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WRONG TURN 3: LEFT FOR DEAD

wrongturn3WRONG TURN 3: LEFT FOR DEAD

1.5 Stars  2009/92m

“What you don’t see will kill you.”

Director: Declan O’Brien / Writer: Connor James Delaney / Cast: Tom Frederic, Janet Montgomery, Tamer Hassan, Gil Kolirin, Tom McKay, Christian Contreras, Jake Curran, Chucky Venice, Bill Moody, Borislav Iliev.

Body Count: 15

Dire-logue: “He’s out there… I can feel him. He’s been following us. He’s close.”


How to take one of the best survivalist slasher films in the last few years and drive into an almost aggressively bad DVD series in three easy films…

I watched half of Wrong Turn 3 yesterday and the rest today. In between, I took my dog out for a walk in a close by field. There was a creepy dense fog and, save for my dog’s flashing collar darting about in the mist, all I had to light my way was a blue-strobe LED ghost that squeaks ‘woooo’ when you press it. With mutant inbred cannibals on my mind, every blob in the dark could’ve been a psycho with an axe… Every sloppy thing I stepped in could’ve been gory entrails – but turned out to be cow shit.

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Having just finished the film, there was nothing to fear. The South Downs ain’t West Virginia. In fact West Virginia ain’t West Virginia here either as for WT3 they outsourced the project to Bulgaria and used an almost exclusively British cast!

Things start okay with a quartet of “all-American teens” kayaking down a river. They stop to set up camp and one couple goes to fetch wood while the others get jiggy. Boobs appear within minutes and seconds later there’s an arrow sticking out of the boob and through boob-girl’s boyfriend’s hand. Three of the teens are offed within the first seven minutes, all quite gorily: one guy gets skewered through the gob and the other trips a trap that pays tribute to the hacked-in-half opener from Wrong Turn 2, this time splitting the guy into three pieces. It’s impressive for all of five seconds until the world’s worst CGI kicks in…

wrongturn3splitAfter the remaining girl, Alex, escapes, we move to a prison where officer Nate’s last day on the job (yawn…) is made worse with the news that he has to chaperone several prisoners on a transfer to another facility to thwart a rumoured escape attempt by Mexican gangster Chavez. We know he’s Mexican because he calls everyone ‘Puta,’ which, I learnt, is the equivalent of whore. The route between venues is altered to allow the solo-working inbred to run the bus off the road, let the prisoners gain control and send the group running into the woods, where Alex soon leaps out, all screams and immediate expositions…

The group discover an old armoured truck full of cash and continue yelling at one another and swearing amidst aimlessly wandering into all of the hick’s savage traps, including a sliced off face, a vertical spear impaling and a skull cracked open and its lid removed like a boiled egg… We’re only supposed to care about Alex, Nate and the one trustworthy con who swears he didn’t commit the murder he’s inside for. But I didn’t really. They were such cookie-cutter good guys that they were boring, with none of the situational flair that Eliza Dushku and Desmond Harrington had in the original film.

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Also absent is a sense of futility: in the first film there was a real sense of doom for the teens-in-peril, that they wouldn’t get out of this. Plus they were nice kids out for a good time. The second film at least had the sense to try and make its leads affable enough to root for but all the characters in Wrong Turn 3 blur into a gross soup of I-don’t-care proportions. The only character I cared about the was the police dog and that didn’t end well.

Three-Finger, now working alone after his son (assumedly the grown up baby from the end of Dead End) is done away with by the felons, is played by a Bulgarian stuntman who looks like he’s wearing a third-rate plastic Halloween mask and also has the Hiro Nakamurian ability to teleport after he is ‘killed’ by Nate and Alex, who take his truck and drive for several minutes, finding him further down the road than they’ve managed to get!

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But perhaps the worst thing is like a blast from the past. But the past that came before the 80s, the 70s, before Jesus! Remember in old studio films when there was a character in a car, they drove in front of a screen and lackies rocked the vehicle from either side, that’s what they do in Wrong Turn 3 – the bus, the truck, check that fucking background! How low was the budget?

Sucky story, sucky characters, sucky prosthetics, vile CGI, crap actors, a grand total of three female characters… The sweet memory of seeing Wrong Turn back in ’03 feels like it has been raped by a backwoods inbred.

Blurbs-of-interest: Tom Frederic was the doomed boyfriend in the even worse Blood Trails. Janet Montgomery was also in The Hills Run Red – also shot in 2009, also shot in Bulgaria, also lots of trees. Declan O’Brien returned to direct Wrong Turn 4 in 2011.

“All my troubles seemed so far away…”

Yesterday I found some much-needed me-time and settled down with a few films. But in some karmic revelation, my choice of cinema seemed cursed. Cursed to tell me I’d have been better off at work! This is evidently my fault for watching SyFy ‘originals’…

First up was OPEN GRAVES

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2 Stars  2009/85m

Director: Álvaro de Arminán / Writers: Bruce A. Taylor & Roderick Taylor / Cast: Mike Vogel, Eliza Dushku, Ethan Rains, Lindsay Caroline Robba, Naike Rivelli, Ander Pardo, Boris Martinez, Alex O’Dogherty, Gary Piquer.

Body Count: 7


There was a trailer hanging around for this at least a year ago. It looked pretty good. It started pretty good with American surfer buddies Jason and Tomas trying to pick up Eliza Dushku, whilst on an extended break in Spain.

They and four others sit down to play a board game called Mamba, which is, of course, cursed. They roll the dice, pick cards, cards have cryptic messages about their fate. They’re out. The eventual winner will be granted whatever he/she most desires… Once the game is over, those who were ‘killed’ start dying for real.

Naturally, the non-Americans all die first: one guy falls over a cliff edge (after sliding down barbed wire – ouch!), lands on the rocks and is immobilised so that the resident crabs scamper over and start eating him. The next guy is chased by ten-dozen Black Mamba snakes and resolves that climbing a stack of logs will save him until he falls back into them.

A model turns old over night and another chick dies in a fiery car crash. It’s all kinds of Final Destination-lite with a fraction of the flair and imagination and it’s down to leads Mike Vogel and Dushku to play the game till the end in order to win it and wish everything un-happened.

Open Graves was tolerable enough but just doesn’t go anywhere… The CGI effects are dreadful and the ending is naff, plus the cheating guy never really gets his just desserts, which is all we’ve been waiting for.

With that done, I turned to the sorta-remake, CHILDREN OF THE CORN, alleging a ‘proper’ screen treatment of Stephen King’s tale.

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1 Stars  2009/92m

Director/Writer: Donald P. Borchers / Cast: David Anders, Kandyse McClure, Daniel Newman, Preston Bailey.

Body Count: 8


King apparently disliked the cheesecake 1984 attempt to make his short opus into a horror film. Christ knows what he’d make of this shite.

David Anders and Kandyse McClure are married couple Burt and Vicki, driving through Nebraska in 1975, arguing about everything when they mow down a kid in the road. They end up stranded in the deserted town of Gatlin where the children have slain all the adults in tribute to He Who Walks Behind the Rows, a god living in the corn field.

Unlike the ’84 film, there are no good kids, no flashbacks to the murders and zero sympathy for anyone involved. Anders does alright with Burt but McClure is cast as such an unpleasant bitch that it’s impossible to care at all when she is killed by the army of brats.

Afterwards, Burt runs around the corn for ages (but gets to slay a couple of the corn-sprogs), the kids murmur endlessly about dreams in their stupid, forced accents. Little Preston Bailey – stepson of Dexter - not only drowns in his ridiculously oversized hat but also under the weight of the role of Isaac, apparent preacher of adult-icide. Henchman Malichai is also pretty lame, not a patch on Courtney Gains’ take in the original.

Burt dies too but we don’t see how or know why and the credits roll. I stared open-mouthed questioning why the last 90 minutes existed and there was a two-minute coda after the credits showing some of the kids blah-ing on about the corn some more but still nothing happened.

If King’s story is this boring, it’s no wonder they tried to spruce it up back in the 80’s. All of the straight-to-video sequels are better than this crap. Check out Final Girl for some other reviews on this pinnacle of filmmaking.

I’d class neither of these flicks as slasher films per se, although both shared some turf.

This summarises my Thursday, hereafter referred to as Black Thursday. Actually, I watched Bring It On: Fight to the Finish (with Christina Milian!) as well but that doesn’t really belong here…

SLAUGHTER HIGH

slaughterhigh1.5 Stars  1986/18/86m

“Marty majored in cutting classmates!”

Directors/Writers: George Dugdale, Mark Ezra & Peter Litten / Cast: Caroline Munro, Simon Scuddamore, Carmine Iannaccone, Kelly Baker, Donna Yeager, Billy Hartman, Gary Martin, Sally Cross, Josephine Scandi, Michael Saffran, John Segal.

Body Count: 12 – or not…

Dire-logue: “We’ll take my car…it starts every time.”


Another one for the filmclub de lá Final Girl

I saw this film a long, long time ago on a date. Said date frowned and shot questioning looks my way throughout, wondering if there was actually something wrong with me. Explanations that “they’re [slasher films] not all this bad, I promise!” notwithstanding, that was possibly the beginning of the end of that relationship.

Curiously, being that Slaughter High was a UK-US combo project shot in Surrey (albeit pretending to be America), it’s never been given a DVD release here and, due to the bitter memories emanating from my VHS copy, I’ve not seen it again. It took three guys to write and direct this bizarro Friday the 13th pretender, which was scored by Harry Manfredini, thereby allowing those who write things on poster art to state that it was “from the makers of” that film.

Slaughter High sports the now classic revenge opus with a clique of popular kids at Doddsville High School, led by a then 34-year-old Caroline Munro (it was apparently shot in ’84), playing pranks on cookie cutter nerd Marty Rantzen, one of which ends with him being horrifically burned by acid. Caroline is sorry, the others aren’t really.

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“Let’s get physic-aaaaarrgghhh!!!”

A decade on, all ten are invited back to a bogus reunion at the now abandoned school where they are quickly locked inside and picked off by the jester-masked Marty, who does them in creatively with acid-laced beer, a pit of sludge and the usual array of axes and knives. He also manages to ensure one chick – spattered in blood – takes a bath in acid, melting off her skin in all of twenty seconds.

Grisly and gory where it counts but entirely inept in almost every other department, the characters of Slaughter High make time to stray for sex after they’ve witnessed several friends DIE! DIE! DIE! Said horny couple are electrocuted during the act, whilst another guy is crushed by the tractor he’s trying to fix (!?), which has a convenient spinning rotor on its underside…

Sooner or later, it’s down to Marty and Caroline. It climaxes slightly differently than one might expect but then there’s the twist. Jesus Wept, there’s that twist! If the inexplicable behaviour of most of the cast had you scratching your head earlier on, you’ll want to dig your fingernails through your skull and into your brain at the end proper.

As you can tell, I’m not a fan. But plenty are and the film has garnered a weird following over the years, partly due to Scuddamore’s subsequent suicide and the presence of bad-horror fixture Munro and the sometimes uncomfortable vibe the film has on parade, from seeing Marty full-frontally nude to the often sadistic deaths (deserved, I guess…), the film suffers from some of the lesser elements of British 80’s productions: grainy and drained of colour, it’s like a horror episode of Dempsey & Makepeace or a Bucks Fizz video that went askew! But they got it right with the jester mask –  it’s damn creepy.

Though it sucks, it’s kind of a crap-classic that I’ll give another spin one day should I require another date to make a quick exit…

Blurbs-of-interest: Munro and Baker both appeared in the even worse Don’t Open Til Christmas; Munro was also in Maniac and it’s sort-of sequel The Last Horror Film. And check out the pair of covers below, IMDb trivia states Cutting Class is a spin-off. Eww.

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SILENT BLOODNIGHT

silentbloodnight1.5 Stars  2006/18/84m

“The terror is everywhere!”

Directors/Writers: Stefan Peczelf & Elmar Weihsmann / Cast: Vanessa Vee, Mike Vega, Robert Cleaner, Alexander E. Fennon, Markus Schlotti, Andrea Stotter, Christine Dune, Christina Conti, Andy Freund, Julia Melchor.

Body Count: 13

Dire-logue: “Daddy, the waitress was allergic to bee stings. Why did all the bees sting at the same spot?”


There are times when things aren’t quite real to me, like the time I ate Space Cake in Amsterdam and my brain seemed to be firing so fast I thought it would short out and explode, then I was convinced I’d be run over by a tram. Bad times.

Self-induced trips aside, when watching Silent Bloodnight earlier today, I was struck by a sort of whatthefuckishappening vibe as the events of this supremely weird Austrian export unfolded before my eyes, which is quite possibly the weirdest film I’ve seen in recent memory, and said recent memory includes both Mr Halloween and Ax ‘Em.

The film begins with a girl wandering aimlessly down the middle of a road in the dark, chanting the lyrics to Mockingbird. She hears some splashing and spies on three guys and a girl skinny dipping in the lake and sits there nibbling the corner of a chocolate bar. Skinny dippers emerge from the water and we see something you don’t oft get in slasher flicks: FULL FRONTAL MALE NUDITY!

silent1The girl then finds two naked people having sex and is approached by two clothed guys (possibly the skinny dippers but who knows what’s going on in this film?) She offers them chocolate. Another couple drive up and begin having sex in their car. A different girl goes to the bathroom and finds blood. Whose? Dunno. Her boyfriend staggers in and is then killed with a spade by a dungaree wearing farmer type.

Back in the sex-car, the girl – Sabrina – sees a terrified girl at the window but doesn’t stop the sex for now. When she chooses to, her boyfriend Matt thinks her screams are climactic and continues humping her. The terrified girl hides in some reeds but spade-farmer comes and kills her. Another guy called Jacob appears and asks Sabrina and Matt – done with sex-car – if they’ve seen a girl called Nina. No. He goes to the lake and cries “nooooooo” for some reason.

The mysterious transvestite-eiderdown killer!

The mysterious transvestite-eiderdown killer!

Sabrina, we learn, is the local news anchor who presents her show in only a bikini. There’s some blah about a discovered piece of jewelry and Sabrina wants to investigate the girl-at-the-window but nobody else cares, including her cop dad. Some more teens turn up to stay at a house or help open a boy scout camp (I couldn’t work it out) and a couple of them die by spade when they go off somewhere. Meanwhile, after being attacked by a clodding transvestite, Sabrina investigates Jacob’s sister Nina, who has escaped from an institution and she and Jacob discuss it over the world’s biggest jug of OJ.

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Jacob confided in Sabrina the truth about his Vitiman C deficiency.

The killer eventually comes to the house where the teens are staying a kills some of them, including another frontally nude guy, whose frontally nude girl ran down the hall straight into a knife… Sabrina’s dad appears to save the day and we learn something to do with Nina being raped and dying somehow. In a handy flashback, mid-rape, one of the guys just says she’s dead and leaves… How did she die? Chocolate intolerance? What? Help! To make matters worse weirder, the killer appears almost straight away at the scene and spins with his spade in hand as if competing for Gold at The Hammer in the Olympics and takes the guy’s head off!

silent3Silent Bloodnight makes little sense and two of the girls look exactly the same so I had no idea who I was dealing with at any one time. Also, the film stock may well have been left out in the rain for a fortnight as it’s so damn blurry, giving it an early 80’s look akin to trash like Satan’s Blade or Honeymoon Horror. It’s actually better than those films though, mainly because the Austrian cast all talk in English. Better than subtitles? Well…yes and no. I respect anyone who can master a language as we English-speaking natives are just too damn lazy to most of the time, but both pronunciation and choice of adjectives constantly had me smirking as Sabrina would try and make points during her terror: “something unexplained has happened!” she caws. Elsewhere, a cop assigned to protect her suggests she order a pizza, to which she responds: “what a mouth! I will complain about you!”

Bless them for trying but I had little to no idea what was happening, who most of the cast were, what they were doing there and why dungaree-farmer killed most of them. Or who the tranny-killer was. Or what became of dungaree-farmer at the end.

If you like tons of mixed-gender nudity, incomprehensible plotting, incidental stingers that sound like you’re receiving a text message, translations assumedly advised by Google and slightly blurry visuals then Silent Bloodnight is for you and nobody else. Stick it in the box under your bed with your porn, it’ll be happy there.

SLAUGHTER HOTEL

slaughterhotel2 Stars  1971/18/86m

“A place where nothing is forbidden.”

A.k.a. Asylum Erotica (UK DVD); The Beast Kills in Cold Blood; The Cold-Blooded Beast

Director/Writer: Fernando Di Leo / Writer: Nino Latino / Cast: Klaus Kinski, Margaret Lee, Rosalba Neri, Jane Garret, John Karlsen, Gioia Desideri, Monica Strebel.

Body Count: 11

Dire-logue: “Your desire to make love is obsessive; compulsive… Go and take a shower.”


Supposedly, men cannot go more than six seconds without thinking about sex. I don’t disagree with this assessment, but in a typical day of 16 waking hours, that’s 9,600 thoughts about sex. So…how many of those thoughts are bit sleazy?

In spite of itself, there’s nowt wrong with a bit of sleaze. It’s probably healthy! Ergo, how about this early Italian giallo that is practically dripping with sleaze? It’s certainly no Argento or Bava outing though; an institution in an old castle – seemingly only for glamorous, beautiful women – is the hunting ground for a cloaked killer who offs his victims with a variety of medieval weaponry.

Slaughter Hotel is less a horror film than some bizarro porn flick with interracial lesbian romps, endless scenes of naked women in bed, writhing with night terrors while doctors Kinski and Karlsen move around dishing up pop-psychology hypotheses’ for their fashionista patients. Bouncing along to a Loveboat-esque samba rhythm of flutes and various woodwind instruments, there’s precious little dialogue, most of which is badly dubbed and nudity far outweighs any violent content. In fact, half the body count is racked up in the last couple of minutes of the film, all of it female bar one poor schmuck who’s pushed into a handy iron maiden and skewered therein.

Kinski gives an uncharacteristically restrained performance in his thankless role while all the female characters simply drape themselves around set pieces waiting to be fucked of filleted. It’s a direlogue haven, as one man drives his gorked-out wife to the venue, she lunges for the steering wheel and, as if questioning an item on the shopping list, he says to her: “killing me is one thing but why commit suicide?” Indeed. Di Leo reportedly admitted never having researched institutions prior to the shoot, which is subtley evident in the finished product. A weird, weird experience that must be seen to be believed.

Blurbs-of-interest: the film is available on a variety of cuts, some with more of the sexual content cut than others. Kinski also played a shrink in Schizoid.

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