måndag 28 mars 2011

Black magic with Buddha (1983)

I've learned something today. Evil Thai mummybrains arent something you should mess about with, it's as simple as that. And if you do feel like keeping them for your own personal gain, make sure you feed them regularly. They do tend to get rather mad if they are hungry. Like any other pet really. That's something the protagonist of low budget Hong Kong sleaze Black magic with Buddha learns when he goes to Thailand, takes home a brain with magic powers to use for his own personal gain. You see, our hero is somewhat of a looser. Only somewhat though, for a CAT III hero he is actually fairly likeable. He means well I suppose, he just doesnt seem to think of the consequences of what he is doing, and the fact that it kills his sister and his wifes family, well, he never seems to care that much about it. He comes of as a bit... nice but dim. I dont really know what to make of him, but he's not as cartoonishly evil as they usually are. Anyway, all this leads up to a glorious whopper of an ending full of yuck and gore and as these types of movies go, Black magic with Buddha is on the cheap but nicely weird and energetic, and never boring.

I wish more of these movies would be released on proper dvds, it's a genre that is like on open vein of gold for us gorehounds out there. Black magic with Buddha is a fine example of it, full of sleaze and fun stuff, but has never been released on any proper media. The version I saw was a download, most likely from a horribly cropped vcd where you could not see the first and last words of the subtitles. Fortunately, it is still easy to follow the mayhem on the screen but I would most definately like to have this on dvd. Silly, gory and wonderful entertainment. Thanks to Jack J for writing about this on his lovely blog Backyard Asia.. I stole the picture from him. Shame on me. And shame on Ben for stealing that brain.

tisdag 22 mars 2011

Pumpkinhead 4: Blood feud (2007)

Pumpkinhead 4: Blood feud is another one of those movies that for budgetary reasons are shot in Hungary or Bulgaria. The environments over there usually look great and are an excellent substitute for the "real thing". The only problem is that the casts are filled up with people not having english as a native language. Not the biggest problem out there, but Pumpkinhead 4 is supposed to be set in redneck county and has hungarian actors either trying a hillbilly accent (failing miserably) or being poorly dubbed. It's not a major issue, but big enough to get your attention. But, other than that, Pumpkinhead 4: Blood feud is one of the best Syfymovies I've seen so far.

As I mentioned the movie is set in redneckcounty with two clans of hillbillys being enemies over some shitty issue that only the elders remember. Jody and Ricky, each a member of the separate clans fall in love but the rest of the families wont have anything to do with it. While sneaking away for some nooky in the forest, Jodys brothers manage to get Rickys sister killed in an accident (well, they were going to rape her but she fell down a slope and broke her neck). Ricky, pissed as hell and obviously has seen the earlier Pumpkinheadmovies, raises our favorite demon to kill everyone. Problem is, he never saw the endings of the earlier flicks and there will be hell to pay. And some boobs. And a surprising amount of gore.

Pumpkinhead 4 is easily the goriest Syfyflick I have ever seen (I wonder if that has anything to do with my earlier statement of it being one of the best?). Heads are crushed in beartraps, torn off and stomped on. The titlebeast itself looks as cool as it always has and is 99% of the time a guy in a decently animated rubbersuit. My only little grain of bitching is that you get to see it way too much! In full daylight! I want a bit of shadow to put some mystery into my rubbermonsters, is that much to ask? Pumkinhead maims his way through a large cast of mostly dubbed hungarians, all with names like Billy-Bob or Emmet, all completely without any distinctive charactertraits that helps you tell the apart or sometimes even what family they belong to. Lance Henriksen pops up in one of those cameos that he seems to do hundreds of these last few years and he is still the best actor in the movie, even though he probably did it in 45 minutes. But who cares about that? Pumpkinhead 4: Blood feud is a fun, gory and fastpaced straightforward monstermovie. It stays far away from even trying to reinvent the genre but sometimes that is good. Corny and gory good.

måndag 21 mars 2011

Sanctum (2010)

Have you seen Bruce hunts lovely little monstermovie, The Cave? My review of that underrated flick here. Sanctum is just like the Cave, only without monsters and even more hollywoodian sentiments. It's not a bad movie, on the contrary, it's just... a bit predictable and stupid.

Richard Roxburgh (who is a way better actor than this material deserves) plays one of those superpeople that only exist in movies, spending all of his time cavediving because "he cant handle a normal human life with mortgages etc". At the moment he is part of a team exploring an underwater cave in Papua New Guinea. The financer of the expedition, a young daredevil millionaire, arrives on the scene, bringing with him Roxburghs estranged son. The moment you find out who the characters relation, you realize that dad will die, but not before them finding each other again. That is not a spoiler, that is generic hollywood scripting at its laziest. It doesnt take long before a giant storm hits the place, starts flooding the cave and forcing the survivors to try to find another way out. Yes, people will sacrifice themselves. Yes, people will turn on each other. Yes, exactly when you know they are going too.

There isnt a single scene in this movie that feels fresh or in any way surprising, we follow the usual paths with any "twist" having been telegraphed half an hour earlier. It is based on the scriptwriters own experiences being trapped in an underwater cave but I hope to god that they didnt behave like this back then because this is just so stupid, so ordinary. All of this is a shame, Sanctum could have been a really nice ride with a bit more imagination. The director does what he can to milk out some suspense out of the script, the caveclimbing and divingscenes are well staged and the actors do a fine job, even better than the material deserves. You can do much worse when it comes to entertainment, just turn your brain off while watching.

Still, the movie is really inferior to The Cave. Sanctum could definately have used a couple of decent monsters to liven things up. At least a tentacle or two.

Djinns (2010)

Sometimes I spend my evenings just surfing on the various sites where I buy my dvds from, just to see if I've missed something. Sometimes there is a movie or two that slipped under my radar, and we cant have that, can we?! Such a movie is the french horrorflick Djinns aka Stranded which is the english title on the dvd I bought. I dont know exactly why I bought other than that the story interested me, it had no english reviews on Imdb. Only a trailer. So I decided to take a plunge, it wasnt that expensive.

Looking bad I dont really know if it was a good thing or not. Djinns isnt a bad movie, on the contrary, it is well shot and well acted. Problem is, it never really goes anywhere, it doesnt stand out. The story, about French soldiers lost in the Algerian desert during the sixties while looking for a lost plane, is interesting and the supernatural parts of it are tittilating, there arent many djinnmovies out there (The only one I can think of at the moment is Alex Turners Red Sands which was a major letdown after his great Deadbirds,) and the movie does create a creepy version of them. The soldiers find a walled city in the middle of nowhere and a siege of sorts begins, with the djinns creating and feeding on bloody conflicts. And thats basically all there is, the soldiers fighting amongst themselves over petty things that escalate into violence. I wanted more demons, more supernatural carnage. I got a... thriller? Still, it is not a bad movie. Just not the movie I hoped it was gonna be.

And dont you love that cover that features something I thought was lost after the eighties, the added muzzle flash to a weapon to give an indication of great action. Yeah, right. I dont think so.

Exterminators of the year 3000 (1983)

Here is a movie that is far more entertaining than it really is supposed to - an Italian Road warrior clone that is so low budget that you never get any sense of it being set in a postapocalyptic world, just the spanish desert with a burned out car or two. Everything in the movie is basically lifted straight out of the Australian original but you really cant hate a movie like this. I felt a strange enjoyment, even more than when I watched the other movies from the same era, all of which are more violent and full of exploitation. One of the reasons for that might be that the director, Giuliano Carnimeo, did a shitload of westerns back in the sixties and that is the general feel of Exterminators. Also, you have to love any movie by the director of the sleaze masterpiece Ratman. You have to.

We have the honour of following hardcore survivor Alien as he trudges to the remains of the world, has his car stolen (which he stole from the local evil gang himself) and is forced to help a young kid retrieve water. You see, it is lack of water instead of gasolin that separates this movie from Road warrior and the bad guys want it. Alien himself wants the water all for himself but you know he will have a heart in the end. Cheap battles straight out of Road warrior are fought, mutants are revealed and we get a Deus Ex Machina ending that is more idiotic than the ending of Star Crystal. But it only adds to the enjoyment. Oh, there is also a cyborg kid, played by the kid from City of the living dead. The first time I saw the poster of this movie I thought he was a woman.

Yes, Exterminators of the year 3000 is nothing more than an average movie, but it is still entertaining as hell if you are in the right mood. You get the standard electronic krautrock/synthdisco score, tons of bad dubbing, a bit of gratitous violence and lots of cars driving around in circles. You cant help but to love it.

Oh, do yourself a favour and buy the Code Red dvd. It is full frame (For some reason the distributor only had that print) but perfectly watchable. The coolest thing about it is a commentarytrack and a filmed interview from star Robert Iannucci who played Alien and if you want to get a good, entertaining look into how the italians made their exploitation ripoffs, this is good stuff indeed.

Book of Eli (2010)

I'm sorry, I cannot hate a movie with Michael Gambon as a cannibal. I cannot. Even though it is a movie with an overtly religious message, but on the other hand, a religious message that says the the bible can be a horrible tool for destruction in the wrong hands.

With that said, Book of Eli is a scrumptious looking piece of postapocalypse, with decent amounts of violence and over the top acting that fits the tone of the movie like a glove. I likes it. A lot.

And I wont write anymore about this because it doesnt feature either Fred Williamson, Al Cliver or George Eastman, like any decent postapocalypsemovie should.

fredag 11 mars 2011

10 to midnight (1983)

Charles Bronson stars in one of those copmovies he could sleepwalk through, a violent yarn about a sadistic serial killer who likes to murder young women while in the nude. Bronson finds the killer but cannot link him to the crimes, so naturally he fakes evidence which makes the psycho even madder and goes after Bronsons daughter.

10 to midnight is a perfect example of the "classic" movies that everyone in my class during the eighties had seen and said was an awesome and violent movie that I had to see. For some reason I never saw the movie myself and I admit, this would probably have been a lot better back then, it hasnt really dated that well. Everything about the movie screams 80s and the plot goes by the numbers. J. Lee Thompson, a fairly competent director, turns in a decent workmanship but you get the feeling that he, as well as Bronson, was somewhat bored with the whole thing. The only thing that stands out is Gene Davis fun performance as the sexmaniac with repressed homosexual feelings who deals with it by slicing up young women. Lurid, yes, but Davis performance makes the movie worth watching. All in all, a decent potboiler that is fair entertainment if you are in the mood for something that wont rock your world.

Primal (2009)

Dont you just hate it when a movie is so close to delivering? When there is just one flaw that keeps it from being a really good movie? Primal, a rather good Australian evil shit in the backwoods movie, does just that. This review will be full of spoilers so if you dont what to know about some stuff that goes down towards the end of the movie you should stop reading after the end of this passage. In short, Primal is a decent little goremovie with a cool plot, fun violence and gorgeous Australian location photography. Well worth watching but there are some nags. Spoilers will now ensue.

A bunch of rather generic youngsters go out into the Australian wilderness to find some cave paintings that havent been seen by anyone in 120 years. They arrive, bicker a lot as usual in this kind of movie and when the blonde of the group goes skinnydipping in a small lake, all hell breaks loose. You see, there is something in the water which turns her into some sorts of mindless predator complete with lots of nasty teeth and a hunger for human flesh. There is also some sort of weird insects at the location, feeding on just about anything which results in destroyed tires and no way to leave. Even more, there is some sort of tentacled thing in a nearby cave that dissolves and feed on the remains of the bodies which the infected people leave there. All this, some decent gore and even some nudity.

Ok, so what is wrong with this picture? Well, for starters, there is not a character in this movie that you actually want to survive. They are a bunch of whiny, bickering idiots and you just want them to die. Horribly. Which, on the other hand, they do but still, not a single person to root for. Except maybe that tentacled blob in the cave. And here is the other problem of the movie. It doesnt really fit that well into the movie. In the last 10 minutes of the movie we are introduced to this slimy, tentacled thing that seems more appropriate in a SyFymovie than in this otherwise well shot and directed flick. I am a sucker of tentacled monsters but this did not sit well with me. It feels out of place and isnt particulary well animated. Still, it is a movie with a tentaclemonster, of which there can never be too many. I'm gonna stop this review here, not waste your time by contradicting myself over and over again. Primal is well worth watching, well shot and has some tension and gore, only slightly flawed. I'm gonna cry myself to sleep tonight. Sorry tentaclemonster. Sorry.