Aug

I’ve been doing a lot of reviews of recent films, but there’s a reason, and I promise to return to the vintage side of things soon. But, for now, let’s talk about a remake. A tried and true tale of time: The haunted house. Now, I see many reviewers that have panned this movie, but the way I see it is this: A remake is only as good as the way it’s received. You gotta take off the nostalgia goggles, forget the original movie, and enjoy the ride. So let’s ride, folks!

This movie begins like all haunted house stories does: Family moves into a new place, explores it, bad stuff happens. I’m going to try and not make a lot of comparisons to the original, folks, but some must be made. This time around the family is consisted of a middle class family down on their luck. The father is unemployed, the mother is a stay at home mom with hopes of becoming a writer, a bratty teenager, a young son, and an even younger daughter. Now, usually the first mistake that most remakes make is failing to update the material, and I’m happy to say that this movie does that very well. They have modern technology and modern day problems.

The house of haunt that they move in to is wired to the core for high speed internet and security systems galore. The only reason I mention this is because a good writer just gave us a whole lot of background with a quick and simple fact. But, for the family it just means one less expense, and for the viewer it means less montages of unpacking. Shortly after arriving and getting somewhat settled in the new couple is invited to a dinner party with some local folks that spend their time laughing at the poor, it seems. I’m not one to throw stones, but c’mon, the last time I saw this many wasps I was being chased by them because of a water-hose incident. Don’t ask. But, they do reveal that the land is built upon an old graveyard, but the graveyard was moved. Plus we get one of the best lines in the movie regarding an ancient burial ground.

While the parents are away the ghosts will play. Back at casa de haunt bad stuff starts to happen. We got a tree that is very grabby, clawing at the young boys window, wifi that goes haywire and leads the teenage daughter into a garage, and the youngest little girl gets visits from her “imaginary” friends. Unlike other movies, that spend a whole lot of time getting built up, creepy stuff starts happening from the get-go. This first night is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Then it hits the fan. The boy is assaulted by a creepy clown doll, the teenager is grabbed by muddy zombie ghost fingers, and the little girl stares into a vortex that would make Doctor Who jealous. Usually these types of scenes are ones that employ jump scares, but this movie does it with atmosphere, music, and a good buildup.

Another thing I like about this remake is the relate-ability of the characters. The father begins to drink, the wife begs him not to, and FOR ONCE IN HORROR MOVIES he listens, dumping the devil juice down the sink. The teenager is just as bratty as any real one is, and the two younger children are actually tolerable! Why do I mention this? Because they make you want to care about them. So, after a night of debauchery and hauntings, the worst happens: The little girl get sucked into the world of the dead. Or as some people call it: Florida. Just like the original the family decides that going head to head with the specters is a bad idea, so they call in help. First up on the list of characters whose names we aren’t going to remember: Paranormal Investigation Team College Edition.

Short chick, tall guy, and their leader The Librarian go to the house and start to probe, poke, and doubt. There’s even an exchange between tall guy and the young boy where the accusation of the search of fame is the motivation behind the entire thing, inferring it’s a hoax. I know my own choice of words would’ve been much more colorful, but the young man still shuts him down. What’s that, on the horizon? Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it five time WCW World Champion Booker T? No! It’s….It’s….KARMA! Oh, sweet, sweet, and cruel karma! Following his callous accusation tall guy is tasked with mounting some piece of tech, whose relevance is inconsequential, in the nightmare closet with a drill. It’s at this point the spooks decide to let him know that they are, indeed, real. He gets up close and personal with a drill bit, inching towards his skull.

Needless to say, the small college team is not enough to deal with our haunters, so they call in the big guns. No, not some “medium” whose voice is so high pitched only certain breeds of dogs and four rodents can hear it, but a sturdy, Irish gentleman with his own ghost show. The kicker, of course, is his catch phrase: “This house is clean!” With no shame, whatsoever, I can admit that I chuckled. With no cameras in tow we find out that he is, as a matter of fact, a real medium. What I love about this character is the way he’s written, not like a superhero, or some paranormal badass, but a man with a gift, and very human. In fact, he and The Librarian are ex husband and wife, leading to some very well written dialogue between the two.

An earlier, irresponsible, purchase has left the young man with a drone camera. So they decide to send that in, after some setup, to try and find the young girl in the world of the dead. This is where the movie takes a cool turn, showing us what’s on the other side of the veil, and let me tell you: It ain’t pretty. Lightning! Chanting! Tables! Ectoplasm! And the final show down between the alive and the dead commences! But. No spoilers, folks.

With all seriousness I can say that this movie is actually really good. Putting aside all forms of nostalgia and preformed criticism, this is a hell of a ride, even giving me the willies once or twice. The material has been successfully updated, the characters and their interactions with the ghosts are much more believable this time around. Though CGI was heavily used, I still wholly approve of this movie. There are still some horror tropes woven in, but it adds to the fact that the filmmakers have not forgotten where they came from. Give this movie a watch, ASAP. And if you end up at the gates of the ooey-gooey, just tell them Deadman sent you. Stay tuned, folks!

roadside attractions

  • Finances are tight but they bought a house.
  • Never trust the realtor.
  • Teenagers.
  • Count the clowns.
  • Doll eyes. Stuffed animal doll eyes.
  • Stop counting clowns!
  • Don’t do that.
  • That’s a dirty drink.
totals

3

blood

BLOOD

There’s no gore, but plenty of gooeyness.

1

blood

BREASTS

None to be shown, but there’s that one shot.

7

beast

BEASTS

Trees, clowns, dolls, deadfolk. We got a smorgasbord, here!

8.5 OVERALL
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Watch the trailer for Poltergeist

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Aug

Welcome to another review, folks! Now, I’ve covered a lot of different kind of horror movies in my reviews, so it makes me kind of proud to say that this is a first in this genre: Cybernatural. Now, I’m not saying anyone else on this wonderful site hasn’t done it, just me. As I’ve said before, anything can be a scary movie, just add the right elements. And in this review we have all the right elements to give us a pretty interesting setup. Let’s get to Unfriended.

This movie begins with a Skype call between two teenage kids, a boy and girl, of course, sharing some intimacies that will make you uncomfortable. I mean, seriously, I’m aware that countless other horror movies have used naked teenagers in them, but this is borderline voyeurism. Why is it so intimate? Because the movies perspective is from the laptop screen of one of the teens. We find out that this is the anniversary of the suicide of a friend, caused by cyberbullying. After we see the appropriate video, detailing the events that happened prior to this setup, all of the couples friends are suddenly summoned to the private moment. Mood killer, I know.

They all begin to question why they’re there, like the rest of us, and begin to converse, only to notice there’s a user in the Skype call that is not registered. Mystery begins! This setup, thus far, is pretty boring, I know, but stick with me, folks, this ride gets bumpy. Once the user is attempted to be hung up on, removed, deleted, and all but given to the Spanish Inquisition, the mystery steps up a notch. I have to warn you, though, as you watch this movie you will be tempted to close all the tabs and windows the character has open, searching for your mouse the whole time. And while annoying, it does give a very real feel to the movie, and I like that.

Soon after they begin to poke and prod the mysterious presence equally mysterious messages begin to appear, everyone in the chat thinking that the others are sending them. A scene from the trailers makes its way in and then things start to get weird. The disembodied chatter wants to start playing games. I think the folks that wrote this watched Saw a few too many times. But not before pictures, that were previously unpublished, make their way to several of their Facebook pages, exposing one girl and her partying ways. Tempers flare, words are exchanged, and here’s where the tension begins to build.

The incriminating pictures are removed from one account, only to appear on another. More tempers! More words! More incoherent shouting! And the game begins. No, there’s no Jigsaw voice employed. I’m disappointed, too. Seems the person terrorizing our little group of teens doesn’t like being hung up on. The nerd of the group finds a program to remove the user and the infected files they believe is causing the anomaly, freeing them. Though the fix is just temporary. Our resident nerd is now on the chopping block.

Now that the threat has been established as real the rest of the gang is now all on board with playing the malevolent being’s series of games. The ghost must be a teenager, as it favors the game ‘Never have I ever’. Another teen is offed in the process as the tension in the movie begins to build. This, I have to say, is probably the highlight of these young actors. The scenes and their behaviors are all very, very genuine, and easy to believe. I was very impressed with the fact that they were able to make ME feel on edge with their performances.

As we learned earlier in the movie, but I have yet to detail, the reason for the grizzly deaths and the haunting, is the dead teen wants to find out who shot and uploaded the video that pushed her to meet the business end of a handgun. The fact that the perspective is limited to just one laptop is very helpful to convey the genuine terror that is going on for the other teens, each with their own fates shown through a Skype window. The ghost begins to force secrets out of each of the callers, exposing them, for what she believed, to be their true colors.

We tackle everything from cheating, to betrayal, and even rape. The remaining teens begin to oust each other, either in an emotional tirade, or to circumvent their own demise. Either way it doesn’t end well for any of them. As our number of participants in the ghosts game begin to dwindle we reach the last scenes of the movie. No spoilers, folks, but I can at least say: They didn’t go into the woods.

Unfriended is a title, I believe, that has brought a new breath of life to the Cybernatural genre. Though some of the deaths could’ve been done better, or been elaborated on more, the few that we got clear shots of were pretty interesting. I love the social commentary about cyberbullying, and its consequences. The ending can be either fantastic, or a let down, depending on your view of the movie. But the rest is certainly a ride that most viewers should take. Thanks for reading, folks! Stay tuned.

roadside attractions

  • Salsa in the bedroom.
  • What’s that bottle for?
  • Have these kids never seen Saw?
  • Unrealistic idea of Chatroulette.
  • What happens if your wifi fails?
totals

5

blood

BLOOD

There isn’t a lot of gore, but rather some interesting ways to die.

0

blood

BREASTS

There are none. There’s a preview. That’s it.

4

beast

BEASTS

It’s a ghost. So not much. Malevolent intent, however, is good.

7.0 OVERALL
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Watch the trailer for Unfriended

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Aug


What more is there to say about MegaForce when I can show you a picture of Barry Bostwick in costume? Move over GI Joe, the solid gold dancers are Earth’s greatest fighting force.

This gem from 1982 reeks of the modern day Hollywood formula, ACTION > PLOT. “Here’s a list of scenes that will send audiences into orgasmic bliss, write a story around them. You know what? Don’t waste your time. We’ll figure it out in editing.” Director Hal Needham, was a well known stuntman, need I say more? The MegaForce team is a group of the world’s best soldiers and a guy from the Southern US. See, like NASA they all have flag patches to display their origins. Dallas, Bostwick’s number 2, has the recently maligned confederate flag on his arm. These spandex clad motorcycle jockeys are like every other superior fighting force that’s off the books, they get called in for the tough jobs. Save the country, save the world? Um, no. Thwart tyranny or remove a corrupt dictator? Not really. There current assignment is to bait a warlord into crossing the border of the current country he is terrorizing into one where the proper military can take him down and arrest him legally. I’m not sure why you’d use the precision and expertise of the solid gold dancers as bait. I guess they don’t want MegaForce to take this guy out because that would look like the military crossed the border and their authority?
The wrong stuff
If you’re going to wear golden spandex, your vehicles have to be tricked out as well. Instead of some drab military colors, they’ve got custom paint jobs on each piece of transport featuring a very 80’s lightning bolt pattern. MEGAFORCE! “But wait! That doesn’t sound very stealthy.” No worries, there’s some techno babble to explain that the “photo sensitive” paint reacts to the light. When it’s night time, the vehicles are completely black. In the day time, more obnoxious than college kids at a big ten football game. The motorcycles are Battlestar Galactica vipers minus the space travel, wings and Starbuck. These bikes are low budget 80’s futuristic, complete with machine guns and missiles. You’ll notice them during the completely still closeups that they cut to every 3.87 seconds during a moving battle scene. The bikes are introduced to us through the eyes of a general seeing the team for the first time. The general is Devin Miles from Knight Rider, and he plays Devin Miles the general in this movie which is why I didn’t bother looking up his name. Anyway, he gets a demonstration of these supercyles in which they demolish some multicolored balloons randomly thrown above them as they drive down a road. To do that, you need to do a lot of wheelies on your motorcycle. Eat it, Mission Impossible Tom Cruise. Frickin’ wheelies, man.
silhouette love
I love finding a film that is so bad it is good, and I started the Film Frown podcast to document my journey. Is MegaForce in that category? The bad part is there, one hundred percent. Every chance they get, Bostwick the emaciated unfed Barry Gibb impersonator poses like he’s just defeated world hunger.flying motorcycle His headband is neither holding his hair, nor big enough to stop sweat. He looks like the little boy from The Ewok Adventure all grown up. His sidekick is the spitting image of Andy Gibb, so I think they must be a Bee Gees tribute group. While the vehicles are well done, you’ll be surprised when they give you a brief look inside and there’s no shag carpet. Finally, near the end Bostwick’s motorcycle sprouts wings and he flies. It’s some of the worst green screen you’ve ever seen. Greatest American Hero is like the Mona Lisa of flying heroes when compared to this scene. In case you don’t believe me, some kind person on imdb does note in the goofs section that “he’s clearly not actually flying a motorcycle.” Some movies throw stills in the credits or bloopers. Needam puts the same action scenes we saw during the film in the credits? I guess they were proud of the battle that ended with zero casualties and a rainbow.
rainbow warriors
This movie left me in awe. There was so much bad in every scene that I couldn’t take my eyes from it or disengage my brain to form an opinion. After writing that sentence, I think that I have to call MegaForce so bad it is good. I mean, it has to be seen to be believed. How did this film get released?

roadside attractions

  • Barry Bostwick’s winning smile
  • vyger with hair
  • military holograms used for porn
  • wheelies
  • two motorcycle jumps, yes TWO!
  • Barry Bostwick’s shit eating grin
  • green screen skydiving
  • thumbs up for spandex
  • Barry Bostwick’s leering smirk
  • proto-Team America: World Police
totals

0

blood

BLOOD

The director wanted to make an action film that was good, clean fun where no one died, with tanks and machine guns.

1

blood

BREASTS
+1 because we’re lucky to have a single woman in this film. Who needs nudity when everyone is in spandex?

4.5

beast

BEASTS

To be fair there’s no beast, but the young Henry Silva is a monster at being the most likable bad guy ever.

6 OVERALL
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Watch the trailer for Witching & Bitching

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Jul

Welcome back to another review, folks! I grew up with parodies, like most people in my age demographic, namely things like Airplane! And Space Balls, however, they were good parodies. For a long time, now, the genre has become ripe with gross-out humor, stereotype playups, and bad writing. Things like Not Another Super Hero Movie, Haunted House, and so on, and so on, have given medium to bad comedy writers to apply their would-be trades.

Now, that’s not to say that there isn’t decent modern parodies, but they are few and far between. One of my favorites is a parody of Scream called Shriek, another favorite is the first Scary Movie (And only the first), and believe it or not, a very well known movie that was supposed to be a parody, but ended up just as important as the movie it was trying to spoof on: Return of the Living Dead.

Mel Brooks was, and still is, the king of parodies, to me, and many others. So the bar for this type of movie was set pretty high pretty early. Some have surprised us, some have vehemently disappointed us, but almost all have left an impression. The movie in question today falls well within the ‘disappointed’ category of the list. Let’s talk about The Walking Deceased.

Zombies will always sell. Always. You can change the format however you want, but add zombies into the mix, and BAM! Instant seller. At least, that’s what the makers of this movie were counting on. It didn’t work. When you try to parody an entire genre of film it’s best to stick to the genre, and not try to tackle EVERY SINGLE TITLE in it! No, really, sit back and try to count all the references to other movies that are made here.

We start with an instant jab at Warm Bodies, a zombie narrating his life, but with half the delivery and even less comedy, and none of the charm. Then we move almost instantly into a swing at Zombieland, also lacking what made the original so good. Without pause, and I mean this, without pause, we go instantly into a stab at The Walking Dead. Though, it seems they had no ammunition for the series, and apparently weren’t clever enough to write any jokes, so they went with flashing the actor’s genitals at the camera. Repeatedly.

After some dialogue, that is only recognized as a form of comedy because of the over-the-top delivery, we movie to our next scene, and movies that this one is trying so hard to parody. Here we have a srip club, complete with more shots at The Walking Dead, Sean of the Dead, and even Zombie Strippers. The British accents are faked so badly I’m kind of glad they die in this scene, and keep the terribleness contained. However I think that they missed the irony of trying to parody a parody.

The zombie gentleman’s club is run by the main characters son, Chris, whom the sheriff will continually call “Carl”, in a desperate attempt to get a laugh. And they try to keep the joke going throughout the movie, hoping it will become funny. It doesn’t. Yeah, I know it’s already painful, but we’re not even at the half way point, folks. After the dancing zombies escape and eat the patrons, along with the main characters wife, we move almost seamlessly into another scene with more attempted jabs.

Here we find the movie has moved on to trying to be clever in another zombie movie setting, this time Day of the Dead, where the whole cast finally comes into a single entity. All the tropes meet and we have our cast. Luckily, however, we’re at the midpoint of the movie. This next few minutes is filled with what’s supposed to be clashing personalities, but ends up being just a bunch of badly delivered one liners. I wanted to laugh, I really did, but I had no reason to.

After some exposition that I don’t remember, mainly because I was bored out of mind, somehow we end up at a farm with what’s supposed to be a creepy old couple, Book of Eli meets another The Walking Dead reference, and here’s where the rest of the movie plays out. We end this movie with scenes of people getting stoned, smashing things, a character trying desperately to get laid, and the whole thing ending with some really nonsensical stuff. I would want to give it all away, but I don’t do spoilers, even for bad movies.

Where I can see the intent of the filmmakers was to be funny, it just fell well short of it, for me, I should add. Some folks might get a rise out of it, even a few laughs, but I just couldn’t find the funny. For this reviewer, the long and distinguished line of parodies has come grinding to a halt. If you want to check out this one, it’s on Netflix, though I’d say to skip in lieu of all the movies it’ll just remind you of. Thanks for reading, folks, and Stay Tuned!

roadside attractions

  • That’s not funny.
  • Not going to explain that, huh?
  • IS there such a thing as a clever zombie?
  • No, really, it’s not funny.
  • Count the shells.
  • After the 15th time it’s still not funny.
totals

4

blood

BLOOD

Small budget, small gore.

5

blood

BREASTS

Zombie strippers, and a lot of them.

2

beast

BEASTS

Zombies look like a high school production

3.2 OVERALL
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Watch the trailer for The Walking Deceased

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Jul


What do you get when you cross Crank with Dusk ’til Dawn? Electric vampires! Well, now I need to search the web for a movie about electric vampires because Witching & Bitching is not that film. Instead, it’s a film about the mother goddess eating and pooping children.

Our heroes are a couple of street mascots, a taxi driver and a little boy. The film opens with a great stylized spin on a heist. I’ve never been a fan of Hot Fuzz because I think they missed the parody mark. The way that film was shot isn’t mimicking action movies, it’s exactly the same. The opening scene in Witching & Bitching has Jesus, Sponge Bob, Minnie Mouse and a little boy in a gun porn. The slo-mo scenes that are required in every action drama have a foam Sponge Bob taking bullets and Jesus hanging out a car window blowing away cop cars. Are you still reading this? Why are you not on Netflix?
Spongebob
Our intrepid, surviving thieves and the little boy find themselves jumping into a cab because of complications with the getaway car. You know what “complications” mean in a movie, right? It’s a woman. Conversation in the getaway taxi quickly moves from how things went wrong to a bitch fest about ladies. The “plastic, green army man” shares the missed getaway car with his successful girlfriend and she makes him feel like less of a man. Jesus, who is the father of the little boy complains about his ex-wife who calls to yell at him as they flee the scene. Everyone laments the fact that he took his son on a heist, but of course Jesus is doing it all for him. Sacrifice, you know?

After everyone in the car agrees that women have made their lives hell, even the kidnapped taxi driver throws his wedding ring out the window and joins the gang. Jesus is, like really convincing. Similar to Dusk ’til Dawn this Spanish horror comedy takes a turn when they offer an old woman a ride home. She’s a witch. Not like all the rest, literally. It turns out tonight is a very big ceremony and offering. Also, these gents are part of the plan. It’s all very real danger, but it’s hard for the boys to focus on living when the witch’s daughter is very attractive. Never mind that she’s evil and psychotic.

The great thing about the witches is their polite and casual attitude. It’s like the situational irony in the short play The Still Alarm by George S. Kaufman where a building is on fire and the characters inside, including the fireman are perfect gentleman and casually chatting amidst the crisis. After several failed escape attempts, it looks like the the gang is in trouble.

Hope could arrive in the form of the boy’s angry mom. She’s traced his cellphone after seeing footage at the cop shop of him robbing the “We Buy Gold” store. The police are tailing her in an effort to arrest the gang, but there’s some ridiculous personality & rank issues in this partnership that only a near death experience can fix. Hope dies quickly when the witches capture all of them and ceremony begins.

Every ceremony needs a song and it’s like the rave scene from the Matrix films, unnecessarily long. Don’t get down though because the mother goddess is naked giant with a basket head. The mother goddess statues in the opening credits cannot prepare you for busty evil that is about to eat the little boy. It would be dangerously sexist of me to say that she is the one true god because no one would ever want to be in a relationship with this CGI monstrosity. Oh. Looks like I said it. Send the hate mail to CGI me, that perfectly sculpted, sexist polygon.
goddess
Jesus escaped before the ceremony thanks to the psychotic daughter because she loves him. Can you blame her? Jesus is love. However, she is found out and punished leaving Jesus to find her putrid brother. The witch’s bro has been locked away because he’s got a penis. You know witches, they’re big on girl power. He agrees to help Jesus after being set free. Unfortunately, they’re too late to help Jesus’ son. The others and myself are in shock. Hollywood does not make movies where bad guys win and more importantly where giants with enormous, exposed, swaying jugs devour and poop children. Now the boy is the chosen one. What does that mean? He’ll be a proctologist? And why am I always watching movies with stuff coming out of people’s asses? What sort of weird fetish is that? Is there help for me or at least an internet community where I can share my shame? Check out Witching & Bitching to answer some of those questions and return to the Lost Highway to find more great films and witness my asinine adventures.

roadside attractions

  • face-sitting
  • sautéed house keys
  • finger foods
  • adult broom riding
  • delicious frog juice
  • phone call from armageddon
  • french kissing
  • dancing on the ceiling minus Lionel
  • indigestible child
  • ginormous vag
totals

3

blood

BLOOD

You can’t have all the witchy mutilation without a little blood.

2

blood

BREASTS
Well for sheer size, it started out as a 10 but -12 for them being on the beast. +4 for the very seductive, but never exposed Carolina Bang.

6.5

beast

BEASTS

The witches are great foils for our heroes, and the mother goddess brings up the rear. A whole lot of it.

7.5 OVERALL
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Lost Highway is your satirical detour down the twisted back roads of b-movies and cult films reviews. learn more >>