Saturday, October 30, 2010

Revenge Of The Rats

What can i say about this terrible film? A firefighting helicopter pilot lands his chopper in the city and saves of the life of a young girl. For this, he is demoted from helicopter pilot to rat catcher by the city's mayor. He knows nothing about rats (though he does fire his handgun into the toilet to kill one early in the film - geez). Yet he becomes the leader of a team of rat killers, and in fact comes up with the plan to kill them. (The movie takes place over the course of three days, so this guy learns very quickly.)

The city has a garbage problem, because the garbage folks are on strike. So the rats come up from the sewers and have a bit of a celebration. Rats from different rat clans have all gathered together for some reason. Also, they have some new disease, which is deadly to humans. Also, they are intelligent (well, sometimes they are).

The helicopter pilot/rat catcher has a thing for a female doctor (who isn't really a doctor - she hasn't completed her training - but whatever, they need doctors, so...), and they go on a date and clearly have no chemistry. She ditches him before their meal even arrives (which is a good thing, because the restaurant's kitchen is overrun with rats). Yet of course they end up together. No good reason for that, really.

Anyway, the woman's landlord got the rat disease, and she brought him to the hospital. A little later, there is this bit of dialogue (as close to it as i can recall):

Woman: "I admitted a patient earlier."
Main Doctor: "Yeah? So?"
Woman: "I wanted to check on his condition."
Main Doctor: "Interesting. He's dead."

The DVD is dubbed in English, and i'm sure that's part of the problem. But really, even if that bit of dialogue had been in subtitles, it would have been just as awful.

So what's good about this film? Well, it's hilarious at times, though never intentionally so. And of course the dubbing adds to the humor. But is it worth watching? No, not really.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


I love bad shark movies. I do. And Hammerhead is a bad shark movie. In fact, they don't get much worse.

The scientist's son gets cancer, and the scientist learns that sharks are immune to cancer. So he introduces some shark cells into his son's body. The good news? His son's cancer goes into remission in two weeks. The bad news? His son turns into a shark.

So then the scientist makes a wonderful decision. He decides to create a race of beings that are half shark, half man. The problem is he's having trouble getting his son to mate. Rather than bonking the women he's presented with, Paul tends to eat them.

Also, the scientist wants to have revenge on some colleagues for... Well, i can't remember what for. That's really not important. He tricks them into coming, tells them his plan, and then tries to kill them by feeding them to Paul. That's basically the story.

This is one of those movies that seemed to have no script supervisor. There are continuity issues throughout, and i don't mean little "Hey, his collar is now up" continuity errors. I mean huge errors. In fact, i was convinced for a long time that there were at least two shark men because Paul was simultaneously in the ocean and in a tank in the lab. But hey, whatever. Later he's in the ocean at the bottom of a cliff devouring a scientist, and a moment later in the forest. (Did i mention that because he's half man, he can live on the land as well as in the water? Yet characters are still yelling at each other to stay out of the water.)

Also, there is a character who is sometimes a hunchbacked Igor type character, and sometimes a normal scientist type character. At first he stands normally, but after two of his fingers get bitten off, he develops a hunched back. Go figure.

So what's good about this movie? Not the acting. Not the script. Not the special effects. Not the cinematography. Some of the sets are actually interesting. And come on, the idea of a dad turning his son into a shark and then trying to find him a suitable mate - that's cinema gold.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Troll (1986)

Okay, right away i want to make clear that Troll is actually not a bad movie. It's not. But for some reason a lot of people think it is. As of tonight (10-23-10), it has a 3.6 on IMDB. That's ridiculous. This movie has so much going for it.

First of all, it's hilarious - and intentionally so. I laughed out loud many times while watching it. The scene with Michael Moriarty dancing around to Blue Cheer's version of "Summertime Blues" is wonderful. Really, it's worth watching the movie just for that scene.

But then you get to watch Sonny Bono turn into a jungle. Seriously.

Besides that, Gary Sandy is in this movie, and he's wonderful. If you're having trouble placing the name, think W.K.R.P - he's the guy that moved from town to town, up and down the dial.

Then you have Julia Louis-Dreyfus as some warped version of Titania. And her fellow SNL pal, Brad Hall, plays her boyfriend.

On top of that, June Lockhart is the sexiest older woman ever, and she has a talking mushroom. And clearly there's some attraction between her and the boy.

And the boy... his name is Harry Potter, Jr. That's right. Michael Moriarty is Harry Potter. Noah Hathaway is Harry Potter, Jr. And Harry Potter, Jr. - get this - wants to be a wizard. Some crazy bitch totally ripped this movie off and wrote seven books. But Troll is the original Harry Potter movie.

I don't want to spoil this movie for you, so i don't think i want to tell you any more about it. No, one more thing: there is a scene with monsters singing. Okay, is that enough to make you want to see it? Seriously, Troll is a really good movie. I'm not kidding.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Midnight Mass (2003)

Holy moly, Midnight Mass is a terrible movie. But it's in the category of So-Bad-That-It's-Good. First off, it's Christian propaganda wrapped in the guise of a horror film. And like most Christian propaganda, there's nothing subtle about it. It's about as subtle as Mel Gibson (remember him?). I expected characters to turn and look into the camera and say, "It's up to you to turn this world back to a God-fearing Christian world." They do almost as much.

That aside, this film has probably the worst group of actors ever assembled - and i'm including all groups of actors, even third-graders performing a grammar school holiday play. Clearly, it was some Christian group who got a hold of film equipment and money, but decided to do the acting themselves.

The two heroes of the film are Gwen, who is referred to as "the town atheist," and her friend Joe, a fallen priest. Will they both find their way back to the church by the film's end? Of course.

The story combines the vampire legends with the zombie scenario. Basically, the world is overrun with vampires, and there are very few people left. Society has completely broken down.

So how did Gwen, who is on the heavy side, survive this long? Seriously. She seems to have trouble walking. It's both hilarious and painful to watch her move on the screen. Her body seems to be going in several directions at once, and to add to that, she likes to flail her arms around while "acting." And the director (who perhaps subconsciously hated this poor woman) has her running in a couple of scenes, and walking on sand in another scene. And he has her riding a bicycle. Basically he does everything he can to make her look even worse.

Every time she's on screen, all i could think was, "How is this one of the few people who have survived?" She never sleeps. She carries no provisions. She has no survival plan. She has no place to hide during the night. In fact, she just wanders around at night when the vampires are out. She has no weapons (except of course for a large cross that she wears, even though she's an atheist - a cross which sometimes disappears for a few scenes, then reappears). And she can't run, or even walk well. She has no skills whatsoever. How has she survived?

The only clue we get to her survival is at the beginning of the film, when a group of humans who serve the vampires capture her (easily). They're about to put her in their car, when they see a more attractive blonde and decide to get her instead, figuring they can always come back and get the fat girl later. So basically the vampires aren't interested in her. Poor girl, you get the idea that no one has ever been interested in her.

When the characters aren't preaching to the audience (and even sometimes when they are), there are some hilarious lines in this film. Like this line from Gwen: "I'm okay. As okay as I can be sitting in a Catholic church eating stew." And there is a girl, Mickey, who laments that she used to think vampires were cool and that Anne Rice was cool and on and on, but now sees how wrong she was. And then she blurts out, "I never wanted to see a dead baby." Not that we've seen any dead babies on screen or anything, or that any have been mentioned up to now.

And it seems that Mickey, before she returned to the church, was involved in a lesbian relationship with one of the vampires' servants. The only thing more frightening to Christians than vampires is of course gay people. But Mickey is over that bit of nastiness and has repented.

This movie also has - and this blew me away - a musical montage scene where the priest and the atheist and a few other people clean up the church to restore it to a proper Christian place. They remove corpses and rebuild crosses and on and on - it's like those wonderful 1980s montages where in the span of one song, a group of characters completes some impossible task. I never expected a scene like that in this film.

And of course because uptight Christians are really doing their best to hide their repressed desires, there are wonderful twisted sex scenes with flagellation and cutting and fur restraints (which i totally want, by the way). Of course, it's the "bad guys" who engage in such behavior - but it's clear that the filmmakers really enjoyed these scenes. They seemed to take more care on these than on any other scenes. Ah, if only these silly bastards could admit their true desires, the world would be a better place.

This insane pile of propaganda was directed Tony Mandile, who also co-wrote the script and even appears as an actor in the film. Ouch. This is the only film Tony directed, amen. And this is the only film that Pamela Karp (who plays Gwen) ever appeared in. Amen again.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

I Know What You Did Last Summer

I worked as an extra on the sequel to I Know What You Did Last Summer. The first sequel, that is. On my voucher was the title, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer. I absolutely thought it was a joke title, and that the real title wouldn't be revealed until the film was released. I actually thought it was a funny joke title. And when i met Jennifer Love Hewitt on the set, i told her so. I joked with her about it, because of course the entire day i spent coming up with other titles for future sequels, such as I Am Starting To Forget What You Did Last Summer and What Are Your Plans For The Fall?

Sadly, that was the actual title. I didn't know it until the film was released. And then i understood why Jennifer was giving me weird looks. Oh well.

Tonight i revisited the original film. It's not terrible, but it's not all that good either. It has a ridiculous ending. How did he get on the other side of a bathroom mirror? But there are some good things about it, and there are some genuine scares in the film. I actually believed Jennifer's fear in the film. Often when people scream in movies, it seems incredibly fake. Not so in this one.

And the moment where the killer rushes at Sarah Michelle Gellar in the shop is great.

This movie is full of bad remakes of good songs. It starts off with Type O Negative completely butchering Seals & Croft's "Summer Breeze." Then there is a lame remake of the Beatles song "Hey Bulldog" - done by Toad The Wet Sprocket. Then we have to suffer through Kula Shaker covering Deep Purple's "Hush." And finally there is purposefully bad version of "Fame" by Jennifer Bland.

There was a third movie in the series, titled I'll Always Know What You Did Last Summer. That is one title that escaped me that day on the set when i was coming up with stupid titles for future films in the series.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Black Cat (2006)

It's been a while since i've read the Edgar Allan Poe story, but i really don't recall the lesbian shower scene. I should read it again.

This adaptation is as loose as they come, and it's a mess. Also, the ADR is off; it doesn't synch up with what we see on screen at the end. But by then, it probably doesn't matter much.

The ghost cat sounds like an evil sheep. I guess that's sort of amusing.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter

Well, first off, it's actually Frankenstein's granddaughter. But who cares about such details? Though she keeps mentioning her grandfather's experiments, technically it is true that while she's Frankenstein's granddaughter, she is also Frankenstein's daughter. But her father didn't continue with her grandfather's work. So...

Anyway, for the first five or ten minutes, this movie is a horror film. It introduces Frankenstein's granddaughter and her brother, and tells us that they've killed several of the neighborhood children in the name of science. Then for the next half hour it's a western. We meet Jesse James, and there is an attempted stagecoach robbery. It's actually not a bad western.

Then more than halfway into the film, Jesse James meets Frankenstein's granddaughter, as he seeks medical attention for his mate who's been shot. Frankenstein's granddaughter falls for Jesse James, but he's not interested. So like any psychotic woman, she decides to have him arrested and hung.

The movie is pretty silly. But come on, what would one expect from something with such a title? It's certainly one of the oddest Frankenstein films, and for that reason, it might be worth watching. You know, if there's nothing else on. And you have a significant amount of alcohol in your bloodstream.

Dark Reel

Oh boy, Dark Reel is a complete mess. I think on the back of the DVD box it said something like, "Keeps the audience guessing right up to its twisted end." Well, that's true. But actually it keeps the audience guessing long after the movie has ended. I mean, really, what the hell was going on? Why did the killer think that killing actors was the way to get his revenge? What about the projectionist - why did his ghost show up and speak in a woman's voice? Why did the photographer suddenly blurt out about Scarlet May having a son? Why did it take everyone so long to get from Cassie's driveway into her house (she had time to take a shower)?

Well, as much of a mess as this film is, there are actually some really good performances in it. Edward Furlong does an excellent job. Tiffany Shepis is good in this too (take a look at her IMDB page - she does nothing but horror films - very weird). But the best performance in this film is that by Lance Henriksen. He is absolutely incredible in this movie. Seriously. It's worth watching this movie just for his performance.

Also, there are some good horror moments. There is a nice bit with a pair of scissors near the end. And the mask that the killer wears is totally creepy.