Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Horror Grab Bag Week: Bloody Wednesday

I formally greet and rejoice for the return of my readers and welcome you back to Horror Grab Bag Week for a tale that is both bizarre and twisted.  A deranged man who prior to the Nestle plunge into sanity was a superb mechanic but the little voices in his head told him he would be far happier if he simply went mad.  Traipsing through the swamps of this man’s mind will be a tricky thing so grab your rubber boots and hip waders and everyone stay together in a group.  This is Bloody Wednesday.

Better than the magic covers any day!

Teddy says you should be punished you piece of spoiler!!

Say hello to Harry (Raymond Elmendorf of Cuba Crossing, The A-Team and Project X), a mechanic of some renown and in general a decent guy until he gets bullied by virtually every big hair band…er…um I mean gang in town.  Victimized by these little Tony Danza/John Stamos clones, Harry retreats into a safe world of his own creation after a horrendous divorce and his boss thinking he was less stable than nitroglycerin is let go. 

Oh no, I fell into a Kim Wilde video!!!! AHHHH!!!!

Harry starts to lose his grip on reality and wanders into a church during evening mass stark naked.   He is then shockingly committed to a psychiatric hospital where his doctor Emily Johnson (Pamela Baker of I Want to Live and Through Naked Eyes) truly wants to help Harry but because she has a vagina all her Cro-Magnon colleagues view Harry as harmless and release him due to overcrowding at the wacko basket. Out on his butt Harry shacks up in an abandoned hotel where he starts hallucinating…or does he?  Is he really going crackers or are people taunting him, tormenting every night and day and making him crack under the strain like a delicate china cup?


Harry’s only friends are this bellhop he converses with and his oversized teddy bear.   The walls of reality and fantasy come crashing against one another; Harry is finally fed up with all this nonsense and somehow gets his hands on a submachine gun and brother is he locked and loaded.

What is fascinating about this film is seeing Harry through the eyes of the other characters.  This timid and mild-mannered man probably never stood up for himself at any given time, threatens and forces a gang of thugs on their knees with a .44 while he decides what to do with them.  He is literally arguing with his teddy bear on whether or not to ventilate them.  His responses, body twitches and shrieks of horror in the night may be…a little over the top but it does not detract this performance in my opinion.  Also the askew worlds bouncing back and forth give the kiddy ride equivalency of an acid trip or a bipolar disorder in full swings of his highs and lows to the severity I have never heard of.

No I don't want to visit Tigger and Owl!!!

Dr. Johnson tries desperately to locate Harry before he can do anything that may harm him or others but has no idea where to look and ultimately has no choice but to give up. 

35mm Spherical captures more than a fair share of zoom pans, a fish eye lens and decent hand held throughout this warped imagery.  A very surreal mood is cast over you from this flick it almost has the feel of homage to Polanski’s The Tenant just not as refined.  Not an amazing film but certainly not mundane either. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Horror Grab Bag Week: The Thirsty Dead

Welcome back readers to Horror Grab Bag Week.  This time around I thought I would try to give more of a technical aspect to the movie.   Describe the camera pans and zooms and various techniques to such to give you a more of an objective view.  Less mockery and more observation, so feel free to be shocked.  Actor Terry Becker (Compulsion, Perry Mason, The Asphalt Jungle, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and Neighborhood Watch) tried his start in both writing and directing in a horror exploitation genre about abducting young women and dragging them off to parts unknown.  Given most of these girls were street urchins; not too many eyebrows were raised so without further adieu I give you The Thirsty Dead a.k.a. The Blood Cult of Shangri-La.

Silly frat boys, that's not how you pick up girls.

You make friends quickly when you are sharing a spoiler!

Our footage starts with shots of the sea showing a few ships during sunrise to sunset.  The significance to that day to night transition is…Yeah haven’t a clue other than it was available and you get to decipher the symbolism.  Also this is dead quiet for 30 seconds and then a title card followed by a bit of reverb in your speakers.  Then it is off to the go-go bar!  Class all the way I say.   You will also find this has been recorded in mono and the print has not be cleaned up from living on VHS for so long so there is some scratches on the film and the occasion audible pop sound.  Four young women are abducted from the streets of Manila Philippines, through miles of sewer to the main rivers and rowed out for a fair distance from civilization.  I am speaking the middle of nowhere and getting away on foot would be damn near impossible.    

Bless me Rocky for I have been a naughty boy.

Our girls discover they have been snatched for the orchestrations of a cult and not some white slavery sex trade.  Their leader Baru (character actor John Considine of Combat!, Gomer Pyle: USMC, The F.B.I., Mannix and Doctor Death: Seeker of Souls) looks like a genetic hybrid of Peter Lorre and Mike Connors but he is in a flamboyant white high collar cloak that Doctor Strange would have turned away.  I thought he was auditioning for Sigfrid and Roy. Baru tells the girls that one with be chosen to appease their god and the others are just for the ceremony…of blood sacrifice.   I should also point out they seem to worship a head in a red glass cube.   Looks like someone lopped off Sidney Poitier’s head and encased it in plexi-glass.  

Ladies and gentleman, ICE CUUUUUUUUBBBBBBEEEE!!!

Now I did recognize two of the ladies in question brought to this cult.  Laura (Jennifer Billingsley of Lady in a Cage, The F.B.I., White Lightning, Police Story and Hollywood Man) and Claire (Judith McConnell of Star Trek T.O.S., The Beverly Hillbillies, Green Acres, The Brotherhood of Satan and How to Seduce a Woman) and to be fair their acting was impressive for this film in spite how goofy the script is.

Yes, this is where I am going to nitpick and point things out.   The cavern location looks like the land of cardboard cutouts and trash bags to conceal the backdrop.  Our cult extras look like they raided the fabric bin of the original Star Trek series.  I swear at least 5 of them look as though they snagged some of the Mirror Mirror costumes or they are wearing these garish robes straight out of The Blind Dead series.  Many canvas died for their wardrobes.

over friendly zoom there camera man.  Sheesh.

Most of the sets are filmed on location and the underground lair is actually a former stronghold on the island so definite props for that.  Dallies of the sewer shots are all hand held and so steady.  I think the main issue I had with this film is it is dialogue driven and sounds as though the girls are formulating plans of escape but there is little to no action in it.   I am afraid it drones on a bit and well all the characters (ladies) are pretty one dimensional so you may detract from them and care not for their path.

Ew, Sweat socks!!!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Horror Grab Bag Week: Sisters of Death

Welcome to Horror Grab Bag Week and I hope we have something more than a poke and a tickle for you.  Perhaps a spine tingling cinematic macabre that leaves you bewildered and your pulse quickened.  First American Films seemed to be a production company trying for thrillers and chillers.  Action and Horror was their bread and butter and boy their spread does not seem too thick as it would seem most of the Horror films feel like something out of the 1950’s via plot.   So grab yourself some jammy dodgers, a glass of milk and put on your slippers.  This is Sisters of Death.

Shrouds of rawr!

Spoilers won’t get next to me…

We open with our feature in what can only be described as any given low budget Hammer Film dungeon set.  The Secret Society of Sisters are initiating two new pledges that have been deemed worthy of joining the ranks but they must pass one final test.  A test of courage…with a derringer placed to their forehead?   Sheesh frats don’t get this shuddersome.    The echo reverb around the chambers is distorting the hell out of the young women’s voices but I am not certain if that was for an eerie effect or if their boom mic lacked a sock.    Well as you can very well guess pranks with a firearm end badly on one of the pledges gets a .38 right through the noodle.   ENTER OUR TITLE CARD!!!

Hmm why does he have a portrait of Mimi Van Doren?

Yes four minutes in and we have a decent headshot effect.   7 years later…  Our surviving sisters each get an envelope consisting of an invitation and over a thousand dollars for travel expenses to a reunion at a lavish estate.  Two of the girls accuse each other of the invitations only to find neither of them had anything to do with it and then question why wait so long to reconnect. 

  What is waiting for the girls at this estate and do they dare be seen with each other?  It is only until after the girls arrive at this compound that is has barred windows and an electric fence that the girls realize they are captured by the father of the late girl who claims that one of the girls murdered his daughter and he will have the guilty party’s head.  He proceeds to let them sweat it out and eventually turn on each other for their own lives.

Alright! Alright! You don't have to eat green beans!

Yeah you know the drill so I will just get to it.   The only actors I even recognized in this flick is character actor Arthur Franz (Sands of Iwo Jima, Invaders from Mars, The Caine Mutiny and The Atomic Submarine) and the late Playmate of 1969 and Playmate of the Year 1970 Claudia Jennings (The Stepmother, The Unholy Rollers, Willy& Scratch, The Single Girls, Gator Bait and Deathsport) so you know full well I have stepped in a mine field and must make the best of it.  Shot in 35mm Spherical but alas recorded in mono you get to see the boom mic make a few appearances.

Our main composure sounds like a strangled Harry Manfredini but I cannot even find out who did the work.  The print is so grainy I could barely scope out the names of the production and crew.   IMDB had literally no idea at all.  For a title as Sisters of Death you almost go into this film treating it like the high school/college revenge reunion like Slaughter High or The Final when in fact there is very little violence, loads of scene chewing via dialogue and the girls are not flashing the cameras every 20 minutes.  Not a brilliant film but not a bad one off hand.  I was pleasantly surprised.

Horror Grab Bag Week

Hidey ho readers and welcome to the week entitled Horror Grab Bag Week.  I will dip into random and obscure horror films ranging as far back as 1974 to 1990.  Should be an interesting trip not unlike of mushrooms or California Red. I am striving to find the forgotten gems and hopefully less of the vomitous of the current horror era.  The focus is based on camera angles, creativity in story in both background and characters as well as is it genuinely scary.

My humble opinion is the horror genre is so much better with a more or less original story. whether it is a ghost story, a fantasy land besieged by vampires or legions of the dead rising from the gates of Hell, gimme something to leave me with chills and a possible fright.  So let's roll them bones and see what we get.


Friday, July 26, 2013

MST3K Week: Soultaker

Welcome ladies and gents back to the end of MST3K Week and I felt it was fitting and fair to have not only Mike and guest starring both Joel Robinson and TV’s Frank return for the fold.   Impossible you say?  All things are feasible in the kooky world of sci-fi comedy.  Grab yerselves a sodey pop, snag some popcorn and get comfy.  This is Soultaker.

So bacon doesn't fix out everything?

Is it every a time for spoilers to rock?

Ambitious writer/director/actress Vivian Schilling (Prison Ship, Terror Eyes, Project Eliminator and The Legend of Wolf Mountain) tried her gosh darnest to bring us a quality horror movie with dramatic undertones and a love interest story that would span the test of time.   Instead we got Soultaker, an amalgamation of gibberish, at least two B movie actors and an Estevez you do NOT recognize at all.  
As this is Season 10 in MST3K and the very first episode of the year our Best Brains Production came up with the wacky idea that a vessel that has travelled through parallel dimensions, foreign planets and different timelines just might…break down?   Say it ain’t so!  The Satellite of Love is still in her prime I tells ya!   

When it becomes apparent that Mike could not patch a relay let alone find his hinder with a flashlight and a GPS, They turn to Pearl for help.   As predicted Pearl could care less if their orbit decays and the crew roasts like suckling pigs at a redneck jamboree. 

Dream maker!! Oh wait it's Joe Estevez.  Thought it was Martin.

Enduring our overtly dramatic tale of an angel of death siphoning souls to Heaven or Hell, we find that our lead heroine and resident soul sucker might have very well been lovers…in another lifetime.  *Cues Dark Shadow incidental music*

Alas Soulsucker is thwarted by our plucky heroine and her Stamos wannabe boyfriend as they race across town, souls separated from their bodies in a desperate attempt return to the mortal plane.   Will they make it in time?  Will true love prevail?   Will Stamos wannabe run out of his nancy boy hair gel?

Yeah yea I am gonna poke fun at the film now.   Actually I love the host segments of the show.  Getting to see Joel and Frank again even for a short span of time was a great kick.   The end credits of this film Tom and Crow are just vicious to the film as they describe the never-ending torment of Stamos wannabe’s bleak existence and each turn of the page just makes him a horrendous shallow shell of himself.    They slowly snip and snipe at this poor lad and berate him to no end and Mike starts snickering through some of it.

Geez looks like a beanbag with eyes and a mullet.

Led Zeppelin was wrong man.  There is no stairway to Heaven!   Does that mean Sabbath was wrong too, bro?  Yeah it was long winded, confusing, disturbing and a bit out there but by no means was it entertaining nor thought provoking.   Mike and the bots cup your hand gently and give you a reassuring pat to tell you yes it is horrible but we have jokes to soothe your psyche.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

MST3K Week: The Brute Man

Welcome readers of the inane lunacy that is this blog to EVEN MORE MST3K Week!!!!
Tackling another Mike episode as the show had transitioned from Comedy Central to Sci-fi Channel during Season 7.  Frank Coniff (TV’s Frank) wanted off the show thus leaving Dr. Forrester to run the experiment with his retiree mother from Hell.  So kick yer shoes off, sit a spell and take in the splendor.  This is The Brute Man a.k.a. The Creeper, creeper, CREEPER!!!!


Spoiler, why the long face?

Season 7 Episode 2 brings us a lovely big screen event about the follies of college, the choices that were made and the repercussions to follow.    Invention Exchange has been abandoned for such time as Doctor Forrester really isn’t in the mood since TV’s Frank went to Second Banana Heaven and so he deals with his loathing of Mike and the bots and his mother Pearl moving in with him.

 Prior to the main movie the fellas have to endure a PSA short about The Chicken of Tomorrow.  A fascinating look into the raising and production of chickens and eggs for mass consumption… oh who the hell am I kidding?   Aside from the jokes; that short was duller than the white bread the writer was ingesting as he wrote that boring piece of tripe.  

Tom Servo, won't you come out of your shell?

And now we discuss the amazing cinematic main feature.  A story of life, loss and the ability to creep about town with a face bigger than a large mouth bass, The Brute Man tells the tale of a homicidal killer with a quick temper and a nasty pension for snapping his victims’ spines like so much kindling.  Our steadfast detectives are clearly on the case as the bodies keep piling up without them so much having a clue to why such violence is being doled out or what the connection each of these people means.   With the aid of the mayor’s office the cops have a largest dragnet since Joe Friday first prattled on and on and on.

Soon after the loss of a potentially fine delivery boy his boss seems to loathe, the police manage to link our killer with a former college students and a crippling accident that occurred to one of these college chums.  A dim light bulb goes off in the good captain’s head that this fella Hal Moffet might be The Creeper a.k.a. The Brute Man and preps a daring attempt to ensnare him…by smoking…a lot…really not a lot of action for our thriller protagonist there.   Evading the cops in a less than stellar neighborhood, the Brute is befriended by the most incompetent blind woman.  

Seriously, this woman hears next to nothing, he broke into her place 4 or 5 times and she picked up on not a thing.   Given the size of this guy and the fact his hideout was a fishing shack on the pier I am thinking the B.O. alone should give him away.

I have just a few fun facts of the film.   The obvious original title was The Creeper but PRC Pictures had not nailed down the rights to the name The Creeper and Universal Studios had already established a similar character played by the same actor Rondo Hatton.  Rather than alter the entire movie they simple changed the title card to The Brute Man.   The actor Tristram Coffin (ironically named as he was smoking through most of the film) doubled as the police lieutenant and the radio reporter for all the key plot points. 

Cripes buddy have a Tic Tac.

The Moffet jokes were a plenty as well as various comments about Rondo’s face suffering from a bizarre form of gigantism but overall there is more padding in this film than a freshman’s bra or a wacko basket.   This film just drags on and thankfully Mike and the bots were cruel to be kind to the audience as always.   The scene with the curmudgeon grocer and his poor door mat of a grocer delivery boy alone are worth suffering through this episode. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

MST3K Week: The Brain That Wouldn't Die

Welcome back readers of the blog!!!  MST3K Week continues with the first appearance of Mike Nelson, the next goob that gets shanghaied off into space to the Satellite of Love and the bots are putting him through the rigors of bad movie marathons so he too can be quick with the quips, vicious with the verbal and callous with the comments.  So on with the episode of Season 5 Episode 13.   This is The Brain That Wouldn’t Die.

Nothing ominous here clearly.

Hey, c’mere…look at this spoiler…it just won’t die!

After the previous episode of Mitchell starring Joe Don Baker; Joel escapes the Satellite of Love in an escape capsule carefully hidden in a large crate of ham dingers.   Mike formerly a temp working for the Mads has been drafted to be the next test subject to this putrefying pile of celluloid that awaits him in the theater.   Being rebellious he doesn’t heed the Mads’ call to the view screen ASAP and Doctor Forrester realizes he shall enjoy breaking Mike’s mind and spirit.   The invention exchange begins with Mike’s creation of a umbrella with a gutter raining and spout.  The gutter bumbershoot is born!    Sharper Image is probably still fine tuning it.  Dr. F. develops an ultrasonic device purposely to emit frequencies to pop bratlings’ balloons.   No said name for it but my vote was for the sonic killjoy.  

She's just a head that can't say no! She's in a terrible fix..

Off to the theater you pixies you go!   Mike and the bots plunk down in the seats for a Joseph Green (The Brain That Wouldn’t Die, Day-Dream and The Perils of P.K.) directorial delight.   Our director apparently hung it up after these three wondrous moving pictures and rightfully so.

An operation is being performed on a patient that technically could be brain dead at this point. The lead surgeon throws in the towel and his son/ star pupil demands to experiment on the corpse bringing him miraculously back to life.   The young doctor is believed to be performing experimental surgery on human test subjects against the Hippocratic Oath and the advice of his father.  Those darn kids.

Off to the old family cabin for the weekend with his bride-to-be our suave surgeon butterfingers his driving, slams the car over the guard rail and for an encore, decapitates his fiancĂ©e.  Rushing her head to the cabin he manages to save her head in a pan using his restorative formula and her neck juices keep her alive whilst he is out on the prowl for a new body for the future Mrs. Giggles…I, uh mean Cortner.


After perusing several doxies he settles on a glamour model that has trust issues with men.  With a bit of coaxing, some drugged tea and evil intent the doctor woos the model into a coma like state and she is good to go on the chopping block.

Meanwhile head in the pan Jan discovers she is not the first of her fiancee’s horrible experimentation as she discovers a latent telepathic ability within her…well head and she contacts one of the less than successful creatures hidden in the basement.   

Havoc issues, the guys get a great chuckle and some of the host segments were downright hysterical.   As this is my 19th viewing of this episode I may be a little biased.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

MST3K Week: Sidehackers

Welcome back again sport fans and boy oh boy do I have a dumb movie in need of quips, comments and snotty remarks.  Heading into MST3K Week I thought I would force you to digest an exploitation film involving a ridiculous sport of a two man motorcycle team ripping around a dirt track like a modern day chariot race.    Oh who am I kidding?  The Mads bring the hurt with this Ross Hagen movie that will leave you with some many WTF moments you will cherish Easy Rider by comparison.   And with that in play it is time to watch Sidehackers (Five the Hard Way)
He's taking Franks' brain!  Get em!!

Rommel? Oh you magnificent spoiler, I’ve read your book.

Our “film” revolves around mechanic/sidehacker Rommel (Ross Hagen of Hellcats, Angels’ Wild Women, Wonder Women, Night Creature and Dinosaur Island).  When he is not rolling in the fields with his girl Rita (Diane McBain of Burke’s Law, Batman, The Man from U.N.C.L.E.,  and Maryjane) he is honing his skills as a sidehacker balancing a bike with his body weight on a side car as the bike rips around dug up tracks.   He meets up with a bike circuit entertainer name of J.C. (Michael Pataki Star Trek, Easy Rider, Zoltan: Hound of Dracula, The Amazing Spider-Man and Star Trek: The Next Generation) and they hit it off real easy.  While doing some modifications to J.C.’s bikes; his girl Paisley (Claire Polan of Angels’ Wild Women, Wonder Women, Ladies Night and Action U.S.A.) proceeds to hit on Rommel who blows her off and points out she already has a guy.   Being a decent guy, Rommel kept his distance and Paisley claims Rommel raped her.  J.C. and his crew jump Rommel, flog the crap out of him and kills Rita.   Charming lot I know.

Psst, Ted pull over I have to pee.

Rommel more or less heals up and is out for blood.  One of J.C.’s former crew Nero (Edward Parrish of Sidehackers) goes and hits the street looking for guys to recruit against J.C. including Big Jake (Robert Tessier of The Deep, The Sword and the Sorcerer, The Longest Yard, Starcrash and The Cannonball Run) and he is aptly named.  

A big shootout occurs in this random little shotgun shack out in the middle of nowheresville and eventually the cops may get out there but it is out of the Los Angles main county so there probably was a jurisdiction issue that needed to be sorted.   While people are getting blown away left and right.

Acid reflux is murder, kids!

Joel and the bots flounder their way through this festering pile of monkey vomit by focusing on how cool Rommel’s hat is and the values that sidehacking could bring to not just them but the very world they float in a geosynchronous orbit above.  Also we get introduced to Michael Nelson (writer and later Mike Nelson of MST3K) as he mimics J.C. rather well and Frank is decked out as J.C.’s dependable right hand man known as Cooch.   I swear I wish I made up that name but checkout IMDB and you too will see the horror that is that character’s name.

Monday, July 22, 2013

MST3K Week: Cave Dwellers

Howdy boys and girls and welcome to MST3K Week.  I thought I would share my favorite bad movies that Joel, Mike and the lovable bots have trashed over the 10 years Best Brain Productions had to offer with the inception of Mystery Science Theater 3000.  For those unfamiliar with this show (SHAME!!!!) I will do my best to explain.  Two mad scientists are convinced by subjecting all of humanity to the most horrendous movie they can dominate the world.  In order to find the end all most heinous of turkeys, they subject one of their own workers Joel Robinson (Stand-up comedian and creator of MST3K Joel Hodgeson) into space as a controlled environment he cannot get away from and is fed a steady diet of really horrible films. Along with Joel are his robots he tinkered with are Crow T. Robot, wisecracking Tom Servo and lastly the diverse and ship maintaining Gypsy.    So without further adieu I cast to thee, Cave Dwellers!!!

West Side Story: The Prehistoric Years.

Ator: Thong, the spoiler is ready!

This particular episode Joel and the bots have endured an asteroid shower and thankfully they are squeaky clean as Mad scientists Dr. Forrester (Traci Beaulieu of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and Cinematic Titanic) and TV’s Frank (Liberal and comedic writer Frank Conniff) attempt to recreate the old Mike Douglas set of yesteryear.   After a ritual known as Invention Exchange where each side is to dazzle one another with their pithy wit, Joel and the bots are subjugated to the abysmal turd that is Cave Dwellers a.k.a. The Blade Master, Ator the Invincible, Ator the Return and Ator the Blade Master. 

Bowflex does work!

From the direction of Italian soft core pornographer/ horror director Joe D’Amato (The Erotic Adventures of Aladdin X, Creepers, Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals and Beyond the Darkness) comes the sequel to Ator, the Fighting Eagle from Alternative Title Week.  Yes I am that evil, folks.
Ator (Miles O’Keefe of Tarzan the Ape Man, Ator the Fighting Eagle, Sword of the Valiant and The Lone Runner) lost his would be bride Sonya and is off studying in some forlorn cave with his buddy the mute sidekick Thong (Kiro Wehara of The Blade Master and Interzone) when they are visited by a young woman, Mila (Lisa Foster of Fanny Hill, Marie, Come Spy with Me and The Jitters) who tells Ator of her father his mentor has been captured by his former pupil Zor (David Brandon of Jubilee, She, The Lost City and The Scarlet and the Black).   Ator and Thong mount a rescue to save Ator’s former mentor but will they arrive in time?

Okay this is the part where I tell you why I love this MST3K episode.  This was my first every MST3K I ever saw.  I got most of the jokes as a wee lad and love it even more so since adulthood.  The bots constantly compare Zor to John Saxon but I myself find I am leaning to a hybrid of Alan Rickman and Terrance Stamp and hey Zor is but a consonant away from being Zod.  

Look out!!! It's Koko the Terrible!!

Our hero makes his own hang glider in the time span of a jump cut which Joel and the bots mercilessly torment the film about.  The plot is shaky, the action a bit hammy but thankfully the wise acres of the Satellite of Love are helping you through it.   Oh FYI, you are not missing much with the extra 15 minutes and no Mysties trashing the full format of this film.

MST3K Week

Welcome readers and I thought we do something fun.  To focus on a show that picks on various movies delving science fiction, horror and really really pointless action films.   What's that?  Can such a show exist?

Well better believe it spinach chins because this week I am subjecting the lot of you to Mystery Science Theater 3000 Week or the abbreviated MST3K for the fans of this show lasting up to 10 years on basic cable spanning from the Comedy Channel to Comedy Network to Sci-Fi Channel.

So a little off the top?

Friday, July 19, 2013

Shark Week: Sand Sharks

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to reading this blog…hehe sorry but that particular tripe read up had a long time coming.  Welcome back to the end of Shark Week and hopefully it has been entertaining and downright silly for you all.  Next on the docket is surprisingly enough YET ANOTHER SyFy movie.   Yeah well it has been kind of a running gag there.   Hey I could have subjected you to Orka so be grateful.  Okay then, get your floaties on, build that bonfire past safety regulations and let’s get this party started.   This is Sand Sharks.

Ride like the wind brah!!

If it’s like mother…it’s big…and it’s spoiler!

AWP (American World Pictures) founders of such cinematic straight to DVD abominations as: Sacrifice, Beyond the City Limits, Instinct to Kill, Pterodactyl and Young Cesar brings forth from the depths of Hell this delightful creature feature.  Now that may seem very negative…because it is. 

Our plot opens with the island resort of White Sands, local sheriff John Stone (Eric Scott Woods of Charmed, Ghost Game, April’s Fools, Jonah Hex and Sink Hole) and his sister Brenda  (Vanessa Lee Evigan of Less Than Perfect, Quiet Kill, Holiday in Handcuffs, Project Solitude and In My Sleep) and warning the Mayor (Edgar Allan Poe of Traces of Red, Dead Inn, Oliver Twisted, Monkeybone and King’s Highway)and swarmy prodigy Jimmy (Corin Nemic of Parker Lewis Can’t Lose, Drop Zone, Stargate: SG-1, The Stand, Mansquito, S.S. Doomtrooper and The American Standards) that they have to close the beaches to what they believe is a shark attack.  Naturally there is scoffing so Sheriff Stone (Chief Brody) offers to call in an expert for a second opinion.  The mayor and his man brat agree to this but otherwise this party festival is still on. 

Breasts makes science easy to follow.

Enter Doctor Sandy Powers…tee fricking hee.  Dr. Powers (Brooke Hogan of 2-Headed Shark Attack, Devour and School of the Dead) will be our Matt Hooper archetype only she primarily is roaming around in a tank top and shorty shorts to display other assets to hide the lack of intelligence as she spews her lines.   Seriously, if you believe this girl is a marine biologist then you believed Tara Reid’s archeologist in Alone in the Dark.

Powers surmises that the creature is a prehistoric shark that existed and hunts in the sand rather than water. HUGE STRETCH but I dare say we move on as the festival appears to be a snack fest for these ravenous eating machines of CGI terror.

Yes I have more to say.   While this was not the gore gobbling fest that Piranha 3D was, I think it was meant to be NOT taken seriously.  I saw civvies having access to Napalm for God’s sake.  A flaming throwing M4 assault rifle was a prop.  The sharks look like a hybrid of a crocodile scaled shark but thankfully no Tiffany or Debbie Gibson was around.

Jonas Quinn makes pimpin' look easy.

This was hastily written, the CGI needed a lot of tweaking and well the performances felt like everyone was just a goofing around.   I am pretty sure this film is out there to be made fun of but that seems too easily.  Give me a creature feature that doesn’t know it is tripe like Snow Beast.   

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Shark Week: Sharks in Venice

Hey all you wacky readers and welcome back to yet another installment of the creature feature theme of Shark Week and boy this one is a bit of a doozy.   Imagine if you combine a couple of Spielberg (Lucas not withstanding either) projects and make even less sense than possible. So grab your lost artifacts, scratch your chin with the back of your hand and get ready to dodge a shark and possibly a smooth boulder.   This is Sharks in Venice.

Coming for ya, Richard Dreyfuss.

There are spoilers in Venice??!!!  That is preposterous!

Nu Image Films (Cyborg Cop, Hollow Point, Shark Attack, Alien Hunter, SharkMan and S.S. Doomtrooper) has 1 in 7 chances to creating something thought provoking, captivating and entertaining.   The vibe this time around screams stinker.
Dr. David Franks (Stephen Baldwin of Born on the Fourth of July, The Usual Suspects, Fled, Half Baked and Scar City) an archeologist traveling with his girlfriend Laura (Vanessa Johansson of Shifted, Reservations, Day of the Dead, The Objective and Skavengers) are meeting with the Venetian police to learn what happened to his father.   I am almost certain a long dead crusading knight and a diary are involved.  They travel by boat where David swears he saw the dorsal fin of a shark but as he glances back it was gone so he dismissed it.

The hell is my line?!

Franks and a scuba expert Rossi (Ivaylo Geraskov of Death Train, In Hell, Air Strike, The Russian Specialist and Mercenary for Justice) head underwater to reach a cavern when suddenly an immense shark swims out at attacks the men.  Rossi of course is eaten and Franks barely escapes to the cave with a shoulder injury.   The cave is decked out like the underground tomb in Raiders of the Lost Ark and he has yet another close call to find this vast treasure hoard.  Pocketing a brooch of gold and emerald he heads back to be hospitalized for the end of Act 1.   Seriously the wounds heal up is worthy of Wolverine.  Not goofy enough for ya, yet?   Well why don’t we throw in the Mafia demanding Franks’ undivided loyalty to fetch the treasure or they put two in Laura’s coconut?

Here are just a few of the many things that will annoy even the most average history buff.    Franks goes to his father’s apartment to investigate his death saying the 8th Crusade was financed by Louis the XIV.  That particular crusade was conceived in 1270 three hundred years PRIOR the fair king’s birth.  Somehow the crusaders conquered Crete even though the island was under Venetian rule for more than 70 years.    Solomon’s hoard was brought to Venice on a Spanish Galleon???!!!!  A sea barring vessel 300 years in the future made a time jump to the past???!!   Sounds like a time traveling McGuffin or possibly a kooky Timelord with a quantum generator, a pot noodle and a series of rubber bands.  

Ah I mean.

Worry not readers there are continuity goofs too.   Apparently 2nd Unit Director was allowed all of two streets for a chase scene shot from different angles but you can easily realize how these streets look familiar.   Laura is hauled off in handcuffs by the Mafia goons and then in the cutaway she has rope wrapped around her wrists.  Franks gets his leg bitten off in the first scene and yet it magically appears in the next scene.   Whiskey Tango Foxtrot??!!!!   

  Save your brain cells, eyes and money folks.   This one is NOT a keeper.  Oh final FYI; we see the shark (Title creature) very few times throughout this movie but thank God for that Mafia link or we might have gotten bored.

Shark Week: Swamp Shark

Welcome back readers to even more Shark Week so buckle up, this is bound to get bumpy.  SyFy Channel seems to be churning out more and more creature features but they seem to have a disturbing love for shark based movies and since the populous is not arguing against that we have yet another feature to review.  So gas up your swamp boats, bring more ammo than the National Guard and get some!  This is Swamp Shark.


You telling me we got a spoiler deep in the Bayou?

The swamplands of the Atchafalaya Basin are open for the summer and all the teeny boppers roaming about set for the big Gator Fest weekend.  Unbeknownst the locals and party goers, an entrepreneur has made purchase of a very large sea creature for his collection.  Millionaires are all crazy like.   A fiasco occurs during the delivery, killing the drivers and the creature escapes in the swampy river.

Parents, this is most of the college money right there.

At the Bouchard’s Gator Shed restaurant a local drunk is hauled out by Jason Bouchard (Jeff Chase of Dexter, Burn Notice, Chuck, Star Trek, The Spy Next Door and The Mechanic.  Little sister Krystal (Sophia Sinise of CSI: NY, Fear Not and The Heart of Christmas) longs to graduate and leave this Godforsaken town. Our drunk is found mangled to bits and bits later and the town sheriff (Robert Davi of Die Hard, The Profiler, License to Kill, Maniac Cop 2, Maniac Cop 3 and Stargate: Atlantis) attributes the death to a pack of gators kept at Bouchard’s and deems the whole kit and caboodle is to be locked up and the gators need to be whacked. 

Rachel Bouchard (Kristy Swanson of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Chase, Big Daddy, Dude, Where’s My Car, Soul Assassin and Silence) claims to have seen a creature in the waters that had a fin on its back and of course the sheriff scoffs at this.   She, her brother, flirty boyfriend Tyler (Richard Tanne of 2001 Maniacs, Knifepoint and The Nine Lives of Chloe King) and Tommy (D.B. Sweeney of The Cutting Edge, Fire in the Sky, Strange Luck and Dinosaur) attempt a search and destroy against the shark but failed in the attempt and Tyler peels the boat away from said creature.  Further down the river is a little party boat rented by those darn kids with their fornication and boozing it up and a couple get eaten by something that cannot be mistaken for anything but a shark.

Sheriff, Charlie Sheen is in the gator pit...Again!

I just have a few points about the film.  The action scenes are pretty well done with a fabricated prop shark and the underwater 35 mm Digital Panaflex really captured scenes well.  Our creature is NOT CGI for a change, giving it far more creditability.   The script could have used a bit of tweaking in the standing of the breed of the shark and where it originated by that isn’t touched base on. 

Our actors do a surprisingly good job with a creature feature film of this absurd nature.   All in all this was actually a fun flick.  Very little digital enhancement  done to this film other than to the print so for a goofy time, a few beers and a crowd for bad movie night, load this one up in your DVD or Blu-Ray.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Shark Week: Sharknado

Welcome back my readers to the absurd collection of tripe that is Shark Week.  For those just tuning in I am not referring to the informative and entertaining Discovery Channel week.  Oh no, this is the bottom rung of cinema shark movies that have such a farfetched plot device that you need a rod and reel to haul it back to some sense of reality.  But hey buck up!  They can’t all be THAT bad.   So grab yourself some goobers, a savory soft drink and relax in the easy chair.   This is Sharknado.

Hehe hides my woody.

Spoilers be in the water. Our spoilers.

From the collective asshats of Asylum Pictures (Transmorphers, The Terminators, Almighty Thor, Sherlock Holmes) comes a preposterous notion of a hurricane and from the CGI standing has to be a class 4 or 5, scoops up a wide variety of sharks from the sea and somehow hurls them about L.A.   SUSPEND DISBELIEF AND SCREW PHYSICS!!!!!   Now for those of you that may feel we are off to a very rocky start…well we are.  The Mockbusters have been difficult for me to digest as they take popular movies and make an even worse one. 

Do not bring your evil here.

Our movie opens with a shark fin soup connoisseur (Marcus Choi of Enchanted, Make Yourself at Home, Raising Hope, 40 Days and Nights and Graceland) and salty dog Captain Santtiago (Israel Saez de Miguel of Venom, Five, Green Card, Black Rice and Rise of the Dinosaurs) conclude a million dollar purchase of sharks as a giant hurricane (not a tornado) that proceeds to gobble up different species of shark and chuck them at 150 mph off the coast of Mexico and into Southern California.  Sharks come tumbling in buildings, bars, homes and around regions of Santa Monica without killing them outright from the sheer impact, speed and velocity they were traveling at.  SCREW PHYSICS!!!!!!

Eat it boy, eat it!

Our would be hero  surfer and bar owner Fin (Ian Ziering of Beverly Hills, 90210) whose Zen philosophy has him totally in tune with the waves points out the fast paced weather is not normal in that regards.  Like the calm seas and clear skies going suddenly cloudy and storm brewing.  Fin’s main earner Nova (Cassie Scerbo of Bring It On: In It to Win It, Dance Revolution, Make It or Break It and Teen Spirit) hold a secret loathing for sharks and her gill shaped scar indicates.  Looks like she was getting a wax with a cheese grater but no other portion of her leg or body had scar damage.  Oops.  One such homeowner is startled by the arrival of said shark April (Tara Reid of The Big Lebowski, American Pie, Van Wilder and Alone in the Dark) gets her living room up to about 4 feet of water and yet the swells managed to miss her front porch/ parking garage. Hmmm… oh right I forgot.  SUSPEND DISBELIEF!!!!
Tara over me? As if.

Okay just a few side notes on the film.  Given how laid back the Southern Californian is I had a bit of a difficult time buying them rallying and beating back the sharks.   Tossing a bomb from a helicopter to stop a hurricane seems logical too.  Oh did I mention John Heard (On the Yard, Heart Beat, Cutter’s Way, Home Alone and In the Line of Fire) in this as well?  Playing a rummy former surfer he belches his lines and sways.  

Oh weather is calm for a matter of 3 frames per second and then the skies darken like Gozer the Sumerian had arrived.  Continuity was not a big issue for this flick as streets varies on being bone dry one minute and then flooded the next. Oh and apparently Santa Monica beach houses have their own gyroscopic mounts or anti-gravity units because I didn’t see a single swell wipe them out…