Monday, October 2, 2023

Van Helsing, Monster Hunter Saves the Universe

No!  Not the one with Kate Beckinsale.  Every time I do a movie called "Van Helsing," you guys seem to want the Kate Beckinsale one.  Where is she anyway?  Anybody know?  Seems to have dropped off the face of the Earth. Anyway, this is the BC Fourteen "Van Helsing."  Kate won't be in this one...but if you're real just might see Bigfoot.  Today we look at this ultra-modern work of animation...2023's "Van Helsing." 

As our film begins Jack Van Helsing (Ernesto Galan) is still on Earth.  The apocalypse has occurred.  Nuclear and biological weapons have murdered the planet.  Jack and a few survivors must scavenge for food.  Alas, mutants, zombies, and monsters kill most of the survivors and Jack escapes in a rocket ship and heads to the moon.  There he grows plants for a colony of fellow human survivors lead by Lilith (Jennifer Fourteen).  The two obviously have sexual tension between them.  Then horror, Xterminator (Edson Camacho), a terminator like AI monster, attacks and wipes out everyone. The sultry Lilith is taken prisoner and Jack is the only one who escapes. 

With Jack on the run and Lilith the prisoner of a psycho machine, Xterminator plans a final sweep to rid the universe of all human survivors.  Also adopting this quest is a cast-off earthling, Thanatos (Bob Reiff). This ghoulish figure is now King of the Zombies with a horde of the undead at his service.  Now Xterminator, Thanatos, and another god-like threat, Anubis (also Bob Reiff) are threatened by one another as to who will actually assume lordship over the entire universe.  Jack will not only scavenge for food and fuel, but also for allies.  He needs to do what his grandfather did...slay the monsters in order to save mankind.  

Can Van Helsing save the beautiful Lilith from the clutches of the machines?  Can Earth make a rebound and grow out of the burning embers of their ruins?  Given this is a BC Fourteen film, can we expect Bigfoot to trample in and save the day?  The images of a post-apocalyptic Earth are haunting and should be seen as a warning to where we all may be headed.  For something a little (okay, a lot) different, with a lot of monsters...see "Van Helsing."   

Saturday, September 30, 2023

Road Wars, The Asylum Does Mad Max

Again we turn to our friends from The Asylum.  A post-apocalyptic epic in the style of 'Mad Max.'  Handsome hunks with attitudes and babes with similar attitudes.  A virus wipes out mankind except for a few. Juiced up hotrods fitted with machineguns, harpoon guns, and flame throwers.  Sounds like Interstate 95, I know.  This is a good one which also has elements of the zombie-apocalypse subgenre.  Today we look at 2015's "Road Wars," directed by Mark Atkins.

A virus has wiped out civilization leaving America looking like a landscape from "Road Warrior."  Bands of survivors who look like biker gangs dot the landscape and battle one another for resources.  They also battle the virus-laden population.  The virus looks like rabies and has changed the infected into frothing lunatics hungering for human flesh.  Dallas (John Freeman) leads a small gang who seem like good sorts.  With them is Susan (Jane Hae Kim), a doctor who wants to develop a serum.  One day, while scouting, blonde babe Nakada (Chloe Farnsworth) and her BF Kevin (Phillip Andre Botello) meet the infected and Kevin is bitten.  Ignoring protocol, Nakada refuses to kill him and instead ties him up.

Enter an amnesiac, Thorne (Cole Parker).  Who is he? We don't know. An inch from death, Dallas' group nurses him back to health.  He seems like a good sort...but how would we know?  Susan believes Thorne is one of few humans with an immunity to the virus and the cure or vaccine can be made from his blood.  This makes Thorne the MVP of the camp.  Uh oh...the infected keep attacking and Dallas' gang also has more run ins with psycho biker gangs.  A bigger problem emerges, the psycho gangs seem to know Thorne and respect him.  What happens next will be a series of twists and turns...and the plot will thicken.

Who exactly is Thorne, and might he be one of the bad guys?  Will Susan be able to develop a cure for this rabies type virus?  Will Nakada ever let go of past loves and blow Kevin's head off?  This is a good one. There are some nice battle scenes in the post-apocalyptic landscape.  Nothing will be standard in this film and the question of who are the good guys and who are the bad guys is hardly a simple one.  Enjoy a thoughtful and vicious post-apocalyptic film from The Asylum and watch "Road Wars."  

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Death Metal, When Bands Fall from Grace

Its painful...a popular band begins its decline.  The members begin bickering and looking to branch off on their own.  Critics get downright mean.  Record sales plummet.  Desperation seeps in to figure out new material.  Record labels don't return phone calls.  Satan emerges with a horde of demons to possess and rip the talent apart.  Wait...what?  You heard me.  It will be gory, scary, and perhaps a good metaphor for the music industry and the ephemeral nature of popularity and adoration.  Today's feature is shocking horror at its loudest, 2023's "Death Metal," written and directed by MichaĆ«l Kuciak.

Abyssinister is a metal band on the downfall.  The above description applies to them.  Ivan (Nico Zahniser) leads his musical faux satanists on what is shaping up to be their last tour.  Their European tour was a failure...except for one factor.  Ivan managed to pick up the very last written copy of "Devil's Concerto." Over a 100 years ago a weird composer (Stefanie Barber) wrote it and when it was played, the audience was driven mad.  So mad, they all murdered one another.  All copies of it were then destroyed except for one...and Ivan has it.  A weird producer named Fleming (Ray Goodwin), who is very thirsty, believes in Abyssinister.  He invites the band to his out of the way farm to cut a new album.  Ivan knows they will succeed.  By the way, Shadia (Shadia Martin) is Ivan's GF and she is lovely.  She seems to be the business manager.  

Now Ivan springs his surprise on his musicians...The Devil's Concerto.  He plays it and guess what!  The lovely Anya (KateLynn E. Newberry) will be possessed first...this will not bode well for her two lovers in the'll see.  The possessions, deaths, and subsequent demons will be gory and vicious.  Possessions will rule the day and eyes will pop out, spines will be pulled out, heads will roll, and fangs will tear out chunks of flesh.  The demons will go through Abyssinister like crap through a goose.  But wait!  Shadia might have figured out a way to reverse the concerto's curse. She better hurry as the band is falling apart...or being torn apart, actually.  Gore and loud music will combine to form a shocking horror film with plenty of social commentary.  All of you in the music industry will see the metaphors as obvious and pertinent.

Will Shadia be able to save Ivan, her lover, and other band members?  Will Anya as a demon be able to get even more lovers in Abyssinister?  However evil and bloody, isn't this music a lot less dangerous than the sappy Taylor Swift ballads?  This may be the best music horror film ever.  Ambitious, shocking, and gory...see "Death Metal" and re-evaluate your desire to make it big in the music industry.  

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Phoenix, WWE Meets the MMA

Oh wow!  Finally something we've yearned for...for years! A hot and bloody catfight fight between WWE's Eva Marie and Bai Ling!  Yes!  Throw in MMA's Randy Couture, machineguns, bombs. explosions, knives, stilettos, and slinky evening gowns!  A made for Tubi original is our feature today, 2023's "Phoenix," directed by Daniel Zirilli.  Whatever is in this film, the mere fact we get to see a professional wrestling babe in a slinky gown murder a goon with one of her stilettos...well, do we need anything else.

We got our behinds kicked in Afghanistan.  Just before pulling out, Fiona (Natalie Eva Marie) is called home.  She trains the troops on combat fighting.  The babe can beat up any soldier.  Sadly, her dad (Couture) has been murdered by the syndicate boss, Maxim (Oleg Prudius).  Maxim and his main henchwoman, Scavenger (Ling), murder and extort throughout Miami.  Now Fiona swears bloody revenge.  She dons a slinky gown and stilettos (I know, I keep mentioning this) and shows up at Maxim's nightclub and kills a lot of his men.  Now Maxim wants Fiona dead.  Scavenger will get a shot at Fiona.  Bai Ling looks great in those tight satin pants...but Fiona and her will have a catfight to the death.  Guess who wins?

Now Maxim sends a lot of death squads after Fiona.  Fiona hooks up with her dad's former bodyguard, the hunk Artemis (Jonathan Camp).  He is a good fighter and shoots a machinegun well.  The two will become chummy.  More machinegun fights will occur, more things will blow up, and more of Maxim's men will get shredded.  Oh yes, a final showdown beckons.  Before that, there will be another catfight and even more machinegun fights, explosions, and stabbings.  Fiona is determined.  Oh!  Did I mention that Bai Ling burns the Mayor of Miami to death?  Not a very significant scene, but worth noting no one seems to be saddened by that.

Will Fiona and Artemis engage in pre-marital sex during their war with Maxim and his heavies?  Will the Florida Democratic Party blame President Trump for the death of the Miami mayor?  With Fiona in Afghanistan, how did we ever lose to the Taliban?  See "Phoenix," it is exciting, refreshing, and the beef and cheese factors are off the charts.  

Sunday, September 24, 2023

Pterodactyl, Babes vs. Dinosaur Birds

No matter how nubile you are...or beautiful...or sexy...or how many pheromones you sultry babe is above getting picked up by a dinosaur bird and being picked apart 200 feet above the ground by that monster's compadres.  Happens.  A horde of pterodactyls hover over England, hence bad things are going to happen...especially to the nubile among us.  Enter our buddies at Jagged Edge Productions as they give us 2022's "Pterodactyl," directed by Sophie Storm K.

Babes, Lyn (Danielle Scott) and Saskia (Chelsea Greenwood) are hiking in the U.K. countryside... Saskia gets ripped into little pieces and eaten by pterodactyls.  Lyn is sad and scared and runs off.  Meanwhile, Dee (Sarah Alexandra Marks) is worried that her sister, Lyn, has not contacted her.  She convinces her babe friends, Lucy (Chrissie Wunna), Carla (Sarah T. Cohen), and Betsy (Mary Kelly) to go with her to the countryside and search for her.  The friends hesitantly agree...mistake.  Once there, it is apparent that the little town is keeping a secret.  The babes go into the countryside and begin searching.  Another mistake.

The angry dinosaur birds are happy as a buffet line seems to have come to them.  The pretty will fall in bloody fashion as the birds go through them like crap through a goose.  Now Dee and her surviving (uneaten) buddies must outsmart the birds in their search for Lyn.  Lyn?  She's alive...and toughened up as she has learned survival skills the hard way.  Uh oh...the birds aren't the only problem for the remaining nubiles.  The town constable and innkeeper (Rob Kirtley and Darrell Griggs) are bent on keeping the pterodactyls secret.  They are determined to keep these monsters secret even if it means killing the babes, themselves. 

Just why do the townsfolk desire to keep the monsters a secret?  Will Lyn, Dee, and any surviving babe have a chance at surviving until the end credits?  Will one of this blog's favorite actresses (Chrissie Wunna) survive or be monsters?  This one has a lot of cheese, and some really neat bird monsters.  For a terrific creature feature from the U.K., see "Pterodactyl."

Friday, September 22, 2023

Candy Land, Truck Stop Carnage

Not the feel good movie of the 21st century...nope.  You'll figure out early on that this one won't end well...hehehe, you have no idea. Prurient, bloody, and filled with disturbing imagery...many of you will regret having put this one on.  Still, this is a horror story that is horrific.  Depravity and delusion will rule. No one in this film is beyond getting slashed and gutted.  Today we look at 2022's "Candy Land," directed by John Swab.

Lot lizards!  The "ladies" who work truck stops servicing exhausted truckers.  Call them prostitutes if you must.  Sadie (Sam Quartin) seems to be the one with the most standing. As our film opens, she is servicing an eager trucker in his cab.  Her buddies include the male-whore Levi (Owen Campbell) and the playful Riley (Eden Brolin).  They are all deviant and also "service" one another. Uh oh...a troop of gospel preachers show up.  They appear to be a family. A fire and brimstone preacher, Theo (Brad Carter), gives them gospel tracts and begs them to repent.  The lizards laugh at him. Theo's daughter, Remy (Olivia Luccardi) doesn't laugh...she seems intrigued by these sexual sinners. That night, Remy appears to have run away from her family (cult?) and has showed up at the lizards' hotel.  The gals take her in and she is hired.

Now Remy is schooled in prostitution and given clients.  The gals like her.  The corpses begin piling up at this point.  See, Remy has brought with her a big cross with a big knife secreted inside.  Remy sees herself as the savior of these girls and the evil truckers who hire the gals.  She saves them through gutting them and slicing their throats. One by one, truckers are cut up.  The lot lizards have no clue...then one by one, they begin dying horribly. Remy's brand of salvation is quick and bloody.  The body count explodes upwards through the second half of this film.  Now, having tasted blood, and made so many new friends, Remy ramps up her efforts to "purify" all of them.

Will any of the lot lizards figure out what exactly Remy is before all of them die?  What is Remy's end game?  Will we see anymore of Theo and his cult before the end credits?  What an ending.  Just when you thought it could not get bloodier...well, you'll see. Not for the squeamish, and not for anyone wanting some wit, humor, and stress relief in their horror films.  Brutal and ominous, see "Candy Land" if you dare...but you were warned.  

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

I Need Me Gold! by B. Harrison Smith, Literature Review

Yeah right...Jennifer Anniston, Jennifer Anniston, Jennifer Anniston!  Fine...I said it. The 1992 movie "Leprechaun" was her first movie, made before she was Jennifer Anniston. Begrudgingly, we must give Telly Savalas' goddaughter credit for helping boost modern day interest in this horror film.  In reality, thanks to B. Harrison Smith, we know "Leprechaun" was much more than that. The legitimately Indie and low-budget film is an anthem to hard work, taking risks, and a most entertaining horror film.  Jennifer Anniston aside, the heroes in Mr. Harrison's tome are guys like Mark Jones, Mark Holton, and Warwick Davis.  An anthem to the little guy...pun gratuitously intended. Today we look at Mr. Smith's book I Need Me Gold! By the way, this book is available on Amazon at this link I NEED ME GOLD   

I am biased, I loved "Leprechaun," and all its sequels...even the one in outer space.  Mr. Smith has to remind us exactly what "Leprechaun" was and why it is so significant.  The 80s were over.  The golden age of slasher horror gave way to the 90s.  The 90s were ushering in video stores, straight to VHS, and cable and the beginning of the end to a medium that would have been more fitting to its release (slasher films in the theater).  "Leprechaun" would have to succeed on its own merits and not the public's expectation for a weekend release of the latest slasher film.  Mark Jones (director) would take a chance and sell his idea.  A hard sell.  A sell to an industry not thirsting for this horror.  He'd have to go toe-to-toe with execs bent on micromanaging his effort, getting rid of him, and exploiting young talent.

Not a nobody, but quite capable, Mr. Jones had a good name in Hollywood...not as a director, though. He'd have to play studio bigwigs against each other, take a lot of risks, sell the film to some very talented stars (Ms. Anniston and Warwick Davis, and Mr. Holton).  Thanks to Mr. Smith, we see how Mr. Jones did that keeping true to his dream, not selling out, and refusing to betray or exploit some fine young actors and actresses.  Ms. Anniston, at the time was merely a sweet nobody, was ripe for exploitation...and Mr. Jones would not have that.  What happened during filming was quite heroic...and a fine horror film that grew into a franchise was born.  Read this book and see a very unlikely story.  The good guys won...a rarity in today's movie industry.  "Leprechaun" may be the feel good story of 1992.

This book is required reading for all you youngsters desiring to make films.  Warning...Mr. Smith (an accomplished moviemaker, himself) might preach something you don't want to hear...hard work.  The luck of the Irish seems a lot more prevalent when you work hard.  Take Mr. Smith's advice...dream away...and work hard. You'll see no one trashed, a rarity in books about film and filmmakers.  Mr. Smith treats everyone with respect and refreshing.  Read I Need Me Gold! today and then go find "Leprechaun" on VHS (okay, fine, DVD).