Archive for the 'Slasher films' Category

Apr

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!

trailers

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Mar

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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trailers

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Feb

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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Watch the trailer for “You’re Next!”

trailers

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Jan

Legend of the Hillbilly Butcher
2012 – Not Rated – Sledgehammer Films

Gather ’round these here parts and mosey on up to the campfire to hear the legend! There’s something people don’t seem to do anymore; tell ghastly stories and fabled legends around a burning campfire, trying to scare the mud out of each other’s britches. With how constantly connected we are now, the equivalent to camping would be watching a movie on your iPad, sitting around a campfire Blu-ray from your couch. But enough of about my unbridled hatred for the 21st century and all your precious modern technology; let’s be reminded of a more simple time, when chilling stories were told and hear the tale of a time when people were proud to live off the land, provide for themselves with what the Earth gives them and forage for their own food… even if it’s trespassers! Let’s hear the tale of Carl Henry Jessup… Let’s hear The Legend of the Hillbilly Butcher!

lothb_2The set up makes it appear to be a cut and paste slasher, but I assure you, Legend of the Hillbilly Butcher is anything but. It’s easy to get that impression from the start, as an old man tells three wide eyed children this probably not so age appropriate spooky tale about a butcher and his meat, long pig (would you like to take a guess as to what that could be?). This scene reminds me of the opening to Madman, which is a good thing. When Carl isn’t stating is political propaganda or scaring local whippersnappers off of his property (which you do not want to trespass on), he’s passing the time by cooking his meat (no, that’s not an innuendo) with his half-sister, Rae Lynn (Theresa Holly here does a stellar job), or taking swigs of moonshine out of the jug with his friend Billy Wayne, who’s about as trust worthy as he appears to be. This guy seems like he’s just one strangled hooker away from making the FBI’s Most Wanted list. Yup, Carl sure knows how to live.

lothb_3Of course, his life isn’t all gravy. Speaking of gravy, he sure does miss his Pop’s gravy (again, not an innuendo) ever since he killed his wife then himself back when Carl was a boy, passing on his butcher knife. Rae Lynn does her best to fill in the lonely void by cooking and cleaning, but it’s just not enough. Haunting visions of a demon (called Sam Bakoo, but I can’t recall if this if ever mentioned) in his sleep wake Carl up that not even his decaying, skeletal girlfriends can help him get back to sleep. He decides to take drastic measures to bring back his parents by offering his blood and soul to the Devil, but that soul ain’t worth no damn. What is a man with a worthless soul to do?

Well, killing trespassers is one thing. It doesn’t matter if it’s stabbing young lovers or disemboweling the director dressed up as a drunk hick, they have no right being on his property! And besides, a man’s gotta eat. Each victim meets (or should I say “meats”) their end by Carl’s knife, as he guts them and cuts them up for meat and stringing it up from the ceiling in the basement, which his darling half-sister Rae Lynn cooks for them and Billy Wayne on occasion. Speaking of Billy Wayne, he is one available bachelor if you can believe it. He takes an interest in Rae Lynn and even asks her out on a date ever so elegantly. After one of the most sexiest montages I have ever seen of Rae Lynn trying on different dresses, they spend some time… somewhere in the woods (it doesn’t have to be specific), but the date quickly goes sour after Billy Wayne sucker punches poor Rae Lynn. But hey, she shouldn’t tease a man like that!

lothb_4While this is going on, Carl is seeing the ghost of an unknown young girl, Jesse, who tells him that his blood line is cursed and urges him to bury the knife. Could she mean that literally or is this one of them metaphors? Carl looks at this as a second chance and possibly a way to stop these haunting visions that look like they are out of a goth band’s music video. If I thought I was constantly envisioning Prodigy music videos, I would do anything to make them go away too. It’s also at about this time Rae Lynn stumbles across all Leatherface like decorations in the house, asking the burning question… how did it take her so long to see any of this?

Legend of the Hillbilly Butcher reeks of 70’s and 80’s exploitation drive-in films and it smells wonderful. It has that certain atmosphere of dread in the wilderness, secluded in the open, yet there is a false state of serenity as you here the nearby creek babble and the insect population sings like a choir. The sometimes out of focus, fuzzy look, complete with dirt and scratches over the film gives it an aged look without making it too faux. However, there were times when I found the filters to be overbearing. For example, on occasion, there will be an orange burn mark in the upper left corner of the screen, varying in intensity, but at times it seems to be too intense and going on a bit too long (this never took away from my enjoyment of the movie though), which I did find to be a tiny bit distracting. Even the audio sometimes has a muffled sound to it at times. It’s these elements that remind me of films like Don’t Go in the Woods and The Forest. There’s a reason this won six awards, some from a genre new to me, Hixploitation and the enchanting actress Theresa Holly gets a well deserved award for Best Actress and I would even call her the Independent Movie Scream Queen.

Legend of the Hillbilly Butcher
Best Retrosploiation Film? You betcha! It’s been awhile since we’ve seen something like this (or at least done well) and it’s welcoming to be reminded of cult camp movies that remind you of warm summer nights with possible terror lurking somewhere in the woods. Legend of the Hillbilly Butcher is an alluring, gory bio pic. Joaquin Montalvan certainly is a man who can do it all; writing, producing, directing and even doing the cinematography. This man is the reason this movie looks so damn good, so credit where credit is due. Of course, the rest of the cast and crew is great as well. This is one of the most engrossing independent films I have scene in a long time, so I would highly recommend giving this a watch, ya hear?

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • Ghost stories ’round the campfire.
  • Swigging out of moonshine jugs.
  • Like father, like son.
  • A lover’s spat.
  • Sandwich wrapped fresh demon.
  • Ask a restaurant if they serve ‘long pig’.
totals

8

blood

BLOOD

You get that there pretty red stuff and sum guts slopping ’round.

6

blood

BREASTS

Theresa Holly’s montage is something for the guys to oogle at, while Billy Wayne competes by walking around with his shirt unbuttoned most of the time.

9

beast

BEASTS

I would not recommend trespassing on the Jessup’s place!

7.6 OVERALL
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Dec

Silent Night Deadly Night 3
1989 – R – Quiet Films Inc.

A franchise has never turned sour so quickly quite like the Silent Night, Deadly Night series. You could argue that it all started with the second film, thanks to Eric Freeman’s overzealous performance as the Santa Claus Killer, Ricky Caldwell. However, there is a certain charm to the film, still having an enamoring Christmas theme and has that holiday feel to it that makes you all warm inside and want to kill something. And you can call it over the top, you can call it hammy, but no matter how you cut it, Eric Freeman’s performance is abnormally memorable. Too bad nothing like that can be said about its sequel, Silent Night, Deadly Night 3: Better Watch Out.

And that’s where my beef starts with this. Right from the start, before you even watch the movie, just look at that title… it’s way too long! Do you know how tired I am of typing that out already? And does it really need a subtitle? Subtitles are more used now for films that don’t want to number their series, but in retrospect, horror franchises all numbered and gave their sequels subtitles. So what’s the point in complaining? Putting off the inevitable. Let’s reach into our dirty stocking and pull out the lump of coal that is Silent Night, Deadly Night 3.

sndn_2Taking place six years after the events of its predecessor, Ricky is now in a coma and has a fishbowl with wires hanging out of it on top of his head, covering his exposed brain. This contraption is straight out of an old Universal monster movie, it’s so awesome. The movie opens up in a white room with no windows, which is coincidental since that is most likely where you will end up after seeing this. A young woman awakens from a bed to find Ricky (played by Bill Moseley this time… but hold off on your applause), who jolts out of bed holding a scalpel. She bolts and finds herself in a hallway, occupied only by Santa Claus, so she does the only plausible thing to do in that situation: Sit on his lap. After telling him what she wants for Christmas, he raises a butcher knife…

Yup, that’s your type of scares for this movie. Emotionless looking people holding up sharp objects. Someone may as well jump out from a corner and shout “BOO” at me.

By now, you’re probably thinking, “What the hell is going on?” This when the young lady named Laura wakes up screaming. So what did that dream have to do with anything and why was Ricky in it? Well, Laura is… and I can’t believe I have to say this, a blind clairvoyant and as we all know, the ability to enter other people’s minds is a super power that all blind people possess. I feel like that is a seriously misguided false stereotype, kinda like how all white people can’t dance. Okay, for the most part that is true, but there have been some fantastic example of white people dancing, like John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever.

I rest my case.

sndn3_3Anyway, we’re gonna pause there for a moment and I’m going to point out that it’s been roughly five minutes and already the movie has lost me. You may be asking your television questions like, “Huh?” or “What the hell does this have to do with Christmas?” To answer the question, the movie takes place on Christmas Eve and Laura’s doctor, Dr. Newburry, is using her to reach Ricky with her powers for (what else?) science. And that’s all you need to know. Or that’s all they bother telling us. They never really say if it’s for evil science or good science, which I feel is something they really needed to categorize here, otherwise how else am I supposed to know if he is the antagonist other than the fact he is a total douche? Laura no longer wants to do the experiments and heads to her granny’s house along with her brother Chris (played by Twin Peaks‘ Eric Da Rae) and his girlfriend, who is foreign and that’s all you need to know. Laura instantly hates her and the three set out for the most awkward car ride of all time. Wee!

Meanwhile, guess who wakes up from their coma and kills a drunk, heckling Santa impersonator? That’s right, but for some reason Ricky doesn’t take the festive outfit and hitchhikes in his hospital gown and exposed brain, where as the Santa suit would have disguised his freaky nature! He kills a few more hospital workers, casually strolls out the front door and hitchhikes like someone who looks like Dr. Frankenstein’s experiment is a normal thing. A trucker picks him up anyway (well now I feel foolish) to chalk up a few kills at a gas station and some new duds, then off to Granny’s. But how did he know to go there? Turns out, the psychic link thingy that Laura shares with him is two ways, much like all relationships. You take crap and you give crap, am I right?

Granny also seems to have psychic powers, but only to show that it’s hereditary (maybe?). Granny gets a whole use out of this power, playing a pivotal scene, announcing to herself, out loud that the phone will ring… and yet she can’t tell that Ricky, the zombie looking guy who’s acting creepy will show up unexpectedly and is going to kill her! Shortly thereafter, our unlikable trio arrives and Laura gets the sixth sense that something is wrong. Her brother shakes it off his denim jacket, throws his blonde wavy locks to the side and goes off to make sweet love in the bathtub while clogging the drain with his hairy chest. Seriously, dude is like a werewolf. The cops (okay, a cop) and Dr. Newburry head off to find Ricky at Granny’s, but will they be too late before Ricky kills the disposable brother and his strange accented girlfriend? Yes. Yes they will be.

It’s an incredibly silly movie with an incredibly silly ending.

sndn3_4You know what this movie is? It’s that movie playing on TV that other characters in other movies are watching. You spot it in the background and think to yourself, “Wow, that looks incredibly generic. I wish I were watching that!” But really you don’t wish that. Nothing about this movie sticks out as a good movie, then again nothing really sticks out about it being a really terrible movie. Sure, it’s a bad movie, but it’s just kinda there. It comes off as boring and the actor’s performances really convey this, as the majority of them seem to be sleepwalking through the film (quite literally with Ricky). Nobody seems to be enjoying the fact that they are making a movie, but instead walking into frame, recite a line and halfheartedly react to it. Not only that, but the plot seems rather generic (along with its supposed scares). In fact, the script feels rushed and thrown together at the last minute and wouldn’t you know it, it was! Apparently, the shooting script was scrapped very shortly before filming began and they wrote and shot a different one, so what we get is a movie thrown together with the most run of the mill and safe ideas, where if you were to describe this movie to anyone, it would sound like every horror movie ever made.

Silent Night Deadly Night 3
You would think after watching Silent Night, Deadly Night 3, there would be no way a series could stray further from the source, but you would be wrong. It only gets further and weirder from here.

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • Brain in a bowl.
  • Psychics can’t see.
  • A Leo Johnson Christmas.
  • Hitchhiking half-head.
  • Mind game Granny!
  • Dr. Douche
  • Fire poker impalement.
totals

5

blood

BLOOD

It’s kinda splashed around here and there, but the exposed brain is kinda cool.

2

blood

BREASTS

Eric Da Rae’s hairy chest, soaked in bath suds for the ladies.

4

beast

BEASTS

You have Bill Moseley sleepwalking through the film and that Doctor being a turd. I seriously hate that guy.

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