Tag Archives: children are evil

Icky ways to go: Nosebleed from hell… To hell

Unless you have your fingers permanently jammed up there, or, like Jeremy Melton, the stress of skewering your childhood tormentors causes one, nosebleeds are scary. When I randomly get one with no prior warnings, my first thought is normally: “Argh! I have a brain hemorrhage – I’m dying!”

In the case of this poor doomed schmuck, who models a very fascinating pair of glasses, from the Small Town Zealot range in Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice, a nosebleed in church DOES mean death, but, rather than an internal medical cause, He Who Walks Behind the Rows is dishing up a big dose of voodoo via one of his juvenile followers…

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The trickle begins…

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And becomes a flow…

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And then a tide…

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Should’ve gone to Specsavers.

To the devil… bad hair

bloodspell2BLOODSPELL

2 Stars  1988/18/88m

A.k.a. The Boy from Hell; To the Devil a Son

“Daniel has just become eighteen. Time to meet his real father.”

Director: Deryn Warren / Writer: Gerry Daly / Cast: Anthony Jenkins, Aaron Teich, Theodora Louise, Edward Dloughy, Alexandra Kennedy, Douglas Vale, John Reno, Susan Buchanan, Arthur Alexander, Christopher G. Venuti, Kimble Jemison, Heather Green, Jacque J. Coon, Tia Lachelle.

Body Count: 5

Laughter Lines: “Everybody is gonna be dead around here before you guys wanna do something about it!”


One of those demonic-child-cum-slasher things that has Jenkins as Daniel, a recently come-of-age teenager who is dropped off by his distraught mother at the St Boniface ‘Evaluation Center’ for troubled kids.

This is because his satanic dad turned up out of the blue and wants to convert sonny boy into a vessel of evil, primed to create the antichrist with a girl of his choice. He chooses suicidal Debbie, whose Chrissie Hynde-look-a-like boyfriend Charlie is suspicious of the newcomer, especially when others at the center begin dropping dead.

First to go are the nasty kids, who meet grisly accidents that include being sucked into a woodchipper; the drop-in therapist is provided with a portion of heart attack-to-go.

Having noticed that Daniel is present at every one of these incidents, Charlie attempts to convince the live-in counsellors and Debbie – in overwrought Pleasence fashion – that Daniel is evil incarnate. Daniel then makes off with Debbie for The Sexening – unless Charlie can lumber to the rescue.

Although not as predictable as the set-up might have you believe, there’s not a whole lot more than sub-par anxious shouting for dialogue and one of the most vulgar wardrobes in movie history. Attach a sappy group-hug ending and the last chance for an inventive shock all but drains away.

Passable and entertaining for lovers of bad 80s fashion and hair, but the spell it attempts to cast is a dud.

Blurb-of-interest: Theodora Louise is actually Twink Caplan, who most famously played the flustered teacher Ms Giest in Clueless. She has the worst hair here.

Enter Sand(ler)man

shortcut2THE SHORTCUT

2 Stars  2009/15/82m

“Some urban legends are real.”

A.k.a. Avoid the Shortcut (UK)

Director: Nicholaus Goossen / Writers: Dan Hannon & Scott Sandler / Cast: Drew Seeley, Shannon Woodward, Katrina Bowden, Dave Franco, Josh Emmerson, Raymond Barry, William B. Davies, Kent Allen, Nicholas Elia.

Body Count: 9


Believe it or not, Adam Sandler is the exec producer on this DVD flick, which comes from the horror arm (Scary Madison) of his production company (Happy Madison).

Nicely made and acted but totally uninvolving and virtually bloodless, this PG-13 quickie begins at Homecoming 1945, where, in the usual small town Americana, a couple of teen sweethearts go into the woods where rape is attempted and the girl, at least, is confronted and catapulted to death by a loitering kid.

The scene is instantly problematic: The male teen-slash-rapist is “being shipped off to Germany” to fight the Nazis, despite the fact World War II had completely ended by mid-1945 and, unless I’m wrong, Homecoming occurs around September… Does he die? Shrug. It’s elided completely, leaving the poor female victim to suffer both his aggression and then also be killed by the psycho-kid.

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Things fortunately improve for the next hour, as new-kid-in-town Derek (Seeley) is made aware of ‘The Shortcut’, a through-private-land forest route where kids have been disappearing on and off for years. After his little brother Tobey takes the dare to go through and encounters a mad old man and a slain dog, Derek finds himself recruited by school jock Taylor, whose dog has been missing for three days.

A trip to ‘The Hartley Farm’ in the middle of the forest proves that the old man is certainly not operating with a full deck and Taylor is convinced his dog has been killed. He, Derek, friends Mark and Lisa, and object-of-lust Christy, opt to carry out a little surveillance and break into the property to fetch proof.

Instead, they find another old man shackled inside the house and foolishly try to set him free, unleashing more horror on themselves.

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The Shortcut eventually shunts into action-gear in the last 20-25 minutes, once the bloodless killing begins and the teens go on the run. It’s over all too quickly before an obnoxious, contrived beyond palpable acceptance of the human mind, twist is thrown from the outer field. It sucks, is treated as a joke and robbed the film of an affable two-and-a-half-star rating.

In the slim ‘for’ column, the cast are good and the characters not revolting teens of the kill-them-now persuasion for a change, but it’s just so one dimensional plotwise, for which the only antidote is to make sure the scary parts are genuinely scary – and here they’re not. A mangled hand is about as grisly as the violence gets, everything else is either off camera or claret-free.

About the only scary prospect The Shortcut had was the possibility Adam Sandler might be in it, but Jack & Jill was far more terrifying.

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Blurb-of-interest: Katrina Bowden was in Tucker and Dale vs. Evil the following year.

Stay home

THE-FOREST-2THE FOREST

1 Stars 1981/18/79m

A.k.a. Don’t Go in the Woods 2

“If you go down to the woods today… You might never get out alive!”

Director: Don Jones / Writer: Evan Jones / Cast: Dean Russell, Elaine Warner, John Batis, Ann Wilkinson, Michael Brody, Jeannette Kelly, Corky Pigeon, Becki Burke.

Body Count: 7

Dire-logue: “I don’t know about splitting up, it’s usually not a good idea.”


It rarely gets worse than this bizarro and painfully dull Californian campers-in-peril flick – like there weren’t enough of them in 1981?

Two couples, who both drive horrible brown cars, venture into the wilderness and become the target of a cannibalistic loon who is haunted by the perky ghosts of his dead children. They, in turn, are haunted by the ghost of their abusive mother, who Daddy killed before losing it.

Elements of The Shining inexplicably creep into the otherwise sub-standard opus, as the ghost-kiddies help the heroine find her missing husband and save the day. But neither she, the kids, the killer, or anyone else in the entire film registers a modicum of empathy as they deliver over dramatic lines for trivial situations and under dramatic responses to fucking ghosts!

Pay attention to the jazzy sax music that plays during one of the murders, where the victim fights the killer with half of a bicycle (!) and the lyrics to an early song: “There’s nothing to fear… people do disappear in the dark side of the foreeeeest.”

If The Forest must teach us anything, it’s that… that… Aw, hell, it can’t teach us jack.

Feast on scraps

BREADCRUMBS

2.5 Stars  2011/15/87m

“We all live in a house of candy.”

Director/Writer: Mike Nichols / Writers: Samuel Freeman, Charles Black, Kohta Asakura & Anthony Masi / Cast: Marianne Hagan, Amy Crowdis, Dan Shaked, Mike Nichols, Darbi Worley, Douglas Nyback, Steve Carey, Alana Curry, Shira Weitz, Zoe Sloane, Jim Barnes, Kristina Klebe.

Body Count: 9

Dire-logue: “The map says go right.” / “Right is wrong. Left is right.”


A curious little endeavour featuring the talents of several genre buffs who worked on or starred in various Halloween-related ventures.

One of those strange experiences; BreadCrumbs starts out so well that I was thinking it could be the first 4-star slasher film I’ve seen since Mask Maker. That’s not to say early scenes (featuring Klebe of the Rob Zombie Halloween remake) will blow anybody away, but once the main crop of characters is introduced, they come with efficient and well-delivered dialogue, and – for once – seem like a nice bunch of folk who DON’T hate one another’s guts. A rarity in modern body count flicks.

Sadly, BreadCrumbs loses the trail just after the halfway point, once the horror begins.

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Before that, the group of porn film makers arrive at a pleasant enough chalet in the middle of the woods to, ahem, shoot. Among them, aging adult star Angie (Hagan, from Halloween 6), who is surfing a wave of regrettable decisions about her life and intends this to be her last feature. Her young co-star, Dominick, has a massive crush on her, eloquently outlined by the director’s missus, Jane: “Are you asking me how to fuck the woman you’ve had an erection for ever since I’ve known you?”

Coarse dialogue is fortunately not too overbearing in BreadCrumbs and the porno stuff is approached almost mechanically and like the any-other-job it most probably is for those around it 9 to 5.

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The residents are soon frequented by visits from oddball teenage siblings Henry and Patti, who seem content to run around playing childlike games, carrying dolls, or staring in windows. That is, until the violence begins…

Once people start dying, the wheels work loose on the vehicle and BreadCrumbs becomes little more than any other DVD kill-fest, highlighted only by ongoing questions surrounding the brother-sister threat (if indeed there is one) and comparing Hagan’s final girl performance to her likable turn as Kara Strode back in 1995.

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The murders are tame, largely off-camera and some are just hazarded – some people more or less vanish into the clutches of the killer and are never seen again. The lack of tension is damaging, especially as the characters worked so naturally in their early scenes. Now, when they turn on each other, stupid decisions are made where it didn’t look so likely before, and the usual “fuck you!” / “No! Fuck YOU!” interchanges ensue.

Eventually, Angie is the one to figure it out or, more accurately, get captured and be told what’s going on. It makes little sense, something about houses of candy, witches, delicacies and porn being the substitute for candy la la la. What mystery there was surrounding the siblings and who might be killing everyone is whittled down into an afterthought that makes a mockery of how well things were going at the start and an unintentional LOL moment where a boy stands yelling “Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!” as Angie runs away. One of those day-job-quit occasions.

And the opening scene (with Klebe) is never again referenced.

A real shame in many ways, but also hopeful that perhaps these guys will work with a higher budget and a more well thought out story sometime in the future that could deliver something really good. But I DID say that about Madhouse as well…

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