Archive for the 'Reviews by the Goon' Category

Mar

Comments Off on Strike Commando

Strike Commando
1987 – Unrated – Flora Film
92 Minutes – Starring Reb Brown, Christopher Connelly, Alex Vitale – Directed by Bruno Mattei

A one man commando team sneaks deep into enemy lines by the orders of his snaky superior to obtain evidence of communist presence in Vietnam and personally liberating any innocent victims… sound familiar? It included scenes like his heroic escape from torture before making a cowardly radio broadcast, waving a belt fed machine gun back and forth, screaming at the top of his lungs like a banshee, all while single handedly wiping out the red threat and doing so shirtless, wearing a bandanna… That’s right, Strike Commando! What, you were thinking of another action packed movie that featured a major action star, made a boatload of money and was seen by a mainstream audience?

In case you couldn’t tell by my poor attempt at sarcasm (oh, I thought I was so good at it), the film I was actually describing is Rambo: First Blood Part II or for the laymen, Rambo II. It’s not uncommon that a popular movie is ripped off, in fact throughout the 70’s and 80’s, there was quite an increase of these “clones,” the best of ’em brought to you by Italian cult film director, Bruno Mattei. Bruno, sometimes directing under the pseudonym Vincent Dawn, had made quite a name for himself by ripping off other popular films, such as Predator with Robowar, Dawn of the Dead with Hell of the Living Dead, Aliens with Shocking Dark and Salon Kitty with SS Girls. Now, I know the term “ripoff” can automatically turn people off from a movie, especially when it seems like these films are poor, low budget replicas, but you would be misled. Hell of the Living Dead may appear as nothing more than an inferior copy of Romero’s movie, but after the first act, if actually does its own thing. Or SS Girls, filled with disgusting, oddball characters, further exploiting the elements of the original movie it’s mocking, you really see that this is the kind of film that director’s like Quentin Tarantino are trying to make. After that mouthful, let’s look past this minor flaw and give this film a ‘shot.’ Pun intended.

sc_2Deep in the jungle of the Philippines, I mean Vietnam, a team of Strike Commandos is infiltrating an enemy base to plant explosives, because… um, because. The team is led by Michael Ransom, played by the notorious blonde beefcake Reb Brown. For those of you unfamiliar with him, Reb Brown was the muscle bound, B-Movie action star of the 80’s (most commonly known to the mainstream audience as Big McLargehuge from the MST3K episode Space Mutiny) that did it better than any of the A-listers. The man would hoist a heavy machine gun in one hand, waving it all around and somehow hitting every target, all while screaming his war cry… the most throat peeling, intense scream so damn frightening that I’m convinced the bullets are not firing from his gun, but they are fleeing from Reb in terror. Anyway, after a sentry (toting an M-60 for whatever reason) spots them and raises an alarm, most of the Strike Commandos are KIA in the attack and the rest are killed in the premature explosions, ordered to be set off by Col. Radek, who has been watching from a vantage point the entire time along with Major Harriman. The Major is angered, but Col. Radek reminds him that the mission is more important than the lives of the Strike Commandos. But if you think Ransom is dead, you’re wrong… dead wrong.

As the opening credits roll, Ransom drifts down a river, somehow holding his breath all night and morning, until he is found by a local village boy who nurses him back to health in time to recreate that scene from Beyond Thunderdome where Mad Max wakes from being unconscious, only to be tied by his ankles and fall out of a hut. After speaking with an elderly Frenchman, Le Due, living with the Vietnamese, Ransom agrees to escort them to some place safe. Along the way, they find a dead soldier with a working radio, so Ransom calls his base for a rendezvous pick up and threatening vengeance simultaneously, which admittedly probably sent mixed signals.

The next day, Ransom and the villagers come across enemy fighters where everyone, including Le Due who looks like he must stink of three week old cheese left in the sun, gets in on the action. Being old and stinky, Le Due stops for a nip only to be ambushed and choked to death by a hulking Russian that in no way bears any similarities with most Dolph Lundgren characters named Jakoda. And trust me, you’ll remember that name… Upon finding Le Due’s corpse, Ransom notices a Russian star insignia that Le Due tore off in a struggle, indicating Russian presence in Vietnam.

sc_3The body count rises as Ransom mows down Commies by the dozen in his escape, but unfortunately there are too many, even for Ransom. He manages to flee the Communist Russia infested Vietnam, leaving all the villagers behind… whoops. Seeking earlier said vengeance, Ransom comes back to the US with his beans completely steamed, but Major Harriman calms him down with in a more elegant, “Yo, bro! CHILL!” But no worries, as Ransom immediately volunteers to go back and take photographic evidence of the Russian presence. I think we all know where this is leading.

Ransom returns to find all of the villagers have been wiped out. He comes across the young boy who helped nurse him at the beginning, dying, making a last request for Ransom to tell him all about Disneyland… where the popcorn grows on trees, mountains of cotton candy flourish, the chocolate malt rivers flow and a magic genie that will grant your most wonderful wish… and Reb delivers this all while crying in the most Oscar worthy clip ever put on celluloid and I mean that in the most sincere way. There is no way any actor could take these lines from this script seriously (which makes me question if Bruno Mattei and screenwriter Claudio Fragasso were aware and making a parody) and deliver it the way Reb does. My hats off to him for being able to say what he says with a straight face and shedding tears. Come to think about it, it also humanizes him more so than Rambo. During his mission, Ransom had befriended several villagers and risked his neck for them. He’s actually quite a compassionate hero when you think about it. This is Ransom’s breaking point. With a vengeful war cry, holding the deceased young boy and screaming, “JAKODA-AAAA!” at the tops of his lungs, he sets out for revenge!

After learning the whereabouts of Jakoda, Ransom shreds up some huts with an M-60, cutting the place to ribbons, but Jakoda reveals himself, unscathed and forcing Ransom to surrender by holding a hostage. That damn big heart of his! In order to force him to make a demoralizing radio broadcast, Ransom is tortured for what we can assume is weeks, maybe months, as he is whipped, electrified, does extreme yard work and locked in a cell with a rotting corpse! This scene is actually pretty dark and not easy to watch as listen to him gag, vomit and plead. In contrast, Rambo had it much easier compared to Ransom! Finally giving in, Ransom agrees to make the broadcast and PSYCHE! You think Ransom would cower and give in to your demands? Think again! Ransom escapes after pretending to make the demoralizing speech, only to make it peppy and uplifting, shouting into the mic at the top of his lungs the way Reb does and takes out the guards. I’m pretty sure it was at this moment that Reb Brown birthed the acronym BAMF.

sc_4While escaping, Ransom takes one of his captors and Jakoda’s partner, Olga, hostage and learns of betrayal and treason… Radek was working with the Russians all along! At first he doesn’t believe it, until Radek flies by in a chopper shooting at him, killing Olga. Some rescue! Making his way through the jungle, killing scumbags by the handful, he literally runs boot first into Jakoda, who wants to go head to head with Ransom. What follows is the most testosterone driven, bare knuckled fist fight of all time. You literally feel the weight and the impact of their punches and cringe in pain as the two large slabs meat smash faces! Ultimately, Ransom gets one over on Jakoda and tosses him over a waterfall to his doom… or so he thinks.

Ransom finds Radek’s base, turning it into Swiss cheese with a machine gun, but Major Harriman appears to inform him that the traitor Radek has fled. Still, it was fun to recreate that scene where Rambo shoots up Murdock’s office. But there is no hiding from Ransom forever. Now sporting a kicking yellow bandanna, Ransom tracks Radek down in his new operation and doing what he does best; crumbling the place top to bottom with a grenade launcher and wasting henchman and office furniture with a belt fed machine gun, howling at the top of his lungs! After satisfyingly blowing Radek into a thousand pieces, Jakoda appears with a new set of metal teeth (I’m guessing it was cool, because Jaws had them in a Bond film and they’re cool). After another balls out fist fight, Ransom stuffs a grenade in Jakoda’s mouth, leaving a ghostly shout of, “AMERICANSKI-III!” as he blows in half!

Holy hell, is this movie… AWESOME! The action is over the top so much so,that every bullet and every explosion feels like an intense kick to your face, forcing you to grind your teeth. Everyone actually puts in a solid performance. You downright despise Radek from the start, which makes his death that more satisfying. Jakoda is a physical and mental threat to Ransom (almost like Bane from The Dark Knight Rises) and Ransom himself is the all American muscle hero with a heart of gold that you want to root for. Reb Brown delivers one of his best performances and creates one of his best and believable characters. Reb is so buff, that even the largest of weapons look like mere peashooters in his arms and you completely buy that this guy could take down Jakoda, someone twice his size, in a fist fight.

Strike Commando
Anyone can rip off a single film and do it shot for shot (look at Carnosaur 2), but it takes a mastermind like Bruno Mattei to ripoff a film, integrate ripped off scenes from other films, add a few interesting character traits and actually throw in a few twists and somehow make it his own. As I mentioned earlier, he’s done this before, but I think Strike Commando (along with Hell of the Living Dead) is a shining example of Bruno Mattei’s work and that a ripoff can actually be somewhat original and downright entertaining and enjoyable on its own. It’s filled with action and great characters that I, like the Strike Commandos, demand justice, that you go out and find a copy of this movie… or no magical journey down the chocolate malt river at Disneyland for you, Amercanski!

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • Reb. Brown.
  • Ruptured ducks.
  • Rambo or Ransom?
  • Reb’s patented war cry.
  • Praise be thy explosion.
  • Head to head with Jakoda.
  • Office make over Reb style!
  • Russian dentists sure make good dentures
totals

7

blood

BLOOD

Reb Brown eliminating all enemy threats with bullets, explosions and his most deadly weapon, his fists!

5

blood

BREASTS

You don’t need boobs when you have Reb Brown.

10

beast

BEASTS

Radek is slimy, Jakoda is menacing, but Ransom is all American, all butt kicking and unstoppable!

7.3 OVERALL
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Mar

Comments Off on My Bloody Valentine (1981)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

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

8

blood

BLOOD

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

6

blood

BREASTS

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

7

beast

BEASTS

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

7 OVERALL
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Feb

Comments Off on Carnosaur 2

Carnosaur 2
1995 – R – New Horizon
83 minutes – Starring John Savage, Cliff De Young – Directed by Louis Morneau

Remember the movie Aliens, that awesome movie about a crew of misfit Colonial Marines that go to a far off planet after communications were lost with them and they battle waves of xenomorphs that bleed acid? Wouldn’t it be great if they remade that, but with dinosaurs? Really cheap ones too! Like, so cheap you’ll laugh until you’re on the floor rolling, holding your ribs in pain, wishing for it to stop. Throw in some one dimensional knock offs of each character and set designs so cheap, it looks like the movie was shot at a children’s carnival spooky house attraction and you have Carnosaur 2! It’s described as a “low budget sequel,” but I think it should have been described as a “much, much lower budget sequel.”

You could argue that the movie doesn’t exactly begin like Aliens, but that it begins like some of the deleted scenes from Aliens, but this is as about as far as the movie stretches its originality. It’s like those scenes with the colonists and Newt with her family. Actually to be fair, the beginning of this film doesn’t rip off Aliens. No, it flat out rips off that other successful James Cameron sequel, Terminator 2. In particular, the scene where John Conner is hacking an ATM machine for money, only here, the Eddie Furlong clone and friend are hacking into some storage unit in an underground super secret mine/lab to steal some dynamite or as this young Keanu Reeves inspired actor puts it, “Industrial strength blammo, dude.” Now I have to ask… why is he stealing it? What the hell is he planning (maybe it would have been better than this movie)? Anyway, the kid’s name is Jesse and his uncle who works for this facility catches them. Rather than being completely shocked as to how they broke in and why they are stealing dynamite, he just sends Jesse’s friend home and scoffs. Leaving work, Uncle Whatever-his-name-is tells Jesse not to wonder off and of course, the little creep does just that (and he has the whole 90’s grunge look to prove he doesn’t care!) only to be offered to drive a forklift for a moment and is told never to press a certain lever because IT OPENS A METAL DOOR WITH 150 FOOT DROP STRAIGHT DOWN. I’m sure this will in no way come back later in the film. Especially not the climax.

c2_2Jesse and his uncle stop at the mess hall for some grub, because it’s cheap to shoot there. We’re introduced to some cook who works there whose purpose is to hear a noise, which he thinks is coyotes. Once outside, he likes to taunt these coyotes we can’t see to provide suspense, when suddenly he hears… that clicking sound the Predator makes? Yeah, it sounds just like it, making for something else this movie rips off. As the poor guy is having his face eaten off, all I can do is sit here and ponder how the filmmakers couldn’t even have enough originality to make a dinosaur sound (hell, the trailer even rips off Jurassic Park sounds). Back inside, the dinosaurs are throwing garbage (why?) in a fit of rage and tossing people around like pro wrestlers.

After a cross dissolve, we see John Savage roll up in a jeep to another unknown location, hungover, no doubt trying to drink away the thoughts of falling not so gracefully since The Deer Hunter. Another character named Monk is introduced with the elegant line of dialogue, “So, I’m hammering this girl…” then proceeds to talk about cheating on his wife like it’s the most casual conversation. I know the intention of the writers was to provide him as comic relief, but if my first reaction is to smash this man’s esophagus, it’s not a good thing. Moving along, we are introduced to our rag tag bunch of Colonial Marines, I mean… Mercs? What are these guys supposed to be anyway? They look like janitors in their one piece, patchless uniforms. Each one of them represents a one dimensional character trait of a Colonial Marine, so when you think of these characters, you’ll be thinking of others characters from another movie. It’s a collection of D-List actors, although the only one I recognize is Miguel A Nunez Jr from Return of the Living Dead And Friday the 13th Part V, making him the only actor I can tolerate on screen. Being the film’s only ethnic person though, he doesn’t seem to have a high survival rate.

c2_3After they are woken up… ’cause they can’t call it hypersleep. This is a more realistic movie, you know… with genetically engineered killer dinosaurs. Anyway, they are debriefed on the situation by this movie’s Paul Reiser, McQuade, a pudgy, frizzled hair guy who’s even dressed like Carter Burke, bubble vest over flannel and all. Well gee, wouldn’t you know it, turns out the company lost communications with the workers inside the secret mine… just kinda like how that other movie lost communications with a planet. With no time to waste, the crew hop in their chopper, but instead of going the homo-bashing helicopter scene from Predator route (which I actually thought they were going to do), they instead play ‘Flight of The Valkyries’ on a boombox, ripping off Apocalypse Now, only here it’s not very good and makes no sense.

Once inside the facility, we get the usual “searching the perimeter” scene, until the stumble upon Newt, I mean Jesse, who is traumatized. After claiming to have searched the facility (although this is literally the only room we see them search), the team thinks they should bail, but McQuade tells them otherwise. They bicker and argue and are about to leave, but for some reason change their minds and stay, which makes the whole ten or so minutes you just sat through with them arguing completely pointless.

c2_4By now, you’re probably catching on to the beat of the movie, especially if you’ve seen Aliens: Setting up a coms room, looking at destroyed architecture, the Newt and Ripley bond… just to stretch out that moment until you finally see the dinosaurs, except when you do eventually get to see them here, it’s like looking at rubber puppets. The dinosaurs start to kill the Mercs, forcing the remaining others to flee like the cowards they are, calling for an immediate evac and this is where the film leaves me in shock. They do a shot for shot remake of the evac crashing scene, but to be honest, they got me. I didn’t see that coming. I thought, “Surely the filmmakers aren’t this lazy and stupid to copy EXACTLY every little scene that happened in Aliens,” but they got me! I was expecting Monk to cite the famous, “Game over, man!” line. So yeah, their obviously toy helicopter being blown up with firecrackers crashes, so they head back inside for the film’s exposition scene where we learn all about the dinosaurs and what McQuade is actually up to. This would have been a shocking reveal if they weren’t obviously ripping off a character from the movie they are ripping off who was revealed to have a secret agenda for the company he worked for. Bottom line, IT’S NOT A SECRET IF IT’S OBVIOUS BECAUSE YOUR AUDIENCE IS AWARE OF WHAT FILM YOU ARE KNOCKING OFF.

No more screwing around, it’s time to escape! Jesse hacks the mainframe (it’s what all kids knew how to do in the 90’s), the team goes off to collect the dynamite, McQuade tries to stop them… I really shouldn’t have to be explaining this. We’ve all seen Aliens. Speaking of, isn’t there a real crucial scene where they discover that the planets reactor is melting down? So how do they do it here? Turns out, this facility was used as a place to store nuclear warheads after the Cold War and the dinosaurs damaged it… you know, because it happened in Aliens, okay!? By now, the curtains are coming to a close and there are only a few scenes left to reenact, so I’m going to finish this up by saying once more, LITERALLY the exact same things that happened in Aliens, happen here. You do get to see the movies only moment of gore, as one of the Mercs gets their arm ripped off and then guts ripped out, so that’s worth at least a couple of rewinds. I should also mention that in place of a Queen Alien, you get a T-Rex, which to be fair, I guess would be the equivalent of that. Oh and take a guess if that forklift and the 150 foot drop make a return…

Carnosaur 2
Wow, there are rip offs, then there are blatant rip off photocopies and Carnosaur 2 goes above and beyond that. It’s so cheap, it even rips off the first movie! This movie makes films by Bruno Mattei look subtle and that guy made a career out of ripping off films. Even for a Roger Corman produced movie this is shameful. I mean, my god… it’s literally Aliens with velocioraptors… and bad acting… and crappy effects, bad music… It’s just bad, but not too unwatchably bad, since it’s worth watching for the unintentional laughs alone. It fun to see what feels like a film student’s reenactment of Aliens as a dinosaur puppet show. Since there isn’t much in the way of boobs or gore, a lot of horror fans will find it hard to sit through, even with the cheese factor going through the roof. This is a film I’m really in the middle of the road about. On one hand, it’s a piss poor excuse of a knockoff, but it’s so incredibly bad, it’s as if it makes you stupid while you watch it, so you can sit through the entire movie. But you know what the worst part is? There are three more entries in the series. We’re all doomed… DOOMED!

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • Do not play a drinking game to this where you take a shot every time it rips off Aliens… you will die!
  • Jesse is if Eddie Furlong and Keanu Reeves had a baby.
  • Janitor Mercs!
  • Attack of the killer toy dinosaurs!
  • Give ’em a hand… or they spilled their guts. I don’t know which joke to go with.
  • Forklift VS. T-Rex is the poor man’s Power loader VS. Queen Alien.
totals

5

blood

BLOOD

The film usually cuts away to splash blood on the wall, but seeing a Merc get their arm torn off was pretty awesome.

0

blood

BREASTS

None boobs or cleavage. Everyone is covered up like it’s a sacred thing.

3

beast

BEASTS

These dinos are about as threatening as the plastic toys they look like. Probably only dangerous to kids 3 and under for swallowing reasons.

2.6 OVERALL
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Feb

Comments Off on You’re Next

You're Next
2013 – R – Lionsgate

Home is where the heart is. Home is where you feel the most comfortable, safe and vulnerable. It’s even where you hang your hat, or at least according to that sign I saw one time, so the idea of an unwelcome intruder making himself at home while trying to viciously murder you is the perfect recipe for a horror film. Films like Alone in the Dark or The Strangers have clearly illustrated to us that home is not always the safest place and now, You’re Next fits right in at home (pun clearly intended) in this category. Even hiding under the sheets won’t save you.

As a disturbing couple unfortunately learns (and by that, I mean an old male teacher and his young female student) the hard way. After earning what I’m assuming is her “passing grade,” he hops in the shower and the young lady listens to music in shame. Unfortunately, her time listening to “Looking for the Magic” by the Dwight Twilley Band is “cut” short! Hey, it’s not that bad of a song! Upon exiting the shower, he sees “You’re Next” written large and bold in her blood (as well as cleverly serving as the movie’s title card) on the sliding glass doors and then meets his doom by a man in a lamb mask. Ba-ba black sheep, ba-ba bye!

yn_2The family next door gathers for their wealthy parents anniversary, unaware of the grisly murder that took place next door, bringing brothers Crispian (AJ Bowen), his noogie giving older brother Drake (V/H/S‘ Joe Swanberg), their seemingly wormy younger brother Felix and their naive younger sister Aimee. She also happens to be the only one in the family without some poetic hip hop artist’s name. By the way, Dad just so happened to have recently retired from a major defense contract company and has accumulated quite the wealth. Accompanying the siblings are their significant others, making for plenty of victims at this buffet! Speaking of a buffet, after some scenes of sibling rivalry between various… um, siblings, they all put their differences aside for the moment and gather around the table for dinner. But little do they know, they are about to have some unexpected guests…

During some bickering between Drake and Crispian, Aimee’s boyfriend, Tariq (played by House of the Devil and The Innkeepers director, Ti West, as what seems like a character of the “indie” filmmaker), glances out the window and gives a look like he saw something outside. As he gets up and moves to the window to peer outside, the bickering between the two brothers heats up when suddenly an arrow crashes through the window and pierces Tariq’s head. This slowly grabs everyone attentions as it takes Tariq a few moments to die just as a hailstorm of arrows come flying into the house through the window, one hitting Drake in the back. Crispian’s girlfriend, Erin, instantly goes into survival mode, shouting for everyone to get down and take cover using chairs to block them as they run past the windows. How did she know how to do that… or to think so quickly on her feet? In an escape attempt, Aimee wants to prove her worth to the family (because, you know this is clearly the best time for that) and tells them that she can run to get help. Her brothers don’t argue it, but are polite enough to let her dash out the front door in slow motion, which actually builds up the tension quite nicely as to what will happen next… it’ll definitely knock the wind out of you. Wink.

yn_3Mom (played by the ever youthful looking Re- Animator actress Barbara Crampton… surprised it took me this long in the review to mention she’s in this movie) isn’t feeling so well, you know, giving that she just witnessed some sporadic murders. The boys take her upstairs to her bedroom where it is safe, since the intruder is outdoors. But this is where we learn that intruder is intruders (however, you should have known this from all of the promotional materials and TV spots) as one of them in a fox mask creeps out from under the bed wielding a machete like he’s Jason Voorhees.

Realizing they aren’t safe inside or outside of the house, panic ensues! Erin tries to keep everyone calm just as one of the assailants in a tiger mask crashes the party, literally, through the window in slow motion (club music cue?). See? This is why you don’t feed stray animals! They’ll come into the house! Attacking Erin, she falls to the floor. He raises his ax, but she kicks him in the jewels, rendering him vulnerable as she smashes in his head in with a meat tenderizer! Erin clearly has some survival skills and starts barking orders, booby trapping the house like she’s John Rambo. Trust me, I mean that as a compliment. Erin could easily be one of horror film’s smartest and deadliest “final girl.” You do not want to experience her mood swings.

As they are securing the home and trying to stay alive, we discover someone among them has ulterior motives and not is all what it seems. I know “twist” can be a taboo word nowadays, given the stank that M. Night Shyamalan has seemingly permanently attached to it, but it’s pulled off rather intelligently here. Who can you trust? Who do you believe? Erin can only count on herself as she tries to fight the animal masked thugs one by one and discovers an awful truth behind the invasion.

yn_4I really don’t want to give anymore of the plot away and I fear I may have said too much already. It’s something you simply must experience. You’re Next is kinda like Home Alone for grown ups, only these booby traps are practical and given Erin’s back story, it makes it more plausible. The kills are downright brutal and practical, making them painfully cringe worthy. Blood pores from every wound with it’s creative and devastating kills that will be sure to get a positive and varied reaction out of you.

You’re Next is a beast, personified by the animal masks that the films stalkers wear. It’s self aware, but rather than make a mockery of itself, it plays on your expectations, misleading you along the way and then gives you something you weren’t expecting. For what it is, it’s an ambitious little film that succeeds in conveying survival horror. The killers themselves are given motive for the crimes, as one dimensional as it may seem, but trust me, it isn’t. It gives them a reason to be there and to be doing what they are doing, rather than leaving them to be faceless killers. Also, these are, hands down, some of the coolest masks that you’ll see killers wear in a movie. These are so cool, that the price of cheap novelty animal masks have sky rocketed (believe me, I checked).

Director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett took a risk and tried to give something old a new spin. Normally, this could have come off as goofy and tired, but it’s the characters that make it work. The brothers act like real brothers, arguing over nonsense and holding ridiculous grudges and the parents are seemingly actual loving parents who want nothing more than the best and safety for their children. The actors, some of which are filmmakers themselves or Adam Wingard regulars, do a phenomenal job at bringing these characters to life that you actually feel for them and the terrible event they are going though. It’s a prime example of everything that comes together and works. The twist can throw you off at first, but the film carries it so well that the home invasion/slasher turned survival horror blends seamlessly that you wouldn’t want it any other way.

You're Next
I can’t say enough positive things about this movie. Simply put, I love You’re Next. It sat on the shelf for two years (yup, it was made before V/H/S) and it was well worth the wait. So, cuddle up with a loved one, lock the windows, bolt the doors and watch You’re Next. But, be sure to check under the bed before you go to sleep.

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • If you play a song on repeat, you’ll get a machete to your face.
  • Sibling Rivalry.
  • Bullseye!
  • The animals have come out to play.
  • Good night, mommy.
  • Garrote 30 Meter Dash.
  • Pounding some meat!
  • Kevin McCallister 101.
totals

8

blood

BLOOD

As the victims are slain by the animal masked killers, tables turn as they fall victims to Erin’s booby traps.

6

blood

BREASTS

A little coed naughtiness at the beginning, but is instantly stifled by Felix’s girlfriend’s odd request… unless you’re into that kind of thing.

10

beast

BEASTS

Behind those stylish animal masks lie some killers with a motive… and Erin is no pushover herself.

8 OVERALL
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Feb

posted by admin | February 6, 2014 | Fantasy, Horror movies, modern horror, Reviews by the Goon, screeners

Comments Off on She-Wolf of the Woods

She-Wolf of the Woods
2013 – Not Rated – Stay Curious Productions

Women, am I right? If they aren’t trying to break your heart, they’re trying to eat it, because they transform into supernatural beasts at night. Seems like it’s always the case, especially in Scotland. Just what in Sam-hell is going on over there? And who is Sam? Grab a pint and let’s find out.

This story takes place in the Dalavich Village of Scotland, to be exact. After a very cool transition shot of the moon fading into a light bulb, a young woman named Amy has just finished a shower (sorry fellas, no nudity here) and is hungry for a snack, removing a severed hand from the fridge, making for one of the few gore scenes in the film. It cuts to the title credits before we see what she does with it, so whether it was baked or pan fried in a sauce, we will never know.

As the not fitting, but somehow fitting funky, almost soft-core 70’s porn music continues, Amy meanders in the woods drinking some whiskey and kicking a soccer ball in a child’s face (I have to ask, does it make me a bad person if I unintentionally laughed at that?). After ditching some evidence, burning what is most likely the clothes of whoever that hand belonged to, she finishes up her drinking to continue drinking at the local tavern. While there, she takes her time scanning the male population there, which are oogling at her so intensely, you could replace them all with cartoon wolves, howling with their tongues and eyes popping out of their heads. She settles on a man in a trucker hat, camo jacket and a handlebar mustache, everything that embodies the stereotypical beer guzzling M-A-N and takes him home. Once her door closes, it goes to black, leaving to our imaginations his fate, which probably isn’t good for him or his mustache.sww_3

The following morning at her day job, which is a Forest Ranger (makes sense when you think about the title of the movie), we are introduced to Ben, who looks like he has raided Roddy Piper’s wardrobe (kilt and all). He exchanges glances with Amy and begins asking questions to a man sitting next to him with an acoustic guitar about her in the most unconvincing southern accent. The man warns Ben not to get involved with her, but do you think he’ll listen? Like most people in this movie, Ben spends a good amount of his time drinking at the tavern, where he and Amy talk about his past. His family having died and all, he sure is making a perfect candidate to bring home…

Once they are at Amy’s, you could say Ben certainly gets more than what he bargained for… two for the price of one! A blonde seductress named Lucille joins in on the fun, as the two put on a show for him. Lucille takes him upstairs where things get a little… hairy…

She-Wolf of the Woods is a short film, running just a little over half an hour and in that time frame, it tells a familiar fable modestly. However, I can’t help but have wanted the film to explore the characters of Amy and Lucille a bit more, bringing them into the light and rounding out their characters. A little more back story would have really brought them to life and fleshed them out some. Although they do give Lucille exposition in the final scene (I won’t spoil it), you can’t help but to want the movie to continue to see how the rest of the film could have played out. Also, for a low budget short film, it has some of the most remarkable and beautiful lighting and cinematography I have seen in some time. It sets up and further enhances the atmosphere of the scene, feeling like a mix of comic book and modern gothic horror at times.

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She-Wolf of the Woods
Whereas gorehounds may find it to be underwhelming, fans of Lycan mythology will find their appetites pleased and wanting more. So who knows, maybe we will see more? I guess we’ll find out on a full moon.

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • She needed a hand.
  • Drinking Game: Every time a character drinks, take a drink.
  • Mustache ride.
  • Roddy Piper stunt double.
  • The sex can get a little “hairy”..
totals

3

blood  

BLOOD

Nothing you really need a rain coat for.

8

blood  

BREASTS

The movie fills out well in this category.

 

7

beast  

BEASTS

 

The big bad and her companion have quite the appetite.

6 OVERALL
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