Sunday, February 26, 2006
Wolf Creek comes to us from Australia so everyone talks "funny," as my friend would put it. I asked if she wanted someone to translate for her, and all I got in reply was a mean look. There are some beautiful shots in this film, wide shots of the land and sun sets. The director (Greg McLean) does a wonderful job of showing us how empty the land can be, and how far away help can be when you want it the most. Wolf Creek has what most people call a slow start. The story takes its time in telling the story and we get to know the characters because of this. Being a horror movie we know something bad is going to happen to these characters, we just don't know when. With this movie, when things go bad, it is like a coin flip.
If you have watched The Texas Chainsaw Massacre then you have, in a way, watched Wolf Creek. It is different but you can see how Wolf Creek owes itself to TCM. Wolf Creek claims to be inspired by true events. I have looked up a little bit of this on the internet and came across The Backpack Murders. However, I have yet to find anything that goes on in this movie that relates to those murders. The person that was charged for the murders was said to have personal items of the murdered people at his place, which was shown in Wolf Creek. Outside of that I couldn't really find much.
Liz and Kristy (Cassandra Magrath and Kestie Morassi) are two British students who meet and become friends with Ben (Nathan Phillips) during college. Before the two girls leave for home they all decide to take a trip. Along the way they stop at Wolf Creek Park. This is an area where a big meteor hit the earth. They take a few things to eat and have a good time while there. On their return they discover that their watches have stopped and the battery is dead in the car. Just before this Ben was telling the girls a story about UFO's and brings that up here as well. I thought maybe this is a UFO story, but it wasn't and I'm very glad for that. I like sci-fi stories but I never thought they work to well with horror.
Late that night they see lights heading towards them. Turns out it is nothing more than a truck. We then meet Mick (John Jarratt). He decides to help them and tells them that he can't fix it there but can at his shop. He gives them the choice of going with him or staying there for the rest of the night. They talk it over and decide to go with him. Once there they talk for a while and he offers them some water. There is a close up shot of the water, and if you have watched enough horror movies then you know that usually means something. Mick seems like a nice enough guy. He jokes around with them a lot before going to work on their car. While he does, one of the girls comes over and thanks him for all his help before she turns in. We watch as she goes to sleep and we watch as she wakes ups, tied up and gagged. This is what I meant by it being a coin flip. The tone of the movie changes that quickly. For the rest of the movie we watch Ben, Liz and Kristy try and escape from Mick. What happens kept me watching and wondering what could possibly happen next. It has been a while since I have really felt that way while watching a horror movie.
I really liked all of the actors in Wolf Creek. They all did a great job at keeping me on the edge of my seat. Once things get serious we don't really see Ben again until the end of the movie. He escapes and is found by a passing couple. If this was based on a true story, then the liberties were probably taken with what happened to Liz and Kristy. The main thing I have heard from a few reviews for this movie was that the killer went only after the women. While that isn't 100% true, since Ben is tied and nailed to some wood, women are mainly all we see Mick go after and kill. This has never bothered me and I'm a woman myself. It's a sad fact but more women get raped and murdered than men do. Is this a thing to show on screen? I don't have the answer to that, but I know it doesn't offend me when I do see it.
I really loved this movie. I can't stress enough how much I loved it. The set up for most of the movie really pays off once the movie changes its tone. It slows down just a little at that point, but then builds and builds on itself. The ending left me a little disappointed. That is the only thing I can say bad about Wolf Creek. Not everyone liked this movie, even among people I thought would like it. I loved it and wish more movies came out like this one.
5 out of 5 Lone Wolves
Saturday, February 25, 2006
Sam Harper (David Fralick) is killed in the first gulf war by friendly fire. Before he dies though he manages to take out a few of the soldiers who are trying to cover up what happened. A few years later we pick up on the story back home. Sam's wife, Louise (Anne Tremko), is waiting to hear what has happened to her MIA husband. She has the support of her sister-in-law Sally (Leslie Neal) and her son Jody (Christopher Ogden). Louise is somewhat dating the officers of the local police. She finally gets word that they identified the remains of her late husband, and the body is sent to their home to be buried. I found it a little strange they kept the coffin there at the home but whatever works.
Louise and Sally are a little upset at the news but not overly so. Jody looked up to his uncle so whenever someone says anything bad about him he gets upset. His mom and Louise end up telling him that his uncle Sam was a mean man who liked to keep people afraid of him. Even so Jody is still proud of his uncle. Up until this point in the movie we see the effects losing someone in a war has on that person's family. The movie is almost an anti-war movie as well, because everyone is telling Jody to get the idea of going into the army and fighting in a war out of his head.
Once in a while we see a shot of Sam in his uniform inside the coffin with a little movement. He doesn't become truly alive again until one night when a small group of boys are in the cemetery and start desecrating the headstones and burn an American flag. Some of the flag, as it burns off, lands in Sam's soon to be grave. He awakens and opens the coffin even though it is supposed to be sealed shut. Sam kills two of the boys, one by hanging him on the flag pole. Bet you can't guess which one that was. That same night he kills a guy that is dressed in an Uncle Sam outfit complete with a mask and stilts. He is window peeping and gets caught doing it in a rather funny little sequence. Sam leaves the stilts but takes the outfit, which is good because he was burnt to a crisp, so he would stand out pretty well in a crowd. It helps that his name is Sam as well I suppose.
During the 4th of July celebration Sam goes on a killing spree. He kills his sister's boyfriend and his wife's boyfriend, just because of who they are dating I suppose. One of the teacher's told his class about people going to Canada to avoid the draft during the last war with a draft. He never said he was one of those people, but the look on his face when asked made it somewhat clear that it was possible. He gets an axe in the head. Funny part of that was the axe was supposed to be nothing more than a prop a kid was going to use in the parade. So why the teacher was going to give the kid a real axe I don't know. Not much of a teacher huh? My favorite killing was the boy that was "singing" the national anthem. He starts out doing an ok job singing, but then starts screaming the words and starts to get booed by the crowd. Sam simply cuts the boy's head off. Let this be a lesson to all singers! Sing the national anthem the way it is supposed to be or else! So basically, Sam is killing anyone that is doing anti-American things.
There aren't a lot of effects, but for what there is, they are all done nicely. The police officer falls on a flag pole that Sam has waiting for him. The officer is falling after a politician is blown up by fireworks. Strange thing is, he was the only person to even try to save the politician. It is his job but you would think someone else would have tried as well. The flag pole, with the flag still on it, was probably my favorite. It looked like the pole really did go through the guy. Most of the other effects are done to show things after Sam had killed someone.
The acting is about a little above what I would normally expect for a horror movie. It was believable and at times a little bad. Isaac Hayes has a fairly big part as a vet who lets Sam go the first time he runs into him, but then tries to help kill him in the end. P.J. Soles has a smaller part as the mom of Jody's best friend. I have liked her in Holloween and Stripes, but I didn't really like how she approached the acting for this part. She was very haughty, and reminded me of how a rich person would be.
In the end, Sam realizes what kind of person his uncle really is, and helps send him back to the land of the dead. Isaac goes old school on our killer by getting a cannon and blowing up Sam and a house. I didn't know cannon balls exploded, I thought they just punched through whatever it was they meet up with. Shows what I know I guess. I didn't have a lot to complain about for this movie. The characters were set up nicely. We got to know them a little before the killings start. If I really want to get picky then I would say that my only complaint is that none of the main characters are killed off. Not a great movie but worth checking out.
3 out of 5 Anti-Americans
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
For those few of you that don't know about the story behind the movie I will fill you in, and for the rest lets just use this as a reminder. In The Amityville Horror we meet George and Kathy Lutz (Ryan Reynolds and Melissa George). They are out looking for a new home when they find one in the town of Amityville. It is a big and beautiful house that would be out of their price range, but they discover the house is being sold very cheaply. There is a catch however. A year has gone by since Ronald DeFoe murdered his entire family late one night. Ronald claimed that voices told him to kill. This creeps the Lutz's out some but as George says, "People kill people, not houses." That is true but they forgot about evil spirits that might be in the house.
By the way, this movie is based on a true story. So they say anyway. Ronald DeFoe really did kill his family in 1974, and the Lutz's really did buy the house a year later. The Lutz's stayed in the house for 28 days, and then they ran from the house, never to reclaim it or anything in it. What happened to them in the house is still being debated. But their story became a best selling book in 1977 and also became a movie in 1979.
Right from the start you will be able to tell this is a much darker movie. I have to admit that the effects in the 1979 movie are rather cheesy now, maybe they were even back then. But they managed to scare me all the same. What really got to me in the 1979 version was the overall feel of the movie. The 2005 version also has this feel to it, so I was happy they managed to capture that. The effects, while much better, are very different than those you will find in the 1979 movie. We see a lot of ghosts in this version, mostly the ghost of Jodie Defoe (Isabel Conner), the youngest daughter of the Defoe family. The ghosts are felt more than they are seen by the Lutz's. Jodie only shows herself to the Lutz's daughter Chelsea (Chloe Mortez) and to the babysitter, Lisa (Rachel Nichols).
The lore behind the cause of the haunting is very different in the 2005 version. In the 1979 movie, the Lutz's discover some kind of well that is supposed to act as a sort of gateway to hell. In the 2005 movie, a sanctuary was supposed to have been build on the land in 1671, in which "the Reverend Ketcham advocated extraordinarily cruel and outlandish methods of torture" on supposed witches. All this was found in a book in the library that Kathy goes to. She also finds news articles saying that Ronald killed his family after 28 days of living there.
One of the complaints I heard about was when George finds a large room behind one of the walls in the basement. I could be wrong but this is my take on it: we first see George ripping away some boards and find a small room behind them. This was the room he finds. Next we see him start pounding on the blocks of the wall with a sledge hammer and he finds a larger room behind that. That was just all in his mind. I don't think he actually found a larger room, but the spirits of the house were showing him the history of the house. The scene that probably gave me the most shivers had no effects in it whatsoever. Kathy asks a priest to come over to bless the house. He meets Chelsea and sees she is holding a teddy bear. He asks Kathy where the teddy bear came from, and she tells him they found it in the house. The priest tells Kathy that it was Jodie's favorite teddy bear. But there is a problem with her finding it in the house since the bear was buried with Jodie.
While some of the effects seemed out of place at times, over all I really enjoyed them. The acting was great in this movie and really added to the overall feel of things. The house has been changed a lot in this movie. If you have seen a picture of the real house then you will know what I mean. One thing I really enjoyed over the first movie was how George slipped more and more into the madness that the spirits were trying to place into him, in order to kill his family. The 1979 movie hinted at this but didn't carry it out for the most part. It came close but I felt it fell short. The 2005 movie goes the extra mile to show us he is in that same state of mind that Defoe was in. While some people didn't like that, because it reminded them too much of Jack Nicholson in The Shining, I rather enjoyed it and it really helped put more of a scare into me because of that. This movie is hardly perfect. For that matter, Maniac wasn't perfect either and I gave it a better rating than this movie. No movie ever will be, but if you let the small things get in the way of your enjoyment of the movie then you will never enjoy a movie no matter how good it truly is.
4 out of 5 Evil Spirits
So what did really happen to the Lutz's? I'm no expert on the subject. For the most part I have only watched the movies and have done a little reading on the web about it. George Lutz still says that the events are true, just over blown now. Some say they made up the whole story in order to get out of a morgage they couldn't pay. That makes sense but the one that made more sense is that the lawyer for Ronald DeFoe came up with the plan for the story to add credince to the story that Ronald heard voices and that the evil spirit controled him durring the murders. If this could be shown to be true then maybe Ronald could get a new trial.
Saturday, February 18, 2006
Maniac got a very bad rap when it was first released, by women's groups and the press mostly. It was said that this movie just glorified violence against women. Hasn't anyone figured out by now that protesting something only makes people want it that much more? If for no other reason than to see why it is being protested? Anyways, the killer of the movie, Frank Zito (Joe Spinell), does go mainly after women, but did kill a few men along the way. The men were killed because they happened to be with the woman Frank was after. I think those that protested the loudest missed the whole point of the movie. All but one of the female characters has no character development, and it's supposed to be that way. This isn't a movie where we are put into the lives of people and then watch what happens when they are being killed off. We aren't suppose to know anything about these victims. We are seeing everything through the killer's eyes, and that is the horror of this movie, not the blood and violence.
There really isn't much of a plot to Maniac and maybe that is why it was partly put under fire. We are placed into Frank's life and we go along for the ride. The only female we get to know is Anna (Caroline Munro) who seems to fall in love with Frank, or at least really likes him. They seem like an unlikely pair, because she dresses real nice and has a job as a photographer. Frank, on the other hand, doesn't dress nicely, and in fact he usually looks close to a bum. The only hint of a job is that he tells Anna that he paints. We never see him doing this however, so I was under the impression he just said this to impress her. The plot now becomes will he kill Anna? I didn't think he was going to. While he was around Anna he seemed very much the normal person. He was still thinking, but he had himself under control. In Anna I think he found someone he could relate to in some way inside of his mind. But in the end he even turns on her.
Who is this killer that we are following along? Joe Spinell researched serial killers for this movie and it really shows. Frank was abused by his mother and hated that she sold her body to strange men. Even so he loved her. I would even go so far as to say that he had sexual thoughts about her. In one review for this movie, the person said there was no rhyme or reason to the killings, but I have to disagree with that. I thought Frank was looking for women that caught his eye. Not just any woman mind you. He stalks them and finds the best time to strike. At times the best moment was a little too good, but it is just a movie after all. Frank sees his mother in these women, maybe some looked like her, but that is hard to say really, since we don't see a color picture of his mom. But something reminds him of his mom in these women. He tells one of the women that he kills, "I know you're in there. Oh sure you look different but I know it's you. You aren't fooling me". Frank believes by killing them he is preserving their beauty, much like Anna does by taking pictures of people. He then scalps them and takes their clothes for souvenirs, which he then puts on mannequins in his apartment.
Joe Spinell and Caroline Munro give great performances in Maniac. This was Joe's first lead role and you can tell he put his all into it. Some critics didn't like it of course, probably the same ones that hated the movie for all its gore and violence. The effects were done by Tom Savini, and once you see his work in this movie you will never forget it. The violence in this movie is very real and closeup. You will see throats being cut, stabbings, scalpings, a head being torn away from the body, and seeing one head being blown completely away. Tom Savini gets the small part of the man who gets shot in the head with a high powered rifle. I thought that was pretty cool, since it is not too often you see that in movies.
"Maniac is a film that almost defies description. You can use words like reprehensible, irresonsible, degrading, dehumanizing and sick, but none really gets close to the movie." - Lou Cedrone Baltimore Evening Sun
"This is not entertainment - it is simply propaganda for violence against women!" - Lynn Levey Women's Committee Against Police Violence
"Caters to instincts and feelings of a baseness that I don't even want to think about... Maniac is the epitome of the new pornography, propaganda for an attitude about women that is obscene in a manner not found in sex films." - Desmond Ryan Philadelphia Inquirer
Those quotes were some of the things being said about Maniac back in the day. The film gave them plenty of ammunition but, sadly, these people didn't look past the violence. That is all they were able to see. I said before that the violence wasn't the true horror. Wouldn't you be horrified to be trapped inside a killer's mind? To know his every thought, and his every move. Not being able to warn anyone. All you can do is look away....if you can.
5 out of 5 Killer Instincts
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Tourist Trap begins with a broken down car with a flat tire and the guy rolling the flat spare tire (it looked like it had plenty of air in it to me, even bounced once) along the road looking for a gas station. He finds one finally but there is no one there, or is there? He keeps hearing a voice and gets trapped in a room where mannequins keep popping up and scream at him. Other things in the room start to move on their own, and things out of a cabinet are thrown at him. This effect was done by tilting the room on its side while objects were being dropped in order to avoid having them on a wire. After this he gets a pipe in his back and dies. One down four to go. His friends, who were following in another car (why didn't he just wait for them to get there?), show up and pick up the lady he was with, and go in search of him. They never find the gas station because for whatever reason they decide to go down a side road. They do find the 'flat' spare tire, so they must be on the right track after all! They come across the wax museum and one by one they become victims of Davey, the mad brother.
House Of Wax starts off in a similar way. Two groups of young adults are heading to a football game when they get a little lost. They decide to pull over and camp out overnight and then get a fresh start in the morning. When they wake up they discover the fan belt is broken in one of the cars, when they try to start it. Two stay behind to try and find a belt while the rest head off to the game. They get a lift to a small town but can't find anyone at first. They find some people at a church attending a funeral. That is where the owner of the local garage is. We eventually discover that everyone in the town, except two people, are made of wax. Ok, not entirely of wax. The people that make the mistake of coming to this town are drugged and then waxed alive or killed and then waxed.
Tourist Trap stars Jocelyn Jones in the lead role and she does a wonderful job. At times I questioned her reactions to what was happening, and why she didn't try to escape when she had the chance to. The director, who also co-wrote the script, explained that real life people when kidnapped often say they didn't escape when given the chance, because they couldn't believe what was happening to them was real. Tanya Roberts, before becoming a "big" star, does an ok job with her acting. Chuck Connors plays Mr. Slausen/Davey, I thought he played the parts very well. At times his acting was a bit over the top, but I would be worried about a horror movie if that didn't happen at some point. The story tries to get us to believe that Mr. Slausen and Davey are two different people. Chuck Conners has a limp while he is Mr. Slausen, and doesn't have one when he is Davey. I first suspected that they were the same person when Mr. Slausen would be gone for long periods of time and we would only see what Davey was doing during this time. Only once does it really try to fool us by showing Mr. Slausen discovering what Davey did, and reacting by being repulsed by it. The big reveal wasn't too big of a surprise for me when they finally show they are one and the same person. Overall I thought everyone did a nice job acting in this movie.
House Of Wax stars Elisha Cuthbert in the lead role for this movie. I really liked her in this movie. The only time she reacted in a way that bothered me, is when she has a chance to run out an unlocked front door, but instead she runs up the stairs. That has been a gripe of mine for a good while about horror movies. Paris Hilton also has a role. I didn't care for her so much, and can see why she is up for the worst supporting actress award. She won't be a scream queen anytime soon. Her screams are pretty bad, and the ones she does that made the gag reel are even worse. On the plus side she gets a pipe through her head, so it all works out. Brian Van Holt plays the bad guy with nice results. He plays a double role, but as twins, so there are two brothers this time around.
Like I said earlier, there are some things that are pretty close to each other in these two movies. In both movies you have a group of young adults who happen on a wax museum, and are killed one by one. Tourist Trap offers us one actor acting like there are two brothers, when there is only one. House Of Wax offers us one actor playing twin brothers. Not the same but pretty close really. Where they really differ is in the story. Mr. Slausen (Chuck Connors) is very insane, and is able to move things just by using his mind. We discover that he killed his wife and his brother, after he found out they were sleeping together behind his back. In order to get past the guilt Mr. Slausen becomes his brother. He wears a mask while he is Davey, I think so that he can't see his own face, and ruin the fact that he isn't Davey. He is looking for a woman to replace his wife in the same way, and when the women reject him he kills them. He makes plaster casts of their faces, but doesn't turn them into wax figures. There are mannequins everywhere. Some look like the people he has killed in an effort to keep them alive he says. In his mind they are real people. When he talks to them they talk back and move as he thinks they should. This isn't just in his mind though, since others can see and hear this as well. Bo/Vincent (Brian Van Holt) are also insane but for very different reasons. At birth they were joined together. Bo looks normal but half of Vincent's face is missing because of the operation that separated them. At the start of the film we see the parents treating one of the kids very badly, and we later discover that this was Bo. It was never explained why they did this though.
Davey and Vincent
Tourist Trap didn't offer much for effects really. There is next to no blood and violence in this movie, but that is made up for in storytelling. Davey kills one woman by slowly applying plaster to her face, while telling her how it will feel. He explains the plaster will feel cold at first and then hot as it dries, and how she will die. Davey eventually covers her mouth, eyes and nose, leaving her with no way to be able to breath. The plaster didn't look right to me, and the reason was because they used dough instead of plaster. It didn't really take away from the scene but looked off. House Of Wax, on the other hand, has a lot of effects in it, and they are all done very well. We are treated to a tip of a finger being cut off, skin being peeled off, pipe through the head (yes!), knife in the throat, falling into a pit of rotting deer bodies and a beheading. The skin being peeled off was probably my favorite effect. The guy this happened to was waxed while still alive. His friend discovers him in the museum, and figures out he is still alive. When the friend tries to take the wax off, the skin comes off with it. Keep in mind he is still alive at this point, so it made it that much worse to think about. A computer effect I really enjoyed was the museum melting. The entire museum was made out of wax, and at the end a big fire melts the entire building. It was pretty neat to watch.
I really enjoyed both of these movies. House Of Wax is up for worst movie of the year, but I really didn't think it was that bad at all. The director of Tourist Trap complained that the movie was given a PG rating at its release, which killed it because "no one wants to see a horror movie that is rated PG". Netflix shows it has an R rating though, so I don't really understand that. I would like to give these two movies an equal rating but I can't do that. I liked Tourist Trap a little better because it offered a better story, in my mind anyway. You can probably notice I liked it a little better, since I think I talked about it more. Both movies had tense moments that I liked. But I just have to give Tourist Trap a slightly better rating. Even so, I suggest either movie for horror fans out there.
4 out of 5 Mannequins
3 out of 5 Waxed Humans
Sunday, February 12, 2006
The effects for this movie were very good. There is not very much blood flying around, but they didn't need it. Lots of body parts laying around late in the movie that looked real, including some severed heads. I guess the C.H.U.D.'s don't like to eat the heads of people, so just leave them laying around. Most of the time I don't like to see that just because the heads always look very fake. But that wasn't the case this time. If severed heads and body parts gross you out, then be ready to look away more than a few times. The monsters themselves I liked as well. A little on the cheesy side, but you don't see them a whole lot until the end of the movie, and even then not for long periods.
The acting is also well done. I don't think any of the acting was over the top in any way. If it was it wasn't all that noticeable. C.H.U.D. has a lot of people that went on to do some bigger movies. Along with the three names I have already given, we also have John Goodman and Jay Thomas, who play a couple of police officers. The poor guys get attacked by the monsters and die though. Patricia Richardson is also in the movie but doesn't have a speaking role. She did have a speaking part but it was cut from the movie. Kim Greist plays the girlfriend of Cooper. She is very smart in this movie, which is a nice change. She blocks the door with several things to try and keep the monster out, when it goes after her. She throws chemicals in its eyes when that doesn't work out. When she realizes she can't escape she grabs a sword (isn't that how horror movies work? There just happens to be a sword near by), and chops off the head of the monster. The only thing that didn't make any sense to me in this movie involved her. She is taking a shower when she notices the water isn't draining so she gets a hanger and starts sticking it down the drain. She probes around and suddenly blood sprays out of the drain! I have no idea why that happened and why it sprayed out like it did.
I would really suggest this movie to any horror fan. I liked it enough that I watched it again with the commentary playing, which is something I can't always bring myself to do even though I love listening to the commentary usually. I should say that this was the director's cut of the movie, so it is different from the movie that was released in theaters and video. The ending was changed and it is a longer movie now.
4 out of 5 Flesh eating monsters
My second reason for watching is what leads me to this rant. After watching it, I could see no reason to stick the horror label on it. I could say the same for another movie I reviewed for here, Slimeball,. But at least that movie had demons and killed off people, even if we never actually got to see any of the killings. The horror part was there, but it just wasn't played off of. Return has no, I repeat, no horror whatsoever in it. So why label it as a horror movie? Just to get stupid people, like myself, who will watch any movie that claims to be a horror movie? There are plenty of people who love comedy, so why not just list it for what it truly is. Return is a very poor comedy but it is a comedy none the less. I understand that a lot of movies today cross over into each other, and can be hard to label because of that. Shallow Hal is a prime example of such a movie. It was funny in places and very serious in other places. Not a true comedy, but not a true drama either. Return can't use this reason behind the horror label though. The only other reason I can come up with is that the producers knew that the movie would bomb even worse as a comedy. So they tried to draw in the horror fans with the horror label.
Since I'm ranting, what is up with all the remakes of late? The last year seems to have had a lot of remakes, and there are even more on the way. I'm not just talking horror movies even though they have seen their share of remakes. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Amityville Horror, House Of Wax, with The Hills Have Eyes on the way. If the rumors are true Friday The 13th is also being hit up for a remake. If anyone watched the commercials during the Superbowl, then you probably caught a few trailers for remakes. Are writers out of ideas now or are the producers just playing it safe? It is rare that I like a remake over the original movie. Why make a remake at all for that matter? Just change a few details and you have a whole new movie! Isn't that what most sequels are anyways?
Saturday, February 11, 2006
The plot is pretty simple for this movie. A group of women, who have formed their own motorcycle gang (the Cycle Sluts), roll into a town called Zariah. The population changes so much there, that they use part of a black board and chalk to write in the number. The mortician of this town has been injecting the dead with some blue stuff that turns them into zombies. He has a dwarf (if you read my review on Bloodsucking Freaks then you know I like dwarfs in horror movies), that runs around trying to kill people so the mortician can create more zombies. Why he is doing this is never really explained, but who care's right? He keeps them in an old mine where a nosy little kid ends up letting them out. The zombies advance on the town, but the town folks don't want to fight them because they know the zombies. When reminded that the zombies will eat them if they don't fight back, we get the answer of "family (shrugs)", as if that answers everything. The town folks talk the women into doing the fighting for them, since they are rough and tough. Can they save the day and the kids from the blind orphaned school? Are there really that many blind and orphaned kids out there that they are able to get their own school?
The effects for this movie aren't great. Troma usually throws in a lot of blood, at least the other Troma movies I have watched did. But this one held back on it. We get a lot of heads flying around once they figure out this is how to stop the zombies. But again very little blood is shed even when that happens. This is probably due to the fact that the mortician drained all the blood from the dead bodies. However, there is still some blood that goes flying around at times. The zombie effects aren't half bad. For the most part the corpses are fresh and don't look all that different from you or me, except they walk stiffly. There are a few that look like they have been dead a while, and those were well done.
The acting wasn't great either, but then I didn't expect it to be for this movie. The leader of the gang I really hated because her idea of acting was basically just yelling at everyone the biggest part of the time. I know the leader should be the toughest (or so they say when it comes to gangs), but all the yelling got old quickly. Martha Quinn, from MTV fame, has a small part in this movie as one of the townfolk. She ends up being killed, but I'm not sure how since it happened off camera. Don Calfa plays the part of the mortician. I never knew this actor's name, but I have seen him in other movies before. His acting is about par compared to other movies he has been in. If you looked at the picture then you probably noticed that Billy Bob Thornton is also in this movie. It was one of his early roles, so his name didn't appear until late in the credits. He plays the husband to one of the women in the gang. He comes off a little whiny in this role, so he isn't as good as his later movies. But then what can you expect for a zombie movie? Almost forgot to talk about the dwarf didn't I. Ed Gale gets the part of Bob. He isn't as fun a character as the dwarf in Bloodsucking Freaks, but he was still enjoyable. Bob figures out how to kill the zombies and does an amazing job of driving a car, when he can't even see where he is going.
So far I have knocked this movie around a lot. It has bad acting, bad effects, and a so-so plot. So why should I bother giving it a good rating? Ever heard the expression "it's so bad it's good"? Chopper Chicks In Zombietown falls into that. At least it did for me. Troma tries to make their movies funny by putting in a lot of things that young boys (and some adults) really get into. Mostly nudity (none in this movie) and fart noises (none in this movie either) just to name two things. Mainly Troma tries too hard to be funny. That has been my take on their movies. This one seems to find that right mix. It never takes itself too seriously, but at the same time it never tries to be a true comedy. Most times I don't like movies like this, but this time I did.
My favorite line from the movie would have been, "Oh thank God. I thought you would be a virgin forever. Now maybe you will move out of the house." The line I quoted above was also funny to me. A few other things that were said made me laugh at times. One thing that made me laugh just because it seemed so out of place, was when the gang takes up weapons to fight the zombies with. One of the women picks out a stable gun! Yes that will show those flesh eating zombies a thing or two! Seriously though, if you are looking for a horror movie that you can sit back, have a few laughs but not be scared, then please give this one a try.
3 out of 5 Flying Heads
I usually talk about the effects next, but that is hard to do for this movie because there are none! There is no blood to found in this movie, zero, nada. One of the women who is transformed into a demon has some makeup on her face to make it look green and blistery, and the other is turned into what looks like the bride of Frankenstein (but without the bolts sticking out of her neck). That is as far as the makeup goes really. Oh wait, I forgot about the guy that gets his face put into some boiling oil. His skin looks black where it was burned, but it was hard to see because of the lighting. Instead of effects we are treated to two big stunts, well big for this movie anyway. One woman gets set on fire, big time, and walks around waving her arms while on fire before going out. We don't see her going out, but if you believe the sound effects she just suddenly goes out. The other stunt is a car wreck. The only guy to survive is attacked while driving a car, and it hits some parked cars and flips over. I guess they spent all of the effects budget on these two stunts, and didn't have enough left over for some blood. What's a horror movie without blood? Ok, ok, you don't have to have blood to make it a scary movie. But this movie was never scary to begin with, so you might as well add at least a little blood. It is rated R after all.
Let's talk about the imp for a little while shall we? He isn't very big, since he was trapped inside a bowling trophy after all. That doesn't bother me, because you don't need to be big to be a bad evil imp. But take a look at this guy will you?
How can you be scared of that? Ok maybe the picture doesn't look half bad, but if you watched it in the movie you would understand better. Let's see if I can explain this. It's a rubber monster imp thing someone made, that doesn't move another other than the mouth, which doesn't move all that well. During the movie he has a deep voice. I watched the trailer after, and in it the imp has a high pitched voice. I found that funny so thought I would share.
The acting was fun in Slimeball. Never great and sometimes outright bad, but it was fun all the same. This was released in 1988 and stars a lot of the "scream queens" of the 80's. The cast is headed up by Linnea Quigley, who plays Spider. Even her acting wasn't the best it could have been, but I really enjoyed her acting more than the others. Having the lead role, she is the only woman to survive the night in this movie. The only guy to survive is a nerd that managed to get drunk from one beer early in the movie, and gets sick at different times through the rest of the movie. The only other person I knew in this movie, besides Linnea, was the guy that slept on the bench in the Back To The Future movie. You know, the bum whose only line was "Damn drunk drivers." He had a bigger role in this movie and did a nice job with it. He fills us in on the back story some, and how the imp managed to be inside a trophy to begin with.
Now for the problem that I talked about at the start of this. The movie description says, "This B-movie, horror classic..." I know what a B-movie is, it's a movie with poor effects and often times poorer acting so I am fine with that part. It's the classic part that bothers me. Who decided this movie was a horror classic? Halloween is a classic. Return Of The Living Dead is a classic. I could go on and on, but the point is Slimeball is not a classic. I would be very surprised if anyone even gave it cult classic status. The only reason I watched this movie is because it was free, and I needed a movie to review. I did not watch it because someone decided it was a classic. Even though I enjoyed the acting, I can't give this a better rating, because I just can't see myself watching this movie "classic" ever again.
1 out of 5 Rubber Imps
Sunday, February 05, 2006
While I watched Two Thousand Maniacs, I was somewhat surprised that I liked the effects for it. Since this is, for me, an old movie, I wasn't sure what to expect as far as the effects. They aren't ground breaking in any way but are simple and not over done. Out of the six people that are tricked into becoming guests, only two survive. It just so happens they are the only two that really even question why they have become guests of honor. The other four are killed one at a time, with the other guests safely away so they don't figure out what is going on. Of the four that are killed, one woman gets her thumb and then her entire arm cut off, before she is used for the barbeque feast. No one actually eats her though, she is just cooked up. Another woman is tied down under a giant boulder on a platform. I would like to know how they got that sucker up there, but I guess that isn't too important. Remember dunk tanks? This is close to that. The townsfolk throw softballs at a bullseye target, and once hit the boulder drops on the so called honored guest. One man is tied to four horses and then pulled apart by them. Another man is put in a barrel and rolled down a hill. That doesn't sound too bad right? The catch is they hammer a bunch of nails through the barrel before rolling it down the hill. All that sounds bad, but like I said it was not overly done. We see the axe heading towards the camera and then a wide shot with the arm already dismembered. We don't see the man being pulled apart by the horses, instead we just watch the horses run and hear a scream. After that we watch one of the horses go by and see a leg being dragged along behind it. The only complaint I have with the effects is that the blood seemed overly bright and thick. It wasn't bad enough to take away from the effects however.
The main complaint I have with Two Thousand Maniacs is the sound. At times there was an echo to the voices of the actors. It didn't bother me while they were in a room or building, but it shouldn't have been there while they were outside. It might be there for one actor but not for them all, so I suspect some of the actors recorded in a studio later on for voice over. This was very obvious at one point, as a young boy was complaining about not getting any candy, when it was easy to tell he wasn't talking at all during the filming. The acting itself, while over the top at times, wasn't all that bad. The film stars Thomas Wood and Connie Manson (Playboy's favorite playmate), and they both do a decent job here, even if the lines they are given can be bad at times. As the stars they are the two that gets away.
Some of the plot didn't make a lot of sense to me. Mostly, why would the town wait 100 years to try and revenge those that died there? Shouldn't they be over it by now? One of the men from the town runs after the escaping guests and runs right into some quicksand. He acts like he didn't realize it was there. You only lived there your whole life! The ending of the film clears this up thankfully. The two that survive run to the police (see they are smart) and tell the police officer about what happened to them. He doesn't really believe them, and they go back to the town. Only problem is, there is no town! The police officer explains that he does believe them, but the town was completely wiped out by the Union soldiers, and was never rebuilt. Looks like we have a ghost town with 2000 ghosts in it! I was surprised by this ending, since none of the ghosts seemed to talk different, dress different, or seemed freaked out by cars. In fact the town had an old truck that they used to chase after the two that got away. It was never explained how they got it and where they learned to drive it. Being dead for a 100 years hasn't kept them from being up to date I guess. At the very end some of the ghosts that we see most through the movie are talking about coming back for the next centennial. One does mention being amazed by cars and the other says maybe they will see rocket ships next time around. Then they disappear into a mist.
Overall I enjoyed Two Thousand Maniacs. While I was looking for a couple of pictures to include with this review, I was reading other reviews for this movie. Some were bad, but for the most part, people gave it a good review. Some talked about how it was scary, shocking and gory. It didn't have any of those effects on me while I watched. It came across as a fun, silly (I say silly only because of the ending) and entertaining horror movie. Maybe that is because I am more used to today's horror movies, or I simply have watched too many to be shocked by one. I guess I shouldn't say that, because The Gore Gore Girls did shock me with its effects. For its defense, it was made 14 years after Two Thousand Maniacs, but was still an older movie.
3 Out Of 5 Falling Rocks
Saturday, February 04, 2006
The effects for this movie are poorly done. There is not much blood which is fine. Because the times there are, isn't all that impressive. Maybe I am being too hard on it considering it was made in 1978. The torture scenes aren't done very well either. If you are into torture (I hope no one is but if you are then please keep it to yourself), then I suggest you watch the more recent Hostel. Most of it is left up to your mind to fill in the blanks, which I think can be more effective then showing us outright most of the time. However, when Ralphus puts clamps on a woman and starts to put 500 volts of electricity through her, and one of the clamps comes off and she still reacts as though nothing has changed, then it loses some of its effectiveness. Another scene is a woman slowly getting her legs spread apart. I'm sure this would be very painful. But the thing is her legs never get very far apart. Even though the chains are being pulled a lot to spread her legs more, her legs barely move, and then suddenly she dies. Ummm yeah that was just...ummm...real scary....not! The only scene that really even bothered me was when Sardu lets a doctor do whatever he wants to one of his girls. The doctor pulls out all of her teeth, so she can't bite, unzips his pants and....well you get the idea. We don't see anything from that point, except for Sardu's reaction to this. But I think it is pretty obvious. What bothered me is when the good doctor drills a hole in the back of her head. I assume she died at some point before this, because she never reacted. The doctor puts a straw into the hole and begins to suck. We do get to see blood go up the straw, but it was the noises that got to me more than what I was seeing.
It would be more fun to have that done then watch this movie again!
The ending of Bloodsucking Freaks could have been a lot better as well. Sardu keeps some of the women, who turn feral on him in a cage. They get out and kill everyone in the building. But you only see them kill one person. We just see them dancing around acting like they are eating body parts, but they are never actually biting anything. I don't mean to say I needed to see them kill each and every person, but at least show them getting ready to kill. The ending just seemed rushed to me because of this.
Was there anything I did enjoy about this movie? Actually there was. Ralphus is this midget guy that really gets into being the lackey of Sardu. His acting wasn't great but it was fun. Ralphus spends most of his time shooting people with darts to knock them out, and the rest of the time gleefully helping his Master. He always has a smile on his face, and usually a laugh isn't far behind. When he really gets into his work he starts to dance around. He's a fun character, and it's too bad there weren't more moments like this.
1 Out Of 5 Loose Clamps
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
So what makes The Gore Gore Girls more special than the rest of the movies, or is it even special at all? It was easy to tell from the start that this movie is dated. The clothes, the decorating and the hair styles are easy to tell they are from the late 60's/early 70's. The acting is bad and at times worse than bad. The plot? The plot is a little thin in this movie, but hey, not all horror movies have great plots. We get a private detective looking into strippers, who are being murdered which is fairly straight forward. There is also a newspaper reporter following around our detective, whom I believe gives him the story to start the investigation with. The newspaper is paying the detective a nice chunk of change to get the story first, if he beats the police in figuring out who is killing the girls. Whoever could it be? All the women who are being killed are from the same club. So you would think the women who aren't dead yet would leave. But no, that wouldn't be the normal thing to do now would it? The detective stakes out the joint, makes a list of suspects, and gets his....woman(?) in the end. Yes we have a female killer in this movie, but we don't find that out until the very end.
Where did the X rating come from? I thought maybe it could come from nudity, since it was an older movie. But that seemed unlikely to me. There is nudity but nothing major really. Sex? Nowhere to be found. So that just leaves the effects created for the killings. The Gore Gore Girls starts with a killing right out of the gate, with one of the strippers getting her face smashed into a mirror. That didn't seem all that bad really. But once I started to see things like this:
I start to see why this movie was rated X. The above picture is actually pretty mild compared to some of the other effects. Even though this was an older movie, it got very graphic at times. I can honestly say it is the most graphic horror movie I have watched to date. The killer chops up a face more than once, burns another with an iron, boils someone else in hot oil, and tenderizes a butt until it's nice and bloody. One thing that grossed me out while I watched, but was funny in its own way, was when the killer takes a pair of scissors and cuts the nipples off her latest victim. White milk comes squirting out of one, as the killer catches it in a glass, and chocolate milk out of the other!
If it wasn't for the effects then I would simply be telling all of you how bad a movie this is. The effects themselves are not ground breaking, but they are very gory. If you are into that, then check out this movie. If you're not, then stay away.....far....far away.
2 out of 5 Bloody Chops