Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Commune (2009)

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

First off, I'd like to thank the wonderful BJ-C over at Day of The Woman for bringing this film to my attention. Muchos kudos to my fellow blogging friends when they spotlight and feature indie filmmakers.

The Commune is a film with a vast array of themes: sexual discovery, what it means to be a woman and, subsequently, come of age. But the film also deals with the loss of innocence and how those in power, namely your parental figures, can abuse it for their own self-serving needs. Despite some flaws in pacing and some rough around the edges editing, the film delivers in a way that recalls the slow burn of films like The Wicker Man and Rosemary's Baby. And along with it, comes a stellar building of tension and atmosphere.

After a shocker of an opener to get things hopping (hey, I have to keep this somewhat spoiler free, right?), our story starts with a young girl named Jennifer. Fresh out of school for the summer break, she's forced to spend time with her fairly non-existent father. You see, her parents divorced when she was little and her dad left and started a new age-y type of commune with a group of followers. Along with re-entering her life, the father is threatening legal action in order to gain custody. In a hopeful act of appeasement, her mother reluctantly gets Jennifer to spend the summer at the commune in the hopes of getting him to drop his legal threats. The mother, suspecting that the father is using his idyllic sanctuary for less than truthful purposes, asks the daughter to keeps eyes wide open in an effort to get some dirt which could in turn, be used against him.

From the moment she arrives and is greeted by a motherly figure who runs the ship at the mystical retreat, an eerie sense of foreboding permeates. From the statues and iconography which adorns the landscape, to the overly creepy and much too 'high on life' and even natured tenants, to her own father who oftentimes channels his inner Lord Summerisle. Not to mention, she's haunted nightly by strange dreams and occurances which aid in blurring the lines of her sense of reality.

When Jennifer gets too creeped out and tires of being cooped up, she heads out into town and runs into a rocker looking guy which she instantly falls for. Much to the dismay and berating of her father, she sneaks away to see him and a summer romance unfolds. This is where the movie's momentum really takes a nosedive. Diverging from the expert pacing and tension built up to this point, we get a Dawson's Creek-ish scene as rocker boy busts out his acoustic guitar and serenades her. It's necessary in the context of the film for sure with the themes of youthful innocence and love. But it really detracts from the effort made. And I felt like the scene dragged on for far longer than it needed to.

Thankfully, the ship rights itself and things slowly devolve into madness as Jennifer discovers that her father has been hiding a lot more than she thought. We are treated to her father's philosophy on the familial unit and his goal of 'redefining what it means to be family' by 'planting a seed'. This coupled with a scene in which the father subtly makes a pass, your are led to believe that he has less than favorable intentions for his daugher. After a few childhood flashbacks and a revelation that the daughter is not as pure as originally thought, we are brought to a shocking and brutal climax to our film.

Despite it's flaws (I also mentioned editing as some of the scene transitions were fairly choppy), The Commune is a fine first effort from filmmaker Elisabeth Fies. And I also have to think that the film hits particularly hard for some female viewers. That's not to say that us duderinos won't find enough within the film to make it a terrifying and thought provoking movie watching experience. But its evident that with a breaking of the father-daughter bond on top of the loss of innocence, that this movie is what the tagline bills: 'Every Girl's Worst Fear.'

Cortez the Killer

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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Dearest Readers of PoT

Let us know what you think of our site redesign. I'm still tweaking things but would really like to know your thoughts. I think it's easier to read and much less strain on el ojos.

P.S. If anyone knows how to use the new 'Page' widget in Blogger, let me know. It's so not intuitive.


Cortez the Killer

Friday, March 26, 2010

Blood Diner (1987)

Fear 0/5
Gore 5/5
Entertainment 5/5
Creepiness 2/5
T&A Factor 5/5

Right off the bat, I couldn't help but think that this was a blatant ripoff of Blood Feast, the first ever 'gore' picture and initial foray into the realm of horror for one Mr. Herschell Gordon Lewis. It even has one of those notorious 'Warnings' that precedes most of his films. Upon further research, the movie was meant to be more of an homage. What Blood Diner does is take the wackiness that is synonmous with the aforementiond film (and pretty much the whole of HG's work) and turns up the amp. All the way to 11.

The beginning of our film hears a call go out over an APB, warning folks to be on the lookout for a man walking with a '....meat clever in one hand and his genitals in the other.' This line should be included in the all-time best list of b-movie one liners (if one doesn't exist, I need to write one). Anywhos, he then enters the home of his two nephews, Mike and Georgie, bestows upon them a necklace which will mark them as special helpers of an ancient Egyptian goddess and instructs them, that no matter what happens, they must come back for him. He then confronts the police who've now tracked him down and gets waxed in the street.

Flash forward about 20 years and we find our boys who are now all growns up digging up the grave of their dear old uncle. Using the power of Greyskull, they resurrect him by extracting his brain which is still well preserved despite the rest of him being rotted and skeletal. They get his brain submerged in a jar and he instructs them to prepare a feast of human flesh which will be consummed by the patrons of their diner. Yes ladies and gentlemen a talking brain with eyes affixed! Along with that, a couple other things will need to happen in order to resurrect the ancient Egyptian goddess named Shitaar (pronounced oftenly in an over the top fashion as 'Sheeeeetaaaaaarrrrr'). The body parts of whorish women will need to be pieced together, combining to make a fully figured one which will serve as a vessle for our goddess. But the most important contribution of them all will be their greatest challenge: a virginal sacrifice.

As the brothers dish out 'vegetarian' food at their local diner, they hone in on a trio of cheerleaders as potential sacrifices. Two of the girls mention to the other about a nude cheerleader aerobics photo shoot that day (AKA my wet dream). The other decides not to participate as she's more shy and reserved (*sniff sniff*, yup she's a virgin). They soon leave and head to the shoot. After things get started, the boys show up to crash the party.

Enter fucknuts crazy scene #1:

The boys then decide to keep their party going, heading out to a night club late one night, dressed to the nines and picking up a couple more skankaliciously delicious girls and taking them back to their diner. They make work of both of them, with the brother taking one of them, lathering her up in buttermilk, and dunking her head into the deep fryer.

Enter fucknuts crazy scenes #2-3:

Georgie is obssessed with professional wrestling and often has matches showing as he's cooking food at the diner. One of the patrons calls his love nothing but a bunch of gay men groping. Mid chow down, Georgie applies a head lock and mass projectile vomiting ensues.

Enter fucknuts crazy scene #4:

Mike woos the non-slutty cheerleader who opted not to go to the shoot and convinces her to partake in the feast the likes of which hasn't been seen in over 2 million years. An ancient Sumerian feast fit for the gods. She obliges, creepiness be damned! He invites her to watch his brother perform on amateur wrestling night. But before they head out, they still have some more work that needs to be done in preparing for the feast. Georgie comes upon a couple getting ready to make boom boom fucky fucky at the beach. After knocking out the guy, naked punk rocker chick in all her glory, goes all ninjitsu Gymkata on Georgie and fights back.

Enter fucknuts crazy scene #5:

After getting his ass kicked by the girl, Georgie heads to the arena for his match. He's quickly knocked around by his opponent and is embarrassed by his showing in front of his brother and the hopeful virginal sacrifice he is wooing. Georgie gets desperate and chomps down on his opponents leg, spitting out a good chunk of it onto the girl and she gets up in her disgust and attempts to leave. Mike tries to stop her from doing so and when his pleas fall on deaf ears, he straight up cold cocks her.

Enter fucknuts crazy scene #6:

The brothers head to a club where they've arranged a special party with their friends and patrons, the bodily host of the goddess on display and their special stew brewing. We are entertained by the likes of a band that is one part Morris Day and The Time and one part Dancehall Crashers. As the patrons chow down and turn into zombies, the brothers get ready to start their ritual but not before the po po's (a ridiculous trio of overly stereotyped ethnicities that unfortunately aren't getting their just due in this review but are equally fucknuts crazy) bust all up in the piece. As they spray bullets and save the day, our Egyptian goddess makes her way out from under the chaos for a night on the town.

Enter fucknuts crazy finale:

This movie is over the top greatness. And believe it or not, there were a shit ton of other hilariously over the top scenes. Literally, it was balls to the wall from start to finish. Complete and utter mad genius. Ladies and Gentlemans, this just might be the greatest movie ever made.

Oh, and check out the trailer below. It's goddamn brilliant.

Cortez the Killer

HorrorBlips: vote it up!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Piracy And The Indie Filmmaker

Let's take a break from all the recent horror blogger interwebs drama, shall we? If you aren't privy to it, good. You've saved yourself a splitting headache.

I'd like to direct your attention to a bit of a rant and opinion piece about internet piracy and the indie filmmaker, written by director Lee Vervoort, creator of the film Gun Town.


As most of you know, we support indie horror filmmakers (and indie filmmakers in general) and are sensitive to the plight of Lee and filmmakers like him. We've become friends with filmmakers that we've brought to your attention, whether it be through reviews, interviews or networking and postings on other blogs in order to get their names and films out there. We feel a personal connection to them, some of them even following up and asking our opinion (yes, our dopey little blog's opinion) about their upcoming projects. Quite simply put, we are disgusted by the actions of those who download their films and the films of others, raping the directors and compromising their ability to make a dime off of THEIR OWN MOVIES.

Lee's opinion piece is fair and lacks any sort of finger pointing. What it's motivated me to do (and it should to you as well) is to buy a copy of the film. At the very least, you should seek it out and rent it. Hell, the guy is even donating proceeds from the film (which comes neatly packaged and presented) to United Cerebral Palsy. If that doesn't say something about the character of the filmmaker himself, then I don't know what does.

Much respect and admiration to Lee and all of the indie filmmakers out there who work so hard and tirelessly to bring their passion to life.

For more information about Gun Town, clicky here.

Cortez the Killer

HorrorBlips: vote it up!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Slaughter Night (2006)

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

I contend that everything that needed to be done, said and explored within the slasher sub-genre has already taken place with the films that came out in the late 70's and those through the whole of the 80's. Every twist, every different take on the boogeyman or someone coming back to exact revenge has been exhausted, ad infinitum. Sure there are exceptions with films that have challenged conventions, Scream and Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon being the most notable. But really, at its heart, its still the same ol' thing. And if you say films like Hatchet and The Hills Run Red have something new and fresh to add to the mix, I'd argue differently as they are simply retreads (not to mention completely dull and boring). And don't get me started on Laid to Rest. Much to my surprise, this Dutch film actually has something new to offer despite a pretty damaging flaw.

Slaughter Night starts off like most: after a deadly car wreck in which she is the only survivor, a grieving daughter takes a trip out to the countryside with a group of her douchey friends. Her father was a writer and had been finishing up research for a novel about an old mine now turned museum with a sordid past. After collecting some of his belongings at his office near the mine, she's invited by the curator to take a tour of it. Her friends happy to oblige, they start off on the trek with a trusty tour guide leading the way.

After making their way down into the mine, the guide proceeds to talk about its history. Back in the old days, when a mine worker used his Toucan Sam and sniffed out a gas leak, they would send convicted criminals in to ignite a fire to burn the gas. They were wrapped in garments drenched in water and armed with a lantern. If they ignited the fire and the ensuing fireball didn't kill them, and they lived to tell the tale, they were freed. What a deal!

One man was believed to have made it through the ordeal but his body was never found. Its believed that his spirit still resides within the old mine. Who is this man? As we see at the beginning of the film, and as relayed by the tour guide, he was a soldier that came home from war only to find that both of his parents had died. Leaving him nothing from the family's fortune, he became infuriated and later, obssessed with the black arts. So enveloped was he by his connection to it, he believed that by ritualistically sacrificing people, he could pass over into hell where he was convinced that his parents resided. Only then would he be able to take his just revenge. A particularly grisly scene is showed at the beginning of the film when he first attempts to do this, severing and mounting the heads of little children.

After making their way through the underground mine, our touring group proceeds to the elevator shaft only to find that the controls aren't working. The guide tells them that by this time, the staff has left for the day so he will have to scale a ladder which leads to an emergency exit. He instructs the kids to stay put. Now, you're probably asking yourself, 'Why don't the kids just follow him?' Its a slasher movie, the 'smart' one always leaves the kids behind as fodder. Uh, der. So what do you suppose the kids do to pass the time? They bust out a ouija board that the girl found in her fathers office, booze it up and pop some ecstasy of course. Time to get this party started!

The kiddos start playing around with the board and apparently come into contact with both the supposed spirit trapped in the mine and the girl's dead father. As the kids start bickering back and forth about whether or not they are really talking to spirits of departed peeps, another one of the girls in the group gets the hippy hippy shakes and starts going into convulsions. When she comes out of it, she lets out a demonic roar, strikes another gal with a rock across her skull and runs off, disappearing somewhere within the mine. The guide? The ladder gives way, causing him to fall to the ground, and our possessed girl waxes him lickity split. Rut ro, Shaggy.

The girl goes on to take out one of the guys and starts in on another. But he fights back and kills her and the spirit passes out of the body and takes up another host. This continues on throughout the rest of the film with some great tension builds, jump scares and with the mine being effectively used as a great set piece to create atmosphere. As the body counts rise, with the ritual almost close to being complete, the spirit takes on the visage of his old self, wrapped in garments and confronting our last survivors.

The thing I like the most about this film is the rich back story that's given to the spirit of the dead man who's now using the bodies of douchey teens to re-ignite his previously uncompleted ritual. And the concept of the demon passing through the kid's and other victims with each one taking up the spirit's mission, was pretty original. There were also plenty of neato kill scenes that'll keep the gorehounds happy. My only complaint is that the ending is EXTREMELY lackluster, almost as though the filmmakers didn't know how to end things. And it's so bad that it really does detract from the overall effort made up until this point. Still, its better than most slashers coming out nowadays which are being tagged as original or inventive. I had a lot of fun with it.

Cortez The Killer

* * * *

And for a different take:


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Friday, March 19, 2010

Fingerprints (2006)

Fear 1/5
Gore 1/5
Entertainment 2/5
Creepiness 1/5
T&A Factor 2/5

I really need to stop relying on user reviews from IMDB and NetFlix. I'm such a sucker, er I mean totally smart guy. But I should know better by now. You're probably thinking, 'Cortez, don't you know that half of those user reviews are written by hired marketing guns to beef up ratings and to give the perception that its not a total shit sandwich?' Yes, but I'd like to think that some of them are actually written by fans *cough* nerds of film just like me. Instead of the reviews I should have looked at the cast of this disaster before making my decision. More on that in a hot tick.

We begin the film with a bus filled with tons of ankle biters singing John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt over and over and over, much to the dismay of the driver. The driver doesn't see the oncoming train and ignores the railroad crossing signals. The train smashes into the bus and all the kiddos go spliggity splat.

Fast forward oh, about 30 years or so and the town has never been able to shake the tragedy and its memory which lingers from that fateful day. Two sisters are driving into town, meeting up with mom and dad who've just moved, one of which is a slutalicious girl from The Hills. I don't know which one. Aren't they ALL blond?

It's evident from the word go that the other sister has a problem and its made glaringly so by the over the top asshole-ness of her mother. We come to find out that The Hills gal picked up her sister from drug rehab and the family moved to the small town to get away from the big city. So whats the first thing her whorish sister does? Takes her to a party of course.

After a night of partying, a local legend is relayed to the girls by a duo of douchey guys: if you stop on the tracks and there is an oncoming train, the spirits of the dead kiddos will push you across to safety. Isn't this an existing urban legend? Anywhos, they experiment and it doesn't happen and peel out just before the train hits. But not before the fresh from rehab sister catches a glimpse of a little girl.

Driving through town the next day, Ms. Detox stops at the tracks and looks over and sees the same girl. She asks 'Whatcha lookin' at foo'?' but no answer comes as she continues to stare blankly. How rude! Looking away for a minute and then back. She's gone. No wait.... *terrible camera angle transition*....'Oh hi's little girl!' She's so wondersouly happy as ghost girl decides to hitch a ride.

After a series of finger pointings and not so much as single peep from our ghost (what an asshole), she's dropped off at her believed to be old house and disappears. But not before we see a face peek out through a living room curtain. Nose candy girl comes back later the next day to investigate and talks to the proprietor of the home. And the top award for actress who's not aged gracefully goes to....Sally Kirkland ladies and gentlemen!

From this

To this

After learning more about the local legend and the old lady's family, druggie gone straighty is continually haunted by the little girl while everyone thinks that she's started using again. Enter her guidance counselor, Mr. La Bamba pants. Glad to know spousal abusers can still find 'good' work.

He doesn't believe her but has his own experience with other ghosts on his car ride home one night and is turned into a believer. Meanwhile, someone who's wearing a train conductor suit has started killing off some of the locals. Part ghost story, part slasher! Joy! Except for the fact that the melding of these two sub-genres is done to mind numbingly terrible effect. No real scares and completely lackluster kills. How many times have we all seen someone killed with a razor?

Anyways, the former ex-mayor turned homeless drunken vagrant spills the beans about what really happened. Apparently, the kids didn't die from an accident at all. The story was made up to cover up the local train conductor and his penchant for molesting kids and killing them. Or something like that. Its never fully explained but is alluded to. Anyways, the reason why ghost girl is stalking her comes in the grand Scooby Doo reveal.....dun dun dun.....ghost girl's mom is Sally Kirkland who's dressing up like daddy and defending the good name of the family. Truly, WTF?

Extreme ridiculousness ensues and the ending of this miserable disaster makes your head hurt. Avoid this Manwich dripping slop o' shit for your own sake. And avoid NetFlix and IMDB user reviews. Rely on us trusty bloggers instead!

Cortez the Killer

HorrorBlips: vote it up!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Best Metal Moments In Horror History

For our next installment, we highlight an 80's gem that has more metal moments than any other horror film in history: Trick or Treat. The tough part is, how to whittle them down to one. And the fact is, you can't.

Oh, some may cry foul that we aren't including one Mr. Gene Simmons and his turn as a radio disc jockey. But he plays a snarky, borderline douchey dude and that's not a far stretch from his real life persona.

For me, some of the best scenes in the film are of one Mr. Ozzy Osborne playing a man of the cloth and railing against all things rock n' roll. Oh the irony!

The second moment(s), is when Marc 'aka Skippy' Price unleashes his dead rocker idol upon the world, the resurrected frontman shows up at the school dance, crashes the party and jams out to this little ditty. Dammit if it isn't catchy as hell. Music courtesy of 80's heavy metal band Fastway.

If you haven't seen this movie, you really should. Even if you don't like metal, its an 80's classic through and through.

Up the irons and stay metal. \m/

Cortez the Killer

HorrorBlips: vote it up!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Dance or Die (1987)

Fear 0/5
Gore 1/5
Entertainment 5/5
Creepiness 0/5
T&A Factor 2/5

For me, the trashiest of trashy and oh so terrible movies that have that je ne sais quoi factor are the ones that I'll continue to come back to. While recent films I've watched and reviewed like The Dead Next Door are certainly cheesy and dopey, its the overabundance of that, combined with fantastically atrocious dialogue, the visual stylings which only the 80's can provide (sorry 70's, you just don't have that 'it' factor), along with some fabulous T&A, which all makes for an instant classic. The stars have to align in order to get it right, with all the necessary ingredients accurately combining in equal amounts including that special 'something'. And when its done right, you have a film that should be watched and celebrated for years to come. I proudly add Dance or Die to my awesomely bad, best of the best list of films that the 80's has to offer. OK, so I have to admit, its not really a horror film. But we oftentimes overlook that fact when a film merits special recognition. This is one of those times.

Before I get into it, the movie kicks off with the first of many an awesome dance sequence:

Meet Jason. He loves to dance. He also loves to choreograph dance routines and put on shows. He also loves nose candy. He attends AA meetings to kick the habit. And against all sense and better judgement, he decides to move into the same house as his buddy who's a coke dealer. Let me say that again. Coke addict, attending AA meetings, loves to dance and who happens to be in the middle of choreographing his magnum opus, lives with his buddy who's a high profile coke dealer. Oh, and they also live in Vegas. How can this NOT turn out good?

Roaming the aisles of his local grocery store one day, Jason comes across a scantily clad (AKA slutbag) who he stalks, er I mean purposely positions himself so that he bumps into her cart. He mentions to her that a barbecue will be going on that weekend which his roommate will be throwing and he invites her over. BTW, who wears this to the grocery store. Seriously?

After a trip to his weekly AA meeting, what occurs next is series of scenes involving alternating shots between Jason and his class:

His roommate BBQ'ing:

Jason and his class:

The BBQ getting lit up by some druggie henchmen:

Jason and his dancers again:

His roommate getting lit up, while wearing a Guess hoodie and flipping da' bird:

The gal he met at the supermarket arrives on the scene after Jason has come home to the carnage with police officers trying to collect info. The lead dic thinks that Jason had something to do with it. He is a recovering nose candy addict afterall.

So after that traumatic event, Jason almost starts using again but falls for the skanky supermarket girl. After cooking dinner over at his apartment one night, they get down to business but not before our girl reveals that she's a palm reader and tells him:

Girl: 'It says here that you are going to meet a very beautiful woman.'
Jason: 'Does it say that???'
Girl: 'Uh huh.'
Jason: 'Does it say that I'm going to kiss this woman?'

Couple proceeds to boom boom fucky fucky

But we soon come to find out that the skanky palm reading girl is not really a skanky (OK maybe not that part) palm reading girl. She's actually an undercover narc. She's follwing Jason to see if he had anything to do with the massacre. Instead, what she discovers is that the dealers who worked with his roommate are hot on poor Jason's tail, looking for a lost stash of nose candy and some 'secret' files.

Jason's falling in love with the narc proves to be too much for his sponsor who's 20 years his junior and who has a secret crush on him. This creates a weird love triangle and after Jason gets upset by skankalicious's confession, he tries to make a move on her. But not before he discovers a tattoo on her shoulder which resembles the family name of one of the head drug dealers. He flips out and feels like he can't trust anyone. But his show must go on!

So on the day of his big show, his sponsor still comes to support him and they reconcile. The henchman and head crime boss who've been stalking him come to his show and try to fuck shit up but not before narc lady comes to save the day and she rescues everyone. But she dies in the process which sends Jason into a downward spiral and he almost starts using again. But he's ultimately saved by some sage advice that he remembers his sponsor giving him.

As you can see, this movie has it all: sleaze, cheese, coke fueled madness and only the best in Shakespearean theater. And epically awesome dance scenes. The film was like a combination of Flash Dance and Aerobicide (minus the kills although, there were a couple of neato kill scenes).

No trailer for this one. But if the screenshots and review don't convince you, well then....you can go pirouette off a short pier.

Cortez the Killer

HorrorBlips: vote it up!