Monday, October 27, 2014

Header (2006)

Header is a low-budget horror film about some hicks who like to have sex with unwilling partners’ heads. It opens with some deliberately scratchy footage to give the sense of the scene happening a while ago. A boy peeks through a door, witnesses two men acting upset. Then a woman runs through the woods. We’re not sure what’s happening, but suddenly it’s eleven years later.

ATF agent Stewart Cummings is dealing with a sick girlfriend and her mounting medical bills. Meanwhile Travis gets out of prison and goes home to his elderly grandfather, who has some sort of speech impediment and is missing the bottom half of his legs. Travis complains, “I got nothin’ goin’ for me, I mean, shit, Grandpap, I’s a loser.” Well, he’s been out of jail for like an hour or so, so I’m not exactly sure what he was expecting to happen. But no matter, he is a loser. The acting is terrible, which fits with the over-the-top dialogue about what Travis did in jail.

Stewart himself is not on the level. He’s supposed to be doing some sort of sting operation on some moonshiners in the area (yeah, seriously), but instead is taking money from them. He even says, “I’m a fed on the take.” Yeah, the dialogue is incredible. None of the characters is the least bit believable. But he needs the extra money for his girlfriend’s medication, so I suppose we’re encouraged to feel for him.

Travis picks up an eager hitchhiker who immediately admits she used to have a thing for him. He responds by punching her in the face and taking her home to Grandpappy. Grandpappy then drills a hole in her head and urges his grandson to fuck her in that hole while he watches. This should be shocking and creepy, but it just feels stupid. Travis says, “If there’s one thing I don’t need, it’s a bone splinter sliding into my dick.” If there’s one thing I don’t need, it’s dialogue written by a twelve-year-old. Well, Grandpappy acts as Travis’ personal cheerleading squad, urging him, “Hump that head, boy, hump it!” It’s obviously played a bit for comedy, except that it’s not funny. Grandpappy’s acting style reminds me of Edith Massey’s style in Pink Flamingos (with just as much subtlety).

Well, the film is full of dialogue about headers, about what they are, about why they happen, about how they’re so great, and so on. But Stewart is a little slow on the whole header thing. Even after finding two corpses with holes drilled in their heads and semen inside, he insists on asking, “What’s a header?” That way we can have even more dialogue about headers, about what they are, about why they happen, about how they’re so great, and so on. Supposedly, a header is a local means of getting revenge, but the revenge aspect isn't really developed.

By the way, Stewart isn’t trying to find the killers, but instead does some killing of his own. He’s just as despicable as anyone else in this film. As a side note, why does everyone drive on the grass in this film? Are there no roads? Well, Stewart finally begins his investigation by asking a random hitchhiker he happens to pick up if she knows Travis and where he might be staying. Fortunately, she does know all about Travis, and even gives him directions to his grandfather’s house. How convenient! Stewart’s investigation begins and ends with one brief conversation with a hitchhiker.

There are dramatic revelations, but who cares? We don’t like any of the characters, not even the sick girlfriend (and I started hating her long before the revelation that should cause us to hate her). This is a movie that began with one simple idea, and which was never developed any further.

Space Monster Gamera: Super Monster (1980)

Space Monster Gamera: Super Monster is the eighth film in the Gamera series, and in this one Gamera gets a new, fun theme song. I don’t speak a word of Japanese, and the song isn’t subtitled for some reason, but I can only imagine the lyrics are at least as good as those of Gamera’s previous theme (“You are strong, Gamera/You are strong, Gamera/You are strong, Gamera”).

The film begins with the opening shot from Star Wars, though this Star Destroyer isn’t chasing any Blockade Runner. Voice over tells us that this spaceship, named Zanon, has a mission to “take Earth under its control.”

Meanwhile crazy Japanese girls respond to noises that only they hear by grabbing their right earlobes and changing into their superhero outfits and flying up into the air. One of them, however, gets into her van (which, by the way, has pictures of cats on roller skates on the side), and it goes up into the air after turning into an orange splotch. All the girls meet in the splotch, where they hear a transmission aimed at the people of Earth. This guy knows there are space women there. So the three chicks change back into their street clothes to avoid detection.

Another space woman, Giruge, comes down from Spaceship Zanon. (Okay, we’re only like eight minutes into the movie, and it’s already completely off the rails.) Her orders are to “eliminate anyone and anything that may hinder our efforts here.” Pretty vague, but okay. She interprets the order as a call to electrocute a guy who asks her on a date.

Meanwhile three retarded boys go to a park in search of a character from a comic book one of them owns. They even have their own little retarded boy theme music. But when they find the guy they’re looking for, he tells them comic books are fiction. Speaking of retards, whoever wrote the subtitles doesn’t understand the difference between “hear” and “here.”

At this point the filmmakers apparently ran out of funding for the movie and were forced to start using footage from earlier Gamera films, like the terrible shot of the helicopter splitting in two, and then that beam splitting some cheap models of fighter planes into pieces. And that bat-like creature creating wind with its wings. This old footage is broken up by a shot of the main retarded boy singing Gamera’s new theme song to a turtle he was given by one of the space women. At his mother’s urging, however, he sets the turtle free in the river. He goes and plays the theme song for the space women. This is the third time we’ve heard this song in the first twenty-four minutes of the film, and I’m starting to enjoy it less.

Well, the spaceship Zanon can only find the space women when they have their superhero outfits on. Normal clothing confuses the spaceship. But for some reason they keep wanting to change into their superhero outfits anyway. Oh, girls love to play dress-up. It’s fun!

Gamera arrives, and the retarded boy believes it is his pet turtle that has changed into Gamera. The three space women think so too. Good thing the Earth isn’t relying on them to save it from the old monster footage! Speaking of old monster footage, we then get another scene from the third Gamera film where three guys in a red car pretend the car is moving while some crew members shake it, and that monster splits the car in half with its light beam. Gamera arrives to fight the monster. It’s the same footage used before, but now it’s set to disco music. So it’s improved!

Gamera defeats the monster exactly the same way he did in the third movie. But don’t worry, there’s plenty of footage from the other films to fill the ninety-two minutes of this piece of shit. Next up: Gamera Vs. Zigra, the seventh film (and the one I had considered the worst of the series until I saw this one). The retarded boy is at first frightened of the old footage, but the evil space woman tells him it will be all right. But is it all right to just take footage from several other movies and pass it off as a new movie? Is that entertainment? Well, I guess it’s fun to watch Gamera dance again.

This film then uses footage from Gamera Vs. Viras, the fourth movie in the series. So let’s see. They decided to make a new Gamera movie, and they started by created a new theme song for it, and then… Then I guess they considered their job finished.

There is more trouble with the subtitles. One space woman asks the others, “Have you both gotten your days om of work?” What does that mean? She also says, “Things are really happening fast.” Are they? Is she talking about some other film? And then she says, “Soon we’ll have to show yourselves.” Did she mean, “Soon we’ll have to show ourselves”? Or, “Soon you’ll have to show yourselves”? The second would be interesting, if she’s planning on sacrificing the other two in order to save herself.

Well, the retarded boy keeps the three good space women in a little case and takes them to the pet store. And the bad space woman proceeds to attack Earth with footage from Gamera Vs. Jiger. The three space women and the retarded boy watch the footage on a television screen, a way for the film to admit it’s reusing old footage. But then we’re forced to watch the television screen as well, which becomes redundant to such a degree that my brain begins to hurt. And… well, there’s more, but who cares? We’ve seen it all before.

Here's a question: Why didn’t the aliens just use their giant spaceship’s weapons to destroy Japan rather than sending one chick down there to control some old footage of monsters destroying Japan?

The good space women turn the bad space woman good, and then the retarded boy’s mother says that since the boy likes her she’s welcome to stay at their house as long as she wants to. But she wouldn’t let him keep a pet turtle? And at the end Gamera goes to fight the Star Destroyer, but the filmmakers apparently didn’t have enough money to actually shoot that scene and couldn’t find any similar footage in any of the earlier films. So there’s no battle scene. Instead the space women take the retarded boy flying over the city, like Superman took Lois Lane. Clearly, they have romantic feelings for him.

The end.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Eroddity(s) (2014)

Eroddity(s) opens with a fake dictionary entry for the word eroddity, and there are already a few problems. It is identified as a noun, but the first definition is “of, tending to arouse sexual desire.” That’s the definition of an adjective, not a noun. And then the third definition is “(s) plural, consisting of, containing more then one.” I’m sure the filmmaker meant “more than one,” and I have to wonder why no one proofread the opening of the film. Also, that definition doesn’t really apply. Basically, he’s defining the word plural there, not the word errodity (or erroditys – and wouldn’t it be errodities anyway?) Not an auspicious beginning, and my expectations for this film plummet.

As low as my expectations are, they are not met by anything in this film. The movie is an anthology of gay-themed short films, none of which are worth watching. The first, “Forever Mine,” opens with a gay couple watching a porn. “I put in your favorite movie for you,” one of them says, and it’s said without humor. So the other guy’s favorite movie is a porn. “Let’s just get this over with,” the second guy says, leaning in to kiss the first. Not what I want to hear from a lover, and again it’s said without any humor or emotion. But apparently it’s good enough for the first guy.

The film then goes back to an earlier moment in their relationship, with the two walking through a park. One of them then pees. That’s it; that’s the scene. Then they’re back in bed, and he says, “You’re all I have.” He repeats it, and then the camera pans over to reveal that the other guy is now a skeleton. What? We go back to the peeing shot because certainly that’s a shot worth showing twice. And since they’re showing it a second time, let me mention this: The guy has pulled his pants halfway down his thighs. Does any guy do that to pee? It would be funny to run into this guy at one of those group urinals at a baseball stadium or something – everyone all covered up from behind, except this guy, whose ass is bare. The non-peeing guy then says, “Dude, I’m your brother.” Again, what? Dramatic music plays, and we’re back in their house and the peeing guy pulls a gun out of a drawer and shoots the other one. And that’s that. A few pointless, empty scenes and then a death.

The dead one then addresses the camera directly: “I have a bone to pick with my little brother.” This is the first line that seems intended to be funny, but of course it’s not. He continues: “Hi, I’m Corey Tyndall. And welcome to Eroddity(s).” And then he winks. Seriously. Then in voice over, he continues: “You have entered a realm where teenage boys make new discoveries behind locked bedroom doors. We take you behind these doors and offer you a voyeuristic window into the world of the young and the inexperienced.” Inexperienced filmmakers, yes. And wait, they put a voyeuristic window behind a bedroom door? The film is just this side of porn, but the performances and the music aren’t quite up to that level.

When the next story, “A Mind Of Their Own,” begins, it has its own opening credits sequence, which seems unnecessary. Aaron is an annoying guy who narrates this story. “I decided to do a little investigation,” he says as we see him doing a little investigation on screen. Note to filmmakers: Don’t have a narrator tell us what we’re already seeing. He finds a cassette tape and a note. So he goes to Orange County and meets some other guy who can’t act. It’s painful listening to them talk, partly because this is the worst dialogue in the history of film (and yes, I’m including porn) and partly because these two have no acting talent whatsoever. We then have a flashback to Aaron with a girl who has slightly less talent than the others. Shocking. Anyway, there is some silliness about a magic tape recorder that creates male lovers. The truly magical thing here is that someone was able to find a tape recorder.

Clearly, writer/director Steven Vasquez loves to see his own name on screen, because at the beginning of the next story, “Unsolved Christmas,” he has once again given himself writing and directing credits. Since he wrote and directed the entire film, it seems one credit at the beginning would have sufficed. Anyway, this one too features narration, and the narration is done as a Christmas poem, and yes, it’s as annoying as you might think. Zach spies on a couple having sex, and the narrator tells us his parents overheard his phone conversation and want to make him straight, and so they buy him a camera. There are actually some cute moments when the narrator makes suggestions for use of the camera. This is the one worthwhile sequence in the entire film, so be sure to enjoy it. Then of course he uses the camera to photograph a boy he has a crush on, following him through a park. At the end of this one, host Cory Tyndall says, “Hey, don’t look at me, I don’t write these things.” True, Cory didn't write that story. But he also didn't write the line about having not written the story. Steve Vasquez wrote that line, so does that mean he knew the story was garbage?

“The Way To A Man’s Heart” (and hey, look, more credits for Steven Vasquez!) opens with a guy going to another guy’s grave and talking to a photograph there, saying he’s sorry and that he misses him. Then it cuts to a bar where a horrible singer is playing an awful song on the keyboard. The guy meets Kevin and the two talk about how Thomas died a year ago. The next scene finds the terrible singer going to the guy’s room to celebrate the anniversary with wine. The guy asks, “Is it really something we should be celebrating?” And the girl says, “Us being together for a year and a half.” Okay, someone needs to tell this stupid girl the definition of anniversary. Apparently they buried Thomas in a cardboard box in someone else’s grave, as we learn through some dialogue in between sex scenes. Thomas returns from his grave (well, someone else’s grave) to seek revenge, his plan including a lot of cooking.

At the end of the film, the host threatens us, “Until next time.” No!

Eroddity(s) was written and directed by Steven Vasquez (I figured he’d want me to mention that one more time). By the way, the DVD includes the film's trailer, which has this ridiculous phrase: "a teen's long-forgotten past." Obviously, whoever wrote this is very young.

(Note: I posted a somewhat shorter version of this review on another web site.)

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Slaughtered (2010)

Slaughtered is an incredibly stupid slasher film written and directed by Kate Glover. The first scene takes place at a bar after closing time. We see the last patrons being ushered out and the place locked up. And then those who work there gather for a few drinks and laughs. One customer (looking like Peter Jackson) emerges from the bathroom, having had fallen asleep in there. So they make him leave, and outside he is killed.

Then on the screen it says “24 Hours Later.” That means it’s a little after closing time again. Yet the girls are on their way to work, getting a ride from Luke. Luke stops the car and gets out to pee. Sarah says, “Great, now we’re going to be late for work.” Well, since it’s twenty-four hours after the first scene, I’d say Sarah is already late for work. In fact, she has missed her entire shift. When Luke comes back, his car won’t start. Oh, come on, movie. And again the girls whine about being late for work.

Well, the girls get a ride from a dirty old guy who is going to the pub anyway. He’ll be disappointed when he finds it’s closed. But when they get there, it’s crowded, even though it must be something like 3 a.m. By the way, the girls don’t even thank the guy for the ride, so before one gets out, he grabs her thigh. Good for him.

Jack shows a new employee, Jasper, the ropes. It’s all very exciting, except it’s clearly not twenty-four hours later. We’ve been lied to. How can we trust the film at all now? As that recalled Barbie doll says, “Math class is tough.” Kate Glover, the silly bitch who wrote this film, should know that twenty-four hours later is exactly a day later, but it seems she thinks it means “some time the next night.” 

Anyway, apparently Jasper has just moved to town and is living in a creepy house. He says he’s not afraid of ghosts, and another old customer suddenly appears, telling him he will be. Well, not to spoil anything for you, but he won’t be. This film never quite leaves the bar. The promises of a creepy house and ghosts are left unfulfilled.

Well, Jack and the bar manager discover the body of the Peter Jackson clone upstairs on a pool table. They decide to call the police, then say, “What are we going to do?” And then they call the police. Also, they decide not to tell the girls. The manager says to the police: “I just can’t believe it. Sorry. It’s unbelievable.” They then lock the place up. The manager explains to Jack how to do it: “We go to each door, we’re gonna make sure it’s completely locked.” Hmm, sounds complicated. But we see them lock the doors, and it doesn’t look all that difficult. So, where are the patrons? Unless perhaps now it is suddenly truly twenty-four hours later? The girls say they’re bored. Well, is the place open or not? We saw them lock the doors completely, but now we see there are a few customers.

And apparently the pub is also a liquor store, for there’s suddenly a boy wanting to buy a six-pack. A lot of time is passing. Where are the police? Unless, could it be that the manager didn’t call the cops at all? Well, they find another body in the basement, attached to the taps. How big is this pub? The manager still wants to keep this quiet, and moves the body somewhere. More time passes. Sarah and Ash make out in the basement. And then the killer attacks Sarah. Another girl hears this, but doesn’t go for help. There are a lot of people about. It wouldn’t take much effort on her part to get help. She finally runs upstairs, but can’t say what happened. She says, “We’re all going to die,” and then goes to the bathroom. Why doesn’t she just leave?

It’s because Kate Glover has created the stupidest group of people to ever inhabit a film. Seriously. And I think it’s because Kate Glover herself has the intellect of a drowned shoe.

Well, the girl is attacked in the bathroom stall, because apparently the killer was hiding and waiting in the stall next to hers. When she screams, her friend in the stall on the other side of hers just bangs on the wall between them rather than exiting her stall, and seeing what is the matter with her friend. Again, these are stupid, stupid people. I hate them all, but most of all I hate Kate Glover, who wrote and directed this pile of shit. And isn’t it convenient that the killer happened to pick the one stall that the girls didn’t enter? There are only three stalls, after all.

Also, it’s impossible to figure out the lay-out of this location. It makes no sense. There are apparently two or three bars, a liquor store, an upstairs pool hall, a video poker room and lots of other rooms, but it’s all one establishment. You need a fucking map if you’re at all interested in following where people are at any given moment, though I suspect that the director wasn’t paying much attention to this herself. And are the doors completely locked or not? Don’t any of the patrons want to leave? Don’t other people perhaps want to come in? The manager wants to move the patrons upstairs, but they’re not interested in doing that.

By the way, the girl in the bathroom finally does go over to the next stall, but only after her friend was killed. So she sees the bloody, mangled body of her friend, and then calms down in like ten seconds and gets back to work. Really? The new guy, Jasper, says, “Could someone tell me what the fuck is going on?” Indeed. Well, Jasper, what’s happened is Kate Glover wrote the worst horror script of all time and somehow got it financed and then coerced you into playing a small part. Jasper tries to call the cops, but says the phone is dead.

Finally someone shows up, wanting to get in the bar. It’s Luke. Hi, Luke. He bangs on the door a couple of times, then apparently loses interest. Bye, Luke. Why aren’t the patrons alarmed that the doors are completely locked? The dead phone then rings, but it’s just some heavy breathing at the other end. (Later Jasper will call the police again, after realizing you have to press one to get an outside line.)

The girl sees another corpse, then exits through a door that’s not completely locked, or actually not even a little bit locked. But then she’s back inside in another room. Seriously, the DVD should have come with the blueprints of this location.

Well, the only bit of intelligence shown by anyone in this entire film comes after the girl hits the killer with a fire extinguisher and knocks him out. The guy with her tells her, “Well, hit him again.” Very good advice. Of course, she doesn’t follow it, because she’s about as bright as a moldy sandwich. So the killer gets up and grabs the guy. And the stupid bitch doesn’t even seem to feel bad. And apparently she’s the hero of this garbage. She decides to leave – finally – but is unable to unlock the completely locked doors. And finally we see the bar patrons. Get this: they are all asleep at tables in some section of the bar. Seriously. One of them wakes up and tries to grab the girl, probably to place another drink order, but she ignores him. The service at this place is terrible.

And then a little later the movie ends. It’s no surprise who the killer is. But there is certainly no reason for the killing. No explanation or anything. Apparently this is the only film that Kate Glover has written and directed. Let’s hope it remains that way.