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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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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Jun

Clive Barker was moved to tweet upon seeing ad copy that promoted “Hellraiser: Revelations” as being “from the mind of Clive Barker.”It reads in part: “If they claim it’s from the mind of Clive Barker, it’s a lie. It’s not even from my butt-hole.” Mic drop.

The previous several films all pretty much bedazzled some very not-Hellraiser horror movies with the hooks, chains, and nails of the Hellraiser franchise, shot a few scenes with the Cenobites, and called it Hellraiser, as I have harped endlessly, I know. But with “Revelations,” the Weinstein Company suddenly realized that their Hellraiser rights were going to expire, oh noes, and so they had to jiffy up a film tout de suite to retain the legal, if not moral, rights to milk the Hellraiser franchise to the last drop. So they started scrambling a film together with basically no time and no budget, a slapdash approach that cost them Doug Bradley’s involvement, and Doug had come along for all of the previous movies, all those previous godawful movies, including “Hellworld,” where they gave all the good lines to Lance Henriksen, so that’s kinda saying something.

The twist though is that this ashcan flick they slapped together – possibly because they didn’t have time to do much more than riff on the original – ended up being more faithful to the franchise than any sequel had been since “Bloodline.” More Hellraiser: First Draft than “Hellraiser: Revelations,” true, but while it may have not been from Clive Barker’s b-hole, it still kind of looked like his crap.

The film starts out as found footage, which is admittedly a smart choice when you have neither script nor money. We’re following two college-aged idiots, Nico and Steven, to “Tee-wana” as they enthusiastically repeat over many shots of tequila. Cut. And then we see, sort of, through Steven’s shakycam footage, Nico opening the box.
Cut to a furniture showroom, maybe a producer’s house. Very well decorated. I took some decorating notes for my next trip to Pier One. Nico and Steven’s families have gathered for dinner. The boys, we soon understand, are missing. Some of their stuff made it back to their parents, including the video camera, but only Steven’s mom has watched the footage, and she sneaks off and watches it a lot. Daughter Emma, who in addition to being Steven’s sister is Nico’s girlfriend, go go gadget economical script, justifiably calls her mom out on the weirdness and demands to know what they’re going to do about the boys’ disappearance. It all leads to a fairly uncomfortable first course with an outburst from Mom for afters.
Later, Emma sneaks off and watches the sacred footage herself. In it, she learns that Nico and Steven got up to some untranslated sexytimes with a Mexican prostitute, culminating in Nico having sex with, then murdering the lady in a bathroom stall. Well, that’s one revelation, I guess. Nico was a psychopath.

What fortuitous timing then that Steven shows up at the house that very night, looking haunted and wan – although he does have all of his skin, and that’s surprising in the Hellraiser universe. Naturally, the families are shocked, but less than they will be when Steven seduces his sister and takes the family hostage at gunpoint. There’s one more big revelation left, of course, and it plays out as Steven forces Emma to solve the puzzle box.

I mentioned in the Hellworld review how Miguel from Horrible Imaginings and I were watching all of these hours of Hellraiser sequels together for our Scarlet Gospels podcast, and at first, we were really amazed that it was authentic Hellraiser. Box, check. Chains, check. Pinhead – well, a head with nails in it anyway, check. Cenobites being invoked by witless, morally desolate hedonist? Checkity-check. But it wasn’t long before we realized that we were giving it too much credit, as though we had been drinking warm Coors Light all day and then someone gave us a cold PBR. (No offense to fans of PBR. I know you exist, and you are stalwart souls.) But the original Hellraiser was more like a Stella Artois.

…Or maybe I just need a drink.

One thing this sequel needed was a proper Pinhead. The proper Pinhead. And a budget. And a few more drafts. But the skeleton of it…You know, for all its faults, I still honestly think “Hellraiser: Deader” was worse.

roadside attractions

  • Mercifully little found footage
  • Chainings
  • Skinnings
  • Shotgunnings
  • A little Luke and Leia action
  • Idiots Gone Wild
totals

7

blood

BLOOD

Chains, blood, skinless guys. This is more like it.

2

blood

BREASTS


Yeah, they snuck a couple breasts in there.

1

beast

BEASTS I am giving it one point for the non-Pinhead Cenobites.

3 OVERALL Not worth watching, but it might have been if they had committed to making it for real.
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Jun

I binge-watched all of the Hellraiser sequels from “Inferno” on with horror maven/podcast partner Miguel Rodriguez from Horrible Imaginings in preparation for our big celebratory Scarlet Gospels podcast. By the time we got to “Hellworld,” we were bored with the shallow moralizing and inertia of “Hellseeker” and “Deader,” and our bar for the franchise had gotten too low to limbo under. The promise of Lance Henriksen in a cast is always a reason to fist pump though, and we dared hope. The director is still Rick Bota, just like on “Hellseeker” and “Deader,” but “Hellworld” got a much brighter, bloodier, boobier visual aesthetic, reflecting his work on films like the “House on Haunted Hill” remake. The whole thing just looks more fun, and it better, because this one is 95% party.
The movie starts out ominously enough; a bare-chested, blood-streaked guy digging, probably a grave, appropriately chilling choral music, and then some murmured exposition among your standard slasher movie set of thirty-something teenagers at a closed casket funeral. Actually, I don’t know that they’re supposed to be teenagers. You just assume that because they seem to be living at home and paired off for snuggling and play video games a lot, but maybe they all were English majors and work at the same restaurant.

The funeral is for their common friend Adam, and the picture by the casket is of the guy we saw digging before someone turned the Chant album on. We learn through the furtive whispers of his buddies that Adam killed himself, apparently because he got too into a game they all enjoy playing called Hellworld. Hellworld is clearly based off the Hellraiser franchise, so we’re in deep meta waters here, kids.

Anyway, his friends blame themselves, to varying degrees, that they didn’t see Adam’s self-slaughter coming. They also note how he has no family at his own funeral, which seems like it might be as much a contributing factor to suicide as anything powered by a 386 Pentium chip.

Speaking of Pentiums, as an authentic gamer and nerd from back when those things meant you were lonely and pathetic AND WE LIKED IT THAT WAY, the days before cute Doctors Who, when anime was called Japanimation and you could only find one half of a shelf of it in your most specialty video store, and when all comic book movies sucked direct to video, I need to call this movie out. I can deal with gorgeous teens who don’t wear braces or break out; that’s common cultural currency. And yeah, the term geek in just the last ten years has gone from something that left deep psychological welts to an effective branding tool, but these people are Abercrombie models. I can smell the guys’ Cool Water through the Netflix stream. And it makes me wonder, since the people who make movies, especially horror movies, are usually a little nerdy, why the nerds of this film are so Bayside High? Was it some sort of ironic commentary? Is it possible none of the creatives on “Hellworld” knew what a gamer was?
None of it matters, of course. “Hellraiser: Hellworld” is just looking for a way to get cute actors into gory set pieces, and the gaming and Hellraiser aspects are as incidental to how this happens as actual intake procedures at a female prison are to a porn setup.

OK, so now that I’ve done my gatekeeping, let’s get to the movie. After the funeral, the kids or whatever they are all wind up playing Hellworld again, although you don’t see much gameplay beyond opening a virtual version of the box. And one by one they win invitations to a big Hellworld party. More of a frat party than a LAN party, as it turns out. There’s some hemming and hawing about going from Chelsea, and this makes her instantly recognizable as our Final Girl. She also wears leather pants and is blonde, so you can think of her as a Buffy proxy. Jake, the shoegazey one, is also reluctant, blaming himself and the others extra hard for Adam’s death, but he ends up coming, too. There is also a Fairuza Balk-y one, the as-yet unknown Henry Cavill one, and a token person of color one. Try not to get attached.

The Scoobies arrive at the party, and it’s fully House on Horny Hill, with raucous metal banging, full frontal boobs, a dance floor crowded with plain white masks doing the Monster Mash, and Lance Henriksen parting the nubile crowd with a cryptic smile.

Our host – and that’s all the name you get from him, the Host — Lance is playfully sinister as he tours the kids through the house. First he shows them tons of Hellraiser memorabilia and talks about the history of the house, originally a convent turned asylum built by Phillipe Lemerchand. The kids occasionally insist that Hellraiser is just fiction, but Lance soldiers on with the unwavering confidence of a Creationist or an ancient aliens theorist, a sly smile suggesting that he’s read further in the script than they have. He looks like he’s having fun, and I hope he was, because he’s the only decent actor in this thing and I don’t think we could tell if he were screaming on the inside. I found this part of the movie quite pleasant, but I always enjoy the setting up the dominos part of slasher movies.

At the end of the tour, Lance presents each of the Scoobies with plain white masks with numbers on the forehead and a Nokia. The numbers on the masks correspond to the number to dial on the cell phones, the better to anonymously hook up with you, my dear. He excuses himself with a twinkle in his eye. (Don’t go, Lance! Take me with you!)

With Lance sadly gone, time to watch these idiots get perished. Each of our Scoobies obligingly wanders off to get isolated and culled according to formula. It will surprise no one when Lance shows up for these murders, but Pinhead does, too, and this was the point when Miguel and I started throwing popcorn at the screen, because Pinhead would not waste a victim on simple executions the way we see here. Of course, since this is a post-Scream slasher flick, there’s a twist.

Twist or not, nothing makes much sense once body parts start flying, but it doesn’t matter. Just go with it and watch the meta crap and don’t hope for anything else. In the beginning, it seems like the movie might be doing something clever and consciously referencing the Hellraiser series in a way that is particularized and special, but it’s not. It’s just a big, dumb, sloppy slasher flick, and it should be better, but it could be worse. Oh, look, there’s Lance. Man, Lance is awesome. So cool.

roadside attractions

  • Lance [bleep] Henriksen
  • Saturated colors and saturated co-eds
  • Hellraiser Simulation
  • The call was coming from inside the house!
  • Premature burials
  • No actual gamers were harmed in the making of this film
totals

7

blood

BLOOD

Respectable bloodletting, more on the order of Final Destination than Hellraiser, but acceptable.

7

blood

BREASTS


Actual dialogue: “Gratuitous tit shot.” “Necessary tit shot.”

2

beast

BEASTS Contract-stipulated Cenobites notwithstanding, more party animals than beasts

5 OVERALL It makes complete hash of all continuity and the ethos of the Cenobites, but you could do worse than a dumb meta slasher flick starring Lance Henriksen, and the Hellraiser series has, a lot.
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Jun

Welcome back to another review, folks! Ever since a certain fire happened in a certain sky alien abduction movies were hotter than Agent Scully in the 90’s. Though the premise seems to have lost it’s foothold in the movies as of late, there are still some gems that can be found. For instance; our review today: Extraterrestrial.

While this is supposed to be an alien movie it does it’s best to be a sci-fi, suspense, horror, and even a touch political. These elements in a film usually don’t blend well, but, here, they do. We start with a horror beginning: 20-somethings all in a car to go to a cabin in the woods for a few nights of partying, sex, and debauchery. Mistake #1: They’re in a cabin in the woods! Don’t these folks read my reviews? Never go in the woods!

After a quick setup, and some exposition that isn’t really needed, we begin our weekend with our victims…ahem…characters. Almost immediately stuff starts going down. While one can argue you want to know about the character’s personalities, I, for one, don’t. Let’s commence the murdering! Lights flicker, strange noises! An alien starts to walk around the house and….gets shot by a girl with a shotgun. Well. I did say let’s get to the murdering.

After E.T. goes down, making the pool his final grave, stuff REALLY hits the fan. Appropriate reactions have already been done by this point in the movie, but there are a lot of cool things yet to see. They try to flee, but there’s a tree felled in their way. Suddenly the rain stops while they ponder what could have possibly cut that tree down. These guys would trip over the laces in their velcro strapped shoes. How did they get into college? Right. Michigan State strikes again.

After some of the worst pondering, and decision making I’ve seen this side of swimming with sharks while strapped with steaks and barbecue sauce, we lose our first female to the blue light of abduction. Or as I’ve come to call it: The Bye-bye Beam. Quick! Back in the car that wasn’t functioning just a few minutes ago! We go back to meet a character, that couldn’t be more cliché if it was Jesse Ventura in a tinfoil hat, to learn more about the alien menace. After a quick break from screaming and running we get right back to screaming and running.

Jesse Ventura takes on an alien and, surprisingly, it’s a pretty good scene, ending with what you should’ve seen coming a mile away. More running! More lights! And, just for good measure, they even managed to scrounge up that ‘BWAHHH’ sound from the remake of ‘War of the Worlds’, and every Hans Zimmer soundtrack since. But that’s a tale for another time. What’s that? A would-be protagonist? Go for it, Hoss!

Enter one of the film’s side characters, who the whole movie could’ve been about, but wasn’t, Goodguy McCopDude. We established at the outset of the movie, through a very long scene that we really didn’t need, that he’s been investigating the disappearance of his daughter. How important is this plot point? Important enough to cut from the main characters and their impending deaths to go to a random RV site with a random character to get more exposition to tell us that aliens are the culprit. Which I wouldn’t mind so much if the title wasn’t EXTRATERRESTRIAL!

Goodguy McCopDude is hot on the trail of…no one. And, truth be told, I don’t even remember why he was summoned to the cabin in the woods to begin with. It goes by that quick, folks, don’t fault the viewer for losing a little interest when the action goes from high-octane to donut munching. Goodguy and his cop buddy show up at the Murder Cabin and begin to snoop around, learning the unhinged partiers are being terrorized by aliens. While the partner is skeptical, Goodguy goes full Mulder, and begins to look around.

After a brief, and somewhat fruitless, encounter in the barn Goodguy is convinced it’s those pesky grey skinned fellas causing all the commotion. After he tries to wrangle the panicked few he decides to follow suit and make equally bad decisions, taking his time to convince his partner while sitting in a lit up police car! Well, bad calls can only be called out, as the alien with a shotgun wound turns up and telekinetically forces the skeptic partner and Goodguy to do the unthinkable.

The Bye-bye Beam claims more victims! And soon even the last of the survivors is lost to that fateful blue light. Now. Here’s where the usual movie would call it quits, leaving the audience with the smoldering hole in the ground that was our female lead just a few minutes ago. But it doesn’t. It keeps going, making this movie even longer. Usually I’d say this is a detriment, but the final scenes of this movie kind of answer a few questions that we’ve had for a long time.

No spoilers here, folks! This is a good movie in the fact that it does, in most of it, fuse themes taken from so many genres. The actors do their parts, some sold it well, others not so much. The effects and some of the practical effects are worth praise. It has it’s flaws, like serious plot holes, and characters that make really bad decisions, but it’s worth the pay off. Check this one out, folks. As always, thanks for reading, and stay out of the woods.

roadside attractions

  • There’s no reason for that shot.
  • That wasn’t there before.
  • Boarding up the windows with Ikea.
  • Why did you get out of the car?
  • That was a cool rain effect.
  • Seriously. Why did you get out of the car?
  • 90’s cliche camerawork.
totals

7

blood

BLOOD

Not much. Butt there is that one scene.

1

blood

BREASTS

I think I saw a nip slip. Maybe not.

6

beast

BEASTS

Old design, new things done.

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 >>