Tag Archives: weird-ass twist

Nightmares on Cliche Street

heartstopperHEARTSTOPPER

2 Stars  2006/18/85m

“Each beat may be your last.”

Director: Bob Keen / Cast: Vlady Pildysh & Warren P. Sonoda / Cast: Meredith Henderson, James Binkley, Nathaniel Stephenson, Robert Englund, Laura De Carteret, Michael Cram, Lori Hallier, Scott Gibson.

Body Count: 19

Dire-logue: “Get back here you Christ-infected bitch! When I’m inside you I’ll make you hell’s slut!”


Check out that Dire-logue! This film gains 75% of its stars from that alone.

The execution by electric chair of psychopathic killer Jonathan Chambers (Binkley) coincides with the suicide attempt of depressed high-schooler Sara (Henderson), whom everyone is calling a slut for the usual schoolastic reasons. i.e. none.

Chambers’ corpse and an injured Sara are both taken to a dilapidated hospital in the same ambulance after it nearly runs Sara over, where the loon is unaccountably resurrected and begins a heart-gouging kill spree in the hunt for Sara, whose body he needs to be reborn into. Or something.

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Robert Englund appears as the arresting sheriff but doesn’t make it far through the film – well, enough to appear on the DVD box as if he’s the star. Mucho killage ensues while Sara’s mom (Lori Hallier from My Bloody Valentine) visits and gives her daughter sod-all sympathy.

Alas, a big body count does not a good film make and at least two thirds of the film are made up of the whittled down group of survivors hobbling up and down corridors, looking for hiding places, and performing a fucking blood transfusion in the dark with the aide of one nurse. Sara and Chambers eventually face off, there’s a handy tornado and a final scream moment that neither confirms nor denies any ongoing threat.

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Plenty of arterial spray on show, including an operating theatre massacre where Chambers manages to do in half a dozen people in about two minutes. It’s one of those stupid scenes where there are approximately seven or eight people who could gang up on the lone killer and instead just cower next to small pieces of furniture instead.

The seriousness with which everything is played is what stalls the motor at the end.

Blurbs-of-Robert Englund: 8 appearances as Freddy aside, he can also be seen in Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon, Hatchet, The Phantom of the Opera (1989) and Urban Legend.

Say It With Pick-Axes

simonSIMON SAYS

2.5 Stars  2006/15/84m

“Time to have some fun.”

Director/Writer: Bill Dear / Cast: Crispin Glover, Margo Harshman, Greg Cipes, Kelly Vitz, Artie Baxter, Carrie Finklea, Bruce Glover, Lori Lynn Lively, Blake Lively, Kelly Blatz.

Body Count: 13

Dire-logue: “You gotta die sometime. May as well be high!”


Familiarity is the mojo of the slasher genre, there’s a certain comfort in consistency, a feeling like you’ve been to these woods before, camped with these campers and all will turn out just as you expect it to. In Simon Says, a quintet of all-American high schoolers drive their VW camper into the woods to pan for gold, have sex, get stoned et cetera. So far, so familiar. It’s very Texas Chainsaw, only this time they don’t pick up the hitcher who, instead, gets slaughtered by a flying pick-axe no sooner than their van disappears around the corner.

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The group stop off for gas n’ eats at the neglected station run by ‘retarded’ Simon and his sharper identical twin bro, Stanley, both of whom are played by professional weirdo Crispin Glover – Young George McFly. He adequately weirds them out and sends them on their way to a local campsite “where the murders took place…” Well, disappearances actually, although we know better thanks to some handy flashbacking.

Before long a new set of murders begins as teens split off from the group, some paint-ballers run afoul of Simon…or Stanley? Dressed as a bush! The pick-axe flavoured kills make use of hundreds of the damn things and, at one point, the number of them flying through the air must go into triple figures as Simon/Stanley unleashes his deadly contraptions that fire them at fleeing teens.

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Numbers dwindle until only the twins’ “dream girl” Kate remains and must unfurl Stanley’s expo of bizarre lines to figure out what the hell has been going on… You’ll fare no better as Simon Says appears to only have the goal of head-fucking the viewer until you’d happily smash your own face into a cannon of pick-axes.

Glover is his dependable strange self, hamming it up with a deep-south ‘I do declare’ accent but the rest of the cast are left with scraps of their identikit characters to work with; Harshman makes for a functional final girl if not one we’re that bothered about, while Cipes is appealing as the stoner with a big heart. Their other friends fill the roles of meathead jock, I-hate-camping valley girl and slutty chick with no complaints, being killed off in a nice and neat order.

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That’s the problem at the core of the film; while it hands us conventionally anodyne characters with one hand, it repeatedly smacks its own forehead with the other at the same time as it puffs pot fumes into our face. It’s that weird. Who’s the bird on the horse? Why is Blake Lively’s name on the cover when she’s in the film for less than three minutes? Is the comedy intentional? Were they stoned? Geez, McFly, straighten this out!!

OK, watch it: try to enjoy the sticky CGI gore effects and Glover’s demented drawl but don’t ask me for an explanation!

Blurbs-of-interest: Glover played Jimmy in Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter; Margo Harshman was Chugs in Sorority Row; Carrie Finklea was in both Harvest of Fear and its sequel The Path of Evil; Bruce Glover (Crispin’s dad) was in Night of the Scarecrow.

GRANNY

granny1 Stars  1999/18/58m

“She’ll love you…to pieces.”

Director: Boris Pavlovsky / Writer: Sava Popovic, Boris Pavlovsky & TOMI / Cast: Katie Dugan, TOMI, Nathalie Ohona, Rebecca O’Marah, T.J. Bigbee, Annemieke Van Der Meer, John Stoops, David Coleman, Sava Popovic.

Body Count: Fuck knows

Dire-logue: (to a corpse) “Oh my God. Poor Monica, who did this to you?”


How long can an hour last? When you’re waiting to go home at the end of the day, tick…tock go the hands of the clock, mocking you with its ever-slowing crawl towards five o’clock. Or so it seems. And still, I’d rather clock-watch for a whole day than ‘kill’ an hour with the 58-minute long Granny. Actually, I’d rather experience my scrotum being crushed in a vice than watch Granny again.

In the minor horror flick Kolobos, wannabe actress Erica shows her friends a tacky slasher film called The Slaughterhouse Factor Part 3: Death Strikes Thrice. Watching Granny is like watching that film. Just how this film ever saw the light of day is as big a mystery as what the fuck happens at the end of it.

Eight Chicago students gather at a house and discuss paranoia and then start falling victim to the cross-dressing psycho, who sports a rubbish old-hag mask. Granny does away with them with axe, knife and needle until only whiney heroine Michelle remains. Or does she…? Well, sort of, then she has an asthma attack and dies. Or does she…? Oh, for fuck’s sake!!

Horrible effects and dreadful continuity abound as well as endless long takes of the house and the empty spaces therein to pad it out. One girl is stabbed repeatedly and stands there like she’s spilled ketchup on herself, plus Granny’s knife remains perfectly clean!

The sub-April Fool’s Day twist is crap; the acting is crap; everything is crap.

EVIL LAUGH

evillaugh

2 Stars  1986/88m

“Ten years ago something terrible happened in this house… This weekend it’s about to happen again!”

Director: Dominick Brascia / Writers: Dominick Brascia & Steven Baio / Cast: Kim McKamy, Steven Baio, Jerold Pearson, Jody Gibson, Myles O’Brien, Tony Griffin, Karen O’Bryan, Howard Weiss, Susan Grant, Gary Hays.

Body Count: 12

Dire-logue: “Don’t kill me! Kill Connie – she’s upstairs!”


Aside from having one of the best covers going, Evil Laugh also has a great backstory: the ‘present day’ teens, led by Scott Baio’s bro Steven, are staying in a condo that was converted from a foster home. A decade earlier, the children in the home falsely accused one of the carers of molesting them. Understandably peeved, he returned once in the clear and cut the throats of the children and set the place on fire. Cooooool.

I used to know Howie Weiss, who played Mr Burns, who didn’t exactly have the fondest of memories making the film. Possibly because he got a machete in the balls! He’s a celeb columnist now. In some ways, the film plays like the proto-Scream, with one dorky film character spouting slasher movie clauses once the killin’ begins.

Med students go to ye olde foster home OF DEATH for a weekend to scope it out as one of them is thinking of buying and restoring it. But they’re stalked n’ slain by the creepy killer, who even manages to do away with one poor fella by microwaving his head – despite the door remaining open! Once revealed, the fiend’s motive pays homage to the film Evil Laugh so clearly wants to be. Unfortunately, its endearingly naff qualities of lame set-ups and sloppy gore effects ensured that never came to be.

At least there’s the sometimes clever one-liners, the VIDEO MONTAGE of the thirties-pretending-to-be-teens group cleaning their house in their super-80s tight shorts, tucked in vests and big, big hair. Despite managing to both suck and blow, this is one any genre fan should try to see.

Blurbs-of-interest: Kim McKamy was also in Dreamaniac; director Brascia played Joey, the kid who got axed up by his ‘friend’, in Friday the 13th Part V and was also in Rush Week.

ALONE

alone2 Stars  2001/15/89m

“Hear the fear.”

Director: Phil Claydon / Writers: David Ball, Phil Claydon, John Davies, Mark Loughman & Paul Hart Wilden / Cast: John Shrapnel, Isabel Brook, Laurel Holloman, Miriam Margolyes, Caroline Carever, Claudia Harrison.

Body Count: 4

Dire-logue: “So…you’ve got Freddy Krueger as an admirer…”


There’s some real ambition in this arty Brit-flick, which toured European festivals for a full year before it was given a straight-to-video release. Made up largely of point-of-view photography that identifies us to/with the character of Alex: a compulsively clean outpatient who likes to write letters to, and then kill, young women whom Alex perceives to be lonely.

Beginning as a gritty detective drama mixed with the POV work of Alex’s strange existence and visits to caseworker Margolyes, whose advice is to try and romance a girl who is soon after found murdered. However it is her pretty American assistant Charlotte who eventually becomes the heroine when the entire thing morphs into a pedestrian clone of Halloween II as Alex tracks Charlotte down to a local hospital.

The most effective scene is when a girl returns home to find all of her kitchen has been cleaned, her fridge magnets neatly lined up and her spice rack contents faced up. All very Sleeping with the Enemy! We’re never granted a look at our killer, only Alex’s hands make it into the frame.

Alone doesn’t try to be a slasher film, with its miserable, colourless photography and the stupid twist ending that isn’t really a twist at all given the first-person voice used to thread things together. Actually, the ending downright sucks, yanking the rug out so violently that it tears as it goes! Director Claydon later helmed the Horne/Corden “comedy” Lesbian Vampire Killers.

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