Saturday, March 26, 2011

Ice Spiders (2007)

The terrible score often distracts viewers from the stupid script and the atrocious acting.

Ice Spiders (2007) begins with the two worst hunters of all time. They're hunting elk with bows, when along comes a spider - a giant ice spider. The hunter with the bow can't seem to hit this rather large target. What the two guys do is run away, splitting up. The spiders kill Rocky, and wrap Bob up for later.

Next the viewer is introduced to a school bus full of skiers who are training for the Olympics. It's established early on that there is no cell phone reception at Lost Mountain Resort, where they're going to be training. Chad, one of the young skiers, has an attitude.

By the way, there is no training. The only times the viewer sees any of these guys skiing, their coach is not with them. In fact, the one bit of coaching that this guy does is from the chair lift, when he yells down to two of the guys that it's quitting time.

Vanessa Williams As Doctor Sommers

Besides a ski resort, there is also a secret government lab on the mountain, where they are raising giant lethal spiders in order to save the world. (That's what they say. Really.) Doctor Sommers, played by the incredibly awful Vanessa Williams (Candyman), is the main lab person, but she goes to get her mail at the ski resort so that Dash Dashiell (Patrick Muldoon, Starship Troopers) can flirt with her. Dash used to be a professional skier, but now teaches skiing.

Chad, the young skier with attitude, is suddenly going to race Dash down the mountain. So the movie stops for a while so that this can take place. But it doesn't matter who wins, because it has absolutely no bearing on anything that occurs later. But a few of the shots of them skiing are actually pretty good.

Ranger Rick

A character named Ranger Rick (yes, seriously, and yes, they make jokes about it - for a writer to name a character that just so that he can call attention to the fact that he named the character that is so lame) asks Dash for help in finding two missing hunters. So off they go, and of course they find the bodies, and then Ranger Rick is killed by an ice spider.

Meanwhile Dr. Sommers returns to the lab and finds her co-workers dead. Except, Joseph, who is still alive and wrapped up in a web. He says the spiders got hungry and broke loose. "She took my legs," he laments. And then he actually has the line about being cold before he dies.

Dr. Sommers pulls a fire alarm, which sends a group of armed men in. Apparently they work as guards for the facility. Why they're not actually at the facility is something of a mystery, but whatever. (And what if there had actually been a fire?) Apart from the leader of this group of armed men, they're all terrible actors. Their facial expressions and reactions are so over-the-top and unbelievable. But the leader, played by Thomas Calabro, is actually pretty good.

Anyway, it's finally revealed that there are six spiders. Well, five, because Dash is able to kill one by hitting it with a snowmobile. He has a chance to run another over with a truck, but for some reason drives around it.

Spiders Don't Like The Cold

Characters in this film keep mentioning how cold it is, and how the spiders shouldn't be able to deal with these very low temperatures. But no one seems cold. The armed guys are all in short sleeves. Dr. Sommers wears just a pink sweater. No one has gloves on.

Well, the spiders begin attacking the skiers. Everyone runs inside the lodge, and Dash takes charge. When one character (played by possibly the worst actor ever to appear in a film - or a possibly a play, including school plays) challenges him, Dash says that he was a Marine for twelve years. So of course he should take charge.

Another Screenwriter With Math Troubles
Okay, let's stop and do a bit of math. Dash was a professional skier for a long time. He then shattered his leg. He said that it was two and a half years before he could even put on skis again. So then he had to learn how to ski again, and get good enough to be able to train others how to ski. And he's been working at this resort for several years. So when was he a Marine? Before he became a professional skier? Or after he shattered his leg and couldn't ski anymore, but before he took this job training others?

If he became a Marine right after high school, then he wouldn't have gotten out of the service until he was thirty. A bit old to take up skiing, and turn pro. But let's just say that's what happened. Then after he was a professional skier long enough to be famous (as all of the young skiers on the bus have heard of him), he shattered his leg. So, let's just say ten years. Then two and half years passed while he mended. That brings him up to age 43. Then he had to learn to ski again, get good enough to be able to train others, get this job and keep it for several years. So is he 50? Or 55?

Spiders On Steroids

Anyway, it's finally revealed how the spiders got so large. The folks at the lab forced the spiders to take hormones and steroids, because they wanted more webbing in order to make bullet-proof vests, and they figured the larger the spiders were, the more webbing they'd produce. And with the bullet-proof vests they planned to save the world. They say the web is stronger than steel, but multiple times in the film, characters simply brush it aside.

Terrible Score

In a film full of problems, by far the worst element is the score. There are moments in this film that could be really suspenseful, but the score interferes.

Ice Spiders was written by Eric Miller and directed by Tibor Takacs.

Horror House on Highway 5 (1985)

Poor DVD Transfer Mars What Would Otherwise be a Terrible Film

Uh-oh, Nixon's coming. Better get your toy rocket.

Okay, try and follow this one. The film opens with two men looking at Tarot cards. One man holds up a card that says, "La Mort." The other guy says, "La Mort. That means death." The first guy says, "No. La mort. Love." He proves it by pointing out that the skeleton on the card is smiling.

Nixon Wrestling

The next scene is at a couple's home. The guy is wearing a Nixon mask, and he goes outside to put a bag in the car, but there is already a killer in there, and he kills the guy by grabbing him. Then while the woman is in the shower - because of course she has to take a shower - the killer puts on the Nixon mask and puts the guy's body in a cabinet for the woman to find.

He then kills the woman by wrestling her to the floor and bonking her on the head. But of course she's not dead, because he's only wrestled her to the floor and bonked her on the head. So she gets up, and though he's not chasing her, she runs and falls on her glass coffee table. He hears the noise, but doesn't go to investigate. She slowly gets up and then somehow she dies while reaching for a piece of glass.

Confused yet?

City College and World War II Experiments

Next the film takes us to a classroom at City College, where a teacher assigns his very few students a project on the development of the V2 rocket during World War II and the influence of a German scientist, Frederick Bartholomew.

He points to a map and tells them they should do their project out on Highway 5. "There's a small field right here which would be the perfect place for you to complete your research," he tells them. He tells Sally to stay in town to interview people who knew Bartholomew, and for the rest to go test a rocket.

Test a rocket? What? What City College has a World War II rocket?

Anyway, Sally goes to conduct her interviews. But she leaves the first person she comes across without interviewing him. He must really want to be interviewed because he sends another man, Gary, out to go grab her and put her in a sack. Unfortunately, Gary grabs the wrong girl, so he has to go put her on a bench at a bus stop.

Still following all of this?

And what is the advertisement on the bus stop bench? It's for Groman Mortuaries. Mortuaries? That must mean something to do with love.

Journalism Is Dangerous Business

Next a girl in a bikini is looking over plans for a rocket. She quickly gets bored, and so dives into the pool.

Suddenly it's night, and Sally has returned to interview the guy (so Gary need not have bothered going out to grab her). Before she can ask a single question, however, he drugs her and then complains about neighborhood children.

Meanwhile, another student is reading. He finds an article, and a sudden voice over says, "What's this? An article?"

Now it's day again and the two guys take Sally to some other house, where Bartholomew once lived. Gary tries to iron Sally's dress while she's still wearing it, even though she tells him not to - while the other guy reads something in German.

Still reading this?

It's A Horror Movie From The 1980s, So Two Students Must Be In A Van

Okay, now there are two students in a van. The guy says, "Hey, there's a house," and then, "Hey, there's another one." Ooh, the first house is where they have taken Sally. And ooh, look, the second one is the one owned by the couple in the beginning. The girl suddenly stops the van and somehow in doing so she breaks her glasses.

Back to the two men and Sally and talk of a ceremony (which, by the way, is never performed and never mentioned again - not to ruin it).

Dead Cat Means It's Time To Go

It's night again, and the students are in the van, but now there's a dead cat in there with them, which the guy doesn't like. He throws it away while the girl builds a model rocket. But the trash can already has a dead body in it. Who is it? It's unclear. They decide to leave, but guess what - the van won't start.

Another Couple, An Attempt On Nixon's Life

Now a new couple is driving a car, and they almost hit Richard Nixon, who is wandering up the road. (Hey, are they driving the same car that other guy was killed in? It looks very similar.) Well, Joe, the guy, gets out of the car to punch Nixon. But Nixon gets upset, and fights back. So the couple drives away. Joe then turns the car around and runs Nixon down.

The girl says to him, "You just ran that guy over. You must have a low IQ." But Joe's dead too, having hit his head on impact. But Nixon lives, so the girl takes off on foot.

If Playing Records Doesn't Win Her Love, Kill Her

Meanwhile Gary is wooing Sally by cleaning the carpet and playing records. The girl from the car comes in, then leaves, then gets attacked by Nixon.

The guy in the van goes to use a phone, but instead gets a metal rake in his head. His mistake.
The girl from the van walks into the house and finds Sally, who is alone for some reason. She unlocks Sally, but Sally doesn't get up. Instead, she screams. But screaming doesn't stop Gary from killing her.

The girl from the van sneaks away into the Nazi cellar. (By the way, apparently there's a Nazi cellar.)

Everything Is Explained In A Voice Over

Meanwhile, in another room in the house, the other guy writes a letter to Gary (rather than just go into the other room and talk to him). The letter is read in a voice over, saying that they're brothers, and that Bartholomew is their dad and he's dressed as Nixon. So that explains that.
There's a little more, but does it matter? The film is definitely played for comedy a lot of the time. And at times it seems intentionally bad. But intentional or not, it's still bad.

Poor Transfer

The quality of the DVD transfer is awful, off an old videocassette. Think Alpha Video, but worse. In fact, there is a warning at the beginning of the DVD, mentioning the low quality of the transfer, and boy, they're not kidding. It was distributed by Timeless Media Group.

The Creeping Terror (1964)

The slowest monster in movie history kills stupid people who don't step out of its way.

The film opens with a couple driving late at night.

Narrator Is The Real Star

Immediately there is voice over by a narrator: "This man's name is Martin Gordon. The lovely girl beside him is Brett, his bride of two wonderful weeks. It's late August. They're returning from their honeymoon to their home in quiet, peaceful Angel County, California. Martin's Uncle Ben is sheriff of Angel County, and Martin is his senior deputy. Martin has high hopes of succeeding his uncle when Ben retires. But for now, Martin has only the thoughts, emotions and pride of a very happy newly married young man... Now without warning, their honeymoon will become a nightmare."

Thanks for the warning. And isn't their honeymoon over?

This film is narrated like one of those old classroom film strips. The ones that would cause all the students to drift off into sleep.

Rocket Monster

The next shot is of a rocket landing. Actually, it's of a rocket taking off, but they've run the film backwards. The narrator assures the viewers that Martin and Brett didn't notice the rocket, but that a county forest ranger named Jeff saw it and reported it to Ben. (This would actually be a good movie for blind people.)

A small door opens on the side of the rocket, and a creature crawls out. It looks like a big slug combined with a houseplant. And it moves almost as quickly as a slug.

Ben is racing to the site of the rocket, and passes Martin on the road. Ben stops and asks Martin to go with him. So Martin and Brett, instead of just following Ben in their own car, pull over and get in Ben's car.

When they reach the rocket, the narrator describes everything that is on screen: "At the location of the crash they discovered Jeff's truck. But Jeff himself was not around. They proceeded with their investigation." Their method of investigation is to stand in one spot and stare at the rocket for a long time. What this leads to is them finding Jeff's hat on the ground directly in front of them.

So Ben goes inside the rocket, by crawling under it. There are then screams, gunshots, and a creature growling. Martin and Brett stand there for a moment, then go back to the car to radio it in.

Lying On A Blanket Won't Help One Escape From Even The Slowest Of Monsters

A couple is making out in the woods. Uh-oh, here comes the slug creature that looks partly like a houseplant. The couple sees it, but only the guy is smart enough to get up and run away. The girl just lies on her blanket and screams, though all she'd have to do is walk slowly away to escape. Really, she'd have enough time to shake the grass from her blanket and fold it up, and gather any other belongings she brought. But no, she just lies there and screams. So the creature eats her, though clearly the actress is trying to push herself into the creature's mouth.

Martin's First Big Decision As Sheriff

Martin decides the best course of action is to plant an article in the press that Ben and Jeff have gone on a fishing trip to British Columbia. That is a way to avoid panic, because certainly everyone is wondering where the forest ranger is. Oh yes, Martin makes a fine sheriff.

Barney's Upset That Martin's Marriage Has Disturbed Their Friendship (Who Is Barney?)

There is a long scene in which Martin and Barney sneak into Martin's home in order to scare Brett. No idea why. Martin then tells Barney to try marriage. The narrator enlightens the viewer about Barney's psychological state: "He couldn't comprehend that married life brought with it not only new problems and beauties, but the necessary togetherness of husband and wife as well."

The movie is about how marriage affects friendships. The narrator explains, "Barney was growing resentful of her, or at least she felt that he was. Since time began, this change in relationship has probably happened to all buddies in similar circumstances."

What about the creeping terror?

Terrible Mother Dies While Doing Laundry

A woman is taking her baby's temperature. She says, "Poor baby, you'll feel better soon," then goes out to hang up the laundry. Oh no, here comes the creeping terror. Better finish hanging the laundry and walk slowly back inside. But no, she just stands there. Baby is probably better off without her. Perhaps its new foster parents will actually name it.

Guitars Don't Kill Monsters

Next there is what the narrator describes as a "hootenanny" happening near the woods. A couple sneaks off into the woods to make out, or to get away from the horrible singer/guitarist. The woman is wearing a furry sweater, but then from the other angle, it's suddenly gone. Did the creeping terror eat her sweater? Or did the hungry script supervisor eat it? No matter, as these two are soon dead because they just sit there rather than walking away from the creeping terror.
When the monster attacks the rest of the group, the singer/guitarist hits the creature with his guitar. That doesn't work. He should have tried singing to it.

Shy Monster At The Dance

There's a dance going on somewhere in a dance hall. Cut back to the creature outside in the woods, then to inside the dance hall, then back to the creature in the woods, then back to inside the dance hall, and then suddenly the creature is inside the dance hall. Is the dance hall in the woods? Is the door large enough for the creature to get in? Did it have to pay a cover charge? Can it dance?

Even though there is plenty of time for everyone to get out (because the creature is just standing in a corner, like any shy one at a dance), fights break out at the exit. People are more concerned with keeping others from leaving than simply leaving themselves. Ah, who is the real monster in this story?