Archive for the '80’s b-movies' Category

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Comments Off on My Bloody Valentine (1981)

My Bloody Valentine
1981 – R/Unrated – Paramount
90 (R)/93 (Unrated) Minutes – Starring Neil Affleck, Paul Kelman, Lori Hallier – Directed by George Mihalka

For every season, there is a holiday and for every holiday, there is a horror film and Valentine’s Day is no exception. Yes, even the patron saint of overpriced flowers and chocolates so you can look like the world’s best boyfriend for a nanosecond has a slasher flick for his special day. Given the easily playable theme of love and romantic getaways, I’m surprised there aren’t more Valentine Day horror themed movies (the only one coming to mind at the moment is that late 90’s Scream knock off, Valentine). However, the “holiday” does have perhaps one of the earliest and better Friday the 13th clones simply known as My Bloody Valentine, one of the finer things to come out of Canada.

I mean, it’s the perfect setting for a horror film; everything is drenched in shades of red, the theme of the roses and love, hearts… it presents itself full of opportunities for some scares, so how does it play out in this film?

mbv_2The movie opens in a coal mine (there you go, that’s your connection right there… right?) as two people in miner suits, masks and overalls, seem to be alone. One of them strips to reveal that they are a blonde bombshell, which is fortunate for us, because I don’t think anyone would have wanted to see a dirty, hairy man strip down to his drawers . She tries to undress him, starting with his mask, which he rejects, but she continues her seduction anyway. Gotta say, she makes teasing a gas mask look sexy. His breathing becomes heavy and erratic, until he lifts her off the ground and slams her on a pick ax he previously stuck in the wall next to them. As she screams, a cool little animated intro drips blood as creepy music box type of melody plays over it, reminding you of the the Silent Night, Deadly Night title card.

After that, we see it’s Thursday, February 12… get it? Because it’s a Paramount film and they own Friday the 13th… Anyway, all of the men are rushing out of work at the mines to the rec center to meet their gals who are setting up for the big Valentine’s Dance. Normally, something like this wouldn’t be such a big deal to you kids with your iPads and hula hoops, but to the small town of Valentine’s Bluff, it’s the main attraction. Especially seeing as how this is the first dance in twenty years since the night Harry Warden’s killing spree.

You see, a couple of eager beaver supervisors decided to split early before checking methane levels and there was an explosion, trapping five miners down below deep in the mines. Only one man, Harry Warden was finally rescued, having eaten the other miners to survive. One year later, Harry took his revenge on the supervisors, carving out their hearts and putting them in heart shaped candy boxes, warning the townspeople for years to come to never have a dance ever again… ever! Looks like high school drama club is finally paying off.

Speaking of drama club, what would a slasher movie about Valentine’s Day be without a love triangle? TJ returns to his hometown, mostly to hang out in the corner of the room sipping a beer and smoking Marbs, after several years of being away on the west coast to find his girlfriend Sarah is now in the arms of Axel, who has the most animated lips of anyone speaking I have ever seen. It’s a classic pissing contest between these two as Sarah sits idly by moping and doing what she is told, because apparently this is the old West as two men battle for the affection of a woman.

mbv_3So you may be able to see why it’s a big deal (hey c’mon, this was before the internet… what else were they supposed to do?) about the dance. With Harry locked up in the loony bin, dear old Mabel and the gals are working around the clock to make the dance look better than it’s ever been. This means hanging up streamers and construction paper hearts and… well, that’s pretty much it. But soon, the Mayor receives a heart shaped box with a human heart inside, along with a warning to cancel the dance. It appears that Harry Warden is back!

That night as Mabel works at her laundromat, she is attacked by someone in miner gear. The next day, Chief Newby stops in to gets his pants pressed or whatever laundry business he has, when he finds Mabel stuffed inside a tumbling dryer, burnt to a crisp. Trying not to cause a panic, Newby and the Mayor announce Mabel had died from a heart attack (well, they are halfway right…). Newby calls the mental institution where Harry Warden was locked up and they just so happen to no longer have any records of him being there. Gee, what are the odds? Finally heeding the warning, the dance is cancelled, but do kids ever listen? Our group of promiscuous teens decide they are going to have a dance after all and have it at the mine, because that sounds totally safe. But soon they will learn their lesson, one by one.

Even the crotchety old bartender doesn’t want the kids having their dance, as he over hears their plans. Wanting to trick the kids using the urban legend of Harry Warden, he brilliantly sets up a scarecrow type of miner, rigged to a door that raises a pick ax upon opening. Wow, between planning this idea and executing it, this man certainly has a lot of spare time. But it’s all taken down in a matter of seconds, as he drunkenly giggles to himself testing out his gag and who should be standing there, but Harry Warden, driving his pick ax through the bottom of the bartender’s jaw, popping out one of his eyeballs in what is probably the goriest effect in the whole movie and is it satisfying. But the killing, and visceral death sequences, don’t stop there.

mbv_4Now it’s the time of the big dance, where TJ and Axel finally have it out over Sarah in a true beer drinking, chest thumping, sports fan kind of way… fist fighting. After the fight, Axel storms off, opening a beer in the most dramatic way possible and chugging it. Now that the happy mood is killed (along with a few of the party goers), a small group, including Sarah decide to go down into the mines to get their minds of that neanderthal way claiming women as property, but Harry Warden follows them down and his cover is blown when the kids come across a few dead bodies. Finding Axel, TJ devises a plan to go down into the mines to rescue Sarah, but as the Newby makes his way to the crime scene, he receives some disturbing and interesting news… there were no records of Harry Warden because he died a few years prior. So if it’s not Harry, then who is assuming his identity and carrying out his vengeance?

After Axel falls into water, seemingly drowning, TJ finds what’s left of the group as he and Sarah are now chased by Harry Warden, only it’s not Harry. After being pinned by rocks after they fall from the ceiling, it is revealed to be none other than Axel! It turns out, Axel’s father was one of the supervisors that was responsible for mine explosion and after witnessing his father being killed when he was a boy, it snapped his fragile little mind. Before being caught, Axel saws his own arm off to free himself from being trapped in the rocks, swearing to return and get his revenge! Hey, if you can saw your own arm off in an escape attempt, you deserve to get away and have revenge.

A sequel was proposed, but unfortunately never made due to poor box office results, which is a bummer seeing as how this is a really decent slasher flick. Although it’s one of the many that are considered to be a Friday the 13th “clone,” I would say it has more than enough substance and story to be considered one of the more original “clones” in Friday’s shadow, enough to stand on its own, even if it does share a lot of similarities, like the prophet of doom character, a masked killer who suffered the loss of a family member, creative and over the top kills… okay, so they are pretty similar.

My Bloody Valentine
Luckily, the most readily available version of the film is the uncut version with the deleted scenes edited back into the film. But since they all came from different sources or Lionsgate didn’t feel like putting the money into it, they aren’t remastered in HD or cleaned up too well, but if you ask me, I think it the aged look gives it a nice touch. So, remember all those graphic and spectacular special effects and kills I’ve been talking about? Yeah, those aren’t in the R rated version. I suppose I could pick on it a bit for being a Canadian film, but I have a new found soft spot for Canada… So cuddle up with the one you love and watch horny teens get murdered, because nothing else says, “I love you.”

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • A true heart breaker.
  • Hot male shower scene, a little something for the ladies.
  • Take a shot every time you notice something Candian-y.
  • Bobbing for boiled hot dogs.
  • I been working in a coal mine, going down, down. Working in a coal mine… Whew, about to slip down!
  • Give this man a hand… he escaped the long arm of the law (rimshot).
totals

8

blood

BLOOD

Face boiling, pick axing, decapitating, eye gouging good time… in the unrated version.

6

blood

BREASTS

More buns that boobs, but that’s the Valentine’s gift for the ladies.

7

beast

BEASTS

Neil Affleck’s line delivery is more terrifying than Harry Warden himself.

7 OVERALL
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“Watch the trailer for “My Bloody Valentine!”

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Feb

posted by Doktor | February 26, 2014 | 80's b-movies, 80's movies, Action, B-movie Reviews, B-movies, Review by Doktor, Sci-Fi

Comments Off on Eliminators

Tagline: Mandroid. Mercenary. Scientist. Ninja. Each one a specialist. Together they are ELIMINATORS!

Year: 1986 Runtime: 96 min

Director: Peter Manoogian

Writer: Paul De Meo, Danny Bilson

Starring: Andrew Prine, Denise Crosby, Patrick Reynolds

Current scientific theory states that the whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts. This is a banal axiom by itself. However, it is an interesting thesis when one asks: how does this paradigm work when the constituent parts are comprised of zeros. Ah, ha! Finally, a truly great question, relevant to our lives today. The answer? You get an order of magnitude diddly-squat. Enter the Eliminators:

  • An Eeyore cyborg
  • Tasha Yar
  • An owl robot thingie
  • A scoundrel river bum
  • A Ninja

Take this eclectic crew and mix them all together in an After School Special, spice, to taste, with some Romans, a mad scientist, and some Neanderthals, and you have 90 minutes of hernia rupturing fun. Actually, After School Special doesn’t quite capture the ambiance. Eliminators is more like an episode of G.I. Joe: laser burlets flung every which way, vehicles crashing, explosions, and yet no one dies.

I should probably mention that this is a Charles Band film. Just so we’re clear.

Eliminators is the story of a man, John Doe, who is unwillingly transformed into Mandroid (think Borg + Robocop on a $13 budget) after his plane crashes in an uncharted Mexican jungle. The evil genius behind John’s alteration is Dr. Reeves, a mad scientist with a face like a waffle iron and a penchant for ancient Rome. Oh, and he has a time machine. Mandroid is sent back through time to insure the machine works. Upon completing his mission, despite all the money, time, and accessories built for him, Reeves orders his assistant, Takada, to dismantle Mandroid. Apparently Reeves learned all he knew about life from the Senate Committee on Appropriations.

Takada, having a conscience, helps Mandroid to escape, which, of course, costs him his life. Mandroid snaps on his gratuitous Mobile Unit, worthless tank treads Mandroid plugs his top half into Centaur style, and proceeds to race out of the compound at motorized shopping cart speeds. As no one can shoot, even when armed with rifles with ridiculous scopes, he only takes a burlet  to the head. Falling within the G.I. Joe violence quotient, the head shot merely ruins some of his memory chips, rendering him only slightly more efficacious than an amnesiac. Something which, by this point in the movie, I would have gladly welcomed—either the amnesia or a head shot.

Mandroid seeks out Colonel Hunter (Tasha Yar) to inform her of Reeves’ evil deeds (read: muwhahaha). Hunter is a computer/robotics/science geek who works at a lab funded by Reeves. She wears lab coats and builds things like the Mandroid armor and S.P.O.T. (Search Patrol Operation Tactician), a Rent-a-Center V.I.N.CENT from Blackhole. Seeing her life’s work, i.e. the Mandroid armor as a living/breathing junkyard proof of concept, Hunter volunteers to return with Mandroid to exact revenge.

Hooray, it’s an adventure!

According to their maps, the Mexican jungle is uncharted, and because Mandroid’s memory was literally shot, Hunter has to hire a river guide to get them to the crash site, from which they’ll make their way to Reeves. Here they pick up Harry ‘scoundrel’ Fontana, the Rent-a-Center Han Solo character. There’s a keystone comedy bar fight that’ll send your duodenum into spasms followed by a river chase that’s as riveting as snails nailed in place. All the while our unlikely heroes laugh, love, and finally go their separate ways.

Wha—!

And then they come back together. Yay!

But then Mandroid and S.P.O.T. fall off Fontana’s boat, promptly sinking to the bottom of the river never to be found. Ever. Oh, noes!

And then there were two. Hunter and Fontana press on, only to get captured by Neanderthals.

Wait, what?

Meanwhile Mandroid and S.P.O.T. come sloshing out of the drink, none the worse for wear. They squirt river water from sundry orifices and push on. They promptly run into a Ninja pulling fish from a stream telekinetically.

Sigh.

Really? Neanderthals? Ninja? The Force? If they had a costume or make-up in the storeroom, Charles Band said, “Go for it!”

So… Mandroid learns that Ninja is Takada’s son. With a heavy heart—or diodes, or whatever—Mandroid relates what happened to Ninja’s father. Because he’s a ninja, Ninja vows to get revenge for what Reeves has done. Finally, the team is complete.

Back in the other subplot, Hunter and Fontana have to fight their way out of the clutches of the Neanderthals: smooches are smooched; burlets are thrown in the fire, which is far more effective than shooting them; three or four Neanderthals give chase. Things look bad for Fontana and Hunter…

Duh duh duh!

Thanks to the last minute appearance of Ninja, Mandroid, and S.P.O.T. they escape. Phew. A quick jog, and a jump cut, later the team finds Mandroid’s stashed mobile unit. They bivouac down for the afternoon to assess their supplies, work on a plan, and get a little sun. S.P.O.T. is sent to get a tactical layout of Reeves’ camp.

When S.P.O.T. returns something is amiss. S.P.O.T. is gibbering, which actually is normal but for some reason this gibberish is different. To clear up any confusion, S.P.O.T. starts shooting his sting lasers at everyone. Fearing someone might get hit, and thus suffer the indignity of a slightly uncomfortable pinch, Ninja has to put him down. (One down, four to go!) The smoke from the wreck forms into a hologram of Reeves’ head. Using it’s invisible lungs a vocal cords, Reeves’ disembodied head warns the Eliminators to come no further. Obviously defeated, our heroes resign themselves to life as failures…

But wait! If only Hunter can… cross some wires… a spark of electricity… What’s this?!? The plans for Reeves’ camp on S.P.O.T.’s visor. Good ole S.P.O.T. He came through after all. Hope restored, they spring into action.

The plan calls for Fontana, Hunter, and Ninja penetrate the stronghold via a Rent-a-Center City of Tanis map room. One would think an evil genius’s secret treasure room would be near impossible to get into, much less have it be the weak link in his whole defense, but one only need remember this is a Charles Band film and all worries are quelled. No sooner are they in when they are caught. The Dream Team™ is smooth as grandma’s sandpaper enemas.

Meanwhile, Mandroid sieges the camp at the front gate, calling for Reeves to come out. The gate opens, Mandroid walks in, and is surrounded by Reeves’ goons. “Ha, ha!” Mandroid laughs derisively.  “My friends have already destroyed your computers, your lab, and all your work. It’s over!” (Or something to that effect. I wasn’t paying attention and refuse to watch it again to get the actual quote.)

To which Reeves replies (via a speaker system), “Do you like apples, Mandroid?” Out march the three stooges. “How ‘bout dem apples?” (See previous parenthetical.)

Fail completed!

Uhm, maybe not so much. Well, at least not for the Eliminators. See, Reeves’ minions are nice guys. Rather than killing their prisoners the goons let the Eliminators start kicking butt first. Pew pew pew. Explosion. Pew pew pew. The minions run.

Maniacal laughter. The compound’s front door explodes. Ah, hell. Final Boss Fight!

True to all video games evar, Reeves has transformed. He’s no longer the decrepit,  waffle-faced mad scientist. Now he’s Iron Caesar (i.e. Julius Caesar + Iron Man). Sweet! Naturally his armor and weapons are stronger than Mandroid’s, allowing him to withstand all attacks as he monologues his plan, which is to go back in time to become the ruler of Rome. This raises a couple questions: why is it preferable to be the ruler of ancient Rome than being the ruler of the contemporary world; why did he go back and collect all the treasure? Oh, right, this is a Charles Band movie. No reason other than it’s in the script.

When he finishes his monologue, Iron Caesar blasts Mandroid and captures Fontana, Hunter, and Ninja in a force field. He sets the force field to shrink, cranks the powertronics up to kill, and leaves to get into his time machine. Not quite dead, Mandroid’s last act is to absorb the force field’s energy to release his friends. (Two down, three to go!)

No time for the dust in their eyes, the remaining Eliminators race to stop Iron Caesar. They make it just in time to see his time pod disappear into time. Fontana rakes his hand across a keyboard in frustration at his lack of programming skills. Not that programming skills would have help—sorry, I know, Charles Band movie. Moving on…

Wouldn’t you know it Fontana’s discouraged motion, his anti-programming skills, actually managed to send Iron Caesar back to 400 million B.C. Everyone laughs. The end.

So, returning to the idea of common knowledge, we all know that a thousand monkeys typing will will eventually produce something Shakespearean, right? Well, who knew that one UHM-tard mashing keys can instantly change delicately precise time travel settings? Therefore, coming full circle, I suppose this demonstrates that the whole, arrived from the sum of the parts which themselves are all el zilcho, is 400 million B.C.? Or, to put it in scientific notation: Charles Band Joint.

roadside attractions

  • Wonder what in the hell is going on when the opening credits shows an airplane crash, Romans, and laser burlets!
  • Facepalm when you learn the one Asian character’s son is a Ninja!
  • Marvel at the intense boat chase scene—Harry “scoundrel” Fontana cuts the wheel left and right to loose their pursuers!
  • Delight In Madroid’s mettle as he overcomes his programming with a perfunctory, “No”!
  • Be Amazed by the laser-proof mesh wind screens on the bad guy’s 3 wheelers!
totals

2

blood

BLOOD

White washed Disney fare: a bloody nose, a scraped knee, a nasty hangnail.

1

blood

BREASTS

Denise has a wet tee-shirt moment. You can vaguely make out a nipple.

10

beast

BEASTS

Iron Caesar. I never saw that coming.

4.33 OVERALL
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Watch the trailer for “Eliminators”

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Dec

Comments Off on Nightmare City (aka City of the Walking Dead)

Nightmare City
1980 – Not Rated – Raro Video

Zombies, zombies and more zombies. No matter which direction you pivot your head, there they are. Bland. Dull. Boring. Far outlived their lifespan (they are undead after all, har har). To me, they all blend in together, offering nothing new, exciting or even entertaining to the sub-genre. I’ve made this argument a hundred times before, so I won’t rehash it again. Of course this isn’t the first time we’ve seen a zombie trend. In the 80’s, we saw a boom from Italy, flooding our film market with imitators and clones. But there was undeniably a certain charm and originality to them that today’s zombie films seem to lack, be it good (or bad) makeup effects, bizarrely odd characters or even seemingly intentional insane plots.

Let’s look at Cannibal Ferox director Umberto Lenzi’s zombie romp, Nightmare City, also released here in the States as City of the Walking Dead (not to be confused with Fulci’s City of the Living Dead). I remember first seeing this movie at the local video store in the big box, with the topless woman, half her face ripped off, under the City of the Walking Dead title. Although these mutants or creatures share characteristics of zombies, director Umberto Lenzi claims it’s not as much as a zombie movie as it is a “radiation sickness movie.” I already did a video review for this film on Goon Reviews, so I’ll do my best not to repeat myself. By the way, WATCH MY VIDEO REVIEW HERE! Now that the shameless plug is out of the way…

nc_2We start this puppy off like most Italian horror films, by establishing shots of a city (D’oh! I already repeated myself). It’s totally irrelevant to anything in the plot, not like you never know what city you are in, but you are in a city. But within this city is uncanny reporter, Dean Miller (Hugo Stiglitz). Dean is just waking up in time for his big interview with a scientist for whatever reason you would interview a scientist for. Now, remember this scene, because it may just come back…

Once at the airport, a military plane does an emergency landing as security personal and Dean line up outside the plane. Nobody seems to be responding to the calls for them to step out, which brings up my next question: Why the hell does airport security have machine guns? I can’t get a stick of gum through security, but these dudes are toting fully automatic weapons? Well those guns might come in use, because once those doors open, a swarm of radioactive infected mutant people (we’ll just simply call them zombies from here on) rush out and start to kill everyone! And by that I mean, they slash at the soldiers from about six feet away and they jump back. Ever watch a group of kids pretend to fight because they are playing superheroes or something? Anyway, Dean just stands idly by, looking bored until he realizes, “Oh we should probably leave.”

There is actually something these zombies are doing that you may have noticed is quite unique from other zombies. Yeah, they are using weapons and running! How about that? If there is one thing you have to give this movie credit for, it’s that it tried to do something different with a genre that even they knew was going to quickly become mundane. It’s a breathe of fresh air, as it actually gives this nonsensical film an (at the time) original spin.

nc_3Dean wants to alert the area of this atrocity, which is a clever and rational thing to do, but the man, General Murchison specifically, censors him like communist Russia and Dean is immediately suspended from work. And you thought you were having a bad day! Meanwhile on the opposite end of the spectrum, Major Holmes (Mel Ferrer) is about to “hit that” when he’s alerted of the crisis and put into action. Looks like a cold shower for you this morning, Major. At ease!

It’s just like the authority to be late on the action. The zombies bust in to the TV station, which is totally convenient to move this somewhat of a plot along. While the military is figuring out what to do and calling their loved ones, Dean heads over to the hospital to save his woman, since he’s a man of action. Even with the zombies killing everyone in the hospital, Dean still manages to save her in a heroic, muscle bound brute fashion as they get away in a Volkswagen Beetle. Get outta here, ’69 Dodge Charger, ya schmuck… make way for the new muscle car!

The remainder of the film is actually quite redundant. The various characters are taking shelter, trying to stay alive, but alas failing to do so. Dean and his wife find themselves holed up at various locations, each time she vomits out nonsense women’s lib and the evil of mankind. I’m not saying women’s lib is nonsense, but trust me… you do not want this woman speaking for your cause. However, Dean is always spared from these self indulgent speeches as zombies always seem to attack and the two flee to the next location to repeat this tired process. It would be boring if it weren’t for the unintentionally amusingly, stupid decisions that these characters constantly make. Seriously, they make Gomer Pyle look dignified and subtle. You will feel like you’re stuck in a loop, kinda like Groundhog Day, but instead of reliving the same day with the freedom to take what you previously learned and do as you please, you have to watch the same scene over and over and over…

nc_4They finally wind up at an amusement park (Zombieland nods, perhaps?) where guess what? That’s right! Zombie attack! Only this time, Dean takes the fight over flee and scoops up a machine gun and grenades (GRENADES!?!?) and mows down zombie after zombie Rambo style, one arming, using the “spray and pray” method. As he and his wife climb to the top of a roller coaster, Major Holmes arrives in a chopper to try and rescue them. As the two make their way up the ladder, Dean’s wife falls and plummets to her death, smacking every poll on the way down in perhaps one of cinema’s most hilarious death scenes. But, this film does not end the way you think it would. Not even close… hint: Think Phantasm.

Raro Video once again restores a classic from the original 35mm and let me tell you, this is the best it will ever look (until there is a new way to transfer in the future). After comparing it to the Anchor Bay DVD release, this new HD transfer has less grain and the colors and contrast look quite good. Everything looks very crisp, which is unfortunate for the special effects, as it seems to highlight how terrible they are and reveals every flaw. The audio is 2.0 and you get both English and Italian. Although it’s stereo, it sounds pretty good and everything sounds clear as rain, which is more than you could ask for. However, if you’re looking for special features, I’m afraid you won’t find much as far as quantity goes, but quality wise, there is a rather excellent interview with Umberto Lenzi from 2000 that runs almost an hour long. I found it to be informative to watch. Other than that, you get both Italian and American trailers, which to me look identical. This is all packaged underneath an old fashioned, but still cool slip cover (which the film Demon Queen stole the image for), which reveals the classic artwork you are probably most accustomed to. Overall, a well packaged transfer worth the investment (you’re welcome, Raro… when can I expect my check?).

Nightmare City
For all the negative things I had to say about Nightmare City, at least it’s pretty damn original and fun. It’s not your typical zombie film, offering more intelligent “undead” that wield weapons, make semi-rational decisions and run. Fans of average, run of the mill zombie media may not find enjoyment in the film, but I suggest you put away that Walking Dead chubby every seems to have, take a risk and watch something different, such as Nightmare City. The gore isn’t necessarily excessive, but there is a decent amount. The acting is exactly how good you would expect it to be (although a lot of that is to blame on the almost early FMV game style audio dubbing) and although the plot is downright silly and, let’s face it, it is a stupid movie, you will find yourself having a good time, whether you are laughing at it for one or two of the various reasons you should be, I think you will be pleasantly pleased with Nightmare City.

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • Mild mannered reporter, Hugo Stiglitz.
  • Runner up for worst zombie makeup.
  • Mel Ferrer or Tommy Lee Jones?
  • Ninja Doc!
  • Blood drinking zombies.
  • Women’s lib and coffee talk.
  • Best amusement park ride ever!
  • The nightmare truly is a reality. Harsh.
totals

7

blood

BLOOD

There is a decent amount of the ‘bright red bonanza’ as well as few other spectacles, like a head explosion.

5

blood

BREASTS

What would an aerobics class be without boobs?

8

beast

BEASTS

Running zombies are a scary thing, regardless of how stupid your characters are.

6.6 OVERALL
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Watch the video review of “Nightmare City”!

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Dec

posted by Barry Goodall | December 18, 2013 | 80's b-movies, 80's movies, B-movie Reviews, B-movies, Review by Barry Goodall

Comments Off on Return of the Living Dead 2

Ya know what sticks in my craw? That I can’t tell the difference between most of the Baldwin brothers. It’s like a family of doppelgangers. Sure we all know Alec was one of the dead guys on Beetlejuice who talked about his Schweaty balls a lot, but the heck if I can keep the rest of the family straight. I think There’s Stephen, William and…uh… Tito, Jose? They all just sorta blend together especially if you move your head really fast. It’s just a big blur of hair gel and sly grinning. Oh, I’m sure some of them made a good movie here or there, but you could drop any one of them in and switch them out like wiper blades. Nobody would even notice the difference. Heck, I’m not entirely sure that Alec isn’t just punking us into thinking he even has brothers. Maybe he just pretends to be one of them when he wants to play WORDS W FRIENDS on an airplane. Like the Baldwins, I feel much the same way about Return of the Living Dead films. The first one pretty much set the bar for the zomb-coms everywhere. I mean who can forget Linnea shakin’ her money makers on a tombstone, but the rest of the sequels are pretty much the same film over and over. In fact Return of the Living Dead part 2, even has the some of the same actors, James Karen and Thom Matthews. They still play two dimwits who whine about getting turned into brain eating zombies. Excuse me, that already happened in the first film! It’s like the casting director never got the memo that the entire cast getting wiped out in a nuclear blast.

Anyhow, this time around an army truck full of canned zombies accidentally bounces one out the back into 12 year old Jesse’s backyard. He and some neighborhood bullies pop one open causing some green gas to seep into the nearby cemetery. And like everyone knows, when you got green gas around tombstones you get zombies (though it does keep the weeds down.) The Undead break out of mausoleums and start clawing their way up throughout the dirt for a big zombie rave. Seems the only people it town that know about it are Jessee, his areobicizing sister and their cable installer but they all keep the hard thinking to a minimum. Meanwhile all the zombie folk have started brain munching up and down main street and eating runaway pets. A couple of grave robbers Joey and Eddy run into the gang who steal their van and decided the best course of action is to scream a lot and argue. They head to the hospital with their neighborhood doctor just as Joey and Ed begin to show signs of the zombie-flu. Joe eventually goes full on zombie and chases down his girlfriend to an empty church so he can eat her “spicy brains” because he “loves her.” it’s a very tender moment and a weird way to get engaged.

The remaining survivors try to lure the zombies with a hansel and gretel trail of brains bits back to the power station. Their plan is to hose them down and barbecue the dead folk like pulled pork sandwiches with the electric grid. It’s rare to see so many dead people harlem shake. ROTLD2 has Plenty of great f/x zombie action that make up for the cheesy slapstick including a girl punching a zombie through the face and a zombie getting cut in half and still managing a decent moonwalk. Highway honors go to Marsha Dietlein for uttering the great line “they’re ugly and they’re dirty and they’re dumb and I don’t even care if they are dead, they’re not touching me.” now that’s a girl with high standards. I’ll give this a 2 1/2 out of 5 brain pans anyways with an extra half brain pan for the Michael Jackson cameo. Barry Goodall says, dig yourself up a copy or just check out part 3,4,5…doesn’t really matter just don’t open up any more dang army containers.

roadside attractions

  • Areobicizing zombies
  • Stab through the chest
  • Face smashing
  • Severed heads
  • Screwdriver through the head
  • Mom chomping
  • Pet snacks
  • Severed hand jive
  • Shot gun to the groin
  • Half a zombie dance
  • Death by electrocution
  • Chin removal
  • Brain trails
  • Eye popping
  • Multiple screw driver impalements
totals

5

blood

BLOOD

lots of yellow puss and green goo but not much of the red stuff. Must be the embalming fluid

0

blood

BREASTS

None. This could be the first family friendly zombie film ever.

9

beast

BEASTS

100’s of zombies and a Michael Jackson impersonator.

7.2 OVERALL
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Dec

Comments Off on Silent Night, Deadly Night 3: Better Watch Out

Silent Night Deadly Night 3
1989 – R – Quiet Films Inc.

A franchise has never turned sour so quickly quite like the Silent Night, Deadly Night series. You could argue that it all started with the second film, thanks to Eric Freeman’s overzealous performance as the Santa Claus Killer, Ricky Caldwell. However, there is a certain charm to the film, still having an enamoring Christmas theme and has that holiday feel to it that makes you all warm inside and want to kill something. And you can call it over the top, you can call it hammy, but no matter how you cut it, Eric Freeman’s performance is abnormally memorable. Too bad nothing like that can be said about its sequel, Silent Night, Deadly Night 3: Better Watch Out.

And that’s where my beef starts with this. Right from the start, before you even watch the movie, just look at that title… it’s way too long! Do you know how tired I am of typing that out already? And does it really need a subtitle? Subtitles are more used now for films that don’t want to number their series, but in retrospect, horror franchises all numbered and gave their sequels subtitles. So what’s the point in complaining? Putting off the inevitable. Let’s reach into our dirty stocking and pull out the lump of coal that is Silent Night, Deadly Night 3.

sndn_2Taking place six years after the events of its predecessor, Ricky is now in a coma and has a fishbowl with wires hanging out of it on top of his head, covering his exposed brain. This contraption is straight out of an old Universal monster movie, it’s so awesome. The movie opens up in a white room with no windows, which is coincidental since that is most likely where you will end up after seeing this. A young woman awakens from a bed to find Ricky (played by Bill Moseley this time… but hold off on your applause), who jolts out of bed holding a scalpel. She bolts and finds herself in a hallway, occupied only by Santa Claus, so she does the only plausible thing to do in that situation: Sit on his lap. After telling him what she wants for Christmas, he raises a butcher knife…

Yup, that’s your type of scares for this movie. Emotionless looking people holding up sharp objects. Someone may as well jump out from a corner and shout “BOO” at me.

By now, you’re probably thinking, “What the hell is going on?” This when the young lady named Laura wakes up screaming. So what did that dream have to do with anything and why was Ricky in it? Well, Laura is… and I can’t believe I have to say this, a blind clairvoyant and as we all know, the ability to enter other people’s minds is a super power that all blind people possess. I feel like that is a seriously misguided false stereotype, kinda like how all white people can’t dance. Okay, for the most part that is true, but there have been some fantastic example of white people dancing, like John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever.

I rest my case.

sndn3_3Anyway, we’re gonna pause there for a moment and I’m going to point out that it’s been roughly five minutes and already the movie has lost me. You may be asking your television questions like, “Huh?” or “What the hell does this have to do with Christmas?” To answer the question, the movie takes place on Christmas Eve and Laura’s doctor, Dr. Newburry, is using her to reach Ricky with her powers for (what else?) science. And that’s all you need to know. Or that’s all they bother telling us. They never really say if it’s for evil science or good science, which I feel is something they really needed to categorize here, otherwise how else am I supposed to know if he is the antagonist other than the fact he is a total douche? Laura no longer wants to do the experiments and heads to her granny’s house along with her brother Chris (played by Twin Peaks‘ Eric Da Rae) and his girlfriend, who is foreign and that’s all you need to know. Laura instantly hates her and the three set out for the most awkward car ride of all time. Wee!

Meanwhile, guess who wakes up from their coma and kills a drunk, heckling Santa impersonator? That’s right, but for some reason Ricky doesn’t take the festive outfit and hitchhikes in his hospital gown and exposed brain, where as the Santa suit would have disguised his freaky nature! He kills a few more hospital workers, casually strolls out the front door and hitchhikes like someone who looks like Dr. Frankenstein’s experiment is a normal thing. A trucker picks him up anyway (well now I feel foolish) to chalk up a few kills at a gas station and some new duds, then off to Granny’s. But how did he know to go there? Turns out, the psychic link thingy that Laura shares with him is two ways, much like all relationships. You take crap and you give crap, am I right?

Granny also seems to have psychic powers, but only to show that it’s hereditary (maybe?). Granny gets a whole use out of this power, playing a pivotal scene, announcing to herself, out loud that the phone will ring… and yet she can’t tell that Ricky, the zombie looking guy who’s acting creepy will show up unexpectedly and is going to kill her! Shortly thereafter, our unlikable trio arrives and Laura gets the sixth sense that something is wrong. Her brother shakes it off his denim jacket, throws his blonde wavy locks to the side and goes off to make sweet love in the bathtub while clogging the drain with his hairy chest. Seriously, dude is like a werewolf. The cops (okay, a cop) and Dr. Newburry head off to find Ricky at Granny’s, but will they be too late before Ricky kills the disposable brother and his strange accented girlfriend? Yes. Yes they will be.

It’s an incredibly silly movie with an incredibly silly ending.

sndn3_4You know what this movie is? It’s that movie playing on TV that other characters in other movies are watching. You spot it in the background and think to yourself, “Wow, that looks incredibly generic. I wish I were watching that!” But really you don’t wish that. Nothing about this movie sticks out as a good movie, then again nothing really sticks out about it being a really terrible movie. Sure, it’s a bad movie, but it’s just kinda there. It comes off as boring and the actor’s performances really convey this, as the majority of them seem to be sleepwalking through the film (quite literally with Ricky). Nobody seems to be enjoying the fact that they are making a movie, but instead walking into frame, recite a line and halfheartedly react to it. Not only that, but the plot seems rather generic (along with its supposed scares). In fact, the script feels rushed and thrown together at the last minute and wouldn’t you know it, it was! Apparently, the shooting script was scrapped very shortly before filming began and they wrote and shot a different one, so what we get is a movie thrown together with the most run of the mill and safe ideas, where if you were to describe this movie to anyone, it would sound like every horror movie ever made.

Silent Night Deadly Night 3
You would think after watching Silent Night, Deadly Night 3, there would be no way a series could stray further from the source, but you would be wrong. It only gets further and weirder from here.

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • Brain in a bowl.
  • Psychics can’t see.
  • A Leo Johnson Christmas.
  • Hitchhiking half-head.
  • Mind game Granny!
  • Dr. Douche
  • Fire poker impalement.
totals

5

blood

BLOOD

It’s kinda splashed around here and there, but the exposed brain is kinda cool.

2

blood

BREASTS

Eric Da Rae’s hairy chest, soaked in bath suds for the ladies.

4

beast

BEASTS

You have Bill Moseley sleepwalking through the film and that Doctor being a turd. I seriously hate that guy.

3.6 OVERALL
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About the Highway

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