Friday, December 28, 2012

I'll Always Know What You Did Last Summer (2006)

I worked as an extra on a film called I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, the first sequel to I Know What You Did Last Summer.  When I got my paperwork that morning and saw the title I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, I assumed it was a joke, a fake title used in production, and that a real title would be attached to the project before the film was released. In fact, I thought it was a pretty good joke and I told Jennifer Love Hewitt so on the set. She's such a nice, kind person that she didn't correct me. But of course that was the actual title of the film.  A title which doesn't make sense, as by that point it was two summers ago. But whatever.

That day on set I came up with several ideas for titles for further sequels. Stuff like I'm Starting To Forget What You Did Last Summer and What Are Your Plans For The Fall.  The filmmakers didn't use either of those. What they came up with was I'll Always Know What You Did Last Summer.  One of the opening credits is "An Original Film Production."  Really?

The movie opens with a group of teenage friends on a Ferris wheel. One of them, Amber, says, "So you've all heard the story, right? About what happens on July 4th?" So apparently the plot of the first two films has become a legend. And we learn that every fourth of July The Fisherman "gets out his hat and slicker, he sharpens up his hook" and goes after teenagers.  And of course it's July 4th.  (And hey, wouldn't a fisherman need to put on his slicker other days of the year - like when it's raining?)

This film takes place in Colorado in a town that doesn't seem to be near any body of water. So is a fisherman story all that frightening here?  Anyway, there's a lot of inane dialogue with the teenagers, none of whom we care the least bit about. There is plenty of forced laughter and picture-taking.

And then there is a stunt where one of them pretends to be the fisherman, and another does a skateboarding trick, but something goes wrong, and the skateboarder dies (someone moved the safety mattresses).  The other teenagers decide to keep their involvement a secret. Yes, it is a much more stupid set-up than that of the original film. It's much weaker. After all, it's not like they killed him.

Amber is reluctant, but eventually says, "The secret dies with us."  Then we just wait for them and the secret to die.

A year later Amber lays flowers at the skateboarder's grave, which is apparently in the woods, and so overgrown it seems many years have passed.

Amber gets a text message on her phone: "I know what you did last summer."  Geez, this guy couldn't even be bothered to write a note.  Nobody takes the time to write letters anymore. A note is much more personal.  Actually, the guy sent her fifty text mesages, but they all say the same thing.  So, how does that work? Does she have to pay for all of those? Do text messages count toward weekend minutes?

Anyway, Roger now fixes ski lifts. Colby is working as a lifeguard. And Zoe is in the world's worst rock band. So it's not like their lives are going well anyway. Well, Amber and Zoe are catching up, and suddenly the sheriff - who is also the father of the dead skateboarding would-be stunt man - shows up. He says he's making his rounds of the school, and that "it's strange without all the kids." What the hell - have they never had summer in this town before?

On a chair lift, Amber's camera decides to take a picture of the killer on its own. Apparently the killer was riding on top of the gondola, and then simply reaches down and smashes the window with his hook. And then?  Does he get up and fly away? He'd still have to ride down the rest of the way, so she'd see him at the bottom.  But the film jumps to her having already printed the photo. See, it's a shark. Look - teeth, jaws, gills.  This is nothing. Seaweed, mud, something in the lens.

Finally, forty-three minutes in, one of the teenagers is killed. Not that it matters at all.  The film leads to the big talent show, where Zoe's shitty band is going to play a song. That's more important than surviving, as going to the talent show trumped leaving town in order to live.

The look of this film is all wrong for horror. It's just not scary. At all. Lots of weird angles and camera moves, as well as quick cuts that keep us from being involved in the story. And the geography makes no sense. For example, at one point three of the characters are running together in a building, and then suddenly they're separated, and are so distant that two can't hear the shouts of the third. How did that happen? We don't know. It's impossible to tell even where they are. The only one who can follow them is the killer. So good for him. He deserves his victims. Also, the building is backstage of the talent show, and yet suddenly there is no one around.

When the killer's identity is revealed, the movie becomes laughable. I'm just going to tell you. It will save you the time of watching this piece of shit.  Because in this one the killer is like Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers. He is stabbed, shot several times and run over with a car, but keeps getting up. And then Amber says, "It's the guy from ten years ago who killed all those kids. It's the legend. It's become true."

Apparently he shows up whenever teenagers keep a secret.  Well, a year after they keep a secret. What right-wing conservative parents group wrote this trash? But guess what? He is vulnerable to one thing - hooks. I'm not kidding.

Jason Voorhees never sent someone a text message. And you know why? Because the audience would have laughed and left.  By the way, we never do learn who moved those mattresses, which resulted in that kid's death.  Oh well.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Friday The 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)

Friday The 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan is one of the stupidest, most pointless horror films ever made.  In my review of Part VII: The New Blood , I mentioned the problems with the timeline of this series.  With Part VIII, the timeline gets even more ridiculous. And clearly the filmmakers weren't paying any attention to what had come before.  Anyway, the bulk of Part VII takes place in 2013 (for an explanation, just take a look at my review of that film).  At the end of that film, the house at the edge of the lake explodes for no particular reason, and Jason is pulled back into the lake by the re-animated corpse of the father of a telekinetic chick. 

In Part VIII, once we've gone past the awful New York opening credit sequence (which, by the way is unlike the opening credit sequence for all of the other films in the series), we are in the exact spot where Jason was submerged.  The remnants of the house are gone, and there are new buildings there.  So this film takes place at least three or four years after Part VII. So, let's say it's 2016.  (Though, really, it needs to be much later, considering no one seems to remember the series of murders there from 2013.)  Two high school seniors are on a houseboat.  The boy, Jim, says they're right around the summer camp where all the murders took place.  The girl asks, what murders? Of course, the camp hasn't been there for more than two decades. But do they not know about all the murders from Part VII?  Jim tells her that Jason drowned thirty years ago. But obviously his math is way off.  Jason drowned in 1957. So he should have said that Jason drowned sixty years ago. (Though, actually, in Part 2 it is established that he didn't drown at all, and had been living in a makeshift shack in the woods all this time.)  Anyway, Jim tells the story of the first couple of films (for anyone in the audience who hadn't seen them).

Meanwhile the boat's anchor hits come cable on the bottom of the lake, which sends an electrical charge to Jason, reviving him (as lightning did in Part VI: Jason Lives). This time he's able to break the chains holding him down there (so I guess he's stronger than he was in Part VI). No sign of Tina's dead dad from the end of Part VII (see my review of Part VII).  Did they finally give him a proper burial?  Well, Jason comes aboard and kills the two teenagers.  There is the sound of his name being whispered, which is retarded.  And we definitely miss Harry Manfredini's music (this is the only film in the series that doesn't feature his score).

And then - and here is where the film completely gives up on making any sense whatsoever (and only thirteen minutes in) - the boat that the two kids were on - you know, the one on the lake - drifts into the ocean and ends up in a harbor where the graduating class is getting onto a larger boat to travel to New York City.  The fact that Jason stayed on that boat, rather than getting off after killing those two kids, is retarded.  But what's offensively retarded is the idea that somehow the boat could get from the Crystal Lake to the ocean.  How did it do that? Magic, maybe. Lazy screenwriting, more likely.

So then we're introduced to a bunch of teenagers on a boat.  The main girl, Rennie, is cute. But her legal guardian, Uncle Charles, doesn't want her on the boat.  One of the kids, Sean, is the son of the boat's captain.  No one else matters really.  Jason climbs aboard and no one notices.

And though it's 2016 or later, everyone is wearing late 1980s fashions. One girl is trying to make an '80s retro music video. Anyway, inexplicably these kids like to be alone on the boat, which is convenient for Jason, who kills them off one by one. How big is this boat, that each of them can go off alone? Or maybe it's a really small graduating class. Some boat crew member says, "He's come back and you're all gonna die." It would have been more appropriate if he'd said, "He's come back and for some reason has left Crystal Lake to take a cruise with the high school graduating class to New York, and as a result you're all gonna die."

And then, because this series is always striving for originality and the unexpected, there is an electrical storm.  Guess which other film in this series has an electrical storm? If you guessed Part1, you're right.  I also would have accepted Part 2, Part 4, Part V, Part VI and Part VII as correct responses.  What's wrong, Part 3?  Heavy winds don't count.

Anyway, teenagers scream when they're killed, but no one hears them.  Look, filmmakers, this isn't a giant ocean liner.  A boat full of high school seniors, and each kid goes off alone far enough from the others that his or her screams aren't heard?  Come on!  The captain of the boat is the most human and believable character in the movie, so he's killed off fairly early.  Sean then finds his father's corpse and uses the intercom to call everyone to the bridge. He also calls the Coast Guard, but Jason pulls the plug before he can get out his message.  There is then a fire.

Five survivors get in the life boat and row to New York.  They row for a full day. It's night when they start, then day, then night again, which is when they see the Statue of Liberty. So rather than just row to shore, they rowed the rest of the way to their destination.  Once they've docked, Jason climbs out of the water.  I guess he swam for a day.  This is when the movie becomes even more retarded.  The survivors are mugged by two cliches.  The muggers also decide to steal Rennie in addition to their wallets.  So the other four split up to try find the police.

The muggers shoot Rennie up with some drug, and one is about to rape her but Jason kills him (thus inadvertently rescuing a girl he's traveled a long way to kill). By the way, Rennie was already hallucinating long before being drugged.  She keeps seeing some kid with Down Syndrome drowning.  Rennie finds Sean and tells him that Jason is in New York. They regroup with the others (except for the black guy, who is now dead), and find a cop.  The cop is then immediately killed by Jason, who in this film sometimes seems capable of teleportation.

There is a flashback to Rennie as young girl in a rowboat on the lake. Uncle Charles tosses her into the water in order for her to learn how to swim. She is pulled under by a boy. Supposedly it's Jason, which makes no sense unless Rennie is now like sixty-five years old.

I don't know if you've ever been to New York City, but there are a lot of people there.  A lot.  Yet these characters can't manage to find anyone. Rennie sits on a discarded couch and tells Sean that her parents died in a car accident.  This is supposed to make us feel for her, and it gives Jason a chance to catch up with them. The chase continues. Finally they get on the subway, where there are lots of other people.  But apparently Jason is really determined to kill these two people specifically. He chases them from car to car, passing all sorts of potential victims.

The train stops and they get out. Jason touches the third rail, and the electricity hurts him, knocking him out. Make up your mind, movie.  Didn't electricity revive him?  Twice?  Anyway, Rennie and Sean leave the subway and walk the streets of New York, with lots of people around. But Jason follows them. He's really set on getting these two. Jason kicks an old dual-cassette boom box out of the way, but doesn't kill the four punks who threaten him for smashing their radio. Instead, he scares them by briefly lifting his hockey mask.

So rather than get a taxi to put some distance between themselves and Jason, Rennie and Sean go down into the sewers. An odd choice, right?  A sewer worker tells them that every night at midnight toxic waste rushes through the sewer. Is that true? It makes sense to me, because I think of New York City as a big cesspool full of toxic waste. Well, they have ten minutes to get out. Rennie finds a pail of toxic waste and tosses it at Jason.  This harms him, and he stumbles around for a while. Then the rush of toxic waste gets Jason, and turns him back into a young human boy. That makes as much sense as everything else in this piece of shit.

You'd think this movie would be bad enough to kill the series.  But no, the filmmakers decided to make yet another pile of feces, titled Jason Goes To Hell. Then, after he goes to hell, Jason goes into space in Jason X.

Friday The 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988)

There is a problem with the timeline of the Friday The 13th series.  The first movie, which came out in 1980, takes place in 1979. We know this because of Mrs. Voorhees' tombstone, which is we see in the fourth movie (which is optimistically titled The Final Chapter).  Part 2 takes place five years later, in 1984. Parts 3 and 4 take place right afterward, so still in 1984.  In Part 4, Tommy Jarvis (Corey Feldman) is twelve years old.  In Part V: A New Beginning, he is at least seventeen. So it's 1989 or 1990. (And yes, starting with the fifth film, they switched to Roman numerals.)  In Part VI: Jason Lives, Tommy is a few years older. So it's probably 1993 or thereabouts.  Part VI ends with Tommy chaining Jason to a large rock in the lake just in front of the camp.

With Part VII: The New Blood, the timeline becomes truly problematic.  Part VII opens in the same spot, with Jason chained up at the bottom of the lake. But the camp is gone. In place of the cabins, there is a house, and it seems to have been there for quite a while. So it's at least a decade later. So, say, 2003. In the opening scene, a young girl who is maybe seven or eight years old, accidentally kills her father using telekinesis. He falls into the lake, just at the edge, as the short pier he is on collapses.  And then the rest of the film takes place when Tina is seventeen or eighteen. So, yes, another decade later, making this film take place in 2013.  But the film came out in 1988, so no one in it has cell phones or anything.  The film doesn't address the fact that it takes place in the future.  Everyone is dressed in late 1980s fashions. And they have an old television from the '80s too. And a VCR. And old telephones and cars.

So the movie is fighting an uphill battle. And then there is the telekinesis aspect.  Tina has returned to the house to deal with her feelings, aided by a doctor who is really out to exploit her talents. But after moving a matchbook with her mind, she goes outside and somehow breaks the chains that keep Jason in the lake.  She senses someone out there, and for some reason thinks it's her father.  Though, really, wouldn't they have lifted her father's body from the shallow water to give it a funeral and proper burial?  The answer, it turns out later, is no.  So anyway, she inadvertently frees Jason.  By the way, how was that chain keeping Jason there in the first place? In Part VI, Jason is strong enough to crush skulls and punch through someone's chest and whatnot, but this chain for some reason is too much for him.

Also, in Part VI it was established that the name of the town was changed from Crystal Lake to Forest Green (or something like that) so that the town could put all the killing behind it. Yet, for some reason in the intervening decades, someone decided to change it back, because the old sign is back up.

Twenty years hanging out in a lake hasn't diminished Jason's killing power. And he goes about killing a bunch of people in this film. The film introduces characters only to have them slaughtered in the same scene. So of course we care about none of them. They're there just to give Jason something to do for an hour or so before he goes after the two or three characters who have been established.  And then there are some awful characters, who are established only enough for us to hate them, and they too are slaughtered.

You know, things started to go wrong with Part 3. Because in the first two, all of the characters are basically likeable, so you don't want them to be killed. But starting with the third film, the filmmakers introduced characters you hate, characters you want to have die. And that's screwed up, because then Jason becomes the hero, at least for the moment. Like in Part VII, you want the stuck-up blonde to be brutally butchered. Same goes for the doctor. (The doctor actually uses Tina's mother as a shield to protect himself from Jason, thus getting her killed - one of the few believable moments in the movie.)  But when you start cheering for the killer, the film ceases to be scary, and instead makes you feel like a shithead.

Part VII has a random cat jump out of a closet, where apparently it's been for a long time. Part 2 has a random cat jump through an open window.  And another one (I can't remember which) has a random cat jump off a shelf in a diner.

Well, once Jason starts killing off the characters in Part VII he apparently finds a wild assortment of weapons in the woods.  Every time we see him, he has something new. Where did he get all this stuff?  And why does he bother going for a variety of weapons?  Is he bored?  I am.  Anyway, Tina uses telekinesis to hurl couches and potted plants at Jason, which confuses him. At the end, the house explodes for some reason.

And then this is the part that is really stupid. Tina uses telekinesis to bring her father back from the dead. Apparently they just left his body at the edge of the lake ten years ago, which is ridiculous.  Also ridiculous is that his body didn't decompose.  So he comes back and grabs Jason and pulls him into the lake.  Seriously.  The end.

As awful as this film is, the next two in the series are much, much worse.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Bounty Huntress: Undercover (2001)

Let me just tell you straight away that the photo on the box has nothing whatsoever to do with the actual movie. Also, the title is a bit misleading, in that there is no bounty huntress (or hunter, for that matter) in the film.

The movie starts with Rebecca Carter (Chloe Nicholle) walking around her home in sexy red lingerie to cheesy music.  She herself is a sexy redhead, and in a movie that's full of nude women, she is the one that is truly attractive. Anyway, a dorky guy in a suit suddenly appears. She kisses him, prompting him to say, "Oh, it appears you missed me." And they start to make love as the awful music continues.

Meanwhile a blonde named Amanda comes up the stairs to get Rebecca because the police are downstairs. The question is, Which is the worse actor - the guy or the blonde? My vote is for the blonde, but the election could go either way.  Anyway, it turns out that Rebecca is a whore, and the guy is a client.  The cop takes her the station, and on her way there, we get this bit of voice over: "You think you have it all under control. You have it all figured out. You're winning the game. Then the cards change just like that."  Yes, because when you're a prostitute clearly everything has worked out just as you planned.

The movie then quickly cuts to another blonde fucking a guy to music that is bad, but not as bad as the stuff that came before.  They get a phone call, and we see a montage of the two of them getting dressed.  Very exciting stuff, and the point of it is that it leads to them putting on their badges. Oooh, they're cops!  Cops have sex!  With each other!

The male cop, Steve, arrives at the station to tell Rebecca that she's in trouble. He says stuff like, "Cat got your tongue or are you just shy?"  Get it? Because a whore isn't generally shy.  He's making a joke there.  Steve mentions Victor Davis, so we have a flashback to Rebecca dressed in black kissing Victor. In two seconds Rebecca is naked, making it impossible to hate this movie.  Then back in the present, Steve tells her they've been chasing Victor for years, and is surprised she doesn't know about Victor's drug smuggling operation. Steve convinces her to allow them to set up surveillance in her brothel (yes, he calls it a brothel).

Steve then has to remind Samantha (the female cop) that whores "are people, Sam, just like you and me." She disagrees.  Oooh, conflict.  He tells her this is a case of a lifetime.  Really?  Apparently there is a shortage of whores and drugs in the world of this film.

By the way, the woman playing Samantha (Nicole Hilbig) makes the guy and the blonde from the first scene look like amazing actors by comparison. Also, she is seriously unattractive. Certainly her shitty acting doesn't help in that regard. She is constantly pouting and sighing. I kind of want to punch her in the face.

By the way, the surveillance doesn't make sense. Steve doesn't tell Rebecca to try to get Victor to talk about drug smuggling or anything. The surveillance photos we see are 8x10 headshot-type photos of the girls. Then Rebecca takes a bath. The film keeps cutting back to Steve's face, because Rebecca is fantasizing about him apparently. Also, she has lit like a dozen candles. It is my understanding that all prostitutes do that before taking a bath.  The movie, to be fair, then takes us to Steve, who is dreaming of Rebecca.  True love is beautiful.

The next day the two cops arrive to set up the surveillance equipment. Wait a minute, if they haven't set up yet, where did those photos come from? Well, no matter. They decide to put audio recording devices in all the rooms, and video in only two rooms. Then for some reason we get a montage of them unpacking and setting up the equipment. This is only a 71-minute movie, and yet there is all sorts of unnecessary horseshit in it. And check out the dance beats during the montage. Ouch.  This is when I really began wondering why the film is called Bounty Huntress.

Steve tells Rebecca that Samantha is a little conservative.  That's fine, except that we were introduced to her character in a sex scene. Is that any way to introduce someone who is uptight and conservative?  Well, not if the movie's writer has any idea of character development. Sorry, Steve Martel, screenwriter.

Samantha then watches two people having sex on the monitor (neither of whom is Victor - so why is she watching?). Anyway, she repeatedly looks at her own breasts and then makes a disgusted face. I'm not at all sure just what this poor actor is trying to convey. At first I thought she was upset that her breasts are too small, but that doesn't seem to be it.  Two other whores arrive and model lingerie for each other.  And then Samantha masturbates while watching another couple fuck. Rebecca catches her.

Even though they set up video cameras in only two rooms, Samantha is able to watch Rebecca leaving by the front door on her monitor.  The longer the film goes on, the more I despise the actor playing Samantha.  She can't deliver a single line properly. Every time she speaks I am filled with rage. Who hired this silly bitch?  It would be one thing if she were sexy. But she's not.  Not at all.  Steve wises up and fucks Rebecca rather than his partner.  And then his partner joins one of the whores for a threesome.  For some reason, we don't get to see the sex scene, just the moment before it and the moment after it.  In the moment after it, Samantha tells the whore, "I had no idea that what you do is so much fun."  Sshh, don't say that out loud, or soon every woman will turn pro.  And where will that leave broke guys like me?

Anyway, Rebecca finally warns Victor about the cops, but it doesn't matter.  They arrest him (and Rebecca too).  And sadly, Steve stays with Samantha, who has decided to become a part-time prostitute when not working as a police officer.  And that's how the film ends.

Bounty Huntress: Undercover stars Chloe Nicholle, Nicole Hilbig, John Donavan, Burke Morgan and Nikki Steele.  It was directed by Eric Gibson.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Demon Hunting (2007)

Demon Hunting is a Japanese film, dubbed in English and shot on video, so we're off to a great start. See if you can makes sense of this one, because I certainly couldn't. Some chick is on a roof and in voice over tells us, "I'm depressed with the world these days." She then litters from the rooftop. Then she washes blood down a bathroom sink before returning to the roof. There she looks vacant, and tells us in more voice over, "The future is so far away." Then she's at the school gym, holding a basketball.  In voice over she says, "I hope this thing goes in." She takes a shot, but misses.  She and some other stupid girl talk about the end of the world and how cool it would be. This thing is so poorly dubbed that for a little while I'm convinced the whole thing is intended to be expressed through telepathy. The girls' mouths aren't moving, but inane dialogue keeps coming.

The other girl says, "I noticed your rival didn't come to school today... If she doesn't come to school, she can't flatter the teacher, can she?"  It's an intriguing question, or it would be if I had any idea whom she was talking about.  Apparently the girl likes some boy, but another girl likes him too. So the main girl goes to the bathroom and says, "Mirror mirror on the wall, who's the fairest lady in the world?" Doesn't quite have the same appeal as the original line, but whatever. Besides, there are no fair asian women. Asian women are all dark-haired.  Well, she then finds a dead girl in one of the stalls.

Some awkward boy in a lab coat tells the main girl that life has its ups and downs. He gives her a cassette and tells her, "Just smile, okay?"  Then there is some nonsense about a chain letter, "The demon is coming." If you don't pass it along, you die (a slight variation on every other lame contemporary Japanese horror film).  The main girl is being interviewed by some guy, and that's how this information comes out.  Maybe something is lost in the translation, but every single line of dialogue in this film is incredibly stupid.  Also, all the girls wear the same school uniform, so it's nearly impossible to tell them apart (if that sounds racist, tough).  Are we in a flashback? Is that the dead girl? I have no idea.

The main girl tells the interviewer that her heart is broken. He says, "I'm very sorry. It's only shortly after the incident." He promises to pursue whoever is behind the chain letter.  Some other guy, while looking at his phone, says, "Here's the demon's chain letter." And that's that. I don't think we ever see him again, but I can't be sure.  The girl is on another roof. Or is this the same shot from the beginning? Oh, she's on the roof, but thinking about another time she was on the roof.  Then suddenly a group of people look up at her and tell her she's the demon.  They keep saying, "The demon."  They say it like thirty or perhaps forty times. It goes on and on. She blocks her ears and in voice over says, "I still pretend to believe in various things."  And that's the end of that scene. Then she's on a bus.

By the way, whoever made the DVD forgot to provide translations of any words we see on the screen, like the film's title and the various messages on cell phones.

Anyway, she goes home and her mom attacks her, but we only see it after the fact, when she tells a cop what happened. She grabs the cop's gun and aims it at him for some reason, then runs away. I think this film proves that asian people are completely insane.  A news report in voice over says that phones and the internet are not working, then says the police are investigating the email message. How could they?  Apparently, there was another murder at the high school, this one in a pool on a roof. A pool on the roof of a high school? That doesn't sound dangerous, or just plain stupid. Not at all.

The girl starts talking to the mirror again and cutting herself. I pour myself another glass of wine. Randomly the interviewer asks some person if he remembers "New York's 9/11." The guy answers yes, so the interviewer follows up with, "What can you say about that?"  Well, I could say that it's completely irrelevant.  The interviewer is a professor that all the girls like, apparently.  Certainly not for his intelligent, probing questions.

Well, the cop finds the girl, and chases her through the school's halls, saying they can be friends. Some other girl takes a Polaroid photo of her, then says she got an email from the demon.  A cell phone magically appears in her hand. She then talks about... Well, I can't follow it.  The main girl shoots the camera girl in the shoulder.  Camera girl says, "You did reveal your true personality" and then runs off. That's just what I would say if someone shot me.  The main girl then finds the interviewer/professor and tells him she shot the girl and then asks, "Am I a demon already?"

Some chick tries to call Bruce Willis, but remembers the phones don't work, so she starts laughing because broken things are funny.  They run outside and see a car pass, so they yell to it for some reason. It doesn't stop. Why would it? The mayor shows up at the school, but the cop sends him away. The girl decides the cop must be a demon. You can tell a demon from a person because all demons have just eaten cherry popsicles, and prove it by sticking out their tongues.

A giant red CG moon hangs like two feet above the building. Maybe near the pool.

For some reason, they don't leave the school, and the interviewer/professor is on the phone. So maybe the phones work now. The mayor on television sticks out his tongue, and the interviewer/professor becomes angry and says, "There goes my exclusive news." Then he talks about a voodoo child. Time for another glass of wine.

Meanwhile the other girl is trying to remember the name of a John Travolta movie. Finally she remembers; it's Mad City. Glad we got that cleared up. This makes me think the United States should drop another atomic bomb to stop the Japanese from making more films. 

Things get even more retarded when the girl goes back to the gym and there's some other guy there dancing with a knife and talking about song lyrics. Then she has to play basketball. The guy wins and shouts, "Yes." And the word "Yes" actually flashes across the screen. In English. She lost the game, but then shoots the guy. So is anyone a winner? The other girls says this is just like The Truman Show.  Interesting. I hadn't made that connection, but then again I'm not a Japanese girl.

The interviewer/professor thinks about policemen, and the main girl thinks about the interviewer/professor. In voice over she says, "I just wanted the professor to hold me. But how can I think of such a thing at this awful time? Maybe that's the reason why I am called the demon."  Sure, why not?  She then tosses away the professor's stone from New York and kisses him. The big red moon is still in the exact spot it was hours ago.  Odd. Then the girl watches the tape in the guy's video camera, and learns that the interviewer/professor is the killer since he conveniently filmed everything, including (somehow) himself walking away from the scene of the crime.  The moon is big and in the same spot, but now it's white.

She runs from the interviewer/professor/demon. But he catches her and asks her if she's afraid.  Another great question from this brilliant freelance journalist.  She runs to the roof and then says, "Of all places on Earth, why did I come here?"  Exactly, especially when she could have taken that staircase to Cairo or Paris or Toronto.  The interviewer/professor follows her to the roof and says he did kill the girl in the bathroom but is not a demon.  The girls says, "But that's wrong, you know?" And he replies, "But it's not wrong, okay?"

He then says, "It's the end of the line for you because you have to die. Is there something wrong, my dear?" Then he suggests they kiss again. And she shoots him. Then it turns out another girl has been filming this, but it's not like the movie Biohazard (I have to take her word on that, as I haven't seen that film).

We see the opening bit again on the roof with that awful voice over.  And then it's all explained, sort of. A contract, an erased memory, some blood on a mirror, and ninety minutes of my life wasted.

By the way, there is only one minute of music recorded for the film, but it's played throughout the ninety minutes, which really adds to the pleasure of watching this horrid pile of feces.

One more thing: the photo on the DVD box has absolutely nothing to do with the film (in case you were wondering).

Friday, October 12, 2012

Blood Orgy Of The She-Devils (1972)

Because of the title Blood Orgy Of The She-Devils, I expected this movie to have a blood orgy of the she-devils. Silly me.

The film opens with a dance and a sacrifice. I'm already confused, because the dancing girls are fully clothed.  Mara (Lila Zaborin) leads a group of witches. She says "So mote it be" a lot, so clearly writer/director Ted V. Mikels researched witchcraft a bit and then decided to use the one thing he learned over and over.  Actually, in the DVD commentary, Mikels talks about how he did a lot of research for this film (I'm not kidding). He went to several seances, and then locked himself away for a week to write the screenplay. If only he'd locked himself away for another week and refrained from shooting the film. But no luck there.

Anyway, the fully clothed witches stab a guy with some spears. And the movie is on its way. Lila Zaborin says every line the same way - slowly, seriously and angrily - even when she asks for wine. Two guys want her to use her black magic to kill a man, and they hand her a photograph of their intended victim.

Meanwhile Lorraine (Leslie McRae) shows up at the castle to look into a crystal ball.  She (or is it some other brunette? it's pretty dark in there) sees herself strangled by some guy.  Apparently, it's her death from a prior lifetime.  So it is not at all important or related to anything happening now.  The next day Lorraine and her boyfriend Mark are having a picnic. She is wearing a ridiculously sexy outfit and talking about a seance at the castle.  So they decide to go (but for some reason don't sit next to each other). At the seance, Mara calls upon her Indian guide, Tacowanna (wanna taco? no thanks), and then moans a whole lot.  Apparently it's not fun for her. It's not fun for us either. However, a couple of the girls there are hot, particularly the one the Indian spirit calls "squaw." Yes, Mara does a really bad, stereotypical American Indian voice, and tells the hot girl to go inside a teepee, then "You burn 'em hair in fire."  She then tells the next girl, "No take big shiny bird cross big waters." This goes on for a while, and then Mara takes on a different spirit, Jessica, and gives more advice from the beyond.  But who gives a shit? Take off your clothes. Get to the orgy already.  There is then a ghost, but it does nothing. Its brief appearance is the big finale of the seance. Time to go.

Later Mara takes the photo that the men gave her and yells, while putting her hands inside a big wine glass. At that same moment, at a very dull gathering somewhere, a guy dies.  The two men see that the witch's black magic worked, and so they decide they'd better kill her because she's dangerous. Meanwhile Mara tells a redhead to meditate using the fire and "the powers of karma."  Yes, the powers of karma.  The guys show up and kill Mara, the redhead, plus some other guy. His death is amusing. But where is the orgy?

Mara vanishes. Then a cat appears. The cat goes over to the dead guy, so he gets up. Then she's back to her human form. So everything is back to normal, which means none of what just happened matters. Mara makes a voodoo doll of the guy that shot her. Okay, who cares? It makes him itchy, so he jumps out a window. Then she makes a doll of the other guy.  I mean, seriously, we don't care about any of this. So then the film cuts to a flashback to something completely unrelated (perhaps as a ploy to make us care more about the other crap we just saw, which by comparison now seems somewhat worthwhile). The flashback is to a witch being tortured, and then a boy being whipped while his witch mother watches.  This has no bearing on the story whatsoever, but on its own is actually more interesting than anything in the actual story.

The biggest horror in this film is the pool-side furniture.  Yikes!  Mark and Lorraine have a series of conversations with a professor who likes to ramble on about black magic. They first talk in their home after a game of chess, then next to a pool, then in a restaurant.  It's all very exciting.  Where will they talk next?  But seriously, take a look at that pool furniture.  Frightening.

Well, there is another scene from a past life - some blonde being stoned to death. It's all fun until a guy drops a large rock on her, ruining it for the rest of the players. As you might have guessed, this has nothing to do with anything, and functions solely to make this film the respectable length of 79 minutes.

And then there is another seance. The girls start to dance, and for some reason it's the guys that are shirtless. For Lorraine, it's all about the dancing. She clearly hears a different song from the rest of the girls. And she doesn't care that Mark is tied down (though neither do we). At the end of a long day of listening to some idiot talk, she likes to unwind with a seance and a dance.  But where is the orgy? The professor and three doctors gather outside and become religious weirdos. They really have no idea what's going on inside, but they decide it's not good, and so call on the power of Jesus to stop it (yes, that's right, they carry on their own crazy ritual). The girls inside panic and kill each other.  Then the doctors go inside to see what Jesus did.  And that's the film.  Yup.

Blood Orgy Of The She-Devils stars Lila Zaborin, Victor Izay, Tom Pace, Leslie McRae and William Bagdad. (Leslie McRae and Tom Pace also starred in Ted V. Mikels' Girl In Gold Boots.)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Corpse Grinders II (2000)

Where do I begin with this one?  Well, let's start with how this film came to be. Here is the conversation between writer/producer/director Ted V. Mikels and some office intern that led directly to the making of this film (this is from the original transcript):

"I wanted to make a sequel to The Corpse Grinders, but I have no new ideas. Well, one, but it doesn't make any sense. It's dog aliens fighting cat aliens. So instead of a sequel, I've decided to just remake the original Corpse Grinders, but make it much, much worse."
"Sir, is that possible? Your original film is just awful."
"Yes, I'm certain I can do it. I have a plan.  First, I'm not going to hire a sound man. Or a lighting person.  Also, we'll shoot the whole thing on video, and use people without any acting ability whatsoever. Whenever possible, we'll have them read their lines directly off the script just out of frame. Heck, I'll even stick myself in the film in a pointless role. And we'll shoot the entire thing here in my office, without moving anything out or bringing in any set decoration."
"That still sounds basically like the original.  I don't know if it will be any worse."
"Really? Do you have any ideas?"
"Why don't you add in your dog alien, cat alien thing?  That sounds incredibly stupid, and will be sure to make the film a completely senseless pile of garbage."
"Okay! Good thinking. And I just had another idea of how to make it worse. We'll remove the one element that made the original film interesting. We'll take out the cats attacking and eating their owners."
"Yes, that will make it worse, Sir, especially as that was really the driving point of the film."
"By the way, we have a budget of fifteen dollars, but ten of that has to be saved for the wrap party. So I'll be using spaceship footage from another film."

And they were on their way.  This is one movie where you never worry about a boom shadow in the shot. Why? No boom.  Half the time you can't make out the dialogue, and that might be to the viewer's benefit.

The movie begins with a Star Wars-like crawl, which informs us, "In a galaxy many light years away there is a planet called Ceta. Its inhabitants emulate their ancestors, the cat-worshipers of Egypt and Atlantis. There is a shortage of food and water on Ceta and the cat-people struggle for survival against the elements. The dog-people of the neighboring planet Traxis wage war against Ceta and have plans to invade." And there are ridiculously cheap shots of cat aliens and dog aliens fighting, and then the cat aliens discussing their dilemma in someone's living room. There is some talk about going to Earth in order to survive.  Right away, you might be wondering, What is the goofiest element?  The costumes? The set dressing, or lack thereof? The script?  The acting? The children with black cat T-shirts saying "meow"?  You pick.  Whatever you choose is correct.

Meanwhile, in a cheap office set a guy sets a chair upright and puts some magazines away.  Yes, the film is riveting right from the start.  Two nephews of the people who owned the cat food company from the original film have now inherited the place (a few decades later?), and have decided to make the same mistakes their uncles did. Good plan. That is, for those not familiar with the original movie, to use human corpses as ingredients in the cat food. They hire homeless winos and other assorted incompetent people to assist them.  By the way, the corpse grinding machine switch says, "Hitachi Camera Power Unit." Do movies come any cheaper?  However, this is the only film I know of with beef-flavored embalming fluid. 

The alien ship lands, and some old guy sees it, but two government men immediately show up and order him to go with them. Not to silence him, or anything. Just to take him to an office for a few minutes and then let him go.

Meanwhile two people who work in a hospital are kissing.  The girl, Angie, has a cat who apparently won't eat any food (but yet is still alive).  This seems familiar.  Wasn't this in the first film?  Yes.  Angie would be really pretty if she were lit better.  That is to say, if she were lit.  (Often the sound of the cats seems to be someone saying "ow" in a baby voice.)

What else? Oh yes, Gandalf The Grey has fallen on hard times and supports himself and his gorgeous wife by digging graves. (Yes, this was also in the original.)  The nephews want him to supply them with corpses.  I spent a few moments trying to make sense out of this line: "No advance without the merchandise." Then I gave up.

Meanwhile the alien woman is now disguised as a human woman, and is blending into society by sniffing meat in a grocery store. (She might be more at home in a John Waters film. And actually, there is a John Waters actor in this film - Liz Renay, who plays Cleo, the gravedigger's wife.)

Anyway, the movie goes on for a long time with the nephews making business deals. Really interesting stuff. There are lots of shots of people on telephones.  Where are the aliens? And why is no one getting killed?  Isn't this a horror movie?

The nurse, Angie, buys a can of Lotus cat food, and the cat eats it. Hurrah!  Just like in the original film.  The cat scratches her boyfriend when he tries to move the cat away from the food. He then calls the CEO of the cat food company.  Interesting reaction. It's almost as if he'd seen the original film.  Speaking of which, some of the people in this movie are aware of what the original owners of the company did.  And yet, they're quite surprised and confused to learn that once again humans end up in the food.  They're not too bright.

Anyway, the aliens contact the government to get a supply of cat food to bring back to save their people.  I should add here that this film is not a comedy.

Finally, a government agent is killed while snooping around the factory. There is an excellent and completely believable sound effect as he gets hit in the head.  By the way, I love the shot of the agents watching the cat food company - they use binoculars, even though they're not more than ten feet from the door and are standing in plain sight in the factory's parking lot in the daytime. That reminds me of a funny moment in Police Squad (did you ever see that show?).

Then, for no reason whatsoever, an alien beams in from Star Trek to scare the gravedigger's wife, and then beams out, back to whatever movie it was supposed to be in.  This alien is a little grey stereotypical-looking alien, not the cat aliens or dog aliens that have been established (somewhat) in this film.  And no, we never see this alien again.  No matter.  The gravedigger then kills his wife.

So the old guy who saw the alien ship decides to try to get a grant to study cannibalism, and we have a scene of him soliciting the help of a colleague.  Why?  Who knows?  There are no cannibals in this film, and this character isn't really adding anything, or moving the plot forward.  There is also a scene where nearly every line of dialogue is a question.  It goes on for a long time, and involves four characters, and seems to be some sort of acting exercise that they decided to capture on video and edit into this movie.  (Here is a bit of it: How much? What's the right price? I don't know, what do you think?  I don't know. How about a grand a piece? A grand? You're kidding, right?)

Well, Angie (the nurse - remember her?) shows up again, now wearing a sweater and short skirt.  She looks seriously cute.  She talks on the phone to some character we haven't met, then writes a note that we don't see and leaves the office.  Then there's a board meeting of the stock holders of the cat company, deciding whether to sell their company to the alien woman.  This scene is nearly as exciting as the scene where the guy put the magazines away at the beginning.  We also learn that the aliens have mastered alchemy, but have no food.

Angie shows up at the cat food factory because the grocery stores are all out of that brand of cat food.  That happened in the original too.  But would that happen in real life?  If a store were out of a product, would you drive to the factory?  Well, the longer the movie goes on, the hotter Angie looks.  She is honestly the only enjoyable element of the entire movie. I have a weakness for women in sweaters and short skirts.  Meanwhile her boyfriend finds the note she left.  It's pretty important.  The note says that she went to buy cat food.  He seems distraught over this information, and laments aloud, "Why would she go without me?" They clearly have a strange relationship.

The old guy gets his grant approved.  (You were probably wondering about that.)  Also, he has an Eye Of The Storm in his home.  I had one of those in high school.  Very cool.  His is on, though it's daytime, and the effect is greatly diminished by sunlight.

Angie wanders around the factory by herself for some reason, then is grabbed by one of the nephews.  When she comes to, she is in the office and asks for a tour of the factory and for permission to buy two cases of cat food.  Apparently being knocked unconscious doesn't faze this chick one bit.  She gets her tour, and the cat food, and leaves.  And that's the end of her story.  Seriously. Someone forgot this is a horror movie.

The government wants to buy four hundred cases of cat food to give to the aliens.  They mention they're from A.S.T.A.P.P.  One of the nephews says, "What the hell is A.S.T.A.P.P.?"  The government agent says, and I am quoting here, "That's the government agency for Awareness Suppression To Avoid Public Panic."  Have you heard of them?  No? That's because they're suppressing awareness.

The movie then becomes truly suspenseful as the nephews begin making phone calls to order labels for the cat food cans and so on.  Will they be able to fill the government's order in time?  Actually, the government didn't give them a deadline, so there's no rush.  But whatever.  When enough food is produced, the agents beam in (like the random alien did earlier) to collect the food, and they call the technology a dimensional force field (which makes no sense).  They pay the nephews, handing them a leather bag that is clearly empty. Well, perhaps they wrote them a check and stuck it in a big leather bag.

The aliens get their food, and the old guy with the grant goes on the alien ship for some reason.  And that's the end of the film. 

So let's recap.  The nephews got away with using corpses in the food, and got rich off of it.  Angie managed to get two cases of cat food and went home.  The cat aliens got their food and also went home (presumably to then be killed by the dog aliens, whom we haven't seen since the very beginning of the movie). The gravedigger got away with murdering his wife (though there is some question about that - as she suddenly sat up as she was put into the grinder like three days later - so, yes, she was killed, but not by her husband, though he doesn't know that).  An old guy got a grant to study cannibalism and then went on a spaceship.  Any questions?

Corpse Grinders II stars... Wait, what does it matter? You don't care.  The only one that matters is Cara Jo Basso as Angie. Also, all of the cats in the movie got screen credits. I wonder if they also got a copy of the film.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Ripper 2: Letter From Within (2004)

I knew I was in for a real treat when the opening credits to Ripper 2: Letter From Within included not only two writers for the screenplay, and a third contributing the story, but also this curious credit: "Additional Screenplay by Pat Bermel."  Additional screenplay? They had another script lying around? 

"Hey, we're going to make a bad movie. It took three of us to write it."
"Really? Because I have a script too."
"You do? Is it bad?"
"It's absolutely awful."
"Well, okay, we'll shoot some of that too."
"You will? Thanks."
"Sure. After all, there are a lot of holes in our script, and a lot of stuff that doesn't make any sense or matter. So we're happy to throw your screenplay into the mix."
"Should we check to make sure the stories, or at least the genres are alike?"
"Don't be silly. And in fact, we have two directors on this project, so one of them can be shooting your script, and one can shoot ours, and we'll leave it to the editor to make sense of it all."
"Wow, you must have hired a really phenomenal editor."
"Nope."
Anyway, that's the conversation I was imagining as I watched Ripper 2: Letter From Within, which definitely has a place on my list of the worst movies ever made.  Offhand, I'd say it's probably number three or four on that list. Let me explain...

It opens with a girl who in voice over introduces herself as Jack the Ripper.  Then we go to Molly in an office of an institution, talking with the administrator or head doctor or someone in charge. He tells her they've tried everything (everything being shock treatment and medication), but nothing has worked. He's heard of some new experimental treatment in Europe where they're conducting clinical trials. He stresses that this likely includes procedures that would never be accepted in the United States. He also says that everything would be in her head, that it wouldn't be real.  So she signs the paper and goes.

I'm sure you're thinking what I was thinking: If it's all in her head, then is this just going to be a dream movie?  The answer, and this will save you ninety minutes of your life, is Yes.

So they operate on her head, and she finds herself in some room in the late 1800s. Dr. Weisser (Richard Bremmer), the director of this experimental program, is seated in the room with her. He tells her, "Welcome to your subconscious, Molly."  He tells her she's in an inherited memory, whatever that means. She knows it's not real, but runs away anyway.  And then wakes up in the clinic.  And we get the obligatory introductions of the other patients, such as Erich, whose affliction is being an incredibly dull guitarist. Erich says, "We're all outcasts here. Lara's a pyromaniac. Julia has masochistic tendencies. And Sally, as far as I can tell, anger management issues." Yes, that's a taste of the amazing dialogue produced by that incredible team of writers.

Sally dies in her dream, and dies in reality as well.  (Of course, it's not reality, because nothing really happens in this movie.)  So the doctor takes the patients on a tour of Prague. (Field trips always cheer me up after the death of a friend.) There is a long sequence in an S&M club that has nothing to do with anything, but is the only thing I like in the entire film.  Well, that is to say, there are brief moments in this sequence that I enjoy (like the two chicks riding a masked guy and whipping him).  Perhaps this sequence comes from that additional screenplay ("Oh, yours is a horror script? Mine is fetish film").  But then some mysterious killer chases one of the patients around in the club.  Who cares?  It goes on and on and on.  Some of the the female extras are sexy. But of course none of it is real. Yawn. (By the way, the back of the DVD case tells us the killer is Jack the Ripper. But this film has absolutely nothing to do with the Jack the Ripper story.)

So in the dream, the patients go to the laboratory computers to try to find a way out. Does that make any sense?  No.  So we have shots of them seated at computer terminals, just typing away.  What a boring dream.  This is like watching a fucking holodeck episode from Star Trek.  Except that Star Trek had some decent actors.  The actor who plays Molly is like a dull version of Misty Mundae, the porn star.  If your acting chops and emotional range are less than that of a porn star, you are in serious trouble.  The rest of the cast is worse. (Though these actors really can't be held entirely responsible for their performances in this one.)

Molly is the main character, but the movie spends huge chunks of time away from her, even in the last twenty-five minutes of the film. Maybe these other scenes are from that additional script. Who knows? It doesn't matter, because again nothing actually happens in this film.  The movie ends with Molly waking up in the chair in the office of her original institution. She had imagined the entire thing.  Seriously. The movie ends with her saying the line, "None of it was real." She says it twice. Basically the filmmakers are saying, "Fuck you, audience." And they say it twice.

If you ever have the opportunity to meet any of the writers or directors of this film, you owe it to the film-going community to beat the living shit out of them.  Here are their names: Jonas Quastel (screenwriter, story writer, director), John Sheppard (screenwriter), Evan Tyler (story writer), Pat Bermel (additional screenplay writer), Lloyd Simandl (director, producer).

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Lake Placid 2 (2007)

Giant animals are always fun in horror movies, and I definitely have a weakness for movies featuring giant sharks, giant snakes, giant spiders, giant shrews, giant leeches, giant octopuses, and so on.  Lake Placid 2 features giant crocodiles.  Okay!

The film opens with a couple of EPA guys in a small boat on the lake.  One of them confesses that he got into ecology in order to meet women, and then a moment later is killed by a giant crocodile, leaving his buddy Frank holding his severed arm. Frank somehow didn't see what killed him.  Frank is kind of an idiot (and he's also a bit annoying).

Meanwhile Sheriff James Riley (John Schneider) is talking with his son, Scott (Chad Collins), who is bored in this small Maine town. Scott also gives us this piece of information: there is no cell phone reception.  Cell phones have caused a lot of problems in horror movie land. You have to acknowledge their existence and then somehow get rid of them. The easiest tactic is to say there is no reception, and leave it there. That's what this film does. Cell phones are not mentioned again. Amen. But things look up when two seconds later a cute girl strolls by with her dog.

At work, Riley is throwing darts, and there is a wonderful and unexpected moment. The dart actually bounces off the board back into frame. Watch John Schneider's facial reaction - it's bloody priceless (and is actually one of my favorite things in this film).  Anyway, Frank tells Riley about his buddy's death, and Riley thinks he's stoned. Those ecology guys!  But Frank shows him the arm, and that's enough to convince Riley.  Riley says they'd better call in the fish and wildlife people, and learns they've already been called. And right at that moment the fish and wildlife chick shows up. It's Emma Warner (played by Sarah LaFleur), who apparently has a past with Riley.  (I didn't see the first Lake Placid movie, but I'm guessing I'm not missing any important plot points.)

Riley, Emma and Frank go to talk to Crazy Sadie (played by the wonderful "what the fuck is she doing in this film" Cloris Leachman), because her sister is rumored to have bred large crocodiles.  I absolutely love Cloris Leachman, and she is delightful, as always. "Get lost, Barney Miller," she says. She's a feisty ol' gal who likes crocodiles and thinks a bit less of humans. Can you blame her?

Meanwhile Scott is hitting on Kerri (the chick with the dog), and they discover that they both love the city of Boston.  Hey, who doesn't?  Best city on the planet.  Go Sox!  Her annoying boyfriend, Thad, shows up, and immediately acts like an asshole.  Will he get eaten by a giant crocodile?  You know he will.  Two other assholes join them and they all go to a more remote area of the park for a picnic or a swim or whatever.  The two newcomers - Rachel and Larry - are the kind of people you'd stab in the face if you ever met them.  Will they also be eaten?  You bet!

First the movie has to get rid of a pointless reporter character. Hey, look at Cloris Leachman's pink furry slippers.  I love her.

The movie doesn't waste any time.  It's only like twenty minutes before Riley, Emma and Frank see the giant crocodile and are attacked by it. They survive; apparently the crocodile just wanted to scare them.  And then Struthers (a poacher that Emma ran into before) shows up in a plane to hunt the beast.  This is all in basically the same scene; again, this film doesn't waste any time.  Emma wants to capture the crocodile, so they use a turtle in a net as bait.  The crocodile shows up and kills a deputy. Startled, Frank falls down. His eyelids are moving when the others check on him, but I guess they just assume he's dead. They don't give him any medical aid, but instead start getting their guns ready to go after the crocodile.  Poor Frank. Poor annoying, stupid Frank.

Struthers is going to attack the crocodile from his plane somehow, and there is a nice set dressing touch: a pink plush bunny hanging in the cockpit (though we don't need the closeup shot of it).  The bit where they accidentally harpoon the plane is one of the stupidest things I've ever seen in a movie.  Seriously.  You'll be amazed at how retarded it is.

Well, they kill the giant crocodile while there is still plenty of film left.  What could that mean?  That's right: more giant crocodiles.

At one point, Riley calls the police station, and a female deputy answers.  He is annoyed with her and tells her that when he returns he'll throw a dart at her.  That's not really much of a threat, considering what we've seen of John Schneider's dart skills.

There is a big continuity error. Riley gives Struthers his rifle and takes Struthers' grenade launcher, and then goes off to find his son. But then after he uses the grenade launcher to kill a crocodile, and rescue his son, he suddenly is carrying the rifle again, and the grenade launcher is nowhere to be found.  Whoops.  There are other problems too, of course.  When Larry finds Scott and Kerri, he tells them that Rachel "didn't make it." But he doesn't say what killed her.  He doesn't say, "Hey, there is a giant crocodile."  The screenwriters forgot that at this point Larry has no idea whether Scott and Kerri have seen the crocodile too.  And then later - and here's where I should warn you that this is a spoiler - Scott finds his father and tells him that there are actually four crocodiles. And Riley seems surprised by this information.  But he already knows there are four, because he just killed the third one and saw another one.  Whoops again.

As stupid as this film is, it's still kind of fun.  That is due almost entirely to the cast.  John Schneider is always enjoyable, and he seems to be having a good time no matter how bad the film is.  Good for him. And, as I already said, I love Cloris Leachman. So there you have it.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Decoys 2: Alien Seduction (2007)

It's October, which means it's horror movie month for me. And that means a lot of bad movies.  First up: Decoys 2: Alien Seduction.  And yes, that's the title that comes up on the screen when you watch it, though the title on the DVD case is Decoys: The Second Seduction.  Neither title is very good. But who cares?  It's a sequel to Decoys (2004), a movie I actually really enjoyed (though that one wasn't all that great either - read my Good Things About Bad Movies review of that one here).  If you recall, in that first movie aliens disguised themselves as sexy human women in order to mate with young men to save their species (reminding me more than a bit of the film Species). However, in the process, the men would freeze to death from the inside.

Now the aliens are back, and on another college campus.  Sam and Stephanie are friends at the college, and have known each other since they were young.  In fact, a lot of these people have known each other for a long time (I guess they're all in-state students).  Like all films that take place on college campuses, there is lots of talk about sex, but in this series it actually makes sense, as it's part of the plot.

Luke (the one guy to survive the first film somehow) is back as a grad student helping out a class taught by Professor Erwin Buckton (Tobin Bell), in which Sam and Stephanie are students.  Luke spends most of his time drawing pictures of the aliens.  He goes to see a psychiatrist, mostly in order to give the audience all the information they would have learned from the first one, and to explain (sort of) how he survived. He tells his psychiatrist  (played by the sexy Dina Meyer) that he woke up in the hospital, after being attacked by his female friend who turned out to be an alien (which, as I recall, didn't really make any sense). He now thinks he's seeing these women again.

Sadly, a lot of this film focuses on four college boys who are ranking the female students on the computer (is this the beginning of Facebook?), and engaging in some stupid contest to see how many girls they could score with.  You pretty much want all these guys to die, and soon.  They say shit like, "Game on."  But the girls are equally vacant and annoying.  And there is an awful montage as word spreads about this stupid contest, and every stupid guy wants to get in on it.  This isn't how I remember college at all.  I remember there being quite a bit of work involved. The only important thing from all of this is that they have to document any conquest using their cell phones. So that's how they'll get evidence of the aliens eventually (not that they actually do anything with that evidence).

The three blond aliens are watching Luke closely, because he's the only one who survived, and so he might be the key to their race's survival.  That's actually an interesting plot point, if only the filmmakers had done something with it.  Instead, the blondes are trying to score with whatever other men they come across.  One of them comes on to the nerdiest of the four guys, but he freaks out and shouts, "I'm a virgin," and runs away.

Dr. Constance Snowden (Kim Poirier), the head blond alien, shows up to talk to the professor, and she claims to be Luke's psychiatrist. She's not at all believable as a psychiatrist, of course. She's too young, and uses poor grammar: "Keep this conversation just between you and I."  Ouch.

Somehow the aliens are able to read the fantasies of the men and change their wardrobe to fit the fantasy. How?  Well, later Luke warns Sam that they can hypnotize you, so not to look them in the eye. Well, that would make sense if only the one guy saw the fantasy realized.  But the others see it on the cell phone.  So, no dice, film.  The girl reads a guy's mind, then takes off her coat, only to reveal the fantasy wardrobe beneath.  That wouldn't work for me, because the coat is the fantasy outfit for me. Would they take off a light jacket to reveal a full-length red fox coat beneath?

But if they can make themselves look human, I suppose it would stand to reason that they could change their outfits on a whim, assuming that the outfit is actually part of their skin or genetic makeup.  Or is it all an illusion?  And if it's all an illusion, would the illusion work on video?  I don't know.

Anyway, this film really lacks momentum.  We don't care much about any of these characters, mostly because of the stupid contest.  And it has an awful score - like the cheesiest television program you can think of.  And, guess what, the film's climax takes place in "the old morgue" in the basement of the hospital.  No one ever goes down there, we're told.  It's a good thing every hospital in horror movie land has an old morgue in a basement that's not used at all, but still has all the equipment in perfect working order.

Still, this movie is kind of fun. And it never takes itself too seriously.  Not even at the end, when there is a card that reads, "The End."  And then, "Maybe..."  Uh-oh.

Decoys 2: Alien Seduction stars Corey Sevier, Tyler Johnston, Kailin See, Kim Poirier, Dina Meyer and Tobin Bell. It was directed by Jeffery Lando. (And no, Lando's not a system; he's a man.)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Final Voyage (1999)

Final Voyage is a real stinker.  There is nothing the least bit believable about this film.  It starts off with Aaron (Dylan Walsh) escorting Christina, a famous old actress, onto a plane. He's her bodyguard. Aaron tells her (and us), "I don't like any kind of transportation I don't have control over." Uh-oh. Because guess what - there's a boat on the cover of the DVD.  A big boat. Will he have control over it? I don't think so.  Anyway, a passenger on the plane casually picks up a gun and goes into the cockpit. Okay, yes, this movie came out before September 11, 2001, but still, I don't remember passengers being able to take guns on board.  Two more bad guys suddenly stand up with guns, and there's a gun battle, as Aaron manages to take the weapon from one of them. Aaron is the hero, though he puts everyone's life at risk by shooting in the cabin.

Aaron is then transferred to a new client, Gloria Franklin (Erika Eleniak), who is the daughter of some famous, rich man. The first thing this new girl does is take him for a ride in her small personal plane that she pilots. Why? Who is he protecting her from? But then an engine goes out, and he lands the plane for her.  So he does have control over the plane.  Hmm.  But next, a big old boat. "Like the Queen Mary," Gloria's assistant says.  Actually, it is the Queen Mary, and it's mentioned several more times.  But in this film it's called the Britannica.

We're introduced to a lot of cardboard characters, none of whom is the least bit interesting. Aaron runs into Teri, an old flame, who provides annoying exposition on many of the passengers.  She's now some sort of on-camera journalist, but that's not important. What's important is that she carries pepper spray disguised as lipstick.  Actually, that's not important either.

Of course there are problems everywhere, such as a leak in the cargo hold. Some awful dialogue (actually, all of the dialogue in this film is awful) lets us know that they cut costs on refurbishing the boat.  "Any excess stress could send in an unstoppable wall of water," some idiot warns some other idiot.  And then we meet the hijackers - some chick who thinks she's hot, an older guy named Harris, and their leader, played by Ice-T. Ice-T says every line of dialogue with exactly the same tone and inflection - not just in this film, but every line he's ever spoken in any film or television show. He has as much emotion and range as does a computerized voice in someone's outgoing voice-mail message when the person hasn't bothered to record one himself.  Actually, he has less.  Is Ice-T the worst actor on the planet?  Yes.

Ice-T almost immediately uses the word "momentarily" incorrectly. Just for the record, "momentarily" does not mean "in a moment." It means "for a moment."  Of course, that's not Ice-T's fault.  It's the fault of the film's two writers.  That's right, it took two people to write this piece of shit.

But again, he's not the only one given terrible dialogue.  The writers have Paul Miller approach Gloria Franklin and say to her, "I thought I knew every pretty face on this ship, but I cannot seem to put a name to such beauty." And just two or three seconds later, they have him tell her he saw her and her father at a meeting last fall and that he never forgets a pretty face.  Uh, hello?  Shitty writing.

So the bad guys start killing people, but it's okay, because they're all bad actors. Basically the hijackers are simply shortening some bad performances. Editing them, if you will.

A worker named Jasper finds two other workers who have been shot. He attacks the killer, Harris, gets the gun, shoots him, then shouts at the corpse, "You killed my friends!"  Then, instead of notifying the captain (or anyone, for that matter), he sits down to think for a while.  Though he's the first person to encounter the hijackers and live, he never tells anyone, never alerts anyone.  Ever. Hours later we'll find him in that exact same spot.  Thinking is hard. It's a shame, because if he had just notified someone, the whole disaster could have been averted, and the movie would have been much shorter, for which all viewers would be grateful.

As ridiculous as all of that is, what happens next is even more unbelievable. A plane flies directly over the ship, and lots of bad guys jump out of the plane.  But no one notices them.  Not a single person on the boat sees this happening.  The chick who thinks she's hot unravels rope ladders, so that they can climb up out of the water.  And the relentless action music doesn't help.  That is, it doesn't keep me from laughing at every bad line of dialogue, at every stupid contrivance.

Well, there is a banquet on the boat, and Aaron and Gloria are miraculously the only ones not at the dinner when the hijackers make themselves known.  This is because Gloria insists on being "fashionably late."  So it's left to Aaron and Gloria to save everyone.  It's difficult because Gloria never takes off her high heels, and Aaron never orders her to.  Of course they eventually come across Jasper, still hanging out near the body of Harris. So Jasper joins this small team of heroes.  Yes, the guy who could have averted the entire thing but didn't is one of the heroes in this film.  Yikes.

Basically, apart from Dylan Walsh (who I enjoyed in Nip/Tuck), there is no one with any sort of acting ability whatsoever.  Ice-T is still gloriously awful, but he's not out of his depth in this one, for the casting director had the intelligence (or lack of funds) to surround him with other actors of his caliber.  That is, other actors without talent, range, or emotion.

This giant turd was directed by Jay Andrews.  However, Jay Andrews is a fake name for Jim Wynorski, the guy who directed Ghoulies IV and other horseshit.  It's really dishonest for him to use a fake name, because if the name Jim Wynorski had been on the DVD case, we'd all have had fair warning that this was going to be one of the worst movies of all time.  Because all Jim Wynorski does is make terrible films. That's his thing.  That's what he's known for.

So, what's good about Final Voyage (which, by the way, has absolutely nothing to do with the 1960 film, The Last Voyage, also about a big boat in trouble)?  Well, Dylan Walsh is good.  And I do like the red feathery lingerie that some blonde wears in an early scene.  Why don't women I know wear stuff like that?  Apart from that, there is nothing good about this film.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Blonde And Blonder (2008)

Okay, the first problem with Blonde And Blonder is the title. "Blonde" with an "e" is a noun. "Blond" is an adjective.  That was a problem with Legally Blonde also, as adverbs don't modify nouns, and it would have been funnier anyway if it had been "Blond" because it's only one letter away from "Blind" rather than two.

But from Blonde And Blonder's opening animated sequence, it's clear that this is a movie that does not take itself seriously, and that's a good thing.  The film stars Pamela Anderson as Dee and Denise Richards as Dawn, two incredibly stupid blondes who decide to take flying lessons and end up being mistaken for assassins.

They both get in a plane, each thinking the other is the instructor. And off they go, the real instructor running behind them. They soon realize their mistake, of course, and we get that obligatory shot of them screaming. Then they crash the plane on a golf course, interrupting a game, which I appreciate. An announcer for the golf tournament has the horrible line, "An airplane has just made a hole in one."  And there is a Close Encounters Of The Third Kind reference, and then a pretty good lawyer joke.  The two blondes immediately become best friends, and it turns out they live next to each other. One of them has a flatulent turtle (which is not funny - fart jokes are so rarely funny that it's retarded to even attempt them).

The film spends a lot of time setting these two up as idiots. Some of it is funny. Such as this line from Dawn: "My dream is to marry the man of my dreams." And this line from Dee: "You have beauty and looks - you can't lose."  But they're not only stupid; they're also untalented.  They decide to become dancers (it's part of Dee's dream), though neither can execute the simplest of dance steps.

Meanwhile the mafia decide to get at someone in the witness protection program. They decide to hire a mysterious female assassin known as Cat. We're introduced to Cat, as well as her apprentice, Kit (they have darker hair, of course). We're also introduced to some male mafia members, and some agents.  A major problem with this film is that a large number of its characters are complete imbeciles - not just the two blondes.  The agents assigned to protect the guy in the witness protection program are idiots.  The two mafia guys are idiots.  So it's basically a world of idiots. So the blondes don't necessarily stand out. It would be much better if everyone else were intelligent.

Anyway, Cat kills the guy in the witness protection program - a guy who runs a club, where Dawn and Dee have an audition. So they audition for the dead guy (who blinks several times). And then everyone thinks that they are the female assassins, and they're hired to kill Mr. Wong.  This of course angers the real assassins, that someone is pretending to be them and taking their jobs.

There is a lot of awful, awful dialogue about a full bladder and other irrelevant stuff.  (The Guess Jeans joke is something I used to do in the early nineties when I was working in child care.)  Pamela Anderson wears a fake fur stole, which is absurd.  But there are several truly funny moments, like when the apprentice assassin kills a guy in the loo.  And clearly Denise and Pamela (as well as most of the rest of the cast) are having fun with this film.  It's totally harmless, and it all wraps up fairly quickly.

Blonde And Blonder was directed by Dean Hamilton. It stars Pamela Anderson, Denise Richards, Emmanuelle Vaugier, Kevin Farley, John Farley and Byron Mann.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Dirty Deeds (2005)

Dirty Deeds is an absolutely terrible film about a high school that has some tradition called Dirty Deeds, which is a series of tasks that have to be completed the night before Homecoming.  It's something that's not accomplished every year, or even attempted, and apparently anyone can decide to do it. But it's not a competition -  only one person can try it each year.  Like most high school movies, it's full of people in their twenties and thirties. And some of them have pick-up trucks with pointlessly large tires - that means they're assholes and idiots. (By the way, if you have a truck with pointlessly large tires, you're an asshole and an idiot too.)

Anyway, Meg (Lacey Chabert) arrives at school and is told she might be valedictorian (though isn't Homecoming at the beginning of the year?), and her brother Kyle says, "Valedictorian? What does that mean?"  Is he really that stupid, or do the writers of this film believe their viewers are that stupid? Or both?

Well, Kyle and some of his friends painted over the index finger on a poster of the school mascot, so only the middle finger is up.  And everyone is stunned.  Big fucking deal.  Cops actually come to the school, though not about that, but rather to talk to the jocks about keeping people from doing the Dirty Deeds. They seem incredibly concerned that someone might attempt the challenges this year.

Zach (Milo Ventimiglia) is brought to the principal's office regarding the sign's vandalism. Meg tells him to stay away from her brother, Kyle, because she doesn't want him getting into trouble.

This movie starts off so horribly, and then sinks lower with fart jokes. Seriously. Fart jokes.  And awful actors doing even worse dialogue. Because every once in a while the writers want to remind you about the dirty deeds challenge, you know, so you don't forget and think there might actually be a better plot coming. One awful young actor says, "I heard that there's ten of them, and they, like, get harder as you go on." Wow, thanks for that information. A worse actor adds, "I heard one year a freshman lost his ball sack trying to do the deeds."  The deeds are all everyone is talking about, even the goth kids.  There is a mysterious character named Duncan Rime, who did the deeds fifteen years ago and then died or disappeared.

Well, Kyle gets picked on by the jocks, so he decides to stand up to them and volunteers to do the deeds.  Meg complains to Zach about this, telling him to get Kyle out of it. So Zach instead offers to do the deeds.  And that is the plot, such as it is.  The jock has a key to a locker where the cards listing the deeds are kept. How did he get this key? And when did he get this key? If he had it, wouldn't he have looked at the list before? Just one more stupid thing in this insanely insipid film. I can't believe it took two people to write this.

And why would Zach trust that the jock wouldn't write his own more fucked up list of deeds? If that list is so easy to access, why are there only rumors surrounding it?  On top of that, we're introduced to a strange homeless guy. Oooh, will it turn out to be Duncan Rime?  Of course. And if that comes as a surprise to you, check to see how large the tires are on your truck.

Another problem is that although the students seem to have no idea of the specifics of any of the deeds (though this is an event that's been done for decades), all of the adults do. In fact, even the guy who works in the grocery story recognizes the deeds in action. So if he knows what they are, certainly the cops would also. So the cops could stake out one or two of the places easily, and put a stop to it early on.  But that doesn't occur to them.  Because they, like everyone else in this film, are imbeciles.

Deed #9 is to find Duncan Rime. This leads to another problem with the script. Every time someone completes the deeds, he or she adds to the list. So Duncan did all eight deeds, and added the ninth. But there are ten deeds. So whoever added the tenth already found him. So where's the mystery? Or did Duncan add two deeds to the list?

So, anyway, when Zach is given the ninth deed, everyone figures that's the end. Because no one has heard from Duncan Rime in years. A moment later Duncan Rime walks in and announces himself to be Duncan Rime.  He then gives a life lesson to those around him. He says that when he was in high school he was the most popular kid, had a great car, had a beautiful girlfriend.  But then he realized the pointlessness of all of this, of the deeds and so on.  And he asks Zach what he's doing with all this?  So then Zach rips up the tenth deed and tosses the pieces of the card at the jock, as if he's just suddenly had an epiphany.  But he didn't really learn a lesson; Duncan announced the lesson. Zach merely followed what Duncan was telling him to do.

And what's the deal with Duncan anyway? He did the pointless Dirty Deeds challenge, then realized it was pointless, and as a result became homeless?  And for the last couple of decades he's been walking around with this nugget of advice, but not telling it to anyone?

The only way to make the film more annoying is to add a lot of shitty music, so that is just what they do. It must have been a lot of work to dig up such a large number of truly terrible songs.  Every single song in this film is awful.

Special thanks are given in the credits to Tom Glavine, Mike Piazza, Kevin Millar and several other baseball players. Why? Well, Todd Zeile and Jason Giambi are the film's executive producers, so maybe players helped out financially.  I don't know.  But Duncan Rime is played by Todd Zeile. Suffice it to say he was a much better baseball player than he is an actor.

So what's good? Halfway through the film, Charles Durning shows up. He's given stupid shit to do, but his presence is appreciated (as always). And that's it - that's the only good thing in the entire film.

This is the most pointless film I've ever seen. If teenagers are anything like those portrayed in this film, they all should be set on fire.  Dirty Deeds was written by Jon Land and Jonathan Thies. It was directed by David Kendall.  If you get the chance to meet any of them, please punch them in the face for me. Thanks.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Bachelor Party 2: The Last Temptation (2008)

I bet if this had been called Bachelor Party 2: The Last Temptation Of Christ, it would have been a fantastic movie.  Someone should make that. But as for Bachelor Party 2: The Last Temptation... Well, the good news is that this "sequel" doesn't have Tom Hanks. For that, we must all be grateful. The bad news is that the transvestite is also not in it. Actually, I don't think any of the original characters return.  The writers are back, but none of their characters could make it.

This movie starts with that awful scene where a guy is going to ask a girl to marry him in a restaurant, but the waiter puts the ring in the wrong dessert, and it ends up with some black woman who refuses to give it back because she's excited at the prospect of getting married. Give me a break. When Ron takes it off her finger, she attacks him. And somehow he and his girlfriend, Melinda, get arrested as a result, which makes no sense.

There are awful dirty diaper jokes early on. And every married couple we see is one shade or other of horrible. 

Todd, Melinda's sister's husband, is jealous because Melinda's father takes a shine to Ron. So it's Todd who has the bachelor party idea with the plan to get Ron in trouble so that the wedding will be called off. He also sets a spy on Ron to uncover some dirt. Todd wants to be next in line in the family company.  It's more than a bit ridiculous.  And there are plenty of bad scenes as a result.

There is a long, boring golf montage (even with the nudity, it's boring).  For some reason there is a dance contest, a lame hot tub joke that goes on and on, and other pointless nonsense that makes this 84-minute movie a 104-minute movie.

But there are good things about this film. First off, Sara Foster, the girl who plays Melinda, is beautiful (and also a decent actor).  Also, in the hotel is a Sex Addicts Anonymous party. Two of the guys think SAA stands for Sales Association of America, and that actually leads to some pretty funny dialogue as they try to pick up two girls. (Betty, the girl one picks up, is cute, by the way.)  And there are some other funny lines, even if they're not completely original. Like Harland Williams says of women: "They pretend they like sports the same way we pretend we like talking to them. The only sports you're going to get when you're married is Little League T-Ball. And I've seen that stuff, and trust me, Ron, most of those kids really fucking suck."

And, okay, I love the Nazi stuff.

Bachelor Party 2: The Last Temptation stars Josh Cooke, Sara Foster, Warren Christie and Harland Williams.  It was directed by James Ryan.  This was his first movie. He was twelve years old.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Skeleton Man (2004)


This is really the worst of the worst. This movie is so boring. There is absolutely no story whatsoever. I swear, there was no script. It's just a guy in a cheap skull mask and an even cheaper black cape killing people, most of whom we're not introduced to until they're killed. Sometimes Skeleton Man is on foot; sometimes he's on a horse. That's really it. And it's all in daylight in the woods, so every shot looks like every other. This movie could have been five minutes, and it still would have been too long.

A military team led by Michael Rooker is out looking for some army guys who have gone missing. We get that horrible scene where the team members introduce themselves to each other. But it happens when they're already out in the field. Didn't they meet earlier when the team assembled back in civilization? Wouldn't that have been the time for introductions? Or during the ride in whatever vehicle took them to the woods? In addition, as each person introduces himself or herself, his or her name appears on the screen, with the sound effect of a typewriter typing the name. As if this is really important information (it's not).

They're in the middle of the woods. They go to great pains to explain this is the middle of nowhere, miles from civilization. But suddenly there is a scene where a guy walks out of the woods and steals a truck, and then the truck explodes. Then back to the woods. No explanation.

The group finds two people. One of the men pulls an ID from one of the people and then announces, "Deer poachers." Wait, what, does it say "deer poacher" on his driver's license? Or did he have a special Deer Poacher business card made up? It doesn't matter. Skeleton Man kills both of them a moment later.

This movie is a complete pile of shit. I've never been less involved in a film than this one, never been less interested in what might happen. And it's so poorly shot and edited. Like we see the group from the killer's perspective, and the shot is above them, from a distance. As if the killer is in a tall tree. Then we get a reverse shot of the killer, and he's on the flattest ground imaginable. Nothing cuts together. A guy is fishing (even though we're in the middle of nowhere, some guy has come out here to fish), and he's seated at the top of a waterfall. He must have a very long line. Anyway, he's attacked from the front - so the weapon must have come from somewhere above the water. But again, in the reverse shot, Skeleton Man is on his horse in the woods. Were the filmmakers even trying?

I just have one question: Why, Michael Rooker? Why? Why? Why? What dirt did the director have on him to get him to sign onto this piece of shit? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why?

Dear Frederick Bailey, so-called writer of Skeleton Man, if I ever meet you, I am going to smack you across the face. And you know you deserve it. In fact, if you're reading this (if you're able to read), please go ahead and smack yourself. Hard. And again. Also, Johnny Martin, director of Skeleton Man, you deserve to be beaten and humiliated in front of everyone you've ever known. Actually, you should be forced to eat every copy of this DVD.

Everyone should avoid this movie. There is nothing good about it. Nothing.