CAGED HEAT 3000 (1995) - Makes any film by Cirio H. Santiago look like a masterpiece in comparison. Director Aaron Osborne needs to rethink his future. Wait till you see his abysmal monster flick, ZARKORR! THE INVADER (1996), to see the direction his career is heading (its not up). A New Horizon H.V. Release R
ALIEN TERMINATOR (1995) - Just what we need: Another mutant-on-the-loose in an underground facility with no way out. At least director/writer Dave Payne thought so. A Cosmic H.V. Release R
THE HOWLING: NEW MOON RISING (1995) - Crap like this is extremely hard to stomach. Director/producer/writer/star Clive Turner took a bad franchise and made it even worse (even adding Country Line Dancing, if you can fathom such a dire situation!). A New Line H.V. Release R
ARMAGEDDON: THE FINAL CHALLENGE (1994) - Could anyone make sense of this deadly slow sci-fi thriller? Apparently, it looked good on paper to writer/director Michael Garcia. An insomniacs dream. A York H.V. Release Not Rated
WITHIN THE ROCK (1995) - This Sci-Fi Channel Planetary Premiere is just another poor spaceminers vs. bloodthirsty alien flick. Deadly slow and illogical. Written and directed by effects man Gary J. Tunnicliffe. Stick with the effects, Gary. An A-PIX H.V. Release. R
WES CRAVEN PRESENTS: MIND RIPPER (1994) - Just what we need: Another mutant-on-the-loose in an underground...hey, didnt I say that already? Director Joe Gayton shoots craps. Lance Henriksen needs to pick his roles more carefully. A WarnerVision H.V. Release Not Rated
BERETTAS ISLAND (1993) - Director/star Franco Columbu has no talent and needs a hair weave. A lame attempt at an action adventure film. An A-PIX H.V. Release R
DR. JEKYLL & MS. HYDE (1995) - The only time I laughed was when the film was over. David Prices direction is heavy-handed and forced. An HBO Video Release PG-13
GRIM (1995) - A monster who can walk through solid rock snatches unsuspecting teens. I just sat there petrified with boredom. Paul Mathews direction sinks like a stone. An A-PIX H.V. Release R
DEAD WEEKEND (1995) - Ultra-cheap futuristic thriller that is the filmic equivalent of valium. Director Amos Poe hasnt got a clue on how to film an action scene. Star Stephen Baldwin evokes no emotion whatsoever. A zombie has more charm. A Paramount H.V. Release R
CEREMONY (1994) - Bad sound destroys any chance this ultra-low budget film has of holding your attention. The only plus is watching Forry Ackermans head explode. Direction and effects by Joe Castro (not related to Fidel), who later made the equally abyssmal LEGEND OF THE CHUPACABRA (1997). A York H.V. Release. Not Rated
THE DOGFIGHTERS (1995) - This anemic action film, starring Robert Davi and the late Alexander Godunov, is so slow and boring that it gives all dogs a bad name. Also known as THE ZONE. Director Barry Zetlin needs an adrenaline transfusion. A Live Ent. H.V. Release R
SOMETIMES THEY COME BACK...AGAIN (1996) - Why would anyone want to make an R-rated sequel to an awful TV movie? Could it be because Stephen Kings name comes attached to it? Director Adam Grossman (who also directed the awful CARNIVAL OF SOULS remake) needs a long vacation. A Vidmark Entertainment H.V. Release. R
BLACK SCORPION (1995) - This film is great if you want to stare at Joan Severances crotch. Look elsewhere if you want any other type of entertainment. This Jonathan Winfrey-directed dud has spawned a sequel and a TV series. You have been warned. A New Horizons H.V. Release. R
THE SANDMAN (1996) - Director J.R. Bookwalter hasnt made a good film since THE DEAD NEXT DOOR. This is another one of his shot-on-video turdfests with no redeeming values whatsoever. A Tempe Video Release R
UNKNOWN ORIGIN (1995) - Still another patented by-the-numbers monster-on-the-loose film from Roger Cormans Concorde Films. Im getting very tired of these. Directed by Scott Levy. A New Concorde H.V. Release R
STORMSWEPT (1995) - Incomprehensible supernatural erotic thriller about a film crew trapped in a haunted house during a thunderstorm. Only director David Marsh could explain the ambiguous ending. An MTI H.V. Release NR
PHOENIX (1995) - A sci-fi thriller that is a total embarassment to the talents of Brad Dourif, Billy Drago and William Sanderson. Director Troy Cook should be ashamed of himself. A Monarch H.V. Release NR
THE WHISPERING (1995) - A female succubus whispers into peoples ears, causing them to commit suicide. She should have whispered into director Gregory Gieras (DARK ASYLUM - 2001) ear. A complete snooze. An A-PIX H.V. Release R
VAMPIRE VIXENS FROM VENUS (1994) - Piss-poor horror comedy that throws in every cheap gag in hopes of getting a laugh. It doesnt succeed. Director Ted Bohus (THE REGENERATED MAN) is beginning to give New Jersey a bad name (like we need the help!). Video label not available at presstime, but you can catch it on the USA Network. Not Rated
BIOHAZARD: THE ALIEN FORCE (1994) - If I have to sit through one more of director Steve Latshaws borefests, Im going to blow my head off with a shotgun. Also known as BIOCREATURE. A Vidmark Entertainment H.V. Release R
JACK-O (1995) - Honey, get my shotgun! I just sat through another Steve Latshaw crudbomb. A Triboro Entertainment H.V. Release. The DVD from Retromedia Entertainment contains the funniest commentary between Fred Olen Ray and Steve Latshaw that you'll ever hear. My new favorite phrase is "shit pickle". It makes watching the film bearable. R
CYBORG COP II (1994) - This South Africa-lensed thriller has nothing to offer the viewer except poorly-staged action scenes, a hackneyed plot and phony accents. Director Sam Firstenberg has seen better days. Part III (1995) has also been released. A New Line Cinema H.V. Release. Unrated
GHOULIES 4 (1993) - Whomever asked for another installment of this dreadful series should be hung up by their short hairs and disembowled. Jim Wynorski directs with a grade school mentality. If your mentality matches his, you may have a good time. A Columbia Tristar H.V. Release R
THE HAUNTED SEA (1997) - An Aztec snake-demon stalks the inhabitants of a deserted ship in this substandard Roger Corman-produced slagfest starring future Mr. Streisand James Brolin and directed by Dan Golden (who has done far better). A New Horizons H.V. Release. R
MILO (1998) - A child psycho returns from the dead to terrorize his now-adult classmates. Nothing new here, except if you want to watch Antonio Fargas play a janitor. Directed haphazardly with a heavy hand by Pascal Franchot. A Sterling H.V. Release. R
PYROMANIAC (1994) - Really awful shot-on-video thriller (a.k.a. IGNITEMARE) about a psycho (Warren Stevens) who burns his victims alive. The most amazing aspect of this film is that it took two people to direct it (Catherine Lane & Greg Finton). A CineQuaNon H.V.Release. Not Rated
BREEDERS (1997) - Director Paul Matthews places this confusing alien-on-the-loose mish-mash in Boston, even though its plain to see and hear that it was actually filmed in England. Thats the best thing I can say about this mess. An A-PIX H.V. Release. R
STARLIGHT (1995) - Incomprehensible mess about aliens, Indian rituals and Willie Nelsons questionable acting talents. This film sat on the shelf for over two years before Monarch H.V. let it escape. Non-directed by Jonathan Kay. Not Rated but contains nothing objectionable. Why bother?
WEREWOLF (1995) - This Tony Zarindast-directed disaster is an amateurish piece of trash. Consider it a cowlick on the scalp of life. An A-PIX H.V. Release. R
THE MADDENING (1995) - Watch Burt Reynolds go mad after he realizes how low his career has fallen after appearing in shit like this. He can do better (Remember BOOGIE NIGHTS ?). Director Danny Huston has not inherited any of his fathers John talent. A Vidmark Entertainment H.V. Release. R
AMERICAN COP (1994) - You can usually count on any film that stars Wayne Crawford to be uniformly awful, but he also directed this one. How do you think it turned out? Youll have more fun ripping out your toenails with a rusty pair of pliers. An A-PIX Entertainment H.V. Release. PG-13
WARHEAD (1996) - Wow! Both Frank Zagarino and Joe Lara in an action film? Your most boring day would contain more action than this Mark Roper-directed snorebomb. A Vidmark Entertainment H.V. Release. R
CYBORG 3: THE RECYCLER (1994) - This needless sequel is only notable for two reasons: 1: Watching Richard Lynchs phony English accent disappear and reappear at will, and 2: Seeing how low Zach Galligans career has fallen. Directed by Michael Schroeder. A WarnerVision H.V. Release. R
BREAKAWAY (1995) - Tonya Harding falls hard on her tight ass yet again in her acting debut. This is an unexciting and poorly-staged action film, directed by Sean Dash. Ms. Hardings honeymoon video contained more action. Video label unavailable. R
PINOCCHIOS REVENGE (1996) - It was all done much better in a little movie called CHILDS PLAY (1988). Why would talented director Kevin Tenney get involved in a project like this? A Vidmark Entertainment H.V. Release. R
THE CROW: CITY OF ANGELS (1996) - A slap in the face to the memory of Brandon Lee. A pox on director Tim Pope and everyone else involved with this worthless mess. Two more sequels followed. Can you believe that there was a T.V. series based on this character? A Miramax H.V. Release. R
EYE OF THE STRANGER (1993) - Director/star David Heavener has made so many of his own action flicks that you would think his skills would improve. They havent. A Monarch Release. R
RAVEN HAWK (1995) - Director Albert Pyun nearly destroys any chance that two-time Ms. Olympia Rachel McLish has of becoming an action film star, thanks to his limp revenge melodrama with an ecological bent. Now thats a herculean feat! A Columbia Tristar H.V. Release. R
OPERATION GOLDEN PHOENIX (1994) - Vanity production by director/star Jalil Merhi only goes to prove that youre only as good as your talent. Merhi has none. An MCA Release. R
SHRIEKER (1997) - Standard Full Moon crap about five college students trapped in an abandoned hospital with a two-headed monster. These college kids should stop using their tuition money on drugs. Directed by Victoria Sloan (a.k.a. David DeCoteau). A Full Moon H.V. Release. R
ED AND HIS DEAD MOTHER (1993) - Terribly unfunny comedy about a man (Steve Buscemi) who has his mother brought back from the dead, only to have her turn into a cannibal. A total embarassment. Dir: Jonathan Wacks. A Fox Lorber Release. Available on DVD from Scorpion Releasing. PG-13
HELLBOUND (1993) - It should stay there once it reaches its destination. Chuck Norris kickboxes a Devils disciple searching for his lost scepter. Dir: Aaron Norris. A Cannon Video Release. R
IRONHEART (1992) - All the spark has gone out of director Robert Clouses eyes. This grade Z martial arts actioner proves that Mr. Clouse has either lost his touch or just doesnt give a damn. A crying shame. An Imperial Entertainment Release. R
BIRDS II: LANDS END (1994) - A slap in the face to Hitchcocks 1963 classic. Apparently director Rick Rosenthal thought so too. He is listed as "Alan Smithee" in the credits. An MCA Release. R
PROJECT: METALBEAST (1994) - Genetic experiments performed on a werewolf result in extreme boredom for the viewer. Barry Bostwick looks embarassed (and should be). A complete washout. Dir: Allessandro de Gaetano. A Prism Entertainment Release. R
THE GIRL WITH THE HUNGRY EYES (1993) - Director/writer Jon Jacobs took Fritz Leibers classic short story of the same name and turned it into an artsy-fartsy incomprehensible mess. No style and no class. A Columbia Tristar Release. R
THE ROAD KILLERS (1993) - Psychopathic gang terrorizes Christopher Lambert and his vacationing family. Deadly dull with badly staged action scenes. Dir: Deran Sarafian. A LIVE Release. R
THE SILENCE OF THE HAMS (1993) - Kitchen sink parody of horror films that fails miserably on all levels. Director/star Ezio Greggio should be strung up and shot. A Cabin Fever Release. R
WATCHERS 3 (1994) - Why make another sequel to a film that begged to be put to sleep? Wings Hauser fights a genetic mutant in the jungle. PREDATOR (1987) has nothing to worry about. Me Tarzan, you bored. Dir: Jeremy Stanford. A New Horizons Release. R (For a longer review of this lousy film, click HERE)
MANDROID (1993) - Another cheapjack TERMINATOR (1984) wannabe that was shot in Romania. Youll want someone to shoot you and put you out of your misery after viewing 10 minutes of this Full Moon travesty. Dir: Jack Ersgard. A Paramount Release. R
KNIGHTS (1993) - The word "boring" does not do this Alfred Pyun-directed post-apocalypse clunker justice. He continues to commit filmic suicide (And how in the hell did he get Kris Kristofferson to star in this?), but keeps coming back for more. His pact with the Devil must have some strong consequenses later in his life. A Paramount Release. R
MENNO'S MIND (1996) - Deadly dull futuristic thriller in which rebel Bruce Campbell's mind is transferred into computer tech Bill Campbell's brain. Director Jon Kroll needed to transfer a sense of pacing into this lackluster potboiler. A Showtime Networks. H.V. Release. Not Rated
WHERE EVIL LIES (1995) - Standard silicone 'n' blood shocker from New Horizon's factory. This one's about a white slavery ring that runs its' business in the back of a strip club. How original. Director Kevin Alber shouldn't quit his day job. Unrated
THE PATRIOT (1998) - This Steven Seagal vehicle was so bad that it skipped a theatrical release and went straight to pay cable (the first of many to come). Director Dean Semler breaks the cardinal rule of action films: There is no action! A couple more like this and Mr. Seagal (or rather his stunt double) will be hawking exercise equipment on the Home Shopping Network. A Touchstone H.V. Release. R
EXPECT NO MERCY (1995) - Expect no logic or entertainment in this slapdash futuristic martial arts thriller pitting Tai Bo master Billy Blanks and towelhead Jalil Merhi against virtual assassins. This Zale Dalen-directed snoozefest also spawned a computer game! A WarnerVision H.V. Release. R
FUGITIVE X: INNOCENT TARGET (1995) - Another MOST DANGEROUS GAME (1932) retread starring and directed by David Heavener. Need I say more? A Silver Lake Home Video Release. R
CARNIVAL OF SOULS (1998) - I'm not a fan of the original, but even I think that this Adam Grossman-directed semi-remake is a slap to the face of the late Herk Harvey. Everyone involved in this (including Wes Craven) should be ashamed of themselves. A Trimark H.V. Release. R
JACK FROST (1996) - Shit stains in my underwear are more interesting to look at than this unfunny horror/comedy about a killer snowman. Director/writer Michael Cooney suffered from a case of terminal brainfreeze. Not to be confused with the Michael Keaton film of the same name, even if that one sucked, too. It did spawn a sequel that gives a new definition to the word "turd". An A-Pix H.V. Release. R
RUMPELSTILTSKIN (1995) - I know that "little people" have to make a living, but do they have to play murderous shorties in awful films like this? Director Mark Jones (who also helmed the similarly-themed LEPRECHAUN - 1992) should be ashamed. A Republic Pictures H.V. Release. R
MOVIE HOUSE MASSACRE (1984) - Mary Woronov has always been a favorite of mine, but even she cannot save this tripe about murders at a reopened movie theater. Directed by Rick Sloane (HOBGOBLINS - 1987) using the pseudonym "Alice Raley". Adding a woman's name does not make it a better film. A Star Classics H.V. Release. Also available on DVD under the title BLOOD THEATER. Not Rated
HOLLYWOOD STRANGLER MEETS THE SKID ROW SLASHER (1979) - Director Ray Dennis Steckler (using the alias "Wolfgang Schmidt" here) is considered a cult figure (see review for BLOOD SHACK - 1971). He made this one on weekends and it shows. No soundtrack, no plot, no direction. Someone ought to deprogram this cult figure. A Video Treasures H.V. Release. Not Rated
THE MEATEATER (1978) - Does anyone understand this film? The villian has a fetish for Jean Harlow. People have a hankering for pork products. I have a fetish for better movies. Thankfully, director Derek Savage has never made another film. A Video Treasures H.V. Release. Funded mostly by a pork company, hence the title. See how many times you can spot meat or references to meat in this film. Absolutely hilarious in a bad way. Not Rated
GORE-MET ZOMBIE CHEF FROM HELL (1986) - The best thing about this cheaply-made film is the cover art on the video box. Unfortunately, none of it is contained in the film. This is director Don Swan's only film. Thank God for small favors! A Camp Video Release. Not Rated
HONEYMOON HORROR (1981) - Amateur hour stuff about a killer at a lodge that caters to newlyweds. And if you thought THE NEWLYDEADS was bad, it seems downright professional when compared to this. Directed by one-shot wonder Harry Preston. Divorce yourself from this one. A Sony Video Release. Not Rated
BOARDING HOUSE (1982) - Really bad shot-on-video nonsense about someone or something killing beautiful (?) women at the titled residence. Director John Wintergate also stars using the name "Hawk Adly" and does neither very well. A stinking piece of crap. Also known as HOUSEGEIST. A Paragon Video Release in SP speed and a Star Classics H.V. Release in the EP speed. Also available on DVD from Code Red. R
BLOOD SCREAMS (1987) - Even though Russ Tamblyn stars, this South-of-the Border production about a pack of killer monks is a real snoozefest. Director Glen Gebhard has little talent for displaying terror or pacing. Could have been a whole lot better. A Warner H.V. Release. R
BRAIN SUCKER (1988) - Another shot-on-video loser that claims to be a horror/comedy. Director Herb Robins still hasn't learned how to make a watchable film (remember THE WORM EATERS ?). The back of the video box has the nerve to compare it to YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN! A Parody Productions H.V. Release. Not Rated
INTERZONE (1987) - Poor Bruce Abbott stars in this dreadful MAD MAX (1979) clone. One of the characters is called Panasonic! Turn down the volume and then turn off the set. Another bad film from director Deran Sarafian (THE ROAD KILLERS - 1993; ALIEN PREDATORS - 1984). A Star Classics H.V. Release. Not Rated
THE ALIEN DEAD (1980) - One of director Fred Olen Ray's first films and actor Buster Crabbe's last film. What a way to begin and end a career. Neither one is on a high note. This amateur film is a real yawner about a fallen meteorite turning people into flesh-eating ghouls. To call it dull is being kind. A Star Classics H.V. Release. Not Rated
HOBGOBLINS (1987) - Makes MUNCHIES (1987) look like a classic in comparison. This is just another excruciating rip-off of GREMLINS (1984). What else would you expect from director Rick Sloane, the purveyor of the VICE ACADEMY films (six so far) and the similiarly-themed THE VISITANTS (1987)? Avoid it like the plague. A Star Classics H.V. Release. Believe it or not, this awful film spawned a sequel in 2009! Not Rated
DEEP IN THE WOODS (2000) - What the fuck? That's what I kept saying when watching this French-made dubbed horror fiasco about a troupe of theatrical performers trapped in a house run by a strange father and his even stranger son. You'll hit the fast forward button faster than you can say "Ooh-La-La". Directed by Lionel Delplanque and starring a bunch of frogs. An Artisan Home Entertainment DVD Release. R
HARVESTERS (2001) - I really wanted to like this one, except that it's deadly boring and shot on video. It's basically a remake of the late Don Dohler's BLOOD MASSACRE (1988). Dohler (who passed away in late 2006) wrote, produced and edited this one. He left the directing chores to one Joe Ripple, who's a cop in real life. George Stover stars (as he did in BLOOD MASSACRE, only this time he's the head of the hostage family) and is the only saving grace. I hope Ripple and Dohler's next film, STAKES (2002), is better. I'm not counting on it. A Key East Entertainment DVD Release. Not Rated
FROSTBITER (1996) - This is another retitled Troma pick-up (original title: WENDIGO) that has everything that you expect from Troma: awful (and I mean awwfull!!!) acting, incoherent plot, piss-poor special effects and terrible photography. Ex-Stooge (of Iggy Pop fame) Ron Asheton stars. He should stick to his music. Directed by Tom Chaney, who hasn't done anything since this thing escaped. A Troma DVD Release. Not Rated
ASYLUM OF TERROR (1998) - I dare anyone to sit through the entire running time of this amateurish horror flick without falling asleep at least a dozen times. Where do I begin? It's shot on video. It's populated by grade-school actors. The sound was recorded through a paper cup. The effects are not special. Do I need to say more? OK! Stay away from this fuckin' turd!!! Does a plot really matter if all this crap is in the way? I thought not. Directed, produced and written by George Demick, just so who you'll know who to blame. A York Entertainment Release. Not Rated
ALIEN BLOOD (1998) - Good photography aside, this is one of the slowest films in recent memory. You would think that a plot dealing with aliens, vampires and Men In Black would be interesting, but you would be wrong. Artsy-fartsy direction, lame action sequences, cheap CGI work and long stretches of silence deaden the senses, and since when do regular bullets kill vampires? Director Jon Sorensen is trying to say something here. I just couldn't figure out what. 81 minutes of my life wasted. A Troma DVD Release. Not Rated
THE MANGLER 2 (2001) - Piss-poor in-name-only sequel to Tobe Hooper's piss-poor 1995 Stephen King adaption. Got that? Good. A rogue computer program is killing students at a high-tech college. Any computer nerd could come up with something more interesting than this. What is Lance Henriksen doing in this steaming heap of horse shit? You know you're in trouble when the most likable character is a French chef. Written and directed by Michael Hamilton-Wright , who wants to be a hacker but has to on settle being a hack. An Artisan Home Entertainment Release. R. I can't believe this spawned even another sequel!
KILLER RATS (2001) - A giant mutated CGI rat starts chowing down on the patients of a recently-opened rehab center. It's slowly-paced and the CGI is quite awful in spots. As one patient puts it: "This can't be good for my sobriety!" You'll feel the same way after viewing this. This is probably the worst credit in Ron Perlman's career. Directed by Tibor Takacs (SANCTUARY - 1997; NOSTRADAMUS - 2000). Thankfully, this is the last of Nuimage's giant insect/animal series, which included SHARK ATTACK (1999), OCTOPUS (2000), CROCODILE (2000), SPIDERS (2000) and their sequels. A DEJ Productions DVD Release. R
GHOST SHIP (2002) - Let me do all of you a favor: Click here to see the best scenes of the movie: A wire snapping through a group of dancers on a ship's deck. This takes place during the first 5 minutes of the film. The rest of the film is a mindless hodge-podge of false scares and people roaming through a deserted haunted ship. Director Steve Beck (THIR13EN GHOSTS - 2001) drops the ball here as the rest of the film sinks like a stone after a fantastic gory opening. Why did stars Julianna Margulies and real-life beau Ron Eldard leave ER to appear in crap like this? Talk about career suicide! It's no wonder Ms. Margulies went back to TV to star in THE GOOD WIFE (2009 - 2016). A Warner Bros. DVD Release. R
SOUL SURVIVORS (2001) - Boring tripe about a girl caught between life and death after a car accident. There is absolutely no reason to watch this crap as it makes absolutely no sense and induces insomnia after about 5 minutes. Don't be fooled by the R rating. It inserts about 5 seconds of blood excised from the film in order to get a PG-13 rating in theatres. Director Steve Carpenter has done much better with his earlier films THE DORM THAT DRIPPED BLOOD (1981), THE POWER (1983) and THE KINDRED (1986) with ex-partner Jeffrey Obrow. An Artisan Entertainment DVD Release. R
BIOZOMBIE (1998) - This is a real crappy Hong Kong take on DAWN OF THE DEAD (1978). The "heroes" (I use that term loosely) are two scuzzy muggers/thieves/VCD bootleggers that help fight off a group of biotoxin-infested zombies in a mall. Way too much talk and too little action make this film painful to watch as the talk contains some of the worst dubbing your ever going to hear as everyone screams at everyone even during the quieter moments. Directed by Wilson Yip (a.k.a. Yip Wai-Shun), who thinks shouting is funny and bad-mannered people make good heroes. He's dead-wrong on both counts. A Media Blasters/Tokyo Shock DVD Release. Not Rated
HOUSE OF THE LIVING DEAD (1973) - This boring South African-filmed period piece is too tame for it's own good. It plays more like a 19th Century soap opera than a horror film. There's hardly any blood and while the title does live up to its' name, it's not about zombies, only about a mad doctor collecting souls. THE ASPHYX did it much better the same year. Directed by TV-veteran Ray Austin, who shows a severe lack of respect for the horror elements and plays up the histronics to a level only daytime TV watchers can enjoy. An Interglobal Home Video Release. Also available on a double feature DVD (with TERROR AT RED WOLF INN - 1974) from Alpha Home Entertainment. PG
PLUTONIUM BABY (1987) - What you get here is two films in one, and guess what? They're both terrible. The first part concerns a child, Danny, who finds out that he's the product of radiation experiments and his mother was sealed up in a drum. Mom gets loose and kills all those responsible for her child's condition before being killed. Ten years later Danny is now a man living in New York City and begins mutating and must defend the people he loves by the mad doctor who has just been released from the radioactive drum Danny's mother put him in. It plays like a straight version of THE TOXIC AVENGER (1984) except it has even worse acting and non-direction by one-timer Ray Hirschman. The only good thing about this film are the bloody effects by Scott Coulter, but we all know it takes more than good effects to make a good film and this one stinks. Gregory Lamberson (SLIME CITY - 1988) was first assistant director here. A Trans World Entertainment (SP speed) and Star Classics Video (EP speed) Release. This film was also released by Troma. Surprise! Surprise! Not Rated
WELCOME TO SPRING BREAK (1988) - This is probably one of the weakest films that director/writer Umberto Lenzi (using the pseudonym "Harry Kirkpatrick" here) has ever made. This Florida-lensed thriller, also known as NIGHTMARE BEACH, is about an unseen killer who has a homemade electric chair strapped on to his motorcycle and electrocutes hitchhikers. John Saxon plays a sheriff who has a hard-on for the local motorcycle gang. The killer is so easy to unmask that a blind man could pick him out just by the dialogue alone after about ten minutes into the film. Weak effects, weak acting (the leads Nicholas De Toth and Sarah Buxton are rank amateurs), weak screenplay (you can tell this is an Italian production just by the way the actors speak their lines) and a really lame ending (the killer gets electrocuted; how original and ironic!) make this film an effort to sit through. Also starring Michael Parks and Lance LeGault. An Avid Home Entertainment Video Release. R
PANIC STATION (1982) - There's a reason why this little-known Australian film (a.k.a. PLAINS OF HEAVEN) has been seen by a very few: IT REEKS!!! It's basically a two character psychological study about a couple of blokes going slowly mad at a satellite relay station located in the middle of the Outback plains. Nothing, and I mean nothing, happens for the entire 77 minutes. It does contains ferrets, eagles and rabbits for some type of symbology, all of which eludes me. I'm sure director Ian Pringle was shooting for something here, but I just think he shot himself in the foot. Starring Richard Moir, Reg Evans and Gerard Kennedy. An Academy Home Entertainment Release. Not Rated, but there's nothing objectionable here.
THE PREY (1980) - They don't stink much worse than this one. This is another one of those countless "Killer Mutant in the Woods" films that makes DON'T GO IN THE WOODS (1981) look absolutely professional. It only runs 80 minutes long but takes an eternity to get moving along. When you do finally get to see the mutant creature (played by Carel Struycken, Lurch in THE ADDAMS FAMILY films; makeup by John Carl Buechler), you've lost interest long before because the usual bunch of teenagers do the usual stupid things while camping in the woods. I know if I found one of my best friends dead in the forest and I didn't have a rifle or a gun, I'd beat a hasty retreat to the nearest police station. Director Edwin Scott Brown (who also directs porn films such as MASQUE  using the name "Edwin Durell") thinks all teenagers are dopes or dopeheads and just uses them as fodder for the mutant. Wait till you get a load of the "surprise" ending! It's more like a great, steaming load of crap. I can't recommend this one even to the comatose for fear of putting them into a deeper coma. This was one of Jackie Coogan's final acting appearances, not a high note to go out on. A Thorn EMI Video Release. R
THE MAN HUNTER (1980) - This is just plain bad and an insult to cannibals everywhere. Jess Franco (using his "Clifford Brown" pseudonym) poorly directs this tale of kidnapping and cannibalism. When a famous model (Ursula Buchfellner) is kidnapped for six million dollars, she is kept at an island where a 7 foot tall black cannibal zombie (with white ping pong ball eyes painted with red veins!) is given women for him to eat as a sacrifice from a local tribe (which contain white as well as black tribesmen and women!). The model's father sends Peter (Al Cliver) with the ransom to rescue her. What follows is the usual Franco slow pacing, lens-zooming, headache-inducing atrocity with some gore effects and copious nudity thrown in. It looks like the version I watched was cut, but Franco is known for adding hardcore scenes to his films for different countries and territories. Even if this film did contain hardcore footage, it would still suck (get your mind out of the gutter!). Also starring Robert Foster, Werner Pochath, Gisela Hahn and Burt Altman as the zombie. Also known as DEVIL HUNTER and about a half-dozen other names. A Trans World Entertainment Home Video Release. Not Rated. Also available on DVD in an extremely bad transfer with VOODOO BLACK EXORCIST on TERROR TALES FROM THE HOOD VOL. 4.
MIAMI HORROR (1985) - An alien baby is created from cells found in a meteorite. Villain John Ireland and his henchmen try to stop news reporter David Warbeck from finding the baby and killing it, therefore saving all humanity. This is a ridiculous horror/action film directed by Alberto De Martino (THE TEMPTER - 1974) using his "Martin Herbert" nom-de-plume. I seem to be watching a lot of Italian films lately and they are beginning to get on my nerves. This Florida-lensed fiasco contains bad action choreography, very little blood or gore for the horror crowd and is a stain on the reputations on both John Ireland (who is dubbed here) and David Warbeck, both who are deceased. Also starring Laura Trotter (CITY OF THE WALKING DEAD - 1980), Lawrence (Loris) Loddi and George Bonner. Originally titled MIAMI GOLEM. A Panther Entertainment Home Video Release. Not Rated
SKULLDUGGERY (1983) - Stupid comedy/horror film about a Dungeons and Dragons-like game that goes horribly wrong. Someone is beginning to take their game role seriously and begins killing people in real life. This is really slow going as we must discern if troubled player Thom Haverstock (TERROR TRAIN - 1980) is the killer as everyone he knows seems to be getting knocked-off in medieval ways: By sword, by crossbow, by mace, etc. First and only-time director Ota Richter builds no suspense and telegraphs the killings way before they happen. The comedy falls flat as the players within a play have a hard time being funny as people around them are getting iced. Co-star Wendy Crewson made a similar TV movie called MAZES AND MONSTERS, starring Tom Hanks, the year before. She is the most professional actor in this film and , to this day, enjoys a varied career in TV and films. Producer Peter Wittman later directed the killer dog movie PLAY DEAD (1984). Also starring David Calderisi as Dr. Evel. Not to be confused with the Burt Reynolds 1969 film called SKULLDUGGERY. A Video Treasures Home Video Release. Not Rated
HOLLOW GATE (1988) - Early Richard Pepin/Joseph Merhi production made before they formed PM Productions, who made a slew of decent action and horror films during the 90's before disbanding in 2000. This one is a really bad horror film about psycho Mark Walters (Addison Randall of HARD VICE ) killing a bunch of stupid teenagers at his huge country estate during Halloween Night while wearing various silly costumes (soldier, doctor, esquestrian, etc.). Though the killings are bloody, the storyline is so asinine, that you'll just shake your head in disbelief at some of the things these teenagers do. (Did I mention that they were stupid?). One-time director/writer Ray Di Zazzo offers nothing new to the slasher genre, just the same old tired retread you've seen a thousand times before. Did we really need this? Also starring Katrina Alexy, Richard Dry, J.J. Miller and Patricia Jacques. On-Screen title: HOLLOWGATE. A City Lights Home Video Release. Self-Imposed R Rating
GHOST RIG (2002) - First the Scots gave us haggis, now they give us this steaming pile of shit. A group of environmentalists land on a oil rig to tell the world of their plight only to find it abandoned. There's a ghostly presence on board which begins possessing the group one at a time jumping from body to body, killing the last body as it possesses the next. This is a slow, uninvolving piece of supernatural trash which takes forever to get going and then it crawls at a snail's pace. Director Julian Kean seems to have no idea how to make a suspenseful film, with a minimal amount of bloodshed and plenty of pat situations. Starring Jamie Bamber, Jaason Simmons, Noel Fitzpatrick and Kerry Norton, some who speak in a Scottish brogue so thick, that subtitles would have helped. Also known as THE DEVIL'S TATTOO (it makes sense if you are still awake at the end). An MTI Home Video Release. R
REVENGE (1986) - Sequel to the first mainstream shot-on-video turd BLOOD CULT (1985) has the Duke's son Patrick Wayne investigating a bunch of murders committed by a cult of who worship the dog god Caninus. This is just plain bad as Patrick is as wooden as an oak tree and the murders are bloody yet phony-looking and co-star John Carradine looks like he is reading off of cue cards. There are some interesting early video tricks on hand, but that doesn't detract from the cheesiness of the entire project. If it smells like dogshit, it probably is dogshit. Director Christopher Lewis, son of late actress Loretta Young, drifted off into obscurity after directing this, BLOOD CULT and the Tom Savini-starrer THE RIPPER (1985), another shot-on-video abomination. Believe it or not, REVENGE even got a DVD release from VCI. Also available on video from United Home Video. Not Rated
BLOOD TRACKS (1985) - If it's one thing I can't stand it's films made in Sweden about a clan of "mountain folk" who begin killing a group of people, including the heavy metal group Easy Action (has anyone ever heard of them?), who traveled there to film a rock video. Trapped by an avalanche, one-by-one the group is slaughtered by decapitation, strangulation, immolization, impalement and other nasty means. Most of the actors are badly dubbed and the action and music are really lame. Director Mike Jackson is actually director Mats Helge (NINJA MISSION - 1984) using a pseudonym. It's easy to see why. It's just plain bad. Stay away from Swedish horror films and just stick to the Swedish women. Starring Jeff Harding, Michael Fitzpatrick and Naomi Kaneda. Also known as HEAVY METAL. A Vista Home Video Release. Not Rated
THE SUCKLING (1990) - I should have known by the York Home Video label (have they released anything good?) that this film was going to stink. I was right; the stench is unbearable. The story is about a group of unsavory people trapped in a whorehouse/illegal abortion clinic who are attacked by a mutated fetus who was flushed down the toilet and exposed to toxic chemicals. All you'll find here is bad acting, cheap effects (get a load of the sight of the mutated abortion and killer umbilical cord!), lousy photography and boring exposition. Director Francis Teri thankfully has never directed anything else, but has acted in FLESH EATING MOTHERS (1989) and produced HEAD GAMES (1994). The talentless actors here include Frank Reeves, Lisa Patruno and Marie Michaels. This is strictly bottom of the sewer entertainment, not even good for a laugh when under the influence of a controlled substance. Take my word for it. Also known as SEWAGE BABY. A York Home Video Release. Not Rated
DEVIL RIDER (1989) - Whew? I've smelled some bad things in my life, but nothing quite stinks like this amateurish horror western. An unkillable cowboy in white (Tag Groat) murders anyone who steps on his land. He is caught by a posse and is hung, shot and left for dead. 100 years later he returns to kill a bunch of grating tourists on a dude ranch that happens to be on the Devil Rider's land. He proceeds to shoot, stab and strangle them until only a couple are left. A man decapitates the Devil Rider with a sword and everything seems back to normal. What do you think? This film is strictly amateur hour both in front of and behind the camera. The technical aspects of the film are below par and director Victor Alexander (SURVIVAL - 1985) does absolutely nothing to get the action moving along. It's just a boring piece of stinky cheese that belongs in a damp cellar where it will hopefully stay for eternity. Also starring Rick Groat, Deborah Norris, David Campbell and Wayne Douglass who all need Lee Strasberg to rise from the grave to give them acting lessons. Not to be confused with the 1970 biker flick with the same name. A Cineglobe Video Release. Not Rated
SLEDGEHAMMER (1984) - This shot-on-video disaster (actually pre-dating BLOOD CULT by a full year) is only good if you want to see how director David A. Prior and his actor/brother Ted Prior got their start. It's auspicious to say the least. A bunch of partying boozehounds go to a house where a boy killed his mother years before with a sledgehammer (How can a little boy swing a sledgehammer?). The boy is now grown up (and possibly a ghost as he disappears and reappears at will) and begins to dispatch the group one by one. Badly done on all counts, including terrible acting, poor videography, outright bad effects (by an outfit called Blood & Guts) and a general sense that you've seen this type of film a thousand times before. Made for $40,000 and it looks it. David Prior has directed a string of horror and action films, the best probably being THE LOST PLATOON (1989), a mixture of vampire and war genres. SLEDGEHAMMER also stars Linda McGill, John Eastman, Jeanine Scheer, Tim Aguilar and Doug Matlef as the killer. This puppy is long OOP and was released on the World Video Pictures label. Believe it or not, this atrocious film got a legitimate DVD release from InterVision Picture Corp., an offshoot label of Severin Films (which they must consider their own dirty little secret, since no mention of Severin is made on any of their advertising materials and early press materials made mention of the life and death of InterVision owner "Larry Gold", who never existed in real life, causing a mini-controversy to people with no sense of humor). Not Rated
MAXIM XUL (1990) - Can someone please tell me what all this was about? This confusing amateurish supernatural police thriller concerns some unknown presence that goes around bashing in the heads of various unsuspecting people walking the streets. You know you're in trouble when Adam West is the main star of the film. Here he plays Professor Marduk, who is looking for a way to kill this Demon from Hell. In the finale, West uses an ancient sword and mace to dispatch it. To get to the finale, you have to put up with some of the worst acting and sound recording that my ears have had to put up with for quite a while. Director Arthur Egeli has neither an eye or ear for this type of material as the action scenes are static and the staging of some of the other scenes is awkward to say the least. There are good badfilms and bad badfilms. MAXIM XUL falls into the latter category. There are some decent gore shots though. Also starring Jefferson Leinberger, Mary Schaeffer and Hal Strieb. A Magnum Entertainment H.V. Release. Not Rated
THE JAR (1984) - The first rule in making a horror film: Make sure it's not dull. I guess director Bruce Toscano threw that bit of wisdom out the window and decided to make an artsy-fartsy horror film full of weird camera angles, minimalist acting and deadly-dull pacing. Good samaritan Gary Wallace picks up a hurt stranger who gives him a jar with some sort of mutant baby in it. This mutant baby begins to take over his life (One friend says: "You look like you've been worked over by Hell's Angels."), driving him slowly crazy. You'll go crazy too if you watch this film all the way through. Crazy from boredom. There's nothing in this film worth your time or effort. To see how a film of this type should be made, go to the review for THE ITEM (1998). A Magnum Entertainment H.V. Release. Not Rated
WACKO (1981) - Whacked-out director Greydon Clark tries to send-up horror movies with disasterous results. You would think with a cast such as George Kennedy, Stella Stevens, Joe Don Baker, Julia Duffy, Andrew "Dice" Clay (doing his best John Travolta impersonation), Charles Napier and Jeff Altman that Clark would come up with something a little bit funny, but if you know Clark, you know what you're in for: juvenile and tasteless humor (which pushes way past it's PG Rating). A killer in a pumpkin mask, known as the "Lawnmower Killer" goes about slaughtering the friends of virginal Julia Duffy using his custom lawnmower and other utensils. It's not funny and wastes the talents of everyone involved. Stay away unless you have an intestinal blockage. This will definitely loosen you up. A Vestron Video Release. Rated PG
ICE CRAWLERS (2002) - Boring combination of John Carpenter's THE THING (1982) and a first season episode of THE X-FILES (1993 - 2002). While drilling for oil in the thick ice of the Arctic, the crew accidentally releases a giant trilobyte (yes, that's right) which begins chowing down on the employees and a group of green researchers who have just arrived. The plot's absurd, the giant trilobyte is laughable and the acting is strictly routine. There's not much blood or gore (a mandate director John Carl Buechler was given by his German backers) so why bother? Thankfully, it's only 83 minutes long so it did not do too much damage to my system. Starring Goetz Otto, David Millbern, Alexandra Kemp, David Lenneman and Brad Sergi. The end credits list the film's original title as DEEP FREEZE. A New Concorde DVD Release. Rated R
BACKWOODS (1986) - A geek is chasing a couple through the woods in this bad regional horror film (made in Indiana). It takes forever for the film to pick up steam and, when it does, it fumbles the ball at every turn. Director Dean Crow looks like he studied all the FRIDAY THE 13TH films and made this one on a dare. The only good thing about this film is Jack O'Hara's portrayal as William the Geek. He's a drooling, chicken-head-bitin' terror who is unfortunately given very little to do. The "surprise" ending is a hoot, though. Skip this one and watch LUTHER THE GEEK instead. You'll thank me later. Also starring Christina Noonan, Dick Kreussler and Brad Armacot. Originally titled GEEK. A Cinema Group HV Release. Rated R
NIGHT VISION (1987) - Let me first state that I would rather stick my head up the ass of an elephant with diarrhea that have to sit through this crappy film again. This 101 minute exercise in tedium concerns a Kansas-born writer (Stacy Carson) who moves to Los Angeles (actually filmed in Denver) to get his big break. What he gets instead is a haunted videotape that makes everything he writes to actually happen in real life. If this sounds interesting, I'm sorry. It's quite the opposite. It's badly acted, written, photographed and the pacing is slower than a snail with hemorrhoids. I could go on praising the badness of this film but I would be doing the world a big disservice. It's a 10 minute short film stretched to feature film length. Directed blandly by Michael Krueger (MIND KILLER - 1987). Also starring Shirley Ross, Tony Carpenter and Ellie Martins. A Prism Entertainment HV Release. Not Rated
BLOODMOON (1989) - Hey, if you're idea of watching a good film is seeing teenagers killed with a barb wire noose while having sex in Lover's Lane, than this Australian horror film with a religious subtext is for you. But, if you like films with a little more than sex, death and Catholicism at an all-girls school, look somewhere else. The killer is easier to spot than a two dollar whore and the violence is not at all that bloody or interesting. This one came late in the stalk-and-slash genre and it offers nothing new for the discriminating viewer. Directed by Alec Mills (DEAD SLEEP - 1990), who hasn't got a clue how to handle the suspense. At least he didn't make the police chief an idiot. This cop has brains, which most films of this type seem to forget. Starring Leon Lissek, Christine Amor, Ian Williams and Helen Thomson. A Live HV Release. Also available on DVD from Artisan Home Entertainment.. Rated R
PROJECT NIGHTMARE (1985) - I'm a big fan of director Donald Jones (DEADLY SUNDAY - 1982; MURDERLUST - 1986; HOUSEWIFE FROM HELL - 1993), but even he can have an off day. This is his. This is basically a three character play about two strangers who are trying to escape from something that's chasing them (it's only shown as a bright red light) and end up at the house of a woman. Things that seem real are not and no matter where the two men go they end up going nowhere. It all has to do with some secret government thought control program preparing people for space flight. It doesn't make any sense.This is one of the most boring films to come along in quite a while and it's filmed very cheaply using early computer effects to try and dazzle us. It only looks dated now. Starring Charles Miller, Seth Foster and Elly Koslo. An Academy Home Entertainment Release. Rated R, but there's nothing here to warrant it.
ALIEN SEED (1989) - This plays like a poor episode of THE X-FILES, even though it was made about 4 years before the TV series premiered. A strip club waitress (Heidi Paine) works with a writer of UFO books (Steven Blade) to find out why her sister was killed after being abducted by aliens. The plot concerns MJ-12, a secret organization working with the aliens to produce a baby who will be the next "messiah". Erik Estrada (who is also Associate Producer) plays a rogue scientist who will do anything to stop this baby from being born. Filled with lame action sequences, retarded acting and a plot that leads nowhere. Filmed in Colorado by director Bob James (who thankfully hasn't directed anything since this). I've seen worse films, but this one feeds off the bottom of the barrel. An A.I.P. Home Video Release. Also available on DVD from Image Entertainment. Not Rated
THE ALPHA INCIDENT (1977) - This Bill Rebane directed talkfest is at least better than his INVASION FROM INNER EARTH but still has a long way to go before it can be called entertainment. When train conductor George "Buck" Flower accidentally exposes himself to a Mars-made biological organism, he infects the people at the next train stop. If you fall asleep, the germ causes your head to swell up and pop out your brains and eyes. This happens only once: to introverted Station Master Ralph Meeker (we only view the carnage fleetingly as it is rated PG, but the effect is bloody). The doctor that is protecting the germ (Stafford Morgan) learns that he is immune to it but, true to 70's convention, gets blown away at the end by the Government trying to cover it up. Another woman (Carol Irene Newell) commits suicide by blowing her brains out in a car and ladies man John Goff takes a cyanide pill rather than suffering the effects of the germ. If this sounds interesting, I'm sorry, because it talks itself to death. The people endlessly bicker and it takes forever for anything to happen. When it does, it is in the final 5 minutes. I like Rebane as he seems like a genuinely nice person, but he made some of the most boring or campy films of the 70's (think THE GIANT SPIDER INVASION - 1975). His later work in the 80's is much more interesting, such as THE GAME (1982) and BLOOD HARVEST (1985). A Media Home Entertainment Release. Rated PG
NIGHTFLYERS (1987) - Awful space opera about a bunch of scientists who board a spacecraft called the "Nightflyer" in search of an alien intelligence and are systematically killed one-by-one. It seems that the ship is alive, controlled by a computer whose brain is that of the long dead female captain who does not want her love-slave clone (Michael Praed) to leave the ship with head scientist Catherine Mary Stewart. The only interesting part of this film is when telepath Michael Des Barres has his head lasered-off at the jaw line. Director Robert Collector (RED HEAT - 1985) was so ashamed of this film that he used the name "T.C. Blake" in the credits. Good move. This actually got a theatrical release! Also starring Lisa Blount, John Standing, Annabel Brooks and James Avery. Based on a series of novels by George R.R. Martin (HBO's GAME OF THRONES) An I.V.E. Home Video Release. Rated R
DEATH MAGIC (1992) - A third rate theatrical group called The Domino Theatre made and stars in this truly awful supernatural gore film. A group of magicians raise Major Aaron Parker (Jack Dunlap) from the dead. Major Parker was hanged in the mid 1800's for killing innocent civilians and Indians. He's on a killing spree again, slicing and dicing the magicians until they spout enormous amounts of blood from their wounds. The surviving magicians turn to their mentor Donald Graham (Norman Stone) to help them defeat Major Parker. It all backfires as Parker kills the remaining magicians and the police shoot and kill Graham thinking that he is responsible for the slaughter. This film would try the patience of Helen Keller. It's horribly acted, the only good-looking girl is the first one killed, the effects are over-the top (the blood doesn't spurt, it gushes like a waterfall) and it looks like it was filmed on short ends as the quality of the film varies from scene to scene. On a scale of 1 to 10, this one gets a -8. Also starring (if you can call it that) Anne Caffrey, Keith DeGreen and Danielle Frons. A Domino Theatre Home Video Release. Unrated
NECROPOLIS (1986) - Lamebrained horror film set in the swinging 1980's-era New York City, where everyone did drugs or shacked-up with the first person they met. Enter Eva (LeeAnne Baker), a witch who was killed 300 years earlier vowing to kill all her killer's decendants. She revives her ghoulish coven (makeup by Ed French) and looks for a ring that will give her and her coven immortality. Meanwhile, a cop (Michael Conte) and a psychic (Jacqiue Fitz), both decendants of the witch-killing group, try to figure out why people are mysteriously dying as Eva has the ability to have people take their own lives. Director/writer Bruce Hickey ladles on the stereotypes (the gay coroner, the horny cop, the drug-addled junkie, the wise-assed prostitute) as well as terrible acting, synth music and a general air of sleaziness. Normally that would be a good thing, but this film just falls flat. Notable only for the scene where Eva sprouts six breasts and her zombie coven suckle them for substanance. Otherwise, this film just sucks. Produced by Cynthia De Paula and Tim Kincaid (BREEDERS - 1986, MUTANT HUNT - 1987). Look for two shots of the World Trade Center at the beginning and end of the film. A Lightning Video VHS Release. Available on DVD as part of Full Moon's "Grindhouse Collection" (which basically means it has not been remastered and was probably taken from 1" tape masters). Rated R
ROBOT HOLOCAUST (1986) - This is one of director Tim Kincaid's slew of sci-fi/horror films (see review above) he made during the mid-80's while taking a break from making gay porn under the name "Joe Gage" (which he still does up to this day). It's also his worst. Supposedly taking place in the future (the Twin Towers are in the background, but how was he to know?), a robot dictator controls the air of his human subjects. A warrior named Neo (Norris Culf), along with a rag-tag band of fighters (and a cheap C-3PO knock-off), are out to save a scientist who can clean up the air and save mankind. Badly-staged fights, stilted dialogue, monotonic acting, hand puppet snake monsters (with buck teeth!) and a total of about three robots make up this film, whick looks like it was filmed mainly in some industrial boiler room and a garbage dump just outside New York City. Sprinkled with a little nudity and some gore (again supplied by Ed French, who must have owed Kincaid a very big favor), this film can be best described as about as exciting as watching 80 minutes of static. Also starring Nadine Hart, Jennifer Delora, Rick Gianasi, Joel Van Ornsteiner and Andrew Howarth. A Wizard Video Release. Not Rated
THE DARK SIDE OF MIDNIGHT (1984) - Vanity production for director/producer/screenwriter/star Wes Olsen. Olsen stars as private detective Brock Johnson, who is brought onto a serial killing case by Police Chief Cooper (James Moore). It seems that the Detroit Creeper (Dan Myers) has moved into town and is beginning to kill teenage girls and young boys (by slitting their throats). Political intrigue abounds as the Mayor (Dave Bowling) would like to cover up the murders because he has a backdoor deal to have a new university to be built in his town. He tries everything in his arsenal to sabotage the Chief and Brock. Filled with terrible acting, flubbed lines, a droning synthesizer score and too little gore, this film belongs in the trash bin and not on the video bins. Running at 90 minutes, this film is at least 30 minutes too long as the film is padded with endless talking scenes which leads nowhere. Also known as THE CREEPER (released by Dura Vision in terrible condition with sound so tinny you would swear you had a can over your ears). If you must see this turd, try to find the version released by Prism Entertainment. It's at least clean and the sound is bearable if that type of thing matters to you. I had to watch it twice. Please pity me. Also starring Sandy Schemmel as the Chief's daughter and Brock's love interest. Troma had a hand in releasing this, so that may tell you something. Rated R
THE DIVIDING HOUR (1998) - Roger Ebert says on the DVD cover that "It sneaks up on you". It sure does, just like a case of deja vu. Four bank robbers crash their car on a deserted stretch of road and are picked up by a mysterious driver and delivered to a house occupied by a mysterious woman and her deaf-mute father. It's all a rather boring affair which rips-off CARNIVAL OF SOULS (1962), THE LEGACY (1979) and many other films as they all died during the accident and two of them must go through the doorway to darkness and the other two must go through the doorway of light. When one of them tries to escape every road he takes leads back to the house. There's also a refrigerator that can make objects appear and disappear, a pot-smoking rant on why Bugs Bunny will pay in the afterlife (!), a nasty rape and shadow people who refuse to admit that they are dead. This "Newly Mastered" DVD edition (which touts it's 10 year anniversary even though it was released in 2003), shot in Hi-8, leaves a lot to be desired. It's badly washed-out, the sound is terrible (except in the newly-created opening and closing credits), and Director/Star Mike Prosser needed to inject some much-needed energy into the proceedings. What we have here is a slow-moving, talky snoozefest that only livens-up during the final 10 minutes. There's some stop-motion effects (provided by Webster Colcord), but very little else. Also starring Brian Prosser, Brad Goodman and Greg James. An IndieDVD Release. Not Rated
THE LUCIFER COMPLEX (1978) - Terrible mish-mash of a futuristic man in a cave with computer equipment, who in voiceover narration tells us the story of Earth's terrible history, from World War II to the "Great War of 1986". We have to put up with over 20 minutes of various archival footage of war atrocities and hippie music until we get to the main plot. A secret agent (Robert Vaughn) in 1986 stumbles onto a Nazi plot ("The Fourth Reich") to clone the world's leaders and replace them with the real ones. He teams up with a bunch of women prisoners to foil the plot. Believe me, it's ridiculous as it sounds. Directed by both David L. Hewitt (THE TORMENTERS - 1971) and Kenneth Hartford (MONSTER - 1979), with one handling the cave footage and the other handling the main plot (James T. Flocker [GHOSTS THAT STILL WALK - 1977] also did some minor directorial touches). Apparently, the film was either unfinished or too short to release as a feature, so the cave footage was tacked-on to make it releasable. Hitler makes a cameo at the finale and there's also a "surprise" ending. You'll be sound asleep long before Der Fuhrer makes his appearance and the film closes shop. A complete waste of celluloid. Also starring Aldo Ray, Keenan Wynn, Leo Gordon and Merrie Lynn Ross. A United Home Video Release. Not Rated, but there's nothing here that goes beyond the PG limit. It's films like this that give Nazis a bad name. (It's a joke. Quit being so politically correct!)
THE SPECTRE OF EDGAR ALLAN POE (1972) - This slow and uninvolving fictional tale of Poe (Robert Walker Jr., who sleepwalks through the role) saving his beloved Lenore (Mary Grover) from being buried alive. She goes catatonic and her hair turns white so Poe has her committed to an asylum run by the sinister Dr. Grimaldi (Cesar Romero). Poe takes an interest in the condition called madness and asks Dr. Grimaldi if he can do some research at the asylum. Soon Poe is ass-deep in trouble as he is tortured and submitted to various degradations. The only problem is that no one will believe him except for his friend Dr. Forrest (Thomas Drake) and soon they embark on a journey to find out just what Dr. Grimaldi is actually up to (HINT: It involves bringing the dead back to life). Directed, produced and written by one-shot wonder Mohy Quandour without an ounce of pacing, thrills or blood. In fact, the bloodiest thing seems to be the image on the video box since it and most of the gore was trimmed to get a PG rating. This is a lame attempt of trying to tell how Poe came up with his macabre stories. This one one of those films that I have been trying to get a hold of for nearly 30 years since reading about it in some long-forgotten monster mag. I finally managed to pick it up on eBay. Oh well, another wish shot to hell. THE SPECTRE OF EDGAR ALLAN POE is also actress Carol Ohmart's (THE HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL - 1959) last film. Also with a cameo by the late Dennis Fimple (HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES - 2002). A Unicorn Video Release which is long OOP. Rated PG
BEYOND THE DOOR III (1989) - Really awful possession film, that switches gears about 30 minutes into it to become a runaway (and possessed) train movie (it was originally called AMOK TRAIN). Virgin Beverly (Mary Kohnert) and her college class travel to some unknown Slavik country (actually filmed in Yugoslavia) and meet "The Professor" (a badly-accented Bo Svenson), who takes them on a field trip to some remote town. When the townspeople try to kill Beverly's classmates, they hightail it out of town and jump aboard a train. The train becomes possessed and traps the students on board. For the next 60 minutes we are witness to the train (and a possessed Beverly) killing the people on board the train, by impalement, sliced in half under the wheels of the train, infested by maggots and other pleasantries. The only problem is that most of the gore was trimmed for it's US release and we never really get to see most of the juicy stuff. It all turns out that Beverly the virgin is to be the bride of Satan as the train makes its way back to the remote town and the Professor and the townspeople offer Beverly to Satan. Beverly has one trick left up her sleeve which really pisses off Satan. Director Jeff Kwitny (ICED - 1988) offers nothing new to the genre in this Italian-financed film (which has nothing to do with Part 1 or 2). Without the gore scenes there's nothing much to offer here except for one delirious scene where the train jumps the tracks just to kill two of the students (who escaped the train) who are in a boat in the middle of a river! Otherwise, it's just a poor excuse to show off model trains and a lot of subtitles. Also starring William Geiger, Savina Gersak, Ron Williams, Sarah Conway Ciminera and Renee Rancourt. A Columbia Pictures Home Video VHS Release. Available uncut and Not Rated (as AMOK TRAIN) on DVD by Shriek Show. If you must watch this film, the DVD is really the only way to do so, because it restores all the gore missing on the VHS. Also known as EVIL TRAIN. The VHS version is Rated R UPDATE: Now available in a DVD/Blu-Ray Combo Pack from Vinegar Syndrome.
DEAD DUDES IN THE HOUSE (1988) - The folks at Troma took an obscure stalk and slash film (originally titled THE DEAD COME HOME and also released on video as THE HOUSE ON TOMBSTONE HILL), gave it this ridiculous title (The New Kids On The Block were big at the time) and unleashed it to an unsuspecting public. A group of obnoxious teens (are there any other type in films like this?) go to a remote house in hope of fixing it up and living there. They find a tombstone in the back yard and, being the smart upstanding citizens that they are, break it in half and unleash a ghostly old woman (actually a man in old woman makeup) who traps them in the house. She begins killing them one-by-one and they in turn come back to life as zombies and begin to also kill their remaining living friends. If it weren't for some of the grisly murders, I would have turned this fiasco off long before it ended. Theres a guy who gets his hands cut off and then impaled on a pipe, various knifings and other impalements and a man has his body cut in half by a falling window. The dialogue verges on the hysterical (although I doubt it was meant to be so) and the acting consists of everyone screaming out their lines as if the person next to them was deaf. Director James Riffel gives the film the old college try but mostly comes up with an F in almost all departments. The only saving grace are the bloody effects by Ed French. Troma sells this film on DVD in a 3 pack, along with Joseph Merhi's THE NEWLYDEADS and SPACE ZOMBIE BINGO. They all look like they were mastered from video. Thank god I only paid $9.99 for the set. Distributed by Brentwood Home Video. Not Rated
ALIEN WARRIOR (1985) - Truly wretched piece of action/fantasy crap, originally titled KING OF THE STREETS. To prove he will be a great leader, alien humanoid Buddy (Brett Clark) is sent to Earth to fight a "great evil". He comes to Earth nude (ala THE TERMINATOR - 1984) and is given clothes by a bum (who will help him later on). He breaks up the rape of Laura (Pamela Saunders) by a bunch of Chicano punks (by using martial arts he learned by watching a class a few minutes earlier!) and soon they become friends and then lovers. The "great evil" turns out to be the local pimp/dope peddler called Mr. One (Reggie De Morton), who has the police in his pocket and kills anyone who gets in his way. Laura runs a youth center and soon she and Buddy (who has precognitive powers) are converting the local teens (including the Chicanos who tried to rape her!) into taking back the streets for the good of the community. This leads to a climatic shootout where Buddy seemingly dies and goes back to his home planet, where he is deemed suitable enough to be the leader. This is mind-boggling stuff folks, as we are witness to multiple accounts of nudity, gun and knife fights, kung-fu, break dancing and other pieces of priceless dialogue (When Buddy asks a Black kid if he wants a ride, he says: "If you try any of that faggot stuff, I'll cut your balls off!"), all of it done badly (I'm talking Ed Wood bad here.). Director Edward Hunt has given us such trash as STARSHIP INVASIONS (1977), good films such as BLOODY BIRTHDAY (1980) and just plain strange ones like THE BRAIN (1987), but none other quite as bad and outrageous as this one. You'll just have to watch it for yourself to see what I mean. Are you brave (and stupid) enough? Also starring Nelson Anderson, Norman Budd and Arturo Bonilla. A Vestron Video Release. Rated R
FINAL EXAMINATION (2002) - Fred Olen Ray is getting lazy. He used to turn out somewhat entertaining horror and sexploitation films during the 80's & 90's, but now it's like he's not even trying. Using his "Ed Raymond" pseudonym, he tells the tale of tainted detective Shane (Brent Huff) who is made to move from L.A. to Hawaii by his boss (Jay Richardson, who plays "Captain Hugh Janus". Who can take this seriously?). While in Hawaii, Shane uncovers a series of murders being committed at a 5 year reunion of what looks like Hawaiian Tropic models. Someone is strangling and stabbing the models and with the help of Kari Wuhrer (KING OF THE ANTS - 2004), Shane must try to stop the killings. The script (if you can call it that) is filled with all the typical Fred Olen Ray modern material: Women taking their clothes off, women taking showers, women swimming in pools with tiny bikinis. Unfortunately, the murder mystery is a bust as anyone, including a blind man, can spot the murderer(s) early on and the film is padded with action scenes cribbed from "A" films (including a chase scene from the Sylvester Stallone version of GET CARTER ). This seems like an excuse for Fred to make a film while he was on vacation in Hawaii so he could write the whole thing off as a tax shelter. His accountants must love him. A waste of film and a waste of your time. Also starring Debbie Rochon, Richard Gabai, Robert Donovan and Jen Nikolaisen. An Artisan Entertainment Release. Rated R
LORDS OF THE DEEP (1989) - During the year 1989 there was a genre of horror films which were set in underwater labs while being attacked by aliens. James Cameron is best known for the first one, THE ABYSS, probably the best of the bunch. LEVIATHAN (directed by George P Cosmatos, who passed away in April of 2005) and DEEP STAR SIX (directed by Sean S. Cunningham) soon followed and were much bloodier. Not to be outdone, producer Roger Corman unleashed this turd the same year. It's an ecological thriller about underwater scientist Claire McDowell (Pricilla Barnes) who makes contact with an alien species who want to teach humans how not to destroy their planet. This does not sit too well with Commander Dobler (Bradford Dillman), who is ordered by his boss (Roger Corman in a cameo) to kill McDowall and destroy the aliens. It all moves very slowly for it's scant 78 minutes and ends with Dillman meeting his end during an underwater earthquake while the heroes are saved by the aliens. Director Mary Ann Fisher (her only directorial effort but she has produced many of Corman's films) isn't given much of a script to work with (courtesy of Howard R. Cohen and Daryl Haney, who also co-stars) and the sets and effects are basically leftovers from the countless Concorde films made since the early 80's. Since the film is rated PG-13, there's also no room for blood and gore, except for a shot of an oozing body and people being deprived of oxygen. Don't waste your time with this one unless you want to make 78 minutes last a very loooong time. Also starring Melody Ryane and Eb Lottimer. All the characters have the last names of NY Mets players at the time. An MGM/UA Home Video Release. Rated PG-13
DR. JEKYLL'S DUNGEON OF DEATH (1979) - Truly awful film about the sadistic great-grandson (screenwriter James Mathers) of the infamous Dr. Jekyll, who performs illegal experiments on criminals in his basement using a serum he has yet to get right. The serum drives the person mad and impervious to pain and Dr. Jekyll glees in watching the two people beat themselves to death. He keeps a woman named Julia (Dawn Carver Kelly) tied up in his bedroom while he tries to convince her father (John F. Kearney) to help him perfect the serum. Filled with martial arts fights, implied rape, beatings, a mute manservant (Tom Nickelson), cigarettes burns and other mayhem, yet the film is as dull as a butterknife. Maybe that's because there's no blood, nudity and the martial arts fights are violent yet no one seems to bleed. Director James Wood has thankfully stayed away from the camera since he made this piece of trash. Mathers overacts to the point that the film becomes high camp and his freak-out at the end goes way over the top. This film is known under a myriad of titles, including DR. JEKYLL'S DUNGEON OF DARKNESS, THE DUNGEON and THE JEKYLL EXPERIMENT. I have yet to see a version of this film that is not so grainy as to be unwatchable. Maybe that's a good thing. Filmed in San Francisco. A Genesis Home Video Release. Rated R
SLAUGHTER STUDIOS (2002) - Absolute crap about a low budget video crew shooting a movie on a long-abandoned studio lot where a murder occurred years earlier. Before you can say, "Bimbos taking their clothes off", the crew and actors are being bumped off by some unseen killer. Director Brian Katkin (who directed the halfway-decent SHAKEDOWN the same year) lets screenwriters Dan Acre and John Huckert fill the plot with improbable situations, lunk-headed decisions and outright stupid motives for letting the actors doing the things that they do. Since Roger Corman retired from the business, New Concorde Films have taken a nosedive for the worse. There's no reason for anybody to watch this film except if you want to see naked girls, bad acting and a little gore. The discovery of the killer in the finale is a hoot, though. Starring Peter Stanovich, Amy Shelton-White, Nicolas Read, Allen Scotti and Andrew Craig. Made on a small budget and it shows. A New Concorde Video Release. Rated R
LITTLE DEVILS: THE BIRTH (1993) - It's hard to believe that George Pavlou, who directed one of my favorite guilty pleasures, RAWHEAD REX (1986), made this stinker horror/comedy. A sculptor (Wayne McNamara) finds a special clay in a crypt in a graveyard and begins making little gargoyle statues with it. They come to life and begin killing people with flame throwers, machine guns and crossbows, including an alley of bums tended to by kindly doctor Russ Tamblyn. Porn writer Marc Price (Skippy on TV's FAMILY TIES [1982 - 1989]) and stripper Nancy Valen (not "Nancy Allen" as it says on the video box) slowly discover McNamara's secret and must find a way to destroy the little creatures with the help of the doctor. You'll never guess what destroys them: Soda! You'll cringe at the lame jokes and poor special effects (which look like rejects from the GHOULIES franchise). The only good thing about the film is landlady Stella Stevens, a neat-freak who gets turned-on by Price's porn writings and tries to seduce him by wearing leather S & M gear. She still had a great body (age 57 at the time) and is the only bright spot in an otherwise overlong (102 minutes) and boring affair. Too bad she dies halfway through the film. This little-seen turd was released by Malofilm Video and is Not Rated, although there is nothing here that goes beyond an R rating.
CHOKING HAZARD (2004) - I'm really beginning to hate horror comedies, especially zombie horror comedies. This Czech Republic film, which is English subtitled, is totally unfunny and mean-spirited. While it may play well in the European sector, much of the humor will be lost on English-speaking viewers. A group of students gather at a secluded hotel in the middle of the woods to discuss the meaning of life with a blind, pretentious professor (Jaroslav Dusek). Out of nowhere, a bunch of zombie woodsmen (You can tell they are woodsmen by the feather in their hats. It must be a local thing.) attack the group and one-by-one they are picked off and eaten by the hungry horde. A second wave of much smarter zombies (who know kung-fu and wear dark sunglasses!) then appear to finish off the group. If this seems pretty thin, it is. The humor, as it stands, contains one scene where after a couple make love and have a spat, she says: "Eat me!" The male then says: "I already have. The taste is highly overrated." Add breakdancing zombies, buckets of grue, a porn actor who also happens to be a Jehovah Witness and a plot that makes no sense and what you get is an unsatisfying brew of existential comedy, dialogue which would make a real college professor cringe and an ending and beginning that make no sense to the rest of the movie. It's also left wide open for a sequel. I won't be watching it. This was a long 84 minutes! Directed by Marek Dobes and also starring Jan Dolansky, Eva Nadazdyova, Anna Fialkova, Kamil Svejda and Eva Janouskova. Released jointly by Fangoria International and Media Blasters. Not Rated. Watch SHAUN OF THE DEAD (2004) or RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD (1985) instead, if you want to watch really funny zombie comedies.
REPO JAKE (1990) - First off, let me preface this review with a personal note: William Wilson, you bastard! You knew if you sent this to me that I would be obligated to watch it. I did. I hate you. Now, on with the review. This film is merely a series of vignettes, as Jake (Dan Haggerty) comes from a midwestern town to L.A. in hopes of making $65,000 to save his business back home. He joins a repo company and begins taking the tough jobs that no one else can seem to handle. He repo's cars, a helicopter and helps one of the gang in entering a race called the "Slam Track". He also helps a woman named Jenny (Dana Bently) get her purse back from a snatcher and they begin to have a relationship. When Jake repo's a gangster's car, the tough guy threatens Jake and Jenny and forces Jake to enter the Slam Track and win, otherwise he will kill them both. Needless to say, everything turns out for the best. I'm still amazed that Dan Haggerty is still considered an actor. He's as stiff as a board and has the emotional range of an oak tree, yet he has appeared in so many films (I just recently saw him in BURY ME AN ANGEL - 1971 and NIGHT WARS - 1987), not to mention his Grizzly Adams TV series character. I just have to wonder what alternative universe he stepped off of to get these jobs. This Joseph Merhi-directed film is filled with unbelievable situations (Like: Why did Jake stop short of winning the Slam Track? He let everyone down including all his teammates and himself. What a selfish oaf! Yet, in the end, everyone still loves him!), bad comedy and awkward action (some scenes look like they were lifted from other films). This is an early PM Production film where Merhi was just beginning to get his action chops, as he would later direct the much-superior RAGE (1995), starring Gary Daniels. Also starring Steve Hansbourgh, Paul Hayes, Steve Wilcox, Robert Axelrod, Jim Williams, Stacy Lipton and Carmen Filpi. A PM Entertainment Release. Not Rated. Watch REPO MAN (1984) instead.
THE LAUGHING DEAD (1989) - This film only proves one addage: Stick to what you know best. This is the directorial debut of science fiction/horror writer S.P. Somtow (real name: Somtow Sucharitkul) and it's a marginal comedy/horror film at it's best and downright terrible at it's worst. Father O'Sullivan (Tim Sullivan), who has lost his faith, leads a bunch of headache-inducing characters on a bus trip down to Mexico for All Souls Day, the only day of the year when the dead can freely walk the earth. On the bus are a married couple who are into trancendental meditation, a cranky male duo who never agree on anything and a former nun and her son, who Father O'Sullivan had an affair with years earlier. Can you guess whose son he is? The mish-mash of a story finds local Dr. Um-tzec (played by Somtow), who likes to cut the hearts out of children while lamenting on how he wishes he was a stock broker on Wall Street, replacing Father O'Sullivan's heart with an evil one in hopes of getting him to sacrifice his son. Along the way, everyone gets trapped in the town and murdered in various bloody ways (courtesy of John Carl Buechler and MMI). One man is decapitated as his head flies through the air and lands in a basketball net. Another has his arm ripped off and shoved down his mouth, the fingers protruding through his neck. The acting is strictly amateur hour (various writers and horror enthusiasts, including Forrest J. Ackerman, play corpses and zombies), the pace is slower than a snail with hemmoroids and the ending is just downright ridiculous (something about playing basketball against the zombies to save the kid's soul). Somtow directed one other film after THE LAUGHING DEAD: an obscure take on Shakespeare's A Midsummer's Night Dream called ILL MET BY MOONLIGHT (1994) that takes place in alleyways and dumpsters. While THE LAUGHING DEAD is very gory in spots, the lame acting and non-linear plot (also written by Somtow) do it in. Also starring Wendy Webb, Premika Eaton, Billy Silver, Patrick Roskowick, Edward Bryant, Krista Keim and Larry Kagan. A Vee Video Release in English with Thai subtitles. Not Rated.
CAGED TERROR (1971) - Imagine if you will that there's a film out in circulation that's guaranteed to put even the worst insomniac to sleep. Fear no more. Here it is! Originally saddled with the title GOLDEN APPLES OF THE SUN (what the fuck?), this snoozer tells the story of businessman Richard (Percy Harkness) taking uptight secretary Janet (Elizabeth Suzuki) out for a weekend in the woods. For nearly a hour they fish, go skinny dipping, frolic naked between the trees and make love while talking about the meaning of life and the violence that comes with it. Janet complains when Richard kills fish and shoots a rabbit, but has no problem stripping naked and making love to the guy while he smears the rabbit's blood all over her!. Things turn a little sour when Vietnam vets Jarvis (Leon Morenzie) and Troubadour (Derek Lamb) show up and tell Richard that they are staying in their cabin. Later that night Richard takes a shot at them and they retaliate by tying up Richard in a giant chicken coop while Jarvis rapes Janet in front of Richard ("No! No! No!......No!") while Troubadour plays a song on his guitar. Janet begins to like it and the film ends with Janet saying goodbye to Jarvis and Troubadour as she walks back to Richard to untie him. Turns out that Richard was the worst of the bunch. The End. Knowing that they had a stinker on their hands, New World Pictures retitled the film for video release and advertised it as an "Action/Thriller". It's neither, just a four character piece of crap that probably enraged all the renters in the 80's who picked up this thing thinking that it was in the vein of LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT (1972). It's more like watching some chick flick with full frontal nudity and nothing else to recommend for it. This Canadian-made piece of crap was directed by Barrie Angus McLean, who would later go on to produce a bunch of award-winning animation shorts for the National Film Board of Canada. A New World Video Release. Not Rated.
RUSH WEEK (1989) - "Wake up, this is real life, not some stupid horror movie!" This has to be one of the lamest R-rated horror films of all times. There's practically no blood (even a decapitation at the end is neat and clean), the masked killer can be identified within the first ten minutes (SPOILER: It's Roy Thinnes.) and the plot can best be described as your typical college fraternity party gone bad. If it wasn't for the pornography subplot, I would have turned this sucker off long before it ended. Someone wearing a cheap rubber mask and cape is killing the college students during Rush Week with an axe (the murders are never shown). Intrepid college reporter Toni (Pamela Ludwig) digs further and finds out that Dean Grail's (Thinnes) daughter was killed last year by some unknown assailant, the case never solved. It all ties into the porno subplot as some of the college girls are posing nude and receiving money to put them through college. When Dean Grail found out that his daughter was one of the models, he killed her and now is killing anyone who poses for the photographer or gets in his way. This is below generic stuff as there are long stretches of nothing and a tasteless bit of a hooker having sex with a corpse. It's much less interesting than it sounds. I had more fun cutting my toenails (and I cut one way too short!). Directed by TV veteran Bob Bralver, whose only other theatrical film was MIDNIGHT RIDE (1990). He is better known as a stuntman. Also starring Dean Hamilton, Courtney Gebhardt, Gregg Allman (as a stoned-out professor, a real stretch) and Donald Grant. An RCA/Columbia Pictures Release. Rated R (for nudity, surely not for violence). By the way, my toe still hurts, but it still feels better than watching this film again.
PHANTOM BROTHER (1989) - I have seen my fair share of bad horror comedies (Some would say that I have seen too many. Just ask my wife.), but I don't think anything comes close to the word "craptacular" than this piece of SOV shit. After a bad auto accident, which kills his entire family, Abel (John Gigante) tries to protect the ghost of his family, including the title brother (Jon Hammer), who was horribly burnt in the accident, from outsiders using their now-deserted family home (which supposedly contains a lot of hidden money) for make-out sessions by horny teenagers and nosey rednecks. Most of the time Abel fails and his brother ends up stabbing and slashing the teens with knives and power saws. Abel's brother kidnaps Abel's girlfriend (Mary Beth Pelshaw) and he rescues her and explains his predicament. She has a hard time believing his story, but eventually takes his word for it. Then a film company comes to the house to make a low-budget horror film. Saying any more about this film would be giving it more publicity than it deserves. The effects (by Arnold Gargiulo of THE DEADLY SPAWN  fame) are way below par and the direction by William Szarka (SOUTH BRONX HEROES - 1985) is strictly amateur hour. As one person puts it in this film: "I hate student filmmaking." You will too if you watch this piece of trash that tries way too hard to be funny, has pitiful voiceover narration, a surprise ending that's not much of a surprise and actors that can best be described as overstepping their bounds as human beings. They should all be working at the local Home Depot as cashiers, not acting. Also "starring" Patrick Malloy (PLUTONIUM BABY - 1987) and Vinny Grillo. Their names sound more like South Bronx gangsters than actors. A Southgate Entertainment Home Video Release. Not Rated. Don't look for this to be released on DVD any time soon (as in forever).
TOMB OF THE WEREWOLF (2003) - How director Fred Olen Ray got Paul Naschy over to the States to reprise his Waldemar Daninsky role is the biggest surprise in this otherwise piss-poor film. When a future descendant of Daninsky (the always good Jay Richardson) inherits Daninsky's ancestral home, Jay sees a way to make money off his inheritance. Not to belabor the plot, we get the basic Fred Olen Ray girl-on-girl action, Michelle Bauer and her big boobs playing Elizabeth Bathory (she's still a looker after all these years), way too little of Naschy (who speaks English phonetically), some sex and a little blood. When Fred Olen Ray was hosting his Yahoo Discussion Board, he said that two or three versions would probably be released of the film: An all-sex version; an all-violence version; and one that combines both. Since this film runs a scant 82 minutes and it's the only version available out there, I would say that this is the best you're going to get here. It's a shame because Naschy is wasted, Richardson dies way too early in this film and the plot is highly generic. Shot on high-definition video by Gary Graver (who never phones in a job), the film does have a professional look and sheen, but it's just not enough. It's another one of Ray's hack jobs whose only novelty is the appearance of Naschy. His werewolf makeup is sub-par and the blood quotient is way too low. The only question that I can come up with is: Why bring Naschy over to the States if you are just going to waste him? It holds little novelty as a horror film and less interest as a softcore porn film. What a shame. Also starring Stephanie Bentley, Kennedy Johnston, Jacy Andrews and Leland Jay. I still get a kick seeing Jay Richardson hawking law firms in commercials on TV. It always brings a smile to my face. Unlike this film. A Macabre Entertainment Release (and it's not even in stereo!). It took Fred Olen Ray until 2015 to release an uncut 95-minute horror version on DVD called THE UNLIVING. Rated R.
WARLORDS (1988) - Here I am writing another review about a Fred Olen Ray-directed film. Will this madness ever end? This is one of his late-80's futuristic thrillers where cloned warrior Dow (David Carradine) searches for his wife (Brinke Stevens), kidnapped by the Warlord (the always capable Sid Haig, who is also second unit director here). Along the way Dow picks up upstart and wisecracking female wasteland survivor Danny (Dawn Wildsmith) to help him in his search. Dow also carries a mutant genetic head with arms in his backpack, who gives him directions along with a little sass. Ross Hagen plays Beaumont (who is probably having the most fun of anyone in this film), who supplies the Warrior with guns and harem girls as mutants with gas masks roam the countryside looking to stop Dow from achieving his goal. He shouldn't have bothered. It seems his wife wanted to leave Dow and likes being with the Warlord. Filmed with lame action sequences (how many angles can you show a car tumbling after an explosion?), dialogue that would make a child wince and guest appearances by Ray stalwarts Robert Quarry, Michelle Bauer and Fox Harris. This is a yawner of the first degree and if it wasn't for the acting qualities of Dawn Wildsmith and Ross Hagen, I would have turned it off long before it ended. I'm tired of these crappy post-apocalyptic thrillers. Besides, the Italians did them best and filled them with gore and extreme violence. What you get here are half-baked action sequences, very little blood (Bullet hits with no squibs? Sacrilegious!) and implied rape. Why bother? There are pictures of helicopters on the video box but none appear in the film. Hmmmm... A Vidmark Entertainment Release also released in an EP-recorded version by Starmaker Entertainment. Rated R.
SASQUATCH HUNTERS (2004) - I've been waiting for a good Bigfoot film (I'm not counting DEMONWARP  or NIGHT OF THE DEMON  since neither one is a real Bigfoot film) and I'm sad to say that this isn't it by a long mile. A group of annoying Forest Rangers and their friends go out on a week trip in the forest and run into a family of Bigfoots who begin to tear the humans apart (Bigfoots tend to do that for some unknown reason). The film is basically one long chase film where the ragtag team of Rangers fall victim to the creatures one-by-one until only a few are left. First-time director Fred Tepper (who usually does Visual Effects for films) does have a good Bigfoot creature (both costumed and CGI-created), but the story is as thin as tissue paper and offers no plot whatsoever. Just chase and kill, chase and kill. The blood quotient is kept to a minimum, just a few bloody bodies and one good CGI scene of a Bigfoot throwing a woman through the air, but not enough to make you want to go out and rent or buy this thing. I quess there's a reason why no one has actually captured a Bigfoot: They must own VCRs and DVD players and see how they are portrayed on film. This film, along with the similarly-themed SASQUATCH, sets their progress back a hundred years. Stay away from this one. Starring Matt Lattimore, Amy Shelton-White, Kevin O'Connor, Gary Sturm and Stacey Branscombe. A Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Release. Rated R.
ANKLE BITERS (2002) - Midget Vampires! Don't you think that would be an interesting concept? Well, this ultra low-budget film will make you cringe as you pity the poor little people who are in this film. Not only can they not act (even the normal-sized people are rank amateurs), but they are forced to endure embarassing situations, badly-staged action fights (Stevie Wonder could stage a better fight scene) and vampire attacks (they actually do bite ankles!). The story involves a half-breed vampire killer Drexel (Director and writer Adam Minarovich, doing his best Corey Feldman imitation) and his half-pint sidekick T-Bone (Michael Moore) trying to rid the world of the tiny blood-sucking terrors (who travel in specially-made motorcycles owned by Producer Jim Holcolmb's family chopper shop) before they find a sword with magical powers that will make their race superior to humans. They join forces with some normal humans after the little vampires find and use the sword, using Drexel's blood as a weapon in the finale to dispatch the vertically challenged. To try and describe how bad this film is would be like describing the color orange to a blind person (Do I have Stevie Wonder on my brain, or what!). There's not one good thing about this film, from the photography (probably shot on DV, with sped-up and slo-mo scenes), sound, acting and the music soundtrack. Wait until you hear the theme music ("Three feet tall. Two inch fangs.") repeated over and over throughout the film. This has now become one of CritCon's bottom ten films of all time. Also starring Timothy Faye, Catherine Brissey, Jeremy Busby and Jaime Burch. A York Entertainment Release (Have they ever released anything that remotely resembles entertainment? Try watching "EL" CHUPACABRA , TAIL STING , SCARECROW SLAYER , ALIEN 51  or any of their urban actioners [featuring the Rap star du jour] to see what I mean.). Rated R.
INVADERS OF THE LOST GOLD (1981) - This film, originally titled HORROR SAFARI, is one of those films that's so bad it's good. It starts out during the end of World War II, where a small troop of Japanese soldiers are carrying 10 crates of gold for the war effort through the jungles of the Philippines, They are attacked by a group of headhunters, and the Japs hide the gold in a cave where only three of them survive to escape. The rest end up as heads on sticks. 36 years later, Edmond Purdom finds out about the lost gold and tries to get the three elderly Japanese survivors to help him find it. The first one is shot and killed by Purdom when he refuses to co-operate and the second one commits hara-kiri when he finds out that his commanding officer was killed. Purdom convinces the third (Harold "Odd Job" Sakata, in one of his final film performances) to help him find the gold for a 25% cut. Purdom hires arch enemy Stuart Whitman to help him on his quest since he is the best jungle man in the territory. Also along for the ride are Laura Gemser (who has a nude swim scene in which she mysteriously dies), Woody Strode (who has a fight with Sakata), Glynis Barber, David De Martyn and a bunch of disposable native Filipinos. After fatal attacks by snakes, alligators, an unstable rope bridge and booby traps, the dwindling crew get closer to their destination, and the ultimate showdown between Purdom and Whitman. Directed without an ounce of flair by Alan Birkinshaw (KILLER'S MOON - 1978) and produced by the infamous late Dick Randall (PIECES - 1982; DON'T OPEN TILL CHRISTMAS - 1984, SLAUGHTER HIGH - 1986, who seemed to use Purdom in a few of his films), INVADERS OF THE LOST GOLD contains a lot of nothing going on throughout most of it's running time, just a ton of infighting and some short spurts of gore. The international cast is highly unusual for a film of this low budget (and obviously a cash-in to the then box office smash RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK - 1981), but nothing really happens. Just trekking around jungle scenery, lots of arguements and a very quick ending. If the rest of the film were only as good as it's first ten minutes, we may have had some enjoyment here. Stuart Whitman later made a similar film, TREASURE OF THE AMAZON (1985) in Mexico for late director Rene Cardona Jr. (BEAKS: THE MOVIE - 1987). An All American Video Release that's available on DVD in widescreen form from Mondo Crash (which is now OOP). Not Rated.
SERIAL SLAYER (2003) - Extremely talky SOV thriller whose main reason for me buying it off eBay was that is starred Mary Lynn Rajskub, who plays the quirky Chloe O'Brian on the hit TV series 24 (2001 - 2010; and is also a gifted comic). Someone is killing the residents of a small town by killing them with a crossbow while waiting patiently on rooftops of houses. Grace (Rajskub) drives to an adult slumber party while listening to a program on talk radio about the serial killer. When she gets to the house, she only finds two other co-workers there: Lauren (Melanie Lynskey) and Gina (Sheeri Rappaport). All the other workers were scared to come because of the rash of crossbow killings, the last to take place just a few miles a way from the house. Grace, who is the new girl in the company and no one really know her, is at first a little reluctant to open up to the two girls. When it appears that the killer is on their roof, the girls must come up with a plan to survive. What happens for the next 80 minutes is just a bunch of girls talking and arguing with each other about what to do. It's so boring (nothing is as boring as 3 women talking to each other incessantly) that I had to pop some No-Doze to stay awake. I thought that when Rajskub gets shot with a crossbow bolt that things would pick up. They don't. Director Mark Tapio Kines (FOREIGN CORRESPONDENTS - 1999, also starring Lynskey) has no sense on how to film a suspense scene and the movie is just plain dull. When the killer is revealed (he's just a teenager), it's quite a letdown. Hey, I appreciate good dialogue in films. It's just that this film has none. Judith O'Dea (the original NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD - 1968) has a cameo as the killer's first victim. Originally filmed as CLAUSTROPHOBIA. A Lions Gate Home Entertainment Release. Rated R.
THE MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH (1989) - During the late 80's producer Harry Alan Towers remade three Edgar Allan Poe stories, updating them to present times and hiring hack director Alan Birkinshaw (KILLER'S MOON - 1978; INVADERS OF THE LOST GOLD - 1981) to direct two of them (THE HOUSE OF USHER - 1988, was the other one). The third film was BURIED ALIVE (1989), directed by Gerald Kikoine (EDGE OF SANITY - 1988). MASQUE is probably the worse of the three (that's still not saying much). When tabloid reporter Rebecca (Michelle McBride) crashes the party of wealthy, reclusive Ludwig (Herbert Lom) hoping to get some exclusive photos of celebrities for her rag, she and a bunch of party guests become trapped in Ludwig's mansion while someone wearing a red cape and mask begins killing them, sometimes using devices from Poe's stories. Frank Stallone (Sly's more talented brother) stars as Duke, who, along with bitchy, has-been star Alaina (Brenda Vaccaro), vain starlet Colette (Christine Lunde), Rebecca's ex-lover Max (Simon Poland) and various other boobs try to figure out who among them is doing the killings. A waiter has his hand chopped off. Alaini is choked to death and thrown down some stairs. Another has her head cut off by a swinging pendulum clock. Max is repeatedly stabbed and axed to death. Duke is run through after having a swordfight with the red-dressed killer. As we find out that Ludwig is dying from some incurable disease, the final denouement is really unbelievable (something about taking some red pills to give the killer super strength). Rebecca and the killer are the only ones left and a fight ensues where the killer is impaled on a falling iron grate that bars the front door. This is really boring stuff that doesn't make much sense. There's a little blood, a really bad rock band and endless shots of people running around the mansion. The only suspense to be found is the decapitation by the pendulum clock. Otherwise, it's a stinker of the first degree. An RCA/Columbia Pictures Home Video Release. Not available on DVD. Rated R. Not to be confused with the Roger Corman production of the same name released in the same year, directed by Larry Brand (PARANOIA - 1998), which actually got a theatrical release.
THE KILLER EYE (1998) - Director David DeCoteau (here using his "Richard Chasen" pseudonym), before creating Rapid Heart Pictures (of LEECHES!  fame), made a bunch of films for Charles Band's Full Moon Pictures. This is one of his worst. A scientist (Jonathan Norman) accidently creates a giant eye (that makes the BRAIN FROM PLANET AROUS  look like a masterpiece) from "The 8th Dimension" by putting eye drops into a street kid (Ryan Van Steenis) and having him stare into some contraption that makes his left eye grow to gigantic proportions and detach from his body. As with all DeCoteau films, the eye is horny and it gives the director reason to show various male and female bodies in their naked forms. The lovely Jacqueline Lovell (HEAD OF THE FAMILY - 1996) is wasted here as the scientist's wife, who wants to have sex with any male she can find, but never achieves that, thanks to her disinterested husband and two stoner guys in their underwear (a DeCoteau staple) who like to say, "Dude, I'm so baked!" and are too high to please her. As a matter of fact, if it weren't for the giant eyeball and its huge tentacles, she would get no action at all. Thank goodness this film is only 72 minutes long, because the giant eyeball was beginning to give me a giant headache. As with all giant eyeballs, they are deadly afraid of bright light and is forced to go back to the 8th Dimension, but not before making the two females (Lovell and Nanette Bianchi) pregnant with it's love children. Besides a short shot of the kid with a missing eye, there's no blood whatsoever. Just plenty of bad dialogue delivered by bad actors (Lovell excluded), a giant eyeball shooting green sex rays and a lot of nudity (Bianchi is raped by the eyeball while taking a shower). It's films like this that put Band's Full Moon Pictures out of business and made him create Wizard Entertainment (sometimes known as Full Moon Films), an even lower-budget version of Full Moon Pictures (The VHS cover is nothing but a rip-off copy of Wizard Video's big box of THE HEADLESS EYES - 1971). I could have spent the 72 minutes trying to lick my nose with my tongue instead. Also starring Costas Koromilas, Dave Oren Ward (who was stabbed to death soon after making this film), Roland Martinez and Blake Bailey as "Creepy Bill". A Cult Video/Full Moon Home Video Release. Available in both R-Rated and Unrated editions. The only difference is the amount of nudity in each.
SUCCUBARE (1981) - This Hong Kong film will have PETA screaming for human blood. An ox is graphically killed and sliced apart on camera. Snakes, toads, lizards and mice are eaten alive in inserts by the same man at various times during the film and other reptiles and animals are tortured. Add a little bit of kung fu, maritial infidelity and colorful costumes, mix in some curses and what you get is an unhealthy mix of bad dubbing, sloppy eating habits and some pissed-off women. The main story is about a bunch of women who live in a remote town who put curses on their men if they leave town and don't come back in the allotted time. One cheating man's belly swells-up the size of a balloon and when a surgeon cuts him open, worms, snakes and centipedes (a favorite theme in Hong Kong horror films such as CENTIPEDE HORROR , THE DEVILS  and KILLER SNAKES ) spill out of his stomach as he wakes up and dies. The main plot deals with a man whose brother is killed by one of the spells and goes out to get revenge. What he doesn't count on is falling in love with the head priestess. Director Wai-Yip Wong fills the screen with atrocious acts of animal cruelty that lies head-and-shoulders above anything the Italians have produced. I really can't recommend any film that treats animals in such an awful way without advancing the plot (even then I would have some trouble with it if it were real animals being harmed). Instead we have disgusting inserts of people eating live animals and reptiles and the film offers nothing in the way of redeeming social values. Did I mention that the film was colorful? That's about the only nice thing I can say about this cruel film. Starring Carter Wong and Cho King (as the live animal eater). A VCR Release. SUCCUBARE is also available streaming on Amazon Prime. Not Rated.
BOO (2005) - Color me unimpressed. I expected more from effects master Anthony C. Ferrante, this being his first directorial full-length movie. What we get here is a by-the-numbers horror flick about a group of college students spending a night at an abandoned hospital only to find that something supernatural lives there. Yawn! The group is expecting some pre-set scares from some fraternity brother who was sent their earlier in the morning to set up some things that go bump in the night. He is dispatched rather quickly (only our group thinks he's alive, not aware that the supernatural presence takes over the dead bodies), and the group wonder why the elevator only takes them to the third floor. Meanwhile, on the outside, a cop who used to be a blaxploitation star named Dynamite Jones (Dig Wayne) tries to help a friend whose sister is trapped in the hospital. Little do they know that she is dead and taken over by a good supernatural force, who must defeat the bad ghostly dude so someone can live and tell the tale. Besides a couple of good special effects and a ghostly little girl (which has been done to death in Asian horror films), this film has little to offer that you haven't seen a million times before. There's a blurb on the back of the DVD by director Stuart Gordon that says: "Enough scares for three movies." Gordon didn't mention that those three movies must have been comedies. If you like haunted house films, you may find something here to get your heart pumping a little faster. I just expected a lot more since Ferrante has worked on so many horror films in his past, both behind and in front of the camera. Too bad. Also starring Trish Coren, M. Steven Felty, Jilon Ghai, Nicole Rayburn, Josh Holt and Dee Wallace Stone in a cameo. A Ventura Entertainment Release. Rated R.
IMAGE OF DEATH (1978) - This is one of those long line of Australian made-for-TV films that Paragon Video picked up for release in the US. Others in the Paragon line include NIGHT NURSE (1978), DEATH TRAIN (1978), DEMOLITION (1978) and GONE TO GROUND (1975), but this one is the most boring and worst of the lot. A young woman named Yvonne (Cathey Paine) finds Barbara (Cheryl Waters), a friend she hasn't seen in a while and resembles Yvonne almost to a tee, murders her and takes over her life. Yvonne/Barbara then spends the rest of the film trying to cover her tracks and not get caught. She is dogged by Barbara's friend Maureen (Penne Hackforth-Jones), a friend of the dead Barbara who worked in television news with her and tries to convince the police and her producer (Barry Creyton) that the new Barbara is not who she says she is. Yvonne covers her tracks pretty well, as she is able to access Barbara's account at the bank and convince some relative that she is actually Barbara. She even has Barbara's blind boyfriend Carl (Tony Bonner) convinced. But Maureen is steadfast and eventually convinces the police that Barbara isn't Barbara after finding some incriminating evidence. In the most interesting scene in the film, the police come and take Yvonne away while she and Carl are having dinner in a restaurant. The only problem is that Carl is in the bathroom when the police cart her away. When he comes out of the bathroom and sits down at the table, he continues a conversation not realizing that she is no longer there. After a couple of minutes he discovers that she is gone and calls out, "Barbara! Barbara?" THE END. Apparently, the Australians could turn out some shitty TV movies in the 70's, just like we did. Director Kevin Dobson (not the actor that played detective Bobby Crocker on the original 70's TV series KOJAK), who also directed GONE TO GROUND and DEMOLITION is still directing today, offers nothing in the way of entertainment and this film is probably the best cure for insomnia in quite a while. There's no blood, sex or believable storyline. In other words, a typically bad 70's TV movie that, thankfully, only runs 82 minutes. For Paragon completists only (especially for the 13 minutes of previews at the beginning of the tape that's 10 times more interesting than the film itself). Also starring Barry Pierce and Sheila Helpmann. A Paragon Video Release. Not Rated.
DEADLY DARLING (1985) - This is another one of Godfrey Ho's cut-and-paste jobs, using portions of at least three different films (one of them being director Karen Yang's BREAKOUT FROM OPPRESSION ["Sha chu chong wei" - 1978], which Godfrey Ho wrote the screenplay) to try and make one cohesive film. He fails miserably. Carol, a commercial actress, walks off the set of her latest shoot where she is raped by wealthy businessman Mr. Lee. At the rape trial, Mr. Lee is found innocent and Carol vows revenge. Wendy, a newspaper reporter, stays on the story when Carol is found dead after unsucessfully trying to stab Mr. Lee. Wendy is attacked and raped by four drunken hoods (When she puts up resistance, one of the hood says: "Why don't we go to a whorehouse instead?"!!!). Wendy does not go to the police because she saw the way they treated Carol. Instead, she exacts revenge vigilante style. Her fiance leaves her and takes up with another woman when she tells him about the rape. She kills the four thugs by various means (meat hooks, impalement on spikes and scares another hood by putting her last victim's eyeballs in his bowl of rice!) and finds out that Mr. Lee was also instrumental in commissioning her rape. As the police close in, Wendy is caught stabbing Mr. Lee to death. At her trial, Wendy gets imprisoned for life. That's the basic story, but you'll have to put up with some footage that definitely comes from different sources to pad out the film. Godfrey Ho (with help from producer Joseph Lai) made many of these faux films during the 80's, most of them featuring actor Richard Harrison in cameo bits and many of them with "Ninja" in the title. Thankfully, he's not in this one. This one stars Fonda Lynn, Warren Chan, Bernard Tsui, Cherry Kwok and Morris Lam. Originally released on VHS by Unicorn Video (which is long OOP), it is now available from 5 Minutes To Live on DVD-R for $14.99. Why would you waste good money on a film like this? Not Rated.
HORROR OF THE HUNGRY HUMONGOUS HUNGAN (1991) - Another retitled travesty (originally called simply THE HUNGAN) from Troma, the purveyors of the putrid. Director/Producer/Screenwriter Randall DiNinni (who also handled about 20 other posts behind the scenes) creates a laughable horror film that's all the more amazing because they got Jack Palance to do the voiceover narration in the beginning. The convoluted story is about a voodoo woman and a mad scientist who create a monster from dead body parts, including what looks like the claw of a giant lizard, and inject it with a voodoo serum which brings the monster to life. The monster, who sports bad facial makeup and a white Eva Gabor wig to go along with the lizard claw, goes on a killing spree murdering everyone who he comes across. A teenage girl has nightmares about the monster (called a Hungan) killing her and her boyfriend in the woods. So what does this smart girl do? Why, she goes on a camping trip with her boyfriend, her preteen brother and some high school friends. Needless to say, almost everyone dies by the Hungan's lizard claw. Filled with lame-ass acting (it's basically non-acting) especially by the nightmare girl (BJ Moyer) who screams at every moment even when she isn't being chased by the monster (you'll breathe a sigh of relief when she's finally killed), cheap-ass gore effects (an awful beheading, a guy's arm being torn off like it was made of butter, a security guard getting repeatedly bashed on his head with a fire estinguisher, bad lizard claw slashings), a monster that flails his arms while chasing his prey, and a really bad rock band called Cry Wolf who play their "hits" at a house party, this film doesn't even cross over to the "so bad it's good" category, even when a Pee Wee Herman imitator crashes the house party (WTF?!). You'll just sit there slack-jawed with boredom hearing such lines as: "I've done it! I've done it! I made the dead live!" and watching endless scenes of teens talking to each other without saying anything of substance. The best part of the film is the bloopers shown before the end credits. The DVD from Troma is a VHS port as there are instances of rolling and tracking problems. The picture is very muddy. It was encoded in Dolby Digital though. Why?Also starring David A. Yoakam (as the Hungan), Joseph Miller, Thomas E. Blair and Richard D. Johnson. The question remains: What did the filmmakers have on Jack Palance to get him to do the opening narration? Maybe he just needed booze money. Contrary to the packaging credits, Richard Gardner did not direct this film (He directed DEADLY DAPHNE'S REVENGE - 1980). This DVD was part of Toxie's Triple Terror #3, which also includes CROAKED: FROG MONSTER FROM HELL (a.k.a. RANA: THE LEGEND OF SHADOW LAKE) and VIDEO DEMONS DO PSYCHOTOWN (a.k.a. BLOODBATH IN PSYCHOTOWN), both also extremely bad films. Distributed by BCI Eclipse (which would explain a lot). Not Rated.
OZARK SAVAGE (1999/2002) - Kitchen sink film that tosses everything at you and hopes it will stick. It looks as if director/writer/editor/photographer Matt Steinauer made a short film and stretched it out to an unreasonable 75 minutes. It takes it cues from films like RESERVOIR DOGS (1992), Hong Kong action films, THE EVIL DEAD (1982), PHANTASM (1979) and countless other cult films and mixes them all together. Instead of resulting in a good indie effort, it falls flat on its face. In 1997, hitman Lens Ozark (David Wilson) is hired to retrieve an ancient Chinese coin that will give the owner the rights to Hong Kong (don't ask me how). He is doublecrossed after getting the coin and murdered in the desert. He goes to Hell and meets Satan who also loses the coin (it has a mind of its own) forcing Ozark to come back to the desert during a nuclear test, which makes him invincible. He sets out to get revenge on mob boss Vincenzo Malachi (Vince Di Meglio, the best thing about this film), taking out all his henchmen in a series of bloody and (supposedly) comic viginettes. The bullets fly fast and furious as Ozark shoots his way through the cast, is rescued by a girl (Stephanie Matthews-Diaz) who has a connection to the coin, and hopes for a happy ending. The only problem is that Steinauer tries to dazzle us with overused camera tricks (solarized shots, sped-up photography, bullet-eye view) and an ending that can best be described as unfinished. I had high hopes for the film, but was disappointed almost immediately after putting the DVD in my player. It just tries to be too hip for its own good. It's all flash and no substance. A little restraint would have went a long way. Also starring Elliott Grey, Ken Wilson, Manny Fernandez and Bill Hill. Made in 1999 and not released until 2002. Now you know why. A Canyon Releasing, LLC Release. Rated R.
BARN OF THE NAKED DEAD (1974) - This totally misogynistic horror film is famous for two things: It is an early work from art house director Alan Rudolph (credited as "Gerald Cormier" on some prints, although Gerald Cormier is a real person and not a pseudonym [He actually Produced the film]) and contains a devil-may-care performance by Andrew Prine. Both have said that they wish this film was better left forgotten. While I agree, others absolutely love this film. I'm still baffled why. The story begins with three female singers (Manuella Theiss, Sherry Alberoni and Gyl Roland) having car trouble on their way to Las Vegas. They become stuck in the desert and are rescued by Andre (Prine). Andre turns out to be a psychopathic freak and chains up the girls in his barn, along with a half dozen other girls that are already there. He whips the girls in order to get them to follow his orders ("You all belong to me now, you know."). This delusional freak is making them perform in his own private circus. Andre also keeps a mountain lion as a pet and sets it loose whenever a girl tries to escape. Also running around in the desert is a mutated radioactive man who lives in a shack near the barn and kills any nosey people who stray near the area. This mutant turns out to be Andre's father, who got too near a nuclear test years earlier. That's about all the story there is. The rest of the film is mainly scenes of Andre whipping the female cast while spewing bile, making the girls perform circus tricks, killing them when they don't obey and a small subplot of the three girls' agent searching the area for them. Unfortunately there are no instances of nudity, living or dead, only a very bad film with a real downbeat ending. Alan Rudolph took over directing this film after the original director couldn't hack it and Andrew Prine has said in interviews that he even directed parts of it because he wouldn't get paid unless the film was finished. Rudolph would go on to direct the weird ENDANGERED SPECIES (1982) and a whole bunch of noteworthy art films. Andrew Prine is no stranger to the horror genre, appearing in THE CENTERFOLD GIRLS (1973), GRIZZLY (1976), THE EVIL (1977) and countless others. BARN OF THE NAKED DEAD, also known as NIGHTMARE CIRCUS (from Regal Video) and TERROR CIRCUS, is one of Prine's lesser efforts. Also starring Jennifer Ashley, Chuck Niles, Gil Lamb, Sheila Bromley and Al Cormier. An AIR Video VHS Release. Released on DVD as TERROR CIRCUS by Code Red/Shriek Show. Also released on semi-legit DVD from Legend House and on a legit double feature DVD from Code Red, with the awful 1981 horror film SCREAM. Code Red also released this film (under the TERROR CIRCUS title) on a double feature DVD with the 1973 psycho-thriller SCHOOLGIRLS IN CHAINS. Now available on Blu-Ray from Code Red, sold exclusively through Screen Archives Entertainment. Rated R.
DR. CHOPPER (2005) - Lame slasher flick and, since it comes from York Entertainment, you know it's gonna suck bad. Demented plastic surgeon Dr. Chopper (Ed Brigadier), named so because of the type of motorcycle he rides, is killing young teens with his two female assistants in order to conquer aging. As the police close in, Dr. Chopper and his assistants escape to parts unknown. Thirty years later, a group of five teens go on a vacation to a cabin in the woods, where an alcoholic park ranger (Costas Mandylor) is trying to drink all his problems away while half the county is either disappearing or found dead with body parts missing. Who is causing all this mayhem? Why, it's no other than Dr. Chopper, now a spry 87 years old and still riding his motorcycle. After dispatching most of the cast and the park ranger's new partner, there's one surprise for the remaining female victim (Chelsey Crisp) as Dr. Chopper and his deformed flesh-hungry assistants try to kill her for her DNA (don't ask). I really feel sorry for Costas Mandylor. Appearing in dreck like this is only one step above starring in a porno film. Forget that the film doesn't make any sense because your eyes and ears won't believe how badly this film is edited and acted. Director Lewis Schoenbrun (SLAUGHTERHOUSE PHI - 2006) has no idea how to frame a shot or build suspense which is a surprise considering how many low-budget horror films he has edited. What you are left with is a very bloody film (lots of body parts, throat slashings and stabbings) with a highly disposable cast of no-talents and a plot that could fit on a cocktail napkin. The worst part about this film is seeing how far Costas Mandylor has fallen. He knows it too. You can see it in his performance. Also starring Robert Adamson, Chase Hoyt, Butch Hansen, Ashley McCarthy and Benjamin Keepers. A York Entertainment Release. Not Rated.
CITY OF BLOOD (1983) - Deadly boring South African production about the murders of white prostitutes by some unknown Black assailant using an ancient African spiked weapon. The town medical examiner (Joe Stewardson, who looks like Jack Elam on a three week bender), who is dealing with some personal and professional problems of his own (including talking to people who aren't really there and having prophetic dreams), tries to solve the series of killings while dealing with racial tensions and a crooked government. More soap opera than horror, this film tries to stuff too many ideas into the plot and alienates the audience in the process. We have ancient curses (the prologue takes place 2,000 years ago), police procedurals, a severely-flawed main character who walks around most of the time with his eyes closed, Black vs. White tensions (filmed before apartheid was a common word) and government back-stabbing. While all that sounds promising, first-time director/writer Darrell Roodt (PAVEMENT - 2002; DRACULA.3000 - 2004) fails to inject any adrenaline into his screenplay and the film moves at a snail's pace. It doesn't help that the film makes no sense at all, either. This film is nothing but a long 96 minute stretch of tedium. Also starring Ian Yule, Ken Gampu (who seems to appear in every other South African film produced in the 70's and 80's), Susan Coetzer, Greg Latter, Gys De Villiers and Liz Dick. Picked up by New World Pictures for distribution in the United States and released on video by Magnum Entertainment. Rated R.
VOODOO DOLLS (1990) - Simply horrid piece of Canadian trash, that even a screenplay written by Ed Kelleher (listed here as "Ed Kleeher" on the error-ridden video box) cannot save (He co-wrote the cult classics INVASION OF THE BLOOD FARMERS  and SHRIEK OF THE MUTILATED , as well as the superior MADONNA: A CASE OF BLOOD AMBITION, also in 1990). Troubled girl Vanessa (Grace Phillips) is sent to The Hanley School For Girls where, 30 years earlier, the headmaster and two schoolgirls were savagely slashed to death while having sex. Vanessa joins the drama club and takes the lead in a cursed play, the same play that was put on 30 years ago. Soon a voodoo curse is unleased, which will take the lives of those who stand in the way of stopping Vanessa from becoming the new voodoo queen. Boring to the point of no return, VOODOO DOLLS contains no redeeming qualities except for the small section where the school's maintenance man is attacked in the basement by a horde of the title creatures. It's so funny and poorly done that you'll find yourself laughing hysterically. Then you'll experience boredom again for the rest of the film. Director Andre Pelletier (who has acted in French Canadian films since the early 70's) gives us some nice scenery, filmed in the French quarters of Montreal, but has no idea how to pace a film as it just lumbers along to it's final banal conclusion. The acting here is also a major distraction. The actor who plays the Black voodoo priest Desmond (Graham Chambers) is so wooden in his delivery I swore I saw leaves growing out of his ears. While there is some female nudity on view, it's still not enough for me to justify this as a rental or impulse buy to anyone. The violence is also nearly nonexistant and what there is only amounts to throwing some fake blood on someone and calling it a slaughter. Save your money for the strip club instead. An Atlas Entertainment Corp. VHS Release. Also available on DVD from Code Red as part of a double feature with MADONNA. Rated R.
THE SHAMAN (1987) - What smells worse than a baby's full diaper? What stinks more than a slaughterhouse in the Summer sun? What odor is stronger than an unwashed Taliban member? Look no further, your answer is here. This putrid excuse for a film tells the tale of an evil Shaman (Eivind Harum), who is searching for someone to inherit his black magic powers. On his search, he uses his powers on Jack (Michael Conforti), who initially rebukes the Shaman's powers. When Jack tells his friends about the Shaman, they think he's crazy. Only his friend Paul (James Farkas) offers Jack any help. Meanwhile, the Shaman kidnaps Jack's wife Millie (Michelle Kronin) and forces Jack to do his bidding if he wants Millie back alive. Jack kidnaps the mailman (?), brings him to the Shaman and the Shaman cuts his throat. Jack then becomes possessed and does whatever the Shaman commands. Can Paul help Jack beat the Shaman? There's also a subplot about two little Black kids (who are better actors than their adult contemporaries) whose parents become possessed by the Shaman and try to get anyone to believe that their parents are screwed-up. That's the whole story, folks. The rest of the film is just a series of static dialogue scenes, spoken by untalented actors, stitched together in random order, with a quick bloodless stabbing here and there. It's no wonder that director Michael Yakub never made another film. At times the film is so slow, it seems to go in reverse. There's not one thing to recommend here. No nudity, no blood, no action, no nothing. I've had blisters on my thumb that were more exciting than this. The only thing worthwhile is the comical huge bow that Paul's wife Lizzy (Bianca Levin) wears in her hair for the entire film. Save your dough and time. Also starring Michelle Kronin, Lynne Weaver, Mike Hodge and Mike Folger. An Imperial Entertainment Home Video Release. Not available on DVD (count that as a blessing). Not Rated, but no worse than a PG-13.
CEMETERY HIGH (1988) - Terribly unfunny horror comedy, directed by Gorman Bechard, who also gave us PSYCHOS IN LOVE (1986) and GALACTIC GIGOLO (1987), two other unfunny genre comedies. This one also breaks the fourth wall, as the actors break character to talk to the audience and then slip back into character and continue on with the scene. While this may seem like a nice break from the norm, it really isn't because the characters are so broad and unsympathetic (nearly every male character acts like a raving retard or misogynist) that you end up just shaking your head in disgust. There is also the novelty of the "Gore Gong" which sounds whenever a scene of blood is about to be shown and the "Hooter Honk" which sounds whenever scenes of nudity are about to be displayed. What's the story behind this whole mess do you ask? It's a story about five high school girls (who look old enough to have graduated college) who get even with every male that has abused them and other women in their town. They go around shooting, stabbing, chopping, running over and chainsawing their prey. All the violence is played broadly and not very convincingly (most of it is never shown) and the nudity, while nice, seems to go against the story's grain (especially when they talk about who has the biggest tits), thereby making it gratuitous. The acting is uniformly awful as the actors mug for the cameras and a lot of them look like they are reading off cue cards. This is really rough going for even the most patient film viewer. Carmine Capobianco, who co-wrote this mess with Bechard and starred in many of Bechard's films, plays the same character in this one that he did in Bechard's first film, DISCONNECTED (1983). Gorman Bechard does seem to have a cult following, but this film seems to play a joke on his fans as he pulls away at nearly every turn when he's about to show violence and nudity. He's playing you for the sucker. There's even a scene set in a video store where the girls praise PSYCHOS IN LOVE and even hold up the VHS box for everyone to see and another in an agent's office where a poster for DISCONNECTED is proudly displayed. One gets the feeling that Bechard is in love with himself. Starring Debi Thibeault, Karen Nielsen, Lisa Schmidt, Ruth Collins (who seems to be the only one with talent here), Simone, Tony Kruk, David Coughlin and Frank Stewart. CEMETERY HIGH is also known as HACK 'EM HIGH and SCUMBUSTERS (which is the name the Press gives the girls' group). A Unicorn Video Release wich is OOP. Also available on DVD from Full Moon (Charles Band was the uncredited Executive Producer). Not Rated, but no harder than a soft R.
THE FOG (2005) - Pointless remake which adds nothing new to the 1979 original. Director Rupert Wainwright (STIGMATA - 1999) films many of the scenes exactly the same as John Carpenter's original, who is a producer here and gets a "Based on the film written by" credit along with producer Debra Hill, who died a few months before this film was released to theaters. The story has changed slightly (the booty is no longer in the church, but in the Town Hall), but it can't change the fact that this is a minor horror entry. The same cast of characters are here: Tom Welling (SMALLVILLE [2001 - 2011]) takes over for Tom Atkins. Maggie Grace (LOST [2004 - 2010]) steps in for Jamie Lee Curtis. Selma Blair (HELLBOY - 2004) now mans the radio station in the lighthouse (which doesn't even play an important part in this film), a job that was originally handled by Adrienne Barbeau. Sara Botsford has the Janet Leigh role. All the other characters from the original are in this, except instead of Hal Holbrook as the priest holding the secret it is now Kenneth Walsh as the town's mayor. A few minor updates involving the use of computers and a video camera are added to modernize the story, but screenwriter Cooper Layne basically just lets all other aspects of his screenplay mimic the original. While I consider the original film to be lesser Carpenter, at least it was steeped in atmosphere as the fog was a character all in itself. This remake has most of the fog CGI-created, making it look hokey, not scarey. The remake's idea of scares consists of turning up the volume of the soundtrack and hope you jump. It doesn't. It's just annoying and will have you reaching for the volume control on a regular basis. The ghostly denizens of the phantom ship are also poorly rendered. Spend your hard-earned money on something more worthy. Like a good back-waxing (you know you need it). The DVD is the Unrated version (it was rated PG-13 when in theaters) and contains almost three minutes of extra footage. I saw nothing that would even push it into R territory. Also starring Rade Sherbedgia, DeRay Davis and Adrian Hough. A Columbia Pictures Home Video Release. Unrated.
JIGSAW (2002) - Another ridiculous badly-acted low-budget piece of Full Moon/Tempe Entertainment tripe made just before Charles Band (who executive produced this) put his production company into a self-imposed moratorium. A college art professor divides a mannequin into five pieces and gives each piece to one of his students (it's a small class) to decorate. They are given a week to do their best to personalize the body parts (one guy puts a video camera in the head) and they are all to meet at a bar (!) to put the pieces together, the result being called Jigsaw. After they all get drunk and bare their deepest desires and fears, they burn Jigsaw as part of their final grade. Guess what? Yep, that right. Jigsaw comes to life and begins killing the students, taking a piece of their body just like they took a piece of his. Ho hum. Wasn't this already covered in a film called THE FEAR (1994) with a life-size wooden doll called Morty? Let get something straight right off the bat: Any professor that would take his students (some who are underage) to a bar to hold class would immediately be fired. But, to let them order rounds of drinks of their choice, while they explain why they decorated the mannequin's body parts the way they did and then charging the drinks to the college is just plain criminal (granted, it's just a junior college, but still...). Not only does the professor drink with them, he also smokes a joint and hits on one of his female students. Where is this college and how do I get a teaching position there? It took two directors, Don Adams and Harry James Picardi (who both also produced, wrote and edited), to make this steaming pile of unbelievable manure and it takes over 50 minutes (of it's 77 minute running time) before anything happens besides endless mindless chatter and grade school emoting (one of the students clenches his teeth throughout, like he's trying to squeeze one out). I'm tired of crap like this. It pulls away from most of the violence, lives in an illogical universe all it's own (where you can stare out of windows made of that thick frosted glass and see everything on the other side clearly) and is boring as a bowl of fuck. Watching this film is akin to rubbing cat turds in your eyes. This is also about the tenth film to use the title JIGSAW. It is also the worst. Starring Barret Walz, Aimee Brave, Mia Zifkin, Arthur Simone and David Wesley Cooper. A Full Moon Entertainment Release. Rated R.
QUEEN KONG (1977) - Made as a quick cash-in of Dino DeLaurentiis' version of KING KONG (1976), DeLaurentiis sucessfully blocked it's release in American theaters. As much as I dislike the 1976 remake, this gender-reversal comedy/musical take-off is so abominable, I thought of burning my eyes out after watching it to try and rinse my mind of this piece of celluloid trash. Thankfully, clearer heads prevailed. Rula Lenska stars as Luce Habit (groan), a filmmaker looking for a male actor to star in her new movie to be filmed in Africa. She finds him in petty thief and pothead Ray Fay (Robin Askwith of HORROR HOSPITAL - 1973; and, oh, double groan). She drugs and shanghais him off to Africa and begins shooting her film. They run into a female tribe that force their men to do menial tasks or to be used as sacrifices for Queen Kong, the huge horny female ape who rules the area. Ray is kidnapped by the female tribe and offered as a sacrifice to Queenie, who falls in love with him (and he with her). I think we can all see where this is heading. Queen Kong is brought to London where she breaks loose (after being forced to wear a giant bra and panties!) and causes mass destruction. I can't begin to describe how truly awful this film is to sit through. It's like sitting in a dentist's chair waiting to have that double root canal. Director/writer Frank Agrama (DAWN OF THE MUMMY - 1981) tosses jokes fast and furiously at the screen and not a single one of them sticks. There's also jokey references to THE EXORCIST (1973), JAWS (1975) and other popular films at the time, none of them humorous in any way. You'll hear lines like, "Tarzan, your wife Jane is on the other vine!" and "You can't eat me. I'm a Jewish Black Irish leper!". Please shoot me now because if I remember any more my brain will bleed. This kitchen sink comedy also has the shoddiest special effects that you'll ever see. LAND OF THE LOST (1974 - 1977) had more believable effects. Queen Kong is a ragged mess (and looks nothing like the picture on the DVD sleeve) as are the tyrannosaurus rex and the pteradactyl that she fights. It's also filled with lots of Benny Hill-type moments (people running around while the film is sped-up) but, they too, are about as funny as an abortion. I have the feeling if the makers of AIRPLANE (1980) ever saw this and the miserable way it fails as a comedy, they wouldn't even have tried. The makers of QUEEN KONG should all be arrested for grand larceny. They have stolen my will to live. Also starring Valerie Leon, Roger Hammond, John Clive, Carol Drinkwater and Linda Hayden as The Singing Nun. Does God know about this? A Retromedia Entertainment Release. Not Rated.
CATHY'S CURSE (1977) - Hey, do you need an excuse to hate the French? Try watching this piece of drivel. George (Alan Scarfe) returns to his parents home with mentally unstable wife Vivian (Beverley Murray) and young daughter Cathy (Randi Allen). Years earlier, George's mother left his father, taking George with her but leaving daughter Laura with the father. George's father and Laura go chasing after George and Mom, but get into a car accident and are burned to death. Back in the present, Cathy becomes possessed by Laura (who, it turns out, was an evil little brat when she was alive) and begins acting strange. She starts hurting the neighborhood children, taunts her nanny (and eventually pushes her out a window), levitates objects and carries Laura's ugly doll (the scariest thing in the film) with her wherever she goes. Only the family dog (who also ends up dead) seems to know how evil Cathy really is (she's so evil, she turns a perfectly good pork chop into a maggot-ridden piece of rancid meat by just looking at it), but when Cathy's mom becomes hip to how evil she is, no one believes her because of her past mental problems. Do you really need to hear any more about this film? Let's just say that the doll has more personality than any of the actors in this. Those fucking French are lucky I like their toast and fries. This is truly a chore to sit through. This French/Canadian co-production, directed by Eddy Matalon (BLACKOUT - 1978), makes absolutely no sense and is an affront to your eyes and ears. This is basically a low-rent riff on themes found in THE EXORCIST (1973) and THE OMEN (1976), as Cathy works her way through a series of nannies, family members and friends in mostly non-bloody ways. You really want to throw up your hands and scream, "Enough already!", when Dad entrusts the care of Cathy to alcoholic handyman Paul (Roy Witham) after she has killed her nanny and put her Mom back in the looney bin. Talk about parental neglect! Filled with cheap scares, objects floating on visible wires, plenty of glass objects spontaneously breaking and dialogue like, "Well, if it isn't the medium herself! Medium? More like an extra-rare piece of shit!" Woo, boy! Can you smell it? That's shitty dialogue. Little Randi Allen plays Cathy with only one expression: A mad little pout that looks like she's shitting little brown babies in her underwear. Maybe this is the French's idea of a scary movie, but you also have to remember that they eat snails and frogs legs. I've seen scarier things on Sesame Street (Fozzie the Bear is the Antichrist! Don't try and change my mind.). Also starring Mary Morter and Dorothy Davis. CATHY'S CURSE has never looked good on home video. Originally released on VHS by Continental Video in a soft print and then released by budget label Gemstone Entertainment in an unwatchable EP-mode mess. The version on Mill Creek Entertainment's 50 movie DVD compilation titled CHILLING CLASSICS is one of the worst DVD presentations I have ever seen (and I've seen plenty). It's taken from an extremely scratchy print (missing more than a few frames) and is encoded in such a low bitrate that any sudden movements causes extreme pixelization. Maybe that's for the best. You're not missing much anyway. Also available on a double feature DVD from Alpha Video, with the even more rank CURSE OF BIGFOOT (1958/1976). Rated R. NOTE: Available in a crystal clear Blu-Ray from Severin Films.
DEAD SILENCE (2006) - Taken out of their natural habitat (on stage or in comedy clubs), ventriloquist dummies are fucking scary. This movie tries to play on that fear. A husband and wife receive a dummy at their door that seems to have a life of it's own. While the husband is out getting Chinese food, the wife is brutally slaughtered, her face sliced up to look like a dummy and her tongue cut out. A local detective (a really horrendous Donnie Walhberg) thinks the husband, Jamie (Ryan Kwanten of TRUE BLOOD), murdered his wife, but Jamie finds a clue that the dummy (his name is Billy) belonged to the late ventriloquist Mary Shaw (Judith Roberts), who was killed years ago in the town of Ravens Fair after being accused in the disappearance of local children. Jamie goes to Ravens Fair (which, as luck would have it, is his home town) and begins unraveling the mystery of Mary Shaw and her 101 dolls, who all got buried in separate graves surrounding Mary. Why would someone dig up Billy and send it to the married couple? It all has to do with Jamie's father (Bob Gunton), who was one of the men who killed Mary years earlier. Mary has returned for revenge and she has dug up all 101 of her children to help her get it. That's all you need to know about this slow-moving flick, directed by James Wan (the SAW franchise). Besides a couple of decent jump scares courtesy of creepy Billy and his moving eyes and jaw, this is a pretty tedious affair and an ugly film to look at. The film is purposely drained of most of it's color and given a sickly blue glow, so everyone looks jaunticed or dead. It's done to set a mood, but it becomes a severe distraction after the first 30 minutes. I can't begin to describe how utterly awful Donnie Wahlberg's performance is here. His bullying portrayal as a no-nonsense cop is so devoid of any emotional depth, you'll swear he's more wooden than the dummies. It also doesn't help that the film doesn't make a lick of sense (Why start the killings now? Wouldn't it have been more prudent to kill those responsible for your death much earlier than this?). I think director Wan and scripter Leigh Whannell were looking to create a new horror franchise, but since this died a very quick death in theaters, I think this is the last we will see Mary Shaw and her huge tongue (Did I forget to mention that? Every time she cuts out someone's tongue, her's get longer!). DEAD SILENCE contains more false scares than real ones and some would say that the film's title best describes the audience's reaction after viewing it. The DVD restores a few seconds of gore excised to obtain an R rating. The DVD also contains an unfinished alternate ending and some deleted scenes, but none of it is interesting. Also starring Michael Fairman (the best performance in the film), Amber Valletta, Laura Regan and Joan Heney. A Universal Studios Home Entertainment Release. Unrated.
PSYCHOS IN LOVE (1986) - Here's what to expect: The opening scene shows a girl dropping her panties, taking a pee and then being hung by her neck in the bathroom stall. Then, a quick succession of women are killed by Joe (co-scripter Carmine Capobianco), a bar owner and serial killer. The women die by garrotting, a slit throat and a re-enactment of the shower scene in 1960's PSYCHO (Joe kills the last woman because she liked grapes and, in the immortal words of Joe, "I fucking hate grapes!"). Then one day, manicurist Kate (Debi Thibeault) walks into his strip club and it's love at first sight (turns out she hates grapes, too). You see, Kate is also a serial killer and murders men at random. When they open up to each other and find out they are both "unstable", they agree to join forces and become unstable together. They become a serial killing couple and begin bringing people home and murdering them together. So begins director/producer/co-scripter Gorman Bechard's (DISCONNECTED - 1983; CEMETERY HIGH - 1988) ultra-low-budget horror comedy which spends too much time winking at the audience and not enough time developing a plot (Where the hell are the cops?). The characters break the fourth wall often, as Joe and Kate speak directly to the screen, the camera and boom mike become conscious parts of the plot and even the special effects crew are seen pumping stage blood during one murder sequence. The violence is graphic (effects by Jennifer Aspinal), but hard to take seriously since Joe and Kate wink at the screen so often. The film is also full of nudity, bit it's also used for comical effect. There's also a sub-plot about a plumber (Frank Stewart), who is also a cannibalistic serial killer and works his way through the cast until there's the eventual showdown between him and Joe and Kate. I know this film has it's fans, but I'm not one of them. I've always found Bechard's films a little too forced and jokey for my tastes and frequent star Carmine Capobianco (who also composed the crappy original songs) to be an odd choice for a leading man. His pudgy build, full beard and thinning hair, added to his total lack of acting talent, makes a pretty pathetic impression on the screen. Try watching this and Bechard's GALATIC GIGOLO (1987) in one sitting, to experience the filmic equivilent of a full frontal lobotomy. The only saving grace is Bechard regular Debi Thibeault, who is not only beautiful, she also has a modicum of talent. It's too bad she couldn't have escaped Bechard's gravitational pull and appeared in more mainstream fare (she quit acting in 1989). PSYCHOS IN LOVE, like all of Gorman Bechard's 80's films, was made in Connecticut utilizing local talent. Too bad most of that talent had no talent. Also starring Cecilia Wilde, Donna Davidge, LeeAnne Baker, Ruth Collins and a very early role for future TV star Eric Lutes. A Wizard Video Release. Not Rated.
WARLORDS FROM HELL (1985) - Simply horrible action film. Two American motorcross racers, Kirk (Brad Henson) and Hal (Jeffrey D. Rice), run afoul of a bunch of motorcycle-riding marijuana farmers in Mexico and are taken prisoner and used as slave labor on the farm. Since the local police (there seems to be only one cop in town) are as crooked as a hillbilly's teeth (tooth?), Hal and Kirk must figure out a way to escape this hell and get back to their native soil. A little Mexican boy named Manuel (Sol Castillo), the brother of farm captive Maria (Leonell Carter), smuggles a letter to Hal and Kirk's sister Betsy (Ann-Charlotte Elming), another motorcross racer, asking for help. Betsy, along with friend Mike (Mark Merry) and mechanic Zeke (George Randall), build two special armor-plated sidehack motorcycles for the rescue. Disguised as a priest and a nun (!), Mike and Betsy head for Mexico. Armed with automatic weapons and grenades, Mike and Betsy assault the marijuana farm in hopes of freeing Hal and Kirk. A high time is not had by all. This short (75 minute) piece of flotsam is the filmic equivalent of raw sewage. Director Clark Henderson (SAIGON COMMANDOS - 1987; PRIMARY TARGET - 1988) hasn't got a clue how to film an action scene and there's a total lack of logic to the threadbare plot. You'll groan out loud when you see how easy it is for Betsy and Mike to find the secret marijuana farm. Even more brain-busting is how they are able to smuggle two armored-plated sidehack cycles and a cache of weapons over the Mexican border, not to mention how they are experts with guns and explosives. I guess you learn a lot on the motorcross circuit. The final extended motorcycle chase should be used as a primer on how not to film an action scene. The stunts are poor, the film is obviously cranked-up to make the chases seem faster than they actually were and camera shadows are in abundance. Equally embarassing is a young Robert Patrick (TERMINATOR 2: JUDGEMENT DAY - 1991), in one of his first film roles, as motorcycle gang member Rod, who is constantly picking fights (and loses nearly every one of them) and calls everyone "pussies" (a lot). This could have been a career-busting performance but, luckily, hardly anyone saw this turd. There's a reason for that: It's a boring, poorly-made, badly-acted and unexciting action flick that just screams out Grade Z. I've had better times at funerals. My condolences to those that have suffered through this film. If a camera had an ass, this is what it would shit out. Filmed under the title THE LAST RIDE. Also starring Magic Schwarz, Harold Cannon, Richard Leos, Don Elliot Alexander and Wesley Bennett. A Warner Home Video Release. Rated R.
RUMBLE IN THE STREETS (1996) - During the mid-90's, Roger Corman and his Concorde Pictures ran out of other people's ideas to rip-off, so he started ripping-off himself. This is nothing but a poverty-stricken, nearly verbatim remake of STREETS (1990) and it's nearly unwatchable, thanks to the lethargic direction of Bret McCormick (THE ABOMINATION - 1986; ARMED FOR ACTION - 1992) and the acting of a no-talent cast. Where STREETS was an effective "life on the streets" thriller, this film fails at nearly every turn (the scripters of STREETS, Andy Ruben and Katt Shea Ruben [who also directed], are credited with co-authoring the script here [along with McCormick], but they are only credited for contractual reasons). The story is simple: Street hustler Tori (Kimberly Rowe; KNOCKING ON DEATH'S DOOR - 1998) runs afoul of psychotic motorcycle cop Lumley (Patcick DeFazio) when she shows her tits to him. He goes to touch them, but Tori freaks out (she doesn't like anyone touching her, thanks to a childhood event that haunts her) and scratches him across the face (the scratches on his face change constantly throughout the film). Lumley starts to strangle her, but she is saved by Texas road poet Sy (David Courtemarche) and they both jump off a bridge to escape Lumley, who is unloading his pistol in their direction. The rest of the film details Tori and Sy's burgeoning friendship while Lumley begins killing all of Tori's street friends in his search for her and Sy. Along the way, we get abject "insights" into the plight of street people (including a little girl who pimps herself out to pedophiles) while Tori and Sy fall in love and fight off Lumley's murderous rage. While STREETS contained an incredible performance by a young Christina Applegate, RUMBLE IN THE STREETS relies on the non-acting talents of Kimberly Rowe to carry the film and she fails miserably. Nearly everyone in this film couldn't act their way out of a paper bag and I could accept that if it wasn't for the hamfisted direction of McCormick, who hasn't got a clue on how to handle action scenes. The whole film reeks of desperation and cheapness and not the good kind that can add to a film's ambience. While McCormick does try to infuse this flick with some sleaze (Rowe has plenty of nude scenes and there are some bloody murders, including a drug dealer who has the barrel of a gun shoved up his ass before Lumley pulls the trigger), but the overall impoverished look of the production eliminates any the enjoyment the viewer may have hoped to find. Atrociously acted, photographed, directed and scored. Why would anyone in their right mind want to watch an awful remake of STREETS when that film is readily available to rent (It's available on DVD from Shout! Factory as a double feature with ANGEL IN RED - 1991)? Really, watch that instead of this abhorrent, 74 minute, piece of shit. I've passed gas that was infinitely more satisfying than this. Like most of McCormick's epics, this was shot in his home state of Texas. Also starring Vanessa Lauren, Tom Young, Dylan Coover, Scarlett McAlister, Mike Nicol and Sean Cordobes. A New Horizons Home Video Release. Rated R.
CHAINSAW CHEERLEADERS (2008) - I'll admit I have a thing for Tiffany Shepis (BLOODY MURDER 2 - 2002; THE HAZING - 2004). I'll watch anything she's in, but even I have my limits and this "film" is it. I use the word "film" loosely, because this is nothing but another of director/screenwriter Donald Farmer's terrible SOV flicks (which also includes DEMON QUEEN - 1986; CANNIBAL HOOKERS - 1987; SAVAGE VENGEANCE - 1989; VAMPIRE COP - 1990 and DORM OF THE DEAD - 2006) that contains awful acting (Tiffany excluded, of course), cheap CGI effects, grade school gore and a pointless script that tries to be funny, but constantly falls on it's ass. Goth chick Dawn (Michele Grey) has to decide on going to jail or joining a cheerleading camp after beating the crap out of her boyfriend when she discovers that he's been cheating on her (What?). She joins the cheerleader camp and one night Dawn and a handful of cheerleaders visit a haunted house (it looks more like a mountain cabin), where Dawn spies on a witch (who has several rings through her lower lip and nose) sacrificing a teenage girl in order to open a portal that frees 500 year-old witch Lucinda (Shepis) from eternal damnation. After spotting Dawn looking through the window, Lucinda possesses Bambi (Misty Marie), a member of the cheerleading squad, while Dawn picks up a handy chainsaw and gets down to business. Lucinda frames Dawn for the murders the possessed Bambi is committing (including the killing of Dawn's ex-boyfriend's extremely fat and ugly new girlfriend), but Dawn fights back, cutting off the possessed Bambi's head with a chainsaw just before another portal opens and some Puritans drag Lucinda back to the past. For all you masochists out there, never fear, because the ending leaves the flick wide-open for the inevitable sequel. My head hurts. Boring to the point of being an insomniac's wet dream, CHAINSAW CHEERLEADERS couldn't possibly be worse if it tried. Rather than using physical effects, director Don Farmer (who also portrays Dawn's father) goes the cheapo "do it on your home computer" CGI route and they're simply abysmal (especially the snake-like thingy that follows Lucinda around). Most of the chainsaw attacks are computer-generated effects (they are so obvious, it's criminal [and the chainsaw blades never spin!]) and what physical effects there are belong in a high school play (especially Bambi's possession makeup). Toss in cheerleaders that are at least fifteen years too old, a script that doesn't make a lick of sense, dialogue that only retards would speak (After witnessing Dawn chainsawing the mute servant of the witch in half, one of the cheerleaders says, "What did you do, like step on his rose bushes?") and very little nudity considering the cast (which includes Debbie Rochon as Dawn's rape-obsessed psychiatrist) and you'll wonder why you got sucked into renting or buying this (In all fairness, Don Farmer [who is a really nice guy] sent me this free of charge after learning that I'm a fan of Ms. Shepis). I'm in awe of it's awfulness. Also starring Jackey Hall (also the Producer), Ciara Richards, Rabecca Lee, Rudy Ownbey and Harmony Xanix (I need one of those, stat!). This is self-distributed by Donald Farmer on DVD-R and, as of this writing, is not even listed on IMDB. Not Rated.
SPLATTER: THE ARCHITECTS OF FEAR (1986) - I've heard plenty of terrible things about this pseudo-documentary about the behind-the-scenes making of a phony splatter film and, after watching it, I'm here to tell you that all those harsh words are all too true. This shot-on-video ass-dropping has an off-screen narrator (Christopher Britton) walking us through the "making of" a post-apocalyptic film where a tribe of cannibal Amazons battle a bunch of male mutants, showing us in repetitive (and boring) detail how every gory effect is achieved. Every now and then, the "documentary" stops dead in it's tracks to show us the antics of the film's deformed gofer, Fang (Paul Saunders, who sports one fang, like a vampire that tried to put the bite on a piece of petrified wood), who disrupts the film's shoot at the most inopportune times, not to mention biting the heads off live rats every now and then. The question quickly becomes: Why in the hell would a film company employ this retard? (On a side note: Why would Fang let himself be forced to eat out of a dog dish on the floor while the rest of the cast and crew have lunch at a table right next to him?) That's the whole film in a nutshell. Needless to say, if the film this fake documentary is documenting was ever actually made and released, it would probably be ten times more entertaining than SPLATTER, but that's not saying much. Ten times zero still equals zero. This Canadian production, directed by Peter Rowe (who directed lots of episodic Canadian TV, as well as making several real documentaries), may have been mildly diverting back when it was made (when there was still some mystery in how special effects makeup was done), but today it just seems dated. All the behind-the-scenes stuff seems endless, as the film's premise is this: Show a short clip (usually less than two minutes) of the "real" movie and then spend the next ten minutes or so detailing how every gore shot in that clip was achieved, followed by a short scene of Fang misbehaving in some way, like interfering with a shot or babbling to himself like some deranged mental patient doing an imitation of Peter Lorre. I'm at a loss for words describing how simply awful Paul Saunders is as Fang and I also have a hard time understanding why Rowe found it necessary to include this character into his film. For a film about special makeup effects, Fang's makeup is especially sub-par, drawing attention to the bad prosthetic over his left eye and his blatantly fake dental appliance. On the plus side, there's plenty of female nudity (apparently, Amazon women of the future have trouble keeping their tops on) and bloody gore, but the repetitive nature of the final product and the obvious non-acting talents of everyone in the cast (who try to make all the behind-the-scenes footage seem ad-libbed, but they all look rehearsed and forced), not to mention Fang, makes this 77 minute faux documentary a true chore to sit through. This was one of those films that every video store I frequented during the 80's & 90's had a copy of, but it never seemed to leave the shelves. There's a reason for that. Also starring Amber Wendleborg, Patti Aldrich, Doug Cawker and dozens of other people you never heard of. There's a reason for that, too. Surprisingly, Paul Saunders seems to be the only person in the cast that made a career in the acting profession. Originally available on VHS from North American Home Video Entertainment and available on DVD from boutique label Slasher Video. Not Rated.
DAY OF THE DEAD (2007) - Remember saying to yourself, "Oh, great, another shitty remake!" when hearing about director Zack Snyder's retelling of DAWN OF THE DEAD (2004) and then finding that you actually found it quite entertaining? Well, there's none of that here. This is about as shitty as they come and it bears as much in common with George Romero's DAY OF THE DEAD (1985) as Richard Simmons does with heterosexuality. Made in late 2006, but released directly to DVD in 2008 (not a good sign), this "reimagining" of Romero's classic (my favorite of his six [so far] DEAD films) finds the town of Leadville, Colorado being quarantined by the military, led by Captain Rhodes (Ving Rhames, who starred in the DAWN remake, but only has an extended cameo here), after the townspeople come down with a mysterious "flu", which leads to death and then instant reanimation as flesh-hungry zombies. As luck would have it (in what turns out to be a long line of handy coincidences), one of the National Guard members, Sarah Bowman (Mena Suvari; STUCK - 2007), was a citizen of Leadville before she left to join the Guard. When she disobeys a direct order and checks up on her sick mother and brother Trevor (Michael Welsh), Sarah, along with her brother, Dr. Logan (Matt Rippy), Trevor's girlfriend Nina (AnnaLynne McCord) and fellow soldiers Bud (Stark Sands) and Salazar (a terrible Nick Cannon), must fight a town full of screaming, fast-moving zombies (who now also sport such ridiculous powers like being able to jump unrealistic heights and the ability to walk on walls and ceilings!) while trying to avoid being bitten and infected. Trevor and Nina are trapped inside a radio station with overweight, pot-smoking DJ Paul (Ian McNeice; FREEZE FRAME - 2004), while Sarah and the rest must fight their way out of a hospital, which is surrounded by zombies. When Sarah finally reunites with her brother, they find a secret underground base and discover that the government was using the citizens of Leadville to test out their latest biological weapon. In a finale stolen directly from John Carpenter's ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13 (1976), Sarah, Trevor and Nina kill all the zombies in a huge fireball and get out of Dodge as quickly as possible. My, oh my, where do I begin in describing how truly insulting this film is to the George Romero zombie mythos? While I have no problem with the zombies being quick-moving (the DAWN remake proved it could be effectively scary), director Steve Miner (FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2  & 3 ; HOUSE - 1986; LAKE PLACID - 1999), working with a screenplay by Jeffrey Reddick, found it necessary to give the zombies gravity-defying powers that are so stupid, it made me cringe in embarrassment. About the only zombie mythos still adhered to is death by head trauma (Don't get me started that the zombies instantly explode when exposed to fire!). The most embarrassing aspect of this entire film is when Bud (a painful tip of the hat to the original DAY's lead zombie Bub, played by Sherman Howard) is bitten and turns into a zombie; he refuses to bite anyone because he was a vegetarian when he was alive! Give me a break! While the film is bloody as hell (in my opinion, it goes well beyond it's R-rating), many of the effects are obviously CGI-enhanced or totally computer-generated, giving many of the effects a manufactured, fake feel. You never once experience the effectiveness that practical effects would have achieved. This is a pitiful excuse for a horror film, which is not helped by weak acting, especially by Nick Cannon, who spits out more rap and hip-hop jargon than ten Snoop Dog music videos. Don't waste your time. Watch the original instead. Co-producer Boaz Davidson (director of HOSPITAL MASSACRE  and AMERICAN CYBORG: STEEL WARRIOR ) was also Second Unit Director here. Also starring Taylor Hoover, Pat Kilbane, Christa Campbell and Robert Rias. Available on DVD from First Look Studios. Rated R.
THE DEADLY ART OF SURVIVAL (1979) - Ultra-low-budget urban actioner that was shot on Super 8MM. Ghetto resident Nathan (Nathan Ingram), a Bruce Lee-worshipping martial arts teacher in his early-20's, is beaten to a pulp by a gang when he wanders into the wrong part of the neighborhood. He vows revenge, so he buys a gun (from a young boy in a church, no less!) and sets out to get it. Nathan soon finds out that he was set-up and was supposed to be killed instead of beaten-up. It seems local gangster Frankie thought Nathan was fooling around with his oriental girlfriend and got her pregnant when, in fact, it was actually gang leader Miguel (who Frankie hired to kill Nathan) who was dipping his wick into Frankie's chick. Nathan then gets into a disagreement with Harry, a martial arts teacher from a competing school who is also the local drug dealer. Harry has two of his students (who dress as black ninjas) steal the tires off Nathan's car (while he's in it making love to his girl!), steal Nathan's hat and lunch (these ninjas are hardcore!) and then abduct his baby (He has a baby?), leaving a headless doll in it's place and a note telling Nathan that if he wants his baby back, he will have to fight the ninjas to the death on the rooftop of an apartment building. Nathan fights the two ninjas and gets his baby back, but he doesn't kill the ninjas. Instead, he tears off his martial arts school's patch from his jacket and gives it to the ninjas (huh?). Nathan then goes mano-a-mano with Harry in a fight to the death, as Nathan defeats Harry and drop-kicks him into the East River. The End. This impossibly cheap home movie is a nice time capsule of the late-70's Lower East Side in Manhattan but, as a film, it's severely lacking in every department. Director/scripter Charlie Ahearn (who is better known for directing WILD STYLE , which is considered to be the first film to deal with the subject of hip-hop) uses local non-actor talent and there are many flubbed and stepped-on lines (no second takes here). Ahearn also uses live sound recording, where the background traffic noise and even the sound to the camera's motor drown-out much of the dialogue. Add to that editing that is so choppy, it's hard to tell where one scene ends and another begins, truly awful hand-held camerawork that is mostly pointed in the wrong direction or out-of-focus and some of the worst-staged martial arts fight sequences this side of a Leo Fong flick. The film's fragmented timeline makes it tough for the viewer to keep track of what is going on and characters disappear before their plot lines are finished, as if Ahearn was making this all up as he went along or he simply couldn't get the local talent to appear in another scene. The whole film has an unrehearsed, almost documentary-like feel to it but, unfortunately, you'll be looking at your watch more than the screen, wondering when this little obscurity is finally going to end. The only bizarre scene is when a white drug supplier is ranting to someone on his bed (we see everything from the POV of the person on the bed), only to discover he is yelling at his cat! Local NY underground filmmaker Beth B helped with the production (she is also listed as one of the three camera operators) and appears in a small role. The opening credits are spoken by star Nathan Ingram and the closing credits are handwritten on a pane of glass. Also starring George David Gonzalez, Miguel Villanueva, Gerry Hovagimyan, Kiki Smith, Freddy Rivera, 'Sly' Arthur Abrams, Paula Humphrey, Rosetta Campbell and Yoshiki Chuma (she is painfully embarrassing to watch as Frankie's pregnant girlfriend). A Brink DVD Release. Not Rated, but there's not much in the way of violence or nudity, just plenty of swearing.
LADY AVENGER (1988) - When her brother Jeff is murdered by a street gang, tough prison chick Maggie Blair (Peggy Sanders; SHE WOLVES OF THE WASTELAND - 1988) is granted a temporary pardon (with a fat matron as her guard) to attend his funeral. Not satisfied with the way the police investigation is proceeding, Maggie goes on the lam to get justice for her dead brother. Her first stop is the hospital room of Maria, her brother's Mexican girlfriend, who was raped and had her eyes cut out by the same gang that killed Jeff, but Maria is in a coma and is not talking. Maggie then teams-up with boyfriend Kevin (William Butler; BLOODY MOVIE - 1987) and they start questioning street gang members, which leads to all sorts of trouble for the pair, including street fights and car chases. It soon becomes apparent that Maggie's stepfather, Jack (Tony Josephs), is responsible for Jeff's death and wants Maggie and her mother dead, too. But why? When someone dressed as a doctor enters Maria's hospital room and slits her throat, it would seem that Jack is trying to get rid of all evidence that points towards him. It turns out that good-old stepdad needs Maggie out of the way (he was responsible for her prison stay, too) so he can swipe money from her mother's bank account for a drug deal that could net him millions. He keeps Maggie's mom in a constant drugged-out stupor, while he tries to set-up Maggie for Maria and Kevin's murders. As the police try to capture Maggie (in some really bad chase sequences), she tries to find out the truth behind the killings, blowing away bad guys and being deceived by best friend Annalice (Michelle Bauer, appearing her as "Michelle McClelland"). Maggie finally discovers the truth (after using a flame-thrower on a bad guy), but will she be able to save her mother before it's too late? Eh, I really don't care one way or the other. This is an anemic 80's actioner that contains some of the lamest, lazily staged action and fight sequences that I can recall. It should come as no surprise that this was directed/co-produced by David DeCoteau, the crown prince of lousy, no-budget genre films (DREAMANIAC - 1986; SORORITY BABES IN THE SLIMEBALL BOWL-O-RAMA - 1987; LEECHES - 2003). This is definitely one of the worst films of his early career, an amalgam of tired action clichés performed by a cast of no-talents (not counting William Butler or Michelle Bauer, who turn in the film's only decent performances). The film's main fault is that lead actress Peggy Sanders is so stupefyingly awful and is so skinny, even her nude scene made me cringe because I could count every rib in her body (Eat something, girl!). When she ties a red bandana around her forehead, dons an oversized pair of aviator sunglasses and wields an extremely huge pistol (which she can barely hold, nevermind aim), it elicits bouts of laughter rather than thrills. She may be the very reason why DeCoteau (who is gay) gave many of his later films a more homoerotic tone (lots of muscular young guys with their shirts and pants off). LADY AVENGER is an embarrassment for everyone involved and you'll find more action in a box of AlphaBits. If it weren't for Ms. Bauer's plentiful nude scenes, I would have turned this off after the first excruciating ten minutes. Also starring Jacolyn Leeman, Daniel Hirsch, Adam Englund, Rodger Burt, Mike Jacobs Jr., Steve Artiaga, Billy Frank and Jeff Brown. A Southgate Entertainment VHS Release. Not available on DVD. Rated R.
NEAR DEATH (2003) - Another ultra-low-budget loser from self-styled auteur Joe Castro, the same person responsible for such insufferable films as CEREMONY (1994), LEGEND OF THE CHUPACABRA (2000) and THE JACKHAMMER MASSACRE (2003). This films deals with the exploits of a trio of dunderheads led by parapsychologist June Rivera (Perrine Moore), as they investigate the legend of Willie Von Brahm (Carl Darchuck), a psychotic cult film director from the 40's who died under mysterious circumstances. June and her two assistants, Billy (Scott Lunsford) and bubble-headed actress Tammy (Ali Willingham), manage to find Von Brahm's coastal mansion and, thinking it's deserted, enter it, only to find it occupied by golden age actress Vena Marshwood (Darlene Tygrett), her manservant Heinrich (Marieno Savoie), butler Harlan (Brannon Gould) and Dr. Blanchard (Joseph Haggerty), who are all actually ageless flesh-eating ghouls that pay local hunk bartender Markie (Joseph Commesso) rare German gold coins to supply them with drunk bimbettes and fresh corpses to chow-down on. Both June and Billy immediately sense something is wrong (June is the spitting image of Maria De La Rosa, Von Brahm's servant, who had her heart cut out by Von Brahm when she spurned his sexual advances) and leave the mansion to stay in a hotel when the ghost of Von Brahm attacks them, but Tammy stupidly stays behind when she gets the hots for Harlan, who wants to turn her into a ghoul. To make an extremely long, boring story short, June and Billy discover what Markie is doing and Billy follows him to a coin store, where the coin dealer (Scott St. James) gives Billy some vital information about Von Brahm and the mansion. Meanwhile, June tries to stop Tammy from becoming a ghoul and becomes possessed by Maria, who wants June to "free my soul". Markie tries to steal a chest of gold coins from the mansion, only to become the latest meal for the ghouls. Now that the ghouls no longer have anyone to supply them with fresh meat (a boneheaded move on their part), they use Tammy (who now has tasted fresh flesh) to lure June and Billy back to the mansion, but our heroic duo brings a priest to the party to perform a séance to save Tammy and Maria's souls and to perform an exorcism to rid the mansion of Von Brahm's murderous spirit. June must find Maria's still-beating heart and join it with her corpse to end Von Brahm and the ghouls' reign of terror. This Grade Z horror flick is full of cut-rate special effects (gore effects by director/producer Joe Castro), including some terrible CGI work that looks like it was created on a home computer. The acting is particularly amateur hour, especially lead actress Perrine Moore (who even screams in monotone) and Joseph Haggerty, whose idea of emoting is to scream every line loudly, like he was in a noisy crowd. The only funny thing about this film is how June, Billy and Tammy fail to notice that there is something immediately wrong with the occupants of Von Brahm's mansion, especially since the insides of all their mouths and the spaces between their teeth are coated with a slimy black substance. The illogical screenplay, by Daniel Benton, makes about as much sense as putting lipstick on a pig (unless you're into that sort of thing, you sick bastard!) and the dialogue is beyond comprehension. I love the way Harlan says to Tammy, "Why, why did you do this to me? I loved you, now I'm going to kill you!" and then Tammy just simply rips his face off, killing him (a bad combination of CGI and practical effects). There's not much I can recommend here, besides some cheap gore, cheaper acting and even cheaper CGI (Easy on the morphing effects next time, Joe). This isn't even bad enough to be entertaining. It's just bad. Also starring Carol Rose Carver and Billy Bicskei. A Trinity Home Entertainment DVD Release. Rated R.
RAIDERS OF THE DAMNED (2005) - Have you ever watched those bad films made exclusively for the Sci-Fi Network (or "Syfy" as they are now known, thanks to some highly-paid committee that couldn't tell their assholes from their elbows)? You know the ones I am talking about; where some overgrown CGI monster attacks a cast of has-been and never-were actors? Well, compared to RAIDERS OF THE DAMNED, the worst of those flicks look like Kubrick and smell like freshly baked cinnamon buns in comparison. RAIDERS, on the other hand, looks like it was made in someone's backyard (and basement) using CGI done on a computer with a pauper's budget and stinks like an opened can of tuna left out in the noonday sun. After a helicopter is forced to crash (a laughable CGI creation that would make Fred Olen Ray cringe) by zombies wielding a catapult, bows, spears and tree branches, head scientist Lewis (a chain-smoking Richard Grieco, in what has to be his career low) hires Lt. Gina Kane (Laura Zoe Quist), military prisoner Captain Dewey (Gary Sirchia), female soldier Roxanne (Laurie Clemens) and hulking lab experiment Flex (J.C. Austin), to retrieve any survivors and important papers from the downed copter. The copter's occupants and papers are now under control of a zombified Colonel Crow (Thomas Martwick) who, along with assistant Treadway (Russell Reed), heads an army of zombies infected with Agent 9X, a biological agent unleashed by Lewis that accidentally (?) transformed the majority of the world's population into flesh-hungry zombies. To ensure that Capt. Dewey and Flex don't go AWOL on their mission, Lewis outfits them with explosive metal collars around their necks (how original!). The rest of the film is an extremely lousy mishmash of zombie attack scenes (they are not your normal mindless, shuffling zombies, as they are not above using Samurai swords to kill their prey and spoons to scoop-out the eyes!) and our heroic quartet trying to save the prisoners. The entire film is about as exciting as giving your infirmed grandmother a sponge bath. This is the first film from director/producer Milko Davis and screenwriter Mike Ezell and, if there really is a God in Heaven, I pray it's their last. The film looks to have been shot on two sets; either a forest or a basement with cinderblock walls. Some scenes have no background at all, just shots of actors talking against pitch-black backdrops. "Name actor" Richard Grieco (CIRCUIT BREAKER - 1996; EVIL BREED: THE LEGEND OF SAMHAIN - 2003) looks like a heroin junkie waiting for his next fix, as all he does is sweat profusely, chain-smoke and speak his lines as if he were reading names out of the phone book. The least he could have done was wash his long, greasy, stringy hair. The entire production, including the gore and zombie make-ups, is strictly bottom-of-the-barrel (even the guns used here have CGI-created muzzle flashes because the paltry budget didn't allow for blanks!) and should only be viewed by those wishing to punish themselves for some past transgression they have committed. It better be a really huge transgression (like pulling a "Polanski"), because the suffering you are about to endure is monumental. Everyone else should just avoid this at all costs. Also starring Vic Alejandro, Elijah Murphy and Amanda Scheutzon. An Image Entertainment DVD Release. Not Rated.
ALIEN 3000 (2004) - This sequel to director Jay Woelfel's UNSEEN EVIL (1999), filmed as UNSEEN EVIL 2 but then given this generic title, is absolutely awful (thankfully, Jay Woelfel, a director I admire, refused to have anything to do with this). So awful, in fact, that I'm going to dispense with my normal reviewing routine and just let rip with whatever enters my mind. First of all, it "stars" Lorenzo Lamas, whose career has fallen quicker than an aging hooker with one sharp tooth. Here's a clue as to where his career sits right now: He is appearing on a reality TV series with his ex-wife (!) and can only get work in films from those cheap bastards at The Asylum, appearing in their craptacular CGI opus MEGA SHARK VS. GIANT OCTOPUS (2009). Secondly, Priscilla Barnes (TRAILER PARK OF TERROR - 2008), who gets second billing, spends the majority of her scant screen time chewing on a pencil, proving once again that there is, indeed, a curse involved in starring in THREE'S COMPANY (1976 - 1984). Think about it: John Ritter, Audra Lindley, Norman Fell and Don Knotts are dead; Joyce DeWitt disappeared off the face of the Earth; Suzanne Somers shilled for the ThighMaster and then battled cancer; Richard Kline, who played skirt-chasing Larry, is now teaching a course on acting in comedy at a county college in Edison, New Jersey (Yee-ouch!); and the less said about Jennilee Harrison, the better. Thirdly, the acting talent from the "non-star" cast, who are the real stars of the film (Lamas is in this for about ten minutes and Barnes is in this for five minutes, tops), is so maddenly crappy and unbelievable (especially Phoebe Dollar as "Phoebe" and Christopher Irwin as "Captain Scott McCool" [really?]) that I wanted to step through the TV screen and give them acting advice, like how to properly hold firearms and not to scream out every line they speak (Yes, I know I'm not an actor, but I play one when watching shit like this!). Lastly, the majority of the monster's screen time and about 50% of the makeup effects are achieved through CGI done so cheaply, you can see the zipper on the computer. Really, they are that obvious and shitty. None of this should come as any surprise once you discover that the producer is David Sterling, a man who squeezes a buck so tight, it turns into coins. Sterling also foisted such cinematic turds as HUMAN PREY (1995), CAMP BLOOD (1999) and H1N1: VIRUS X (2010) upon us. Director Jeff Leroy also gave us HELL'S HIGHWAY (2002), CREEPIES (2004) and PSYCHON INVADERS (2006), all starring Phoebe Dollar, so don't expect reviews from me. There's not much to admire about ALIEN 3000 (what the hell does that title mean, anyway?), except for a few gory practical makeup effects (including a disembowelment and a couple of beheadings), a ridiculously cheesy monster outfit (it doesn't resemble the monster on the DVD cover at all) and a hilariously funny helicopter crash (an obviously radio-controlled model) that Lamas and co-star Corbin Timbrook (the director of the much better BLOOD RANCH  and star of director Jesse Vint's THE KILLER WITHIN ME ) ditch in mid-air and survive! (It's so obvious that they are not sitting in a helicopter during this sequence that it becomes painful and funny at the same time. Painful for Lamas and Timbrook trying to pretend that they are and funny for the viewer to watch them both fail miserably). In short, I've had more fun discovering what I pick out of my belly button. Also starring Scott Schwartz (a porn actor by trade), Megan Malloy, David Kalamus, Shilo May, Matt Emery and John Fava. A Lionsgate Home Entertainment DVD Release. Rated R.
RECOIL (2001) - This is one of those "films" (and I use that word very lightly) that those cheap bastards at Maverick Entertainment have dubbed "Urban Entertainment"; in other words, cheap shot-on-camcorder abominations that are made for black audiences by unknown black filmmakers and then stocked at the local supermarket for $4.99 a pop. Since they are shot on video (in this instance, it looks like it was shot with a store-bought camcorder, not even digital video), you know what to expect: washed-out colors with bad ghosting effects whenever the camera moves quickly (and in this odorous turd, the camera doesn't sit still for a second); tinny sound with a lot of background noise; and acting by a cast that looks like they were pulled off the streets and told, "speak street language that only black gangstas or wiggas can understand". RECOIL is a confusing sci-fi/actioner about high school student Eric "E-Man" Sanders (Theodore Borders), who has a unique problem: Whenever he gets angry or confused, something in his hand activates and someone ends up brutally murdered. It has something to do with a top-secret government experiment headed by Dr. James McDaniels (co-producer Wesley L. Hubbard), who has implanted a device in Eric's hand that makes him blackout and go on killing sprees. The local police are baffled and are aided by an FBI agent to try and solve the murders, while Eric and his white best friend, Webster (Robert Berson, who talks more jive than a black street hustler) try to figure out why Eric's hand throbs all the time. Eric also doesn't have the best family life. His father was murdered a few years ago and his older brother disappeared around the same time, so now he lives alone with his tight-assed mother (Lynndi Scott), who, in one example of child abuse, shuts off the electricity in Eric's room just as he's putting the finishing touches on a school report on his computer and he loses the whole report. Of course, his substitute teacher, Mr. Mendenhall (Terrence P.N. Smith), rides Eric hard for not turning in his report on time, so when a fight breaks out on the school's basketball court and Mr. Mendenhall ends up shot dead and Webster is shot in the arm, it looks like the bullets came from Eric's hand (shades of VIDEODROME - 1983; actually, it's more like a faint shadow). The FBI agent is aware of the device implanted in Eric's hand (the word "Frankenstein" is bandied about quite freely throughout the film) and he must find Eric before Black Ops agents sent by Dr. McDaniels can grab him and make him disappear for good, just like his brother years earlier. If I have made this film sound the least bit interesting, I sincerely apologize. This is about as entertaining as watching Aunt Sally's home movies of her trip to the spoon museum, with the production values to match. Director/screenwriter/co-producer Wendell D, Hubbard (who, thankfully, hasn't made another feature...yet) hasn't a clue how to pace a film (it's awkwardly edited by co-producer Rene Besson) and since this is shot on video, it's hard to hide the cheapness of the entire affair; from the grainy, almost unwatchable, night scenes, moiré patterns whenever light shines through a window and the repeated use of sounds (such as canned, repetitive screams and gunshots) to cover-up lousy edits. Movies like this aren't made, they escape, and Hubbard's lack of talent shines through in every scene. Hubbard never explains what the device in Eric's hand is supposed to accomplish (Is it a new weapon to create a better soldier or some mad doctor's loony experiment? Your guess is as good as mine.) and the absurd finale (Was it all a dream? Is Mr. Mendenhall Eric's long-lost brother?) only adds to the confusion. Skip this and take a nap instead. Also starring Arthur L. Fuller (another co-producer), Mark Cooper, Sara Lewall, Brennan Dyson, Hawthorne Flaherty, Guy Garner and Darryl Van Leer. A Maverick Entertainment DVD Release. Not Rated, but there is absolutely nothing here that anyone would find objectionable. No nudity, no gore and very little blood. A waste of videotape.
KILLZONE (1985) - Before co-founding Action International Pictures (the other A.I.P., after American International Pictures), director David A. Prior made a few genre films, including the awful SOV horror flick SLEDGEHAMMER (1984), the so-so horror/murder mystery KILLER WORKOUT (1986), the actioners DEADLY PREY and MANKILLERS (both 1987) and this one, Prior's first stab at a war action film. It's a stab in the dark. During the Vietnam War, a platoon of American soldiers are being held captive and tortured at a gook P.O.W. camp (the camp looks flimsy and barren, like it was thrown together in someone's backyard with sticks and chicken wire), where the VC interrogator (Daniel Kong) tries to get the soldiers, including Sgt. Mitchell (Ted Prior; DEADLY PREY - 1987) and Sgt. McKenna (Fritz Matthews; KILLER WORKOUT - 1986), to spill their guts about upcoming troop movements. When no one will talk, the interrogator shoots one of the soldiers in the head (offscreen) and American traitor Crawford (David James Campbell; EVIL ALTAR - 1988) has a gook soldier beat Sgt. McKenna with a bamboo pole and throw him in the "Box". All the other American soldiers know that, for some reason, McKenna is "not right in the head" and begin in-fighting with Mitchell for continually defending him. While in the box, McKenna has flashbacks to happier times with his wife and child and Mitchell keeps talking to him through the box to try and keep him sane. It doesn't work. McKenna sinks deeper and deeper into madness (Flashbacks reveal that Crawford may or may not be responsible for his wife's murder) and escapes from the P.O.W. camp, but we then learn that this whole "P.O.W." experience was just a training exercise and that the camp is actually on American soil. Too bad McKenna has gone totally bonkers and believes he is still in Vietnam. He begins killing people he perceives as the enemy and Crawford has no choice but to hunt him down and kill him before more innocent people are killed and he has to take responsibility for it all. Mitchell tries his hardest to find McKenna and make him realize that the entire exercise is a fake, while Crawford tries to cover his ass by tearing down the phony P.O.W. camp and forming a posse using the American P.O.W. soldiers. McKenna begins booby-trapping the American forest, putting the soldiers', as well as tourists and bootleggers', lives at stake. Who will stop him first: his friend Mitchell or the dastardly Crawford? If film had an odor, KILLZONE would reek worse than the hairy armpits of an Italian dock worker during the month of August. It's not only badly acted by everyone involved (Ted Prior would improve slightly as the years progressed), but the action set pieces are so badly choreographed, a blind man could have done a better job. Director/co-screenwriter David A. Prior has made many stinkers in his career (NIGHT WARS - 1988; RAPID FIRE - 1989 and WHITE FURY - 1990 anyone?), along with an occasional entertaining one (FUTURE FORCE - 1989; THE LOST PLATOON - 1989), but KILLZONE is that rare example where absolutely nothing works. It will put you to sleep faster than a double dose of Ambien. Avoid it al all costs unless you are a glutton for punishment or are just too retarded to understand a word I have written. Also starring Rick Massery (Also the Acting Coach. For shame, for shame), William Zipp, Jack Marino (also the Producer and co-screenwriter), Richard Brailford, Charles Venniro and Larry Udy. A Vestron Video VHS Release. Not available on DVD. Not Rated.
EVIL IN THE WOODS (1986) - Proof positive that any amateur production can get a home video release. After a long opening credits sequence (where over 25 "actors" are listed), we are introduced to precocious pre-teen Billy (who at one point has to stop dead in his tracks to avoid walking directly into the camera!) as he goes into a library and checks-out a book titled "Evil In The Woods". After being questioned about the Dewey Decimal System by the prim and proper librarian (who wears a pair of oversized eyeglasses with red frames), Billy is able to take the book home, but not after being told by the librarian that the book is due back Friday...the 13th! Billy takes to book to his bedroom, which is decorated with an Iron Maiden poster (really?), lots of action figures (including C3PO, the Frankenstein Monster and the Mummy) and something really angry trapped in his closet that it is nearly rattling the door off its hinges. Billy ignores the thing in the closet, eats some milk and cookies and begins reading the book. The story takes place "Somewhere near Mildew, Georgia 1956", where a greaser is attacked in his car by something unknown. The story then shifts to the present, to nearby Atlanta, where a movie, "Bigfoot Vs. The Space Killers", is being filmed. Business executive Sam takes his mistress Angel to the lake for the weekend of "fun" (i.e. Sex. Should a little boy even be reading this story?). The cast and crew of the film gather-up all their equipment and move the production to a location in the middle of the woods, near the town of Mildew (They pass the greaser's corpse and his car from way back in 1956, which brings up a whole lotta unanswered questions by the audience, the main one being: Why hasn't anyone spotted this before?). As The filmmakers try to get a shot in the can, where a man in a shabby Bigfoot suit kills Sam and chases Angel, a little boy, also named Billy, who is camping in the woods with his mother and father, is kidnapped by the Pierson clan, a family of inbred cannibals. The Sheriff of Mildew recommends that the parents contact a witch named Ida if they want to get their son back, so he gives them a map to her house which is also in the middle of the woods. Ida serves the parents tea (out of a mason jar, the wine glasses of the Deep South) and tells them to come back at dawn, unaware that little Billy is in pieces in Ida's refrigerator! To make an extremely long and boring story mercifully short, more and more members of the film crew are captured by the Pierson clan (one of its members wears a life jacket around his neck) and eaten or kept in cages, while Ida hopes to kill the rest of the film crew using a magic spell, that turns the cannibal clan into a bunch of paper mache monsters. And what about Billy, the book and the thing in the closet? Let's just say Billy has a surprise for his parents when they come home. Awful, simply awful. One-shot wonder director/producer/screenwriter William J. Oates hasn't got a clue on what makes a film watchable, as EVIL IN THE WOODS is a complete incoherent mess full of jumpy edits, bad sound recording, wildly out-of-place music, HEE-HAW [1969 - 1993]-style narration; title cards that serve no other purpose than to hide the fact that director Oates forgot to shoot footage to bridge scenes; acting that can best be described as desperate; barebones sets (the same wood paneled wall is used for at least three different sets); and makeup effects that are so low rent, they make any early H.G. Lewis film look absolutely polished in comparison. This film seems to have a cult following, probably due to word-of-mouth (most likely from people with even less teeth than brains), but I'm sure if those people actually saw the damned thing, their opinions would change in a millisecond. The film screams "amateur hour" and contains gay jokes, a splash of blood and gore here and there, drug use, no nudity, 80's style big hair; and professes to show what goes on behind the scenes of a low-budget horror film, but I doubt Mr. Oates has ever been on the set of a film before making this turd, and it shows. Boring with a capital PU. Don't bother. Starring Stephanie Kaskel, Schelli Marie Barbaro, Brian Abent, Browder Denniston, Kerry Minton and twenty other people (including two midgets) that you will never see again (many of them serving double duty in various positions behind the camera). A Fantasy Factory Film that was released on VHS by Cinevest, Inc. Available on DVD & Limited Edition VHS from boutique label Massacre Video. Not Rated.
THE HITCHHIKER (2007) - Another cheapjack production from The Asylum, this one made to cash-in and fool renters into believing that they were watching THE HITCHER (2007) remake. Jack (Jeff Denton; KING OF THE LOST WORLD - 2005) is traveling down a lonely stretch of highway when he picks up hitchhiker Felix (Dane Hanson) so he can engage in some conversation (it seems there is no radio reception in the area). Felix tells Jack that he writes porno reviews on the internet and everything is going swell until Felix blurts out, "Are you into dudes?" Faster than you can say "Richard Simmons", Jack kicks Felix out of his pickup truck. Felix doesn't know how lucky he is, because a few more miles down the road, Jack stops his pickup truck to reveal that he has a female prisoner tied-up and ball-gagged in the back of his truck under a tarp. He pulls her out, removes her ball gag and proceeds to dig a grave while she screams uselessly for help. Meanwhile, four hot young girls, Melinda (Sarah Lieving; FRANKENSTEIN REBORN - 2005), Denise (Shaley Scott; SUPERCROC - 2007), Krista (Jessica Bork; INVASION OF THE POD PEOPLE - 2007) and Patty (Sarah Hall; WHEN A KILLER CALLS - 2006), are traveling down the same stretch of highway complaining about the lack of radio reception (Jesus Christ, have they never heard of CDs or MP3s?), when they stupidly pick up Jack, who is hitch-hiking in the middle of the night (These girls deserve whatever bad stuff is coming their way). Of course, something goes wrong with their car, forcing the girls and Jack to check into an out-of-the-way motel, where Jack begins to play mind games with the girls, especially the married Melinda. While the three other girls get drunk, guess the size of Jack's cock and hit on Jack, Melinda tries to be the social conscience of the group, because she knows Jack is bad news. When the tow truck driver (director Leigh Scott) shows up early the next morning, Jack makes him drive to his pickup truck, where he shoots the driver and returns to the motel. Jack drugs the girls by serving them drug-spiked alcohol and when Melinda wakes up, her three girlfriends are nowhere to be found. the motel manager (James Ferris) is dead with his head caved in and Jack is waiting for her. He takes her to a motel room completely lined with plastic sheeting, where her three girlfriends are tied-up and gagged. Jack gets all HOSTEL on their asses, torturing, raping and killing them one-by-one until only Melinda is left. Do I really need to go on? This ugly, cheap film, directed and written by Leigh Scott (THE BEAST OF BRAY ROAD - 2005 [probably his best film]; HILLSIDE CANNIBALS - 2006; TRANSMORPHERS - 2007) is a typical no-budget production from The Asylum. It uses minimal locations (just a stretch of desert highway and the motel), defies all common sense (When the girls escape from the plastic-covered motel room, they quickly decide to return to kill Jack, but their hesitation to do so once back in the room causes one girl to get shot and another to get hit by a truck) and moves at a pace that would try the patience of a snail. It also contains one big blunder that wasn't caught in the editing stage: When Jack shoots the tow truck driver on what is supposed to be a deserted stretch of highway, we can distinctly see the reflection of the sun hitting the windshield of a passing car (any editor would have to be blind to miss it, which leads me to believe that they left it in hoping no one would notice). While Jeff Denton and the female cast are fine in their roles, they are woefully underwritten (Jack's reason for being psychotic? His girlfriend cheated on him! Jesus, if every male decided to turn serial killer because of this situation, there would be no good men left!). The violence, though bloody, consists of a few gunshots to the head and body and some stabbings. Nothing to write home about. While there is some nudity on view, none of it is the least bit titillating as most of it is prefaced by rape or death. Not worth your time, especially after the stupid shock ending that plays the audience for a fool. Also starring Alexandra Boylan, Erica Roby, Griff Furst and David Shick. An Asylum Home Entertainment DVD Release. Not Rated.
THE CHOKE (2005) - The Choke are an up-and-coming punk rock band who are about to go through a lot of bloody drama. Band member Mike (Jason McKee), who was about to quit the group with fellow band member Dylan (Sean Cook) and form their own group, is murdered in his van when someone rams a power drill through the front seat, spilling Mike's blood all over the inside of the windshield. When Mike doesn't show up for their latest gig at Guy Thompson's (Andrew Parker) nightclub, Club 905, lead singer Dylan, drummer Nancy Boy (Tom Olson) and female bassist London (Brooke Bailey), continue to set up for the show with Dylan's younger brother Elliot (Sam Prudhomme) videotaping the entire proceedings for a rock documentary. When Guy's club runs out of alcohol (the club is more like an abandoned warehouse than a nightclub), most of the patron's leave, so Dylan's girlfriend Jonesy (Wonder Russell), Starr (Bee Simonds) and Elliot go to the basement to get more booze, but what they find instead is Guy's latest female conquest slaughtered, with her breasts mangled and her entrails laying on her lap like some spaghetti dinner. The ragtag group find themselves trapped in the club, along with a bum (Damon Abdallah) who slices Guy's face with a piece of glass. The question soon becomes: Who is the killer, as any remaining member of The Choke, as welll as Guy and the women, could be the murderer? London is a goth chick who is obsessed with death; Nancy Boy is always threatening to kill someone; Dylan is so self-obsessed it wouldn't surprise anyone if he is dispatching everyone out of spite; and Guy owns the place, so why doesn't he have the keys to unlock the doors? When Mike's body is discovered tied to an amplifier with his heart drilled out and no one has a cell phone with them (which I find hard to swallow, even in 2005), the group gets knocked-off one-by-one (using musical instruments as weapons) until the killer is revealed. Speaking of the killer's identity: Be pre-prepared to make sure any throwable object is not within your reach, as you will surely want to toss something at your TV screen once the killer is revealed (mainly in disgust). THE CHOKE (also known under the generic title AXE [which actually has two meanings if you use one in the musical sense]) is exactly what's wrong with most modern DTV horror. Director Juan A. Mas (co-director of the equally lame horror flick THE CORONER - 1999) and screenwriters Jessica Dolan & Susannah Christine Lowber fill the film with self-referential and sarcastic dialogue that no punk rocker would get caught dead repeating. There are references to Shakespeare, dead kittens, the fact that Dylan's girlfriend Jonesy is a virgin (Why the hell would the vain Dylan have a virgin for a girlfriend, especially for two years?) and not one bit of it works here. It all seems rather forced and fake. Even Henry Rollins would have a problem spitting out this dialogue. There are a few bloody killings, but most of the carnage is shown after the fact. We never see Mike penetrated with the drill, the spiked guitar strike on London as she tries to escape through a crawlspace, Nancy Boy getting sliced with a sharpened cymbal and finished off with a drumstick to his eye, Dylan impaled on a piece of rebar, the bum getting whacked over-and-over with an axe or Guy getting castrated. We only get to see the after-effects, including Mike with his own balls stuffed in his mouth. It's all done rather cheaply and unconvincingly. When the killer is unmasked, the motivation for the killings comes totally out of left field, making the viewer feel they have been cheated. What's the point of having a killer target a specific group of people if the audience is not allowed any clues or to sleuth along with the victims? In other words, THE CHOKE choked on its own reliance of "hipness", which is neither hip or believable. A total waste of your time. Also starring Jon Fowler and David R. Johnson. A Velocity Home Entertainment DVD Release. Rated R.
FLESH, TX. POP. 666 (2009) - Come and meet the Barley Family. Just a regular bunch of inbred Texas cannibal psychos who think murder and mutilation is a basic right (You know, just like those Tea Party members who believe it is their God-given right to bring semi-automatic weapons to rallies?). We are first introduced to the Barley's when Ma Barley (Wendy Crawford) and her beautiful daughters Sugar (producer/co-writer Kathleen Benner), Fancy (Davina Joy) and butt-ugly pregnant daughter Butter (Amy Searcy) welcome a married interracial couple shilling for the Church of the Latter Day Saints into their home, only to have Sugar cut the man's throat with a knife and the other girls bash-in the brains of the overweight black wife. Sugar then teases her halfwit mullet-headed brother Woody (Jose Rosete) and heads out on the highway in her cut-off shorts and tight tee-shirt, hitch-hiking and looking for victims. Two out-of-town bikers, Darrin (Ralph Randolph) and Dustin (Matt Michalek) stop at a local bar to wet their whistles (and learn that the bar only serves Pabst Blue Ribbon and a special reserve of Schaefer's beer!) and Sugar talks Darrin into taking her back to her house for a "home cooked meal" (and, if he's lucky, "a little Sugar for dessert"). Since we've all seen THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE (1974) more times than we care to admit, when Ma Barley says, "Heat up the oven to 325. We're having company for dinner!", I think we all know what she really means. After meeting the rest of the Barley women (Fancy shakes Darrin's hand and then masturbates in front of him while smelling her hand!), Darrin has seen enough weirdness and wants to leave, but then he meets the male members of the Barley family, including retard Woody and Pa Barley (Dale Denton), who chops Darrin up with an axe and eat him for dinner. We are then introduced to divorced mother Donna Parker (Eleni C. Krimitos) and her bratty daughter Tabitha (Jada Kline), who stop in the title town for some gas and a bathroom break. Sugar talks the bitchy Tabitha into ditching her mother and coming home with her (to listen to Wayne Newton records!), while Donna has to deal with an uncooperative Sheriff (who just happens to be Pa Barley!) when reporting her daughter missing (Donna notices an unusually large amount of missing persons posters on the Sheriff's office wall). Donna refuses to leave town, so Sheriff Barley has his deputy, Francine (Roxana Holzapfel) follow her around. The Barley's plan on eating Tabitha for Sunday dinner (which is a couple of days away) and town drunk Henry (Joe Estevez, who has made a career doing cameos in low-budget crap like this) warns Donna about Sugar and the rest of the Barley clan. Tabitha becomes friends with the stuttering Woody (yes, he's retarded and stutters!), while Donna sneaks into the Barley home looking for her daughter. Will mother and daughter be reunited or will they both end up as missing persons posters on Sheriff Barley's wall? Don't think too hard, otherwise your brain might explode at all the inconsistencies this film has to offer (including one of the most pathetic catfights I have ever seen). There's not much I can say to defend this piss-poor shot-on-video horror flick, directed by Guy Crawford (THE CATCHER - 2000; AUTOPSY: A LOVE STORY - 2002; DARK PLACES - 2005) and co-written by Crawford and star Kathleen Benner. The editing and sound recording are particularly rote, changing from scene-to-scene and the background noises drowning-out some of the dialogue. There are so many other things wrong with this film, like it is obvious that this "small town" in Texas is anything but (check out the gas station scene for proof) and the fact that Sheriff Barley is wearing a police uniform that has "Los Angeles County" patches on the sleeves and no one seems to notice! It's just sloppy filmmaking, plain and simple, with a total disregard to the viewer's intelligence. To add insult to injury, the gore and makeup effects are nearly nonexistent considering the subject matter and besides the sliced throat in the beginning of the film, the camera always pulls away just as the "money shot" is about to be delivered. Why make a film about a cannibal clan and leave out the cannibalism? The film tries a little too hard to be quirky and funny, but it all comes across as forced because the cast is not up to the task (some of the acting would make Ed Wood blush in embarassment). Save your hard-earned rental bucks and avoid this film like the plague. Rent the similarly-themed BLOOD RANCH (2005) instead, because it's got the goods that this film promises, but fails to deliver. A total waste from beginning to end. Also starring Klor Rowland, Blake Laramie, Matt Robinson and Pat Giglio as Sonny Barley, the deformed mutant son who is kept chained in the barn. A Well Go USA DVD Release. Not Rated.
ATTACK OF THE GIANT LEECHES (2008) - Here's something we really needed: A useless Grade Z remake of the 1959 Bernard L. Kowalski-directed horror quickie (starring the tragic Yvette Vickers). I think Roger Ebert once pondered why we are remaking popular films when there are so many bad, unknown films that could use a good retelling. Well, Roger, here's the reason why. The story opens with old coot Grundy Miller (Gary Peterson) walking through the swamp and coming upon a camp of three girls in bikini tops and short-shorts (one of the girls has a pronounced belly). The film then stops dead in its tracks for a few minutes as we watch the camera focus on the girls shooting, drinking or pouring water over each other (in super slow-motion) while Grundy spies on them and salivates (Not once do the girls take their bikini tops off, so what's the point?). Then Grundy's cell phone goes off (One of the girls says, "Did you hear something?" and the big-bellied girl burps and says, "Yeah, that!" They all laugh. I wanted to punch all three in the face.) and he runs off to answer it. A giant leech jumps out of the swamp water and attaches itself to Grundy's crotch, but he manages to free himself with a few well-placed shots with the butt of his rifle. He runs to the home of Walter (Jody Haucke), a restauranteur whom Grundy supplies illegal game for his menus, to tell him about the giant leeches (and to show him the hole in the crotch of his pants!), but Walter doesn't believe him and tells Grundy to get back to the swanp and shoot him some menu items. Walter has more serious problems. His ball-breaking wife, Mary (Shawna McSheffrey), is cheating in him with nearly every man in town and she flaunts it in Walter's face. When a local man is found bled dry with large sucker marks all over his body, local game warden Scott (Mark Courneyea, here using the name "Mike Conway") and his girlfriend, oceanographer Gracie (Kerri Draper), head out into the federally-protected swamplands and notice a lack of any animal life in the area (That is when they are not arguing about their personal lives. I wanted to punch both of them in the face.). They come upon the three female campers and warn them to be careful (Nothing, and I mean nothing happens during this entire sequence). Mary has an illicit interlude with Ray (Ray Besharah) in the marsh and is caught red-handed by Walter, who forces them at gunpoint to walk in the water, where Mary and Ray are attacked by the giant leeches and dragged away. Walter tries to explain to local cop Bucky (Kevin Preece) what happened, but he doesn't believe him and leads a bunch of Canadian rednecks on a search of the lake, which turns up nothing. As more people end up dead or missing, Gracie's scientist father tries throwing explosives into the lake to drive the leeches to the surface. When that doesn't work, Scott and Gracie head to the leeches' nest, thanks to a homing device planted in a cooler of blood. I don't know about you, but I'm rooting for the leeches. They don't come much worse than this, folks. This Ottowa, Canada-lensed ultra-cheapie is all talk and very little action. Director Brett Kelly (THE FERAL MAN - 2002; THE BONESETTER - 2003; PREY FOR THE BEAST - 2007; JURASSIC SHARK - 2012) and screenwriter Jeff O'Brien (INSECTICIDAL - 2005) seem to think that a horror film consists of overlong dialogue scenes with no payoff. The leeches themselves are large inanimate rubber concoctions pulled through the water on fishing line (look closely and you can spot it) and when they attack (probably with someone's hand and arm inside), it is obvious that the actors struggle with them like they would if they were being attacked by a stuffed animal or ventriloquist's dummy. The shot-on-digital video look of the film is flat and lifeless and the less-than-professional acting (with obvious Canadian accents, eh?) doesn't help the proceedings, especially with the ridiculous dialogue they have to spew ("This is how a man handles things. Short and sweet!"). If you see this for rental on Netflix or at a retail store, pass it by because, like the leeches, it sucks. Why remake a bad film and make it worse than the original? Also starring Barry Caiger, Alissa Pritchard, Laura White, Diane Camelin, Mark Singleton and Trevor Payer. A Midnight Releasing DVD Release. Not Rated, but since there is no nudity and very little blood or violence, why bother?
SKY RISK COMMANDOS (FIRE STORM) (1983) - This one's a real rarity (which doesn't necessarily make it good viewing): A Korean-made Air Force actioner released by Joseph & Betty Lai's IFD Films And Arts Limited production outfit that's not their usual cut-and-paste pastiche film (Hell, Lai didn't even produce this.) and wasn't directed by Godfrey Ho or Lai's stable of other directors, although the opening credits are full of Angelicized pseudonyms ("Directed by Harold Wayne". Written by Herb Slott. And starring such well-known actors as Rony Wood, Pierre Falk, Barbara Young, Clement York and Rico Costello, yet I failed to spot one "round eye" on-screen). Here's the plot in a nutshell: An over-the-hill former Air Force pilot is pulled-off the front line (the war they are fighting is never mentioned by name, but it is obvious to anyone but the most incompetant that it has to do with the conflict between North and South Korea) and ordered by his superiors to train four young hotshot pilots the finer points of the art of war and flying jets into the heart of enemy territory. The old coot (he's 52 years old!) doesn't want to take the job (he would rather go back to the front lines!), but he has no choice, so he makes life as hard as possible for the four young'uns, denying them such basics as food, sleep and a social life until they fall in line and learn to work together as a team. Trouble ensues when one of the young pilots falls in love with the old coot's sister (who is clearly half her brother's age, proving that their mother would either make her husband use a condom or only got in the "mood" twice in twenty-five years!), another loses his will to fly and yet another has a sister who is in love with an enemy official, the same guy who is responsible for their father's death! When the old coot suffers a serious back injury by parachuting out of a jet that is about to crash due to the stupidity of one of his students, he is grounded permanently and becomes a drunk (it doesn't last long). He makes his sister marry the hotshot young pilot (over the phone!), just before the pilot is sent on a mission and shot down behind enemy lines (surprise, surprise!). The old coot defies orders and leads the other three pilots on a rescue mission, saving the young pilot, but the old coot dies in the process. He still manages to land the jet safely with his last dying breath, though! This is a slow-moving, badly-dubbed film that is more interested in soap opera than action. When the action finally appears (around the 45-minute mark), it is clear that most of the jet action is culled from stock footage of Korean jets in the air, intercut with footage of the cast sitting in cockpits of jets that are obviously not moving, never mind flying in the air! This is a bloodless, nudity-free production that, quite frankly, screams out for some of the patented Godfrey Ho/Joseph Lai newly-shot inserts that would, in a year or two, become their trademarks and continue onto the early-90's in such film as MAJESTIC THUNDERBOLT (1984); SCORPION THUNDERBOLT (1985) and the dozens and dozens of films with "Ninja" in their titles, such as NINJA TERMINATOR (1986) and GOLDEN NINJA WARRIOR (1986). The action here is limp and uneventful (I get the feeling that, in its original form, this was a South Korean propaganda film or an Air Force recruitment film), the love story is boring (not to mention chaste) and the awful dubbing isn't even good enough for a cheap laugh. Avoid it at all costs, although I doubt you will ever find this film unless you specifically look for it (and why would you?). Also starring Gerald Wing (c'mon now!), Anna Lee, Alex Sue, Norman King, Jeffrey Blair, Tom Yung, George Wrick and Joe Brittan. Never available legitimately on U.S. home video; the print I viewed was sourced from the Greek-subtitled VHS tape on the Key Video Production label. Not Rated, but nothing objectionable.
DON'T GO IN THE WOODS (2009) - Holy crap! I loved actor Vincent D'Onofrio on the late (and lamented) LAW & ORDER: CRIMINAL INTENT (2001 - 2011), but, my god, what in the world was he smoking here when he decided to direct (and write the story to) a musical horror film where the horror doesn't come into play until the last ten minutes of the film? The film opens with an all-male band, led by Nick (Matt Sbeglia, who is a terrible actor), driving to the woods to record five original songs (music by Bo Boddie [who also stars] and Sam Bisbee [also one of the producers]) without the distraction of the outside world (D'Onofrio can be heard singing on the radio during their road trip). Once they get to the woods (where a "Don't Go In The Woods" sign can be seen), Nick makes everyone give up all their cell phones, so there are no distractions (Instead of just turning the phones off, he chops them into pieces with an axe!). Little do they know that there is a psycho all dressed in black (black trenchcoat, hat and mask coveringing his face) and he is carrying a sledgehammer. The band is an eclectic group, including an oriental and a blind guy and they all get to sing, but when their girlfriends (and a French girl who can't speak English) suddenly show up (they've been following the guys the entire time), Nick gets a case of the "fuck you's" and wants the girls gone the next morning so they can continue recording new songs. When their car won't start (one of the girls is killed by the psycho), they are forced to stay with the guys, which pisses-off Nick even more. To make a long story short, it turns out Nick actually hired the killer (or, alternately, Nick is actually the killer, but that theory doesn't seem to hold water since people actually see the psycho and Nick at the same time) and he wanted to record the five new songs and kill the entire band and keep the songs for himself. Now he also has to have the psycho kill all the girls. He does just that and delivers the EP to a record executive (a cameo by Eric Bosogian, probably as a favor to D'Onofrio since they both starred on LAW & ORDER: CRIMINAL INTENT), who predicts the EP will be a smash hit. The name of the EP? "Don't Go In The Woods". Give me a fucking break! The major problem is that everyone speaks most of their dialogue in song and most of the songs sound exactly alike (it's like alternative emo folk rock). We see the psycho stalking the woods throughout the film, but most of the gore doesn't come until the final ten minutes, where people are pounded in the head with a sledgehammer (the poor French girl spurts blood from her head like a water fountain), one band member has his musical recorder embedded in his throat (every time he breathes, a note can be heard playing), another band member has the front of his face caved-in (a well-done effect), a bloody body in a sleeping bag is seen hanging from a tree and the final girl has chunks of flesh pulled from her back. The most ridiculous scene comes at the finale, where Nick and the final girl are running from the killer and Nick stops dead in his tracks to sing a song that he just thought up! (The sequence seems to imply that Nick is actually the killer, as the editing shows him clean, then bloody, then clean again, but it just doesn't make any sense when compared to the rest of the film. It's like D'Onofrio wants us to believe he's directing a horror version of FIGHT CLUB - 1999.). Nick ends up killing the (imaginary?) mysterious psycho with his own sledgehammer and then watches the girl slowly die. They don't come much worse than this. I hope D'Onofrio learned his lesson and stays with acting, where his weird demeanor fits the screen perfectly. It just doesn't fit as director of a musical horror film. This is not a remake of director James Bryan's DON'T GO IN THE WOODS (1981), even if they share the same name. Also starring Soomin Lee, Gwynn Galitzer, Jorgen Jorgenson, Tim Lajcik, Kate O'Malley, Casey Smith, Nick Thorp, Ali Tobia and Cassandra Walker. This feature was lensed on D'Onofrio's own property. A New Video Group DVD Release (It also got a showing at the Tribeca Film Festival). I viewed it it on one of the Showtime pay cable networks. Not Rated.
RISE OF THE ANIMALS (2011) - Here's a film that is so bad, I'm embarassed to say I watched it. It has CGI (by Chris Vranos) that makes the work done by Scott Coulter for those SyFy Original Movies look like James Cameron films, puppets (by Jacob T. Emery) that make the Muppets look human, physical gore effects that must have cost $1.99, a screenplay that could be written on one side of a napkin (and a used napkin at that), a music soundtrack that makes director Chester T. Turner's BLACK DEVIL DOLL FROM HELL (1984) Casio soundtrack sound like a John Williams orchestra and acting so horrendous, even kindergarten children would boo and hiss. For reasons not explained (why bother?), animals of all types begin attacking and killing humans, as we witness by the first scene where a mother is attacked by her cat, so she hits it (an obvious stuffed animal) with a frying pan and stuffs it down the kitchen sink garbage disposal (Would a cat even fit in the drain?). She then goes outside to save her son, only to be attacked and killed by a dog (a real one that wags its tail and looks about as harmless as a baby holding a sledgehammer), the son having a bucket of blood thrown on him with the wagging tail dog chasing him. We then meet pizza delivery boy Wolf (Greg Hoople) and his best friend Jake (Adam Schonberg), who have to make one more delivery way out in the woods before they can go to the movies (Wouldn't Wolf have to return the money to his pizza joint before he does anything else?). They reach their destination, a cabin in the woods where an all-girl slumber party is going on (What are the chances?), where Jake's sister Rachel (Stephanie Motta) and Wolf's childhood crush Samantha (Nicole Salisbury) are attending (What are the chances?). Lying that their van has broken down, Wolf and Jake ask the girls if they can spend the night (They say yes, because all girls are horny.) and Wolf takes Samantha out to the van, where they make out and Wolf prematurely ejaculates when Samantha tries to put a rubber on his dick. The next morning, Wolf wakes up in the van and Samantha is gone, but she left her phone behind with a message that she was picked up by someone else and could he please return her phone. The girls inside the cabin are attacked by a pack of bloodthirsty deer (really bad puppets) who break through the balsa wood-thin walls and begin chowing down on the females (You can actually imagine someone just off camera throwing buckets of fake blood on the bodies). Wolf, Jake and Rachel take the van and get out of Dodge, but Wolf wants to stop at Jake and Rachel's house to pick up a charger for Samantha's phone (Rachel and Samantha have the same model), since the phone died before he could get the address where Samantha is. After almost being shot by his grandfather for changing his shirt and rushing out the door (!), Wolf and the duo head for Samantha, when a gorilla jumps on the van's roof (a terrible CGI creation) and tries to rip out Rachel's throat before Wolf closes the automatic window and cuts off the gorilla's hand (Which brings up the questions: Where the hell did the gorilla come from? Can an automatic window closing actually cut off a hand? Why would they have the windows open in the first place?). They are forced to travel by canoe, where they are attacked by a pack of bloodthirsty turtles (really bad puppets and you can see the rods that control them) in the water. They finally make it to Samantha, only for Wolf to discover that she already has a boyfriend. They are all attacked by a bear (another horrible CGI creation), killing Jake, Samantha and her boyfriend before Rachel cuts its head off with a sword. Wolf and Rachel decide to head east to Florida, but Wolf drives towards the sunset. When Rachel reminds him that the sun sets in the west, Wolf says "Fuck it." THE END. All this badness lies directly on the shoulders of director/writer/editor/co-producer Chris Wojcik, this being his first full-length feature fim directorial effort. If there is a God in Heaven, this will be his last, but since I am an athiest, I wouldn't count on it. The entire film screams how cheap it is, from the photography (by Jeremiah Franco, also a co-producer), special effects (the gunshots sound like cap pistols), common sense (Rachel gets out of the van at one point and decides to walk home. This just after witnessing all her girlfriends being slaughtered by the puppet deer.) and the music (by "Federal!State!Local!"), especially the end credits song, which sounds like it was recorded in someone's bathroom. The whole film was meant to be a comedy, but the line readings by the entire cast makes it sound like a third-rate vaudeville comic telling jokes to a drunk, sparse audience. Do yourself a favor and get a colonoscopy, because it will feel better than watching this film. Believe me when I say this is one of the worst films I have ever had the displeasure of viewing (and I have seen thousands). Also starring Charles Bigelow, Phillip Musumeci, Katie LeVander and Melissa Orioli. A Midnight Releasing DVD Release. Not Rated.
2001 MANIACS: FIELD OF SCREAMS (2010) - What a steaming pile of shit. This film was shot in 12 days for $400,000, but it has the look and feel as if it was filmed in one night on a drunken dare for $1.99. This sequel to director Tim Sullivan's 2001 MANIACS (2004), which was also directed and co-written by Sullivan, doesn't have one redeeming quality or an ounce of originality. Even Robert Englund refused to return as deadly Mayor George W. Buckman; this time replaced by Bill Moseley, who is beginning to appear on a lot of crap lately. The story is simple: When the Southern sheriff of Pleasant Valley refuses to cooperate with Buckman and his Confederate Civil War era cannibalistic group (Which includes an Asian woman and a black man. What the hell?), taking down the detour sign (spelled "Detore", which I guess is supposed to be funny because Southerners can't spell) to lure Northerners to their deaths, Buckman has the sheriff killed (the old nails in the rolling barrel gag, which was missing from the first remake) and decides if the North won't come to Pleasant Valley, they will come to the North. They all hop on a bus and end up in Iowa (Is that even the North?) where a reality show called "Road Rascals", about two spoiled and dumb Paris Hilton/Nicole Ritchie-wannabe sisters, is traveling in an RV, when it hits the "Detore" sign, giving them two flat tires. Only having one spare tire and no cell phone service (No cell phone service in Iowa? C'mon now!), this aggravating group, which includes the two snotty rich girls (one of them walks around holding the taxidermied remains of her small dog), their boyfriends (one of them is a closeted gay man), a lesbian European producer, a Jewish director, an Hispanic driver and his black girlfriend (How's that for diversity?), are met by Mayor Buckman, Granny Boone (Lin Shaye, one of the few returning cast members from the first film) and their clan. They hold their annual "Guts 'N' Glory Jamboree", where they slowly (and I mean slowly) beging murdering and eating the cast and crew of the reality show. One girl is strapped to a table and has a buzzsaw rip her in half from her vagina to her head. The lesbian producer has her face ripped off by a contraption in the Milk Maiden's (Christa Campbell, another returning cast member) chastity belt. The black girl is hanged by the old throwing tomatoes (instead of baseballs) at a bullseye gag, which releases a trap door under her feet (Hey, hasn't this been done before, but more effectively in director H.G. Lewis' original TWO THOUSAND MANIACS - 1964?). The Hispanic guy is impaled on a pitchfork, only to survive (he acts like it is only a minor flesh wound) and end up decapitated when Buckman slams the bus' hood on his head. Another guy is electrocuted until his eyes explode out of his skull. And so one and so one. Truth be told, there is not one original death in the film that we haven't seen done better a hundred times before, but we have to put up with some of the worst cases of humor (a lot of it racist) ever committed to film, including a cringeworthy bit where Granny Boone leads her cannibal ladies in a song and dance routine based on the film FLASHDANCE (1983), substituting the song "Maniac" with one called "Cannibals", which leads to the question: How would cannibalistic Civil War Southerners, who rise only one day a year, know anything about FLASHDANCE? Everything about this film is below par, from the photography, editing, music, performances (Bill Moseley is horrible [he sings a song of his own composition over the end credits and says "Suck my Dixie" after the credits end] and Lin Shaye looks embarrassed, which she should be. The rest of the cast, including returning actor Ryan Fleming as the gay Hucklebilly, who likes to fuck his stuffed sheep, are annoying as hell and there is not one victim that has any redeeming quality, so we don't care if they live or die.) and especially the sound. The dialogue sounds like it was entirely looped later in a studio, as it really doesn't match the acoustics of the settings. The finale, where a pregnant Granny Boone delivers a black baby (Clearly, they used a young black boy about two years-old for the baby!), is about as funny as watching people jump to their deaths from a burning building. Do yourself a favor and stay away from this, but if your must watch it for masochistic reasons, stay away from the R-Rated version and rent the Unrated Version, as it doesn't cut away from the gory deaths, adds an entire cannibal dinner scene not seen in the R-Rated version, extends other scenes and offers more copious nudity (the only reason I stayed watching till the end), adding over three minutes to the running time. Unlike director Tim Sullivan's (DRIFTWOOD - 2006) first remake, Eli Roth and Scott Spiegel are not listed as one of the 14 producers here, although the late David F. Friedman (who passed away in 2011) and the still-living Hershell Gordon Lewis are listed as Executive Producers. I bet they were both wincing in pain when they saw how badly this film turned out. At least the first remake had a professional sheen to it. This sequel offers none of that. Also starring Nivek Ogre, Morgan Phan, Andrea Leon, Ahmed Best, Asa Hope, Katy Marie Johnson, Alex Luria, Larayia Gaston, Trevor Wright, Miles Dougal, Alana Curry, Jordan Yale Levine and Earl Roesel. A First Look Studios DVD Release (They ceased operations the same year this film was released. Could there be a connection? Hmmmm...). Available in R-Rated or Unrated Versions.
STAR SLAMMER (1986) - Before he started making soft core porn films under various pseudonyms that went direct-to-cable, director Fred Olen Ray actually made a few fun films during the 80's, some of them actually obtaining a theatrical release (including this one). Unfortunately, STAR SLAMMER (actually titled "The Adventures Of Taura: Prison Ship" with "Star Slammer" video generated beneath it) is not one of those films. It's a kitchen sink sci-fi women's prison comedy that borrows props, footage and ideas from many films that came before it. Taura (Sandy Brooke; TERROR ON ALCATRAZ - 1986) lives on a planet with a trio of midgets in masks when she is visited by priest Zaal (Johnny Legend; 2001 MANIACS - 2004), who asks her if she has anything to contribute to his starving planet, which has been ravaged by the corrupt galaxial government run by The Sovereign (Lindy Skyles). Before Taura can answer him, they are visited by The Sovereign's brutal military official Bantor (the late Ross Hagen; WONDER WOMEN - 1973) and his right hand man Krago (screenwriter Michael Sonye, who also acts and creates music under the name "Dukey Flyswatter" in such films as NIGHTMARE SISTERS - 1987), who kill Zaal and the midgets and capture Taura after she dissolves Bantor's right hand by shoving it into an acid crater. Taura is sentenced to seven years on a prison ship by "The Justice" (John Carradine in a 30 second cameo), where they have the most anemic female prisoner population ever committed to film. The ship is run by evil Warden Exene (Marya Gant) and her even more despicable eyepatch-wearing trustee Muffin (Dawn Wildsmith; FUTURE FORCE - 1989, who was married to Fred Olen Ray at the time), who both take joy in torturing their female prisoners. At first, Taura bumps heads with Mike (Susan Stokey; THE PHANTOM EMPIRE - 1987, also starring Hagen and Wildsmith), the leader of the prisoners, but they soon form an alliance to try to escape the ship when a completely crazy Bantor (now with a robotic super-strong artificial hand) and a torturer known as "The Inquisitor" (a scarred-faced Aldo Ray; BLOODY MOVIE - 1988, who looks miserable here) pay a visit. That's about the whole story in a nutshell, but the awful borst-belt comedy, badly choreographed fights and almost total lack of nudity (Taura goes topless for a few seconds in two scenes, but that's it) do the film in. Fred Olen Ray borrows a few props from other films, most notably the head alien in THE DEADLY SPAWN (1983; the producer of that film, Ted A. Bohus, gets a "Thanks" during the end credits), not to mention spaceship battle footage lifted from DARK STAR (1974) and BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS (1980), and Sonye's joke-laden script borrows ideas from much funnier films (including groan-inducing intercom announcements, ala AIRPLANE , voiced by this film's producer, Jack H. Harris; EQUINOX - 1967/1970). The music score, by Anthony Harris (screenwriter and producer of BEWARE! THE BLOB  and brother of Jack H. Harris), sounds like a cheap knock-off of the one found on RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (1981). It's apparent that the entire film was shot on the cheap and it's painful to watch. It's hard to believe that people back in the day actually paid to see this in a theater, not to mention renting it on VHS. It's that bad. Luckily, since I'm a member of Amazon Prime, I didn't have to pay anything to watch it on my Roku streaming player. Even though this film carries a 1986 copyright, it was actually filmed in 1984 and not released until 1988. That should tell you something. Also starring Richard Hench, Bobbie Bresee, Vivian Schilling, Mimi Monaco and Danita Aljuwani. Originally released on VHS by Vidmark Entertainment and later released on DVD by Image Entertainment. Rated R.
BOGGY CREEK (2010) - Charles B. Pierce must be turning over in his grave. His G-rated pseudo-documentary, THE LEGEND OF BOGGY CREEK (1972), was by no means a good film, but at least it strived to be something different and had a few creepy, atmospheric scenes. This DTV bastardization ladles on the gore, but is so full of plot holes, people who you just want to punch in the face and characters that disappear mid-film, that I see no reason why this film was made in the first place. The plot is so simple it could have been written on the head of a pin: A morose girl named Jennifer Dupree (Melissa Carnell, who I wanted to slap in the face and say, "Get over it!"), who is reeling from her beloved father's strange death (he was supposedly hit by a tractor trailer and mangled beyond recognition) decides to spend some time at her father's cabin in Boggy Creek with best friend Maya (Shavon Kirksey). Jennifer is disappointed that Maya has also invited her godbrother (is there such a thing?) Dave (Damon Lipari) to go along with them because she just basically wanted to be alone and suffer in silence. Jennifer becomes even more disappointed when Dave brings along high-maintenance girlfriend Brooke (Stephanie Honore, who really grates on your nerves) with him. Jennifer then becomes even more disappointed when Maya's boyfriend Tommy (Texas Battle; WRONG TURN 2: DEAD END - 2007) shows up at the cabin later on. Meanwhile, the Sheriff of Boggy Creek (Carl Savering) and his Deputy (Frederic Doss) are investigating a series of brutal murders, where the men are torn apart (the Deputy pukes his guts out every time he sees one of the bodies) and the women end up missing. It's apparent to the audience that a Bigfoot-like creature is responsible (it is shown within the first five minutes of the film), but the Sheriff denies the creature exists, even though the Deputy thinks the legend is true. After a long stretch of film time devoted to Jennifer's disturbed behavior, a shotgun-carrying neighbor named Casey (Cody Callahan), whose wife disappeared a year earlier, and shots of boats motoring through the bayou (the scenery is the best part of the film), the Boggy Creek creature begins dispatching the cast. First to go is is Brooke, who jacks Dave's truck when she thinks he is getting too close to Jennifer. The creature downs a tree in the middle of the road and carries Brooke away. The next to go is Tommy, who is torn in half when the creature pins him to a tree (the film's bloodiest moment). Dave is next when he goes to look for Tommy. The creature tears his face off with his claws. Maya is then captured by the creature, leaving Jennifer alone to run through the woods and try to make it to the highway. Just as she is about to make it, a whole tribe of creatures emerge from the forest and drag Jennifer away (The creatures use the women as baby-making machines!). THE END. This frustrating film, directed, executive produced and co-written by Brian T. Jaynes (HUMANS VS. ZOMBIES - 2011, which features many of the actors in this film) is full of one-note characters who react unrealistically and some of them, including the Sheriff and the Deputy, disappear in mid-film, never to be seen again. This is just sloppy writing (Jaynes co-wrote the screenplay with Jennifer Minar, who was also the Associate Producer), introducing characters and not knowing what to do with them. While there is some bloody gore on view, it is nothing spectacular. The only positive point this film has is some nice scenery (filmed in Jefferson and Uncertain, Texas) of the bayou and the lush green vegetation. There's no other reason to bother with this unremarkable, boring DTV flick. Also featuring Sarah Jenazian, Cody Cal, Bryan Massee and David Ford as the lead creature (the less said about his appearance, the better). A Hannover House DVD Release. Not Rated.
I SPILL YOUR GUTS (2012) - You would think with a title like that, the least you would get is wall-to-wall gore or at least some extreme violence. I'm sorry to say that this shot-on-digital video effort is amateur hour for the complete 90-minute running time (counting the 9 minutes of opening credits and 10 minutes of closing credits) and, for some reason, is full of minor cult film personalities in quick cameos. This film is so bad, it should be used as a primer on how not to make a film. The story begins in a German hospital, where soldier Joe (Bill Walsh) tells soon-to-be-dead mate Dennis (Director/producer/writer/editor/special effects technician James Balsamo; HACK JOB - 2011), who was shot in the throat by enemy fire, that he's getting a medal and being shipped back to New York City with an honorable discharge for saving Dennis' life long enough to get him to the hospital (Truth be told, Joe did absolutely nothing). Suddenly, Dennis is feeling much better and all he has is revenge on his mind. He gets out of his hospital bed, kills his doctor (Caleb Emerson) and hops on a plane headed for NYC (still in his hospital gown, but no one seems to notice). Once back in NYC, Joe is thrown a party by his friends, where everyone gets drunk and women doff their tops. Dennis, meanwhile, kills a homeless veteran (musician Andrew W.K.), steals his clothes and puts on a mask made out of the American flag. Dennis begins murdering nearly everyone he runs into (but we are not shown the gory killings until after the fact), working his way towards Joe. Dennis slits the throat of Joe's father (Bob Socci, who insists that his son call him "Colonel" rather than "Dad") and then chases Joe into an auto junk yard, where they get into a fight and Dennis drops a car on Joe, his guts spilling onto his new white tee-shirt. THE END. The horror elements of this film are minimal since one-man wrecking crew James Balsamo seems more interested in throwing in as many thrash metal songs on the soundtrack as he possibly can. As Balsamo films New York buildings and scenery (probably without a proper permit, since they all look to have been shot with a hidden hand-held camera), a different thrash metal song BLARES on the soundtrack during and between scenes, while the dialogue (probably filmed with the cameras' built-in microphone) is so low, you can barely make out what anyone is saying. While I am sure there are plenty of fans of this type of music (to me, it all sounds like some deep-voiced guy with a throat condition slurring his words, while guitars and drums blare without any discernable melody), Balsamo seems to concentrate more on the music than he does what is happening on screen. The slow-moving end credits list about thirty bands that play during the film (about 90% that I never heard of or would never want to hear from again) and you'll see Balsamo and his relatives' names listed on the technical end more than any other last name. The Iraq war scenes look like they were filmed at a local beach (most of the film was lensed in Islip, NY), because sand in the desert looks nothing like sand on a beach. I can see why Lloyd Kaufman makes a ten second cameo as Dennis' father, because this was partially financed by Troma Films (Kaufman probably chipped in $100), but it doesn't explain why actress Lynn Lowry (I DRINK YOUR BLOOD - 1971), who plays a TV weather girl for about five seconds, Donald Farmer (director of VAMPIRE COP - 1990), who plays a TV news anchor, Joel M. Reed (director of BLOODSUCKING FREAKS a.k.a. THE INCREDIBLE TORTURE SHOW - 1976), who plays a Korean War vet with a big mouth and Tim Ritter (director of KILLING SPREE - 1987), who plays "Tim", would appear in such crap like this. Hey, I know that most of them aren't the best directors, but this film makes any of their movies look like masterpieces in comparison. They all must have owed Lloyd Kaufman mighty big favors. Carmine Capobianco, who starred in such crap as PSYCHOS IN LOVE (1987) and CEMETERY HIGH (1988), plays the detective on the case (who is decapitated [off-screen] with a pair of garden shears by Dennis) and Troma regular Joe Fleishaker (TERROR FIRMER - 1999) plays Dave the Landlord, who hands over the apartment keys to Dennis after commenting that he thought he was dead. Also featuring wrestler Balls Mahoney (real name: Jonathan Rechner, who passed away at age 44 on April 12, 2016), Frank Mullen, Dave Brockie (a.k.a. "Oderus Urungus" of the band GWAR), Debbie Rochon (blink and you'll miss her), Tim Dax and Edward X. Young (MR. HUSH - 2011). If you are like me, the only thing this film accomplishes is giving you a severe headache. An Acid Bath Productions DVD Release. Unrated.
PSYCHO SLEEPOVER (2009) - Sometimes I think I need my head examined. I keep buying these Troma DVDs in hope of discovering another gem like TERROR FIRMER (1999) or FATHER'S DAY (2011), but 99.9% of the time it turns out to be cheap, substandard horror flicks like this one. The film opens in 1985 in a city called Murderton ("Population 5017 and dropping"), where teenagers Debbie Dickey (Rachel Castillo) and Carl Sandersberg (Paul Rust) are sitting on a couch watching TV, while a reporter (a cameo by Felissa Rose; SLEEPAWAY CAMP - 1983) warns orientals that a serial killer is out to murder them (A horrendous attempt at humor, but the whole film is just one awful joke after another). Debbie is a virgin and will only allow Carl to give her "Eskimo kisses" (where they rub noses together!), but Carl wants to go further and have Debbie give him a blowjob. Debbie is worried about pregnancy or an STD and Carl replies, "You can't get preggers from a blo-jo!". The doorbell rings and no one is there. The phone then rings and circus music is playing on the other end. Suddenly, Debbie is being chased by someone wearing a clown costume and carrying an axe. Debbie runs out of the house, with the clown not far behind, and she stabs the clown in the crotch with a knife and he falls down some stairs. Debbie unmasks the clown and it turns out to be Carl, who says, "I only wanted a blowjob!" Debbie then asks Carl if he has any STDs and he says no. He asks why and Debbie says "Because I'm about to be covered in your blood!" as she hacks away at him with the axe (Don't expect any gore, just lots of blood being tossed by someone offscreen onto Debbie). One year later, the 16 year-old Debbie (actress Rachel Castillo clearly looks to be in her mid-20's) is invited by popular girls Ginny (Emilia Richeson), Sally (Ariel Teal Toombs) and Ugly Jen (Frankie Frain; a fat male with a retainer who dresses in women's clothing) to come to their sleepover party that night. Debbie accepts and goes home to tell her mother (Lenore Cutler), where we find out that Debbie's father was a serial killer and her mother has invited psychiatrist Dr. Thomas Algernon (Tom Adrian Villalobos) to come talk to her. Instead of asking her pertinent questions, Dr. Algernon hits on Debbie and slides his business card down her pants before he leaves. Once at the sleepover, it become apparent that this is going to be a deadly night, because Ginny finds Dr. Algernon's card and calls him up to invite him to the party. The good doctor mentions the address to the bunch of psychos he is watching over and walks out of the mental institution, not locking the door. Head psycho Mr. Danny Glover (Thom Sigsby), who walks around with a talking sock puppet (I told you this was going to be bad), lets all the other psychos out of the institution and they head over to Ginny's house (They first go to the wrong address and kill a man wearing pink underwear and holding a tiny dog). Meanwhile, horny teens Jeremy (Ryan Martin) and Flick (Todd Pritchett), who has never had an erection, spy though Ginny's windows after learning of the sleepover. As the psychos arrive at Ginny's house, it is revealed that Ginny, Sally and Ugly Jen are also psychotic killers and want Debbie to join them since her father was a serial killer and she killed Carl a year earlier. Debbie says no and suddenly the entire inside of the house is covered in plastic (Where in the hell did they find time to do that? I think since because they were filming at a real house, they didn't want to have to pay the cleaning bills for removing fake blood from the walls and carpets.). A mysterious man in a grey cape and hood saves Debbie's life. It turns out that he is actually Dr. Algernon and he wants this to be the final living night for all the psychos in town (Even though Ginny stabs him in the stomach and steps on the knife handle for good measure, he returns later on as if nothing happened!). Long story short, Ugly Jen has his/her face torn off by one of the institutionalized psychos, Debbie kills Sally, Flick finally gets an erection when a big-breasted black woman stabs him repeatedly, Dr. Algernon kills both Mr. Danny Glover and his sock puppet and Ginny shoots Jeremy and Dr. Algernon in the head. She then slices Debbie's throat as her mother appears at the door because Debbie forgot to bring her pajamas with her. When she sees what Ginny has done, Mrs. Dickey suddenly has two shotguns in her hands (Where was she hiding them?), tells Ginny, "You don't fuck with the Dickeys!" and pulls the triggers, splattering Ginny's brains on the wall. That's it folks. You know a film is trouble when it takes two directors to make it, in this case Adam Deyoe (DEAD SEASON - 2011) and Eric Gosselin (the gay bigfoot film YETI: A LOVE STORY - 2006, which he also co-directed with Deyoe), who also co-produced and contributed to Kurt Kroeber's screenplay. The only real gore shown is when Ugly Jen's face is torn off, but it is done so badly, it's pathetic (He/she turns up later with a sack over his/her head, looking like the Elephant Man). The rest of the stabbings, throat slicings and other killings are nothing more than blood spurting out of prop knives or blood and brain matter being thrown against walls or floors. This was supposed to be a comedy, but it is nothing but a comedy of errors. I didn't laugh once and if you have half a brain in your head, neither will you. Just stay away from this incoherent, sloppy mess (It's idea of humor is "tea-bag" men, not once, but twice). Troma president Lloyd Kaufman puts in his patented 5-second cameo as a TV news anchorman who is shown just after Felissa Rose gets her throat cut live on-air. Also starring screenwriter Kurt Kroeber as fat slob Barry Goldwater (is nothing sacred?), who wants Debbie to also give him a blow job. Featuring Nick Tully and Adam Malamut as Ginny and Sally's boyfriends, who are nothing but lambs for the (fake-looking) slaughter and John McPhee as Mr. Dickey. A Troma Entertainment (fullscreen) DVD Release which, for some reason, has been shorn of three minutes, but none of it gore footage. Not Rated.
HELLRAISER: REVELATIONS (2010) - IMPORTANT NOTICE: Hello. This is Dr. Hugh Janus, personal physician to Fred Adelman. Fred requested that I perform a lobotomy on him before he watches and reviews this film. He also requested that I put the piece of brain I removed during the procedure back in his head once he is done. I agreed, so here is Fred's review: Even with hole in head, me know this 9th movie in series is bad film. Dimension Pictures and Weinstein Brothers about to lose rights to HELLRAISER franchise, so they make this cheap movie to keep rights. Two teens, Nico (Jay Gillespie) & Steven (Nick Everson), take trip to Mexico to see donkey have sex with girl. They film everything with video camera. Nico kill girl in bathroom stall by mistake while he has sex with her. Steven film it. Vagrant (Daniel Buran) give two teens the Lament Configuration box at bar and Nico open it in motel room. Fake looking Pinhead (Stephan Smith Collins; where Doug Bradley?) appear and rip skin from Nico's body. Steven help Nico get skin back by killing Mexican whores. They disappear for one year. Nico and Steven's family (include Steven's girlfriend Emma [Tracey Fairway]) have dinner in honor of sons' disappearances when Steven suddenly appear (He say, "They're coming...the Cenobites. They don't like to lose souls."). Emma find box in Steven's bag and open it. House shake and purple light shine, but nothing else happen. Steven begin act strange. Vagrant show up and cut off Nico father Peter's (Sebastien Roberts) face after Peter blast shotgun into vagrant and nothing happen. Steven shoot own father Ross (Steven Brand) in stomach with shotgun, but Ross not die, just hurt badly. Steven not actually Steven but Nico. In flashback, Steven refuse to kill whore because she has baby, so Nico kill Steven and take his skin (including face). Nico/Steven makes Emma open box and fake-looking Pinhead show up again with Cenobites (including Steven, who look like Pinhead Jr.). Pinhead rip out throat of Nico mother Kate (Sanny Van Heteren) with chain hooks and has chain hooks crucify Nico/Steven. Before Pinhead take Nico's soul, Ross kill him with shotgun which make Pinhead very mad because soul is lost. Pinhead uses chain hooks to take Ross wife Sarah (Devon Sorvari) and he and rest of Cenobites disappear. Ross die. Emma hold box in hand and film end. Even though film run short 75 minutes (includes slow 4 minute end credits) director Victor Garcia (RETURN TO HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL - 2007; MIRRORS 2 - 2010) make film seem twice longer. Screenwriter Gary J. Tunnicliffe also did makeup effects (he also direct bad film WITHIN THE ROCK - 1996) steal ideas from first and second films in series, but make film boring anyway. Me miss Doug Bradley as Pinhead. Stephan Smith Collins so bad they use other actor to dub voice. I can stick my pinky in head hole!!!! It tickles. Movie not tickle. Movie is painful. Available DVD/Blu-Ray as single film or part of triple-feature DVD from ARC Entertainment. Hole in head speaking to me. Tell me you crazy to buy, rent or steal this as torrent. Me tired. Need nap. Rated R. EPILOGUE: Dr. Janus here. I put the small bit of brain back in Fred's head and he should be as good as new in a few days. He may try to lick your face until then, but be a sport and let him. He's been through a lot. I may ask my physician for a lobotomy after watching this film with Fred, if only to forget I ever saw it. Fred also wanted me to tell you that this movie was filmed in eleven days and was the first script since the third sequel, HELLRAISER BLOODLINE (1996), to be written specifically as a Hellraiser film. All scripts after the third sequel were written as non-Hellraiser films and were changed dramatically so they could be part of the Hellraiser franchise. It just proves one thing: An altered script can be so much better than an original one, especially this hastily put-together mess. Followed by HELLRAISER: JUDGMENT (2016), a film Fred refuses to watch (...for now).
VOODOO NIGHTMARE (2000) - There are bad films and a term I coined called "badfilms", which basically means a film is so bad you can't help but enjoy it for all of the wrong reasons. Unfortunately, this film is not a badfilm, it is just a plain old bad film. This made-in Singapore (but everyone speaks fractured English) atrocity looked at THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT (1999) and director/screenwriter Djinn (yes that is his single-monickered name!) said, "Why don't we make our own version, but set it in the jungles of Malaysia" It's a boring disaster. An adopted California girl named Charity Yamaguchi (Hiep Thi Le) decides to travel back to her birthplace and try to find her real mother. She brings along friends Uzi (Eleanor Lee), Luc (Steve Banks) and Raymond (Victor Khong) to come with her and when they reach Singapore, Christine hires Eye (Fadali) to be their guide to find her real mother's birthplace. From here on in, it is nothing but constant bickering (the girls say "Shut up!" an awful lot to their supposed male friends) and Christine accuses Eye of getting them lost (even though he is using a GPS system). They soon run into a pregnant girl (Fadzlinda) and a mean Malay Elder (Rahman Boy), who beats the pregnant girl to death. The group then learns the legend of "The Pontianak" where, and I quote: "A Malay girl who dies of childbirth or by the abuse of a man, returns as an undead spirit seeking revenge." Not long after that, members of the group start seeing the spirit of the girl who was just killed and hear a baby crying. Those that see her usually end up dead in a few minutes and before you can say, "Hey, look over there!", members of the group are being killed one by one. This crap goes on for over sixty minutes, as the surviving members bicker with each other, accuse each other and, stereotypes of stereotypes, split up when they can't agree with each other (a well-worn plot device to kill people when no one else is around and the camera doesn't has to film it, saving on a special effects budget.). It all ends up with Charity being the final survivor, as she hides behind a bamboo wall (all we can see are her eyes) as the dead spirit woman and the sound of a baby draws nearer. Then the film ends! I won't get into all the things done wrong in this film, because there are so many (such as acting so bad, it makes a kid in a third grade play look like Sir Laurence Olivier) and, reportedly, the financial backer pulled-out in the middle of the film, forcing one-named Djinn to alter the rest of the film to finish it, but here are just a few: It is all shot with hand-held digital cameras that are always moving, sometimes missing out on some important pieces of the action (but it is not as herky-jerky, shakey-cam like most "found footage" films). There is absolutely no nudity or extreme violence; only a shot of Luc puking bugs and white liquid out of his mouth and a really quick, bloodless shot of Eye being beheaded by the Malay Elder. The sound recording seems to come directly from the cameras because the further the camera is away from the actors, the lower their dialogue sounds (some of it is downright unintelligable). The worst thing of all is why Charity would ask Raymond to come with her to trek through the jungle, since he walks with the help of a cane! I mean, c'mon, would you ask a friend with a cane to go hiking in some unknown jungle with you? And then Charity yells at him when he can't keep up with the rest of the group! Some friend. No wonder her mother put her up for adoption! Besides one good morphing scene where the spirit girl reveals her actual identity, there is nothing of interest here for even the most patient of viewers, It is just 86 minutes of insufferable boring and painful torture for those who choose to watch it. VOODOO NIGHTMARE offers no voodoo and the only nightmare you will suffer is the one where you fall asleep during the film and wake up, finding it is still on. Do yourself a favor and avoid this film at all costs. I have to watch this stuff. You don't. Originally filmed under the title RETURN TO PONTIANAK (a much better, but non-sellable, title). A Vanguard Cinema VHS & DVD Release. Not Rated.
FRANKENSTEIN'S HUNGRY DEAD (2013) - I knew before I even put this disc in my player that I was in for something awful. The DVD sleeve proclaims that it won a couple awards at some film festivals I never heard of and one internet site says that star "Michael Thurber...a modern day Vincent Price" (It's the "..." part that worries me. The site could have very well said that "Michael Thurber is not a modern day Vincent Price", or "Michael Thurber works in a wax museum trying to act like a modern day Vincent Price", either which would be right on the money.). This poorly acted (and I'm being kind here, this horror flick doesn't miss one cliché in the Horror 101 Handbook) opens up with a guy named Ryan about to tag the inside walls of the Cushing Wax Museum in Salem, Massachusetts with a paint spray can, when something grabs him by his ankles and pulls him off-camera. We then switch to Detention in a high school where angry teacher Mr. Jefferson (Ryan Hanley, who is simply terrible) begins to go off on all the sterotypical pains-in-the butt students who are in detention: The nerd Katherine (Jamie Lyn Bagley), who is here for passing out missing person flyers of her friend Ryan; slut Ashley (Shannon Hartman) and her boyfriend Colton (Patrick Keeffe); goth chick Zoey (Aurora Grabill) and gay lovers Sam (Johnny Sederquist) and Troy (Aaron Peaslee), who set gay rights back at least 100 years (Colton actually calls Sam a "cockgoblin" in one of the film's many cringeworthy dialogue scenes). Mr. Jefferson decides rather than spending the detention time in a room, they will all make a trip to Cushing's Wax Museum, where head curator, the eyepatch-wearing Charles Frank (Thurber), begins to explain what movies all the wax figure were from (some are good [such as the two of Christopher Lee] and some are outright terrible; the good ones came from a real local wax museum nearby). Ashley tells Colton this would be the perfect place to have sex at night and they should come back tonight to do it, but the stupid slut says it so loud that everyone (everyone!) hears her say it. That night, Ashley and Colton break into the wax museum, have sex in a coffin and are scared half to death by Vermin (Jesse Dufault), a punk rock band member who is a friend of Zoey's. Yes, you guessed it, all the students are there and explore the wax museum, including a secret passage they discover. Charles Frank is actually the Great Great Grandson of Victor Frankenstein and he is using the dead body of Ryan and some new appendages and organs from the teenage cast to make a new Frankenstein monster, while a head in a pan (a really bad effect that is used again for the "funny" finale") named Fritz (Sean Carufel) makes jokes even a vaudeville performer would be ashamed to repeat. While the cast gets offed one-by-one in gory fashion (gory as in a high school play type of way; there are lots of exposed intestines and hearts, but the way it is done is strictly amateurish; even an eye popping out of a skull is nothing but an obvious cheap CGI effect), have sex (both straight and gay, but no nudity whatsoever; one of the gay guys actually wears suspender jeans!), run around meeting Charles' failures (more bad make-up jobs), even a zombified Adolph Hitler (Charles worked with the Nazis) and a strange woman behind a tiny door. Charles revives Ryan with a jolt of electricity and his new monster immediately turns against his master, putting Charles' body on a table and jolting him to death with electricity. Katherine and the monster Ryan walk out of the wax museum hand-in-hand and forget that there was just a mass slaughter in the building they just left. Isn't love grand? The majority of the blame for this piece of crap disguised as a film (besides the lousy actors) lies directly on the shoulders of director/producer/co-writer (with Seth Chitwood) Richard Griffin (THE DISCO EXORCIST - 2011; MURDER UNIVERSITY - 2012; FUTURE JUSTICE - 2014; and too many others that I refuse to mention), who offers the audience nothing but 76 minutes of boredom (not the 85 minutes listed on the DVD sleeve, thank God!) with underwritten characters so unreal, they seem to jump out of a bad comic book (Why is Katherine so determined to find Ryan? It is never discussed in the film, except for a confusing nightmare she is having while Ryan is being dragged away in the beginning of the film.). Originally titled DR. FRANKENSTEIN'S WAX MUSEUM OF THE HUNGRY DEAD, but shortened to the title it is now, we finally do realize the Michael Thurber is no Vincent Price. Hell, he couldn't even hold Mr. Price's water. He overacts to the point of distraction. I guess he is supposed to come off funny, but he is more annoying than anything else. Do yourself a favor and don't get sucked-in by the DVD artwork like I did (That creature never appears in the film) and spend your hard-earned bucks on something more important, like laser hair removal for that mole on your ass. This is nothing but a giant turd shaped like a DVD. To show how really bad the film is, late director Jess Franco is thanked in the final credits. That is not a ringing endorsement to me. Also starring Nathaniel Sylva, Mary Paolino (who speaks with a thick Bronx accent), Andre Boudreau and Christopher L. Ferreira as the Creature. A Wild Eye Releasing DVD Release. Unrated.
THE LEGEND OF THE HILLBILLY BUTCHER (2012) - With a title like that, I didn't have high expectations when I plopped the disc in my player but, my god, I wasn't prepared for what a stinking turd it was actually going to be. All the blame can be put on director/co-producer/co-writer/cinematographer/editor/actor Joaquin Montalvan's (the documentary SARAVIA - 2008; M O B I U S - 2009; H O L E - 2010; C C K - 2015) skinny little shoulders. This shot-on-video disaster's biggest problem is the cinematography. There probably wasn't one button Montalvan didn't use on the video camera, as he gives it a fake grindhouse look, complete with fake emulsion scratches, dirt specks, jumping frames, and reddish color at the corners, like the film is beginning to turn vinegar. But the worst aspect of the cinematography is that it is shot mostly out-of-focus and given a sickly yellow palette. It's a very hard film to watch, not because of the subject matter, but because it looks terrible and you'll be doing more squinting than when you were a kid trying to watch scrambled porn on your cable box. The story is a simpleton's dream: Grandpa (S.E. Feinberg) gives his three grandchildren a choice: Either he will read them the children's story "Bouncy Bunny" (a fake book with lousy artwork) or he can tell them the Legend of the Hillbilly Butcher. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what the kids want to hear and we switch over to cannibal Carl Henry Jessup (Paul E. Respass, who died of a heart attack on April 21, 2014) as he is sitting at the edge of the river contemplating his life. We hear his thoughts, such as "Ever since the Civil War, this country's been one big pussy." (the word "pussy" is used a lot in this film). When Carl was a young boy, he watched as his father killed his mother and then cut his own throat. Just before Daddy died, he slips his favorite butcher knife to his son and tells him, "It's yours now!" (No? Really? I thought the neighbor down the street would want it.). Carl likes to kill people who trespass on his land, butcher them (we watch him cut up a woman in his bathtub and see her severed ear and head) and his friend Rae Lynn (Theresa Holly) comes over to cook and clean for him (she is related to him somehow, but it is never made clear how), not knowing the meat she is cooking is "long pig" (i.e. human flesh). Carl performs a religious ritual to a demon called Sam Bakoo (Allen East), where he says he would gladly trade his soul to have his Mama and Papa alive again (he keeps their mummified corpses in an upstairs bedroom), but the ritual doesn't seem to work. He is visited by a ghost girl named Jessie (Marie Moreshead), who tells Carl that Sam Bakoo is real and that his family is cursed. Carl continues to kill people, such as a hunter who is taking a shit on his property (complete with fart and shit noises and the hunter exclaiming, "Oh, that is wet!") and a picnicking couple (when the male tries to kiss the female, she says "I am not ready for tongue yet!") and butchers them in his basement meat locker (The male picnicker gets away thanks to help from ghost girl Jessie). Carl has dreams about Sam Bakoo and tries to bury a box that contains Sam's deathmask on the top, but it mysteriously reappears in his meat locker with a small bottle of Carl's blood inside. Carl's best friend, the horny Billy Wayne (Chris Shumway), asks Carl if he can take out Rae Lynn on a date and Carl gives his blessing. When Billy Wayne tries to rape Rae Lynn and punches her in the face, Carl sees what he has done to her and has Billy Wayne drink a mason jar of moonshine spiked with rat poison and he dies (with bloody froth coming out of his mouth). When Rae Lynn learns that she has been cooking human flesh all this time (she discovers Carl's mother's mummified corpse in her bed and the bedroom is full of human body parts), she runs away with Carl chasing her. She turns the tables on Carl and kills him with his Daddy's butcher knife and then throws the knife in the river. We then hear a fake-sounding 1920's version of 'My Blue Heaven" as we then see Carl tied to a chair in Hell, with his Daddy cackling and pulling out Carl's tonails and teeth with a pair of pliers while Sam Bakoo dances around him. Carl screams and the film ends, but after the end credits roll, we see Grandpa again giving his grandkids one final scare (if I had a grandfather like that, I would never visit him!). The film is just awful and full of dialogue that makes your eyes roll in back of your head, such as when Carl chases a couple of drunk teens off his property and says, "Hell, that meat wasn't ripe anyway!". The film makes absolutely no sense, especially the Sam Bakoo and Jessie parts, and director Montalvan shows up every now and then as a drunk hillbilly who keeps ogling Rae Lynn from afar (and grabbing his crotch), only to end up being cut up alive, screaming as Carl pulls out his intestines and removes an eyeball with a knife and eats it. This is the film's only decent makeup effect, as the rest of the film is fake-looking slit throats (it's apparent it is the knife spurting blood, as the skin is not cut at all) and body parts shown after the butchering. There are other head-scratching bits, such as when Rae Lynn kills Carl. She folds his hands at his chest and lays an orchid on his body (where did she find an orchid without leaving his body????) before throwing the butcher knife in the river. And speaking of Rae Lynn: If she was such a good cook as the film portrays her, how could she not know that the meat she was cooking was human after cooking for Carl all these years? And how come during this whole time (since she also cleans his house) she has never been in the upstairs bedroom? The film is full of things that make absolutely no sense and, at at 99 minutes long, it's is a chore to sit through. You'll never want to see anything yellow again (I quit eating bananas after watching this film!). Do yourself a favor and skip this abomination, which supposedly won 6 awards at the Pollygrind Film Festival. If this is Pollygrind's example of a good film, remind me to never watch another one that they recommend. Also starring Ron Jason (as Pa Jessup), Doreen Barnes (as Ma Jessup), Tim Pasio (who also co-wrote the music and lyrics to a song in this film called "Welcome To Hell", performed by Midnight Angel), Suzanne Rick and Martin McSweeney. An MVD Visual DVD Release as part of their "Whacked Movies" line. Not Rated, but not worth your time.
AMITYVILLE DEATH HOUSE (2014) - If a digital video camera could have diarrhea, this would be the result. This sad excuse for a film, directed/produced by Mark Polonia (who, with his deceased brother John, made such SOV "classics" like SPLATTER FARM - 1987; FEEDERS - 1996; THE HOUSE THAT SCREAMED - 2000; and dozens others), written by John Oak Dalton (Polonia's PETER ROTTENTAIL - 2004) and executive produced by Fred Olen Ray through his company Retromedia Entertainment, is one of the worst developed films I have seen in quite a while. It is also so short in length that the opening is a highlight reel of the film's best moment (and by saying "best", I don't mean good) and the end credits crawl so slow, they last for ten minutes, making for a 77-minute film. Even at that short length, it still seemed like watching an 8-hour mini-series, but without much of a plot. Also, the film says Eric Roberts is the main star, but we NEVER see his face. We only hear his voice, while someone else plays him as a masked warlock sitting down at a table, in dialogue that could have been recorded in less than thirty minutes. It also has CGI that is so bad, a grade school kid can do better (if you are going to shoot a no-budget horror film, the least you can do is give your audience good old-fashioned practical effects, not CGI blood). After the highlight reel (which showcases one the few real practical effects, done by Brett Piper, director of such films as A NYMPHOID BARBARIAN IN DINOSAUR HELL - 1990 and BACTERIUM - 2007), we then see the masked warlock with Eric Roberts' voice, as he spouts gobblety-gook about a witch named Abigail Wilmont who was killed in the 1700's because she was a witch and now the warlock wants her to get revenge by killing five of the ancestors of those who murdered her, using the "Book Of The Dead" (actually Abigail's diary). We then switch to Tiffany (Krysten St. Pierre) and her three friends, Aric (Michael Merchant), Bree (Cassandra Hayes) and Dig (Houston Baker, who also composed and sings the film's closing tune), as they are coming back from helping people from the devastation of Hurricane Courtney (not even a real hurricane!). Tiffany and her friends are now going to Amityville to see her sick grandmother Florence (Yolie Canales) at the "Old Wilmont Place" and make sure she is OK. They are just about there when they see young woman Charlayne (Danielle Donahue) standing in the snow next to her car. The group stop and Aric fixes her car and then proceed to Grandma's house. Charlayne lets her dog Snappy out of the car to do his business and when he doesn't return, she goes looking for him, where she finds a human skull in the snow and a noose hanging from a tree. She is then killed by her own dog (at least I think it was Snappy; the film is edited haphazardly) as we hear the warlock say, "Five more must die before the dawn!" (Wait a minute, didn't he say in the beginning that only five would die?). Tiffany and her friends make it to Grandma's house (it's a plain house with two of the Amityville House's iconic windows added by obvious CGI!), only to find the outside of the house in disrepair (with an animal's skull on the stairs). Tiffany discovers her grandmother Florence (a really bad old-age makeup job) upstairs in bed babbling incoherently and Tiffany finds the Book Of The Dead on her night table and takes it. Fisherman Ernest (Todd Carpenter) is the second one to die when Abigail reaches from under the water and pulls him under. Sheriff McGrath (Kevin VanSant) just misses seeing this as he was talking to Ernest moments earlier before driving away. Squirrel hunter Wardell (Steve Diasparra) is the third to die when he discovers Abigail hanging from a tree and she rips his eyes out (in one of the film's other few practical effects). Bree then cuts her hand on the Book Of The Dead and the infection spreads, while Tiffany reads a witches spell out loud from the book (I know it makes no sense. Nothing here does). Zeke (Jeff Kirkendall) & Gilly (Austin Dragovich), two local troublemakers, are the fourth and fifth victims when Abigail rips Gilly's head off (off-screen) and the film freezes when Abigail has her hands around Zeke's neck (I guess they didn't have anything in the budget to show either death). Things go crazy in Grandma's basement when Aric & Dig become possessed and try to drown Bree in a vat of water. They see that Tiffany has six breasts (another terrible effect) and Dig yells out "She has the witch's teats!" (What the Fuck?!?). The possessed duo try to strangle Tiffany but she must have some sort of supernatural power, because both Dig and Aric snap out of it. The rotting Abigail scratches Dig's face as he plants an axe in her body and Aric finishes her off by crushing her head with his foot. Tiffany goes upstairs to destroy the Book Of The Dead, but she is met by her possessed Grannie. Tiffany manages to knock her head off with a few punches to Grannie's head (another terrible effect) and goes to the basement, where she starts tearing pages out of the book. She tells Aric that they must burn the pages to send Abigail's spirit to Hell (Wait a minute, wouldn't it be easier just to burn the book as a whole?), while Bree sprouts giant legs and turns into a spider (a combination of CGI, physical and Brett Piper's stop motion effects, which is the scene the film opened with, so it comes as no surprise at all!). Aric is killed by a scythe held by once-again possessed Dig and Tiffany sets fire to the pages, which causes the house to explode in mere seconds (in one of the worst CGI scenes I ever laid my eyes upon). We then cut to the Sheriff watching video from Tiffany's video camera, which was pulled out of the wreckage. He spots Abigail in some of the frames in the video when he gets a call from his ex-wife Veronica (Kathryn Sue Young) that Tiffany is at her store. But is it even Tiffany? Do you really care? Director Mark Polonia (who also plays the Sheriff's deputy Sully) still hasn't learned to make a coherent film since he started out in the 80's. There is absolutely nothing to recommend here, even the spider transformation, which looks to have been done on the cheap and in a hurry. Polonia's over-reliance on dime-store CGI (a trait in Fred Olen Ray's softcore films that show on cable all the time) and Dalton's non-linear and confusing screenplay will give you a headache, as will all the actors' terrible thespian talents (yes, every one of them). Krysten St. Pierre is especially awful, as she only seems to have one expression and speaks her dialogue in monotone. Eric Roberts probably owed someone a favor or did the warlock voice for some quick booze or blow money. I have no idea why this film was even made, but do yourself a favor and just pass this one by. It really has nothing to do with Amityville and it is about a scary as a baby's dirty diaper. A Bayview Entertainment DVD Release. Not Rated.
EYES OF THE WOODS (2008) - Let's face it, you know you're about to see something awful when three directors are listed for one 79-minute film (and, no, it's not an anthology) and the third director is listed as being in charge of "Completion Footage" (Believe me, that is never a good sign). The film starts out well enough: In a black & white flashback (tinted a gold color) we see a sign dated 1547 in a town called Knob's Creek (Alright, enough with the snickering!), where Christopher Wicker (Ed Pope) is mourning the death of his young daughter, who died of consumption (who we saw a couple of minutes earlier opening her eyes while in her coffin, revealing completely white eyes with no pupils), and then revealing that he has the symbol of the pentagran burned into the palms of both of his hands. The opening credits begin to roll (dark red type on a black background, never a good choice of complimenting colors) and we watch as Christopher cuts off one of his fingers in some satanic ritual, as he curses God and uses his own blood to draw the sign of an upside-down cross on his chest. He sits in the middle of a pentagram drawn on the floor with his blood, while we hear a disembodied voice speaking Latin and a rocking chair moving on its own. Christopher then turns into a sharp-clawed, pointy-teeth creature (now portrayed by Walter Phelan, who was "Dr. Satan" in HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES - 2002). The creature then attacks a young Puritan girl, as people congregating at Minister Jonahs' (Jim W. Miller) church complain about how all their children are being mutilated or end up missing and want to know what they can do to stop it. One man says Christopher Wicker is to blame because "he's in league with the Devil" (which he actually is) and an old bearded coot (who can't act a lick) offers to take them into the woods, where he says Wicker is hiding in a location called "Devil's Den" and they can put an end to all the children dying by killing Wicker. Without even questioning the old coot, off they go, armed with axes, meat cleavers and pickaxes and get to Devil's Den, where they discover the mutilated decapitated head of the recently missing Puritan girl. The Puritans see the creature eating another human body and discarding its head, as one of the Puritans plants a pickaxe into the creature's stomach, only for the creature to return the favor by thrusting his clawed hand through the Puritan's head. Another man strikes the creature with an axe. He has his head crushed between the creature's hands. When another Puritan puts a noose around the creature's head and tries to hang it, the creature splits the man's head in two and eats his brains. The creature then mutilates a Puritan woman's body and rips the bearded old coot's head off (Do you see a pattern developing here?). As its final act, the creature then slices the final Puritan woman's (she's the mother of the recently missing girl) throat, strips her topless and rips into her body until a wall is covered in blood, the black & white footage turning to full color (Paging Quentin Tarantino!). The film then switches to the present day, where five young, stupid adults, Allison (Elizabeth O'Brick), Winter (Johnny Moreno), Kelly (Lira Kellerman), Matt (Eric L. Wolfson) and Nicole (Alissa Koenig), stop their SUV to get some gas at a backwoods gas station, where the butt-ugly attendent (co-director Darrin Reed) looks like he was burned all over his face. Can you guess where these stupid people are heading? That's right, they are going to Devil's Den to check out rumors they read on the internet. After getting a warning by the malformed attendent, they go on their way, but when they are traveling in the woods, their SUV mysteriously stops and the lights go out. Instead of walking back to the gas station, they decide to forge ahead and camp out for the night where, around a campfire, Allison mentions the legend of the creature of Knob's Creek and how it cannot be destroyed until it avenges the death of his daughter. I could go on and tell you how these idiotic people end up getting killed one-by-one, but none of it is gory in the least. It looks like the filmmakers blew their entire budget on the really gory effects in the film's first ten minutes. All the deaths in the color footage are off-screen. While there is a topless woman roaming the woods covered in blood and a sub-story about a couple of stoners discovering her, only to be killed by the creature (again off-screen), the closest the rest of the film comes to gore is when a torso of a camper is dumped on a campfire, forcing the last four of the stupid people to split in two: the men and the women. Every once in a while Christopher Wicker's ghost daughter makes an appearance, telling the idiotic young adults that her father is "trapped". Will Winter get hives by eating a strawberry energy bar because he is allergic to strawberries? Will the girls lift Christopher's curse? Will this 79 minutes ever end? If you answered "No" to these three questions, you are absolutely correct, Directors Darrin Reed and Miguel F. Valenti still haven't directed another film, and Mark Villalobos, who is credited as directing the "Completion Footage" is better known as Special Effects Technician (he is also listed as Supervisor of Special Effects on this film), working on such films as ARMY OF DARKNESS (1992); REEKER (2005); PLAGUERS (2008) and THE HILLS RUN RED (2009), all much better films than this piece of shit. The film has a severely disjointed feel, which is why Reed and Valenti never directed another film. It is obvious that they bit off more than they could chew and Villabos was able to cobble the film together to make it releasable (but just barely). The screenwriters, Michael Ferrara (who also has a role in the film) and Oren Kamara (not surprisingly, their only screenplay at the time of this review), make sure they don't miss one "terror in the woods" cliche, as the hikers always make the stupidest decisions they possibly can, especially when they discover Kelly is missing and they continue on their trek, not even worrying about whether Kelly is in trouble or worse. Really nice friends, aren't they? Mix-in a well-telegraphed "surprise" ending and an epilogue showing that two weeks later, Winter is still trapped in the woods (He has to be the stupidest person on Earth to still be in Devil's Den two weeks after he arrived there!) and you have a film that would make retards ashamed (Oh, take your political correctness and shove it up your ass!). The creature is the best part of the film (It reminded me of THE MONSTER OF PIEDRAS BLANCAS - 1959), but it is used sparingly after the first ten minutes. If your idea of a good film is someone saying, "I'm not going to be food for this thing!" or a tag line that reads "Something Wicker This Way Comes!", you'll love this film (and your IQ is probably below 65 and you poop into your Depends), but all others should just ignore this film and save themselves from an awful experience. Also starring Jeff Doba, Susan Ledgerwood, Michael Broom, Paul "Bone Daddy" McGimsey (really?), Heather Curley and Crystal Swarovski. A Central Film Company DVD Release. Unrated.
ZOMBIE HUNTER (2013) - Well, here we go again. Another freshman director decides to make his first movie a horror film and it's a zombie film at that. Actually it's a zombie comedy. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of zombie comedies, especially if they are done right. Right off the top of my head, I can think of SHAUN OF THE DEAD (2003); ZOMBIELAND (2009; especially the sequences with Bill Murray); JUAN OF THE DEAD (2011) and DEADHEADS (2011). ZOMBIE HUNTER, on the other hand, can't hold a candle to those films because it is about as funny as a baby dying of A.I.D.S. (and for you politically correct people out there: Fuck you! You can censor yourself when you have your own website!). The film is a mess of cliched ideas (take a little MAD MAX, mix it with religious fanaticism and end it with a bit of self-sacrifice. For the rest of the film it is either kill or be killed.) that mix together as well as oil and water. And it's apparent that director/co-writer Kevin King (CYBORG X - 2015; also featuring Danny Trejo) hasn't got a single clue how a horror film should be made, because 95% of the kills are done using CGI (everyone bleeds a nearly neon pink color and their CGI blood always "hits" the camera lens), the CGI monsters are pathetic and women make love with their bras on. Now tell me, would you watch a film like that? To add insult to injury, the "name" star, Danny Trejo, makes three short appearances in the film (which probably ate up 75% of the film's paltry budget) and dies halfway through it, making the rest of the movie insufferable to sit through. And let's also be brutally honest: Is anyone else besides me sick and tired of posters made for new films purposely made to look like beat-up posters from the 70's, with fold marks, yellowing at the edges and creases? While the films of the 70's will be remembered fondly 50 years from now, films like this piece of trash will long be forgotten, no matter how old they make their posters look (I curse Quentin Tarantino/Robert Rodriguez for starting the trend with their GRINDHOUSE double feature , but at least they were good films). This film starts out interestingly enough with three people in a living room getting high off a new street drug that, as you can probably guess, is highly addictive and has strange after-effects. While a female TV news anchor is telling everyone that the side effects of taking the drug include projectile vomiting, we see her male counterpart do just that while he is sitting in the chair next to her and a "Technical Difficulties" card appears on the TV screen (the only thing I found funny in the whole film, but THE SIMPSONS use to do it a lot better, showing a drunk guy with a bottle in his hands while those words show up on screen). The female anchor goes on to say that the drug turns people into blood thirsty zombies and we then see one of the guys in the living room take the girl upstairs for sex and bites her tongue off (one of the film's very few practical effects). A year passes and the entire world has turrned into a zombie paradise thanks to the drug (Think about this for a minute: Why would someone sell a street drug with no repeat customers?), with a few living humans here and there. One of those humans happens to be loner Hunter (Australian actor Martin Copping; FORBIDDEN GROUND - 2013; passing for American rather poorly), who drives his souped-up black car and destroys "Eaters" along the way (We see him hit a zombie called "Death Angel" [Jake Bushman] with his car until there is nothing but pink goo all over his windshield.). Hunter hasn't seen a living human being for six months, but all of a sudden he is hit in the shoulder with a bullet and crashes his car (and so ends our tribute to MAD MAX). Hunter wakes up in the compound of Father Jesus (Danny Trejo, who strictly did this ordinary role for the money). Hunter is in a bed while Debbie (Jean Regler), who says she hasn't seen a real man in over a year, moves in for some sex action. She is interrupted by Alison (Clare Neiderpruem), who has come to change the bandage on his shoulder. Before Hunter meets Father Jesus (really, a priest named Father Jesus?), the good father has a flashback where he kills a bunch of Eaters with his Holy Axe (which he keeps hanging on his wall), every one of those flashback deaths done with CGI where fake pink blood hits the camera lens. When Father Jesus meets Hunter, he has the Father makes Lyle (Jake Suazo), the person who shot him, take him back to his car to see if it is salvagable. But before the good Fathers will let that happen, Father Jesus tells him his flock's life story and tells Hunter, "Believe in good and evil. Believe if you're not one, you're the other." (well duh!). He also goes on to say "We need hope. Make no mistake, there's a Hell and you're in it!" We then don't see Father Jesus again until the next Eaters attack, where some awfully rendered Creature Eaters appear and Father Jesus picks up his Holy Axe once again, this time cutting off one of the creature's arms before he is beheaded. Once Trejo is out of the film, it sinks faster than a turd swirling around in a flushed toilet bowl. The remaining crew decide to try to make it to an airport, where Jerry (Terry Guthrie) says he knows where a single engine plane is and they can travel to a place that has white sand beaches (since this film was filmed in Utah, you would think the Bonneville Salt Flats would be a good substitution). After a short run-in with The Funny Man Eater (Jeff Kirkham), a zombie that is dressed like a clown and carries a chainsaw (whose blade length changes from scene to scene), who slices Debbie in the stomach while she is squatting to take a pee (so much fake CGI blood hits the camera lens, you can't see how awful the CGI effect is) and Hunter hits him with a pickup truck and cuts him into pieces with his own chainsaw (all the while, The Funny Man is laughing) and then looking in a deserted gas station's freezer and puking their guts out (we are not made aware what they see), they finally make it to the airport and find the plane (They also find a storage shed full of automatic weapons. What are the chances?). Trouble is, it needs gas and there are a horde of CGI Creature Eaters all around the airport. Hunter fills up the tank while fighting off the creatures, but one of them runs his clawed hand straight through Hunter's torso (a terrible CGI effect, but not as horrible as Alison knocking a CGI Creature Eater off her truck's roof by hitting the brakes). Jerry is also eaten alive by an Eater (the only other use of practical effects that weren't CGI-enhanced in this film). Hunter drops a hand grenade into a puddle of gasoline, which forces the whole airport to blow up in a (CGI) explosion, letting Allison and Ricky (Jason K. Wixom) escape in their pickup truck (I guess the white-sanded beaches are now out of the question). To add insult to the viewer's injury, Hunter is still alive, but badly burned (How? Could someone tell me how the fuck he survived since he dropped the hand grenade right at his feet and his entire torso was impaled by a Creature Eater?), so he takes his own life by saying "If you gotta do something, you gotta do it yourself!" as he runs a blade across his neck. Thankfully, the film is over and I never have to speak of it again. Look for a poster of OZOMBIE (2012) in one scene (another Utah-made film that features Jeff Kirkham from this film). Also starring Michael Monasterio, Marianne Smith, Shona Kay, Jarrod Phillips (as the puking anchorman), Ashley Halbash, Adam Judd and Amy Savannah. A Well Go USA Entertainment DVD & Blu-Ray Release. Not Rated.
THE DEAD AND THE DAMNED (2010) - Remember when horror Westerns were as rare as tits on a rock? Now that DTV is proving to be a money-maker, it seems that we are becoming inundated with them and most of them are awful. This zombie-centric one is particularly rank. It's like a diarrhetic orangutan flinging his loose bowel movements at you and hitting you in the face every time. This one not only moves slow as molasses, it has the nerve to have one of the actors use the name "Randall Marshall Dillon" as a tribute to GUNSMOKE (1955-1975), but I wouldn't put it pass the late James Arness to rise from the grave to pull this asshole's head off and shit down his neck. And I wouldn't blame Miss Kitty also rising from her tomb to give him a skeletal knee to his balls. Since "Randall Marshall Dillon" hasn't appeared in anything since, I would like to hope all of it actually happened. This is also one of those films where the artwork on the DVD cover is better than the film itself and the film is such a low-budget affair, all they could afford was one horse (there are more horses on the DVD cover then there are in the film!). One lousy horse for a Western film! Still, all that runny orangutan shit running down your face smells like roses when compared to actually watching the film, so I'll start from the beginning and make it quick, so you can go grab a towel and wipe your face. It starts out with one of the worst shootouts in Western film history (there is something off about the sound of the guns, like they couldn't afford to loop in better gunshot sounds after the film was finished), where bounty hunter Mortimer (David A. Lockhart) kills five guys in order to collect a single bounty on one guy, who he shoots in cold blood (the guy is unarmed!). Mortimer tells the town's Sheriff that he needs more money to help his soon-to-be-wife back in California afford a farm they are looking to buy, so he asks the Sheriff to give him the most expensive bounty. That turns out to be Native American Brother Wolf (Rick Mora), who supposedly raped and killed a white girl (He didn't. They were secretly seeing each other for a year and when her father found out, he killed her and blamed the "injun".). Mortimer travels to Gold Rush town Whiskeytown and buys a girl named Rhiannon (Camille Montgomery; I keep hearing Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac singing her name!), whom he intends to use as human bait to trap Brother Wolf. Meanwhile, two farmers uncover a glowing green rock (probably a meteorite) on their land and take it into town by wheelbarrow. One of the farmers hits the rock with a pickaxe while most of the town is watching and a green gas comes out of the rock, turning most of the town's residents into bloodthirsty zombies (two whores who weren't there get killed by their own boss; one of them has her leg torn off while he chews on it. It's all done rather badly and CGI-enhanced.). Mortimer knows he is on the right track when he sees a human head impaled on a pike, so he ties Rhiannon up and leaves her in a field as bait for Brother Wolf. When Brother Wolf does show up, he frees Rhiannon and Mortimer goes to shoot him, only to discover that while Mortimer was sleeping, Brother Wolf removed all the bullets from his gun! They get into a badly-staged fist fight, but Brother Wolf must not have checked out Mortimer thoroughly because he pulls out a derringer and takes Brother Wolf prisoner. Mortimer must also have to deal with another bounty hunter called "The German" (Robert Amstler), who doesn't speak a lick of English (Let that bit of information sink in for a minute), so Mortimer and The German get into a gunfight, but Mortimer seems to think The German is toast when he is attacked by one of the zombies from town (Mortimer doesn't even act surprised. He acts like this happens every day). Rhiannon frees Brother Wolf just in time before he turns into zombie chow (an axe in the noggin will put them down every time!). As you can probably guess by now, Mortimer, Brother Wolf and Rhiannon must work together from now on if they are going to survive (Actually, they don't do a great job of it). From here on in, the film is nothing but the trio fighting zombies and either shooting them in the head or giving them a tomahawk haircut. There's a long scene where Rhiannon is alone in a bar (yes, they do split up!) and must deal with a blind zombie. She keeps trying to be quiet, but always fails and the blind zombie heads in her direction and Rhiannon finally kills it. On the other hand, Brother Wolf's death only takes a few seconds (a zombie chews out his heart and then Mortimer shoots him in the head!). The film thankfully draws to a conclusion when Mortimer is killed by a zombie and Rhiannon (who Mortimer gives all his bounty money to and makes her promise to take it to his love in California to buy the farm. But guess who just bought the farm?) is saved by The German, who wasn't killed or bitten (his arm is in a sling though). He speaks German (so do I and he basically says, "Come with me if you want to live!"), but the stupid Kraut (I can say that because I am German) leads them to a cliff with a bunch of zombies close behind them. The film ends when both of them turn around and head towards the zombies (Rhiannon only has one bullet in her gun!) and the film goes to black, which is probably where the 2014 sequel THE DEAD, THE DAMNED AND THE DARKNESS (a.k.a. THE DEAD AND THE DAMNED II) begins (Actually, it doesn't. The two surviving stars aren't even in the sequel!), but I will not watch it, just based on how long this film's 85 minutes seemed to run. It seemed like a lifetime. This is not so much a movie as it is a travesty. Besides some good zombie makeups and some brief topless female nudity, most of the deaths are CGI-enhanced (God, I hate CGI blood!) and the story is exactly like a thousand other zombies films. Even if this one supposedly takes place during Western times, the lack of horses or other period articles (it looks like it was shot in a Wild West theme park and cowboys wear modern Levi jeans and boots with rubber soles) really hurts the film (the bullet count for Mortimer's six-shooter keeps on changing throughout the film; one time I saw Mortimer fire 11 shots before reloading!), as does director/screenwriter Rene Perez's lack of talent when it comes to shooting action scenes. I do appreciate that he doesn't use rapid editing like they do in most modern DTV films, but the opposite also applies, too. It would be nice if the camera moved every once in a while. Lots of long takes in this film where the camera stands still. What is amazing to me is that Perez still gets financing to keep making his films. Besides the sequel I have already mentioned, he has also made the following films in the past few years: THE DEMON HUNTER (2012); SLEEPING BEAUTY (2014; not a children's film); THE BURNING DEAD (2015; after a volcano erupts, zombies rise out of the lava!) and LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD (2015; again, not a children's film). Perez got a lot of Press when he used Charles Bronson lookalike Robert Kovacs (a.k.a. "Robert Bronzi") in the god-awful films FROM HELL TO THE WILD WEST (2017), DEATH KISS (2018) and others not worth mentioning. Here's my recommendation: If you see Rene Perez's name on a film, imagine something ten times worse than anything that comes from The Asylum and then make up your mind. Also known in some other countries as COWBOYS & ZOMBIES and DJANGO VS. ZOMBIES (Oh, c'mon now!). Also starring Autumn J.D. Harrison, Heather Montanez; G.J. Morrison; Pat McIntire; James Edward Tolbert; Timothy Bartgis, George Anderson, Carol S. Bayers and Lauren C. Kelly as the blind zombie. An Inception Media Group DVD Release Rated R.
NIGHT HUNTER (1995) - Before Wesley Snipes became BLADE (1998) there was...Don "The Dragon" Wilson as Jack Cutter? Yes, that's right, everyone's favorite low-budget martial artist action star (who could never act a lick, but was likable anyway) breaks his usual mold and stars in a lame cheapie horror film Executive Produced by an uncredited Roger Corman. This film is so bad, it ignores every vampire convention since Bram Stoker wrote "Dracula" and is full of so many holes, moths are envious. It also doesn't help that nearly all the vampires and other characters are named after famous horror directors and personalities (such as "Argento", "Sangster", "Ulmer", "Baker", and many more), which is really a turn-off and pure laziness to boot. The film begins in March 1968, where young Jack Cutter (Christopher Aguilar) is told by vampire hunter father Tom (a cameo by James Lew; CAGE II - 1994) to hide in the secret room in the house while he and his vampire hunting mother Mary (Dena Rea Hayess) fight a horde of vampires after being betrayed by long-time friend Sid (Sid Sham), who tells Tom he was offered immortality by head vampire Bruno Fischer (a disinterested-looking Nicholas Guest; THE LONG RIDERS - 1980; who literally sleepwalks through his role and speaks in low-volume monotone) by telling Tom, "Drink an ounce of blood a year, you'll live forever, man!" Young Jack leaves his hiding place when his father and mother are circled by a family of vampires and a martial arts fight break out. Jack sees his mother killed and his father hands Jack a book containing the names of every vampire family alive and a double-barrel shotgun, throwing young Jack out a window and telling him to "Trust no one" before Tom is killed (off-screen). Jack hides outside while he watches Bruno enter the house. One of the vampires tells him that the boy got away and Jack looks down at the book and we are transported to June 1995, where adult Jack (Wilson) is about to enter a club where the vampire family that killed his mother and father are celebrating a reunion. He uses the shotgun and a pair of handguns to shoot the vampires and then snaps their necks with his martial arts prowess to kill them (Don't think too hard about this because it will drive you crazy). Jack makes a mistake when a female photographer who works for the club accidentally takes his photo, so when toothpick-chewing Detective Hopper (Marcus Aurelius) and county coroner Roy Ward (Michael Cavanaugh; THE HAUNTING - 1999) look at the carnage at the club, the photographer gives Det. Hopper the photo of Jack, which is distributed to every precinct in the city. Jack is at a warehouse he calls home and crosses out the names of the vampires he just killed in the book his father gave him. By the look of the names crossed-out in the book, Jack has been a very busy boy since 1968. Jack is spotted by the police when he is walking down an alley and a chase ensues, only for Jack to be hit by a car driven by Raimy Baker (Melanie Smith; THE BABY DOLL MURDERS - 1993; and, yes, her character's name is atrocious), a reporter for a National Enquirer-like rag who was sent to Los Angeles to cover the spate of snapped-neck murders (How's that for coincidence?). Jack hops into Raimy's car and tells her to drive, but she is seriously wounded by a cop's bullet and crashes the car. When the police get to the car, both Raimy and Jack are gone. Jack has brought her back to his warehouse, where he pours a healing liquid on her bullet wound and it disappears. Jack tries to explain to Raimy that vampires are real, but she doesn't believe him (What about her miraculous recovery from being shot? Doesn't that lend Jack some credence?). Raimy soon changes her tune when female vampire Tournier (Maria Ford; FUTURE FEAR - 1997; doing a lousy French accent) invades the warehouse and tries to kill Jack (Somehow, Jack manages to get off three shots from a two-barrel shotgun!), but she leaves when she is hit by some pistol fire (This is really getting ridiculous, especially when we just heard Jack tell Raimy that vampires are fast healers). Meanwhile, Sid (who hasn't aged a day since 1968) tells Bruno that Jack just killed a family of vampires, so Bruno gathers his "family" together (one of them is portrayed by Vincent Klyn, who played the head bad guy in director Albert Pyun's CYBORG ) to come up with a plan to kill Jack (Just for funsies, Bruno invades a house and makes a meal out of two young boys, again off-screen). Raimy gets Detective Ron Browning (Cash Casey) to believe that vampires are real (after Browning makes the mistake of trying to handcuff Jack) and the three of them try to take down Bruno and his family. I don't think I have to tell you how it turns out. If there is one word I could use to describe this film, it would be: Lazy. Screenwriter William C. Martell (CYBER ZONE - 1995) ignores all traditional vampire tropes and even lets them walk in the sunlight, as long as they wear sunglasses to protect their sensitive eyes! And why does Jack even bother to use a shotgun and handguns when he knows that vampires heal quickly and bullets won't kill them (And yet Sid dies of shotgun wounds in the finale)? I think it is just because they could spend their special effects money on bloody bullet squibs and not worry about vampires that are hundreds of years old turning into dust or bursting into flames when Jack snaps their necks. They just remain human-looking. And why does a solar eclipse play an important part in the finale when we have already seen all the vampires walk in the sunlight? Like I said, lazy. Director Rick Jacobson, who directed Don "The Dragon" Wilson in BLOODFIST VI: GROUND ZERO (1994) and BLOODFIST VIII: HARD WAY OUT (1996), as well as directing FULL CONTACT (1992; which I think is his best film), THE UNBORN II (1994), BITCH SLAP (2009) and episodes of the late Starz series SPARTACUS (2010 - 2013), seems to be off his game here, as he lets too many mistakes into the film and allows the cameraman to vibrate the camera like he has some type of palsy every time there is a major action sequence (Art Camacho, who has a small role in this film, was the Martial Arts Choreographer). This sloppy mess of a film is best avoided and should only be viewed on how NOT to make a vampire movie. Thank god for Wesley Snipes. This is only available on VHS and DVD in fullscreen by New Concorde Home Video (The trailer on the DVD contains scenes not seen in the final edit of the film). This is one film I will never be watching again, even if it is eventually released in it original aspect ratio. Also known as BLOOD HUNTER. Also starring Ronald Winston Yuan (as a vampire who tells Jack he is so old, he invented martial arts!), Vince Murdocco, David 'Shark' Fralick, Sofia Crawford and Randy Crowder. A New Concorde Home Video Release. Rated R.
THE NOSTRIL PICKER (1988) - Do you remember when you read or heard about some film that seemed interesting, only to never be able to find a legal copy of it for years? Then, you finally get your hands on a copy and your anticipation was all for naught because the film sucked harder than a Dyson vacuum cleaner working overtime? Well, that is the case with this film, which I read about in some monster magazine in the late-80's under the more appropriate title of THE CHANGER (Which is actually the on-screen title of this print, but it was available in England for years under the other title for some strange reason, since our protagonist only picks his nose once in the entire film!). This is the first time this film was released on home video in the United States and it's easy to see why, because the whole film screams "amateur hour". This is a badly acted story (some of the "actors" and "actresses" deliver their dialogue like they are reading it off of cue cards for the very first time) about an ugly slob named Joe Bukowski (Carl Zschering, which, not surprisingly, is his only film), who walks around the streets of Michigan (filmed on location) hassling good-looking women (well, at least this film's idea of good-looking) and always getting the cold shoulder. Or he is threatened by the cops for attempted sexual assault. That is until one day he is approached on the street by a bum (Horace Grimm; which describes his acting ability. This is his only film, too) and he offers to teach Joe the art of "morphosynthesis", or the ability to chant and change appearance into anyone he pleases (even a female), if Joe will let him take a swig from his cheap booze bottle (The trick is Joe will always see himself [unless he looks in a mirror or sees his reflection in a window] and everyone else will see him as someone different). The bum tells Joe he learned the chant "in Vietnam from some gook" and the bum says that Joe should pick a song to hum after the chant to make it work and to hum it again to release him from the chant. Frank picks "London Bridge Is Falling Down" to make the chant work (I know. I mean WTF?!?) and the bum also warns him that using the chant "will make you go crazy if you do it too much", so Joe says what the hell and lets the bum take a swig from his bottle. That night, Joe does the chant and then whistles London Bridge, but he sees no change until he walks into an adult book store and the guy behind the counter sees Joe as a young teenage girl and chastises her for being in the store. Realizing that the chant has worked, the lecherous Joe enrolls in an all-girl high school under the name "Josephine", where he can get to see teenage girls naked in the locker room (too bad the viewer doesn't) and do all kinds of things to see the girls in as less clothes as possible (This is the only time we see him pick his nose, as he is sitting behind a desk in a classroom and wipes the booger under the desk). Joe/Josephine makes friends with Brenda Kearn (Aimee Molinaro) and she invites Josephine to come over to her house because her parents will be gone and they can watch "Attack Of The Cannibal Girls" on Horror Showcase on TV. Once he gets to Brenda's house, he goes into the kitchen and hums London Bridge, where he sees himself change from a teenage girl to his slob self in a reflection in the kitchen window. He then cuts off Brenda's fingers with his switchblade and then mutilates her body (cannibalism is implied). The police are baffled, as the coroner stuffs pieces of Brenda's body into a clear plastic bag ("Oh, here are the fingers!"). The next girl Joe/Josephine kills is Tracy Harper (Heidi M. Gregg), whom he butchers in the bushes and we see him eat some of her flesh. One of Josephine's classmates is Jennifer Armstrong (Laura Cummings), who is the daughter of Detective Vince Armstrong (Edward Tanner), who just happens to be in charge of solving the murders. Joe/Josephine picks up a hooker from the streets and brings her back to his apartment, only to discover that the hooker is actually a transvestite (Steven Andrews), so Josephine tries to kill the trannie with a dildo (!), only for the transvestite to knock Josephine out, where he sees Josephine turn into Joe. The transvestite goes to the police and reports what he has seen, but even though they don't believe him, they still send a couple of detectives to Joe's apartment, but he slams the door in their faces because they don't have a warrant. The bum gets a case of the guilts about what he has done and calls the police, while Joe/Josephine is savagely stabbing schoolgirl Crisi Stroud (Gail Didia) at a baseball field, taking bites out of her flesh. As Joe becomes crazier and crazier, a TV news cameraman gets footage of "Josephine" at one of the murder sites. but the camera never lies and shows Joe instead. Detective Armstrong now knows he has his prime suspect, especially when he reads his extensive yellow sheet and talks to Joe's former psychiatrist, who tells Armstrong that Joe has suicidal tendencies (he once unsuccessfully attempted it) after he killed his mother years ago and ate her body. Joe now goes full-tilt loony tunes, as he sees his mother in his apartment, as well as his three recent blood-soaked victims, who yell out "You bastard!" in unison. Joe goes out in the streets and slices the throat of the transvestite in retribution and Armstrong and another detective chase him. Detective Armstrong has Joe cornered and we hear a couple of shots ring out. When Detective Armstrong gets home, he sits on Jennifer's bed and we hear him hum London Bridge. He becomes Joe and stabs Jennifer over and over with his switchblade, as her blood squirts all over his face. THE END. If I make any of this sound interesting, I apologize, because this barely feature-length film (76 minutes) is one of the worst acted pieces of tripe I have ever laid my eyes upon (I swear, one of them bled!). It's no wonder this is the only directorial effort of Mark Nowicki (who makes a living digitally color-correcting films and TV shows for DVD and Blu-Ray release, the most famous being the 201 episodes of THE X-FILES [1993 - 2002]), as he has no idea how to transition from scene to scene and all his actors (95% of them which never did any other film) speak in monotone or can plainly be seen looking at the director to see where they should stand. It's also no surprise that this was the only screenplay by Steven Hodge, who had a pretty unusual angle for a horror film, but litters it with so many clichés, it becomes ridiculous. Everything about this film looks like it was done by first-timers, including the sound recording, editing, photography, makeup effects and music, which are all sub par (The ending, where Joe stabs Jennifer, looks like some guy just offscreen is squirting blood into Joe's face and there are white pieces of cardboard covering the names of businesses who didn't want their name on-screen in this turd.). Waiting 26 years to see this sad excuse for a horror film was a major disappointment and makes me believe some films stay obscure for a reason. Released on DVD by boutique label Massacre Video (who are notorious for releasing their films on "limited" VHS editions and then selling out quickly, where then you see them up for sale on eBay for outrageous prices) in a barely acceptable fullscreen print, which looks to have been taken from Cinevest's (the distributor of the film) video master. I have to wonder why Massacre Video sells this online with the British title, since the print and the other name are much more exploitable (Who wants to see a guy pick his nose? Not me.). It does come with reversible cover art, so I just flipped mine over to show the film's original name. The British title card is offered as an extra, but offers no extra footage and there is a short interview with co-producer Steve Hodge (Mark Nowicki is the other producer), but I couldn't be bothered to watch it since the film was one of the worst I have seen in a long, long time. There's only so much torture a person can take. Do yourself a favor and spend your hard-earned money on another film worthy of watching. Also starring Ann Flood, Clyde Surrell, Bruce Alden, Brian Lauderdale, Vicki Hollis and Joyce Brown. Michigan needs to apologize to everyone who purchased this film. A Massacre Video DVD Release. Not Rated.
AMERIKAN HOLOKAUST (2013) - This is one of the most morally reprehensible films I have ever seen. And I've seen my share of reprehensible films. This film not only makes you feel dirty and want to take a shower after watching it, the misogyny in this film is beyond redemption. Don't take anything I say as a recommendation (although there will be some sickos out there that love SOV crap like this, where it is nothing but scene after scene of women being degraded and slaughtered) because, in reality, this film only exists to raise the shackles of everyone who watches it. It has absolutely no redeeming qualities and wallows in taste so bad, John Waters and Lucifer Valentine would puke (I believe the closest this film comes is to Valentine's regurgitation films or those "Squish Videos" of women in pretty shoes stepping on and killing small animals). The story (if you want to call it that) is a "found footage" video documentation of two Vietnam War veterans, Michael Mashburn (Jules Sceiro) and the older Antwan Mercer (Bob Glazier), torturing and killing women (and one man) because they blame the war for making them that way (which is an insult to every soldier who fought in any war). Their antics make the late David Hess' role of Krug in LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT (1972) look like Mister Rogers, but at least Hess had some class. These two actors are not ashamed to speak some of the worst bile imaginable and Glazier, especially, likes to play with his dick in front of the camera (watching an old man shaking his dick around is one of the least insulting parts of this film, but it's still shows a lack of basic human decency). This atrocious, abominable piece of dog excrement was directed/co-produced/co-written/photographed by Chris Woods (SPLATTER - 1995; BLEED - 2002; MAKE THEM DIE SLEAZY! - 2014; NAUGHTY, DIRTY, NASTY - 2014; he also co-produced and edited the 2008 documentary STRIP CLUB KING: THE STORY OF JOE REDNER) and co-produced/co-written by John Miller (who directed $KUMBAGZ - 2015) and, for all I know, they are nice guys, but this film makes them look like women-hating misogynists (sure, there's a five minute female revenge scene at the end, but it doesn't excuse the 71 minutes that comes before it). I first heard about this film after reading an article about it in Issue #33 in the revived GOREZONE magazine and I ordered it (it was cheap at $5.00, so I knew it had to be a DVD-R, which it was, but that's no big deal with me), coming to my house with both Chris Woods and John Miller signatures on the DVD sleeve. I thought that was a nice touch, until I watched the film. Since the film comes from a company called THE SLEAZE BOX, I now called my signed cover the "DVD skeeve". The film begins with an online scrawl that says what we are about to see are tapes found by the New Forge Police Department on Mashburn's property and goes on to say that what we are about to witness are some of the most violent, humiliating and repulsive manners that anyone has never seen before (No police department would ever release tapes like this to the public. Never.). The opening scene is of a slightly overweight hooker in a red S&M leather mask being walked around like a dog with a dog collar and a leash, forcing her to undress Mercer naked (he shakes his dick in front of her masked face) and then she climbs on top of him to give him a back rub, but when Mercer is not satisfied, Mashburn shows up and strangles her. They then knock out a guy videotaping his wife and baby and bring all of them back to Mashburn's house (and stealing his video camera, because their camera "sucks"), where Mashburn hammers nails into the husband's eyes and makes the wife eat out of a dog dish (after humiliating her in ways that I will not describe because it makes me sick just thinking about it). The wife crawls on all fours and begins to eat like a dog, until Mercer tells her she is eating her own baby! When she refuses to eat any more, they force a funnel in her mouth and pour the "baby" food down her throat. Every once in a while, Mashburn sits in a chair and flings insults at our military, saying that it is their fault for making them who they are (and sending them checks every month) and their mission in life now is to fuck women whenever the mood strikes, "no matter how degrading or rough it may be." The funny thing is, Mashburn is married to Rose (Cyndi Crotts), who works as a teacher at a college and supports her husband financially. Does she know what her husband does (she's always telling him to get a job)? We will find out in a short while. Mercer then beats the wife they abducted to death with a billy club for not following his orders (there is all types of military talk in this film, which makes me ill just thinking about it, because these guys were never soldiers, they were just psychopaths that happened to be in the military) and then chows down on her innards, jerking himself off with her spleen and intestines, Mashburn joining in to bite off her vagina (nothing, and I mean nothing, is left to the imagination). Could this film go any lower? Yes, it can. They dress as Santa Claus and unwrap a kidnapped girl, killing her after the Christmas paper comes off. They also keep a stable of kidnapped girls in a shed in chicken wire cages and, every once in a while, Mercer goes out there, sticks his dick through the wires hole and makes one of the girls kiss it. Mashburn removes one girl's eyes with his bare hands while in a bathtub and then eats them. Mercer kidnaps a college girl named Casey White (Audrey Hayes) that Rose says she would like to fuck and makes her strip naked, wear a mask and act like a maid. Mercer makes her watch his violent home videos and says, "That's what happens when you fuck with a dude like me!" Mashburn tells another story about the war, where he raped a "gook girl" while strangling her and says, "I felt like a God!" Rose discovers the guys have kidnapped Casey and she stabs her over and over in the face with a knife until her face looks like hamburger meat. We find out from some tapes that Rose has been killing guys like her husband and Mercer have been killing girls. Mercer's penis becomes infected from a hooker they kidnapped, screwed and killed when he didn't wear a condom (we get to see an extreme close-up of his infected dick). Mercer makes another kidnapped girl swallow diarreha medicine and then we hear fart and shit noises. The camera pans down to the liquid shit-filled toilet bowl, as Mercer makes the poor girl stick her head in and drink from it (I told you it could get lower.). The film then comes full-circle, as the hooker we saw in the red S&M mask and dog collar in the beginning of the film is not actually dead. When Mercer tries to stick his dick in what he thinks is her dead mouth, she bites it off, duct-tapes him to a chair, slaps his face with his dismembered dick and then makes him eat it. She then shoves the sharp heel of her shoe into Mercer's dickless testicles until he dies (once again, none of this is left to the imagination). Mashburn sees Mercer dead and he is knocked unconscious. The girl has him tied-up, pulls out his teeth with a pair of pliers, rips out his tongue and shoves a shotgun up his ass (Shades of the finale of the 2010 remake of I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE). She pulls the trigger and we see that the blast has blown the back of Mashburn's head off. Rose then comes running through the door, knife in hand and the film goes to static. An end crawl explains that police found 22 bodies on Mashburn's property, along with the bodies of Mashburn and Mercer. Rose and the hooker were never found, their whereabouts unknown. After 76 ultra-horrible minutes, this endurance test disguised as a film ends (Supposedly, there's a VHS version that is four minutes longer and contains the deaths of three more girls). After the end credits are over, there is a short bit of film that adds nothing to the movie. I must confess that several times I nearly broke my cardinal rule of never turning off a film I am reviewing, because this film is nothing but sadism for sadism's sake. But, I "soldiered" on (Get it?) and watched the whole despicable movie, but you will never see me reviewing a film made by Chris Woods or John Miller on this site again (Do you hear me Mario?) Besides there being enough plot holes to fill up a book about Swiss cheese (Like: Who was holding the moving video camera while the hooker is jamming the shotgun into Mashburn's ass?) and the filmmakers being too "generous" with all the fake video drop-outs, distortion and static (Just a note to the filmmakers: When you turn off a video camera, the screen goes black, not all static. Static is what happens on TVs when there is no signal.), this is the biggest piece of trash that I have ever laid my eyes on. But I think that is exactly what Chris Woods and John Miller were aiming for, to give their company some publicity. In that case they succeeded, but they also lost a lot of future potential buyers in the future, including me. Anyone who sees this film as entertainment should have their heads examined. Hell, they should be committed. This is the longest review I have written for this section of my site, but this film should get all the damnation it deserves. Also starring Rue Goregrinder (Really?), Tara Caitlan, Kathleen O'Brien, Meghan Christine and Jeania Ingle. Something tells me that when these young women get married and have families, they will regret appearing in this film. An Icon Film Studios/The Sleaze Box DVD Release. Unrated.
MORBID (2014) - Remember "Amateur Night At The Apollo", where someone so bad would come out and sing so off-key that they would be literally booed off-stage? Well, this movie is the equivalent of that. This is one of the most amateurish films I have seen in the past 20 years and my only hope is that director/screenwriter/editor/co-producer Chuck Conry never gets behind a camera again (This was his freshman effort and, hopefully, his only film for all eternity. He even has the nerve to state that we should feel lucky that he was able to track down the "lost" footage. What lost footage? It was shot in 2012 and they added footage to the film for the next two years. They didn't take anything away!). After an on-screen warning that advises those with bad hearts or mental illness should not watch this film (it should have said anyone with a heart and a brain, period) and then a quote by R.D. Laing (A Scottish psychiatrist considered an expert on mental illness who passed away in 1989. I wonder what he would have said about this film? Throw Chuck Conry in a rubber room?), the film gets underway and we see two very bad actors talk about the merits of John Carpenter's HALLOWEEN (1978) over Bob Clark's BLACK CHRISTMAS (1974), George Romero's DAWN OF THE DEAD (1978) and Tobe Hooper's TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2 (1986) as being the scariest film. It's so badly acted, that when one guy explains that the reason Quentin Tarantino's DEATHPROOF (2007) failed was "People don't watch horror movies for the witty banter.", I wanted to kill them both, not because of their movie references (many of them I agree with), but because their acting stunk worse than a fish left out in the hot sun (But, believe it or not, this is the best acting in the film!). Luckily, there is a killer on the loose, dressed in a black suit with a red tie and wearing one of those white S&M hoods over his head with a zipper for a mouth. He enters the house through a bathroom window and kills one of teens while he is taking a shower and then takes the glasses off the second victim and stabs him repeatedly with the big knife he carries (the makeup effects are as bad, if not worse, than the acting). Yes this is a gore film, without any realistic gore and it is so cheap, when the news channel on "Grundy TV" (filmed in Grundy, Tennessee) breaks in (from a program called "Cannibal Kitchen") for a special report on the two murders, the "News 6" sign was definitely made by some retard with a black magic marker. We then have the female newscaster (who is eventually disposed of by the killer with a ball peen hammer) go on to an interview with a drunk Sheriff Rollins (I refuse to name any of the actors in this film because they are not actors at all; just "regular" people trying to act and failing so badly that they should ride the short bus to school), who says they weren't murders at all, but actually a double suicide (!) because their house was full of horror movies (Way to perpetrate the myth Chuck!). The Sheriff then goes on to say that the football game will go on as scheduled and then goes on a long rambling rant about how great Grundy's "Yellow Jacket" quarterback Sky Walker is. We then see Sheriff Broshdursky trying to find the location of Sky Walker's house, since he thinks the killer is going to strike there (Hasn't he heard of Google Maps, GPS or just calling 411?). The killer then cuts the head off the girlfriend who steps out of his truck to have a smoke and then gets inside the truck while we watch someone throw a bucket of blood inside the truck's front window. We then see Sky Walker's "huge" party, which consists of about 10 people. Sky Walker talks about himself in the third person, which is so awful since he is such a bad actor, we hope his death comes soon. All the women at this party are ugly as sin, so this is one case when we hope they don't remove their tops (it comes close in one situation, but it is apparent that none of these girls wanted their breasts on-screen and I thank them for that). Thankfully, the killer makes Sky Walker his next victim after he loses a drinking contest. He goes outside to throw-up and has his head run over with a car (all we see is hamburger meat with a human eyeball in the middle). We then have to put up with a black & white "tribute video" of Sky Walker's best moments (there must not be many because it runs less than a minute) while the screen says "In Memory Of Sky "Fucking" Walker: The Greatest Grundy QB Of All Time", while listening to two douchebags playing a guitar and singing a tribute ballad (I threw up on my mouth a little). Rather than going on with the non-plot, I'll just give you the kills: * A boy gets stabbed in the stomach with the knife (it's apparent that the boy is holding the knife at his side with his arm and then has his arm cut off with a wood saw (the serrated edges of the blade never touch him and then we see the killer pulling off a fake arm). * The killer murders a girl by impaling her stomach with the boy's severed arm. * A guy is kneed in his stomach by his girlfriend (who has her midsection eviscerated by a crow bar, as the camera spends way too much time lingering on it) and then the killer murders the boyfriend by hitting him with an aluminum bat and then dropping the hood of his Jeep on him. * The killer enters Sky Walker's party and two men are stabbed in the stomach. * One guy has his eyes removed (off-screen). * A girl has a knife shoved in her mouth.* The final girl says the killer must have a small dick, so he opens his pants to reveal a three foot penis! He smacks her across the face with it a couple of times before Sheriff Brosdursky (who earlier gave a dying kid his cell phone to call the police station, which was empty!) empties his gun into the killer, the girl cuts off his dick with some hedge clippers (and gets a face full of blood) and then beats his head-in with a brick. The film stops with "THE END" on screen, but we then see the killer get up and removed his mask. Just before we see who it is, the film then shows "THE END?" on-screen. Is this what Rue Morgue meant when they said, "Sure to go down in slasher film history as the weirdest finale since SLEEPAWAY CAMP"? Really, a three-foot penis gets compared to a film that had everything this film didn't? Rue Morgue needs to get out more. Everything about this movie is a cheat and I can't believe I spent $6.89 for this piece of crap on DVD. This film has a troubled production history and it shows. In 2012, it was supposed to make it's debut on VOD, but some technical glitches with the film stopped it from being shown streaming (this version ran 75 minutes), so Chuck Conry filmed more footage in 2013 & 2014 and released a "Director's Cut" which ran 86 minutes. It doesn't help that the final closing credits run over 5 minutes (most of it listing bad music by Facebook bands you never heard of that played on the soundtrack) and have the nerve to thank Astron 6 (MANBORG - 2011; FATHER'S DAY - 2011; THE EDITOR - 2014) and many other famous people that don't deserve this abuse (including Don May Jr., who wouldn't touch a film like this even if he were wearing a radiation suit!) This film is so bad, that one actor is listed twice in the opening credits and everyone else couldn't get a job in a burger joint, rather than another movie. Some people should be never be allowed to direct and Chuck Conry is definitely one of them. It's not even the type of film that is "so bad, it's good". It's just pitiful and I'm usually fair when it comes to reviews of movies. Don't waste your time or money on this piece of dog manure. A Wild Eye Releasing DVD Release. This is one of the first films in Wild Eye's sub-label "RAW", which only deals with micro-budgeted films (it lists that it is the 75 minute version, but it's the full Director's Cut.). Not Rated.
SLEDGE (2014) - Since Brain Damage Films released a movie I liked (HOUSE OF HORRORS: THE GATES OF HELL - 2012; I think it was the first time ever), I decided to watch this short, 75-minute horror film to see if I would be surprised once again. Well, in this case, lightning doesn't strike twice. This is an unbelievably bad hoorror film that took two people to direct and produce (John Sove II, who also edited and photographed & Kristan Hanson, who also wrote the "screenplay"; this is the last time you will see their names mentioned in this short review). The film is bascially about the exploits of 5 boring newbies to camping who decide to camp out in the area of human face-wearing psychopath Adam Lynch (played by one of the directors), who is the type of psycho who spits out awful witticisms (that we can hardly hear) every time he kills with a miniature sledgehammer (a full-size one would probably be too heavy for his slim frame) and a knife (which really isn't that much). The film actually begins with a film within a film, as a girl on a couch (Rachel Cornell) is home on a Saturday night and talking on her cellphone, while a bad puppet comes on the television screen and tells us we are about to see a great film (this one; did he actually watch it?). She tells her friend that the movie is about to begin and not to tell her ex-boyfriend (who is at the party her girlfriend is at) that he got her addicted to this show (Don't worry, she'll interrupt the flow of the film several times by cutting in). The film opens with a couple escorting adult retard Dickie (Tino Faygo; the film's makeup artist; who thinks a bag of dog poop is candy) being killed by Adam Lynch. Instead of killing Dickie, Adam tells him to wipe his hands in the girl's blood and go to the police station and confess to the murders (A newspaper article on screen shows us he did just that). Then we get to the worst part of the film (which happens to be the rest of the film): Five aggravating young adults (who you want to kill yourself after listening to them talk for five minutes) are on their way to a campsite, which has already been set up for them since they know absolutely nothing about camping. For the next 30 minutes, all we hear are these idiots talking, talking, talking, while the girl on the couch gets a phone call from her ex-boyfriend saying he know she is watching their program and the TV puppet shows a "trailer" for a film about Amish Murders (called "THE AMISH PARADISE"; it makes no sense at all). Once the five headache-inducing adults make it to their camp (where one guy tells jokes like, "Did you hear about the Jewish doctor? He works for tips.") and there's a three-way love/hate relationship between a girl and two guys, Adam Lynch kills another couple by hitting the girl in her head with a sledgehammer (all she does is spit blood into her boyfriend's face; that's the extant of the makeup effects in this film) and then finally goes after the five campers, killing them off in quick succession without any style or suspense. As a matter of fact, the Adam Lynch character is so tiny, a four year-old could probably take him. Of course, the film has a "surprise" ending, where Adam Lynch comes from the screen into real life and kills the girl on the couch, while the puppet on-screen tells us to stay tuned for next week for the Amish horror film. Every actor is bad, much of the dialogue seems to have been made up on the fly and Adam once again gets Dickie (How did he get out?) to take responsibly for the murders we just witnessed (Dicky looks like Ron Jeremy, which is the nicest thing I can say about this film). Even the planned "surprise" outtakes during the final credits are boring. The film's 75-minute running time seems to be 70 minutes too long and when one girl falls down on the ground and we see her heart hanging on a small branch sticking out of the ground, all you can do is shake you head in shame (Believe me, it couldn't possibly happen. The laws of physics make it an impossibility). Every one involved in this digital film effort should hang their heads in shame, because there is no story, bad sound, cameras pointed in the wrong direction, simpleton gore effects (We're supposed to be scared because we see a cow's intestine lying on the ground?), terrible dialogue, much of it seemed improvised (if it wasn't, it just makes all the "actors" look worse in my eyes) and no direction to speak of, even though there were two of them. You'll have more fun setting your socks on fire and trying to put them out in pails of gasoline. That would be much less painful than sitting through this piece of shit (doggy bag not included). "Starring" Dustin Bowman, Stephanie Tupper, Russ Mateos, Travis Hanson, Desiree Holmes and Janelle Jaffrey. A Brain Damage Films Release. Not Rated.
BLOOD VALLEY: SEED'S REVENGE (2013) - Oh, dear lord, not another torture porn film and this one has headache-inducing non-linear storytelling, too. This is the official sequel to director Uwe Boll's SEED (2007), and this film is also known as SEED 2, but Boll only Presents and Executive Produces this one and gets a "Character Created By" credit. It was directed/written/co-produced by Marcel Walz, where, at the time of writing this review, he has made 17 Grade Z gore flicks that never have officially made it out of his native country. If this is any indication on what we can expect from him in the future on the international market, count me out. When a film starts off with Max Seed (Nick Principe; "Chrome Skull" in both LAID TO REST films; he also did not play the original Max Seed; He was the Stunt/Fight Coordinator here) shooting a woman in her vagina, you think, "Can a film go any lower?" Well this one does. This film doesn't even try to explain how Seed is alive since we saw him definitely executed in the first film and now he has a family, too. The plot is simple: Four girls traveled to Las Vegas to have a bachelorette party for Christine (Natalie Scheetz) and then take the "scenic route" home in their RV and run smack-dab into Max Seed and his family, which includes a woman in a State Trooper's uniform (Manoush; THE TURNPIKE KILLER - 2009) and their son Glen (Jared Demetri Luciano), but the non-linear story, which tells what happens when they run up against the family and when they are on their own traveling in their RV makes no sense at all and is guaranteed to make you scratch your head more than once. Let me put it this way: There is some kind of biblical prophecy burned on to Christine's stomach (what it is we are never told), where we see three upside-down crucifixes burned into her skin and all the girls and the family die one-by-one, usually at the Mother or Seed's hands. You will watch as Seed crucifies one girl in the desert by pounding spikes in her hands and feet with a hammer (after Mother stabs her in the stomach [and sticks her finger into the wound] with a machete and son Glen cuts off one of her fingers while Glen takes a photo of Mom smoking the finger like a cigar. Ugh!); a good samaritan named Joe (Jeff Dylan Graham) who finds her and removes the spikes (lots of gushing blood) and then tries to rape her (!), but she cuts his throat with a machete; Mother stabs her own son Glen with the machete and Seed reaches into the wound and pulls out his intestines and strangles him with them while Mother reads something from the Bible (never told why he was killed); Mother shoots another girl in the knee and tells her "It's nothing personal" (the wound mysteriously disappears later in the film); Seed snaps Mother's neck for reasons unexplained; Christine turns out to be Seed's daughter and they go walking off into the desert holding hands with Seed still holding the crucified girl's still-alive body over his shoulder; and ending with the crucified girl joining the new clan as she pretends to be passed out on the side of the road and slashes a good samaritan's (played by Ryan Nicholson) neck when he stops his truck. Seed gives her a mask and she becomes Seed Jr.! Not one second of this film makes any sense and if it weren't for Ryan & Megan Nicholson's excellent gore effects (he's a better-known director of such films as LIVE FEED ; GUTTERBALLS ; HANGER ; COLLAR ; and many more; Ryan passed away of brain cancer late in 2019 at the age of 48.), I wouldn't have paid much attention to the film, especially because of the confusing non-linear storytelling. There was absolutely no need for that technique here except to cover-up some unshot scenes that would have been needed to make the film linear. This film is so desperate, it shows the gun-up-the-vagina scene twice (Where Seed tells the girl "I'm your God now!") and how in the world did they get Caroline Williams (THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE PART 2 - 1986) to do a cameo in this and why exactly does she beat Christine's duct-taped intended husband (Wolfgang Meyer) over and over with a hammer to his head? So many questions and not one single answer. This belongs in the DTV dump bins because all it offers is gore and nothing else. And I mean NOTHING else. The only nudity in this film is when one of Seed's unnamed female victims (Micaela Schafer) tries to crawl to the RV (It looks like one of her nipples is cut off), only for Seed to grab her and carry her away. This is filmmaking at its worst. It was filmed on location in Nevada and also stars Christa Campbell, Annika Strauss (who speaks a lot of unsubbed German here) and Sarah Hayden as Christine's bridesmaids. Even though Uwe Boll's first film was also pure torture porn, at least it has a stable of capable actors, unlike here, where the acting is atrocious. I know I'm going to get a lot of flack for saying this, but this film needed the Uwe Boll touch, because it is plain to see he was just a figurehead here. Boll keeps getting better and better with each film he makes (with a few exceptions) and this film could have used that expertise. This is nothing but pure crap without one redeemable feature besides the Nicholson's special effects. But even that isn't enough for even the slightest of recommendations. Just stay away and find some low-budget independent films that are worth your hard-earned bucks. This is definitely not one of them. If diarrhea could be turned into a film, this would be the result. A Phase 4 Films DVD Release. Not Rated.
THE MOTHMAN CURSE (2014) - Let me start off this extremely negative review by saying this: I did not pay $99.00 a year for Amazon Prime to watch streaming crap like this. Yes, it was free, but free in the sense that I didn't have to pay anything to watch it, not free in the sense that once I begin watching a movie, I am obligated to watch the whole thing to report back to my readers. And this 80-minute film is an endurance test that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. First of all, 95% of the movie is in grainy black & white and looks to have been filmed on someone's old camera phone. You can actually see the spotlight that someone is holding to illuminate scenes that were shot in the dark. Secondly, the dialogue seems to have been recorded directly from the phone because the futher the person is away from the camera, the lower the dialogue (I was wearing headphones and could only make out 10% of the dialogue!). Thirdly, director/screenwriter/co-producer Richard Mansfield (who has a film coming out in 2016 called VIDEO KILLER, which you can be sure I will avoid) inserts color scenes as flashbacks that make no sense whatsoever. The story is so simple, you could write it on the head of a pin (although Mansfield tries to make it look like some art film): Two women, Katy (Katy Vans) and Rachel (Rachel Dale), are hired to clean up an old entertainment museum where Charlie Chaplin once lived (if you squint and look sideways, you may see some of his old film posters). Somehow they are being tormented by the Mothman (played by Mansfield's brother David, who is also a co-producer), whom we barely glimpse. We only get to see him in silhouette, staring through the window with glowing eyes and a brief scene of him standing behind Rachel when she lights a match. Director Mansfield also has the annoying habit of looping loud screeching noises to the soundtrack to keep us awake and other background noises that sound like someone dropping metal objects into a 50 gallon metal drum. DO NOT be fooled by the DVD cover (yes, this piece of shit actually got a DVD release!), because that scene is not in the film. The fact that the cover is in color is already a lie to the viewer. This film just meanders along as the two English women prattle on, go to sleep (Rachel with her boyfriend Darren [Darren Munn]), do very little work and the Mothman keeps calling Katy on the phone asking her to let him in. That's about all there is to the film. Where is the horror? Where is the curse? The film just ends with no conclusion and with the shortest end credits sequence I think I have ever saw (The logo for "Mansfield Dark Productions" is a hell of a lot scarier that the entire film!). Please, I beg of you, don't be fooled into watching this piece of homemade trash. It was probably filmed in one day and looks it. Imagine this: You take all the most boring parts of your home movies and edit them into an 80-minute video movie. That would be a thousand times better than watching this film. All I know is that I had an extreme headache after watching it from squinting (sometimes the grain is so heavy, you can't make out what is going on) and had to pop an Ambien and go to sleep. If you really hate somebody and want to get back at them, tape their eyelids open and make them watch this stinking pile of crap. I guarantee that person will never bother you again. This is the nadir of filmmaking. I'd go as far to say that this is not a film at all; just a bunch of loosely connected scenes to fill enough time to pass it off as a movie. I believe what this "film" really needs is a metal garbage can, a container of gasoline and a match. Do yourself a favor and watch THE MOTHMAN PROPHECIES (2002) instead. Also starring Stephen Glover. A Wild Eye Releasing DVD Release. Not Rated, but how do you rate shit? There is nothing in this film that is offensive at all. If there were, at least the film would have something to write about.
KILLER ANTS (2009) - Regional filmmaking at its worst. This film, also known as INVICTA, finds a New York City married couple Evan McAllister (Matt Tramel) and Cory Pruitt (Jessica Gardner; also the Editor and Co-Producer of this film; her character's last name is different that her husband's because she decided to keep her maiden name since she is a "performance artist" on the oppression of women. Oh, boy, this is already getting to be too much!) pulling over to the side of the road to have a picnic. Evan has to use the porta-potty to pee, while Cory opens the picnic basket and she and the food are instantly covered in fire ants (harvester ants were used in the film, but they still sting like a motherfucker when they sink their pincers into your skin!). A tobacco-spitting local and Evan come to her aid, and brush all the ants off her. The couple leaves after after the local tells something ominous to the couple (I really couldn't tell what it was because the sound engineer must have been asleep) and then eats the ant-filled food in the basket!. Already, Cory wants to go back to New York City, but Evan got a job at the local University teaching English (he could use some himself!). The town seems to have a bad fire ant problem and no one seems to know why, so University scientists Olivia Sanchez (Dawn Erwin) and her assistant Marnie (Dionne Ross) are trying to find out why. And the fire ants are getting bigger (But not as big as is on the artwork. Hell, that artwork is downright a giant lie since that scene never happens in the film.). Cory is quite unlikable, but she has a giant ant bite on her arm (it looks like a giant zit) that she is treating with an ointment. Evan and Cory go to a party on their block, where Professor Hamilton Lock (Sam Damon) sees it and says something unintelligible (again, the sound recordist was asleep). Cory is supposed to be taking hormones so she and Evan can get pregnant, but she is actually taking birth control pills and when she takes a pregnancy test and it comes back negative, she says, "Thank God!" Cory finds her refrigerator filled with millions of dead fire ants, which freaks her out, but Evan tries to keep things positive by saying, "Well, at least we know how to kill them!" (Yes, just lure them into the refrigerator. Oh, boy, my head already hurts). Olivia believes that Hamilton Lock is somehow involved with the fire ant problem, but she can't prove it yet. We then see Lock giving a scientific lecture on fire ants and has his assistant show videos of the ants eating away at animals in a short amount of time and then saying that the ants sometimes show up at car accidents before the paramedics arrive. He seems to get off on frightening people, so much so, that a woman in the lecture hall (Kay Rogers), chastises him for being inhumane and walks out of the lecture. When she leaves, Lock goes on with his lecture by saying, "To continue..." The female protester confronts Lock in the parking lot of the lecture hall and we see him escort her to the passenger side of a car. The next time we see Lock, he is changing clothes while humming to himself and we hear muffled screams in the background, while Lock says, "How we doing, Tootsie?". Lock approaches the woman, who is tied-up on a chair and has duct tape over her mouth. He pours a green liquid around her and within seconds, she is surrounded by hordes of fire ants. We then see the remain's of the woman (mainly bloody bones) in plastic pails, as he puts her hat over her skull and says to her, "What are you looking at, you old bat?". Olivia tells Evan that Cory's bite is getting bigger and that the queen ants are getting bigger (but not THEM!  bigger]. Cory thinks Evan is having an affair with Olivia, but Evan believes in monogamy because he wants a baby. Olivia, on the other hand, would like nothing more than to be Evan's lover, so Marnie takes her to Mexico for the weekend to forget about him. While reaching into the clothes hamper, Cory is instantly covered in fire ants and has to jump in the shower to get them off of her. She is now covered head to toe in disgusting pustules and when Cory sees her, he goes to get the medical kit before taking her to the hospital and discovers her birth control pills. Evan becomes so enraged, he puts on a headset (!) to listen to some music, while Cory is once again attacked by fire ants in her bed. When Evan gets hungry and goes to the refrigerator to get something to eat, he discovers Cory's dead body inside the fridge. He throws up and calls the police. The police and coroner determine it was a suicide (Really? They couldn't see all the pustules all over her body?). Olivia believes Hamilton Lock is involved in controlling the fire ants, resulting in the missing people and deaths in town and he seems to be buying up a lot of property at bargain prices in his missing wife's name. But why? Evan and Olivia catch up to his plan (they also talk about going together to see a Vincent Price double feature at the local theater, which THE TINGLER  and THE FLY  are playing), so they decide to check out one of the buildings he bought. Before they are able to get out of the car, it is covered with fire ants, so Evan races the car to the nearest car wash, where he and Olivia make out while the car is going through the brushes. (Really? After such a short period of mourning?). Olivia then breaks into Lock's house to look for some proof, but a gun-carrying Lock catches her. He invites Evan to come and join them and he is taken prisoner, too (Really, how stupid are these two people?). They all watch a VHS tape where Lock used his wife Constance (Janet Hurley Kimlicki) as his first fire ant subject and we see only Lock waving her skeletal hand goodbye on-screen as the tape ends. He takes Olivia and Evan to a field, where they are tied together and sprayed with the ant-attracting liquid. They are able to break free by using Olivia's eyeglasses as a magnifying glass to burn off the ropes. They rush to save Olivia's friend Marnie, who Lock says is next on his list, only for all three of them to be captured by Lock again (Smart enough to burn off ropes with eyeglasses, but too stupid not to keep getting caught). Lock has developed a huge queen fire ant (it's the size of a human hand) and he goes to use the liquid for the queen to kill them, but he drops the liquid and has to let the queen go (he cuddles the queen ant like someone would their pet dog!). The queen flies away and Lock gets into his van, but the queen ant returns and stings Lock in the eye, where he crashes the van (one of the worst crashes in film history) and dies. The trio calls the police and Evan and Olivia live happily ever after as if Cory never existed and the tobacco-spitting local appears behind them and smiles (WTF?) This impossibly cheap regional Texas production (Cory says she is "stuck here in Deliverance, Texas, surrounded by a bunch of yahoos", but it was actually filmed in Bastrop, Texas) contains some terrible CGI (wait until you get a gander at the queen ant!) and everyone acts amateurish (If Sam Damon as Hamilton Lock had a mustache, he would be twirling it) and the flat digital video photography does it no favors (I've already mentioned the sound problems). For a movie about killer ants, we never once see the ants eat anyone (the stock footage at the lecture hall not included), only the after-effects, where all we see are some bloody bones. The only real thing that would even remotely considered gore in this film would be the pustules on Cory's body and Lock being stung in the eye, but besides a little blood in Lock's death, there no other blood in the film. The film doesn't even address the fact that there's a giant fire ant queen loose in the wild and the romance between Evan and Olivia comes way too soon (I guess since Cory didn't take Evan's last name and was taking birth control pills makes it OK in Evan's mind). This is just pure laziness on director/screenwriter/co-producer Carolyn Banks' part and proves that a woman can make a terrible film like any man. For Christ's sake, it doesn't even try to explain why Lock was buying up all the land except for a throw-away line by Lock that he was buying the land to throw people off his fire ant experiments (Huh? Does that make sense to anyone?). Like Olivia's attraction to the rail thin Evan (really, I could count every rib when he took his shirt off), just move on and find a film with more meat on its bones. This film is so bad, that it has yet to find a DVD distributor in the United States (although you can stream it on Amazon), but there are at least two DVD releases in Germany (who will release anything). Terrible, just terrible. When no company will touch a film and put it on disc, you can tell that it is not worth owning. Also starring Katherine Gruetzner and James R. Bryant. Not Rated, but with a few "fucks" in the dialogue deleted, this would probably be Rated PG-13.
BABYSITTER MASSACRE (2013) - I think the most hurtful thing about this film is that it ends with the words "In Loving Memory Of Andy Copp". I never met Andy, but we would talk for hours on Facebook about his personal life tragedies to his redemption with making films. He committed suicide in the beginning of 2013, because the personal problems were greater than his filmmaking career (the funding for his latest film had just fallen through and that, along with his real-life problems, just made him snap [something I definitely understand] and take his own life). Apparently Andy was some sort of "prodigy" to this film's director/screenwriter/editor/cinematographer Henrique Couto (SCAREWAVES - 2014; HAUNTED HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW - 2014; shot in 4 1/2 days and it looks it) and it makes any one of Andy's films look like GONE WITH THE WIND (1939) in comparison. Seven years ago in the town of Ray Falls, Ohio, a psychopath kidnaps a babysitter named April after being taunted by text messages on her cell phone (I'm not on the house...yet!") on Halloween Night. She is taking a bath (total nudity, but she is chunky) and the doorbell rings and when he answers the door (with her tits hanging out from the towel!), the killer, wearing a white fetish mask and white gloves, grabs her and then we see her tied naked to a chair. while the killer pulls out a couple of her fingernails and then slits her throat, documenting the whole thing on April's cell phone camera. In the present day, April's father Mr. Walker (Geoff Burkman) gets a letter in the mail declaring April legally dead (her body was never found) due to "death by absentia" by the police force. Mr. Walker says to Angela (Erin R. Ryan; a regular cast member of Couto's shorts and films) that it stings seeing it in letter form. No more police reports. No more insurance investigations looking for fraud. The only comfort he has had in the past seven years was watching next-door neighbor Angela grow up to become a caring young woman. It is Halloween Day once again and Angela plans on having a few friends over that night for a slumber party (Oh, boy!). We then watch a totally naked Angela (who could use something to eat) take a shower (just like we saw the chunky April take a full-frontal bath before she bit it) when a multi-pierced Bianca (Marylee Osborne) scares the shit out of her. Bianca was the person who was supposed to be April's buddy at the "Babysitting Club", which all the girls belonged to, but she let April go out on her own (She tells Angela, "Survivor's guilt is such a bitch!") and, besides Angela, all the other girls that belonged to the club haven't talked to her in seven years. Angela invites Bianca to come to the slumber party tonight, but make sure she comes a couple of hours late, so the girls are nice and drunk (Anyone ever hear of an "angry drunk"? Perfect plan Angela!). Now that we have the set-up, let the (off-screen) bloodletting begin. One girl calls up Angela and says she may not show up at the slumber party. She is chased through the woods by the same white-masked and gloved killer (This is the type of film that no matter how fast the victim runs, the slow-walking killer always catches up). The killer first hits the girl in one of her palms with a hand axe and then chops her over and over with it, her blood splattering against a tree (This is also the type of film where we hardly see the actual murders, only the after-effects. He also spray-paints a red "X" across her body, but does it to none of his other victims, probably because she was marking a trail in the woods with a red "X" on trees.). He then uses the victim's camera phone to send pictures to April, who thinks it is the girl's Halloween costume! (By now, if you haven't guessed who the killer is, you are either not watching the film or are sleepy). Linda (Odette Despairr) and boyfriend Tony (David DeNoyer) are discussing whether she should jump in the frigid water of her pool. She comes back inside and says that Tony was correct and she sees the killer, but thinks it is Tony's Halloween costume. She goes upstairs to change and sees Tony's dead body and the killer kidnaps her. She is sitting in a dark room illuminated by one spotlight, where we see (or rather, don't see) the killer slice her tongue with a strait-razor, cut off her ear (all we see is her ear fall to the floor) and then slits her throat (shown as drops of blood hitting the floor). He then takes a photo of Linda and sends it to Angela, who thinks the same thing as before (Two girls with slit throats? Time to rethink your thought-process, Angela!). Angela and her mother (Amy Diederich) have a heart-to-heart (which is hard to take seriously when her Mom is dressed in a see-through outfit, dressed as a cougar [or if you rather, a MILF], going to an adult party!). Mom and Angela have a sickly sweet discussion on how Mr. Walker just won't let the death of his daughter go (Mom has these words of wisdom, which will come to bite her in the ass: "Sadness is like a brace or a crutch. It's a coward's way out."). Mom leaves the house just as the first girl, Lucky (Jonie Durian), shows up at the slumber party. Bianca tries to have a talk with former Babysitter Club member Sandra (Serendipity Lynch) when she is about to leave work, but Sandra says some unfair and hurtful things to Bianca and she leaves. Sandra sees her boss murdered by the masked killer and then he comes after her. She hides under a desk but the killer stops her from sending a text with her phone and sends Angela a photo of a dead Sandra instead. Arlene (Tara Clark) then joins the slumber party and then there's a knock on the door. At the doorstep is a box full of sexy lingerie, so these three stupid girls put them on (Arlene is the only female in the film that has sexy breasts). Meanwhile, the killer is in the room of a fat prostitute, so she strips naked (My eyes! My eyes!) and starts eating candy in front of him! For her "surprise", he stabs her in her flabby stomach with scissors (again not shown). Bianca use to be the girlfriend of Tyler (Marshall Norman), who is still a pizza delivery guy (what would a film like this be without a pizza delivery guy?) and she wants him to drive her to Angela's house to check up on her (This is after we see the killer murder another girl by pouring boiling water on her face and then getting stabbed in the back of the head where nothing is shown except the after-effects. And then he murders all the people in one of the poorest-looking Halloween parties on film history and kills Angela's mother after she puts on a rubber mask to scare the now-dead crowd [all of it off-screen].) The killer then maces another girl in the eyes who has her mouth duct-taped (one of the most popular tools in every killer's toolbox). It must be something worse than mace because she dies while puke comes seeping through the duct tape on her mouth. Bianca knocks on the door, but no one seems to be home, probably because the killer has chloroformed all three of them and taken them down to the basement. Lucky is tied to a chair and says the only way the other two will be let go is if one of them kills her with the claw hammer on the floor. Arlene seems a little too into it, as she whacks Lucky in the head a few times and then plants the claw end on the hammer into her chest [off-screen], killing her. Oh, and if you haven't guessed by now, Mr. Walker is the killer (although it is plain to see that the killer is played by a much younger person [actually three!]). He strangles Arlene and then cuts Angela's Achilles heels and pours gasoline on the floor so she can't get away. Why did he kill his own daughter seven years ago? Because he loved Angela more! (One of the worst explanations I have ever heard!). Angela stabs Mr. Walker and Bianca has a chance to rescue Angela, but Mr. Walker lights his Bic and the house burns to the ground. Once again, Bianca fails to save a friend. And luckier for us, the film ends. It's apparent Henrique Couto watched films like THE SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE (1982) and SORORITY HOUSE MASSACRE (1986; SORORITY HOUSE MASSACRE 2  gets name-checked here) and there's not one cliche that he missed, but what he did forget was showing the killer actually doing the killing, not just showing us the results of his kills, which is very aggravating for the viewer. This is a very long 78 minutes and the film is boring and stupid. The one way you can tell is that you watch the clock more than the film itself. The stench I smelled wasn't coming from my Roku 3 player overheating (I saw this film for free since I am an Amazom Prime member), it was coming from the film itself. Only Arlene's breasts are worth looking at and this is a very bad tribute to Andy Copp, who could have done better with his eyes closed than Henrique Couto did with them wide open. Dustin Mills, the director of the excellent SKINLESS (2013), did the not-so-special special makeup effects. Also starring Stephanie Coffey, Chandra McCracken, Haley Jay Madison, Mike Canestaro and Stephanie Michael. An Independent Entertainment DVD Release. Not Rated, but no worse than an R.
STABBED IN THE FACE (2004) - As soon As I saw that this was a part of Wild Eye Releasing's "RAW" series of films (micro-budgeted films that wouldn't usually get a disc release; see my review of MORBID - 2014) and that is was filmed in 2004 , but not released until 2014, my hopes of being entertained went right down the toilet, much like some hard turd that has been stuck in your asshole for three days. but won't come out. No sooner than I wrote this, some of the world's oldest high schoolers are attending a Halloween party where a live punk band called "The Poots" are playing a song called "Poops on you". Am I psychic or not? The basic storyline is this: Joseph (Bill Heintz), whose sister was slaughtered two months earlier by notorious serial killer Richard Cork (J.C. Pennington), who cut her to pieces and arranged her body parts into some type of art project) is at the Halloween party and tells the legend of "The Three Legged Lady", where a wife finds her husband screwing a small-breasted naked woman in a barn, chops him up in pieces with a machete and then chases the naked girl and kills her, too (most of it off-screen). The police show up and shoot the wife dead at the entrance to the barn. Joseph says he knows where this happened and that the ghost of "The Three Legged Lady" only reveals herself during Halloween, which is tomorrow. He talks all his friends to go with him to the location tomorrow (which is unbelievable beyond belief since his sister was murdered just a short while ago). I know none of this makes any sense, especially since we never see a Three Legged Lady, but just go along with it for now. As everyone is headed for the death barn, Richard Cork escapes from prison and you'll never guess where he and his female captive are hiding. That's right, the are at the death barn (we see Cork cut off the nipple of his female captive, the film's best effect. Most of the other bloody effects could be done by an overaged high schooler). This shot-on-video abomination has some of the worst acting, headache-inducing music (usually done by The Poots) and special effects I have ever seen in a no-budget film. The twenty-ish teens smoke dope, have sex (there is more nudity by the female cast than normal in films like this) and the girls talk more about having sex than the guys do. The guys are more interested in getting high or drunk. It becomes apparent after a short while that there are actually two killers at large and I bet you know who the second one is. Director & co-producer Jason Matherne (ATTACK OF THE COCKFACE KILLER- 2002 (about a killer with a penis growing under his chin!);its sequel GOREGASM - 2007 and a third film called GRIMEWAVE: COCKFACE III - 2013, which Wild Eye Releasing renamed GRIMEWAVE so it could be sold on Amazon) telegraphs that Joseph has become psychotic since his sister was killed and he kills nearly as many of his friends as Cork does. There's death by pitchfork, a knife in the eye and the slicing open of a stoner's stomach until he holds his own intestines, but very little stabbing in the face, all done rather poorly. The editing, by Steve Waltz, who has a major role as Bruce in the film and does the stupidest thing possible when his girlfriend Madelyn (Dana Kieferle) is killed by Cork is very confusing and some scenes make no sense (especially the ending). Joseph dresses much in the same way as the real-life (and unsolved) serial killer The Zodiac reportedly did and he shoots Cork, but it doesn't seem to affect him. If Joseph killed his sister and Richard Cork is just in his imagination, the editing does this film no favors. Screenwriter & co-producer Jared Scallions (who appears here as Mark, the only high schooler with a beer belly!) gives the cast of actors some unbelievable dialogue (If girls I knew were so interested in sex as much as these girls are, I would have never left high school), such as when Madelyn says to Bruce, "You put the 'dick' in ridiculous!" There is also a lot of horror film name-dropping such as FRIDAY THE 13TH (1980; there's a beheading just like in the film), A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (1984; Two stoners argue who would win in a fight, Freddy or Jason, but we already know the answer to that debate in the film FREDDY VS. JASON - 2003) Also mentioned is CHILDREN SHOULDN'T PLAY WITH DEAD THINGS (1972) Twenty-ish high schooler Kevin (Matt Mitkevicious) tells female friend Starr (Kristen McCrory) , "I'm a fan of obscure horror films " and he wears horror-based tee shirts. Starr says she won't make love to anyone who wears shirts like that because she thinks less of them, so Kevin takes off his CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1957) tee shirt and he and Starr get busy. Since this film is so lousily acted , it isn't even good for an unintentional laugh. All you feel is pity. Better editing and using film instead of video would have made this a much better film (Shooting night scenes on video is not as good as shooting on film). Also starring Eric Fox, Katheryn Aronson, Samantha M. Capps, Amanda Kiley and André Le Blanc. A Wild Eye Releasing DVD Release. Unrated,or as it says on the DVD Sleeve in small print: "Really Unrated".
CABIN FEAR (2015) - Here's a slasher film, originally titled SECLUSION (the name change is obvious as a video generated "Cabin Fear" covers the original title, both in the opening and closing credits), that will bore you to tears, even though it contains plenty of nudity (both male and female), simulated sex and bloody practical makeup effects, you'll be watching the clock rather than watching the film. The film concerns itself with a small wedding that is to take place at an isolated cabin in the woods, where the bride-to-be, Sarah (Clea Alsip), and future groom, Grant (co-screenwriter & co-producer Matthew Wise), arrive at the said cabin, where friends Carter (Duane Nikia Cooper), his girlfriend Trish (Alyson McKensie Wells), lesbian Beth (Jacki Byrne) and Grant's ex-girlfriend Dani (Nicole Pacent) are the invited guests. They immediately are introduced to foul-mouthed and womanizer mail-order ordained minister Jay (director/co-producer Joe Bandelli), who begins hitting on the females (including Sarah). He marries the couple and then tries to force himself on Trish at the reception, but Carter catches him and punches him in the face a few times. Jay goes into the woods to get away from him, only there's a much bigger threat out there: A hooded killer, who pins Jay's hand to a tree with a crossbow bolt when he is taking a leak. The killer chases Jay and he hides behind a tree (Jay rips his hand off the crossbow bolt in the tree), only to be shot in the crotch with the crossbow, the killer twisting the bolt while blood spurts into the air (talk about a climax!). The question becomes, who is the killer and what are his/her motive? Since the list of suspects is small, including cabin caretaker, the grizzled old-timer Walter Clayton (Ralph Cashen), you would think you already know the answer, but you would be wrong (I guessed who the killer was as soon as Dani was invited). Grant, Dani and Walter go looking for Jay in the woods, only for Grant to lose both of his searchmates (red herring alert!). At the same time Grant loses sight of both Walter and Dani, the killer strikes at the cabin, slicing Trish's throat with a butcher knife while she is taking a shower. Carter can't find Trish (the shower is now clean and empty), so he goes out to Walter's cabin, where we see a crossbow, but no Walter (Previously, Walter calls Carter, who is black, a "boy", and it is apparent he doesn't approve of interracial couples). The electricity goes out in the cabin, so Beth goes down in the basement to check out the fuse box. She get the electricity to work again. When the lights go out again, Beth does the same thing, only this time she sees Dani's corpse next to the fusebox (a cockroach comes crawling out of her mouth) and has Sarah (who faints at the sight of blood) join her in the basement. Meanwhile, Grant finally reunites with Walter (who says he twisted his ankle) and Dani in the woods and they return to the cabin., to find that there is no one there. Jay has gone out to the woods to search for Trish and the girls are in the basement (which looks more like a mineshaft). Carter returns in the middle of the night and everyone tells him about Trish. He goes down in the basement and brings her corpse upstairs, where he blames Walter for killing her. He goes running back to Walter's cabin and discovers Jay's body which is encased in Saran wrap, but Walter is nowhere to be found. Carter returns to the cabin and has a heart to heart talk with Grant where he tells Grant that Trish has cheated on him before (What?!?!?!) and, as sad music plays on the soundtrack, we discover that Carter was going to propose to Trish (What!?!?!). He pulls out a ring that he was going to give his girlfriend that weekend. Beth goes mental and threatens everyone with a baseball bat. She locks herself in her bedroom and takes her insulin shot (Beth is a diabetic). As soon as she injects herself, it is plain to see that it wasn't insulin in the syringe. Beth begins to twitch wildy, foams at her mouth and dies. The lists of suspects are now growing smaller (you would have to be a total idiot not to know who it is, as it tries too hard to pin Dani as the killer). Everyone decides to get in one of the cars and drive away, but the car won't start and the tires are flat. Carter lifts the hood of the car and finds Walter's decapitated head lodged in the engine. Carter says he can take the tires off his car (his car overheated on the trip to the cabin) and put them on the other car, so he uses a jack to lift up the other car. As we expect the car to drop on Carter, it does, but the car does not touch Carter. Instead, he has his left arm chopped off by the killer, who nows has an axe. Grant is caught kissing Dani by Sarah and she runs out of the cabin. Grant goes searching for her. Sarah comes back to the cabin and gets into a fight to the death with Dani. All the while we are led to believe that Dani is the hooded killer (The film tries hard to make her look like the culprit. Maybe a little too hard.), but when Grant comes back and finds Dani on top of Sarah on the floor, he becomes enraged and throws Dani off of her, where Dani is impaled in the head with a shelf bracket. We then discover that Sarah was the killer all the time (we see her fondling a necklace that Walter wore and said he would never take it off because it was the only thing that reminded him of his dead wife. What good is a necklace if you no longer have a head?). Sarah gets away with it and Grant doesn't have a clue that he married a psychopath. This is boredom taken to the 10th degree, even though there is plenty of nudity and some gory practical effects. Director Joe Bandelli (GETTING WET - 2011) doesn't miss one slasher film cliché, from no cellphone service in the woods to trying its best to make someone else look like the killer. I knew it was Sarah when she welcomed Dani to come to the wedding. Who in the hell wants an ex-girlfriend of the groom at her nuptials? The characters are cartoon stereotypes, who always do the worst things at the most inopportune times. If you are going to make a slasher film today, it better have a hook to hold your interest. This film's hook is boredom. 92 minutes of it. Only for people who have to watch every slasher film made. Filmed in Lehighton, Pennsylvania. An eOne DVD Release. Not Rated.
BONEJANGLES (2016) - Simply terrible horror/comedy about a hulking, sexually repressed, and indestructable, serial killer nicknamed Bonejangles (screenwriter Keith Melcher), whose real name is Edgar Friendly Jr. He is sexually repressed because his father, Edgar Friendly Sr. (Reggie Bannister in nothing but a glorified cameo), told his son that all women are evil and makes it clear to him by saying, "Protect your wee winkie!" (Really?). We first meet Bonejangles in a warehouse where he kills a warehouse worker (who is reading a nudie magazine called "Melons") by shoving the rolled-up magazine in his mouth and chopping off his leg with an axe. He takes a bone from the leg and attaches it to his pants (His trademark is the sound of clanking bones). We then meet two fuck-up cops, Doug (Kelly Misek Jr.) and Randy (Jamie Scott Gordon), who are sitting on a curb talking about sex and we realize that Randy is a virgin. The Captain shows up, so he tells the two screw-ups that Bonejangles is trapped in a warehouse and they are to go into the building and try to capture him. Knowing that he is impervious to bullets, The Captain gives them tasers (Really?) to stop the hulking giant. Bonejangles takes out most of the town's police officers before Randy and Doug run into him. Not knowing what to do and facing imminent death, they hold each other like little scardy cats before fellow female officer Lisa (Hannah Richter) disables Bonejangles with a taser to his chest (low-rent optical effects). Now heavily sedated, Bonejangles is in custody, but the Mayor doesn't want him in his town, so Doug, Randy, Lisa and new recruit, the flamboyant, hoop earring-wearing, Juan (Lawrence Wayne Curry, who looks like a gay Eddie Murphy) are to transport Bojangles to the town of Argento (Really?), where they will hand him over to the State Police for transport to Smith Grove Sanitarium. Doug was born in Argento and hasn't been there in ten years and for good reason. It seems that the town is cursed. Every April 18th, the dead rise from their grave and the zombies chow down on any person they can find, thanks to a witch named Rowena (Elissa Dowling; DON'T KILL IT - 2016), who was burned at the stake on that date in the late 1700's for having sexual pleasure with the devil. Every April 18th, the townspeople gather in the high school gymnasium and wait for the next day to avoid the zombies. Guess what day today is? (Doug knew all this, yet he fails to tell anyone until they are in town!). Once in Argento, Doug, Randy and Lisa are attacked by zombies, so they shoot them in the head (off screen). Juan gets frightened and takes off with Bonejangles in back of the paddy wagon (He has an IV in his arm that feeds him a huge dose of tranquilizers) and, while trying to avoid a zombie, he crashes the vehicle and the IV comes out of Bonejangles' arm. Juan gets out and spots a line of Twinkies on the ground (Really?) so he picks them up and runs into two hillbillies. Rather than being frightened, he smiles a shit-eating grin. Meanwhile, Bonejangles escapes and begins to slaughter a bunch of campers in the woods (it makes no sense since everyone nearby knows about the curse). Doug and Lisa lose Randy and he will be Rowena's next "juice lad". Rowena stays eternally young by making love to virgins, sucking all of the life juice out of them and eventually disposing of them when they become a husk of their former selves. Doug and Lisa make it the the gymnasium, where Doug finds out his high school love, Sally (Julia Cavanaugh) is about to marry high school bully Clint (Devin Toft). The sight of Doug instantly brings back romantic memories to the both of them, so the preacher calls for a thirty minute break before he performs the ceremony (Really?). Doug and Sally re-ignite their former love for each other and Clint makes love to Lisa (Really?). Lisa is killed when she taunts Bonejangles to follow her. She strips naked and takes a shower in front of him, knowing that he is sexually repressed (Really?). Bonejangles stabs her in the stomach with a machete after having flashbacks where his father once again says "Protect your wee winkie!". Clint gets his hand cut off by Bonejangles with the same machete (a horrible effect) while Doug gets the idea of using the indestructable serial killer as a way to kill Rowena and lifting the curse off of the town for good. In a bit that will remind you of THE EVIL DEAD (1983), Clint attaches a chainsaw to his handless arm (after sealing his wound with electricity), but when he starts the chainsaw, he cuts his own head in two! (The only scene that made me laugh). The rushed ending has Bonejangles showing up and killing Rowena with a machete to her chest, while Doug and Sally save Randy (who has made love to Rowena just one time). THE END (Really?). This is a total amateur production from frame one. The makeup effects reek (Clint's head cleaving is partially done by obvious lousy GCI) and the acting can politely be called atrocious. But the worse thing that totally took me out of the film were the gunshots. Instead of sounding like gunshots, they sounded like cap pistols. I'm sorry, but a little more care could have been taken in the looping process for the proper sound effects. I mean, how hard could it be to use actual gun shot sound effects to the film? I could download it off the internet. And the character of Juan sets back gay rights by 50 years. At the finale of the film, Juan shows up in a pickup with the two hillbillies and tells Doug and Randy that he is going to stay, with one of the hillbillies saying, "I'll make you squeal like a pig!" The satisfied look on Juan's face will make you say "Really?" Director Brett DeJager (THE LEGEND OF COOLEY MOON - 2012), who obviously blew his budget on smoke machines (nearly every scene has "fog" in it, even the indoor shots!), has no idea on how to pace a film. Scenes just appear with no connective tissue between the last sequence and the present one. The rushed ending doesn't answer many of the questions that this film brings up, like why is Bonejangles indestructable, yet he is able to be brought down by a mere taser? Does being a misogynist make you invunerable to bullets? Why does the sergeant send his worst two fuckups to hand over the worst serial killer in the town's history? (I know Bonejangles decimated most of the town's police officers, but sending Juan, who would never even be considered being made a police officer, along for the ride is beyond the pale). The feeble attempts at humor, including the flashback Doug has where Clint and him are in high school (He keep getting hit in the head with a basketball while Clint yells out "Heads up dingleberry!", even in situations where tossing a basketball is impossible), are beyond not funny. They induce groans rather than yucks. Even Reggie Bannister, who has no more than five minutes of screen time, looks embarrassed appearing in drivel such as this, yet he gets top billing. I'm growing really tired of watching films like this based on the poster alone. It is obvious that more care was spent on poster art rather than the film itself. Stay away if you value your sanity. Thank God it is only 78 minutes long! Also starring Christopher Hunt, Katie Walgrave, Allen Regimbal, Ben Gersch (who, as Cletus, has a voice that could make fingernails on a chalkboard sound pleasant!) and DeJager as "Wes". Filmed in South Dakota. A Wild Eye Releasing DVD Release. They are known for releasing the worst drivel to unsuspecting audiences. Not Rated, but I doubt this was even submitted to the MPAA, where it would probably garner an R-Rating for nudity.
LITTLE CHILDREN (1983) - I
remember hearing and reading about this film in the early-'80s.
People said it showcased children actually being killed. Some people
said it was a snuff film. It didn't help that 99% of the cast and
crew never did any other film or TV work, it only backed-up their
claims. It was downright impossible to get a copy of this film, even
from gray market sellers. Thanks go (or blame) to Intervision Picture
Corp., who have released this on (fullscreen) DVD totally uncut and
uncensored. After viewing it, I have come to two conclusions: 1)
People are stupid. 2) All the fuss made about this
"film" was only ballyhoo disguised as disgust, for this SOV
atrocity isn't even good for a laugh.
The film opens at the Sullivan Childrens home in 1984 on a Sunday, as we watch a small girl named Elizabeth (Nicola Diana) knock on the door and hand headmistress Jenny (Ginny Rose) a note. She reads it and hands it to headmaster Maurice (Colin Chamberlain; he is actually called "Morris" in the film, even the credits got it wrong!) and the note reads: "Please take care of Elizabeth. She can't speak. This is the right place for her." Not knowing who her parents are, Maurice calls the police (they never show up). When little girl Cath (Angela Hilton) insults Elizabeth because she can't speak, a door slams on her head, causing her to get knocked unconscious. It is obvious that Elizabeth has supernatural powers (but not to the oblivious adults).
The next afternoon, famous pop star Mick Philips (Jon Hollanz), who use to be a resident of the childrens home, stops by with his foul-mouthed roadie Hustler (Mark Insull). Mick is going to put on a concert, the proceeds going to the home. He gives Elizabeth his crucifix necklace when she points at it. That night, while Elizabeth is rubbing the crucifix between her fingers, Carol (Joanna Bryant) and Jools (Sharnilla Babjee) have a shared nightmare where they are being chased by zombies. They run away and meet Elizabeth, who is having a picnic in the garden. They sit down beside her and so do the zombies (!). The next morning, crippled child Basil (Nick Coquet) falls down the stairs and is seriously injured (he spits blood). Carol and Jools blame Elizabeth (they are right), but Jenny and Maurice don't believe them.
Shit, I can't go on. This "film" is so insufferable, I was tempted to turn it off and throw the DVD into the microwave (but I always watch the entire movie no matter how bad it is. It's a curse, not a gift.). For one thing, it is shot on video (SOV). It is also impossibly cheap-looking and the "acting" is abysmal. The awful music suddenly gets very loud, drowning out the dialogue (Their British accents are so thick and the sound is recorded so low, I had to use the optional English subtitles to make out what they were saying). It is also edited with a trowel, as scenes just pop-up without any connective tissue. The source print used for the DVD has rollouts and static. It's like watching a prerecorded VHS tape encoded in the EP Mode, where the VCR tries to properly track the tape, but fails. I don't know whether Intervision did this on purpose or not, but it is very annoying. I can't believe people back in the day thought that this was real. It is total amateur hour (well, it is a looooong 76 minutes). Even your home videos are better acted than what we see in this film. It doesn't surprise me that director/co-producer Alan Briggs or his wife, screenwriter Meg Shanks never made anything else (Meg Shanks ran a Drama School for children and most of her students appeared in this film. No wonder why her school never turned out anyone famous!). It's quite awful, making the SOV films BOARDING HOUSE (1982) and SLEDGEHAMMER (1984; also an Intervision title) look professional in comparison. The special effects are also lousy. When Elizabeth moves a desk with her supernatural powers, you can see a man on all fours moving it with his back! When Elizabeth makes a potted plant and a pencil levitate, you can see the strings holding them. The makeup effects, while bloody, look to have been done by a grade schooler (check out Carol stabbing herself in the leg). In the finale, when the kids go on a murder spree while under Elizabeth's powers, slaughtering all the adults with knives, it elicits laughter rather than fear (mainly for the cheap way it is done; especially when a knife blade enters the back of Maurice's head and exits out of his mouth). Oh, and did I mention Jesus makes an appearance during the finale to defeat a Devil-possessed Elizabeth? The extras on the DVD includes a trailer and an interview with director Alan Briggs, who speaks of this film like it is the CITIZEN KANE of do-it-yourself films. There is also an interview with fanzine creator John Martin, who gives us a history of this film and the controversy it caused with the British censors. It's the best part of the disc. The opening and closing credits look as if they were done on a Commodore 64, as the typeface looks like something you would find on a dot matrix printer (remember them?) and, during the closing credits, they credit films like PSYCHO and HALLOWEEN as influences. Don't make me laugh. Also "starring" Nicola Bratley, James Hillis, Ben Woods and Natalie Toubkin. Most of the adults work in various capacities behind the scenes. An Intervision DVD Release. Not Rated.
AMITYVILLE: THE AWAKENING (2015) - Another PG-13 piece of shit from producer Jason Blum and his BlumHouse Production outfit. It was also released by the legally-troubled Weinstein Brothers' Dimension Films, who held the film for over two years before it got a limited theatrical/VOD release and then was immediately dumped on home video. It's easy to see why. Forty years after Ronald DeFeo murdered six family members at the house in Amityville, a new family moves in: Mother Joan (Jennifer Jason Leigh; EYES OF A STRANGER - 1981), young daughter Juliet (Mckenna Grace), rebellious goth daughter Belle (singer Bella Thorne) and her comatose twin brother James (Cameron Monaghan; THE GIVER - 2014). James is brain-dead and has been in a coma for over two years since he fought a man who plastered naked photos of Belle all over the internet and was pushed off a third floor balcony. I know what you are thinking and you are absolutely correct. Mom purposely moved into this house so James could come back to life (She says to Belle: "God gave up on us so I gave up on God!"). That is what is wrong with this film. It is a by-the-numbers horror flick. Everything you think is going to happen does happen, thereby giving audiences no surprises. I don't think I have ever seen Jennifer Jason Leigh act so amateurishly. It's like she knew she signed on for a loser of a film. The breaking point comes when new school friend Terrence (Thomas Mann; BLOOD FATHER - 2015) tries to tell Belle (Who wears black lipstick, wears too much mascara and dresses in tight black clothing. Isn't goth dead?) about the history of the house and when Belle says doesn't know anything about it (Really???), Terrence pulls out the MGM DVD of the original AMITYVILLE HORROR (1979) and says they should watch it at her house at 3:15 AM, the same time as when Ronald DeFeo murdered his family 40 years earlier! And she agrees!!!! (They don't watch the 2005 remake because "Remakes suck." So do Amityville franchises!). All this film has to offer are jump scares and very little else. One major problem I had with this film was James' comatose body. It is so atrophied and thin (you can count every one of his ribs), it is unbelievable. All coma patients go through daily rehabilitation so their joints don't get stiff, but not in this film. It's hard to believe James is still alive (and his bedroom is directly above the basement chamber that James Brolin discovered!), so when he does come to life, possessed by the evil of the house (the film doesn't even bother to tell us who is possessing James), it comes as no surprise that his body miraculously transforms into that of a healthy teen, who grabs a shotgun and goes searching for his family members in the house (a direct steal from AMITYVILLE II: THE POSSESSION - 1981). It's hard to believe this came from director/screenwriter Franck Khalfoun, who gave us the really good remake of MANIAC (2012). He shows us none of that film's inventiveness here, just basic horror cliches. There are too many loose ends, as plot points are brought up and never elaborated on, especially Dr. Milton (Kurtwood Smith; ROBOCOP - 1987), James' doctor. Not only should he have is medical license pulled because of the condition of James' body, but when he turns James' body to the side, he discovers his back is full of maggots and flies, which fly into his mouth (a cheap and unconvincing CGI effect). He then disappears from the film and we never learn what happens to him. We also never see what happens to the family's German shepard, Larry, as Juliet simply finds him floating in the lake (That will teach them for naming him Larry!). That is what I hate about PG-13 movies; we are supposed to imagine the deaths without actually seeing them. This film is the blueprint on what is wrong with PG-13 horror flicks (Apparently, 13 minutes of footage was cut from the film in order for it to get a PG-13 rating, yet the footage was not restored for the disc release. Bad decision.). No scares. No blood. No horror. I consider AMITYVILLE: THE AWAKENING the anti-horror horror film. I would rather watch my home movies than watch this again (there's much more horror in those!). This film carries a 2015 production date, but it was actually filmed as early as 2012. Also starring Jennifer Morrison, Taylor Spreitler and Hunter Goligoski. A Lionsgate Home Entertainment DVD & Blu-Ray Release. Rated PG-13.
IN BLOOD (2016) - Ruggero
Deodato, the director of the groundbreaking CANNIBAL
HOLOCAUST (1980), as well as PHENOMENAL
AND THE TREASURE OF TUTANKAMEN (1968), WAVES
OF LUST (1975), LIVE
LIKE A COP, DIE LIKE A MAN (1976), THE
HOUSE ON THE EDGE OF THE PARK (1979), RAIDERS
OF ATLANTIS (1983; his best film, in my opinion), CUT
AND RUN (1985) and DIAL:
HELP (1988), tries to keep his career alive in the second
decade of the New Millennium with disastrous results. Not only are
the "heroes" of this film degenerate druggies, they are the
most unlikable people to ever grace the screen, doing things that no
respectable person would ever do, making the viewer not care one iota
what happens to them. Hell, we wish they would die rather than watch
them do the things they do in this film. And they talk like no other
human beings in the history of cinema, the dialogue coming out of
their mouths best described as how Italians think every American drug
addict talks, making this film a chore to sit through.
The film opens on the morning after Halloween, where black drug dealer Duke (Edward Williams, who sends Civil Rights back a hundred years with his performance) wakes up completely naked in a bathroom, stepping on glass from a bottle he has just broken. He hobbles into the next room, where his friend Jacopo (Gabriele Rossi, who plays his role as a man who has done way too many drugs, slurring his words and rarely opening his eyes more than a squint. Maybe he isn't acting!) is screwing Lenka (Carlotta Morelli), screaming at them to stop fucking and get him some antiseptic for his foot. Jacopo tells him to chill out and when they look up at a roof window, they see a naked woman lying there. Duke and Jacopo are so wasted, they break the window with a ladder and the naked woman falls to the floor, dead, her throat cut from ear to ear. Lenka tells them it is her friend Elizabeth (Noemi Smorra), but none of them can remember what happened the night before because they were so wasted. Duke then gets an emergency phone call, so he and Jacopo leave the apartment (!). We then discover the "emergency" is a drug buy for one of Duke's customers (a goth man and his male goth friends), but he doesn't have any money, so Duke hits him over the head with a beer bottle (!) while Jacopo rifles through his wallet, taking 100 Euros and the coke and pills inside it (Jacopo swallows the pills without asking what they are, but he's a "good" drug addict who doesn't like coke!). They return back to Lenka's apartment and discover her taking a bath...with Elizabeth's dead body! They must discover who killed Elizabeth since they were all too zonked out the night before (one of them could be the murderer). Duke wants Jacopo to cut up Elizabeth's body into pieces, but he refuses, so Duke plants the knife in Elizabeth's leg!
Since both Lenka and Elizabeth are students in Rome as part of the Erasmus Project (Google it), Elizabeth was recording her life for her mother back home, using her phone as a camera on a selfie stick. She may have recorded her own murder, but her phone is nowhere to be found in the apartment. Lenka then gets a phone call from one of Elizabeth's friends, who tells her that Elizabeth left her phone at her apartment the night before. She tells Lenka that she was watching some of her footage, asking Lenka who the person is in the skeleton costume. He is in most of the footage with her and Elizabeth. Lenka can't remember and tells her she will be right over to get the phone. For some reason, Duke and Jacopo think it is prudent to kill Elizabeth's friend, so they wait outside while Lenka goes to retrieve the phone and bring Elizabeth's friend outside (Jacopo does the coke he stole from the wallet and then complains that coke dries out his nose!). Unfortunately, the plan doesn't go off as they think it will, as the friend is taken away by her angry boyfriend and Lenka comes outside to be accosted by an old woman. Duke and Jacopo grab the old woman and throw her off a bridge before Lenka can tell them it isn't Elizabeth's friend. When Lenka tells them they killed the wrong person, they all have a good laugh!
I wanted to stop watching this film after this scene (Hell, I really wanted to stop watching after the first five minutes!), but once I start watching a film, no matter how bad it is, I always finish it, if only for you, dear reader. To explain how awful this film really is, let me give you a synopsis about the rest of the fim: Duke finds the knife that killed Elizabeth hidden under Lenka's bed and the trio begin to blame each other for Elizabeth's death. Then, out of nowhere, Duke says he is hungry, opens the refrigerator and screams at Lenka for not having any food in the house! Duke sends Jacopo out of the apartment to get rid of the knife and then Duke begins laughing his head off at a pornographic cartoon he is watching on TV (About a walking penis trying to find a vagina to enter!), while Lenka does a striptease in front of him! A minute later, Lenka is slapping the shit out of Duke's face and tries to break a full bottle of J&B Scotch over his head. Duke opens the refrigerator once again and screams that there is no food in the apartment. There is a character in this film, diminutive bartender Leo (Ernesto Mahieux), who is only in this film because he is short in stature (4' 11"), as his dialogue, where he demands "rent" from Duke and Jacopo makes no sense at all, only put in the film to cover the fact that nothing in this film makes any sense at all. Duke and Jacopo then stab each other to death with the knife he was supposed to get rid of. The film ends with Lenka dancing a ballet around all the dead bodies and then Leo and his obviously gay lover lead Lenka out of her apartment and they walk hand in hand down a fog-shrouded street. WTF?!? I give up!
Deodato paints Rome as a city of decadence, where the streets are littered with drunks or drugged-out young people lying in alleyways or making love in front of everyone. This would have worked if the story weren't so bereft of logic. Give Deodato points for trying to get our minds off the story by giving us plenty of full-frontal nudity (both female and male) and tossing in some graphic violence (especially towards the finale), but nudity and violence without a story does not make a good film. Far from it, this film is a travesty. Screw Deodato for unleashing this turgid piece of crap and then trying to get us to believe it all means something. He should have quit directing after THE WASHING MACHINE (1993).
Obviously filmed in English, this film never received a physical home video release in the United States (at the time of this review) for reasons that are very clear. No company, at least no good company, would dare to release it on DVD or Blu-Ray and expect to make a profit (It was released in both formats in Germany, but in severely edited form). If you really must watch this (and I don't have the faintest idea why you would), Amazon Prime offers it streaming, uncut in a nice anamorphic widescreen print, free to Prime members. If I must say something good about this film, it is this: It is professionally shot with a distinct editorial style, but it is still too little too late. Not Rated.
DEMONS 5: THE DEVIL'S VEIL (1990) - Lamberto Bava remakes his father Mario Bava's BLACK SUNDAY (1960), with disastrous results. Filmed as LA MASCHERA DEL DEMONIO ("The Mask Of Satan", the original title of Mario's film), this Italy/Spain/France/West Germany/Portugal co-production is nothing but a series of atmospheric sequences and the story is near non-existant. A group of young adults are skiing in the mountains when a crevasse opens up and swallows them, leaving them lying next to the frozen grave of a vampire witch (!) named Anibas (Eva Grimaldi; THE BLACK COBRA - 1987), who is wearing an eerie metal mask with spikes inside it that keep her from rising to life once again. So what do these idiotic young adults do? Why, they pry the mask off the corpse and comment on how much it is worth! Only the virginal Davide (Giovanni Guidelli; IT'S HAPPENING TOMORROW - 1988) and his equally virginal girlfriend Sabina (Debora Caprioglio as "Debora Kinski") have enough sense to know that it only means trouble, but as fast as you can say, "Hey, isn't Sabina spelled backwards Anibas?", strange things begin happening to Sabina and the rest of the group, who all become possessed, except for Davide, who must find a way to deflower his bethrothed before he loses her forever to the vampire witch. Inside this crevass is a deserted village, that is except for a blind priest (Stanko Molnar; Bava's MACABRE - 1980 and A BLADE IN THE DARK - 1983), who lets the group bunk at his church with his faithful dog. So how does this possessed group pay thanks to the blind priest? By moving the furniture around, so he falls flat on his face, as they have a good laugh about it! And how do we know something evil is going to happen? Well, just before something does, an ill wind blows through a room and spreads dust around! I could go on and on on how this is nothing but a slap in the face to Mario Bava, but I am thankful that he passed away a decade earlier before his son paid him this "tribute". Not only doesn't Lamberto have anyone with the talents of Barbara Steele for this film, he also has no idea what makes Gothic horror work. He thinks all he needs are a few good sets, some dark photography and a constant wind blowing, but none of it will work if you don't have talent and, sadly, Lamberto didn't inherit any of his father's. This plays like a TV movie with some sparse scenes of nudity and graphic violence (a flashback sequence is taken nearly verbatim from the beginning of Mario's film, where the spiked mask is hammered on the witch's face [gore effects by Sergio Stivaletti; THE WAX MASK - 1997]). There's nothing in this film that's worth mentioning, especially the non-ending. It ends like Bava ran out of ideas or just didn't know how to finish it, so it just concludes with no rhyme or reason! There's a reason why this film was never released in the United States on VHS, disc or streaming. One look at it and you'll know why. I watched this just after viewing Lamberto Bava's THE PRINCE OF TERROR (1988), which was a TV movie and I thought nothing could be worse than that film (Golf balls as weapons of death? Check! A skinned puppy? Check! A cyborg with an exploding ribcage? Check!). I was wrong! They don't get much worse than DEMONS 5, folks. Compared to this, Bava's DEMONS 3: THE OGRE (1988) seems absolutely polished! Also featuring Mary Sellers (GHOSTHOUSE - 1987), Alessandra Bonarotta, Ron Williams (BEYOND THE DOOR III - 1989), Laura Devoti, Stefano Molinari (Bava's DEMONS 2 - 1986) and director Michele Soavi (THE CHURCH - 1989; THE SECT - 1991), all as members of the retarded ski party. If you really must watch this, a fairly nice anamorphic widescreen English-subtitled print can be found on YouTube from user "42nd Street Films" (under the title THE MASK OF SATAN). Don't say I didn't warn you! Not Rated, but not worth it.
III: THE OGRE (1989) - Here
is a TV movie directed by Lamberto Bava, as part of the BRIVIDO
GIALLO (1989) Italian TV mini-series, which consists of
this, GRAVEYARD DISTURBANCE
(1988), UNTIL DEATH (1988)
and DINNER WITH
A VAMPIRE (1989), that is so bad, you'll want to drink the
Rev. Jim Jones' Kool-Aid rather than finishing this film. This may be
the worst horror film I have ever seen (and you know that means
something). It's devoid of anything that
makes a horror film work, including blood, nudity and, especially,
scares. So why am I reviewing this, you may ask? For you, my dear
readers, and I do suffer for you, sometimes way too much. So let's
get to this piece of excrement before I change my mind.
Portland Oregon: Young child Cheryl is trying to sleep during a raging thunderstorm and becomes scared, calling for her mother. When Mommy doesn't answer, Cheryl goes looking for her in the house, but can't find her. Somehow, Cheryl ends up in what looks like a creepy mining cavern and above her is a giant pulsating sac that looks like something is about to hatch out of it. A monstrous "Beast" (Their words not mine) comes out of the sac and chases Cheryl (all we see is the Beast's gnarly claw-like hands). Yep, turns out it was only a nightmare, as Cheryl wakes up in bed and her mother is there to comfort her, telling her that monsters don't exist and if they did, she will protect her. I guess we all know that monsters do exist, especially in crappy low-budget TV films like this. Cheryl tells her mother that the Beast took her teddy bear and begs her to get it back.
The next time we see Cheryl, she is an adult (Virginia Bryant; Bava's THE PRINCE OF TERROR - 1988), in a car driven by her husband Tom (Paolo Malco; THE HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY - 1981) and containing her young son, Bobby (Patrizio Vinci, who is so bad you wish he was aborted). They are on vacation, driving to a castle they have rented somewhere in the mountains of Italy, a place they have never been to before. They stop at a bar in a small village to ask directions and when Tom mentions the name of the castle, the men in the bar (including an uncredited Bava and Roberto Dell'Acqua [LOADED GUNS - 1975]) stop what they are doing and stare at him. The barmaid obviously lies to them, saying she never heard of the place and one of the men says they made a wrong turn, so Tom, Cheryl and Bobby get back in their Jeep Cherokee and drive off, Cheryl telling Tom she is certain the barmaid lied to them. We then discover that Cheryl is an author of popular horror novels (of course she is!), telling Bobby that she started writing them when she was in college. They then find the castle, a huge stone edifice in the middle of nowhere. As they sleep that night, Cheryl has the nightmare for the first time since she was a child (only this time, young Cheryl gets out of bed with an adult Tom sleeping next to her, making it look, unintentionally, of course [?], like a pedophile's dream come true!). As young Cheryl runs through the castle, the Beast seemingly bursts out of a painting but, somehow, Cheryl ends up in the same mining cavern and hides from the Beast (It's all rather confusing, so don't try to make sense of it because it doesn't make any sense). Just as the Beast grabs young Cheryl, the adult Cheryl wakes up. Tom asks what is wrong and she tells him it was a nightmare she had when she was a child and the castle has somehow revived the nightmare in her subconscious. Bobby then starts screaming for help, so Cheryl runs to his room (but not Tom!) and his bed is empty. She calls out for Bobby but he doesn't answer. The door behind her slowly begins to open and Bobby jumps out and says "Boo!". Yes, this little snot was playing a practical joke oh his mother and instead of taking him over her knee and whipping his ass with a belt (as I would have...hey, I had my ass beaten raw when I was a child!), Cheryl laughs and plays along with it. Little bastard Bobby tells his mother he can't get to sleep and doesn't know why (I know a good way to put him to sleep...permanently!), but Cheryl gives him his favorite stuffed toy, "Mr. Rabbit", and tells him he needs to sleep because his father is taking him on a hike in the morning. As Cheryl leaves Bobby's bedroom, she discovers green slime on the doorknob and the floor and a worried, scared look forms on her face. Is it possible that the Beast is real?
While Bobby and Tom are on their hike, Cheryl explores the castle and finds a cobweb-filled room containing old scrapbooks and a monstrous handprint on the window. So what does Cheryl do? Why, she starts to type-up her latest horror novel, which she has titled "A Drawer Full Of Teeth"! As she is typing, a cockroach jams her typewriter on the letter "A" and she runs away and goes to the store to pick up more writing materials! It's apparent the residents of this tiny village don't take kindly to strangers, as the saleslady at the register refuses to take Cheryl's American Express Card, even though there is a sign in the window that states they do take credit cards. Cheryl makes friends with a local named Anna (Sabrina Ferilli; SWEETS FROM A STRANGER - 1987), a teacher at the village school who loans Cheryl the cash to pay for her goods. As they are talking Anna offers the services of her younger sister, Maria (Stefania Montorsi), as a babysitter should Cheryl need her.
Oh fuck! The hell with this review, I can't go on. This is the most ham-fisted, boring horror film that I have ever laid eye(s) on. Nothing happens here for nearly 94 minutes, except for extreme tedium, plenty of false scares and a Beast we never get a clear view of until the last minutes of the film. I first viewed this film early in the New Millennium and promised myself I would never watch it again, nevermind reviewing it, but here I am doing the exact opposite, taking pen-to-paper-to-computer just so I can tell you how bad this film really is. Not only did I nearly fall asleep (three times!) watching this nonsense, I really wanted to plant my foot in Lamberto Bava's nutsac for making such tripe. This is, for a better phrase, filmic diarrhea, something I wouldn't let my worst enemy watch, because no one should suffer such pain. Take my word for it, this film is not worth your precious time, as the screenplay, by Bava and Dardano Sacchetti (THE NEW YORK RIPPER - 1982), offers no blood or gore, no foul language and precious little nudity (except for a brief scene of Tom and Cheryl taking a bath together, but we have more nudity from Paolo Malco than we do from Virginia Bryant!), all things we all look for in an Italian horror film. This is the nadir of filmmaking and is possibly the worst film I have ever seen (the throwaway line Cheryl says to Tom about Maria at the end of the film almost made me kick in my TV screen!). I know that's a bold statement, but consider that a warning to all you out there that want to watch this dreck. I just may have saved your sanity, but I may have lost mine in the process..
Shot as LA CASA DELL'ORCO ("The House Of The Ogre") and also known as THE OGRE and GHOSTHOUSE II, this dud didn't come to the United States until 2003, when Shriek Show/Media Blasters released in on a stand-alone DVD. A few years later, they released it as part of the DEMONS TRIPLE FEATURE Box Set, along with Bruno Mattei's THE OTHER HELL (1980) and Umberto Lenzi's BLACK DEMONS (1991), making this box set the most boring 270 + minutes you will ever experience (and, yes, I own it!). If you must watch it (beats me why), you can find it streaming on YouTube from user "Horror Realm" in a nice anamorphic widescreen print, dubbed in English. Abandon hope all yee who enter there. Also featuring Alex Serra (Bava's DEMONS - 1985), Alice Di Giuseppe as Young Cheryl and Davide Flosi (BEYOND JUSTICE - 1992) as the Beast. Not Rated, but nothing even remotely entertaining.
HOUSE (2014) - While this horror
film, from pedophile director Victor Salva (JEEPERS
CREEPERS 1 , 2
 & 3
; once a pedophile, always a pedophile, but I judge films on
their merits, not by someone's criminal record), starts out like
gangbusters, it quickly sinks into the depths of despair, thanks to a
screenplay (co-written by Salva and producer Charles Agron) that
can't make up its mind what genre of film it wants to be. It also has
a finale that can best be described as rushed.
The film opens with 22-year-old Nick Di Santo (Luke Kleintank) visiting his estranged mother Lilian (a cameo by Lesley-Anne Down; SPHINX - 1981) at the insane asylum she has been committed to since Nick was a young child. Lilian refuses to look at Nick, telling him "the Voice in the Wall" told her that her son was about to have an important deadly birthday and she needed to warn him. Nick rightfully thinks his mother is crazier than a loon and quickly leaves the asylum. We then see that Lilian was telling him the truth, as "the Voice in the Wall" is angry at her, telling her that she is about to suffer a fiery death. Nick then learns that his mother died in a fire at the asylum, so he and his best friend Ryan (Anthony Rey Perez) go to drown their sorrows at a bar, where Nick meets pretty young woman Eve (Alex McKenna), who is also having a bad day. We then learn that Nick has a very strange supernatural power. By simply touching a person, he can tell when and how they will die (He touches one young man at the bar, who is about to serve in the military, and sees him die on the battlefield).
Eight months pass and we can see Eve is very pregnant and it's Nick's doing (even though they are not married). Nick goes to lawyer Scott (Max Gail; TV's BARNEY MILLER - [1974 - 1982]) for the reading of his mother's will and discovers he has inherited a creepy house he never knew his mother owned, yet he shows Eve and Ryan that he has been drawing pictures of that same house ever since he was a young boy; a house that has something to do with his father, a man he has never met and who his mother refused to talk about, not even telling Nick his name. Nick talks Ryan and Eve into joining him to find the house in hopes it will reveal the identity of his father. He is not going to like what he discovers.
When the trio get to the town where the house is supposed to be located, they enter a diner and ask about the house's location, only to discover that the house was washed away in a flood twenty years earlier. A man in the diner tells Nick that legend has it that the house survived the flood and it now sits somewhere in the woods, miles away from where it originally stood. Nick, once again, talks Ryan and Eve into looking with him for the house to see if the legend is true (This is where the film begins to fall apart for me. Eve looks like she could drop the baby at any moment, yet Nick makes her trek through the woods, miles away from a hospital or a doctor. It's no wonder they aren't married. He doesn't seem interested in the baby's safety at all!). When the trio are in the woods looking for the house, they meet a trio of county land surveyors, Sam (Ethan S. Smith), Lilith (Lacey Anzelc) and Chris (Zack Ward; DON'T BLINK - 2014). Chris tells Nick that he saw a huge trail in the woods, as if something quite large carved a path during a flood. Nick decides to follow it, with Chris and the surveyors leading the way and, sure enough, they find the house, basically intact, nestled against a giant tree that stopped it from traveling any further. The house is in a severe state of disrepair, yet it is occupied by the scary Seth (Tobin Bell; the SAW franchise [2004 - 2021]), who tells them to get away from "his" house (he calls Sam an ancient form of his name, "Samael", as if he knows him). When Nick begins to ask questions and saying he is the legal owner of the house, Seth lets him alone come into the house. Then something creepy happens. As Seth tells Nick that the tree that stopped the house from traveling any further is a "hanging tree", Nick is alerted by Ryan to come outside, they are being surrounded by a bunch of long stringy-haired creepy demons carrying axes and they chase everyone away from the house, running on all fours, while throwing their axes at them (it's the film's only eerie effective sequence). Sam is killed when one of the demons plants an axe in his head, so everyone else jumps in the surveyor's van and drive away quickly. The demons still chase them and we watch as the van runs over one of them and it just gets up as if nothing happened and continues to chase them, as if they are indestructible. Chris drives them back to town to contact the police, but when they get there, the town seems to be deserted. When Nick looks into the diner's front window, it looks empty, but we can see that it is full of people, like Nick, Ryan, Eve and the two surviving surveyors are in some alternate plane of existence. To make matters worse, no matter what direction they drive, it always leads them back to the house. What in the Hell is going on here?
Long story short, Chris, Lilith and Sam are disciples of the Devil, put on Earth to lead Nick to the house. The long-haired, axe-carrying demons are actually God's angels, who are protecting the house to make sure Nick never goes into the house's basement to free his "father", who is the Devil himself. It all leads to a battle between the Devil's disciples and God's angels, as Nick (who we discover is very evil) needs 23 human hearts to free his father. He now has twenty, so Nick thrusts his hand through Ryan's back to rip out his heart and then goes after Eve and her unborn baby to reach his goal of 23 hearts, but Seth rescues her, killing Nick and bringing Eve to the hospital, where she has her baby, a boy. Four years pass and we see Eve's young son drawing a picture of the Dark House, while a "Voice in the Wall" tells him how the house should look and that he will see it in person on his 23rd birthday. THE END.
My biggest problem with this film, besides the hackneyed plot, was how fast Nick's demeanor changed from good to evil in the film's finale. His 180° turn makes absolutely no sense and seems to happen just to advance the plot for the "surprise" denouement, which isn't a surprise at all, it just seems tacked-on for an eventual sequel (which, thankfully, never materialized), trying to make us forget the story's many gaping plot holes. While I do not try to hide my distain for Victor Salva as a despicable human being, there's no arguing that he has talent as a director, as this film does have some very atmosphereic sequences and some dollops of graphic gore, but as a screenwriter, he just doesn't have the chops to pull off this film's lofty ambitions, which is where this film fails big time. People do the stupidest things possible (After being trapped in the house by God's angels, Ryan and Lilith sneak out of the house and go to the van, where they make love! Really?) just to advance the plot. Speaking of this film's lofty ambitions, it is obvious that Salva got the money to make this film from a doctor and a lawyer, as one producer's name ends in "M.D." and another's ends in "Esq." (Tobin Bell also gets a producer's credit). This film could have been so much better if Salva stepped away from the writer's table and let someone else be in charge of the screenplay. As it stands now, this film (originally titled HAUNTED) is nothing more than an atmospheric grand failure. Also featuring Daniel Ross Owens (Salva's ROSEWOOD LANE - 2011), Patricia Belcher (TV's BONES [2005 - 2017]) and Tim J. Smith (DRIVE ANGRY - 2011). Rated R.