Friday, February 24, 2017

Felissa Rose Week: Camp Dread

Welcome back for Day 4 of the Week starring the lovely and talented Felissa Rose.  Now this time around it is going to sound like a complaint when in fact, it is merely an observation. We all know that the Hollywood remake, re-imagining and reboots are a happening and a lot of folks want you to notice it primarily around dramas, comedies and westerns. That being said, horror gets this so often that it is a bit exhausting. Today's film revolves around the reality show slasher event or "The Real Survivor" if you will. This time though, it's kind of clever. This is Camp Dread.

Sir, what does, "Lambs to the slaughter," mean?

Yeah I know the title just screams Friday the 13th or Sleepaway Camp but bear with me. Director/writer B. Harrison Smith (Camp Dread, ZK: Elephant's Graveyard, 360 Degrees of Hell, Garlic & Gunpowder and Death House) tells the sordid tale of down and out B-movie director/writer Julian Barrett (Eric Roberts of Star 80, The Pope of Greenwich Village, Best of the Best, The Specialist, The Immortals, Doctor Who, Justice League and Wolves of Wall Street) is clawing his way back to main stream after a stint in the 80s with his Summer Camp horror trilogy's money finally ran out. My guess cocaine, Ferrari and possible a couple of divorces but this is all theory.  To recapture that glory, Barrett plans to a reality TV show starring a bunch of misfits entitled rich kids that are in need of rehab or honestly some jail time.

From this day forth, refer to me as "The Master".

Local sheriff Donlyn (Danielle Harris of Halloween 4: Return of Michael Myers, Halloween 5: Revenge of Michael Myers, The Last Boy Scout, The Wild Thornberrys, Father of the Pride, Halloween, Halloween II, Fear Clinic, Hatchet II, Stake Land, Hallow's Eve and See No Evil 2) takes her late father's position as much as she can seeing the hell that man had dying of cancer. Keeping the peace but not ruffling feathers with Barrett, she just wants to be kept in the loop. To help wrangle the kids' shenanigans to minimum, Barrett suckers two former co-stars of Summer Camp, scream queen turned therapist Rachel (Felissa Rose of Sleepaway Camp, The Night We Never Met, Nikos the Impaler, Horror, Zombiegeddon, Dead Serious, Satan's Playground, Dead and Gone, Psycho Sleepover, Return to Sleepaway Camp and Dahmer vs. Gacy) and John Hill (Brian Gallagher of Who is Jose Luck?, Kodachrome, Close-Up, Time, Miss December, Carl, 6 Degrees of Hell, Nobody Gets Out Alive, Grand Theft Auto V and ZK: Elephant's Graveyard) to run these kids through a series of slasher attacks they have to avoid and the last one left standing gets a million greenbacks. Sweet deal, right?

Off camera, Eric Roberts is mooning her.

But what if even the reality TV show is a hoax as well and Barrett is using the footage to make another Summer Camp sequel without the kids' knowledge? To be honest, most of the characters should be bound to boards, give shallow cuts to bleed out and be dropped by a helicopter into shark infested waters but that is also the one-dimensional creation of them. In fact, the only one of them Novak (Joe Raffa of The Play-Station Killed the Puppet, Close-Up, 6 Degrees of Hell, Socia Media Misfits, Camp Dread, ZK: Elephant's Graveyard and Booted) has any real molding and Raffa runs with it.  Aside from Roberts, Harris and Rose I found the younger cast a little hard to take in.

Will the kids die out one by one? Will Felissa pick up an ax and deal with the killer? Will Danielle Harris give the killer the Hatchet treatment?

A lot of nods to at least 3 different slasher films that really brought the duplicates to light in the 1980s as we have Felissa Rose (Angela of Sleepaway Camp) in the Summer Camp series, Gallagher's character name is John Hill a hybrid of Halloween's writer/director/composurer John Carpenter and producer Debra Hill and the oh so subtle naming of Adrienne reference to Adrienne King who played Alice in Friday the 13th. Bottom line? Not a bad flick. Decent gore gags, the pacing is smooth and not rushed but with the current stream of horror you really don't feel bad for the characters getting gacked. Oh no, the horrid bitch of the group tragic. 

 Eric Roberts seems a bit detached from this role but still gives a good performance and I love how Felissa is perky and cheery. That cracked me up. A decent cast, a few twists and admittedly a few tropes of rattling doorknobs and snapping sticks out in the woods but those are camper slasher needs dammit. At the end of it, you have a good product using some 80s cliches trying to give that throwback feel but at the same time attempting to be its own.

Can' out!!!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Felissa Rose Week: Silent Night, Zombie Night

Welcome again back to the week. Yeah it is odd to being viewing this in February when clearly this is a Christmas tale but hey it happens. A story of life in L.A. A torrid tale of two cops partnered with each for years and one of them is diddling the others wife. Oh yeah and there are zombies. This is Silent Night Zombie Night.

Hehe I beefed in the car twice.

From the title I just assumed Ricky or Billy of Silent Night, Deadly Night rose from the dead to "Punish!" but turns out I am wrong. Seriously though this flick is less three minutes in and we already have had three zombie attacks, two on-screen and one off so Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, man!?! Officers Frank Talbot (Jack Forcinito of Blackbelt, Night Trap, Bitter Vengeance, As Good as Dead, Breath of Hate and Jurassic City) and Nash Jackson (Andy Hopper of Black Tie Nights, Girl on a Bed, Cloud Seven, Saint Francis, Shining On, CSI: NY and Political Disasters) both with enough tropes in their back pocket find themselves dealing with a legion of undead spreading rather quickly leaving them trapped with the woman they love, Frank's wife Sarah (Nadine Stenovitch of Heaven,Another World, Nash Bridges, Roadkiller, The Opponent, Beacon Hill, Beowulf and Open House). Yes it's the old standing of cheating wife with best friend, being professional on the job while cornered to hash out their zany differences...with zombies.

Eh, probably healthier than Church's fried chicken.

Nash got injured in the attack, not sure if the gunshot or a zombie bite occurred but Frank pissed off at the situation goes out and blasts a zombie with a twelve gauge...basically ringing the dinner bell. Dude, not watching The Walking Dead or Z-Nation? At any rate, Frank further ensures the salivation of zombie taste buds as they work around the apartment trying to get inside to the tender vittles. "But Jake, I thought you said this was Felissa Rose Week?!" Take it easy, Mr/Mrs shouty, we're getting there.

With a bit of exposition on the failing marriage, misinterpretation of a friend's intentions and so on, Frank hits on the idea of odor repellent via hunting formula. IDJIT! They're not deer! Frank seems too eager to bash civilians with a baseball bat which clearly means it may be time for a sensitivity awareness workshop. Homeowner Jeffery Hannigan (Lew Temple of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, Waitress, Halloween, Rango, Lawless, The Walking Dead, The Lone Ranger and House of Forbidden Secrets) is holed up in his attic with a pistol, water, food and a slighly injured son. No clue where the wife is at all. Frank accidentally caps Nash and just left him at Jeffery's. Dude, crappy neighbor.

Yeah it beats Zack Synder's nonsense.

Frank and Sarah woke up to be visited by I thought Shocking Dark's Megaforce but it would appear to be NRA enthusiasts Paul Irwin (Vernon Wells of The Road Warrior, Weird Science, Commando, Innerspace, Darksiders, Drop Dead Gorgeous, 100,000 Zombie Heads, Throwback and Jurassic City) and the top billed lady Elsa Lansing (Felissa Rose of Sleepaway Camp, The Night We Never Met, Nikos the Impaler, Horror, Zombiegeddon, Dead Serious, Satan's Playground, Dead and Gone, Psycho Sleepover, Return to Sleepaway Camp and Dahmer vs. Gacy). Not that I am not glad to see some veteran bad asses but an hour into the film and FINALLY we see this dynamic duo is a bit of a wait. With the plan of dealing with more zombies and scooping up Jeffery that plan goes all to hell leaving Elsa running back to Nash's pad. Jeffery got nipped in the face gives Nash his pistol after a long winded speech of missing family.

Will Frank and Nash hash things out? Can Elsa and Sarah pull a zombie slayer duo off?

Big problem with Vernon Wells and Felissa Rose being glorified cameos but I guess the love triangle was supposed to be the pivotal standing on the zombie story. The CGI gun shots, blood splatters and gallons of Karo syrup is effective in cost saving but looks a bit cheesy on film stock digital or otherwise. Maybe if you knock it down to 16mm and then convert to 35mm digital and then add the effects it would work easier. 

Nadine Stenovitch's performance of a woman torn between two guys is believable but Andy Hopper's passive aggressive character was a bit annoying. No fault to the actor, I just hate that particular trope. Ambivalence is what the final response to the film. Not a bad movie but it won't be a memorable one either. Sorry gang but that is my read through. Also I really wanted to see Felissa got sickhouse with a machete or hand axe, blow stray hairs out of her eye and say something to the effect, "You coming along?" Would have sold it for me.

When Airsoft games go too far.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Felissa Rose Week: Satan's Playground

Welcome back for Day 2 of Felissa Rose Week. Well it's always that time when you have to plan out and execute a family trip. Siblings kicking the back of your seat, a rousing game of "Stop Touching Me" and at least one kid always gets queasy. What could be safer and more fun that a trip to...Jersey? Howzabout a legend of darkness hidden with in the forest of Pine Barrens hell bent to do everything and everyone in? This is Satan's Playground.

Tellin' ya Felissa, it was the woods themselves.

Written and directed by Dante Tomaselli (Desecration, Horror, Satan's Playground and Torture Chamber) tells the tale of folklore of Mother Leeds. Legend has it she birthed 12 children and found herself once again pregnant for the thirteenth time convinced the child would be the Devil. Born on a stormy night the child would appear normal but morphed into a creature with the hooves and head of a goat, wings of a bat and a forked tail. As it slew its midwife before up, up the chimney it went and out in the Pine Barrens. Thus the Jersey Devil was made.  Later he went on to make a series of successful vacuum cleaners.  Our story opens as it always should. With a hooker getting dumped into the woods to fend for herself. Hmm, maybe not the best thing in the world but hey gotta start the body count somewhere.

Um Woods?  I got some nice sex here if you let me live.

Parents Donna ( Felissa Rose of Taken Alive, Bloodhounds II, Dinner and Driving, Daybreak, Nikos the Impaler, Zombiegeddon, The Drone Virus and Satan's Playground) and Frank Bruno (Salvatore Paul Piro of Joe's Apartment, Sleepers, Night Falls on Manhattan, Mob Queen, Godzilla, Kill or Be Killed and Desecration)decide a trip into Pine Barrens is the place for their autistic son Sean (Danny Lopes of Desecration, Nikos the Impaler, Horror, Satan's Playground, Chicken Pox, The Locals and Torture Chamber).  I guess that stretch in Wrong Turn in Tennessee was too rural...and hillbilly mutated mongoloid infested.

We don't get many city folk around these here parts.

As the Brunos make their way to the forest traveling with sister Paula (Ellen Sandweiss of Within the Woods, The Evil Dead, Speedbag, Satan's Playground, My Name is Bruce, Brutal Massacre: A Comedy, The Dread and Dangerous Women) and new baby Anthony, the car breaks down leaving them stranded on the side of the road and shockingly enough no Triple A in sight. Frank being the good guy and alpha male in this scenario votes to trek ahead on foot to get help when he encounters the house of Mrs. Leeds (Irma St. Paule of Guiding Light, The Oracle, Psychos in Love, The Cemetery Club, The Saint of Fort Washington, Thinner and Second Best)herself.

Okay my own opinion, this house is a dilapidated and rickety looking shabby shack that says to me either, "We're a family of cannibals or you will need a tetanus shot just from looking at our house." In either case, not warm, cuddly and inviting. Mrs. Leeds lives at home with her darling mute daughter Judy (Christie Sanford of Desecration, Horror, Brooklyn Bound, Pigs, Winter of Frozen Dreams and The Ascension) and creeper son umm no name given. (Edwin Neal of Gatchaman, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Future-Kill, Good Girl, Bad Girl, JFK, Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi, City Hunter, Devilman Lady, Queen Emeraldas, Sakura Wars and Zombiegeddon)

Will the Brunos make it out alive?? What is flittering around through the trees?? If there is a witch, will there be a large feline and an armoire?

Some interesting trivia as this is Ellen Sandweiss's first feature appearance since The Evil Dead back in 1981. Filmed in 16mm you get the vibe that Tomaselli is a huge fan of Argento, Fulci and Mario Bava with the extreme close ups on the eyes telling the story with a hint of Raimi for Evil Woods occurring.

Some great handheld, some shaky cam POV and even some decent crane if not improvised cherry picker shots so you know he is versed with camera work. The mood is eerie, the pace is not lagging and the action is pretty impressive. The tone of the overall film is pretty damn creepy just with the exposition. Sandweiss and Rose both on a subconscious level seem to know that darkness awaits them all.   Just based on the Bobcat station wagon and region they were shooting in, you could in fact made this look like pure 80s horror film. Thanks to the actors you feel the two family dynamics of a long car trip to having the family down the way that NO ONE talks to and not even the mailman won't go there. 

Rounding out the film at an hour and 21 minutes this is pretty good and creepy. Most of this film is shot at night and it is wonderfully lit. Not so much you can make out the work lamps spread through the forest (Talking to you, Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation) but just enough to take advantage of the chill in autumn and capture breath and some fog between the trees.  Makes me wonder if Tomaselli had dry ice placed around because it is that fearful and mysterious with the proper extras.  So if you like the local legends and dark tales, I would recommend this one.   Oh yes I forgot, no there is no nudity perv male readers. Get over it.

Psst, Frank farted.  Big time. Crack a window please.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Felissa Rose Week: Slaughter Party

Howdy all and welcome to the week. After touching base with the actress plugging actor/writer/director Sean Whalen's(Waterworld, Twister, Suicide Kings, Idle Hands, Python, Drive Thru and Hatchet III) project for IndieGoGo fundraiser of Crust, a man and his sock monster. Now how can you walk away from something that sounds that insane? That being said, I made a bold statement to said actress that I need to do a week for her films.  We are doing a Felissa Rose Week. This is Slaughter Party. I need a Tic-Tac?

Now keep in mind this is a Troma Studios creation sooooo.... I am hoping this doesn't hit Toxie territory. I have been pretty hard on Lloyd Kaufman and yeah I am not writing/directing or producing so I will tone down the stupid remarks. Hopefully have some fun remarks. We open with a three chord power slap thrash metal band and as soon as two dudes and a dwarf have whimsical jaunty music following them. No offense to the dwarf gentleman Mighty Mike Murga but I see one on film, my brain immediately goes to Bloodsucking Freaks or The Sinful Dwarf Z-grade exploitation films. Not sure why.

Looks like what we have a day to dismember....*Who CSI Theme*

They give a bit of exposition on this area of having an escaped lunatic dwelling in this cave in a remote region of desert and clearly they need to explore it Scooby Doo style. I was waiting for them to split up next or twist an ankle. What? Can only girls and women twist their ankle from a lumbering slow maniac or monster? So sexist. Looking a wee bit like Bronson Caves...again. A mad scientist (Ford Austin of Shank's Mare, Creepies 2, Cerebral Print: The Secret Files and Terminal) slaughters doofus 1 and 2 leaving the dwarf tied up and cackles like Spoony's Doctor Insano while...violating the Dwarf Craig.

Yup, flash forward to an internet date and well...I'm not sure I even want to explain how messed up Craig is now but he offs the date. We'll leave it at that.

I guess he snuck into another blonde's apartment and stabbed and pulled a mad scientist on her too. No real rhyme or reason, he's just crazy and blood thirsty now. Three weeks later. A title card told me so, Blond #2 was known as Mel (Annmarie Lynn Gracey of Desert of Death, Absolute Horror, Attitude for Destruction, Reptisaurus and Black Russian) is mourned by sister Tara (Felissa Rose of Taken Alive, Bloodhounds II, Dinner and Driving, Daybreak, Nikos the Impaler, Zombiegeddon, The Drone Virus and Satan's Playground ) while her best friend Kerri (Sarah Rosenberg of Foxfire, The Skin Horse, Shooting Nick, Two Fisted, Worn Like a Tattoo and Stray) telling her to get her ass out of her house and live a little...perhaps too little MUAHAHAHAHAHAHA...ahem...moving on.

Well the camera man was not shy.

So they are off to party in only enough the insane doctor's desert lands which means stripping down to bikinis. Detectives Cage (Ric Drasin of Ben, Flashfire, The Kid with X-ray Eyes, Active Stealth, Mach 2, Prank Attack and AWF Throwdown) and Donovan (Adult Actor Seymore Butts of Seymore Butts Swings, Seymore Butts: In the Love Shack, Bustin' Out My Best, Backdoor to Buttsville Gluteus to the Maximus, Assgasms and Tushy Girls Live) are hot on the case of two dismembered blondes...cuz California needs more of those I guess.

Can Craig the now knife wielding dwarf but put to a stop?? Is the mad scientist lurking about?? Will there be jiggly boobies??

Tad bit of trivia for those still reading and I loathe Urban Dictionary yet again, a slaughter party meets a festive get together were there are more females than males so clearly folks getting laid or a mass orgy. FYI, do not traipse through Urban Dictionary. You will be forever changed and NOT for the better.

Felissa Rose gives this goofy script a serious performance, Scream Queen Brinke Stevens (Private School, Slumber Party Massacre, Sole Survivor, Fatal Games, Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama, Cheerleader Massacre) makes an appearance and I am still snickering at Lloyd Kauffman's kill all the midgets rant. The plot is ridiculous, the sound editor needs to be fired...out of a cannon. The killer midget idea was fun but poorly executed. They just didn't go far enough for this route and it felt more offensive than funny and dark. Ron Jeremy is in this as well being cheesy and silly and frankly about the only thing to keep me even watching this. Director Fred Rosenberg's directorial debut overall flopped but again the starting of this goes to the writer, which is also Fred Rosenberg.

Potentially messed up story just lost in bad sound editing, sub plots that really went nowhere and using Brinke and Ron as cameos. Yeah I had to put on close captioning because I could barely hear the actors period. With implied lesbianism, pot smoking and typical boozing this entire terrifying film was shot in the hell loop of about 2 in the afternoon. 

Such a lifelike pinata!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Michael Crichton Week: Sphere

So we have Day 4 of Michael Crichton Week as we move into a sci-fi psychological thriller directed and produced by Barry Levinson (Diner, Young Sherlock Holmes, Tin Men, Good Morning, Vietnam, Rain Man, Avalon, Bugsy, Toys, Jimmy Hollywood and Disclosure) and you would think a story of a 300 year old spacecraft found in the great depths of the ocean would be a kick ass sci-fi story. But lengthy shots of water, a Samuel Jackson turning pages and Academy Award winner composure Elliot Goldenthal (Pet Sematary, Grand Isle, Alien 3, Demolition Man, Interview with the Vampire, Cobb and Heat) bringing the tone buUuuUuUut...yea not gonna lie, this one hurt a bit. This is Sphere.

I farted. I'm owning up.  Sorry about that.

With a team of experts in their field, the crew of the Habitat (self contained underwater observation and living conditional bio-sphere) consisting of mathematician Dr. Harry Adams (Samuel L Jackson of Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown, XXX, The Incredibles, Snakes on a Plane, Iron Man 2, The Avengers and The Boondocks), Marine biologist Dr. Beth Halperin (Sharon Stone of Allan Quartermain and the Lost City of Gold, Action Jackson, Total Recall, Basic Instinct, The Specialist, The Quick and the Dead, Casino, Cold Creek Manor and Catwoman), astrophysicist Ted Fielding (Liev Schreiber of Scream 2, Jakob the Liar, The Hurricane, Hamlet, Scream 3, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Salt and Spotlight), psychologist Dr. Norman Goodman (Dustin Hoffman of The Graduate, Kramer vs Kramer, All the President's Men, Toostie, Rain Man, Sleepers, Mad City, Wag the Dog and The Cobbler) under the watchful eye of U.S. Navy Captain Barnes (Peter Coyote of Bitter Moon, Unforgettable, Top of the World, Seeds of Doubt, Patch Adams, Erin Brockovich, Femme Fatale and Purpose) as this contained unit is mere yards from the spacecraft.


Closer examination points out this ship is in fact not alien but American based technology. With further probing and diagnosis, the crew find the ship's logs showing the ship undertook an unknown event similar to or perhaps actually travelling through a black hole sending the space vessel into the corridors of time and space. (*cue Dr. Who theme circa 1986!) After making it back to the Habitat, the crew notice a large perfectly spherical ball of fluid hovering about the cargo bay. No way to scrutinize or canvass its abilities, the one thing that does stand out is all objects seem to cast a reflection but no human faces or forms do in it.

Dr. Adams is convinced that mathematically they are all fated to die and the logs will prove this because of this non-eventual ship in an eventual horizon has come to be and wibbly wobbly timey wimey. Adams goes over to the sphere and into the spacecraft then back to the Habitat with a mere whim it almost feels. He and Goodman are trying to interface with the logs when it is discovered that a series of encoded messages appear over all the computer screens causing a bit of panic in the crew as the desperately attempt to decipher them.

Time travel?  Next you be talkin' about Asgardian and gamma monsters.

A large typhoon over the surface of water forces the crew to stay longer than predicted, with equipment failures, and aggressive lifeforms in the water attacking the crew. Beth, Norman and Harry believe an A.I.on the spacecraft is responsible. They have been naming it Jerry and demand to know what is going on. As they calculate and postulate, they realize that every death or haphazard scenario is something the crew was afraid of.

Are these manifestations even real? Have the crew been about to tap into power allowing them to create matter from nothing? Does this sound like a Neil Degrasse Tyson drunken rambling??

Now I have a few complaints about the film itself. One, you really start to feel the two and half hours drag and your own conclusions to the film hit you pretty early. It almost feels like you are waiting for the actors to play catch up. Two, the conclusions made by the cast kind of feels like they are grasping at straws to the level that impossible was made possible by them sitting around and debating. 

Dustin Hoffman felt the issues of this movie were never properly addressed and the movie is incomplete at best. I have to agree. These are complex mathematical concepts and to just run into them so quickly felt to confined a result. We are dealing with five dimensional math and theoretical physics that are never addressed well enough for an outcome to be believable enough for a proper ending. With a budget of $80 million in 1997, they managed to only clear $81 worldwide and was considered a flop greater than Waterworld.

C'mon contract, gimme a loophole to get out of this flick.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Michael Crichton Week: Congo

Day 3 of Michael Crichton Week brings about a less flattering one of his looser translated books. The offbeat attitude of the film is a bit more humor than the novel but it felt like the forced zany of the Brendan Fraser Mummy movies. This is Congo.

Damn teleconference!

An expedition for a telecommunications corporation TraviCom, employees Charles Travis (Bruce Campbell of The Evil Dead, Evil Dead II, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Icebreaker, Jack of All Trades, Spider-Man, Sky High, Burn Notice and Ash vs Evil Dead) and Jeff Weems (Taylor Nichols of Barcelona, Boiler Room, Jurassic Park III, Black Mail, Hide Away, Freeloaders, Possessions and Godzilla) have made their discovery, a blue diamond that will boost their satellite signals 100 times over. To celebrate, they call TraviCom to boast the good news showing video and audio link when they realize the rest of their expedition team are dead and then...silence.


Meanwhile back at TraviCom HQ Karen Ross (Laura Linney of Searching for Bobby Fischer, Primal Fear, Absolute Power, The Truman Show, You Can Count on Me, Mystic River, Love Actually, Man of the Year and The Nanny Diaries) is desperate to regain contact with the expedition via remote to pan around the remains of the team, their supplies and tents. Ross bolts to get ahold of CEO and Charles' dad, R.B. Travis (Joe Don Baker of Guns of the Magnificent Seven, Walking Tall, Golden Needles, Mitchell, The Pack, The Shadow Chikara, Final Justice, The Living Daylights, Goldeneye and Tomorrow Never Dies) who is concerned about his son and party and Ross offers to lead to a new team to find Charles ASAP.

Meanwhile Dr. Elliot (Dylan Walsh of Congo, Nip/Tuck, The Lake House, NCIS: New Orleans and Unforgettable) a primatologist teaching a young gorilla named Amy sign language and she has this cobbled backpack with a portable battery pack that helps her translate her sign language to English so she can be the first to offer communications from primates to humans. And I thought all you need bananas and chest beating. Naturally the upper one percenters, college alumni and philanthropists doesn't seem interested in Elliot's request. A Romanian name of Herkermer Homolka (Tim Curry of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Legend, Clue, Fish Police, FernGully: The Last Rainforest, Muppet Treasure Island, Voltron: The Third Dimension and Family Affair) offers to pay to take young Amy and the doc out to the Congo and Ross joins them in the trek.

Grr.  I guess.  Whatever.

While in Africa (Costa Rica regions and Kenya) the team meets up Munro Kelly (Ernie Hudson of Human Tornado, Highcliffe Manor, White Mama, Ghostbusters, The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians, The Last Precinct, The Crow, Levitation, Shark Attack, Miss Congeniality, Oz and Everything's Jake) to lead them in the deep jungles but they got scooped up by a militia captain name of Wanta (Delroy Lindo of Beauty and the Beast, A Man Called Hawk, Bright Angel, The Hard Way, Malcolm X, Clockers, Broken Arrow, Romeo Must Die, Gone in Sixty Seconds, Heist, The Last Castle, Sahara, Domino and Point Break) capturing the lot of them and offering his services for an mildly obscene fee. Heading to a Lost City of Zinj next to this fabled diamond mine the expedition's camp is completely wrecked and a grey gorilla had clearly had been slaughtering outlanders left and right.

Will the team find Charles still alive? What is the significance of the gorilla and this lost city? 

The gorillas are practical effect bodysuits and fairly strong stuntmen for that rather than the lesser CGI. Bruce Campbell originally auditioned for Dr. Elliot but ended up with Charles Travis role instead. The volcano was actually an active volcano called Volcan Arenal, in Costa Rica. The funniest fact is the pilot of 727 was played by none other Jimmy Buffett

Truly my accent is what keeps this film together.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Michael Crichton Week: Westworld

And we are back! Now the lag of the week has been migraine land so I apologize. Today we look at an amazing concept that has been made pop culture for more than 30 years. A film written and directed by novelist Michael Crichton. Depicting a Western theme park filled with androids. More than a few issues arrive and certain controversy. This is Westworld.

So the hat really does make me look silly then?

In the far away time of 1983 (hehehe). A high-tech and realistic amusement park called Delos. 3 separate themed worlds populated by the androids with Westworld, an old west town, Medieval World, a town of antiquated Europe and Roman World, the ancient depiction of Pompeii. Each world is jam packed with androids so sophisticated they are equivalent to humanity, it is uncanny.

For a thousand clams a day, guests can enjoy any adventure in the park, including boinking the droids or challenging them to a fight to the death.  Delos' commercial tags the adverts with Boy, have we got a vacation for you!" Enter our adventurers, Peter Martin (Richard Benjamin of Catch-22, Love at First Bite, Saturday the 14th, Witches' Brew, Deconstructing Harry, Marci X and Keeping Up with the Steins) first-time visitor and his buddy John Blaine (James Brolin of Marcus Welby, M.D.,The Car, Steel Cowboy, The Amityville Horror, Night of the Juggler, Hotel, Indecent Behavior II, The Expert, Extreme, Pensacola: Wings of Gold, Traffic and Burlesque) as they each engage the Gunslinger (Yul Brenner of The King and I, The Ten Commandments, The Magnificent Seven, Romance of Horsethief, Fuzz, Anna and the King, Futureworld and Death Rage), an android computing and calculating potential gunfights and boy if doesn't look a bit like that Chris Larabee Adams from The Magnificent Seven.

We don't take kind to yer kind around here. boy.  Tourists.

The pistols given to the guests have sensors that prevent them from shooting humans or anything with a higher body temperature but allows for the gunfights with the androids with a lower temperature. The programming of Gunslinger giving guests ample time to draw their guns and shooting him with the android always returning the next day for a new duel.

Several glitches seems to be spreading throughout the androids. The techs notice the robots among Roman World and Medieval World start breaking down or having some sort of systems failure. Chief Supervisor (Alan Oppenheimer of The Six Million Dollar Man, Wuzzles, He-Man and The Masters of the Universe, The Transformers, Ghostbusters, Rambo, Bionic Six, Mama's Family, The Smurfs, Murphy Brown and The Legend of Prince Valiant) is having problems computer virus would be less than feasible establishing the complicated organisms not too different from human beings built by other computers. He has to admit as a whole, they still don't really know how they work a hundred percent.

You got a bug on your shirt.  Lemme get that for ya.

The malfunctions get worse as Blane is bitten by a robo rattlesnake. In Medieval World the Black Knight (Michael T. Mikler of War Party, Thunder Alley, Ice Station Zebra, Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid and Westworld) cared not for a guest's advance on one of the serving wenches and proceeds to gut the guest. At the bordello, Martin and Blane relax after a bar room brawl when Gunslinger challenges both men to a showdown. The guys treat it like a gag until Gunslinger gut shoots Blane while Martin flees for his life with Gunslinger in pursuit.

Have all the androids gone completely crackers??? Can Martin get out alive??? Will he get a refund???

You know you have seen too much TV and film when you recognize too many faces such as Dick Van Patten as the Banker, Majel Barrett Roddenberry as Miss Carrie and Norman Bartold as one of the medieval knights. With a budget estimated at $1.2 million, this film grossed 10 million in theaters and cleared another 4 million via VHS rentals.

Nominated for a Hugo, Nebula and Saturn awards is the first of feature films to use a digital image processing to give the androids machine code and viewing.  Its practical effects look a bit hammy now but were spot on for their day and inspired generations of movie makers.   Because of the success of Westworld, a sequel Futureworld and Beyond Westworld TV series came. Of course most are aware of the HBO current series in 2016.

Heh, he's just upset he can't grow a magnificent Brolin beard.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happy Valentine's Day

Think there's still dog poop in the treads!?!

 Well folks.  From all of us at Rotten Reelz Reviews and Rotten Ramblin' On, we hope you are celebrating with the one you love more than once a year.  Yeah embrace that person daily.  Do some romantic or thoughtful gestures for them.   Remember to listen, consider and compromise where you can.  Don't be a mindless drone but also don't be an ass that is insistent you are always right.   Happy Valentine's Day one and all.

Michael Crichton Week: The 13th Warrior.

Howdy all and welcome to the week. Well I have not been getting any requests on either Rotten Reelz Reviews or Rotten Ramblin' On so I thought maybe starting up a group on Facebook so folks could drop a remark, request or restraining order. Whatever fits your mood. Let me know if that sounds like a good idea.

Today's film hails from acclaimed director John McTiernan (Predator, Die Hard, The Hunt for Red October, Medicine Man, Last Action Hero, Die Hard with a Vengeance, The Thomas Crowne Affair and Rollerball) to bring us some awesome action, compelling drama and a dark tale to be told of bravery and valor. However, none of this could be possible without our novelist/screenplay writer Michael Crichton (The Andromeda Strain, A Case of Need, Binary, Westworld, The Terminal Man, The Great Train Robbery, Looker, Runaway, Jurassic Park, Disclosure, Twister, Sphere and Timeline) conjuring up this battle of good vs evil. This is The 13th Warrior.

As long as my career doesn't go south.

A poet/storyteller and lesser Arabian nobleman Ahmed Ibn Fahdlan (Antonio Banderas of Matador, Baton Rouge, The Mambo Kings, Interview with the Vampire, Desperado, Four Rooms, Assassins, The Mask of Zorro, Original Sin, Shrek 2, Thick as Thieves, The Expendables 3 and Knight of Cups) has been exiled by the sultan to be an "ambassador" of good will and to report back his findings of a distant land. Stopping for a restock of supplies at a village port, there is much debate of a kingdom under seige from monsters that come in the night and slay their most able men. They cry out for warriors attended to give the battle back to these monsters. Among these men a staggering man of 6' 5", great warrior and chieftain's son Buliwf (Vladimir Kulich of Highlander, Necronomicon, Red Scorpion 2, Ground Zero, Silence, Angel, Ironclad, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Vikings and The Equalizer) offers his skills and blade. An ancient seer tosses her runes to see the future and proceeds to tell each man they will join Buliwf on this sacred aid for mercy including Ahmed.

Sail Away!!!

Connecting with these barbaric men, Ahmed attempts to not only understand their language but be able to speak it as well. Herger (Dennis Storhoi of Mot i brostet, Vestavind, Eva's Eye, The Longest Journey, Captain Sabertooth, Ved kongens bord, Shameless and Two Lives) becomes Ahmed's constant companion and guide to this land and its people that Ahmed has never known the like.


The village is almost all but destroyed, no defensive walls, men at posts or even proper archery stands. With his health failing King Hrothgar (Sven Wollter of Sally, A Song for Martin, False Accusation, Birthmarked, Kira's Reason: A Love Story, Suxxess, Dieselrattor och sjonmasmoss and Molly in the World) speaks of these unholy beasts that sneak in the middle of the night, rousing no one from their slumber and proceed to lop the heads off their opponents...and take them with them. They simply are known as The Eaters of the Dead. Eerie I know but what can you do? Oh right, mount up a war party to dispatch these beasts. The party must use every ounce of their skills and tenacity to stomach bringing these monsters down. Can Ahmed become a warrior? Will these Norsemen battle to the last man? Can anything be done to save the land and its people?

A few points of interest and my lack of observation. I either forgot or was just now brought to the light that Queen Weilew (Diane Venora of The Cotton Club, A.D., F/X, Bird, Thunder Alley, Chicago Hope, Heat, Romeo + Juliet, The Jackal, The Insider and Hamlet) seemed like such a pillar of the people I had either no idea she was of royalty or simply did not register. May have something to do with that fop of a son of hers. I think I would have beheaded the little puke.

Composer Jerry Goldsmith (The Waltons, Outland, The Secret of NIMH, Supergirl, Rambo III, Star Trek V: Final Frontier, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Congo, Mulan and Star Trek: Insurrection) breathes life into every scene with the amazing job. One of the Viking ships used in the movie is currently residing in the EPCOT center at Disney World where it's part of a playground for kids now. Avast!!

So the traditional burning of the town virgin is a real crowd pleaser then?

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Jim Wynorski Week: Vampire in Vegas

Howdy all. I'm back with even more rations of Wynorski films. On today's schedule you will all be transported to Sin City itself, the land of glitz, glimmer, glam and gambling. Where the house always wins and the suckers should have folded.  Don't worry, we won't have to deal with the likes of Bugsy Segal. No instead howzabout a 300 year old vampire calling out that same old tune, "Baby Why Can't I See the Sun." You know this old chestnut, when mysticism and alchemy have failed, it's time for science. This is Vampire in Vegas.

Hate the DMV.  They are so slow.

 I also love the alternative title for the French distribution, Dark Evil. A lot of thought was poured into that one. That's like naming one of the Friday the 13th sequels, Sharp Stabby. Moving along, we hear the narrative of that spine tingling baritone voice that can be mistaken for the Grim Reaper, Tony Todd (Platoon, Candyman, Minotaur, Hatchet, Nite Tales: The Movie, The Thirst: Blood War, Hatchet II, 24, Marvel Super Hero Squad Online, Chuck and Jack the Reaper) is Sylvian, a 300 year old vampire that once roamed the lands with a nomadic tribe of vampires called the Xandars...possibly Xandau but who can say?   He grows tired of the one major drawback to vampirism which is, never seeing the sun. He's a lone wolf and kills on his own but only because his tribe was wiped out by the ancient Hungarian armies. Puts a real damper on your evenings. Why doesn't he just make his own scourge (group of vampires, also called a kiss or coven) and bring his own clan to reek havoc on the humans? Yeah not really his bag.Yet.

He seeks out a biochemist Dr. VanHelm (Delia Sheppard of Witchcraft II: The Temptress, Young Rebels, Sexbomb, The Adventures of Ford Fairlane, Haunting Fear, Rocky V, Roots of Evil and Animal Instincts) to do what he cannot, which is to make him immune to sunlight so he may once again lead more than a half-life. A couple camping out in the desert (are safe from Jason Vorhees because they are nowhere near Camp Crystal Lake, fake New York or space) hear screaming in the day for night shots, get out of their tent to Scooby investigate to see three women bound and burning at the stake. They do the smart thing and call it in to the cops. Sylvian grows weary of these failed experiments and tired of using his newly made children as guinea pigs for this botched attempt give him power to withstand the sun. An ultimatum is given to Dr. VanHelm of three days to fix the mistake or their working relationship is null and void.

Ugh hurry up.  Gettin ze boobie burn.

Now how about a tepid sex scene? The R&B was enjoyable though. Jason (Edward Spivak of The Minor Accomplishments of Jackie Woodman, Vampire in Vegas, Slacker P.I., The Art of War III: Retribution and A Hero's Unsung Dignity)and Rachel (Soyna Joy Sims of Camp Blood 2, Trauco's Daughter, English For All, Reflections of Evil, Gilmore Girls and A Coat of Snow) are newly engaged, set for the nuptials as Jason goes out for one more time of "freedom" via bachelor party weekend. Yup, his boys can't stand to see him whipped i.e.happy with the girl in his life.

City Slickers 3: Vegas or Bust.

Detective O' Hara (GiGi Erneta of She's No Angel, Burning Desires, Project Viper, Cheerleader Massacre, The Insatiable, Dusk and Vampire in Vegas) and Detective Stanton (Ted Monte of Silence of the Lambs, Treasure Hunt, The Curse of the Komodo, Glass Trap, Komodo vs. Cobra, Solar Flare, Turbulent Skies and Super Shark) are on the case of three crispy cuties and things seem a little weird. Will Jason get Rachel?? Will Sylvian touch daylight?? Will I stop this bat-tastic gag??

A few comments. Forensic lingo aside, the take on the crime scene wasn't bad, although everyone should have been wearing their little booties and find some way to block the wind on evidence.

They put that lovely Melissa Brasselle in a blonde wig.  Shame on the lot of you. On that note, I really didn't complain about the slutty outfit so back to being a pig apparently. The scenes with solid bodies and augmented chests are surprisingly no nudity. Seemed a tad odd to do that for a strip club scene but I am not in charge and maybe they were going for a wider audience as the swearing isn't anything you wouldn't be stunned with. Todd looks like he is having too much fun this time under the fangs and is a bit silly in his role. Also you will absolutely love the vampire expert/weaponeer/mechanic. The dude's delivery is so damn funny as he is serious brandishing different wooden stakes, telling the best penetration, his garlic syrup gag and even some pump action water guns naturally fitted with holy water.

Spotted Paul Logan again so that is three Wynorski films I have seen him now and Roger Corman and Jim Wynorski regular Jeff Rector. By the by, watch Jeff Rector's Revamped and see how many people you recognize in it. It will crack you up.

Well she clearly does crunches.