Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Years!!!! Bloody New Year

Greeting and salutations as we tackle another helping of Phantoms of the Year Day 3. As it is indeed New Year's Eve, it is only fitting and proper that our movie for tonight is actually occurring on New Year's Eve unlike Life Blood's blatant excuse to put models in cotton teddies. I know that sounds odd, a heterosexual man complaining of such viewing but dammit folks that was a really bad film. With that in mind, what say we catch up with some pesky teens that plan to get liquored up and explore one another sexually, all the way releasing some mutant hell beast bent on destroying the world? This is Bloody New Year.

Peggy Sue and Charlie Bodell are startled!

Five teens kill time before sailing away at the Fun Fair in Wales... I have no idea why they are in Wales but how cares? Our in-depth background on everyone is they are having a weekend to celebrate the New Year when a young American get bothered by the weakest carnie punks ever and the older gent of the three looks like the bartender of the Winchester via Shaun of the Dead. After the daring rescue and very mild fisticuffs with the carnies our preppy bunch got sailing when they encounter coral reef which in my opinion was accidental during the shoot and they just added to the movie. Washed to shore, these plucky preppies make their way to the famous Grand Island Hotel that is all the rave in Wales. With no one about, they pair off, start exploring, diddle each others brains out and swipe dry clothing. Strange goings on in our haunted hotel as our director tries to go Kubrickian on us and give us cheesy haunted effects like magazines closing themselves up, fireworks going off and the death defying possessed vacuum cleaner ambled for toes.

They're upset being greasers is outdated.

The kids slowly realize that all the 1950's apparel, decor and random blurts of music might mean that nobody has been to this hotel in ages and something odd may have occurred. This by the way starts shedding light to the place is cursed PAST THE HALF HOUR MARK!!!! Up until this point it has been exploring, heavy petting (as heavy as the English can allow themselves) and poorly constrewn dialogue. Finding a 1950's film Fiend Without a Face would have been far more enjoyable to watch versus the movie I am enduring. To say the film drags on until about the 37 minute mark and finally one of the cast gets attacked, throttled and murdered by a ghost from the projector. With our hapless teens splitting up the party, it is a safe bet that death is on the rise but there is so much filler of staring aimlessly, pointless dialogue how weird everything is and LESS VACATING THE ISLAND!!!

Will there be survivors?? Does anyone get any more chances to hook up? Are they having a happy New Year?

A few comments on the movie now.

British director Norman J. Warren (Her Private Hell, Satan's Slave, Terror, Spaced Out, Alien Prey, Inseminoid and Gunpowder) clearly grew up with a steady diet of Hammer movies like many of us did, but this lad chose to try to top Hammer's gothic time period pieces with a touch of cold and grim tones set in modern-day as well as the future. With a paltry shoestring budget, our director channeled Sam Raimi's Evil Dead, Stanley Kubrick's The Shining and added a dash of Fulchi's Zombi and set it to boiling point... by that I mean it was left on the stove too long, caused a house fire and everyone died violently.

Ambitious to a fault, it almost seems like no footage hit the cutting floor, the editing was unusual and the cast of unknowns are flubbing lines and tripping over themselves. Some well timed sight gags and jump scares and the makeup for the ghouls is pretty fair but overall this felt forced. An A for effort but solid D- minus for execution. Best thing said about this movie... I am done watching it.

Deborah was under the tanning bed too long.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

First Podcast of Rotten Ramble On!!! Very vibrant and very unprofessional.

Good day and hello!  I would like to take this time to  show off  Rotten Reelz Reviews' podcast companion, Rotten Ramble On  

Bear in mind this is roughly thrown together and Shawn and I were just having fun.  Other podcasts will be a tad bit more professional.   This is not for young ears so adults, pay attention to that.  ENJOY !! 

Phantoms of the Year: Life Blood

Welcome back to Phantoms of the Year Day 2. That really needs a catchier title. Oh well, moving on we are back for yet another New Year's Eve but not in the realms that we are used to. Imagine a swingin' sixties love fest with delectable dishes and dapper dude gadding it up when all of the sudden, an accidental murder occurs and a lesbian couple flee from the party only to end up dead... and that's just the beginning. This is Life Blood.

Fellas, anything that yummy on deserted road, think trap.

Coming out of indy film producer/actor/director Ron Carlson (I Am My Resume, Tom Cool, Life Blood and All American Christmas Carol) brings a film with a fairly original premise. Our couple jetting down Pearlblossom Highway freaked by the incidental murder, Brooke (Sophie Monk of Click, The Hills Run Red, Hard Breakers and The Legend of Awesomest Maximus) killed a rapist and Rhea (Anya Lahiri of The Fine Art of Love: Mine Ha-Ha, Dream Team, Daylight Robbery, The Scar Crow and Dragon Soccer) is worried about the repercussions of this act when they are visited by God (Angela Lindvall of CQ, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Somewhere and Our Wild Hearts) who calls them angels and tells them they are here to protect the world from true evil by killing to survive... and then they die. Laid to rest for more than 40 years the tempting twosome raise out of these...cocoons I guess is the best term in their next to nothing cotton slips and panties roaming the highway and feeding like vampires do. Brooke just goes completely wacko and feeds on multiple innocents while Rhea tries to talk Brooke out of it. The pair retreat from the rising sun to a nearby roadside convenience store and Brooke tortures the poor hapless clerk Dan (Patrick Renna of The Sandlot, Son in Law, The Big Green, The X-Files, Dark Ride and Bad Roomies) when Rhea gets in a fight with Brooke only to be killed by Brooke. Guess the honeymoon is off. Brooke proceeds to continue her bloody swath of evil as "God" in a sheer top brings Rhea back to life to stop Brooke.

Grr... wait, what's my motivation again?

Okay there are many points of this movie that need addressing. These are not pet peeves or nitpicks but major psychological coniptions. The first guy Brooke gacks has a pick-up with a trailer he is dragging behind. One of those silver rounded jobs. Why are they not covering the windows with cardboard and duct tape and sleeping in it? Any mouthbreather with an IQ over a salad bowl is asking this question. Neither vampiress has brought that up or even elude to its existence. SO WHY HAVE IT???? 

 The acting is abysmal with the exception of Patrick Renna, who was spot on. He is clearly having a blast with his role and his performance is loads better than our lead vampires. Also for the fellas, (sorry ladies) the lesbian vamps do not get starkers. That's right, guys no nude vamps for you, no lesbian rompfest so you can officially move on at this point. The fact that there is nudity and while it is abundant, it isn't placed in scenes that make sense overall. At the end of the day it just feels like the script was not flushed out and this is padding the film. the violence isn't over the top but fairly gory. Jiggly girls aside, this film had no real sense of direction, goals or really even a plot. Interesting story idea but not properly structured. Move on, folks. Nothing to see here.

Bloodletting is common with necking... if done right.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Phantoms of the Year Week: New Year's Evil

Well hello everyone and welcome to Phantoms of the Year Day 1 and let's start off the New Year right with a mediocrely shot and executed film with paltry music and the weakest collection of punks/drag queens of what is supposed to be L.A. Badasses. I envision a boy scout troop kicking the crap out of them, pocketing their collective wad of sweaty singles and fives and sending these pukes to the hospital. This is New Year's Evil

The Holiday Inn Slayer Strikes Again!!!

An obsessive fan of a punk rock DJ icon Diane "Blaze" Sullivan (Roz Kelly of The Owl and the Pussycat, New Year's Evil, Full Moon High and American Pop) has informed her that a naughty girl will die at the stroke of midnight in each time zone before eventually coming after her. Dubbing himself as "Evil" he taunts D telling her how she is a horrible person and all this blood is now on her hands. So in effect, a murder in a different city in each time zone will happen, it will be someone she knows and she is powerless to stop it. Her manager/husband Richard (Kip Niven of Magnum Force, Earthquake, Damnation Alley and Walker, Texas Ranger) is trying to coordinate with LAPD's detective on the scene Lt. Clayton (Chris Wallace of Don't Answer the Phone, Body and Soul, Dead End, The Secret and Rats and Cats) as the two try to figure out going through D's mail who the killer could be and why would he do such a thing? They couldn't afford John Saxon is my guess but hey I am not nitpicking... yet.

Stay out of Mommy's cocaine, sweetie!

To make this substantial amount of travel and murder possible we can all come to the conclusion that there may be more than a few killers working in concert for these gruesome deaths or the guy can teleport like Jumper. Actually a teleporting serial killer that leaves no trace evidence sounds far cooler and I am jotting that down. Ahem, moving right along. With each phone call that is somehow always getting connected through at this phone-in request line when you and I cannot even get our music requests in during a weekday let alone a major holiday, our killer is dropping hints to his identity to Blaze and her hamster in the wheel finally seems to be moving as she start to think that maybe she knows the killer after all. With a helping of red herring even one cell organisms can see through this thinly veiled plot, decipher who the killer is and left unfulfilled.

Now to pick on the film. Our extras at this rocking extravaganza could not have looked less lively unless they were full on Romero zombies. The milling around the dance for during Shadow's big number New Year's Evil was to die for. They would not voom if you put 4 million volts through them! Blaze gets one phone call that most would have deemed a crank call and she goes ridged the whole night convince of terror abound. Our murderer tries to remain in the shadows but we see his face most of the night and he kinda looks like Tom Noonan of Manhunter with better hair.

The nuts at the sanitarium were more bouncy than the crowd at the concert. My favorite goof is seeing a crew member kneeling behind the kitchen equipment that one of the cops walks behind and at least two boom mic appearances. The electronic voice box unit the killer uses gets old real quick. Sounds like lives are being threatened by Professor Stephen Hawking. The disco bar was more rousing and festive than the punks... that is just messed up. While all these murders are happening all around America it is quite clear that it was not in the budget to leave L.A. As I clearly saw Hollywood Boulevard "New York" and the fricking Van Nuys Drive-In Theatre. A tolerable slasher but nothing new, compelling or astounding by it. I love how the end seems to almost set up for a sequel... that never happened.

Mickey Rooney is more punk than this band!

Phantoms of the Year!!!!

Hello and welcome back my readers. No, I am not writing this from beyond the grave so put your various religious items down and cease warding my presence off. Coming back from Christmas vacation away from the computer for days on end, I barely looked at my phone. Really that was a blessing in of itself. As the last remaining days of the year are upon us it is only fitting and fair we do a tally of horror revolving around the impeding New Year... because I really could not sit through that many rom coms with New Year's as the theme. Seriously, some of those will turn your stomach as well cause your eyes to bleed out like you got a visit by the Men of the Blue Sun Corporation, two by two with hands of blue.

Mouth harps distort your voice... I guess.

So we will be looking at products of the 1980s as well as something a little more current. I guess the 90s were too busy cranking out alternative and hip hop to bother with New Year's horror movies but hell if I can avoid 90s catch phrases that frankly made me want to choke someone until they were bluer than a smurf, that is also a good thing and should be viewed as such. So gather around your tech of phones, tablets and computers and get ready to read how I am ranting and raving, sludging my way through this festering cinema crap for your reading pleasure. Who knows, we may actually find some entertaining films... but I highly doubt it. Ta ta.

Cindy Lou Who's trip to Manhattan ends in tears!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas!!!!

Hello there gentle readers.  I have not deserted anyone but I will be off for the holidays at my folks' humble abode.   I will resume writing next week and catch us up for TV, Movies and Video Games.  This upcoming year we are expecting some changes for Rotten Reelz Reviews.

Guess he was naughty.


My colleague Shawn and I will be starting our podcast Rotten Rambling On.    We will tackle many of the same things that is already written and we hope to entertain, inform and insight some feedback.

I would greatly appreciate input on films and TV that hasn't been covered yet.  Feel free to leave a comment, suggestion or complaint on the current standing and I will see about doing better.

Also feel free to chuck a like or comment at the FB page .  It needs some love and I am trying to get some attention to it.

Merry Christmas everyone and let's hope for a fun new year!!!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Christmas You Pick Them: The Leprechaun's Christmas Gold

Well after four days of waiting to see if ANYONE had any viewing suggestions, I received one suggestion. That's right, one suggestion. Suffice it to say this will not occur again for a great while when I ask if ANYONE reading this blog had a film suggestion. So to get out of this funk my girlfriend and I sat through a few holiday themed movies such as: Frosty the Snowman, Frosty Returns and the original Chuck Jones animated and wonderfully narrated by Boris Karloff How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Feeling much better after some Christmas delight, we snapped on the next film that should... offend all of Ireland and its descendants. This portrayal of all things Irish needs be stricken from my mind. Since this is most unlikely I feel the need to share it with you good folks. This is Leprechaun's Christmas Gold.

I'm telling ya Phil, Hobbits get the plum roles in sci-fi fantasy.

Brought to us by Rankin/Bass (Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, The Little Drummer Boy, Santa Claus is Comin' to Town and The Year Without a Santa Claus) one would conclude this bright little stop animation we are about to view would be delightful and whimsical and your conclusions would be wrong. Our story opens with narration of a charming voice near and dear to any Honeymooners' fan (Art Carney of The Honeymooners, The Jackie Gleason Show, Harry and Tonto, Death Scream, Going in Style, Defiance, Better Late Than Never and Firestarter) of a young cabin boy name of Dinty Doyle who clumsily lands on an island inhabited by leprechauns and their accents are less guanine that Jennifer Aniston's nose after Leprechaun. He plucks up a tree that releases a thousand year old Banshee name of Old Mag the Hag who vows to claim the Leprechauns' gold before Christmas day and keep it for herself. Naturally the leprechauns are terrified of this ancient evil released once more to reek havoc on their shores again... through a jaunty tune. Head of the miner clan Blarney Kilakilarney (Art Carney) tells oafish boy Dinty the tale of the Banshee and how she attempted to steal it in the first place.

AH! Cher without botox!!!

The miner clan are no fools and nary fall for such malarkey as they shoo and shun the banshee away but those pudding head shoemaker clan are thicker than the soles of the shoes they make and agree to that gold is the root of all evil. Blarney knows it to be trap and refuses to offer the gold up. Can the leprechauns put the banshee in her place? Will the gold be safe? Will Dinty be vivisected and left, strapped to a cross as a warning to all others that dare tread on a leprechaun's domain?

A few nitpicks on the film now. No research was done for any Irish folklore at all. Banshees apparently are made of tears and can take different shapes... to con leprechauns out of gold. Considering every legend of banshee I am aware of they are omens of death and spirit manifestations of fairy that wash the bloodstained clothes and armor of those that are to die. Nope, turns out they are full of tears. Just a Randy Newman heart touching song away from the snivels.

The direct correlation to Christmas and mythic creatures of fae seems a tad odd to me and Carney and Faye (Peggy Cass of The Marrying Kind, Gidget Goes Hawaiian, The Hathaways and Age of Consent) is really the talented voice work in the bunch. Old Mag's (Christine Mitchell of The Leprechauns' Christmas Gold and Christie Malry's Own Double-Entry) is so irritating it sounds like Mariah Carey, nails on a chalkboard and Fran Drescher's Nanny laugh all rolled into one auditory nightmare guaranteed to cause hemmoraging. Rather than showing charity during Christmas, Blarney hoards the gold from the banshee causing her to melt away only after they bamboozle her and trap her away. Yeah, bait and switch during a Christmas show. Not one of Rankin/Bass better specials.

Blimey! um..Cor! Bloody Hell?

Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas You Pick Them

As previously mentioned in last Friday's review I would like some audience participation on the Christmas movie collection.  Be advised I will NOT sit through Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life.  Seriously, I cannot stand that flick anymore.  Too many mandatory viewings has put me off enjoying it EVER AGAIN.   Aside from that one film, the sky is the limit.  Just shoot me a message on either the FB page, Twitter or oddly enough leave a message on this blog for what 5 films you feel I should endure, observe and report back on.

Mother Superior thinks back how she may have lost this one.

Keep in mind the only Silent Night, Deadly Night films I have not reviewed on here are Parts 2 and 5, so there.  Any bit of luck I will find that of which is requested and get right on it.  So go crazy for the holly jolly holiday!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Horror for the Holidays: P2

Greetings and hello, gentle readers. This marks Day 5 of Horror for the Holidays and yes it has been a difficult ride with some of the more graphic depictions of violence but that was my own undoing. Next week, I am taking some Christmas movie requests so start churning those in. This time around we have yet another Christmas Eve story arc but of the more disturbing The Hills Have Eyes vibe with a hint of slasher with fairly well rounded characters. Will it be holly and jolly or simply feel like a present ready to be returned to the store for automatic refund? This is P2.

Blackheart from Ghost Rider??!! RUN GIRL!!!

From the view of director Franck Khalfoun (Wrong Turn at Tahoe, Maniac remake and i-Lived) comes a story of a young girl Angela Bridges (Rachel Nichols of The Woods, Alias, Resurrecting the Champ, Star Trek and Conan the Barbarian remake), a rising up and comer working in a downtown Manhattan office (which looked a bit too much like Toronto) and is stuck working later than she likes and missing her parents' Christmas party. After the cliche call to the folks and making her vow to get there she heads down the parking garage level 2 where she finds her car is dead in the water. Could be the battery, the alternator or a convenient plot device, Angela is stumped for what to do. Trusty security guard Thomas (Wes Bentley of American Beauty, Soul Survivors, Ghost Rider, The Ungodly, The Tomb, Jonah Hex and Rites of Passage) finds her in distraught and offers her the chance to spend Christmas with him. Barely knowing the guy and getting the creeper creeper creeper sensation, she declines and calls for a cab while waiting up in the lobby. Discovering the lobby door is locked and her taxi has already pulled up she rushes back down to P2 to get out through the stairs and street exit when the lights shut off plunging her into darkness. Armed with only her cellphone as a source of light Angela is grabbed and drugged with chloroform... fade to black.

Oh, I just hate working on the holidays.

Angela wakes slowly still dizzy from the chloroform and see her business suit has been removed and she is in a white dress, heels and her foot is chained to a table. Thomas begins to inform her of his undying affections for her in spite of her many sins having watched her through CCTV, he feels he can really help her to the right path... this from a guy that drugged her, stripped her and made her his captive audience. Angela must try to escape from the quite insane Thomas and get help. Can she make out alive? Will she have to resort to suicide or taking Thomas' life to be free?

A few notes on the movie now. The movie itself was shot for two months primarily at night in a real life parking garage. Rachel Nichols said she was baffled at the need for 14 indentical dresses each in a state of different dirt or tears and said in a interview thank God for costume designer Robin Bigglestone (My Daughter's Secret Life, Recipe for Murder, The Circle and Monk) labeled and prepped each one in its individual bag or she would have been putting on the wrong one each time.

It took three separate dogs to play Thomas's guard Rottweiler and they were divas for attention and cookies.

Final thoughts is Bentley's guard is a disassociate psychopath with delusions of being a good person was fascinating to watch. Nichols did not allow Angela to suffer from the fatal illness of scream queen flailing in the dark with no plans of survival but in fact was a savvy and strong girl with a brain and determined to live. Slasher meets psychological thriller. A few plot holes to be sure but overall not a bad movie just again may want to skip letting the kids watch.   

Looks like the Nestea plunge to me!

Horror for the Holidays: Silent Night

Well hello there readers of mine and welcome back for Day 4 of Horror for the Holidays. Looks like a running tally for the use of Silent Night in more than half of the Christmas themed horror movies I have researched via IMDB. Some have been cults, warlocks, zombies and even the odd serial killer screaming, "Naughty!" but you get the point. Now, what I am about to review now is in fact not a remake but just a loose telling of a real life tale of the Covina massacre blown out of porportion via Hollywood. With the fair writing skills of Jayson Rothwell (Bob's Weekend, Blessed, Second in Command and Malice in Wonderland) and placed in the hands of director of rock videos and short films Steven C. Miller (Automaton Transfusion, The Aggression Scale, Under the Bed and Submerged), we are in for a bit of a gore fest but maybe it will not surpass Laid to Rest and here's hoping on that. I couldn't eat lunch for over two hours thanks to that flick. This is Silent Night.

Bob's first Krav Maga lesson with Santa goes awry.

In a small Midwestern town that looks awfully like the bacony sight of Canada. We find a fellow ducking the camera giving us the illusion of foreshadow or tension that he is in fact the killer decked out as Santa with his own personal flamethrower... yeah I didn't stutter, I said a flamethrower. Now unless he is stowing that in his bag of toys I am not certain how he carries that around with him. A young deputy is devoid of his uniform, bound to a metal lawn chair and strapped down with Christmas lights pleading for his life when he is fried like a wonton with bad CGI eyeballs exploding out of his head. A slight nod or homage to Silent Night, Deadly Night 2.

Young deputy Aubrey Bradimore (Jaime King of Pearl Harbor, Bulletproof Monk, Sin City, Two for the Money and My Bloody Valentine) is woken early from bed by Sheriff Cooper (Malcolm McDowell of A Clockwork Orange, Caligula, Blue Thunder, Superman: The Animated Series, Star Trek: Generations, Justice League and Halloween) claiming the same eye popping lad has been AWOL since last Thursday and assumes he was out and about, now sleeping it off. With a surplus of Santas roaming about for the impeding holiday Santa parade makes it almost impossible to find out firebug psycho so the local law has their work cut out for them as it is.

Freeze, curtains!

While dealing with down and out cynical Santa Jim (Donal Logue of Blade, Ghost Rider, Life, Shark Night 3D and Sons of Anarchy), Deputy Bradimore is dispatched to the old abandoned house along the way because of an odd smell where she encounters the missing deputy and a missing housewife, both quite indisposed... that's deader than Pauly Shore's career if I was too subtle. With the body count reaching higher our hapless sheriff is no closer to discovering the who, what and why as Deputy Bradimore is convinced that our killer has to be someone they trusted as there have been no forced entries with each homicide. What is the connection to all these people? Why them specifically? Are they simply being punished by someone's code of morals and honor?

With the clock ticking down and red herrings aside our law enforcement better have downed enough caffeine to freak out a long haul trucker or it's curtains for this quiet little town.

A few comments on the flick. One, this is gory but not to say the level of the Saw movies. The death scenes are over the top to be certain but that would be if we were watching a thriller rather than a slasher film. CGI eye popping looked so damn phony that the make-up crew forgot to blacken the victim's skin better. Kudos to the scalp wound though. As one-dimensional as most of the characters that have been on the naughty list, I found myself rooting for Killer Santa. Mild amount of nudity, the f-bomb got dropped more than a few times and they were stockpiled on Kyro syrup and black food dye. McDowell is clearly having fun with this movie as his one-liners are just the right amount of cheese delivered in such a serious manner you cannot help but snicker. 

 Vicious murderous make-up SFX guru Vincent J. Guastini (The Last of the Mohicans, Dogma, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, The Devils Carnival and Under the Bed) the dismemberment, head splitting, axe wounds and gore gags aside tip their hat a bit to both the original and the second Silent Night, Deadly Night films but it does not have any story-line like it other than the killer is in a Santa suit and is going to town on the "guilty". That is really were the similarities end. So entertaining to a degree but DEFINITELY not one for the kids to curl around the fire place to AT ALL.

Guess he is not here to trim the tree.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Horror for the Holidays: Silent Night, Deadly Night 4: Initiation

Hiya kids and welcome back to Day 3 of Horror for the Holidays. Initially I tried to find a copy of the 1996 Santa Claws starring Scream Queen Debbie Rochon but that is just not happening. Seriously, an hour has gone by searching for this bit of tripe and I guess we just have to shuffle on to the next pile of festering feces. Hey! I know! How about a sequel in name only? Yeah we haven't had one of those since the Return to Salem's Lot. Boy that was a delight... for people that dislike Stephen King books I guess. Not sure who that film was for. So tallying back to our Santa Claus Killer when find... no continuation into the story of Ricky. Apparently after Bill Mosley's Jiffy Pop Popcorn dome in Silent Night Deadly Night III: Better Watch Out!, the producers were embarrassed for a follow-up and Ricky is no more. Go ahead and shed a tear, folks. This is Silent Night, Deadly Night 4: Initiation.

Ah, young fornicators!!! SINNERS!!!

With a grainy translated VHS to streaming feed I am guaranteed too much Dolby reverb and the post production audio track coming as loud as Evil Dead 2's "WORKSHED!" Our film in Los Angeles again but no orphanages or vindictive Mother Superiors this time. Yes, gone are the days of "Punish!" and we must adapt, gentle readers. Our movie opens with a hobo enjoying a half devoured burger when a girl atop a six story building gets set on fire via jump cut, slow pyrotechnics and then a dummy fall, cut to actress looking bored (dead) but not aflame then finally engulfed after landing on the safety mat the wrong direction from the fall. Completely seamless. And that is our minute forty-five intro and right to the credits.

We follow the lead investigator Kim (Neith Hunter of Born in East L.A., Less Than Zero, Fright Night Part 2, and Inside Out) is trying to channel her inner Lois Lane as the editor of Classified Ads is not as hard hitting as it sounds. Her boss Eli (Reggie Bannister of Phantasm, Phantasm II, Wishmaster, Bubba Ho-Tep and Revamped) is a sexist porker that believes anyone without a penis has no gut instinct for a story. Actually he comes across as the editor that doesn't give a budding reporter a hot story because she has had a month's experience and not been in the trenches.

I'm late for Quidditch!!!

Kim goes behind Eli's back to cover a spontaneous combustion story when she finds out at her first stop of the local butcher's shop that it would appear to be a suicide. Kim makes her way into the nearby bookstore to view the surprisingly impressive occult section when hobo Ricky (Clint Howard of Freeway, Tango & Cash, Leprechaun 2, Ice Cream Man, Barb Wire and House of the Dead) goes all Torgo of Mano: The Hands of Fate on her causing her overacting outburst and gathering attention of the bookstore owner Fima (Maud Adams of The Man with the Golden Gun, Rollerball, Octopussy, Hell Hunters, Angel III: The Final Chapter and The Seekers), who shoos Ricky away and sends him packing. She comes on a bit creeper as well and invites Kim to a picnic she is having with friends for the following day. Ominous music follows this woman's every other sentence so no worries there at all.

With her investigation bearing no fruit she head home only to be under seige by roaches from her sink ruining dinner she then goes to her boyfriend Hank's (Tommy Hinkley of Lethal Weapon 2, The Cable Guy, Star Trek: Generations and Ocean's Thirteen) parents' home for a Christmas dinner. Hank's father has been guzzling beer and decrees a woman's place is in the home and not out being career minded even since Eve was made from Adam's Rib. Hank attempts logic with his father and gets shot down after explaining it was an allegory.

Kim makes her way home having strange visions and dreams, thinks to skip work and visit this picnic of musical ill-boding intent. Finding a certain connection with these women, Kim seems to notice how the women adhere to Fima's will and her teachings of Lilith, first wife of Adam. As events of the week unfold, people seem confused to Kim's whereabouts or should they questioning her intent. Fima's gathering seem almost cultism in their actions unnerving Kim as she seems to feel they may be responsible for the young girl's death.

A few comments on the film now. This is the first of the series not having a killer Santa Claus in it. The views of man and woman having issues in the workforce is a tad cliche and point to almost every man being either a sexist pig, a lout or a creep. Granted, the work environment has its share of problems but this is way over the top establishing that black magic and blood sacrifices is the only way to alter that. I am sure feminists worldwide would be just thrilled at their sacrifices made to be summed up in this fashion, let alone any follower of Wicca portrayed as dark, sinister monsters. So while different from the original three I was not blown away with this creation. A moderately original story to be certain but not eye-opening at all.

Sweetie, it was this film or another Roger Moore Bond flick.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Horror for the Holidays: The Children

Howdy all and welcome to Day 2 of Horror for the Holidays. Well the weather outside is less frightful than the movie I have for you today. Let's see if our friends across the pond can scare and chill us to the bone, shall we? This movie is the work of Tom Shankland, TV and Movie director (Bubbles, Bait, Hearts and Bones, Clocking Off, Jericho and Ripper Street) and looks to be interesting using a killer theme with a less than 50% success rate so let's give this DVD a whirl. This is The Children.

Well this was no skiing accident!

Two families have gathered together for a cozy Christmas and New Year's holiday in an isolated house far from the hustle and bustle of civilization. A perfect getaway thinks Elaine (Eva Birthistle of Breakfast on Pluto, Imagine Me & You, The State Within, The Last Enemy and Wake Wood) and her second husband Jonah (Stephen Campbell Moore of The History Boys, The Bank Job, Season of the Witch and Hunted). Traveling with Elaine's teenage daughter Casey (Hannah Tointon of Hollyoaks, Doctors, Switch, The Hour and Love Matters) and her step-siblings Miranda (Eva Sayer of Inspector Lewis, EastEnders, The Children, The Day of the Triffids and The Turn of the Screw) and Paulie (William Howes of The Children) everyone is a bit bouncy, punchy and glad to be out of the SUV. Arriving at the house that is Chloe's (Rachel Shelley of Lighthouse, Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India, The L Word and Rogue), Elaine's sister, her husband Robbie (Jeremy Sheffield of Hollyoaks, Merlin, The Wedding Date and Coronation Street) and their two children Nicky (Jake Hathaway of The Children, The Bill, The Tudors and The King's Speech) and Leah (Rafiella Brooks of The Children and Gulliver's Travels) looking forward to a fun-filled Christmas when Paulie starts summoning the earl, which the adults presume is travel sickness.


Tee hee *whispers I kill you*

As the night falls, Nicky and Leah are also taken back with showing symptoms of the same sickness. Rebelious teen Casey plans to ditch the family to go party with her friends when the family cat Jinxie seems to be hiding in the dense cul-de-sac forest and refuses to show itself. As this night progressing the kids seem to be almost malevolent in their actions and dinner is ruined by Nicky as Robbie takes the rest of the scamps outside to play.

Nicky seems to have in his head to turn on dear old dad and do the old boy in. Why you may ask? Um... were you not reading about this illness? Try to keep up, would you please? Chloe now just shattered seeing her husband in a pool of blood Casey is given the task to find the kids. Robbie's body goes missing as Jonah and Elaine attempt to comfort Chloe. Casey finds Robbie's remains as he has clearly been disemboweled. Will the adults believe Casey on what she saw? Will it all end in tears? And who is finishing the mince pie?

A few comments about the movie now. Most of the violence is kept off-screen and eluded to but the first adult attack is extremely violent and looks like Home Alone: The Dark Chapter. Using a bit of tension with musicial score, pull back pan and some tight zooms the anxiety in and out of the house build up. They really can't call the cops to save them, they don't have the heart to attack their own kids and they have never been put upon this situation before.

With simple household and gardening equipment, these little actors did an excellent job of convincing me they have gone completely crackers. With the exception of Village of the Damned, very few kid killer thrillers work. Most fall into the Children of the Corn territory and you are left laughing at the screen. The Children will preveal in terms of horror. Not one to share with the kids for many reasons.


Monday, December 8, 2014

Horror for the Holidays: Silent Night, Bloody Night

Greetings and welcome with festive cheer for the holidays and we enter Day 1 of Horror for the Holidays. Boy nothing says Christmas quite like mono sound mix, a almost technicolor quality and more grain on the film than the movie " Field of Wheat". I did not have a lot of luck with finding a decent copy of today's movie but we are going to press on and soldier through this terrifying collection weird tales of family and friends in a mansion previously occupied by crazy people. No I do not mean a dysfunctional family, I mean the house used to be a lunatic asylum. This is Silent Night, Bloody Night.

Carter, are we cliche murder bait?

With captivating taglines like: The mansion. The madness. The maniac. No escape. It is almost as if the poster taunts you or dares you to enter this awe inspiring film. My belief is it is telling to run far far away as though you are being chased by Leatherface but that is my take on it. So scary is this poster that the faint of heart dare not watch this movie alone and in the dark.

Our movie opens in on Christmas Eve 1950, with a gentleman name of Wilfred Butler fleeing out of his house engulfed in flames flailing around in the snow and just died presumably so. Top that, Citizen Kane!!! Years later, lawyer John Carter (Patrick O' Neal of Dick and the Duchess, Route 66, Assignment to Kill, El Condor and The Doris Day Show) and his secretary Ingrid (Astrid Heeren of Vice and Virtue, The Thomas Crown Affair and Castle Keep) arrive 20 years later during that same holiday staple probably cursing having to work on the holidays. Carter and Ingrid practically are assaulted with greetings by the town Sheriff Mason (Walter Klavun of It Should Happen to You, The Boston Strangler and The Brink's Job), Mayor Adams (Walter Abel of Fury, Holiday Inn, Mr. Skeffington and Island in the Sky) Tess Howard (Fran Stevens of The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight and Silent Night, Bloody Night), the town's phone operator and Charlie Towman (John Carradine of Stagecoach, The Grapes of Wrath, The Unearthly, House of the Black Death, Shock Waves and Kung Fu). The lot of them greet Carter and Ingrid in wonder to what they are doing in their minuscule crappy town.

Lost in a Pantene moment.

Word spreads about town that Wilfred's grandson, Jeffery (James Patterson of Lilith, In the Heat of the Night, Castle Keep and A Fable) is selling the enormous mansion of a paltry price of $50,000 which becomes the buzz of the town so that the tale even makes its way to the local loony bin causing an insane psycho to escape. Coincidence? Nah. With the exterior shots even in daylight this house has a Gothic, eerie feel as disturbing events seem to unfold. What lurks in this house? What tales could it tell us and what is that smell in the basement?

Just a few observations at this time. The dialogue is written if you combined the visual skills of Dickens' A Christmas Carol with that of a Gialli (Italian thriller or mystery) or Giallo if you prefer. The flashback sequences seem to be in sepia filter so everything captured looks grainy and disturbing. The film is littered with red herrings making you have to use your brain to figure out who the killer is and why these specific people are dying off. Make no mistake folks, this is a pre-cursor to the slasher genre to the likes of the original Black Christmas or the original Halloween.

A nice steady pace unveiled with colored filters, still images, eerie composure and a gothic story makes this a bizarre choice to be placed in a Christmas setting. With the exception of the Mayor lightly whistling Silent Night and his daughter having a jolly outfit on the weather shots look latter Fall rather then Winter. A classic example of how a horror film follows the lick of a Rolling Stones tune. Jazzy and swinging, baby. Seriously though, modern horror directors could take notes from this movie and getalong fine. If confused and unable to find it by this title, you can try the three other English titles: Zora, Death House and Night of the Dark Full Moon.

Falling off the grid in the late 70s, our movie fell into public domain only to be discovered by Elvira, Mistress of the Dark's gang giving it a cult following for the VHS generation.

Driving Miss Daisy: The Final Chapter

Horror for the Holidays

Well hello ladies and gents. Well it is that time, that time I must endure some gut wrenching terror or just spattering of fluids against the walls, ceiling and floors. I know it seems a trifle odd for this festive of the year when I could be enjoying Frank Capra's "It's a Wonderful Life" or George Seatons's "Miracle on 34th Street" but alas this blog is not that classy, refined or whimsical enough to handle that much Christmas hilarity and buoyancy. Do not be fooled by the extensive vocabulary , people. I sat through Zombie Lake.

Yeah this won't end in tears.

With this in mind I shall slug my waist high snow pants into the muck and bile that is Christmas themed horror films. "But Jake, clearly you have already suffered the slings and arrows of Christmas horror movies every made." A well meaning attempt to detour me from my chosen task, crazy voice in my head, but sadly there are more terror imbued dog flop to be had and I am spending this week subjecting you all to it. So if you were expecting a delightful reminiscence of Rudolph or Frosty, buddy have you hit the wrong blog. ENJOY!!!!

We are wearing coats in California... SAVE US!!!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Hodgepodge Scifi: Trollhunter

A heartfelt welcome back for Day 4 of Hodgepodge Scifi. It would appear today's film takes on the premise of a documentary in the style of The Blair Witch Project in Norway. Alas our valiant crew is not looking for hags but in fact there seems to be a steady decline in bears and many of the local hunters are convinced there is a poacher. Three college students are set out to find our illegal hunter but there's a slight catch. Seems as though said hunter is not trailing bear but a much deadlier predator. This is Trollhunter.

Ahhh!!! Paris Hilton!!! Oh, wait that's the troll.

With writer/producer/director Andre Ovredal (Future Murder, The Autopsy of Jane Doe and Ghost Projekt) this film is a found footage mockumentary aligning a cast of less than known actors cut interspersed with random footage following carnage of bears being wiped out, our students documentation director Thomas (Glenn Erland Tosterud of Orange Girl, Trollhunter and High Point), boom operator Johanna (Johanna Morck of Cold Prey 2, Magic Silverm Trollhunter, Date and Before She Came, After He Left) and cameraman Kallie (Tomas Alf Larsen of Cold Prey, Cold Prey 2, Trollhunter and It's Only Make Believe) on in hot pursuit as they survey the camps, finding odd tracks in the snow which is immediately dismissed by Finn Haugen (Hans Morten Hansen of Trollhunter, Dag, Curling King and Side om side), the head of Norwegian Wildlife Board. He believes the tracks to be faked and someone looking to pass on a ghost story or stir up publicity. The suspected poacher, a one Hans (Otto Jespersen of Odd Little Man, Rikets rost, Trollhunter, Nattskiftet and Borning) seems to know the mountains inside and out and could easily evade capture, live off the land and not worry of authorities coming at the ready for him.

Next time, no mating calls!!

Failing to secure an interview that morning, the trio bird-dogs him that night, slowly creeping up on him on foot when they see Hans fleeing for his life screaming, "Troll!" Thomas is attacked by a massive animal and the lot of them pile into Hans' Land Rover as their own vehicle's tires have been torn to shreds. Coming clean with the kids, Hans tells them he does not stalk and kill bears but in fact kills trolls. Naturally they are skeptical but ask to join Hans and record the hunt, which he agrees provided they adhere to his every condition on the hunt. No exceptions.

Encountering a troll, Hans blasts a three-headed beastie with a UV strobe light that must have been set at God level because the critter turns immediately to stone. We learn that sometimes trolls just explode due to a concentration of UV light. Normally the creatures stay out of populated areas and lately they have been violating their own instincts. Hans is determined to get a blood sample and see if something has altered in their diet. He later explains that his is a government agent that specializes in destroying these creatures if necessary, track and monitor their habits.

What is causing the creatures to roam about? Can Hans decipher what is going on before it is too late? Will the public finally learn that the creatures of myth are actually factual?

Just a few bit of info on the moving pictures there. This was shot entirely in the forests and mountain range of Western Norway which as actress Johanna Morck put it, an exhausting experience running up and down that region. According the director Ovredal this was the only way to maintain absolute secrecy on the flick as a whole. With some CGI, the creatures are very effective and the night vision view adds to the drama.

Sadly the comparison to The Blair Witch Project was weighed heavily on this movie and many found it flat performances and lacking texture. Personally, I found the cinematography amazing, the locations excellent for a creature of legend and in general, it was fair a great example of a low budgeted film pushing the envelope. Hell, Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 82 percent on the Fresh rating say 72% that saw it liked it overall and I have to agree. I went into this with no hope of being entertained and I was refreshingly surprised. Give it the once over, folks.

Yeah we have cold camps but we also snuggle well.

Hodgepodge Sci-fi: Mutant Girls Squad

How do folks, we are back with Day 3 of Hodgepodge Sci-Fi and we have not touched base on any Japanese sci-fi or horror so why not combine that?  From the bizarre, warped mind of director/writer Noboru Iguchi (The Canal, Hard Porno, Dark Habits, Body Heat, The Machine Girl, RoboGeisha and The ABCs of Death) which is primarily Japanese Adult Video has branched out in horror and gore films. Not sure if that is a good place to start but at least he knows blocking on a painted ass bobbling up and down so he has that going for him. This is Mutant Girls Squad.

Clearly the cute geeky girl needs mocking.

Our story follows bullied awkward girl Rin (Yumi Sugimoto of Engine Squadron Go-onger, Buzzer Beat, Sheiken Baby!: Shakespeare Syndrome, Pirate Squardron Gokaiger, We're a Bounty Hunter Team and Black Suit Story) constantly pummeled and threatened because she seems different. She starts feeling a severe pain in her hand. Her parents bolstering her confidence explains she hails from an ancient clan known as Hiruko (a clan of gifted mutants with superpowers) that chose to fight for what is right and pure. No sooner has this bomb being dropped, her house gets raided by a cadre of soldiers riddling her parents with bullets as she narrowly escapes with her life.

Killer Migraine Wave!!

Chased by civilians as she has been outed, Rin manifested a clawed and chitinous armored hand and is defending herself from blade wielding and gun totting villagers. They were only missing pitchforks and torches. Rin meets with Rei (Yuko Takayama of Twin Spica: Odyssey to Space, Rescue Wings, Travelers, Kamen Rider Wizard in Magic Land and Kamen Rider Wizard) takes her away to train with her powers with this rag-tag ban of rebels that have been persecuted and hounded and they are fed up with in demanding revenge against the human race. With everything spinning out of control, Rin is torn between defending the innocent humans rather than slaughtering them or subjugating them to her will and feels the path of the warrior versus monster seems to be the focal point of the movie. Will humanity suffer for a few idiots? Will the Hiruko rise above petty behavior or revel in the madness?

Okay now the true grit of the film. This is extremely bloody as well as silly. I think it is supposed to be dark humor as the villagers pick up weapons and try to end Rin some of the sequences were clever but not needed on the level of blood gags worthy of Dead Alive. Mind you, most of gags is not to the parallel that most modern horror movies so it looks a trifle cheesy. Peter Jackson's stomach may have flip-flopped in some scenes but the common element follows a shoestring budget. The term is Sushi Typhoon shows an amalgam of insanity, violence and goofy story telling.  

Again the English translation may have lost some critical details but honestly I cannot imagine it of the same height of a critically acclaimed science fiction. So if you need mindless violence, young girls in schoolgirl uniforms and buckets of blood, then look no further.

Rin lives the dream of becoming a proctologist.