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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Day 91: Humanoids From The Deep

Humanoids From The Deep
Fishing for love in all the wrong places

Time for Creature Feature Saturday. I wasn't in the mood to watch a mind-numbing SyFy channel Megasharkasauruspodalypse whatever movie with bad acting and even worse special effects. I decided to go back to the 80's for a terrible animal horror movie. What better way to do that than with a movie produced by Roger Corman (Deathrace 2000, The Terror)?

Humanoids From The Deep (also known as “Monsters” in some parts of the world) tells the story of a small fishing village called Noyo. A large corporation called Canco is planning to open a cannery in the town which would create lots of jobs, but local Native American Johnny Eagle is challenging the legitimacy of claims to the land. Local townspeople don't take too kindly to Johnny protesting the cannery. At the same time, a fishing boat catches something big in it's nets, too big to be pulled up and through a series of unfortunate events, the boat explodes. That same night, an unseen creature goes around town killing all of the dogs except Johnny's. Jim Hill and his wife Carol begin to suspect that something strange is going on when they find their dog horribly mutilated. Local teens Jerry and Peggy sneak off to the beach for some alone time. Unfortunately for them, the humanoid is on the beach, kills Jerry and rapes Peggy. More mutilations and disappearances occur. Dr. Susan Drake goes in search of the humanoids with Jim and Johnny where they discover and kill one of the creatures. Dr. Drake reveals that Canco had been experimenting with a growth hormone on salmon to make they mature at an accelerated rate. The salmon got out into the ocean and were presumably by larger fish which in turn mutated them into the humanoids. It's the night of the big Salmon Festival in Noyo and the whole town is invited. Will they be able to stop the humanoids before they destroy the town?

My heart will gone ooooooonnnnnn

Clearly inspired by the Creature from the Black Lagoon and other 50's horror movies, Humanoids From The Deep has a very basic creature feature story. Man messed with nature, so nature is messing with man. What sets this movie apart from the others is that there is lots of gore and nudity, Corman staples. The movie was directed by Barbara Peeters, but apparently her version lacked the “required” exploitation level that would bring people into theaters. Another director was brought in to increase the gore, sex, and nudity and believe me, there's plenty of that. The blood flows freely and the makeup on the victims looks pretty good. The humanoids are unintentionally funny looking. The heads have a lot of detail, but I'm thrown off by their gigantically long arms. It's like someone took Dikembe Mutumbo's arms and shoved them onto a 5'8 body. The rape aspect of the story makes me very uncomfortable and is just not entertaining. They could have easily just said the humanoids are planning to mate rather than having a guy in a rubber suit dry humping a naked woman.

The music in the movie is actually pretty good. The score was composed by Oscare and Golden Globe winner, James Horner (Aliens, Titanic) . That's right, I said composed. Clearly, he was too good for this movie. The acting is fine, nothing particularly good or bad, so I guess that's a win. There is plenty of action, violence, and nudity to keep you interested and distracted from the mediocre story. 

Michael Bay's version of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Humanoids From The Deep would have been a perfect candidate for Mystery Science Theater 3000 if it wasn't for all the cursing, gore, and nudity. The story is weak and the monsters look silly. The violence and gore are pretty good and the music is just great. If you're curious, this movie is worth checking out just for the exploitation factor, but beyond that, there's no need to rush to see it.

4/10

Friday, March 30, 2012

Day 90: The Initiation

The Initiation
He's going to get wax all over his disgustingly veiny hand

I wasn't particularly in the mood to watch something specific today so I chose something at random. Sometimes you can find a hidden gem, something you have never heard of that turns out to be great. Sometimes you can actually become stupider from watching the bottom of the barrel (The Video Dead for example). I chose the Initiation because it was a slasher from the 80s. Those were all good, right? Right?! Horror movies is like a box of chocolates, you never know what it's going to make you want to violently vomit in disgust.

The Initiation stars Daphne Zuniga (Spaceballs, One Tree Hill) as college student Kelly Fairchild. Kelly is the pledge at the Delta Ro Kai sorority and is going through the Hell Week initiation process to become a sister. Kelly is plagued by a horrible recurring nightmare involving her parents. She sees her mother in bed with another man, Kelly stabbing the man, then her gather coming into the room and getting set on fire. Pretty crazy stuff. Kelly meets a grad student named Peter who volunteers to help Kelly deal with her nightmare. At the same time, we learn that a man named Jason Randall has escaped a mental institution, cutting a bloody swath straight to Kelly, taking out her father in the process. The Delta Ro Kai initiation leads to Kelly and the remaining pledges being tasked to sneak into Kelly's father's department store, where they have to steal the guard's clothes. Some boys and sorority sisters sneak in to the store and frighten the girls, but the fear turns real when they are picked off one by one. What does Jason Randall want with Kelly, were those dreams really suppressed memories, and will Kelly survive?

Zach and Slater take their rivalry to a new level

Jeez, where do I being? The Initiation is your basic slasher with about 3 other subplots thrown in just to confuse you and waste precious movie time. If you cut out all the dream sequences and scenes involving Kelly talking in her sleep, you still would have had a complete movie. There's a little side plot involving her friend Marcia and sex that just makes me feel uncomfortable and bored. It makes me feel uncomfortabored. The whole dreams/memory plot is just confusing and unnecessary. It seems like the writers came up with a weak twist ending and worked their way backwards. The twist doesn't come out of left field, it comes out of a completely different stadium. From a different sport. In another country. I mean this ending was worthy of coming from the mind of M. Night Shyamalan after a 3 day bender on nothing but powdered donuts and Schlitz malt liquor.

The action in the movie is passable with some blood and excitement. The movie does use an interesting first person perspective when someone is being killed. The music used throughout is pure 80s horror synth which can be great at times and unbearably cheesey at other times. The movie is very 80's right down to the big hair and dance party scene. Daphne Zuniga does a fine job and I'm not just saying that because she was Princess Vespa from Spaceballs. Beyond her and her parents played by Vera Miles (Psycho, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance) and Clu Gallagher (Return Of The Living Dead, The Virginian), the acting is pretty bad. 

And you do the hokey pokey and you turn yourself around

If The Initiation had just stuck with being a slasher movie, it would have been fine. Not great, but passable. Unfortunately, it decided to stick chunks of other ideas into the plot, thus ruining just about any chance for entertainment. The real cherry on the shit sundae is the horrible and confusing twist ending. Picking a random moving can sometimes be worth your while, but more often than not, you're in for some serious pain.

3/10

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Day 89: Masters of Horror: Deer Woman

Masters of Horror: Deer Woman
Better call the Deer Hunter

I need to learn more about Native American mythology. I know chunks of information from various other cultures mythology (mostly thanks to comic books and movies), but Native American culture is just so vast and varied. It seems like an untapped market for fantasy, sci-fi and horror. Thankfully, John Landis (An American Werewolf in London, The Blues Brothers) decided to give us a story that is both unique and enjoyable.

Deer Woman stars Brian Benben (Dream On, Radioland Murders) as burned-out Detective Dwight Faraday. Faraday, who has been relegated to animal attack cases, is called out to a remote area where a vague call about a possible animal attack or murder has occurred. He's joined by beat officer Jacob Reed (Anthony Griffith). At the scene, they discover a horrible mass of blood and flesh that once was a trucker. Faraday questions a witness who describes the victim as being with a beautiful Native American woman with yellow eyes like that kind on deer when it's caught in headlights. He goes to study the body down in the morgue and discovers that hoof prints have been left on the body. Faraday tries to concoct various instances in which a deer hoof would be used to murder someone, but he dismisses all of them as being too ridiculous. We see the mysterious Native American woman charming various men, always leading to the same result; horribly mutilated bodies with deer hoof marks and more evidence pointing to a deer as the culprit. Reed and Faraday travel to a local casino where they learn from a Native American employee the legend of the Deer Woman, a forest spirit who appears as a beautiful woman, but has the legs of a deer. She arouses men and then kills them just for the thrill of it. Faraday believes the story, but Reed is skeptical and wanders off. He drinks and a beautiful Native American woman joins him at a gaming table. Will Faraday be able to save him in time?

"Looks like Arby's to me"

There's no doubt about it, John Landis knows how to make a fun movie. Deer Woman puts more emphasis on humor than horror, but I'm ok with that. The scene where Det. Farady thinks of various ways the trucker was killed with a deer hoof is literally laugh out loud funny. If you ever wanted to see a giant deer costume, dressed in flannel, carry off a screaming woman, this is for you. Brian Benben is great in his role. He's sort of a defeated character that just doesn't care anymore, but still manages to crack a few jokes. Anthony Griffith also does well with some one-liners, making him a good paring with Beben. They could actually do well together in a cop/buddy movie. Get on that, Landis! Another great source of humor are the references to Landis's other movies, such as An American Werewolf in London, where Farady explains how a wolf-like creature was shot dead in Piccadilly Circus in 1981. 

She can trample me any day

The story itself is fairly unique with the inclusion of Native American mythology. It's origins trace back to tribes in the Western and Pacific Northwestern parts of the United States. We get a little bit of the legend, but I would have liked to hear more. It's so rare that we get to hear about Native American culture in pop culture and it's a shame they didn't delve deeper into it. There is a decent amount of action and blood, though more focus is put on the actual story than horror. For being such a funny movie, it does end on a serious down note. That works out for me because I like being bummed, but it may disappoint others that think the entire movie is lighthearted.

Makes sense to me

Deer Woman is a witty horror movie with some great acting and directing. The subject matter is very different from your typical horror and it's too bad there wasn't more time to learn more about the rich Native American culture and mythology. There are lots of legitimately funny moments throughout and with the violence being minimal, this is a good watch for non-horror fans as well. John Landis does a great job crafting this fun watch and I look forward to any future projects he creates.

8.5/10

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Day 88: 2001 Maniacs

2001 Maniacs
And one for good luck

Sometimes you just can't resist the DVDcover. Just look at that picture. Robert Englund, dressed old-timey clothes, wearing a Confederate flag eye patch. The movie could have just been Robert Englund standing around dressed like that and I would have been entertained. What? I have to actually watch the movie? Pssh, fine. Whatever. I guess we can't just a book by it's cover and you can't just a movie by it's artwork, so I'll just have to continue with the review.

2001 Maniacs tells the story of six college kids, lead by Anderson Lee (Jay Gilespie, Hellraiser: Revelations) headed towards Daytona Beach for spring break. They get lost on the back-roads of Georgia and end up in the small town of Pleasant Valley. They are greeted by Mayor George W. Buckman (Robert Englund) and welcomed to the towns annual “Guts and Glory Jubilee” which honors the Civil War. The group is soon joined by travelers Malcolm and Leah. They all enjoy themselves at the jubilee and decide to stay. Not all is as nice as it seems. The travelers are killed off one by one in gruesome fashion. It turns out 2001 Confederate villagers were massacred 140 years ago in Pleasant Valley by Union soldiers. The spirits of the town's residents have vowed to not rest until 2001 Yankees have been killed. Will Anderson be able to survive or will the South rise again?

1...2...Mayor Buckman is coming for you...

2001 Maniacs is actually a remake of the 1964 film “Two Thousand Maniacs!” by Herschell Gordon Lewis. This movie is a bit of a mess. It can't decide if it wants to be a sadistic family muder-spree ala Texas Chainsaw Massacre or some demonic supernatural horror movie. We see one villager with some weird vein action and razor-sharp monster teeth, but no one else has that. Can they all do that and if they can, why don't we see it? The screenplay is all over the place and some of the dialogue is downright terrible. One character in particular named, and I am not making this up, Hucklebilly, is so incredibly annoying that I wanted to smash my laptop in order to make him go away. My apologies to the actor, Ryan Fleming, but his voice was like a pitchfork scraping on my brain. I only hope he was doing it for the movie and it isn't his real voice.

That being said, there were so good points to the movie with some portions being entertaining as hell. Unsurprisingly, Robert Englund is awesome. He's not quite as over-the-top as Freddy Krueger, but Mayor Buckman could be a Southern relative. Guiseppe Andrews (Cabin Fever, Detroit Rock City), who plays local Southern gentleman Harper Andrews also does a fantastic job of being both charming and creepy. The two town minstrels are quite funny as they go around singing what is happening throughout the movie. There is also a ton of blood and guts throughout the movie with some very violent death scenes. The final battle between Mayor Buckman and Harper is actually pretty entertaining, far better than what the rest of the movie put forth.

Georgia's state flag

2001 Maniacs is a mediocre story with a bad screenplay and lots of plot holes. It suffers from not knowing exactly what type of horror movie it wants to be. There are some genuinely funny moments, but plenty of eye-rolling as well. Robert Englund is his usual wonderful self and the movie is worth watching just for him. Beyond some bloody ultraviolence, I'm not really sure what else 2001 Maniacs has to offer.

5/10

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Day 87: Quarantine

Quarantine
This lime Jell-o has gone bad

There's a fine line between good and terrible when it comes to movies shot in the “found footage” horror style. Sometimes you get people wandering around for an hour an a half, boring the audience to the point where they cheer for the villain to kill them (The Blair Witch Project) and other times you get a roller-coaster of fairly believable action (Cloverfield). I remember seeing commercials for Quarantine a few years ago and thinking, “Oh jeez, another one of these shaky-cam first person horror movies where nothing happens.” Well, I was right about the shaky-cam, but wrong about nothing happening.

Quarantine stars Jennifer Carpenter (The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Faster) as reporter Angela Vidal. Along with her cameraman, Scott (Steve Harris, The Practice, The Rock), Angela is tailing a Los Angeles firefighting crew. We see the entire movie through Scott's lense and tag along with them as the crew responds to a call to an apartment building. Details are unclear as to why they are called other than a woman was heard screaming in her room. The woman, Mrs. Espinoza, is disheveled and covered in blood. Out of nowhere, she attacks a police officer and bites him in the neck. They carry the police officer downstairs to get him help, but find the doors locked from the outside. While they are trying to figure a way out, Mrs. Espinoza throws a firefighter over the railing, sending him crashing to the floor below. Various apartment dwellers begin to turn into zombies and attack the other inhabitants. Angela gets to a TV and sees that the situation is being covered up by the police. Scientists in HAZ-MAT suits arrive to conduct tests and one informs the residents that this virus infecting people started in a dog and was unlike anything they have ever seen before. Will they be able to survive and get the video to the public?

Trucks go "Vroom!" Film at 11.

The movie's story reminds me of the opening scene in Dawn Of The Dead where police raid an apartment full of zombies. It feels like someone took that idea and made it into a full-length film. That being said, it's actually a remake of a 2007 Spanish horror film, REC. Quarantine combines a mixture of fear of present danger and fear of the unknown. The advantage of having the movie in the first-person perspective of the camera is that the audience is literally in the middle of the action. We share the same actions and emotions as the characters which creates a more real sense of fear. We only learn what they learn, we do not have the bonus of seeing what is going on outside of the apartment to know what is really happening. Jennifer Carpenter gives a very good performance as we witness her descent from a confident reporter into a jangled mess of terrified nerves. The zombies are geared more towards the faster side, but they're not sprinting like in 28 Days Later. I've come to accept fast zombies and the ones in this movie were believable. Speaking of action, there is a lot of it in this movie with plenty of blood. There is one scene where Scott kills a zombie with his camera. It's very creative and entertaining to watch as the audience is practically being smashed into a zombie's face.

Of course, with every found footage movie, the camera work is very jumpy at times. While it does create a sense of realism to the movie, it also leaves the audience very disoriented at times. That might be the point, but getting your audience dizzy and nauseous does run the risk of having them stop watching. As Spinal Tap once said, it's such a fine line between stupid and clever, it's a fine line between great story telling and vomit-inducing. There are a few minor plot holes I found myself pointing out during the film, but the movie does try to answer them as best as possible, like “Why don't they just break a window?” Answer: SNIPER! Director John Erick Dowdle does a good job of balancing the action and the emotion throughout the entire film. There is no music in the movie which does take some getting used to, but it doesn't hinder the action.

Golden Girls gets a gritty remake

Quarantine was a pleasant, entertaining surprise with lots of good action and suspense. The acting and directing is good all around. The first-person filming gets the audience right in the middle of the action, but is a bit unsteady at times and can be disorienting. This movie is definitely worth your time.

8/10

Monday, March 26, 2012

Day 86: Splice

Splice
It's either a movie poster or an ad for Nair

There is a lot of overlap between the Horror and Sci-Fi genres. Both combine mystery, action, and fear of the unknown Aliens is a great example. One could make the argument that any monster movie can technically be considered Sci-Fi. I certainly don't want to get into a debate about semantics, so I'll just stick with a movie that clearly lies comfortably in both genres. Welcome to Splice.

Splice stars Sarah Polley (Dawn of the Dead, John Adams) as genetic engineer Elsa Kast and Adrien Brody (The Pianist, The Darjeeling Limited) as her husband, Clive Nicloli. They have successfully spliced the DNA of different animals to create a male hybrid for medical use and plan to have it mate with a female hyrbid. In order to take their research to the next level, they want to use human DNA, but N.E.R.D. (Nucleic Exchange Research and Development), the pharmaceutical company they work for, forbids it. Elsa pushes the issue and they continue their research in secret, successfully creating a humanoid hybrid with a stinging tail. The hybrid begins to grow at an accelerated rate and while Clive wants to kill it, Elsa convinces him that they should wait for it to complete it's life cycle. Elsa names the hybrid Dren (Delphine Chaneac) and begins to educate her. Clive and Elsa hold a public unveiling for their previous hybrids, but are horrified when the hybrids brutally kill each other. Due to their negligence, they had not realized that female had spontaneously changed to a male. Dren continues to grow and becomes sexually attracted to Clive. He tries to resist at first, but he can't resist her sexy hybrid ways. Elsa catches them in the act and Clive confronts her when he finds out that Elsa used her own DNA to create Dren. They agree to terminate Dren, but Dren has transformed into an aggressive, super-powered male. Will they be able to defeat Dren?
Roll over. Fetch. Kill.

I don't think I've ever seen a movie where I really enjoyed the first 30 minutes and completely hated the rest. The beginning of Splice was legitimately interesting and had a lot of potential, before it completely crashed into a mountain. It's basically like Frankenstein's monster with some stunted acting and predictable twists. The movie hits a real snag when it focuses too much on Dren's development and Elsa's relationship with her. We know Elsa had a bad upbringing, but rather than eliciting sympathy, it comes up at odd moments and creates a “so what?” feeling. It seems very out of place and forced. There is some decent action throughout, but it quickly gets shut down for more mommy-daughter time between Elsa and Dren. There are some incredibly uncomfortable sex scenes in the movie, but if you've ever wanted to see Adrien Brody do it with a mutant, this is your film, Weirdo.

Sarah Polley does her best in her role as an emotionally broken, but obsessed scientist working on multiple breakthroughs. Unfortunately, the character is very rigid and unpleasant. Adrien Brody, on the other hands, looks completely bored and would rather be anywhere else. It's almost like he can't believe he's in this movie either. Delphine Chaneac is pretty convincing as the hybrid Dren and her makeup looks very good. Director Vincenzo Natali lingers on scenes for too long and doesn't capture the horror aspect enough for my taste.

Stupid hybrid. Can't even put mascara on correctly.

Splice has a decent idea, but loses focus and veers off into extremely boring territory. It has a run time of 104 minutes and you feel every second of it. The Sci-Fi portion of the movie is strong, but the horror, not so much. Sarah Polley and Adrien Brody give lackluster performances, but I blame that more on material than ability. I had a lot of high hopes for Splice, but after the first 30 minutes, I was left extremely disappointed.

4/10

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Day 85: Masters of Horror: Incident On And Off A Mountain Road

Masters of Horror: Incident On And Off A Mountain Road
Who wants pie?!


Moonface! The main villain in this installment of the Masters of Horror series is named Moonface. That's the main reason why I decided to watch this movie. That name is awesomely bad and badly awesome. I think there's a small part of me that was hoping his face would actually be a giant moon pie. Maybe I'll save that one for my horror version of Candy Land. Sadly, Moonface isn't a chocolately dessert bent on destruction, but he is pretty brutal.

Incident On And Off A Mountain Road stars Bree Turner (Deuce Bigalow, Just My luck) as Ellen, a woman driving down a desolate mountain road. She loses control of her car and smashes into an abandoned vehicle on the road. She gets out to assess the damage when she sees a person moving in the nearby woods. She calls out asking if the person it ok, but sees that the person is the monstrous Moonface (John DeSantis), dragging a helpless woman. Moonface attacks Ellen, who narrowly escapes and runs into the woods. We are shown through flashbacks that Ellen had received training from her abusive survivalist husband, Bruce (Ethan Embry, Brotherhood, Empire Records). Ellen uses her skills to fight off Moonface, but he captures her and brings her to his cabin, which surrounded by rotting corpses of previous victims. There in the cellar, Ellen meets Buddy, another captive of Moonface who has gone insane. He tells Ellen of Moonface's methods and reasoning, explaining that he cuts out his victim's eyes. As if on cue, Moonface comes down to the cellar and bores out the eyes of the woman from earlier in the night. Will Ellen be able to use her skills, break free and defeat Moonface? And where is her husband Bruce?

"If he's Moonface, does that make his ass Sunbutt?"

Incident is full of pulse-racing action. It feels like a combination of First Blood and Predator with a little bit of Michael Myers thrown in. There is a lot of violence and a good amount of blood and bones throughout. The acting is good all around and the entire scenario was fairly believable. Director Don Coscarelli (Phantasm, Bubba Ho-Tep) does a good job with atmosphere and has some very nice action shots. That being said, the story itself didn't feel very special. The flashbacks showing Bruce as a survivalist abusive nutbag are helpful to explain how Ellen is capable of fighting back, but I felt like it just took away from the action and more time from Moonface. I found him more interesting than Bruce. I would have liked a little more back story on Moonface and was disappointed with his fate. It felt very anticlimactic which is a shame because I think he had a lot of potential.

Another thing that bothered me throughout was that I couldn't figure out why Ellen married Bruce. On their first date, he talked about how he'd like to kill everyone and she jumps in the sack with him. Shouldn't that have been a big red flag before doing the horizontal mambo, let alone marrying the guy? It wasn't a gradual coming out of crazy, it was full-on neon sign blinking in your face crazy. It just seemed very forced and convenient to cram it in to the Masters of Horror format, which is weird because Incident is only 50 minutes long. Most MoH movies are close to the full 60. What happened to make this one ten minutes shorter? I think a little more action and background would have created a fuller picture for the audience to appreciate what is occurring.

"I should've stayed at Empire Records"

Plot holes and minor complaints aside, Incident On And Off A Mountain Road has a lot of action and plenty of suspense. Moonface is a good horror character that should probably get a full-length feature someday. The acting is good all around and Don Coscarelli shows that he still has a good eye. If you can suspend your disbelief long enough, you might enjoy this movie.

6.5/10

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Day 84: Vipers

Vipers
SSSStop me if you've sssseen this before

It's another Creature Feature Saturday. I've been putting off seeing Vipers for a few weeks now, mostly because Tara Reid is starring in it. It's nothing really against her, she just hasn't had a stellar few years. Throw in a ridiculous SyFy channel movie about killer snakes and the heart doesn't exactly leap for joy at the thought of watching. That being said, I figured it had to be better than The Beast of Bray Road. Lucky for me, I was right.

Vipers takes place in a small isolated town somewhere in the Northwest (I think it's the Northwest). A group of genetically modified super snakes have been released from their medical research facility by John Staffen (Michael Kopsa, Apollo 18, Watchmen), an employee of the Bio Tech which is run by Mr. Burton (Corbin Bernsen, Psych, Major League). Cal Taylor (Jonathan Scarfe, ER, Grey's Anatomy) has just arrived to become the town's new doctor and meets Nicky Swift (Tara Reid, American Pie, Alone In The Dark). We're also treated to the ongoing troubles of separated parents Jack, Ellie (who, according to imdb, was in The Beast of Bray Road), and their incredibly annoying daughter, Maggie. The vipers are stronger and faster than a normal snake, with deadly venom and an insatiable appetite. They quickly overrun the town, biting and eating through the population. Cal, Nicky and the Martins band together and try to fight off the vipers and find a way off the island. Staffen arrives with a few security personnel and expert, Dr. Collins (Jessica Steen, Armageddon, Slapshot 2). Why are they there, why did Staffen release the snakes and will Cal and Nicky be able to survive?

No hickeys

Vipers is pretty much your typical low-budget creature feature you can see on the SyFy channel on any given day. The story is pretty basic; animals invade town, people die, people fight back, people escape. That's perfectly fine because I wasn't expecting this to be the next Godfather. The vipers themselves are poorly constructed CGI. I'm sure it was cheaper and safer to use the computerized snakes, but it would have been nice for some shots to use actual snakes. I think the movie would have been a bit more exciting if they kept the snakes hidden in the shadows, silently stalking their pray. At least there are some good kills throughout with a decent amount of blood.

The thought crossed my mind many times during the movie that the actors are writhing in pain from being attacked by snakes are just rolling around on the floor. It's silly to see and even sillier to think that nothing is really there. I guess that's why it's called acting. Maybe everyone in this movie should get an Oscar. Nah, never mind. The acting is pretty bad, though Corbin Bernsen does his best with what he's got. Tara Reid does fine, though she is given some stupid lines throughout the movie, but that's not her fault. You could say that she gives the “realest” performance which is a nice touch for a movie with cartoon snakes eating people like piranhas.

Ok, let's not get carried away

Vipers is better than your typical SyFy animal movie and miles better than The Beast of Bray Road. That being said, it's still not a very good movie. The vipers look very computerized and are used far too often. There are some fun kills and some blood and guts, but not enough to keep it off TV. The story is very basic and the small budget hinders the rest of the movie. The acting isn't the best, but it's passable. If you're afraid of snakes, Vipers shouldn't bother you. If you have a fear of bad CGI, then you might be terrified.

4/10

Friday, March 23, 2012

Day 83: The Beast of Bray Road

The Beast of Bray Road
The Shit of Shitty Shit

I haven't watched a werewolf movie in a while. The genre hasn't really interested me since Teen Wolf. I see the appeal of the animalistic nature in man and all that jazz. I just don't think there are a lot of stories to tell. All that being said, it was time to dive into a werewolf movie. The Beast of Bray Road is based on an urban legend. Ok, that sounds interesting. I'll give it a shot. Press Play. “The Asylum Presents.” Oh hell.

I'm going to put about as much effort into this review as they did in this movie. A werewolf is terrorizing a small Wisconsin town and it's up to a sheriff that looks strangely like Zach Braff, whom I shall now refer to as Brach Zaff, to stop it. Brach is skeptical of the local legends telling of the beast. Unfortunately for him, he's a terrible sheriff and so are his fellow policemen. Various situations are created for local townspeople to be alone on the road that the werewolf is known to haunt. The werewolf tears them all to pieces, feasting on the soft flesh and chewy insides. It's ok though because the town is filled with terrible people, other than his girlfriend Kelly, that all hate the sheriff. Brach is joined by some sort of scientist that doesn't really offer much to the story or really much of a purpose. Will Brach Zaff be able to stop the werewolf and save the town that hates him for some reason? And will he be able to get back to Sacred Heart to fall in love with Elliot Reed?

I wonder what Turk and Carla are up to

As you can clearly see, there wasn't much to The Beast of Bray Road and I hated every second of it. It's very low budget, but that's no excuse for a terrible story and horrific acting. What barely passes as a story is unoriginal and uninspired with a stupid twist ending. A werewolf attacks a town and the sheriff has to stop it. Yawn. Give me something to work with. Instead of making the audience feel sympathetic to the people being eaten, we're shown that they're drunk rednecks that like to fight and generally be terrible. Brach Zaff's terrible police work doesn't make matters any better. He finds an abandoned car on the road and sees blood on the door. Instead of calling in backup or checking the surrounded area for a hurt person, he takes a swab of the blood for a DNA test. When he informs his other policemen of what he did, they laugh at him. Not because he's a dumb ass that would flunk out of Hamburger University, but because he's doing too much police work. They laugh off the blood and think nothing of it. Remind me never to go to Bray Road. The police aren't going to help.

The beast itself looks like a man in a black Chewbacca costume and a bob Marley wig. The mask does look decent, but that might be because they only show quick shots of it. The movie does have some very violent moments and loads of blood and guts. You end of cheering for the werewolf because he's ridding the world of sweaty mouth breathers that think TNA Impact Wrestling is a real sport. This werewolf deserves a metal, not a silver bullet. And the movie has the balls to thank the people of Wisconsin. The best way they could have thanked them was to destroy every copy of this movie. All that being said, at least there was a werewolf in the movie, unlike “Wolves of Wall Street,” so I suppose it could have been worse.

And I hope you like jammin' too

Other than a few scenes of violence and blood, there are no redeeming qualities to The Beast of Bray Road. The acting is painfully bad and the story is boring and lame. Once again, The Asylum manages to make a terrible movie, take a shit on it, pour some garbage juice all over it and serve it to the masses in hopes of making a small profit. It's my fault for not turning it off as soon as I saw their name attached. Lucky for you, now you know not to make the same mistake.

1.5/10

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Day 82: The Ward

The Ward
No, I want her brains!

It's been a long time since John Carpenter has directed a movie. Over 9 years actually. His last movie was the 2001 flop, Ghosts of Mars. 9 years is an eternity when it comes to directing movies. Maybe he was just burnt our and needed a break. Maybe he was just thinking of a sequel to Memoirs of An Invisible Man. Either way, I was excited to see a new movie by the director of some of my favorites like They Live and Escape From NY.

The Ward stars Amber Heard (Drive Angry, Zombieland) as Kristen, a recent addition to the North Bend Psychiatric Hospital in 1966. Kristen was picked up by police after burning down a farmhouse. There, Kristen meets the other patients; Iris, Sarah, Emily, and Zoey. Kristen is given the room of a former patient named Tammy. No one speaks of her or where she has gone. Kristen is being treated by Dr. Stringer (Jared Harris, Resident Evil: Apocalypse, Mad Men) who is using hypnotherapy to treat her for her repressed memories. While at the hospital, Kristen keeps seeing a zombiefied ghost girl in her room, walking the halls, and in the showers. When she asks about the girl, no one can give her a straight answer. One by one, the girls in the ward are kidnapped and killed by the zombie girl. With no one answering her questions, Kristen plans to escape. Will she be able to save herself and the remaining girls and how is the ghost girl connected to Kristen?

They don't share the same dermatologist, I can tell you that much

Amber Heard and the rest of the girls do an acceptable acting job. The makeup is decent for the ghost girl, but nothing particularly amazing. The horror is based more in startling moments and a few psychological twists than out-right violence or gore, though there are some vicious moments. The story is basic, but the theme is still strong enough to carry the movie and hold the audience's attention. It does have a clever twist ending, except for the fact that we saw something very similar in the 2003 John Cusack movie “Identity”. The Ward went for clever and came up with unoriginal.

If The Ward was done by a lesser known director, it could be deemed “good.” Unfortunately, this movie was directed by John Carpenter, one of the masters of the horror genre. His directing is good, but it's for an uninspired, horror-by-numbers film that could have been done by anybody. It has the typical jump-at-you startling moments, the mystery, and the conspiracy that can be found in countless other horror movies. Carpenter's movies are known for being larger than life, but The Ward is just too mundane. That's not to say it's a bad movie, because its certainly not. It's perfectly acceptable, just nothing special.
Hey, what happened to your Resident Evil wheelchair?

Ultimately, you have to blame the script, not the director. The Ward comes off like every other psych-ward based movie with a little haunting thrown in. Think “Girl: Interrupted” meets “The Grudge”. Carpenter does his best to give the movie atmosphere and edge, but its just too hard to get around material that has already been covered to death. The acting is good all around so that's not the problem either. The Ward is not a bad movie. It definitely has it's good qualities. It's just a shame that all this talent was wasted on a mediocre story. Hopefully, they can all come back together soon with a better story in hand. I'll be waiting.

5/10

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Day 81: Daybreakers

Daybreakers
Working on some night moves

Vampires are the “hip” thing right now, along with zombies. You can blame that on the Twilight series, True Blood and all sorts of media that like to show pretty people. People find vampires to be romantic and forbidden, whereas zombies are just rotting flesh and brain chomping. It's a relief to find a current vampire movie that doesn't involve brooding teenagers confessing their eternal love for yadda yadda yadda. Throw in a little dystopian future and a dash of Willem Dafoe and you're already head and fangs above the current crop.

Daybreakers takes place in the year 2019 (that's only seven years from now. Think about that!). A plague has transformed 90% of the world's human population into vampires. The large vampire population has reduced the number of humans who have gone into hiding and blood supplies are starting to rapidly dwindle. When vampires are deprived of blood for too long, they begin to mutate into horrible bat-like creatures and flee underground. Edward Dalton (Ethan Hawke, Training Day, Reality Bites) is a scientist working for Charles Bromley's (Sam Neil, Jurassic Park, At the Mouth Of Madness) corporation, Bromley Marks. Edward is working on a synthetic blood that can keep the world from starving and is secretly refusing to drink blood due to moral reasons. Edward believes that killing humans is wrong, despite the objections of his human-hunting brother Frankie. Edward begins to mutate due his lack of drinking blood and gets into a car accident with a car full of humans, led by a woman named Audrey (Claudia Karvan, The Heartbreak Kid). Edward helps the group escape the human hunters and Audrey asks Edward to help the human underground. Edward meets Elvis (Willem Dafoe, Boondock Saints, Spider-Man) a former vampire that has discovered a way to return to human form. Edward finds a way to replicate Elvis's discovery and turns back into a human. Pursued by Frankie and Bromley, will they be able to cure vampires of their undead thirst and avoid the dangerous mutated vampires?

That's a whole lot of awesome for one picture

The movie had a lot of things going for it. A cold, steely futuristic look, a fun sci-fi/horror undercurrent, and the strong sense of perseverance. “Vampire noir” is a good way to describe it. The struggling poor humans fighting against the rich and otherwordly corporate head. A solid lead with Ethan Hawke and good support from a fun Willem Dafoe. Same Neil is great as the soulless corporate “vampire”. Between this and Event Horizon, Neil should really be in more villain roles. You can tell they enjoyed doing this movie. It's a decent story with a few twists and turns with some political commentary to boot. The mutated vampires have a nice horror movie look, but some may think they are too cartoony. Horror takes a backseat to story progression, but there is plenty of blood and violence to keep you satiated.

That's not to say everything is great about Daybreakers. Cladia Karvan's performance is downright painful to watch. She is emotionless and delivers her lines with the excitement of a sedated patient. The narrative tends to flag when they arrive at the human safe house and it almost feels like the movie is close to ending when Edward discovers the reversal process. To my surprise, the movie kept going. Also, Edwards lab partner Chris (Vince Colosimo) gets very little on-screen time, but plays a pivotal role towards the end. How can I hate the guy if I've barely scene or heard from him? The ending will upset people, but mostly those who need 100% closure.

No amount of hair gel can fix that

Daybreakers has a sleek sci-fi look with a touch of horror. There is a good amount of blood and violence, far more than the “romantic” vampire movies and tv now flooding the market. Hawke, Dafoe and Neil put in entertaining performances. The story is pretty good, but with a few holes and missteps that could have been fixed. While it may not be the best vampire movie of all time, it's definitely one of the better movies to come for the genre in recent years

7/10

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Day 80: Masters of Horror: Homecoming

Masters of Horror: Homecoming
Zombie eat brains, but zombie cannot swallow this tax hike

I'll be the first to admit that I don't read enough books. Most of the books I do read are usually sports-related, biographies and some H.P. Lovecraft material. I can't help it, I like what I like and I love television. To my surprise, Masters of Horror actually had made a movie out of one of the stories I have read, Homecoming. Ms. Meghan, who reviewed the movie “Suck” had purchased for me a zombie short story anthology entitled “The Living Dead” which featured the story Homecoming is based off of, “Death & Suffrage” by Dale Bailey. I really enjoyed the story, but would I enjoy seeing it come to life?

Told mostly in flashback, Homecoming focuses on the story of politico and speechwriter David Murch (Joe Tenney, The Stepfather, Free Willy 2). During a television appearance with the Ann Coulter-like Jane Cleaver (Thea Gill, Queer As Folk), David speaks with the mother of a deceased Iraq War veteran. In a strange moment where he recalls the memory of his dead veteran brother, David says that he wished her son could come back to tell us how important the war is to the country. After the show, David and Jane consummate their new relationship while David talks on the phone with the President's right-han man, the Karl Rove-eque Kurt Rand (Robert Picardo, The Howling, Gremlins 2). Rand wants to use David's line in an effort to boost his chances for reelection. David eventually gets his wish because soldiers killed in Iraq begin to rise out of their coffins and graves. It is revealed that the soldiers are unhappy with the war and plan to vote for anyone who will stop it. David, Jane, and Rand crank up the electoral machine and do everything in their power to save the election. Will they be able to help their President get reelected or will the zombies have their say?

They're not voting for Ron Paul, I can tell you that

I really enjoyed the short story “Death & Suffrage.” I studied politics in school and have an interest in current events, so I especially liked all the references to George W. Bush, Karl Rover and all the rest of the conservative mouthpieces that drummed up support for the war in Iraq and convinced the country that Bush deserved a second term. Homecoming does deviate a bit from the original story and not necessarily in a good way, particularly the ending. Thankfully, the movie does keep the essence of the short story, with the focus staying on the political and social commentary. It's certainly an important movie in terms of it's political significance.

Both Joe Tenney and Thea Gill do well in their roles as skeevy neo-cons trying to spin their way to a political victory. Robert Picardo is especially great as a skinnier Karl Rove. Director Joe Dante (The Howling, Gremlins) does a fine job with some good shots that will last in your memory. The makeup used on the zombies look good in the traditional zombie sense. The horror aspect in the movie, though, is minimal, though, so if you're looking for brain chomping and skin eating, you're going to be very disappointed. Homecoming is not so much a horror movie, as it is a political movie. There is some dark humor to keep morbid movie watchers entertained, but if you're not into politics, you may miss some of the jokes.

Ann Coulter prefers shooting people with handguns

Homecoming is a political movie that uses zombies to get it's point across, not a horror movie. If you aren't interested in politics, you may find yourself bored and uninspired. The acting is good and the references to real-life figures are with a few chuckles. Do yourself a favor and read “Death & Suffrage.” If you like it, check out Homecoming.

6/10

Monday, March 19, 2012

Day 79: Red State

Red State
Guns, Gods, and Goodman

Like most teenage boys, I loved Kevin Smith when I was younger. His brand of foul-mouthed, not-for-kids humor is perfect for the 14-18 year old demographic. Once he started to break away from his bread and butter of Jay and Silent Bob-related movies, Smith's movies really went downhill. Jersey Girl, Zack and Miri Make A Porno, and Cop Out were all disappointments. Maybe stepping away from comedy or romance would help reignite his flair for film making. Maybe a dose of horror is just what the doctor ordered.

Red State is set in a small, Middle-American state and follows the story of three young men, Travis, Jared, and Billy Ray. The boys respond to an ad for an older woman looking to party. On their way to the woman's trailer, they accidentally sideswipe the care of Sheriff Wynan, who was preoccupied with a male prostitute. They drive off and arrive at the woman's trailer. She offers them drugged beers and the boys pass out. Jared wakes up in a blanket-covered cage. He cannot see where he is, but he can hear the sermon of the radical, hateful Abin Cooper (Michael Parks, From Dusk Til Dawn, Grindhouse). Cooper's Five Points Trinity Church is made up of just family members and is known for protesting funerals. Abin begins to strap Jared to a cross when Deputy Pete arrives at the church, looking for the car that hit the sheriff. Abin chats up the deputy while Jared, Travis, and Billy Ray try to make their escape. Billy Ray, chased by one of the men at the church, ends up in a room filled with assault weapons where the kill each other. Pete hears the gunshots , but is shot himself. Abin blackmails Sheriff Wynan with pictures of the sheriff in compromising positions with male prostitutes. Wynan calls ATF agent Joseph Keenan (John Goodman, The Big Lebowski, Raising Arizona) for help. Will Agent Keenan be able to rescue the boys and stop the extreme church from starting a holy war?

Jesus that looks dangerous

There wasn't a question if Kevin Smith could write and direct, but could he go outside his comfort zone. For a first movie, Smith does a pretty good job of capturing the fear of the boys and the suspense of escaping. Red State works because the villains are real, albeit extreme, people. The violence and reasoning behind it are all very believable. There are some creative shots and interesting camera shots. While the story itself is pretty basic, the execution is what keeps the audience watching. I appreciate that there is a lot of social commentary in the movie. Moral questions are raised and remind me of some of George Romero's work.

Loosely based off of the Westboro Baptist Church (who actually protested the film's release), Michael Parks really hits it out of the park (sorry, I had to) with his solid performance. You really feel that he believes the hateful things he says. John Goodman is great as always. You could put him in a Telenovella and he'd still pull it off. With that being said, Goodman wasn't given enough time on screen. His character doesn't come in until the last 1/3 of the movie. We're so engrossed in what's happening at the church that his introduction is a bit of a suspense killer. The focus shifts more to him than the captured boys. Perhaps if he was introduced sooner, it would have been a smoother transition. 

You're entering a world of pain

For a first-time horror director, Kevin Smith did a pretty good job. The movie has real fear and suspense, brought out by some really good acting and creative directing. There is good social commentary for those that like to think and bloody violence for those that just want to see heads explode. The flow of the movie and the story unfortunately get muddied towards the end and the finale may disappoint some people. Either way, Red State is an enjoyable watch and a sign that Kevin Smith may have a future in horror.

7.5/10

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Day 78: The Violent Kind

The Violent Kind
The militant wing of the Girl Scouts

Usually when I pick a random horror movie to watch, I get burned. I'll get suckered in with a cool poster, a description that sounds vaguely interesting, or one actor I like will be in it. Most of the time, they are completely terrible and I feel dumber for watching it. This is not one of those times. A biker horror movie? Don't think I've heard that too often. It was a shot in the dark and that shot definitely hit the target.

The Violent Kind stars Cory Knauf as Cody, a member of the biker gang “The Crew.” Joined by leader Q and Elroy, The Crew head up to a secluded house to celebrate Cody's mother's birthday. Cody's sister and Q's girlfriend, Shade is there, as well as Cody's ex-girlfriend Michelle and her sister Megan. After the party, Michelle leaves with her current boyfriend, leaving her sister behind. Megan and Cody get to talking and share a moment. A blood-soaked Michelle appears at the house and faints. Megan tends to her sister while Cody, Q, and Elroy walk down the road to find Michelle's boyfriend mauled by some unknown creature. When they return, they find that their car no longer works and they are too far from town to get help. A now-possessed Michelle violently attacks Elroy, biting a chunk out of his throat and clawing his face. They chain Michelle to the bed while they try to think of a way to get help. Meanwhile, strange flashes of light and shadowy figures are seen moving around outside the house. The figures are a group of 50's style greasers that have come for the spirit possessing Michelle. They punch, stab, shoot and torture Cody, Q, Shade, and Megan. Why do these throwbacks want Michelle and how can Cody and Megan stop them?

Hey, what kind of paint do you use?

The Violent Kind succeeds with it's mystery, suspense and downright awesome acting. You don't know exactly what is going to happen throughout most of the movie, which creates a strong air of suspense. Quick flashes of light and the shots of the greasers wandering around the house keep you interested in what happens next. Whereas a movie like The House of The Devil builds the entire movie around suspense and nothing else, Violent Kind actually gives you a good amount of action and blood to keep the audience entertained. The leader of the greasers, Vernon, is played by Joe Egender (The Mentalist, Alcatraz) and he is absolutely fantastic. He is over-the-top in the best way possible. He is both endearing and terrifying at the same time and is complimented by the solid job of his greaser crew. I seriously look forward to seeing some of his future work.

This movie has the strong feeling of being three separate movies that were mushed together. The “possessed demon in the secluded house “ part of the movie clearly brings Evil Dead to mind, the scenes with the crazy greasers gleefully torturing the Crew reminds me of Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and the explanation reminds me of Lord of Illusions and Exorcist. The Violent Kind does a fine job of paying homage, but it's just not cohesive. I did get a little bit lost when it came to the possession and devil-worshiping bits. It wasn't very clear and felt a bit rushed. I think the movie would have been fine just with either the weird possession genre or the evil family of torturers. 

Don't blow your top

The Violent Kind certainly puts it's own unique spin on multiple horror genres. Great acting, good makeup and blood, and some serious action will keep you entertained throughout. The first 2/3 of the movie are really solid, but it does kind of peter out towards the end with a slightly confusing reveal. If this movie has taught me anything, it is that there needs to be more 50's style characters in horror movies. Daddy-o.

8/10

Saturday, March 17, 2012

77: Leprechaun In The Hood

Leprechaun In The Hood
Fiddily diddly die!

I'm not Irish. Not even ¼ of a 1/25/ of 1/8. But since it's St. Patrick's Day, there is only one way to celebrate by a non-drinking, non-Irishman. Watching a Leprechaun movie. There may be other St. Patrick's Day-related horror out there, but this is the only one that really matters. If you plan on celebrating today, make sure to be smart and be safe. And if you need something to talk about at the bar in-between green beers and Guinness, maybe this blog will help.

Leprechaun In The Hood (or Leprechaun 5 if you prefer) starts off in the 70's, when pimp Mack Daddy (Ice-T) comes across a hidden treasure and a leprechaun statue. Mack's partner removes a gold necklace from around the Leprechaun's (Warwick Davis, Willow) neck, reversing the curse that has turned him into a statue. Leprechaun kills the partner and goes after Mack. By a twist of fate, Mack is able to get the necklace back around the Leprechaun's neck, turning him into a statue once again. Mack uses the gold to build an empire in Los Angeles. In present day, young rappers Postmaster P, Stray Bullet, and Butch are struggling to make it out of Compton and hit it big. Their way out is to win a competition in Las Vegas that will fast track them to rich and fame. They decide to rob Mack Daddy, unwittingly bringing Leprechaun back to life. Now the three rappers are on the run from an angry Mack Daddy and a murderous Leprechaun. Postmaster P discovers that the Leprechaun's flute has the ability to control people and he uses it to make people like their music. Will they be able to win the contest in Vegas or will Mack Daddy and Leprechaun get their bloody revenge?

And will we get to see a Body Count reunion?

The fifth installment of any movie isn't exactly going to set the world on fire. The story is simple, but not terrible. The writers probably knew this, so when the producers said “Let's do another Leprechaun movie, but let's have black people it!” they probably sighed, put on BET, and copied most of the dialogue and story from rap videos. The movie actually feels like it was supposed to be a Friday-style urban comedy and had some Leprechaun thrown in. It certainly feels like Warwick Davis gets lesser film time in favor of rap scenes. Ice-T is great in his role and you can definitely see why he's been on TV for years.

The movie has a good amount of humor, though it does feel dated at times. For example, there is a brief cameo of Coolio. Nothing says hip like seeing Coolio in 2012. There are some good kills throughout with some decent blood and gore. There really isn't much fear or suspense throughout as it seems they just went for comedy. The final scene in which Leprechaun raps is both funny and baffling at the same time. I'll repeat that: Leprechaun raps. He's flanked by his mind-controlled zombie Fly Girls. I actually think this scene is out of order, because earlier in the movie, Leprechaun uses the fly girls with no introduction. In the final scene, we see the girls first become mind-controlled. It messes with the continuity, but maybe they thought it was just funnier at the end of the movie.

Foshizzle my Leprizzle

Leprechaun In The Hood takes the very basic premise of the earlier movies and dumps the franchise in Compton. There are some genuinely funny moments, but plenty of unfunny ones as well. The humor takes away most of the horror and suspense, but there are still some fun kills and blood. Warwick Davis unfortunately does not receive enough screen time, but owns every scene he is in. Ice-T was just as good as Mack Daddy. If you wanted to see a Leprechaun smoke pot and spit some mad rhymes, this is for you. While it may not be the best in the franchise, it's still better than Leprechaun 4: In Space.

6/10

Friday, March 16, 2012

Day 76: Masters of Horror: The V Word

Masters of Horror: The V Word
Not Va-jay-jay

Best to get this out of the way now; the V word probably isn't what you think it is. Some might think it would be vegetable or venom or, if you're like me, you thought it stood for vagina. I blame the Vagina Monologues for that one. Unfortunately, the Masters of Horror version of the V word stands for vampire. Sigh, well I guess that's good too.

The V Word starts off with bored friends Kerry (Arjay Smith, The Day After Tomorrow) and Justin (Branden Nadon) deciding to go see a dead body at a funeral home. Justin's cousin James is supposed to let them in but he is nowhere to be found. The door is unlocked and the wander through the creepy funeral home, jumping at every sound and shadow. Justin walks up to a body with a bloody sheet on top and discovers his cousin James has had his throat ripped out. Another body rises from the table, revealing itself to be a vampire. The vampire chases after the guys and feeds on Kerry while Justin escapes to his home. Terrified, Justin calls the police, but they do not believe his story. He is shocked to see Kerry at his front door. Kerry bites him and his transformation into a vampire begins. Justin struggles with his hunger and the changing world around him. Kerry and Justin head to Justin's father's house where Kerry tries to persuade Justin to drink his blood. Justin refuses, so Kerry kills his father. It is revealed that Kerry is working for the vampire that turned him, their former teacher Mr. Chaney (Michael Ironside, Total Recall, Scanners). Mr. Chaney kidnaps Justin's sister in an effort to drink blood and fully turn him into a vampire. Will Justin refuse and save his sister or give in to the dark side?

For the first 20 or so minutes, just about nothing happens. The scenes involving the funeral home are way too long, especially for a Masters of Horror episode. The hour-long format doesn't allow too much time to hang around and than scene lingers like a Rush Limbaugh stench. Unfortunately, there really isn't that much story to tell. If you've seen one vampire movie, you've pretty much seen The V Word. It's entirely possible that I need my eyes checked, but it looked like every vampire in this movie didn't have vampire fangs. It just looked like regular teeth. How can you miss the most basic thing in a vampire movie?

Maybe Douglas Quaid stole his vampire teeth

Both Justin and Kerry are made to be very, very unlikable. They're supposed to be friends, but their interactions are very confrontational and, frankly, douchey. It doesn't help that Branden Nadon looks like he just fell out of a Jonas Brothers poster. Throughout the movie, I had a strong urge to just smash him in the face. If you don't like the main character, you won't feel sympathy for him, and if you don't feel sympathy and empathy, you don't care what happens. Michael Ironside was awesome as always, but only came up in the second half of the movie, where the interest and action picks up. There is some decent violence and the make-up used for wounds is top-notch. The music used is a weird mix of keys, beats, and organ. It's very distracting.

Who wants Beefaroni?!

I have to say, this may be my least favorite Masters of Horror yet. An pretty uninspired story with some weak dialogue and annoying music. The beginning is unnecessarily slow and most of the characters are unlikable. Michael Ironside is great in his role as the creepy vampire, but he doesn't get much help from his supporting cast. The story picks up towards the end with some decent action and suspense. If you like vampire movies, you might find The V Word worth your time, but you still even then, you may still feel disappointed.

4/10

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Day 75: Nite Tales

Nite Tales
Nooooooo booooy!

I like movie anthologies. You get a few different stories all rolled into one. If you don't like the first movie, you can just skip over it and watch the rest. Sometimes you're lucky and get to enjoy a few good stories. Of course, you do run the risk of sitting through multiple movies that weren't good enough to be made into feature length films. And on that rare occasion, you have to sit through Flavor Flav prattling on about nothing. Welcome to Karma and Storm, two horror stories in Nite Tales.

Karma

Karma tells the story of 4 criminals that rob a small-town bank. One of the criminals is shot by a security guard and they high-tail it out of town. Out in the country, their car breaks down. The ringleader orders one of the thugs to kill the wounded criminal. They then travel to a house down the road in hopes that they can steal a truck. With no way to get inside the truck, they approach the house in hopes of finding car keys. They are let in by a strange old country man, who shares the house with his silent wife and mentally-handicapped brother. Each of the three criminals explore the house in search of keys, only to be knocked out by an unseen force. They awaken to find themselves being chained-up and tortured. The old man informs them that they do not like thieves and plan to eat plan to eat the thugs. He offers them a deal that will allow when of them to go free. Will they be able to decide or will they all become dinner?

Sorry, can't stay for dessert

Karma is a very basic story, one that I feel I've heard many times. The plot of black criminals terrorizing white people and then white people eating African-Americans in revenge makes me feel incredibly uncomfortable. And why do they have to be criminals? If they were just 4 guys riding down a country road, the story would have been essentially the same. I couldn't understand exactly what the story tellers were going for. We're told these guys are killers and thieves, but their tortuous punishment makes us feel sympathetic. The acting is fine, although for whatever reason, this version was edited, so all the curse words were silenced. There were times where I could not even hear entire conversations because of all the silencing. There is a good effect on screen right before each person is knocked out, something I really haven't seen in too many movies, so that was a creative touch. Beyond that, Karma isn't anything special.

2.5/10


Storm

Storm is about 5 friends playing Bloody Mary on a stormy night. The ritual is interrupted by a knock at the door. They are shocked to see a clown standing outside. James the Clown (Tony Todd, Candyman, Final Destination) claims his car broke down and he just needs to use the phone. The kids are terrified because the clown is so odd and creepy and are relieved when a policeman shows up. Things are not what they seem and one by one, the young friends are brutally murdered. A game of whodunit begins, with each person being a suspect. Is this cop really a cop? Is The Clown actually an undercover police officer? Is Bloody Mary real and slitting people's throats?

Corpsey the Clown

Storm is a very confused and convoluted story full of plot holes. It's hard enough just looking past the fact that the “teenagers” look like they're in their late 20s. Then you throw in a story about a cop who's not really a cop and a clown that's really a cop with a side story of Bloody Mary. And if James is really a police officer, why was he acting so creepy to being with? Why bother having Bloody Mary at all when it's just pushed to the fringes of the story? And then why try to tie it to the first movie? It makes no sense. NO SENSE! Also, there was one scene where faucets are turning on by themselves. I could clearly see string pulling the lever. Helpful reminder, don't use black string. Tony Todd is awesome as the clown, but unfortunately even he couldn't save the muddled mess.

2/10

When I watched Nite Tales, I was hoping for something like Tales From The Hood; fun urban horror stories. I thought Flav might be funny as hyper Crypt Keeper-like MC, but he just rambles on about nothing. It's like they forgot to write him lines and just had him huff out of a mysterious paper bag before shoving him out in front of the camera.Unfortunately, I got a confused jumble of half-baked ideas with poor follow through. Throw in an unnecessary intro and outro by the ever-annoying Flavor Flav, and you've got yourself a disappointing movie.

4.5/10