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The Evil English

nine lives 2002 paris hilton

NINE LIVES

1.5 Stars  2002/18/82m

“Their number is up.”

Director/Writer: Andrew Green / Cast: James Nicolle, Amelia Warner, Paris Hilton, James Schlesinger, Patrick Kennedy, Ben Peyton, Vivienne Harvey, Rosie Fellner, Lex Shrapnel.

Body Count: 10

Laughter Lines: “Tim wouldn’t turn into a psycho killer over a bobble hat!”


I don’t really do patriotism. In fact, given my nation’s rather humiliating stance when it comes to tourism, football hooliganism, and more recently this Brexit idiocy, I’ve taken to adopting a foreign accent rather than be identified as English. SPOILERS follow.

Anyway, this slack possession-slasher gathers nine ex-public school friends at a remote Scottish mansion for a birthday celebration and soon fall victim to an English-hating spirit, who possesses members of the group to kill one another.

Suffice to say, without Paris Hilton’s involvement – she stretches herself to play a shallow American valley-girl – it would likely never have seen the light of day at all. The spirit is clearly so focused, it kills her first!?

Although proceedings start off okay, with some creepy ghost action – rapping noises coming from an empty hall etc – once the first murder is discovered, things fall apart quicker than a Paris Hilton album. And I once listened to one of those.

Admit it, you WANT them to die gruesomely.

Admit it, you WANT them to die gruesomely.

If you thought Hilton’s acting chops were limited, she’s Oscar worthy when compared to some of her co-stars, who encompass the combined talent of a GCSE drama class. Our heroine, Laura, is unsympathetic, dumb, and downright annoying. It is she who suggests people split up, and who also almost clairvoyantly pinpoints what is going on without a shred of evidence beyond a throwaway conversation she had about existentialism. Nine Lives shouldn’t meddle in such affairs.

Notable only for switching to a final boy once Laura turns the knife on herself to end the terror (yay!). The boy survives because he’s Scottish! Yeah. I know.

The spirit never puts in an appearance, but still gets a credit and by the time you make it to the credits – if you do – you’ll be wanting to gouge your own eyes out.

Blurb-of-interest: We all remember Paris in House of Wax a few years after this tripe.

Scream if you’ve had enough of these parodies

shriek if you know what i did last friday the 13th

SHRIEK IF YOU KNOW WHAT I DID LAST FRIDAY THE 13TH

2 Stars  2000/15/83m

“It’s a scream!”

Director: John Blanchard / Writers: Sue Bailey & Joe Nelms / Cast: Majandra Delfino, Harley Cross, Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, Tom Arnold, Danny Strong, Julie Benz, Simon Rex, Aimee Graham, Chris Palermo, Coolio, Shirley Jones.

Body Count: 10

Laughter Lines: “I killed my cousin, my heart’s broken, and my sister’s dead.”


In a race against the Wayans’ Scary Movie (originally titled Scream if You Know What I Did Last Halloween), you could feel a bit sorry for Shriek… as it didn’t make it past the cutting room quick enough and was consigned to a video release, while Scary Movie inexplicably carried on to generate several increasingly cringe-worthy sequels, not to mention Epic MovieDate MovieDisaster Movie ad infinitum.

Regardless of whomever got there first, Shriek… is largely a Xerox of its competitor, as we’re thrown into the lives of the exaggerated stereotypes who go to Bulimia High, who did something last summer that they’d rather forget about.

Ergo, much silliness ensues and death abounds – but not at the hands of the killer, which only makes it more annoying. In a (failed) attempt to try and be funny and original, the characters actually die from other things before the nutter has a chance to get them: Bee stings, coronaries, etc.

So there’s no murder count and 88% of the jokes are the same as in Scary Movie. To its credit though, there is an inspired parody of VH1’s old Pop-Up Video during the final chase scenes, and a couple of other almost-laughs along the way, but it all weighs down under the forehead-tappers of fart jokes, erection jokes, gay jokes, and a killer with absolutely no motive, most likely thought up at the last second.

Blurbs-of-interest: Delfino was in RSVP; Simon Rex was in several of the Scary Movie sequels.

Realty Bites. And stabs. And slashes.

open house 1987

OPEN HOUSE

1.5 Stars  1987/18/91m

“Now it’s open season for murder.”

A.k.a. Multiple Listings (!?)

Director/Writer: Jag Mundhra / Writer: David Mickey Evans / Cast: Joseph Bottoms, Adrienne Barbeau, Barry Hope, Robert Milano, Rudy Ramos, Darwyn Swalve, Page Moseley, Lee Moore.

Body Count: 9


“See the thriller of the year on home video.” Right.

A pretty good opening is not enough to salvage this badly scripted and cut together crap with a dog-food-eating killer murdering real estate ‘bitches’ and their clients around Los Angeles. Why? You wouldn’t believe how desperate the motive turns out to be.

Bottoms is a critically-maligned radio psychologist who receives calls from an opinionated aggressor who thinks the victims deserved all they got. His girlfriend – Adrienne Barbeau, why is she in this?? – the owner of the city’s most successful real estate agency. Gasp.

There’s dumb behaviour a-plenty, like a pair of early victims cowering in the corner of a bathroom that has a visible escape route, and there’s s stupid subplot about a rival firm trying to kill Adrienne’s business. If this is supposed to serve as a red herring then it fails even to get off the blocks.

open house adrienne barbeau 1987

It’s as if the writers rearranged their blind twists as they went along. The killer, whose face is kept off screen until the last few minutes, turns out to be who everyone in the cast thought it was, obliterating any trace of mystery they’d tried to construct.

There’s also the needless misogynistic vein: Most of the fatalities are women but the killer has no reason for targeting a specific gender, leaving a sense of “women shouldn’t have successful careers” emanating from it.

A rotten score irritates throughout like some cheesy soap opera and the end stoops to ripping off When a Stranger Calls without any shame. This flick comes from a bad neighbourhood and should stay there festering.

Blurbs-of-interest: Mundhra directed the equally lame Hack-O-Lantern; Page Moseley was also in Edge of the Axe.

“You piss me off!”

fall down dead 2007FALL DOWN DEAD

2 Stars  2007/94m

“Seven strangers. Trapped. Hunted. Carved.”

Director: Jon Keeyes / Writer: Roy Sallows / Cast: Dominique Swain, Muhmet Günsür, Udo Kier, David Carradine, R. Keith Harris, Monica Dean, Austin James, Karine Darrah.

Body Count: 8


In 2006-07 I went backpacking around Asia for six months and, with a lot of time on buses, waiting at train stations etc., devoured an awful lotta books, trading them in at backpacker stops and hostels. I was particularly into James Patterson’s Alex Cross series at the time, finishing a book in about three days usually.

However, anyone who has read this series will surely attest that the awesome beginnings of Along Came a Spider and Kiss the Girls soon descended into my-first-psycho-thriller crap Double Cross and The Big Bad Wolf. (Mary Mary was the last one I got any mileage out of).

Anyway, the serial-murder-by-numbers nonsense this once great series has become is like a blueprint for Fall Down Dead, a film so dated I could swear somebody found an unsold giallo script from 1978 in a drawer and filmed it without bothering to bring it up to date.

The Picasso Killer is busy slashing up the women of some nameless big city, which is also victim to recurring power outages. He removes parts of their skin or whatever and uses it in his art, blah blah blah. One night, forward-thinking waitress Christie is assaulted by a homeless guy and does what all victims should: She runs into a dark alley.

fall down dead 2007

There, she finds a woman dying of razor wounds and is accosted by the Picasso Killer, eventually getting a security guard at the Hitchcock Building to let her in. A couple of detectives show up just as another blackout occurs, knocking out the phones and lights, essentially locking them in, plus a couple of office workers having after-hours nudie time, and a cleaner, inside the building. With the killer. On Christmas Eve.

Fall Down Dead is one of those late night cable affairs where you can pick out who will die and in what order from the moment they grace the screen. Somehow it made it to a theatrical release in certain parts of the world! Areas where they still think Patterson is anything but a marketing brand in the guise of a serious writer, I guess.

Suffice to say, Picasso slashes or shoots (aww…) his way through everyone who isn’t Christie or the down-on-his-luck cop until it’s a cat and mouse game.

Kier’s accent and would’ve-been-scary-pre-Lecter performance saves things from total meltdown, but just about everything else should warrant a title change to Fail Down Dead: Swain, who began her career in the title role of Lolita, and then Face/Off, is cookie-cutter single-mom-working-as-waitress stuff, but the script is so steeped in its mandated view of gender politics that she can’t fire a gun and needs a man to save her at every turn.

fall down dead 2007

The other characters are just as contrived, from the troubled cop, to the happy cop, the Latino cleaner who clutches her rosary beads and whines instead of kicking the killer in the balls and running for it, David Carradine’s crotchety nightwatchman, and the sex-couple with as much depth as a petrie dish. They also come complete with Captain Obvious dialogue: “I can’t believe the power went off – now I have to walk down all those flights of stairs.”

Kier’s theatrics towards the end are amusing (“You piss me off!” he growls when Christie won’t just surrender and let him slash to to ribbons), but sadly even he can’t resuscitate this lost cause.

Blurbs-of-interest: Kier was also in Pray for Morning and (apparently, but I didn’t notice) Rob Zombie’s Halloween plus The Editor; Carradine was in Children of the Corn VDetention, and Trick or Treats; Jon Keeyes also directed American Nightmare.

It certainly felt like a whole day

a day of judgment 1981 box

A DAY OF JUDGMENT

1 Stars  1981/15/97m

“The night HE came to collect his own.”

A.k.a. Stormbringer

Director: C.D.H. Reynolds / Writer: Tom McIntyre / Cast: William T. Hicks, Harris Bloodworth, Brownlee Davis, Jerry Rushing, Toby Wallace, Inga Dennis, Larry Sprinkle, Helen Tryon, Careyanne Sutton, Charles Reynolds.

Body Count: 9

Laughter Lines: “If you’re going to kill me, give me time to pray!”


This plodding oddity is notable only for being one of very few period slasher films, being set in a small Southern town in the 1920s, where, after what feels like hours of boring, dull scenes of dialogue, a mysterious cloaked figure has come to lay to waste the nasty folk.

Beginning with the departure of the local Reverend, who laments he has failed to make the local people change their sinful ways, very slowly and boringly we’re introduced to the various characters in town:

  • Greedy, fat bank manager who won’t give anybody debt extensions
  • Nasty old lady who hates children and poisons their pet goat
  • Cheating spouse of department store owner
  • Scheming ambitious boyfriend of said spouse
  • Angry alcoholic man
  • Man who wants his own parents committed for their estate
  • Some solicitor or something?
  • A rotund, but fair Sheriff

It takes almost 40 minutes for the first of these unpleasant reprobates to be taken out, dragged into the earth by creepy hands that spring from the soil. Then some guy shoots himself because fat bank manager tries to foreclose on his farm. Another guy dies during a fight and his wife and her lover cover it up by making it look like a car accident.

a day of judgment 1981

It’s all really confusing and boring. Why aren’t they being slashed up by the cloak-dude?

Some double-crossing crap is revealed, I zoned out. More people are being shot than sickled.

The score sounds like Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes.

My God, 97 minutes has never felt so long. This is worse than church.

SHIT A BRICK AND FUCK ME WITH IT – THE TWIST IS THAT IT WAS ALL A DREAM.

This isn’t a slasher movie its a Christian propaganda tale of A Christmas Carol proportions. The film even ends with the Ten Commandments scrolling up!

Blurbs-of-boredom: Jerry Rushing was the coach in Final Exam; Helen Tryon, William T. Hicks, and Larry Sprinkle were in House of Death.

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