Archive for the 'Bad movie' Category

Sep

posted by Blake | September 15, 2014 | 80's b-movies, 80's movies, B-movie Reviews, B-movies, Bad movie, Reviews by Blake

Recent soul-less reboots like Robocop and Total Recall have given me a very jaundiced eye towards the concept, so news that Mad Max is getting the Hollywood Reboot treatment fills me with fear and loathing even with the original director at the helm.  There is, however, one great post-apocalyptic film which I am sure will be forever safe from the grubby hands of studios  lacking originality: Peter George’s 1987 movie Surf Nazis Must Die, an abandoned child from the Troma family of fun.

The main plot centers around Murder and Revenge, while a subplot forms around a surf-gang leader’s desire for World Domination…or at least dominating the beaches of SoCal.  The majority of beach scenes were shot in Long Beach or Hamilton Beach, both being well-known SoCal surf meccas.

Interspersed throughout the film are six or seven different montages showing the Surf Nazis and other surf-gangs, well, surfing.  In the great tradition of horrid 60s surf films like Gidget and    How to Stuff a Wild Bikini, the film spends quite a bit of filler time showing fuzzy clips of anonymous, semi-pro surfers dressed in character’s costumes and shooting tubes.  Unlike the 60s drech, these dudes occasionally give the Nazi salute as they ride the nose and can be seen deliberately nudging other surfers off their boards—an act apparently more evil than theft and assault of beachgoers, judging by the reactions of those so treated.  Oddly, these montages were all shot on the north shore of Oahu rather than California.

The film is set “sometime in the near future,” when the California coastline has supposedly been devastated by the Big One, an earthquake that registered R8.0+ and caused at least 80,000 casualties while displacing most of the population.  In the aftermath of this disaster, the beaches south of Los Angeles have been overrun with anarchy, with police presence at zero and competing surf-gangs ruling the sands and victimizing citizens (think Beach Blanket Bingo meets A Clockwork Orange).  A note on the gangs: they definitely come from the Warriors school of cinematic gang-depiction, with their own themes, dorkey outfits, and names (Samurai Surfers, Pipeliners, Designer Waves, etc.; at least none of them are in baseball jerseys).  What makes them seem less like bangers and even more like “Pirate” extras from Danger Island is that they aren’t particularly evil or threatening; all of the gangs, including the eponymous Surf Nazis, spend most of their time either surfing, sleeping, drinking beer, or engaging in petty theft.  You would expect post-apocalyptic gangs modeling themselves on the Third Reich to be into some seriously evil stuff, but until the gang-war starts stealing cameras and threatening a pawn-shop owner are as nasty as they get.

Other than some footage taken in industrial storage yards and empty lots and some Before and After scenes of a burning building, there is little evidence of ruin; there is no real feel in the film that the characters are walking through a collapsed. There is no explanation for the complete absence of any law-enforcement or military personnel, or any type of civil infrastructure.  There are all manner of stores still open, including both surf- and pawn-shops, and for a chaotic war zone there seems to be quite a few elderly, middle-class suburbanites, pier-fisherman and other normal L.A. types wandering the beaches, complete with tourist cameras and 80s boomboxes.

One displaced family is Eleanor Washington and her son Leroy, whose home was destroyed outright.  Leroy moves Mama to a comfortable, if restrictive, retirement home and heads off to his work as a successful young oil industry worker (which we know because he wears a suit, a hardhat labeled “Chief,” and spends a good minute of film time wandering around a working pumpjack, looking confused).  Apparently, besides shops and retirement homes the Big One left the power grid and the LA-area oil industry intact, because between the pumpjack, a working offshore platform, and a functioning refinery used in the last scene, SoCal’s oil production still seems to be going strong.

In the main subplot one particular gang, the Surf Nazis, decides to try for world conqeust by either uniting or wiping out the rival gangs and securing the best surfing beaches for themselves; because, you know, like, taking over Hamilton Beach and its gnarly grinders is kinda like invading Poland and annexing the Sudetenland, right?  I mean, it’s just Tube City, dude, and Polski don’t surf.

The gang’s leader, “Adolf,” looks more like Freddie Mercury than the Fuhrer and is borderline batshit to boot.  He is supported and semi-dominated by Eva (played by 80s B-queen Dawn Wildsmith), who is as nutcase as Adolf but considerably more able, and backed by enforcers named Hook (guess what he has for a hand…), Brutus, and the intelligent but twisted Mengele, who is played by veteran B-actor, director, and punk musician Michael Sonye.  Numerous hangers-on include a pathetic, teenaged wannabe named Smeg and a gaggle of tweens who serve as an unorganized Hitlerjugend of petty thieves and pickpockets.

Adolf calls a conference between the gangs and manages to bully them into following his nominal lead.  They will pay some tribute to the Surf Nazis and respect the boundaries of each others’ beaches, allowing Adolf and his followers to focus their energies on victimizing the populace, drinking beer, and surfing.

One day, one of the little Hitlerjugend tries to snatch a purse from an elderly woman on the shoreline, only to be foiled by Leroy Washington out for a jog at the beach.  Adolf witnesses the event and decides to take revenge, ordering Hook to deal with him.  Hook emasculates Washington with his custom-edged hook, and the next scenes show Mama Washington ID’ing the body and making “arrangements,” then agonizing in a chapel about God’s Will.  Doing a little self-investigating at the shoreline, Mama overhears Smeg bragging about the killing to a couple of beach-bimbos; she pressures him into coughing up the identities and details of the Surf Nazis and, presumably, their rivalries with the other surf-gangs.

Having nothing left to lose, Big Mama vows revenge and initiates a “Final Solution” of her own.  She goes to a pawn-shop, telling the owner, “I wanna buy a gun…but I’m more interested in something that’ll shoot the head off a honky at 20 paces.”  She ends up leaving with a Walther P-38 (an ironic touch on the director’s part as the 9mm P-38 was the primary sidearm of the Third Reich), a box of ammo, and a grenade.  She also begins a series of covert actions which turn the surf-gangs on each other, shattering the fragile truce between them and leading to the deaths of all rival gangs and the loss in battle of Brutus.

When the dust settles after the Beach of Long Knives, the surviving Surf Nazis retire to their graffiti-enhanced bunker to rest and recover; but Big Mama has other plans.  In the light of early dawn, Mama rolls a grenade down into the bunker which comes to rest right next to Hook’s soon-to-be-non-existent head.  The grenade detonates and, in another ironic twist by the director, Adolf and Eva become the ones who survive the Final Bunker Scene; Hook and Mengele are now riding the tails of Hell-bound Bings.  Laughing in maniacal triumph, Mama roars off on a motorcycle, only to be pursued by Adolf and Eva in the gang’s shark-themed van.

After a chase, Mama manages to corner them in the part-yard of an oil refinery, getting off some shots before they escape in a very bad directorial cut.  Suddenly, the fleeing pair are stealing the boards of two hapless surfers and paddling into the bay.  Mama uses her 9mm charms to convince a fisherman to follow them in his powerboat.  After a pass or two, the boat runs directly over Eva, demolishing her board and leaving her severed head bobbing amongst the debris.  On the next pass, Adolf kills the boat’s owner with a throwing knife, leaving Mama to struggle with the controls.  Just as she regains control, Adolf appears over the fantail and tries to stab her; Mama is aware of him, however, and shoves the barrel of the Walther down Adolf’s throat, gagging him.  Just before she squeezes the trigger, she delivers one of the best B-grade, pre-mortem one-liners ever: “Taste some of  Mama’s home cooking, Adolf!” She blows out the back of his head and his corpse goes overboard as she laughs.

Final scene: Mama rides off on her motorcycle, laughing.  The End.

While this film suffers from bad photography, poor special effects, and a badly-written script, it does have some good points: a dark sense of humor; some of the old ultraviolence (and speaking of which, Hook is used as a vehicle for a few visual references to Kubrick’s Clockwork Orange); rather interesting performances by Sonye and Wildsmith (I said “interesting,” not “good”); a decent helping of 80s surf lingo, and a far better soundtrack than I would have expected.  While it is not in the league of Troma’s greatest triumph, The Toxic Avenger, it is still well-worth the time invested; if you’re in the mood for some sand and surf, it sure as hell beats watching Frankie and Annette.

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roadside attractions

  • Breasts, ‘boards, and beer
  • Pistol Packin’ Mama
totals

5

blood

BLOOD

Mengele licks the blood of a rival off his knife-blade

5

blood

BREASTS

Covered and uncovered, including Wildsmith’s

0

beast

BEASTS

Not even a dead jellyfish in the shore-break

3.5 OVERALL
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Watch the trailer to Surf Nazis Must Die

trailers

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Aug

posted by Blake | August 18, 2014 | 80's b-movies, 80's movies, B-movie Reviews, B-movies, Bad movie

robo vampires

I have been watching B-films since I was a kid, recognizing at an early age that low-budget cinema is usually far more entertaining than the latest Michael Bay blockbusters.  Occasionally I run across a movie that shatters all of my previously-held notions of just what constitutes a “bad” film, leaving me slack-jawed at Man’s capacity to produce truly abysmal art.  “Robo Vampire” is one such movie, a cinematic singularity from which no particle of light escapes; I was humbled by it.

The film was cobbled together in 1988 by Filmark Intl. Ltd., the brainchild of Tomas Tang, producer and often director of very-low-budget action movies featuring ninjas, sorcerers, jiang shi, and anything else that was in vogue at the moment.  The director is listed as “Joe Livingstone,” a pseudonym for either Tang, himself, or his mentor and onetime-partner Godfrey Ho.  Apparently, there was a jiang shi craze in Hong Kong films at the time, and Verhoeven’s “Robocop” had been released the previous year to great acclaim, and since Tang usually produced low-budget kung fu films featuring drug triads, well….why not slap all three together and try to hit one out of the park?  This makes the plot amusingly moronic at best, confusing and aimless at worst.

Adding to its incoherence, “Robo Vampire” is actually two separate films fused artlessly together by bad dubbing and butcher-block cutting and splicing.  The first is a kung fu/jiang shi/Robocop rip-off set and filmed in Hong Kong, featuring a war between a heroin kingpin and the paramilitary drug enforcement agency trying to bring him down. The second is a wholly-uncredited Thai film featuring actor Sorapong Chatree who is something of a legend in Thailand. Although the Thai film is pure filler and contributes nothing towards advancing the plotline of the movie, it’s not a complete wash: it does contribute a couple of babes, a rape scene (obligatory for all Asian action B-films), a really bad come-on line, a Thai girl cutting open and sewing up a real cow and one of the most ludicrous stunt stand-ins I’ve ever seen.

robo vampireA  plot summary of this movie deserves a book, but here’s the gist of it.  A Hong Kong drug lord, Mr. Yung (played by a Guido Sarducci stunt double) is being vexed by Hong Kong’s paramilitary anti-drug squad, led by the apparently 16-year-old Mr. Glenn.  Glenn’s best agent is Tom the Goddamned Anti-Drug Agent (hereafter Tom GADA) who leads several successful busts, drawing the ire of Guido.  Guido then does what any good Italian Triad leader does: he hires a Taoist sorcerer-priest to train a special squad of jiang shi (a uniquely Chinese hybrid of psychic vampire and zombie) to deal with the situation.

Scene in Hong Kong, where the Taoist is demonstrating the effectiveness of the Vampire ProjectTM to some skeptics from the “Organization”; this movie is full of characters who drift in and out at need and are never explained nor seen again, like Red Shirts on the Enterprise.  He proceeds to transform one of the jiang shi into a “Vampire Monster,” which adds wearing a gorilla suit off the Clearance rack at Spirit to its already formidable undead powers.  Towards the end of the scene, a Caucasian female ghost enters fly-by-wire and challenges the Taoist.  In a badly-acted exposition she states that her name is Christine, that the Vampire Monster is her lover Peter, and that since they were banned from marriage by his Chinese parents, they committed suicide to be together in the afterlife but he has ruined their plans.  While this scene is ludicrous and cumbersome, the sting of it is taken away by the fact that Christine is wearing a very sheer white ghost-gown and is obviously bra-less.

robo vampireElsewhere, Tom GADA is killed by the Vampire Beast in a failed attempt to bust the Taoist and there’s some Thai film segments to add confusion.  Cut to a hospital.  Ex-Tom is lying on a slab, and his best friend and boss Teen Glenn casually authorizes a Nameless Tech to begin transforming his corpse into “an android-like robot” (his exact words).  The Tech begins shoving enormous, kludgy late-70s components into ex-Tom’s chromed and bisected torso, then sealing him up using a blowtorch (a sparkler stuck on a cardboard handle).  “RoboWarrior” is then activated, and some of his skills are shown on a firing range.  Unfortunately, RoboWarrior looks like the type of abysmal, amateurish cosplay gear you generally see worn by high-school kids at fourth-rate Cons. Someone from Costuming scored a bunch of those silver rayon sleeveless vests popular back in the early 80s and cut them up, then spray-glued them to cardboard cutouts and cricket padding sewn on a pair of coveralls; it’s that bad.

After some intervening Thai-film filler, Guido and two henchmen are being pursued along a shoreline by RoboWarrior but they lead him into a trap—-a circle of flames!   He burrows in the sand and escapes by digging his way clear, then fights off four jiang shi before one of Guido’s boys takes him down with a Light Antitank Weapon.  He “deactivates” in a fireball, giving us another great moment in this film: the “robot” that explodes in flames is a rag doll soaked in gasoline and wrapped in tinfoil (see photo).  This also points out one of the central production details of this movie: there is not a single special effect in this film that is not derived from fireworks or gasoline.  Even the gunfire in the Hong Kong half of the film is all black powder cap work with a badly-dubbed sound effects track.

Cut to the hospital again, with RoboWarrior back on the table again.  The attending doctor declares, “I’m afraid he short-circuited,” but the Nameless Tech retorts that it’s “not that serious.”  A few turns with a cheap, cordless power screwdriver, a few significant glances among the staff, and another session with the sparkler-torch and RoboWarrior rises again!

I can’t think of any other film with the pure genius to show a ghost and a gorilla vampire having sex, only to be interrupted by a robot hunting an Asian drug lord and his henchmen, because that is exactly what comes next.   After some come-hither glances, Christine the bra-less ghost and Peter the vampire gorilla begin some bizarre Monster Mash foreplay followed by the bump-and-grind to consummate their “marriage” from earlier in the film.  Unfortunately, their coitus goes interruptus through RoboWarrior, and monkey-boy’s not about to tag him in.  Christine puts on the frightened-girl act, begging (paradoxically) “Please don’t kill us, we love each other!  You can kill us but wait until our love is consummated.”  This gives RoboWarrior a flashback to his days as Tom GADA and the night his wife dumped him because he was a cop.  This sad imitation of a Murphy Moment has nothing to do with the scene at hand, but since that can be said about 75% of the film that isn’t a real problem.  The happy couple take advantage of his confusion to fight him to a standstill, the scene ending with the two of them doing a Riffraff/Magenta thing.  There is no sign of RoboWarrior, and no explanation of where he has gone.

After another section of Thai-film filler, we finally get to the Big Showdown: Guido and his boys face RoboWarrior and get wasted.  The four jiang shi then attack, only to fall one-by-one.  Finally, the Vampire Monster and RoboWarrior go head-to-head in a hopping battle across half of Hong Kong.  Elsewhere, Christine the bra-less ghost attacks the Taoist for reasons unknown, but after she strips her gown off (again inexplicably, but who cares?) he banishes her by writing a spell across her cleavage.  He then calls more jiang shi as reinforcements against RoboWarrior, but Christine comes flouncing back out of nowhere and claws his face, killing him. She is not seen again. The four new jiang shi fall, then RoboWarrior fires his flamethrower out of the barrel of his machine gun and torches the Vampire Monster (the stream of fire is actually a gasoline-soaked length of rope stretched from the gun-barrel to the target…really).  The Vampire Monster is finished, as we know because the gasoline-soaked rag doll in his robes and suspended from a rope off a balcony is burning while he howls.

RoboWarrior marches away from the corpses and the ruins.  The End.

If all of this sounds somewhat incoherent, good; it is, and I haven’t even mentioned half of it.   But if you’re into bad cinema, watching Robo Vampire is a mystical experience.   Check it out.

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roadside attractions

  • Gorilla vampire-on-ghost sex
  • Two films for the price of one
  • “Android-like” robot
  • Robocop cosplay tips
  • Gasoline and fireworks
totals

3

blood

BLOOD

Eye-gouging, flesh devouring, real cow-gutting

3

blood

BREASTS

Ghostly but firm

4

beast

BEASTS

Jiang shi, “Vampire Monster”, sexy specter

3.3 OVERALL
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Watch the trailer to Robo Vampire

trailers

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Aug

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
dripper

Watch the trailer!

trailers

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Jul

The Perfect House
2012 – Not Rated – 84 Minutes – Wild Eye Releasing
Starring Felissa Rose, Johnathan Tiersten – Directed by Kris Hulbert and Randy Kent

Have you ever found yourself walking around your empty, quiet house and thought to yourself, “I wonder what kind of dark, horrible things have happened here?” Then as you notice some scratch marks on the floor from where you moved furniture you think, “Oh, I bet someone being murdered was dragged across the floor there.” The latter is the case for the home in The Perfect House. The film certainly has a lot of elements being mixed into it, but they are hard to pick up on. For instance, when you pop this sucker in, you probably wouldn’t know it’s an anthology, especially since the synopsis on the back mentions nothing about it. For the first fifteen minutes, you will find yourself confused until you realize what it is.

I would also like to point out (or nitpick) the tagline, “There’s Terror on Every Floor!” Yet the only floor we really explore is the basement. And this is a two story house, so that tagline would be better suited for a skyscraper.

Your typical family comprised of the bickering husband and wife (played by Sleepaway Camp allum Felissa Rose) who are condescending toward one another, their sultry, smartphone addicted daughter and their two sons who always seem to be fighting are headed over to their neighbors house for dinner. What’s on the menu? Dastardly deception and torture! At this point, it’s hard to say what would make a man go crazy and tie up the family next door. They do mention a few times that his neighbor borrowed his weedwhacker and never returned it, then we find out that the dolt threw it away, claiming it to be an old piece of junk. So if there ever was motivation…

tph_2It cuts to sometime later as a young couple is looking to buy the home, which is implied has been on the market for sometime. This is when the movie shifts tonial so hard and suddenly you’ll get whiplash, as an erotic real estate agent embodying every fictional aspect of the female sex symbol gives them a tour of the home. As the male of the couple drools over her so comically, I expect him to turn into a cartoon wolf as his tongue rolls on the floor and his eyes pop out of his head. This scene is filled with so much lame sexual-innuendo that even most porns would be embarrassed of. At one point, she asks the couple if they would like to check out the “upstairs,” as she unbuttons her shirt as they walk upstairs to the bedroom where she proceeds to lay on the bed and trace the curves of the body. The husband plays along with the dialogue, while his wife is condescending toward him. The real estate agent then suggests that they check out the “downstairs” (in more ways than one), but warns them the basement is somewhat of a deal breaker. I really hope there is no double meaning to that.

As the couple descends into the basement, we launch into our first segment which takes place sometime in the 60’s (I think), as a husband and wife head into the basement with their two kids seeking shelter from a storm. We quickly see how mean spirited and condescending the wife is toward her family. By now, you are probably noticing two things: That every character is condescending toward each other and that none of the characters have names. While this may work for a single story, it’s going to quickly grow tiresome over the course of this movie. Anyway, during this storm as the light flickers out the parents turn up mutilated, leaving the kids to discover who the murderer is, which is clearly given away during flashbacks of their lives, giving motive to the killer. Also, this is the only segment that has a different theme than the rest. Rather than opting for torture porn, it’s… I dunno, who-dun-it?

This is when you realize this is a messy anthology and that the real estate segments are the narrative part and the first segment we saw is the book ends. So on to the second segment, yeah?

tph_3This one is definitely the longest segment (and you will start to feel it drag after a little while) which is most likely due to another Sleepaway Camp veteran, Johnathan Tiersten filling in the role of the cliched philosophical serial killer. I’m assuming this segment takes place during the 90’s due to his Godsmack style look, which was a bad idea even then. This bleach-haired, soul-patched serial killer uses the basement for caging and torturing victims, keeping a girl alive for years so she can watch his “art.” He brings another victim into the basement that she taunts as he cries, telling him he’s going to die in a few days and she knows this because her scheduled rape is the day after. I’m assuming that was supposed to come off as shocking and funny, but it just makes whoever wrote this look insensitive and stupid. I also want to point out that even though the female character does get the male victim to stop screaming by telling him, “Do you think someone that would do something like this is gonna leave us in a place our screams can be heard?” Which is true, but isn’t this house located in the middle of a populated neighborhood? Anyway, this segment is filled with more anal rape jokes as the serial killer dribbles on about how he’s changing society, thinning out the herd, creating art… you’ve heard heard all of this bulls#@t before and it sounds just as trivial now as it did back then. I can’t tell if they were trying to write this character with some depth or just following a list of stereotype serial killers in movies. And as for the woman, I get that she has been trapped for some time and is starting to lose her mind, but it’s her performance that makes her utterly loathable. Sadly, you feel nothing for this character, which is a tremendous feat when the opposing character is a serial killer/rapist. As I said, this portion of the film drags as he tortures these two in the basement, making jokes and you can’t help but ask yourself, “what is so popular about torture porn?” Sometimes it can shocking and gross, but this comes off as offensively wasting your time and insulting. Although this does tend to come off gross at times, like when he peels off a victim’s eyelids and smashes out their teeth with a 2×4, you can’t help but feel like the overall tone is someone is talking down to you.

And finally, we resume what we started with the neighboring families. The psychotic man gone over the edge from a tossed away weedwhacker, has his neighbors tied up and the film ventures into rape territory again as he tells their daughter to make herself pretty, tossing makeup at her and the film recalls her coming home with various boys in the middle of the night, implying she’s a slut and that this is fitting for her? It definitely makes you feel dirty, but only because you can’t help but feel this logic is severely misguided. He then pits the two boys to stab one another in order to save their mother’s life, because they always fought for her attention. Again, severely misguided view. All children fight, especially for mom’s attention and especially when they are about five and ten years old. The mother then has her ankles slashed open and has to rescue the surviving child, who now has a plastic bag over his head, which at this point you have to wonder what the hell the screenwriter was thinking. None of this is about redemption. None of this is about revenge. None of this is about justice or what goes around comes around. It feels like an extreme ends justify the means and a very delusional, poor quality snuff film version of it at that.

tph_4And so the film comes to end as three months later, some guy tosses another guy who wanted to look at the house again into the basement, implying that the house has some sort of evil power? Hell, I have no idea. On a final note, I’d like to point at that this film is called A Devil’s Inside in Australia, no doubt trying to name it closely to the found-footage crap fest A Devil Inside. Which when you think about it is rather fitting for this film; A film that misunderstands and poorly represents the genre it’s mimicking naming itself closely to another film that misunderstands and poorly represents the genre it’s mimicking.

All because of a weedwhacker.

When is all said and done, I had a few problems with The Perfect House, the biggest being the filmmakers and writer decided that most of the film would be cliched, tiresome torture porn. As much as I hate that term to describe a movie, I don’t know what else to call it when you spend the majority of your time with a captor doing heinous things to his victims and even with such a simple and pointless sub-genre, it seems to be mishandled. I can’t help but wonder why they would choose this route when an anthology opens up your spectrum of storytelling, allowing you to tell different elements of horror without making your overall story arc seem confusing. All of this makes the end of the film seem mean spirited and doing mean spirited things just for the sake of it. Issues like child murder or rape are handled poorly, almost with disrespect it seems, all of which seems to muddle to tone of the flick. Am I suppose to laugh? Be shocked? Scared? Who knows… not even the filmmakers it seems. Also, they didn’t explore much with the house, since we are stuck in the basement most of the time, but I guess the title ‘The Perfect Basement’ doesn’t sound as good.

That’s not to say that some of the performances are actually pretty solid, most of all by Felissa Rose. She really plays a victim here and brings it everything she has. It’s just too bad none of them have names. Seriously, do you know how hard it was to write this review calling every character “he” or “she”? It wouldn’t have been as difficult either if they all weren’t pretty much the same character being recycled. How many times can I write “husband and wife” while simultaneously be talking about several different people? Can you imagine trying to describe this movie to someone? It gets confusing! If you can come away from the film saying one positive thing, it’s that the practical effects are handled well and at times used effectively. Too bad the same can’t be said about the narrative.

The Perfect House
Now if you’ll excuse me, I better go return my neighbors tools before he ties me up and beats me with a garden hose.

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • Most awkward dinner ever.
  • Real estate agent/porn star.
  • Children of the darned.
  • Torture basement.
  • Weedwhacker revenge!
  • What’s down in the basement?
totals

6

blood

BLOOD

Fairly decent practicals almost shine through with decapitations, finger removals and other mutilations.

2

blood

BREASTS

If you don’t mind em on a dead girl, then this is for you.

3

beast

BEASTS

Just a bunch of torturous jerks!

3.6 OVERALL
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Jul

The Addicted
2014 – Not Rated – 90 Minutes – Revolver
Starring Jenny Gayner, Sean J Vincent, Thea Knight – Directed by Sean J Vincent

Ghosts, abandoned spooky place, masked killer, revenge plot… mix that all together and you have a vile, wretched cocktail so bitter that it’s hard to swallow and you get The Addicted. It’s a low budget film from England, that will bore you to tears and drive you to the verge of madness, you’ll wish customs seized it. Perhaps I’m being a little harsh, but you weren’t there, man!

The setup is simple and in retrospect, pointless, as a group of four adults posing as youngsters, two guys and their girlfriends, sneak into an abandoned rehab clinic with an Ouija board to summon the spirits that haunt the place. Rather than set up any type of mood or draw out suspense as they don’t even ask the departed questions with their mystical Parker Bros. game, an unseen entity, or an entity that looks like two stagehands dressed in black, immediately drag one of the girls into the dark. She returns with a pipe in her stomach and falls to the ground dead, setting the others into ’scatter and panic’ mode and are dispatched in a pretty mild fashion.

Pacing, tone and suspense are all set up within the first few minutes… nonexistent.

add_2Four “kids” go missing? That sounds like just the scoop for our reporter (I guess?) Nicole who is looking for that hot lead and that story might be the ticket. Especially since her father use to run the place. Wow, what a coincidence! You think that may have anything pivotal to do with the plot? It’s starting at this point where you are easily able to connect the dots and figure out what happens in the movie before anything happens.

Anyway if you’re still watching, a new security guard is brought in to watch over the clinic and mere moments into his first night, he is dragged off and killed, along with any possible tension or suspense. By now, you are probably realizing this is a movie that is clearly mistaking a pointless body count for actual horror.

But in an actual attempt to provide exposition, we flashback to 1987 when the clinic was open. David, a heroine junkie, is informed by his doctor that he hasn’t made any progress and will not be released… and then hands him some horse. Huh?! As David injects himself with the stuff, his doctor leans in and tells him in a sinister fashion that he is going to take his wife and money and makes sure that David rots there forever! Woah, evil ulterior motives? As the doctor makes moves on David’s wife, he spots David’s son looking down at him from the stairs, looking none too pleased.

Nicole, along with her boyfriend Adam, decide to go and investigate this place for unknown magazine or newspaper. But, you can’t have a movie with just two victims running around an abandoned place, that would require too much mood and tension. So they introduce another couple, Mike and Liz, whose personalities are so thin, they are transparent. After a pointless amateur music video that consist of stock footage of this group partying, they finally arrive at the clinic and the first thing they do? Sit around and talk about how they shouldn’t be there. Way to establish that your protagonist is a real go getter. They do manage to provide some plot, explaining why the place closed down, but the reason for it… is pure genius. Are you ready for it?

add_3Because a patient, David, committed suicide.

I’m not making a joke about suicide here, but if clinics closed because a patient killed himself, every clinic in the world would be shut down. What, do they expect to have a 100% success rate with their patients? Moving on, after Adam vanishes to go set up cameras and is apparently good at creeping up on people too, as evident upon his return. Finally realizing some plot needs to happen, they explore the place to shortly come to a door that Mike is volunteered to open. It pulls from his hand and they all scream and panic, while Mike is dragged off by two grips, I mean that ghost, which has the ability to set itself ablaze like the Human Torch composed of the world’s worst After Effects composite. Luckily Mike is rescued by Adam as smoke from… something (?) begins filling the room and the screen so intensely, that the effect actually goes over the aspect ratio bars.

Ok, if your editor can’t figure out which effect goes on what layer, it’s time to find someone else.

With the place locked down, they all vaguely recall a fire escape! Brilliant. Ok, so best course of action would be to stick together and go look… or Adam can venture off by himself once again. Gee, you think he is up to something? As the others wait for him to come back, Mike is in need of a fag (calm down, that’s what they call them in England) and goes off alone to find them and is dragged off into the dark again.

You know, it’s like Latent learning where you see if they change their behavior based on the result of what previously happened, but it never does. Lab rats are smarter than these people.

Mike awakens bound to a gurney to be greeted by a man in an orange jumpsuit and black skull/clown mask, who looks like the rejected member of Slipknot, shoots him in the leg with a nail gun for no reason, then injects him with heroine. I wonder where Adam could be… oh, there he is! He regroups with the others to search for Mike and almost immediately find him. Hopefully he isn’t dragged off again anytime soon. That would redundant and stupid… oh, sonuva…

add_4Remembering that they once had a point of finding a fire escape, Adam disappears, AGAIN, to go find it. Seriously, how hard is it to find a fire escape? It’s a fire escape! They are supposed to be easy to find in case of a, you know, fire! While Adam is looking for this obscure relic known as the fire escape, the girls are attacked by the ghost! Things sure are getting tense, as we see Mike waking up bound to a gurney once again (are we really doing this scene again?) and seeing as we seem to be stuck in an endless loop, you can guess what happens to Mike.

But it’s now that this masked psychopath reveals their true identity and it’s exactly who you’ve known it’s been the whole movie. The obvious continues to unfold, I mean drag out, as the killer’s plot is revealed and the connection with David’s ghost is explained and how Nicole fits into all of this as it boils down to her toughening up, by stripping down to a wife beater and tying her hair back like every heroine in most horror films ever and the movie ends on the most tired, predictable mirror jump scare in cinema history. But, you already guessed all of this. You’re smarter than this. Long ago, you probably shut this movie off and started doing something better with your time, like not watching The Addicted.

Within the first twenty minutes, the entire plot is set up, the reveal and all, so there is no wonder, there is no suspense… it’s all filler from here and it’s the worst kind. Boring, drawn out filler. It was at about this twenty minute mark I fell asleep, woke up toward the end just as the killer was about to reveal their identity and I guessed who it was with total confidence. That’s how cliched, tired and run of the mill this movie is. You can watch it in your sleep. This movie has the feel of ‘we have a dark, large empty space, let’s make a movie!’ And within this space they have to make a movie, they take one idea and repeat it continuously, you’ll think that the movie is broken as you think, “wait, didn’t I see this already?” Why yes, yes you have, but now it’s happening again… only the same. But that’s what happens when you don’t have things happen in your movie. The Addicted is like a one hit wonder CD a friend buys because of one song; He puts it in and puts that track on repeat over and over, until you finally snap.

This is a boring movie that relies on a huge coincidence too, doesn’t it? Part of your antagonist’s evil plan happens to be that you need to be somehow connected to the girl your revenge plot is against. Hey, didn’t Scream do that? Yeah, it was stupid then and it’s stupid now. Of course, maybe the film would have been a little more tolerable if they did some ADR or used better mics, as the movie sounds incredibly disembodied and muffled. Do you know how hard it is to hear an actor’s dialogue through a rubber mask in a hollow, echo-y room through an incredibly thick British accent? It’s not easy! Same can be said about the visuals. I understand this is a low budget film, but my god if you can’t pull off the bare minimum of decent looking effects, don’t have them. Not to mention that it’s a poorly lit movie, with lighting changing drastically between shots, that the scenes often look very muddy. On a fair note, some of the practicals are pulled off rather decent and if I have anything positive to say about the film, it’s that the actors do a bang up job. Everyone pulls of a convincing role and emotes well, but unfortunately it’s wasted in this film.

The Addicted
It’s a one note movie that feels like it drags on with very little thought put in, relying heavily on the same scare and idea to work repeatedly and then repeats the same ideas, the same scares, hell, even the same shots of those scares to a point where you feel like you are going insane or living in some sort of time loop. You have to wonder how a film like this got made. For a low budget indie film, this is one that isn’t worth your time. In fact, it should be locked away in solitary confinement forever and ever… and ever and ever.

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • Everytime someone is dragged off, take a shot.
  • Take a shot every time Adam vanishes.
  • Eye candy.
  • Nail gun massacre.
  • Oh and take a shot every time Mike is dragged off into the dark.
totals

4

blood

BLOOD

The pole through the stomach is done nice, but the blood seems to be used sparingly.

1

blood

BREASTS

We are… for having seen this, but a point for Nicole’s awesome cleavage.

1

beast

BEASTS

These beasts are easily outwitted, but the victims own worst enemy is their very own stupidity.

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