Tag Archives: children are evil

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…

Reason to remain childless #23,472: Evil

CHILDREN OF THE CORN IV: THE GATHERING

2.5 Stars  1996/18/82m

Director: Greg Spence / Writers: Spence & Stephen Berger / Cast: Naomi Watts, Brent Jennings, Karen Black, William Windom, Jamie Renee Smith, Samaria Graham, Brandon Kleyla, Mark Salling, Lewis Flanagan III.

Body Count: 7

Dire-logue: “I don’t wanna be the one in charge when their heads are doing 360s and they’re hurling pea soup.”


He Who Walks Behind the Rows doesn’t get a mention this time around, despite taking the action back to a small midwestern town surrounded by cornfields. It’s been suggested that this was not part of the franchise initially. Hard to swallow given everything that happens.

A pre-fame Naomi Watts is a med student who returns home to look after her agoraphobic mother, Black, and her two younger siblings, one of whom will later play Puck on Glee.

Shortly after her arrival, a local farmer releases the spirit of a dead preacher, who subsequently unleashes a fever on the local children. Once the virus passes and the kids are on the mend, they begin turning into pint-size psychos, offing parents, doctors, local law enforcement, and then congregate in an old barn to resurrect Josiah to his human form, using Watts’ little sister.

Plenty of bloodletting for a nineties horror flick (when the genre kinda pussed out of explicit content) and there are some creepy setups, but dopey padding concerning the medical subplot (about as wacky as the contaminated corn excuses in The Final Sacrifice) decelerates the horror. Echoes of The Wizard of Oz in the “I’m melting! I’m melting!” finale are also anti-climactic.

Although a little better than Urban Harvest, there’s still a distinct lack of adhesive to the central motif surrounding the cult of brats, taking it about as far from Stephen King’s original novella as possible. Oh no, wait, it strays further in the next few sequels…

Blurbs-of-interest: Karen Black is also in Oliver Twisted, Curse of the Forty-Niner, Out of the Dark and Some Guy Who Kills People; Brent Jennings was in Alone in the Dark; Mark Salling had a small role in The Graveyard.

Livin’ doll

CHILD’S PLAY 2

3 Stars  1990/15/81m

“Sorry Jack… Chucky’s back!”

Director: John Lafia / Writer: Don Mancini / Cast: Alex Vincent, Christine Elise, Jenny Agutter, Gerrit Graham, Grace Zabriskie, Beth Grant, Greg Germann, Peter Haskell, Brad Dourif (voice).

Body Count: 7


Chucky is one of the less convincing slasher killers. I mean… it’s a doll. Just tread on it.

That said, this is probably the most enjoyable of the first wave of Child’s Play movies. Things improved with the introduction of Tiffany in Bride of Chucky eight years later, though by then all fragrance of horror was long lost.

Here, two years after the original, we’re to believe only a matter of weeks have passed since little Andy Barclay (Vincent, returning to the role) defeated his possessed Good Guy doll, which houses the soul of the late Charles Lee Ray – a.k.a. the Lake Shore Strangler. Never mind that Alex Vincent is clearly much older than before, he’s fostered out to the Simpson family while his mom undergoes psychiatric evaluation. Understandable considering she told the world a doll killed several people.

For reasons unknown, the offending doll is cleaned, buffed and given new arms, legs and clothes only to be condemned to be tossed in a dumpster by the management of the toy company. Before that can happen, Chucky asphyxiates a pre-Ally McBeal Greg Germann, then makes his way to the Simpson home where he replaces the convenient resident Good Guy doll with himself and begins killing folk. As before, Chucky requires Andy to transfer his soul into flesh.

Though it’s largely a retread of the nobody-believes-the-kid theme, the first hour of Child’s Play 2 skips along merrily enough: Andy’s stern teacher is thrashed to death with a ruler, Gerrit Graham’s grumpy foster father suffers a bad fall, and Andy is sent packing.

Only teenage delinquent Kyle (Elise) raises an eyebrow in the direction of Andy’s protests and no sooner does she find the buried remains of the inanimate Good Guy doll and a dead body, Chucky has her taxiing him in Andy’s direction. A series of scuffles take the trio back to the Good Guy factory where the kids ‘kill’ Chucky about six times before he’s actually defeated.

A slight, crude, and largely immature venture, Child’s Play 2 succeeds enough with good production attributes and being just quirky and different enough to amuse, although the doll repeating variants of “fuck you bitch” is wearing. Elise makes for a likable and spunky heroine while Vincent is a kid who ISN’T an obnoxious brat. Agutter and Graham are underused as the foster parents but there are enough familiar and talented faces in the supporting cast to retain interest.

Blurbs-of-interest: Gerrit Graham was the lead in National Lampoon’s Class Reunion; Grace Zabriskie can also be found in R.S.V.P. (and The Grudge); Haskell returned for the next film, along with voice of Chucky, Dourif, who is also in Urban Legend, Trauma, Chain Letter, Color of Night, and both of Rob Zombie’s Halloween remakes.

I’d rather jack

JACK-O

2 Stars  1995/15/89m

“It’s harvest time.”

A.k.a. Jack-O-Lantern

Director: Steve Latshaw / Writers: Patrick Moran, Fred Olen Ray & Brad Linaweaver / Cast: Linnea Quigley, Rebecca Wicks, Gary Doles, Catherine Walsh, Ryan Latshaw, Rachel Carter, Tom Ferda, Bill Cross, Helen Keeling, George Castells, Kelly Lacy, Michael Walsh, Brinke Stevens, Dawn Wildsmith, John Carradine, Cameron Mitchell.

Body Count: 11


If you can get past another killer with an oversized pumpkin for a head, then there’s a little bit of mileage in this Fred Olen Ray production – which should tell us all we need to know.

We learn from the flashback dreams of a young boy (director’s son Latshaw, with all the charisma of a belly-up fish) of his ancestors’ curse from a nasty warlock, who summoned the title creature 81 years earlier to scythe up his rival’s bloodline.

Beer-fuelled teenagers unearth the demon on Halloween, who picks up where he left off, but notably fails to kill any of the target family members, instead doing away with some annoying ancillary characters, such a right-wing neighbours and stock horror movie workmen.

After a gratuitous shower scene, Linnea emerges as babysitter to the Jack-O’s prime kill and her sister (Wicks) spends most of the film running around, teasing her biker boyfriend.

Frustratingly uneven pacing and a killer who flits all over the place at will gets under your skin more than the sickle appears to – but death by toaster is a high point.

The most interesting factor is the appearances of Carradine and Mitchell, both of whom died before the film was released.

Blurbs-of-interest: Fred Olen Ray directed Scalps and Final Examination; Linnea can also be seen in Graduation Day, Silent Night, Deadly Night, Kolobos, Spring Break Massacre and a background cameo in Fatal Games; Brinke Stevens was also a backgrounder in Fatal Games, and was also in The Slumber Party Massacre, American Nightmare (2000), Bleed, Blood Reaper, The Cheerleader Massacre and Sigma Die!; Cameron Mitchell was in The Toolbox Murders, The Demon, Silent Scream (1980), Trapped Alive, and Valley of Death.

Hug-a-hoodie

MILO

1.5 Stars  1997/18/89m

“Remember, Jason and Freddy were kids once too.”

Director: Pascal Franchot / Writer: Craig Mitchell / Cast: Jennifer Jostyn, Antonio Fargas, Paula Cale, Maya McLaughlin, Vincent Schiavelli, Asher Metchik, Robert Portnow, Walter Olkewicz.

Body Count: 5


A Sunday-afternoon video rental from the late 90s… The intervening years have jaded the memory of evil-child flick Milo. Mercifully, I should think. I definitely remember it being crap.

Sixteen years earlier a girl is murdered by Milo, a strange kid who wears a yellow rainmack all year round and rides a rusty old bicycle. He later drowns. Or does he?

In the present, three grown up friends of the murdered girl gather back in town for the wedding of a fourth. Only she has just died in a car accident. The heroine, Claire, takes over her dead friend’s job as teacher at a local school and soon finds herself haunted by visions of Milo. Thus, she convinces herself he is apparently still alive, apparently still ten years old, and apparently killing the other women.

Of course, nobody in horror films ever listens and she eventually ends up fighting off the little fucker on her own after all these neigh-sayers have been laid to waste. What are the facts? It’s all got something to do with abortion and children that don’t grow.

Milo is poorly written and produced and the end is a total mindfuck: A young janitor scrubs Milo’s name off a wall and in the next (and last) shot, we see the boy stabbing an unidentified woman who only takes up about a tenth of the screen space. From behind. Rubbish.

Creepy kids dressed in rainmacks should be creepy, but it’s all so amateurishly put together that you’d just kick Milo in the face should you encounter him.

Blurbs-of-shame: Walter Olkewicz was also in The Surgeon; the late Vincent Schiavelli turns up in all manner of films and was also in Playroom.

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