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Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2
1986 – X – Arrow Video

Texas Chainsaw Massacre really the set the bar with horror back in 1974. It goes without saying that it is one of the greatest horror films of all time, so when Cannon Films acquired the rights to the franchise in the 80’s, a sequel was inevitable. Giving the original creator Tobe Hooper full creative control, it must have been a lot of pressure. How can a sequel live up to all this hype and deliver the same level of atrocity and macabre as depicted in the original? Tobe Hooper simply found the answer in not following the same formula as the first. Instead he took the film in a different direction, focusing more on gore and comedy, making it completely a slapstick for the criminally insane. Certainly an audacious and risky move, but would it actually work?

tcm2_2And he does this right from the start. Immediately following a text scrolling narrative echoing the events of the first film, it’s thirteen years later as two cackling college jug heads on their way to Dallas are popping shots at signs with a revolver from a car and calling K-OKLA radio station, badgering the leggy DJ appropriately nicknamed Stretch (Caroline Williams, meow!). Since these douchebags are refusing to hang up, Stretch has to keep them on the line and on the air (did radio stations actually use this lamebrain phone system?) as a large pickup truck, proud of its state’s stereotype by displaying some buck antlers and a confederate flag, chases them on what seems like the world’s longest bridge, until a familiar chainsaw wielding, masked maniac saws the top off one guy’s head and consequently crashing the car. Apparently city folk aren’t welcome ’round these parts.

Time to call in the cavalry! Former Texas Ranger (looking at it now, I’m not sure if they mean baseball player or an actual Texas Ranger) “Lefty” Enright, played by a manic Dennis Hopper, is at the scene of the crime. Although he’s ridiculed by his peers, Lefty knows exactly who did this… the same scumbags that tormented his niece and nephew, Sally and Franklin Hardesty. And no, this isn’t a string of typos. In a Soap Opera type of twist, Lefty is the uncle to the protagonists of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre and he’s been hunting down the Sawyer clan ever since. Desperate, and most likely lonely, Lefty prints a want ad regarding any information on this brutal slaying (and for that special someone). Stretch brings him a tape with the slaying recorded on to it to which he shortly requests her to play it on the radio, which I’m sure the FCC will have no problems with. Still, it’s better than anything that Lady Gaga dude puts out.

tcm2_3But first, a little comical scene of Dennis Hopper arriving at a workshop, throwing phat stacks of cash on the table, like he just won some games of dice (these two things are funny to visualize in slow-motion along with any rap song), arming up with several chainsaws of varying size and madly hacking a log up outside, testing the chainsaws. He does this entire scene without a single line of dialogue, deadpan face, as the owner of the shop laughs to himself like he’s a mad scientist. This scene is the horror movie equivalent to Willem Defoe’s death scene in Platoon. It’s that over the top, but it’s that damn good.

Well, who else should hear this new hit but a welcoming and familiar face, Drayton Sawyer (for those of you who may not know the name, he ran the gas station in the first film), who just won a local chili cook-off contest! Turns out the Sawyer’s have been running a traveling food truck business since the first movie and I have to say, this is a very clever idea. After a probable manhunt took place following the events of the first film, a ‘meals on wheels’ service would allow these killers to move freely without getting caught and disposing of bodies. It’s genius (and I’m sure copyrighted… shucks). Hysterically cursing at the wheel, he turns it around to send the boys on a little search and destroy mission.

tcm2_4Nobody does search and destroy missions quite like the Vietnam veteran hippie with an exposed metal plate in his head, Chop Top, who it turns out is the twin brother of the Hitchhiker character in the first film… another soap opera twist, played amazingly by the characteristic Bill Moseley (and most likely one of his best roles). Seriously, this guy is all over the place. One minute he’s making a joke about one thing, then another, then he goes into a psychotic rage. He truly defines a psychopath. Chop Top arrives at the radio station shortly after LG, who does… something at K-OKLA, leaves for some grub, he asks Stretch to play the “special Lefty request”. Suddenly out of the darkness, the man in the mask, Leatherface bursts out with his chainsaw, waving it ferociously into the air, dinging Chop Top’s exposed metal plate (oh, that’s why they call him that!). With Stretch having locked herself in a room, LG returns to find Chop Top digging through old records, all while spouting some of the best one-liners ever. Chop Top belts his head continuously with a hammer, while Leatherface is falling in love… yeah, it’s strange to see and even more strange to describe. You see, since Stretch isn’t showing him fear, he falls for her and begins thrusting with his chainsaw, making for one of the most sexually awkward scenes ever. It’s so awkward, high schools should show them for abstinence videos. Leaving her to live (unbeknownst to Chop Top), the two bail with LG’s body.

Stretch follows them to an abandoned amusement park, rather fitting given the tenants. She falls into a trap, placing her inside the Christmas colored, bone scattered death trap just in time for Lefty to arrive, fully loaded with chainsaws and spewing the word of god, which is a bit cliche. Both Stretch and Lefty are left to their own devices if they want to get out alive. Stretch uses her charm on the wits of Leatherface (who even puts the skin of a face over hers) to try and escape and Lefty… well, he just starts tearing this place to shreds, howling like hobo on a meth bender with nothing to lose, “BRING IT DOWN! BRING IT ALL DOWN!” He finds Stretch, reminiscent of the dinner scene from the first Texas Chainsaw Massacre, with the Sawyer family, as he claims to be The Lord of the Harvest (not to be confused with The Lord of the Flies). And then, in a more battle more epic than Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader’s final duel, Lefty has it out with Leatherface, chainsaw to chainsaw! Madness on an unmeasurable scale unfolds from here.

tcm2_6Believe it or not, but this film initially received an X rating. The filmmakers decided to release it as Unrated so it would be allowed to play in more theaters. Even during its home video release, it still was Unrated. It wasn’t until the lousy, bare (no extras!) release in 2000 by MGM it was finally given an R rating. But we’re not talking about the MGM releases. We’re talking about this crisp, clean transfer from Arrow Video (with a few noticeable scenes of noise, but it’s not too bad), which looks amazing on a big screen in Blu. For you surround sound fans… sorry, they stuck with stereo for this release, but that’s how we like it.

And how about those extras? Arrow filled this release with so many extras, you’ll be stuffed. A good portion is carried over from the MGM “Gruesome Edition”, but that didn’t stop Arrow from adding plenty more, one of the coolest being Tobe Hooper’s previously unreleased short, The Heisters and another film Eggshells. On top of that are a few retrospectives on Mr. Hooper and possibly the most amusing feature on here, a fifteen or so minute rant from the man who played Leatherface, but it’s followed by about a half hour rebuttal by Stephen Thrower. Slap that in a sweet package with some astounding artwork and a hundred page book and there are enough extras on here to make this release thick and meaty. After all, it’s all about the meat… don’t skip on the meat.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2
If you want to see Dennis Hopper screaming at the top of his lungs while waving chainsaws wildly in the air and going bats#*t crazy, then this is the movie for you. Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 would literally be like looking into the mind of a madman. This is one of the most outrageous and insane films out there and still somehow remains comprehensible. I’m not sure it’s even possible to compare this to its original counterpart since they really aren’t in the same league. Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 is a parody of the original, making a goofball, splatstick comedy out of a serious toned serial killer movie, but that is in no way a bad thing. All the characters are completely ridiculous and over the top, but they are playing along with the hyper-violent, daffy tone of the movie (especially Bill Moseley’s Chop Top) that it all somehow makes sense and dammit all, if it’s not entertaining in a psychotically hypnotizing way. It like being on a hallucinogenic and seeing all the ravings of a lunatic come to life, with the colors to make it really ‘pop’. The buzz isn’t back… it never went away.

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • Splitting headache.
  • Dennis Hopper… acting or actually that crazy?
  • Incoming mail!
  • Leatherface in love.
  • The Last Round Up, makers of the meatiest chilli!
  • Nam Land!
  • Saw vs. saw!
  • Crazy Caroline Williams Dance.
totals

9

blood

BLOOD

We start with some punk getting half of his head sawed off, then another person pelted in the head repeatedly with a hammer, throw some guts in here for the perfect gore-met!

6

blood

BREASTS

One scene in particular, where Caroline Williams has soda and ice sprayed all over her legs and chest will have the young ones getting funny feelings for the first time.

10

beast

BEASTS

The psychopathic Chop Top and Leatherface square off with Dennis Hopper, armed head to toe in chainsaws. This is what Michelangelo would have painted in the Sistine Chapel had he seen this movie.

8.3 OVERALL
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Nov

posted by admin | November 9, 2013 | Action, B-movie Reviews, B-movies, New Releases, Reviews by the Goon, screeners

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Deadly Prey
2013 – Not Rated – David A. Prior

Is it ever too late for a sequel? Robert Rodriguez is finally making Sin City 2 after a decade and it seems like the interest just isn’t there from the masses, which is one reason why sequels are usually made within three years. But that never seems to be the case with the Cult and B-Movie genre. You can make a sequel many years later and we would all wet our pants to watch our favorite cast climb casually back into their old roles. I guarantee you if another Evil Dead were actually ever made, EVERYONE would be eager to see it, even if it was Ash taking a crap for ninety minutes.

There is also some concern from an audience when viewing a sequel that took a long period to be released. Films like this have often suffer from production and financing issues or the filmmakers themselves get caught up in trying to make it “hip and cool” for the new generation, attempting to speak to youth by loading up on unnecessary CGI effects and tossing around some of that youngster lingo, but it comes across as your guidance counselor trying to “rap” with you. Does Deadliest Prey fall, urm… prey to this trap? Since this is a review, odds are we are going to find out.

dp_2Nearly thirty years after the events of Deadly Prey, Hogan is released from incarceration and immediately is picked up by his hot minx, Sophia. I have no idea how these two met seeing as she was most likely born when he went to prison. Hogan immediately declares revenge on the man who was responsible for his jailing, Mike Danton. Hogan puts forth his plan, but what has our hero Danton been doing all these years? He’s been raising a family, mowing the lawn… you know, regular action hero stuff. But when he sets out on his most dangerous mission, taking out the garbage, he is kidnapped and wakes to find himself in a familiar situation. He’s stranded alone and weaponless in some unknown woods… and he hasn’t even had breakfast. I do have to give credit where credit is due; Ted Prior is pretty cut and looks pretty buff, even in pajama pants.

Once again, it’s a game of survival, much like Hard Target for those of you who may be unfamiliar. What’s different this time around is that Hogan is broadcasting the carnage filled extravaganza all over that new interwebs thing, being funded by ‘Internet Company’. Okay, so technically it’s not a new idea. Plenty of other films have done it or something similar. Hell, when the Halloween series did something similar years ago. It felt tired then, but given all the advancements in technology and the way we utilize the internet and social networking, maybe there is a fresh new spin on this? Eh, no. The idea is merely touched, mostly feeling like a vehicle to bring the film into the new century to make it ‘updated’.

However, this isn’t the point of the film. We’re getting to that as soldiers rush out at Danton, who straight up murders all the thugs without remorse. Not even the whimpering soldier who surrenders and only took the job because he needed the money. Danton doesn’t even flinch at extinguishing his existence and coldly saying, “You should’ve filed for unemployment.” Don’t worry, there are plenty more terrible, macho catch phrases.

dp_3Time to pause on the action and focus on another thing you’ve seen plenty of times before, Hackers! Hackers that mash the keyboard, call each other “bro” and hang out with a nerdy, but really cute chick that they try to give a catch phrase to. Throughout this scene, she keeps saying “True dat!” Like they had thousands of “True dat!” shirts printed and they needed to sell them, so they figured they could make it a household catch phrase again. These “hackers” stumble across the live stream of Hogan’s little game and recognize Danton from stories they’ve heard. Using their magical computer wizardry skills, they bypass all security nodes, access the modules, hack into the mainframe, triangulate the coordinates (you know, hacker stuff!) and find Danton’s approximate position, they set out on a road trip to save him. I’ll let that sink in.

Then in true 80’s action movie fashion, Hogan hires Lt. Thornton’s (from Deadly Prey) twin bother… Thornton! He’s even more buff than his brother, as he demonstrates by killing a merc with a single punch to the face. The way this dude presents himself with dark aviators, a sleeveless vest and leather gloves, you definitely buy it. Hogan and Thornton decide to let Danton have a little more fun, as he dispatches of more mercs, complete with one-liners so cheesy even Arnold would be embarrassed. In fact, let me show you the formula of dialogue between Danton and the mercs:

Bad Guy – “Dimwitted, but somewhat clever threat.”
Danton – “Witty retort.”
Bad Guy- “Snarky comeback!”
Danton kills bad guys.
Danton – “Macho catchphrase.”

dp_4And just about every conversation is composed like this. But it’s not like we’re reading Shakespeare here… or whatever that saying is. So where were we? Oh yeah, those hackers literally run into Dalton with their hatchback, escaping with him as the cute girl keeps saying, “Hi” to him, like it’s her other catch phrase. So they have an over abundance of “Hi” and “True dat!” shirts. Thornton finds them and pops a couple shots at them. They react and talk like a bullet just missed them, yet there are no bullet holes anywhere on the car or windshield (or maybe Thornton isn’t as good of a shot as he thought). Geez, so much inconsistency and error with this film, I don’t know if I can trust it!* Either way, once a bunch of dweebs rescue you in a hatchback, you sort of lose all credibility as a tough guy.**

*Editor’s note: I’m totally kidding.
**Editor’s note: Still kidding… please don’t hurt me.

The hackers take Danton home to find Sophia, who tells him his family has been kidnapped. Danton responds with a strong, but controlled pimp slap and then put several bullets in to her brains. Now he is freed up to unlock his tool shed of mass destruction and gear up with quick zooms and sound effects! Although I am a little concerned that this entire time his tool shed was only secured by a cheap padlock. Enough lessons on safety, it’s time to pose for the movie poster and it is glorious! It’s the body count part of the movie as Danton mows down scumbag after scumbag, trapping them in time-consuming-that-he-wouldn’t-have-really-had-time-for and mostly improbable traps, barely ever getting a scratch on him until he reaches Hogan or dies trying!

Even though I gave this movie a hard time, I thoroughly enjoyed it! I wouldn’t say it was as good as Deadly Prey and giving the time that has passed and the tight budget they had, Deadliest Prey is a worthy sequel, if not for the cheesy one-liners alone. However, it’s not to say it doesn’t have its faults either. Like I stated in the review, you’ve seen this plot done a million times before and it’s still just as stale as it ever was. Also since they are using the same exposition as the first film (even the same villains and hero) it feels like nothing new is being brought to the table. The hacker characters only seem to serve the purpose of getting Danton to his home so he can load up and kick some butt and at times, the audio seems to be balanced unevenly.

Deadly Prey
What I do find interesting about how I feel about this movie is throughout the film, there is the presence of a ‘home movie’ feel to it. Whether it be the look of the film or the overall tone, but this could have worked in the 80’s as shot on video. But where this movie really shines, is the nostalgia for over the top 80’s action films it gives you. The violence varies from stiff choreographed martial arts, but gunshots as well. Whether it’s to the body or the head, people will take dozens of shots to that specific area. Modern technology aside, Deadly Prey feels like it was made in the 80’s shortly after the original. It may not go down with cult status like the first film, but it’s still a riot. It makes Demolition Man look like Judge Dredd. It makes Phantom Raiders look like… well, Phantom Raiders. I would definitely check this out for an explosive good time!

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • Action Family Man.
  • Internet revenge.
  • Ridiculous one-liners.
  • Black gloves, black shades.
  • Hacker babe.
  • Loading up on weapons montage!
  • Give the man a hand… or an arm!
  • You’re only ‘half’ the man you used to be.
totals

7

blood

BLOOD

Hundreds of bullet wounds, a severed arm and a man cut in half. All in a days work.

2

blood

BREASTS

Sophia shows off her cleavage, as well as Thornton.

6

beast

BEASTS

Hogan is an angry man filled with revenge and Thornton is silent, but deadly.

5 OVERALL
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Oct

posted by admin | October 22, 2013 | 50's b-movies, Drama, Reviews by the Goon, screeners, Suspense

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The Hitch-Hiker
1953 – Not Rated – Kino Lorber

You’re traveling down a lonely road so void of any life it may as well be a painting. Out of a nowhere like a mirage, a figure seems to be standing still, arm out and thumb extended. You decide to be a good Samaritan and give the drifter a ride. After all, what’s the worse that could happen? Next thing you know, your vehicle is void of any signs of life. Only traces of blood in the driver’s side with a bullet casing in the passenger’s.

This is the kind of fear that The Hitch-Hiker induces. Although it’s not a PSA (though it could be an effective one), it illustrates a ‘your worst nightmare’ scenario when picking up a vagabond. The film immediately puts you in a vice and doesn’t let go until it’s finished. It’s what you immediately think of when you hear “Film-Noir”. It’s dark, it’s dirty and it’s white knuckled. Also interesting to note, it’s directed by Ida Lupino and keep in mind that it was unheard of to have a woman direct back then, especially a crime drama as zealous as this!

Emmett Myers has been hitching for some time. The bronze is hot on his trail, but he remains a step ahead as he leaves a trail of victims, told via spinning newspapers on Lazy Susan’s. Which brings us to our unlucky duo, Roy and Gil, on their way to the Chocolate Mountains for a fishing trip… or so they told their wives. They’re in Mexico when we meet them, passing up a cat house and running smack dab into Emmett on the side of the road, giving him a lift. Their trip instantly turns sour at this moment, as he draws a gun on them when Roy offers him a smoke (this could make a great anti-smoking ad). Emmett immediately takes control, ordering them about and showing that he’s a seasoned veteran at this. Holding them hostage with his gun from the backseat, I can’t help but think of that scene from Pulp Fiction where Vincent accidentally shoots Marvin in the face (throughout the movie, I kept waiting for this to happen). He asks them questions about their lives, what they do and ridiculing their answers, proving he is inside their heads and tells them he intends to kill them once they reach their destination. The look on their faces tells you they know their situation and they know they are over a barrel.

hh_2Knowing that a car ride would get boring (after all, there are only so many times you can sing ’99 Bottles of Beer’), Emmett plays games with his pawns. While pulled over to check the map, Emmett showcases his marksmanship by shooting a tin off a rock from several yards away! Look out, Billy the Kid! He does this with Gil standing nearby, which I’m sure browned his britches. Just having learned that Roy is somewhat of a sharpshooter himself, he directs him to shoot the tin out of Gil’s hand. Remember that scene from The Jackal where Bruce Willis has Jack Black hold up the pack of cigarettes? Kinda reminds me of that.

As they travel across the desert fleeing the authorities, they learn they are being looked for in the Arizona desert. However, they were traveling across the Mexican border. Emmett taunts Roy and Gil for lying to their wives about what they are actually doing and this is a subplot that comes to a halt, as it’s never mentioned again after this. We never really learn what Gil and Roy are doing way out that way, other than a few lines of dialogue. It’s acceptable though, as it doesn’t really chew away at the back of your brain, due to the film’s quick and energetic pace. We jump from one muscle tensing dilemma to the next, but it never becomes incoherent.

After a few hair raising close calls with a few locals, Roy and Gil decide they need to flee or it’s curtains for sure. Waiting for Emmett to sleep, they run off into a field and into an opening. However, Emmett was only playing possum, fooling them with his bum eye and nearly runs them down in the car after Gil trips and falls like a woman in a slasher film. Hopefully he didn’t break a heal.

The closer they get to their destination, the closer they are to their impending doom, Gil starts giving up hope. Acting as if he were already dead, Roy has to push him with the small sliver of hope that they can still make it out of this alive. Cops hot on their tail, Emmett switches clothes with Gil (now disguising himself as a doughy, middle aged man) in the final attempt to take a ferry to his salvation. Seems like them Duke boys sure have themselves in quite the pickle!

The Hitch-Hiker
Where was the Jam Handy informational short for this scenario? Based off the actual event in 1950 where a man named Billy Cook murdered a family of five and then was captured after leaving a deputy for dead, makes this movie all that more shocking. It adds a whole other dimension of gut wrenching realism to the film, like another layer of darkness. It’s enough to make anyone paranoid of picking up a stranger. For a short run time of seventy one minutes, The Hitch-Hiker certainly keeps you in suspense and will surprise you. Although the ending does wrap everything up nice and neat, it’s still has a lurid manner throughout the duration and I wasn’t sure what to expect. So take a joy ride with this one and pick up The Hitch-Hiker from Kino Lorber. This is one hitcher that won’t creep you out with stories of Nam or conspiracy theories.

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • Spinning newspapers, always a classic.
  • Viva La Me-hee-co!
  • Lazy eye.
  • Gil: The human lump of bread dough.
  • Shooting competition.
  • Emmett bossy boots.
totals

6

blood

BLOOD

Very little, but the shear idea of violence behind this scenario is pretty disturbing.

0

blood

BREASTS

None, unless you count Gil.

7

beast

BEASTS

Emmett is one sick puppy.

4.3 OVERALL
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Oct

posted by admin | October 9, 2013 | 60's b-movies, 60's movies, Drama, Reviews by the Goon, screeners, Suspense

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Night Tide
1961 – PG – Kino Lorber

Tales about mermaids are often thought to be full of wonder and whimsy and giving credit to the music that plays during the intro to Night Tide, it’s understandable why you would think that. But don’t let the score fool you. This is a ghostly tale, about secrets, lies and murder. It will lure you in with a false sense of safety and will play on your innocence. Before you know it, you’re neck deep in panic, wondering if something foul is waiting for you. It’s a smooth, unemphatic transition, like night and day. You don’t notice until it’s too late.

A pre-cocaine fueled Dennis Hopper stars in a tale about mermaids and murder. Murmaider, if you will. Hopper plays Johnny, a sailor on shore leave. This brings him to a small Californian coastal town, where he walks a pier and finds himself inside a cool jazz bar. The local patrons in this scene are actually quite believable as what you would think of as “regulars.” Each person is distinctive, emoting a different mood. Like they are all actually there for different reasons and could tell you their story and you’d believe it. However, they all are moving their head in the same pattern to the music that it’ll make your neck hurt. That is until Johnny notices a striking young woman. He finally gathers the courage to go talk to her, but before he can make casual chit chat, the young woman is scared off by a slightly older looking woman, garbed in black, speaking in a foreign tongue. Like the drunk frat dude when the bar’s closing, Johnny dashes off to hound her. Just cause it’s time to quit it, doesn’t mean you can’t hit it, bro.

It’s interesting to look at a scenario like that in pretext. Although they exchanged about three lines of dialogue, this was considered charming or romantic, especially in the silver age of cinema. A young man would approach you at the bar, ask you your name, tell you that you are beautiful, buy you a drink and give you a kiss, sealing the deal. You were a couple after that. People saw this as romantic and I can see why. A man, tingling head to toe in fear with rejection, shakes his feathers and approaches that stunning girl and asks her name. Nobody does that now, unless it’s through social media. Otherwise it’s considered “creepy.”

night_tide_2Well, we got off track! Johnny walks her home, above the carousel, learning her name is Mora. The next day over breakfast, they seem to be fond of one another and to be honest, the chemistry here is really believable. Telling him she works at the carnival’s sideshow attraction, she invites him to a show where we are introduced to Sam Murdock, an old British Navy Captain. Johnny thinks something may be strange about him, so Mora tells him that she was rescued by him at a young age and adopted. This was back in the day when you could just pick up a random child and claim them as yours willy-nilly. Later that evening while Mora is dancing (either that or the worst wave impression ever), she spots that woman in black and faints. Things sure are getting weird.

Speaking of weird, Johnny learns from local girl Ellen that Mora’s ex-boyfriends have all died mysteriously. Even more mysterious, he spots the woman in black and follows her all the way to Captain Murdock’s place, who seems to be trying to replace his blood with booze. Before passing out drunk and snoring like Tom Arnold inhaling a bowl of hospital Jell-O, he warns Johnny that he is in grave danger as long as he is with Mora. Upon confronting Mora, she tells him that she is of Siren descent and will kill when the moon is full. Women, huh? Always trying to kill you during the cycle of the moon… I’m just gonna stop there. Johnny ignores this hogwash, but soon has a nightmare that she turns into an octopus and tries strangling him.

I bet you never thought you would see Dennis Hopper wrestle a Muppet octopus.

He awakes from this nightmare to find her standing under the pier, calling his name, standing in the way of the crashing waves as if she is trying to drown herself. She’s not tied to the pier, mind you, because most sane people get out of the way of that sort of thing simply by moving their legs and removing them from that particular danger.

night_tide_3The next morning, having slept on Mora’s floor to ensure her safety, Johnny goes to get those kinks in his back worked out by a masseuse. Things get “steamy” while Johnny’s butch, hairy masseuse, Bruno, works on his shoulders. There is nothing wrong with a man giving another man a massage, but it’s the exchange of dialogue once Captain Murdock pops his head in to say, “Hi” that makes this scene a bit awkward. The masseuse asks the Captain if he wants him to, “pound him later,” to which the Captain replies, “Now why would I forgo a pleasure like that?” The movie immediately brushes this dialogue off its’ shoulders and the Captain further feeds Johnny’s fear about Mora. Now, I have no problems with sexual orientation, but it seems out of context in this scene… even for the Sixties. Once again, I feel like I derailed this review. Let’s get it back on track, shall we?

It’s finally the full moon and Mora invites Johnny along for some scuba diving, which he doesn’t think is a good idea, but she manages to coax him into it. It almost proves to be fatal, as Mora removes his breathing gear and swims off. He makes it back onto the boat, but doesn’t see Mora come back up for air. Devastated as the days go by, believing that maybe she really is a mermaid, Johnny finally revisits the carnival when reading her name in the newspaper. Everything draws to a close when he visits Mora’s attraction, but not without a few ghastly twists and turns that, to be honest, you will not see coming.

Night Tide is a suspenseful voyage of perplexity, thick with atmosphere and dread. Dread that builds up like a violin string being pulled tensely, but will not break. I have to admit, it is strange at first to see Dennis Hopper not playing such an oddball character, but he does take this role seriously (but there is still that goofiness we love him for) and his attraction to Mora seems genuine. The two play off of each other so well, you could actually believe they are a new couple, still learning about each other, but in love. Not only that, but it’s a refined film to look at, with almost a perfect gray scale in every scene and objects pop out at you with such depth. Kino Lorber restored this from the original 35mm print and boy, does it show.

Night Tide
Go on leave from your job, rent a seedy hotel room, shack up with a mermaid on a full moon and grab your copy of Night Tide from Kino. Well you don’t have to do any of that, besides watch the movie, but if you’re gonna do it, you may as well go all out.

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • Non-hopped up Hopper.
  • MURMAIDER!
  • It’s Jazz, baby.
  • Mouth watering Mora.
  • Captain Cryptic.
  • Woman in black.
  • Nautical nightmares.
  • Masseuse innuendo.
  • Scuba sabotage.
  • Scooby Doo ending.
totals

2

blood

BLOOD

Octopus wrestling and gun play, but no ooze.

4

blood

BREASTS

Nothing bare, but you can oogle at Mora’s cleavage.

8

beast

BEASTS

Mermaids, a Muppet and a murderer!

4.6 OVERALL
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V/H/S/2
2013 – Unrated/R – Magnet

You either loved it or you hated it, but there’s no denying that last year’s V/H/S gave a fresh spin on the quickly tiring found footage genre. It gave it a primo, and mostly perverse, look and took the idea of the anthology and made it seem newfangled, like it was in the 80’s. It was a very pleasing mix of perversion, violence and short storytelling. So it would make sense that they would decide to do a sequel the following year, with bigger filmmakers names attached to the project. Now the burning question is, does it surpass its predecessor?

It opens up familiar enough, in POV, of a man (played Simon Barrett, baring his dong… ladies) cheating on his wife. This leads nowhere, mind you, but sets up our two leads who are private investigators, Larry and Ayesha in the bookend segment, Tape 49. We soon learn they have been hired by some woman to find her missing son, break into his apartment and root around for clues. The two person Mystery Inc. wastes no time as they reach their destination. They immediately hear a loud bang and pry open a window, shortly discovering a room littered with televisions and VHS tapes, a welcoming site to those who enjoyed the first film, no doubt. Larry decides to “Go and check” out the rest of the place, rummaging through notebooks (and oddly reminding me of the PS1 classic Resident Evil), leaving Ayesha to watch the tapes. And what could be one those tapes? Well, it’s not Veggie Tales.

vhs2_2The first segment, entitled Phase I Clinical Trials, stars You’re Next director Adam Wingard. He also directed this segment, a clever way of keeping the budget low. His character was in a car accident and receives an experimental robotic eye of sorts that would make the Six Million Dollar Man weep. The eye can record what it sees, so the company that built it can analyze the data (imagine the poor sap that has to sit through hours of footage of him playing video games or pooping). Soon, he begins seeing dead people around his house. A girl from the hospital tracks him down and reveals that she had a cochlear implant from the same company and could hear dead people. Between the two of them, Haley Joel Osment is a punk. The more they interact with the spirits, the more the spirits can appear and harm them… clearly, not heading toward a happy ending.

vhs2_3Next up is A Ride in the Park, which sounds innocent enough, but boy would you be wrong. A man named Mike is all set for a joyous bike ride in the park, hence the title, with his GoPro camera, when he comes across a woman who has been bitten by a pack of zombies. Mike is bitten on the neck and bleeds to death after fleeing. Shortly, another couple finds him and wouldn’t you know it, Mike turns and bites them. Soon, zombies are tearing through a youngster’s birthday party. Still beats having your dad drunkenly tell you how disappointed he is in you. Now, most of you know my stance on the current zombie pop culture trend: Their boring, uninspiring and just clones of the previous popular zombie flick, but The Blair Witch director Eduardo Sanchez along with Jamie Nash give it a spin that hasn’t been seen since possibly Day of the Dead. Their zombies retain some knowledge of a previous life, as Mike demonstrates throughout the segment and the ending is rather bittersweet after he gets a call from his wife.

Safe Haven, from the director of The Raid, is most likely the most disturbing of the bunch. Using the angle of a documentary crew, they are invited to interview the leader of a cult and learn more about their faith. It just so happens to be at the time when the cult commits a mass suicide and sacrificing one of the documentary’s crew member’s unborn child to spawn their God, which is more like Satan. I don’t know what that says, but this is the one that really brings the punch. The imagery is savage and with the leader of the cult dancing and singing wearing nothing but tighty whities, self mutilated, you’ll think twice about entering a place far from civilization. The ending is hiliarious, but also will give you willies.

vhs2_4 Last, but not least, we have Hobo With a Shotgun director Jason Eisener’s Slumber Party Alien Abduction. Of all the segments, this one is by far my favorite. It’s a group of teenagers building cardboard box robot costumes, something I’m sure we all did. No? Just me? They play cruel pranks on one their sisters and each other, all being filmed by a GoPro strapped to their dog. Just when things are getting tense between the two groups of adolescents, a thunderous boom and bright lights shock them. The power goes out and aliens are trying to get into the house, brilliantly lit with a strobe light and this is when you start getting scared… real fast. The aliens drag them outside and throw them into the lake and only a few make it out, fleeing for the remainder of the segment as they hide from the intruders, nearly being caught at every turn. This one will have you clutching your chest and calling for Elizabeth.

Finally, the movie closes on Tape 49 once our lead watches on a tape what exactly that loud bang was on a tape. After seeing what he saw, he’ll probably wish he had been watching hours of Kathy Griffin stand up.

Something you may have noticed about V/H/S/2 is it seems to be more constructed like a movie, using multiple cameras and different angles, but still using different forms of consumer style cameras to give that found footage feel. For the most part, the acting is a lot more solid, but it makes it feel less like home movies and more like… ahem, a movie. But it’s the way that the stories are constructed that makes it a solid anthology. Regardless of having a slightly more cinematic feel to it, V/H/S/2 is strong and relentless from start to finish. Unlike the previous entry, there isn’t a dull ho hum tale of the group.

V/H/S/2

V/H/S/2 is certainly on par, if not superior to V/H/S and a worthy successor. Here’s to looking forward to the third entry! Pick up your copy at Magnet’s website and for god’s sake, don’t break into a stranger’s house and start watching stacks of tapes! One of them could be a Bill Rebane film.

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • Start your movie with a little bit o’ donger.
  • Eye see dead people.
  • Happy ‘Death’day!
  • Singing in undies.
  • Papa of a demon.
  • Alien disco party.
  • Explosive migraine.
totals

10

blood

BLOOD

Every segment is covered in all kinds of guts, organs and plasma!

7

blood

BREASTS

It’s a requirement of each segment to bare some ta-ta’s.

10

beast

BEASTS

Ghosts, ghouls, zombies, devil and aliens. The only thing it’s missing is Santa.

9 OVERALL
dripper

Watch the trailer for V/H/S/2!”

trailers

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