Tag Archives: I want to die

Through the (shot on video) looking glass

ALICE IN MURDERLAND

0.5 Stars  2010/18/86m

“Through the looking glass and straight to hell.”

Director/Writer: Dennis Devine / Cast: Malerie Grady, Marlene Mc’Cohen, Kelly Kula, Katie Locke O’Brien, Christopher Senger, Heath Butler, Kim Argetsinger, Jennifer Field, Elizabeth Lam Nguyen, Jennifer Kamstock, John Buco II.

Body Count: 10

Dire-logue: “She died when she was 21… I turn 21 this week!”


Irredeemably bad shot-on-video slasher flick that attempts to staple a body count opus to Lewis Carroll’s famous stories – which I’ve never read and possibly never seen an adaption of.

Eight sorority sisters throw a themed party for Alice’s twenty-first birthday, and do it in the old warehouse where her mother was murdered twenty years earlier – at the age of 21!

Once gathered at the party, where they’ve decided to ban cell phones, ignore bars on the windows, and ‘party’ without music, food, or guys. Only Alice’s uncle is permitted entry, and bitchy sister Tiffany sneaks a guy in, who is quickly slaughtered.

A psycho dressed as the ‘Jabberwocky’ (what??) soon begins doing in the girls one by one and turns out to be because blah blah blah. Alice in Murderland is cheap, dull and stupid, with some horrendous dialogue written by Captain Obvious: “my mother was killed here twenty years ago this very night!” The bloodletting is liberal but akin to somebody squirting a ketchup bottle as hard as they can at the actor being slashed/axed/sliced.

An absolute waste of 86 minutes.

Blurb-of-shame: Devine also directed the crappy Dead Girls.

Hop on by

BUNNYMAN

1 Stars  2010/18/86m

A.k.a. The Bunnyman Massacre (UK DVD cover)

“Pretty girls die young.”

Director/Writer: Carl Lindbergh / Cast: Cheryl Texiera, Matthew Phillips, Matthew Stiller, Alaina Agianci, Veronica Wylie, Scott Kuza, Lucia Sullivan, David Scott.

Body Count: 10


I wonder if the producers of this movie had happened across a Chipmunk costume first, it might well be called Chipmunkman? That’s how relevant a guy hiding under a novelty rabbit getup actually is. The mascot-of-murder schtick may have been the best component in the otherwise dull Girls Nite Out but here it just fails miserably.

The production company for this flick is called No One Cares. It’s “a No One Cares Production”. And that’s pretty damn telling because nobody seemed to give a damn about writing a coherent script.

Bunnyman is an excruciating endurance test of the ridiculous that could’ve – neigh, SHOULD’VE – been titled Idiotic Decisions: The Movie.

Six ‘young people’ in a car are tormented by a big ol’ truck they pass. Just like in Duel. The truck tries to run them off the road at a whopping 53 miles-per-hour! And then slower. And slower. And slower until the “car chase” creeps… along… so… damn… slowly… it… would… put… a… can… of… RedBull… into… a… coma…

The fact that the occupants of a fairly modern looking car can’t outrun a massive truck is stupid. The fact that they think it’s BETTER to STOP and try to APOLOGISE to the driver is stupid. The fact that they can’t think up a better plan than WAITING OUT the truck is stupid.

This kinda crap continues until the car conks out from hitting a small piece of shrubbery and the truck returns, killing one of the group. The others are then on foot and have no luck raising help. None of them mention cellphones. They have no food or water. They argue lots, sleep out in the woods, wake up giggling and joking – hello? your friend is still dead… You’re still stuck out in the woods with a psycho…

Eventually, the killer, wearing a giant Bunny Rabbit costume, shows up and chainsaws a few of them. The first instance of this has a girl and a boy spying on the killer. When he spies them back, the guy runs off and she is buzzed to bits a minute later. Yet, when he catches up with the others, he confirms she’s dead, despite being long gone before the fact.

Earlier on, the characters moaned that if they left the car they’d dehydrate quickly as it’s so hot. And they can’t outrun a guy in a fucking fuzzy suit and lugging a heavy chainsaw.

Bunnyman is full of this kind of weird stupidity:

  • When one character attempts to apologise to the truck driver, a girl hiding in the open back of the truck (clearly needing help) just sits there and, soon after, allows herself to be dragged out and killed. And is even SURPRISED when it happens.
  • “If your friend is already dead, why do you need a phone?”
  • They’re supposed to be in the middle of nowhere with no help but you can see another car in the background.
  • They defend themselves against a chainsaw attack with a mattress.
  • “We’re safer outside of the car than we are inside the car.”

And the addition of classical music to a scene where a girl is tortured whilst tied to a bed only highlights the lack of class on show.

Despite director/writer/producer/actor Lindbergh’s impressive enough camera work and production polish, everything that happens in Bunnyman happens wrong. Like a bitter, out of date easter egg, it’s shiny and pretty on the outside and sickening under the foil.

Inexplicably followed by two sequels.

“It’s worse than dying!”

WHODUNIT?

 1.5 Stars  1982/18/79m

A.k.a. Scared Alive; Island of Blood

“It’s worse than dying!”

Director/Writer: Bill Naud / Cast: Bari Suber, Rick Dean, Richard Helm, Red McVay, Jeanine Marie, Marie Alise, Terry Goodman, Ron Gardner, Jim Piper, Gary Phillips, Steven Tash.

Body Count: 11

Dire-logue: “Could you shut up? Just shut up ‘cos you’re depressing!”


Don’t you love how the 18 sticker is over the W making it look like the film is called Hodunit? That would be one awesome flick.

Is Whodunit? worse than dying? Would living in a world where Whodunit? didn’t exist be a bad thing? Hmm…well, who knows. We’ll all find out one day I guess. Maybe on my death bed as I recant all my wrongdoings I’ll be reminded of Whodunit? and it’s witty tagline (suited more to the alternate title Scared Alive) and that’ll finish me off.

Anyway, a group of actors are dropped off at Creep Island (where else?) with the director and producer of a “positive youth film” to begin rehearsals for an imminent shoot. Their mortality is soon problematised by the arrival of a maniac killer, who dispatches them in accordance with the lyrics of a terminally awful glam-rock song that is played on a seemingly endless supply of small grey portable cassette recorders that swing like pendulums from trees and telegraph each impending death to the words of the song:

“Boil me, boil me, boil me, face to face…” and so on ad nauseum with ‘boil’ substituted for shoot, spear, burn, saw, chop and nail. Still sounds better than the Christmas X Factor singles though.

Needless to say, the budding thesps soon meet their ends as predicted until only crappy singer-turned-actress BJ (phnarr!!!) remains to duke it out with the person she believes is the killer, who, in turn, believes SHE is the killer, while a third character holding a single candle (outside on a windy night, no less) encounters another suspect and says: “Stay away from me or I’ll burn you!”

With a candle. Ooooh, scary!!

This tangles mess fills in some of its slack with long scenes of people meandering around an old dilapidated building in a bid to create tension – but the murders are quite gory and there are some half-neat one-liners.

Without the ever-reoccurring annoyance of THAT song and some closure on why a totally anonymous and forgotten woman gets shot in the face at the beginning, this might’ve been good in an after-dinner cheeseboard sorta way.

So, no, not WORSE than dying. But that song certainly is.

Rubbish films: Heed thy warnings (or don’t)

A sort of themed return to Rubbish Films That Don’t Deserve Long Reviews, with an emphasis on the films that almost tried to warn you in their titles. Maybe it’s simpler to do nothing.

Among the advice in horror films is not to go in the woods, look in the basement, answer the phone, go to sleep but none have yet ‘fessed up and called themselves Don’t Watch This Piece of Shit Movie…

DON’T GO IN THE HOUSE

1 Stars  1979/76m

“You have been warned!”

Director: Joseph Ellison / Writers: Joseph R. Masefield, Joseph Ellison & Ellen Hammill / Cast: Dan Grimaldi, Robert Osth, Johanna Brushay, Ralph D. Bowman, Kim Roberts.

Body Count: 5


A completely depressing little attempt at stapling a pyromanical theme to the basic plot of Psycho.

Grimaldi is a quiet labourer who lives in a big gothic house with mom, who tried to ‘burn the evil out’ of him as a child. When she dies, he finally realises he’s free to do whatever he wants and so inexplicably decides to pick up women and burn them alive in a specially converted sheet-metal room in his attic.

Considering it was made before Friday the 13th opened the floodgates for the genre, House shows a progression from the sleazier rape n’ torture flicks of the early 70s towards the stalker formula. Consequently, it has more common ground with The Driller Killer than Halloween.

Still, even at a mere 76 minutes (cut from the original 81), it’s flabbergastingly boring, attempting to direct our sympathies to the killer and his cheater work buddy who ultimately saves the day! Conversely, the female victims are hardly given anything to do and (in this version at least) there’s only one on-camera kill.

The effective Maniac-style finale is good but just too damn little, too damn late. This leaves only a squalid, sexist and homophobic addition to the Don’t mini-movement. No sale.

DON’T OPEN TILL CHRISTMAS

1984/18/82m  1 Stars

Directors: Edmund Purdom & Al McGoohan (additional scenes) / Writer: Derek Ford / Cast: Edmund Purdom, Alan Lake, Belinda Mayne, Mark Jones, Gerry Sundquist, Kelly Baker, Kevin Lloyd, Caroline Munro.

Body Count: 16

Dire-logue: “I shall look like a gay old queen!”


There are very few successful Christmas-themed slasher films (Black Christmas excepted of course) and this hopeless London-shot film fucking directed by Edmund Purdom probably belongs at the bottom of the stack. OK, maybe Christmas Evil sucks harder.

Street Santa’s, store Santa’s, Christmas Party Santa’s and anybody else unfortunate enough to have donned Saint Nick clobber are themselves being clobbered by a Christmas-hating psycho (possibly from Tower Hamlets?).

Purdom is the Chief Inspector in charge of stopping the mayhem, whilst dealing with the sulky daughter of an early victim and her mullet-headed boyfriend, who visually epitomises everything wrong with British 80s fashion. This mismatched pair goes about trying to solve the mystery on their own, amidst trips to take part in dodgy photo shoot and busk in the middle of a market with nothing but a flute!?

Meanwhile, Santa’s all over the place are being knifed, burnt, glassed and even castrated in the middle of taking a piss. Who’s doing it? There are several palpable suspects in supporting roles and Purdom himself might even be our guy.

Once unmasked, the killer is reminded by sulky girl that he killed her dad, to which he responds by saying: “That was unfortunate – but he reminded me of Christmas time.” He then kills her! (Possibly offended by the flute).

With the nominal heroine out the window, a peepshow employee who witnesses one of the murders in promoted to the role, kidnapped by the killer and then chased about deserted Soho streets in the middle of the day (!) and her ultimate fate is never really explained. There’s a brief flashback scene fisted in to do with a crappy family Christmas in some ill-conceived attempt to make sense of it all.

Though it looks okay on the surface, this is a real mess. Caroline Munro, whose named is emblazoned all over the video box, has a cameo of about three minutes as herself, probably as a favour to Purdom.

Don’t open ever.

DON’T PANIC

1 Stars  1987/18/90m

“The REAL nightmare is just beginning.”

Director/Writer: Ruben Galindo Jr. / Cast: Jon Michael Bischof, Gabriela Hassell, Helen Rojo, George Luke, Juan Ignacio Aranda, Eduard Noriega, Roberto Palazvelos, Melinda McCallum, Cecilia Tijerina.

Body Count: 7


If you thought Don’t Open Till Christmas was an acid trip into bizarro WTF territory, why not give this completely demented Mexican combo of Elm Street and The Exorcist a spin?

Dorky teen Michael – who sports a sort of permed mullet hairstyle – and friends play with a Ouija board that gets his friend Tony possessed with an evil spirit named Virgil who then kills the others.

The catch here is that Michael has precognitive Laura Mars-style visions, during which he is blind to everything else, illustrated to us with some tacky plastic contacts that look like they’re hurting the actor.

Beyond the bad writing, acting and production, Michael has got to be one of the most embarrassing lead characters on celluloid. He’s 18 but spends the majority of the film in dinosaur pyjamas and whines like a ten-year-old when he doesn’t get his own way.

In its efforts to ape Freddy, mom is an alcoholic and the killer’s face (when seen) is burnt and disfigured. The video box I had bore the tagline: “Forget Freddie [sic] and Jason, Virgil’s the newest nightmare in town.”

The dinosaur PJ’s are far more frightening.

DON’T LOOK DOWN

1998/12/87m  1.5 Stars

Director: Larry Shaw / Writer: Gregory Goodell / Cast: Megan Ward, Billy Burke, Terry Kinney, Angela Moore, William McDonald, Kate Robbins, Aaron Smolinski, Tara Spencer-Nairn.

Bodycount: 5

Dire-logue: “OK, so it’s me against the bogeyman.”


A nauseatingly tame made for TV thriller with ‘Wes Craven Presents’ all over the box and “this is the best Wes Craven film I’ve ever seen” written on it. What? Like, seriously? He also lent his name to fucking Wishmaster. And it’s rated 12.

Racked by guilt after she fails to save her little sister from falling over a cliff edge, reporter Ward finds herself increasingly anxious when faced with vertigo-inducing situations and so joins an intense therapy course run by iffy shrink Kinney, who might be the one shoving the patients off rooftops outside working hours.

An impressive opening act that has shades of the Stallone actioner Cliffhanger, a not-entirely predictable exposition from the killer and the fact that the black woman lives are the only distinguishing features in this boring crack at a potentially interesting premise.

The acrophobia angle is played out mainly with psychobabble and boring exercises for the group members, only two of whom are given that fatal push.

This should’ve been better.

*

Overrall blurbs-of-interest: Dan Grimaldi was in iMurders; Caroline Munro and Kelly Baker were in Slaughter High; Munro was also in Maniac and The Last Horror Film; Edmund Purdom was in Absurd and Pieces. Ruben Galindo also directed the far better Cemetery of Terror. Fortunately, that’s all.

DVD D.O.A.: Shitty Sequels

The law of diminishing returns rules hard in horrordom; sequels almost always gradually degrade in a nice neat arc.

See?

Though every now and then there’s a nice kink in the drop off (Friday VI, Elm Street 3, Halloween 4)… Those aside, let’s whatever-the-opposite-of-celebrate-is (mourn?) the sequels that NEVER should’ve happened…

I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer (2006)

This sensationally dumb third entry in the I Know What You Did saga abandoned Jennifer Love Hewitt and her substantial cleavage for pastures new.

Colorado. Lots of slicker-clad fishermen found round there.

A quartet of teens whose prank went askew are literally haunted by the killer Fisherman who turns out to be a ghost.

It’s cheap, offensively simplistic and actually has a couple of surplus characters who could’ve been great mystery killers. But no. A fucking urban legend ghost outcome fills a gap in the script so huge and sucksome that it threatens to pull the whole of existence through it.

Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)

In spite of a so-so idea at its core, nobody wants Halloween III. It’s the Smelly Cat of the Halloween series. It’s Andrew Ridgeley. It’s that guy who left the Backstreet Boys. It’s the fat one from Wilson Phillips*.

An eeeeeevil toymaker creates masks that kill their pre-pubescent owners when activated by the insanity-inducing Silver Shamrock advert and it’s FUCKING HORRIBLE TUNE.

“Three more days to Halloween, Halloween, Halloween…” Aaaarrgghhh!!!

Michael Myers was NEEDED to come and kill whoever came up with that.

What mystifies me more is that when they released the first Halloween DVD box, they omitted Halloween 6 but not this one, even though it has fuck all to do with MM (apart from being seen on a TV screen in an almost-bemusing post-modern manoeuvre).

“The” Final Destination (2009)

Sometimes, people should know when to stop.

Even the artwork for this instalment shows that the franchise was less about characters and more about death by this point, about as far removed from the original concept as possible.

In this one – supposed to be the last word at the time – a retread of Final Destination 2‘s pile-up occurs at a Texas racetrack, leaving a quartet of thoroughly boring ‘teenagers’ (none of whom have parents, jobs, occupations) to stand by while a string of strangers meet grim ends before Death comes knockin’ at their door.

It’s crass, suspiciously cheap-looking and about as deep as a kids’ paddling pool, but also packs a mean streak that has several ‘characters’ who aren’t even given names and it doesn’t matter how nice you might be, something undeservedly nasty is going to happen to you.

The silver lining is that Final Destination 5 was a vast improvement. And it had the awesome ‘Devour’ by Shinedown on it.

American Psycho II: All-American Girl (2002)

Time for a shot of plain weirdness. This made-for-DVD sequel posits that Mila Kunis is a bigger sociopath than Patrick Bateman ever was and actually stabbed him to death after he killed her babysitter years before.

Masquerading as a co-ed, she enrols in a criminology course taught by – smirk – William Shatner and proceeds to kill anyone who stands between her and getting to Quantico.

The tagline “Angrier. Deadlier. Sexier.” pretty much tells you all you need to know: this is nothing more than a moronic attempt to wring some sleaze out of the cult phenomenon of Brett Easton Ellis’ original novel.

Kunis is clearly embarrassed to have been a part of it, but not as embarrassed as you’ll be watching it.

Wrong Turn 3: Left for Dead (2009)

This should really have been called Wrong Turn 3: How to Lose All Sense of Credibility in 3 Easy Films.

Wrong Turn 2 may have played for gory laughs but at least it remained interesting and partially invested in its own universe of backwoods inbreds killing cityfolk for grub but the following entry is just the bastard offspring of outsourced cheapness.

There’s only two cannibal loons this time, both looking more rubbery than ever before as they hunt down a group of convicts whose bus went off the road in West Virginia Bulgaria.

Awful reliance on crappy looking CGI, 100% unsympathetic characters and acting out of an infomercial with added profanity and a couple of T&A shots. A box-ticking exercise if ever there was one and Wrong Turn 4 looks to be even worse.

Stay tuned for more sequels from hell. Hang on, that means I’ll be creating my OWN sequel to this… Hopefully it won’t suck nearly as hard.

* I liked all of Wilson Phillips – including Carnie.

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