Friday, October 21, 2016
While making a Quadruple X film, a killer stalks the cast. Will they figure out who the killer(s?) are before they all die?
I know, not much of a plot description is it? Given to us by co-writers Carlo Rodriguez and James Christopher, who also directs. Quad X is one weird film. Scratch that, it is one odd film. One would think with a horror/comedy film that pokes fun at horror and porn movies, there would be lots of nudity to be found. Maybe not by men, since that is still fairly rare, but by the women in the cast for sure. While a few go topless in some scenes, there is no nudity to be found. Instead, it is blocked out, with the black square sold for advertisement. The story is hard to follow. Sure there is a killer on the loose, but the film is half documentary and half normal film. It flips in and out of the documentary style with no real rhyme or reason to it. To make things more confusing is all the different characters being introduced. I'm not sure how many characters there are, but it feels like a lot. A new character was being interviewed every couple of minutes for a while there. To add to that, the story is constantly switching to different characters. It was very hard to follow, especially when it is the midnight screening. To make things just a bit more odd, if that was even possible, the characters get on this tangent about how horror and porn are a good match.
Even though I found Quad X to be very confusing, it did manage to be funny in places. A character called Beaver Slayer, played by Colby Wallingsford, was very funny for most of his screen time. He is a porn actor who just can't get it up anymore. Hearing him talk about his private area, and complaining about it not getting hard anymore, turned out to be pretty funny with how he describes it all. Another funny scene is when the same character gets his throat cut and the two female characters who are with him come up with a funny way to hopefully save his life. It has to do with directing the blood flow elsewhere...I'm sure you get the idea.
The effects are just okay. There is a scene where someone gets killed by their own insides and there are a few cut throats. They aren't bad effects really, but like most of this film, they could have been way better. The acting was very mixed. Each actor had some good moments, but some felt like they weren't trying all that hard in some scenes. It was a bit frustrating since you have good actors like Wallingsford who was trying. Not saying this happens a lot, not trying I mean, but enough to take notice, especially towards the end of the film.
Speaking of the end of the film, it does manage to settle into more of a story by then. There is less jumping around between characters being interviewed and more straight up story telling. I appreciated that, but it was too little too late by then. I've said that if a comedy makes me laugh, I'm good with it. Quad X did make me laugh, but it stabbed itself in the foot by just being too hard to follow and jumping around between characters way too much. Not a great way to start a film festival, at least for me, but tomorrow is a new day and a full one. As for all of you, I'm sure some of you will like this film, but I have a feeling it will only appeal to those with a certain taste in films. Might be worth checking out if it sounds interesting to you. Not a complete waste of time even if you decide to give it a watch anyway.
2 out of 5 At least no cats were killed
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
A bunch of friends has headed up to the slopes to get some skiing in. No one checked the weather before leaving, as they find out it is a bit too warm to go skiing. On their way back, they get a bit lost. Alex (Mario Marzo) gets frustrated with the way his friends are acting and pulls over. One of them discovers a sign for a hostel that is nearby and they all take a vote to buy some beer and spend the night there. At the store, they gas up and find out that the hostel has been closed for years. A police officer tells them to move on, but the group says to hell with it and goes back to the hostel. Unknown to them all, a boy died there many years ago because of a prank that went wrong...on this very night.
I'm sure IMDb has the right listing for writers and directors, but it seems odd at the same time. The website lists 12 different directors and 17 different writers. That seems like an awful lot, especially considering the film isn't even 70 minutes long. Of course, it could have been edited down, but still. Anyway, it would seem that they have watched a fair share of 1980's slasher films. Los Inocentes starts off giving us an origin story, so to speak, for what is to come. A boy finds a note in his room, seemingly from a girl, asking to meet him. He follows the directions on the note and finds himself locked in the boiler room by some other boys. As a few girls start to take showers, things heat up to the point where the boy dies from all the steam and heat. Now there seems to be a curse on the place. We also get a bunch of characters straight out of the Friday The 13th films. The couple that just thinks about sex, the shy guy who is interested in a certain girl, the jerk who is also interested in the same girl, and the guy who is always joking and playing pranks on everyone. Let's not forget the girl who gets frustrated when she gets turned down for sex. Sadly, with the short run time, we don't get to know the characters all that well. They try a little bit at least, with the main characters. The rest are just there to be killed off it seems. The kills, which I will get into more later, are a little on the weird side at times. The killer has a calling card of sorts, which you can see in the poster. You won't ever see who the killer is until towards the end of the film, which I thought was a nice touch. I wasn't sure who the killer was, but I had a pretty good idea. I knew it was either the boy who got killed in some form or another or someone most likely related to the boy. The ending didn't come as a surprise, even though they try to make it a twist ending in a way. As you watch the ending play out, you will more than likely figure it out as well before it happens.
The story takes place on December 28th, which happens to be Spain's version of April Fools Day. It is called The Day Of The Innocents. I know, it doesn't sound like a day that you would play jokes on your friends. It has to do with when King Herod ordered all male babies to be killed, fearing that baby Jesus would one day be a rival. Unknown to him, Mary and Joseph were already on their way to Egypt. In other words, the joke was on King Herod. None of this is actually explained in the film. I was curious as to why they made sure we knew the date and the name of the day, and why it got the English title it did, so I looked it up.
The effects are just okay. Things get a little bloody at times, but never real gory. As I mentioned, some of the kills are on the weird side of things. There is a death by a snake, in a way, and bees. These are planned out by the killer. I thought the first one was random, but then I realized the calling card was there for it, so it was planned out after all. One character busts her head open after a fall and then gets herself off while rubbing the wound or maybe it was her brain. Being half-naked and covered in blood, it was close to being erotic. The acting wasn't too bad. No one really stood out to me, this time, but I didn't find any of the actors to be bad really. Mario Marzo does a pretty good at being the awkward guy trying to impress Eva, who is played by Charlotte Vega. They are your two main characters, so it was rather easy to see who the last two would be.
I did like parts of Los Inocentes at least. Some of the kills are creative, even if they are weird for a slasher film, There isn't a lot of nudity to be found, but there is just enough. A few of the women in the film show off their bodies some, and I have to say they were pretty nice to look at. I thought that Los Inocentes was a bit on the short side and could have fleshed the story out a little more, and the runtime, by allowing us to get to know the characters better. I completely forgot about the horny couple until they showed up in a bathroom of all places. That may not have happened if some time was spent on them. Los Inocentes wasn't a great slasher film, but I've watched a lot worse. Despite the low rating, I would likely watch it again someday. If it sounds interesting to you, it is currently streaming on Netflix.
2 out of 5 How could you not want to die from laughing gas?
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
Becca (Jenn Proske) is moving in with her dad (Diedrich Bader). Being the new girl in town, it seems everyone is willing to pick on her at Becca's new school. Becca doesn't seem to notice much that the town is a bit obsessed with vampires at first. She meets and becomes friends with Jennifer (Anneliese van der Pol). Becca also catches the eye of Edward (Matt Lanter), who turns out to be a vampire. She also meets Jacob (Chris Riggi) who chases cats around while running on all fours. Who will she pick to have a romance with?
As much as I didn't like the Twilight series, for the most part, I just couldn't get into this film that pokes fun at them. By co-writers and directors Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, Vampires Suck wasn't very funny to me at all. It had a moment or two where it managed a smile from me, but never a laugh. Like most spoof movies of today, Vampires Suck tries too hard to be funny. I would think it would be hard to make fun of a movie that a lot of people already make fun of, but apparently, I was wrong. Like the sparkle that the vampires give off, which was only ever used with Edward, was a bit of a fail. The first time Edward is shown with a bunch of gold necklaces and the other time (which was shown first but takes place later in the movie) we see Edwards private area blocked by a disco ball. Just about everything they did with Jacob was pretty stupid. There were some things I got a bit of a kick out of at least. Proske has Kristen Stewart down well in this film and because of that, it was a joy to watch Proske make fun of the temper tantrums and over emotional acting the Stewart did. I also found amusement in the wolf pack with their little dance number. The evil vampires, which you see at the bottom of the poster, also had a good moment here and there. The story mostly follows the first Twilight film but does touch on some of the other films in the series as well. That is another problem I have with spoof films of today, they try to cram way too much into the film. Before the movie title had even come up on the screen, I was already saying that Vampires Suck was going to be so bad. Just from the stupid "jokes" in that short of time told me that this is going to be a rough ride.
There wasn't a lot of special effects. There were some effects for like broken bones and blood squirting out now and then. While done in a goofy way, they are done well at least. The acting wasn't too bad. I didn't care for Jenn Proske at first, as I think it had more to do with finding out this was more of a Twilight spoof than anything else. She eventually won me over, though. This was her first role in anything, so that made it all the more impressive for me. Dave Foley returns for another vampire comedy. He isn't in this one as much as he was in the last film I watched him in. He wasn't as funny either, but I won't hold that against him this time around. Anneliese van der Pol was enjoyable in her role, She disappears after a certain point, but I still enjoyed her acting. An even bigger surprise for me was seeing Arielle Kebbel show up as one of the evil vampires. It has been a long time since I got to watch her in a movie. She doesn't get to say a whole lot, but I still loved her.
I had a hard time getting into Vampires Suck. It wasn't that it is a spoof film or which films it was spoofing, though that was part of it in a small way. Around the hour mark, I was getting pretty bored with it and started to slip into sleep at times. I eventually paused it, did something else for a bit and came back to it. Not that I enjoyed it more by being more awake. I didn't completely hate Vampires Suck, but I didn't get very much enjoyment out of it. If I ever watch this one again, it will just be to watch Kebbel. If you really enjoy how spoof films are today, you will probably like this one just as much. If you don't, avoid it unless you are like me and just want to watch it because of someone in it.
2 out of 5 At least there wasn't as many suck jokes this time
Monday, October 17, 2016
Picking up months after the first film, Veronica (Saffron Henderson) is giving birth to...something. After giving birth, Veronica isn't able to take the stress or the shock and sadly passes away. She does give birth to a baby boy. The boy grows much faster than a normal human does. Kept in a lab and observed, in five years Martin (Eric Stoltz) has the body of a 20-year-old. Not only has he inherited the fly DNA from his dad, but also the genius as well. Anton (Lee Richardson) has plans for Martin and the company that Anton runs. His crew has been trying to unlock the secret of the teleportation pods, but they haven't had any luck so far. Martin is given access to it all in hopes that he can figure out what they can't. Martin thinks he has it and goes looking for a plant to try to teleport. He meets Beth (Daphne Zuniga) and they quickly become friends. Things go well for a bit until the fly DNA really makes itself known.
Even though I have things on my DVD I could have watched before The Fly 2, but I was happy that I could wrap up this series review quicker than I was expecting. Kind of a weird coincidence that this was the last one I needed to watch and it showed up on a movie channel. I had read where this sequel takes elements from the original sequel. That is true, but it mostly isn't. Besides dealing with the son, this one more than the original, there isn't very much that is the same. I was wondering where this sequel would go. Some tell more or less the same story, while others try to out do the original film. The Fly 2 embraces that it is more of a creature feature that previous films. At 105 minutes, nearly the last half hour of the film is the creature doing its thing. Director Chris Walas also tries to up the ante by making his sequel the goriest of them all. In these ways, The Fly 2 does manage to better than the original film. However, I didn't enjoy the story as much this time around. The writers and there are a few, get some things right. A teleport that goes wrong with a dog and finding out what happened to it, gets talked about the most when it comes to this film. It can be a tear jerker moment, especially if you have dogs. The story arc for Martin feels like it loses focus at times, this was my main problem with the story. It jumps around a bit too much. I get that Martin is very smart, but I had to wonder if his mind would really keep up with aging so quickly. There are moments where a childlike personality comes through just a little bit at least. I don't want to get into the plot too much, as I feel I have spoiled it enough as it is, but I just couldn't get over how much the story changes directions.
As I mentioned already, the effects get pretty gory at times. From a face getting melted, a head getting crushed, mutated dog and human...there is a lot going on in the last act. The human/fly was also pretty cool looking. All the effects are well done here and at times, pretty darn impressive. If there is a highlight to The Fly 2, it is the effects for sure. The acting wasn't bad at all either. While I liked Eric Stoltz and Daphne Zuniga in the lead roles, they simply aren't as good as Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis. The on-screen relationship between the two leads just wasn't as convincing but they still pulled it off. John Getz is the only returning actor to be found here. He doesn't show up a lot in this one but still has an important role in the story. I was actually surprised at how much he was in this one.
I did like that one of the guards took a disliking to Martin. I didn't really get why, but things like that happen in the workplace. Much like the original sequel, there is a happy ending to be found. Well, not for everyone anyway. It was a bit strange considering how many people were killed. Usually, in horror films, the killer doesn't get the happy ending. The middle of the film can be a bit slow at times, but it pays off in the end. If you haven't watched The Fly 2 yet, you really should give it a chance. It may not be as good as the original remake film, but it isn't far off. It is just barely below average on IMDb, which is a shame. If I had not watched the original film, this one may just have squeaked out a higher rating from me. If I gave out half stars, The Fly 2 would be one of the films I would be giving it to.
3 out of 5 We need a female fly movie!
Sunday, October 16, 2016
At the Tower Mountain Research Station, Doctor Vogel's safety is in question. The last time the base heard from him, Vogel wasn't making a lot of sense. The base has been unable to check on him because of snow storms. When a break in the weather happens, they send Robert Jones (Robert Culp) and Frank Enari (Eli Wallach), with Val (Michael C. Gwynne) flying them in. They have a chimp with them as well, which they intend to use as a control subject. When they get to the station, they find the monkeys that were being tested on almost dead because of the cold. They go about getting the heat back up and running while looking for Vogel. Val eventually finds Vogel, locked in a room frozen to death. After Val leaves with the body, Jones and Enari get the station back up and resume tests on the monkeys for the effects of cold weather. Jones begins to wonder what happened in the station with Vogel. Vogel was found in a locked room, but he had the keys on him and the window that was open could have easily been closed. After some weird things happen, Enari suspects that Jones is losing it, while Jones believes there is something going on in the station.
I was pretty curious about A Cold Night's Death. I knew it wasn't the same as The Thing as far as the story goes, but it still had some similar things about it. By writer Christopher Knopf and director Jerrold Freedman, this story was apparently based on a real location. According to one researcher, the station is, or was an actual place where the type of research found in the film was taking place. So it seems the story was tailor built for the location. Given the location, away from everyone else and not being able to go far from the station, you feel a sense of isolation right away. That and cold, as they often mention how cold it is there. It doesn't seem like the kind of place I would want to live at for any period of time. One of them would go out and shovel snow in for their water. That right there would leave me out. There isn't a whole lot of story here. They take a good bit of time to set things up, and then a few strange things happen before it ends. With a run time of just 74 minutes, I can see why there isn't more going on. That being said, I thought there was too much padding all the same at times. This was mostly watching Jones shovel snow in. Even so, it was a pretty good story with an interesting ending. I'm not sure it completely worked since, if what Jones says is true and given what we see at the end, we see nothing after Jones opens a door that was swinging shut. Still, the ending makes one think.
There isn't a lot as far as effects go here. The only effects we get are those of the freezing kind. There is a good scene late in the film when Jones gets wet and ices over rather quickly. Considering that the cast was primarily two people, a lot depended on them. Both were very good here. I had known who Robert Culp was prior to this movie, but I don't think I have seen anything with Eli Wallach before. I didn't go through all the stuff he acted in, but nothing really stood out to me. Something that I observed is that Culp's character acted calmer but was accused of losing it. Wallach was never really accused of being crazy but acted the part more. At least I thought so.
I wish they had explained what they were doing with the monkeys more than they did. There is mention of slowly dropping their body temperature, but they don't explain all that much what it is doing to the monkeys. It would have fleshed the story out a bit more instead of having to watch Jones shovel snow so much. I know there was more of a time limit for the film since it was made for TV, so can't have it fleshed out too much. For that type of movie, this one turned out fairly well. I'm glad I got around to watching it at last. If A Cold Night's Death sounds like an interesting film to you, you can find it on YouTube. It isn't the best quality, but it is free at least. Worth checking out I think.
3 out of 5 Damn you monkeys!
Saturday, October 15, 2016
A group called The Winners are out on the road trying to make it big. So far, no luck. After a gig, Jennifer (Jessica Paré) decides to head off with Queeny (Dimitri Coats), a guy who caught her attention during the performance. Joey (Rob Stefaniuk), who she used to date, warns her that they will leave for the next gig with or without her. Jennifer heads off and spends the night with Queeny, who turns out to be a vampire. The next night, the band is starting to wonder if Jennifer is going to show up at all, but she does. Joey notes that she looks different, but Jennifer waves it off. The crowd seems to love Jennifer now, and things start to change for the band, in more ways than one.
Writer/director Rob Stefaniuk gives us a vampire comedy from Canada that he has also made sure is grounded in the music scene. I didn't feel the comedy worked as well for me as it has for others, but at least this wasn't a spoof film. I thought that Stefaniuk showed his love for music in this film. Recreating album covers and having some music legends show up now and then. Album covers aren't as well known as they once were, but I was able to still catch a few. The Beatles were the most obvious with perhaps a Bruce Springsteen cover being easy to catch as well. There are some others as well. The music that The Winners play isn't actually heavy, but some of the music we see from other bands and the music legends are known for their heavy rock music. I will get into those a little later. A nice thing about Suck is that there is an actual story here. It isn't just a bunch of jokes loosely following the plots of the films they are making fun of. There is a bit of a moral going on with how far would you go to get fame. I was a bit confused about if the fans knew Jennifer was a vampire or not. The band sometimes mentions that the crowd was "totally getting the vampire vibe," so I was unsure. I would be surprised if the crowd didn't know, but maybe they just thought it was part of the act. There is also the vampire hunter that is after Jennifer, and the rest of the band eventually, played by Malcolm McDowell. Stefaniuk does something pretty cool for a flashback with McDowell. Instead of getting a different actor or trying to make McDowell look younger, they just use footage from an older film that McDowell was in. Some of the jokes missed their mark for me like there was a series of suck jokes for a while there. But some were pretty good, like someone else always getting hit by stakes instead of the vampire.
Not a whole lot of effects here. Some blood here and there along with bite marks and a cut throat. The last one wasn't anything special really, but it wasn't bad. Oh, there are a couple of scenes where we see a dismembered body, but it wasn't all that graphic really. The acting was pretty good here. McDowell was pretty funny in places. I enjoyed the scene where he passes the border back into the USA. I was a little surprised that Stefaniuk took on the lead role but he actually does a good job with it. Paré was also good, but I didn't always like her look that they gave her. The rest of the band is played by Paul Anthony and Mike Lobel. Chris Ratz plays Hugo, who does everything the band and the vampires tell him. The music folks who show up are Alice Cooper, Henry Rollins, Moby, Iggy Pop and Alex Lifeson. David Foley has a funny part, at times, as the band's manager.
I don't know, I did like Suck but I wasn't blown away by it at all. It isn't getting a real good of an average score, but some seem to think it was a very good film. Nothing against them, or you if you think that, but it wasn't that for me. It does have some funny moments and I really liked having people from the music scene show up. Suck isn't a bad film at all, so if you haven't watched this one yet, you might want to give it a shot. Especially if you are into rock/metal music. I will likely be watching this one again someday.
3 out of 5 I was never very musical
Friday, October 14, 2016
Jennifer (Sarah Butler) has been struggling to deal with what happened to her (see the remake of the original film). She has been seeing a therapist (Harley Jane Kozak) who suggests that maybe going to a support group for rape victims might be good for Jennifer, who now goes by the name of Angela by the way. She isn't real sure what to make of the group until she meets Maria (Jennifer Landon). They quickly become friends and start hanging out with each other, especially after Maria helps Angela with some guys who have been bothering her. But Maria is looking for more. She goes after one guy who got off after raping his step-daughter, almost going too far until Angela stopped her. Soon after this, Maria is found murdered. After talking with the Detective (Gabriel Hogan) on the case, the guy who did it is set free. Jennifer is fed up and now has decided to take the law into her own hands once again.
I got to meet Sarah Butler back in March of this year. She mostly had pictures from this movie, but I was able to get a picture from the remake instead. She was a very nice person and easy to talk to, but I felt bad for not having seen I Spit On Your Grave 3 yet. In a way, I'm kind of glad I had not. From writer Daniel Gilboy and director R.D. Braustein, they give us a film that is different from the other films of this series. The story here has more to do with the effects of seeking vengeance and not getting the proper help. To be honest, it is a story that needs to be told. I'm sure most people have thought about getting revenge at some point in time. It might make you feel better at the time, but it doesn't heal the wounds. I liked the story, but I didn't really care for the way it was told. The flashbacks come quickly and often at the start of the film, and throughout the film. Just not as bad once we get through the start of the film. This didn't bother me so much as anyone who hasn't watched the first film might want to know what went down for Jennifer, and it acts as a refresher for the rest of us. From there we get treated to what she is thinking of doing to someone. This was kind of neat the first couple of times it happened since she is thinking about killing a couple of guys she feels is bothering her too much. After that, when it keeps happening, it started getting real old. Many complain there is too much talking in the first half of the film, but I didn't have much of a problem with it. I was surprised Jennifer would stop Maria from going too far, considering what Jennifer did in the first film. Eventually, she goes back to her old ways once she has had enough of the justice system failing. I liked this part of the film, but I thought they took it a step too far when she goes from getting vengeance against those she feels got away with rape, to just flat out crazy. It just didn't work as well as I thought it was going to.
The effects here are pretty good, and at times, pretty gory. They harken back to the first film with a penis getting cut off, but with a bit of a twist to it this time. That was the goriest effect, but maybe not the most disturbing death. The acting was good as well. It was a real treat to see Sarah Butler return to the series. She was missed in the second film, which is where I thought that one would go. Jennifer London was very good in her role as well. She was a nice little surprise. Too bad she wasn't in the film longer. It was very cool to see Harley Jane Kozak in a horror film. I remember her from some early 90's films, so it was great seeing her in another film so recent.
Something that confused me for a bit was the scenes with the therapist. I didn't realize that these scenes went from the past to present at some point in the story. It made a lot more sense once I did figure that out, though. Maybe it was an easy thing to figure out and I just wasn't paying as much attention as I should have. Either way, I just didn't feel the story here worked as well as intended. I slightly agree with those that have given I Spit On Your Grave 3 a lower rating, but I'm doing it for slightly different reasons it seems. I am in the minority because it actually has an average rating on both Netflix and IMDb. If you did like the first film in this series, it is possible you will like this one as well. There is a good story in there as long as you aren't expecting the same films as the previous two.
2 out of 5 Vengeance shall not be mine