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If you're looking for a thrill a minute, this movie is not for you. If you're looking for a spill a minute, then get a couple of sponges, sit back and enjoy. This movie takes a long time to get going, and while there are certainly enough creepy moments, they take a lot of patience. Just to be clear, this is Hideo Nakata's original 2002 Japanese version of the film, not to be confused with Walter Salles' 2005 American version of the same story.
The story revolves around a couple who are in a bitter custody dispute over their daughter. No punches are pulled as the husband attempts to portray his ex in the worst possible light, bringing up her previous mental problems. It appears mom (Yoshimi Matsubara played by Hitomi Kuroki) had been editing a lot of graphic novels at the time, and the storylines got to her. No doubt these problems will work against her credibility later. Right now she has to find a place to live, and on her limited budget there ain't much out there. Creepy, run-down place? We'll take it!
The place is far from perfect and mom is soon battling maintenance guy and landlord over the continual leaks in the ceiling and the foul-tasting water. Her pleas go ignored and she has little time to address them herself as she's started a new job editing with a different firm. All of this leads to daughter (Ikuko played by Rio Kanno) having too much time on her hands to explore their new roof. She keeps finding a red plastic purse bearing the name Mitsuko. Mom's creeped out by this purse and keeps throwing it way, but the darn thing keeps coming back.
Who is this Mitsuko and why is her presence still felt? Glad you asked. She's was a girl the same age as Ikuko who lived in this very same apartment building and went to her same school who disappeared some time ago and has never been seen since. Spooky. Kind of.
I'm not the kind of guy who tries to figure movies out. I go along for the ride and just let them wash over me. In hindsight, I sometimes feel a little stupid that I didn't catch on to what seems so obvious later, but generally it makes for a better viewing experience. Why do I bring this up? Because this movie has a giant white elephant sitting in the corner the entire film which is insultingly blatant and really soured me on the film as a whole. It's just too obvious and it makes me despise the characters in the movie for being the morons that they are.
As I said, there's some decent creep factor, so if your looking for a moist psychological thriller, this may be your cup of tea.
Hamlin Grade: 3
Big Daddy Yum Yum
I love Jennifer Tilly. Much like a children's drawing that can't stay within the lines, she's a mess of a woman, spilling out everywhere. She's got big ta-tas that somehow just aren't enticing, a fat ass that manages to be just a bit too big for any costume she's wearing, and a waistline that's just not corset-able. She's juicy and just a bit over-ripe. But beyond all of that, she's a bad actor. Not only that, she knows she's a bad actor. To her credit, however, she has not only accepted that fate, she seems to revel in it. It's as if she said to herself, "Self, you're just a bad actor, but don't settle for being just any bad actor, be the best bad actor you can be." And, quite frankly, that makes her smarter than ninety percent of the actors in Hollywood.
Thus it was that I viewed Bride of Chucky after a long list of other horror movies I was going to be watching. I saved it for last in hope that it was going to be good bad, the fine dessert after a bad meal. Well my friends, I had that bad meal and the dessert that is Bride of Chucky made me wish I had never gone out to eat. Bride of Chucky sucks. It sucks so bad that it makes the worst mistake a horror movie can make, it isn't even the least bit frightening.
Now I know what you're saying, “How can a movie about a doll be frightening?” To which I respond, take a look at Magic or the premier of this series, Child's Play, both of which had at least a little creep factor going on. Or even go back to the genesis of all doll horror flicks, "The Dummy", perhaps the creepiest of all Twilight Zone episodes. There's creep factor to be had, but instead, the producers of Bride of Chucky went for camp. As a result, all we get is punny humor, and it's neither funny nor scary.
But let’s get you caught up. In the original movie, Charles Lee Ray (played by Brad Dourif) is gunned down, but just before he expires he transfers his soul via voodoo into a Good-Guy doll, vowing to come back and exact his revenge. Well, it's ten years later and looks like he's going to get a third shot. Let's meet Tiffany (Jennifer Tilly), the girlfriend from way back that we haven't learned of until now. Seems she's been carrying a torch for Charlie this whole time while living in a trailer park and wants to bring him back so that they can get hitched. But first she's gotta find him.
Chucky's been though a lot. He got all blowed up the last time he was about and he's been stuffed in a bag, rotting away in police storage. Tiffany gets a corrupt cop to steal said bag and meet her in a deserted warehouse late at night. What could possibly go wrong there? And then Tiffany comes strutting in, tits and ass falling out everywhere. But sex is not in the future of our stupid cop, only a cut throat. And for those first three minutes or so I believe I'm going to have fun watching this movie, but that's impossible as everyone in this movie is a complete and utter moron. Even our likeable teen heroes are morons and I just want them all to die as quickly as possible.
Bright spots? Few and far in-between. Seems Tiffany has an uber-Goth/Satanist would-be boyfriend just dying for the chance to get some Tilly loving. A Goth getting humiliated and killed? Outstanding! We've got John Ritter as an overprotective uncle/cop. Can't wait for him to die and he does so with a face full of nails. Would have been more amusing had there only been nine of them. And we get doll sex. Yes, doll sex. The only bare ass you're going to get in this movie is a plastic one. It's actually kind of disturbing.
The moral of this story; if your life is so messed up already that you’re living in a trailer park with an uber-Goth/Satanist, don’t go messing with voodoo.
Hamlin Grade: 2
Big Daddy Yum Yum
Hello, my name is Dr. Luis Creed and I'm waiting for my wife to rise from the dead so we can have dirty sex . . . Oh my, I guess I'm getting ahead of myself. About a month ago my family and I moved into a beautiful farmhouse just outside of Boston. Wouldn't you know it, whenever the realtor showed me the place, it was as peaceful as a lamb, but the minute we moved in, a constant stream of eighteen wheelers come cruising in front of our house at a mild eighty miles an hour, day and night. Now our neighbor, Jud Crandal seemed harmless at first, but even then I sensed there was something not quite right about him. A man who is the spitting image of Herman Munster in overalls and speaks with a "wicked" New England accent should be considered suspect. Jud, however, did rescue my son Gage from getting run over before we even met him, so I guess I looked past Jud's slaughter of our language. "Betta watch aout for that roooad Loowiss, betta watch aout for that roooad." "Rooad is menacing Loowis." He really had a thing for that road.
My first day on the job I started to get the feeling Massachusetts is a place where evil dwells. They bring in this kid who got his head crushed in by a bus and was obviously D.O.A., but then he sits up and grabs me. He knew my name and everything, saying encrypted things to me and then he was dead again. That's not the end of it though, he shows up in my dream that night and takes me on a tour of the pet cemetery in the woods behind our house. He tells me not to go past the edge of the cemetery saying the ground is sour. I wake up to find that my feet and the sheets around them are covered in mud. My lord! Was it just a dream? So the wife and kids go to spend Thanksgiving with my jerk in-laws, honestly, the whole family is a disaster, even my wife Rachel. What a bitch. Nag, nag, nag, but she is dynamite in the sack so what are you going to do?
They're not gone a couple of hours when I get a call from Jud, "Looks like I got a dead cat next to the rooad Loowis, could be your cat Loowis." As I'm prying my daughters' cat from the frosted ground Jud asks me what I'm going to do with the cat-sickle. Now those shades of creepiness in Jud were becoming more prevalent as he led me past the pet cemetery. Exactly where that kid with the crushed skull told me not to go. I did feel like I was stepping into a Steven King novel, but would you listen to the advice of a kid with his brains hanging out? Me neither. Up the hill we go, where Jud shows me where I'm to put the cat carcass, in the Micmac Indian burial ground. It seemed to be a nice enough place until I started to dig. This old man was playing some sort of sick joke, having me dig a hole into bedrock. Sick bastard just sat there smoking cigarettes as I busted my ass all day to dig a grave for a little cat!
Next day that same cat nearly scared me to death in the garage. Lawdy! My daughter's cat had come back from the dead! This seemed disturbing until my son Gage was run over by one of those truckers. Listening to those no-good Ramones turned up to eleven, no wonder he didn't see my little Gage in the road. My plan seemed so clear; dig up my little boy's body and put it in that Indian burial ground. Jud knew what I was thinking and tried to sway me by telling me whatever comes back is touched by evil. "Somethings are betta left dead Loowis." Damn him all to hell, my name is Lewis! But by this point I had had enough of Jud's advice and his slaughtering of my name, so I put my son where he could come to life again. The funny thing is, Jud was right and the little bastard came back and not only killed him but Rachel too, so I just had to put him down. Things will be different with Rachel I just know it!
Hamlin Grade: 6
Fletch is a killing word!
Dreamscape! Horror? Perhaps. Bad Movie? For Sure!
No one is safe as the United States Government plans to do battle on the subconcious level using an army of pyschic dream assassins! YES! Not even the back of the video box is exciting as what I just wrote.....and for good reason, because the movie itself doesn't even come close to being that cool!
Dreamscape offers up an impressive cast, which includes Dennis Quaid who plays Alex Gardner, the legendary Max von Sydow as Dr. Paul Novotny, Christopher Plummer as Bob Blair, and the amazingly versatile (and way underrated) David Patrick Kelly as the evil Tommy Ray Glatman. Mrs. Speilberg herself, Kate Capshaw also provides the love interest for Gardner in Dr. Jane DeVries.
Alex Gardner is a young talented psychic, who is squandering his amazing abilities betting at the track. He is convinced by his mentor Dr. Novotny, to take part in some experimental research based on dreams. Gardner, skeptical at first agrees, and learns about the process they call dreamlinking. A new process being developed by the government to help alleviate the nocturnal abnormalities of sleep deprived individuals. Dreamlinking connects a pyschic to the person with sleep problems via electrodes, and they both enter the dream state, however, the psychic becomes a visitor in their counterparts dream. After his first taste of the program, Gardner is immediately hooked and joins forces with Dr. Novotny (Sydow) and the lovely Dr. DeVries (Capshaw) to help these people.
Gardner however, is not the only one capable of dreamlinking. Tommy Ray Glatman (played brilliantly by David Patrick Kelly), prior to Gardner's arrival, was the only psychic capable of creating a dreamlink, and the dream research projects number one pet. Obviously threatened, the pair become instant nemesisesisseess's. Bad Movie Knight Note: You may not know the name, but you know the face. David Patrick Kelly is probably the most famous, non-famous guy in Hollywood. He's practically perfected the bad guy role in movies, having played such characters in The Warriors, 48 Hours, Commando (he was Sully....remember Ah-Nuld saying "Sully remember when I said I would kill you last?"), The Crow, Last Man Standing, and The Longest Yard. His career has spanned nearly 3 decades.....and I think the man kicks some serious ass as a bad dude.....so he deserves this particular Bad Movie Knight note!
Alex Gardner helps a young boy to fight his demons (in the form of a giant walking cobra) and forever purge his mind of his nightmares. Afterwards, he goes to visit Dr. DeVries, who is asleep in her office. Rather than leave and visit later, Alex takes a chair, and attempts to dreamlink to her without the use of the electrode setup. He is successful, and proceed to bang Dr. DeVries in a train car in her dream.....dreamlink becomes dreamrape! Nice! DeVries wakes up and is understandably pissed off until Gardner explains that he linked to her without the apparatus.
While Dr. Novotny's and Dr. DeVries dream research is for the benefit of mankind, Bob Blair (Plummer) the Head of Covert Intelligence for the government has alterior motives for the project. Using Tommy Ray as his test subject, he trains him to become the world's first dream assassin. Tommy Ray's first victim is one of the sleep patients at the research clinic, who mysteriously dies during her dreamlink with him. Blair's ultimate plan is to assassinate the President of the United States, who is troubled by his own nightmares, which for the record are cool as hell.....his dream is him riding on a subway car through a post apocolyptic, freshly nuked Washington D.C. Fucking Sweet eye candy!
Dreamscape reaches it's pinnacle as the President of the United States is brought to the clinic to help with his nightmares, and Tommy Ray Glatman, and Alex Gardner enter his dream to do battle. Gardner to protect the President, and Tommy Ray to assassinate him, set in the holocaust dream world provided by the Commander in Chief. FUCKING SWEET!
While the special effects are a bit dated in some scenes, the concept and story are top notch. Dennis Quaid usually delivers a solid performance (even in Jaws 3D) and as I said before David Patrick Kelly rocks the house. Kate Capshaw, while generously covered in clothing is still pretty hot, and almost provides the Patrick Swayze like sexiness for the film.....almost. Dreamscape may not satisfy Fletch's requirements, and standards necessary to be a Horror movie.....but to him I say, go fuck yourself. It's a decent bad movie, horror or not asshole.
Hamlin Grade: 5.5
Timothy Dalton is the one true James Bond,
House of Wax is one of the latest of a new breed of horror movie that attempts to cash in on the flavor of the month this genre has become in the past few years. While it does offer a clever new method of dispatching victims, which in turn provides some eye candy, House of Wax follows the Horror blue print almost to the letter. Almost.
The standard horror movie setup, a bunch of teens go camping in the woods, a crew made up of several guys (one of them is Denny from Meet the Parents, the others are forgettable), and two ladies (Elisha Cuthbert and Paris Hilton), who party all night, even though they are briefly interrupted by a guy in a pickup truck who drives up, hits them with the high beams, then drives off. When they wake in the morning, Wade's (one of the forgettables) sweet ride, won't start, because his fan belt is broken...hmmmmmm, which he claims was brand new....HMMMMMMM....so it's off to town with his girlfriend Carly (Cuthbert) and the town 'road kill cleaner-upper' guy who picked them up, in his beautifully detailed pickup. How they met the driver is borderline ridiculous...actually, its downright ridiculous....just watch and you'll understand. Why anyone would get into a pickup with this dude of their own free will is ...oh wait its a horror movie....perhaps I should be more shocked they don't bang in front of the guy.
Arriving in town, which is very desolate, they see that the garage is closed, and the proceed onto the church. And why not? A you know, most of your finer auto parts can be found at the local house of worship. Luckily for them, the garage owner is attending a funeral, and agrees to help them with their auto part purchase at the conclusion of the service. So what do two teens do with the better part of an hour to spare? Indulge their curiosity by breaking into the local House of Wax. Breaking and entering is a standard for victims in the horror movie genre, so House of Wax provides us with a group of characters that fail to dissapoint. After a brief tour of the House of Wax, and it's sculptures that seem 'very life-like'....HMMMMMM.....they return to the garage, where they perform their second B&E of the film and start inspecting the assorted fan-belts, of which they have every size, except for the length Wade needs...HMMMMMM.
The garage owner arrives and tells the couple that the parts he needs are at his house, and they follow him to his house. Wade needs to use the bathroom, and Carly waits in the garage owners truck, while the two enter the home. Wade finishes his sinful business and rather than exit the home, proceeds to look around and walk into rooms at his leisure. If you haven't guessed by now, Wade is a dumb asshole. Thankfully, he is assaulted by a masked man with a pair of large shears. Carly meanwhile realizes that the truck she is in, is the same from the evening prior that dropped by the camp site, and freaks as the garage owner leaves the house. They have a brief battle until she is finally subdued.
We cut to Wade, still alive, being dragged to an underground facility by the masked man where he is stripped and then has his facial hair (eyebrows included) waxed off. He is then suspended in an elaborate shower device by his head through the use of some sort of neck trauma halo. The Masked Man turns a few levers, a couple of knobs, some valves, and the wax begins to flow like wine....or beer. Wade is entombed in a waxy cocoon. This is about the only cool part of House of Wax. Later a few of his overly curious friends from the camp site will find Wade still half alive as part of the gallery display. His eyes being the only thing left uncovered, he is able to look around and moan. Denny from Meet the Parents attempts to remove the wax, but as he does, it also takes off his skin to reveal the muscles of face beneath. As I said before....cool! The Masked Man then catches his friends and the scenario Wade underwent continues.
Of course the Masked Man, and the garage owner, ensnare all of the camping teens except for two.....Carly, and her brother. They set fire to the Masked Man's workshop (which is beneath the House of Wax, and is made entirely of wax you see, this is important because fire melts wax), and proceed upstairs. The pair battle the garage owner, and the Masked Man as the House of Wax begins melting around them. This is the eye candy of spoke of earlier. I'm sure architects watching this movie would be losing their minds as to the structural load that the wax walls would be initially holding....to them I say....you are dorks. Anyway, the siblings and the Masked Man and garage owner wage war in a flaming wax house......riveting. Not really, but you have to see it to believe it.
House of Wax's biggest failure is the lack of nudity. This is probably the only piece of film in existence that Paris Hilton actually wears clothing. Elisha Cuthbert is unfortunately on the rise so we will have to wait for her career to crash and burn before she shows some skin. So, House of Wax wins the dubious honor of being the only horror movie without a nude scene. I'm sure there are others, but I doubt it.
Hamlin Grade: 1
Timothy Dalton is the one true James Bond,
I have to admit that I have been uninspired this month. I've never shared the love that Fletch has for Horror movies (or his love for killing hookers for that matter), or really appreciated some of the classics the genre has produced. That is until now.
I give you Silent Predators! This little gem was an Amazon.com recommendation, which is now one of the many movies that float within the bucket of the worst shit Hollywood has ever created. It's funny how if you buy one bad movie on that site, they shower you with 10 more that you may 'find interesting'. Try buying 60 bad movies. My Amazon.com home page looks like a scatophelia party at Slyvester Stallone's house....I'm not sure what that means, but know that it's altogether unpleasant.
Silent Predators like most bad movies, follows what I like to call the bad movie framework, almost to the letter. Silent Predators starts by creating a script that is essentially pillaged from other films (in this case...1 part Komodo, 2 parts Jaws), assembling a group of horrible actors, get a director who's never sat behind a camera before (unless you count Tornado! )....and make a movie!!! Silent Predators does however, have a bright spot. The great Harry Hamlin arrives to help bring this hopeless piece of shit some of his star power. Hamlin immediately exemplifies the Ironside Agenda, as there is not another actor or actress in this disaster that should ever be on screen again. I'm not even fucking kidding around.
Silent Predators begins with some poor asshole who's car has broken, in the middle of the night, on a desolate road. Luckily a flatbed truck pulls up and offers the asshole a lift. On the back of the truck is a large crate that has the words "LIVE REPTILE" generously sprayed across all it's sides. The asshole's luck is short lived as the driver loses control of his vehicle and it careens off the road.....dislodging the crate and breaking it open, freeing its inhabitants.....which kill the driver and asshole. Bad Movie Knight note: The driver of the vehicle is actor Dominic Purcell, who played Dracula in Blade : Trinity, and is the older brother from the popular TV series Prison Break. I ony bring this up, because I think it's funny how the biggest star in this movie (aside from Hamlin) was on screen for 2 minutes and had one line. Perhaps this movie will become an example of the Aniston Effect for Mr. Purcell.
After fading to black, we get the standard '20 years later' type across the bottom of our screen, (this is almost identical to the opening 5 minutes of Komodo), we meet our hero Vic Rondelli, played by the great Harry Hamlin. This is where Silent Predators becomes Jaws. Vic Rondelli, is the town's new fire chief and gradually brought around town by his predeccessor and introduced, to the mayor, pet store owner, an asshole real estate developer and his assistant (who Rondelli will undoubtedly be banging later in the film, thanks in big part to her not so subtle 'fuck me eyes'). So Rondelli, is essentially playing the same role as Chief Brody in Jaws. Newcomer, and outsider to a position of power, not trusted by anyone in the community, and his lack of experience and tenure in the neighborhood is constantly called into question.
The small town's big player is real estate developer Max Farrington. His company is constructing a new housing development, and his greed (which has no bounds) will prevent anything from standing in the way of his venture. Little does Farrington realize that his real estate development has unbalanced the habitat of the rattlesnakes that have been dwelling there....yep for the last 20 years. Farrington's character is essentially the equivalent of Mayor Larry Vaughn from Jaws.
Like Jaws, Silent Predators first introduces us to it's main star (no not Hamlin) by the clever use of camera work (when we view the world through a snake's eyes, everything is red...ooooh scary), as they take down their first victim, a teenage boy, who was trying to get a piece from his girlfriend in the woods. The young lad dies quickly, and leaves his girlfriend screaming (and unfulfilled). Like most Fire Chiefs, Vic Rondelli knows exactly how to handle rattle snakes. He enlists the aid of his friend and herpetologist (this is a doctor that deals with the study of reptiles...not to be confused with the doctor Fletch visits to diagnose the large purple sores on his genitals) Dr. Matthew Watkins. Mr. Watkins would be the Mr. Hooper character from Jaws. Dr. Watkins, after studying a captured rattle snake (ensnared by the versatile Chief Rondelli), discovers that these rattle snakes are unlike anything he's ever seen! UH OH!! They are twice as a large as a normal rattle snake (which is to say they are a whopping 7 to 8 feet long! HOLY SHIT!! Are you as terrified as I am?!) and their venom can kill in under a minute, as proposed to the 3-4 minutes. This sounds like trouble.
So the small town is under siege by the larger than normal rattle snakes and hold a town meeting (see Jaws), where the Mayor and Farrington discredit Chief Rondelli (see Jaws) and tell the town not to worry about or heed his warnings (see Jaws). Farrington elists the aid of the towns people to have a snake hunt and find their nest (see Jaws) and save their community from the reptilian threat. Will their hunt be successful? Or will Chief Rondelli have to save the day? Do you care?
Silent Predators has it's amusing moments, especially when you look for the Jaws scenes that have been blatantly ripped off. The dumbest thing about Silent Predators, aside from the fact that the threat really wasn't exaggerated enough (i mean, why not have 18 foot rattle snakes, with laser shooting eyes?), is the title of the film. Rattle snakes while being predators yes, are far from silent. They have this thing on their tail, called a 'rattle', which they use to scare away potential threats, thus the name rattle snake. So Silent Predators....probably the dumbest name for a film in Hollywood history. Our lord and savior Harry Hamlin, does bring Silent Predators the kind of acting you'd expect from a thespian of his calibre. Which is to say, not much.
Timothy Dalton is the one true James Bond,
If thou prick us are we not bummed?" We have reached another film that totally confirms Francis Ford Coppola will never reach the dizzying heights (like the waves in Waimea) of success most found in his youth. Coppola attempts to make a most triumphant feel-good horror love story in Bram Stoker's Dracula. Is this entirely necessary, bra?
Dude, we get to totally check out Prince Dracula from back in the day. Sporting long flowing hair and beard bra, Dracula free man! He has just finished the 3rd period of a very exciting hockey game with Bob and Doug McKenzie and the other fellas from the lunatic asylum. He's barley gotten off his skates when he is called on to fight the Turks, bummer dude, war is so like, violent. It's a good thing that his hockey equipment is also effective in battle, awesome! The introduction sets up the back story for the tragic figure of Dracula and his lost love - blah, blah, blah.
The real story here is a most epic performance by Keanu Reeves. That's not all, there's also Willamina, Keanu's beloved, a most righteous English babe played by Winona Ryder. You English think your sooo superior, as well you should when you hear these Yanks attempt an English accent, most triumphant. "Oh Willamina, babe, how your love rocks my soul, ha, ha!" Keanu, Winona! Keanu, Winona! Keanu! Winona! Marco, Winona! What was Coppola thinking? Oh, that's right, we have already established he's out of his skull.
We have just scratched the surface of the jaw-dropping acting skills found in this movie. Meet Lucy and her suitors: the nervous Dr. Jack Seward (a Bowie knife toting Texan), Quincey P. Morris, and Lord Arthur Holmwood. These characters will have you asking how and why. It wouldn't be a Coppola film without the totally tubular Tom Waits, and let's not forget the "what the hell" performance provided by Anthony Hopkins as Professor Abraham Van Helsing. Bram Stoker's Dracula is a solid production, providing some beautiful old school slight of hand camera work and impressive costuming and makeup. What makes this a fantastically bad movie is Coppola's casting and direction to his actors. "No, no, Keanu, I'd like it bigger, more like a London gentlemen surfer!"
Hamlin Grade: 5
Fletch is a killing word!
Did Lion's Gate ever meet a film it didn't like? Don't think so. They should be well represented during the Octoberfestival of Horror as they seem to have a penchant for slasher films. So perhaps this could be a fun teenage death-romp. Oh wait, but no, because you see it's not really about vampires. Or a clan. And they only kill two people. And it's based on a true story. Damn you, Lion's Gate!
It's about a bunch of Goths who are fascinated by vampires. Let's talk about Goths for a moment. On rant. At their absolute best I find them pleasant, but silly. A step down from that finds them laughable. Still further down finds them pitiable, and at the bottom of the ladder I find them really annoying. I think they should be cock-punched on a regular basis. "Ooh, look at me, look at me! What are you looking at?! I'm so misunderstood! Why doesn't anyone understand me? Why can't you just accept me for my bad makeup and suicidal tendencies?" And yet, that having been said, I find the yahoos in this movie even more annoying. I want them to be locked in a room together and be forced to cock-punch each other while ABBA is piped into their cell.
Off rant. Let's get on with the story. A "clan" of "vampires" is led by Roderick 'Rod' Justin Farrell (played by Drew Fuller). He's a really charismatic fellow who draws all of the other Goths to him like . . . well I was going to say like vampires to blood, but in this case it's more like flies to garbage. They hang out in a place called the Vampire Hotel in Kentucky "where they can be themselves," but they're making a road trip to New Orleans. It's never explained how, but mostly innocent Heather Ann Wendorf, played by Kelly Kruger, knows Rod, and he and his "clan" are going to stop in and pick her up on the way. And she's Rod's girlfriend. And she thinks he's a really great guy. And needless to say she's an idiot. God I hate pretend vampires.
All goes according to plan only there's one problem, they need a new set of wheels. They could just steal the car of Heather's parents, but that wouldn't be any fun. They're vampires, remember? Up to now they've only gnawed on each others wrists from time to time. Apparently to become a full fledged vampire you need to kill yourself a couple of helpless victims. So Rod and his stupid friend Howard Scott Anderson, played by Timothy Lee DePriest (scary vampire names guys, Rod and Howard), walk into the house and needlessly beat mom and dad to death.
This film is more docudrama than horror, and most of it shows the different members of the "clan" recounting their version of what happened. I have a hard time believing that even Goths can be this stupid. I take it back, calling them stupid is an insult to stupid people.
Hamlin Grade: 2
Big Daddy Yum Yum
"Death to Videodrome! Long live the new flesh!" It was a pleasure revisiting Videodrome, truly one of my all time favorite horror films and a must see for Bad Movie Knights. I'm not much of a fan of James Woods, but he fits the part of Max Renn to a T. All of his oily smarminess, which I normally loathe, actually works in this film. And this film was fairly prescient in lieu of the fact that it predates the internet. Today, with a bit of downloading, we have just about anything available for view, good and bad. Back in 1983, not so much. Max runs a cable TV network and he's in search of hard core pornography, the harder the better. Or is he in search of something more?
He's got a technician working overtime to pick up anything he can from the ether with his gigantic satellite dish. Gotta love the eighties. A modest satellite at the time was about the size of your house. It appears that his video tech Harlan, played beautifully by Peter Dvorsky, has picked up some scattered hard-core bondage feed from an unknown source, probably from outside the country. There's not much of it and it's badly distorted as a result of scrambling, but it's enough to hook Max. He's gotta have more, more, more! Say, viewing that kind of stuff could start to affect you after a while, don't you think? Let's watch.
Things get more interesting quickly as Nicki Brand, played by Deborah Harry, enters the scene. You've gotta love the character names and they only get better. They meet on a television program discussing the problem of violence and sex in the media. Max plays the pro side of things and our other guests play the ... well they all seem to be taking the pro side. Nicki is a radio psychologist and our third guest, Brian O'Blivion (I told you they get better) is simply a television image. He refuses to appear live. The debate never really gets going as Max and Nicki are practically crawling all over each other. Get a room!
They do, back at Max's swinging bachelor pad. This place is special and he's got porn all over. No problem for Nicki, she's into it. She's actually into a lot of things; cutting, beating, burning. She's serious whack. And then she finds a copy of Videodrome and pops it in the Beta. Beta! Perfect! Harlan's been working hard on debugging the video and he's also discovered that it doesn't film in some far off place, it shoots right in Pittsburgh. All sounds good except for the fact that those who star in the film never make a reappearance in further episodes. Nicki doesn't care, she wants an audition.
I won't ruin the movie for you. Figuring out what is real and what is fantasy is part of the fun of this film. Things get distorted early and often and as such can become fairly disturbing at times. The myth of snuff films was alive and well in '83, but it's more disturbing in retrospect with images of Daniel Pearl fresh in our collective consciousness.
On a side note, I highly recommend the Criterion Collection version of this film. I always recommend the Criterion Collection for any film as they kick ass. The extras for Videodrome are outstanding. They include the porn clips that Cronenberg filmed especially for this film and a lengthy interview with three of the masters of horror at the time, John Landis, John Carpenter and David Cronenberg. They are discussing their particular views on the making of horror films, but the thing that cracks me up is that Carpenter clearly doesn't fit in with the other two and comes off as an uptight schmuck. He's sitting between Landis and Cronenberg who eventually just ignore him and carry on with the conversation on their own. Priceless!
Hamlin Grade :7
Big Daddy Yum Yum
The modern horror film has begun to depress me. When did Hollywood forget how to make a good scary movie? I'm not talking about the slasher flicks (and I will freely admit that while not my favorite kind of horror flick they can be good titillating fun), but when did we forget how to make a good psychological thriller? The recent spate of horror flicks just doesn't know how to get it done, and Boogeyman is no exception.
The film opens with a child afraid to go to sleep. There are all sorts of strange things and noises in his room and they're creeping him out. The monstrous action figure on his bureau? He throws it in the drawer so that he doesn't have to look at it. The robe and the baseball bat that he's left on the chair that looks like a mysterious interloper? Throw that robe in a drawer as well and be done with spooky shadows. Unbeknownst to him, this is the exact formula for creating a Boogeyman and setting mysterious forces in motion. But little Timmy can't do anything about the forbidding closet. That's where dad comes in. Good old dad decides to take care of sonny's sissy-like fear of the closet by walking right in. Silly daddy! He's promptly beaten to a pulp and spirited away, never to be seen again.
That kind of thing could adversely effect an eight year old boy, and it does. Flash forward fifteen years and Tim (played by Barry Watson) is all grown up. I hated this guy on first sight. He's got those twenty-something good looks about him with that impossible hair-do that's messy and yet perfect at the same time. Oh, he may have the perfect job and the hot girlfriend, but he's a complete mess on the inside. He's spent the last fifteen years in and out of mental facilities where scores of doctors and therapists have tried to convince him that the whole incident was in his mind and that his father simply took off. Tim tries to go along with this explanation, but he can't get over his fear of closets. Check that; not just closets, anything with a door on it: cupboards, refrigerators, showers, you name it, he's afraid of it.
We're about ten minutes into the movie by this point and I just want him to die. No, not yet. First I want him to cry, then I want him to die. That's still not it. I want him to cry and wet his pants, then I want him to die. There's still something missing, what it? Ah, got it! I want him to cry and soil himself, then after he's dead I want the people who find him to learn that he's been wearing women's underwear. That would make me happy. Alas, we will get no such justice from this film. While at Thanksgiving at hot girlfriend's house he gets a premonition that his mother (who has also gone insane) is in trouble. He's right, she's dead. This leads him to go back home which leads to the rest of this truly sub-par movie.
I'd like to ruin the whole thing for you, I really would, but I just don't want to put in the effort. I figure if you watch this movie after reading this review you deserve to have the ending ruined. Instead I shall turn my efforts to the two things that really suck about this movie; the slow approach and the false alarm. I really think that these both need glossary terms. Tim sees a door. Tim is afraid. Tim takes an impossibly long time getting to the door when suddenly . . . nothing happens. Or Tim sees a door. Tim takes an impossibly long time getting to the door when suddenly . .. . somebody touches his shoulder and he spins around and . . . nothing happens. This happens over and over again in this stupid movie until you are numb to the device. Throw in some quick running feet and moving shadows and you get the idea.
Boogeyman – not scary. Booger from Revenge of the Nerds – comparatively speaking much scarier. Mark Wahlberg's acting in Boogie Nights – scariest of all.
I give this film one Hamlin for casting Lucy Lawless as Tim's mother, and then I'll take half of that away for not using her properly.
Hamlin Grade: 1/2
Big Daddy Yum Yum
As The Grudge 2 is about to open this Friday the 13th, I thought it apropos to review its predecessor. Sigh. It sounded like a good idea. "When someone dies in the grip of a powerful rage, a curse is born. The curse gathers in that place of death. Those who encounter it will be consumed by its fury." Great, this is going to be an artsy horror film. Well god knows they have a lot of people in this film I want killed.
Let's start with Sarah Michelle Gellar, shall we? I think she was just fine as Buffy, but she's no movie star. If only she would have taken a page from the acting book of Harry Hamlin. Harry starred in the worst movie ever made, Clash of the Titans. He saw himself on film, realized how much he sucked on the big screen and decided not to make that mistake again. He went on to big success on the small screen and I applaud him for recognizing his limits. Poor Sarah, she had her small screen success first and now she's trying to make the leap. All I can say is she's going to need a mighty powerful tailwind behind her if she's going to have a chance. The Grudge ain’t it. She bores me to tears.
Then there’s Bill Pullman. I certainly want him to die and he wastes no time in fulfilling my desire by throwing himself off a balcony in the first scene. Hooray! Maybe this film isn’t going to be so bad after all. Wait just a minute! First scene? Bill Pullman? Damn. He’ll be back.
And Tom Cruise’s ugly cousin, William Mapother. He looks like he got stuck in a fun house mirror. If you look through the bottom of a beer mug he looks just like Tom. Then again, if you look at any woman through the bottom of a beer mug come bar time, they look just like Scarlett Johansson. Gotta stop doing that. At any rate, I don’t care if William is more talented than Tom, he’s an ugly mother and I want him to die.
Well that’s out of the way, on with the story. It’s the story of a cursed house in Japan where something awful happened and will also happen to you if you enter. Oh, that’s right, we know that already because they tell us in
the beginning of the movie. Guess I’m not spoiling anything. All that’s left to do is show the audience how. And it’s not bad it’s just really lethargic. There’s not a whole lot of tension going on here. And it overuses some of the most overused horror movie techniques. Something dark and scary flitting quickly past the camera, quick feet running, and the slow turn. I guarantee that no one has ever heard something startling behind them, took a moment to collect themselves and then slowly turned to face the horror behind them. Ever.
And while we’re on the subject of stupid things, I’d like to take a poll of the worst places to go in a horror movie, because this one has three of them. And by this I mean when someone knows something bad is going on; freaky things are happening and the character still decides to go into one of these places. Top of the list has to be a bathtub or a shower. This film also has someone going in a stairwell. And let’s not forget the attic.
The rest of my list in no particular order includes:
A haunted house
A bad neighborhood
A roadside motel (and why are motels scarier than hotels?)
A high school
Anywhere with your step-father
A teenage sex party
A farm house
Anywhere where the lights are out
Any back room
Too close to a mirror
An insane asylum
A funeral home
An Indian burial ground
A camping trip with a priest
Dan Marino’s trophy room
Am I missing anything? Feel free to add to the list.
The Grudge is so-so. It’s well made, reasonably acted and there’s a creepy moment or two, there’s just not enough. Certainly not enough to make me go back for a second helping.
Hamlin Grade: 3
Big Daddy Yum Yum
"Beware the Children" Hee, hee, hee! This is going to be so much fun! Where do I start? How about with the cast. The movie stars Christopher Reeve as Dr. Alan Chaffee. Then there's Kirstie Alley as Dr. Susan Verner. That should be enough right there. I could probably have had a great time picking on just those two throughout the whole film, but it gets so much better. The film also features Mark Hamill as Reverend George! You didn't think he was going to just roll over after Corvette Summer, did you? Not when he has a man of the cloth in him yet.
The movie takes place in Midwich, population 2000. It's a hard-working, clean-living town where everyone is white and goes to church on Sunday. And everyone likes everyone else and helps each other out. It's almost like this is the perfect place to live. Doesn't seem quite right for a horror movie. We should dirty them up a bit, don't you think? We get that chance almost immediately as a young strapping lad jumps in his pick-up truck and – wait just a minute?! Is that the guy from Eddie and the Cruisers? It sure is! Ladies and gentlemen, Michael Paré has joined us in this best of all horror movie casts. He's on his way out of town when an unseen force passes over Midwich. I believe the technical term for that force would be a sperm cloud. Everyone passes out for a few hours and then they wake up. No harm, no foul. Oh, except for poor Mr. Paré who was driving at the time and crashed his truck. And the guy who passed out on the grill and burned to death. And the little altar boy who chocked to death while serving Reverend George. Other than that, the whole incident was pretty innocuous. Or was it?
Well, not quite. It seems that a few weeks later most of the women of child bearing years learn that they are knocked up. Way to go, creepy sperm cloud! Even got the virgin. Now I don't know about you, but if a creepy
sperm cloud passes over my perfect city and knocks my lady up, I'm just not going to have that baby. But that's me, that's how I roll. But we're in Midwich, and being the town that it is, all of the pregnant ladies decide to keep their babies. Fortunately we have Kirstie on hand to keep an eye on things. Heck, with her help, the government is even going to pay for all medical costs plus $3000 a month for each creepy sperm cloud child. Is it just me or did Kirstie look ridden hard and put away wet even back in 1995? Yeesch! She wears black throughout the whole film and it doesn't help even a wee bit.
Fast forward about nine months and they're all having their babies at the exact same moment. All but one. Kirstie spirits away the poor unfortunate sperm cloud child that was stillborn. But we've got nine perfect little Aryan sperm cloud children that all look exactly alike; five boys and four girls. And we'll watch these kids grow up. It's clear from the beginning that they're just not right. They're completely emotionless and they seem to be able to read the minds of the adults around them. Gee, that plot device seems familiar. Where have I seen it before? Oh, that's right, IN EVERY SINGLE MOVIE ABOUT EVIL CHILDREN! They even have laser vision. What up Superman? Why didn't you just bust out some laser vision of your own? Dang!
Things move along in a predictable manner and all that's left is to see how everyone gets to die. Mark Hamill shoots himself in the head and I couldn't have been more delighted. Dream come true. And Kirstie Alley is forced to perform an autopsy on herself where she finds no talent, but three smaller fat women.
This movie is almost so bad it's good. Almost, but it's so clear that they're trying to make a really scary movie (and a remake at that) that is just becomes pitiable. I only have one piece of advice for you, Bad Movie Knights; if you see yourself reaching for this movie, "Abort! Abort!"
Hamlin Grade: 2
Big Daddy Yum Yum
It's Friday the 13th, and what better way to celebrate this day than in 3-D! It's the third part in the epic horror franchise that was named after that most glorious of days. 1982 marked the arrival of the cutting edge technology that is 3-D, and with that arrival director Steve Miner had every excuse to stick everything under the sun and moon EXTREMELY close to the camera. How close, you ask? EXTREME close!
We first meet Harold air-drying laundry. While adjusting the pole to which the line is tied, said poll seems to come right at you. EXTREME! His wife while adjusting the TV antenna gets right up in your grill . . . EXTREME! These useless characters meet a quick and justified death (that's what they get for doing such mundane things in 3-D), on to the teenagers!
At this point in the series, the writers decided to cast away the whole camp counselor scenario and go with a group of pot-smoking, sex-crazed teenagers trying to get it on while vacationing by Crystal Lake. Nice! Shelly, the geeky looser, has been set up on a blind date of sorts with a girl that is way out of his league. He decides to make his play after impressing her by juggling apples to the EXTREME! By this time you have probably guessed that the EXTREME 3-D camera work would be the perfect opportunity to apply one of Yum Yum’s drinking games. You are going to get wasted! Not just buzzed, out of your gourd, head in the toilet wasted!
Okay, back to Shelly. "You know we've gotten to spend some time together (this is one afternoon mind you) and I really like you. I was thinking we could . . ." "I don't think so Shelly. I'm going to go for a walk and when I get back we'll talk." She leaves the cabin and his response is, "Yeah, we'll talk . . . bitch." Perhaps you think he'll make it through the movie being the dorky virgin that he is, but you'd be wrong. He's the first to go, followed quickly by the bitch who gets it from Jason and his spear gun. A nice shot from about twenty yards right into the bitch's eye with EXTREME accuracy! There is that 3-D technology again!
This is where we see Jason for the first time wearing the now legendary hockey mask. After shooting the bitch, he slowly turns around, head drooped and lumbers away, searching for his next victim. His posture and movements reminded me of Eyore from Winnie the Poo. Poor fella, just looking for that worthy adversary to make life worth living. Well, buck up camper, Andy likes to do handstands and walk around the cabin. What a great opportunity to get that machete of yours and swing it down into his groin splitting his body in two. Still not finding that special place Jason? How about a knife through Debbie's sternum ala Kevin Bacon in a hammock from I? Still down in the mouth tiger? I've got it, crush Rick's head so that his eye pops out to the EXTREME! Will Jason find happiness in a 3-D world? Find out when you and your friends enjoy Friday the 13th Part III in 3-D!
Hamlin Grade: 5.5
Fletch is a killing word!
Eat it Bosh! That's right kids, the time has come to review the 1984 cult classic, C.H.U.D. "But what does C.H.U.D. mean, Fletch?" Well for those of you who have not sampled this fine wine of horror, as it were, shame on you! Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers! Does it get any better that that? I assert that it does not! Something strange is going on beneath the streets of New York that may account for all of the recent missing persons reported to the N.Y.P.D. The department has been covering it up, but one cop is about to blow the cover off this conspiracy; Captain Bosh. Bosh pays a visit to Shepard's soup kitchen for the homeless down in Little Italy. A soup kitchen in little Italy? It's always fun to see Ed Koch's New York. Shepard is played beautifully by Daniel Stern. His lid and poor excuse for a beard are only small reasons for such praise. Stern's use of the Captain's name is pure poetry, "Beat it Bosh", "It doesn't wash Bosh!", "What's really going on Bosh!", " Bosh!" Stern's mastery of the word Bosh is like a dog playing with a rag doll.
So Bosh shows up at the soup kitchen and Shepard tells him a lot of his regulars who live underground have gone missing. Shepard's not buying that Bosh is genuinely concerned about a few missing homeless people and presses Bosh for his real motives. "My wife is missing." Mrs. Flora Bosh is missing?! Damn them! Damn those C.H.U.D.!
A parallel storyline follows the life of prominent fashion photographer, George Cooper (John Heard). Cooper has given up the glamour of the runway to document the homeless who call the sewers home. He learns some sort of monster has been on the prowl down there and has taken a nice bite out of Victor the homeless guys thigh, gruesome. C.H.U.D.!! Back to Shepard, who has taken Bosh into the underground labyrinth where he shows him a ski boot and a Geiger counter. That's enough evidence for Bosh. Call the commissioner!
A meeting is arranged between the Commissioner and Mr. Wilson from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. This meeting stages some of the movies' best acting and lines. "You don't have to listen to the ravings of a this paranoid Hippie." Pay special attention to Daniel Stern, especially when he's in the background. He's not acting, he's hallucinating. Needless to say, Wilson isn't giving up any information and Shepard
storms out in the dramatic fashion we have now grown accustomed to. Bravo Sir!
Wilson sends a N.R.C. henchman to follow Shepard to make sure he doesn't go to the press with his ski boot and Geiger counter. As Shepard attempts to make a call from a pay phone the henchman takes his quarter and swallows it. The two men size each other up in a tight shot that lasts far too long. Fuck or fight! The movie moves pretty fast from here with C.H.U.D. crawling out of the wood work. What's great is that the budget only allowed for a hand full of rubber masks with glowing eyes and some rubber monster arms so that's all you will see. It's fantastic! Shepard somehow meets up with Copper in the sewers. "You Cooper?" "Yeah, who are you?" "I run the soup kitchen." "Glad they deliver." The two of them stumble across a bunch of body parts at which point Cooper losses it. To calm him down Shepard virtually mounts Cooper. I Guess that would distract anyone. Action, action and more action which ends with a truck slowly rolling into an open manhole which of course causes an unexplainable explosion!
C.H.U.D. is wonderfully bad and should be required viewing for any true Bad Movie Knight.
Hamlin Grade: 6.5
Fletch is a killing word!
The Ring has to be one the most over hyped films in recent memory. Oh yeah this movie will scare the shit out of you....in large part because of another performance by that talentless whore Naomi Watts. How is this bitch famous?
The basic plot of the Ring is this. You watch a movie. You receive a phone call. You die. That's it. Scary!
Allow me to elaborate just a bit more on this. A VHS tape, discovered at a mountain cabin is the focal point of this horrifyingly bad movie. Of course, this tape houses pure evil. How do I know? Well cuz after you watch it you die. This is old shcool evil too, because all new evil, would have put it's essence on a DVD. Perhaps added some documentaries and featurettes on 'The making of Evil', a scene index, so you can jump to your favorite evil chapters, and maybe even a few evil deleted scenes. However this is just not to be. So we get the VHS tape, which contains an awful art school thesis movie project created by a wannabe filmmaker from Pratt Institute. The film itself is so bad, it should kill you instantly, rather than torture you for the next 7 days. At the conclusion of the movie, your phone rings. Yes Evil, gives you a call! Evil, then lets you know that because you surveyed this film, your life will end in a week. So what comes next? 7 days of anticipation that drives the viewer to the brink of madness (similiar to the anticipation you will have waiting for this shit to end). Then that magical 7th day arrives....and Evil with it. Evil is of course personified in a gangrenous, pale, black haired, Pratt Institute chick (we've come full circle) who by manner of shear ugliness scares the life from her victims.....leaving them looking like Edward Munch's 'The Scream'.
So how does Evil get on a video cassette tape, then get your phone number, and then kill you? I'd love to say watch the movie, and you'll see. But all of the above are left completely unanswered. Perhaps the solutions to this riddle lie in wait for us in the Ring 2. A movie which only Naomi Watts, talentless whore that she is, has seen....so we will forever be left in the dark.
I was going to completely pan this movie and give it the Berry, but because of the creepy Pratt chick and her excellent portrayal, I decided to be more gracious. I'm just fucking with you. This movie sucks rocks.
Timothy Dalton is the one true James Bond,
Searching for a movie suitable for the Octoberfestival of Horror, I came across Wolfen. Looked suitably threatening, and two of its stars, Albert Finney and Edward James Olmos, are top-notch. Ugh, what a mistake. There's two hours of my life I'll never get back.
The movie opens up with a rich couple being carted around New York in a limousine. The director is quick to point out that there is a full moon. Gee, wonder if anything bad can happen in New York during a full moon in 1981? Captain Stupid and his wife get out to play in a park under the watchful eye of their black driver. Or is he a bodyguard? Let's watch. There's something stalking this trio of idiots. We know it has to be something unnatural because whenever we view the scene through this unknown beast’s eyes the colors go all wonky. Our driver/bodyguard is the first to get thrown under the bus as he barely has time to draw his gun before his hand is ripped off. Captain Stupid and his wife follow in short order. Not a bad opening. We're not sure what's going on, but it seems like we have the makings of a pretty decent werewolf story.
Nothing could be further from the truth. What we have here, my friends, is more like a decent episode of Cagney and Lacy. Only not as hot. Tyne Daly. Yum, yum! The police have to get on this one right away as our victims were none other than Christopher and Pauline van der Veer, he of incredible wealth and fame, heir apparent to the presidency. He also dabbles in real estate ventures. Let's call in A-1 detective, Dewey Wilson, played by Finney. But if he's Cagney who is to play Lacey? None other than Gregory Hines in the role of Whittington, our local medical examiner. Has a partner movie ever worked out with Hines on the job? White Knights? Running Scared? Doesn't work here either.
What follows is an overly convoluted plot that is just plain boring. There are many red herrings to be had. Is it the work of terrorists? Indian shape shifters? Nope, just plain old wolves. Seems that when the wolf population started to get wiped out, the "smart" ones decided to go underground. Yep, that's right, for some time now the wolves have been secretly living in the subways and the ghettos of New York. And not just New York, but every major city in the good old US of A. So why have we never heard of this? Because they're sneaky bastards living on the sick and infirm. Drug addicts, bums and prostitutes. The kind of people no one would ever miss.
So why would the go after van der Veer? Good question. I wish the answer was worthy. They've learned that Captain Stupid is about to begin a huge new construction project on their prime hunting ground, the Bronx. I told you, they're very smart. And apparently excellent climbers. In the ridiculous climax, Finney flees to safety at the top of a skyscraper, but this is no protection from our lupine friends. They're waiting for him out on the balcony and they bust right through all of that pretty glass.
This film is just boring. Pace, people, pace! I'll give it a single Hamlin for Olmos running around naked acting like a wolf.
Hamlin Grade: 1
Big Daddy Yum Yum
In 1981, master Horror Director David Cronenberg gave us the classic Scanners. Scanners was a movie about a group of individuals with horrifying telepathic powers, who have the ability to kill with their minds. This film is epic, and it is with the greatest respect that I mention it here.....Scanners is brilliant film, that stars Bad Movie Knight's own Michael Ironside and I give it my highest recommendation. This review however covers the sequel which followed a decade later.....Scanners 2: The New Order.
Scanners 2: The New Order, like most sequels pales in comparison to it's original, but it does actually do a formidable job carrying the story forward. As I said before, a Scanner, is like a telepath on crack. Not only can they read a person's thoughts, but they have the ability to control an individual's actions, cause physical trauma in the form of nose bleeds, cardiac arrest, or completely take over the central nervous system, force vertabrae to swell and burst from a person's back, and make your brain explode through the top of your skull. All of which look tremendous on the resume.
Scanners 2: The New Order follows a young veterinarian named David Kellum. David, aware that he is different from most folk, not just because of the bad mullet he sports, but because of his ability to hear other peoples thoughts. He realizes his full potential when he thwarts a convenience store robbery by tossing one of the assailants threw a soft drink fridge (using only his mind), and taking out the other, which assaulted his lady, by, can you guess? Yep. Exploding the brain. The preferred method of preventing a burglary.
Seeing David's potential, Commander John Forrester enlists his aid in capturing a child killer who has been poisoning milk with cyanide. David immediately agrees, and begins to learn the full extent of his abilities, through Forrester's tutelage, and his vast contacts through secret government organizations. Forrester, while appearing to want to do only good for society dupes David into scanning the Mayor into naming him the new Police Commissioner. Forrester now has the power to create his 'New World Order'....a society that will yield to his every whim through their suppression at the hands of his Scanners. David realizing that something is wrong, scans Forrester and sees that he is just a bad man.....a very bad man. So bad!
Forrester now must stop David, and silence him before the truth comes out about his plans and previous misdeeds. The hunt is on, involving David against special agents, military men, and even Scanners! While on the run, David discovers that he has a sister and the two of them are the children of Cameron Vale, and Kim Oberist, the two most powerful Scanners from the original movie. Genetics are on David's side.....in scanning ability, not hairstyle.
Scanners 2: The New Order, takes the Scanner franchise to a whole new level, with more brains blowing out of heads, spines snapping, bodies exploding in flame, limitless nose bleeding, and even physical disfiguring of opponents. The blood pumps are on overdrive in this bad boy! While not being as good as the classic original, Scanners 2: The New Order does provide us with a solid sequel. This movie would be an outstanding addition to Big Daddy Yum Yum's drinking games....if you were to have a beer everytime a head blew up......your head might actually explode.
Hamlin Grade: 3
Timothy Dalton is the one true James Bond,
This month a Friday does fall on the 13th, so I thought it would be a good idea to review a few of the ten movies that feature the on going self-exploration and efforts of one Jason Voorhees. I feel that the franchise this movie spawned is important to the horror genre. And yet when I first sat down to write a review of this classic , I had to be honest with myself; this is not a good movie. Yes, Friday the 13th laid the groundwork for one of horror's most recognizable icons and helped firmly establish the rules of horror, but let's face it, this wasn't groundbreaking by any means. If you want originality I suggest you watch the Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Halloween. So let us just enjoy Friday the 13th for what it is, a good bad movie.
The original Friday the 13th introduces the world to Crystal Lake and would forever scare the hell out of camp counselors. Fresh air, a resplendent lake surrounded by a picturesque forest, on first glance this all appears to be the perfect place to spend a summer, molding the minds of young children. It could also be the perfect setting to have your throat slit open, your skull cleaved by an axe, or your body used as target practice in the archery range. Camp Crystal Lake has been closed for some twenty years due to a couple of unsolved murders. The kids that take on the task of it's grand re-opening are clueless to the camps sorted past. The new owner, Steve Christy doesn't think it necessary to tell them about it either. He's more interested in working shirtless around young female counselors with his jean cut offs and red bandanna. I will be awarding him a Hamlin for his creepy pick-up attempt of Alison. "You draw very well . . . you're very talented and very pretty." These lines are delivered as he slowly caresses her cheek. Dirty. An Ironside Agenda is awarded to Officer Dorf (Ron Millkie) who shows up looking for the local town Crazy Ralph. His two minutes of camera time are comedy gold. "Can it Cochise . . . you smoke? You look like you just got off a spaceship. You know the Colombian gold man. Grass, hash, the weed dig it." Yeah, I dig it! This guy is a total ham! "We ain't going to stand for no weirdness around here." The very next scene we meet Crazy Ralph who is the embodiment of all those strange old men in Scoobie Doo telling those kids in the Mystery Machine, "You're all doomed!" This shameless caricature scores a Hamlin!
Now that we've got the introduction of locals out of the way, let's begin the slow systematical butchering of counselors shall we? Oh, I forgot to mention we have already had our first victim. A female counselor who was hitching a ride to the camp. Note to self; once you hear the kill music in the background exit hitchhiking vehicle. Once exiting the vehicle and entering the woods, continue to run as silently as possible, screaming will only make it easier to track down and kill your hysterical ass. Finally, you might want to put up a fight instead of pleading with a person brandishing a hunting knife. Okay, now let's get back to picking off these innocent teenagers. Well, innocent until they engage in pre-marital sex! Sinners!
The first person to pay the price for exchanging bodily fluids is Jack played by Kevin Bacon. Now we all know the game six degrees of Kevin Bacon and I would suggest to you not to use this movie as a conduit because his is the only career which survives this movie. Mr. Bacon goes out like a champ in one of my favorite killings in the franchise. Just after spraying his man web Jack lies back in bead to reflect on his latest sexual conquest as we all do. You ever get that feeling that something is under your bed with a knife? Knife through the mattress into the back of the neck and out the trachea! Nice! Needless to say everyone gets taken out in creative ways until there is only one, Alice. At this point, Mrs. Voorhees arrives with her light blue sweater, too much eye liner and grinning from ear to ear. She seems friendly. Here's the SPOILER kids; what is really weak about Friday the 13th is director Sean S. Cunningham sets the whole film up so it appears that you may be able to figure out which one of the players could be the murderer and then this crazy bitch drives up! Who the hell is this? The only reason I forgive this is Betsy Palmer who plays Mrs. Voorhees, is oh, how should I put it . . . a psycho! I don't even think she's acting!
If you haven't seen Friday the 13th in years, it might be fun to see what used to scare you. Pretty tame by today's standards in terms of gore, although it's slow tempo and lack of lighting creates more of a disturbing mood then the abundance of blood and slick effects we find today. If you've never seen it, call up some friends and place bets on camp counselors and enjoy a bad horror movie classic.
Hamlin Grade: 5
Fletch is a killing word!
Heebie Jeebies is the best horror film ever made. I'm sorry, let me start over. Heebie Jeebies is the most horrifying movie ever. Damn. That wasn't it either. Heebie Jeebies is the most horrifically made movie I've ever seen. Think Clash of the Titans without a budget. Imagine Harry Hamlin and Laurence Olivier alone together on a soundstage without any sets, props or costumes. Now that's terrifying, but in a silly way, not in a good way. Heebie Jeebies is so much worse than that image. It's bad. It's not even good bad, it's bad bad. No, it's worse than that, it's bad, bad, bad. Even that still doesn't quite capture the essence of this movie. It's bad, bad, bad, bad. Bad, bad, bad, bad, bad. I can't seem to stop writing bad. Bad.
Heebie Jeebies has several dissimilar stories loosely linked together by one main plot. Kind of. If you try really hard and sort of squint your eyes you may be able to see what I'm talking about. Bobbie Jo Westphal plays Cassandra, a woman who is having bad dreams about her friends. What to do, what to do? The obvious choice would be to get them to all come out to a dilapidated farmhouse out in the middle of nowhere. What an utterly fresh idea! With all of her friends about she might just be able to figure out the mystery of her dreams . . . or get everyone killed! But we'll get back to that.
First let's deal with the inane dream story sequences in which her friends get killed. The first one is a practical joke gone wrong, the second involves the stealing of ancient statuettes which come to life ala Gremlins and the third deals with a good Samaritan trying to help an innocent woman dispose of a body which she killed with her car quite by accident. The first one is just bad, the second insulting, and the third is . . . well it's almost entertaining.
Entertaining it may be, but I have a bone to pick with this film. With this film and Fargo. I may be the only reviewer out there, good, bad or otherwise, that actually has extensive experience with a chipper. Talk about terrifying, I still have nightmares about working with them. Chippers are used to chop up branches and logs into little itty bitty pieces, and they do so in the blink of an eye. The object is to stand back as far as you can and toss the wood into the chipper. But that doesn't always work. Sometimes you have to get a bit closer and when you do so you try to get your hands out of the way as quickly as possible, because as soon as the branches start feeding into the chipper you have a decent chance of having the branches catch on your shirt. It literally rips the branches out of your hands. I lost more than a few gloves to that demon. You also wanted to be out of the way when you tossed in a log as it would sometimes kick back out.
Armed with such knowledge, I was appalled by the ending of Fargo (an otherwise fine movie), and am even more so by Heebie Jeebies. First there are the similarities; two people on a remote piece of property in winter, one tries to leave and the other prevents them by chasing after and whacking them on the head, and then the disposal by chipper. But Heebie Jeebies is so much more ridiculous. Our good Samaritan (Gerald) decides to get rid of Kelly (Reaca Pearl) by tossing her in the chipper feet first. Slowest death ever. She inches in, but then awakes and has the temerity to reach out and grab Gerald and pull him in after her. This would be funny if a guy hadn't actually died in a chipper accident not so long ago. They didn't even have time to hit the stop button.
And all of these stories revolve around the main plotline which is a really overused story; a bunch of friends in some isolated place with a killer amongst them.
I'm going to give this movie one Hamlin and one Hamlin only, but for something after the movie has ended. No, not the bloopers, for they are truly lame, but for the credits. After the characters are listed there is a list of actors not appearing in the film. Many scenes on the cutting room floor. But look for the name of Mark Metcalf. I applaud you, makers of Heebie Jeebies, not for your lousy movie, but for the fact that you realized that one thing and one thing only could make your movie even worse, Mark Metcalf.
Hamlin Grade: 1
Big Daddy Yum Yum
As I mentioned before, I really enjoy horror films, but the recent wave of terror flicks hasn't had me running out to the theaters. Hollywood is pumping out monster and slasher flicks so quickly, that I can't tell one from the other. In my effort to keep up with current trends, I found myself looking at the cover of a movie which was a shameless H.R. Geiger rip-off. As I sat there wondering if anything these days has a shred of originality, my eyes wandered to the top of the cover where I found the name Christian Slater. Oh hell yeah, it's on! The movie of which I speak is called Alone in the Dark and if you spend any time watching it you will feel exactly that.
This film begins with text rolling up the screen telling the back-story: "In 1967, mine workers discovered the first remnants of a long lost Native American civilization - The Abkani. The Abkani believed in two worlds, a world of light, and a world of dark." Blah, blah ,blah. The Abkani opened a gate releasing evil into this world and wiping them out. A government program called 713 specializes in the study of this lost culture and the supernatural forces surrounding it. The man who headed up 713 lost a screw and started performing savage experiments on orphans. Our hero Edward Carnby (Christian Slater) was one of those orphans. In fact he was the only one who managed to escape.
All right, let me stop right there and make a few things clear. When text appears at the beginning of a movie it is usually a bad sign. Some of the only movies that this tactic actually works for are the Star Wars trilogy and Blade Runner. There are a handful of good movies that get away with this, but ninety percent of the time if you see text at the beginning of a movie, you're in for a bumpy ride. Another point you future filmmakers may want to heed is not to suck on the teat of a television program that has not seen the height of it's popularity in almost a decade (see The X-files.) But I digress, we still have Christian to look forward to.
Five minutes after meeting Edward Carnby, the Slater voiceover begins in Film Noir style. I feel like I don't have to mention that a voiceover is also a tremendous red flag, but with Christian at the helm, it's so wrong it's right. Carnby is a paranormal investigator specializing in Abkani artifacts. There are evil forces afoot, determined to relieve Carnby of an artifact he obtained on his latest expedition. Now let's meet Carnby's ex-girlfriend who also happens to be an Abkani specialist. It appears that Tara Reid sobered up long enough to play the roll of Aline Cedrac. Wearing her hair back in a tight bun and sporting some black framed glasses, Miss Reid really embodies the essence of this no-nonsense intellectual who is an expert in her field. You can buy that right? Well whenever we have an ex appear on film, all we need is conflict to fan the flames of passion. I award two Hamlin's for the ridiculous love scene shot in the spirit of soft, soft, soft porn. That's alright, it's only a matter of time before Tara has to loose all her cloths to cover her bar tabs.
Really cool monsters called Zeneos have been released on our love birds. Zeneos turn invisible, disrupt electricity and only dwell in the dark! Shortly after the Zeneos let their presence be known, the government agency of 713 arrives on the scene led by Carnby's Nemesis agent, Richard Burke, played by Steven Dorff (Beaned.) This was a brilliant casting call by some brainiac. Hey, let's get Christian Slater light to play opposite Christian Slater. Who in the world is buying that Steven Dorff is a bad-ass standing at an impressive five foot nothing? His over-acting, however, challenges the lack of any coming from Miss Reid which makes Mr. Slater a candidate for the Ironside Agenda.
Alone in the Dark is a Bad Movie that borrows from a plethora of horror and Sci-fi sources to create something completely forgettable. Having said that, seeing the line up of such powerhouses as Dorff, Reid and Slater, it had that made for TV movie feel that I was looking for.
Hamlin Grade: 5
Fletch is a killing word!
Dead Heat is the best buddy-cop zombie comedy I've ever seen! A totally original spin on the buddy cop genre, Dead Heat has Treat Williams playing Roger Mortis (clever last name) who is a tight-laced, by-the-book detective. His partner is Detective Doug Bigelow, a loose-cannon cop played by none other then Joe Piscopo. By this point you have probably figured out that there will be no laughs provided by this film and you have also probably guessed that this is the only buddy-cop zombie comedy I've ever seen. Sweet Treat and Piscopo?! Aren't you just a little curious? Unfortunately I was.
Sweet Treat and Piscopo have responded to a 211 in progress and much to their chagrin they discover that their bullets have no effect on the jewel thieves. Piscopo has to take one of them out with a grenade, while Sweet Treat drives his car into the other. Excessive use of force in broad daylight?!! Que the chief chewing out our heros and throwing them out of his office scene. Okay, nothing original just yet, but wait, it gets better. No really. The duo stops by the coroner's to figure out what made these criminals so hard to stop. Lo and behold, Sweet Treat used to stick it to Rebecca the coroner. ELECTRIC! Rebecca informs our crime fighters that the corpses have been through her lab before. Zombies! But how?
Rebecca found trace amounts of Sulfathiazole in their skin tissue. Sulfathiazole? Didn't Dante Pharmaceutical (Dante? Really? They couldn't be more subtle than Dante Pharmaceutical?) just purchase 50 kilos of Sulfathiazole?! Mrs. Randy James ( Lindsay Frost) is the head of public relations at Dante Pharmaceutical and when her eyes meet Sweet Treat's . . . ELECTRIC! Mrs. James gives the boring tour that only a pharmaceutical company can provide. All seems normal, but not to Piscopo and his "We don't need no warrant" attitude. He discovers a secret high-tech chamber where he is attacked by a zombie! Rushing to his partner's aid, Sweet Treat is caught in an air pressure chamber where he asphyxiates. Rebecca the coroner arrives on the scene to find out what has become of her former lover. Piscopo shows Rebecca the secret chamber, where with her vast knowledge as a coroner, she figures out this chamber holds a device to resurrect the dead. Maybe she can have her Sweet Treat after all. Placing the cold body in the device Rebecca is able to bring the Treat back to life . . . ELECTRIC!
Now the Sweet Treat is a zombie. A zombie cop fighting zombies?! I told you it would get better. The effects provided by Steven Johnson are top notch. A thoroughly entertaining scene where everything in a butcher shop is resurrected and pissed off about their situation will have you and your friends in tears. Johnson's effects are showcased throughout the film, but the crowning moment, in my humble opinion, is when Mrs. Randy Johnson reaches for Sweet Treat (ELECTRIC!) and her arm drops off. Hysterical! Dead Heat is a true bad movie and should be viewed in numbers with lots of alcohol!
Hamlin Grade: 5.5
Fletch is a killing word!
It's October and I would like to welcome you to horror month here at Bad Movie Knights. The season of change is upon us, and as we head into the fall season we will be celebrating monsters, sociopaths and screaming ninny's. I personally love horror movies so it is with some trepidation that I approach these reviews. Now keep in mind that all the movies which we will review are not necessarily bad. We plan on reviewing some good horror flicks and celebrate bad aspects of these classics. For without them paving the way and creating the horror formulas we recognize today, we would be denied some truly horrible cinema. We look forward to hearing your thoughts and opinions on our completely slanted views. Fight on my fellow Knights!
Fletch is a killing word!
It was with great joy that I came across Escape from New York in my DVD store last week. Even when this movie was first released in 1981, the world knew it was a great bad movie. I myself hadn't seen it in over a decade, so I leaned back in the recliner, popped open a beverage, and prepared to review one of my favorite bad movies of all time. And then things got a little weird.
As I mentioned, it's been over ten years since I saw this flick and I had completely forgotten about the opening of the movie. Oh I remember all of the background nonsense, that in 1988 the crime rate rises by 400% and as a result the U.S. decides to encircle Manhattan with a 50 foot wall and just dump all of the nation’s criminals on the island and let them fend for themselves. In a brilliant moment of irony, John Carpenter turns Liberty Island into a guard tower and police headquarters for keeping an eye over this impressive penitentiary. But wait, now we're way in the future, that far off year of 1997. That made me chuckle a wee bit. Up to this point in the movie, my recollection is serving me well.
What I had forgotten was the inciting incident. Terrorists have taken over a plane and are flying it towards Manhattan. And not just any plane, they have taken over Air Force One. Their ultimate aim is to crash it into the skyscrapers of Manhattan. I have to admit that I felt a little weirded out viewing this scene anew as we see this jet heading directly towards the Twin Towers. It heads directly towards them and then at the last moment veers
towards the buildings in the blocks next to the WTC and crashes into them. I had just completely blanked on all of that.
Well enough of that. The President, played by Donald Pleasence, pops out in his orange Austin Powers-like safety egg just before the big crash, and the hunt for his recovery is on. We must rescue the President! Not just because he's the commander in chief, but because he's carrying a cassette tape with really important info about saving the world or some such nonsense. They send in a commando unit led by moviedom's third best bad guy (Lee Van Cleef playing Police Commissioner Bob Hauk), but they're already too late. The baddies have already nabbed him. They're informed so by Romero, played by Frank Doubleday. This guy is worth the price of admission alone. He looks like a cross between a Mad Max character and the Bride of Frankenstein, and he should be the poster boy for overacting. Good overacting.
Thwarted in his initial attempt to save the President, Hauk turns to the only man who can save the day; Snake Plissken! Outstanding! This has to be up there in the top ten character names ever! Snake is played by Kurt
Russell doing his best imitation of Clint Eastwood . . . and wearing an eye patch! Hasselhoff would be proud! Snake is a criminal about to be sent to Manhattan, but he's given one chance to receive a full pardon; save the
President in the next 24 hours. Of course he has the necessary military and secret-ops background to complete such a mission (a tired and used plot line, don't you think?), and just to make sure he comes back in time they
plant two explosives in his neck that will get him blowed up if he's late. Let's go hunting!
New York in the far away future of 1997 is just what you would imagine it would be and more. We've got cannibalistic humanoid underground dwellers living in the subways, crazy derelicts roaming the streets, and one really annoying cab driver played by Ernest Borgnine. But the key to getting the President is the Duke. The Duke runs this city and there's only one way to get to him; brains and boobs. The brains come in the form of Harold 'Brain' Helman, played by Harry Dean Stanton, and the boobs are provided by Maggie, Adrienne Barbeau. Nice! It's a shame that she doesn't let those sweater puppies out to breathe, but her funbags are impressive indeed.
As I said, they must go through the Duke, and he is memorably played by Isaac Hayes. He makes his way around town in the pimp mobile of all pimp mobiles. This car has four chandeliers for head and tail lights and a disco mirror-ball hanging from the rearview. And the man can actually act, at least enough for this movie.
Escape from New York is a nice combination of horror movie and action flick and marks the end of Russell's Disney boy career. Call him Plissken!
Hamlin Grade: 5
Big Daddy Yum Yum