måndag 23 december 2013

I comme Icare aka I as in Icarus (1979)

One might not think it from reading the reviews of this blog but one of my absolute movie genres is the conspiracy ones, especially from the glory days of the seventies when masterpieces like Three days for the condor and The Parallax View appeared on the scene. There has been a few later ones (like the fun mockumentary The Conspiracy) but nothing that came close to the awesomeness of back then. So it was truly a treat to finally have a chance to watch the legendary I... comme Icare, a French take on the Kennedy assassination and I'm happy to say that this is one of the best conspiracythrillers I have seen to this date.

The movie starts with a gunman preparing to kill the president of an unnamed country from the roof of a high rise tower but when the moment comes he does not have the guts to pull through, though someone else does and the president is murdered. As the failed assassin makes his way out of the building he is shot in the face and killed and when the police arrive the whole thing looks like a suicide. An official report is produced and the conclusion is that the gunman was alone, though one of the members of the inquiry comes to the conclusion that he cannot agree with the verdict. A new inquiry starts and the evidence starts to point to something entirely different. And the name of the Lone gunman? Karl Eric Daslow. Rearrange those letters a bit.

Wow. This is one hell of a thriller. The best thing about I... comme Icare is the fact that it is cold and clinical in its methods and ways to take us into the web of the conspiracy. There are no random events, no coincidental happenings that help the protagonists to uncover the truth by chance. Just methodical policework which makes everything seems so much more than just a movie, it brings you into the story and delivers what this kind of movie needs to be successful. Realism. No matter what your opinion is on the Lone gunman theory of the Kennedy assassination, this movie takes that and makes a damn fine (and plausible) movie out of it. Yves Montand is superbly dry as State attorney Henri Volney and sometimes it feels more like he is hosting a documentary instead of acting the role of someone digging up the dirt. We even get legendary porn starlet and Jean Rollin actress Brigitte Lahaie in a small role as one of the witnesses of the real shooter! 

I... comme Icare is truly one hell of an exciting thrillers with several nailbiting sequences of stomachchurning suspense and an excellent methodical pace that make the two hours running time flash by in an instant. As of this writing the movie is to my knowledge not available on an englishfriendly dvd or blu ray (there are fansubs out there) and I truly hope that it will be in the future, this is a movie that needs to be seen.

lördag 21 december 2013

The Day (2011)

This was actually quite a nice surprise, a movie that I hadn't heard much about but seen in numerous sales and bargain bins in the last few years, something that usually spells trouble. To my pleasant surprise The Day turned out to be something very entertaining. The story isn't anything special, basically a post apocalypse version of John Carpenters Assault on precinct 13. A group of survivors hole up in a small house in abandoned America and find themselves in what is actually a trap, one of many similar locations that a band of cannibals use to find their food.

The Day does have one flaw and that is the script. While the story is simple to the extreme it is efficient enough as it set its events in motion leading up to the very bloody siege. So far so good but the problem is that most of the characters are thin to the extreme, though well acted. Not all of them, Ashley Bells Mary is quite an intriguing one but apart from her and Shawn Ashmores Adam we never get to know any of them other than basically their names and the fact that they knew each other before the apocalypse. This makes it somewhat hard to root for any of them but thankfully the movie is tense enough and filled with a shitload of graphic violence that it never becomes a major problem. And for the gorehounds out there you will have plenty to enjoy. Mostly cgi but well done, nothing ever struck me as looking odd or particulary artificial.

The cinematography is another thing that might be a weakness or even a strength, depending upon your own preference since it almost totally devoid of color to ensure maximum bleakness. Some of the scenes feel almost black and white, like back in the old days when you collected dupes of uncut horrormovies and received one that had been copied so many times that there were only tiny flickers of blue and green at times. I kinda like it, it suits the movie.

So what I am saying here is basically that you shouldn't go into this expecting anything that will blow your mind away, just a exciting and very violent post apocalypse movie. The original script had zombies instead of cannibals which tells you a lot about what the filmmakers were going for. Good, gory and colorless fun.

onsdag 18 december 2013

Wendigo (1978)

One of my all time favorite short stories is Algernon Blackwoods marvelous Wendigo, telling the chilling story of a hunting expedition that has a pretty nasty encounter with a demon from native american legend. I've known for a long time that there was a low budget movie based on it but never got around to watching it. And now that I have I almost wish I hadn't.

This movie is dull. D U L L. We follow a group of rich people traveling into the wilderness along with a frecnh canadian called DeFago (who has THE worst french accent ever. The rest of the world should apologize to Canada for this travesty) for some hunting and relaxation. They walk around, talk a lot about a supposed native american treasure but nothing happens until basically the last ten minutes when the Wendigo starts tearing people apart after setting them on fire which is actually a pretty nifty effect in all its cheapness. And that effect is just about the only fun thing about Wendigo. It happens twice and lasts for about two seconds total screen time. The rest of the movie is awful acting and waves upon waves of mindnumbing boredom. The Wendigo itself is a handpuppet straight out of the muppetshow that we are only shown glimpses of, though enough to shake your head at and mock it.

Has the movie anything going for it? Anything to make you go "well, they did actually do that pretty well"? The answer is NO. Wendigo is just a big bore. To spare you for the pain, here goes:

Everybody gets killed by the handpuppet except for Billy, the native american. You don't need to thank me. And as a bonus you get another look at the Wendigo during the credits to ensure that you see how silly it looks.

Now go read the short story instead. It is a classic. The movie doesn't really deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence.

Trivia: In one scene one of the characters can be seen reading a novelization of a movie called Savage water from the same director. I've heard that it is supposed to suck equally much ass as this one. I suppose I need to see it now.

måndag 16 december 2013

Tartarus (2010)

Austria, 1813. Two soldiers are on their way home to a small village in the mountains where one of them has a cabin that belongs to his family. They arrive and settle in, both suffering trauma from the horrible war. During a trek in the woods they come upon the mangled remains of a gypsy bearing wounds that clearly aren't made by any animal they know and during the night they are attacked by some kind of creatures, intelligent beings that leave a message. They want something from the men. Females to mate with.
For such a low budget movie (40 000 euro, about $55 000) Tartarus does several things right. First of all, it really manages to capture the beautiful mountain landscapes and gives you that sense of isolation that this kind of movie needs to be successful. Some of the mountain vistas are truly stunning and although the dark woods might be just a little bit overlit during the nightscenes, they are still nicely full of dread. The sense of period is also done well, especially for a fairly low budget movie like this, something that could've really killed the movie if it hadn't been done properly.

Then we come to the maybe not so good things. The script for instance. The story is sound, pretty damn dark and interesting but could easily have been trimmed down at least twenty minutes (it's 106 now) to make it a leaner experience and the first half has a pretty damn slow pace. The acting is also not particulary thrilling,  the leads are both fine but some of the lesser characters are not so much acting as more stumbling through their lines. Not enough to take you out of the enjoyment of the movie, just enough the lower the grade ever so slightly.

The horror bits on the other hand are mostly done well, even though the filmmakers chose to show very little of it for what I assume to be budgetary reasons, which is a damn shame. There is a great scene half way through the movie when one of the main characters find the cave where the creatures have been taking their prey and has to hide in a giant pile of mutilated bodies, only to find that one of the victims is still alive and will most likely make the creatures aware of him being there. The choice he makes here is pretty much telling of the morals of the characters here, they make a couple of not so good decisions that I won't go into for spoiler reasons.

So, in short, Tartarus is a decent enough little scifi/horror (yes, the creatures come from space. You get to see that during the credits) that could have used a lot more work with editing and little more on-screen grue. It's flawed but I liked it though I would understand why it might be a test on other peoples patience, people who aren't prepared to give kind of flick the patience it deserves.

fredag 29 november 2013

Violent shit (1989)

To call this shot on video masterpiece a movie is an insult to all movies. It is just a random series of poorly shot and edited scenes with no sense of plot or story, with long scenes of people walking around in the Woods or driving and driving and driving before ending up killed by Karl the butcher in long, drawn out sequences that are as exceptionally gory as they are exceptionally poorly made, the sfx are atrocious. This is DIY film-making at it's worst.

Still, I cant really hate it. I watched this on vhs back when I started collecting uncut movies in the late 80s and while not exactly liking it even back then, there was still some fun in describing the scenes to friends or just telling them you had a movie called Violent shit. And it is most likely the only movie ever to have a scene of a guy cutting a hole in Jesus chest and crawling into him. That oughta count for something, right?

And when I think about it for a moment I realize that the German goremovie scene that started in the late 80s meant more to me than I thought. I remember getting this one along with movies like Schnaas Zombie 90 and Olaf Ittenbachs Black past and getting quite a lot of enjoyment out of them. Sure, they were cheap and poorly made but there weren't many other movies like them that you could get your dirty paws on, at least not as gory.

And I'm pretty happy with my Violent shit box that was signed by Steve Aquilina, the producer/editor/cinematographer.

tisdag 26 november 2013

Phantoms (1998)

I think I've read Dean R Koontz Phantoms at least ten times, no joke. It is one of those books that has a plot that perfectly fits what I want when it comes to horror, an enigmatic and mysterious "villain" and a wonderful mystery in how the hell everyone in a small Town died or vanished within a few hours. It is one of those books that I pick up whenever I don't know what to read and it is like visiting an old and cherished friend. It it my own personal safe bet when it comes to reading.

Phantoms the Movie is a decent adaption of the novel and works fine as a horror movie, I really think so. There are a number of good setpieces, especially the church scene and the big reveal towards the end. But, and this is a big one, the movie has two giant flaws that stops the movie from greatness.

1. The script. There is a shitload of really preposterous dialogue that feels more at home in a Syfy original and that whole thing about Afflecks character and the kid he shot is just stupid. I am gonna whine a little about the changes from the book like whole subplots missing but it's not really that big of a deal.

2. The actors. Well mostly Affleck and Rose McGowan. Affleck does a decent job but he was 26 at the time, looks like he's 18 and plays a sheriff that used to be an FBI agent. Just stupid. Rose McGowan at the tender age of 25 plays what is supposed to be a teen and this feels just wrong. Not to mention the fact that she cannot act at all. Peter O'Toole brings a certain class to the whole thing but he has some of the most atrocious parts of the dialogue, poor man.

But besides these two nagging points, Phantoms is actually a quite fun blob-movie with some gooey sfx. And we all know we cannot hate blob-movies. There is actually a law prohibiting such behaviour. There is, I swear.

onsdag 20 november 2013

Octaman (1971)

Octaman is one of those movies that I cannot have a serious relation to. No, it is not a good movie in any way. The story is pedestrian, just another variation of King Kong or Creature from the black lagoon with nothing new to offer and for a movie that is only 76 minutes it is excruciatingly slow. The actors are so-so which is understandable since their characters are all crudely drawn straight out of the fifties. But the worst sin that the movie does is the fact that it shows the monster all the time. In. Broad. Daylight. There is not a detail left to your imagination in any scene.

And this is also why I love Octaman. Paul Blaisdell would be proud. 

Come on, look at it. 

Look at it once more. 

And that is why I love Octaman. The movie does have a few positives such as decent locations and a bit of the old bright red 70s blood as our favorite monsters kills random characters with its tentacles. Major rubbermonster cheese and that is the drug that I am hooked to. And you should too.

måndag 18 november 2013

Satan's blade (1984)

How the hell do you rate a movie like this? For its entertainment value or the rating that it actually deserves based on how well (incompetently) made it is? I had a great time watching this poorly acted trainwreck of a movie but my brain kind of hurts from doing it. This is the worst kind of 80s slasher that really doesn't have anything positive about it apart from an effective scene or two. The actors are all awful, not a single one of the can handle dialogue and you understand why this is the only acting credit most of them have. The music is horrendous, just endless drones of awful dullness that never fit the scene they're used in. The gore? Nonexistent. The plot isn't actually that bad, just very much nothing new as we follow a group of people travelling to a mountain cabin resort only to be killed one by one by someone using SATAN'S BLADE (a knife supposedly imbued with an evil spirit or something) until we reach the end that has a dumb twist.

But still, I actually had a good time in all of this nonsense. The kills may not be splattery but they are really brutal and the body count is high. And as an added bonus, lots of nudity. And the most important factor: I was never bored. I Think this is the type of movie that will tax your patience a lot if you are in the wrong mood and for some reason I was at the time open to all of its stupidity. I could quite possibly have hated it the next day.

And now my mind starts to wonder off in horrible thoughts about me liking Don't go into the Woods if I just had watched it another day. We will never find out. If you like cheap 80s slashers heed these four words.

You could do worse.

måndag 11 november 2013

Beyond dream's door (1989)

I think I've seen this movie before but I'm not sure. Or did I dream that? Or did I see the movie in a dream? Or did I dream that I dreamt that I saw the movie? This does not make any sense and that is a perfect description of Beyond dream's door, a lovely 80s cheapo about a demon haunting a guy from within his own dreams. I think.

But then again, you can't hate a movie that tries so hard. The movie is just a long series of horror imagery that are both ambitious and unfulfilling due to lack of a proper budget to show it all, it piles them on in such a breakneck pace that you rarely have time to dwell on the less succesful scenes. There is a shitload of cheap gore effects and earnest but atrocious acting and random plot twist to ensure that you aren't bored for a one second. And there are boobs.

So if you like cheap 80s goremovies there is a lot of fun to be had here. Or did I just dream that? That rickety rubbermonster that chases everyone could very easily be a figment of my sleeping mind. Which means that if you are reading this you are just a figment of my sleeping imagination, cannon fodder for the demon that dwells beyond my dream's door. I think I need help.

onsdag 23 oktober 2013

Don't go in the woods (1981)

I used to hate slashers. For me they represented a cheap form of entertainment, a streamlined sex and violence machine that became tamer and tamer as the genre progressed. It was mostly the Friday the 13th series that was the true culprit, each part feeling more and more like slick looking tv-movies but there were others like My bloody valentine that suffered multiple cuts due to censorship, turning an excellent movie into a bland soup.

But then something happened. I started to dig up old stuff that I missed back in the 80s and 90s, fun movies that never were released on dvd or blu ray. Low budget movies made with a heart, like The Final terror and Just before dawn. Then My bloody valentine was released with all the censored violence reinstated and suddenly I found myself back into the cesspool. And loving it. There are still clunkers, movies that could have used a bit more love and decapitations but you get past that, knowing that there are still gems out there.

Don't go in the woods just might have killed this for me, giving me a hard fist straight in my gut sending me spinning back into my old hatred. I don't know for sure yet, I need to think. To ponder. Is it worth it.

This is by far the worst slasher I have ever seen and it really shouldn't be. It has a perfect location in the lovely forests of Utah, a mysterious mountain man on a killing spree and one of the highest body counts I have ever seen in a slasher. But we also get some of the worst acting on camera ever. There is not a single person in this movie that can act. Not one. The cinematography is actually fairly good for such a low budget movie but that does not help one bit when the script is as bad as this and so poorly acted, making every minute seem like five. Sure, there is a lot of violence and some of it is fun in a cheap way but it is just thrown into the movie in random sequences and gets boring pretty fast. Violence being boring? What the hell is this?

This is truly boring beyond belief and should not be watched by anyone. Period. Damn you Don't go in the woods, damn you to hell.

It's at least better than Christopher Rays Shark week. I'll give it that.

måndag 21 oktober 2013

Project Alien aka Fatal Sky (1990)

A military plane crashes in the forests of Norway while the skies are filled with what appears to be a giant meteorshower. The US military swoops in trying to hide the crashsite but a nosy journalist with the help of a spunky female pilot uncovers a hideous truth and a mysterious disease. And complete boredom enough to make you want to claw your eyes out.

The main issue that I have with this movie (being Scandinavian and all) is the fact that it is set in Norway but none of the actors portraying Norwegians even tries to sound like Norwegians. They sound like East europeans, which isn't that strange since the movie was shot in former Yugoslavia (Imdb claims that scenes were shot in Norway but I don't believe that for one second). This would probably not have bothered me so much if Project Alien has been a good or even decent movie but it is not. In fact, it is a complete and utter waste of your time.The script is just dull, full of irritating dialogue spoken by a group of actors sounding extremely uninterested. I have always thought of Michael Nouri as a decent actor but he is so bad here that he could turn milk sour just by being in the same room and Charles Durning is just embarrassing. The music sounds like it was taken from a late 80s pc game, just drones and drones of ugly general midi music and in the end we get a "nice" little package of total "Do not waste your time on this crap". Just don't.

Another thing that pisses me off is the fact that I want to accuse this of being an X-files copy, it really feels like one of their worst episodes. But since it was shot years before the first episode of that show it robs me of that tiny pleasure. Damn you, crappy movie!

But the worst travesty of all? The screenplay was written by David Webb Peoples. Heard of him? Blade runner? Twelve monkeys? Unforgiven? Leviathan? W T F ? ! ? !

Death bed: The bed that eats (1977)

I'm not so sure that Death bed: the bed that eats is the best title for this movie so here are a couple of suggestions for what could work better:

Death bed: the bed that burps, farts and snores after eating people (and their food)

Death bed: 77 minutes of narrated dialogue can be pretty damn dull

Death bed: How the hell was this movie made, it is about a bed that eats people for crying out loud!

Death bed: With pretensious narration by Stewie Griffin stuck in a painting

Death bed: A series of semi-random scenes with a really weak narrative

Death bed: Dull arthouse but still strangely mesmerizing

Death bed: A movie that makes no sense whatsoever but really should be seen to be believed

Death bed: The nudity and cheap gore helps.

söndag 13 oktober 2013

Rise of the animals (2011)

Rise of the animals sets the tone straight away with a scene of a distraught woman facing off with a badly dubbed cat, and proceeds to shove a stuffed animal into a garbage disposal unit. We are then treated to a wonderful scene where a clearly very happy Labrador kills her and we know we are in for a treat.

For some reason all the animals in the world have risen up to kill all the pesky humans. While this is happening a geeky pizza delivery boy makes a delivery to a small cabin in the woods where he meets up with Samantha, the girl of his dreams, has awkward and very quick sex with her only to wake up with her gone and the cabin under siege from a herd of very aggressive deer. Everyone but himself, his best friend and the best friends sister are promptly killed and Wolf, our hero, sets out on a quest to locate Samantha. Yes, a cute little road movie with the extra helping of the sister being in love with Wolf. Not exactly what I was expecting.

The whole thing is very tongue in cheek, which is has to be when all the animal attacks are either really goofy sock puppets or very crude CGI but it never takes the concept too far into Troma territory which makes it work just a little bit more than I expected it too. There is no mugging towards the camera, most of the kills are goofy but never too silly. The love-triangle kinda takes up a bit more time of the proceedings than I would have liked but it is never boring and the actors do a decent job in a scenario that requires them to be drenched in buckets of blood over and over again while having a straight face fighting CGI gorillas or deer sock puppets.

I suggest you watch the trailer first. If you aren't put off by it then chances are you will like the movie. I had a good time, the movies is too short for you to be bored (70 minutes. 62 without credits) and I like watching deer sock puppets biting peoples arms off. Dont you?

One final question though. What happened to Samantha? Watch the movie and answer that question for me. I have no idea.

onsdag 2 oktober 2013

Beasties (1991)

Once in a while there comes a great movie that tells a sweeping story about the battle between good and evil, going out of its way to show love through time and space transcending every obstacle and show us just how far a man is willing to go to alter destiny. This isn't that story. It does have fragments of such a tale deep within its murky cheapo shot on super 8 shell but this is for everyone that thought that The deadly spawn was too highbrow and glossy. This is BEASTIES!!

It starts of kinda fun as a couple of handpuppets kills a couple making out in the woods. It seems they came from some sort of spacecraft (we only see the leads describing it too us, the movie is that cheap) and our brilliant hero Nelson goes into it. All of this is swiftly forgotten as we are introduced to a bunch of punks that look like they came off the set off a Ratt video. They follow the bidding of the mighty Oseris who is supposed to be the harbinger of doom as the apocalypse grows near and Nelson is his prophecised opponent in the coming storm. How this ties up with the spacecraft is kinda... forced but we do get some boobs, several cool and cheesy handpuppets and a really really bad fightscene towards the end that has choreography straight out of a pornflick before all is revealed in a final plot twist that wants to be really clever and would have been if it came out of a fifties scifimovie but is just silly. Überlow budget mega cheese that does feel like the filmmakers are fully aware of their limitations, so I suppose you could do worse.

And if you are uncertain if this is something you want to watch, take a look at this. THE BIONAUT! Isn't he adorable?


söndag 29 september 2013

Monsters of film 2013

Monsters of film is a fairly new institution in Stockholm, having only had a couple of one day engagements but now it is finally growing into something bigger. I for one welcome our new insect overlords, watching horror at the big screen isn't something you get to do that often and here is a report of the movies I managed to catch (as of writing it isn't over, only my part in it).

The Monsters of film festival is over for me now and I did manage to catch a couple of really cool flicks, and a couple not so cool.

Return to Nuke em high
It's Troma, what the hell would you expect other than a lot of cheap, gross jokes and lots of boobs and gore. Which we got. Can't really hate it.

Fresh meat
A black comedy about a girl coming home from boarding school only to find out that... her family has embraced cannibalism. And then a group of incompetent criminals take them hostage. Not so clever and funny as it thinks it is but still quite entertaining. Temuera Morrison is always fun to watch as he turns on the ham

Dark touch
Strange movie this one, gives the impression that it wants to make a statement about child abuse and fuses it with a Carrie-ish plot but never quite manages to create a good mix. Well made and well acted though and stays with you long after the movie is finished.

Girl is raped and killed, but returns from the dead to wreak vengeance upon everyone who has wronged her - told way too slow and a bit too arthouse. Well shot though and not without merit, just not my cup of tea. Director Karen Lam was there for a QA afterwards and came off as a really warm person with a lot of interesting stuff to say about low budget filmmaking in Canada

I declare war
Kids playing war and we see the guns as the kids see them through their imagination. Very interesting and well visualized with a group of excellent childactors, though not really horror, instead giving us an excellent picture of how it is to be a child. Really liked it.

We are what we are
Jim Mickles remake of a Mexican movie was the best movie of the festival, a meticously crafted drama about a family of cannibals. Another movie that wasn't really drama per se, but a really dark and incredibly well acted drama about a family that has some rather odd religious traditions. The only thing that keeps this from being a bona fide masterpiece is the ending which doesn't sit right with me, especially after all the goodness that lead up to it. Not a bad ending in any way, just slightly dissapointing. Do not let this stop you from seeing it though.

Here comes the devil
Adrian Garcia Bolognias latest movie after the excellent Penumbra was quite a letdown, mostly due to the fact that it felt like it was rushed together on the cheap in maybe a week or so, which is a shame as the story is really interesting. Two children vanish for 24 hours after going up a mountain and come back changed. The script has the guts to go places that most movies would never dare to, but when the whole thing looks like a telenovella it doesn't really matter. An interesting but wasted opportunity.

And that was it for me, other than a lot of technical problems during I declare war the whole Monsters of film enterprise was a hit and I really hope that it continues

But what was up with all the cock-biting? There was penis-chewing in every movie I saw on friday and I was told there was in the one I missed as well, Tulpa. (and in the movie I watched on the bus on the way home, 1975 Hong kong horror Magic curse. Can't really blame that one on the festival though, I guess it just was one of those day...).

Until next year.

måndag 23 september 2013

Devil's pass aka The Dyatlov pass incident (2013)

I have no qualms about saying that Renny Harlin is one of my favorite directors when it comes to violent, easy going entertainment. Deep blue sea is a masterpiece in cheesy fun, Die hard 2 is one of the few sequels out there on par with the original and I adore his Exorcist prequel (Paul Schraders version is just plain boring, a horror movie made by a person that did not want to make a horror movie). And let us not forget Prison, a really fun eighties horrormovie that deserve a lot of praise. When I heard that he was making a found footage horror movie my expectations soared. I have not given up on the genre yet and Harlin sure as hell didn't make me want to quit it. Yes, this is quite a good movie actually.

Devil's pass is based on / inspired by a true story about nine hikers found dead in the Ural mountains in 1959, their deaths shrouded in mystery and strange circumstances that has fueled conspiracy theories ever since. (You can read about it here). A group of American filmmakers decides to travel to Russia to shoot a documentary about the event and, well, strange things start to happen as they arrive on the site where the bodies were found. Then there is a twist in the end. A quite nice one actually.

It'll be safe to say that Harlin does not reinvent the wheel here. There is nothing new on the agenda but he does bring his professionalism along on the ride, which means that all the trappings of the genre are there but so much more bearable than what we might be used to. The shakycam isn't particulary vomitinducing, the characters aren't nowhere near as annoying as in for instance A night in the woods and the fact that it was actually shot on location in Russia does wonders for authenticity. The script takes it's sweet time building up until the final events but the atmosphere is great and the final half hour pretty damn exciting up until the final twist which is actually quite fun. The actors do their jobs and we all end up with one of the better Found footage movies of the last five years.

In short, unremarkable yet very entertaining horror. Well worth your time.

onsdag 4 september 2013

Within the rock (1996)

Recognize this story? An large asteroid is heading towards Earth and total destruction is inevitable. A team of miners are dispatched in a spaceship (actually, they're close by, harvesting other asteroids) to drill a large hole in it and blow it into tiny pieces. There are two problems. First of all, they have to drill deep enough in a very short amount of time to be able to detonate before it reaches earth. Secondly, it seems that someone has used this particular piece of rock to store a very nasty alien creature that of course breaks out and starts to play Ten little Indians with the mining crew. We know exactly how this will go. And Xander Berkeley plays yet another asshole. Which is nice.

Yes, Within the rock is truly and well a standard movie, there is nothing original about the concept. The script is for a lot of the running time just a jumble of scenes we've seen before but thanks to a director who paid attention to his evening classes the movie works a lot better than it really should. The sets are nicely detailed for its budget and the camerawork suitably claustrophobic, making the stolen scenes from Alien much more worthwhile than you'd expect thanks to a cast and crew that elevates the material to a point that is almost better than it deserves. If you, like me, love Alien clones you will adore this movie. We have a guy in a cool rubbermonstersuit running around killing people and sometimes that is more than enough to make your evening wonderful. I'd choose this over any Saw ripoff everytime and so should you.

The Final terror (1983)

I will admit, The Final terror was a really positive surprise. I was expecting a straight forward slasher, this having been shot just a year after Friday the 13th and with what on the surface seems like a very similar plot and the poster didn't make me think any differently with its lovely hysteric depiction of a young couple running away from something.

And sure enough, it starts out with a whole collection of cliches. A young couple is killed in the woods, we skip forward to a group of youths about to head out into the very same forest complete with possibly deranged handyman, a campfire retelling of a horrible event that happened years ago and people going missing. But then the movie transforms into something else. Instead we get a movie about the remaining people trying to survive, hunted by an unknown assailant and we find ourselves watching something much more similar to Deliverance or Rituals. And it does quite a good job with it too all the way to its maybe not particulary surprising but still very exciting conclusion.

If you went into this expecting a slasher I would not hold it against you if you were dissapointed but I quite like the direction the movie takes, even if you take into account the fact that the exploitation factor is quite low. There is very little gore and nudity on display here, the body count is not very high but we are rewarded with quite a lot of atmosphere as the survivors trek through the rainsoaked thick forest followed by something that wants to kill them. The characters might be a bit standard but most of the acting is fairly good with some familiar faces like Daryl Hannah, Rachel Ward and Joe Pantoliano before they hit the big time (and I was relieved when Rachel Ward actually has a british accent).

So, in short, a good watch that might not be what you would expect it to be. If you like movies like Deliverance or Rituals you'd probably enjoy this too. I watched this on a fairly poor rip from a vhs which makes some of the nightscenes a chore to watch so I really hope that this will pop up on dvd or blu ray soon.

tisdag 3 september 2013

The Horror at 37000 feet (1973)

An internet acquaintance wrote that he used to watch this over and over again after taping this from telly and I can tell you that I am quite jealous of this, The Horror at 37000feet is a movie I would have loved to watch when I was a young. There is a certain strong cozy feeling about this kind of movie and you know what I am talking about if you've seen a few of the cheapo tv disaster-movies that were mass-produced in the seventies. That is basically what this is, a disaster movie with a cast of faces you recognize and an event onboard that is about to bring the plane down. Only this time it is supernatural.

A wealthy architect and his mentally fragile British wife are bring parts of an old ancestral abbey on board a plane and plan to bring it to the US. Of course, this means that they are bringing ancient druid spirits along for the ride and they are not happy to leave their home country. They demand sacrifice! Will it be Buddy Ebsen, the grumpy billionaire? Will it be William Shatner, not at his best as an alcoholic priest who has lost his faith which of course means he will be integral to the conclusion? Will it be Chuck Connors, slumming it up as the plane’s pilot? Or any of the other cast members of which several are speaking with really bad English accents?

The Horror at 37000 feet is first and firmly very cheap which means that as a tv-movie we are not allowed to see just about anything of the horror itself. There are very few deaths and the horror elements are no more than a lot of dry ice and slime pouring out of a hole in the carpet rug. But somehow this is quite effective in spite of really just being silly, as in the scene where the passengers try to calm down the angry spirits by sacrificing a doll to which they've glued human hair and nails upon which it erupts from within with that strange slime. Odd and weird in a nice way. The actors overact like any normal American tv-actor should and I wouldn't want it any other way. Yes, this is by the numbers but I like this kind of math a lot and as it is only 70 minutes long it is over before you know it. Great fun and I really wish I had been 10 years old when watching this for the first time instead of 40. I'm pretty sure it would have haunted my nights well into my teens.


söndag 18 augusti 2013

Syfy Orgy.

I do have a certain fetish for Syfy originals or movies that have their premiere on the channel. They're easy to get into and most of the time far from boring as long as you know what you are getting yourself into. The last few weeks I've been home looking after our newborn daughter and what better to do with my miniscule spare time than to watch movies like this? So here goes, the latest batch:

Sharknado (2013)

Seriously, if you go into this expecting a good movie then you have only yourself to blame. But if you are in the mood for silly cheese, Sharknado delivers most of the time. It is a cheap movie about tornadoes full of sharks, come on. How the hell did John Heard end up in a movie like this?!?!

Dark Island (2010)

Not sure if this is a Syfy premiere but it sure as hell feels like one as we follow a group of people on an abandoned island being infected by a black mist, very Syfy. Story is intriguing, sfx are better than I expected but the characters are weak and the actors so-so. A decent view.

Mandrake (2010)

Not bad horror about a giant walking plantcreature in the jungle (shot in Louisiana). A decent script, minor gore and better than average special effects make this a decent watch, though I would have liked even more creature and less of an adventuremovie. And Betsy Russel sure as hell has aged well.

Arachnoquake (2012)

Yes, the sfx are subpar and the tone of the movie is a bit too silly but then again is kinda hard to hate a movie with such an awesome title and one that features firebreathing spiders. Pretty good as these movies go.

Shark week (2012)

I usually have a lot of tolerance for Asylum movies but this one is truly truly awful. Listen to the plot: a group of people are kidnapped by a drugbaron and told that they will be given their freedom if they survive a number of encounters with different sharks (which usually means that they will go into a partially flooded cave and flap around while someone in the fx-department later adds a poorly lit cgishark). And thats about it. The dialogue is as awful as the actors (though Patrick Bergin and Yancy Butler seem to have some fun spouting their strange lines). Just mindnumbingly dull and about 90 minutes too long.

And now I feel like I have to watch something with a brain. Shark week almost killed me.

tisdag 6 augusti 2013

The Colony (2013)

In a setup straight out of a Syfy original, the last remnant of humanity are hiding in bunkers underground after global warming combined with weather tinkering has caused Earth to freeze. Their existence is harsh and a simple flu can have devastating consequences. When they receive an S.O.S from a colony a days journey away a rescue party is sent out, only to find out that everyone is dead. Murdered. Ensue some bloodletting.

When a movie with a very simple plot has four writers you know something is wrong and my expectations were pretty damn low but this scifi/horror hybrid about wasn't that bad, just a bit cliched. There is only going from plot point A to plot point B and so on, without us ever really caring about any of the cast. When things do get going it is actually fairly entertaining and there is even a bit of gore. The plot is simple to the extreme, the characters thin as that wafer in Monty Pythons Meaning of life but sometimes you need a movie like that. Think of it as a Syfy original with a slightly larger budget. And Bill Paxton playing an asshole.

The Colony is a so so movie with just about enough entertainment to keep you satisfied to the end and although I don't really think I would recommend it to anyone other than a few people in in circle of friends that appreciate movies like this, I still don't regret actually buying it.

måndag 29 juli 2013

The Slaughter (2006)

Ok, stop me if you've heard this story before.

A group of EXTREMELY annoying youths arrive at an old house with the purpose of fixing it up in order to sell it. They moan and whine and behave like immature assholes (come on, the guy who spouts crap about the conformist society who bends to the whims of capitalism is quite possibly the most annoying character EVER! And he is one of the leads!). Soon they find a book in the basement, stuff is read from it and something evil is unleashed.

To the credit of the filmmakers, The Slaughter looks quite good for what was obviously a very low budget movie. The location is used well and the camerawork nicely atmospheric. We also get some cheesy nudity and a bit of nasty gore. Unfortunately all of this is destroyed by a really horrible script and a lot of overacting. The Slaughter has a script that wants to be a huge wink to the genre fans, there is a lot of very cheesy dialogue that feels like leftovers from a Scream sequel and none of it works.The actors try their hardest but it just doesn't work and the movie becomes more and more of a chore to watch the further you get.

I suppose I might be a bit harsh on the Slaughter, if this was an 80s movie i had just discovered on a rip from a vhstape then I would be a lot more forgiving. And to tell you the truth, I have seen a lot worse movies. But in the end, this is just a big wasted Meh. You'd do a lot better watching director Jay Lees Zombie strippers instead, the winking there works a lot better.

måndag 8 juli 2013

War of the worlds the true story

War of the worlds the true story has a fun concept that easily could have dragged it to the bottom of bad movie hell, staging the "true" story of the Martian invasion of Earth in the early 1900:s. Claiming to contain actual, previously classified footage along with newly shot reenactments, WOTWTTS has the aura of a History channel documentary and it actually works reasonably well. We've seen/read/listened to the story before and it is actually a fairly close adaption of the original novel as I remember it with the exception of adding a long interview segment with the last living witness of the events. Earth is pummeled by strange cylinder from Mars that open up and bring forth death in the shape of giant tripods with deadly heat-rays that incinerate everything living. Classic stuff indeed.

The mixing of newly shot footage along with a ton of archival stuff (they threw in everything and the kitchen sink, we get some pretty recognizable clips from movies) with added heatrays and destruction never actually gels that well, it is fairly obvious what scenes are new. The filmmakers tried their best on a limited budget but degrading digital video so that it is supposed to look a hundred years old is a really hard thing to accomplish and I would go so far as to say that this is a fail. But, and here comes the money shot, it never matters. WOTWTTS is edited like everyone is on cocaine, breakneck is the understatement of the year. The screen is constantly filled with mayhem, destruction and those scrumptious tripods...

I make no secret that I am a big fan of Steven Spielbergs 2005 version. It has a couple of significant flaws such as an overschmaltzy story and Dakota fucking Fanning - the most annoying character ever in a movie but in return we get the tripods that are truly some of the most awesome scifimoviecreations ever. WOTWTTS damn near equals that movie on a budget that probably wouldn't pay for Tom Cruises coffee. Seriously, Timothy Hines and his crew has achieved near perfection in these scenes using only models and it works wonders, I just kept grinning like a six year old watching Godzilla for the first time.

Not everything works of course. Like I mentioned earlier, the "new" footage isn't integrated that well and the whole movie is based around the interview footage which is supposed to be shot in the sixties but just looks like what it is, new digital footage with some pretty halfassed fake degrading. A lot of the actors (most of the smaller roles) aren't particulary good and the english accents are most of the time just awful. But none of this really matters. Those tripods win me over.

Not a perfect movie by any means, WOTWTTS is a triumph in execution. It just works that well and although the first ten-fifteen minutes of the movie might be a bit hokey, as soon as you see the first Martian crawling out of the cylinder and their tentacles picking up puny humans to destroy, you are hooked. Maybe the movie really is awful? I don't know. I just know that I love those tripods.

You can buy this little gem here.

måndag 1 juli 2013

Blood salvage (1990)

I have a very vague memory of seeing pictures from Tucker Johnstons quirky little movie in what I believe to be an issue of Fangoria, pictures that promised quite a bit of gore, and after watching the movie I feel kind of cheated as the premise is quite fun and could have been turned into a lurid little exploitation movie. Now, I don't really know if this is true, the memory lane is a hazy and vague place so correct me if I'm wrong. I might be confusing this with a totally different movie. Anyway, Blood salvage does not really suffer from this, it is still a fun little movie that just feels a bit too tame for being R-Rated.

The story is simple, we've seen it a LOT in the last twenty years. John Saxon and his family runs into a group of bibletoting rednecks that cause roadaccidents in order to harvest the organs of the victims and the patriarch of the salvaging rednecks decides that curing Saxons daughter of her paralysis is next on the agenda all while cutting open the rest of her family. Ray Walston even pops up in a nervous cameo as a shady guy buying all of these livers and kidneys and whatever.

Tucker Johnston really made a movie that could be considered somewhat of a minor cult "classic", the story is fun and servicably executed and it is a hoot to watch Daniel Nelson spout religious gargles as he removes stuff from living people. Most of the actors does tend to overact a bit, especially the two redneck brothers but it kinda fits the joke of it all. I just wish that it would have been a bit nastier, the scenes in the barn where the Pruitts have quite a large group of "patients" nailed to the walls, only barely alive so that they can be slowly cut to pieces, would have benefited from some grue and kept the movie in peoples minds for many years to come but I guess we can't have everything. A fun watch that might be hard to track down, it is not available on dvd and I sure as hell wouldn't mind a nice dvd/blu with cool extras.

And am I confusing this with another movie? Were there gory pictures from this in Fangoria or is my mind playing tricks on me?

onsdag 26 juni 2013

The Frankenstein theory (2013)

Andrew Weiners Found footage/mockumentary might be dismissed by a lot of people as another movie coming late in a dying genre. Let's face it, there are quite a few really bad movies where the filmmakers have watched Blair witch project and constructed a lame story about morons running around in the woods. The Frankenstein theory on the other hand, while not breaking any new ground, actually has a lot of thing that speak in its favour.

First of all, the story is quite interesting, claiming that Mary Shelleys Frankenstein was a work of non-fiction, based on an event that actually took place. We follow Professor John Venkenheim who is the subject of a documentary while his academical and personal lives are falling apart. You see, he has quite an odd theory that he wants to prove, that Frankensteins monster was an actual creature - a triumph/catastrophic failure of very early genetics and that it is still out there roaming the wastes of the Arctic circle, killing to stay hidden from humanity. Haunted by the fact that it was his own family that spawned the creature he decides to find it, no matter the cost and takes the cameracrew in the the arctic wilds of Canada. Of course, things go wrong.

Another of the movie's strength is the fact that it does look like a real documentary, the camerawork is professional, the wobbling camera is kept to a minimum and all the characters (a lot less annoying than the usual assholes that run around in the woods chasing spooks) are played by decent actors. The snowy landscape is an excellent setting (I want more snowhorrors goddamnit!).

The Frankenstein theory is a decent enough Found footage film that isn't you run of the mill crapfest, if you like the genre you might possibly be enjoyed by this. It does have one quite substantial flaw (and this will get slightly SPOILERish) and that is the fact that is doesnt really go anywhere with its interesting story. They travel to the wilderness and encounter some strange going ons and while it is still entertaining and somewhat creepy, it ends up fairly cliched. Just another Boogeyman. It doesn't kill the movie, just makes you yearn for what could have been. (END SPOILERishness).

In the end The Frankenstein theory is an above average Found footage movie (Believe me, I have seen much worse) and I'd advise you to check it out. It won't rock your world but you will be reasonably entertained.

måndag 10 juni 2013

Stranded (2013)

I actually preordered this movie just from reading the plot, I am that much of a sucker for scifi/horrors. I mean, come on. Meteorite crashes on moonbase, bringing spores that infect a woman that goes instantly pregnant and within 24 hours gives birth to a humanoid thingie with a predator-ish mandible mouth. I did not go on Imdb to read reviews or look it up online, I had to have it. It was as simple as that. Roger Christian, the director, will always live in infamy because of him being responsible for Battlefield Earth but we have to remember that he also directed The Sender, a very underrated little chiller back in the early days of his career.

Stranded is quite a timeless movie, it doesn't have any clothes or technology that specifically places it in a particular time and it uses miniatures instead of CGI. It could easily have been set in the 80s or the 2000s. In fact, the only thing that actually tells us that we are watching a movie made in 2013 is the fact that Christian Slater is getting "older-ish" (That man has aged well, that's for sure). It feels like it could have been a Roger Corman production, released by either New World or Concorde. The story is straight out of a fifties scifi movie and gets in gear without any real character setup, the meteorites start smashing the half-decent models right after the credits and moves on at a good pace introducing the ways of the creature right up until the cliched ending. It doesn't try to break any new ground whatsoever and works fine just because of that. Sure, the actors are bland (mostly because of the weak characters) and the movie could have gone for a bit more of the ole' gross-factor but the important thing is that you never have the chance to be bored. It won't be remembered as a cult classic in the years to come but I sure as hell don't regret buying it. It's no Forbidden world but you could do much worse.

tisdag 14 maj 2013

Creepers aka Contamination point 7 aka The Crawlers aka Troll 3 (1993)

Creepers aka Contamination Point 7 aka The Crawlers aka Troll 3 (which from now on will be mentioned as Creepers, the title I saw it with) is the type of movie that goes into your brain, hunts down your braincells, lines them up against a wall and executes them all, without mercy. On paper it might look like a real movie if you catch a quick glance with something that resembles a genuine plot and camerawork that looks like someone actually used a real camera but other than that Creepers is a real travesty, the ancient mother of the god we all call Boredom. All hail the mighty Creepers, supreme creator of diabolical dreariness beyond comprehension.

It starts comfortingly promising with the Filmirage logo. They've given us a lot of enjoyable movies like Michele Soavis Stagefright and Joe D'Amatos Anthropophagus and Endgame and even though Creepers has a 1.9 Imdb average I still had some hope for the movie. To put it simply everything goes downhill very quickly after that as we are ushered into the story of a small town girl returning home from the big city to rekindle her love for her old boyfriend at the same time as a nuclear company tries to conceal the fact that the radioactive waste they have been dumping has caused the tree roots in the forest to become carnivorous. I cannot really single out anything in particular that is flawed, the entire damn movie is so pedestrian and incompetent beyond belief. It's like the filmmakers had no interest in making a movie at all. The actors are all awful, hough mention has to be made of the sheriff that stumbles on dialogue like he just went through trepanation and of course, the owner of the nuclear plant that seems to parody a villain straight out of Scooby Doo. His final euology has to be seen to be believed. Also, it seems like there only was one take on every single scene, there is quite a lot of stumbling of dialogue on a level that I haven't seen since really early Dr Who. Everything about this movie screams boredom. Boredom from the point of view of the filmmakers as there is not an ounce of anything resembling love for the craft and boredom for the viewer who wonders how the hell this thing was even made (even more perplexing is the fact that Creepers was supposed be shown at cinemas. That could quite possibly have caused an epidemic of mass suicides).

Too put it simply: There is nothing fun here. The movie has no nudity, no gore (apart from a quick scene where a character gets a root into his mouth and having it exit through his eye but it is so poorly made that it doesn't really matter), no exploitative materials at all. It is just... Dull. I can't even see it working when watching it with friends over a case of beer. It is that bad. A major avoid.

And the worst part about all of this? At the time of writing it is not officially available on dvd/blu ray but there is a blurb on Wikipedia that Scream factory are going to release this in the future. And I would probably buy it. That scares me the most. All hail the ungodly cancer that is Creepers! DEATH BY BOREDOM TO US ALL!

måndag 13 maj 2013

Macabre (2009)

Macabre is quite an oddity since it is a very violent and gruesome movie, coming out of a country that is predominately Islam, something you rarely see in cinema today. It seems to base it's reasons of horror firmly in the legacy of the Dutch colonialism of three and a half centuries which is actually quite refreshing, although it actually only hints of this.

Plotwise this is nothing new, on the contrary. We follow a group of youths travelling by minibus through the countryside as they almost run over a young woman in the middle of nowhere. They take her to her house, an old mansion, meet her slightly odd family and reluctantly accept an offer of dinner. The family of four, three grown children and the matriarch that oddly looks a bit too young for her age, soon show their true colors. They want the youths to die. Horribly.

The story is really old, we have seen it hundreds of times. The good thing about Macabre is the way the filmmakers treat it, infusing an extra creepiness in the villains that are more uncomfortable than the usual gimmicky buffoons that we mostly get to see in this type of movie. I won't go into discussing the vague reasons behind all of this but believe me when I say that they are truly horrifying in their ambiguity. The matriarch herself (Shareefa Daanish chewing her way through the scenery with great fun) is a marvel of death and torture and her children aren't far behind in maliciousness. The violence is bloody and hardhitting, just like we want it and combined with fluent direction we get a movie that rises way above its kind. Damn I want a sequel now!

One of the reviews I found online (can't remember which one, sorry. Might change this text when I remember) summed this up fairly well: Think Frontieres in Indonesia, and this is a good description although I rate this much higher. It isn't really anything new but the treatment is still interesting enough to give this my highest recommendations, it really is that well made.

Thanks Fred over at Ex-Ninja for recommending this movie, NOW HOW ABOUT WATCHING LAKE MUNGO THAT I'VE TALKED ABOUT FOR YEARS?!

Evil dead (2013)

So, it is finally here. The Evil dead REMAKE. The internet have been as usual, a lot of people behaving like spoiled children, screaming that THEY CAN'T DO THIS! WE WANT BRUCE CAMPBELL! Personally, I am not that big a fan of remakes but ever since I was positively blown away by Zack Snyders Dawn of the dead I'm keeping an open mind.

You know the story, a group of youths are going out into the woods for the weekend, the difference being that in the original they were partygoers and now they are having a kind of intervention, helping a friend (Jane Levy) to kick a drughabit. It doesnt take long before they find a mysterious book in the basement, someone reads a passage out of it and demons are released. You dont need to know more, it is all there and very recognizably so. The variations from the original story aren't major but enough to make the story interesting. Some of it is good (the whole kicking the drug habit is somewhat fresh, it gives the movie just a bit more edge, as it just might all be in the head of Levys character) and some of it is not (the backstory about the demons, but more on that later on in the review). but there is enough of it to make the story feel somewhat fresh. We even get a bit of a twist towards the end that I did not expect and it is a fun one too.

So, let us start with the bad stuff. First of all, and this is a pet peeve of mine, why do we have to have an explanation of what is going on? Why do we need to know all these details about the demon? Does the screenwriter think that the normal moviegoer is stupid and needs to have things explained in detail in order to understand the intricate ways of a plot that mainly is about dismemberment? Ok, so I am exaggerating a bit here, Evil dead is nowhere near the worst offender of this crime (#1 on this list is the American remake of Ringu) but the original did it so much simpler and better. We don't need to know (with illustrations) that there are three ways to kill the possessed, we just want to see the characters trying to survive as ferociously as possible! I want my own mind to fill in the blanks, not to have them filled in by the screenwriter with a dull hammer (which could have been put to better use in the movie itself as a way of inflicting even more grue and gore). This is only a minor flaw of the movie though, I'm just pouring out some old hate towards Hollywood. The movie moves so fast that I never had the chance to be upset about this until after it was finished. I could also bitch about the fact that some of the characters are somewhat undeveloped, mainly the leads girlfriend who is a blonde chick who we never have a chance to get to know until *SPOILER* she is torn to pieces in a long, delightful sequence with several nods to the original movie. *END OF SPOILER*. But then again, she really is just there to be dismembered violently. (oops. Forgot the spoilertag).

So, the good bits? Most of the god damn movie. As i mentioned before, it moves like lightning and the brief scenes of setting up the scenario are over before you can say Bodily dismemberment and as soon as the words that are used to summon the demon are read, we are way in over our heads of blood and nastiness. There is a lot of violence and it sure as hell is really red and painful, most of it actually old school practical stuff (there is a scene of the remnants of a chopped off arm that looked suspiciously CGI but if it's not, kudos to the makeup artists). All of the actors are good even though some of the characters are thin and they serve the script well. Fede Alvarez does an excellent job setting up all of this and the cabin itself is a marvel to behold, surrounded by a dark and gnarly forest that works wonder with the atmosphere. To top it all off we get those cool last ten minutes that follow a slightly cheesy moment (the only one actually) and what we have is a solid piece of gore.

I realize I spent more time writing bad stuff than good, but don't let that deter you from watching Evil dead. As remakes go, it is up there as one of the better I have seen. It does not reinvent the wheel but it serves up its images with style and relish, giving us a nasty piece of horror that stands fairly well together with the original. It does keep its horror dark and serious which I personally like a lot. Good stuff indeed, and I really look forward to getting it on bluray (fingers crossed for even more gore!). Recommended.

måndag 22 april 2013

Manborg (2011)

Holy fuck, I haven't been this entertained by movie in years! Manborg is a real curio, a loving tribute to the 80:s that throws in everything and the kitchen sink in a glorious display of lo-fi special effects and tongue in cheek storytelling in such a way that it is over before you realize you are having the best time in your life.

The gates of hell have opened and mankind are at war with the hordes of demons pouring out, and losing it. A young soldier watches his brother get killed by the evil Lord Draculon before he himself is mowed down by the demonic soldiers. A number of years later he wakes up into a dystopian, demon-controlled society where humanity lives in the blasted cityruins of what used to be Earth. He has now been transformed into the half human - half man:  MANBORG. Together with a small group of cliched characters straight out of 80s actionmovies he has to battle the evil Lord Draculon and his cohorts in order to redeem his humanity and avenge his brother. I hope I did a good job sounding like the text on the back of an old Empire vhs because this is what Manborg feels like.

With a quick glance at Manborg you might dismiss it as cheap and silly but while it actually is both, it doesn't mean that it is boring or worse. On the contrary, the movie (shot entirely on green screen) is full of cool things that are meant to look like that. The special effects are cheap and simple, but designed that way with an production design that I haven't seen elsewhere other than in C64 games or maybe Captain Power and the soldiers of the future if you remember that old tv-show (I haven't seen Captain power since it was released so I dont remember much but it popped up in my mind pretty quick as I started to watch Manborg). There is so much cool stuff here, like the crude but awesome stopmotion demons that pop up everywhere and the lovingly overacting actors (for instance, the asian guy Nr 1 Man who always walks around without any clothes on his upper body and is hilariously dubbed). Everything moves as such breakneck pace that the miniscule 60 minutes feel like 20. And that is my only real complaint, the movie is way too short although they stretch it out to 70 by adding an hilarious trailer after the credits of a fake movie called Bio-Cop, a movie about a police office transformed into a slimy mass after getting doused with radioactive waste and his hijinx after remaining in the police force (he just screams Kill me all the time). Fun stuff indeed.

Yes, I admit, I loved Manborg. It was perfectly tailored to my own tastes in popular culture and is a must see. Astron 6 have perfected the art of loving the 80s and now I want more. Manborg 2? Please? PLEASE?!

måndag 8 april 2013

Demonwarp (1988)

Demonwarp really had some potential. It starts with a meteor landing on earth with a preacher discovering it as he is trecking in those classic Californian hills. From then we move forward in time and watch as George Kennedy (who is prominetly featured on the cover but in the movie for about 10 minutes) is playing Trivial pursuit with his daughter in a cabin in the woods. All is well until something hairy attacks them and runs off with the daughter. As the plot moves forward in its intricate machinations we are now introduced to a group of overage teens traveling to the very same woods for a weekend of partying and debauchery, not knowing that the "leader" of the group is actually going there to find out what happened to his uncle who disappeared in the area. To pad the movie to a decent length the movie also gives us a couple of other random characters that never really interact with the rest, such as a hiker and two women who are only in the movie to show their breasts and get messily killed. So far so good, but now everything falls apart. Big time. And boy does it fall apart in one of the more bad ways I have ever encountered.

The first half of the movie isn't exactly good but it is at least somewhat entertaining. We get lots of nudity, bad acting and some nice gore, not a bad thing. But then the movie decides to throw in just about anything it can think of and turns plain stupid. SPOILERS GALORE from now on. You see, it is a Bigfoot doing all of this killing and it's just not any plain Bigfoot, it is an aliencontrolled bigfoot. The meteor that we saw in the beginning of the movie contained an alien who has for the last hundred years been sitting in a cave, turning travelers into bigfoots and/or zombies so that he can build a ship or something to be able to leave the planet. We eventually end up in the alien lair (about as high tech as anything made in the 50s) where the lead character confront the alien and his zombies who are all wearing cheap halloween masks, like they ran out of money for the final confrontation. It is straight out of the cheapest 50s scifi and such a big disappointment after the somewhat fun first half, you just can't take a second of it seriously. END OF SPOILER.

So, Demonwarp (nice title since there are no demons in it) is just a bad, silly movie; cheesy to the extreme. There is quite a lot of bad acting, naked breasts and cheesy gore to keep you interested throughout but in the end you just get frustrated by the climax that is so mindnumbingly awful that you want to put a bullet in your brain. If you just have to see every cheesefilled, latex-ridled horrormovie of the 80s then so be it, I suppose there are more boring movies than this. But I sure as hell won't be watching this again. Unless there is a proper dvd and a lot of beer.