Monday, September 23, 2019

Dr. Moreau's House of Pain, Mad Scientist Film Noir Style

What is your spiritual animal? Yeah, right...a lion...or an eagle...or a bronco...that's what everyone says. Your friends are too polite to tell you, but they see in you a pig...or an aardvark...or a catfish. Wouldn't it be great is some mad scientist invented a formula that could bring the animal out in you? Today we have a Charles Band spectacular that asks the same question in a deviant and sadistic way. Hence 2004's "Dr. Moreau's House of Pain," which is shot just like a classic Film Noir film.
A washed up boxer, Eric (John Patrick Jordan) and his two dame assistants, reporterette Mary Anne (Debra Mayer) and GF Judith (Jessica Lancaster) are searching for Eric's missing brother. They stake-out a bar where Alliana (Lorielle New) is an exotic dancer. After closing the trio witnesses Alliana punch through the head of a schmuck and abscond with his body. They follow her to an abandoned asylum and make the mistake of sneaking onto the grounds. Once inside the asylum property a pig-man named Gallagher (Peter Donald Badalamenti II) and dog-man named Pee Wee (B.J. Smith) carry off Mary Anne and put the other two in a cage. Uh oh, Mary Anne is strung up in Dr. Moreau's (Jacob Witkin) lab and the mad scientist gives her to Pee Wee. The sultry Mary Anne then has her internal organs ripped out by the dog fiend.
Moreau is now the prisoner of his mutant creations and they seek to be human. Moreau needs human organs to accomplish this. Both Pee Wee and Gallagher now want to mate with Judith and will humiliate her and deceive her into cross-species pre-marital sex. Leopard-woman Alliana wants to mate with Eric...and does. As the soiled and sultry Judith remains a sex-toy for the pig fiend, Alliana stakes her claim on Eric. Uh oh...more fiends exist and they have other plans for the two surviving humans, and their internal organs will play a part in them. As Dr. Moreau follows the twisted orders of his creations, more grotesque plans are revealed.
This is a gory and deviant jaunt through cross-species experimentation and sex, so if that makes you uncomfortable go watch some Disney flick. Will the violated Judith escape without being impregnated by a mutant fiend? Will Eric find his brother? Will the creature rapists ever find humanity again (a question we could all ask about ourselves)? Charles Band isn't afraid to cross the line and Alliana isn't afraid to throw gratuitous nudity in our faces in this fine horror film, "Dr. Moreau's House of Pain."

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Exists, The Bigfoot Project

Bigfoot never shows up at Yankees games or July 4th fireworks celebrations. In all fairness, do we need to show up in his wooded lair? Fairness is an elusive concept to us humans, subject to weird interpretations in a world where every silly thought is given value and meaning. This is all fine and good...except when a ticked off monster is the final arbiter. Hence we look at 2014's "Exists," directed by Eduardo Sanchez ("The Blair Witch Project").
Ticked off? That may be an understatement. Five jerks...I mean twenty-somethings ride into the woods of east Texas. They're silly and amorous and pre-marital sex, alcohol...and probably marijuana are their only goals. They will even get into some skinny-dipping. During a pitch-black night, Matt (Samuel Davis) the driver, hits something in the road. A deer? Yeah right. The quintet carries on to a run down cabin. Brian (Chris Osborn), the fifth wheel and GoPro guy (he's filming everything) believes he has seen and heard something in the woods. Because he's a fifth wheel, he'll sleep outside in a hammock as the nubile Liz (Denise Williamson) and hunk Todd (Roger Edwards) have pre-marital sex in a bedroom.
The aforementioned Matt and Dora (Dora Madison) will occupy another bedroom. Brian continues to hear weird noises and the morning arrives. No one listens to Brian and the lonely Brian sneaks into the woods to film Liz and Roger having more pre-marital sex. While capturing his two amorous pals having sex, Brian spies something else...Bigfoot!!!  All subtlety is tossed out the window by Mr. Sanchez here as the huge hairy beast begins attacking. He puts a tree through the car and savages the cabin. Scared, but still alive, the twenty-somethings send Matt on a bike to reach the highway...bad idea. Bigfoot returns and continues his attacks and penetrates the cabin. Not all will survive this attack and the survivors are now on the run near Bigfoot's lair. The hairy thing has them just where he wants them now, and Matt? You'll see.
Bigfoot's temper is hostile and the twenty-somethings will pay a dear price. This found-footage film shows us a slaughter and from the outset we know some great looking east Texans will die horribly. Will any of these babes or hunks survive the Bigfoot onslaught? Does Bigfoot have any special plans for the nubile Liz and Dora? Just what caused this Bigfoot's wrath in the first place? This is another ominous and vicious tale with an evil a lot less ambiguous than the witch in Mr. Sanchez' first film. For some nice Bigfoot carnage, enjoy "Exists."

Thursday, September 19, 2019

The Trick or Treat Picture Show, Reliving the Drive-In

Those late 1970s and early 1980s represented an era very dear to us slasher film and drive-in movie fans. Movie-maker Anthony Ashmore agrees and he has given us a love letter to that golden (or shall we say...blood red) age of cinema. Just like the drive-in films we loved so much, Mr. Ashmore gives us grainy picture quality, missing reels, beautiful damsels in much distress, hunks with no purpose, and soulless slashers with machetes and hammers. Hence 2019's "The Trick or Treat Picture Show."
Those proverbial damsels in much distress and the fiends that beset them. In this four hour drive-in experience (compressed into 90 minutes) Christine (Christine James Walker) and Audrey (Annabelle Bailer) do a fine job in performances that would impress Jamie Lee Curtis. Though they are in two separate films, the duo acts as a metaphor for why we all love these films. They are underdogs against the evil that stalks them, their daily struggles in life are met with a dignity and nobility...and their hot...and us guys (or teens back then) have hormones. The monsters that hunt them are indeed soulless, which may be the opposite metaphor, the vicious and unforgiving nemesis of us all, that is real life. Despite the fact that we meet these slasher-film staples after a hint of a movie capturing the mood of "The Devil's Rain" or "The Dunwich Horror," Anthony Ashmore knows our affections for this 1980s cinema, and its backbone...the slasher and his nubile victims.
But wait! Mr. Ashmore's film gives us the entire drive-in experience, and you know what that means. Right, we're going to get hungry, hence Frankenmummies! You'll see, no spoilers here, but have a paper and pencil handy when you watch and this film experience will also carry you into the kitchen...Food Network, eat you're heart out. As a movie-maker, Mr. Ashmore excels, but this bloke also does the music. Remember that drive-in theater  music that played during the intermission, and also before and after the features? You'll be humming it through Christmas as this film is neck deep in those harmonies...enjoy, and be ready to yearn for an under-cooked hot dog.
Perhaps and anthology film...or a medley of fond memories of a bygone era...either way, this tribute to the drive-in theater will have you longing for scream-queens with the face of P.J. Soles and body of Pamela Susan Shoop (or vice versa)...oh wait...we never stopped longing for those ladies. Never mind, "The Trick or Treat Picture Show" will serve as affirmation that you are not alone in your affection for pulp, sleaze,  and slasher horror. So go forth and boldly proclaim your preference for these films and if someone calls you on it...refer them to this film.
For further information on "The Trick or Treat Picture Show," click on these links:
Trick or Treat on Instagram
Trick or Treat on Twitter
Trick or Treat Trailer

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Skull Heads, The Dysfunctional Arkoff Family

A weird and contorted sadistic family delivered to us by Full Moon Entertainment and Charles Band. With a nod to H.P. Lovecraft, 2009's "Skull Heads" (aka "Devious") will tell an uncomfortable tale of an abomination of a family (Stop it! No! Not yours!). The final reveal will be wild, gory, and shocking, but the story itself will make you feel as if you need a shower.
Naomi Arkoff (Robin Sydney) is a normal teenager (Hah! No she's not!). She wants to listen to rock-n-roll on an iPod, make-out with cute guys, and fornicate. Yearning for this causes her dad, Carver (Steve Kramer) to haul her into the basement and put her on the rack. Yep, the dungeon has some nice torture devices. Beth (Samantha Light) believes he is too tough on Naomi, but does see the importance of keeping her away from the population. In fact every Arkoff has lived in the castle, secluded from any parts of society...but why? Oh yes, the half-wit Peter (Giacomo Gonella), Naomi's uncle, lives there and his male-sex organ is also trying to find a target. Any time Naomi expresses a desire to meet boys or go into town, Carver threatens to put her into the rack.
Oh yeah...grandpa is an invalid in the upstairs bedroom (he'll emerge in horrific fashion later). Ah, the protectors! These are little beings with skull heads who can shoot beams from their eyes and don't like visitors. Enter a three person film crew...they are in reality art thieves. Naomi, against her dad's wishes, invites them over for dinner because she wants to have carnal relations with the director Jensen (Rane Jameson). Later, the trio sneaks back into the castle to rob it of the artwork. Jensen has fallen in love with Naomi (poor schmuck) and insists on not hurting the family. Kim (Kim Argetsinger), the babe producer, wants to kill them all. Upon entering, Jensen finds Naomi on the rack in the dungeon and believes she needs rescuing as Kim starts shooting Arkoffs. This carnage activates the skull heads and now the home invaders are on the run. Oh yeah...grandpa? You'll see.  As Jensen desperately tries to save his new gal, Naomi reveals a couple of surprises which may cause the hunk Jensen to give up dating.
Just what do the skull heads have planned for the three intruders? What will happen when Naomi introduces her new beau to grandpa? What hideous secret has kept the Arkoffs hidden from the rest of the population for centuries? The ending is wild and twisted and true to Full Moon Entertainment's horrific imagination. Enjoy "Skull Heads," and be ready to feel really dirty and used after the end credits roll.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Hunting Grounds, Family Feuds...Bigfoots vs. Humans

Bigfoot? A sympathetic creature? Or perhaps a fiendish monster? Whichever way you answer that question probably reveals a lot about you. After watching 2015's "Hunting Grounds" (directed by John Portanova), that same question is pertinent. Uh oh...there are more questions posed in this film, like...exactly what are those Bigfoots up to? As no actresses appear in this film in any significant manner, no Roger Corman influence will be present.
Michael's  (Miles Joris-Peyrafitte) mom just died. Sad...he had plans and he loved his mom. College is not an option as his dad, Roger (Jason Vail), loses all their money and the duo must sell their house and move to a dilapidated cabin deep in the Washington woods...and you know who lives there? Michael and his dad have a tense relationship as there is no money for college and Roger may be hitting the bottle again. Uh oh...Bauman (Bill Obrest, Jr.) is a hunter who comes across a campsite in which Bigfoot has murdered everyone in it...and now Bauman is attacked by the creature. Okay, Will (D'Angelo Midili) arrives for a visit...he is the milquetoast brother-in-law. He's a good sort but has the survival ability of a drunken ant.
More visitors, Sergio (David Saucedo), Roger's BF arrives. He is obnoxious and we pray that he is disemboweled. As the four head out for a hunting/camping trip, it becomes apparent the hunters are now the hunted. Bigfoot...no, Bigfoots appear, a family of them and they don't like humans. Eek! Roger is taken prisoner. As the now trio hightail it back to the cabin, Bauman escapes and also runs to the cabin. Carnage ensues, Bauman arrives, and beware, he was followed. Now the Bigfoots beset the surviving humans in the cabin and a few more surprises are sprung on us. The monsters seem to have the advantage, but you never know.
Will any of the humans, as obnoxious as they are, survive the Bigfoot onslaught? Just what do the Bigfoots need prisoners for? Is Roger destined to be a POW in the war between man and beast, or will he be on the beasts' menu? This is a good Bigfoot film and really hits us with the question of 'if humans invade the forests, are the monsters really the bad guys?' The acting is terrific and the Bigfoots are menacing...enjoy "Hunting Grounds." 

Friday, September 13, 2019

Glass Trap, Clairvoyance, Yoga, and Big Bugs

Siri Baruc stars in our feature today, 2005's "Glass Trap." Ms. Baruc grew up on a yoga commune in Boston and her mom was a clairvoyance instructor...okay, can those comments! I admit this is not the upbringing for someone we'd want to go have a beer with but she is a doll and she is in this film about giant radioactive angry ants...yes! She'll traipse through the entire film in six inch heels and look really good doing it... Oh yes, for you Syfy Channel fans, this epic is directed by Fred Olen Ray.
Plutonium contaminates some palm plants and six of them end up in L.A. The ants eat the plant and are now radioactive and huge. After eating a local nursery the ants end up in a skyscraper. Here we meet Jane (Stella Stevens) a very superficial editor of 'Hooray' magazine (think 'People') and her sultry aide, Sharon (Baruc). Unbeknownst to them, the ants begin eating peeps on the lower floors. Oh yes, Sharon and maintenance guy, Curtis (C. Thomas Howell), an ex-con, start making goo-goo eyes at each other.  Dept. of Agriculture babe...i mean agent...Elizabeth (Tracy Brooks Swope) arrives at the skyscraper with her team and calls in Agent Corrigan (Martin Kove).
Now the ants eat their way through irrelevant human all the way to Sharon, Jane, Curtis, and two supermodels and their photographer trapped on the roof. Curtis comes up with an ingenious idea to save themselves but an unforeseen problem arises...no spoilers here. Now Corrigan is determined to fill the skyscraper up with DDT even though live humans are trapped inside. Now our crew must not only battle the ants but make their way out of the ant infested building before Corrigan sets off his super bug bomb.
The pesky giant radioactive ants are menacing, if not kinda cute. Sharon in her heels is highly alluring and we cheer for the gruff Curtis, that he may get to have pre-marital sex with her...and survive, of course! What did Siri Baruc's clairvoyant mother tell her about this film when Siri was a little girl? Will Curtis get to have pre-marital sex with the daughter of a clairvoyant and will that clairvoyant have approved? Is this ants-invade-a-skyscraper tale a mere metaphor for the decay of our urban infrastructure? Hey...its a made for Syfy thing directed by Fred Olen Ray...so enjoy "Glass Trap."

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Poseidon Rex, Cleavage vs. The Monster

A Minnesota Viking cheerleader with two impressive implants, a modest cleavage buff, frequently soaked in a revealing bikini, firing machine guns and rocket launchers. Oh yes, she also has a penchant for wild  pre-marital sex and drives fast boats. Yep, its Anne McDaniels as a sultry marine biologist, studying jellyfish, and battling a prehistoric behemoth in 2013's "Poseidon Rex."
Okay, as we begin, hunk treasure hunter Jackson (Brian Krause, who sports nice pecs and a five o'clock shadow) and his two soon-to-be eaten cohorts are held at gunpoint by a drug gang on a boat off the coast of Beliz. The thugs want Jackson to bring them up treasure, or they will kill them. The trio dives and sets of explosives to free the treasure. But guess what is unearthed...yep...a vicious dinosaur monster, sort of a T-Rex from the sea. It eats Jackson's friends and surfaces and eats the boat with all the thugs on it. Enter Sarah (Anne McDaniels) and her skimpy red bikini, two implants and cleavage buff.  She's a marine biologist, of course, studying jellyfish. Dripping wet she tantalizes the camera with some gratuitous shots of her implants. Also enter hunk Rod (Steven Helmkemp, you gals are gonna like him a lot) and his GF Jane (Candice Nunes) Jane wears a red bikini nicely, but sometimes there is only room enough for one babe...thus Jane will be chewed up and die, still wearing that bikini nicely...so we won't mention her again.
Okay, back to the plot. Rod and Jane go snorkeling and find Jackson floating. They bring him back to Sarah's hotel room (don't ask) and the three nurse him back to health. Now, with the exception of Jane (who will die horribly), all go out and look for the treasure. They don't find it but do find dinosaur eggs at the ocean floor and the Poseidon Rex creature now chases them. The fiend will eat all the other drug gang members, the Beliz Coast Guard, Jane, a lot more bikini babes and hunks, and pursues Rod, Sarah, and Jackson. Sarah and her implants will have passionate pre-marital sex with Jackson and Rod will emerge as a fifth-wheel, can you guess his fate? Armed with rocket launchers, machine guns, pistols and implants, Sarah and Jackson take the fight to Poseidon Rex.
Will Sarah, her implants, cleavage buff, and rocket launchers be able to quell Poseidon Rex? Is Sarah's choice of Jackson over Rod for pre-marital sex an omen for Rod's vicious fate?  Will the Chicago Bears cheerleaders counter and make a film about large, amorous ape that takes a liking to a cheerleader sporting implants and a shinier cleavage buff? Gratuitous and cheesy to the max, "Poseidon Rex" will throw so much cheesecake and beefcake at you that you will want to watch this several times. By the way, the creature effects are pretty good...but you may not notice.