Tag Archives: rip-off central

PARANOID

paranoid-copy 2000/18/87m

“Look behind you, he might be there.”

A.k.a. Frightmare

Director/Writer: Ash Smith / Cast: Shanda Lee Besler, Shawn Wright, Summer Sloan LaPann, Brandon O’Dell, Michael Short, Denny Zartman, Tyler Thebaul.

Body Count: 9

Dire-logue: “If a serial killer was stalking me, I think I’d know.”

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I couldn’t find a good enough scan of the DVD cover so I had to draw it with Paint. That’s a bloody face and a knife instead of the ‘i’ in Paranoid. Yeah, I even drew the knife.

Anyway, let this not distract you from learning that this Australian film is an out and out Scream clone, which pretends to be be American. It begins with a girl and her parents being wasted in Sugar Hill, Georgia – “the most boring town in the world” – by a famous serial murderer known by the media as The Conscience Killer, who dresses scarily similar to the loon from Cherry Falls.

A slaughter subsequently begins after a an article about the killer is printed by budding high school journo Sarah, whose twin sister Laurie, we learn, was murdered. Yes, nothing ever happens in Sugar Hill. Four murders!? Move away, man! Move to Tazzie. Laurie had a bit of a Maureen Prescott reputation going for her. Let us stroke our chin and utter a big ‘hmmmm’…

Meanwhile, Sarah’s schoolfriends have staged a Halloween funhouse in order to raise money to send the senior class to the Cayman Islands. Why, I wasn’t sure, possibly to open a bank account. To the surprise of nobody bar the cast: the killer stalks Sarah, kills some extras and then goes for a homicidal home run on the last night of the funhouse’s operation – is it the Conscience Killer?? Is it fuck.

This roughtly demonstrates a choice scene from 'Paranoid'

A thrilling screenshot from 'Paranoid'.

The resolution is far from satisfying and about as convincing as Arnold Schwarzenegger in drag, but apparently “no one suspected a thing!” In all fairness, the young thesps do quite well with the sub-par script but gaping plot holes claim any credibility that happened to be driving by and the score sometimes completely ceases during moments of ‘high drama’ only to return later as if nothing had happened.

But it’s just so lazy… Scream was successful everywhere so why bother trying to pass off a third generation photocopy as anything but a big pile of pants? The Gale Weathers wannabe is even called Kate Windsail!! Windsail!!?

Blurb-of-interest: Michael Short was Chet in The Greenskeeper.

HALLOWEEN NIGHT

halloweennight

2006/18/86m

“In 1982, Christopher Vale was sent away after his family was brutally murdered. 10 years later, on Halloween night, he returned.”

Director: Mark Atkins / Writers: Michael Gingold & David Michael Latt / Cast: Derek Osedach, Rebekah Kochan, Scot Nery, Sean Durrie, Alicia Klein, Erica Roby, Amanda Ward, Jared Michaels, Amelia Jackson-Gray, Nick Daly Clark, Michael Schatz.

Body Count: 18

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If you’re not familiar with chintzy, low-bud production house The Asylum, then they’re the company who work a fast-paced assembly line approach to filmmaking, offering cheapo alternatives to then-present blockbusters, such as The Day the Earth Stopped, Snakes on a Train and recently Monster Shark vs. Giant Octopus! Although what that final one was made in response to is anyone’s guess. Each made-for-DVD film is garnished with overly-familiar artwork in an attempt to trick dim-witted browsers into selecting the wrong film. They also spun out Hillside Cannibals and When a Killer Calls in recent years.

So, Halloween Night then? Timed to coincide with Rob Zombie’s remake of a certain classic slasher flick, the UK box art for this one even featured a strikingly similar font for its title! Anyway, they duly knocked out this rubbish, a film which can’t even get its own story straight. According to both the box and the title cards, the film is “based on a true story” – yawn. Is it though? It is really? It’s certainly based on someone else’s hard work.

What ‘true’ tale this may be remains unresolved by the end, though it’s unlike anything that was front-lined in this seen-it-all-before-and-a-thousand-times-better effort, which sees an escaped mental patient crashing the Halloween party of uber-jerk David and friends. According to the tagline, this occurs in 1992, yet all the characters have cell phones and digital cameras.

Events unfold in a predictably boring style with the killer stealing an early victim’s costume so everybody unquestionably assumes he’s their buddy until he impales them on something. A brief subplot concerning a prank gone wrong fills the midsection and gives the cops an excuse to break up the party and send most of the mob packing, leaving only a handful of morons behind to bolster the body count. What’s becoming a worrying trend in skid row-budget flicks is the totally extraneous lesbian love scene, present and accounted for along with a ‘here we go again’ ending.

Acting wise, the leads go for a naturalistic approach, although David is such an asshole that it’s difficult to concentrate on any positive attributes he might have. Might. The sad fact for all those involved though is that the film exists only to try and fool people into thinking it’s something it blatantly isn’t.

Blurb-of-interest: both leads Osedach and Kochan were in When a Killer Calls as well.

DEAD IN 3 DAYS

deadin3days

2006/98m

Director: Andreas Prochaska / Writers: Thomas Baum, Uli Bree & Andreas Prochaska / Cast: Sabrina Reiter, Julia Rosa Stockl, Michael Steinocher, Nadja Vogel, Laurence Rupp, Julian Sharp, Andreas Kiendl, Karl Fischer, Amelie Jarolim, Susi Stach.

Body Count: 6

Dire-logue: “You guys are out of your minds – this isn’t a movie it’s fucking real!”

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About the trillionth offshore Xerox of I Know What You Did Last Summer, this twee Austrian export can boast some stunning scenery and well above average photography, something Euro-horror does better than most.

A clique of graduating high schoolers each receive the same text message, which tells them they’ll be dead within three days – hence the title, duh. They assume it’s a prank, most likely by the requisite outcast and party on down. The joy of leaving school is somewhat short lived when one of them disappears and turns up bound and weighted in the town’s lake the next day. The usual reactions ensue: the police blame whomever is convenient; the teens grieve and attacks continue.

Dead in 3 Days elects a not-so-obvious final girl in Nina, girlfriend of the recently departed, who is the next to be abducted but escapes from the slicker-clad killer, allowing him/her to move on the next target, beheading them with the help of a splintered fishtank. With the cops now taking notice, the three remaining kids are quizzed about who they think might want them dead and eventually recall an ice-skating accident from their childhood where a school buddy of theirs died and, two days later, his grieving father hanged himself – or did he?

Eventually, the kids break curfew and head to the former home of dead-kid and confront the killer. What should now crank up the considerable amount of tension (the circumstances of the past incident not yet fully clear), instead fizzles out in a flat, kinda rushed finale. Nicely done but too generic to be memorable.

Dubbed into English with more care than most efforts. A sequel followed in 2008.

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