Archive for the '90’s movies' Category

Dec

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Silent Night, Deadly Night 4: Initiation
“And if I die before I wake, thank you.”

1990 – R – 86 Minutes – Lionsgate
Starring Clint Howard, Neith Hunter, Maud Adams – Directed by Brian Yuzna

It’s beginning to look and feel a lot like Christmas, isn’t it? Unless you are reading this any other time than December, anyway, but there is always a cheerful holiday flick to get you in the spirit. Take the Silent Night, Deadly Night franchise for example, a film series that derailed so sharply and quickly, I think it gave me whiplash. Would it surprise you that the fourth installment has literally nothing to do with Christmas? Well, it takes place at Christmas, but that’s where any relation to previous entries or even the Christmas holiday stops. It’s like they had a script to a horror film and weren’t sure how to market it, then realized they owned the rights to this series, made some last minute changes, stapled Silent Night, Deadly Night to it and there ya go… Silent Night, Deadly Night 4: Initiation.

Somebody filmed Clint Howard going about his day, covered in his own ofal and eating hamburgers covered in ants that he found on the ground and decided to make a movie. As he is enjoying his meal, a woman cosplaying as the Human Torch falls from a building and splats on the sidewalk. The news seems to write this off as “spontaneous combustion,” because apparently that is a thing. However, eager junior reporter Kim thinks there’s more to it when she catches the news while her boyfriend, Hank, is making sweaty and what looks to be extremely humid sex to her. She wants to report the story, but her boss’ club clearly has a ‘no girls allowed’ sign, but after talking with her co-worker Janice (who’s only excuse for the way men act in this film is, “boys will be boys”) Kim decides to do it anyway.

sndn4_2Everyone wants to seem to write this off as a suicide, which seems like overkill if you are already on fire, but that doesn’t fool Kim. She heads down to the bookstore where she checks out a book, Initiation of the Virgin Goddess and befriends Fima, a suspicious old woman who gets a crystal wind chime sound every time she glances at someone suspiciously… which is constantly. Fima offers Kim a snack that looks like a date, but is something more sinister, as noted by the previously mentioned not-so-subtle music cue. Not a very subtle approach to the true nature of the character. Next on Kim’s to-do-list is check out the roof where the woman had jumped. She climbs to the ledge and seems to be in some kind of trance, when Ricky comes out of nowhere and yanks goopy, giant arm sized maggot out from a vent and shows it to Kim as if he is saying, “Look at what the special effects guys made! It may not make sense, but it looks cool!” End scene. I’m sure it will make sense somewhere.

Kim gets home and things totally begin to ‘bug’ out as her apartment is now crawling with cockroaches. She flips threw her recently checked out book and comes across a symbol of women’s power, which her spaghetti has somehow taken the shape of! What could this mean? Is the flying spaghetti monster real? No time to think about it, she’s running late for dinner at Hank’s parent house, where his father berates her for being Jewish, further proving that all men think very little of women (in this movie). Hank tries to apologize to her by groping her outside, but she doesn’t take it and heads home where more illusions and bugs are happening. Kim passes out from the weirdness (and you might be as well), but is woken up the next day by Janice just in time to make it to the creepy picnic where she meets two of Fima’s friends. They drink wine and act suspiciously like they are in some kind of cult as Kim is passing out. Hank arrives and picks her up from work, which she had ditched to go to this picnic. Priorities, Kim, priorities.

Kim and Hank check out the spot where the woman on fire commited suicide or whatever and find a recently drawn symbol that is starting to look familiar, so Kim takes off to Fima’s apartment for some tea. So this is the second time she has blown of a story she is supposedly interested in? And she wonders why her boss won’t give her an assignment. As Fima tells Kim that she reminds her of her daughter Lilith, Kim starts to get drowsy. Fima is now demanding Kim eat another date, making her the most aggressive date saleswoman ever.

sndn4_3Kim wakes up to what can only be described as a fever dream, where Fima and her friends strip Kim of her clothes, paint some symbols on her and slice a rat open over her as Ricky places the giant maggot on her stomach from earlier, which begins to bore into her stomach. Weird, I get the same dreams whenever I eat Arby’s. Kim awakens again in Fima’s apartment and leaves, but that dream must have got her feeling frisky as she starts having the intercourse with Hank once she gets home. Ricky enters the apartment and begins watching Silent Night, Deadly Night 3

…Wait, what? Nevermind.

Hank finally notices that some weirdo is in the room watching a crappy horror movie and is stabbed to death by Ricky, just as Janice is calling and Kim answers. Typical woman on the phone while her boyfriend is being murdered. Sheesh. Ricky manages to capture Kim just as Janice is arriving, but in a shocking twist, Janice scolds Ricky for making a mess of the situation, revealing she is part of that cult! Kim, having passed out AGAIN is now waking up surrounded by the cult only to have a sweaty, doughy, hairy Clint Howard wearing a mask from A Clockwork Orange and thrusting at the camera. Merry Christmas, everyone!

Another hallucination and another passing out later, Kim is officially part of the club! Hooray? After chatting with Fima at the bookstore, we learn that woman who died at the beginning was Lilith, Fima’s daughter, who wasn’t strong enough. Strong enough for what, I don’t know. They never really get into what this cult’s ultimate plan is. Maybe it’s to get Clint Howard laid, in which case, mission accomplished. Anywho, Kim has now taken the place of Lilith and must sacrifice a man or else she will be set ablaze too. Always read the fine print when you join a cult.

sndn4_4So the plan is a Christmas kidnapping (hey, there’s the tie in to the series) of Hank’s little brother Lonnie, which goes pretty smoothly actually (after Ricky murders his parents, of course), where he is to be sacrificed on the roof, should Kim fulfill her destiny. Or do you think she will kill Fiona and Ricky, thus adopting Lonnie and appearing briefly in the sequel?

At the end of the movie, you will slump back in your sofa with a nearly permanent dumbfound expression on your face and think, “What the hell did that have to do with Christmas?” and “How did this series get so far away from what made the original so great?” I get that they wanted to do something different, but that’s not always a good thing, especially when the movie isn’t even relatable to neither the series or a certain holiday it’s supposed to take place during. It’s really mind boggling that someone felt that a sequel to Silent Night, Deadly Night 3 needed to be rushed immediately, saw this script and thought, “Perfect!” The characters are so one dimensional, that it makes comic strip characters seem full of life. Everyone seems to be playing a harsh stereotype of something, whether it’s how chauvinistic men can be or the powerful witchy women, it seems like someone had a single view on how people are represented and rolled with it. They make the Punch-Out games look subtle in their stereotyping. Not all is bad though, I mean, the practical effects are pretty good, but you get good stuff when it’s a Brian Yuzna film with Screaming Mad George effects. It’s goopy and gross and it’s sure to capture the holiday spirit.

As far as the Silent Night, Deadly Night series goes, Initiation is by far the most detached, having dropped the whole killer Santa angle. After Part 2, for whatever reason, the films become more Sci-Fi influenced, which is a really bizarre decision for Christmas themed movies. They most likely wanted to try something different, a new spin on something old, but if there is anything the slasher genre should have learned, it’s that you should never stray away from the formula. In this case though, I don’t think it would matter. Even if you take it out of the franchise and look at it as its own film, Initiation really isn’t that interesting and it should be, most likely due to the flat feeling I’ve continuously mentioned. Aside from the few gross out moments that are intentionally thrown at you for the sake of being gross, there is nothing of value or entertaining to watch.

Silent Night, Deadly Night 4: Initiation
If there is anything Silent Night, Deadly Night 4: Initiation has taught me, it’s that men are chauvinistic pigs and women are mystical cult witches with super powers. Can’t trust anyone. Anyway, with giant maggots, women on fire and a sweaty, naked Clint Howard, I say Merry Christmas!

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • Burger time.
  • Spontaneous combustion-a-cide .
  • It’s a maggot miracle.
  • Witchy women.
  • Clint Howard put out to stud.
totals

5

blood

BLOOD

People set of fire, stabbed and gross, icky bugs.

4

blood

BREASTS

Two turtle doves.

2

beast

BEASTS

Clint Howard having sex in a mask.

3.6 OVERALL
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Sep

Comments Off on Army of Darkness

It’s 1991, director Sam Raimi now has the approval for a third movie in The Evil Dead series. So how does he capitalize on the cult success of the previous two films? Change the name to Army of Darkness and make it a horror-comedy. Because that’s worked out for so many franchises before it! See any of the Nightmare on Elm Street sequels, if you don’t know what I mean. Now does that mean it’s a bad movie? No, absolutely not. This movie brought a lot of folks into the fold of The Chin, Sam Raimi, and the fact that practical effects and good acting will always beat out CGI.
The movie starts out with Bruce Campbell as Ash narrating his current situation. There’s really no need for the narration, as it’s pretty apparent what’s going on. However, Bruce Campbell narrating anything is epic. We find out a little back story and why Ash is in the situation he’s in, flashback style, though the cuts and bruises he receives later in the movie are on his face. That’s why the right side of his face is filmed in this scene, to hide actual cuts and bruises sustained during filming. Just like the last movie, Evil Dead 2, we get a quick recap with some scenes redone to save on time. Ash is sucked into the vortex and now we begin our medieval escapade.
Through that awesome narration we now know that the movie takes place in 1200 AD and our hero has landed smack dab in the middle of not only a war, but a cursed land befouled by the evil that came from the book. Talk about bad luck. Some camera play and exposition, we come to the first real action of the movie: Ash versus the Pit Witch (and her bloated friend). Even up to this point, with lines such as “Well hello, Mister Fancypants!” to his fellow captor Henry the Red, who leads the other guys, this could still work as a horror movie. However, the next particular scene, is where we get the tone for the rest of the film.
If you never knew that the director was a fan of The Three Stooges, you will, now. Ash’s fight with the Pit Witch, while somewhat violent, is packed with goofy angles, over the top screams, and comedic timing. Escaping said pit Ash proceeds to establish himself as the alpha dog amongst these people, giving us one of his most quoted lines ever. “This is my…BOOMSTICK!” as well as some helpful information about what said boomstick is made of, where it’s made, and how much it retails for. Say it with me, kids, “Shop smart. Shop S-Mart! Ya got that?!?” Why do I keep involving children saying lines from horror movies in my reviews?
After Ash gets the only rest and relaxation he’s gotten in the last 72 hours interrupted by a deadite witch and the plot, we now get some classic Raimi montage footage. And let’s add in a ‘Groovy.’ for good measure. With the magic words ‘Klatu verata nictu’ (See The Day The Earth Stood Still) in hand Ash begins his quest for the book, and a stuntman that can pull of that chin. A chase scene and a really wide camera shot later we come to what might be either the most hilarious or most disturbing scenes the dream team has ever put to celluloid. And they filmed a woman biting her own hand off, mind you.
Our hero finds himself in familiar surroundings as he locks himself inside a windmill in the woods to hide from the evil chasing him. Because it worked so well the last time he barricaded himself in a wood shack in the woods with evil chasing him. However, I’m pretty sure if some looming force of darkness was on my heels making that howling sound I’d suddenly develop the ability to swim up a mountain side. A smashed mirror leads us to some Stooges type comedy and miniature cannibalism. Which results in an eyeball poking through the flesh on Ash’s shoulder, complete with a muffled voice to let us know it’s alive. Told you it was disturbing. But it doesn’t stop there, folks, oh no.
The thing begins to grow. First into another head, then into another person from the waist up, then into another person entirely. And here, about the half way mark of the movie, we have our antagonist. Seems the writing team figured they couldn’t have a movie with a hero and no villain. More disturbing imagery! Ash shoots then dismembers his evil twin, in one of the darkest Raimi montages, ever, and proceeds to bury the remains, and the doubt that we’ll never see that character again. After receiving a warning about the book he quests for, The Chin presses on.
Can’t have a medieval movie without a medieval graveyard filled with gothic, medieval tombstones. Ash finds the book, and a twist, to both lengthen the movie and torture Bruce Campbell with special effects makeup. Right before getting the book, however, Ash channels every person that’s ever had to remember something, ever. The humor in this scene is simple, and in that, hilarious. My favorite line being the final one when Ash decides a cough with an ‘N’ sound in front of it would suffice for ancient, evil magic. Again. Ash not so big in the brains department.
The equivalent of ‘Password not accepted’ turns the graveyard into a fireworks factory and awakens the dead, giving us another chance to witness another slapstick tribute to the stooges. We see Evil Ash resurrected, and soon afterwards, his army of the dead. Or darkness, you know, given the movie title and all. But all is not well when The Chin returns and delivers the news that he may have upset some folks back in the medieval graveyard. I couldn’t help one more ‘medieval’, sorry. Things happen! The love interest is taken away! Ash vows to stand and fight! Enter the final scenes!
The men of the castle send word to Henry the Red, the big brute earlier in the movie, that they need help. They also take part in a training montage, because reasons. Ash, being from the future and all, arms them with gunpowder. The formula which he found in a physics book which just happened to be in his trunk. For extra points try to find the issue of Fangoria. When all is said and done we enter what has to be some of the most epic battle scenes since Clash of the Titans. Or Jason and the Argonauts. Depends on your preference.
The army of the dead attack and go after the book! The men at the castle try to defend! Things aren’t going so well for our heroes, who seem to be dropping like flies. Now we see the Ashmobile! The classic that has been made over to be a steam powered (I’m guessing) contraption of death. The Chin meets up with former love interest now turned deadite, which he ends up tossing over the side of a wall like yesterday’s leftovers. And now, an exercise in duality. Evil Ash and Ash face off to fight for the book and the fate of all involved.
I will, once again, skip the ending because I don’t believe in spoilers. So let’s wrap up. This movie set a tone that Sam Raimi would reuse in other movies like Darkman and even further up like Spider-Man. It’s filled with flaws and production fails, try to count the air-rams badly hidden behind scenery, and some big plot holes. And where I’d usually pick apart a movie for them, this time I’m able to overlook them. Not because of fanboy-ism, okay, partly because of fanboy-ism, but mainly because the movie is just plain fun! Big sets, big action, big actor, and big one liners all add up for a horror comedy that is still just as fun today.

Thanks for reading, folks! Also check out the alternate ending and the extended windmill scene in various rereleases of the movie. So I have a question for all our loyal readers: Should I review the reboot of the series? Head to our Facebook or Twitter page to vote! Thanks again, folks. Stay tuned!

roadside attractions

  • The chin 3.0?
  • Hail to the King?
  • Wires and air-rams Galore
  • ?Ash’s Changing Hair Lengths
  • ?Xena’s war cry
  • ?Evil Ash Muppet
totals

4

blood

BLOOD

A lot of action, not a lot of gore.

3

blood

BREASTS

One full pair and a couple covered with hair. Not much to howl about.

10

beast

BEASTS

An entire army of the dead. Nuff said.

9.2 OVERALL
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Aug

Comments Off on Mind Ripper

Mind Ripper
1995 – R – 94 Minutes – Warner Home Video
Starring Lance Henriksen, Giovanni Ribisi, John Diehl – Directed by Joe Gayton

Did you know that there is actually a third movie in The Hills Have Eyes series? I’m not talking about any of the remakes, but rather a movie from the early 90’s called Mind Ripper and why they decided to call it that instead The Hills Have Eyes Part 3, I don’t know. Although after seeing it, maybe they were too ashamed to attach the franchise’s name to it, but not too ashamed to attach Wes Craven’s name to it. In fact, his name is right on the box as “Wes Craven Presents,” which I’m guessing is only because his son Jonathan Craven wrote it.

So where does Mind Ripper fit in with the other two The Hills Have Eyes films? Well, it doesn’t really. It’s more of an in-name only kind of tie in. Oh, it does take place in the desert, but aside from that, the plot is a ‘genetic experiment gone awry’ that low budget b-movies in the 90’s seemed to love so much. I could spend all day listing those movies and talking about how awful and full of holes those plots are, but let’s stay focused and talk about Mind Ripper.

The movie starts and right away some poor sap already wants out of the movie as a team of scientists in an underground lab, called Gentec, find his mangled body. Leading this estranged crew of nerds is Stockton, played by Lance Henriksen! I think it’s safe to assume that Lance is only appearing as a favor to Wes. Since his body is on their turf, he graciously volunteered himself to be their test subject. As the scientists race to save the quickly dying stranger’s life, Stockton gives him a shot of something he had been working on. It’s experimental, it’s dangerous, but it’s the only thing that could save the young man’s life. I’m sure the FDA or military would allow human testing on serum that is still in the development stage. Eh, what could go wrong?

mr_2It’s now six months later and folks at Gentec have been using the stranger as a lab rat and now call him Thor. I know what we’re all thinking, but that crossover isn’t happening. Remember earlier when I said the 90’s loved to use this ‘genetic experiment gone wrong’ plot? Well part of that was to load it up with the most stock, one dimensional characters in matching jumpsuits it can find. Leading the group is Alex, who is so secretly (but it’s not really a secret) evil, he should be twirling a mustache and laughing whenever lightning strikes. Of course there is also the fat slob Larry, the pervy tech dude Rob and the hot tough chick that is also a scientist, Joanne. From here, you can already guess how it’s going to play out for each one these characters.

Having left that project three months prior, Stockton is now trying to rebond with his daughter Wendy and her oversexed boyfriend Mark, who reeks vaguely like a Baldwin. Mark is the kind of guy who always has that look on his face like everything is bulls**t and has a double entendre for anything anyone says. This is the kind of character a movie can’t kill sooner and horrible enough. Also tagging along is Stockton’s cliched 90’s son (you know, the kind that hates authorities and his parents for no reason) Scott played by Giovanni Ribisi in his first movie role! Tough break kid. We all gotta start somewhere, but I heard there is this little World War II picture from some guy named Steven Spielberg… he may have a role for ya.

Scott spends most of his time smoking cigarettes and listening to his Walkman, because he’s full of angst and you just wouldn’t understand! Naturally, he doesn’t want to go on a camping trip with the rest of his family, but luckily for him, Stockton is called back to the lab since Thor is having seizures, thus having to cancel the camping trip. But work be damned! Stockton decides to bring his family… and Mark… along, because if there is any place in the world that can bring families closer together, it’s restricted secret genetic research labs.

mr_3Before Stockton can arrive, Thor’s seizures get worse and the team suits up in hazmat gear and tries to save him, but fail and he dies on the operating table… and then the team removes their hazmat gear, which leads me to believe that they are immune to all known and unknown diseases! Or… it’s lousy screenwriting. Speaking of, it wouldn’t be a failed genetic research movie if the test subject didn’t come back to life and slaughter all but Alex, Rob and Joanne. It’s here where Alex is revealed to be evil, which doesn’t come as a surprise, just as Thor captures him. Thor is looking rather sweaty and puking up weird egg-snake looking things, as he tells Alex that he is dying (didn’t he already die?) and needs brain juice to survive and then proceeds to suck out Alex’s brain with his tongue, which is now about two feet longer and has this little straw spike at the end of it. Maybe that was Alex’s goal all along: to infect random people so they mutate and their tongues turn in to straw spikes, which he can then market as the ultimate party accessory! Straw Spike!

Stockton now arriving, tells his kids to wait at the plane they arrived in, but do you think they listen? So screw it, everyone pile inside the super secret bunker that we somehow were able to get in to. Apparently they don’t delete the access codes of former employees. Talk about a overlooked flaw in your security system. But are you surprised? Thor is running around the airduct like a kid in a McDonald’s play pen! Rob and Joanne are trying to elude Thor in a room labeled with toxic waste warnings. The best thing about this room is that Nickelodeon must have designed this place, since leaky toxic waste barrels are insecurely placed at the top of a steep slope that leads right to the door. So what the hell is the point of that room? Or this scene? Finally, Thor happens to capture Rob, who just accidentally got his toe nail ripped off in what is honestly one of the most cringe worthy scenes I’ve ever seen, and then eats his brains.

As Stockton ventures off to find the other scientists, Thor tracks down his kids and nearly kills Scott, until Stockton tackles him, but he’s easily muscled down, beat senseless and left for dead. Yeah, great family and friends you have there. And now this is when the movie really becomes the ‘genetic experiment gone wrong’ movie, as Scott, Mark, Wendy and Joanne spend the remaining duration of the film trying to survive and giving each other pep talks about surviving, while giving exposition. A lot of these kinds of films seemed to do this after Aliens. I’ll give you one guess as to what they could possibly be doing with that serum at the research lab.

mr_4If you guessed ‘to make super soldiers’… DUH!

Nothing else to do now except come up with some lame brain plan, like leaving a trail of brains (oh yeah, there are a bunch of brains laying around… it’s a lab) to a freezer. Can’t say I’m surprised it it worked, because I’m not. Thor isn’t the brightest star in the galaxy, if you know what I’m saying. He’s an idiot. A buffoon. That is what I’m saying. He may be as dumb as a jar of melted molasses, but he sure is strong as he starts to smash his way out of the freezer as the group finds Stockton alive and they make their daring escape… or do they?!

Yeah, it’s that kind of ending where you think the villain is dead and they will escape and the he pops up and they have to kill him and escape again… repeat this several times.

I’m kinda in the middle of the road on this one. On one part, the cast is pulling in rather solid performances. Lance Henriksen is always great, regardless of how goofy the content in the movie is. John Diehl, who played Alex, really plays up the spineless villain, as he does in a lot of movies that he’s in. However, we don’t really spend too much time with these people to really get to know them. A detail about why they are the way they are is usually glossed over and explained in a sentence. And those we do spend time with, like Mark and Scott, we don’t really care for. Again, having some backstory could have made them more sympathetic… except for Mark. I do like the mystery of who Thor was before he was experimented on, but not much is hinted at or brought up, so you wouldn’t really think about it as a casual viewer. Although the visuals are pretty great, giving you some special effects that will make you squirm, the plot is old and tiring, offering nothing new or interesting. After about twenty minutes when you realize what kind of movie this actually is, you’ll find yourself waiting for the characters to die rather than be involved in what’s happening in the story.

Mind Ripper
Not a bad first attempt for Jonathan Craven, so surely his next attempt will be better… what was it? The Hills Have Eyes 2 remake? That pile of garbage that was only made to capitalize on the success of the original film’s remake? Ugh! Thank goodness he hasn’t written anything since… yet.

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • Super duper ultra to the max secret lab!
  • You’ll wish this super soldier was the Reb Brown Captain America.
  • Family death-cation.
  • Toenail removal.
  • Gonna eat your brains and gain your knowledge.
  • Chill out, Thor… in the freezer!
totals

7

blood

BLOOD

Plenty of sucking brains out of eyeballs, but that toenail scene… yeesh!

3

blood

BREASTS

Joanne graces the screen with some sidebood and cleavage.

5

beast

BEASTS

Thor is a force of nature that can dominate his prey and overpower them… too bad he’s easily bamboozled and pushed over.

5 OVERALL
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May

posted by Die-Anne Takillya | May 29, 2014 | 90's movies, B-movies, Bad movie, Review by Die-Anne Takillya

Comments Off on Witchboard 2

witchboard 2
Its been so long since you’ve heard from me, I decided to start over again by going back to the first time I was allowed to spew my warped opinions on crazy movies on this amazing site. I started out reviewing Witchboard, so what better way to triumphantly return than by watching the incomparable Witchboard 2: The Devil’s Doorway.
witchboard 2
Look at that cover. LOOK AT IT. It grabs you right on in: a buxom blonde getting strangled by a Ouija board. What could be greater? Oh, let’s find out. Where the first movie left off with the crybaby marrying the unpossessed Tawny Kitaen, and her landlady finding the Ouija board in the rubble, Witchboard 2 opens with cutie-pie Paige looking at a loft apartment while her skeezy landlord-to-be ogles her gluteal region.
Despite his creepy behavior and warnings about his crazy wife, Paige decides to lease the apartment. Of course, the fabled Ouija board is in the only closet in the place, so the stage is set for the impending terror. Of course, she gets settled in and decides to engage the dark side all on her lonesome, and meets a spirit named Susan, who starts to talk about a promotion that Paige is up for. She gets all excited until her ex Mitch shows up and starts yelling at her. There’s a lot of dramatic back-and-forth that boils down to him not understanding her artistic spirit, and then the landlady’s nephew, Russell shows up and tries to be gallant, threatening to call the cops to get him out of there, but Mitch informs us he is an officer of the law. Russell points out that he showed him his badge, and therefore has his badge number, so he can report his ungentlemanly behavior if he doesn’t vamoose.
witchboard 2Next, we get to see Paige at work, and let me tell you, this chica needs a power suit and some cojones if she’s going to get anywhere in the wild world of accountancy; especially when up against horse-face. No, not Sarah Jessica Parker, but another unfortunate looking actress in shoulderpads who is trying to best Paige out of the CPA position. I hate weak and stuttery characters, and that’s what Paige is shaping out to be: weak, unsure of herself, and afraid to stand up for herself. Something tells me that some demon is going to help her out with that.
Let’s talk about the landlady, Elaine, for a second. She’s wearing too much makeup to be a hippie, and the dopey voice is super annoying. Like, a total drag. Ugh. At least we get a teeny bit of exposition out of her; the possible identity of our Ouija ghost: Susan Sydney. The landlord, Jonas, interrupts us; and my gawd, is he the worst kind of stereotypical sleeze-bag prevert. “I’m the handyman around here, and if you ever need anything… I mean, AN-Y-THING…” Gag me with a spoon, already! If she wanted to get with a hedgehog, she can call Ron Jeremy. Yuck city. Alright, back to the film.
Who came up with the creepy tenement laundry room idea? I swear, if I lived in a place where the only area I could do my laundry in was in itself a horror movie set, I’d just go down the street to the Washeteria and be done with it. Too many horrible things have happened in basement laundry rooms, even in private residences. No thanks! Here we get our first taste of creepy activity; bangs and clanks, then she gets startled by Russell and uses self-defense techniques to nail him in the mommy-daddy button. He also tells us that Susan Sydney was the bee’s knees, and that he’s a photographer.
We get a lot of really awesome demon POV shots while Paige prepares for a bubble bath. She just gets to luxuriating, when she hears footsteps. Of course, she hauls her soapy wet tushie out of the tub and investigates, then has another tiny Ouija session. Susan is a ghost of very few words, and it is a little infuriating, especially when she spells out nonsense like A-R-T-I-S-T H-E-L-P and then makes the planchette freak out. But, this paranormal gibberish takes us to the first active violence we’ve seen: Something throws an axe at Jonas, then chases him around with a sawblade. He weasels away from that end by locking himself in the boiler room, but the dark forces are smarter than that, and they make the boiler cook him like a pot roast on your grandmama’s stove.
Now we start to see a little transformation in Paige; she puts ol’ horse-face in her place- Even uses the eff-word!- and tells Mitch off, then decides she wants to sit and let Russell shoot some snaps of her. He tries to bring out her inner sex-kitten, which doesn’t really work so well. When they return to the apartment, the cops are there, investigating Jonas’ death by pressure cooker.
Paige is in the grips of the dark side now; having nightmares (the Ouija board strangle! Ha!), and inspired to do mediocre sketches of creepy lady eyes and roses. Soon, her apartment is covered in sketches, and she’s starting to paint again. Mitch drops by to check on her, and apologizes for doubting her talent (I wouldn’t have gone that far, but he’s trying to make things up to her), and she asks him to look into the mysterious Susan Sydney.
At Jonas’ funeral, Russell reveals that Susan Sydney isn’t dead, and Paige tries to confront the Ouija board about it. After some more gibberish about a rifle cape (?), Mitch calls and says that there isn’t any record of Susan’s death. Paige gets mightily hacked off, and tells that devil board she’s going to throw it away, then it goes nuts, locking the door on her and witchboard 2slamming down all the shutters. Russell and Elaine come to the rescue, and they have a session on the Ouija, and more craziness comes out; it gives an address, but won’t cough up any personal details about Susan, then makes a mirror explode.
The address turns out to be bogus, there’s not a Parkwood street, but there is a ‘park’ in the ‘woods,’ and the scooby doo brigade heads out to find her final resting place. Paige is wearing some spectacularly short-shorts, which is way out of character and not functional for digging up shallow graves at all, and she’s making Russell take part in these shenanigans. I am getting bored, bored, bored. There’s only been one kill, and it was offscreen. Oh, wait,make that two; Mitch showed up in the woods and killed an opossum. There is more blood and guts in an episode of Lassie than there has been in this movie. Was this thing made for TV? Jiminy christmas, can I get some scares here? She has another sexy nightmare; the apartment looks like the set of a Stevie Nicks video, all candles and dry ice fog. We finally get a glimpse of Susan in the mirror…or is it?
Can I tell you how much I love the occult shop owner? I like this guy. Replace Paige with him, and this flick will pick up. He gives them an automatic writer and a book on the history of Ouija. She becomes some kind of scantily-clad cryptogramatical genius and deciphers Susan’s gibberish, and finds some earrings in the fireplace. She whips out the automatic writer and pisses off the ghost again, and makes it exact some demon justice by flipping Mitch’s car all over the San Fernando valley while Paige dreams about Susan getting murdalized by a gigantic chef’s knife.
She comes to, and Russell tries to talk some reason into her, telling her that the reason she’s wearing the clothes of a streetwalker is that she’s slowly being possessed, and convinces her to let Elaine throw the board and the automatic writer thingie away. Paige predictably fishes them out, and as soon as she fires up the board, Elaine gets taken out by a wrecking ball. Please, no Miley jokes. If I avoided them, so can you. The pace moves from neutral into first gear around the last eighteen minutes of this thing.  We finally figure out what Susan’s problem is, she slept with Jonas and Elaine butchered her, so yeah, she’s out for revenge but wants a body. So, she possesses Paige totally. We get a final fight scene, and Paige shakes off the possession, and she lays into the board with the pickaxe, destroying it and killing Susan, the evil stripper-ghost.
This movie is basically a rehash of the first one. Dead spirit wants to live again, and systematically destroys everyone around it to make it happen,, folks learn about the history of spirit boards, and you gotta pierce it with something sharp to make whatever’s in it die. Best part of the whole movie: Jim, the crybaby from the first movie, makes an appearance that leaves the ending open for yet another sequel.
All in all, its a very ‘meh’ kind of sequel. No real spooky stuff going on like in the first one; no gruesome death scenes, nothing really to write home about. They do call back to the first Witchboard a lot; the board changes just like it did, becoming more sinister as the movie goes on until it’s full-on evil board, the poor chick becoming sexier and angrier as the film progresses; like I said, a pale imitation of the original. It’s like comparing Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2: same basic story, but told in a different way, only this sequel was much less entertaining. If you cut out the 4 f-bombs and blurred out some photographed ta-tas, you could air this puppy on Lifetime.

roadside attractions

  • Ouija-fu
  • paint-fu
  • accountancy-fu
  • bad boyfriend-a-go-go
  • excessively tight jeans and jean shorts
  • bare midriffs at every turn
  • a few black eyes
  • bad photography
totals

2

blood  

BLOOD

About a shot-glass full. Disappointing.

4

blood  

BREASTS

but on paper, so they really don’t count.

 

2

beast  

BEASTS

the evil stripper-ghost and Jonas the creepy landlord.

2 OVERALL
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Watch the trailer to “Witchboard 2”

trailers

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May

Comments Off on Creatures From the Abyss (aka Plankton)

Creatures From the Abyss
1994 – Not Rated – Shriek Show
Starring Clay Rogers, Michael Bon, Sharon Twomey – Directed by Massimiliano Cerchi

Oh my goodness, where do I even begin? I honestly don’t know. I’m completely dumbfounded, like… my brain is trying to reboot. You know, I’ve been watching horror and all kinds of exploitation movies since I was a kid and it’s nice to know that a movie like Creatures From the Abyss can come along and make me say, “What the f**k is this?” Let’s be honest, Italy has made some of the goofiest movies mankind has to offer. Hundreds of years from now after humans have recolonized on a distant planet and are traveling to distant planets to study life from the past, they will stumble upon Earth, dig up this relic and think, “Wow, people in the past were dumb.” I could babble on in complete confusion, but I would only be going in circles, so let’s just start this rodeo.

Five friends frolic and play grab-arse on a Miami beach (because if Italians can’t film in New York, they film in Florida) in front of one of the worst blue-screen stop-motion effects ever. It’s nice that right out the gates the movie is setting the bar that low, as to crush all expectations that you would be seeing anything good. As if it’s saying, “Look pal, this is what you’re in for.” It’s a metaphor for “Abandon hope, ye who enter here.” While this crew of five mismatched dimwits go rafting in a lifeboat with no destination, somewhere else a crew of unknown old guys aboard a yacht are being killed by unknown creatures. So that’s your movie so far; a group of unknown kids are headed somewhere we don’t know to do something, meanwhile a group of unknown old guys somewhere else are being killed by something we don’t see for some unknown reason. That’s a good way to include your audience… by not including them in on anything at all. Well they can’t keep us in the dark forever, so let’s continue.

cfta_2It doesn’t take long for the uncontrollable forces of nature to want these teens dead. Caught in the middle of a storm, drifting in the middle of the ocean, they just so happen to bump into that same yacht and take refuge aboard. But this yacht must be owned by the mad scientists from Resident Evil, seeing as the first thing they walk into is a laboratory and in case you aren’t sure it’s a laboratory, the dweeb of the bunch, Mike (who is also unfortunately our hero), will point it out for you, “It’s a lab!” And don’t worry, he’ll point out many more things, since a rule of bad filmmaking is, ‘if your characters are stupid, your audience is stupider.’ Seriously, this guy makes Nick from Time Chasers look macho and bright. While they are piddling about, something with a wide angle lens is keeping a close eyes on them… very close. So close that it’s completely surprising nobody every sees it! Whatever it is.

They go about the ship, completely ransacking the place for new clothes without a second thought that it may belong to someone or they could intruding on someone’s ship… regardless if nobody is actually there (it’s not the point, dammit!). I may as well point this out now, but every time they walk in the main hallway, you’ll hear an ungodly, off pitched whale noise followed by a child like voice announcing the time from some stupid fish-clock. Oh, and it’s not just two or three times you hear this thing… oh no, they constantly walk by it. All. The. Time. Get used to hearing it ringing in the back of brain. It’s never going away.

But hey ladies, the men have been drifting in sea all day, so while we sit on these cozy sofas, how about you head into the kitchen and don’t come back until you’ve cooked something up, huh? I’m not saying that to be sexist, that’s kinda what happens. Two of the girls, one of which is Mike’s girlfriend, Margaret, go into the kitchen and cook up some fish, while Bobby the nitwit, lamebrain, dingbat, loudmouth or any other insulting way to call someone a neanderthal that I can think of, guzzles down brandy like it’s Capri Sun and sexually assaults Julie. Oh, sorry it’s not sexual assaulting when she finds his horrendous Elvis impersonation charming and giggles while saying, “no.” Meanwhile in the kitchen, the fish that’s being cooked catches ablaze and I don’t mean it catches fire… this thing sends flames shooting up in the air several feet and the fish oozes and gurgles green goo. Eh, Bobby will probably eat it.

cfta_3I hope these kids like their fish really well done. Bobby rams it into his face, belching while he chugs more liquor, clearly proving that men evolved from apes and Dorothy becomes ill, most likely in a combination of the ooze squirting fish and Bobby’s natural funk. She vomits up what looks like milk and egg yolk, followed by beetles to make it one of the most disgusting vomit scenes ever captured on celluloid. Suddenly a crash catches their attention, forcing the guys to investigate. Naturally, Bobby does that thing where he goes ahead, Mike calls his name, then Bobby jumps out and scares him. You know, that same shtick Ash and Scotty play in Evil Dead. Well much to their surprise, someone is alive (remember, Mike will remind you, so don’t worry) and it’s one of the scientists from the earlier cuts! Throughout the pretty much the remainder of the film, he’s in a catatonic like state, but I think that he’s in shock from being in this movie.

What were those scientists doing here? Mike finds his answers back at the lab, where he finds that these scientists found prehistoric fish and the fish broke loose, killed the scientists and blah, blah, blah, when suddenly they are attacked by said prehistoric fish! Good thing these fish can swim through air! Seriously, they do! Mike goes Margot Kidder level of crazy and grinds the fish in a meat grinder and smashes up the lab for good measure, while Bobby stands around with his jaw hanging open. Somewhere in this part of the movie, Margaret tells Mike she is pregnant and wants to get married. Subtle. Mike, with his new knowledge of the crew of this ship, questions the scientist, “How long have you been f***ing fish?” No disgust, no emotion, not even a follow up question. Just lays it out there.

But would you believe me if I told you the movie hasn’t even gotten ridiculous yet?

Upon reading some notes, Mike learns that it isn’t the fish being primordial that causes them to be violent, but from radioactive plankton. You see, earlier Bobby found bags and bags of what he thought was cocaine and was super excited about it. Turns out, it was the aforementioned radioactive plankton that turns people into horny mutant fish creatures…

cfta_4I’m gonna give you a second while that sinks in.

You good? Ok, anyway, Bobby finally talks Julie into sleeping with him, because it’s been awhile since we’ve seen boobs and since Bobby has done something to make you hate human beings. I guess several dozen ‘no’s’ mean ‘yes.’ During this, the armpit of sex scenes, Bobby begins to transform into a giant fish monster, to which Julie pretty much doesn’t notice until Bobby’s eyeballs pop out of his skull and into her mouth (you know, I was gonna make a balls in mouth joke, but this movie is crass enough, so I’m gonna take the high road). You have to know your career has hit a lower point than Courtney Love’s when you direct a giant fish monster thrusting and oozing all over a naked woman and in her mouth. I don’t think fans of tentacle porn would find this erotic. Margaret sees this and runs to get Mike, because if there is anyone that can handle that situation, it’s definitely Mike. However, Julie doesn’t remember anything that happened and Bobby opens the door, looking like his disgusting self (I prefer the mutated-monster-fish Bobby). What in tarnation is going on around here?

If the movie hasn’t repulsed you yet and killed your will to live, give it a few more moments. Soon, Julie begins having cramps and punches her self repeatedly in the stomach, because that’s what doctors recommend you should do for abdominal pain. Then Julie begins to “lay eggs,” which looks like caviar and egg white or melted icecream with crushed up Oreo’s pouring from her… you get the idea. Mike and Margaret finally realize that the ship isn’t so safe after all and that they should grab the scientist (that Mike has occasionally been nursing back to health by feeding him hard booze, because that’s what an unstable mind needs) and get out of dodge. However it won’t be that easy. At least not for people of this caliber of stupid.

The alarm is blaring and THAT STUPID, F***ING FISH CLOCK WON’T SHUTUP! Pouring gas all over the ship, Mike’s ready to blow that puppy sky high, when mutated-fish-monster-Bobby attacks him. Mike manages to wet his pants and flee, bumping into Margaret. While trying to escape from the ship with the doctor, Margaret begins to feel ill and feels something changing inside her. It’s a good thing she is pregnant and she and Mike are getting married, so there is no way anything bad could happen… But as she begins to change, she does the ballsiest things anyone has done in this movie; armed with a spear gun, she points it at her face and fires, freeing Mike from the horrible clutches of marriage. Maybe he and the doc can get a sweet bachelor’s pad.

cfta_5Suddenly the super-duper-monster-fish-destroyer-Bobby shows up for the final boss fight, but unfortunately for him, his weakness is crazy, male nourished, drunk scientists, as the scientist plunges a syringe (earlier he made some cocktail in the syringe) killing the creature as the boat explodes and Mike survives… or does he?! Do you really care? Do you really want a sequel?

That was truly… amazing. Wow, I mean, movies don’t get more entertaining than that. It’s a movie that makes Devil Fish look like Jaws. This plot is so, for lack of a better word, stupid, that they had to write even more stupid characters for their plot to seem intelligent. Which is a good segway into the dialogue of this movie. When Mike isn’t pointing out exactly what’s in front of you (again reinforcing that the plot is stupid, so the characters have to be more stupid, so therefor the audience must be incredibly stupid) and Bobby isn’t replusing you with every word farted out of his mouth hole, the screen is littered with revolting, yet incredibly cheap looking special effects that are dripping and oozing all kinds of goo. These are some of the silliest stop motion and animatronic creatures you will ever see. All of these stomach turning effects are filmed up close with wide angle lenses, as are the characters reactions. You thought Bobby was gross enough with food and offal smeared all over his face? Wait til you see it like it’s an inch from your face. Then watch as his face melts apart and he sweats as he heaves and thrusts while doing the nasty. Think about this jackhole procreating. Barf bags not included, but should be.

I don’t know why this exact thought is coming into my brain, but I want to see Andrew W.K. smash a brick into Bobby’s oily, stupid smirking face. Thankfully we do get a break from Bobby’s irritable self and the girls show off their gazongas, grabbing them and commenting that it’s time to get a new bra. At least the director was smart enough to realize he was going to lose the male audience if he didn’t throw in obligatory breast shots every so often. In between those money shots, the film could have gotten boring, but luckily an incompetent writer and director makes for some of the best and cheesiest dialogue. Someone, somewhere in this movie actually says, “They frighten me… they have an evil expression,” when commenting on the fish. It goes beyond over the top ridiculous, that you would swear whoever was atrociously dubbing them were just making stuff up. Like they just made the plot up as they went along, but if that’s the case, I would believe it more than someone was actually paid to write this. So even when nothing is happening, you’re still entranced by whatever they are talking about. It’s more than watching a collective group of numbskulls stammer and try to figure out a mystery that the Scooby Gang could’ve solved in their sleep, it’s… I don’t know how to describe it other than “magnificent.”

Creatures From the Abyss
This is one of those movies that should have become infamously “so bad, it’s good,” like The Room or Troll 2, but since it’s only been put out by Shriek Show in 2007 in the Mutant Monsters Triple Feature pack (along with The Being and The Dark), I don’t think it’s had much luck in the way of marketing, which is a shame, although that triple pack and the movie individually are widely available at a good price. With a little more push, this could have been seen by a wider audience and finally achieved that cult status it deserves or maybe it’s a good thing that it sunk to the bottom of the sea of bad movies, waiting to be discovered by cinephiles with love for the bad and the obscure. Time will tell.

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • Captain Obvious.
  • Radioactive plankton coke party!
  • Beetle regurgitation!
  • Bobby, the man who inspires contraceptives everywhere.
  • Mutated-melting-monster-fish sex scene!
  • Some caviar for the lady?
  • Face full ‘o’ spear!
  • Fish clock…
totals

5

blood

BLOOD

Little but, but plenty of gooey, melty fish monsters.

7

blood

BREASTS

“I think it’s time to buy a new bra!”

3

beast

BEASTS

Laughable automatronic and stop motion fish are no match for Bobby.

5 OVERALL
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Watch the entire movie… in Italian!

trailers

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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 >>