The Lost Highway's B-movie Reviews and Cult Films
Jun

Comments Off on Madman

Madman
1982 – R – Code Red
Starring – Gaylen Ross, Tony Fish – Directed by Joe Giannone

Ah, summertime. I believe Will Smith said it best when he said, “Every moment frontin’ and maxin’, chillin’ in the car they spent all day waxin’. Leanin to the side, but you can’t speed through, two miles an hour so everybody sees you.” This has nothing to do with this review, but man wasn’t that a good song? Especially in the summer?

Alright, now that the joke is out of the way, summer holds a special nostalgic place in most of our hearts. For me, going to camp was one of the most exciting parts. Getting together with all the other kids to play games, learning survival skills and telling spooky stories around the campfire. And let’s be honest, you felt so accomplished when they would slap a badge for that on your shirt, but instantly demasculate you with a baking badge. Nonetheless, I love the old feeling I get when I’m up late watching horror movies based around summer camp. Brings me back to a time when it was okay for adults to scare the living pee out of children.

One such tale is the legend of Cropsey. An actual story I’m familiar with since it was most popular in the upstate New York area, where I lived when I was young and went to camp. In a nutshell, the story is about a man returning to his familiar grounds and murder anyone who dares to camp there. Of course, this all depends on who is telling the tale, since, as with most legends, there are several versions of it, but this one seemed to be the most popular. So popular in fact, that someone decided to make a movie about and call it The Burning. However, another movie using the same tale was being made around the same time, but the good ol’ Weinstein’s beat them to the punch, so a small rewrite later, writer/director Joe Giannone unleashed Madman.

mm_2It’s the last day of camp as a group of kids are being horribly scarred for life by a ghost story that camp counselor sings to them as he prances around the fire. Chuckling at his amateur kid frightening skills, head counselor Max decides to one up him and calmly tells the children in the most trusting and soothing voice a supposedly true legend that will make sure no amount of therapy will ever help these children. That tale is the legend of Madman Marz, who murdered his wife and child with an axe, where he was shortly hung for his crimes (this was back in the day when lynching was encouraged… or the South), but his body had disappeared! Concluding, his name is never to be said above a whisper or else he would return to his sacred grounds and kill anyone who is present. So of course, the first thing the mouthy little punk Richie (who must’ve been a top contender for Mouth in The Goonies) does is scream his name and unnecessarily throw a rock an unknown amount of distance, which I’m guessing is at least half a mile away, judging by his solo march there later on, smashing out a window on a vacant house. This house seems so far off, it may as well have been Jenny’s house from Forest Gump. All have a good laugh as Max says his goodbye and goodnight to the kids, but Betsy (played by Dawn of the Dead‘s Gaylen Ross) disapproves of the story frightening the children, forever spoiling spooky campfire stories for everyone everywhere.

Betsy has a thing for TP and your guess is as good as mine as to why, since he snuffs her affection before they all return to their cabin. He quickly apologizes to the group about his outburst and to Betsy since it’s probably his last opportunity to hook up, as Max leaves to head into town to get supplies… and beer. Can’t forget beer.

But that’s not why you’re watching this movie. Camp cook and professional whiskey drinker Dippie is the first to fall victim, as Marz tears out his throat. I know we are all attached to this character and you’ll be in disbelief when you see him die, like when you saw Steven Segal die in Executive Decision. Still brings tears to my eyes.

What follows next is perhaps one of the most drawn out, semi-underwater, slow motion love scenes between TP and Betsy and lemme tell ya, you will be reaching for that fast forward button. It seriously drags out for several minutes, which normally wouldn’t be a bad thing, but Gaylen Ross keeps her puppies well hidden the entire time, while TP flexes his cheeks before climbing into the hot tub. While these two are contaminating the water, Madman Marz watches from outside. It’s about this time TP realizes he should probably check on the boys and notices that Richie is missing and goes out looking for him… alone… in the dark woods. Betsy offers to come with him, but he declines, as she sees a lumbering, shadowy figure darting around, but shrugs it off. I’m sure TP will be fine…

Did I say fine? I meant strangled and hung up like a pinata. To the actor’s credit, he really pulls of the excruciating pain that one must go through when being hung, as he actually choked himself by tying a rubber band around his neck! Now that’s “dead-ication.” Meanwhile, Betsy is back at camp complaining to Stacy that TP only wants sex when they realize he’s been gone for quite some time. Dave volunteers to go out alone into the woods to get killed next, bumping into TP’s body along the way and manages to dodge a few of Marz’s axe attacks before one finally manages to decapitate him. He was way in over his head anyway…

mm_3So now Stacy think TP is playing a joke (cause that’s what you did back then, play ineffectual pranks) and takes the car down to find everyone. Investigating something going bump in the night, she bursts in on the other two counselors, Ellie and Bill, about to bump uglies. She leaves them to their session of foreignication and has either very keen senses to where the others may be or this is the smallest wooded area in the world. She literally stumbles on Dave’s headless corpse (you starting to see a pattern here?) and runs back to the truck, but unfortunately the she has fallen victim to horror cliche #14: the stalling vehicle. Using all her mechanic knowledge, which I’m guessing is about none, she sticks her head right under the hood so Marz can cleverly jump on the hood to take off her head. That’s yer problem right there!

Bill and Ellie are hot on her heels searching for her when Ellie spots Marz standing over his trophy, which immediately sends her dashing toward Bill where she pleads with him to do the most rational thing; LEAVE! But what good is that? Bill suggests the most facepalming idea in history, to go check it out. Yes, go right toward the lumbering, superhuman maniac with an axe. Stacy’s body and Marz are gone when they reach the truck and oddly enough, neither of them see the blood splashed all over the front of the truck and decide to drive it back to camp, but if you recall, the truck does not start. Daves finds Stacy’s head in the engine and tosses it aside like an unwanted soggy melon and the truck starts (that’s got ‘er!) and they start to speed back to camp, but not before Marz rips Bill out of the driver’s side and snaps his back like a twig. After the truck crashes into a tree, Ellie runs back into camp and very cleverly hiding in the fridge. Seriously, if I were a killer (I’m not, I swear!), I would never in a million years think to check the fridge for my victims. Fresh ones anyway. That’s where you keep the leftovers. Unfortunately, it’s all for nothing. Once the noise quiets down, Ellie pokes her head out and checks the place out, only to be stabbed. The scene is really well paced and actually made me nervous!

Cut in between all this is the adventures of our young hooligan Richie, who has now stumbled upon the house he threw a rock at, which happens to be the home of Marz. After poking around a bit, he finds the dead bodies of all of the counselors in the basement. Good luck with therapy, kid!

So, if you’re doing your math correctly, this leaves lonesome Betsy, who is unaware that her friends have been brutally butchered. She’s making her rounds like a prison guard, which I’m sure all campers are familiar with that feeling, when she spots Ellie’s body and dashes off to grab a shotgun. Seems like the only smart characters in this movie are gossipy girls. Guys take note; just because your girlfriend talks constantly about makeup and their friend’s current boy toys, doesn’t mean she can’t properly load your hunting rifles and outgun you. Just ask Ellie, who managed to survive her stab wounds and creeps up to the door, who Betsy mistakes for Marz and blasts her friend’s face off. Whoops.

Betsy loads all the kids onto the bus and tells the eldest to drive the rest into town as she searches for her friends, which, remember, she has no idea are already dead. It’s probably a good thing a panicked woman who just emptied a double barrel 12 gauge shotgun at her friend’s head, probably isn’t in the best condition to drive a bus full of scared, jumpy children. Marz attacks the bus before they can leave, but retreats once the non harmful, padded door is shut on his hand and Betsy knows she has to end it once and for all, chasing him down to the house from before that Richie somehow managed to bust a window out from several miles away. After some creeping around, Marz attacks her, slashing her face open and impaling her on a hook Texas Chainsaw Massacre style, but happens to be packing a hunting knife, stabbing Marz who accidentally knocks over a candle, setting the place ablaze. Who knew her inner-pyro would come in handy? All for nothing though, as Marz escapes into the night.

mm_4Coming back from a long night of drinking, Max who is surprisingly not swerving all over the road spots Richie who is riddled with fear. Max asks the Richie what’s the matter, to which he exclaims, “Madman Marz… he’s real!”

To the movies credibility, it does pace the tension and build up very nicely. The scenes that build up to a characters death are drawn out to the point where you will be on the edge of your seat just waiting for something to happen and when it finally does in a glorious, blood splattered death, it pays off. Unfortunately the same can’t be said about the scenes of the counselors interacting with one another. I would say it’s too close to real life, since they don’t really discuss anything interesting, but that’s what it is. Just conversations about things I don’t think people actually talk about or girls going on about guys and blah, blah, blah. Mostly, they serve as an excuse for one character to head out into the dark woods alone to find the previous character who went off into the dark woods alone, so at least at times it does get the plot moving along.

Also, for being a low budget horror film of the early 80’s, it does have some of the best atmosphere you can get out of a slasher. The scenes are dark and often backlit, filled with the wood’s cold fog that can make something as open as the outdoors feel claustrophobic and making Marz feel larger than life. Speaking of, Marz is a pretty interesting killer with a well developed back story. Some horror flicks take several sequels to build a character’s backstory and can’t even do as good of a job as this movie did in just a few minutes. I’m looking at you Saw! A sequel was actually planned, picking up shortly after the events of the first film, wherein Richie would be in a psychiatric ward and he and Max return to the camp ground to try and stop Marz, but sadly the movie was never made, most likely due to Madman‘s obscurity or maybe studios didn’t want to take a chance on a lesser known flick, since Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm St. sequels were the ticket.

Madman
I like to find any reason I can to talk about this film, as I mentioned Madman is one of my favorite slashers. Sure it’s filled with a number of cliches, but it’s fun. Heck, I even did a video review of it, which you can check out here. So join me next time around the campfire to tell more chilling ghost stories… and bring S’mores!

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • The legend of Madman Marz, as told by the most trusting man ever.
  • Riche, all star quarterback.
  • Dippie.
  • Girl talk.
  • Hanging around.
  • Car trouble.
  • She was shooting her mouth off!
  • Gaylen Ross is Drew Berrymore in Firestarter.
totals

8

blood

BLOOD

Decapitations, bone snappings, mutilations and throat rips that even Patrick Swayze would be proud of.

3

blood

BREASTS

Two sex scenes and no boobs… something is wrong here.

9

beast

BEASTS

Shove off Jason, make room for Marz!

6.6 OVERALL
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trailers

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Jun

posted by Barry Goodall | June 9, 2014 | B-movie Reviews, B-movies, Bad movie, Guest Review

Comments Off on The GreensKeeper: A guest review by HMMadness

After seeing how many bad movies, remakes, reboots, and SCIFY Channel movies were coming down creating Anarchy, I realized you couldn’t beat them, so I watched them, and now hunt them down and watch what others won’t or can’t. Its my own way of either spreading the Anarchy or keeping a lid on it. Take your pick, its Madness…and as a large number of them consist of horror that is the name I choose, Horror Movie Madness or just HMMadness.

Holy Crap, this movie is stupid. I get B movies should be goofy and this one is even trying to spoof other movies like it and itself even, but it just does not work, as the acting and style is awful.

It had three directors and maybe that’s why it is as bad as it. We have Kevin Greene who gave us just this as a director, he was an actor/producer/writer on a movie called The Sorority.

Adam Johnson who who was also a director on a documentary called Train Days. Finally we have Tripp Norton who only has a director credit for this but was in the art department of movies like X-Men First Class, Anchorman 2, Zombieland, and many others…weird.

We open up with Allen Anderson(played by Allelon Ruggiero) dreaming, or is he. Then maybe another dream…Who knows. This leads into some of the lamest credits ever, the names are spaced between shots from the movie, like a bad sitcom or Soap.

We get some poor dialogue between Allen and his girlfriend Mary Katherine(played by Allison Kulp) about how he is just an assistant greenskeeper and doesn’t even have car, as he sold it to visit Morrison’s grave for inspiration in his screen writing? It tries to explain his dreams using Close Encounters mashed potato scene but his dumb pot smoking friends don’t get it.

We met some of his Allen’s friends, Rain Drop, Muffy, and Helmet Boy? They don’t really matter so we are not going to focus on them. At the country club we meet spoiled rich girls and some guys named Chaz, Chad, and Champ. We also met the head greenskeeper, Otis. The kids were to have a party at one girls house but her parents could not go on vacation but they have booze and crack already…what to do. They decide to sneak into the country club after hours to have the party, we get the back story of a greens keeper who was badly burned and seeks revenge on the club, he lives in a old shack in the woods and had maybe killed a man named Old Man Rivers…

We get some shots of what greens keepers do, planting flags, cutting grass, boring and not needed. We see that some of the guys of the club are both stupid and homophobic. One of them talks about how public television is full of “gay seeds” Look at Bert and Ernie and how Ernie eats cookies in Bert’s bed? Then the fact they wear saddle oxfords and turtlenecks. Plus look at Snuffleupagus? Thats all they say…

Some country club young, arrogant jerk is out golfing, talking on his cell phone and steps in a huge thing of water. He gets killed with a 4 iron by a greens keeper. We go back to the storage area where we see Otis taking off a greens keeper helmet and see what looks like red stuff on his shirt…

Then we see the rich kids again, this time in a car, out in public, with the windows rolled down, snorting coke….Wow….

Lets speed this up. I am not going to do every lame joke and tired thing. There is a sort of ongoing joke as different groups at times are watching a horror movie on tv that I think is called The Milkman, Allen comments on how yes you can make a few bucks on a original killer in a Milkman, with T&A, some weird kills and c list actors making 10 minute cameos but where is the ART! Sigh…

We meet the rest of Allen’s family at his birthday dinner, his mom who is a nagging know it all and his stepfather who runs the country club since Allen’s father died. Even marrying his mother but Allen can’t stand him. We learn next to nothing about him.

So the party happens and lot of people show up. Some of the guys are sitting around and the homophobic one says that of course Hendrix was guy, “Excuse me while I kiss this guy” That is gay”. The tennis pro also sneaks in while the gate is open with a young girl but head to the tennis court?

Allen tries to break up with Mary K but she says that would be dumb as their are guys who would walk across deserts just to eat the corn out of her waste(she uses a much stronger word) . Seriously?? Really?

Finally the Greens Keeper starts to make their move, killing the tennis pro by putting nails in the automatic ball shooter, driving a nail into his head. Drags the girl out out a bathroom stall and kills her. Other guy was drowned in the pool while blindfolded, another couple have sex on a golf cart even though her bathing suit is on the whole time.

Guy gets killed taking a leak, using a golf ball washer, girl killed by a thrown weapon of some kind and then maybe run over with golf cart, not really sure. Then we get more sexual stuff, out on a green, he swears to pull out and asks who is your daddy, they are offed by a post hole digger.

We see a guy climbing down off a lifeguard tower, with the Elena girl waving. Then we see shots of the pool and then the guy is just sitting on the tower again. Turns out to be a dead guy…so how he started to climb down is curious. We find Mary K tied to a tree with golf tees in her head, guess that killed her. Then we get the only non cliche, a girl escapes and hides while the killer runs past her, losing her. That,s unusual…

This leads to Allen, Elena, and a dude in a greens keeper outfit in the maintanice building, when the real killer shows up and gives their reason for doing it all. Its contrived and stupid, and we see what happens to everyone and why…

Avoid this movie, it really has nothing redeeming about it, it is not clever. It thinks it is but really it’s stupid and the jokes fall flat pretty much every time, I didn’t crack a smile even once. Some of the deaths were different or unique but they took forever to get there and the reasons behind everything was pointless. They tried to lead you one way and swerve you but if you pay attention you know that is not what is going on.

I hope they had fun making this movie as I had zero fun watching it. The hour and 20 minutes felt like forever.

Jun

Comments Off on Countess Dracula

Countess Dracula
1971 – PG – Synapse
Starring Ingrid Pitt, Nigel Green – Directed by Peter Sasdy

When hearing the title Countess Dracula or upon a viewing of the box art, thoughts of traditional vampire imagery may flood your mind; fangs and drinking of blood, capes, widow’s peaks, sparkling… but none of that is actually in the movie. The film is more about the supposedly true story of Hungarian Countess Erzsebet Bathory who would be responsible for 600 deaths of virgin girls, through torture and mutilation, in her time, 1560 to 1614. This is, of course, all speculation, but possibly inspired the tales of Dracula and his thirst for blood to remain immortal. Wow, the more you know.

It’s Hungary in the late 17th century, so if it’s not the plague killing someone, it’s war, which has taken the life of Count Nádasdy. He was a well respected man, so of course his will reading is filled with bottom feeding friends and family dividing up his fortune and estate. Countess Elizabeth (played by the gorgeous and late Ingrid Pitt) is none too pleased about having to share her late husband’s estate with her daughter Ilona. Guess someone should have taught her that sharing means caring, but caring isn’t exactly Countess Elizabeth’s strongest feature, as we see when she talks with Captain Dobi, who has been in love with her for a very long time, she often uses him to gain what she wants.

cd_2If she wanted to stiff her daughter on her inheritance, you can deduce how she treats her chambermaid, constantly scolding and belittling her. All this poor woman needs to do is lay down so that Elizabeth may wipe her soles on her, but something tells me that the Countess is the type of woman who likes to grind her soles. If she were a smoker, I can guarantee she would call in her chambermaid to put her cigarettes out on her. But worse things can and will happen, as the chambermaid accidentally cuts herself, splattering her blood on the Countess’ face. But as cruel fate would have it, the blood from this young woman smooths Elizabeth’s face and removes wrinkles. If a little bit of blood can make her look ten years longer, how do you think every drop of blood in the chambermaid’s body would make Elizabeth look? After a morbid brainstorm with her with maid Julie, they seal the young chambermaid’s fate and use her blood to restore Elizabeth’s youth and she is ready to par-tay!

But how would you explain her sudden youthful look to the public? Not even Maybelline could cover that all up, even if she was born with it. Well, remember when I said she wasn’t the most kind or caring parent? Using Captain Dobi (thinking with his “head”), they carry out a plot to kidnap her very own daughter, so that the Countess may pose as her. Geez, Elizabeth makes Alec Baldwin look thoughtful and compassionate in comparison. With Ilona out of the way, Elizabeth is free to make googly eyes with the young studs.

cd_3Hey, even older people have a libido and need to bump and grind from time to time. Before medication like Viagra, people would have to bathe in the blood of virgins. It’s common knowledge. Having inherited the stables from the recently departed Count, Imre, whose father was a close friend and soldier of the Count, Elizabeth falls for his Errol Flynn like mustache and she manages to seduce him just as her age is returning. She manages to flee, but realizes she needs more blood to restore her youth again. Time to put out a Craigslist ad looking for young blood!

Unfortunately, this doesn’t work with hooker blood as our hooligans discover when Captain Dobi tries to frame Imre for sleeping with a common streetwalker, which Elizabeth murders her and drains her blood, realizing that she hasn’t reverted in age.

cd_4It doesn’t take long for the nosey librarian to discover what’s going on and Captain Dobi is ready to snuff him out of the equation until the Countess realizes his knowledge of spells could be useful. Fortunate for him, his vast knowledge and newly inherited library that contains books on youth incantations will keep him alive, but for how long? As Countess Elizabeth transforms into her slamming young self again, who should finally arrive (unbeknownst to her), but her daughter Ilona, who has finally escaped from her captors after like the thousandth try. Seriously, you could make a montage of all her escape attempts, sync it to the Benny Hill music and it would be pure comedy gold. After all, Ilona isn’t the most nimble creature on Earth. She is quickly introduced to Imre who learns that she is the Countess’ daughter, but if Ilona is the real daughter, then who is… wha… woah. Someone isn’t who they are claiming to be, but we already know who.

Everything boils down to a dark ending that you see coming, but it’s still pretty gripping, being a Hammer Film and all. What, you were expecting a happy ending? Once a dead body is found inside the castle, the police, or whatever you would call them back then, evacuate all the help, but leave the residence, believing that no harm will come to them as they hunt for the killer in town. Our cast, however, know better and realize they are trapped inside this castle like a prison and must come up with a plan to reveal the Countess and escape.

This Hammer Horror release is sometimes forgotten or overlooked, as it’s a departure from the regular tales of Frankenstein and Dracula that the company is widely known for, but it still captures the same sleazy, gothic atmosphere (if not more so), which is captured phenomenally on Synapse’s Blu-ray release, which is a newly high definition transfer. If you’re a screen junkie or just happen to notice bad transfers, you may recall the previous DVD release from Carlton Visual Entertainment had a noticeable muddy colors and was obviously stretched to make it appear widescreen. Needless to say, it was an eyesore, but not here. Colors feel right, meaning that thing appear how they should and I should mention that Ingrid Pitt’s aged makeup looks pretty well done and this new transfer doesn’t show any weaknesses in it. I did find the audio to be loud at time, mostly with music stings, and quiet during others, but like with most cases, it will in no way ruin the experience for you. Dialogue isn’t muted or muffled, it’s nice and sharp, but seem to dip in levels from time to time. Overall, Countess Dracula has never looked more youthful.

Countess Dracula
There is plenty of deception, murder and betrayal to go around for every sinister feeling fanatic. The countess goes as far as to have her own daughter kidnapped for an indefinite amount of time and who knows, after some time, what her fate would be. It’s a dark plot is that will leave you satisfied, even if you were in it for the usual Hammer violence that isn’t as intense here as their previous films (did I mention there is plenty of sleaze?). And ladies, don’t try this at home (believe me, I tried)!

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • Ingrid Pitt looks good, even under all that makeup.
  • Virgin Blood by Revlon.
  • Is there a Necronomicon in that library?
  • The Great Escape, starring Ilona.
totals

4

blood

BLOOD

These virgins may be drained of their blood, but there isn’t very much.

8

blood

BREASTS

Ingrid Pitt, some dead virgins and a hooker. Everyone wins.

7

beast

BEASTS

Looks can be deceiving. Ingrid Pitt is one nasty mother!

6.3 OVERALL
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May

posted by admin | May 29, 2014 | B-movies, Feature

Comments Off on “THX 1138” was Ahead of its Time

THX 1138When most of us think George Lucas, Francis Ford Coppola and Robert Duvall, we think Hollywood stardom, not B-movie anonymity. But most of us probably aren’t familiar with the film “THX 1138” either.

Released in 1971, “THX 1138” is a futuristic, ahead-of-its-time low-budget flick directed by Lucas, produced by Coppola of “The Godfather” fame, and starring Duvall. It could be argued that “THX-1138” served as the pioneer for the turn-of-the-millennium boom of futuristic sci-fi films such as “The Matrix”, “Blade Runner” and “I, Robot.”

Produced on a budget of $777,777.77 (Coppola’s lucky number was 7), “THX 1138” tells the story of a future where the population of an underground city is controlled by android police officers; mandatory drugs are used to maintain compliance and productivity; and sex is outlawed. Minus the android cops, it’s basically a pre-cursor to the 21st-century American public school system.

The townspeople all wear plain white clothes and have identification codes in place of names (which, as DeadSpin hilariously points out, was an idea that was way ahead of its time). Duvall stars as THX 1138, a factory worker with a female roommate, LUH 3417. LUH works as a surveillance monitor in a control center, keeping a watchful eye on the community (like Big Brother, but in this case, Big Sister).

The mandatory drug use suppresses any form of emotion and LUH decides to alter her medication while secretly altering that of THX’s as well. As a result, they experience emotions for the first time, fall in love, engage in sexual intercourse and conceive a child, all of which are illegal. Their forbidden love leads to imprisonment, which then leads to a daring escape of the city complete with attacking android robots and high-speed car chases.

The movie does a fine job of exploiting government oppression while at the same time providing a satirical glimpse into today’s society. In place of sex, people of the underground city are shown government-issued erotic images while using a machine to artificially masturbate. While sex is forbidden, the residents are encouraged to still have orgasms as a means of limiting distractions and increasing concentration and productivity while at work. Pretty pioneering stuff when you consider that modern research, like that noted by Adam and Eve, has found that “regular orgasms are good for you… orgasms reduce stress… they also boost the body’s immune system.”

Confessional booths in chapels show images of Jesus on a screen with generic, computer-controlled answers and advice for visitors. (Fast forward 40 years and we have a confessional app for smartphones. Can you say “visionary?”)

At home, each person’s medicine cabinet is monitored by cameras and a digitalized voice instructs people which pills to take and how many, a practice that is loosely—and not always accurately—performed today.

Unlike the majority of B-movies, “THX 1138” delves deeper below the surface into metaphorical social themes. It is a story of government oppression, of breaking free from your fears and anxiety, and about humans being trapped in a society even though the escape hatch is left wide open. When filming began, Lucas was just 24 years old living in southern California in the late 1960s. Given the circumstances of society in that time and place in the world, it’s easy to see how he arrived at such themes for his directorial debut.

The movie is actually an adaptation of a project Lucas worked on while in film school at USC. Like many low-budget projects, the film was not initially well-received and failed to generate revenue only to develop a cult following over time. The film was re-released in 1977 featuring previously edited scenes and a director’s cut was released in 2004. “THX 1138” is the only one of Lucas’ works to receive an “R” rating.

THX 1138 is a unique B-movie in that it supports a deep plot, explores social issues, and was the launching pad not only for Lucas but for the futuristic sci-fi flicks that dominate theaters today.

May

posted by Die-Anne Takillya | May 29, 2014 | 90's movies, B-movies, Bad movie, Review by Die-Anne Takillya

Comments Off on Witchboard 2

witchboard 2
Its been so long since you’ve heard from me, I decided to start over again by going back to the first time I was allowed to spew my warped opinions on crazy movies on this amazing site. I started out reviewing Witchboard, so what better way to triumphantly return than by watching the incomparable Witchboard 2: The Devil’s Doorway.
witchboard 2
Look at that cover. LOOK AT IT. It grabs you right on in: a buxom blonde getting strangled by a Ouija board. What could be greater? Oh, let’s find out. Where the first movie left off with the crybaby marrying the unpossessed Tawny Kitaen, and her landlady finding the Ouija board in the rubble, Witchboard 2 opens with cutie-pie Paige looking at a loft apartment while her skeezy landlord-to-be ogles her gluteal region.
Despite his creepy behavior and warnings about his crazy wife, Paige decides to lease the apartment. Of course, the fabled Ouija board is in the only closet in the place, so the stage is set for the impending terror. Of course, she gets settled in and decides to engage the dark side all on her lonesome, and meets a spirit named Susan, who starts to talk about a promotion that Paige is up for. She gets all excited until her ex Mitch shows up and starts yelling at her. There’s a lot of dramatic back-and-forth that boils down to him not understanding her artistic spirit, and then the landlady’s nephew, Russell shows up and tries to be gallant, threatening to call the cops to get him out of there, but Mitch informs us he is an officer of the law. Russell points out that he showed him his badge, and therefore has his badge number, so he can report his ungentlemanly behavior if he doesn’t vamoose.
witchboard 2Next, we get to see Paige at work, and let me tell you, this chica needs a power suit and some cojones if she’s going to get anywhere in the wild world of accountancy; especially when up against horse-face. No, not Sarah Jessica Parker, but another unfortunate looking actress in shoulderpads who is trying to best Paige out of the CPA position. I hate weak and stuttery characters, and that’s what Paige is shaping out to be: weak, unsure of herself, and afraid to stand up for herself. Something tells me that some demon is going to help her out with that.
Let’s talk about the landlady, Elaine, for a second. She’s wearing too much makeup to be a hippie, and the dopey voice is super annoying. Like, a total drag. Ugh. At least we get a teeny bit of exposition out of her; the possible identity of our Ouija ghost: Susan Sydney. The landlord, Jonas, interrupts us; and my gawd, is he the worst kind of stereotypical sleeze-bag prevert. “I’m the handyman around here, and if you ever need anything… I mean, AN-Y-THING…” Gag me with a spoon, already! If she wanted to get with a hedgehog, she can call Ron Jeremy. Yuck city. Alright, back to the film.
Who came up with the creepy tenement laundry room idea? I swear, if I lived in a place where the only area I could do my laundry in was in itself a horror movie set, I’d just go down the street to the Washeteria and be done with it. Too many horrible things have happened in basement laundry rooms, even in private residences. No thanks! Here we get our first taste of creepy activity; bangs and clanks, then she gets startled by Russell and uses self-defense techniques to nail him in the mommy-daddy button. He also tells us that Susan Sydney was the bee’s knees, and that he’s a photographer.
We get a lot of really awesome demon POV shots while Paige prepares for a bubble bath. She just gets to luxuriating, when she hears footsteps. Of course, she hauls her soapy wet tushie out of the tub and investigates, then has another tiny Ouija session. Susan is a ghost of very few words, and it is a little infuriating, especially when she spells out nonsense like A-R-T-I-S-T H-E-L-P and then makes the planchette freak out. But, this paranormal gibberish takes us to the first active violence we’ve seen: Something throws an axe at Jonas, then chases him around with a sawblade. He weasels away from that end by locking himself in the boiler room, but the dark forces are smarter than that, and they make the boiler cook him like a pot roast on your grandmama’s stove.
Now we start to see a little transformation in Paige; she puts ol’ horse-face in her place- Even uses the eff-word!- and tells Mitch off, then decides she wants to sit and let Russell shoot some snaps of her. He tries to bring out her inner sex-kitten, which doesn’t really work so well. When they return to the apartment, the cops are there, investigating Jonas’ death by pressure cooker.
Paige is in the grips of the dark side now; having nightmares (the Ouija board strangle! Ha!), and inspired to do mediocre sketches of creepy lady eyes and roses. Soon, her apartment is covered in sketches, and she’s starting to paint again. Mitch drops by to check on her, and apologizes for doubting her talent (I wouldn’t have gone that far, but he’s trying to make things up to her), and she asks him to look into the mysterious Susan Sydney.
At Jonas’ funeral, Russell reveals that Susan Sydney isn’t dead, and Paige tries to confront the Ouija board about it. After some more gibberish about a rifle cape (?), Mitch calls and says that there isn’t any record of Susan’s death. Paige gets mightily hacked off, and tells that devil board she’s going to throw it away, then it goes nuts, locking the door on her and witchboard 2slamming down all the shutters. Russell and Elaine come to the rescue, and they have a session on the Ouija, and more craziness comes out; it gives an address, but won’t cough up any personal details about Susan, then makes a mirror explode.
The address turns out to be bogus, there’s not a Parkwood street, but there is a ‘park’ in the ‘woods,’ and the scooby doo brigade heads out to find her final resting place. Paige is wearing some spectacularly short-shorts, which is way out of character and not functional for digging up shallow graves at all, and she’s making Russell take part in these shenanigans. I am getting bored, bored, bored. There’s only been one kill, and it was offscreen. Oh, wait,make that two; Mitch showed up in the woods and killed an opossum. There is more blood and guts in an episode of Lassie than there has been in this movie. Was this thing made for TV? Jiminy christmas, can I get some scares here? She has another sexy nightmare; the apartment looks like the set of a Stevie Nicks video, all candles and dry ice fog. We finally get a glimpse of Susan in the mirror…or is it?
Can I tell you how much I love the occult shop owner? I like this guy. Replace Paige with him, and this flick will pick up. He gives them an automatic writer and a book on the history of Ouija. She becomes some kind of scantily-clad cryptogramatical genius and deciphers Susan’s gibberish, and finds some earrings in the fireplace. She whips out the automatic writer and pisses off the ghost again, and makes it exact some demon justice by flipping Mitch’s car all over the San Fernando valley while Paige dreams about Susan getting murdalized by a gigantic chef’s knife.
She comes to, and Russell tries to talk some reason into her, telling her that the reason she’s wearing the clothes of a streetwalker is that she’s slowly being possessed, and convinces her to let Elaine throw the board and the automatic writer thingie away. Paige predictably fishes them out, and as soon as she fires up the board, Elaine gets taken out by a wrecking ball. Please, no Miley jokes. If I avoided them, so can you. The pace moves from neutral into first gear around the last eighteen minutes of this thing.  We finally figure out what Susan’s problem is, she slept with Jonas and Elaine butchered her, so yeah, she’s out for revenge but wants a body. So, she possesses Paige totally. We get a final fight scene, and Paige shakes off the possession, and she lays into the board with the pickaxe, destroying it and killing Susan, the evil stripper-ghost.
This movie is basically a rehash of the first one. Dead spirit wants to live again, and systematically destroys everyone around it to make it happen,, folks learn about the history of spirit boards, and you gotta pierce it with something sharp to make whatever’s in it die. Best part of the whole movie: Jim, the crybaby from the first movie, makes an appearance that leaves the ending open for yet another sequel.
All in all, its a very ‘meh’ kind of sequel. No real spooky stuff going on like in the first one; no gruesome death scenes, nothing really to write home about. They do call back to the first Witchboard a lot; the board changes just like it did, becoming more sinister as the movie goes on until it’s full-on evil board, the poor chick becoming sexier and angrier as the film progresses; like I said, a pale imitation of the original. It’s like comparing Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2: same basic story, but told in a different way, only this sequel was much less entertaining. If you cut out the 4 f-bombs and blurred out some photographed ta-tas, you could air this puppy on Lifetime.

roadside attractions

  • Ouija-fu
  • paint-fu
  • accountancy-fu
  • bad boyfriend-a-go-go
  • excessively tight jeans and jean shorts
  • bare midriffs at every turn
  • a few black eyes
  • bad photography
totals

2

blood  

BLOOD

About a shot-glass full. Disappointing.

4

blood  

BREASTS

but on paper, so they really don’t count.

 

2

beast  

BEASTS

the evil stripper-ghost and Jonas the creepy landlord.

2 OVERALL
dripper

Watch the trailer to “Witchboard 2”

trailers

dripper

About the Highway

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