May

Comments Off on Scream Park

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

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

5

blood

BLOOD

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

7

blood

BREASTS

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

6

beast

BEASTS

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

6 OVERALL
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Check out the trailer for Scream Park!

trailers

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Apr

posted by admin | April 30, 2014 | B-movie Reviews, B-movies, Guest Review, modern horror, Sci-Fi

Comments Off on Terminal Invasion: A guest review by Deadman

Terminal

To really get the grasp of how far we’ve come, as far as movies and special effects are concerned, we have to look back at where we began. And while I think it’s a shame that big budget movies, with less than palpable story lines, are getting top-notch effects teams and directors the horror movie genre has gotten the short end of the stick. And nothing shows both the beginning of new age special effects and the effects of a tiny budget like the movie Terminal Invasion. Oh, yes, folks. This little gem that most of us forgot. Probably on purpose.

Now. To begin this review I must give a disclaimer for all those FanBoys out there: The Chin is in this movie. Correct! Bruce Campbell, himself, is in this thing. Now before I get beaten to death with special edition DVD copies of Evil Dead 2, let me say this: this movie is horrible! Not even the Almighty Bruce, himself, could save this thing! So let’s dive right in.

TerminalThe first thing to note about this piece of….film is that it was made in 2002. Why do I say that is the first noteworthy thing about it? Simple. This movie came out when The Matrix was still fresh, as well as other HUGE names like Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and so on and so on. A tiny movie about aliens in a Bumville, USA closed airport wasn’t even a blip on the radar. So there’s the premise, folks: aliens invade a closed airport in Random City, USA and all hell breaks loose.

But before we get into the mayhem that is sometimes so cliche it hurts, we have to start with every typical ‘who-dun-it’ premise: a mysterious stranger. No, really, they never give the backstory for Bruce Campbell’s character. Ever. A snowstorm knocks Jack (Such an original name for The Chin) and his two police escorts down an apparently traversable mountain. They jump into the terminal that’s been shut down. Let the body count begin!

First up on the chopping block: a priest! Boom! Wait, a minute, folks, he wasn’t a victim! Oh, no! He was an alien in disguise coming after Jack. That’s right. They’re after The Chin, himself. Granted, who wouldn’t be? But still. Oh, and in case you’re wondering the reason why, you never find out. Continuing. So let’s meet the cast, folks. There’s stereotype 1, 2, and so on and so on. There is nigh an original character in this whole movie.

Once the whole ‘who’s who’ thing is sorted out and they’re all convinced they’re dealing with aliens there’s a whole bout of morality and a game of ‘moron with a gun shoots someone human’ yay! Can’t have a body snatchers type movie without one of THOSE scenes. Moving on. For some odd reason they believe that they can find out who’s human and who’s not with a luggage x-ray machine. Another death, folks, complete with horrible one-liner.

TerminalBut oh no! The x-ray machine is now broken, shot up trying to take out the alien. And there isn’t another one. What kind of airport is this?!? ONE machine? Come on! Anyways. We get some more action scenes with bad writing and obvious stunt doubles, galore. While most of this movie is forgettable, there is one aspect that is highly memorable: the CGI. While it’s more than clear that there was better than “I did this project for art class” quality out there at the time, the production company went with “I think my nephew has a computer” budget. There’s more than enough laughable scenes made worse by the effects. Even what could have been a REALLY good practical effects scenes are ruined with attempts to be clever with the camera.

While the plot in this thing is already frighteningly loose it seems to just unravel at the end. Where the alien attempt to explain why they’re there in the first place seems to take a back seat to another horrible action scene. And of course, the whole thing wraps up with Jack spouting some silly, out of place line.

To wrap up. Horrible writing, bad direction, CGI that is bad enough to make you sign up for a designer course, and all of it painfully predictable makes for a terrible movie. Even The Chin, himself, couldn’t save this B-Side floater. However, it IS worth a watch, just to get your laughs in and possible make a drinking game out of it. Thanks for reading, folks!

roadside attractions

  • The Chin
  • Inappropriate Priest Convo In A Bathroom
  • Bra, No Bra, Bra, No Bra
  • The Chin
  • Airports Only Have One Plane
  • Avalanche Gun (With explanation)
  • The Chin
totals

5

blood

BLOOD

0

blood

BREASTS

It’s made for TV!

5

beast

BEASTS

5 OVERALL
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Watch the trailer to “Terminal Invasion”

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Apr

Comments Off on SS Girls (aka Private House of the SS)

SS Girls
1977 – Not Rated – Shriek Show
Starring Gabriele Carrara, Marina Daunia – Directed by Bruno Mattei

Oh Bruno Mattei, is there anything you won’t rip off? Although to be fair, he has made quite a name and career for himself doing so, ranging in different genres from horror with Hell of the Living Dead, action with Strike Commando (read my review here), sci-fi with Robowar and Terminator 2… no not THE Terminator 2, but rather an Aliens/Terminator hybrid rip off, better known to the world as Shocking Dark. This is a man that has broadened his resume by exploring every form of exploitation, including the unappealing Nun-sploitation. Bruno also dipped his mitts into the Nazi-sploitation genre with a few films, most notably the Salon Kitty clone, SS Girls, also known as Private House of the SS.

This whole genre, ripoff-sploitation, gets a bad rap for one glaring, obvious reason; filmmakers, especially foreign filmmakers, are basically stealing the idea of a successful film, adding a simple change here and there and calling it there own. Well believe it or not, it’s actually quite a popular genre. Don’t believe me? Just look at the huge library of films from the Italian and Turkish filmmakers out there. While some are more subtle than others (there are a ton out there), Bruno isn’t the only one who blatantly copies idea. It was a quick, cheap way for the Italian film industry to make a buck and it worked rather well. Unfortunately for their Turkish counterparts, it didn’t work out well, most likely due to even lower budgets and somehow worse acting and special effects, that their films are watched more for laughs or a “you have to see this to believe it exists” factor. Having said all of that, not all of these films are bad. Cheesy… absolutely, but each one of them has something about it you can find enthralling or hypnotic and some of them are actually very well made and told. SS Girls is the fine line between all that.

ssg_2Taking place at the tail end of World War II, Hitler is losing the war and becoming suspicious of unloyal officers in his army. Worried (or paranoid may be a better word) that these conspirators will betray him, SS officer Hans Schellenberg, a man dedicated to bringing back the Moe Howard haircut, is given the task of setting up a brothel with a select group of highly trained prostitutes to seduce and weed out these narcs.

Hookers trained to seduce and kill? Sold!

I hope you are prepared to see lots of boobs and 70’s bush, because there is a lot of it. I mean A LOT. Ladies, you get to see some hairy junk, so don’t feel left out. After Hans and Frau Inge, his right hand man, er… woman who rocks a scar on her face, inspect the ladies bodies and selecting his prime hookers down to an elite ten, a training montage begins! I think this is the precursor to action 80’s montage. All we need to do is sync up some ‘Eye of the Tiger’ and this scene would be gold, rivaling that of Rocky IV for best montage. During this montage, the girls get down in dirty, in many ways. Learning the basics of hand to hand combat, they slap each other around and roll around on the ground. The only thing missing is mud wrestling and pillow fighting to make it erotic. Speaking of erotic, ever seen a half naked Nazi chick unload an MP-40 machine gun? Gotta say, it’s pretty hot. However, all this hotness is instantly diluted when the girls “train” in the art of sex by getting ravaged by drooling, sweaty, hairy soldiers that are so out of shape and doughy, it’s like watching a woman wrestle with a moist loaf of unbaked bread covered in animal hair. It’s like taking a hammer to your nards in the middle of winter; cold, stingy and painful. All sexiness just vaporized in an instant.

ssg_3Now that the girls are all primed and ready for action (in more ways than one), the cat house is open and ready for business. Several officers, who are rather unkempt, with longish hair that looks uncombed, stubble, plenty of back hair and sweating grease so thick, you could cook with it, are invited to stay to feast on the finest foods and wine and fornicate to their heart’s desire. Sounds like a good ol’ time, but unfortunately this is a house with many flies on the wall and lots of ears. As they drink and womanize, the festivities reach orgy levels and the officers talk of the fuhrer being mad (gee, ya think?) and betraying him. All this information is relayed back to Hans and Inge, who spring their trap on the back stabbers that evening. As the officers sit, mocking the Third Reich, Hans enters the room dressed in the most hilarious ceremonial garb I’ve ever seen. Imagine, if you will, if the Pillsbury Dough boy were the pope of the Third Reich. The officers reasonably laugh their arses off, but Hans silences them, makes a big speech and has them executed. Hazing at this fraternity is harsh, bro.

While other officers fall to their exotic trap, other subplots emerge, like a soldier falling for one of the hookers and their secret love, Hans’ love with a woman, which in turn makes Inge jealous as she wants him all to herself. I don’t know why she’s getting jealous. Hans can’t seem to get excited, because his love for his country and the Third Reich is so strong, that he believes he should be the ruler of Germany and not Hitler. Inge overhears this and plots to use it to her advantage to get what she wants. There is more drama and plotting to betray than in a Game of Thrones episode. But not nearly as many floppy weiners.

ssg_4But like all good things, they must come to an end. After being rejected by Hans, being told she is disgusting, Igne rats out Hans and his officer and soldiers come to shut down the brothel. Too much power apparently has gone to his head and it’s time to put a stop to it… but not before one last PAR-TAY! This is the big bash, the end to all ends. During the festivities, Hans whimpers in his office, sad and questioning as to why his country no longer wants him. It’s kinda depressing to watch, like looking at yourself when your girlfriend breaks up with you. But interesting news comes over the radio… Hitler is dead. The war is over. Hans, either rejoicing or out of his mind (perhaps both), plays the radio for everyone to hear. Needless to say, it kills the party, literally. Upon hearing the news, a wave of sadness absorbs the crowd. If it weren’t Hitler, you’d almost feel bad. Nonetheless, what better way to go out than with a bang. They spend their time getting drunk, having sex and committing mass suicide, just like every good cult.

It’s a film that can seem slow at times, since a majority of it is filled with scenes of guys maniacally laughing like cartoon horn dogs and ladies giggling like Asian school girls. After several minutes of this, you’ll probably unconsciously find your fingers on the fast forward button. Although I have said that it is hypnotic, which it is, these scenes can feel unbearably dragged out and endless. Aside from that, you will be totally mesmerized by what is going on, as there is always something in this S & M fetish eroticism that will keep you enthralled or something sinister in each character’s betrayal. It’s also helps that the girls are fully nude in just about every scene. Regardless of being a total ripoff of Salon Kitty (even using several of the same cast members), SS Girls is a riot. Nazi-sploitation is a genre you don’t necesarilly need an interest in, although it helps. Not that you need to understand Nazi history, since these films aren’t exactly known for historical accuracy. But if you’re watching this kind of film for a history lessing, then something is wrong with your neural net processor.

SS Girls
Clearly, you wouldn’t be watching this film for historical purposes, but after viewing it, you can see the type of influence it had on current “grindhouse” filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino. Throughout watching the film, you undoubtedly noticed that all of the characters are rather cartoonish, larger than life. While at first they seem laughably silly, within moments they become menacing and you realize just what type of characters directors like Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino are trying to create. There’s something enchanting about this type of film. You really have to see to understand. There’s no other way I can explain this film other than it’s primium entertaining Eurotrash. Anyway, if softcore Nazi porn with goofy, oddball characters is your thing, than Achtung!

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • Moe Howard of the Third Reich.
  • SS must stand for Sexy Slags.
  • Hate to say it, but this movie makes Nazi’s look sexy.
  • Scarface, The Wicked Warden.
  • Nazi House! I’m revoking your charter!
  • As Andrew WK would say, “PARTY! PARTY! PARTY!”
totals

3

blood

BLOOD

No shocking amount, but this movie doesn’t need blood to shock you.

8

blood

BREASTS

In the spirit of ripoffs, I shall use a Staples ad: “Boobs? Yeah, we got that!”

8

beast

BEASTS

Hans and Inge are not to be crossed!

6.3 OVERALL
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Watch the entire movie!

trailers

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Apr

Comments Off on The House by the Cemetery

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

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

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

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

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

But first, a little disclaimer about Bob.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

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

9

blood

BLOOD

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

5

blood

BREASTS

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

10

beast

BEASTS

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

8 OVERALL
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Apr

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