Friday, April 29, 2016

Amsterdamned, Slasher in the Canals

From The Netherlands, 1988's "Amsterdamned." Beautifully filmed in Amsterdam, utilizing the canals, this slasher film has the best motorboat chase ever put on film, and some of the goriest kills ever put in European slasher films.  The scene where the bikini babe gets knifed, north to south, will stick with you long after the end credits roll. Great acting and brilliant direction by Dick Maas, discerning slasher film fans may think they have solved the mystery of the killer's identity, but they will constantly have to reassess.
A fiend swimming through the Amsterdam canals in SCUBA gear finds various victims to butcher. The first killing is a prostitute, and he doesn't only murder her....he creates a gory show for some unsuspecting tourists (see picture above). The murders get gorier, as two men in a boat checking leaks in sewer pipes are cut to pieces by our fiend.  Amsterdam's best detective, Eric (Huub Stapel) is on the case.  The killings, however, continue at a furious pace, and our maniac gets bolder.  As the mayor worries about tourism dollars ebbing, a beautiful blonde in a bikini and inflatable raft is cut in two in broad daylight.  Now our crime spree is making international news.  Eric is a good detective and he is getting closer.  Unfortunately, time is not on Eric's side, and the murders begin hitting closer to home.
Oh yes, Eric develops a love interest, the sultry Laura (Monique van der Ven).  Laura is a widow with a weird psychiatrist (....mmmm, possible suspect?).  As he and Laura get closer, and engage in pre-marital sex, our SCUBA monster goes through the Dutch like crap through a goose.  After Eric spots the SCUBA clad fiend, he engages in boat chase that goes through the canals (...and streets!) of Amsterdam.  This chase will leave both our protagonist, and antagonist bloodied, and expose Laura to a horrific vulnerability.  Who is our psycho?  Will it ever be safe to sunbathe in canals again?
This film works well as a mystery and horror piece, but be warned, the ending is right out of the horror genre.  This film will have you wincing, and the gore is piled pretty high.  The ending is horrifying, and we generally care about Eric, Laura, and their plight.  Available in good quality on YouTube,  pour yourself a Heineken and check out "Amsterdamned."

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Navy SEALs vs. Zombies, The Zombie Apocalypse and the NBA

Okay, this film, 2015's "Navy SEALs vs. Zombies" is on Netflix as "Navy SEALs: The Battle of New Orleans." The problem with that title is that this film is set in Baton Rouge, with no mention of the Big Easy.  Now that we are past that flaw, let us examine the latest zombie apocalypse movie.  Yeah, straight to DVD quality, but we do have a zombie film that doesn't turn into a soap opera, some hunk Navy SEALs, and a perky damsel in distress.  Oh yes, former Laker and Celtic, Rick Fox as a very tall Vice President.  I should say, in this time where no candidates are looking too presidential, Mr. Fox seemed to have the appropriate stagger for a run at the White House.
Navy SEALs
The Vice President (Fox) is in Baton Rouge just as the zombie apocalypse begins.  This outbreak is localized to the Louisiana capital, but the V.P. is holed up in the capitol building with his staff and a babe reporter, Amanda (Stephanie Honore).  A Navy SEAL team is mobilized and sent in to recover the V.P. The team is led by Lt. Cunningham (Ed Quinn), and has a new member, A.J. (Damon Lipari). The SEALs reach the V.P., but the entire city is now made up of fast moving zombies.
Zombie driving a car
Uh oh, the SEAL mission has just gotten more complicated. hence the real reason for Rick Fox' visit. There is a super secret CIA lab a mile from the capital building and the scientists in it are working on a cure for the outbreak. Now the SEALs must not only save Rick Fox' political future, but also rescue the scientists and their experiments.  Evacuating survivors is job one, and the VP is put on a chopper. However, Amanda sees her chance to break the big story and elects to stay in Baton Rouge in order to get the scoop of a lifetime...if she survives.  Will our SEALs complete their mission, and also emerge from this mission fully alive?  Will the outbreak be contained to Baton Rouge, and if so, what of the future of Baton Rouge?
This film not only stars a veteran of the NBA, but the Director, Stanton Barrett, was a NASCAR driver.  In a totally unimportant thought by me, if showing up and looking good is 90% of the battle, perhaps we need to draft Rick Fox as a candidate.  Let's not get political, and enjoy this flawed but very entertaining zombie flick.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Prom Night, Disco vs. The Slasher

Slasher wins!  Jamie Lee Curtis cemented her status as an iconic scream queen after three films which came out in rapid succession: "Halloween," "Terror Train," and 1980's "Prom Night." As a fitting end to the Disco Era, "Prom Night" killed it off with an ax-wielding insaniac.  Though we see plenty of scenes that should've been in "Saturday Night Fever," "Prom Night" has all the elements of a gratuitous slasher film.
Six years ago, a little girls dies accidentally playing with her friends in an abandoned convent.  Her friends are too terrified to tell anyone, and the death is blamed on a known sex fiend.  The fiend is horribly burned in a police chase and sent to a nut house.  Present day, the friends are preparing for their high school's prom. Our 18 year old seniors, looking 25, still harbor their deadly secret.  Kim (Curtis) and Nick (Casey Stevens) will be king and queen of this affair.  Uh b#$%h Wendy (Anne-Marie Martin) is sore about losing Nick to Kim and has a Carrie-like plan for revenge.  Uh oh, again....the burned lunatic has escaped from the asylum in murderous fashion and is headed to town.  Enter an ominous plot device, all the witnesses to the death six years ago are receiving threatening phone calls.
As our kids get all dolled up, Jude (Joy Thompson) reveals she will lose her virginity on prom night...or maybe that was Kelly (Mary Beth Rubens).  The night arrives and our protagonists engage in drugs and pre-marital sex...can you guess their eventual fates?  Kim and Nick are clean cut, which gives us hope for their survival  As our seniors start falling in most gory ways, Kim and Nick prepare for their coronation as king and queen.  The most sultry among them, Wendy, in a red sequins gown prepares a rude awakening for them.  Will Wendy or the maniac get to them first?  Unfortunately for Wendy, the more b@#$&y and skanky...the gorier the death.
A morality tale all the way, preaching against illegal drugs, pre-marital sex, and Disco.  Plenty of suspects abound, though the mystery aspect is not the big draw to this film.  The final half hour is classic, with lots of wise-guy hunks and beautiful damsels assuming room temperature.  Leslie Nielsen appears as the principal in a non-comedic role.  Available on YouTube, watch "Prom Night."

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Estranged, This one will bring you down...

Springtime! Flowers in bloom. Love is in the air.  Feeling good?  Too bad, we can't have that.  If you keep being optimistic and happy, you'll lose your friends....hence 2015's "Estranged."  This film will chase all the happy feelings away.  A continuous downward spiral into creepiness and insanity is our feature today.  Directed by Adam Levins, and featuring the weirdest characters of the year, this is definitely not the feel good film of the millennium.
Okay, here goes....just a fraction of the plot to avoid spoilers.  January (Amy Manson) is involved in a horrible motorbike accident when her boyfriend, Callum (Simon Quarterman) crashes it into oncoming traffic in Brazil.  Her memory is gone and she needs to learn to walk again.  Callum brings her back to her estranged family in a run-down rural English estate.  Her "family" hasn't seen her in six years, when the free-spirit left the nest, shall we say.  The reunion is an awkward one, as she has no memory of them.  Ahhhh, but they remember her.  Lucky for them, she has no memories.
 Albert (James Cosmo) is her dad, a burly man who looks as if he strangles puppies.  Her mom (Eileen Nichols) is a loon.  Her brother Laurence (James Lance) is a perv.  Her sister Katherine (Nora-Jane Noone) would be cute if she wasn't deformed. But wait!  Are they really her family? The butler (Craig Conway) seems to have the answers but he is tight lipped.  Uh oh...Callum is missing and now January must convalesce with only the help of her weirdo kinfolk. As she puts two and two together, January realizes something isn't right, and her apparent family have something horrible in store for her.  Horrible may be an'll see.
Are these weirdos really January's family?  Is January as whacked-out as they are?  Is this family unit just a provocative metaphor for the ever decreasing role of the nuclear family in this 21st century?  Again, be warned....this film is ominous and isn't afraid of the taboo.  Sure to bring rain, kill the flowers, and dampen frisky moods, "Estranged" is available on Netflix.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Anguish, The Exorcist-Lite

Perhaps a creepy ghost story.  Or maybe an ominous tale of demonic possession.  Or more scientifically, is this a twisted tale of a journey into the mind of a young girl struck with Dissociative Identity Disorder? 2015's "Anguish," based on true events is heavy on the creepy, and our beset protagonist is a spitting image of a young Linda Blair.  In fact, much of this film will remind you of segments of "The Exorcist," and maybe a little of "The Evil Dead."
Teenager Lucy (Amberley Gridley) is mowed down on the road as her mother, Sarah (Karina Logue), helplessly looks on.  Not far away, Jessica (Annika Marks) is dealing with her teenage daughter, Tess (Ryan Simpkins).  Jessica's husband is stationed in the middle-east and she has her hands full. Tess is heavily medicated for all sorts of disorders, such as anxiety, depression, and disruptive behavior disorder.  One day, Tess comes across a roadside memorial to Lucy....and something happens.  It's as if a part of Lucy has entered Tess, and Tess seems to be able to sense Lucy's demise.
Tess begins acting weird (an understatement), as the spirit of Lucy seems to be pursuing her.  When her priest, Father Meyers (Ryan O'Nan) visits Lucy in a psyche ward, he is convinced a demon has taken residence inside her.  Having no knowledge of Lucy, before, Tess is drawn to Lucy's mom. Soon, Tess has apparently been completely taken over by Lucy.  Bad news for Lucy, her mom desires her to move on and find rest.  Bad news for Tess' Mom, Jessica.....Tess is not eager to return.  Is Tess' problem medical?  Is Father Meyer's suggestion of an exorcism a prudent one?  Can Lucy stay, and if so, what will become of Tess?  As much as this is a film about Tess, the plight of Sarah and Jessica is also key to this heartbreaking plot.
Ominous and creepy to the max, "Anguish" is intense and without humor.  Fear not, many of the questions above are answered, though the ending may also be the beginning of another story.  Available on Netflix, and nicely directed by Sonny Mallhi, see "Anguish."

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Long Gone, Missing Woman Carnage

Gory, scary, and shot in ominous location in Northumberland (U.K.), we will soon be able to enjoy the short horror film, "Long Gone." After 25 years in law enforcement, I can tell you that nothing keeps a cop up at night more than a missing person or kidnapping case.  We know the stats...if not found in the first ain't good.  I've been in touch with Dan Douglas, the Director, and he is excited about "Long Gone."  He has assembled a terrific and well experienced cast, and secured some really creepy locations. Stay tuned for details regarding a Kickstarter campaign that you may join in order to be a part of this production.
Much of the plot is still secret, but we do know the story will center around a missing local businesswoman.  Local police are baffled and cops working on the case also begin disappearing.  After a year, the search continues in the woods of Northumberland.  Promotional materials for this film hint at an ax-wielding madman.....can that plot device possibly go wrong?  Mr. Douglas also promises gore and scares....he definitely has no love for romantic comedies.  My imagination is already racing.  Who is this missing woman, exactly?  What evil lurks in the woods? Are we better served by letting some mysteries, stay mysteries?
The answers to the above questions will eventually be answered.  Unlike our federal government, Mr. Douglas and Producer Kate McCheyne have put together a campaign that respects our finances. Runaway spending in Hollywood has produced many disastrous and pathetic films, while film makers like Mr. Douglas and Ms. McCheyne have ran with an idea, sold it to a talented and experienced cast, and are now asking for some minimal support.  The campaign seeks less than $4,000 U.S. dollars, and has already attracted many horror fans.  To learn more about "Long Gone" and it's Kickstarter campaign click on this link Long-Gone

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Night of the Wild, Fifi becomes Lucifer

Those who despise made for Syfy films by The Asylum, will hate 2015's "Night of the Wild." That's fine, so all those, like me, who love the stuff...stay tuned. Perhaps many will compare this film to "Day of the Animals," but a more accurate description may be, this is Syfy's remake of Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds." Instead of macaws and crows...we have Fifi, Fido, and Spot....or more accurately, Lucifer, Satan, and Killer.
Plot? Here goes. A glowing green meteor breaks up and scatters around a small rural town.  Bad news, everyone in the town has a dog..or two.  That may not seem like bad news, but whatever is emanating from this space rock causes all the dogs to go totally psycho.  Our protagonists are Dave (Rob Morrow), his wife Sara (Kelly Rutherford), and their two daughters, Rosalyn (Tristin Mays) and Danielle (Carmen Tonry).  As the dogs begin going spastic, Rosalyn is camping with two friends (dog food), Pia (Mary Risener) and Alice (Mary Katherine O'Donnell).  Soon, Rosalyn is fending for herself and must avoid our canine fiends and panicked rednecks in an attempt to reach her family.
Meanwhile, Rob supervises some apple pickers and the dogs are converging on them.  Sara and Danielle have there own problems as they wander into town to see some amazing carnage.  Warning, the gore in this film is piled high and much of the imagery is disturbing.  We see little toy dogs eat the faces off their owners, and packs of dogs feasting like the walkers do in "The Walking Dead." Despite being a Syfy film, this is ominous and at no time playful, as evidenced when a very pregnant woman is pureed by dog teeth inside a phone booth.  As our family desperately tries to get back together, the town around them is absolutely overrun by these beasts.
Is this carnage isolated or has it overrun the planet?  Were any animals harmed during the making of this film? Tristin Mays emerges as the star and she is fantastic.  Direted by Eric Red and filmed near New Orleans, "Night of the Wild" is available on Netflix.  For those of you who enjoy lots and lots of gore, and more gore.....this is a film for you.  

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Hush, The Crossbow is Mightier than the iPhone

Not an entirely original plot, a helpless deaf-mute babe beset by a psychopath, but an appealing tale, nonetheless.  Throw in an isolated cabin in the woods and we have a classic theme that never gets least to me.  The first few minutes of this film, by way of warning, is heavy on Apple product placements.  It's as if without Apple products, deaf-mutes would be helpless.  No worries, though, our fiend will go through Apple devices like crap through a goose.  So let us take a peek at 2016's "Hush."
Maddie (Kate Siegel) is a beautiful writer who lost her hearing and voice to meningitis as a teen.  As our film begins we realize that she is extremely intelligent and resourceful...which will be handy when the obligatory psycho enters.  Having just dumped a boyfriend, she is concentrating on her next novel.  Uh oh....a homicidal, crossbow-wielding twerp (John Gallagher, Jr.) enters our plot.  At first, he guts Maddie's friend and neighbor just outside Maddie's door.  Maddie did not hear the carnage, and now Mr. Evil knows he has a deaf babe as his next prey.
After knocking out her power, and rendering her Mac and iPhone useless, he appears to Maddie clad in a mask.  However frightened our protagonist is, she immediately goes into survival mode. Believing he has the upper hand on a handicapped woman, our madman could not be more wrong.  Eventually, Maddie will realize that escape and hiding are not possibilities, leaving her one become a killer, herself.  The final 20 minutes has this film's intensity cranked up a few levels, not only in action and scares...but also in gore.
Will Maddie's new attitude be enough to overcome her murderous tormentor?  Would Galaxy products, in this situation, have been more suited to deal with the Jason Voorhees-type peeps we inevitably come across in our daily lives?  Available on Netflix, brilliantly directed by Mike Flanagan, check out "Hush," a spirited slasher film.  Another word of warning, however tame this film starts off, the blood will be spurting (Japanese style) by the time the end credits role.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Fiend Without a Face, Brains!

Ahhh, Manitoba!  Where the men are men and the moose...well....are a hockey team.  Today we look at a film set in Manitoba (filmed in England), "Fiend Without a Face" from 1958.  Originally Rated X in Britain (Prudes!), our movie today has slimy brain creatures and a beautiful damsel in distress (almost a gratuitous shower scene), atomic and radioactive scares, and some great clay-mation and stop-motion f/x.
The U.S. Air Force has set up a base in northern Manitoba where radar, boosted with atomic power, can keep an eye on Russian guided missiles.  Uh oh, the locals (judgmental Canucks!) are mad.  They believe the air traffic and atomic activity is hampering their milk cows. But wait, local farmers living near the base start dying. The farmers are convinced a mad G.I is responsible, but Major Cummings (Marshall Thompson) knows that isn't the case.  As the atomic activity increases, more residents assume room temperature,  Cummings is assisted by the shapely Barbara (Kim Parker), who's brother is one of the deceased.
Cummings must find out what is killing the Canucks before they shut down the base.  Cummings is introduced to Professor Walgate (Kynaston Reeves), an eccentric old chap experimenting on mind control and atomic activity (something we've all dabbled in at one time or another).  When Cummings catches Walgate breaking into a cemetery crypt (we've all done that at one time or another), he realizes that the weird professor has created something monstrous.  When the creatures do appear, they are indeed icky and scary and put the fair Barbara in much peril.  Can the good Major save Canada from a most gruesome fate?  Can his heroism get him Manitoba's only pretty woman? I'm only kidding, Manitoba is filled with sultry babes.
This is a classic B movie from the 1950s.  It capitalized on everyone's fear of radiation and atomic power.  A mad scientist is thrown in, some grave robbing, and great monsters....Perfect!  Available in great quality on YouTube, see "Fiend Without a Face."

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Prophecy, A New Look at a 1970s Disappointment

1979's "Prophecy" opened as a can't miss horror film....then missed badly. In it's favor, this monster film was directed by the great John Frankenheimer (The Train, French Connection 2), starred Talia Shire (Rocky, The Godfather), and was written by David Seltzer (The Omen).  The undoing? The creature looked like a giant, melting ice cream sundae, the characters were not likable, and the preachy nature of "Prophecy" turned off movie audiences looking for a diversion to the President Carter Era malaise.
A paper mill is dumping mercury into the Maine rivers causing mutations and poisoning the Indian population.  Rob (Robert Foxworth) is an idealistic doctor sent there by the EPA to assess the environmental impact of the mill on the forest. Rob is very grouchy, perhaps because Talia Shire is cast as his wife Maggie, and not Cheryl Ladd.   Maggie has morning sickness throughout the entire film.  After meeting Isely (Richard Dysart), the paper mill boss, he meets angry Indians (the film's term, not mine) lead by John Hawkes (a very European Armand Assante).  Later in the film, when Hawkes goes after the creature with a bow and's almost too much.
As the Indians battle the paper mill goons, Rob yells at everyone and our monster appears, gooey and tall.  Futile points regarding respecting nature and poisoning native peoples are referred to, usually yelled out by Rob.  The mega- hot fudge sundae goes through the characters like crap through a goose, and our warring parties must get along to survive.  Oh yes, pregnant Maggie has been drinking the poisoned water....will her newborn be a mutant?
A huge disappointment to audiences remembering "The Omen" and earlier Frankenheimer films, "Prophecy" was quickly forgotten about.  However, in 2016, this film has an appeal which can be a lot of fun.  Watch this movie with two friends and treat it as the films of "Mystery Science Theater 3000." The intentions of "Prophecy" may have been noble, but were horribly carried out.  Though not intended, a modern viewing will provide lots of laughs. "Prophecy" is available in great quality on YouTube.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Barb Wire, What Casablanca should've been

I know!  "Casablanca" will always go down as a near miss on the list of greatest films of all time.  Most critics agree that Ingrid Bergman was too frumpy and there needed to be a couple of exotic dance scenes to make that film a classic.  Hence we look at 1996's "BarbWire."  The 1990s were a decade made for Pamela Anderson and "Baywatch."  Though, neither survived that decade, it was part of America's playful identity for so many years.  A remake of "Casablanca," this time with no frumpiness and lots of gratuitous dances and nudity, is also part of Ms. Anderson's 1990s legacy.
During America's next civil war (in the year 2019), Steel City is the last bastion of freedom...more like anarchy.  Barb Wire, a part time bounty hunter/mercenary, runs a seedy night club.  As the film opens, she poses as an exotic dancer in order to capture a wanted one of the most steamiest scenes of the 1990s. Usually clad in revealing, tight leather costumes, always heavily armed, and with lots of attitude, she is neutral in the civil war, looking out for herself.  The evil, new government sends Col. Pryzer (Steve Railsback) into Steel City to capture some traitorous insurgents.
 Unbeknownst to Barb, one of them is her old beau, Axle (Temuera Morrison), who mysteriously disappeared from her life during the battle of Seattle (don't ask).  Axle is now married to fellow insurgent, Cora (Victoria Rowell), and together, they seek to flee to Canada and keep fighting.  A ticked off, and jealous Barb is the only soul who can help them, as her neutrality has produced many contacts.  Her love for Axle has turned to hatred.  Will she act out on her hatred and turn Axle, and his new love, into the tyrannical authorities?  Or does she still have a spark for him?  We suspect she still loves him as she lets him see her in a bubble bath, all naked and wet and.....well...never mind.
Lots of explosions, gunfights, torture, nudity, and fighting abound.  All of this gratuity includes an either leather clad Barb....or a nude Barb.  Steve Railsback is terrific as the Nazi like colonel, and Ms. Anderson is perfect for this role.  So, for those of you who have no patience for a frumpy Ingrid Bergman....enjoy "Barb Wire" and all it's gratuity.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Rigor Mortis, Rent Control Demon Style

....creepy kids in long dark hallways....dripping water....the number four.... Yep! We look at an Asian horror film today.  From Hong Kong, 2013's "Rigor Mortis" (aka "Geung Si") Designed to make you uncomfortable and send you to bed with the willies, our feature today is an icky ghost story set in a dilapidated apartment building.  Vampires, evil ghost twins, curses, and martial arts...however deep this horror flick is, it contains something that will please any fan of the Asian horror sub-genre.
Chin (Siu-Ho Chin), a former heart-throb actor, moves into apartment 2442 in a run down tenement building.  It should be pointed out that in the Chinese culture, the number 2442 is what either 666 or 1313 are in American culture.  Whether in deep grief over the loss of his family....or perhaps possessed by evil spirits dwelling in his flat, he hangs himself.  Yao (Anthony Chan), who operates a dive restaurant on the first floor, then busts into the apartment and saves Chin.  How did Yau know what Chin was doing? Yau is no ordinary cook....see...when the vampires were all killed off, the vampire hunters became cooks.  But have all the vampires been killed off?
Apartment 2442 has a macabre history and one might say is a portal to evil places.  Feng  (Kara Hui) formerly lived there...until...well, you'll see.  Now Feng is reduced to a frightened crazy woman roaming the halls with her creepy albino son.  Oh yes, Auntie Mui (Hee Ching Paw) is a neighbor.  When her husband  dies (...or is murdered), she will do anything to bring him back...and return he does, as something else.  Mui's efforts to bring her hubbie back also conjure up the evil ghost twins. Wait! Let's stop here. This is a complicated plot where a lot is thrown at you, usually in gory fashion. Suffice it to say, you'll stay with it and enjoy a neat and heavy ghost tale. The ending will be epic as Feng and Chin, with Yau's help will take on a horrific evil.
Directed by Juno Mak, virtually every image in this film is haunting.  No comic safe harbors between scares, just an ominous drum-beat of will love it!  In this ominous film, will forces of good overcome the evil that soaks this building?  Will social services in Hong Kong round up the creepy kids and send them to school?  Available on Netflix, enjoy "Rigor Mortis."

Thursday, April 7, 2016

VANish, An Abduction Gore-Fest

A couple of months ago we looked at Kidnapping Mr. Heineken in which some amateurs actually pulled off a brilliant kidnapping.  Today, we examine 2015's "VANish" in which some amateurs see their kidnapping plot blow up in bright red gore. In a most energetic film, we'll see shotgun carnage, electric saw carnage, ice-pick carnage, and machete carnage (which is appropriate because DANNY TREJO is in this film).
The film opens with the violent abduction of two lovers on Mulholland Drive....but that's not the kidnapping that concerns us right now.  Jack (Austin Abke) and Max (Bryan Bockbrader, who also directs) look like two goons out of a Quentin Tarantino film as they drive a van and violently abduct Emma (Maiara Walsh).  Of course their maxim "no one gets hurt" is totally disregarded.  Who is Emma? A college student/waitress...oh yeah, the daughter of a Mexican Cartel leader (Trejo). Though Max appears psycho enough, we sense these two bozos don't realize what they have gotten themselves into.  After the abduction, Jack swings by Shane's (Adam Guthrie) place and now the kidnappers total three in number.
Emma is sassy and apparently a lot smarter than her tormentors.  Her dad is pure evil and begins tracking the trio.  But wait!  Is this really a kidnapping for ransom?  When two cartel hit-men make a move on our gang, we sense that our trio are more evil and equipped than we gave them credit. Of the three Max seems the most psycho...but is he?  First impressions may be deceiving.  Emma clearly is not a helpless damsel in distress....but is she more homicidal than her captors?  This film runs only 79 minutes, so giving away too much of the plot would lead to spoilers.
Uneven, quirky, and fast-paced, "VANish" moves at a rapid rate throwing plenty of twists at us.  Every character in this work has the potential to go total-insaniac at the snap of a severed finger.  Who is controlling the van ride, the kidnappers or Emma?  What of that abduction that opened the film?  The moral of the story?  Just because your gal  is an Applebee's waitress living off her dad's money, doesn't mean that she won't cut you in half if you begin to bore her.....or something like that. Available on Netflix,  see "VANish."

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Little Dead Rotting Hood, Swords, Flame-Throwers and Werewolves

From our buddies at The Asylum....2016's "Little Dead Rotting Hood." This film will be severely maligned, but if a sultry, red-caped, zombie-babe with fangs and a sword taking on a 15 foot CGI werewolf sounds appealing to you, perhaps this film is worth a look.  Throw in a really neat flame-thrower, lots of shotguns, ancient prophecies, and lots of hormonal college kids being shredded for pre-marital sex, and we are in business....oh yes....lots of werewolves.
Leaving out so many important details, suffice it to say Samantha (Bianca A. Santos) is mauled to death by a wolf...then reborn as a guardian against evil shape-shifters (werewolves). Just in time, as a pack of wolves....werewolves actually...descend on Stillwater, Pennsylvania.  Sheriff Adam (Eric Balfour) starts responding to townspeople being eaten by wolves.  Soon, Adam realizes his town has quite a problem and the Pennsylvania State Police arrive to help....big deal! Adam also searches for Samantha, who is listed as missing, and her BF, Danny (Romeo Miller) also searches.  Unbeknownst to Adam and Danny, Samantha is merely getting used to her new role in the defend humans against evil shape-shifters.
 Also converging on Stillwater is an evil shape-shifter, Becky (Amy Argyle) and her minions.  As Adam takes a posse out looking for a lone wolf responsible for killing great looking college kids, but the hunt doesn't go as planned.  Realizing that his guns and posses are ineffective against the pack, Adam is desperate for strategies to save his town.  With Danny's help, Samantha learns to use her new powers, but she appears to be out-sized by the den-mother werewolf.  All out war will ensue, and the survival of Pennsylvania may just depend on Samantha getting proficient with her sword and new attitude.
Will the inexperienced new guardian, Samantha, be able to overcome a learning curve and defeat a pack of 15 foot werewolves?  Did the increasing immorality of today's college kids lead to this predicament? Is a Freudian version of a classic children's tale more suitable to the modern Common Core curriculum? Fans of films from The Asylum and the Syfy Channel will love "Little Dead Rotting Hood."  Available on Netflix, enjoy this monster movie.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Uncaged, The Werewolf and the Frat Boys

2016's "Uncaged" is, what we'll call, a minor werewolf film.  Hardly on the scale of "An American Werewolf in London," but most enjoyable, nonetheless. Small budget and diminutive special f/x, this indie impresses with fantastic acting, a nice story, and great direction by Daniel Robbins. In what, at first glance, may seem like a minor monster movie, what we actually have is a few different plot elements meshed, and finally meeting in a bloody finale.
Okay, 12 years ago Jack's (Ben Getz) parents are killed...or murdered...or something.  Well you'll see, but it wasn't what it originally seemed.  Present day, Jack and his two fraternity brothers, Turner (Kyle Kirkpatrick) and Brandon (Zack Weiner) answer a mysterious invitation to spend a week at Jack's uncle's rustic cabin.  Brandon is a geek, destined to be a virgin forever, and Turner is quite the sexual conqueror.  Uh oh...Jack begins waking up naked in the middle of the woods with no recollection of how he got there. Brilliant idea! Jack goes to bed with a GoPro,and this time he is able to see what brought him into the woods.  Double uh oh....the GoPro captures Jack, as a monster, ripping apart a poor schmuck and chasing the sap's date.
Turns out, the date is Rose (Pauline Singer), who was cheating on her husband with aforementioned schmuck.  Yep, Jack and Rose will turn sweet on each other which will have complications.  See, Rose's husband is some sort of gangland thug who loves killing puppies. Gonzo (Garrett Hendricks) is a sadistic S.O.B. who gets off on torture and power.  He suspects Jack is moving in on his girl and he sets his evil eyes on our protagonist/monster.  Meanwhile, as Turner is figuring out that his buddy is a werewolf, he finds his own woman, the sultry Crystal (Michelle Cameron), and the two engage in pre-marital sex...can you guess Crystal's fate?  For Jack to understand what is happening to him, he needs answers from his past, 12 years ago.  No dice, by a quirk of fate, Turner accidentally ends that possibility. As Rose asks Jack to kill Gonzo, she has no idea how equipped Jack is to do just that.
Will Jack eliminate Gonzo and run off with the pretty Rose?  Will the immaturity of Brandon and Turner ruin a happy ending for Jack?  Just what are those secrets from 12 years ago that put Jack's fate into motion?  This low budget, indie film is worth a look and is available on Netflix.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Zombie Fight Club, Buxom Asian Women Chased by Zombies

...actually, beautiful, sweaty, buxom, underwear clad Asian babes chased, and usually eaten by zombies!  Do you really need to know anymore?  Made and set in Taipei....2014's "Zombie Fight Club." Bad CGI, even worse dubbing, but a really fun film.  Classic lines galore, for example; when a drug dealer kills an Asian-babe zombie who just so happens to be eating his brother, he yells to her, "He may be chubby, but he's my brother." Unlike many of modern zombie films, this one remains a zombie film without trying to be a soap opera with zombies in the background.
 Plot? Okay, if you insist. As our film begins, we are introduced to several stories in an apartment building. A kidnapping.  An orgy of drug dealers and their babes (soon to be zombie babes). A kindly old professor hosting a birthday party for his hot daughter and her equally hot girlfriends.  A SWAT team on the way to rip-off the druggies.  Oh yeah...a very sudden zombie outbreak.  In the first 15 minutes we grab onto (figuratively) a beautiful courier-girl (Sharon Hsu)...soon to be clad in only her underwear as she weaves in and out of zombies during the outbreak.  Sadly....she doesn't make it.  What prevails is Jenny (Jessica C, aka Jessica Cambensy), a surviving gal from the orgy who teams up with the only good cop, Andy (Andy On).  Also surviving is the Professor Wu (Jack Kao), who turns evil, very soon.
Second half....a year later. Andy and Jenny are captives in an underground empire in which Wu rules. He pits surviving humans against zombies for sport.  He has special plans for Jenny which include having his leather bikini clad concubines rape her.  Jenny's fate will be unimaginable if Andy doesn't escape and help her.  Oh yes...Wu has a daughter (Abby Fung).  The no longer pretty, no longer sweet Nana.  She is now a zombie but Wu won't accept that fact.  What is in store for Jenny, pictured in both photos above?  Will Andy and Jenny find happiness in the post-zombie apocalypse?
If the first sentence of this blog entry doesn't excite you...either will this film.  However, if the increasing soap opera nature of today's zombie films has you ready to give up on the will think this a fun film.  Directed by Joe Chien, "Zombie Fight Club" was made to enjoy, not to impress the artsy film fans at movie houses near college campuses.