Entries Tagged 'eeeevil' ↓

The Witches Mountain

I knew going in that Category 7 of Operation: 101010, movies pulled from my 50-packs, would frequently cause me to find myself swept up in a Category 7 storm of crap. If the Spanish film The Witches Mountain (1972), the first film I'm ticking off that list, is any indication...well, I may have to upgrade it to a Category 10 and call in Nancy McKeon or Randy Quaid or someone else who's portrayed a Stormologist to help me survive.

Now, I'm not gonna lie: the first five minutes of The Witches Mountain are completely awesome and completely insane. As some of the softest soft rock plays, a woman arrives home and finds that someone has plunged a knife through a wig, pinning it to her front lawn. Wanton wig abuse! I was immediately smitten with this movie.

She goes upstairs and spies her cat all bloodied and dead on her bed. A little girl comes in, calls the woman an infidel, admits to the kittycide, then heads to the garage to play with her pet snake (not a euphemism). The woman follows and...promptly SETS THE CHILD ON FIRE. Cue The Witch Chorus Singers (redundant I know, but it sounds better), the opening credits, and a look of What the fuckery? that would remain until it was time to cue the end credits.

Wait, there are no end credits in The Witches Mountain...but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Whenever I set a child on fire, the first thing I want to do afterward is go on a nice vacation with my boyfriend. This mystery woman is no different, so she gets two tickets to one paradise or another and tells Mario (Cihangir Gaffari) to pack a bag. Mario is the very picture of delightful 70s sleaze, from his fluffy proto-mullet to his ambitious moustache to his chest carpet and medallion. He is kind of amazing.

At this point, I would like to remind everyone that a moment ago the woman SET A CHILD ON FIRE.

Perhaps he can sense that she's a nutcake, or perhaps he's just a cad. Whatever the case, Mario declines the offer of a free vacation and calls his boss to ask for a new "photo assignment" starting, like, now.

Mario must be a photographer for the CIA or something, because all we ever find out about his assignment is that he must go take some pictures of some mountains. Where, exactly? Eh, somewhere in the Pyrenees, it looks like. Why, exactly? 'Tis a mystery.

Along the way, Mario stops to take some photographs of a woman out sunbathing. The two begin talking and the woman, Delia (Patty Shepard) agrees to accompany Mario on his trip. This makes total sense. I mean, who wouldn't drive for hours deep into the middle of nowhere with a total stranger? It's not like anyone knows where she's going, so no one's going to bitch that it's a bad idea.

Anyway, they end up at a hotel run by Andorra's own answer to Marty Feldman. He is kind of amazing.

Thus begins our slog through the excruciating middle 65 minutes of The Witches Mountain. People talk, people sleep. Mario takes some pictures. Delia sleepwalks. They encounter a mysterious goat herder. They walk around. They say everything twice to the Marty Feldman innkeeper because he's deaf. Delia says she sees a face in the window in her room, but as usual, the picture is too dark for me to see anything.

mysterious goat herder

At one point, Mario and Delia are out taking pictures- well, Mario is talking pictures...Delia just sort of stands there- and someone drives off in their Jeep. They run after it and find it abandoned far down the road, outside of some little village that appears abandoned. It turns out that one house is occupied by a little old witchy-looking woman who claims she knows nothing of the Jeep thievery and she's totally the only person around.

Hey, remember when that woman set that kid on fire? Me too.

Mario and Delia invite themselves to stay with the old woman. Lest the sounds of The Witch Chorus Singers (they're back) lead you to think something is actually going to happen...well, don't get your hopes up because we're still ensconced in the 65-minute negative zone. They talk, they sleep, the old woman makes a big cauldron of something or other, Delia sleepwalks, Mario goes out and takes pictures. He stays out too long and after the sun goes down, the eeeevil fog rolls in. He gets lost, but spots some robed figures carrying torches and singing; yes, I think we've found The Witch Chorus Singers' Secret Hideout.

The next morning, Mario makes his way back to the old woman's house. He busts out his portable picture developing kit and...develops his pictures, anxious to see those robed figures again. The pictures of them are blank- however, random women appear in other photographs despite the fact that Mario did not see them and what's even more eerie, there's a photo of Mario and Delia that they did not take. Then some women drag the old woman out of her humble abode.

Finally, some GD action and stuff in this movie! Mario and Delia follow. They end up at the spot where The Witch Chorus Singers were hanging out...then they leave. Then Mario goes back. Then Mario finds some blood on a rock. Then I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that The Witches Mountain will probably never make any sense.

Now, I'm going to sum up the rest of the film using this series of rapid fire questions my roommate asked me when it was over. My answers are in parenthesis:
  • So, they grab her...and she wears a bridal gown? (yes)
  • Then she's in a dungeon? (y-yes)
  • And there's...a hairy, oily guy in there? (umm...)
  • And the witches are dancing? (It's like a failed musical.)
  • Then someone hits him over the head? The lead guy. (I think so.)
  • Then the girl he likes runs away? (yeah)
  • And he chases her. (yes)
  • And she runs off a cliff. (that was awesome!)
  • So he sets the village on fire. (It looked like it...)
  • Then all the witches are at his house. (I guess so.)
THE END, no credits.

The Witches Mountain leaves one with oh so many questions. What's the deal with the witches? And the bridal veil? And the dungeon? And the guy in the dungeon? And...why? And what the fuck is the thing that one of the witches is holding at the end? Seriously, your guess is as good as mine: I see a door hinge and a Zuni Fetish Doll.

AND WHAT ABOUT THE WOMAN WHO SET A CHILD ON FIRE? Well, she was there at the very end, but that doesn't explain anything. Oh, Witches Mountain, thou art verily a place of mystery.

This movie is so, so bad. So bad. Bad. Bad movie. If it consisted solely of the first and last 5-minute portions, though, I'd be sitting on a 50-pack of gold! The Witch Chorus Singers are purely and simply awesome, and they need to be heard by all. How you can achieve this without sitting through the film, I don't know. It may not be possible, but it may be worth the risk.

Nah, that's not true. The Witches Mountain may be a bad movie that's just plain bad. That's so hard for me to say, especially because of all the wig violence and singing and Mario's moustache. Siiigh.

Film Club: Black Sabbath

I want to make out with Mario Bava's Black Sabbath. I want Black Sabbath to like me in that sort of desperate way, the way you feel when you're smitten with someone who's so much cooler than you are, someone who's prettier and has an accent and manages to command a room by simply walking into it. Mmm, Black Sabbath. I tre volti della paura. The Three Faces of Fear. Whatever you call it, this 1963 movie has style and atmosphere and it's an anthology and yes, an accent...so what's not to love? Nothin', that's what! There, now that that's settled...

Bava does away with any attempt at a typical lame framing narrative by simply having star Boris Karloff stand in front of a candy-colored screen and let us know that...well, that we're going to watch a movie. It will be a journey into the supernatural, we'll be scared, etc etc. It's all rather trippy and mood-setting, but it's a bit of a bummer that Karloff's wonderful voice is dubbed over in Italian. Still, it's good that we don't waste any time before getting down to business.


Preceding Black Christmas, When a Stranger Calls, Scream, and all the other great terror-on- the-telephone flicks, this segment features Rosy (Michele Mercier), a young woman who comes home one fine evening and immediately receives a series of threatening phone calls.

As the calls coincide with the prison escape of her violent ex-boyfriend, she's rightfully anxious about the whole "You're gonna die tonight!" thing. To ease her mind, Rosy calls Mary (Lidia Alfonsi) and asks her to come over. It turns out that Mary is another of Rosy's exes, and she may also have nefarious plans for Mary...

Mua ha ha! There are several twists and turns in The Telephone, and it all zips by like one of those summer breezes that makes you feel fine. There's a minimal amount of dialogue, the action is confined to a single set, and it's pure tension barfed up on screen. We all know that tension is best when it's barfed up, so it goes without saying that The Telephone is a success. Before the premise overstays its welcome, we're whisked away to the magical land of...


A family, living way out in the woodsy middle of nowhere, awaits the return of their patriarch Gorca (Boris Karloff), anxious that he may have succumbed to the curse of the wurdulak, a type of vampire who craves the blood of its loved ones. When Gorca finally arrives (bearing the head of an eeeevil cursed Turk), it's difficult for everyone to discern whether or not he's been transformed...what's not difficult to discern, however, is that Gorca alarmingly resembles something a cat would cough up.

So begins a long night of waiting and suspecting- who, if anyone, has become a wurdulak? Wouldn't you like to be a wurdulak, too? Again, Bava employs minimal yap yap; there are lengthy passages, silent save for a constant wind, throughout the segment that create a feeling of creeping dread. When these periods of quiet are broken by the sound of a dog howling or, even more frighteningly, the pleas of a child thought dead, the effect is startling.

Bava truly captures the feel of a gothic fairytale in The Wurdulak; the colors and the artifice of the sets (interspersed with real outdoor locations) make it play out like a Hammer film by way of Dario Argento. The pace may be slow, but the visuals are scrumptious. It's tempting to simply post the entire segment frame by frame, but that would perhaps imply some sort of mania on my behalf, so here are a mere few of my favorites.


The first two stories in Black Sabbath may leave you riding high, but it only gets better: Bava saves the best for last.

A nurse is called to the home of a recently-deceased countess; the body needs to be dressed and the resident housekeeper is way too skeezed out to do it. And who can blame her? If I walked into that bedroom and was confronted by this visage:

...I'd probably just go squat in a corner and cry.

It seems that the reclusive countess was heavy into séances and the like, trying for whatever reason to make contact with the spirit world. The local populace believes that it was this tinkering with ghosts that killed her, not the reported heart attack.

Nursie doesn't buy into the mumbo jumbo and quickly does her duty, pausing only to swipe a ring off the corpse's finger. As you may have guessed, this is a big karmic no-no. The countess doesn't look kindly on this from her perch in the afterlife, and the nurse (who I kept pretending was actually somehow Diana Scarwid) soon learns that pre-grave robbing is not a good idea. In a word*, The Drop of Water is hair-raisingly creepy, outright terrifying, and more than worth your ticket price to Black Sabbath.

In a bizarre, brief, 4th wall-breaking outro, Karloff lets us know that he hopes we enjoyed our journey into the supernatural. Yes, Boris, I truly did. Black Sabbath is a true Creep Show, all old school storytelling and oodles of atmosphere. I like it so very much...I just hope it likes me back.

*may be more than one word

By the way, I'm counting this film towards Category 1 in Operation: 101010!

Film Club Coolies, y'all!
Nilbog Milk
Moving Pictures - Haiku Film Reviews
The United Provinces of Ivanlandia
Banned in Queensland
In One Ear...
The House of Sparrows
Things That Don't Suck
United Monkee
Film Shuffle
emma blackwood
Mother Firefly's Faster Pussycats!
Mondo Bizarro
RJ Battles

Day 28: “He’s hunting us.”

Okay kids, I'm going to try something a little different for today's film, Wrong Turn 3: Left for Dead. I'm gonna do a sort of live blog, just kind of typing my thoughts as they happen whilst I watch the movie. It'll be a bullet pointstravaganza that's so in the moment you'll feel as if you're right here with me gettin' yer deformed backwoods cannibal on. Won't that be neat? Yes, it will.

Now, I haven't heard good things about this film. As you may or may not know (or care), I'm a fan of the original film...don't know if I've ever mentioned it, but I'm not a fan of the second one. Such is life. I'm inclined to think that the series probably should have ended after two films at most, but who knows? Perhaps I'm about to dig in to one surprisingly awesome movie. If the cover is any indication, then the series is really getting back to its roots- you know, a brunette in a tank top and all that (I mean, really??). Anyway, enough intro. Time to hit play!

Oh yes...there will be spoilers.
  • Wow, this opens with some ragin' water kayaking. How very The Descent!
  • The woman get topless and smoke a joint while the men look for firewood. The acting (and dialogue) are so atrocious, I can only hope they get killed quickly...and they do! Or at least titso does...arrow through the breast and through the eyeball.
  • There's the archer cannibal dude, munching on said eyeball. Wow...that looks like a latex mask. And there goes the last remaining shred of mystique the Wrong Turn killers had...
  • Holy shit, the picture is pixelated something bad...hopefully that's just because I'm watching a screener copy.
  • Okay, the sliced-n-slowly-fall-apart death is in effect, and it's truly some of the worst CGI I've seen in a while. Stan Winston is flipping this shit off from heaven.
  • Not even seven minutes in. This does not bode well.
  • Aaaaaaaand we're at a prison. It seems that the hispanics and the caucasians do not get along.
  • So there's going to be some sort of a prisoner transfer...I'm guessing that the bus is going to crash or get hijacked or something something, resulting in a WRONG TURN into Cannibal Country. Let's see how my prediction pans out.
  • Oh. My. God. The driving in the bus sequence is some seriously...it's not even greenscreen. It's like...car driving shit from the old days- sitting in a fake car while a moving road is projected on a screen behind them. OH. MY. GOD. What the fuck was the budget on this? 50 cents and a pack of gum?
  • Ugnnnnnn backlot.....
  • Wow, no signal on the cell phone. Shocking.
  • Okay, yup, the bus is getting run off the road by a truck driven by the cannibals. Mmm hmm.
  • Everyone's out of the bus...oh no, now the prisoners are in charge! This is such an unexpected turn of events. They'll get theirs, I'm sure- hopefully soon. Probably in shocking ways, like a sudden arrow through the face or some such.
  • The bus exploded...is it just me, or are explosions in movies rarely exciting?
  • Annnnnd tank top just came running out of the woods. Yeah, right into the mass of hardened prisoners who, uh, haven't seen a woman in a while. She'd be better off with the cannibals.
  • Oh, she's a bad actress. Eliza Dushku, where are you? We desperately need your two facial expressions!
  • I hate all of these people. I can't wait for them to die. This doesn't make for a pleasurable viewing experience, especially when all they do is blah blah blah. It's blah blah blah but it's not character development, which would be fine...instead, it's just people yelling at each other. Wheeeee!
  • Cannibal child was lying in wait underneath some leaves...just in case someone happened to wander by this neck of the woods, I guess.
  • Ooh, the prisoners are slowly killing the cannibal child. Who are the monsters now? WHOOOOO?
  • Another sliced-n-slowly-fall-apart death? Okay, it's just the face, but still. Merrrr.
  • I guess it's just the one cannibal in this flick (aside from the child). It's one of the original dudes...Snaggleface? Three-toe? One Eye? T-Boz? I don't know...one of 'em.
  • Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. 50 minutes in.
  • Boy, with all the woods to walk around in, people always manage to walk right into traps. Weird.
  • Okay, days 29, 30, and 31 better blow my fucking mind, lest SHOCKTOBER die a horrible death. It's not supposed to be this way!
  • This movie is nothing but jerks running through the woods at night. There's no suspense, there's no atmosphere, there are no scares...sheesh. Please excuse me- I'm going to zone out now and think back to the original film...specifically, the scene in the house, where the kids are exploring and then the cannibals come home and they all have to hide and be quiet and the cannibals start eating one of their friends and they're forced to watch...yeah...zoning....zooooooo...ninnnnnng....
  • Oh dear lord, she's such a bad actress.
  • I wonder if that's a deliberate homage to Cannibal Holocaust.
  • How many shells can a pump action shotgun hold?
  • Annnnd the cannibal has kidnapped the girl. Scream scream, drag drag, lick lick, eww eww.
  • Gosh, can't have a horror movie without an eeeevil house with a room made just for torturin' nudies!
  • So many instances of characters punching each other where the fist is clearly kept about 18 inches away from the face.
  • Well, there's lots of blood, I'll say that much.
  • Wow, it's surprisingly easy to take off the top of someone's skull.
  • Gosh, I guess the bad guy is dead...with ten minutes left...
  • OH. MY. GOD. Really? REALLY??? So the heroes drive off in a truck (more bad car effects)...then a few miles away from the house the cannibal is STANDING IN THE ROAD?? This is not possible. THIS IS NOT POSSIBLE. NOT POSSIBLE. FOR MANY REASONS. And he jumps on the speeding truck? And there's atrocious CGI?
  • Okay, I guess he's dead now.
  • Ah, another vehicle explodes. Excitement.
  • This really needs to be the last Wrong Turn. Really. No, really. This series needs to be euthanized.
  • Annnnnnd there's the lame fucking coda that leaves the door open for another film.
Whew, I made it! For a while there, I didn't think I would. Don't you feel like you watched it with me? Aren't you glad you didn't actually watch it with me? You should be. Wrong Turn 3 is a big pile of dook. Horrible, horrible, horrible...in case you couldn't tell what I thought from this post.

Day 20: “You’ll grow to like it here.”

Man, I shoulda reviewed Haunting of Winchester House last night right after I watched it, rather than waiting 24 hours. While it was playing, I was kind of...into it, or at least feeling generous enough to pretend I was into it. There I was, aware of all its faults (and oh, there are plenty), yet thinking that there was finally a film from The Asylum that was actually successful. Now, picking out screencaps and going back over the whole thing, I have to wonder if I was, in fact, wasted last night. Perhaps someone snuck into my house and laced my Celestial Seasonings Gingerbread Spice Holiday Tea (LIFE ON THE EDGE) with PCP or something. I suppose it's possible. Therefore, I'm going to suggest that if you're going to give Winchester House a go, you consider taking PCP to enhance your experience. Wait, that's probably an irresponsible thing to put out there on The Internet...ah! You should consider drinking Celestial Seasonings Gingerbread Spice Holiday Tea before watching this movie. Hugs not drugs and all that.

Haunting of Winchester House opens with one of the most horrendous CGI shots I've seen in a while. It's a little difficult to make out here, but trust me- it's an "epic" sweeping establishing shot that starts out looking like a plastic diorama but ends with shoddy computermanship: the back end of the box truck is warped out of perspective, and I don't even know what's going on in the sky.

Ah, The Asylum.

Anyway, we learn in a prologue that the house is haunted when some broad's chalk circle and cries of "You are not welcome here!" don't prevent her from getting bitch slapped by some malevolent force. Later, a family rents the property; they receive their keys in the mail, and we never do learn who currently owns the mansion. Oh well.

The large house is still obviously made out of computer. In the few shots where characters have to interact with the exterior in some way, such as going through the front door, the shots are framed so tightly that you can't tell what the structure really looks like. This would be a clever way around budgetary restraints if only the long shots didn't look so damn fake and the trickery wasn't so obvious.

The eeeevil spirits residing within soon make themselves known, and they don't waste any time in kidnapping the daughter of the family. It's up to mom and dad to figure out what's going on and to find her; luckily for them, a paranormal investigator likes to hang out on the property and he offers to lend a hand with their problem. He explains the difference between Level 1 and Level 2 poltergeists, and why some spirits are mean...he's like Tangina, but he's a regular-sized black dude. He wields a blessed implement as he busts ghosts- I realize it's just a plumb bob, but I preferred pretending it was a giant pewter tampon (what was in my tea last night?).

During their quest to find their daughter, the couple learns a bit about the history of the house via that ol' cinematic chestnut, The Newspaper Clippings Tucked Away in Boxes- the proprietress was Sarah Winchester, inheritor of the Winchester rifle estate and prime kookadook and WAITAMINNIT. This was the point when I realized that yes, the filmmakers intended for us to think that this movie was taking place in THE Winchester Mansion. Here's a little history lesson for those of you who are unfamiliar with the story:

Sarah Winchester married into the family that created the famous Winchester Rifle. Her grief over the deaths of her only child and her husband caused her to seek the services of a spiritualist, who told her that the family was indeed cursed by the spirits of those killed by firearms manufactured by Winchester Arms. She was told to build a new house for herself and the spirits...and to never stop building it. So, 24/7/365 for the next forty years, she spent her sizable fortune adding onto a farmhouse until the structure became a twisted, hulking thing- what's known today as the "Winchester Mystery House". The construction was done at Sarah's whim without the aid of architectural plans; in order to trick and elude the angry spirits, the house became a puzzle with stairways to nowhere, doors opening into walls, and windows between rooms. The number 13 is woven throughout the building, whether it be 13 circles in a stained glass window, or the 13 bathrooms or what have you. It's a fascinating place and a fascinating story, and it seems ripe for the cinematic picking.

The title of this movie didn't click in my head because...well, this is the Winchester Mansion, as it stands today:

A little different than the CGI monstrosity up above. None of the enigmas of the mansion's interior- those creepy staircases and doors, for example- are in the film (in fact, all the action takes place in one of three rooms or a single hallway). I suppose it's got to do, once again, with budget constraints. Maybe there's some legal issues and the actual house couldn't be recreated even with pixels. I have no idea...but if that's case, then why use the real story? Why not call this movie Haunting of Shminchester House so all the inaccuracies don't affront my precious brain cells? Or am I just being too picky? It's a famous real place and real story, though...I mean, it wouldn't be very smart of me to make a movie about how Jimmy Carter was haunted by the ghosts of peanuts past or some shit while he was President, and then when I show him at the White House it looks like this:

On second thought, that may be the smartest thing I could ever do with my life, ever.

Historical inaccuracies aside, how did Winchester House add up in my cold, sober post-Celestial Seasonings eyes? Mehhhh. It probably is the best thing to come out of The Asylum, but that's not exactly a ringing endorsement- although I have noted my perverse love for Asylum flicks before. Writer/director Mark Atkins wisely keeps the spirits in the dark as much as possible; in fact, about 4/5 of this film takes place in the dark. That's good, 'cause when it's bright enough, you can see things like, oh, obvious latex applications and the such.

Come on, no one saw that huge line and took the time to fix it?

There's a few instances of WTF? when footage is sped up for no reason, and the acting and dialogue are par for the course terrible. There's some successful sound design, I'll say that, and a few sequences are genuinely creepy. Still, the dark figure walking quickly through the frame jump scare is used about 14 times, which is 13 and a half times too many. The score, while dark carnival-appropriate, is too overpowering by the end of the movie. The music just. Never. Stops. Why are some filmmakers so afraid of silence? Turn off the music and the scenes with people walking around in the dark will be at least 65% scarier, and that's a scientific fact I just made up.

I still would have said all these things last night, even with my tea goggles on...I would have ended it all, however, with a "But it was surprisingly good!". Today, I'll end this with a "But it was surprisingly not terrible!"...although I fear it may have actually been terrible. Or maybe not. I can't tell anymore.

By the way, the DVD features a 3D version of the film as well, although I don't think there was anything spectacular in the movie that would really benefit from having an extra dimension. Then again, can't everything benefit from having an extra dimension?

Day 13: “Master, I did it! I summoned you!”

Dracula A.D. 1972 was Hammer Studios' attempt to revitalize their Dracula franchise and to take the Count out of musty castles and into hotpants-flavored modern times. Did that idea ever stand a chance of being successful? Eh, why not.

The prologue, set in 1872, pits Dracula (Christopher Lee) against Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) atop a speeding carriage. There's a crash and ol' Drac ends up with a heart that's so like a wheel, Shirley Muldowney weeps in jealousy. No, this isn't the way this film's predecessor Scars of Dracula ended, but man, continuity's for squares!

Anyway, the spoke is like a stake to the heart and Dracula croaks, leaving behind naught but a pile of dust and a bit of bling bling. A young fellow with sinister-looking sideburns scoops up Drac's ring and some ashes while Van Helsing looks on and dies.

Finally we get out of the gloomy 19th-century and into the swingin' 1970s! The city is hustlin' and bustlin', and the soundtrack is relentlessly hornalicious. Some crazy kids are having a party that's totally Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, complete with revelers in desperate need of Alberto Vo5 hot oil treatments, girls go-go dancing on tables, couples humping underneath tables, and wealthy elders looking on in shock. Dracula A.D. 1972 is instantly dated...beyond its title, even.

The cops are called in to break things up, and one group of partiers decide they need a fete that's "way way out". One of them, Johnny Alucard (no really, "Alucard"), suggests that what they need to satisfy their party urges is to hold a black mass in a church that's due for demolition. Seems logical. Everyone's on board except Jess Van Helsing (Stephanie Beacham), who's warned by her grandfather (Peter Cushing, again) that the black arts are best left to...well, no one. If only he'd gone on to warn her about wearing horrendous wigs!

Jess quickly caves to peer pressure and the group heads off to the church where- guess what?- Van Helsing was buried in 1872! What a coinkidink. Johnny Alucard gets things underway with a "Dig the music, kids!"as he winds up the reel to reel and the weirdest, grooviest black mass ever begins.

There's writhing, making out, and Caroline Munro generally looking as sexariffic as always...but Johnny Alucard is taking this all very seriously. He's a descendant of that 19th-century fellow with the sinister-looking sideburns, see, and he's brought Dracula's ring and ashes to the affair, fully intending to invoke some demons as well as the Count himself.

A blood sacrifice is called for, and Caroline Munro volunteers; Alucard mixes his own blood with the vampire dust to create a gross sort of mac & cheese sauce of the damned. He pours it over Caroline Munro while everyone else splits, thinking Johnny has gone off the rails of all kinds of trains, crazy and otherwise.

Unfortunately for Johnny, the demons he called upon don't show...but You-Know-Who rises from the you-know-what and promptly sets about making up for 100 years of inactivity by putting the bite on Caroline Munro.

Count Dracula renews his centuries-long battle with the Van Helsings by launching a diabolical plan to turn Jess into a vampire- now wouldn't that be mud in ol' Professor VH's eye?

This penultimate film in Hammer's Dracula line is goofy, sure- from the dialogue to the clothing, the film was passe even before it was released. The music is perhaps the biggest offense- it may have been appropriate for the time period, but it's almost always incongruous with the on-screen action. Scenes that may have been creepy or may have packed a bit of a wallop are undermined by the incessant groovy action soundtrack, rendering the entire affair more than a little campy. Most of all, though, Dracula A.D. 1972 suffers from one massive, insurmountable setback: there's simply not enough Dracula! After his resurrection, the Count is all but relegated to a supporting role, only appearing for a few minutes of the run time. Peter Cushing is as reliable as ever, but even he is squandered as Van Helsing. Stephanie Beacham is suitably bosomed-out for a Hammer flick, but it's disappointing to see Caroline Munro offed so quickly. One highlight, however, is Christopher Neame- he's suitably over-the-top, clearly delighting in his role as the eeeevil Johnny Alucard.

Though it may be for good for a laugh here and there, Dracula A.D. 1972 is really one solely for the Hammer-Dracula completists. After all, we'll sit through just about anything, so long as Christopher Lee bares the fangs and Peter Cushing bears the cross!

Day 7: “I call it ‘the sucker'”

I've let it be known far and wide for a long, long time: I loves me some anthology movies. Just a couple of days ago, I introduced some friends to Creepshow- yes, horror movie fans who've never seen it. It's just. So. Good. I manage to appreciate it more and more as the years wear on, and I can't imagine there'll be a day when I don't love Creepshow. Even if "The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill" finally wears on my nerves (if any segment is ever going to, it's gonna be that one), I'll just have to watch 30 seconds of Adrienne Barbeau as Wilma Billie in "The Crate" to fall in love with the movie all over again. After all, she knows all the best stores.

Folks, can't I talk about Creepshow today instead of the movie I watched to fulfill my SHOCKTOBER obligation? Wouldn't you rather I go on about Creepshow rather than Creeptales? No? Well, damn you! Damn you all to hell I say! Siiiiigh...fine.

Yes, I said Creeptales. Surprisingly, it's also an anthology movie. It's available in the same multi-pack as Slash Dance and Knight Chills...and if you've read my reviews of those movies, then you can surmise that Creeptales pretty much stinks. But does it stink in a delightful fashion? That's the real question here.

The wraparound story is one of the most irritating I've ever witnessed: some doofus hunchback ghoul-types set about trying to find a copy of Creeptales, but unfortunately for them the video store is closed. Then they remember that their Uncle Munger was buried with a copy, so they dig it up, then invite all their doofus monster friends over to watch it.

I know- it doesn't sound so bad...a little corny-cute, even. But it dragged on for so long and was so full of irritating doofus chatter, I almost couldn't take it. My finger was even on the STOP button, but then at last the first segment began...in hindsight, I wish I'd pressed the button.

Story #1: Warped

Elizabeth goes to stay with her much-older cousin Viola and crippled Aunt after a lengthy hospital stay. Viola has a secret: after she was raped by Elizabeth's father (yes, her own brother) she gave birth to a still born baby, and later went a bit cuckoo nutso. She kills a nosy cop and Elizabeth, then cradles her skelebaby. See? Cuckoo nutso. The end.

It did, however, feature this line, which I'm going to use with regularity whenever anyone starts bitchng at me: "You're making my gallbladder act up!"

Story #2: Snatcher

A purse snatcher steals the handbag of a "helpless old lady"...but it turns out that the purse is a monster, and it eats him. Brief and sort of cute, but mostly notable because the snatcher is played by Tom "SpongeBob" Kenny.

Story #3: The Closet

A little boy is afraid of the monster in his closet. His older brother tries to convince him that there's nothing in the closet, but the monster is real and it attacks the older brother...the end. It took me longer to type this than it took the segment to play out.

Story #4: Groovie Ghoulie Garage

Two guys are on their way pick up the sister of one of them, when their car breaks down in Tower Springs. Everyone is a little weird, but nice enough- they invite the boys to a Halloween party, blah blah blah. Their car gets fixed and they split, but on the way out of town they pass a sign informing them that everyone in Tower Springs died due to a horrible chemical spill in 1969. Egahhhhhh!

Though this segment was fairly pointless, the garb of the two guys (as seen above) made me a bit nostalgic for my junior high days. You know, being "punk" but not at all punk, and wearing lots of buttons on a tweed trench coat. Also, when they got in their car, one of them said "Come on, let's rap some more!" and then they rapped...and I don't mean they talked. I mean they rapped.

Story #5: Howling Nightmare

A bunch of hunters are chasing what one assumes is a werewolf- finally, one of them shoots it with a silver bullet, killing it...but it was all a dream! A man wakes up from this nightmare, all sweaty, and he promptly begins turning into a werewolf. The hunters show up and kill him before the transformation is complete.


Story #6: Sucker

"Sucker" began with this shot...

...and so I thought I was in for a a music video from the long-lost love child of Bonnie Tyler, Stevie Nicks, and Stockard Channing...but no, it was just a dream wherein a woman shoots her husband with a bow and arrow.

She's awakened by a ringing doorbell, and we see that the woman is not all flowy and ethereal like her dream-persona; actually, she's a big slob. The man at the door is a traveling salesman who gives her a magic dustbuster that she can use for one day to rid her life of all the filth, which she blames on her husband. The only caveat is that she can't point the vacuum at people, and she can't use it for more than 30 seconds at a time, lest there be eeeevil consequences. In the course of cleaning her entire house, however...well, I guess she uses it longer-than-30-second intervals or something, because all of a sudden she's gained 500 pounds. By the time her husband (who's not at all the jerk she's made him out to be, by the way) gets home, she looks like this:

Then she sucks herself into the magic dustbuster, the end.

"Sucker" was probably the strongest of the bunch- the best of the worst- and it felt like it probably could have been an episode of Tales from the Darkside when the show was hobbling along on its last leg. That should give you a clue about this whole affair; I realize I've skimped on the descriptions, but there wasn't much to describe in any of these. Creeptales is a low-budget anthology flick, and the stories are middle of the road at best. The framing narrative was excruciating, and when the film cut back to it between segments, I hit fast forward.

The late Forrest Ackerman was listed as a "Creative Consultant", but I have no idea what that means. As anthologies go, this isn't enjoyably bad like, say, House of the Dead, and it certainly can't hold a candle to Creepshow or the Amicus efforts.

There, now I've written about it, so leave me alone...you're making my gallbladder act up!

she’s got a death curse…i think

Some people (you know who they are...I can't say anymore because they're watching me) claim that the 1977 thrilla from Manila Canada Cathy's Curse is a rip-off of The Exorcist. To compare the two films is like comparing a punch in the teeth to a bowl of mint chocolate chip ice cream; yes, they both have to do with the mouth, but that's where the comparisons end. Cathy's Curse and The Exorcist both deal with a child possessed, but other than that they've got precisely zip in common...and like a punch in the teeth squaring off against mint chocolate chip ice cream in a "What's awesome?" contest, only one option is enjoyable. Unless you're a masochist- which, considering the fact that on some level I did enjoy Cathy's Curse, I must be. This doesn't mean you should punch me if we ever meet, however- unless I ask you to. Which I won't. Unless I'm drunk...but even then, I won't ask you to hit me in the face, because that's my money-maker.

Here's the cockeyed set-up for the tale, which tells you...well, pretty much nothing:

Why we need a written intro for this, I have no clue- especially since we get the gist when the father speeds off into the night to find his wife, daughter Laura in tow: "Your mother's a bitch! She'll pay for what she did to you!" Before he can locate and, one assumes, beat the shit out of his estranged wife, dear ol' dad crashes the car. Flaming flames of fire engulf the car, killing dad and daughter.

In 1979 (yes, this 1977 film is set in the future!) George and family move into the house because...because...well, I have no idea why, as there was no narrative to explain that part of it. George is pleased because his daughter Cathy seems happy in their new digs, but his harridan of a wife finds his attitude...insulting, which gives way to some subtle, rich character development as she shrieks through gritted teeth (yes, that's possible):
Listen George, this is getting pretty ridiculous. You know and I know that I've had a nervous breakdown, right? Well, it's not hereditary and it isn't catching!
Some neighbors come to visit, and one of them just so happens to be a medium. She wastes no time getting her Madame Blavatsky on and going to town. She relives the fiery car crash, and it's none too pleasant of an experience. Still, when it's all over, she insists that they "must do it again sometime".

Meanwhile, Cathy has found a doll in the attic. Its eyes are sewn shut, and Cathy's mom keeps referring to it as a "dirty rag". No, it doesn't make sense...but don't worry! Nothing in Cathy's Curse makes sense.

The doll, it seems, once belonged to Laura. Apparently Laura has become eeeevil in her afterlife, for she possesses Cathy.

Now, on the surface, that's not so hard to digest; the devil, however, is in the details...and like Cathy's mom consistently calling a doll a "rag", the details in this movie defy all laws of everything in the history of ever, and none of it makes a lick of damn sense.

Infused with the mighty spirit of Laura, Cathy develops a bit of telekinesis. She stands there as objects fly around and crash into walls and a synthesizer makes a "peeeewwwwwwwww" sound. No one who witnesses these shenanigans seems to think this is unusual- least of all the housekeeper, who just cleans up the mess.

Cathy develops the ability to disappear and reappear at will, and her mother simply finds it annoying.

Like Regan in The Exorcist, Cathy begins using foul language once she's possessed, and boy oh boy...I curse like a sailor, but even I was taken aback when Cathy called someone a "filthy female cow"! The depths of depravity on display are astonishing- and to think, a child was forced to say these things!

I could go on and on with examples of head-scratchers. Sometimes, it's horrendous editing that leaves you wondering what the hell is going on, like when mom sits and zones out in the tub...but then the water turns to blood! Mom screams, and is somehow suddenly standing up, frantically slapping at what one can only assume are leeches.

Characters appear out of nowhere, only to vanish without an explanation, such as the scene where the medium shows up and stumbles into Cathy's Super Secret Possession Headquarters in the attic. Another old woman suddenly appears- she proceeds to insult the medium by calling her an "extra rare piece of shit", tries to make the medium swear she won't tell what she's seen in Cathy's Super Secret Possession Headquarters, and then...they scream together. WHAT?

Then, in perhaps the best moment of the film, the medium runs outside and promptly face-plants in the snow, never to be seen again. WHAT WHAT?

One wonders why Laura has decided to possess Cathy at all. Sure, she can make the requisite bugs, snakes, and rats appear at will, and a few people mysteriously die, but to what end? To what end, Laura's spirit? If she's trying to take revenge on mothers- those "dried up old whores"- everywhere for the slights of her childhood, then she doesn't do a very good job of it. One squandered opportunity, for example, comes when Cathy brings her mother lunch. As she waits outside the door, the food on the tray rots before our very eyeballs- surely that trick would freak out dear old mom! Instead, the food reverts back to normal and mom enjoys a lovely sandwich and apple.

Again I say: Cathy's Curse makes no sense. The big finale finds Cathy looking like a miniature extra crispy Lizzie Grubman, sitting on the bed clutching her dirty rag dolly. Mom walks in, grabs the doll, rips its eyelids open, Cathy is no longer possessed, the end. Seriously.

I find it hard to believe that this movie could get from the page to the screen without anyone noticing that it makes no GD sense. Cathy's Curse is a bit like having Mexican food as made by Chinese people, as I once did in Brooklyn (wud up, Happy Taco?). All of the elements were there: beans, tortilla, cheese, lettuce...but somehow it just wasn't right. It was missing that special something, whatever it is, that made me say, "Ah yes, I am having a bean burrito!" Cathy's Curse has actors, dialogue, and a semblance of a plot, but there's nothing there that makes me say, "Ah yes, I am watching a movie!"

And yet, as I noted earlier, I enjoyed myself in some way. Perhaps this is because on the surface of things, it felt like a real grindhouse flick: there was little violence, a mere few drops of blood, no stronger language than "shit"...but the cruddy film stock, all green-hued and scratchy, the jump-cuts, the horrendous acting, the supernatural 70s thang, and, of course, that cockeyed intro were like a comfy, stinky blanket I could wrap myself in. My very own dirty rag, if you will. I wouldn't say the film is so bad it's good...more like, it simply needs to be witnessed, like a two-headed baby in a jar.

we are not amused

There came a point last night when I was faced with that dilemma which has plagued mankind since the very dawn of time- you know, when you sit on the couch late at night, all slack-jawed, thinking to yourself "I totally feel like watching something, but oh, whatever shall I watch?" Most times, I spend precious moments scanning my shelves (and my roommate's shelves) for a title to catch my eye, but then I end up watching nothing because I talk myself out of watching everything. This be how I do:
  • "I've seen that movie too many times already and I know everything that happens and I can't be bothered to labor through it all again at the moment" (Event Horizon)
  • "I've never seen that movie and I'll review it one of these days but I know it's going to be dreadful and I just don't feel like dreadful right now" (Nail Gun Massacre)
  • "It will most likely be good and perhaps even scary, but I know it's going to be a very, very quiet movie and I'll fall asleep within ten minutes and if I'm going to fall asleep I'd might as well go to bed because my bed is much more comfortable than our Golden Girls couch" (any ghost-flavored Asian horror flick)
  • "I wouldn't mind watching that, but it's not horror and I really ought to watch something I can review on my blog, which has taken over every facet of my being" (Sunset Boulevard)
  • "The Asylum...Maneater Series...Ghosthouse...After Dark...mehhhhhhhhhh" (any Asylum, Maneater, Ghosthouse, or After Dark title)
...and so on, until my brain finally 1) catches on fire, 2) freezes itself with liquid nitrogen, then smashes itself into a kajagoogooillion pieces with a hammer, or 3) goes and sits by itself in the corner, wondering what the members of Kajagoogoo are up to today.

Don't ask how my brain wields hammers and/or sits down- just trust me when I say that it does. The point is, life is very hard when it's late and you're kind of tired but not really tired enough to go to bed and you want to watch something but you can't figure out what. Wait! Actually, the real point of this is that last night I watched the direct-to-DVD feature Amusement (2009), a film I hoped would keep me awake and wouldn't be so bad that I wanted to kill myself- yes, sometimes my standards are that low.

Oh, don't act so surprised.

Amusement is an anthology that's not really an anthology; in other words, the film comprises 3 segments which eventually come together in a big, fat, denouement. Not a bad idea. Then again, someone though Crystal Pepsi was a good idea. Which it was. Wasn't it?

Okay, I'm not going to lie: I've never had a Crystal Pepsi. I'm a Diet Coke fan, what can I say? But I saw one once and it was totally futuristic, so it must have been a good idea.

ANYWAY. As the movie begins we meet Shelby (Laura Breckinridge), a young woman going...somewhere...for...some reason or another. Look, let's not get hung up on the details, alright? You need to keep in mind the big picture, which is that Shelby is the passenger in a car driven by her boyfriend. Her boyfriend has an inexplicable boner for convoys. No, not the film, which might be understandable- I mean he's obsessed with being in a convoy, and he spouts dialogue which makes it seem as if 3-car convoys are what all the kids are into nowadays. Merr? The Boyfriend gets even more excited when - GASP! - the entire supermassive three-vehicle convoy stops for gas. Can you feel the excitement?

The Boyfriend introduces himself to one of the other drivers, The Nerd, but they're both ignored by the third driver, The Creepy Trucker. Shelby spots a bug-eyed girl in the window of The Creepy Trucker's rig, and it's obvious that something's just not right. Soon, though, everyone is back on the road, heading through the woods and the something's just not rightness gets amped up when the bug-eyed girl holds up a sign that says HELP ME. Moments later, she's somehow launched out of the 18-wheeler and splats in the middle of the road.

Et cetera et cetera, The Nerd is really the bad guy and he kidnaps Shelby. I'm serious when I say "et cetera et cetera". If I attempted to actually relay the happenings and twists and turns of the segment, all while trying to ignore a little something called LOGIC, my fingers would shrivel with exhaustion and you'd be holding up your own sign asking for help.

Cut to Tabitha (Katheryn Winnick), who shows up at her aunt's house for...some reason to...do something (noticing a trend?). She finds her two nephews home alone- they claim the babysitter just up and left. This is a good enough excuse for Tabitha, who decides to stay the night. Soon, a mysterious stranger shows up at the front door to let Tabitha that he knows what she did last summer asking about his girlfriend, the missing babysitter. Hmm...I get the feeling that something's just not right!

After he leaves, Tabitha settles in to her aunt's clown room for a little nighty-night sleepy time. What, doesn't every house have a clown room? This one is extra-special because it features a life-size clown with an eeeevil face. Oh, and he's alive.

He eventually chases after Tabitha, but her fate is unknown. Yours isn't, however: you've got another segment to deal with!

Meet Lisa (Jessica Lucas). Lisa is concerned that her cautious roommate went on a one-night stand with some dude from a bar and never came home. She remembers something about the guy, that he's staying in some hotel out in the middle of nowhere or something, so she goes to look for him.

Okay, I'm going to cut through half an hour of bullshit: the guy who runs the "hotel" is also The Nerd, who is also The Big Clown. He's lured Shelby, Tabitha, and Lisa to his headquarters to...exact revenge on them because, as we learn through a clumsy flashback, they did not find his 4th-grade diorama (in which he flayed a rat while it was still alive) funny. All of the scenarios he rigged to capture the girls reflect the subject matter of their 4th-grade dioramas.

Yes, Amusement ultimately revolves around 4th-grade dioramas.

AnyonetimeIdidaFrankensteindiorama, we come to discover that this dude apparently has built the entire town of Silent Hill miles underneath the farmhouse where he's keeping the girls. I can't be fucked to tell you any more than that, other than one of the girls escapes. The entire plot is built on the flimsiest of flimsy slasher movie-style 'revenge for childhood taunting' setups, and if you think about anything you're seeing or what this dude has actually done throughout the film for more than a nanosecond, your logic circuits will surely smoke, spark, and overload. That would be a bad thing.

I will say this: the three girls are decent enough actors. The dude, however, was far more irritating than frightening...and all you need to know about his performance can be summed up with this picture, specifically what's indicated by the helpful yellow arrow I added:

Tongue. See, that's how you know he's ca-RAZY!

Amusement was also nicely photographed, although it might have benefited from, say, 70% fewer dolly shots. But overall, it was pretty.

And pretty fucking ludicrous. Beyond pretty fucking ludicrous, actually...but I stayed awake throughout the entire affair, so I guess that's worth something.

Remember that time…

...when the paramilitary commando dudes were going after the Red Queen when they accidentally tripped her defense system and suddenly the hallway they were all standing in had these deadly deadly lasers scooting down it, slicing up everything in their path? And then that one paramilitary commando dude was all ready to face the final laser, like, to jump over that shit or squeeze under it or something, and he was all, "Up YOURS, laser!" but then that eeeeevil, wily laser was all, "Pfft- up YOURS, paramilitary commando dude!" and it turned into a grid and diced him up real good? Yeah, that was cool.

And remember how the same sort of thing had been done a few years earlier in Cube? But when Resident Evil came around, the idea still was a bit novel...but now horror movie schmoes getting silently sliced and then slowly collapsing into a pile of grue-n-chunks is practically de rigueur? Yeah.

Anyway, my buddy JA of My New Plaid Pants has, of course, examined the sequences in Resident Evil and Cube before as part of his most excellent Thursday's Ways Not to Die series. You should check it out, if you know what's good for you!

Speaking of things to check out and knowing what's good for you, here's something else: Scott Weinberg, old friend of both Final Girl and darkness, has bravely gone and posted two massive lists: his top 100 horror and top 100 sci fi films. Mayhaps I'll do a big ol' horror list like that someday so people can get all riled up and call me a jerk for not including House of 1000 Corpses or whatevs. Oh, lists...why can't The Internet quit you?

Another thing to check out, etc etc: tonight- yes, TONIGHT- I- yes, I- will be- yes, BE- (okay that's enough, do-over)...tonight, I wll be a guest on The Graveyard Show podcast! It is something to which you can listen! It will be posted tonight: midnight, EST/9pm PST. I don't remember what I blathered on about, but I do remember that I had a wonderful time talking with The Caretaker. Perhaps this means you will enjoy listening...or not. I can no longer predict your reactions things- in fact, I feel like I don't know you at all anymore. But still, listen listen listen!!

One last thing: as you may have figured out by now, I am a huge fan of all things Resident Evil (although I wouldn't watch the second film again with ten-foot eyes) (whatever that means). It's no surprise, then, that when I saw a television spot for Avon's newest magical age-defying de-wrinkling serum or whatever the fuck it is, I immediately thought Umbrella Corporation. After searching for a picture of said serum online, I quickly discovered that I am not the only massive RE nerd in the galaxy. Behold, the truth behind Avon's serum! It's clearly a bioweapon.

I should warn my mom and gramma about this, lest they procure some and later transform into crimes against nature...although...hmm...that might liven up family functions a bit. Oh, what a dilemma I face!

talkin’ bout mah Degeneration

Fans of the Resident Evil video games have long been clamoring for a movie to give a big "Eff you!" and a swift kick to the butt of Paul WS Anderson and his film series, which bears little resemblance to the source material. Or, at least, I have. Sure, I like the movies okay- they're nothing if not fun- but as I've stated before, I want to have Resident Evil's babies. I mean...uh...I sure do like those games! I don't, like, really want to literally have those babies for real. First of all, if they were born shaped like video games that would really hurt my no no and it would be pretty awkward at family gatherings and, like, in the grocery store and stuff. My village might even shun me! I'd have to run away from them, clutching little Rezzie and dodging the stones they throw, and find asylum somewhere in an underground network-type thing, and that sounds like a real hassle...a hassle for which I do not have the time. Also, I'm not a fan of running or having stones thrown at me.

On the other hand, children are totally the future and I sure do like those games...but enough about my personal life! This is supposed to be about Resident Evil:Degeneration, so let's get small to it.

Seven years after the government eradicated the zombie problems in Raccoon City with a nuclear boom boom, the eeeevil Umbrella Corporation has risen again. Now called WilPharma, the company has been performing tests with human subjects in India. I have a sneaking suspicion that no good will come of this, unless there's FINALLY a cure for erectile dysfunction out there (seriously, every website in the world except mine is running those fucking Vimax ads and I'm really tired of my screen being inundated with obnoxious photos of women going all bug-eyed at the notion of a boner).

Anyzombie, the action begins at Harvardville Airport where Claire Redfield, heroine of Resident Evil 2, has just landed after...doing something for...the FDA or something or other. We meet a few other characters, like the eeeevil greedy stereotype Senator Davis, who's totally in cahoots with the eeeevil pharmaceutical company. Oh, and he's a jerk.

A plane from India is headed for Harvardville and one of the passengers has a decidedly grey and gross pallor...before you can say "Does that guy have rickets or something?" the plane crashes into the airport just like in the opening moments of the comedy classic Airplane!. Before anyone can say "Holy crap, that was just like the opening moments of the comedy classic Airplane!", however, zombies start spilling out of a gash in the fuselage. It was kind of awesome, and I was kind of giddy.

In related news, I'm psyched that I FINALLY have a chance to use the word "fuselage".

As you can imagine, from there things quickly go to bitey hell. The government steps in and attempts to resolve the situation. Enter Leon Kennedy, the hero of Resident Evil 2. Yep. Claire and Leon are reunited, and all 'round the world could be heard the flutter of a million nerd hearts. Or one. Mine. Don't judge me!

Once the sitch at Harvardville Airport is under control, Claire and Leon decide to find out what the eff is going on. They team up with some rookie special forces-types and head off to this place and that, this house and that lab, encountering a few more zombies and beasties along the way. It's all, you know, like, totally action-packed and stuff.

I'm not gonna lie- I dug this movie...but then, obviously I was predisposed to. My biggest disappointment is that the moment never came where I was supposed to pick up my controller and get my Claire Redfield on- and that's exactly the reason why I'm dubious about how the general horror movie lovin' audience will feel about Resident Evil: Degeneration.

Essentially, the film is little more than the typical CGI cut scenes stitched together. The acting is fair, the character development virtually nil, the dialogue sometimes excruciatingly hokey...and it's best if I don't get much into the "developing love interest" wicked-mini-subplot. By "developing", I mean, "these two characters stare stare stare at each other and that means they're falling in love after knowing each other 15 minutes". The plot is absolutely video game worthy as our gang heads down a path that ultimately culminates in your standard boss battle.

I suspect that large chunks of that plot will be confusing and/or inaccessible to non RE-heads, as a basic knowledge of some characters, Raccoon City, and Umbrella Corporation are assumed. Terms like T-Virus and G-Virus are tossed around, and unless you're a nerd like me you probably won't know- or figure out- the difference between the two.

All of that said, this is still a fun movie. The CGI falls squarely in that weird almost real but not trying to be real so I don't know how to feel about it territory. I found most of it pretty killer, but your tolerance may vary. There's some bloodshed, and certainly plenty of action.

Is this going to appeal to the general public the way the Milla Jovovich films have? I'd have to say no. But really, who cares? It's a fun zombie flick (I've certainly seen less interesting live-action zombie flicks), and I finally got my "real" Resident Evil movie. My nerdy little heart is content.

wastin’ away again in Amityville

People, I have got a full onset of AMITYVILLE FEVER. Though far less socially conscious than Jungle Fever and far less painful than dengue fever, it's nothing to ignore! Please, try to treat me as you always have, for underneath it all I am still but a woman.

What brought on this affliction, you ask? Why, I'll tell you: last night I watched the 1989 made-for-TV movie Amityville 4: The Evil Escapes, and I just ain't been right since. Like I said, I gots da fever, and mama, I gots it bad.

My relationship with The Amityville Horror and its 10,000 sequels has, in the past, been all but non-existent. Sure, every once in a while I bust out the original flick and pop it in to relive my youth (when red-eyed purple pigs were scary and I slept with Jay Anson's book under my pillow) and also to relish my present (when Margot Kidder and I are best friends). I've seen a portion of Part 3 (sadly, not in 3-D), and a portion of Part 2; I don't know why I haven't seen all of 3, but I can sure as hell tell you why I haven't seen all of 2. Two words: Burt. Young. This may make me sound like a horrible person, but I don't care: I simply can't bear to watch him in anything. He's always greasy, he's always sweaty, he's always dirty, he's always wearing a dirty wife beater, and he looks like he smells like armpits and motor oil. I CANNOT STAND HIM.

There, I'm glad I finally got around to admitting that. I think it will really strengthen our relationship, don't you?

But anyway. The Evil Escapes is so fucking awesome that it's a new day for me and Amityville. There are so many more films in the series for me to check out, and I can't wait. There's a good chance none of them will live up to the glory and splendor of the fourth installment, but that's a chance I'm willing to take. As for you, my friends, I say unto thee: this movie is awesome and well worth your time. Behold:

In The Evil Escapes, the evil escapes by "transmigrating" into a hideous floor lamp after an exorcism. Someone buys the hideous floor lamp at a yard sale and packs it off to California where it makes with the havoc wreaking. Occasionally, a demon face appears in the floor lamp to remind us that it's not merely hideous- it's both hideous and hideously eeeevil.

Why would anyone want to buy items from the murderiffic-n-hellicious Amityville house? Whose belongings they are to begin with? Who gets the proceeds from the sale? These questions and many more go unanswered in Amityville 4: The Evil Escapes!

The eeeevil floor lamp causes all sorts of appliances to come on unexpectedly- a garbage disposal mangles someone's hand! An electric kettle burns someone's hand! And, in a scene that is sure to delight moviewatchers for generations to come, a chainsaw suddenly springs to life, causing hapless young David (who was oh-so-innocently holding it- sans power- and making "vroom vroom" noises) to lay waste to the basement, including gramma's beloved jelly jars.

Watch in delight as a sorta-possessed Jessica defends the eeeevil floorlamp from a priest! She levitates and giggles her way through the stabbings.

See, she thinks the floorlamp is...her dead dad. Jessica's not the brightest child. She is, however, played by Brandy Gold, which was shocking to me. I thought the Gold siblings stopped at Missy Gold of television's Benson and Tracey of television's Growing Pains (not to mention one of my favorite Lifetime movies, Midwest Obsession). One lives, one learns.

As with all the greatest movies in the world, the action in Amityville 4 culminates with someone throwing a hideous floorlamp off a cliff where, upon impact with the rocky shore below, it explodes.

I know you're salivating over this film already, but allow me to add: the floorlamp can telepathically drive a van. Or is that telekinetically? Whichever it is, one thing's for sure: it's positively teletastic!

And then there's the ending, which is basically the feline version of the ending to Zoltan: Hound of Dracula. I'd post a screencap, but you should see it for yourself. I seriously, seriously hope part 5 picks up where this one left off.

Amityville 4: The Evil Escapes is fantastic made-for-TV junk, Patty Duke treats the material way too seriously, all the kids are tools, and it's as brainless as the premise promises. No wonder I'm in love!

Dr. Whimsy's patented Trick 'Em Toothpaste strikes again!

awesome movie poster friday- the EEEEVIL edition!

I find it so hard to believe that this one ISN'T a comedy. John Carradine, Julie Newmar, and Tina Louise as alien scientists? What gives with that K-Mart Millenium Falcon (adding an extra cockpit doesn't disguise it much)? And exactly how fucking cold is it wherever this girl is sitting? Good lord, someone's liable to get hurt by those things.

FYI, this movie also features porn star Amber Lynn. She was in Friday the 13th: A Nude Beginning. That kind of made my day.

goin’ off the rails…

Good news, friends- I'm not crazy! Not completely crazy, anyway. Allow me to explain...

Night Train to Terror (1985) is an anthology film, and we all know how much I love an anthology film. Night Train to Terror is also part of my mega-cool cheapo 50-pack, Drive-In Classics. Therefore, I did not expect Night Train to Terror to be good, but I did expect it to at least make sense. Just a little. A wee little bit. Just one wee little bit. And yet...in all my 63 years on this earth have I ever, ever, EVER, EVARRR seen a film that makes less sense than Night Train to Terror. It makes none. NONE. NOOONNNNNE. While watching it, I thought that (forgive me if you find this offensive) it must have been made by retarded people. As the disjointedness went far beyond that found in your average inept filmmaking, that seemed to be the only logical explanation for what I was seeing.

See, I thought perhaps I'd eaten too much pepper-style Tofurky today or something and that's why the movie was incomprehensible to me; mayhaps the Tofurky gave me brain bloat or something and I wasn't firing on all cylinders. Then I looked up Night Train to Terror on imdb when I set about reviewing the damn thing and I learned a startling fact: the footage for the three segments of Night Train was culled from three feature-length films, one of which was unfinished to begin with. I'd imagine compressing a 90 minute movie into a 20 minute story would be a difficult task for even the most skilled filmmaker; character development and plot intricacies would be the first on the chopping block. But when you've got a crap film to begin with...

Omigod, I love pepper-style Tofurky. It's SO GOOD.

The short of it is, Night Train to Terror is absolutely one of the worst movies I've ever seen in my life. Of course, this doesn't mean I won't recommend it, because I will; my recommendation, however, also comes with several staunch warnings. Don't watch it alone (not because it's scary, obvs, but because it's one of those flicks best suffered with friends). It would best be accompanied with a fine beer, wine, malted, or whatever it is that puts you in the mood; perhaps you can theme out and imbibe some Night Train bum wine as you watch- rot your brain and your gut simultaneously! Lastly, holy crap- this movie goes on way too long and really wears out its welcome. It's so atrocious, however, that you may find a little suffering is time well spent.

So Mr. God and Mr. Satan (seriously) are on a train (no, this isn't a bad joke set up...or is it?) discussing the fates of various people over a glowing white table. The window behind them becomes a magic screen where they can watch the antics of said people as they try to figure out who gets which souls. It all makes perfect sense so far.

The only other passengers on the train, it seems, are...are...sigh...an '80s band/dance troupe who seem to be trapped in a perpetual song loop and neverending music video. Night Train to Terror has the most unexpected opening 2 minutes of any movie I've ever seen; the film just launches into the worst video that ever aired on MTV circa '85 with no explanation whatsoever. In fact, the closest thing we get to an explanation regarding their existence comes 80 minutes later, when one of the dancers says "Wow, it's too bad our bus broke down!" Where were they going? Who the fuck are they? No matter! All I know for sure is, their song will get stuck in your head. Aggressively. I boxed my ears for 37 minutes after the movie ended, and I still couldn't get it out.

Case #1: Harry Billings

Harry (John Phillip Law, who's way too cool to be in this caca) is a mild-mannered salesman by day but at night he dives headlong into "cars, women, and booze". On his wedding night, he inexplicably drives off a bridge, killing his new bride. Harry, however, wakes up strapped to a gurney in a padded cell.

The doctors...umm...hypnotize him so he'll hit the town, dosing young women with eeeevil Alka-Seltzer and dragging them back to the hospital where...umm...they get naked and a sweaty, behaired Richard Moll of television's Night Court molests them in a "tune in Tokyo" fashion.

That was the best I could figure out, anyway, until a narrator chimed in 20 minutes later and let me know that the hospital was in the "kidnap young women, kill young women, and sell their body parts to medical colleges" business. Then I saw Richard Moll of television's Night Court's head collection and it all made perfect sense went on for five more minutes.

Harry decides he no longer wants to be a hypnotized accomplice, so he fights his way out of the hospital...I think. Actually, the segment just ends with no real resolution or explanation. Perhaps if I saw the feature from which it's taken, Marilyn Alive and Behind Bars (1992), I'd find out what happens. Then again, that film was never completed! Then again again, I'd kind of rather kill myself than sit through any more of it so that scenario seems unlikely regardless. I will say this sequence almost made the pain and confusion worth it:

Also, there are quite a few bare boobs on display, so if looking at any old pair is your bag, then "The Case of Harry Billings" might be the segment you've been waiting for all your life.

Back to the choo choo for a dance video interlude! Wow, it's the same song we heard earlier!

Case #2: Gretta Connors

I'm just going to explain this the best that I can.

Young Gretta Connors is a musician who supports her piano playing by selling popcorn at the local carnival. George comes along and sweeps Gretta off her feet by stuffing money down her shirt. They move in together; Gretta says she wants to be a movie star, so George gets her working in the porno business. Glen, a pre-med frat boy, sees one of her films and falls in love. He decides he must have her and seeks Gretta out at one of her recitals. Gretta performs at an old upright piano wearing a blazer and underwear while country music plays.

Gretta and Glen fall in love, proving once and for all that stalking is not creepy whatsoever. George is not happy about this. In an effort to get rid of Glen, he invites the young pair to a meeting of The Death Club, where a disparate group of people stage elaborate Russian Roulette sessions. By "elaborate", I mean...they use a talking electrocution computer, a wrecking ball, and a giant claymation mutant bee in their bids to...I don't know, live on the edge or something.

THRILL! to the claymation bee hovering over the fake hand with the swollen thumb!

WONDER! why George doesn't think of an easier way to split up the couple!

Again, the segment just ends. Glen manages to escape the wrecking ball bullet, the bee bullet, and the talking electrocution computer bullet, but there's absolutely no resolution. Hmm. Maybe if I spend 85 minutes watching The Death Wish Club (1983) I'll find out what happens!

Choo choo music break! This time, the singer breakdances to the same song yet again. Yes, he does The Worm. Duh.

Case #3: Claire Hansen

One plot thread of this segment almost makes sense: an elderly Holocaust survivor sees a young man on television and is convinced that the man is one of his Nazi tormentors. He consults a police detective (Cameron Mitchell, who appears in at least 85% of the films found in these cheapo 50-packs) who insists that it can't be the same man- the dude on TV looks like a 20-year-old, not a 70-year-old. Further investigation leaves the Jewish fella dead and the detective on the trail of the young man, who is actually some sort of demon.

That's all do-able, right? Right. Enter Claire Hansen, exit the modicum of logic we've garnered thus far.

Claire Hansen is a successful surgeon; she's pulled out of surgery one day when the body of a "white Caucasian" arrives in the morgue. Yes, apparently she's a surgeon and a coroner. The "white Caucasian" is the Jewish fella, natch, and this draws Claire into the mystery of the Nazi demon dude. The mystery also pulls in her husband, a Nobel Prize-winning author (a bewigged Richard Moll of television's Night Court yet again). I can't really tell you HOW or WHY they're pulled in, beyond the fact that Richard Moll of television's Night Court is an atheist and Claire is a devout Catholic who has been given "special powers" to battle Satan and his emissaries. That's the best I can do for you- this segment is, perhaps, the most ridiculous (which is REALLY saying something)- so I'll just let the screencaps take over. The segment goes on to feature lightning bolts, explosions, a surprising amount of gore, and ample claymation- and I don't just mean claymation monsters. I mean claymation of the people in the film!

I love the seam in the sky of the beach scene.

Back on the choo choo, our '80s-flavored friends are still playing the same fucking song, still trapped in the same fog-laden music video.

The train then...turns into a model train, although I don't think it's actually supposed to BE a model train. Regardless, it explodes.

God decides to bless the musicians...THE SONG STARTS OVER AGAIN...and the train choo choos off INTO OUTER SPACE.


I know what you're thinking: "I must see Night Train to Terror, no matter the cost!" If I came across this review and saw the space train, the claymation, and OH GOD THAT BEE, I'd be thinking the same thing. I'm not going to tell you NOT to see it- on some level, this wretched fuck up of a film is enjoyable. I will say, however, that 90 minutes of wretched fuck up is a very long time, so your tolerance will be tested big time. Going into Night Train knowing it's a confusing, disjointed mess certainly gives you an advantage I did not have, however.

Godspeed, my friends...or is that Mr. Godspeed?


I am such an absentee parent, and for this I am ashamed. Let us, however, accentuate the positive, hmm? Like, that I got a haircut. And also...

You may or may not have noticed that I cleaned house around here a bit, adding fancy pants graphic links in the sidebar. It was getting seriously cluttered over there and it needed some prettification. Now if you click, say, the Awesome Movie Poster Friday pic, it'll magically zap you to a page listing all of said Fridays. Isn't that amazing? It is. Don't try to deny it.

In related news, I've started labeling posts- in fact, I went back and tagged my entire archive which took forever. FOR-EVER. Some of the labels are actually helpful...the rest...well, I have no idea. I thought they were funny and/or strangely appropriate when I was making them, but I'm sure I was all methed out at the time. Please take this into consideration before you judge me!

My pimp-fu has been seriously lacking of late and I've been neglecting to post here whenever my AMC columns have gone up. What's old news to me is new news to some however, and you may care to thrill to my musings on eeeevil sidekicks and/or disaster movies.

From the news almost completely unrelated to horror department: Ghostella's Haunted Tomb star, Final Girl Film Club member, and my bestest pal in the whole entire universe, the amazing Bridget McManus is moving from the online world to the TV world tonight when her talk show Brunch With Bridget airs on LOGO at 2am. Wait, is that tonight or tomorrow morning? Eh, semantics shmemantics. Regardless, Brunch has gone from an email pitch to a TV show in about 8 months, which is quite an achievement. That's less time than it takes to make a human!

Watch it, DVR it, send her congratulatory comments and vibes, and click here to check out the promo spot for the show. Fuck this clicking links shit! Here's her opener...

Lesbian video from AfterEllen.com

I've been obsessed with Madge the Manicurist since I remembered her existence late last night. What a whirlwind 9 hours it's been!

Film Club: The Food of the Gods

Dear Diary,

I know, I know, I KNOW! Please don't get all "up in my grill", LOL, but I've done it again. I went and jumped in whole hog (does that make sense? LOL) before I knew what I was getting myself into and now I'm sitting here nursing a cup of coffee and a broken heart!!!1!! I should know better and you're probably rolling your eyes and being all "I told you so" because we can count the number of times this has happened to me on 24859 hands. But how does that saying go? Better to have loved and lost than something something something, right? Right! But let me tell you about my night and what happened. Oh, and I need to write down that "easy layered tomato dip" from the back of the Wheat Thins box before I forget! Note to self: right write it down, it looks deelish although I should stay away from so much cream cheese LOL.

Anyway. Okay, so, I remember the first time I heard about Food of the Gods (1976) and I got sooo excited! I think I was at a party or something, or maybe somebody said something? Anyway (again, LOL), but seriously, I was like "Giant animals running amok? Ida Lupino? Marjoe fucking Gortner?" I think I'm in love!", like I was crushing soooo hard. Then I saw FotG in the store and I read the DVD case and I was crushing even harder, so I was like, why don't we move in together?

See? I know what you're thinking. Why do I go so fast? Why not wait it out with a rental or a Netflix or something, why am I just, like, automatically pledging myself forever and making a move-in commitment right off the bat when it so rarely works out? Does nothing ever go right for me? I feel so Cathy, LOL!

So last night, things were going so boss that I was all, okay, yes! This movie is so definitely the one, because let me tell you, FotG was really turning on the charm.

See, there was this island where Mr and Mrs Skinner found this porridge-fall in the woods, right? And they were such stupid country folk that they thought it was oil, despite the fact that the stuff looks nothing like oil. Then they figured out it wasn't oil, and so they figured "Well, since it's not oil, we're not going to get rich off it. Might as well feed it to the chickens!" which is pretty dumb, right diary? I mean, there are lots of things in the world that aren't oil, but that doesn't make those things appropriate to feed to chickens, LOL!

This magic porridge is The Food of the Gods, yo. When youngsters eat it, it makes them big. And I do mean BIG! Like I said, at this point in the evening, FotG was pulling out all the stops to get me to fall in love. Marjoe fucking Gortner was this football player who visited the island and straight off he battles a giant rooster (he wins by the way).

His friend is attacked by a bunch of big wasps that are totally plastic models and I was all, "Yessssssss!"

Some big rats attack Mr Skinner when he's on his way home and the scene alternates between regular rats on a model VW and giant fake rats on a regular VW and I was all, "Rock on!"

Food of the Gods was all "Oh yeah, this is my friend Ida Lupino- watch her get bitten by some huge maggots" and I was, like, "Okay, I am SO GLAD we moved in together, FotG. You get a t-shirt with my picture on it, and I'll get a t-shirt with your picture on it, and then we'll wear them when we go on dates, and then we'll get married!"

I know it seems extra-fast to be talking marriage when I'd only known Food for about 25 minutes, but come on! It was totally sweet and it understood me like no one's ever understood me before. We really connected, you know? Like when there was another wasp attack, only this time it featured the worst special effects I've ever seen in any movie in the history of ever! Like, these were totally wasps made out of cellophane or something- they were totes see-through- , and then they disappeared in puffs of black smoke when they got shot. I was so happy I wanted to get a cellophane wasp tattooed on my face- that's how in love I was. And I meant it!

But then...I don't know, diary. Something changed. Food of the Gods was all "It's time for the humans to fight back!" which is okay, I mean, I'm a human and I don't want to get stung to death by giants wasps, even if they are see-through, LOL! But what happened was, rats started getting hurt...like, real rats, getting...I don't know, shot and drowned and stuff and it was REALLY UPSETTING. I couldn't even look! Seriously, I had to turn away during all the fight scenes, because I knew that when Marjoe fucking Gortner busted out a shotgun rats were really going to to get blasted and it just wasn't cool.

I swear, it was like Food of the Gods had turned into Ted Bundy or something! Like, how can someone so charming and attractive turn out to be so eeeevil? I felt duped, and I was like, "I don't even know who you are anymore, FotG," and I mean I really said that. You should be proud of me, diary! I said, why not shoot fake rats? And Food was like "I dunno", like it couldn't even come up with an excuse. So I said, maybe we shouldn't live together anymore, and then Food was like "Wait wait wait, what about this?" and then Ida Lupino had a fight to the death with a giant fake rat and they die together like this:

I swear, I almost caved in! But I held strong and I said no! You can't just do one little (admittedly awesome) thing and expect me to forget all the bad things you did, I think you should go now. Diary, it was like I was living in that Whitney Houston song that goes "It's not right, but it's okay, I'm gonna make it anyway" it was so cool. I felt great about it, even though I felt bad about it because I really wanted things to work between me and Food of the Gods and I'm trying not to be depressed about it because I really felt like we were a perfect match- and most of the time, we were. If FotG hadn't turned out to be a homicidal maniac, I'd totally be getting that cellophane wasp tattoo right this second. But alas, alack, it is not to be. I know in the end it's not my fault, but right now that's a small comfort. Next time, I won't jump in so fast! I know, you're all, like, "Yeah, right!" LOL. Oh, and before I forget:

8 oz cream cheese spread
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 small tomatoes, chopped
1/3 cup green onions (*note: maybe substitute regular onions?)
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

MIX cream cheese and garlic
SPREAD onto plate
TOP with onions, tomatoes, cheese
SERVE as dip with CRACKERS




Film Club Coolies, y'all!

Comedy Double Standards
Freddy in Space
Full Moon Reviews
Evil on Two Legs
Zombie Cupcake
Acheter et entretenir sa tronconneuse (c'est French, ca!)
Club Silencio
Bloody Good Horror
Horror Film Magazine
Friend Mouse Speaks
Awesomeness For Awesome's Sake
I Am Spartickes
My New Plaid Pants (finally!)