Tag Archives: accents from hell

Say It With Pick-Axes

simonSIMON SAYS

2.5 Stars  2006/15/84m

“Time to have some fun.”

Director/Writer: Bill Dear / Cast: Crispin Glover, Margo Harshman, Greg Cipes, Kelly Vitz, Artie Baxter, Carrie Finklea, Bruce Glover, Lori Lynn Lively, Blake Lively, Kelly Blatz.

Body Count: 13

Dire-logue: “You gotta die sometime. May as well be high!”


Familiarity is the mojo of the slasher genre, there’s a certain comfort in consistency, a feeling like you’ve been to these woods before, camped with these campers and all will turn out just as you expect it to. In Simon Says, a quintet of all-American high schoolers drive their VW camper into the woods to pan for gold, have sex, get stoned et cetera. So far, so familiar. It’s very Texas Chainsaw, only this time they don’t pick up the hitcher who, instead, gets slaughtered by a flying pick-axe no sooner than their van disappears around the corner.

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The group stop off for gas n’ eats at the neglected station run by ‘retarded’ Simon and his sharper identical twin bro, Stanley, both of whom are played by professional weirdo Crispin Glover – Young George McFly. He adequately weirds them out and sends them on their way to a local campsite “where the murders took place…” Well, disappearances actually, although we know better thanks to some handy flashbacking.

Before long a new set of murders begins as teens split off from the group, some paint-ballers run afoul of Simon…or Stanley? Dressed as a bush! The pick-axe flavoured kills make use of hundreds of the damn things and, at one point, the number of them flying through the air must go into triple figures as Simon/Stanley unleashes his deadly contraptions that fire them at fleeing teens.

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Numbers dwindle until only the twins’ “dream girl” Kate remains and must unfurl Stanley’s expo of bizarre lines to figure out what the hell has been going on… You’ll fare no better as Simon Says appears to only have the goal of head-fucking the viewer until you’d happily smash your own face into a cannon of pick-axes.

Glover is his dependable strange self, hamming it up with a deep-south ‘I do declare’ accent but the rest of the cast are left with scraps of their identikit characters to work with; Harshman makes for a functional final girl if not one we’re that bothered about, while Cipes is appealing as the stoner with a big heart. Their other friends fill the roles of meathead jock, I-hate-camping valley girl and slutty chick with no complaints, being killed off in a nice and neat order.

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That’s the problem at the core of the film; while it hands us conventionally anodyne characters with one hand, it repeatedly smacks its own forehead with the other at the same time as it puffs pot fumes into our face. It’s that weird. Who’s the bird on the horse? Why is Blake Lively’s name on the cover when she’s in the film for less than three minutes? Is the comedy intentional? Were they stoned? Geez, McFly, straighten this out!!

OK, watch it: try to enjoy the sticky CGI gore effects and Glover’s demented drawl but don’t ask me for an explanation!

Blurbs-of-interest: Glover played Jimmy in Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter; Margo Harshman was Chugs in Sorority Row; Carrie Finklea was in both Harvest of Fear and its sequel The Path of Evil; Bruce Glover (Crispin’s dad) was in Night of the Scarecrow.

Ranty Monday: I watched TWILIGHT

Maybe this should be under ‘Today I HATE…’

twilight

Rarely, will you find me taking such a vitriolic stand about a bad film – hey, I liked Jason X - but this… Jesus wept, why has this franchise become so inexplicably popular!? I wouldn’t normally waste precious bandwidth on a non-slasher film but I was kinda angry!

The “story” concerns a girl called Bella, who moves to a new town. Bella is moodiness personified: sullen, glum, dull as the weather in her new town and yet a vegetarian vampire falls in love with her…because he cannot eat her. Other vampires want to eat her, so her love-vamp, Edward, hides her to protect her (God knows why, she’s so damn boring), kills bad vampire. The end.

Vegetarian Vampires? Someone call Buffy… NOW!

So, not only does the “story” in fact feature no story, indeed in a two hour film rarely has so little actually happened, but it’s just so insultingly inoffensive, tip-toeing around issues of sex and violence, raping vampire lore by having them freely wander around in the daylight and observe their own reflections – it’s an absolute affront to be included in the horror genre at all.

A bland, banal, upsettingly sub-mediocre story that has somehow struck gold on the book front, now it’s set to poison the box office too… Pass me a razor, I’m going to need to self-harm if I want to see any excitement.

EDGE OF THE AXE

edgeoftheaxe2.5 Stars  1988/18/87m

“There is nothing silent about nights in Paddock County.”

Director: Joseph Braunstein [Jose Larraz] / Writers: Joaquin Amichatis, Javier Elorrieta & Jose Frade / Cast: Barton Faulks, Christina Marie Lane, Page Moseley, Fred Holliday, Patty Shepard, Alicia Moro, Jack Taylor, May Heatherly, Elmer Modlin, Joy Blackburn, Mark Schmidtke, Allan Larson.

Body Count: 9


A Spanglomerican slasher filled with heavily-accented actors pretending to be small town Americans. As if fitting in isn’t hard enough, there’s an axe-swingin’ madman offing the womenfolk. With the murders given about as much serious attention as localised flu epidemic, the local law enforcement attempt to pass off the obvious slayings as accidents before eventually admitting there’s a psycho on the loose. (“She must have repeatedly fallen on the axe!!”)

Meanwhile, a computer geek called Gerald falls in love with moody Lillian, who thinks the killer is her cuz Charlie, whom she accidentally injured years before. Other useless subplots revolve around Gerald’s gold-digging bud Richard, who wants rid of his wealthy, older wife and cheats on her with another chick – and leaves the story totally unscathed!!!

Several primary victims don’t even fet any lines apart from “aaaaarrrggghhh!!!” as the white-masked loon busts through doors at them. They are coded as hookers, gossips and cheats, while the menfolk are nowhere to be seen when the killer puts in another appearance.

Larraz manages to create some tension from time to time but the film peaks with the opening axe ‘em up at a car wash and its climax appears slightly skewered once all of the red herrings are eliminated, with a motive so contrived and unlikely – how convenient was it that all the intended victims were so local? It’s better than his sophomore slasher, Savage Lust, though.

Blurbs-of-interest: Page Moseley was in Open House; Jack Taylor was in Pieces.

THE UNDERTOW

undertow1.5 Stars  2003/18/77m

“He’s an unstoppable killing machine!”

Director/Writer: Jeremy Wallace / Cast: Jason Christ, Julie Farrar, Trudy Bequette, Chris Grega, Emily Haack, Robin Garrels, Todd Tevlin, Doc Brown, Joseph Palermo.

Body Count: 12

Dire-logue: “That’s it! Nobody’s ever seeing us again.”


Junky shot-on-video fodder with what appears to be an am-dram group choosing to go camping in the wrong town and ending up on the receiving end of a mongoloid retard’s tantrum.

After the usual stop-and-search scene from an arsey deputy, who pours away all their beer, the “teenagers” begin a river canoe trip and learn from a sympathetic local that the Mayor of Old Mines has convinced the townsfolk that all outsiders are evil and therefore unleashes his son – known only as The Boy – on anyone who lingers too long. On this particular outing, The Boy has had enough of doing what Daddy says and turns on the town as well, offing some irritatingly backward extras before starting on the “teenagers”.

There’s gore-a-plenty in The Undertow, but it’s all a bit sloppy: one guy’s head is squeezed to the point where is brain begins leaking out in mushy chunks and another “teenager” has her innards ripped out and tossed aside like salad. But there’s a good head-on-a-spike that pleasantly echoes the Friday the 13th-wannabes of yore.

Easier to take than a lot of other SOV releases, there’s still a nasty case of crappus dialogus, possibly improvised by the “teenagers” themselves, who favour yelling profanities at each other, gunning down any important information in the verbal crossfire. A couple of nods to better slasher flicks can’t save this at the end of it. Just cross your fingers and hope that open ending doesn’t prompt a change in the tide…

JOLLY ROGER: MASSACRE AT CUTTER’S COVE

jollyrogerJOLLY ROGER: MASSACRE AT CUTTER’S COVE

3 Stars  2005/18/77m

“Some things should stay lost at sea.”

Director: Gary Jones / Writers: Jeff Miller & Gary Jones / Cast: Rhett Giles, Tom Nagel, Kristina Korn, Tom Downey, Kim Little, Pamela Munro, Justin Brannock, Megan Lee Ethridge, Hajar Northern, Ted Cochran.

Body Count: 16

Dire-logue: “Just drinking a little, smoking a little dope and all your friends got massacred, right?”


This cheap n’ cheesy quickie from the same studio that brought us the Scarecrow films takes many cues from The Fog in a tale of a murderous pirate back from the dead to behead the present day ancestors of his treacherous crew.

Considering the studio’s choppy resume, Jolly Roger nicely outperforms the previous efforts both technically and in terms of its general enjoyability. Other films that are pilfered include Leprechaun and Jason Goes to Hell. The short running time is a plus, as the sky-high body count escalates at a nice pace to outweigh the detective efforts of the boring teen couple who witness Roger’s slaughter of their high school friends – four corpses in the first fifteen minutes!

The killer, meanwhile, yo-ho-ho’s his way through town collecting severed heads to put in his Dead Man’s Chest with pirate-themed one liners at every turn, kinda like the lovechild of Freddy Krueger and Jack Sparrow. The sword decapitations are sloppy but gory and there’s a funny hand-chop thrown in as well. Endless clichés by numbers, with generous T&A, gallons of gore (though rum is nowhere to be found, much to Roger’s chagrin) and characters so thinly drawn that they barely have enough screen time to do much but die! Not for all tastes for sure but genre completists should get a kick out of it.

Blurbs-of-interest: Gary Jones directed Boogeyman 3 and Axe Giant; Tom Nagel directed ClownTown.

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