Tag Archives: I want to die

“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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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

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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.

poster_children-corn-syfy

2009/92m

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

Body Count: 8

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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…

MR HALLOWEEN

mrhalloween 2006/18/112m

“Trick or Treat… You’re dead meat.”

Director: Andrew Wolf / Writers: Cody Wolf & Andrew Wolf / Cast: Shannon Eastman, Bill Loomis, Josh Wolf, Justin Loomis, Cody Wolf, Jack Bell, Bryan Briggs.

Body Count: 13

Dire-logue: “Why does everybody in this goddamn town gotta tell me my goddamn job? Got no goddamn respect!”

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Teens in the New York township of Sauquoit have a tendency to disappear at an alarming rate around All Hallows Eve. When Jill’s friends Jason and Michael (ha-bloody-ha) vanish, she wonders why. And it takes her a full year to investigate the annual haunted house attraction of local oddball Mr Loomis, whose barn-bodyparts look a tad on the realistic side…

Jill and her replacement friend, Village People member-lite Jack (ha-bloody-ha again), snoop and she ends up getting kidnapped by Loomis, who chains her in the cellar with Michael, who has been there for the last year awaiting a Halloween night execution for the revellers to gorp at. Can they escape? Will anyone help them? Why is this film nearly two hours long?

Another trip into the bargain basement of slasherdom, Mr Halloween is a film full of whys, such as:

  • Why is there a clown on the box when there isn’t one in the film?
  • Why is everyone wearing the same clothes and sporting the same hair styles they had one year before?
  • Why didn’t Michael ‘scrape’ himself free earlier if he manages to do it in ten minutes when Jill asks him to?
  • Why are there only two cops in town and why does the HQ look suspiciously like a local community center?
  • And finally, why are said cops more concerned about the traffic light that’s repeatedly broken by vandals when Sauquoit has “the most missing teenagers in the nation?”

OK, so the budget was like $29.95 and it was clearly just an ensemble of local friends having a laugh… Right? To be fair, the gore jobs aren’t that bad, but when my DVD player informed me that there was nearly two hours to sit through once I’d sussed just how low a budget this was, I considered reaching for a couple of nearby candles to burn my eyes out. The music isn’t too bad either, with synths that reminded me of Hell Night, but Mr Halloween is a film that really shouldn’t have gained international distribution, it’s not bad enough to be funny and outstays its welcome by approximately 111 minutes.

One curious note is that – in spite of some faces on the missing persons’ posters shown – there are no female victims whatsoever, not one. In fact, Jill is the only female character with more than two lines to utter. So that means no tits either, weird eh?




AX ‘EM

axem0_5_star 1992/71m

“It was supposed to be a weekend get-away until the horror began.”

Director/Writer: Michael Mfume / Cast: Michael Mfume, Sandra Pulley, Joe Clair, Racquel Price, Tracy Wiggs, Maria Copper, Kelci Jeter, Greg Jones, Kristine Louisa, Thomas Hunt, Frederick Montgomery, D-Taylor Murphy, Archie Williams.

Body Count: 10 (I think)

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Often cited as the worst horror film ever, possibly worst film ever, Ax ‘Em was shot a full ten years before it was finally given a DVD release in 2002. Why this was done is as big a mystery as the events that occur in the film itself. To clue you in to my level, what follows is the title card information at the start – verbatim:

On a cold winter night, in 1990, Mr. Mason, a mean and cruel Towns man, left his job for Home. After arriving home, He took a shotgun And killed his wife and Kids. This is mean man Killed himself. When the police arrived they only Found the bodies of wife, Daughter and younger son. His mentally ill son Harry Was not ever found. Legend has it, he will return In 13 years to revenge his family deaths.

So there you have it, that’s the backstory. It doesn’t seem to matter as whomever the killer is supposed to be, he’s now a middleaged man who grunts a lot. A large group of young African American people go to a house for the weekend. Once there, they eat and find the body of some white guy, then they all run into the forest, some of them run back to the house, some of them die.

It’s futile to try and put into words what watching Ax ‘Em is like. Fortunately, I watched the whole thing on YouTube in 8 segments, all of which presented the film in its grainy, inaudible glory, beginning with some totally unrelated scenes of street dancing and a comic, possibly material that was already on the video cassette supremely untalented director Mfume used to record this film on.

Remembering it is giving me a headache, so here are some funny-slash-unbelievable things that occurred:

  • Three people emerge from a broken down car. The two guys walk off for help leaving the girl. The next scene with the main players indicates it’s the next morning. Then we go back to car people, still inconceivably stuck in the previous night. Later, the girl at the car is given a few seconds on screen, inferring she’s been sat there for nearly two days.
  • A couple find an abandoned car. The guy says; “Hallelujah it’s a car!” Girl comes back with: “Are you sure it’s a car?’ It’s there, in front of them, on wheels. It’s a car, love.
  • This sequence is actually followed by something even more unreal: the girl slaps the guy and he starts saying (repeatedly), “did you just slap me out here in these woods?” finally yelling it loud enough for any prospective psychos to come-a-callin’.
  • The killer gently taps a guy on the face with a phone that somehow both kills and leaves a coil attached to his face.
  • Other people die seemingly from being too near to the killer, they’re then seen lying on the ground.

Oh God, I’m too depressed to go on. Go to the YouTube link if you must, but heed my words. Someone ax me, please!

TO BECOME ONE

tobecomeone

2000/18/88m

“Family reunions are KILLER!”

Director/Writer: Neil Johnson / Cast: Emma Grasso, Jay Gallagher, David Vallon, Spencer Slasberg, James Giddens, Miranda Podleska, Izumi Pennicott, Jade Bilowol, Michelle Milne, Chris Heywood.

Body Count: 9

Dire-logue: “We’re playing this out like some B-grade movie. Five kids locked away in some isolated shack. When the killer finds us he’s gonna pick us off one by one.”

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Oh, sweet Lord! If you ever thought nothing called To Become One could be worse than the Spice Girls song 2 Become 1 – think again! OK, so it was reportedly produced for $2,000, so well done filmmakers on getting that far. Positive attributes end here.

A surefire contender for worst of the worst, this Aussie flick changes genres at the centre point from standardized slasher to something that resembles that Halloween Simpsons episode where Bart discovers he has an identical twin.

A year after her mother was chopped in two, Melinda and her klepto friends find themselves being bumped off by a killer wearing a My Bloody Valentine-esque industrial gas-mask. Seven teens – nearly all girls – are murdered in the first half hour, with the remaining few under the illusion that driving out into the country will put them out of harms way. Said folks chat amiably some minutes after watching two friends incinerated by a car bomb. Once everyone who doesn’t matter is gone, the killer unmasks and reveals himself to be Melinda’s twin brother, separated from her at birth and on leave from the loopy asylum he takes her back to for a re-joining operation by a God-deluded doc.

The wheels finally fall off the wagon at this revelation and it becomes one of those girls-must-escape-all-the-gurning-loonies plots and characters thought dead return from the grave for a contemptuously predictable ending. The occasionally slick presentation does little to aid this festering turd of a film and the opening murder, shot in sepia and inter-cut with a small girl staring into space, completely defies explanation!

88 minutes of pain. This is the cinematic equivalent of root canal surgery.

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