  I don't feel like re-typing it.  Stay tuned...

Lost in Translation: Night of the Living Dead (Part 4)

In honor of Rifftrax Live!: Night of the Living Dead tonight (go see it!), here's something appropriately-silly.  It's Japan's redemption round!
Here's Tarman!  Actually, he's from a different John Russo film.

So yeah, I have no idea what that's supposed to be.

Good job, Japan!

***After Rifftrax Live!: Night of the Living Dead, I now know what the face is from.  It's a dead lady's corpse that they show for approximately 10 seconds in the film.  That's...appropriately-random.***

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Indy Flix: Frankenstein's Army

It's a crazy idea...just not that well done.  Today's film is Frankenstein's Army, a film that has all of the promise in the world.  Nazis- check.  Mutant creatures- check.  Found Footage narrative for no reason- unfortunately, a check for that one too.  Yeah, let's get right to it: this is a Found Footage movie.  The bottom line: it doesn't really affect the narrative that much.  It doesn't really succeed or fail due to this idea.  It just kind of is a Found Footage movie.  The idea does make for an odd contradiction with the plot, but I will get to that in a bit.  You want to know what it is about, right?  Well, without SPOILing too much, here's the gist: a relative in the Frankenstein family is aligned with the Nazis to create some freaky shit (yo).  Will a rugged band of Russians be able to stop his plan?  Will the man-mutant hybrids succeed?  Will they know what to do when they run across a man with an airplane propeller for a head?  To find out (in a SPOILER-FREE) way, read on...
A Russian Squad is going into enemy territory on a secret mission so, naturally, they have a guy documenting everything.  I don't see why you would question that.
The group start to run across some weird skeletons and remains.  I'm sure that it's nothing.
Okay, THAT may be something.  You may have wandered into Silent Hill.
They eventually run across some really freaky stuff that's actually alive.

You can assume that I took this blurry shot by accident or on purpose- your call.
In the film's defense, there are some moments where they play with the Found Footage motif.  Bonus points for not *completely* ripping-off the famous shot from Cannibal Holocaust.  This one is a bit close though...
That...that's something you don't see every day.  Good use of branding by those Nazis, right?
Nazi Mutant or Cirque Du Soleil Performer- you decide!
Those Boy Scouts sure are aggressive in their selling tactics!  They really want you to buy their excess Samosas!

No, this is obviously Frankenstein and his lovely lab assistant.  I won't SPOIL how this bit comes about.
Things come to a head in a pretty dramatic way, although the film's budget shows a bit by the end.  I won't say anymore, lest I SPOIL too much more for anyone.  The End.
It's so close to being a Cult Classic.  The biggest issue for me is the Found Footage aspect.  For newer readers, know that I don't *inherently* hate films that use this style.  I like REC, really like Cannibal Holocaust and adore Trollhunter.  They still haven't remade that for us Yanks- good.  Those films work because they really make the most of the concept, really immerse you and/or just plain make it look scarier that way.  I can tell that they were TRYING to do this here, but it didn't work for me.  The Found Footage thing does work both ways, mind you, as fans of it will probably be more drawn to the film now.  Getting past that, the film is mostly build-up.  While I don't like unnecessarily-long horror films, but this one felt like it could have been longer.  They spend a little time in the part that you really want to see, but just take too long getting there.  The build-up is somewhat interesting- I will grant you that.  One thing about the film's budget is the scale of things.  The film feels very claustrophobic and cramped.  In the chase scenes, that works to its advantage.  However, the film's premise BEGS for a bigger scope and feel.  I want to see big battles with these guys.  If you gave this film to Noboru Iguchi or Yoshihiro Nishimura, they'd have them doing battle in the real 'theater of war.'  I want to see these creations taken to a bigger scale and used to their fullest.  Who wouldn't want to see half-man/half-robot mutants storming the beaches of, say, California in a historically-inaccurate riff on D-Day?  Someone give Richard Raaphorst $50 million (or whatever its equivalent in Euros is) to make this movie!  In the End, the film is a neat glimpse at what could be.  Speaking of neat glimpses...
Next up, an oft-overlooked '80s Werewolf film.  Will it be a film to track down or continue avoiding?  Stay tuned...