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Jul

posted by admin | July 29, 2012 | 80's b-movies, B-movie Reviews, B-movies, Reviews by the Goon

Comments Off on Unhinged

Unhinged

Unhinged is a film I remember seeing various VHS box covers for when I was a child. I would hear tales of its shocking and disturbing story and atmosphere, over the top violence and gore and a twist ending that would leave you scarred. Fast forward to my mid twenties; I’m browsing the horror DVD’s at a local FYE (Don’t ask me why I was there. I guess I felt like being overcharged for something) and I come across Unhinged. At first, I didn’t recognize it, but the box shows a woman’s face, wide eyed and covered in blood. After reading the synopsis on the back I realized this was that notorious Video Nasty I heard so many legends about… but my expectations were about to be crushed.

Have you ever heard a story from a friend that he from his friends and they heard from their friends… and so on? It becomes so exaggerated and diluted that when you finally see it, it was overhyped, underwhelming and you find yourself surprised at how this film, Unhinged, managed to make it on the Video Nasty List. And keep in mind that the DVD is the uncensored version.

The story to Unhinged is nothing new, mind you. Three girls on their way to some jazz concert or something (I don’t know. The beginning of the story is smothered in boobs and what they are talking about goes by so fast) and they go off the road and are rescued by a creepy family. Well, they are rescued by the family’s helper, Norman, who looks a lot like Burt Reynolds. Films like ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’, ‘Tourist Trap’ or even ‘Just Before Dawn’ may be racing through your head. Well, that’s because you’ve seen this scenario dozens of times before. It’s nothing original, it’s nothing new. It’s your ‘stranded-in-the-middle-of-nowhere-with-crazies-but-I’m-staying-here-when-I-should-just-leave’ plot. The family consists of Marion, the creepy and odd daughter of Nancy. Nancy doesn’t do much except kinda sit around and chew scenery. She hates men; the film decided they needed to hammer this only important piece of information into your head. So, I’m gonna go ahead and skip several drawn out dinner scenes (clearly trying to emulate some Texas Chainsaw Massacre there) and tell you. Her husband was institutionalized. Yup. See where this is headed?

unhingedWhether it’s the girls or Marion and her mother, they all seem to share bad chemistry. Their dialogue is clunky, seems unrealistic and the actors are seemingly rushing through their lines just to get to the end and pausing so the other may speak. This is bad when you are relying on your audience to attach themselves to your characters. Much like how we felt bad for the girls in ‘The Last House on the Left’. We got to know these girls and they were tortured, but here… you just don’t care. I caught myself thinking about how I should arrange my DVD’s.

They do actually create some tension though. One of the girls is out of commission for quite some time in the film (and you have to wonder why it took the girls till the SECOND DAY to check on their friend) and at night, they hear someone breathing that becomes increasingly louder.  Later, they find it to be some creepy dude and I have to be honest here: I totally forgot what his relation was to the people of the house (ANSWER: His name is Carl and it’s Marion’s brother). And I had to look that up, but that proves my point. You don’t invest yourself in these characters. But yeah, you know how the rest goes; the main girl is chased finds her dead friends and confronts Marion, who actually… in a surprising twist… is a dude!

I’m going to break my mold for a bit. I usually try to talk about the movie in a few paragraphs, trying to spoil as little as possible, but with a movie like Unhinged, there isn’t really much to talk about. As I said, you’ve seen this type of movie before. But, now that I’ve talked about it, I’d like to talk about what it was the movie was trying to accomplish in a period where movies were confusing blood and body counts as scary.

Unhinged The DVD does offer an interview with the director on a local Portland, Oregon (the cast and crew were all natives from there) TV channel that is actually kind of insightful, for as short as it is. Don Gronquist states that he wanted to create a movie that horror movies don’t need a high body count to be scary and that’s what he wanted to do with Unhinged. Make a creepy movie that didn’t focus on blood and bodies for scares. And I have to totally agree. This is the reason I like Unhinged. It made a bold attempt to break away from what was popular and safe to sell tickets and instead really tried to go back to using atmosphere and twists as true horror…which I believe that’s what it should be about. Sure, blood and guts are nice, but they don’t scare you. They disgust you. Horror isn’t blood. Horror is truly being frightened to look over your shoulder or to walk down your hallway in the middle of the night. Unfortunately, the film borrowed elements that were too familiar and didn’t do anything new with them. Sure, the film isn’t frightening, but it can be creepy at moments.

I say watch the film. Sure the acting is hammy at best (Marion being the only well portrayed character), every death scene is someone getting stabbed off screen then getting blood splashed on their face, but it’s entertaining and definitely doesn’t deserve all the negative feedback it gets.

Also, the DVD offers a few bonus features. One is an audio commentary track featuring five “comics” attempting to riff the film, but it ends up being five obnoxious, drunk loudmouths talking over each other. Oh and it’s not funny.

roadside attractions

  • Burt Reynolds Stunt Double
  • Last House on the Left Nod
  • Gender Conusion-A-Tron
  • Peeping Tom-ism
  • Worst Friends Ever
totals

4

blood

BLOOD

Yes there is blood in the film, but you could also say there is silverware.

7

blood

BREASTS

A couple of full frontal shower scenes over important exposition, so pay attention!

9

beast

BEASTS

A mean ol’ Granny, a bearded peeping tom and a gender confused psycho! A family that makes the Bundy’s look civil.

7.0 OVERALL
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Check out the trailer for “Unhinged”

trailers

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Jul

Comments Off on Making Contact

It may surprise many of you to learn that I, Barry Goodall have no cell phone. I kid you not. I own no Apple iphone, no blackberry, no kumquat 2.0, …there’s not one fruit based technology of any sort in this double-wide. In fact, I started writing this review back  in the late spring of 2011 when I stripped fresh bark for parchment from a nearby pine  and sent my review in a whale bone mailing tube on the back of a trained river otter. He delivered it to the city folks upriver who then air shipped it to a cheap outsourced data entry employee in Bangledesh. There my review was translated  to Arabic then to French and back again to english.You may notice some strange typos that could confuse me for this be sure to  humus I surrender this pudding suit?

Sure, there’s the looks of shock you get when you say you don’t have a cell phone “But Barry, how do you make phone calls?”  they’d ask. “Well, after we get done making our homemade asprin from  the  gall of a castrated boar and our homegrown opium, we take turns using the family fire pit for smoke signal messages. Would you like a piece of this homemade baklava?”

So thanks, but no thanks to your dark magic or you call it “mobile technology.” I think I’ll be sticking with my laser disc players and Nintendo powerglove for now. Sure I might not be able to Instagram myself  impersonating a duck, but you can never put a price on a well trained river otter.

Speaking of  big long distance bills. Little Joey has been comunicating with his recently deceased father over a toy phone in the Germantic sci-fi “Making Contact.” One of the few movies to feature a giant mutant hamburger and a darth vader cameo all in the same film. Joey doesn’t realize than communicating with his dead dad would unleash the demonic spirit of an evil ventriloquisto doll who wants to make him into toaster strudel. The dummy looks a bit like a young Erich Von Stroheim with all the charm of an old man that just learned they cancelled Matlock. Joey finds the dummy while hunting down his lost robot in a nearby mansion and sticks him in his room to complete his collection of safety recalled toys.

Joey’s mom thinks he’s going crazy but seems less concerned her son can levitate a glass of milk with his mind or that he may have stuck some kitchen knives in the wall in a fit of telekentic rage. Joey also been getting picked on by some school bullies so he’s only about one wedgie short of going Carrie on their behinds.

Joey’s teacher learns of his power when he visits his mom for a “parent teacher conference” and brings in an entire government evac team to seal up the house and study Joey’s brain with wired turkey basters. Meanwhile the bullies make a  plan to kidnap Joey while hanging out at the old Bates home but the evil dummy has trapped them there instead. Joey sneaks out  to help free the kids from the clutches of the devil doll and has turned the house into a maze full of mummies, giant hamburgers, and man eating dinosaurs (or as we call it, Euro-Disney.)  The gang tries to escape but discover the only exit is blocked by the puppet and the ghost of an inept ventriloquist not played by Jeff Dunham. The two must battle with their telekentic powers to see who will triumph and who gets their face melted off first.

Making Contact was obviously influenced by the success of ET and Poltergiest with a bit of Star Wars thrown in. I was hoping for more German nude cannibalism or at least some singing nuns but was sadly disappointed. Barry Goodall says check it out only if you’re looking for a good anesthesia before a major surgery or are in need of an epitac. You can also check out the original German extended cut  in the DVD box set with extra farvergnugen. Just be sure to play it loud and scare your neighbors.

roadside attractions

  • Giant hamburgers
  • Pigtail levitation
  • Krispy Kreme product placement
  • Electro shock garabage cans
  • Melt-o-dummies
  • Fisher price glow phones
  • Runaway Datsuns
totals

0

blood

BLOOD

I think a kid got a noise bleed and scraped his knee. Oh the carnage!

0

blood

BREASTS

Nadda ta-tas, I think this was supposed to be for kids. But it was originally German so you never can be certain.

8

beast

BEASTS

The grumpiest vantrliqust dummy ever, darth vader, giant hamburger, and some goofy looking dionsaurs.

4.0 OVERALL
dripper

Check out this trailer from “Making Contact”

trailers

dripper
Jul

Comments Off on Showdown in Little Tokyo

I am from the future. Things are different there. For one thing, Dolph Lundgren is as important an historical figure as Leonardo Da Vinci. A sample of his resume: Black belt in Karate; Masters in chemical engineering; Fulbright scholar at MIT; Bouncer at glamorous NYC dance club; Male model; U.S. Olympic pentathlete (non-competing); Actor; Writer; Director; Artist. One time, masked burglars broke into his home without knowing its owner. They tied up his wife and child, but upon noticing his photograph on the mantle they realized they were robbing Dolph Lundgren and fled in terror. He is a polymath. A renaissance man. A Thomas Jefferson or a Benjamin Franklin. Except where Benjamin Franklin discovered the nature of electric current, Dolph Lundgren discovered that a man of muscle could make an obscene amount of money by starring in inexpensive direct-to-VHS action movies.

While there are more famous Dolph Lundgren films, “Showdown in Little Tokyo” is undoubtedly the greatest Dolph Lundgren movie. I don’t mean because it has his best acting (that would be “Universal Soldier”). In fact, Brandon Lee (“The Crow”) completely overpowers Dolph with the sheer force of his charisma. Much has already been said for the late Brandon Lee’s talent, but that guy was a Movie Star.

The reason “Showdown” is the greatest Dolph Lundgren movie is that it contains everything you want out of a Lundgren vehicle: guns, exploding cars, boobs (Tia Carrere!, or rather her body double), homosexual subtext, Dolph shirtless, and awesome one-liners. Although Brandon Lee cockily saunters through the movie, maliciously setting bad guys on fire and stealing the show, even he can learn from Dolph. Dolph is the Master. We are all his pupils.

I’m not even going to attempt to summarize the plot. It doesn’t matter. Don’t even worry about how it’s physically impossible for Dolph to jump over that moving car. Don’t stress your pretty head about how he has infinite ammo. Why does Brandon compliment Dolph on the size of his manhood? Wouldn’t you when confronted by full Lundgren? This movie rules. It is essential viewing for all you numbskulls.

The Lessons from “Showdown in Little Tokyo”:

-Dolph and Brandon are in love.

roadside attractions

  • Dolph Lundgren, you wussies
  • Tia Carerre’s naked body double
  • Brandon Lee, RIP!
  • Yakuza decapitations
  • Electrified Mattress Torture
  • Hollywood racism
totals

7

blood

BLOOD

You can always safely count on Dolph to give you some middle-of-the-road 1990s action movie violence. The best naked bathhouse tattoo knife fight since Eastern Promises

9

blood

BREASTS

Tia Carrere is technically naked in this, but it is pretty obviously her body double. Also, Nyotaimori (Don’t google that word at work.)

7

beast

BEASTS

Under-appreciated 90’s b-movie heavy Cary Hiroyuki Tagawa randomly stabs or decapitates someone every five minutes

9 OVERALL
dripper

Check out the trailer for “Showdown in Little Tokyo”

trailers

dripper
Jun

Comments Off on The Prince of Darkness

prince of darkness

I have to come right out and say it: Whoever doesn’t love John Carpenter can go to hell. Hell. Hmm… interesting, because Prince of Darkness has lots to do with hell, which is obvious in the title. Now that I think about it, how does one become the Prince of Darkness? Is there a ceremony? If Satan is the Prince of Darkness, then who is the King of Darkness? Jerry Lewis? Val Kilmer? I didn’t realize Hell was a Monarchy. And if that’s the case, does that mean all the countries like Canada, England and Australia are going to Hell, while the good ol’ USA goes to Heaven? Yeah! Score one for ‘Merica!

With my trusty, ice cold, watery beer(s) at my side, I fight for Good and attempt to put Prince of Darkness in its place… my DVD player.

Prince of DarknessSo, right away we see some old Priest doing what old people do, die, as he lets go of a box. But what’s in it? This is when we meet our cast of characters who are suppose to be students at a college, but they look more like the parents of the students. Just how old are these supposed ‘kids’? But, the main character, Brian (Jameson Parker), really bothers me. It’s not his acting or anything. It’s that his mustache is uneven. Seriously, just look at it! Every time he is on screen, I just stare at it and stop paying attention to what is going on. I got off topic there for a second. I would blame the booze, but… look at the thing when you watch this. Anyway, they are taught by Professor Howard Birack played by Victor Wong, and I think he teaches some sort of Physics class when they are approached by a John Carpenter regular Donald Pleasance playing  a Priest trying to protect the world from evil… a role I’m sure we’re all familiar seeing Donald Pleasance in. The Priest, Father Loomis (I guess he gave up being a doctor and became a father) is seeking their help to investigate this room and a mysterious cylinder in the basement of the derelict Los Angeles church. The cylinder looks a lot like this thing I bought from Spencer’s Gifts, but it’s no toy. It is, as they later find out after a theology student, Lisa, translates some text from the old book, the Devil. Yes, the Devil is a weird swirling green, gooey thing. Who knew? I always thought he was like some dude with long hair and a coat or a beast of some kind, but nope. Turns out, he’s a nothing more than a party favor a stoner buys to stare at for hours.

Prince of DarknessIn a well paced manner, bizarre things begin to happen and people start to die. This is when the movie starts to get creepy. One character gets impaled with a unicycle by a homeless Alice Cooper (imagine having that engraved on your tombstone) and another is stabbed to death with scissors by a homeless Adrianne Barbeau. Not to mention, this student also comes back from the dead to deliver a message in the most nightmarish vision: His voice is distorted as he tells them to “Pray for Death,” then falls to pieces as little black bugs scatter everywhere! Not only that, Satan in his liquid form, sprays a few of the students in the mouth (mostly by one of the students regurgitating the liquid in to each other’s mouths) to possess them. When they are possessed, they literally stand around and just stare blankly. It freaks me out, their expressionless faces. Another one of the students, Kelly, forms a bruise which is actually a marking. She eventually becomes host to Satan, and as the group discovers, whose goal is to bring forth an ‘Anti-God’…something more powerful than Satan! My guess is that it would be Charlie Sheen.

By now you’re probably wondering why they don’t leave the church. It’s because Satan has himself an Army of crazy homeless people on guard twenty four hours surrounding the place! It seems like Satan has himself a better army than Canada.

While all this is going on, the remaining survivors are having weird dreams that are just down right unnerving. They play like old school VHS tapes as a distorted voice warns them of the impending doom, hoping that they will be able to alter the events and prevent the Apocalypse. But do these kids (again they seem so young and not at all like they are 30 year olds), their professor and Donald Pleasance have what it takes to stop the Devil from bringing the Anti-God into our world and prevent the end of everything as we know it? Well, since it’s a John Carpenter movie and it’s the second movie in his “Apocalypse Trilogy”…

It disappointed me to find out that when this movie first came out in theaters, it bombed. Critics and fans disliked it, but luckily in the past decade, it has a newfound appreciation and some even say it’s almost as suspenseful as The Thing, which I believe it is. The pacing in this movie is very well done and it never feels like there is a dull moment. The atmosphere and the possessed characters are truly unnerving and frightening and you get a sense of isolation (again, much like The Thing) since they are trapped inside a church. Even the concept of Satan in liquid form is pretty cool. May not be the best interpretation of him, but it’s pretty creative. Prince of Darkness is a good example of why I love John Carpenter’s work. He gets horror. The only thing I would have changed is that friggin’ mustache on Jameson Parker’s face.

roadside attractions

  • Uneven ‘stache
  • 40 Year Old Students
  • Liquid Satan
  • Alice Cooper
  • Gaysian
  • Pizza Face
totals

7

blood

BLOOD

Good ol’ fashioned sprays and splats!

3

blood

BREASTS

Butterface cleavage

9

beast

BEASTS

Hobo’s, Minions and Satan himself.

8.6 OVERALL
dripper

Check out the trailer from “The Prince of Darkness”

trailers

dripper
Jun

Comments Off on Bloodstalkers

What is it about the deep south that brings hapless victims and mutants together like old people to casinos? In “The Bloodstalkers,” it’s that constant state of weird, Florida. I Blame it on the humidity, an obsession with tree fruit or senior prescriptions seeping into the water supply. There ain’t no nekkid face eatin’  in this one, but I do have  suspicion the director had been snortin’ the bath salts one too many times.

Mike (Jerry Albert) is taking his wife Kim  down to the Everglads to check out a cabin he inherited. Along for the ride is  Danny (Ken Miller) a poor excuse for a used car salesman along with his stripper girlfriend Jeri (Celaa Anne Cole.) Yes, the same Celaa Anne Cole who shoke her shiny future  hinny in Space Mutiny.

While driving the backroads, they stop at a local gas station hoping to find some breathable polyster jackets and trucker hats. Instead they’re warned by a crotchety store owner to “stay away from them woods…ya varmits” ok he didn’t say “ya varmits” but I swear he threw in a “horn swaggle and a “dang nabbit” in there somewhere. Mike and friends laugh it off so they can get quicker to their deaths and ask for directions from a roadside deaf mute who makes popping noises with his tongue (sorry ladies he’s already taken.) Like a redneck Onstar, he points them to an overgrown trail leading to their shack in the swamp but their brady bunch station wagon gets stuck and they have to hoof it on foot.

There’s quite a long time before any killing so we learn about Mike’s post traumatic Stress disorder, Kim’s love of denim and how Jeri is a really bad stripper ever since becoming a nun. Ok I made up that last part but it was still more interesting than their actual story. Mike takes a skinny dip with Kim to get away from Danny and Jeri’s constant dry humping on furniture so they relax in a swamp hole behind the cabin. Lots of backwoods nookie and 70’s folks music before Kim catches a glimpse of a furry man hanging out on the deep end of their oozie jacuzzi. Mike doesn’t see it (likely due to how dark this film is) so they head back to the shack to dry off leaving the swamp sasquatch to throw mud pies at their car.

Later that night, Jeri is attacked by a furry hand  through their window trying to coop a feel, but Mike scares him away with a mini-pistol he won in a crane game. Jeri goes  into catatonic shock and Mike in a bold heroic move leave everyone at the cabin alone and heads back to town for help. Along the way he get hassled  by some drunk Miami Dolphin fans and meets the town’s minister who tells him the truth about the cabin, sasquastch and recites entire book of Leviticus.

Ken hightales it back to the cabin while a church choir sings his action theme music only to find his wife and friends murdered and left in humorous poses. Yet another mass mime homcide. The town sherrif shows up late to let Ken know those rednecks in town were actually poachers and the cabin is where they kept the goods but Ken is too busy workin’ up some tears over his impaled girlfriend to care.  One of the poachers dressed in a monkey suit shows up for a one man game of shotgun roulette while the rest of poachers take down the sheriff. Limbs are chopped, bell bottoms are soiled and Mike has to walk back to town alone since everyone he knows and loves is dead… but hey it’s the 70’s so he’s still mello.

Barry Goodall says track down Bloodstalkers for some deep hurting cajun style. It might make you wish the south did secede.

roadside attractions

  • scythe to throat
  • multiple axings to various body parts
  • shotgun to chest
  • mute redneck GPS
  • swampwater skinny dippin’
  • neck and hand choppin’
  • a creepy shirtless Ken Miller
  • Brady Bunch stationwagon
  • Baptist choir killer theme music
  • Rednecks poachers in ape suits
totals

7

blood

BLOOD

Wait for it….wait for it…

7

blood

BREASTS

Skinny dippin’ C cups and some cleavage on display. But nothin’ to write home about. Wait, that would be a weird thing to write home about.

5

beast

BEASTS

The Bloodstalkers who really aren’t sasquash but merely unshaven Floridians. Go Dolphins!!!

5.0 OVERALL
dripper

They should heed the warning of the old swamp rat, kerwin … “That’s Bloodstalker Country … nobody can survive out there overnight!.”

Check out this b-movie survival tip from “The Bloodstalkers”

trailers

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