Archive for the 'Horror movies' Category

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
dripper

Watch the entire movie… in Italian!

trailers

dripper
May

Comments Off on Scream Park

Scream Park
2012 – Not Rated – Wild Eye Releasing
Starring Wend Wygant, Steve Rudzinski, Doug Bradley – Directed by Cary Hill

Step right up, folks! It’s the last chance you’ll have to experience these amazing, freaks of nature! That’s right, see the mystifying Scream Park movie that’s shot on video with a shoe string budget that somehow got Doug Bradley. Seriously, how the hell do you cast Doug Bradley, the guy who plays Pinhead? I also read that Tom Savini was going to have a role! Must be a Pittsburgh pride thing. On a personal note, I don’t feel like there are enough amusement park themed horror films (Tobe Hooper’s The Funhouse immediately comes to mind) and I’m not sure why. Amusement parks are pretty frightening on their own, presenting filmmakers with plenty of material to work with. Unfortunately most of the time, they really aren’t that good… *cough* Final Destination 3 *cough*.

sp_2After the opening title sequence, a direct homage to Friday the 13th, we learn it’s the final few days of The Frightland Amusement Park, as the crew of misfit teenagers are closing up for the evening. That’s the harsh reality of a business; it’s all about profits. But what if something horrible were to happen? Something that people would want to go there to experience? It would be the only place they could go to to experience something so wicked! Hmm, I wonder…

Unbeknownst to the crew of Frightland, they will soon find out with the arrival of a mysterious decrepit brown van. The crew consists of all the slasher film regulars; You have the jock douchebag Tony and his voluptuous girlfriend Carlee, the chain smoking goth girl Allison, the doofy young prankster Rhodie (who will steal the show for all the wrong reasons), characterless blonde girl Missi and of course the chastity practicing heroine, Jennifer. In charge of this rag tag bunch of horror stereotypes is Marty, who’s not only a callous dweeb, but also kind of a skeevy pervert. Carlee and Missi play against his perversions with the power of breasts to convince him to have a party for them at the park. Let’s be honest, one glance at Carlee’s cleavage and you would be powerless to all thought, reduced to the most primordial grunts and drooling.

sp_3As the park’s security guard who also doubles as the film’s token black guy, no nonsense Henry, is making his rounds, the kids are sneaking in booze provided by Missi’s punk rocker boyfriend and two mysterious masked prowlers are observing them and circling them from a distance like the patient predators they are. One is a silent, but deadly (sorry, not a fart joke) behemoth in a scarecrow mask and the other is a chuckling maniac in an old plague doctor’s mask. The party rages on… actually, it doesn’t so much as rage as it does casually peak at uninterested levels. You know those parties where only two of the several people are drinking and the others wonder off to do their own thing? Yeah, that’s this party.

Luckily our killers know how to start a party! Or stop, rather. Wisely disposing of the only person who could pose a threat by hanging him by the neck and stabbing him in the chest, our killers can now hunt their prey without worry. Never striding away from the engraved slasher formula, the teens are disposed of one by one, whether it be having their face melted off in a deep fryer, tied up and gutted (kinda reminds me of the first kill in Scream), throat slashed and scalped. As the number of survivors dwindles down, the mystery of the killers is resolved or should say lack of mystery, but the why is resolved in the only scene with Doug Bradley, better known as Pinhead from the Hellraiser series. By this point, it sort of comes as a shock that he’s just now making an appearance in the film (about an hour into the film) and being that it’s his only scene, you wonder how in the hell he got top billing. How? I’ll tell you how! If you had a low budget independent movie and you managed to cast a well known name in horror, you’d slap their name right on the cover too. Once it’s down to the final girl, she squares off the with now masked killers, one of which is revealed to be… a redneck. Yeah, who else would run around killing people in an amusement park. As you can figure you, things wrap up nice and neat with a little predictable twist and wink.

sp_4I know everything I mentioned must sounds like it should be the Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory of crime scenes, but the gore is very tame. Favoring just a squirt of blood and a quick glance at intestines over a geyser of entrails and carnage, which I feel the film really could have benefited from, since there is nothing in the story separating Scream Park from the pack of other cut and paste slashers. Technically speaking, Scream Park isn’t exactly Six Flags (if I may make an amusement park analogy). A majority of the shots in the film seem like bad, lifeless photographs shot with an average consumer HD camcorder. The only lighting seems to be provided by what’s only available in the environment, i.e. street lights or overhead indoor lights, making for grainy shots with muddy colors and shadows obscuring facial features or other details. Seemingly two dimensional with no depth, it focuses the camera on everything in frame rather than the subject, which makes for visually dull (and at times it can really feel like an eye sore) movie. The only scene that seems to be an exception from this is Doug Bradley’s scene, which looks well framed with some depth and has adequate lighting. It’s noticeably drastic that it feels like an entirely different movie. Wonder if he had anything to do with it? Another technical flaw is the Birdemic quality audio, where sounds drop in and out between cuts and are often covered with hiss and fizz. From time to time, there also seems to be a lack of sound effects or they sound like they were recorded in a box, sounding muffled. Luckily, the film is still enjoyable.

But personally, I like shot on video movies. That aside, Scream Park is decently paced, managing to hold your interest. Not to mention it’s packed with cameos and a lot of behind the scenes contribution, like music from The Razorblade Dolls! My favorite part of the entire movie is the character Rhodie, because it’s such an alluring performance. He doesn’t chew scenery or call in his performance, but somewhere that’s not exactly in between. It’s hard to explain exactly where it lies, but basically every line is delivered like he just woke up. Rhodie reminds me of that “dude” in high school that was always blazed and mellow, yet somehow always late for Trig. It’s as if he were an understudy for Matthew McConaughey for Dazed and Confused. Kevin ‘Ogre’ Ogilvie also brings in a fun performance as one of the redneck killers, clearly having a good time in his role and bringing his best. He ranges from shouting vulgarity to cackling like a madman, that’s sure to put a smile on your face every time.

Scream Park
Even though Scream Park is very typical, run of the mill, follow the ingredients type of slasher film with every beat being predictable, it’s not a terrible film. It managed to keep me entertained and I’m glad I watched it. It has a low budget charm, never trying to be more than what it is, although at times it could have used the opportunities to be something more rather than blend in anonymously with every other modern day slasher. It has some unique things about it, making seemingly dry cliches appealing, like with the killers and their interesting masks…. and Carlee’s cleavage. Ok, so not that last one, but it’s still awesome. I would say buy your ticket and take the ride!

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • The busty gals of the Frightland Amusement is a good enough attraction.
  • Good ol’ Rhodie.
  • Redneck Rampage.
  • Goth girls just want to have fun… and die cause their life is so agonizing.
  • Face first french fries!
  • Scalping like Injuns..
  • Doug Bradley.
  • Get your head out of the locker…
totals

5

blood

BLOOD

With quick glimpse of guts and a little splatter, the film could have used a little more.

7

blood

BREASTS

These gals flaunt what they got and Carlee unleashes her dynamic duo!

6

beast

BEASTS

These guys should tour with the Just Before Dawn killers and make a stop in Deliverance.

6 OVERALL
dripper

Check out the trailer for Scream Park!

trailers

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Apr

Comments Off on The House by the Cemetery

The House by the Cemetery
1981 – Unrated – Blue Underground
Starring Catriona MacColl, Paolo Malco, Giovanni Frezza – Directed by Lucio Fulci

Finding a new home isn’t always easy. Most of the time if it seems to good to be true, it most likely is. Sometimes there is mold damage or the foundation isn’t sturdy… or sometimes there is an evil doctor turned creature living in the basement that murders people for blood and body parts. That’s usually something they keep off the record, so it isn’t until you buy the home that you have to deal with that pest yourself or hire an exterminator, as the Boyle’s find out in Lucio Fulci’s The House by the Cemetery. As the tagline says, “Read the fine print. You may have just mortgaged your life!” which is one of my favorites of all time and sets up the events that you are in store for. Of course other taglines read, “Can anyone survive the demented marauding zombies in…” and “BEWARE THE DEMON FORCES OF THE… BLOOD BEASTS,” misdirecting and implying that there is more than one monster, but I guess it wouldn’t be a Fulci film if something weren’t mildly confusing.

Like most Fulci films, The House by the Cemetery‘s plot isn’t the most logical, having a few glaring holes here and there and the ending of the film making little or no sense, but not as incomprehensible as some of his other work, say Manhattan Baby. Apparently in early releases of the VHS, some of the reels are edited out of order, making the story even more confusing. This was made in the early 80’s when Fulci was really serving up some well told, nasty horror flicks, sometimes so nasty the movie would earn a well deserved spot on the Video Nasties list. Alongside City of the Living Dead and The Beyond, The House by the Cemetery is considered to be the third in his unofficial “Gates of Hell Trilogy.” Since I already discussed the film in a Goon Reviews video, (WATCH IT HERE!) why would I be talking about it again? Because it’s that good. Read on.

hbtc_2The House by the Cemetery opens up quite literally in the very definition, as we see a house that is next to a cemetery. It’s a relieving feeling, knowing you can trust the film to be true to the title, unlike some others (I’m looking at you, I Drink Your Blood). A young couple has finished using the uninhabited property as a secluded place to boink. This scene like catching the tail end of a horror movie cliche, as we don’t see the sex act, but the young girl who vomited her guts out (literally) in City of the Living Dead calls out for her boyfriend about a thousand times before finding his mutilated body nailed to a door, then getting a knife driven through the back of her skull and out her mouth. As the unseen murderer that is made up of rotting body parts, as indicated by one of his hands, I can’t help but wonder… did Pieces copy that exact same stabbing scene, or did this film rip off Pieces? With Italian filmmakers, sometimes it’s hard to tell who ripped off who.

Enter the Boyles, who are moving to this Boston home from New York City, where every Italian movie seems to center. The man of the house, Dr. Norman Boyle, is continuing the research of his colleague who was working in the house when he mysteriously murdered his mistress and committed suicide, so obviously this is the dream home to bring your wife Lucy (played by Fulci regular Catroina MacColl), who has previously heard voices and hallucinated on meds and your effeminate son, Bob, who claims a girl in one of the photos of the house has been warning his family not to come. Clearly the ideal Norman Rockwell painted family.

But first, a little disclaimer about Bob.

hbtc_3Bob is going to freak you out, thanks to the magic of dubbing. He may look like a normal child, but just wait til he starts speaking and you hear one of the oddest voice acting choices for dubbing. Bob’s voice is something of a middle aged woman who hasn’t quite reached puberty yet. It will catch you off guard.

Even with all these flashing red warnings, the Boyle’s move in anyway, giving further material for the Wayans that “white people be tripping.” Within moments of moving and establishing that Lucy might be slightly off her rocker, the babysitter, Ann, arrives, played by that creepy staring chick with the thick eyebrows that is strangely attractive from Dario Argento’s Inferno. The actress decided to reach slightly outside of her acting safe zone of staring ominously past the camera and actually have a speaking role… while staring ominously past the camera.

As if the company the Boyle’s are keeping isn’t disturbing them enough, it doesn’t take long for the house to being making all kinds of Spencer’s Gifts haunted house CD noises, with the creaking floorboards and childish crying. These sounds drive Norman to pause his research and investigate to find, to his shocking horror, Ann trying to pry open the boarded up basement door. At like, two in the morning. Huh? Why would she be doing that at an ungodly hour? Maybe she got home from the bar and still had some leftover Red Bull and vodka energy.

And the next morning, it’s brushed off like it never happened. Bob meets this ghost girl from the photo, named Mae, who is not only a ghostly figure that warns Bob of the dangers to come, but also plays hide and seek with him! Norman goes about his research, beginning to uncover the odd disappearances of the townsfolk and more about his co-worker’s death, while Lucy finds a tombstone marked Jacob Tess Freudstein in the middle of their living area. Norman assures her that all the homes in the area have them and it’s nothing to worry about. And to prove she has nothing to worry about, he finally pries that damn cellar door open, after about a bajillion false delays and the Fulci trademark “close up on the eyes of people exchanging glances” shot. Upon investigating the basement, they realize there is nothing to be afraid of down there except BAAAAAAAT! The winged rat tangles itself in Lucy’s hair and bites Norman on the hand, which Norman then dispatches by stabbing it with a pair of scissors and the bat bleeds out of several pre-cut holes.

hbtc_4Well, that’s about enough of that! The Boyle’s immediately smash cut to the real estate place demanding to be re-housed, but are unfortunately they are told it would be a few days. A few days later (I think… or later that day?) when the Boyle’s are off doing… something, the real estate lady, Mrs. Gittelson, arrives to tell them about their new crib, but the monster living in the house likes his new tenants and stabs her to death with a fireplace poker and drags her into the basement. By now you’re thinking, “A Fulci film without an eyeball gouging? What the hell!?” Well, you may notice that as Mr. Gittelson is being dragged off, one of her eye’s is torn apart. Apparently, there was a shot of her death scene in which her eye gets ripped out of its socket, but was cut because Fulci felt it didn’t look authentic enough. Man, given the caliber of effects in Italian horror films, your effect must have really sucked if Fulci wanted to pass on an eyeball gouging.

The next morning, Ann is scrubbing away at the giant bloodstain that Lucy barely questions and then shrugs off. Ann stares at Lucy, unblinking and silent, as Lucy’s questions go unanswered and all she can say afterwards is, “that girl Ann is a real weirdo.” Understatement of the year. Norman is all like, “whatevs” and glosses over some background history on their resident in the tomb, Dr. Freudstein. Apparently, he was a mad scientist of sorts. This prompts Norman to get away from his family for awhile and head back to New York City. Norman bails on his family while Lucy goes shopping, leaving Ann with the increasingly annoying Bob, who she thinks she hears crying in the basement. Ah, she fell for an old horror movie cliche! There’s no way she’ll get “a head” that way… wink!

hbtc_5Arming himself with a toy gun and a teddy bear, Bob heads into the basement to save Ann (or what’s left of her), but is saved from a monster hiding in the shadows when his mother comes home. Bob tries to tell her about Ann’s rotting corpse in their basement that’s littered with body parts, but Lucy isn’t having any of that nonsense and sends Bob to bed. But Bob, now being convinced by his mother that Ann isn’t dead, sneaks down into the basement only to be confronted by the monstrous Dr. Freudstein, who looks like a half melted, rotting corpse with fresh new limbs, which turns out that’s what he does with his victims. Norman has just discovered this and rushed home to help Lucy rescue Bob and quickly get out all this exposition, that Freudstein needs new limbs and fresh blood to stay alive (um, don’t regular people need that too?). Norman hacks off Freudstein’s fresh new arm while breaching the door with an axe and freeing Bob from the mad doctor’s clutches, reuniting them all in the basement. But rather than immediately dashing out and escaping to somewhere safe or torching the place, they stay in the basement, listening to the child like cries of the doctor (now that I think of it, why does he cry like that?). Dr. Freudstein slowly approaches the family and getting prison shanked by Norman, which he could argue was in “self defense.” However, Freudstein is a hardcore fan (and probably the only fan) of the MacGruber movie and tears out Norman’s throat, spilling gallons of blood! Lucy and Bob try to run up the stairs under the tomb, attempting to shove the heavy slab of concrete blocking their only exit.

It’s actually a well paced, tense scene. The monster slowly approaches them, making his way up the stairs and just when you think they are going to make it, Dr. Freudstein grabs Lucy’s ankles and drags her down the stairs as we hear her scream in the darkness and then silence. Bob is now all alone and orphaned as he sees Freudstein make his way back up the stairs. Bob frantically tries to push open what he and a full grown, panicky women couldn’t open and as the doctor inches his way toward Bob, within his grasps. Suddenly, a pair of tiny hands rip open the tomb with Hulk like strength and free Bob, who is revealed to be Mae. Wait, what? Apparently Mae can summon “mother saving a trapped baby” strength and not only rip open a couple hundred pound slab on concrete, but yank Bob out of there so fast that if she let go, he would have shot into the atmosphere. But the confusion only begins there. Throughout the film, Mae is accompanied by an older woman whose face we never see, until now, when it’s revealed to be Freudstein’s wife, making her at least a hundred years old… so, are they ghosts? As the kids and Mrs. Freudstein wonder off, you can’t help but to be puzzled by the ending, but it’s not going sour the experience of the movie for you.

Of all the movies that could have been named Don’t Go in the Basement, this should have been it.The House by the Cemetery, while in traditional Fulci form by not being entirely coherent, is one of his more strongly structured stories. In exchange for that, it’s also not his bloodiest or nastiest… but it is in no way tame. The film is packed with plenty of stomach turning moments of brutality and gore, that is sure to make you toss up your lunch. Something that is often overlooked in these kinds of films is the beauty of the cinematography. While it may not be as artistic as his Italian counterpart Dario Argento, Fulci’s shots in this film are often open when outdoors, sometimes feeling colorless, which leaves with the feeling of dread and becoming more claustrophobic as we go further down into the house and into the basement where the reds start to run. Right from the opening shot of the fog rolling over the graves and over to the empty, dilapidated house, you feel at unease, but there is something gorgeous about what you are looking at.

The House by the Cemetery
This film is a staple for horror fans and a pillar for Italian horror flicks. For all the fun I had nit picking a few things here and there, it’s a without a doubt pretty solid horror film with, for the most part, pretty decent acting, dreary mood and atmosphere, splattered with all kinds of guts and gore making this a must have for fanatics of the macabre cinema.

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • Fornicators be damned.
  • Bob.
  • Exciting and thrilling real estate!
  • Not the goddamn Batman.
  • Ann demonstrates how to lose your head.
  • This doctor makes house calls!
  • Road House-style throat rip!
  • Are they ghosts?
totals

9

blood

BLOOD

Stabbings, decapitations, guttings… it wouldn’t be a Fulci film without the pretty red stuff!

5

blood

BREASTS

Right in your face at the start, but that’s it in the boobies department. Not even cleavage afterwards.

10

beast

BEASTS

Don’t be fooled by his sissy cry, Dr. Freudstein is a beast! Is Bob’s atrociously dubbed voice a match for him? And don’t forget about large, oddly square-shaped bats!

8 OVERALL
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Watch the entire movie!

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Apr

Comments Off on Camp Dread

Camp Dread
2014 – Unrated – Image Entertainment
Starring Danielle Harris, Eric Roberts, Felissa Rose – Directed by B. Harrison Smith

Not to be confused with the 2004 horror comedy Club Dread, Camp Dread is a movie that will give you a different impression of what it’s about based on the box art. The tagline suggest that I pitch my tent, which is irrelevant to the film, since they all stay in cabins. Kinda stretching that one for a tagline, but whatever. Films do it all the time, but sure enough, there is a photo of a tent right on the front there. I know it sounds like I’m nitpicking and perhaps I am, but another thing that will come to bother me is the image of Danielle Harris, front and center, as well as her name in eye sight. Hell, there’s even a photo of her on the back, so she occupies a good chunk of the overall box art (even the spine). Don’t get me wrong either, I’m not complaining because she is in the movie, but I won’t spoil it now. As we talk about the movie, you’ll see why it bothers me.

So where do we start? Well, there’s a diner scene with Julian (played by Eric Roberts, turning in the only convincing acting), who plays the director of a fictional slasher movie series called Summer Camp and is now producing a reality TV show based on his horror series and Danielle Harris, is the Sheriff of the small town… and that’s it. I was excited to see her in the role of a sheriff, since it seemed to be something different for her, but this is where the disappointment starts, seeing as after this scene, you won’t see her again for a very long time.

cd_2So a reality TV show themed horror movie, sure you’ve seen this before, but there’s a spin. Seeing as these are all troubled “kids” (clearly in their thirties, but this is even pointed out by Eric Roberts that they aren’t kids, but in their early twenties…), mixed up with drugs, violence or what have you, they have two choices; be a contestant on the show and possibly win a million bucks or face time in jail or rehab. To be honest, what would you go with? On a side note, it is pretty cool that this was filmed at an actual camp in the Poconos. Within moments of exceeding frat boy levels of obnoxious, you come to the realization that these are the characters you are supposed to be identifying with and there’s the underlining problem. NONE of them are identifiable. From the insipid prankster, loudmouth idiot who whenever he spoke, I was screaming “SHUT UP!” at my television to the girl whose dialogue pretty much consist of hate filled, vile homo bashing. Now, I know this can be used to set up a loathsome character, but it becomes so redundant to the point where it’s ineffective and comes off as ignorant. To be fair, there are two other kids that are given some back story and would have been likable if the film had given them a little more development. The only other character that is given a sliver of sympathy is a girl who murdered her brother after he was raping her, but by the end of the film, they manage to strip that away from her.

cd_3It takes serious talent to set up a character with that kind of back story and still make them unlikable by your film’s finale. Wait, is talent the right word?

Julian invites his old producer, John, out to be a part of the show and to bury the hatchet. You see, Julian was notorious for disregarding his actor’s safety and John blew the whistle on him, which in consequence got him black listed from ever directing again. Of course John flies first class to tell Julian off and doesn’t partake in this project. Also joining Julian is Summer Camp actress turned counselor (yeah… quite a coincidence), Rachel, played by Felissa Rose. I was happy to see her come back, but disappointed with how little she is used in the movie and by that I don’t mean she isn’t in it enough, I mean they don’t use her character for much. Come to think of it, they don’t do that with any of the characters in the movie. Like I said, some of them are given a back story or a skill that could be intricate to the plot, but it’s never utilized, because the film makers would rather raise the body count. Hoo-f***ing-ray.

That’s all it is from here… just watching characters die, one by one. The film even drops the ball in this department, often shying away from gore, never really showing much or paying off with its kills. Although some of the kills are creative, such as a prosthetic leg being used to bash someone’s head in and killing another character with a decapitated head. So there is that, but even then it hardly feels worth it. While people are getting picked off, you see Julian has an ulterior motive, a secret plan, but it doesn’t come as a surprise, since you see it coming from the beginning of the film. The killer is exactly who you think it is, certain characters turn on each other the way you thought they would and Eric Roberts is more sleazy than he leads on to be, just as you expected. Speaking of not coming as a surprise, we have a predictable twist ending to get to…

cd_4And just when you were thinking, “Hey, wasn’t Danielle Harris in this movie?” She pops up at the end to unconvincingly tie up the predictable, tired and cliched ending you were really hoping the film wasn’t going for, although it was evident it would, as the movie falls apart in the final act. Well, thanks anyway, Ms. Harris. Your check is in the mail.

For the majority of its run time, Camp Dread walks that fine line of a good bad movie or just bad… and during the final act, it leaps way past that line. This is a film that plays it safe, never taking any risks by sticking to the same predictable cliches you’ve seen done to death and are bored to tears with. It’s almost frustrating at moments when you realize the alternate route they could go in terms of the story and you so badly want it to, but it never does. It tries to push itself at times, trying to be “in your face,” with homophobic bashing and shocking you with potential rape, but it all comes off as annoyingly mean spirited. There is a huge difference between shockingly offensive, controversial and seeming ignorant. This is something the movie can’t seem to figure out, most likely due to the one dimensional, meat headed, bigoted characters, that all seem to be those stereotyped Jersey Shore jock types (because that’s exactly who the majority of any audience wants to spend a 90 minute movie with…). You can’t just have several characters spew out dense, childish homo-bashing lines and expect it to flesh out a character, especially when all of your characters are despicable to begin with. And that’s where one of the major flaws of the movie is; there are too many characters and all but a few are sympathetic, not that they do anything with them anyway. Which brings up another issue… there are WAY too many characters. Camp Dread opts for more characters to increase a body count, rather than a few well developed, solid characters to focus on. It’s a story with too many unlikable, selfish characters with absolutely no character or anything to round them out as a human being. They are just slasher fodder. I can’t tell you how sick and tired I am, or a good population of the horror community for that matter, of horror films that set up horrible, unlikable characters for the sake of getting killed off in the name of a body count. This is a movie will fall into the void of forgettable dime-a-dozen slashers.

Camp Dread
It’s frustrating because although this plot is so generic and uninspiring, there are moments where if the filmmakers had taken a risk, it could have been something unexpected and possibly good. It often teases something scandalous, like a lesbian sex scene, but never goes that route. It’s a film that really wants to shock you with sex, violence and imagery, but it comes off as annoying instead. Like those vegetarians that have to constantly remind you they are a vegetarian and scoff and get upset when there aren’t more vegetarian options at places to eat. It really pains me to experience what I felt while watching this film, because it sounded interesting, but alas, just a diarrhea wolf in sheep clothing. Overall, there isn’t much to be offered here in terms of story, gore, nudity… nothing to really give fans anything they want, unless you are looking for a shameless body count. Perhaps you should go to space camp instead.

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • Eric Roberts, professional sleaze.
  • Hello, Danielle Harris…
  • Angela returns to camp.
  • He has a ‘leg up.’
  • Hanging meat.
  • Head catapulting!
  • …goodbye, Danielle Harris.
totals

6

blood

BLOOD

Arrow through the eye and a decapitation, but mostly tame.

4

blood

BREASTS

A peak here and there.

3

beast

BEASTS

When it comes down to it, just about everyone is a monster and it is stale.

4.3 OVERALL
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Watch the trailer for “Camp Dread!

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Mar

posted by admin | March 28, 2014 | Action, Bad movie, Horror movies, modern horror, Reviews by the Goon

Comments Off on Day of the Dead (2008)

Day of the Dead
2008 – R – Millennium Films
Starring Mena Suvari, Nick Cannon, Ving Rhames – Directed by Steve Miner

It’s easy to have a biased opinion on remakes these days because of the sheer volume of them. People will pass judgement without even seeing a trailer just because it’s a remake. Although we complain, we are first in line to go see them. Sure, over the past few years, remakes are more commonplace than ever, however filmmakers seem to be taking the source material more seriously while adding their own view or style to it, giving it a fresh and unique spin, so they are telling the same story without making it a carbon copy. Unfortunately that seems to be few and far between. A good majority of the time, we either get unnecessary updates that are aforementioned carbon copies or we get an insulting misrepresentation of source material, so painful it stings. And possibly the most painful of them all is Day of the Dead.

Talk about missing not only the mark, but the concept, the social satire, the amazing practical effects, the story telling, the larger than life characters, competent film making and story telling. Sure it’s common for a film maker to want to take a different approach when doing a remake (in fact, it’s something I encourage and want them to do), but there is a fine line between creativity and total stupidity. What do I mean? Do you remember how the other Dead film’s open? With interesting characters in the middle of a situation they are unaware of that they must immediately adapt to. How does this film open? With a group of four teens dancing in a missile silo playing grab arse. If there is one way to make your characters be as unrelatable as possible, it’s to have them do something that nobody can relate to. I think this concept is lost when older people are trying to write about what they think teens do now.

dotd_2Anyhow, our two main teens, Trevor and Nina, decide they’ve seen enough prepubescent groping from their friends Kyle and… nameless girl and want to head home to make whoopee in a more comfortable setting. Along the way, Kyle seems to be showing signs of a cold, you know… obvious foreshadowing, so throw out any hope for suspense. It turns out there is an outbreak of this virus all over town and the military is now blocking any way in or out. Rhodes (played by Ving Rhames, sleepwalking through this performance) heads up the roadblock and couldn’t seem more uninterested if he were trying. One thing you may notice about these soldiers is that they aren’t exactly armed, leading you to believe it’s the Reserves. This brings me to one of my biggest gripes about the film, Rhodes is seriously underwhelming and stripped of what made him a threatening menace in the original. Ving Rhames moans out every line of dialogue like he’s falling asleep and never once gives any indication that he is a force to be reckoned with, because in this film, he isn’t.

Among his squad is Sarah, who the camera is pointed at most of the time (since it’s insulting to call her our heroine), rookie Bud (who I’m sure you all remember as the intelligent zombie BUB with a military background from Romero’s original) and the increasingly annoying, false representation of a generation, one liner, cliche spewing Salazar played by Nick Cannon. Never in my life have I wanted to physically assault a character after every cocky line of dialogue spewed from their stupid face as I have Salazar. Since Sarah’s mother is sick with coincidental plot device syndrome, she and Bud take a drive to her house and along the way, they have a one on one. She tells him her gun isn’t loaded and that it’s complicated (another plot point that is never truly explained) and he tells her that he is a vegetarian (which will come back to provide the “jumping the shark” holy grail of all plot points), only to run into her brother Trevor and Nina where the mellow drama begins. Trevor holds a grudge against his sister for wanting to do something with her life and leaving and to my recollection, this is never resolved or fully explained, making it entirely pointless. Then again, I could say that about everything in this movie.

Learning that Kyle was showing the same symptoms, they all head over to his house and find his parents mutilated and report it to Rhodes while en route to get their mother to the hospital where we meet the other insult to source material, Dr. Logan, who is now suave and sleazy, rather than a burnt out scientist on the verge of losing his mind, because you know, that might have been interesting. When at the hospital, Sarah leaves her brother to look after their mother, while Rhodes then sends a team to check on Kyle’s house, but come to find out, there are three bodies instead of the reported two. Yes, in this movies, the zombies are intelligent and set traps, but that is the least of the stupidest abilities the zombies have in this movie…

dotd_3This is when things go to hell, both for the characters and for you, the viewer. All of the infected people go from catatonic to undead with super human powers! Not only are they incredibly fast and agile, they can also leap great distances and crawl on the walls and ceiling! Hmm, maybe it was a radioactive spider that bit all of them. Now, there is nothing wrong with wanting to do something different, as I stated earlier. Making changes that a pose a threat can make for the characters to develop and adjust to the situation in an interesting way and possibly provide you with something you haven’t seen before, but IT HAS TO MAKE SENSE! Other than a quick one sentence explanation that is never followed up on, it is never mentioned how this virus can give the undead abilities that are outside of normal human capabilities. If you want us to believe the creatures can do this, again, IT HAS TO MAKE SENSE in your film’s reality. If the movie hasn’t completely lost you earlier, it definitely will now.

During the undead attack, Rhodes is immediately devoured, which could be a good thing that this piss poor version of the character is done with, or it will anger you that perhaps one of the greatest antagonists in a zombie flick was portrayed against everything that made him great. Either way, he does come back undead, giving an mildly interesting chase scene with no legs, only to be comically killed off by Salazar, adding insult to injury.

A good majority of the movie is the soldiers WITHOUT WEAPONS trying to escape from the hospital and is it boring. During the escape, Bud is bit on the hand. Salazar wants to waste him, but Sarah pleads and says he can be of use until he turns, at which point, she will take care of it. After stealing Rhode’s Humvee and stopping at a gun store that somehow has fully automatic weapons, Bud turns into a zombie, but to their surprise, he’s obedient like a soldier, which I suppose is fine. But in the most idiotic of explanations as to why he isn’t trying to eat them, as Sarah says, is because he’s a vegetarian. So let me get this straight… in this backwards world, if you were a vegetarian, when turned into a zombie, you won’t crave human flesh? In this health aware world where vegetarians are pretty dominant, these zombies are supposed to be a threat? I’m sorry… I need a minute to wash my brain off all the stupid.

Trevor and Nina managed to escape to a radio station where a few other survivors are holed up and wouldn’t you know it, a few of them are hiding the fact that they are infected. The film does try to pass off some suspense here where you briefly wonder who’s infected, but then you realize it doesn’t matter since the three brief characters that have nothing to do with the plot are killed, leaving Trevor and Nina to be rescued by Sarah.

dotd_4By the way, it’s at this point I realized they’ve been calling Sarah “Corporal Cross” when it’s referenced that their family’s last name is Bowman, so… did the writer just forget this or is he as brain dead as the zombies? Speaking of, in true nature to this film, it’s never explained.

After an accident from a run in with zombie Kyle, they come across an underground bunker that just so happens to be where the scientists were developing the virus for…? There is a scene with Mad TV‘s Pat Kilbane, but he barely brushes the topic. It’s never fully explained, so who cares! We don’t need to explain anything when we have zombies! And that’s how the film treats you; as if you are stupid and they can shove zombies into something and you’ll watch it, which I guess this means we did, so joke’s on us. Touche. Anyway, while they putz around and failing to provide any exposition, zombies attack and kill Logan, which I’m sure we’re all heart broken over since he was so likable, as is Salazar (FINALLY). I really haven’t talked much about his character, other than how intolerable and irritating his “hip-teen-lingo-catch-phrase-of-the-day” dialogue is, but trust me… the less said, the better. It’s like being talked down to by an older person who is trying to relate to your generation.

So Sarah, Nina and Trevor escape and the film throws in an ineffective jump scare. Nobody cares. It’s over.

Like all uninspiring remakes, these characters can only be identified by their stereotyped character trait. The tone of the film comes off as a cheap teen slasher flick, maybe due to the fact that Steve Miner directed, whose previous works included Friday the 13th Parts 2 and 3 and Halloween: H20. And For a movie called Day of the Dead, a lot of it takes place at night, but I guess that’s just me nitpicking.

Day of the Dead feels more like a humdrum teen slasher of the post Scream era then it does your insipid cut-and-paste zombie flick. How many times are we going to see the same story about some virus spreading the infection? Why do these filmmakers feel like they need to explain everything? If you have a strong enough story and characters that we care about, details like that are left a mystery and it adds to the doomed feeling of the situation the characters are in and that’s part of what made George Romero’s movies work! If you’re going to remake one of his movies and claim you are being faithful, while putting a fresh “spin” on it, the least you could do is just that. There’s another thing that gets thrown out in the remake world too much; “putting a fresh spin on it.” When you hear that, it usually means they gave the characters cell phones and Facebook jokes in their dialogue. Updating a film is fine. That’s been done since the dawn of films, but you need to make your characters relevant to the time period and give us examples of why they work in the situation that’s going on, instead of vomiting out the same annoying, slang spewing rejects from cliched stereotypes.

Day of the Dead
Not only is this a god awful remake, but a god awful film overall with absolutely nothing good about it. I found it to be unenjoyable, even with a group of friends looking for a cheesy movie to have fun with. Everything about this film is not only a misrepresentation of its source material, but to the genre as well to the point where it feels insulting. Even the editing seems to be sped up or have frames chopped out so the zombies seem like they are more supernatural, which comes off as laughably bad (but not frustrating like Automaton Transfusion). And of course being a late 2000’s horror film, practically all of the effects are unnecessary CGI and boy, does it look terrible. I’ve seen better effects in Asylum movies. I don’t know what else to say. This movie is so awful, they couldn’t even get it released theatrically! I can only tell you that this is one of the few times I would urge someone to stay away from a film. Treat it like a zombie outbreak; get out of there and stay away from this stinker as far as possible!

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • Drinking game… just drink because you are watching this train wreck.
  • I didn’t know it was possible to make Ving Rhames look like Steve Urkel.
  • Nick Cannon’s one liners.
  • No brains, I’m a vegan.
  • Your friendly neighborhood Spider-Zombie!
  • Dr. Douche.
  • If you haven’t beat yourself senseless while watching this movie, you are a brave soul.
totals

5

blood

BLOOD

Regardless of the horrendous CG gore, it’s still pretty tame by today’s standards.

0

blood

BREASTS

As if this film would give you even one second of something to look at.

3

beast

BEASTS

You think super ability zombies would be scary, but no. Under played and laughably stupid.

2.6 OVERALL
dripper

Watch the entire movie… if you you don’t want any brain cells!

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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 >>