Tag Archives: rip-off central

Highway to hell

Monster-Man-capa2MONSTER MAN

2 Stars  2003/18/92m

Director/Writer: Michael Davis / Cast: Eric Jungmann, Justin Urich, Aimee Brooks, Michael Bailey Smith, Joe Goodrich.

Body Count: 6

Laughter Lines: “‘A fucking virgin’? Isn’t that an oxymoron?”


College buds Adam (Jungmann) and Harley (Urich) are driving to the wedding of a girl who it turns out they are both in love with. Both also plan to pledge their love for her.

After pissing off some locals, they find themselves stalked by the malformed, stitched-up, driver of a monster truck who has a thing for stealing the limbs of local rednecks, and drag sexy hitcher Brooks into the nightmare.

This annoying Jeepers Creepers wannabe starts off earnestly enough, with some good comic turns from the appealing Jungmann, but the constant frat-boy humour soon becomes an itch you cannot scratch. Right up the ass. This rectal discomfort is further compounded like a sledgehammer sending a wooden stake further up said arse with a body count that never kicks in effectively.

The third act is predictably resolved to end on the happiest note possibly contrived from what little charm there is, but when a film can’t decide whether it wants to rival a decent horror pic of circumnavigate virginity jokes and become just another American Pie knock-off, there’s very little left to recommend.

Blurbs-of-interest: Jungmann had a small role in Drive In; Michael Bailey Smith was in Chain Letter; Aimee Brooks played one of the ghost children in Sorority House Massacre; Urich crops up in lots of low-rent horror films, including Horror 101.

 

Eat it

GNAW

2 Stars  2008/18/77m

“It’s nice to have your friends for dinner…”

Director: Gregory Mandry / Writers: Michael Bell, Max Waller & Rob Weston / Cast: Sarah Dylan, Rachel Mitchem, Oliver Lee Squires, Nigel Croft-Adams, Julia Vandoorne, Hiram Bleetman, Carrie Cohen, Jennifer Wren, Gary Faulkner.

Body Count: 6


Take a Wrong Turn in England and it won’t be long before you find a house or a village… Except in Suffolk, according to this film, which shares a fair wad in common with The Beaten Track as well as the American loons-in-the-woods series it aspires to copy.

Three couples head into the sticks for a weekend away and fall prey to a deranged butcher who likes to reconstitute their flesh for meat, which, unbeknownst to them, they have been eating.

Characters, situations, and ‘twists’ are unfortunately as predictable as the British weather and save for a few touches here and there, nothing that happens is done with any flair or panache, and the icing on the cake is a twist previously seen in the likes of The Prey and, more recently, Simon Says.

Gruesome but kinda sloppy, with thick, viscous, blood that would clearly have caused the victims to die of blocked arteries anyway.

In fairness, I wasn’t paying that much attention while I watched, so for all I know something amazables happened while I was zoned out.

Floater

THE WATERMEN

2 Stars  2011/18/91m

“In the middle of the ocean there’s nowhere to run.”

Director/Writer: Matt Lockhart / Cast: Luke Galdun, Tara Heston, Tyler Johnson, Jason Mewes, Joy Glass, Ashley Myers, Richard Riehle, Joe Monds, Gordon Price, Scott Davis, Floyd Abel.

Body Count: 6


The seventy-eighth regional Xerox of Wrong Turn, but this one takes us back to Virginia. Or to be more accurate about it, Chesapeake Bay on the coast of Virginia.

Six “young people” go on an offshore cruise led by millionaire brat Trailor (Mewes, who doesn’t seem to want to be there for long) and find themselves stranded without electrics, water, or flares, until a rusty old fishing boat comes along and ‘rescues’ them.

They’re zonked by drugged water and taken back to the expected dirty ol’ shack by The Watermen, who intend to slice them up and sell them as top of the line crab bait, because it costs so much to gas up a boat, fish in depleted waters blah blah blah…

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Escape attempts are thwarted, some of the “kids” die, and they retaliate with feeble force, successfully offing only one of the numerous villains; slicker-clad Creole-types with long wet hair, beards, who grunt inaudible lines of dialogue and can seemingly survive almost anything.

While it’s passably interesting enough, the characters are awful cookie-cutter drones. The girls are especially moronic and incapable, including drippy heroine Diane, who has to be saved several times by muscular golden boy Mike, while her two friends are shallow, gold-digging airheads present only to appear topless and whine before they are summarily killed off.

Later on, another character is badly injured and seemingly on deaths door, but five minutes later can run around and haul barrels at will. Another person completely disappears from the film altogether and the lack of bad guys who get a dose of their own medicine is depressingly naff.

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Competent enough if you really wanted to see half dozen I Know What You Did Last Summer fishermen going Wrong Turn on a group of forgettable idiots – but who would?

Blurbs-of-interest: Mewes was also in RSVP and The Tripper; Richard Riehle was in Hatchet and Texas Chainsaw 3D.

One wrong turn deserves another

DETOUR

3 Stars  2003/18/88m

“One wrong turn and you’re fresh MEAT!”

A.k.a. Hell’s Highway; Cannibal Detour

Director/Writer: S. Lee Taylor / Writer: Steven Grabowsky / Cast: Ashley Elizabeth, Aaron Buer, Jill Jacobs, Brent Taylor, Kelsey Wedeen, Jessica Osfar, Ryan De Rouen, Anthony Connell, Curtis Davidson, Micky Levy.

Body Count: 17

Dire-logue: “Mmm, takes like micro-phallus.”


Bearable cash-in on the fan-success of Wrong Turn and retitled the mouthful Cannibal Detour: Hell’s Highway for UK DVD, I once got crucified by some horror snobs for saying it wasn’t that bad. Like I’d compared it to Black Christmas or some such. Some people can be a-holes over the most trivial stuff.

Anyway, seven LA clubkids spend the night raving in the middle of nowhere and begin the long trip home in their RV intent on picking up some wonder-pot at an abandoned army base off the beaten track.

As in all road-based horror movies, there’s a gas station attendant on hand to warn them off but they fail to take heed and hang up the vehicle somewhere between checkpoints. One of the gang hikes back to the gas station while another pair disappear for some outback sex. Before long, they’re set upon by a large number of whacked-out freaks who favour stranded motorists as their main food source.

What distinguishes Detour slightly from its brethren is the choice of lead characters. From the outset we’re presented with stereotypes of the sensible guy (who drives), the horny couple, smart-mouth goth girl, two bimbettes who obsess over reality TV and then Loopz. Loopz is quite possibly the most annoying character ever to stray on to celluloid: A whiteboy rapper who channels Eminem and talks like a middle-class gangsta wannabe.

It’s this idiot and the two bubble-brained party girls who emerge as the only survivors. Initially dim-witted, lollipop-sucking Tara morphs into an ass-kicking Xena chick, saving the other two and making the right kind of decisions.

Plenty of gore and decent production attributes help to overcome the seedier elements but a better explanation of the gorked-out psychos would have been welcome, but on the whole Detour is probably a little better than it has a right to be. Although it loses points for not killing off Loopz with extreme prejudice.

Blurbs-of-interest: Look out for Tiffany Shepis in the blink-and-you’ll-miss-her rave montage. Kelsey Wedeen was also in Lake Dead.

Party hard

INVITATION ONLY

3 Stars  2009/18/96m

“A party to die for.”

Director: Kevin Ko / Writers: Carolyn Lin & Sung In / Cast: Bryant Chang, Julianne, Vivi Ho, Jerry Huang, Kristian Brodie, Joseph Ma, Kao Yin-Hsuan, Liz.

Body Count: 12


Taiwan’s “first slasher movie” is more of an answer to Hostel than it is a straight-up bodycount pic, with down-on-his-luck chauffeur Wade randomly passed an invite to a society function by his rich client, Mr Yang, who can’t be arsed to go and instructs the youngster to claim he is the mogul’s cousin.

Once at the party, Wade, and four other ‘newcomers’ are introduced and there’s some spiel about writing down your wildest dream on the back of the invite, that the host makes a reality. Wade wants a sports car and consequently receives one, but is soon clued in, along with his fellow debutantes, that they’ve been selected because they’re allegedly ‘impostors’ – poor people either stealing from wealthy clients or transgressing some other high-society sin.

To be honest, I couldn’t make much sense of this part: the three less ‘valued’ characters have all done somethung fundamentally wrong but I couldn’t work out what either Wade or nice girl Hitomi were supposed to have done that would earn them a death warrant.

Each newbie is attacked, slashed, and then put ‘on show’ for the baying crowd of rich folk to see tortured and murdered. A corrupt political wannabe has his balls fried with an electrified jumper cable and a light-fingered nurse has some amateur surgery carried out on her face.

Wade and Hitomi do their best to escape but find themselves thwarted over and over again until they’re forced back into the lion’s den and have to fight fire with fire. Or, rather, sharp implements with other sharp implements.

There’s a decent amount of tension and liberal bloodletting – the electrodes-to-the-bollocks scene is especially cringe-inducing and grim. That aside, there’s not much new material worth lapping up in Invitation Only and it plays out in a very similar way to Eli Roth’s American counterparts, a couple of scenes almost directly lifted from them. Still, it passed 96 minutes without boring me so it’s worth a look, if not only to see how Asia does the job.

On a side note, I love how the cast credits are rounded off with “and Liz”! As if we all know who this Liz person is. I know a couple of Liz’s. This Liz, though, evidently as important in Taiwan as Madonna or Cher, plays the red-dress victim at the beginning. All hail Liz!!

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