Apr

On May 19, 2015, Clive Barker unleashes the long-awaited The Scarlet Gospels on the world. It’s being billed as the last Hellraiser novel and Clive is spoiling us all by letting us know the Hell Priest Pinhead is getting deader than usual, for reals, forever, run up the curtain and joined the choir invisible.
At this point, I go fully Brainy Smurf and point out there has only been one Hellraiser novel, which was a novella called “The Hellbound Heart.” Although, yeah, Pinhead and his S&M monster sect, the Cenobites, were briefly mentioned in his novel Weaveworld as “the Surgeons.”
Really Pinhead and his homies were fleshed out in the movies, of which there are nine. Same number as levels of hell. Coincidence? We’ll see. In celebration/fearful expectation of The Scarlet Gospels, I’m going to watch all nine of these bad boys and review them all here. Assuming I’m not scrawling crosses on the wall in my own excrement by the time I get to “Hellraiser: Deader.”

The 80s gave us so many great monsters – Pumpkinhead, Chucky, the Leprechaun, Michael Myers, the Tall Man, Angela from “Sleepaway Camp” AND Angela from “Night of the Demons” – but Pinhead stands proudly in the winners circle of the greatest monsters of the Reagan years with his arms slung around Freddy and Jason, probably keeping them from going for round 2 against each other. His image is familiar to everyone. He has been on the Simpsons. Your mom knows Pinhead, and for once, that’s not a reflection on your mom. Although time, and so freaking many sequels, clouds the memory, and even if you are a fan, “Hellraiser” might not be entirely the movie you think you saw.
First off, in the novella that spawned it and the first movie, Pinhead and the Cenobites aren’t the Big Bads here, not really. It’s kind of like the first Friday the 13th and Jason’s mom. The real bad guy here is Frank Cotton, a smoldering bad boy hunk and sociopathic hedonist looking for the ultimate in transcendental sexytimes. And so he comes by the box, that iconic Rubik’s Cube of the damned, and retires to his dead mother’s house in London, fingering the box’s faces until the CGI kicks in. The prize inside, however, while not safe for work, is not so much sexytimes as total evisceration, courtesy of the Cenobites. But hey, he asked for it.
If he’s eviscerated, how is he the Big Bad, Angela? OK, fun story. Some indefinite time later, Frank’s brother Larry shows up with his frosty, semi-detached wife Julia in tow. Larry has a great new job in England and intends to reclaim the old homestead, also setting the stage for a fresh start with the pissy missus.
They tour the old house and find lots of Buddy Christ-grade religious iconography, presumably his mom’s, a kitchen given over to maggots, and some of Frank’s things, but no Frank. Not even pieces. The Cenobites love their work.
Larry dismisses it as his ne’er do well, and inexplicably more gorgeous, brother making a smooth criminal exit, but Julia, who was so icy towards her husband, suddenly gets her motor runnin’ and agrees to stay.
On moving day, in a really beautifully-done sequence – have I told you I love this movie? – Julia obsesses over Frank’s picture, and we get flashback mushy stuff as she gets all het up about how he seduced her before her wedding. While she’s, ahem, remembering, Larry and nondescript friends heft the marriage bed upstairs. In the process, Larry accidentally rips his hand open on a nail, and he goes to Julia for help, bleeding all over the floor of Frank’s room. The room Frank was eviscerated in. The floorboards suck the blood up like Karo syrup on a Brawny towel and Frank’s body begins to reconstitute itself underneath the floorboards. It is all very gelatinous and extensively foleyed.
Cut to a dinner party. Larry’s daughter Kirsty is there, and she is about horror movie heroine age and so beautiful. You guys, she is the proto Noxzema girl. Kirsty flirts with one of her Dad’s younger friends, who’s supposed to be British, but speaks with an American accent, and that troubles me at night sometimes. There’s booze and raucous cheer. Except –
Kirsty doesn’t like her stepmother Julia, and while the hostilities aren’t open, Julia is too distracted fantasizing about Frank to be a bitch. She leaves the party to go sniff around in Frank’s things and surprise! Her lover is back, sort of. Some of him. Larry’s blood was enough to bring Frank back to Slim Goodbody suit status, but he needs more. A lot more. Also skin. And he insists Julia help him.
Julia is torn between many competing emotions like so much chain-hooked body, and my God, Clare Higgins deserves an Oscar. Frank is a disgusting monster. But he is also Frank (who is a disgusting monster anyway, but she’s lust-blind to that.) And Frank is a terrifying monster, which both makes him intimidating and something to go screaming to your insignificant other about. And Clare gets all of this across beautifully with wild looks and halted breaths and trembling.
So, Julia consents to help Frank, and the way she’s going to help Frank is by luring men back to the house to bludgeon with a hammer and let Frank suck dry. She starts out very nervous, terrified really, of the men, of herself, and of course, of the thing sucking the marrow out of the guy she just whacked, good old Frankie-poo.
Meanwhile Noxzema Girl Kirsty has troubling dreams with more symbolism than an 80s Heart video, and she begins to worry about her dad. She also has a run in with a really weird guy in the pet shop she’s now working at, and while it’s probably par for the course in New York or L.A. or New Orleans, in England, I gather cricket-eating hobos staring hungrily at you is more of an event.
Kirsty eventually stumbles upon Julia and Frank’s white doughy Englishman abatement service and, after Frank leers at her real good, manages to steal the box and get out. She really does some prime horror movie heroineing here. But then she passes out, and wakes up in a hospital from dreams of a red blooming flower. Mm-hmm.
When a doctor tries to interrogate her, Kirsty insists she remembers nothing. She’s left to recuperate, with the puzzle box as a spur to her memory. So she does what everyone does when they’re left alone with the box and starts feeling it up to reveal its secrets. First, she manages to open a gateway to a fun slobbering, snapping thing that defies physics when it flies and has a stinger for a tail, but after she escapes, she meets the Cenobites. And the only thing the Cenobites want more than to play with Kirsty is to get Frank back.
As gory as it can be, the meat of this movie isn’t effects; it’s Julia turning into a monster for the sake of her love of Frank and it’s Frank being an inhuman bastard who has a 50/50 shot at sticking a knife or his penis in you, and even then probably not where you’d expect. It’s Larry’s marriage turning to ash in front of his hapless, loser eyes and it’s Kirsty being unable to save her father from his own mistakes. The Cenobites are hella memorable, but in this movie, they’re more of a force of nature being invoked by some terribly human appetites.

Also, the Cenobites aren’t clearly Satan-based demons here, despite the title. The Lead Cenobite (Pinhead to you) announces them as “angels to some; demons to others.” That was on the posters, and it’s pretty damn apt. They get to be both in this movie, and while there’s an oblique acknowledgment of hell, it’s arguable whether it refers to a literal Judeo-Christian hell. I’m making that point, because later films are going to go backsies on some of this. But as far as we know in the first movie, they’re just supernaturally-endowed swingers from another dimension.
This is a film Clive Barker made after seeing other filmmakers butcher material from a couple of his other short stories, and he basically said, [bleep], I’m going to do this my way, and it’s going to be awesome. And then he said, oh, [bleep], I don’t know what I’m doing. But he was wrong about that. It’s a tight script and he directs the hell out of it, including some really clever shots and setups. All the actors give it everything they’ve got. There are no limits. So decades later, it’s still scary and there’s not much like it; Phantasm probably is the only series I can think of with a similar feel. I do still have eight movies to go in my Hellraiser-a-thon, but I feel pretty safe saying if there’s one Hellraiser you should see, it’s this one.

roadside attractions

  • Piercing fetishes
  • Extreme maggot wrangling
  • American-dubbed British people because U.S. market
  • Chains of love
  • Guys getting hammered
  • Lots of ectoplasm. At least, I hope it’s ectoplasm.
  • Cannibalizing action
  • Full backal nudity
totals

10

blood

BLOOD

Everything that is inside eventually comes outside in this movie.

0

blood

BREASTS


…Except boobs. No boobs. If you don’t look away in time, you may see Frank’s junk though.

10

beast

BEASTS Big slobbering stinger-equipped monster, big flying pterodactyl-like monster, skinless Uncle Frank, and Cenobites for the win.

9 OVERALL Even with some dated SFX, the movie holds up and is still scary, provocative, and – why not say it? – artistically fulfilling. Check it the hell out.
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Apr

posted by Doktor | April 13, 2015 | 90's movies, Action, B-movie Reviews, B-movies, Kung-fu, Review by Doktor

Tagline: You Have the Right to Remain Silent … Dead Silent

Year: 1991          Runtime: 96 min

Director: Amir Shervan

Writer: Amir Shervan

Starring: Robert Z’Dar, Matt Hannon, Jannis Farley

Note: Samurai Cop is a tough movie, from a very rough time in American history—the 90s. This roughness manifests itself in some explicit language. It’s not drunken sailor level but enough to be offensive to innocent ears. We’re family friendly here at The Lost Highway and therefore have taken the liberty of substituting more appropriate language, [in brackets like this], to keep things PG.

On with the show.

First and foremost let me say Samurai Cop sets the bar for entertaining b-movies in a way not achieved since Ed Wood’s Plan 9 From Outer Space. Now, I know what you’re thinking, Doktor is nothing if not hyperbolic, and you’re right. This time I’m serious. Serious as waking up to find a pool of blood on your pillow. And you’re in the middle of downtown’s main square. And you’re stark naked. Yeah. Samurai Cop is that good. I mean bad. Whatever.

Here’s the one-sentence pitch: Miami Vice meets Miami Connection set in Los Angeles.

Not sure exactly what that means, where here’s the long and long of it:

[Warning: Because Samurai Cop is so AWE-some This Review is One TL;DR Spoiler]

The movie opens with a Katana gang strategy meeting. Nothing gets an audience excited like a gang working on their mission statement. It grounds the movie in the staleness of the everyday. Everyone can relate to the dreaded Monday Morning Meeting, right? Filmmakers would later learn that it’s gritty reality that really gets audiences’ juices flowing, but we’re talking 1991 here. Having guys who look like they were picked up at Stop n Go passing around a Mad Dog 20/20 discus how to grow their gang’s brand was edge-of-your-seat story-telling.

According to the minutes, the Katanas need to befriend other gangs, except the Japanese. It’s war on the Japanese. So says Fujiyama, Katana leader. It’s heart-breaking. Self-hating Japanese. They’re their own worst enemies.

First item on their agenda is have another meeting. This time with the Chinese. Fujiyama sends his best man, D’zar-san on this delicate diplomatic mission. Mr. Lee, the Chinese leader, decides is no good. D’zar-san and minions kill the fool. If the Katanas can’t have you as their friend, no one will.

But enough of that, jump cut to: our heroes, Samurai Joe and Frank the Black Guy. Samurai is a highly trained martial artist, fluent in Japanese, and has a man mane that makes first season Full House star John Stamos look like Sir Patrick Stewart. Frank is black.

They’re cops, i.e. a Value Brand X version Crockett and Tubbs, but less creepy. Frank brought Samurai to help bust the Katana gang. Or is it Samurai is there because he has some information on a Katana gang drug deal? It’s confusing. Regardless, Samurai is in from San Diego. Is that important? Not really. Samurai Cop is chocked full of not important exposition.

The drug deal is going down at the marina. Frank calls in helicopter support for production value, and to help tail the Katana’s blue van. And watch the boat in the marina. Luckily Whirlybird Wench Peggy is on duty. She has eyes that move independent of one another like a chameleon, which is great in this situation. Not so much at parties. At parties she just freaks people out. Because there’s some confusion about where the cocaine is, in the boat or in van, Frank wants her to watch the boat, Samurai the van.

Unfortunately everyone is inept, and they lose sight of both. And what’s really important in life. It’s a right proper cluster jam.

In the resulting confusion, the sale is made. This segues nicely into the need for a pathetic chase scene. Pathetic in that the footage is sped up to give the illusion the cars are moving faster than 10 mph. Moreover, the villians can’t hit Samurai and Frank’s car, with a shotgun, out the wide open back of the van, despite there being less than a car length between them. All the while Samurai’s coaching Frank, “Shoot. Shoot. Shoot him.” Add awesome coach to Samurai’s impressive skill set above because, sigh, it works.

Then the van comes to a soft stop by driving into a dirt pile and explodes. Because.

Having accomplished something, Samurai and Officer Peggy Harlot do celebration Hootchie-Kootchie Lick-em Yum-Yums.

Note: I’m not being misogynistic with the name calling. I’m trying to capture the Shervan’s portrayal of his female characters which is informed by his understanding of women which stopped when he was 13. Peggy is a one dimensional nymphomaniac wrapped in a sexual harassment joke. And she shows her ta-tas. Te he he!

Back at Katana HQ, Fujiyama is pissed. He orders D’zar-san to behead the captured Katana thug and place the head on his piano. That’ll show him. Or something.

At the hospital, the hood’s room is exactly next door to the dentist office. This raises a question: what kind of government funded halfway hospital is this? Anyway, Samurai and Frank want to question their suspect but can’t because his back was badly burned in the ‘splosion. Needless to say, his lips won’t work for a  couple months.

There’s some prepubescent flirting with a nurse after which Samurai instructs the guard to only allow doctors and nurses into room. So when Ginger, D’zar-san’s main squeeze and all around evil gal, comes disguised as a cleaning crew person to change the garbage, wheeling in a big, covered cart, she’s allowed right in. Some people are so weak minded not even Jedi Mind Tricks are necessary. A completely convincing decapitation ensues, which turns into a lame chase through the hospital. D’zar-san and Ginger escape through the back exit, which is an apartment complex. Add a farmer’s market, tax assistance, and furniture and tire sales to this hospital and you’d have a ghetto swap meet.

Enter Captain Oscar Grouch. Samurai and Frank get the business from their uptight commanding officer. “Grumble, grumble, grumble. Dead bodies piling up. Grumble, grumble, grumble. Loose cannon. Grumble, grumble, grumble. Yeah, like somebody stuck a big club up my [tail pipe] and it hurts. I’ve got to figure out a way to get it out of there.” Whoa! Not a proportionate escalation there, Captain.

Samurai and Frank extract themselves to follow up a lead at the Blue Lagoon. Fujiyama is meeting with his lawyer and seducing Chickie, the young, blonde daughter of the owner of the restaurant. There’s some apathetic looks and then Samurai erupts with a mind numbing speech about selling destruction to the children. He’s gonna put a stop to it by putting Fujiyama and the Katanas in the ground. To put a point on it he concludes with a little flirting with Chickie.

Oooo. Burn, Fujiyama. Burn!

D’zar-san’s doesn’t allow that insult to to pass quietly. He sends in the goons for some poorly choreographed slow-fighting with Samurai and Frank in the parking lot. One goon grabs a katana from a random Datsun, failing to understand this is a gun fight. Frank guns him down as a lesson. Samurai seizes the opportunity to add some more production value by severing another goon’s arm. D’zar-san, following the “Code of Silence,” kills all the fallen goons to keep them from talking.

Later, back at the Blue Lagoon, Samurai puts on the Old Spice charm. Lion Head, Girlie’s magical wall ornamentation is not impressed. Lion Head grants Girlie the power of chastity +3 against cheesy pickup lines. This allows her to make her saving throws verses Samurai’s charms. What’s more, she has to go to church, so…

Maybe next time, Samurai.

Before Samurai can even make it to the front door some punks stop him for more poorly choreographed slow-fighting. Samurai takes them out with a couple hi-ya chops. Steven Hawkins could’ve taken them, but a fight scene’s a fight scene, amirite? One punks runs, but after a stilted Horror Ingenue Trip and Fall, Samurai catches him. A twist of the arm and he’s wagging his tongue prettier than a $3 prostitute.

Samurai learns that Okamura, Fujiyama’s number 2, hired the assassins to kill him. If he and Frank catch Okamura they can bring down Fujiyama. Why can’t they do so for D’zar-san sending in the boys to kill them in the Blue Lagoon’s parking lot? Again, because.

At Okamura’s house Police Hooker Peggy throws herself at everyone present. Seriously, it’s anything that moves with her. This has nothing to do with anything of course, but it does pad out the runtime. Still, there’s a job to do, and no one has money for penicillin, so back to the action. Or whatever. Samurai and Frank bust in on Okamura’s Hootchie-Kootchie Lick-em Yum-Yums. A pulse slowing chase scene develops, followed by some Kung Fool fighting. Just when we think Okamura is down, his ruse works allowing him to disarm Frank. And Samurai has to kill Okamura which sends them back to the drawing board.

Uhm. Hello! D’zar-san killed several people, and attempted murder of police officers.

Cut to a second Katana meeting. The topic this time is their police problem. They can’t kill the cops, that would obviously be connected to them. Solution: call in the New York bruisers to break Samurai and Frank’s legs. Why this is less likely to be traced back to them, when they haven’t been arrested for killing their own guys and attempted murder of police—

Okay, fine. You get it. There’s a huge plot hole. I’ll move on. I’m just saying. Doesn’t anyone pay attention?

The next scene is a real head scratcher. Samurai is at movie studio, specifically in the editing room. Not surprising there’s no explanation. No context. Nothing. My guess is Samurai’s watching dailies of the film so far. Enter the New York Bruisers. Cue another gimpy fight. The bruisers, like their LA couterparts, are terrible shots, even up close with shotguns. This is laughable because Samurai moves slower than trying to pass a bowel movement composed of six pounds of steak.

But enough of that, the movie needs some lurvin’. Cut to D’zar-san and Ginger doing Hootchie-Kootchie Lick-em Yum-Yums. If Okamura can get some strange why not number one D’zar-san? Sadly, like Okamura’s, his is interrupted. By a call from the boss. No time for tomfoolery. Fujiyama’s mullet may suggest there’s a party going on, but he is all bidness.

Now we’re at the Episcopal Church. Remember, Girlie couldn’t go on a date because she had church. Well, ever the smooth operator, and knowing Lions Head won’t be there to negatively affect his vibrations, Samurai catches her on the way out to her car. He uses the old, “I’ve got some police questions for you. They’re over here in my windowless van.” line.

Hook. Line. Sinker.

Fujiyama’s man, who was there to pull the same ambush, witnesses the whole affair and runs home to tell on Samurai. All bets are off. Fujiyama wants Samurai dead.

At Samurai’s house we learn what Shervan considers a little romantic lunch: a stolen neighbor’s pet chicken, killed, de-feathered, and fried, a bag of wine, and some wax fruit. This starts a Samarai’s Gonna Get Some and The Bad Guys Are Closing In montage:

  • D’zar-san and hoodlums start at Sargent One-Line’s house to get Samurai’s address. No good. They kill Sargent One-Line and his wife. D’zar-san and gang split into two teams. One for Frank. The other for Pegboard Peggy.
  • Meanwhile, hot speedo action on the beach with Samurai and Girlie.
  • Hoodlums at Franks threaten to cut off his “black gift”. Frank’s too smooth for all that jive. Besides, someone’s got to warn Samurai.
  • Meanwhile, swimming in Samurai’s pool. Girlie shows her diving skills that lost her last place in the Special Olympics 1990. Awe-struck, Samurai doesn’t hear his phone ringing.
  • At Doozy Floozy’s, Trollop Peggy is frying up some ice cubes. She thwarts the hoodlums initial attacks on her. Goes for her gun, but they overpower her. They hold her down while D’zar-san pours hot grease on her bathing suit area. Knowing the Humped Strumpet’s proclivities, a deep-fried bologna curtain is worse than death, so he leaves her alive. Mostly. If you call a fried Pacman living.
  • Meanwhile, Samurai sings happy birthday to Girlie in his speedo. Ugh. I don’t know which is worse, the singing or the speedo. (Be warned, seeing both will burn the accursed images into your mind. FOREVER!) This sets things up for Samurai’s second helping of Hootchie-Kootchie Lick-em Yum-Yums. Frank is good enough to wait postcoitus to call back.

D’zar-san and hoodlums show up just as Frank warns Samurai. Samurai and Girlie try to escape out the back window, only to be chased around the house Yakety Sax style. When all looks lost, Samurai gets the bright idea to go back inside, wait a moment, and then leave out the front. Samurai’s sweet Honda is in the driveway. Duh! They jump in and zoom off to safety.

Samurai drops Girlie off at the Blue Lagoon. Girlie’s mom has been worried sick about her. Girlie always comes straight home after church. And Mr. Fujiyama has been looking for her. How careless of Girlie. What about all the things Fujiyama’s done to help them out. But Girlie doesn’t care, the ungrateful jezebel. She’s in LURV. With Samurai!

Fujiyama was behind the door. He overheard. Duhn Duhn Duhn!

Samurai and Frank return to Captain Oscar Grouch for a final counsel. “Grumble, grumble, grumble. Lose my job. Grumble, grumble, grumble. Breathing down my neck. Grumble, grumble grumble. All I care about is getting Fujiyama. Go on a killing spree. Burn his house into a blood bath. When it’s done we’ll all turn in our badges.”

Wait. What? Seriously?

At Fujiyama’s. Seriously. Can you guess what happens? Can’t shoot gun fight. Where does Fujiyama find these guys? As a last defense, Fujiyama uses Girlie as human shield. Samurai and Frank disarm and Fujiyama shoots Frank. He villain monologues before shooting Samurai, which gives Frank time to get his gun and shoot Fujiyama first.

But wait a minute. He shot Frank. We saw him fall. Well, yes and no. Sadly, this is the only time a bad guy’s bullet hits the mark, but, wait for it, Frank was wearing a bullet-proof vest. Insert Price Is Right Fail Dramatic Sting.

Finally, the final boss fight. D’zar-san vs Samurai. D’zar-san drives up in his Suzuki Samurai. Shervan just couldn’t help himself. There’s a long, dark walk of shame as Samurai and D’zar-san show off their Star Wars Kid style, that is, they flail their katanas around destroying the landscaping and a passing pigeon. Samurai wins, natch. As Samurai is about to finish D’zar-san off Frank stops him. “No, Samurai. Your a cop.”

‘Cos killing him would be wrong. Never mind the sponsored killing spree you were both just partaking of.

One final Sexy Sexy Speedo moment with Samurai and Girlie before fading to black.

This movie is the quintessential “so bad it’s good” movie. It is a must see for any MYSTie type, and will even go over well with those who are not necessarily fans of b-movies. I cannot stress it hard enough that you run to your favorite DVD seller and get your copy. AND, better still, according to Cinema Epoch, Samurai Cop is going on the Midnight Movie Circuit, so look for it in an art house theater near, or far, from you starting May 31, 2015.

roadside attractions

  • Hear! Samurai’s fluent Japanese when he translates words like Katana (“It means Japanese sword”)!
  • See! The unbelievable mansion, on the beach, in Los Angeles, that Samurai is renting while working on the Katana gang case. Consulting gigs are SUH-weet!
  • Thrill! At Good-to-Go Peggy’s magic drawer. At first it only contains an automatic pistol. Jump cut and it’s full of miscellaneous debris. Jump cut and she’s pulling out an old-time western revolver. David Copperfielderific!
  • Experience! The lack of continuity (AGAIN) in the final battle scene as Samurai’s gun changes from an automatic to a revolver to an automatic!
  • Feel! The stomach churning passion of hideous men doing Hootchie-Kootchie Lick-em Yum-Yums on actresses who didn’t sign up for this [puppy]!
totals

10

blood

BLOOD

This movie is slathered in the old Louisiana Hot Sauce!

10

blood

BREASTS

The men are hi-deous. The womerns de-lovely and de-licious!

10

beast

BEASTS

Robert D’zar!

10 OVERALL
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Apr

Welcome back to another review, folks! So. You know those movies you really want to be good, but just aren’t? The situation when you know the actors, their skills, even sometimes their histories, but the movie they’re in is just so….boring. This is where this movie lies. I only watched it, truthfully, beacause I recognized some of the names in the ‘Starring’ box. Ow. My nostalgia. Why am I going on about this? Well, let’s get started and find out.

This movie is starring an actor I’ve been aware of and following since they were a child star….Not…not in a creepy way, either. Ahem. Anyways, the arguable ‘main star’ of this movie is Miranda Cosgrove, playing every stereotype in every horror movie, ever. Yeah. It’s that bad. How bad? Well. Let’s see: Lost a parent? Check. Current parent thrown into their work to not cope? Check. Teenager left alone constantly? Check. Whining about being somewhere else incessantly? Check. Bland, predictable romance with what seems to be the only boy in all of the city? Check. Oh, the list goes on and on. I was going to turn this movie into a drinking game, like I have others in the past, but if I did that I’d be begging someone for a liver transplant. You can do the exact same checklist of tropes for every. Single. Character. In fact, I encourage you to make a checklist and go down it as the movie plays.

So the story goes as every other story has gone. The mother of the main character committed suicide, though this is tip-toed around until near the end, forcing the father to take their emotionally unstable daughter to Chicago for a change of pace. Enter ‘We gotta fix up this place’ scenario to introduce the one man crew of a restoring company character. But not before we meet the pouty, mopey, bland as water neighbors: a daughter and a father. The father played by Tom Sizemore, one of my favorite actors, is of course given a ‘I’m so creepy I could be a murderer’ vibe to try and push this already boring story forward. And by push it forward I mean add little, to nothing, to the plot. The daughter, however, is angsty and doesn’t really like the new neighbors, leaving the meeting with an ominous line. Or it would be ominous if you could understand it! The entire conversation I just told you about is done in such hushed tones and mumbles that I had to switch on the subtitles. And, for some reason, as Miranda Cosgrove’s character leaves the driveway scene of mumbling, she finds a necklace on the ground. If you just said that the necklace pertains to the house being haunted; go get yourself a cookie.

That’s right. We start to push the supernatural aspect at this point, shadows walking by open doors, crying in the night, all of which has the teenage daughter up in arms, but the father, despite us knowing he’s sleeping in the same house, doesn’t hear a thing. But, then again, if I were popping painkillers like this guy was, I’d probably be just as comatose. Things start to pop up, a doll’s head, a half eaten potato, a can of tuna, and, of course, more info about who used to live in the house before. I don’t get the potato thing, either, folks. Begin research montage! Typical, I know, I know. End with more supposed supernatural things happening, but not too frightening, cause in the midst of all this mystery and possible murder the main character finds time to sneak out and go to a pool party with her would-be boyfriend. Gotta keep those priorities in line, folks! So after that happens, don’t worry, there’s no underage shenanigans going on in this movie; the cold shouldered neighbor suddenly becomes the chatty Kathy.

After some very shaky exposition, and I do mean shaky, as to some young woman who was abused, ran away, was taken under wing by some creepy spinster and her son, who is equally creepy. The young woman suddenly disappears, as does the creepy son, and they all chalk it up to running away together. Although the neighbor, Tom Sizemore, does get indicted for kidnapping and such, but that’s just there to keep the story somewhat diverse. It fails. After a suicide scare scene between Miranda Cosgrove’s character and her father, which, truth be told, the best scene in the movie. Why? We actually get to see the two actors really belt out a scene, and in that scene, it’s actually well put together. I’ll give kudos where it’s due. Too bad the rest of the movie is lacking that genuine feel and actual chemistry between the two characters. It’s a single shimmer of good in a whole lot of bad, but it is a good scene. And let me tell you, you’ll need it to stomach the remainder of the movie. Right after this scene we go directly into the final scenes.

I won’t spoil anything, but it’s all so painfully obvious that you can’t watch it and say “Of course that would happen!” in a sarcastic tone. You will literally mean it. With bad pacing, an opening that promised horror, the rest of the movie that fails to do so, weak acting from good actors, and a script so generic bread looks exciting, this movie fails at being horror, suspense, or anything truly scary. Thanks for reading, folks! And, as always, Stay Tuned!

roadside attractions

  • Really? Just…Really
  • Everyone Saw That Coming
  • Old Cell Phone
  • Juice Nazi
  • New Cell Phone
  • Concerned About Taxi Rides
  • Not About Haunted Houses
totals

2

blood BLOOD

One Strangling. One Stabbing.

1

blood BREASTS

There’s a pool party. That’s it.

0

beast BEASTS

Creepy is as creepy does.

2 OVERALL
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Watch the trailer for ”The Intruders”

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Apr

posted by Barry Goodall | April 5, 2015 | 90's movies, B-movie Reviews, B-movies, Bad movie, Review by Barry Goodall

Fresh from drug rehab, Corey Feldman plays Andy, a struggling writer who visits a college campus to hangout with his easily annoyed girlfriend Rebecca. “Becky” kicks him to the curb so he pledges a fraternity of voodoo worshipping yuppies all because his girlfriend won’t let him crash on her couch. The new frat brothers drug him and give him a home-made dragon tattoo forcing him to snuggle with a dead girl in a pit of chicken bones. Still way better than carrying cherries around with your butt cheeks for a hazing. Thinking it was all just a bad dream from the cajun food, he gets a bit suspicious when the fraternities head voodoo doctor, Marsh performs acupuncture on a ken doll that causes their neighbor to blow his brains out with a shotgun. Andy decides he has had enough and spikes one of their drinks with some table salt (it’s voodoo zombie kryptonite.) Epileptic seizure hilarity ensues and he has to dive out the window just as Columbo in a k-car rescues him with a sonic dead chicken horn that causes Marsh’s ears to bleed.

He drives Andy to a secret room where he tells him that Marsh wants to live forever but needs him as the final sacrificed brother to make the ritual complete. Wanting to get out of dodge, he tracks down Rebecca to warn her and she easily accepts his insane story and starts searching through schools files with her roommate. Not sure what she hopes to find. Maybe a dead chicken head or proof of voodoo tax evasion? Rebecca’s professor finds them and injects her friend in the neck with some green poison which means instant death and no extra credits. She should have known with all those seminars in black magic and goat sacrificing that her professor was in on the whole thing.

Rebecca is kidnapped by a security guard and gets thrown into the backseat of a Lincoln Continental. Meanwhile Andy is stuck battling a frat zombie in Bob Marey’s former smoking lounge. He escapes and tracks his girlfriend down to a basement temple where Marsh just stabbed the rest of his frathouse brothers and doused himself in talcum powder and just grey for men hair coloring gel. Rebecca is tied up and gaged which has got to be a relief to Andy from her constant judgement of his life choices. He impales Marsh with a metal pipe covered in magic dust the exact same way you’d kill a circus del soil dancer.  Andy and Becky escape to transfer to a community college free of Voodoo curses and career prospects and frathouses everywhere are safe once again..well except for drunk co-eds.

Barry Goodall says to checkout “Voodoo” and remember to keep your voodoo doll in it’s original packaging. it’s worth more on eBay that way.

Oh yeah, a Becky actually did break up with me once in college and became a Barista. It’s the 3B’s of college… Becky, Breakup, Barista. But I’m not bitter.

roadside attractions

  • Goat herding
  • Six undead fratboys
  • Salt attack
  • Bleeding ear
  • Hypodermic needle to the neck
  • Multiple sacrifices
  • Car hood-slam dunking
  • Bottle shankin’
  • Pipe impalement
  • Ken-doll Voodoo
totals

5

blood

BLOOD

Most of the blood is from the chicken sacrifices.

8

blood

BREASTS

Out of nowhere we have gratuitous nudity just to wake you up. It maybe a requirement of any movie filmed in a college dorm.

9

beast

BEASTS

a snake, a goat, undead fratboys and drunk fratboys

8 OVERALL
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Mar


Leonard Nimoy is so not Spock in “Baffled,” a movie that probably should have a spoiler tag on its opening credits. And it does have opening credits. That’s because “Baffled” was actually a failed TV pilot, and why it failed, I’ll never know. A paranormal mystery show starring Leonard Nimoy paired with a smart blonde and medium-high sexual tension? Nothing on TV in the 70s was as good as that, not even when they were drunk on “Match Game.” Plus the opening theme is just so rockin’.

Nimoy’s star turn here is as Tom Kovack, a charismatic Indy race car driver who discovers he has psychic visions when one abruptly sends him skidding into a near-fatal accident on the track. The vision itself just consists of tracking shots of an imposing English estate, slo-mo Vera Miles screaming, a hay wagon, a girl walking down stairs, and a woman’s voice repeating, “It’s Wyndham in Devon, dear.” Sadly, Peter Cushing is not in his pit crew.

The next day, Tom reluctantly tells a TV interviewer about his vision, because they didn’t know about pre-interviews in the 1970s the same way they didn’t know about colors other than brown and orange. Rare book dealer and out-of-his-league blonde Michelle Brent catches the interview on telly and is intrigued. Destined to be the Mulder to his Scully, the Giles to his Buffy, and the Diane to his Sam, she visits Tom and suggests that they go fight the forces of Vague Menace from his vision together. Skeptical Tom refuses the call to adventure, although not before trying to hit on her a couple times, so he’s still clearly Not Spock.

Adventure is at telemarketer levels of persistence though and zings Tom with another vision, this time leaving him drenched in saltwater in the middle of his hotel room – a little something for the ladies. He follows up with Michelle and the two of them take a sabbatical from gainful employment and real lives to go Scooby it up at the manor house, also a vacation spot, Wyndham in Devon.

The manor house entertains several guests apart from our heroes, but the focus of mystery and the girls of Tom’s dreams, so to speak, are film star Andrea Glenn (“special guest star Vera Miles” ) and her daughter Jennifer. Andrea and Jennifer have arrived at Wyndham to meet with Andrea’s estranged husband and Jennifer’s dad, English actor Duncan Sanford. Now of all the things this movie presents as weird or uncanny, this is the only disturbing part to me, and it’s something we’re expected to just sort of roll with. The actress playing Jennifer is clearly old enough to drive, if not vote, but she’s playing a 12-year-old. That’s not the weird part. She’s also a 12-year-old who wears pigtails and carries around a stuffed animal and calls her mother “Mommy.” But that’s still not the weird part.

The weird part is this: Andrea has not seen Duncan in all that time, her daughter’s entire life, and Jennifer claims never to have met her – sigh – “Daddy.” I get that Andrea and Duncan are split up and she’s in America and he’s in England, but for a world-famous actress, hopping across the pond to visit the father of your child shouldn’t be that big a deal, should it? At least once? And if Duncan is such an ogre that he doesn’t want to meet his own daughter, why does Jennifer glowingly idealize him? She doesn’t even know what he looks like. How is that possible in the 20th century? And Andrea doesn’t seem to be protecting Jennifer from any other details of her rocky relationship with Duncan. Am I giving too much thought to this? Yes. Yes, I am. But it’s weird, right?

Then after all that, Duncan fails to show up to greet Andrea and Jennifer as planned anyway. Jerk.

As soon as he arrives, Tom of course recognizes Andrea and her daughter from his visions. He and Michelle then set about digging up information on them and the other guests, since the evil at Wyndham is still pretty ill-defined. All they’ve got is Tom’s vision of Andrea screaming. I mean, Andrea could have been screaming at anything – a spider, the minibar bill, a lunatic dressed as his mother with a butcher knife, anything. Could the vague menace be the groovy young newlyweds? Or maybe it’s the Italian guy? The standard issue English butler? And what’s up with the diffidently bitchy owner of the manor house, Mrs. Farraday? She’s de-aging like so much Cher. That’s not right.

Meanwhile, Jennifer secretly meets with her Dad, who insists Jennifer wear a gaudy medallion with a wolf’s head on it, but not tell her mother about it or him until he says so. So clearly nothing going on there.

Poor, stood-up Andrea tries to locate her husband, fails, and soon suffers the onset of Sudden Gothic Heroine Syndrome, with the usual hallucinations, gauzy nightgown-clad fleeing, and sudden, debilitating illnesses that keep you from grabbing your daughter and getting the hell out. Jennifer goes from Cindy on the Brady Bunch to the 70s equivalent of Miley twerking in the course of a couple days. Tom and Michelle Scooby hard, but the red herrings keep throwing up false positives for Tom’s untested psychic gifts. Plus they find themselves on the wrong side of the Vague Menace and have to save themselves over and over, although I do have to say having seen this, it’s less them saving themselves and more the Vague Menace not following through on its evil plans. You’ve got Michelle alone in the back of a truck and unconscious. Finish it! What, is this your first insidious Satanic plot?

The movie goes on, probably for about 15 minutes and 2 red herrings too long. It would have been a great TV episode though. I envision Roddy McDowall and Donald Pleasance as evil cultists in later episodes. Sadly, the only “Baffled” we got was this one, which is both too much and not enough, thanks to the meandering plot and extremely Vague Menace. It may still be worth your time with caveats: basically if you love Leonard Nimoy or you just want something on in the background to fall asleep to.

roadside attractions

  • A chase scene with no power steering
  • Wheelchair-based combat
  • Looking deep into Leonard Nimoy’s soulful brown eyes
  • Rear projection psychic projection
  • All the turtlenecks the 1970s had to offer
totals

0

blood

BLOOD

For all the foreboding, most violence stays offscreen and at Nancy Drew levels.

1

blood

BREASTS

There’s some dowager décolletage, but that’s less titillating than a 2-second glimpse of Nimoy’s treasure trail.

1

beast

BEASTS

No beasts to speak of, only surprisingly spry old ladies.

1.5 OVERALL But add 6 points if you have ever read Spock slashfic. 8 if you’ve written it.
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