Category Archives: Reviews

Doctor Death

surgeon1994THE SURGEON

2 Stars  1994/18/96m

“First Jason… Then Freddy… Finally, a professional.”

A.k.a. Exquisite Tenderness; Clinic

Director: Carl Schenkel / Writers: Patrick Cirillo & Bernard Slowe / Cast: Isabel Glasser, James Remar, Sean Haberle, Peter Boyle, Malcolm McDowell, Charles Dance, Beverly Todd, Charles Bailey Gates, Walter Olkewicz, Mother Love.

Body Count: 8

What a cast! How could it go wrong? It can’t …right?

A doctor secretly working on a breakthrough serum that would end physical suffering is fired for his experiments on the patients, goes mad, and returns to take revenge on the people responsible for shutting him down. It’s up to nosy docs Glasser and Remar to put a stop to the carnage before it’s too late.

Not too much going on in the way of thrills and there’s precious little slashing to be seen, plus the killer’s identity is revealed too soon into the movie, robbing it of a possible extra twist – and so we’re left with a slick but standardised medical thriller, the only original remaining plot feature of which is the killer’s ability to overcome his injuries by injecting himself with his own serum thus making him invincible. There’s also full frontal male nudity, courtesy of Dexter’s dad Remar.

As far as hospital slashers go, Cold Prey II and Halloween II are yet to be beat.

Blurbs-of-interest: McDowell later played Dr Loomis in Rob Zombie’s Halloween re-thingies, and was also the sheriff in Silent Night; Walter Olkewicz was in Milo.

Psychos. Zombies. Pakistan.

hells-groundHELL’S GROUND

3 Stars  2007/18/78m

Director/Writer: Omar Ali Khan / Writer: Pete Tombs / Cast: Rooshanie Ejaz, Rubya Chaudhry, Haider Raza, Kunwar Ali Roshan, Osman Khalid Butt, Najma Malik, Sultan Billa, Saleem Meraj.

Body Count: 8

Laughter Lines: “He’s a shit-sweeper’s son and always will be!”

In a similar way to Indian Bollywood slasher Kucch to Hai, Pakistan’s entry into the genre, by way of a zombie B-movie, is a derivative little gem of a flick, reminiscent of a forgotten American 80s cheapo.

A quintet of city kids lie to their parents in order to drive their minivan to a rock festival. Unfortunately, their route takes them into the countryside, where toxic waste has contaminated the water supply and turned the locals into flesh eating zombies, one of which takes a chunk out of one of the teens. They flee and, after taking aboard and soon tossing out an unhinged hitcher, eventually break down deeper in the woods and fall victim to a burka-disguised, mace-swinging psychopath. There’s an old woman who may or may not be involved and, as the teens split up for various reasons, numbers are whittled down to good-girl Ayesha, who is forced to resort to a brutal counter attack in order to survive…

The film, titled Zibahkhana, in Urdu (the actors speak a mix of their native tongue and English throughout) has interesting cartoon-still inserts that fill in for uncertain turns in the story. There’s a cameo appearance by actor Rehan, who played Dracula in Paskistan’s 1967 version of that story.

Not for those averse to foreign imitators, this is a colourful distraction from the norm, especially the likes of Western 2007 remakes and jump-cut trash.

Moves like dagger


1 Stars  1983/18/76m

“It took over 100 years… but the blade got even!”

Director/Writer: L. Scott Castillo Jr. / Writer: Thomas Cue / Cast: Tom Bongiorno, Stephanie Leigh Steel, Thomas Cue, Elisa R. Malinowitz, Janeen Lowe.

Body Count: 13

Justin Kerswell of Hysteria Lives! sent me a third-generation VHS copy of this film a long, long time ago (quite plausibly 100 years). In the days before DVD, second, third, fourth gen dupes of films that were very cheaply made in the first place and going from NTSC to PAL format weren’t always a pleasure to watch… Satan’s Blade may have come from Satan himself.

Holidaymakers spending their precious vacation time at a ski resort are informed of a local legend about a giant man, pissed off at the locals forcing him further and further up the mountain blah-centuries ago, and a recent murder at one of the cabins is scaring everyone into believing it all over again.

The first forty minutes is the usual meet-the-meat rubbish, with five girls in one cabin, and two couples next door: Sue’s moaning about her dead father, while walking bouffant Al is constantly hungry, and Stephanie flirts with Tony, whose wife thinks she’s not exciting enough for him. And boy is she right.

Cue shaky POV camera work and the killer offs four of the girls in less than two minutes before going after the happy couples and the final girl (who smokes and kisses married men – gasp!) Once the entire cast has been stabbed, there’s a summary explanation offered up to try and make some sense of it all: Anyone who picks up the titular skanky old knife is turned into a killer blah, blah, blah…

A horrible shrill piano soundtrack drowns out much of the dialogue, and sounds like it was ripped off of Blondie’s Call Me. Post final fade-out, the producers have the nerve to inform us that “The Legend Continues” but there’s no Satan’s Blade II just yet. But it waited 100 years before, look out people of 2083!

Good girl gone bad


2.5 Stars  1987/18/93m

“You can’t keep a bad girl down.”

A.k.a. The Haunting of Hamilton High

Director: Bruce Pittman / Writer: Ron Oliver / Cast: Michael Ironside, Wendy Lyon, Justin Louis, Lisa Schrage, Richard Monette, Terri Hawkes, Beverley Hendry, Brock Simpson, Beth Gondek.

Body Count: 6

Laughter Lines: “I tell you guys, she’s possessed: Linda Blairsville.”

Hello Mary Lou, goodbye heart goes the old song, and it’s quite apt in this case.

High school moniker aside, there’s nothing that links this Elm Street-snorting film with the 1980 revenge slasher, giving credence to the notion that it was originally intended to be a standalone affair.

Prom night. 1957. Hamilton High. Free n’ easy Mary Lou Maloney is caught by her date getting it on with another guy. Her jilted beau intends to humiliate her once she is crowned Queen of the Prom, but ends up setting her on fire in front of the whole school.

Thirty years later, mousy goody two shoes and prom queen hopeful Vicki (Lyon) unleashes Mary Lou’s vengeful spirit, which begins to turn her crazy in an attempt at full on possession to have the moment of prom glory she was robbed of. And, naturally, both of Mary Lou’s suitors have grown up to be the high school principal and the local priest respectively.

marylou1Meanwhile, Vicki’s friends slowly – very slowly – begin to fall victim to Mary Lou’s magical tantrums, including a girl squashed by lockers, electrocution via the most 80s of 80s school computers, and impalement by falling decor.

The Canadian 80s qualities shine through in a cheesy, endearing way, with plenty of day-glo, florescent lights, and beyond horrific fashion choices, underscored by one of Vicki’s friends telling her her fifties look is a crime against fashion. By this point, Mary Lou has somehow sucked her through a blackboard and possessed her completely – she makes out with her dad, throws her puritan mother through a door, and walks totally naked around the changing rooms stalking a friend in a weird pseudo lesbianic scene, fitfully culminating in the big prom finale that manages to channel both Carrie and Elm Street 2, as Mary Lou’s charred corpse literally busts its way out of Vicki.

marylou2Overall, the film goes through the motions of any possession opus, tossing in a handful of demises, crucially failing to ‘properly’ do away with the stock bitchy girl, who is summarily killed by a rod that falls from the ceiling at the dance, but at least it has some decent FX work and an interesting villain. Prom Night III: The Last Kiss sees the return of Mary Lou and wisely ups the laughs, resulting in a better film experience.

Blurbs-of-interest: Terri Hawkes was in Killer Party; Michael Ironside’s other slasher credits include Visiting Hours, American Nightmare, Children of the Corn: Revelation, Fallen Angels, and Reeker; Brock Simpson appears in all four Prom Night films in different roles.

“Dude, where’s my head?”

dude bro party massacre iii dvdDUDE BRO PARTY MASSACRE III

3 Stars  2015/102m

“Don’t let a bro see it alone.”

Directors/Writers: Tomm Jacobsen, Michael Rousselet, Jon Salmon / Writers: Alec Owen, Michael E. Peter, Ben Gigli, Timothy Ciancio, Joey Scoma, Mike James, Brian Firenzi / Cast: Alec Owen, Ben Gigli, Paul Prado, Kelsey Gunn, Brian Firenzi, Maria Del Carmen, Jimmy Wong, Mike James, Joey Scoma, Michael Rousselet, Jon Salmon, Greg Sestero, Olivia Taylor Dudley.

Body Count: 42 (+250 in planes crashing into orphanage)

Not many films can claim they started as a 5-second parody trailer, but this marks the humble beginnings of Dude Bro Party Massacre III, spawned from the aptly named 5-Second Films, who made smirksome little vignettes once a day, every day.

Crowdfunded for a feature length production, the slasher opus gets lampooned once again – but what new can be done with it that wasn’t done in everything from Student Bodies and Wacko to Scary Movie and The Final Girls?

Story first. Fratboy Brock Chirino has survived two fraternity row massacres, courtesy of vengeful killer Motherface, who has it in for the Dude Bro’s, brothers of the Delta Bi Theta Frat House. After he recaps the events of Dude Bro Party Massacres I & II – as per Adrienne King’s extremely eidetic flashback dreams – his throat is viciously cut by his therapist.

dbpm3-1Soon after, Brock’s twin brother Brent arrives to find out the truth of his bro’s “fatal freak accident” and seek revenge. He’s quickly inducted into the fraternity and they are expelled from campus for Spring Break after a prank ends up killing 250 people.

The Dude Bro’s journey out to a closed down sorority house by a lake where Motherface springs up and kills them in a variety of weird and grisly ways, from turning one bro’s head into a blood kegger to electrocutions, impalings, and flushing a guy’s intestines down a toilet. Soon, only Brent is left to find his answers and try to defeat Motherface and close the book on the Dude Bro Party Massacres for good.

Without a doubt, the smartest decision made was to style the film as a forgotten 80s late night horror film taped from a cable channel, complete the VHS slurs, hastily edited out TV commercials for all manner of strange products and services, and the general naff appeal of the mid-80s teen horror film, though at times the production quality was a bit too good.

dbpm3-motherfaceThe film authentically looks the part (usual hair and eyebrow exceptions notwithstanding), and is perhaps only weighed down by running about ten minutes too long and the jokes either hitting the target or not. The slasher sentiments were all on point for me, but I was confused by the bizarre (and annoying) cop subplot, which prompted a few random chuckles, but never converged with the other events going on. Though thankfully it doesn’t go down the same ego-strumming route that ended up shooting Club Dread in the foot.

Definitely an acquired taste, but fans of splatstick OTT gore and the associated black humour won’t be disappointed (though a good whack of the bodycount comes hard n’ fast at the start). Look out for Larry King as the coach during the flashbacks.

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