Thursday, April 30, 2009

Dance of the Dead (2008)

Fear 2/5
Gore 5/5
Entertainment 5/5
Creepiness 2/5
A good zombie movie should be two things: 1. campy 2. gory. There are some exceptions with regards to the amount of cheese-dick that can factored into the first golden rule (see 28 Days/Weeks Later, Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, and that's about it). Seriousness as it pertains to zombie movies usually doesn't cut the carotid artery. This film has both aforementioned necessities in spades.
As the title suggests, a horde of rampaging zombies are sweeping through a town on the night of senior prom, endangering the chances of dudes getting into the knickers of their dates. Somebody was asleep at the wheel at Homer Simpson's nuclear power plant and released something fierce into the air and corpses started sprouting like spring daffodils in the local cemetary.
A group of rag-tag kids band together and decide that they need to fight off the rampaging hordes to save the kids at school (how noble!). They are comprised of the veritable who's who: there's the 'rebellious' dude who has no regard for authority, his girlfriend that just wants a normal, 'serious' boyfriend, who can't stand his antics, his nerdy buddy who tries to keep him out of trouble at school but becomes guilty by association, the girl he likes but doesn't have the balls to make a move on, and the crazy, over the top redneck (who replaces the jock dude in these types of movies) is the 'tough' guy.
So the kids storm the neighborhood, fending off zombies and run into a garage band composed of kids that go to the school (playing music that's a mix of punk and really bad metal). They've found out that they can control the zombies and make them docile creatures with the strum of a guitar pick, a fingering of the bass guitar, and a bash or two behind the kit. All the kids band together and meet up with their gym teacher, who also happens to be an ex-marine. How convenient!
After storming the neighborhood, they head to the school where the dance is being held. The buddy of the rebellious leader along with the girl (who he doesn't have the cajones to ask out), make their way to the bathroom. She gets bitten after going into a stall to make a tinkle. She then becomes a zombie and in turn, bites him. And in one absolutely hysterical scene, they play tonsil hockey in the bathroom stall. I wonder if a dude can get his zombified wee-wee up?
Having one last heroic standoff in the gymnasium (which includes a performance by said garage band to keep the zombies subdued), the kids scramble and escape from the school. The gang of the walking dead are wiped out after the marine gym teacher (who has planted bombs around the school) makes the place go KABOOM! Yay!!
Dispensing all the necessary elements associated with a good zombie film and pushing the gore factor to 11, Dance of the Dead is a blast. An instant classic, and great spin, on an otherwise seemingly exhausted genre.
Cortez the Killer

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

You'll Check In, But You May Not Check Out.......

Motel Hell (1980)

Fear 2/5
Gore 3/5
Entertainment 5/5
Creepiness 2/5

A young couple riding a motorcycle crash in the backroads of a small town with the female rider being the only survivor. A farmer who owns a small motel that is attached to a farm takes her in to help her recover from her injuries. The farmer, along with his wacky sister, takes care of the young girl, treating her wounds and easing her pain after he informs her that her boyfriend died in the crash. They bury him out on his farmland and hold a ceremony, where he implores the girl to stay as long as she wants. The girl agrees and the good times begin to roll.

The farmer is known in the town for his cured meats and people passing through town stop after seeing many of his roadside billboards (which look a lot like Farmer John ads, if you're from the West Coast). Anywhos, the local health inspector is convinced that something is up and is looking for any reason to shut him down. What is it exactly that has this guy convinced that the farmer is up to no good? Well kiddos, its revealed that the secret ingredient to his fine meats is grinded up human flesh. Yessir, he kidnaps and plants people into the soil on his farm and when they're deemed 'ripe', they're mixed with pork to create a one of a kind taste! The farmer gives the inspector a good whack over the head with his shovel and he quickly becomes a newly planted seed.

The local sheriff (who has fallen for the girl the farmer has taken in) also begins to suspect something is up. His suspicions are backed when some of the inserted man-plants begin to sprout and crawl out of their potted pasture (one if them is none other than Mr. Cliff Clavin who plays a drummer in a punk rock-ish band). When the sheriff confronts the farmer (who's wearing a severed pigs head) in his slaughterhouse, they square off in an epic chainsaw battle and the sheriff wins and saves the day. Hooray!

Cheese and goofiness galore, not a whole lot of gore (save for the victorious end), but overall, Motel Hell is one hell of a good time!





*****************************************************************************

Moutaintop Motel Massacre (1986)

Fear 2/5
Gore 2/5
Entertainment 4/5
Creepiness 2/5

Meet Evelyn. She's batshit crazy. She's let out of an insane asylum and allowed to take care of her granddaughter and her off-the-side-of-the-road and a little down yonder motel. One day she goes apeshit after seeing her little daughter as she's praying to her dead father near a makeshift shrine she's built in her room. She swings and flails a sickle, knocking over the shrine and inadvertently killing her granddaughter. The local sheriff comes to investigate after she calls, she says it was an 'accident', he lets her stay without arresting her after her friend (a pastor) tells him that she is no longer crazy and that this was simply an accident. Whoops, bad mistake.

So the pastor is put up in one of her motel rooms as a way of saying 'thanks' and a whole slew of characters begin to show up who need a room to shack-up in: a newly married couple, a fix-it man traveling through town, a record executive and two cousins who are traveling out west to become famous!

Evelyn goes batshit again one night after hearing her granddaughter's voice and goes from room to room planting bags of poisonous snakes. She has underground tunnels built that go from room to room and she pops up to leave her little bundle of joy. She also uses her tunnel to hack to pieces some of the unsuspecting inhabitants, including one of the cousins who have now shacked up with the sleazy record mogul. As the other occupants begin to figure out what's going on, the fix-it dude and sheriff, who's now come back after he suspects that something just wasn't right the first time around, track the old bitty down in the tunnel and have one last stand.

Not nearly as funny as Motel Hell but definitely good times throughout. These two films are great to watch back-to-back if you want something that's a cross between Texas Chainsaw Massacre (but with considerably less gore) and the Beverly Hillbillies. Yee-haw!

Cortez the Killer

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Popcorn (1991)

Fear 0/5
Gore 0/5
Entertainment 2/5
Creepiness 0/5

Continuing down my movie watching path of terrible script writing and convoluted plot development (see yesterday's post), comes this little number from 1991. Ahhhh, 90's horror movies, where just about every one of 'em looked like they were shot with the cast of Saved by the Bell or 90210. I was madly in love with Brenda Walsh and thought she was sexy, in a very badass way. But that is neither here nor there. On with the review.

A group of college film students get an idea from their professor to hold a horror movie festival to raise money for their department. The idea is to show old schlock classics from the 50's that employed some sort of gimmick (i.e. Shock-O-Vision, Smell-O-Rama, etc.) at an old movie house that would be torn down in the next couple of weeks. They meet with the owner of the theater (played by one, Mr. Hand), he approves, and the kids begin to rig up the old place with all the gadgets and gizmos needed to spook and shock the audience.

While setting up the theater, the professor shows an old tape that a 70's artsy fartsy film student friend of his made that was in response to some heavy criticism he was receiving. The student, who also stars in the tape, presents himself as the 'Possessor' and repeats his name over and over and over throughout the pic (complete with fire, medieval swords and blood coming out of his mouth). The film culminates with his effort to stab a woman to death only, before he does so, the film cuts out. One of the female film students freaks out as she awakes every morning after a series of dreams that contain the same images that were shown on the tape. The professor explains that the man who shot it premiered it at a movie house and in his final coup de grace, he attempted to kill a female audience member he had lured onstage to complete the final scene. He was shot to death before he could do so and as he fell to the floor, he knocked over one of his set pieces, setting the entire theater on fire. Everyone died in the fire....or so it was thought. You with me? Now prepare to get mind fucked.

So the kids go about throwing their film fest and the girl begins to think that the film student who shot the film will be coming back to finish the job based on her wacky dreams. And what better venue than an old movie theater with a bunch of packed kids? So naturally, all of the students start getting picked off one by one by some dude who is continuously changing his disguise. He has some hidden lair in the theater and he fashions rubber masks out of some molding contraption, copying the faces of the kids he's killed and running around pretending to be them and killing off the other unsuspecting kids.

The girl comes face to face with the dude, originally thinking its the director of the weird film (whom she now has found out is her father) only its not really the director of the film who tried to kill the girl, who set fire to the theater, and is supposedly her father, rather its some dude who was horribly disfigured in the fire, who also lost his mom, and he's come back to seek revenge and complete the end of the film. Oh, and its revealed that the girl, along with him, are the lone survivors of the fire. Has your head exploded yet?

So cheeseburger face man (who looks like a cross between Mayor McCheese and Robocop w/o his helmet on) reenacts the last scene and tries to finish the film that was never completed. The girl is strapped into an iron dress as he belts out 'And you thought Iron Maiden was just the name of a heavy metal band?' That's the best line and part of the whole fucking movie. So the girl is saved and the man is killed when one of the lone students who hasn't been offed uses one of the festival props and spears the cheeseburger face man. Holy fuck!

Hands down one of the worst horror movies I've ever seen (and I've seen a shitload). Almost zero blood, NO GORE, and the worst fucking plot I've ever bared witness to. Do yourself a favor and avoid this one at all costs.

Cortez the Killer



Monday, April 27, 2009

Mortuary (2005)

Fear 0/5
Gore 2/5
Entertainment 2/5
Creepiness 0/5

I was fairly bored yesterday and when this popped up on Showtime's Beyond programming, I was a little intrigued and couldn't change it after watching it for about 15 minutes (even though it was remarkably aweful). Upon further review of my Verizon Fios menu (which is the most amazing cable service going these days BTW), I noticed the film was directed by Tobe Hooper. Maybe this will get better?, I thought and I soldiered on.

A family moves to a small town where the mother takes up the job of running the local mortuary. The mortuary (and house its attached to) is about the most run down, filth-ridden shack of doo doo that you've ever seen and the mother (who's played by that blonde starship captain from Star Trek: The Next Generation), subjects her teenage son and young daughter to these new living conditions as she proclaims that its a new start for the family. Thanks mom!

The teenage son comes to find out from a local gal that the house was built on a plot of land and has a history of farmers who've lost their cattle to some strange organism thats living in the ground. Generations of farmers have lost their cattle and the last family who owned the house had a deformed son who was kept locked in his room. When the family died suddenly one day, only the deformed son remained and legend has it, he still lives out in the masoleum in the middle of a gravesite which is located in THEIR front yard. Wowsers! Oh yeah, and the strange black, oil slick-looking, organism that lives in the ground is growing on the walls in the house and it happens to infect dead bodies chillin' in the mortuary and cemetary, turning them into savage zombies. You still with me?

The local hooligan teenagers come to the graveyard to get their groove on with their lady friends and run into deformed kiddo living in said tomb. They try to escape and instead get infected with the black gobbily goop (which totally reminds me of Night of the Creeps as its shot into their mouths). They, along with the other inhabitants of the graveyard and mortuary, chase the kids and the teenage boy's newly found love interest around the house. Oh and mommy dearest also becomes one of 'them' and trys to get the kids to eat a bowl of the Quaker State oil. In the all too hilarious climax, the kids are chased into the masoleum, they stumble upon the source of the goop (which looks EXACTLY like the fucking Sarlacc pit from Return of the Jedi) and pushes deformed kid into the pit along with the rampaging zombies. Yay, everyone is saved (except for dear ol' mum)!

By the time I got through with this film, my head hurt. Has Tobe Hooper done anything remotely good in the last twenty years?

Cortez the Killer

Friday, April 24, 2009

H2 (Halloween 2) Trailer Up

Rob Zombie's 'interpretation' of Halloween was hotly debated on this here interwebs blog (see here). No doubt this one will cause another fantastical flurry of poo-flinging.

Check out the trailer below.

Cortez the Killer

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Cinderella (2006)

Fear 3/5
Gore 3/5
Entertainment 5/5
Creepiness 2/5
As mentioned on this site before, what was once a unique scare tactic in Korean and Japanese horror films, has become common place and over done in the form of the Onryo or vengeful ghost. Cinderella is another twist on the story, and even though it has all too familiar elements that have become fairly stale and worn, its still a fine effort.
The film focuses on a mother who is a plastic surgeon, slicing and dicing the faces of her teenage daughter's friends who are incredibly obessessed with their looks. The mother placates the ego of the daughter in an over the top (and also fairly creepy) way, giving her massages and facials, all the while reassuring her that she is far prettier than all of her friends.
The friends who get an Extreme Makeover all see things while on the cutting table and when they wake up after surgery, they are consumed by strange visions and inclinations to start carving up their newly designed faces.
As the teenage girl's friends start killing themselves off, she learns that she was in fact her mom's very first patient and the ghost who is tormenting her friends and has come back for her was that of a another girl whom her mother claimed as her daughter. You see, the teenage girl doesn't have the actual face she was born with. She was horribly disfigured in a fire and while she layed comatose in a hospital, the mother befriended a lost little girl and took her in as her own. In her obssession with her real daughter, she performed a face transplant. After the surgery, the lost little girl was confined to the mother's basement and she 'pretended' to raise her as one of her own. When the girl grew tired of her imprisonment, she committed suicide and came back as the familiar ghost, seeking revenge.
Employing a lot of the all too familiar elements of Asian horror with just a fair amount of originality, Cinderella is definitely a decent affair. Even though the long dark haired, scary looking Asian girl concept has seemingly been taken to its limits, the film still entertains. And there is one particularly gnarly seen in which the teen's friends carve each other up with their art school scalpels. Bonzai!

Cortez the Killer

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Mausoleum (1983)


Fear 2/5
Gore 3/5
Entertainment 5/5
Creepiness 2/5
T&A Factor 5/5

Holy awesome, what a great little find this was. File this under the 'so bad its good' category. A teenage girl is mourning the death of her dear ol' mum at a cemetary with her aunt when she suddenly flies into a berzerker rage. She runs through the cemetary as voices being to ring in her head. She sees a smoke cloud as it hovers and envelops the large mausoleum in the center of the cemetary and decides to enter inside (common sense be damned!). Upon entering, her eyes start glowing a crazy shade of green and some sort of pointy fingered, rubbery hand emerges from the concrete coffin. A caretaker enters the tomb to remove the girl, he sees the crazy stink eye, and he runs out into the cemetary where his head promptly explodes. Excelente!

Fast forward a few years and the grown woman begins to suspect that she is being possessed by the same demon that inhabited her madre. Apparently every first born woman in her family becomes possessed by this demon (why exactly? its never fully explained other than saying her family is cursed! Egad!). Her husband and psychiatrist don't know what to do about her strange behavior. Namely, she likes to get jiggy with random guys and hack them to pieces. This gal is scorching hot and the T&A factor is off the chain.

So the husband and psychiatrist come to find out that the only way to kill the demon is to put a crown of thorns on her head. Why? Again, its never fully explained. But who cares, by this point boobies abound and dudes are getting hacked to shit.

The only place to find the crown is back at the mausoleum. They lure the woman there, we see her in all her demonic glory (including mini little demon heads poking out of her ta ta's) and they get the crown of thorns onto her head by playing a game of carnival ring toss.

A decidedly goofy and silly affair, with about a '10' on the man-part, pitch-a-tent scale, Mausoleum is a hoot. No trailer for this one. But the aforementioned dude's head exploding can be found below. And I'm also attaching a picture to validate said hotness.

Cortez The Killer



Monday, April 20, 2009

Leviathan (1989)

Fear 0/5
Gore 1/5
Entertainment 2/5
Creepiness 0/5
Mechanical Rubber Fishhead Monster 5/5


Someone watched Alien, The Thing and The Abyss and said "Hey man, what if we combined those three movies with The Creature From the Black Lagoon"? And, lo and behold, Leviathan was born.


Starring a pile of late 80's staples - Robocop, the Black guy from Ghostbusters, The dorky guy from City Slickers and Home Alone, the hotel manager from Pretty Woman and the cranky colonel from the Rambo movies, Leviathan is a train wreck that gets worse with every passing second.

Here's the blow by blow - 16000 feet below the surface of the ocean lies an underwater station that is designed to mine silver. The people down below are three days from the end of their contract and are ready to head home. But then the one cocky, smart-ass miner (oh, there's always one isn't there) manages to get lost and stumbles upon the wreck of a Russian naval ship. The miners haul in a bunch of stuff including a safe filled with all kinds of goodies. This includes a bottle of vodka that, unbeknownst to the miners, is tainted with some virus or something that the Russians had created while attempting to create a super race of fish people to live underwater.

Go back and read that last sentence. Got it? Ok, stay with me.

Soon, the miners who had some of the vodka begin to get violently sick and develop weird symptoms -mmm, scales for example. They quickly die off, but the corpses, despite being in separate rooms, manage to find their way next to each other where they melt into one fleshy blob that becomes the karp-headed monster.

The rest of the film is spent with the remaining miners fighting off the ever growing karp monster. Until a couple of them manage to make it to the surface only to fight off some sharks. Talk about a bad day! DUH.

Despite it's R rating, there is minimal gore, no scares, little cursing and no nakedness. What gives? Weak and dumb.

You can find the trailer out there somewhere I am sure. I'm not bothering to give it to you.

- Complaint Dept

Friday, April 17, 2009

Family Portraits: A Trilogy of America (2003)


Fear 5/5
Gore 4/5
Entertainment 2/5
Creepiness 5/5

Shocking. Disturbing. Dirty feeling and shower inducing. Adjectives and other phrases can not even begin to describe how I felt after seeing this film. OK, let me correct that. After seeing the first of three short stories in this collection of fucked up family lives portrayed on screen.

All films are labeled as I, II, and III with no names or titles. The first short story I, centers on a woman who is desperately trying to gain the attention of her disinterested and aloof husband. She cooks, cleans, doing everything for him, trying in vain to get him to notice her after years of marriage and initially thinking they had the perfect one.

She awakens in the middle of the night to the sounds of her husband in their sons' bedroom. Whispers and innuendos abound and it becomes apparent to the viewer what is going on as the woman thinks to herself 'What have I done? How could I have let this go on in my house?'

In one last ditch effort to win his affection and just to get him to acknowledge her existence, she dolls herself up the next day, complete with red lipstick and dress. As she presents herself to him (while he's staring intently at the baseball game on TV), she becomes visibly frustrated as he won't even lift his head up to look at her, focusing straight ahead at the game unfolding. In her frustration, she returns to the bathroom, takes off her dress and furiously takes a brillo pad to her mouth, taking off the lipstick and her skin along with it. When she's not satisfied with her efforts, she takes a pair of scissors near the sink and cuts off her lips. She stumbles out of the bathroom, re-presents herself to her husband, and only then does he acknowledge her with a look of complete shock and horror.

The ending of this first vignette is one of the most shocking scenes that I have ever witnessed on film. Completely gut punching and horrific, the image is still ingrained in my mind a week after watching it. None of the other short stories in the trilogy are as aweful or gruesome but they are interesting character studies (one about an abused from childhood man that has turned to religion to shield his scars but he can't hold back who he is and ends up killing his wife and daughter). Definitely not for the faint of heart. Try not to eat before seeing this one.

Cortez the Killer


Don't Panic! (1988)


Fear 2/5
Gore 2/5
Entertainment 4/5
Creepiness 2/5

Mexico decides to throw its hat into the slasher ring with this super ridiculous and cheese-dick-a-fied affair from 1988. A group of white teens (I have no idea what a bunch of goofball white teenagers are doing, living in the middle of Mexico City) get together and decide to bust out a oujia board at a house party. The kids try and coax an ancient evil spirit out of hiding, but seemingly, to no avail.

The kids leave the party and days later, the teen who threw the house party starts having visions (his eyes gloss over, he loses sight and they turn a deep shade of crimson red). He has a first person view as a man starts hacking away at one of his friends. After the first murder, he comes to find out that all of his friends that were in the house that night are being targeted by some unknown figure and one by one they begin to meet their demise at his hands.

It's revealed that the main antagonist (and douchebag) extraordinaire at the party, is the one who is being inhabited by the ancient evil demon spirit that was being drawn out of hiding. His buddy who's having visions is tasked with warning his friends about the demon host and he is alerted a couple hours before the killings take shape. In his quest to stop the murderous spree, he learns that he needs to destroy the demon with the mythical knife that he uses to kill his victims (why the hell does an evil demon need a knife?).

So the kid runs around in his pajamas for most of the film, awaking with visions at night, with a need to warn his friends about an hour before midnight. And what says demon slayer more than a one piece pajama suit? Ironically enough, I had the exact same dinosaur print pajama set when I was a kid and remember it vividly. Cornball dialogue (the hallmark of any decent slasher film) abounds, some decent amount of blood deployed but not very much by way of gore. A fun affair to be sure but mostly for the over the top cheese and dopey love story between our main hero and his high school sweetie. A funny scene towards the beginning when he asks her out for breakfast, they ditch school, and they end up at an ice cream parlor. The breakfast of champions!

A movie that's hard to find (try Cinemageddon) and very obscure to the point where I couldn't find images on Google (ironically, the aforementioned cheesy love scene is the only video from the movie that I could find on YouTube). Apparently its part of a Crypt of Terror, South of the Border DVD set, according to Dread Central.

Cortez the Killer


Color Me Blood Red (1965)

Fear 2/5
Gore 3/5
Entertainment 5/5
Creepiness 2/5

The third film in Lewis's Blood Trilogy, Color Me Blood Red employs much of the same tactics as the other two films that I've reviewed. Insert one eccentric and off-beat man character, give him some sort of deranged mental problem, coupled with healthy dosages of cheesball dialogue, and have him mutilate and maim young women. Its easy to see the correlation between his films as Lewis continues to transition from his early sexual exploitation films to horror (and eventually back again).

A commercially successful but critically derided artist, struggles to win the approval of an art critic. His main criticism being that he is never able to fully capture vibrant colors on his canvas. All the art hags and old women with loads of money to blow are in awe of his work. But the approval of his staunchest critic (played by a dude with a really silly French accent) eludes him.

One evening, in a fit of frustration, the obssessive painter cuts his finger open and brushes it mistakenly against the canvas he is working on. A light bulb goes off as he's found the perfect shade of red to bring his work to life and give it the vibrancy that has been lacking.

Knowing that he can't continue to use his own blood, he constructs ways to lure helpless women into his home, starting with his subservient girlfriend. Killing them and stringing up their bodies, he cuts them open, allowing the blood to drip into a collection pan which he uses as his new paint supply.
Not quite as gruesome or shocking as his other films but equally entertaining, Color Me Blood Red is another classic horror film from Herschell Gordon Lewis. Employing alot of the cheese and slapstick dialogue as his other films and continuing to introduce the most off the wall characters imaginable, this film brings the funny and totally off-beat. And the mad painter's 'paintings' look like they were done by a 5th grader. Which, knowing Lewis's work, is completely intentional. The trailers for these films also continue to be amazing. Check it out below.

Cortez the Killer

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Signal (2008)

Fear 1/5
Gore 3/5
Entertainment 1/5
Creepiness 1/5

Lots of hype around this little indie film, but for the most part it really didn't live up to it. It's not bad as far as sci-fi horror films go - it has all the right ingredients - but there's something much too familiar about the entire thing. It's almost as though each scene, maybe each frame, can be directly linked to some previous film: Shaun of the Dead, Videodrome, The Ring, 28 Days Later, Evil Dead, Pulse, etc. etc.

The Signal is pretty straight forward in it's premise: One day, for some unexplained reason, everyone's TVs, radios and phones all start broadcasting this funky "signal" that turns people into murderous, rage filled killers. Anyone that sees or hears this signal long enough begins grabbing for weapons and killing everyone in their path.

This is where the film works. I love paranoia films where you can't trust anyone. That, to me, is not only scary but very possible. I'm a bit paranoid to begin with so the idea that everyone is out to get me is familiar - and when you put hedge clippers in their hands it becomes even scarier.

There are some decent gore scenes and several truly gruesome deaths that made me cringe (death by bug spray - yuck), and the overall feel of the film, from it's grainy cheap-video look to it's choppy editing, makes it feel slightly "off" in a good way. Kind of the way the dude outside 7/11 is "off." But in the end, it's just not enough.

The story gets all tangled up in this needless "love" triangle that does nothing but muck things up and distract from what could have been a kick ass "zombie" movie. Where we have heads being crushed to pulp by big, heavy iron scuba tank type things, we are then subjected to sappy flashbacks and "dream sequences" that, I suppose, are designed to make me feel some empathy for them or involvement in their "plights".

This can work sometimes if you give the story enough time to breathe and make sense of the romance or whatever, but in this case it never had a chance to develop. Besides, all of the characters are unlikeable and I just wanted them all to die. And frankly, I don't care. I watch a movie about rampaging killers because I want to be grossed out and see gore. Not to experience some sappy high school idea of "true love" via mix-CDs and "escaping to paradise."

Actually, I've decided I did not like this. Blerrgh.

- Complaint Dept



Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Company of Wolves (1984)


Fear 2/5
Gore 3/5
Entertainment 2/5
Creepiness 3/5-- Mainly for the movie cover

I had completely forgotten about this film until I ran across it on NetFlix and quickly added it to my queue. Long before Blockshyster (AKA Blockbuster), my father used to take me on weekends to Video Library. I'd run up and down the aisles, looking for my favorite cartoons on VHS. Always on the very last row, in the back next to the curtained off booby section, was the single aisle of horror films. Walking down the aisle, I remember having a feeling like I shouldn't be there, pulse racing as I viewed the covers of various horror movies released in the mid-80's. The cover of this film terrified the hell out of me. I mean just look at it, a wolf's snout is coming out of a dude's facehole! All kids have heard the story of little red riding hood, so to see the cover of this VHS in all its vivid glory, scared the piss out of me.

The film centers on a sleeping teenage girl who dreams of a family living in a rural English countryside circa the turn of the century (or so I guess). Cut off from the rest of the world, they live a pretty simple and secluded life with other folks in a village. The family's daughter (who the sleeping girl dreams/envisions herself to be) is told stories of the wolves that live 'off the path' in the woods. After her sister is brutally murdered by one of them, she spends a few days with her grandmother (played by Ms. Murder She Wrote herself), who lives deep in the woods.

The grandmother tells her various stories about the wolves, how they can change form and are part man and beast. The tales are always of a sexual nature, of how the man-beast can lure, seduce, and take control of women, holding them captive with their strong powers.

The girl eventually returns home, where her father (played by Tron's Master Control Program) leads the fellow villagers on man hunts to wipe out the population of wolves. One evening, the girl heads out to grandma's house deep in the woods by herself, completely disregarding the stories her grandmother has told her (including staying away from dudes who have uni-brows, gasp!) and comes across a man who appears to be lost. He chats with her for awhile, eventually getting into her knickers, and makes a bet that he can make it to her grandmother's house before she can and a subsequent foot race begins. Of course the man-wolf dude with a uni-brow makes it to grandma's house before she does, decapitates her (which is an odd scene in that, instead of a severed cranium and vertebrae, we see the head crash and split apart like a ceramic vase against a wall, WTF??). So anywhos, the dude and her share an 'I love you' moment, the father and villagers show up, the girl turns into a wolf too and they both run out into the forest together. The sleeping girl wakes up, a wolf crashes through her bedroom window and you get the impression that her dream has come to life.

Somewhere in this entire convoluted mess of a film is a story about sex and sexual repression, about not succumbing to the beast that is within, blah blah blah. I hate having to 'think' about my horror movies. Outside of a couple of decently shot werewolf transformation scenes (utilizing the best in 80's animatronics), the film was entirely boring. Oh, and the woods totally looked like Dagobah from The Empire Strikes Back. I was expecting Yoda to pop up at any moment. An interesting twist on the werewolf story/mythos, for sure. But nothing all that engrossing or entertaining. However, the cover of that movie still creeps me the fuck out.

Cortez the Killer


Monday, April 6, 2009

Prom Night (2008)

Fear 0/5
Gore 0/5
Entertainment 1/5
Creepiness 0/5

Some movies you go into with the understanding that it will suck. The 2008 remake of Prom Night (apparently known as "TV Dinner" in the Philippines??) is one such movie. And sometimes, you want a film to suck really bad so that you can laugh at it and write a really funny review of it on your ding-dongy little blog that no one reads other than the other people that write on it. The 2008 remake of Prom Night let me down here.

Prom Night is shitty, without a doubt, but more than that it's just boring. There is nary a drop of blood, there are no scares, there are no fun plot twists, and there isn't even a goofy back story involved to try and make things a bit more entertaining. It's just dumb and boring.

The bulk of the film is spent with a group of teenagers going to prom and talking a lot, dancing, and going in an out of their hotel room. Really, those three things are 3/4 of this film.

Story: Teacher becomes obsessed with average looking bimbo student, kills her family and is sent to jail. Average bimbo student goes to prom and crazy teacher breaks out of jail, stalks her and kills a few people while trying (not very hard) to get her. The world's dumbest police force continues to let him slip through their fingers and he gets shot by the new boss on The Office and the movie ends. All the while a tepid and family friendly rock soundtrack never stops playing underneath the scenes.

I just don't understand the concept of bloodless, scareless horror movies. It's like putting a Nissan Sentra engine into a Dodge Viper. If you're going to do something, do it right, do it to the max. Sheesh.

I'm not going to spend my time copying the trailer here.

- Complaint Dept

And The Remake Train Keeps On Rolling.....

Look, I get it. Hollywood is tapped out in terms of original ideas. Furthermore, before any movie studio even forks over coin to start shooting a picture, they need to know there is some sort of fan base to ensure a decent return on their investment (see the copious amount of horror movie remakes over the last couple of years and the utterly shitastic, Transformers).

The House on Sorority Row (now entitled Sorority Row) is being remade and apparently they dragged out Princess Leia from whatever rock she's been living under. Why they chose to remake one of the worst slasher films ever (looky here), is beyond me.

Apparently the dude who played Rorschach in the Watchmen flick is going to be the new Freddy Krueger. Whatevs.

Cortez the Killer

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Gore Gore Girls (1972)


Fear 2/5
Gore 5/5
Creepiness 3/5
Entertainment 5/5

As I continue to delve into the delightful catalogue of Mr. Herschell Gordon Lewis, its becoming apparent that there is a formula to his films. Insert one really eccentric character, have him deliver cheesy and ridiculous dialogue, the overall plot is completely ancillary to the blood and gore, and the gorier and more zoom-in camera, gross-out action that can be captured, the better.
The Gore Gore Girls, focuses on a wily and weird private detective that has been hired by a local newspaper columnist to hunt down a killer who's had a hand in a series of grisly murders, of which, go go girls are the victims. He scours the city but mostly confines himself to the local go go club with his female columnist cohort, trying to track down the murderer whom he believes hangs around the club, who is completely anonymous to the owner and patrons alike.
The kill scenes are gory, over the top and completely excessive. It seems like Lewis ratchets up the gore factor from film to film, getting increasingly more graphic and ridiculously over the top. In one particularly heinous scene, the killer bends a particular go go girl over her kitchen table, proceeds to pull down her UnderRoos, and beats her rump repeatedly with a meat tenderizer. Its cringe inducing, as the repeated beatings make her poop shooter look like a hamburger patty.
So like a really sick and twisted version of Scooby Doo, the private dick catches up with and unveils the identity of the killer at the end of the film. In one seriously goofy scene, the killer decides to end it all, with a resounding splat (literally that was the sound effect that was made, 'SPLAT') on the street below the apartment where they were hiding out. And for added effect, a car runs over the killer's head. Stellar!
A totally over-the-top and ingenious affair, without a modicum of seriousness, Lewis is 2-for-2 so far. Oh, and the go go dancing and stripping scenes were altogether comical as well. Nothing screams trouser snake stiffy like a girl dancing to marching band music. Oh yeah.
Cortez the Killer