Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year's!!!

Hey folks!  I just wanted to wish you a happy new year and again thank you for enjoying the insane ramblings that is this blog in question. I have been receiving so many different praises on the writing from all forms of communication and I just wanted to say thanks back and for you to not to worry.  I think I can find more than a fair share of films to praise and more than an ample supply to degrade and mock.     This week will be Ridley Scott Week.  If you are unaware of the director in question I shall enlighten to the best of my abilities.  Take it easy everyone!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Werewolf Week: Werewolf Woman

Howdy folks!  You know me in that I have seen some WIP (Women in Prison) films, some unfortunate rape revenge movies and heck even more than a few werewolf films.   Never did I think I should encounter a rape revenge werewolf movie but Rino Di Silvestro came to my aid and just in time!   So grab your Red Hots and soda.  Do not be afraid…to stick Twizzlers in your ears to block the dubbed dialogue.  This is La lupa mannara a.k.a. Werewolf Woman

Spoilers is idjits!!!

If you are like myself you find certain supernatural creatures fascinating and love some good old cheesy Hammer film on vampires or werewolves and so a friend (who will remain nameless at this time) presented me this film and said I would get a kick out of it.   I have a kick for him as well.  Groin kick mostly and it will hurt a lot.

We open our movie with a completely nude woman running around a large bonfire herself as she shifts, thrusts on the ground and ungulates her pelvic region to the sky or gods and the miracle of 1970’s editing she shifts into a werewolf or possibly she is a relative of Lon Chaney and just didn’t care for clothes.  Fortunately for us the makeup designer has her completely starkers with fur.  You know, in case you ever wondered what a nude female werewolf looked like.  No sooner is she prowling about in the woods a group of angry pilgrims with pitchforks and torches, set out to find the monster that has been mauling and mounting across the land.  Our noble villagers capture the werewolf and cleanse her spirit and soul…with fire.  Yeah the mob rules indeed.  

All of the sudden we awake with our heroine Daniela Neseri (Annik Borel of Blood Orgy of the She-Devils, Prison Girls, Truck Turn and Black Aphroditie) who was savaged, raped and her fiancĂ©e murdered by a group of thugs.   Yeah that’s a good start, movie.  If I had you a safety pin, would you stick it in my eye too?   Her father drags her off to Professor Exposition and through dream analysis and hypnotherapy we discover Daniela had an ancestor that was burned at the stake for being what the locals feared as a werewolf woman.  Ahh such irrational creatures is man. She spends most of her time naked er um on the path of her ancestor as a hero’s journey of discovery.

Okay folks I am going to level with you.  This is nothing but soft core porn and it fills the better portion of the film.   Proof that pain can be domestic as well as foreign; Exploitation director Rino Di Sivestro (Women in Cell Block 7, Love Angels, Deported Women of the SS and Baby Love) brings us this scintillating story of flashbacks, shared life experiences and more nudity next to an adult feature.
Three fourths of this movie is Daniela seducing men, morphing into the werewolf woman and ripping their throats out.  I think there was the potential message of feminine empowerment and rising up against the abusive tendencies of men and standing as your own without the need for aid but still allowing your heart to feel love and understanding.  And what could be more empowering than humping and maiming men??   This is also some narrative that will drive you completely crackers but hell you had to be a bit screwy to watch this turkey in the first place.   If you see this abomination in the dollar bin at Best Buy or Walmart just walk away.   No good will come of this.   Pun intended.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Werewolf Week: The Beast Must Die

How do folks!  Say how do we pep up a tired notion like a werewolf story?  Given it is commonly based in creatures hunting a snarling beast only after multiple murders.  How about a nutty wealthy philanthropist hell bent to play a deadly game of Ten Little Indians…with a werewolf?   Grab a chair, prepare to be dazzled and amazed.  This is The Beast Must Die.

Spoilers lurking about!!!

BBC director Paul Annett (The Worker, Fraud Squad, Kate, Crown Court, New Scotland Yard and Little Lord Fauntleroy) tackles Michael Winder’s (Dixon of Dock Green, The Mask of Janus, Champion House, The Saint and The Ace of Wands) screenplay. Alternatively titled The Black Werewolf; this supernatural angle to Agatha Christie’s Ten Little Indians.  Seven people invited to spend time at the whim of one Tom Newcliffe, millionaire and game hunter (Calvin Lockhart of A Dandy in Aspic, Dark of the Sun, Salt and Pepper, Myra Breckinridge, Hung Up and The African Deal) and his wife Caroline (Marlene Clark of Ganja & Hess, Enter the Dragon, Black Mamba, Newman’s Law, Lord Shango and Switchblade Sisters) now feels after hearing tales of an existing werewolf roaming about his estateand through his own intuition feels it is clearly one of these people. 

Our group consists of diplomat Arthur Bennington (Charles Gray of You Only Live Twice, The Devil Rides Out, Diamonds Are Forever, The Upper Crusts, Dial M for Murder and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes), classic pianist Jan Jarmokowski (Michael Gambon of Othello, Much Ado About Nothing, The Borderers, Eyeless in Gaza, The Challengers, BBC Play of the Month, Gosford Park) and his lover Davina Gilmore (Ciaran Madden of Wolfshead: The Legend of Robin Hood, Sense and Sensibility, Gawain and the Green Knight, A Spy at Evening, A Married Man and The Body in the Library), artist and former convict Paul Foote (Tom Chadbon of Tess, Casualty, Shooting Fish and Casino Royale)  Newcliffe’s assistant Pavel  (Anton Diffring of Circus of Horrors, The Blue Max, Fahrenheit 451 and Where Eagles Dare) and last but certainly not least archaeologist and lycanthropy enthusiast Professor Christopher Lundgren (Peter Cushing of Horror of Dracula, Island of Terror, Dr. Who and the Daleks,  Daleks’ Invasion Earth:2150 A.D., Sherlock Holmes, Star Wars, Shock Waves and Top Secret!).  The estate is wired with security cameras and a motion tracking system.  

An interesting bit about this film that they try to get the audience to guess with of the invited is in fact the werewolf at the being of the film and by a clip asking people in the audience if they could identify the werewolf.  Towards the in end is a 30 second Werewolf Break allowing the audience to sum up the evidence and come to conclusion?  That’s right, it is a who dunnit with fur.   A horror mystery with the attempt at audience interaction seems more appropriate if you could have midnight showings in a theater. So this would be a recommendation for a fun get together and see if anyone has the dosh to figure out the creature.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Werewolf Week: Never Cry Werewolf

Evening boys and girls!!  Say what could I possibly been watching tonight that would scar the psyche of the average movie viewer?  I give you a few hints:  It feels almost shot for shot the original Fright Night, has animatronics and prosthetic effects less believable than Harry and the Hendersons and just might being something Kevin Sorbo wants to scrub off his IMDB listings??   Well gather up nice and snug, maybe have a flashlight and a forbidden lore book.  This is Never Cry Werewolf.

Spoilers may come with extra cheese toppings!!!

Cinematographer/ TV series director Brenton Spencer (21 Jump Street, Street Justice, Blown Away, First Wave, Dead Man’s Gun, Night Man and Stargate: Atlantis) combines his powers with writer John Sheppard (Armour of God, Mark of Cain, Higher Education, MacGyver, MacGyver: Lost Treasure of Atlantis and Robocop TV Series)and form Captaaaaaain PLANETTTTT!!!!  Well actually they create this slightly abysmal TV Movie for the SyFy Channel.   Brought to you from the terrifying burbs of Ontario Canada, comes a story of a new neighbor, inexplicable fog and dogs barking to the level that Johnny will go get his gun if they do not hush.  Kyle (Spencer Van Wyck of Knights of the South Bronx, Victor, The Lesser Blessed and Degrassi: The Next Generation) and big sister Loren (Nina Dobrev of Repo! The Genetic Opera, How She Move, Fugitive Pieces, The American Mall and The Vampire Diaries) notice an eerie fog blanketing the street.  Not so much the neighborhood with at least 5 or 6 fog bank machines but probably a portable back pack job.  Sorry broke the 4th wall there.  The neighborhood dogs including the family pet are alert and scared.  What could ever be coming to town?  Oh also on this block apparently is a registered sex offender.  Boy doesn’t that sound like the area to raise your kids?  Alright perhaps abysmal is a bit harsh.  Less than satisfying TV movie but about what you would expect from the likes of SyFy.  

New to the area Jared (Peter Stebbings of K-19: The Widowmaker, Stargate SG-1, Jeremiah, Rabbit Fall, Cra$h & Burn and Murdoch Mysteries) is keeping to himself attempting to repair and rebuild his new home.  Everyone on the block as well as the town seems enamored by Jared except Loren who now spies on him.  Her gut instinct says something is off and witnesses Jared shape shift and murder a random girl in his home.  Or did she? 

With her Charlie Brewster senses tingling Loren asks her buddy Steve (Sean O’Neil of Common Ground, Prom Queen: The Marc Hall Story, Queer as Folk and Baby Blues) who is offbeat, bizarre and in no way, shape or form Evil Ed archetype for advice on dealing with Jared.   Enter Redd Tucker (Kevin Sorbo of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Kull the Conqueror, Andromeda, The O.C. and Avenging Angel)  a washed-up, has been TV hunting show host who of course is actually just a paltry actor at best attempting to salvage his career so yes he does get the Peter Vincent feel.  After Jared’s German Sheppard/Hellhound morphs and goes bat shit in the local hunting store, Loren drops this sick pup and he dissolves when nailed with silver.  

  Jared becomes obsessed with Loren and Loren begs and pleads for Redd’s assistance in killing Jared.   Redd comes clean on being just an actor and less manly than Marlin Perkins.   So the showdown commences as Loren rousts the silverware for arrowheads and makes her way to the lair of the beast.    Boy that explanation made this sound fairly good didn’t it.   Lot of handheld, some dolly and clearly the upper staircase shots someone had a death grip on the cameraman.  Granted we are free of most CGI minus bad temped pooch.  Old school rubber furry suit and animatronic head.  Certainly not the worst thing Sorbo has done and frankly he looked like he was enjoying the sheer silliness of it.   Hardcore werewolf fans may want to skip away from this title.

Werewolf Week

Howdy kids!  Due to that holiday that we apparently can no longer speak of in Wal-Marts, grocery stores or the bank, I have not been on both Monday and Tuesday.  So as an apology, I shall subject myself to the horrors that is: CHEESY WEREWOLF MOVIES!    This of course will be a noble sacrifice to my readers and one I am prepared to embark on.   Toodles!

Friday, December 21, 2012

SyFy Monster Movie Week: Terminal Invasion

Back again boys and girls and say you know what we haven’t had in a while?  A cheesy alien based SyFy film.  Yeah I think we need to delve into that because it has been too long.  So hop in that easy chair, sample some movie candy and try to wince less.  This is Terminal Invasion.

Spoilers can be out of towners…waaaay out of towners.

It was a dark and stormy night; and director/producer Sean Cunningham (Friday the 13th, A Stranger is Watching, Deep Star Six Spring Break and The New Kids) brings us a story of two yokel state troopers are delivering a baddie to the gas chamber for he was a bad boy.  Low and behold the snow storm gets to blizzard conditions and our hapless driver and passenger ride off the road and into a tree.  Without radio signals going through our intrepid trio must hoof it to a nearby airport to reassess the situation and tend to their soon-to-be executed companion. 

Officers Red (Scott Wickware of The Santa Clause, The Tuxedo, Land of the Dead and Snow Cake) and Tommy (Jake Simons of Driven, Adam & Eve, Godsend and Sacrifice) are weary and wary of convict Jack (Bruce Campbell of Evil Dead, Bubba Hotep, Spiderman, My Name is Bruce and Burn Notice) who is crafty enough to attempt an escape under their watch.  Add a crowded rural charter airport with ice on the runways and potential hostages and well you can see the risks ensue.  Airport owner/pilot Cathy Garrett (Chase Masterson of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Manticore, Creature Unknown, General Hospital and Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles) raises concern on the harden criminal but Officer Red assures the little lady that everything is in hand.   As a preacher exits from the bathroom stall the fireworks begin as Jack deduces the preacher is not what he claims to be and he bats the cops around like a tennis ball.   Free from his cuffs Jack pummels the preacher of superhuman strength with a fire extinguisher.   As Jack collects his thoughts the preacher melts and dissolves.  Yes, self-disposing monster and leaves with the fresh scent of pine.    With passengers and workers of the airport all in panic, Jack must still work away to get out of the area.  But who is who?   The premise feels like The Thing if it was filmed in a dinky charter flight airport.  

Now given the main location in question this is mostly steady cam and hand held, everyone is professionally lit, miked and good to go.   So where the problem could lie in wait?   The script was brought to us by writer Lewis Abernathy (Deep Star Six).  Yes that is two scripts inside of 13 years of each other.  Not really bringing a lot to the table but this Bruce Campbell fan is hanging in there for hopes of enough snark to get me through the flick.   With more or less one dimensional characters and a plot about aliens spying on the humans to collect data it feels a bit rushed.   Feels like a month shoot and away they went.   Lot of lag time between monster attacks, we get to see duct climbing that goes on more than 2 minutes so that is a lot of actor ass in each others’ way.   We see mostly CGI blood, a bit of tried and true karo syrup mix and lot of the pee wee heads or prop head of said creature through ducts and ladders.  You get the impression of the Wompa in Empire Strikes Back.  Decent makeup FX and the CGI is fair but I almost belted out laughing when I found out the stunt double for Campbell is named Duncan McLeod.  FYI he looks nothing like Adrian Paul. 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

SyFy Monster Movie Week: Mega Python vs Gatoroid

Howdy folks I am back with yet another mindless violence ensuing creation of SyFy.  From catfights instigating from the malls of the 80's to saving the Everglades Debbie Gibson and Tiffany star in what can be described as less than terrifying creation that will be coated in more cheese than a tuna melt.  So sit back, take yer shoes off and sit a spell.  This is Mega Python vs Gatoroid.

Spoilers on roids!!!!

Former mallrats, pop singers to modern day actresses Debbie Gibson and Tiffany join up with SyFy Channel to create this festering turd of a movie of epic cheesiness.  Animal activist Dr. Nikki Riley(Gibson) broke into what I swear is the same fricking compound from Komodo vs Cobra and Dinocroc vs Supergator to release these series of CGI pythons and release them into the wild of the glades.  Unbeknownst to her, the pythons are killing off the local gator population and Dr. Terry O' Hara (Tiffany) retaliates with injecting hyper-steroids into chickens for the gators and inducing a massive increase in population.   These two ladies have more issues than Marvel and DC Comics could muster in 75 years.  While Riley stages protests and demonstrations, O'Hara is trying to keep hunters at bay, muster support for the cause of saving reptiles and manage to be a Spring bride ready for the aisle her hands are full.

 So whilst the two aging popstars embark in a continuous cat fight of ridiculous porportions the reptiles are massing and prepping to fight one another and planning to munch down on anyone associated in this conservation ball hosted by Mickey Dolenz of the Monkees to better spend money of a standing we as humans should have been doing anyway.   Yes, that's right; Mickey Dolenz of the Monkees.   Nothing but the finest for my readers.

Not unlike the Tremors quadilogy, this insanity proves to borderline on the absurd at the mass of height of 50 feet and have to be the width of a Winnebago the Pythons are tearing ass all over "Florida" i.e. California trashing helicopters, car dealer lots and gas stations.  Thankfully most of the populous is nowhere near this region.   Well the people that matter anyway.  Redneck of the region demand to go on a snake hunt and start blasting away in every direction that a snake isn't and guzzles more beer than a Fourth of July party.  As our heroes encounter Dr. Diego Ortiz (A. Martinez of BJ and the Bear, Remington Steele, L.A. Law and Profiler) tries desperately to warn O' Hara the inherent dangers to the ecology as both gators and pythons wreak merry merry havoc on the party goers as they flee to safety.  The lot must release a series of pheromones to attract said creatures to the "Glades"...that is clearly shot outside of L.A.     Yeah I am not kidding a lot of the shots are on the I-9.  For the California fans they will immediately realize they are not shooting in the glades.  My own father had the best chuckle watching the folks driving for their life.  The CGI and green screen is laughable, the handheld looks like they were handed off to Uwe Boll's epileptic camera crew and frankly do not go looking for stellar acting in this lot because you will be gravely disappointed.  

At best this follows the standing on cheesy movie night and go no further.  A pedestal it shall not climb. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

SyFy Monster Movie Week: Dinocroc vs Supergator

Hey folks I am back again with fun filled bad movie week of the dreaded channel of SyFy...  Yes the stink of this film is so pungent, you may be required a hanky while viewing.  So kick back, relax on your chair or sofa.  This is Dinocroc vs Supergator.

Spoilers are everywhere in the deep...
With producer/writer/director Roger Corman (The Wasp Woman, A Bucket of Blood, Little Shop of Horrors, Not of this Earth, The Trip, Death Race 2000 and Cockfighter) in league with his protege writer/director Jim Wynorski (Dinosaur Island, Return of the Swamp Thing, Demoltion High, Vampirella and Raptor) come the story of the ages... not it is actually CGI crocodile versus alligator.   As our tale unfolds, a biochemical and genetics laboratory are secretly breeding and manipulating the DNA of these creatures and to what end?   

Shockingly enough the film is shot in Wynorski's town of choice Santa Clarita and some of Kauai Hawaii.  Seems all top secret projects of this magnitude are shot on these two locations or I have seen too many Wynorski flicks.   Naturally due to all the safeguard protocols in said lab, the creatures both escape and start turning the island into the human buffet.  Owner Drake (David Carradine of Death Race 2000, Kung Fu, Kill Bill: Vol. 1, Kill Bill: Vol. 2 and Hell Ride) does not bother to alert the proper authorities and insists on a covert hunting team to track, tranq and retrieve his wayward creatures as money is no object in these matters.

FBI agent Paul Beaumont (Corey Landis of Lost in the Woods, Changing Hands, Camel Spiders and Dracula: Reborn) our death defying investigator who looks like he is late for a frat hazing is trying to figure out what Drake has created in his labs but cannot get enough concrete evidence to justify his work to the brass to snare Drake.  Decides today is a good day for fishing and heads that route.  Fish and game agent Cassidy Swanson (Amy Rasimas Holt of Girls Gone Psycho, Desire, No Game and Exposed Negative) and Dad are called into check out the whereabouts of missing hikers on the island unaware of the untold dangers of the island, our ditzy heroine makes her way to the danger.  With a helicopter assist, a mercenary team move at least an hour ahead of the Fish and Game to lock and load and dump down on dem fools.  Yeah I did not just make up that clever bit of dialogue.  

With any Wynorski creature film you can expect large breasted girlies screaming to the level that would rival Jamie Lee Curtis and Leanna Quigley, Assault weapons and sidearms of infinite ammo and really less that savory CGI FX.  Bottom line, this is a drinking game movie.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Sy-fy Monster Movie Week: Boa vs Python

Hey all.  Let’s get back to trudging through sci-fi schlock shall we?  And what better title to start us off then an epic battle between giant mutated reptiles.   So gather in front the idiot box, pop some popcorn and throw out your favorite MST3K reference.   This is Boa Vs Python.

Spoilers have become an unprecedented size!

When getting the green light for this film; writers Sam Wells (Shark Hunter, Hyper Sonic, Rapid Exchange, Epoch: Evolution and Phantom Force) and Bobby White (Ju-on: The Grudge, Tokyo Psycho, Captive Factory Girls: The Violation, Tokyo Train Girls: Private Lessons and Tokyo Train Girls 3: The Sensuous Nurse) bounced off the couch they had been living on, mopped up their bong water and proceeded onto our episodic story.   I assume pot or mushrooms was involved in this brilliant film idea. Director David Flores mustered all his magnificence we saw in Lake Placid 2 to present this phenomenal creation worthy of the finest cocktail napkin.
My main question is what suave, ruthless and cunning individual pitched this flick to the executives to cut a check for this turkey and how come he is not a political negotiator for the Middle East?   I digress and on to the myth in the making.

Our  credits open with an orchestral number, credit titles that give it an almost Army of Darkness feel and then the story opens with a wrestling match of two masked individuals known as Boa and Python.  You know in case you forgot what you rented or DVRed.   Vast casino owner billionaire Broddick (Adam Palladino of The Drone Virus, 29 Reasons to Run, Boston Girls and Stealing Roses) has been informed his purchase of an 80 foot python has been snuck into the states and on an 18 wheeler heading his way.  Happier than a pig in poop, Broddick nibbles on his girl Eve (Angel Boris Reed of Warlock III: The End of Innocence, Suicide Blonde, King’s Highway and Peak Experience) unbeknownst to him but known to the writer of said sputum, the python wakes from his tranq induced nap and is quite pissed.   A fight ensues, less than realistic explosion destroys the convoy (RUBBER DUCK NOOOOOOO!!!) and our reptile beats feet which is a feat in of itself lacking legs.  

This film is apparently a continuous of the said title Python as FBI agent Sharpe (Kirk B.R. Woller of Swordfish, Minority Report, Poseidon and Resident Evil: Extinction) is sent in to investigate the FUBAR of the road, assesses the situation and clearly he needs…a herpetologist (expert on amphibians and reptiles) Dr. Emmett (David Hewlett of Cube, Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis, Splice and Rise of the Planet of the Apes) and Marine biologist Monica Bonds (Jaime Bergman of Any Given Sunday, Son of the Beach, Gone in 60 Seconds and Angel) to track the python and destroy it with what you ask?  Why a genetically enhanced boa constrictor named Betty which is tagged and fitted with a tracking device to insure safe proceedings.  Yes, there is no recipe for disaster there.  

Let’s get down to brass tacks, shall we?  The CGFX looks like it is not finished painting the creatures, the reactions to the awesome monsters in question by their human actors feels forced and the whole film itself feels over the top and over amped to cash in on the moderate popularity of its predecessor Python.  A must for bad movie night, this film can be enjoyed around company, chips and a cold one.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Manticore...Hey isn't that Chakotay?

Back again kiddies and boy do I have moving pictures magic for you.    It’s got excitement, drama and really wild things.  Actually it has Chakotay leading an Army unit against a CGI monster but hey that could be wild….so grab a movie machine gun, load it with infinite ammo and brush up on your Greek mythology.  This is Manticore.


UFO Pictures strikes again with another monster film at the ready thanks to Writer (John Werner of Pumpkinhead: Ashes to Ashes, Witchville and Rudy Blue) confabbed with Director (Tripp Reed of Walking Tall: The Payback and Walking Tall: Lone Justice) and if you cannot trust the writing for the third installment of Pumpkinhead, well what in life can you trust?

Two thieves decide to break into an antiquities chamber during the remnants of the Iraq War in order to plunder some treasure and make out like bandits… you know the wealthy part.  Pretty sure these two weren’t going to drop on the sandy floor and make out but hey I am not judging if they did. The only thing they manage to get their mitts on is a medallion with a lion’s head carved in it.  Looked like a left over from Hercules: The Legendary Journeys.   Robert Beltran (of Star Trek: Voyager) portrays Sgt. Baxter, a hard nose Army vet tasked with capturing looters from the National Museum, insurgents move in and Baxter has to let the looters go including the two thieves.  A substantial gunfight ensues including some tight zoom handheld shots that really improved the overall effect.  Gave you that feeling you were in the thick of it.   Not an easily accomplished task with Sy-fy’s budget.  Mind you from the architecture you get the notion we are nowhere NEAR Iraq at all.   Again for the sake of the crew and cast that is probably best.  The buildings have a European feel on the design so a quick check on IMDB pointing out they went to Bulgaria.   I did start chuckling when recognizing two the sarge’s squad.  Heather Donahue (The Blair Witch Project, Boys and Girls and Taken) as well as A.J. Buckley (Disturbing Behavior, Happy Feet and CSI: NY).    The mission is SNAFU and they head back to HQ for Baxter to be read the riot act by his CO played by (in my humble opinion) legendary character actor Jeff Fahey (Silverado, Body Parts, The Lawnmower Man, Planet Terror and Machete) reams Baxter’s butt for failing to meet the primary objective of the mission, regardless of what happened and yadda, yadda yadda..  Hey wasn’t there a creature of untold destruction in this flick?   Let’s go find that.

Bumbling duo from the beginning set out in the desert to find their fortune.  Armed with a super secret, chocolate fudgy medallion of impending doom, our two thieves find themselves in quite the pickle as they unwillingly unleash the Manticore!!!  Meanwhile Lois Lane archetype Ashley Pierce (Chase Masterson of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Terminal Invasion and General Hospital) and trusted red shirt cameraman head in the residing villages trying to dig up proof of the whereabouts of WMDs only to find more than they bargained for.  Bum bum bum!!  Baxter’s squad is assigned to find the reporter and red shirt only to find the town has been decimated and a large flying creature with laser beams shooting from its eyes could be the culprit.  Yes fricking Darksied Omega beams style. 

Now admittedly I had a hard time buying our heroes as trained soldiers.  No rifle discipline at all, the cover fire was laughable and I felt like I was sitting through another Lorenzo Lamas film.  
 Well what can we say about this experience?  The acting was pretty good, the cinematography was impressive and hell the CGI monster had some decent chops.  It was a bit graphic for those of less constitution but c’mon it is a monster film about one of the nastiest creatures of Arabic and Greek mythology.
 A flying lion with the tail of a dragon or occasionally a scorpions tail, horns, claws and more teeth than the entire Osmond family.  From a historical stand point this creature is been in Persian culture throughout the better portion of the Caspian Sea region.   Aside from the quick lesson there I had fun watching this regardless if I found it silly in places.

Sy-fy Monster Movie Week

Yes I must admit to a slight guilty pleasure to these creature features of the modern era.   Nothing I am proud of mind you.   I plan to host my share of this foul odors on Rotten Reelz so you have been warned.  Turn back while you can!  For you very lives and souls!!!!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Carpenter Week: Halloween

Back again all with the continuation of Carpenter week and hey why not touch base on his greatest success rate for a flick that cost all of $320,000?  By helping redefine a scary movie in the slasher genre prior to the success of Friday the 13th, its predecessor brought terror, mystery and horror to the small town of Haddenfield Illinois.  So grab your mask, get your hefty bag for candy and hey let’s stay out til midnight.  This is Halloween.

Spoilers have the blackest eyes…The Devil’s eyes.

With the horror genre of the 70’s, directors and writers went from the absurd to the brutal evil that resides in humanity.  With the draw of Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and follow up Eaten Alive, Bob Clark’s thriller Black Christmas and Lucio Fulci’s monstrous Don’t Torture a Duckling this time line started to reshape Horror as we knew it and made the monsters a bit closer to human with still a primal driving force to kill victims and destroy lives as they knew only how.   John Carpenter’s Assault on Precinct 13 gave him the credibility that he needed to start on his filmography that he decided we let’s create a ghost story and flesh it out on the big screen with the working title The Babysitter Murders.  When executive producer Moustapha Akkad hears this title he cautions Carpenter that we don’t want the MPAA (Motion Pictures Association of America) losing their minds over such a title due to how much flack Tobe Hooper received and maybe it was better low key.  With the amount of money and time constraints already there Carpenter decided let’s get this done and over with unaware of the impact this film would have on generations to come.

Our story is about a young man raised in an asylum by the name of Michael Myers (Tony Moran of James at 16, The Waltons, California Fever and The Lucky Break) who after brutally murdering his older sister with a butcher knife, looms in the ward waiting. For 15 years he has remained silent and almost inert that the staff of said hospital doesn’t view him as a threat let alone a risk.  His doctor, Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasence of You Only Live Twice, The Great Escape, Dracula 1979, Escape from New York, Alone in the Dark and Prince of Darkness) has urged the head of the mental institution that Michael is not to be taken lightly, is scoffed at and mocked by his higher ups.   As a result, Myers escapes from the institute grounds, steals a car and peels out.    Myers returns to his hometown and proceeds to wreak bloody havoc on the night of Halloween.  That’s right, kids the boogeyman is on your streets.

Good girl Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis of Prom Night, The Fog, Terror Train, Halloween II, Trading Spaces, A Fish Called Wanda and True Lies) is relegated to babysitting on Halloween night while most of her friends are out partying, engaging in hijinks and of course pre-marital sex.    Watching not only her charge Tommy Doyle but her friend Annie’s (Nancy Kyes of Assault on Precinct 13, The Sea Gypsies, The Fog, Halloween II and Halloween III: Season of the Witch) little sister Lindsey so she can have some alone time with her man.  Dr. Loomis desperately trying to get the Sheriff to see the terror that has been unleashed on his town must stop Michael at any cost, even his own life.   A horror classic to be sure and of course one that gets rented over and over for the holiday.  Heck Zombie’s version while with a different spin really tried to make it the homage this film deserved.  

Last tidbit is the mask for Myers is a William Shatner mask from Star Trek: The Motion Picture spray painted white.   Yes, Shatner is the face of evil. Dun dun dun!

Carpenter Week: Prince of Darkness

Hey kiddies!  Back again with a creep factor of about 6 with our next Carpenter flick and boy o boy it is a doozy.   Wouldn’t you know it that this all happened because of grad students, scientists and their pesky priest?   Grab some popcorn, invite some friends and dare to look away.   This is Prince of Darkness.

Spoilers walk the Earth!!!

A priest (Donald Pleasence of The Great Escape, You Only Live Twice, Buried Alive, Escape From New York, Halloween 1,2,4,5, and 6) doesn’t go into a bar but actually conducts a lecture with a gathering of students and renown Professor Howard Birack (Victor Wong of Dim Sum: A Little Bit of Heart, Year of the Dragon, Big Trouble in Little China, The Golden Child, The Last Emperor and Bloodsport) meet together in the basement of a disused church in Los Angeles.   The priest requires and humbly requests their expertise investigating a mysterious cylinder contain a swirling green liquid.  The metaphysics student Brian Marsh (Jameson Parker of Callie and Son, Simon &Simon, The Legend of Prince Valiant, Have You Seen My Son, Something Borrowed, Something Blue and JAG) feels confident that they will crack the case of the cylinder of potential doom.  Careful research of the text with the cylinder translates to the essence of the Anti-Christ.  Yeah damnation in a bottle and I though Axe was bad.   So of course we cannot pack it up there and split, no our team has to conduct a variant of experiments to see if we can quantify evil.  
Over a period of two days, small spurts of the liquid manage to escape the cylinder and start possessing the students one at a time trying to wipe out everything in its path.   The survivors are barracked in the church and an army of hobos also possessed are looking for any potential escapees.   So let’s bunk down into the deconsecrated church and hope for the best.   Each survivor shares a recurring dream, a message from the future if you will, explaining the world’s end in from the far away time of 1999.

As this lunacy is being deciphered, student Kelly is absorbed by the remaining liquid and creating the Anti-Christ.  A hideous, maimed figure that seems to regenerate any damage inflicted by human and also has a high concentration of telekinesis and brother she is ticked off.     The Anti-God demands to be brought into the mortal world and that’s what Anti-Christ Kelly is all about via second act.   Can our haphazard scientists, students and priest stop the madness that will engulf the world or will they be too late?

With the capable hands of FX gurus Mark Shostrom (The Boys Next Door, From Beyond, Evil Dead II, Phantasm II, Dick Tracy and Star Trek: Generations) and Kevin Quibell (Starman, The Running Man, Black Rain, Speed, Twister and Hard Rain) the creature FX, Visual and prosthetics look believable, eerie and downright nasty.  Anti-Christ Kelly about made me want to run fleeing for the hills or possibly skip lunch.    Proof is in the pudding as they say and thus far Carpenter proves he can do scary, gore, humor and a bit of sci-fi.  Have a happy folks and keep the lights on for this one while you watch it.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Carpenter Week: They Live

Hey boys and girls do you know what time it is???  That’s right, more Carpenter Week and boy do I have an odd duck for the roast.  It makes Daffy almost look sane.  So grab some penny candy and gather around the sittin' room as we tell the tale.   This is They Live.

I have come to chew bubblegum and kick spoilers...and I am all out of bubblegum.

Hard working, sh*t kicking man’s man Nada (Roddy Piper of Westlemania, Hell Comes to Frogtown, Tough and Deadly, Marked Man, Terminal Rush and Green Lantern: Emerald Knights) fresh from Denver finding no work available makes his hitchhiking way to Los Angeles and frankly who is going to try rob this guy?  Our drifter finding no work here he latches on a work site doing construction with Frank (Keith David of The Thing, Platoon, Clockers, Dead Presidents, Gargoyles, The Puppet Masters and Spawn) who takes him to a impromptu campsite with several folks out of work pulling together.  The local church and campsite get rousted by the cops trashing almost everything in site along with pummeling people like it is the riots.  Nada figures there is some sort of contraband floating around that the church is smuggling.  He finds boxes and boxes of cheap sunglasses not worth more than 5 bucks tops but figures eh what the hell I’ll nick a pair.   Soon he sees subliminal messages on the TV, in magazines and advertisement telling him to obey and procreate.   Not even certain what this means he figures something is amiss when a couple of cops try to kill him on the street.  Our anti-hero escapes with the aid of Holly (Meg Foster of Ticket to Heaven, The Emerald Forest and Masters of the Universe) who drives our now gun wielding loopy back to her place for him to lay low.  She has one of those insane houses on stilts of which she shoves Nada into a falling roll down the guard rail and very likely broke a few ribs on the tumble down.  So far the quest to end the invaders has run into a few snags.

Nada’s brilliant plan is to recruit Frank to assist in fighting these people off which leads into the longest 5 minute and change beat down street fight I have seen.  Just horrendous violence of which I am sure some of the fellas will enjoy up until the knee smashing balls scene.  Yeah you will be crossing your legs boys.  Frank is clued in and the boys battered, bruised but able join up with the resistance against the invaders.  Thankfully no Porkins here so we may have some more rebels left alive.    

Frank and Nada are brought up to speed on how the invasion happened and how they plan to strike back by Gilbert (character actor Peter Jason of The Incredible Hulk, 48 Hrs, The Karate Kid, Prince of Darkness, Red Heat and In the Mouth of Madness) who clearly wants to storm the gates, destroy the signal that is wired for the brainwaves of the “HUMAN” and in general blow up the Death Star.   Yeah Gilbert is a bit quirky.  So folks enjoy this flick for the ham and cheese it is.  One liners that may make you groan, dialogue that is a trifle hokey and atypical poke at corporate and government.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

John Carpenter Week: The Thing

You hear every sound as the tick of the clock allows for another minute to pass by.  You feel the sweat on your brow lightly trickling down and you know in your heart of hearts the person next to you may not be what he or she appears to be.  This is The Thing.

Lordy, how could spoilers survive in 0 degree weather?

In 1982, John Carpenter remade Howard Hawks 1951’s science fiction film The Thing from another World into simply The Thing; an alien entity that has the ability to change its molecular structure and DNA into something or someone else through assimilation.    On an Antarctic research station deep in the snow and ice lurks something man has never seen, 12 men will be pushed to the breaking point of sanity and paranoia will seep in.   OoOo got carried away there.  

Based on the original story, “Who Goes There?” by Science-Fiction writer John W. Campbell Jr., the screenplay for the 1982 version was written by Bill Lancaster (The Thing, The Bad News Bears film and TV series) and helmed by director John Carpenter (Assault On Precinct 13, Halloween, Escape From New York, Big Trouble In Little China, and Vampires) unfolds a story of 12 men encountering a malamute being shot at from a helicopter by a Norwegian research team when the copter explodes and kills the pilot and co-pilot.  The rifleman still trying to kill the dog is shot by the station commander Garry (Donald Moffat of The Thing, When the Time Comes, Clear and Present Danger).  

 Helicopter pilot R.J. MacReady (Kurt Russel of The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes, Escape From New York, The Mean Season, Soldier and Deathproof) and Dr. Copper (Richard Dysart of Being There, L.A. Law, The Thing and Spawn the Animated Series) discover a camp completely ruined and torched. A few deaths consistent with suicide and outside in the snow is a body with two heads burnt to almost lack of recognition.  The body is wrapped and research documents are taken back to the station.  Through an autopsy Doctor Blair (Wilford Brimley of The Waltons, The China Syndrome, Brubaker, Roughnecks and Borderline) the two faced creature is perfectly normal.  The malamute starts attacking all the other sled dogs and is toasted with a flamethrower wielded by Chiles (Keith David of The Thing, Platoon, They Live, Clockers, Gargoyles, and Spawn the Animated Series) then brought to Blair to do I guess a necropsy on it.  Blair finds cells in it that are not animal DNA and proceeds to comb the Norwegians’ records.  He discovers that an alien life form that was said to have came to Earth in a flying saucer and they speculate millions of years ago trapped under sheets of ice as far back as the first Ice Age. 

Finding this research everyone becomes skittish around one another, locking their doors and arming themselves.  Who is who?  Am I next?  FX wizard Rob Bottin (Maniac, The Howling and Robocop) is responsible for ¾ of the creature creations and prosthetics.  The dog creature was crafted by none other than the late Stan Winston (Dracula’s Dog, Parasite, The Terminator, Aliens, Predator 1 and 2).  35mm film with a Panavision anamorphic lens shot at a slower speed of 2.35.  Tight shots, a soundtrack composed by Ennio Morricone (The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, The Untouchables, Once Upon a Time in the West and Once Upon a Time in America) rather than Carpenter.    In conclusion, if you don’t mind feeling a bit twitchy and love a good scare then this flick still stands the test of time but never watch it alone…

Monday, December 10, 2012

Assault on Precinct 13..No Hawkes allowed.

Back again kiddies and I can just tell you are all giddy at this.   Hey how about an action movie shot in locations like Watts, South Central L.A. and Venice Beach back in the early 70’s?   From a vicious gang against a finite amount of police in the area, this flick gets intense.   So grab a seat, a few snacks and relax.  This is Assault on Precinct 13th.

Spoiler!  It’s a godd*mn spoiler!

Yes, I am referring to the original film of 1976 under Carpenter's reign vs the loosely based remake of 2005.  A less than typical film with its flaws and imperfection that show the beginning of Carpenter’s film process and from this show the sense of style he is most commonly known for.  John Carpenter has lucked out in locations more times than one can count.  Venice Police & Fire Station Division 14 was scheduled to be demolished, armed with only a budget of $150,000 and the film was shot in all of 20 days.  An ambitious re-creation of Rio Bravo, down to the camera angling to anamorphic shots felt like a project worthwhile.

Our story opens with a sting takes out a series of gang members in a bloody gunfire. Cannot even imagine how many shots fired forms they were filling out.  The surviving gang members swear in blood oath that vengeance will happen.  Lieutenant Ethan Bishop (Austin Stoker of Battle for the Planet of the Apes, Horror High, ‘Sheba, Baby ‘, Roots and Machete Joe) a recently promoted officer is scheduled to Precinct 13. A station being torn down, paperwork and supplies shipped to its future location.  While this is not the best gig, it is Bishop’s first assignment as a Lieutenant and he will see it through.
Meanwhile in Los Cruzes, a notorious criminal named Napoleon Wilson (Darwin Joston of Eraserhead, The Fog, Coast to Coast, Time Walker and Airwolf) is being transported in a bus on his way to death row by Starker (Charles Cyphers of Halloween, Halloween II, Escape from New York, The Fog and Grizzly II: The Concert)

Back at the precinct, Bishop meets the remaining staff, desk sergeant  Grumpy McStereotype, filing clerk Leigh (Laurie Zimmer of American Raspberry, A Dirty Story and Survival of Dana) and dispatch operator Julie (Nancy Kyes of Halloween, Halloween II, The Fog, Halloween III, Not in Front of the Children and Lady Boss)
One of the inmates on the bus is violently ill and the only station in route is Precinct 13, with that the bus pulls in assessing the situation and hope they can lay aid to the sick man.

Blocks away a father takes his daughter with him in order to scoop up and move her nanny (Oh Mr. Sheffield) in with them.  Driving a high end Cadillac in South Central L.A. under the influence of being a dumb white guy this could get a bit dicey.

A shoot out later the father makes his way to Precinct 13 to safety but the combined forces of the gang follow him with their ill-gotten gains from a heist of the National Guard Armory depot, they have enough firepower to level six maybe seven city blocks.  Equipped with silencers, the lack of neighbors in the rundown area and barely any public safety of any sorts the members of the precinct, two prisoners and the remaining transport troops have to hold off this mass army of lunatics until help arrives.  

The dialogue gives the feel of a B-movie and this is Carpenter’s second film after Dark Star in 1974. Fewer dolly tracked shots and more hand held you really had to feel for those poor cameramen breaking their backs.  Given its fairly violent nature and penchant for shock and awe, this movie does invoke fear and dread for the decent folk trying to live through the night and almost seething hatred for the gang members.  In my humble opinion a gem that gets overlooked.