Tag Archives: me me me!

Trade-a-Life

Sometimes when watching a slasher pic there’ll be a nice person who dies and I’ll be sad about it for ten or twelve minutes. In recent years horror’s insistence that all people bar heroes are tossers has meant this is rarely the case anymore but way-back-when it wasn’t uncommon for sympathetic victims to pile up along with their more promiscuous, pot-smoking, more sinful buddies. It smarts more if someone who damn well should’ve been turned into a giant pin cushion makes it out unscathed.

Hence, here are three such examples where I’d gladly play God and swap one of the survivors for someone who bought the farm… Humongous spoilers follow.

THE BURNING

Yeah, that’s right – let’s switch whiny Peeping Tom Alfred (Brian Backer) – who somehow survives! - for shy, well-meaning but slightly naive Karen (Carolyn Houlihan), she with whom we become acquainted early on, tricking us into believing she’ll be the one to face off with Cropsy. That is, until she disrobes in full view of the camera and gets her throat cut with his pointy shears in a particularly spiteful demise.

I’m all for Final Boys every now and then but Alfred ain’t got it – he is saved by Todd anyway, who does most of the legwork, and adds almost nothing to the mix and should’ve gotten the shear blades through the nuts for his penchant for perving.

A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 4: THE DREAM MASTER

This could be an unpopular one as Alice (Lisa Wilcox) successfully took on Freddy Krueger not once, but twice and lived to tell the tale. However, after the ass-kicking Nancy and Patricia Arquette’s Kristen, it’s like the writers of The Dream Master dug out an old American Gothic painting and decided the heroine should be all dowdy and feeble. So yeah, she grows a pair and wins the war later on but I’d rather have seen uber-dork Sheila (Toy Newkirk) take that journey.

She of oversized glasses and a sort of Janet Jackson-lite ensemble, Sheila may be even weaker than Alice Plain n’ Tall at the offset but would undoubtedly be the kind of black final girl we’ve been in need of for so many years: smart, sweet and unassuming.

HALLOWEEN: RESURRECTION

Conversely, I think a lot of people who watched the eighth Halloween movie through distraught eyes would’ve been happy with anyone surviving in place of Busta Rhymes, who surfs a wave of cliches through the movie until only he and willowy heroine Sara are left alive.

But let us look to Rudy (Sean Patrick Thomas) who isn’t given much to do in the film but thankfully is not turned into a ghetto stereotype by the script. Instead, Rudy and his gal pals merrily join the webcast group and he’s smart enough to toss spices into Michael Myers’ eyes – something that hadn’t been tried before – shame it didn’t work though… In any other movie, the guy who tries to use martial arts or some other physical skill to best the killer (see Julius in Friday the 13th Part VIII for example) is usually swatted away like a gnat – unless he’s a well-known “musician” who probably only signed on with a clause that he wasn’t killed off. Boooo.

Agree? Disagree? Someone I missed? Drop a comment and let me know!

Rubbish films that don’t deserve long reviews

…And no screencaps either, God damn it! They suck, so adding what I believe to be ‘good shots’ from any of them might only pique your interest. And then you’ll go and watch them, realise I was right all along and come back yelling at me.

We’re going in order of what I think looks best.

MASK OF MURDER

1.5 Stars 1985/18/84m

“Who is innocent… Who is guilty… Who is safe… Who is next…?”

Director: Arne Mattson / Writer: Volodia Semitjov / Cast: Rdo Taylor, Christopher Lee, Valerie Perrine, Sam Cook, Terrence Hardiman, Frank Brennan.

Body Count: 7


Look at those big-hitters: Christopher Lee! Rod Taylor! The guy who played The Demon Headmaster in The Demon Headmaster!

Lee reportedly turned down the role of Doc Loomis in Halloween and was perhaps therefore under the illusion that taking a clone of that role for this Scando-Canadian production might bathe that wound. How they sucked Taylor in is a mystery. Maybe Lee brought him in. Maybe Lee was already stuck like his legs were in a combine harvester and he held on to Taylor until both were dragged to their deaths career nadirs.

They and Sam Cook are cops in a small Canadian town where a loon in a shitty cotton mask is slicing the throats of young women. They find him and shoot him dead but only a few days later copycat killings begin – but whoooo could it beeeee?

Trouble is, MoM can’t make up its mind over being a slasher film or a cop film. The victims are presented as non-speaking plebs or women who ‘had it coming’ and there’s no heroine to speak of, no chase scenes, nada. We do get to see some frontal male nudity (gasp!) and there’s a boring subplot about an affair going on between one of the cops and the wife of the other one who isn’t Christopher Lee, because he’s in hospital for most of it.

The obnoxious twist ending is smug as can be but it doesn’t elevate this above being a bad combo meal of seasoned professionals surrounded by rank amateurs that has the audacity to rip off the far superior He Knows You’re Alone.

Blurbs-of-shame: Lee was in Sleepy Hollow and the even worse Funny Man.

* * *

TABOO

2002/15/77m  1 Stars

“Would you ever…?”

Director: Max Makowski / Writer: Gary Fisher / Cast: January Jones, Nick Stahl, Amber Benson, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Lori Heuring, Derek Hamilton.

Body Count: 6


Six egotistical Cruel Intentions-type college brats gather at a remote mansion on New Year’s Eve where they engage in a polite game of Taboo, which entails writing answers to some risque questions like Would you have sex with a minor? Would you have sex for money? blah blah blah…

At midnight, a package containing five cards arrives, labelled Prostitute, Homosexual, Infidel, Rapist and Hypocrite (ooh, that one’s gonna sting!) Lo and behold, bodies start stacking up, each found with the appropriate card.

However, all of this happens too early to fool us and it’s all revealed to be a gag at the expense of Jones, the only one not to get a card and has apparently been blackmailing the others. When they seemingly forgive her and move on, Hypocrite flips, takes a shotgun and begins offing the others. Told you it was gonna sting.

With the cheater-weapon in play, Taboo is a very boring stalk n’ shoot with next to no grue and it ends with an entirely dull poison murder-suicide pact thing. But at least they’re all dead.

Buffy alumni Amber Benson is endearing as the ever-wrecked Piper but she truly deserves better exposure than this crap, which fails to impress on any scale, becoming taboo itself for reasons of taste.

Blurb-of-shame: Derek Hamilton was Eddie in Ripper: Letter from Hell.

* * *

BLEED

1.5 Stars  2002/18/82m

“Join the club.”

Directors: Devin Hamilton & Dennis Peterson / Writer: Devin Hamilton / Cast: Debbie Rochon, Allen Nabors, Danny Wolske, Orly Tepper, Laura Nativo, Ronnie Gene Blevins, Julie Strain, Brinke Stevens.

Body Count: 9

Dire-logue: “You wanna see tits? Well here they are and fuck you!”


Another post-Screamie with all the budget of a shopping trip to Aldi that has lonely new girl in LA Maddy (Rochon) seduced by her boss and then inducted into his snobby circle of friends who fool her into thinking they’re all part of The Murder Club and have each offed a stranger to surf the adrenalin rush.

Poor naive Maddy takes it the wrong way and kills a woman she has a ruckus with. The others regroup and decide what they should do but by then the white-masked psycho who, until now, has been chopping up various extras starts doing away with them in their homes.

Is it Maddy? After all her mom (Brinke in a flashback) and dad chucked her out years earlier? No. It’s someone else.

The trouble with Bleed is that it’s an out and out retread filmed almost entirely in back yards and apartments with dialogue exchanges used to staple the plot holes together; for instance, Maddy goes on one date with her boss and is invited to a party the next day where a group of complete strangers decide to let her in on their “big secret!”

In spite of some production polish and the ever-lovely Rochon, Bleed sucks out more tolerance than claret.

Blurbs-of-shame: Rochon has also been in American Nightmare, Blood Relic, Final Examination and Head Cheerleader, Dead Cheerleader; Julie Strain was in Psycho Cop Returns.

* * *

SMALL TOWN FOLK

2007/15/87m  1 Stars

“Welcome to Grockleton.”

Director: Peter Stanley-Ward / Writers: Natalie Conway & Peter Stanley-Ward / Cast: Greg Martin, Chris R. Wright, Simon Stanley-Ward, Hannah Flint, Dan Palmer, Jon Nicholas, James Ford, Sophie Rundle, Tamaryn Payne, Warwick Davis.

Body Count: 16


Cheap shows for pre-schoolers often include effects work that looks like a crayon drawing has been scanned into a Mac and then actors are superimposed over the top of it. Fine. Baby Susie isn’t going to get angry with crap production values at her age. But in a horror film…? Just… No.

Had it not taken four years to create and been funded by the cast and crew, this would unquestionably be a native of half-star city.

Unexplained men near the town of Grockleton in the New Forest kidnap women to procreate ‘their kind’ and murder any men who get in the way. Enter a married couple “on an adventure” and some local teens fooling around in the woods and… and… and fuck it, I don’t know what was going on.

As it was originally intended to be a short, there just ain’t enough her to justify history’s longest 87 minutes. There are more than half a dozen killers running around cracking misfired jokes, tormenting Grockles (non-locals) and talking in a bizarre thespian sub-language.

I’d wager 95% of the budget went on securing the three-minute Warwick Davis cameo that bookends the story. Britain’s Got Talent – yeah? Where is it when you need it?

Blurb-of-shame: Dan Palmer was in the marginally more amusing Freak Out.

* * *

URBAN MASSACRE

1.5 Stars  2002/15/84m

“A real life horror.”

Director: Dale Resteghini / Writers: Dale Resteghini & Carl Washington / Cast: Demetrius Gibbs, Erin O’Donnell, Badia Stewart, Ross Filler, Leroy Jones, Rosario M. Gancitano, Wayne Mogel, G-Flex.

Body Count: 9


In the 80’s, mucho slasher filmage associated itself with hair metal and, in several examples, featured doomed rock bands pitted against a loon with a blade. So time (sadly) moves on and thus this millennial slasher centres around the fortunes of growing rap quintet The Supernatchrals, who find various members of their entourage are being knocked off by a maniac dressed as a clown – as they always seem to be in urban bodycount pics.

For a shot-on-video feature, Urban Massacre doesn’t look bad but, unless you’re well versed in rap and hip-hop (safe to say I’m not), much of the dialogue – largely consisting of ‘fuck you’, ‘fuck him’, ‘fuck that’ – will be lost on you.

While intermittent rap numbers and “statements” on the companion culture to downright racism are testing, at the end the feisty fivesome (three guys, two gals) literally have the killer pinned down, stop, look at the camera and tell the audience they will not unmask him as we will have to wait for ‘Part Two’.

FUCK THAT.

Given this 11th hour atrocity – especially when the pre-credits practically spelt out the identity and motive – all points gained immediately return to zero. It’s insulting and hypocritical, especially as the characters have spent eighty minutes whining about racial injustice and forcing their shit brand of “music” on us, yet they’ve seen fit to halt the film completely and cut back to another cruddy rap number.

For slasher-but-not-rap fans (me), the chubby white MC in the group occasionally spouts pointless horror movie trivia but everything else is about as memorable – and credible – as Vanilla Ice’s last album.

Decembwhore

Shing-shing-shing-shing-shing. That’s the sound of bells, not my piss-poor attempt to put the Psycho strings into readable format.

Yes, Christmas is nigh and what better gift to give or have a tantrum over wanting than a horror book set during the holidays? …Like this one I wrote earlier.

You see how well it fits in with the spirit of the season? Santa, snow, …death

I know, I know. But I need to feed my dog turkey-flavoured kibble, man.

Should you feel the need to purchase for yourself – or your mom, dad, brothers, sisters, cousins, uncles, aunts, grandparents, former roomies, friends, enemies, frenemies a copy, you can get it here (UK), here (US), or here (the rest of the world).

Support your local slasher blogs. And their dog.

Happy Holidays to you all!

– Hud xx

May Meet: The films I couldn’t finish

Those who know me well will vouch for my high tolerance of crap. Crap music, crap TV and crap films. But every now and then there’s that straw that breaks the camel’s back.

Here are five films I couldn’t deal with. I may have fast-forwarded to the end but the whole experience was out of the window for one reason or another…

fiveacrosseyesFIVE ACROSS THE EYES (2006)

It looks like a slasher film. It sounds like a slasher film. Slasherpool gave it five stars… I can only hope that AnthroFred was on crack that day because this is a sure fire candidate for biggest waste of time EVER!

A quintet of high school girls go to a sports event at a school…. theirs, someone else’s, I really didn’t care. On the way back, she who is driving their mini-van knocks into another  vehicle at a bar and they unwisely flee the scene.

By this point, the camcorderiness of it all was becoming too much for me to take and thumb circled the fast-forward button like a vulture eyeing a carcass.

The driver of the other car chases and catches them and turns out to be a thirtysomething woman who’s evidently got the decorators in as she holds them at gunpoint, makes them strip and let’s them leave, only to chase them again, probably to kill them, I don’t know, it was well into x4 territory now.

A girl craps in her own hand and tosses it at the trailing car, nobody gets murdered and eventually the five girls gang up and kill the psycho bitch. What are The Eyes, you ask? It’s the name of the back country where this all takes place. Yay, relevance. Fucking dreadful.

edenlakeEDEN LAKE (2008)

Here’s an oddity, a film which was quite obviously good enough but I made one of my rare sensible decisions to stop watching.

A city couple head off camping for the weekend and cross paths with some horrible teenage scrotes who begin a campaign of terror against the outlanders after they accidentally kill their dog.

I reached the point where it looked like I was going to get very angry with it – before the dog-o-cide – as I do about the subject of the don’t-give-a-fuck teenagers in society and opted to have a quick peek at the end, which only served to prove that it had in fact been a good idea to discontinue.

Yeah, so it’s “real” horror or whatever, but people call Radiohead “real” music and I don’t listen to that either. I want a Belinda Carlisle level of horror: big hair, strong predictable melody and commercial appeal, not downbeat state-of-society stuff. Film is supposed to help me escape all that BS, not take me on a trip back to it for entertainment’s sake.

iamtheripperI AM THE RIPPER (2004)

I only have hazy memories of what can only be a described as a French student project filmed on a Nokia.

At a Paris party, a skull masked killer turns up and kills a load of people. Okay, fine – this occupies about 15 minutes worth. Then they all come back to life (I think) and it becomes some bizarro Matrix-horror film with super powers or something? I don’t even remember.

But it was shit in its purest, distilled form.

nyripTHE NEW YORK RIPPER (1982)

Just how this film has a 6.1 rating on IMDb is beyond my understanding. It’s SHIT!!!

The New York Ripper has garnered a reputation for hefty misogyny, which was fairly common in early 80s horror. Yes, it’s there but I expected that.

What I didn’t expect was how boring it would be. Fulci made the film look relatively professional, the murders are drippy and gross and very brutal but so little else happens. The gap between slayings grew as my patience shrank until I could take it no more and scurried to the end to see who the killer turned out to be and what the deal with the mad quacking was.

I actually had to watch the end twice to try and get it straight – some girl in a hospital bed with no arms or something. Zzzzz.

seasonSEASON OF THE HUNTED (2003)

Muse Watson is in this. The Fisherman from I Know What You Did Last Summer wouldn’t lower himself to a camcorder tripe-fest would he? He was in Prison Break, damn it.

It turns out that yes, he would. He needs money too, y’know.

In this tale of some hunters becoming the hunted, I made it about twenty odd minutes in before x4-ville took over and I realized that this over-long film was not going to gauge my interest. Ever.

I can’t tell you what happened later in it but it wasn’t the slasher film the box art made it out to be.

There, see? Vegan Voorhees can’t promise to give you a fair rundown of everything because sometimes it’s just too damn shite to make it through. It becomes the unscratchable itch. Turn it off! Turn it the hell off now!

To this end there can be no real winner or loser this month; four of these films are irredeemably crap and the other is likely to induce a killing spree of my own. It being the odd one out, let’s pretend Eden Lake is the only good one.

January Joust: Crap Killers

Despite film boxes stating otherwise, not every psycho killer can be Jason or Michael. In every trade there are crappy workers – fast food joints, education, social work… We hope that these people realise they’re just not cut out to live their dreams, y’know, like when Simon Cowell stamps all over someones ambition on The X Factor / American Idol*. It’s the same in the slasher realm. No matter how they might try, some killers are doomed to fail…

Big ol’ spoilers loiter hereabouts!

thefinalterrorTHE FINAL TERROR 1981

Killer: Eggar’s Mother

Why so crap? In spite of stalking about a dozen people round the forest for a couple of days, this bush-guised, hook-knife-handed mama only manages to off a measly five of them. Now, five isn’t that bad by comparison, but her methods are pretty crud (tin can lids on tree branches!?) and success rate worse: she can’t even slash Daryl Hannah’s throat effectively. And then she dies by walking into one of her own traps. Duh.

Cowell-ism: “At this stage in the competition, this just isn’t good enough. Do you want to be the next Leon Jackson???”

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dangerous gameDANGEROUS GAME 1989

Killer: Officer Murphy

Why so crap? Oirish-cop-in-Australia Murphy manages to trap five teenagers in a department store for the best part of their Friday night out, even kidnaps two of them and kills a third. But that’s it. After one murder he flakes and starts blurting that he “didn’t mean it” la la la. Save it for the judge, pal! The spoiled rich teens prove more than a match for him and merrily escape while he staggers off all beaten and bruised.

Cowell-ism: “I honestly expected more from the Irish. I don’t see you as any competition for Westlife.”

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shriek-if-you-knowSHRIEK IF YOU KNOW WHAT I DID LAST FRIDAY THE 13TH 2000

Killer: Doughy

Why so crap? Aided with gusto by the fact that the film is pretty crap on its own, the killer here, “Doughy” (…groan), fares even worse than Murphy by failing to kill anybody. He’s a wannabe. He shows up, mask, weapon, motive all ready to go and then the intended corpse goes and dies by some freak accident, i.e. fatal bee stings, a handy coronary, or more commonly by tripping over things.

Cowell-ism: “I just didn’t get it. Was it supposed to be funny?”

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freakFREAK 1997

Killer: Keller. Killer-Keller-Killer-Keller-Bo-Fella-Banana-Fo-Fannah-Fella-Keller.

Why so crap? Nine years after starting out the same way as most of these guys do, by offing his nasty mom, “catatonic” Keller-Keller-Bo-Fella escapes whilst being transported to a new hospital and cross paths with a couple of recently orphaned sisters who’re driving to their new home. He kills a grand total of two people before kidnapping the younger sister so that big sis and transport-driver-guy have to come to the rescue. Freak‘s budget is about $3.75 so they probably couldn’t afford extra victims, but the film isn’t so bad otherwise.

Cowell-ism: “Look, I can see you’re trying but this just isn’t good enough, we’re looking for a worldwide star here, the bandage look isn’t working for you.”

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berserkerBERSERKER 1987

Killer: Pappy Nyquist

Why so crap? Oh just piss off 1987. What did you do for anyone? Nothing. And take your shit misogynistic horror films with you! Yeah, you too George ‘Buck’ Flower as some freakin’ Viking-bear-thing that shreds campers to death but CAN’T KILL ANY OF THE ANNOYING CAST MEMBERS, JUST THE YOUNG, NUBILE ONES AND SOME OLD PEOPLE!!!

Cowell-ism: “1987? Leona was two by then and already better than you.”

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thewisherTHE WISHER 2002

Killer: Shane

Why so crap? Another half-assed attempt on behalf of the sappy Emo killer to suck up to horror-fixated heroine Mary by granting her wishes. Her dad dies, her mouthy friend gets her tongue cut out and then she wishes the killer slice himself up – which he does. Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!

Cowell-ism: “My only wish is that you had more talent and I was convincingly heterosexual.”

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christmas_evilYOU BETTER WATCH OUT (Christmas Evil) 1980

Killer: Harry Stadling

Why so crap? If… this… film… were… any… slower… it… would… bore… a… can… of… Red Bull… to… death… After the slowest descent into madness ever recorded on film, toy-worker Harry’s obsession with Christmas (spying on the neighbourhood kids to make sure they’re being good) spills over when he kills a work colleague who disses the season and three people outside a church who laugh at his Santa costume. Then he flies away in a van.

Cowell-ism: “All I want for Christmas is for you to go away so only I can ruin it for everyone by forcing one of my boringly inoffensive contest winners to take a cover version of a song everybody once loved to Number One after I adorn it with a children’s choir and some strings and make everyone who ever gave a shit about the sanctity of musical individuality want to kill themselves.”

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WINNER LOSER: The crappest killer ‘award’ goes to Eggar’s Ma. Such opportunity, such a big cast…wasted!

Closing Cowell-ism: “Well, I’m not surprised. Leona could do this in her sleep.”

*delete appropriately to whichever one clogs up your viewing schedule.

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