Sunday, September 30, 2012


Tomorrow is the first of October and I have been at the challenge for a week. I have watched fifteen movies in that week which puts me already in line to beat last year and half way there if I intend to hit 30 movies. But I want to try to nail as many as possible between now and then. 

As always the rules are that I have to watch a horror film that I have never seen before. Idealy one a day until Halloween day. 

So far the two that stand out have been Denison Ramahlo's NINJAS, one of the most unpleasant and brutal horror films I have seen in a while and Pascal Laugier's follow up to MARTYRS, THE TALL MAN which is a refreshing horror film for grown ups. 

Andy C


D. Bruce Cook
Vidmark Ent. (Available on Netflix Instant)


Surprisingly good late 80's sci-fi/horror potboiler with decent acting, tight direction and fantastic special effects by the then just getting started KNB Effects. It starts out with a zombie/slasher scene in which Elizabeth Kaitan is threatened and stalked. Turns out she is part of an experiment at the local college  in which the students go into a deprivation tank and have their dreams studied. The idea being they can effect their dreams with enough energy. The teacher heading up the experiment is a genuinely psycho old man who is going to lead them into more trouble. 

They are a little supernatural investigative team and the teacher sends them to an old farmhouse. The legend of the surrounding area talks of contamination, inbreeding and how the people that still live around there are mentally handicapped. Buffed out Brian Thompson (later on the X-Files) drives the kids out and is clearly loose in the screw dept. But it doesn't take long before things are going crazy. the kids are kept prisoner by the teacher and the haunted house starts taking over their minds. Soon Aliens are thrown into the mix. 

The last third of this movie breaks out some unexpected plot twists and some seriously unsettling special effects. This is one of those movies that is actually really creative and has some nasty stuff to offer. Why it doesn't have more of a following than a lot of stuff from that era is a mystery. I had only vaguely heard of it and that was because of some documentary on KNB I had seen years ago that showed some of the effects. 

It also was competently unplanned to watch another movie with Elizabeth Kaitan in it. It was just some weird synergy that two movies in a row had her as the start (and I was clueless about either one). 

This is on Netflix instant so it doesn't even cost much to take a look at it.

Review © Andrew Copp


D. Dusty Nelson

Full Frame

Late 80's deviltry cross bred with a rape revenge movie never really gels, but is consistently entertaining in the bad film from the 80's way. Elizabeth Kaitan (her billed as Elizabeth Cayton same pronunciation) stars as Julie Johnson a college acting student with a shady past. She had an affair with her sleazy acting teacher (played by Russ Tamblyn). But she is free and clear of that now with a (supposedly) good boyfriend and a future. One night while working late a trio of assholes break into her workplace to find the evidence of her infidelity. It is never really explained why they would care though. But they catch her there and one of the guys viciously rapes her while the other two either hold her down or watch. 

So Julie's best friend takes her to the local witch to get some supernatural revenge but they run out during the ceremony. Little do they know the spell is already cast and anyone who hurt Julie is going to pay. And Julie is going to get naked, a lot. 

Completely chinzy in the depiction of the supernatural the movie falls back on Kaitan being nude to keep viewers attention. It is a winning idea and works well because the demon she becomes at the point of murder looks like a bowl of jell-o with teeth.In one shot you can clearly see where the demon's make up glove ends and the real arm of the actor begins. 

This is the kind of movie you would have seen on USA Network's UP ALL NIGHT back in the late 80's. Cheap, cheesy, jut sleazy enough and with some crappy monsters. In other words it isn't good, but it is perfect drunken late night fodder. 

Below is footage of the highlights from the movie... in Spanish. That wacky you tube!

Review © Andrew Copp



D. John Carl Beuchler
 Full Frame

There is no denying the GHOULIES movies are some retarded shit. Each one gets dumber as the series goes on, but they are consistent in their lunacy. You get what you pay for with a GHOULIES movie. I mean how can you expect anything else when the poster art is a little GREMLINS rip-off monster climbing out of the toilet. 

But I admit to a soft spot for them. I caught the first two for the first time only recently when THIS-TV played them back to back last October. I shocked myself by how much I enjoyed them. They were dumb as hell, but kinda charming. Especially in this day and age of CGI overload, little blatant puppet creatures wrecking havoc is very entertaining. 

This entry has the F/X creator John Carl Buechler taking the directorial reigns and he goes all out to try and prove he is not some F/X guy with no directorial chops. We end up with ANIMAL HOUSE on a fraction of the budget with gooey never convincing monsters running amok. he jams every conceivable gag you can think of on screen and then some. Nothing is too low or stupid for this movie! It actually becomes kind of admirable by the end. 

The local college is having their annual "Yank War" in which the competing fraternities try to out do each other with new and crazy pranks. One Frat brother (who is unfortunately channeling Pauley Shore) finds an old Ghoulies comic book that contains the incantations to bring the little bastards to this realm. Various people almost read it aloud until angry teacher Ragnar (Kevin McCarthy who is clearly never afraid to sink as low as the material calls for) actually does it. He sets the Ghoulies in motion, YOJIMBO style to make each frat think the other one is doing the nasty stuff they are responsible for. There's shower scenes, pillow fights, a panty raid and lots of naked women (which was missing in the previous PG-13 entries). 

The Ghoulies themselves are never impressive or even very good effects. But Buechler embraces that and has them cracking jokes, talking, walking around and in a few scenes swinging giant hammers and golf clubs. It becomes really surreal, especially once he has them put clothes on, dressing like Fraternity assholes. My girl friend walked through the room while I was watching this and was taken aback by how CUTE they were. And she is right. Especially the one wearing the ball cap. 

I should hate myself for enjoying this as much as I did, but I refuse to live with regrets. It is dumb as the law allows, and funny as shit. I watched the edition in the LionsGate 8 film horror pack and it looked really good to me. But don't pay the insane prices assholes who horded that DVD are asking. Now that Halloween Season is upon us it is finally showing up all over at K-Mart and Walmart stores for $5 like it was always intended. 

Watch for a supporting role from Jason Scott Lee who would only a couple years later be playing Bruce Lee in DRAGON: THE BRUCE LEE STORY and would go on to many action roles. Here is a skinny, geeky Frat brother. 

Review © Andrew Copp


D. Various filmmakers


This dvd collection of short indie films, all by different directors is a lot of fun. As with any collection it is a hit and miss bag, but the good outweighs the bad here. Each filmmaker was given an EMOTION to use as the spring board for their film. Building the narrative around it. We watched this at our INDEPENDENT SHADOW CINEMA screening so  I ended up watching the films completely out of order as they appear on the DVD, so this list does not represent the actual order.

101 TAYLOR ST opened the show for us and it was a good place to start. Directed by Jabb Pictures Jason Hoover the emotion taken on here is DENIAL (arguably not an emotion as much as act but whatever). The film is designed almost like a documentary with a droning narration telling us the story of an elderly woman who turned out to be one of they most prolific serial killers of the mid west. The film is constructed of a series a very well shot tableaux of the area's landscapes. It is the most experimental film in the package and is entirely effective. It creates a deep seated mood. The emotion should have been DREAD because the movie builds plenty of it. 

Next up is HAPPY HOOKER BANG BANG from filmmaker David Paul Bonnell. He follows it up later with a second installment. The two emotions he uses are DESIRE and ENVY and he blatantly names his characters after the emotions. The first segment of this hooker duo starts out well enough with two roomates arguing about work. The more worldly of the two is a hooker and her plain friend is out of work and envy's her friends ability and money. Soon she is sneaking around, pretending to be Desire and gets tied to a bed about to be raped. The short had been straight forward and serious up to this point. But then it turns into chicks with guns comedy, letting it down. Hard. 

The second installment HAPPY HOOKER BANG BANG: A LOVE STORY dispenses with any resemblance of seriousness for a straight up comedy. Some of it is kind of funny (The pimp character, Desire pulling a bomb out of her snatch) but over all, even at ten minutes it becomes kind of tiresome.

Next is LUKE 1:17 directed by 14 year old Dakota Meyer and it is one of my favorites of the volume. The emotion here is HATE and it is a decidedly serious segment with no supernatural trappings. Two brothers are trying to get by in the emotional wreckage of their Father murdering their mother and ending up in jail. The film feels like the best of the DOGMA 95 movies with naturalistic performances and shooting style. The climax is more an emotional gut punch than a visceral one and that is why it works. This kid has more of a grip of the mechanics of film than most people twice, or three times his age. 

CONTRITION by Jim Dougherty is one of the strongest visually. But the story is ultimately very slight. Basically a werewolf story told in flashback. A geneticist accidentally creates a wolfman who turns on her family. This one clearly had the biggest budget of any of the movies and uses it well. It just could have stood another script draft to bring it all together. 

FLASH OF WIRE by David Ross is a very interesting little movie. Taking the art film approach to explore SCHADENFREUDE (The emotion of taking pleasure in the pain of others). Shot in Black and White and using Greek Mythology as a reference point the film it follows a man at the dentist explaining his dreams. Ultimately everyone in the film comes to represent Greek Gods. It is a brave approach to the genre material.  Apparently part of it was actually shot in Greece too. 

James Manning directs the ghost story DEATH DO US PART. Easily the weakest entry (despite a fetching lead who has no problem getting naked). A house is haunted by the couple who died there and the investigator slowly becomes sexually enamored with the place. Hence why the emotion here is LUST.  The segment is just way too leisurely paced for the inconsequential pay off.

FRANKIE is Jason Hoover's shot at GRIEF and is the one that has split audiences from the reviews I have read and at our screening as well. The most viscerally violent of this volume, it is one long take, with the camera circling around the protagonists, as they are tied up, interrogated and tortured by some guys they may or may not have wronged. For the most part it is quite disturbing and unsettling, it is only let down by the improv acting that works most of the time, but falls back on just saying "fuck" over and over.

Bryan Wolford’s MYCTOPHOBIA is largely very solid, grounded by a very good performance from the lead actress Kitsie Duncan. The movie deals with a woman who has an otherwise normal life but is crippled by her fear of the dark. Her therapist tells her to try getting used to the dark a little at at a time, so when her electric goes out it seems her madness will set in. But what she is unaware of is there is a very good reason to be afraid of the dark. This segment is only marred by some so so CGI. Otherwise it is one of the strongest of the set.

Finally TRUST is explored, in the form of misguided trust in the best movie of the set EPIDEMIC by Dustin Mills. It deals with an outbreak of some sort of viral infection. But we witness it through one characters slowly becoming sick until he finally  calls on the government for help. 

The one consistent annoyance for me was the filmmakers over reliance to CGI effects, 90% of them not well executed. MYCTOPHOBIA is probably the only one that called for those effects, but the others would have been much better served by just doing practical effects. 

Review © Andrew Copp

Friday, September 28, 2012


NINJAS (2010)
D. Dennison Ramalho


I have wanted to see this short film by Brazilian filmmaker Dennison Ramalho for a long time. When he finally posted it to his blog I got the chance. It lives up to the long term desire to see it, as it is one of the most brutal and unsettling pieces of cinema I have seen in a while.

The movie begins with a preacher giving his sermon in typical over the top fashion. The entire congregation disperses leaving one very religious man. He witnesses as the Jesus stature comes to life and steps down off the cross. Fully nude and his stomach rotten and falling open. This man named Jailton is about to have his faith tested. 

Jailton is a cop, but not a particularly good one. During a chase of a drug pusher he gets confused and shoots a kid instead. His partner helps him plant a gun so it looks like he did nothing wrong. But Jailton is a moral man is is haunted by this killing. Seeing the ghost of the kid in his water tank, in his house etc. 

Finally his supervision shows up and informs Jailton they had switched the body and no one can trace anything back. He explains this is what cops do. Take care of each other. They ask him out on a night run that will help "clear his name" but when the cops all put on masks and claim they are "Ninjas" he know s something bad is about to go down. Several corpses and a lot of spilled blood he will be proven right. 

This scant movie (only 25 min, actually 21 minus credits) packs a lot of mean-spirited power into the short running time. There is some violence in the last few minutes that will leave you agape and slack jawed at how miserable it is. 

Ultimately the movie is about corruption. Corruption of the church, of the police force etc. It is like it is saying if those institutions are like Ninjas how do we stand a chance as regular people. 

Review © Andrew Copp


D. Jeff Burr


This horrors of way style film from director Jeff Burr is a pretty impressive accomplishment. Though an intimate and small character driven film the logistics of the movie spread out all over with lots of big set pieces, cast and production design. It is far from a small movie. 

The film opens in 1945 with two soldiers being taken to the prison camp for desertion. Losey (Ryan Francis) is a quiet and demure man, with hard morals about peace. The other man Demming (Scott Macdonald) is loud, cruel and the direct opposite. Through a twist of fate they both of them end up free of the MP's and go on a cross country trek to escape. The eventually land at a small villa with an elderly man (David Warner) his wife and many small children they have trained to be killers. A Nazi tank battalion corners them all and a huge fight takes up the last quarter of the film. 

The film is certainly reminiscent of  Burr's final segment in the anthology film FROM A WHISPER TO A SCREAM (aka THE OFFSPRING) in which during the Civil War a troupe of children survived by being vicious killers and cannibals. Here Burr has taken the horror elements of the story down a few notches and replaced it with the fallout ofwar. His style has also changed as the movie is (to its detriment) filled with flashy montages and dream sequences that make the movie feel slower than it is. 

Still if is an impressive film and the children are all superb in their roles. It is a nice change of pace from a director who was becoming all to well known for the PUPPETMASTER sequels. 

Review © Andrew Copp


D. Panos Cosmatos
Magnet Releasing

This experimental, sci-fi, horror is a visual triumph but on a plot level it is completely confounding. Which I think is all part of the design of the piece. But that makes it damn hard to get through at times.

The film opens with a commercial for the ABORIA INSTITUTE for happiness and wellness. The commercial has Dr. Barry Nyle (Michael Rogers) talking directly to the camera about the new and exciting techniques the place has to offer. It sounds like a new age getaway camp for those needing to run from theirs problems. But when we enter the actual institute it is something else entirely. A freakishly red lit nightmare hospital that seems to only have one patient, the teenaged Elena (Eva Allen). Dr. Nyle is clearly obsessed with Elena and her so called "recovery" constantly lording over her and tormenting her psyche with questions about her dead mother. Dr. Nyles is unhappy at home, distanced from his wife Rosemary, so the work seems to be all he has. 

As the movie goes on we discover the institute has a lot more going on, such as what appears to be android sentinels guarding secret rooms, and experimentation that reveals that Elena is a telepath, able to explode people when pushed. The movie takes a hard left turn (from already being way left of center) when we see a flashback of the doctor and the creator of the institute Dr. Aboria in some sort of personal destruction/recreation ritual. This is when we realize Dr. Nyles is all together very different from what we thought. Much more dangerous and deadly and probably not even human. 

The movie is all about style with locations bathed in red light, faced bathed in blue or yellow. Everyone moves at half speed, sometimes even slower and the music is pulsing and repetitive like old techno or house music. It all adds up to a beautiful to look at film that works like a trance in action. I bet seeing this on the big screen was quite an experience. But watching it on TV only served to make me nod out a few times over.

BEYOND THE BLACK RAINBOW is worth watching due to the sheer uniqueness of it, but it isn't going to convince you to visit it a second time, even if it probably takes the second viewing to comprehend all of it.

Review © Andrew Copp

Thursday, September 27, 2012


D. Jose Louis Merino


I have a special love for Paul Naschy and his films. In 2007 when the BCI releases came out I introduced his work to a very dear friend of mine that I unfortunately do not get to see often. The two of us came to love watching Naschy's  movies together and over the years since it has become something we do together. Life has it's way of making things difficult and time has not allowed us to watch more of his movies since we looked at HOUSE OF PSYCHOTIC WOMEN near the beginning of this year. As part of my Halloween Horror Challenge I decided to look at THE HANGING WOMAN, released by Troma. I really wish my friend had been here for it.

THE HANGING WOMAN is clearly not one of Naschy's better vehicles. In fact he is only in it sporadically playing IGOR the local gravedigger with a penchant for kissing up the sleeping bosoms of maidens and touching up the corpse of his dead girl. The real plot deals with Serge (Stelvio Rosi) a count who has come to a sleepy town to claim the mansion left behind by his dead Uncle. He finds a house full of insanity with Uncle's former partner and his daughter conducting electric experiments on dead tissue in hopes of resurrection. Also living there is his Uncle's mistress who wants only to sell the mansion and get her mega-bucks. 

Serge fucks his way through the female cast while trying to figure out what is going on. Along the way the Doctor's daughter is found hanging in the graveyard, but she clearly did not die by her own hand. Eventually all roads lead to the fact his Uncle is still walking around killing.

The movie has a leaden pace that only livens up during the psychedelically shot sex scenes, and the few and far between gore scenes. The climax with the living dead is thankfully very effective with some incredible make up. Naschy is in the climactic scenes the most, so fans of the man  have to wait to see him in action. 

The TROMA DVD is the most complete version of the movie possible, but it still looks like shit. While it is clearly cut together from several prints but not much remastering seems to have been done. Thankfully they went buck wild with the extras with a commentary, a bunch of interesting featurettes, trailers and a great spot on dubbing in Spain by Art Ettinger and Mike Maggot. 

If I was going to recommend a Naschy film this would not be at the top of the list. But it quenches the Naschy thirst somewhat.

Review © Andrew Copp


D. Douglass Curtis

The potboiler released by Code Red is an unusual beast indeed. Billed as a horror film in some circles and a comedy in others, it really is neither. It is a bizarre attempt at a campus based thriller with a twist ending. 

The movie follows rising track start Craig Lewis (Jeff East, the spitting image of William Katt) as he starts at the best school on the continent. He foolishly agrees to pledge the big frat house, The Delts along with his new friend Barney (Charles Martin Smith, the "name" involved here since he was hot off of AMERICAN GRAFFITI). But during their hazing in which they are forced to run across country in their jock straps, Barney is badly hurt. By the time Craig returns, Barney is dead leaving the fellas to hide the body and come up with a plan to fake his death. Naturally none of it goes quite as planned. 

This is a very slight movie that wouldn't be on anyone's radar had it not been for the complete turnabout in the final act. I wont spoil it here, but it re-contextualizes everything that came before and is a bold and risky plot device. The acting ranges from OK with Jeff East doing his best to be a whiny bitch. The head of the Delts played by Brad David is particularly good. he does sociopaths really well, check him out in THE CANDYSNATCHERS for another great performance from him.

Ultimately the movie is nothing special, but it is diverting enough to check out once. Just don't expect a blood bath or laugh riot. 

Review © Andrew Copp

Wednesday, September 26, 2012



This late 70's drive in favorite is a nice example of the "Nature Runs Amok" sub-genre of horror that was popular during that decade. Movies like WILLIARD or DAY OF THE ANIMALS were quite popular seemingly because of the success of JAWS. But if you look a little closer there is more there. These movies were mostly family friendly, PG rated affairs that were just scary enough for the whole family to check out. Making then drive in perennials for years to come. 

RATTLERS is hardly the best of the lot, it holds onto the cliches of the genre with an iron fist. But it IS a lot of fun. The movie opens with a particularly vicious scene of two little boys climbing rocks in the desert to find a "human skeleton" one of them saw. They happen upon the den of rattlesnakes and are bitten multiple times until dead. It was pretty rare for a movie to open with the double killing of kids, especially one rated PG. 

Our hero Dr. Tom Parkinson -insert your own distasteful joke here- (Sam Chew Jr.) is introduced in a hilarious scene where his assistant accidentally lets a cobra loose in their lab (that looks a helluva lot like a garage). Tom charms the cobra by waving his hand dangerously close to its mouth until it gets tired and almost falls asleep. Tom and his buddy discuss that the local Sheriff has asked him to come lend his expertise to these snake bite deaths. Tom is overjoyed at the prospect of earning a whole "Two Hundred Dollars!" for his work. 

Soon he discovers that there is a lot more snake bite deaths in this little town than anyone knew. We see a small farm get laid to waste by a whole pack of rattlers that kill all the livestock, the family and even burn down the place. They are destruction in action!

Tom is assigned a pretty, perky breasted camerawoman, (Elizabeth Chauvet) to which he immediately takes a big dislike. His chauvinism is loud and clear as he asked the Sheriff (Tony Ballen) why he can't have male photographer as this is "no job for a woman". he's not gay he just hates women. Once out in the field she just will not shut up about her place in the workforce and how she is better than the other people vying for her jobs until the point that Tom has to put her in her place and yells at her for all her beliefs. Go men!!!

A harpy of a woman calls the plumber because she has no hot water. She manages to get into the bath anyway while he works under the house. We see her bare ass in a reminder that PG used to get away with a whole lot more than it does now. You guessed it. The snakes attack him and crawl through the pipes to get her in the bathtub. One snake is not reacting well to being in the water and makes a break for it out of the tub and out of the scene.   

The dynamic duo of snake hunting search around and end up at an Air Force Base. The chopper pilot tells Tom about how they dumped and sealed some giant container in the local mines. It takes Tom a little while to connect the dots, but once he does he is NOT happy. Naturally the military stops cooperating with him at this point. 

The movie plays out as expected with a showdown with the psycho General who was in charge of the whole operation that made the snakes go crazy. Tom really never does much of anything to save the day or help the cause. Usually the military guys come running in at the last minute to help out. Naturally Tom and the girl fall in love as she throws all her women's lib beliefs out the window to be with this woman hating jerk. 

The snake action here is surprisingly unsettling to watch as people are clearly, and over and over again, put well with in striking reach of these snakes for good shots. They were probably de-fanged, or at least one hopes they are. But also unsettling is the fact they kill many snakes on camera. No PETA monitored action here as snakes are hacked, shot and drowned for our entertainment. 

The unbridled misogyny is a little surprising too. The photographers portray of a liberated woman who just melts when she meets a strong man is just the leaping off point. ALL the women in the movie are harpies, bitches or just plain stupid. There isn't a decent strong portrayal of a woman anywhere in sight. 

RATTLERS is an entertaining, and sometimes outrageous little nugget of the time long past. In it's own way it is a little shocking too, and not always for the best. I need to watch STANLEY the other killer snake movie of the era to see how they stack up against each other. Or the Hong Kong KILLER SNAKES which is really over the top. 

Review © Andrew Copp

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


KINO - Blu Ray

This misunderstood art film is really very stylish and interesting. Thought to be a simple blaxploitation film for years, this is much more of a weird treatise on religion, myth, medicine and immortality. Directed by homosexual director BILL GUNN, this is also the last film to feature the late DUANE JONES of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD fame. 

Duane Jones plays Dr. Hess Greene a man who holds man degrees in various person bound arts. Even before the first image we are explained that Dr. Hess was stabbed by a special dagger three times one for The Father, one for The Son and one for The Holy Ghost. Dr. Hess has become a blood drinker, a vampire. His closest friend is fellow researcher, the suicidal George (played by director Gunn). George is tormented by the intricacies of life and death and teeters constantly on the edge. He is not aware of his friends new needs.

The first section of the film is titled THE VICTIM and deals with these two men's complex lives and relationship. It sets up Dr. Hess as a victim of his circumstances. After this each section of the film is numbered and titled accordingly. 

GANJA and HESS is really a movie about moments. As a whole I can see why the film was edited down from 113 minutes to a probably incomprehensible 78 min. There are lots of stretches that feel like they are going nowhere. Lots of conversations and things like language (bad language specifically) or how to hide dope rectally. There is also a LOT of nudity and sensuality that probably didn't go over well in the art crowd or even the exploitation crowd. Scenes like director Gunn taking a bath (and brushing his teeth in the water) that goes on a long time with his schlong in plain site.

But ultimately the film is about Hess, and Jones intense portrayal of the character. He is not a monster, but a man afflicted and Jones pulls out the stops to bring you into his plight. The film could almost be seen as a venereal disease or AIDS allegory (except AIDS hadn't reared its ugly head yet, and wouldn't for a decade or so). It is also about letting your freak flag fly. To not accept guilt for living a particular lifestyle or for having different needs. Dialogue throughout the film pertains to this. Such as

"Everybody is some kind of freak. Everyone I know is into something." - Ganja

" The only perversions that can be comfortably condemned are the perversions of others. I will persist and survive without God's or society's sanctions. I will not be tortured and I will not be guilty."
- Dr. Hess

Those are words to live by if I ever saw them. One should never allow themselves to feel guilty for their desires and needs.

More art film than horror film, there is still plenty of “frission” to be had from this quirky, extremely personal vision of modern horror.

I watched this on Blu Ray and it looks very interesting. Mastered from surviving 35mm prints as the vault negatives were the cut version it retains the super grainy feel and look of the era it was shot in. Clearly made for very little money all the flaws show up with added clarity in this version. But it does not distract from the overall power and ingenuity the film displays. 

Review © Andew Copp

Halloween Horror Challenge Movie #4 - HAUNTED (1977)

HAUNTED (1977)
D. Michael G. Degeatano

This older drive-in style potboiler is one of the releases from Code Red that features ex-wrestler Maria as a host. Seems that most of the movies she hosts are really bad. Some so bad they are great like NIGHT OF THE DEMON or MARDI GRAS MASSACRE, but others like this one leave you wondering why they bothered to put it out at all. Even she comments after the movie on how futile and pointless it all was.

The story begins promisingly enough with a very well acted prologue. An Indian maiden is stripped bare and set off on her horse to die. Turns out the soldiers and townsfolk all conspired to kill her and lied about the charges she was sentenced over. Cut to modern day and the town has become a dilapidated tourist trap. Resided over by an old man (Aldo Ray) his psychotic wife (Virginia Mayo) and his two sons. Seems the lady of the house never got over an affair she had with old Aldo's brother when they were all much younger and has driven herself insane with the good memories of loving this man. This man she can never have because he up and vanished one day. The kids hate their father and disrespect him at every turn. Into this mess comes a young woman (Ann Michelle) who sets the delicate balance of the house askew. The eldest son decides to put mom into a nursing home and sell the land. Meanwhile mysteriously a phone booth has been installed in the cemetery next door. A phone-line to talk to the dead.

The problem with HAUNTED is that it is slow. People talk a lot, and the town has a weird atmosphere to it. But as for action, there literally is none. Nothing scary happens until well past the one hour mark and then it is so little that you are shocked when the movie is over.

Review © Andrew Copp

Sunday, September 23, 2012


Shot On Video

I really try to not do bad reviews just for the sake of writing shitty reviews. I also tend to shy away from filmmakers working on the same budget level I have just because I don't want to be a dick to people. But sometimes shit just happens and you end up watching something like ZOMBIE BABIES.

This ultra low budget flick is about a couple of redneck idiots who decide to open a makeshift abortion clinic/slash vacation getaway. A group of inane dudes all with very pregnant girlfriends arrive and most of them get on screen coat hanger abortions. But the problem is the rednecks also have a moonshine still in the basement filled with radioactive slop that brings the fetuses back to life.

Never mind the fact this movie was already made as THE SUCKLING in the late 80's or a big plot device is lifted wholesale from REDNECK ZOMBIES. This movie fails on almost all the levels it sets out to attempt. I'm not even gonna rag on the out of focus photography, inconsistent sound and special effects where you can see the puppeteers as much as the rest of the cast. I'd let all that shit go if it was actually funny or scary or just irreverent enough to recommend. But it is none of those things. The dialogue, being performed largely by non actors, is endless and painful. The humor consists of many variants of shit being expelled onto people, and lots of sex humor that just ultimately degrades the actors and finally the audience for watching it.

I am struggling to find something positive to say, so Ruby Larocca is good as usual as is Kaylee Williams who really should choose her projects a little more in line with her talent. Shawn C. Phillips is once again on hand playing a big fat guy; sweating, exposing himself and just basically being degraded. The dude is a funny guy, I just wish he would stop letting directors make fun of him on screen.

There is a very weird pre-natal sexual vibe, running through the movie with one Zombie Baby getting his asshole licked until he shits on the dude doing it, and Ruby almost swallowing a severed baby dick that comes all over her face when she pulls it out of her mouth. The scenes are clearly aiming to be shocking, but just come off as unpleasant and a more than a bit unsavory.

Just when you think the movie is feeling like it has been on for hours and hours, they clearly run out of money when one scene cuts to comic book art to fill in the action and it mercifully ends on what should be a shock ending, but happens so fast it is meaningless.

To say I can't recommend this is an understatement.

Review © Andy Copp

Saturday, September 22, 2012


Last night I unofficially launched my Halloween Horror Challenge with the couple of HAMMER HOUSE OF HORROR episodes I watched. Tonight is the first feature film in the challenge this year. And yes I am fully aware that I am a week ahead of schedule, but I want to try to get as many in as possible this year.

THIRST (2009)

This very quirky vampire comedy is a strange creature indeed. Coming from the director of OLDBOY one expects it to be left of center. But this films throws the compass out entirely to find its own unnatural bio-rhythms.

Kang Ho-Song stars as a priest named Sang Hyeon, who chooses to go to a secluded hospital to be part of an experiment to help cure a deadly disease called EV. In doing so he understands he takes the risk of dying from the communicable virus. But during the process he ends up with something worse. He becomes a vampire, but yet is still carrying the disease as well. He becomes a martyr figure to all those suffering from fatal afflictions, all of whom ask him to pray over them in hopes of a cure. They even camp out in tents like an I-Phone sale in hopes of him laying on of hands. Working the hospital he meets a family he spent a lot of time with when he was an orphan child. Because the eldest boy Kang Wu ( Ha-Kyun Shin) has what appears to be cancer. Sang ends up living with the family and falling into a torrid affair with Kang Wu's wife (and former adopted sister) Tea-Ju (a blistering performance by Ok-Bin Kim). Soon there is murder being plotted and more characters entering the Living Dead fold.

While this is a vampire film, and therefor already part of a VERY tired sub-genre, there is NOTHING normal about THIRST. Tonally it is a bizarre and quite gory black comedy. But under the surface it is thematically about poison relationships, weather they be between couples or even one's relationship with God. The vampirism is treated much more like a medical virus that brings out the worst in each character. Making them MORE of what they already are. Sang-Hyeon is a gentle God fearing man at the start and slowly, almost against his will becomes a monster who will kill to satiate his lusts. Tea-Ju on the other hand takes to being a monster quite easily, lying, cheating and ultimately killing, a lot, to meet her new needs. 

But even with all the heavy thematic elements the film still succeeds at being funny and scary too. It never tries to be a knock you out scare fest. Instead the movie is a slowly creeping up kind of nasty scare that candy coats the bullet with quirky humor.

A great change of pace horror film for those looking for something quite a bit different.

Review © Andrew Copp


Full Frame

This TV series from Britain is finally making it's debut stateside with all of the footage intact. All appearances in the U.S. were shortened and had the naughty bits cut for broadcast. There are thirteen episodes all with different casts and directors. I will review them as I actually watch them.

The first episode is called WITCHING TIME and deals with madness and a modern day incarnation of a witch. A man in his thirties who scores horror films for a living suspects (rightly so) that his wife is having an affair. One evening while she is away boning the local doctor a freak storm happens and our hero finds a red-headed woman asleep in the stable. She claims to be a witch from the sixteen hundreds. Soon she is turning his already messed up life into a mockery. He calls his friend the Doctor for help but it only convinces the both of them he is losing his shit. Soon the witch has seduced him and claimed him as her own. Just in time for his wife to come back around out of concern. Then things get really weird for everyone.

The lead character is a whiny little goofball, making it hard to be too concerned with him. But the fact that both the wife and her lover are concerned about him and try to do what they can to help is a nice touch. Instead of the wife and lover teaming up to kill the husband, then spend a great deal of time trying to help his disturbed frame of mind. It is a nice sideways look at a typical situation for these kinds of films. The finale gets a little silly as fire, water and voodoo dolls all come into the mix. But over all it is a fun, if a bit silly, entrance into the show.

The next episode is called THE THIRTEENTH REUNION and is directed by Hammer stalwart Peter Sasdy. This entry deals with a reporter for the local women's magazine who is assigned a story on the local weight loss guru. She meets and almost falls for a heavy guy who takes a pill he was given from the Guru and goes batshit crazy driving off the road and into a tree. She teams up with an amateur sleuth and they investigate the killing. They soon discover there is something much more sinister than just weight loss going on. Think a modern, somewhat higher tech BURKE AND HARE.With some implied cannibalism thrown in for good measure.

An early scene in this episode involves the Guru leading a group therapy session, Here he berates a middle aged, heavy set women for her weight problem, screaming at her that she is “fat and disgusting” and how her husband could never want to be around “Such a fat cow” like her. While the show spends most of the time being a fairly straight forward horror/thriller piece it never hits the repellant heights of this disturbing scene again. It is cruel, unpleasant and downright upsetting to watch. You REALLY want to see him get some sort of comeuppance before the piece is over.

These first two episodes are vastly different from each other in approach and content. I am quite interested to see how the other eleven play out.

Review © Andrew Copp