Thursday, July 02, 2015

Killer Hayride Part Two

I can say one thing about my giveaway that is still going on, it has managed to get me excited about things again. I found that the movie Headless has a movie page, so I decide to message it and asked if they might mention the giveaway, and they did! It hasn't really cause an increase in people signing up, but I was still excited about it all. Anyway, as promised, I watched Hayride 2 (2015) yesterday so it could be my next review. That being said, it is hard to believe that half the year is already gone!

Following the events of the first film, we pick up on Pitchfork (Bennett Wayne Dean Sr.) as they take him to the hospital. Detective Loomis (Corlandos Scott) follows behind when he sees the EMT being attacked by Pitchfork. She gets thrown out of the ambulance and while Loomis tries to avoid running over the woman, Pitchfork attacks the driver. Both crash, and Pitchfork heads to the hospital on his own. Meanwhile, not knowing this is going on, Amanda (Sherri Eakin), Steven (Jeremy Ivy) and Corey (Jeremy Sande) are being checked out for their injures and to make sure Amanda's baby is doing okay. The hospital is currently going through repairs and remodels, so not a lot of people are there, which is just fine for Pitchfork since he is looking to finish what he started.

Taking a page from Halloween 2 (the original sequel), Hayride 2 has a good part of the movie set in a hospital. While it eventually leaves that setting, it was interesting to see that this sequel was mostly set there. Of course, it makes sense that it would since it is picking up shortly after the first film. Returning as writer and director, Terron R. Parsons has managed to improve over the last few years since the first Hayride film. This one still isn't perfect by any means, but I thought it was a better film overall. You wouldn't know that from average scores though, as so far they are under the first film's average so far. Hayride 2 ends up with better action, a few more kills and they are spaced out better. We still manage to learn more about some of the characters along the way as well. We end up learning more about who the person behind the mask is. Not a lot of information is dropped, and it doesn't completely help explain why he is going around killing people. What isn't really explained, in either film, is why Pitchfork is going after Amanda so much. I assumed it was because she reminds him of his daughter. We also learn a bit more about Steven and Corey. I didn't realize they are supposed to be brothers, as I'm sure it was actually talked about in the first film. What we learn about them probably should have been something I could have guessed, but I didn't. A couple of things I didn't like about the story was I still didn't see any police warning locals yet again. Maybe not that big of a deal this time around though. I couldn't figure out how Loomis was able to figure out a key point just by looking at a picture. Thinking back, he may have been clued in by police reports as well, but it isn't something we really get to see, just see him staring at a picture and suddenly figuring something out.

The effects were slightly better this time around. There wasn't as many problems, and things were slightly more gory. Something I was actually very impressed with was the makeup for wounds. Corey gets the crap kicked out of him, and after we see his face swollen up. If I knew it wasn't a movie, I'm sure I would have been fooled otherwise, it looked that good. A pitchfork to the neck looked much better this time around. The only thing that didn't work was a hanging. While the harness couldn't be seen, the rope was pulling the shirt away in the back, which it shouldn't be doing if the rope was actually around the neck. The acting was also a slight improvement. I think it helped that there wasn't any one character that was the focus. Since most of the film had to do with the manhunt for Pitchfork, characters were sharing the lead roles. I'm still not overly impressed with Jeremy Ivy, but at least he wasn't constantly smiling...as much. I did really like Rachel Varela. This is her first feature length film, and I'm looking forward to seeing her in more movies. I was actually rather impressed that every character that is carried over from the first film is played by the same actor.

Overall I wasn't that impressed with Hayride 2. There are still plenty of problems with the story and other things. However, it is a rare sequel that I liked better than the original. I bounced back and forth between a 2 and 3 star rating, and decided on the higher of the two just because it was a better sequel. It might not deserve to be that high, but I would watch this one again before I would the first film. Even though the first few minutes of Hayride 2 gives us a quick overview of the story from the first film, I still wouldn't really suggest that it be skipped in order to watch this one. I still wouldn't have anyone rush to find Hayride 2, but if you have watched the first film, hopefully you can see it is an improvement as well.
3 out of 5 Don't forget to look under the house

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Killer Hayride Part One

I managed to get my ten posts in with my giveaway post, but my real goal has been ten reviews each month. I will get that goal in with this post. Don't forget to enter into my giveaway! I see it is getting a good view count, but I haven't had all that many of you leave a reply. Anyway, my last movie review wasn't something that I have at home, but I decided to count it that way. Mostly I just wanted to jump into today's review for Hayride (2012). I noticed the sequel is on instant watch, but this one isn't. I added it to my DVD queue and bumped it up so I could watch it. I bet you can guess which movie will be reviewed next!

Steven (Jeremy Ivy) has decided to return home during college break with his girlfriend Amanda (Sherri Eakin). Steven is showing Amanda around his home town, and they have decided to work Halloween night for Steven's uncle. Morgan (Richard Tyson) has been running a hayride on Halloween for many years now, which has become pretty popular. Steven decides that him and Amanda will be riders. Basically they will be plants with the people who pay for the ride and get pulled off while yelling for help or whatever. Morgan has come up with a story he swears is true about a local who went crazy after his teen aged daughter ran off and he started killing people. Pitchfork, as Morgan calls the guy, has always haunted him. Unknown to them all though, a real killer has escaped in the area and he has made himself part of the attraction.

I was expecting Hayride to be pretty good. They made a sequel to it after all, so I was sure it had enough of a following to give it one. Hayride, by writer/director Terron R. Parsons, has a pretty good setup to it. This isn't the first movie to use a Halloween attraction that has a real killer in it, but I'm pretty sure it is the first one to use the hayride. The story takes a while to build, with some pretty good details about some of the characters along the way. This was a good thing to me, along with the twist towards the end of the film. It was a nice twist that confused me at first, but I was able to quickly work it out. There are some problems though. The story behind Pitchfork is told twice in a way. There is a short version as Steven and Amanda are eating at the start of the film, then there is the full version roughly in the middle of the movie. I didn't get why we needed two versions of the story. This might seem minor, but the short version was taking up time for something else. There is a kill here and there, but once the kills really start going, there is a strange lack of talking going on. I think the thing that annoyed me the most is the local police and a Detective from where ever the killer is from knows this guy has escaped, they are searching the general area, but no one seems to bother telling Morgan or anyone else, for that matter, that a killer is on the loose. So what if a few locals get killed, right?

The effects get a little bloody at times, but nothing real gory. Some of the effects didn't work out very well. Like the pitchfork to the neck. It was easy to see that the effect for that just wasn't working the way it should have. There is a nice tribute to the Friday The 13th films with an ax to the hockey mask. The acting was a bit hit and miss. Jeremy Ivy couldn't seem to keep a straight face for very long. His acting was a bit flat, which wasn't helped by the fact that he almost always had a smile going on. Sherri Eakin was pretty good in her role. I liked seeing Richard Tyson in a horror movie. I did like him in some scenes, but I just felt he could have been better overall.

Netflix fooled me a bit. They said it would be a 2.7 star film for me, but I wasn't reading it right and thought it was the average rating overall. It hit closer to the actual 2.3 star average (as of this writing) for me. Hayride is hardly the worst ever, but the problems I found with it managed to out weigh the things I liked. I still can't get over that the police never warned anyone. You would think, being locals themselves for the most part, someone would have warned Morgan since it was taking place near by, or appeared that way anyway. Ah well. The sequel will be up next since it will be instant watch time. As for this one, might be a fun film to watch if you catch it on TV or something like that, but I really wouldn't go out of your way to see it.
2 out of 5 I have never been on a hayride

Monday, June 29, 2015

Headless DVD Giveaway

I haven't done a giveaway in a good long while. I decided to change that when I went to a convention this last weekend. I picked up the Headless DVD while I was there with the intention of giving it away. I was offered an unsigned copy, or a signed copy. Of course I went right for the signed copy! How could I not?? I went back the next day and got myself a copy as well, but the BluRay instead, sorry, this one is staying with me.

The picture provided here is the actual slip cover for the DVD that I picked up. As you can see, it has been signed by three people. The signatures are for the following people: Shane Beasley (who plays the killer), Arthur Cullipher (director) and Nathan Erdel (screenwriter). Thanks goes out to Nathan for letting me know who all signed it.

So, the rules for a chance at this DVD are very simple. If you would like to have the DVD, all you have to do is leave a reply, simple as that. At the end of the week, July 5th, 2015, I will find someone to pick a name and then contact that person. This time around I have provided options for you to leave a reply. You can leave a reply here, at my other blog here, or you can leave a reply on the post I made on Facebook about this giveaway. Easy peasy!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Two Ways In, No Way Out

On the spur of the moment type thing, I ended up going to a horror convention this weekend. My boss told me a friend of his was going, so I looked into it. Sadly, there isn't much as far as films go for me to watch this time around. They are having a 48 hour film festival, but the majority of the films they are screening, I have already watched at other conventions. One of the few I haven't watched yet was Dorchester's Revenge: The Return Of Crinoline Head (2014). There was another one I was interested in, but it was screening at 2 AM, and I didn't really want to get home super late considering I was up early for work.

When Dorchester (Andrew Wicklum) was a young kid, his mother was very overprotective of him, not wanting him to leave her sight for very long. She was also into making dolls. One day though, Dorcherter's mother has a heart attack and dies. Now, many years later, a group of college students taking a history class are trying to figure out which historic event they want to research. David (Christian James) and James (JohnMichael Tabakian) have decided to do their research on the Crinoline Head killer. Paul (Jason Vail), their professor, fills us in on Dorchester, who has become known as the Crinoline Head killer because a Crinoline skirt/dress is the last thing his mother was working on when she died. Paul was part of a group that was attacked by Dorchester, so he doesn't want his students delving into the matter. This does stop David and James, of course. They are joined by Donna (Leah Wiseman) and Shelby (Kristen Ray), while they have their on project, they still want to help. They head to where Dorchester once lived, and of course discover that he still lives and is still killing.

I didn't know it before I went in to watch Dorchester's Revenge, but this turned out to be a sequel to a movie I have never watched. Crinoline Head, from way back in 1995, was the original film. Tommy Faircloth was the writer and director for both films. Seeing as there was so much time between the two films, everything pretty much gets explained in this movie. This was nice since I had no idea there was another film. I'm sure it still helps to see the first film, but at least you don't have to see it in order to understand what is going on with this movie. The story isn't too bad. If you have seen any slasher film before, it isn't hard to figure out the story. Faircloth doesn't focus much on the slasher part of the film though. Most of the deaths are off screen, with a blood splatter being shown instead of the actual kill. I'm sure this had to do with the budget, but I always feel cheated when watching a slasher film that doesn't actually show any of the kills. Some of the kills are shown, but I will get into that more a bit later. Faircloth does really flesh out his characters though. We don't really learn a lot about their past, except maybe Paul who was a character in the first film as well, but he does spend a lot of time showing how they all interact with each other. We get a good feel of all of their personalities as well. The downside to that is that once the kills do start to get going, they happen rather quickly. There are a few scenes that has to do with a car full of drag queens who end up in the wrong place. While they are funny, it has zero to do with the overall plot. It would have been nice if that had been left out, leaving more room to spend on the main characters and space out the kills a bit more.

There wasn't a lot for special effects. As I said, most of the kills did end up being off screen with some having a blood splatter to go with them. There is one kill where the person gets chocked to death. The best kill is when someone gets their throat cut and then hung up in a tree for one of the other characters. It may not sound like much, but I'm just trying not to spoil what happens. The acting was a little hit and miss. For the most part, I really enjoyed everyone's acting. There were spots though that I didn't really care for how a scene was acted out though. I think my favorite ended up being Leah Wiseman. I didn't care for the way her character changed over the course of the story, but I still enjoyed her acting. It was a nice surprise to find Debbie Rochon in this movie. She has a fairly large role in it, so you are going to watch Dorchester's Revenge because of her, you won't be disappointed.

Something that impressed me about Dorchester's Revenge: The Return Of Crinoline Head was Faircloth's attention to detail. SOme of the story lines tie into each other better than I thought they would. Something I found a little silly was the argument between Rochon's character and another character, about squatting of all things. Even so, it pays off a little later. I would like to know how the killer managed to hide long enough to do what he did, but it was still a good scene. Even though there was things I liked about this film, overall I wasn't real impressed with it. It came close to hitting the average mark for me, but fell just short of it. Possibly worth a look though if it sounds interesting to you. More so if you have watched the original film.
2 out of 5 Now I wish I had taken history in college

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Driving The Dead Around

I found a little kink in my plans for the weekend. It turns out that I will be going to a horror movie convention this weekend. While I think I can still get a couple of reviews in, I won't have as much time if I go all three days. I might just go two days if I can get everything I want to get before the third day. Anyway, to make it easier to get my goal, I dived into my next movie. It was time for an instant watch film, so I went with Death Ride (2006), or Haunted Highway as it was known on Netflix.

Greg (Rand Gamble) has been cheating on his wife with Yumi (Hinano Yoshikawa), a model from Japan. The story starts with Amanda (Laura Putney) confronting Greg about this. Of course he says it isn't true at first, but they more they argue about it, the more that the truth comes out. Greg then tries to tell Amanda that Yumi means nothing to him and that she is the only one he really loves. She doesn't exactly believe him though, and wants to know where Yumi is hiding. Greg accidentally pushes Amanda and she hits her head on the way down. Now Greg has a dead wife on his hands. He decides to take her to a lake and dump her body there, so throws he body in the trunk and drives off. Can he get there while dodging police and his guilty conscience?

It didn't take very long for me to get worried about Death Ride. I wasn't sure who's house we were in to start with. I suppose it could have been Greg and Amanda's house, but I just got the impression that it wasn't for some reason. I wasn't sure what director and co-writer Junichi Suzuki used to film this movie with, but the picture didn't look very good. Not all low budget films have this look to them, but I think it is the look most people think of when they hear a movie has a low budget. I was still willing to give Death Ride a chance, but things never really ever improve. Greg acts suspicious of everyone that comes up behind him while driving. I suppose he has good reason to, with his dead wife in the truck after all. Still, a guy on a motorcycle pulls up beside Greg, stares at him and then falls back just to do it again before speeding off. Some guy honks until Greg pulls over, which ends up being kind of a weird experience, before Greg heads off again. He is also being haunted by his wife, and even Yumi it seems. Yumi is every bit alive though, so seeing her is a bit weird. It could be explained by a line she does say though, something about that she is always watching him. While I appreciate that the story mostly takes place in Greg's car, the story just doesn't work very well. It is clear that Greg is feeling guilty over what he has done to his wife, not only killing her, but also with the cheating. It doesn't help that Greg suddenly looks like he hasn't slept in days, or as others have described him, suddenly become a drug addict. The story does manage to be on the weird side at times, but this doesn't make up for how boring it also gets.

There wasn't much for special effects. The biggest gore scene is when Greg hits someone and covers the car in blood. There are a few ghostly effects that aren't all that great. The makeup for the two ghosts at the end was well done at least. The acting was very mixed. The only person I thought was good was the cop, played by Adrian N. Roberts, that shows up for a couple of scenes. Rand Gamble doesn't work too well in the lead role. There are a few scenes he wasn't bad in, but there was so many that he just seemed to be off the mark for. Yoshikawa is cute, but she almost has a sing-song style to the way she says almost everything that does get a bit annoying after a while.

Like all movie, I wanted Death Ride to work and be an enjoyable film. I don't want to say that the poor quality look to the film took me out of it early because I was still willing to give it a shot. The first few scenes directly after the accidental murder just added to the overall feeling it wasn't going to get good. Throw in things like someone honking for no apparent reason which alerts Greg that someone is coming down the road while he is trying to clean up blood, a cop who is suspicious of Greg, but not enough apparently to take him seriously, and it manages to go from bad to worse. Not everyone felt the same as me, but they seem to be far and few between. If this one sounds interesting to you then great, feel free to check it out. Otherwise I would very much consider it a skip.
1 out of 5 Always pay attention to how much gas you have

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Yogi This Isn't

I was starting to wonder if I would get my goal in this month. I have three more posts to do after this one, with a week left to go. I'm pretty sure I can get them all in on time though. I haven't been in a real mood to write, but I want to meet my goal. I managed to get a review done for What We Do In The Shadows at my other blog, so head over there and check out the review. For here though, I went with the next movie I have on DVD from Netflix, Grizzly (1976). It has been a while since I have watched a movie from the '70s, so I was actually looking forward to giving this a watch.

Kelly (Christopher George) is a park ranger with a bear problem. A bear has been going around attacking, and partly eating, campers. The park supervisor wants the park to stay open, so Kelly has his hands full. He teams up with Don (Andrew Prine) to go searching for the bear. They don't have much luck, but they do find Scott (Richard Jaeckel), a local hunter who is also looking for the bear. He thinks they are looking for a 15 foot, 2 thousand pound grizzly bear. Kelly and Don scuff at this, but they are about to find out that the grizzly is very real and hungry.

Grizzly is co-written by Harvey Flaxman and David Sheldon, and directed by William Girdler. While watching the extras on the DVD, I believe they said that one of the writers was also a co-director. The story came about when one of the writers was camping, or his family was while on their way to meet him, and there was a bear scare going on. This lead to the idea of a killer bear, it was also right around the time that Jaws just came out, so those two things together made Grizzly. The funny thing is, Grizzly doesn't try to hide the fact it gets some of its story from Jaws. I'm not sure why they added so much from the other, as I would think that they should have been able to come up with their story. The park must stay open at all costs, the supervisor (in place of the mayor) getting mad when the bear hasn't been caught, a story about a group of bears taking out a tribe of Indians, makes it pretty clear which movie they borrowed the plot from. If this doesn't bother you, the movie itself isn't all that bad considering it is more a knock off than anything. What made Grizzly fun to watch was that they used a real grizzly. Not for all the scenes of course, the attack scenes were done differently. At first, all we see if a big bear paw grab or swipe at its victims, which was a little lame, but understandable why they did that. The grizzly they used was trained, but not tame. The actors didn't really get to interact with it much because of that. When standing on its back legs, it could reach 11 feet tall, so not as big as the movie claims it is. Still, it isn't a bear one would want to cross. My main complaint about the movie was I kept wondering how in the hell such a large bear kept managing to sneak up on people. I'm not an outdoors type person really, rarely been camping, but it just seemed odd the bear kept sneaking up on everyone. Especially some of the wooded areas it was supposed to be in.

The attacks were pretty well done as far as the effects went. They didn't always add up, like barely any blood after a swipe to the face. Still, for the time period, there was some good effects, and some gory ones I wasn't really expecting. Like the bear taking peoples limbs, a horse losing its head, and a dead kid, yes! The acting wasn't all that bad either. It could be a little wooden at times, but I still enjoyed everyone in the cast. Richard Jaeckel was probably the best to be found in this one. For me he was anyway. There was actually some fun and interesting characters in Grizzly that made it fun to watch.

There was a love interest to be found at first between Kelly and Allison, played by Joan Dorsey. It never really gets very far though, and is eventually dropped once the hunt for the grizzly starts to become the main focus of the film. It was too bad that this subplot got dropped before it could really be explored. It would have helped set it apart from Jaws a little bit at least. Something else that bugged me a little bit, was that they never showed any blood on the beer, especially on its teeth, after a kill. I think they could have given it something to eat to give it a bloodied look. Considering that Grizzly was the highest grossing independent film until Halloween knocked it down a notch, it is a little weird seeing so many negative reviews for it now. Grizzly isn't one of the greats obviously, but it is still a good movie to watch. If you are into the animal attacks sub-genre in horror, you might want to check this one out if you never have before.
3 out of 5 Give me a bear hug!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Mental Loop Hole

I was hoping to get two reviews in Thursday, but by the time I got some stuff done around the house, along with spending some money on some stuff I needed, it was getting late by the time I was able to finish Mine Games (2012). I did get two movies watched at least. The first one was The Human Centipede 3 (Final Sequence). I got the review done fairly quick, but by the time I finished my second movie, I was ready for bed. I had to get up early yesterday to get my car in to get worked on. My car didn't get finished though, how nice of them. So much for taking it in as soon as they opened.

A group of friends head into the woods to a cabin for a bit of a getaway. On the way there, they nearly hit someone, which ends up messing something up on their van. They still make it to the cabin though and have a good time. Eventually they find an old mine and go exploring. Afterwards, Rose (Rebecca Da Costa) starts to have visions have bad things happening to the group. She starts to believe that Michael (Joseph Cross) is going to kill them all. The others don't really believe this though, but when they find dead bodies in the mine, they start to wonder what is going on. Especially when the bodies are their own.

Mine Games ended up being a bit confusing. I could write it up to me having some trouble staying awake through it, but I was able to follow it enough to be able to figure out what all happened, I believe so anyway. The story was a bit confusing for a while. I'm pretty sure the writers, including director Richard Gray, meant it to be for a while at least. The visions that Rose was having could have been explained by her eating a mushroom her boyfriend gave her. In fact, it was played off that way for a while. Things went from weird, to really weird from there though. It was just hard to follow because of all that, and it doesn't really try to explain what is going on until the end of the movie. It works in a way, but for some it is still a confusing movie. Considering the title is something of a play on words, and considering the hints the film leaves, it was straight forward what happened. It wasn't a time loop, though I get why people believe it was. It is an interesting plot though, so it has that going for it. One of the nice things about the plot is that it starts off like any other horror film. A group of friends heading into the wood, car breaks down, everyone gets drunk and so on. It could have kept going in that direction, but it was decided to go more towards the weird instead. I'm not complaining about that in the least, as I love weird movies.

There wasn't much for special effects to be found. Some blood, but nothing very gory or anything. The acting was well done. I didn't have a problem with anyone here really, but no one really stood out much either. It was good to see Briana Evigan, who has been in a few horror movies now, along with Julianna Guill as well. Lindsay Lamb rounds out the cast for the women. For the rest of the guys, we find Rafi Gavron, Ethan Peck and Alex Meraz. All in all, a good cast.

As you can see, I don't have a lot to say about Mine Games. This could have been a film I would get all excited over, but that wasn't really the case this time around. I will give it another chance someday though. I recorded it off a movie channel, so I'm sure I will come across it there again sometime, or I can always call it up on instant watch through Netflix. It is a fun film, so I'm sure I will be giving it another watch soon. If it sounds interesting to you as well, it is worth a watch. I'm also curious to how others will explain the story, so let me know what you think happened.
3 out of 5 I have never been inside a mine