Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Horror Rises from the Tomb (1973) 1h 28m

This comes to us from the same collection that held Night of the Death Cult.  I'm beginning to suspect that all of the films on that set are just obscure 70's horror films from Europe that they were able to purchase for cheap or compile for free.  Keeping that in mind, I might just throw this entire thing in the trash.  I haven't decided yet.

Horror Rises from the Tomb starts in the past where a "warlock" and his "witch" lover are going to be killed for their crimes against god.  As punishment, and in keeping with older religious beliefs, their heads will be severed from their bodies and buried in secret locations.  Before this sentence can be carried out the warlock and his lady friend curse the families of their accusers and threaten to return!  Now in present day, a bunch of white people think it would be a good idea to ask a psychic where the warlock's head is buried.  An intense table tipping event happens and they set out the next day to dig up a Legend of Zelda style treasure chest.  Once opened, there is just an illustration of Astaroth and a sickle.  Killing ensues, warlocks come back, and I fell asleep at some point and couldn't be bothered to care.

It's weird to watch this after watching Night of the Death Cult because the two feel very similar in their cinematic structure.  Some previous event setting up the backstory for whatever lame hijinks are now happening, and it's all incredibly boring.

Alright, let's watch zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
What was really off-putting was the story telling structure of Horror Rises.  If you've ever read Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics there is a brief section in which he outlines how sequential art works best.  In his examples he has a simple scene which is told in three parts: one using too many panels which explain every minute detail, the best paced use of panels and information, and a two panel which omits too much info.  Each still tells the same start and end, but how we get there is dependent on the information given.  Horror Rises... does the last example where we are just to draw our own lines between scenes and story progression.  What I did watch of this film left me confused because of this.

Horror Rises from the Tomb isn't worth the time you would put into it.  Unless you use that time to nap, in which case it works out well.  Otherwise do yourself a favor and pass on this.  Also, if you ever come across a 10 movie set entitled Deadtime Stories then don't buy it.  I got it for something like $5 and I want that money back from 2009.

I give Horror Rises from the Tomb 0 copies of Marvel's The Tomb of Dracula out of 5:

Monday, September 24, 2018

Play Dead (2009) 1h 28m

Play Dead came on a DVD as an extra film with Last of the Living (which I also haven't watched).  By association I assumed that Play Dead would be a horror film, but it came across as more of a thriller comedy.  The latter of those descriptors it looses relatively quick.  In truth, this is the an awkward teenager of a movie where it wants to fit in somewhere but it really isn't sure where it does so the whole thing tries to fit into a bunch of different cliques.  I could make a "horror because of Fred Durst" joke, but I'll be up front and say that he does a decent job.

Our main character in Play Dead is Ronnie.  He's an actor best known for his work in a show that wasn't quite a Power Rangers rip off, but not quite as bad as Big Bad Beetle Borgs.  So let's say a VR Troopers knock off.  After his stint as the blue one, his promising career went nowhere.  He has a breakdown after a casting interview and drives until his car dies.  He finds himself in the middle of nowhere when he meets Ledge (Durst) and is given a ride into town.  He then finds himself on the wrong side of the local drug dealer and calls in his old hero team in an effort to save himself and the town.

Y'all cast the wrong member of Limp Bizkit.
As I mentioned above, this film doesn't know what it wants to be.  The beginning has a lot of poorly written comedy scenes in it, including that Durst's character is a small town simple creep which they try to turn around to make Ledge an exploited victim of the situation.  It's a poor transition from someone that has a dead DEA agent in their bathtub to unlikely hero/sidekick.  Jake Busey is here as well, looking like the most redneck version of Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age) I've ever seen.

As a whole, Play Dead can just be labeled as "competent."  Everything that makes this a movie it does well enough, but it just reaches that bare minimum.  There are definitely better and worse films out there.  If you're looking for something that's horror though, this isn't it.

I give Play Dead 1/2 a opossum playing dead out of 5:

Friday, September 21, 2018

Night of the Death Cult (A.K.A. Night of the Seagulls) (1975) 1h 29m

Coming from another horror film 10-pack, but not the same 10-pack, we have Night of the Death Cult!  A film that is actually known as Night of the Seagulls but I'm told was something else.  Not only that, this is apparently an over watched VHS tape rip that is poorly overdubbed!  Yes! Get Into it!  Get into this fucking mess!

Night of the Death Cult is the final part of the Blind Dead series.  I don't know what the hell this series is but if all of these films are similar then they're bat shit crazy.  A cult of Knights Templar have been killing women and feeding the hearts of the victims to a strange frog statue.  In present day a village sacrifices seven women for seven days once a year.  The skeletal ghouls of the Knights Templar come and take the girls to continue their ritual.  A new doctor comes with his wife and the villagers treat them like shit until the secret comes to surface!  Oh, and the spirits of the sacrificed women turn into seagulls.  That's the seagull part.

Once the credits started I only had one reaction...

Honestly, this version of the film is terrible quality, but there wasn't much quality here to begin with.  I don't know if I need to watch the other films or if this is a stand-alone.  I still feel like the plot made very little sense.  Why were the Templars skeleton men that still need lady hearts?  Why did the village know of this?  Fire kills the skeletons but they can ride horses without a problem?  Why does that grocery store just have a basket of fruit and paper bags?!  FUCKING SEAGULLS?!

Don't watch this.  It's shit.  Fuck this shit!  FUCK IT SO FUCKING HARD IN ITS SHITTY VHS RIPPED BUTTHOLE!

I give Night of the Death Cult (a.k.a. Night of the Seagulls) 0 seagull dogs out of 5:

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Resident Evil: Damnation (2012) 1h 40m

The fact that I love Resident Evil is the worst kept secret on this website.  I reviewed Resident Evil: The Final Chapter when it was out in theatres and talked about Resident Evil 7: Biohazard as soon as I finished the game upon release.  So when it comes to the CG films that they've put out, you better believe I own them, or at least most of them.  I didn't realize that there was a Japanese one that counts as the first one and I haven't picked up the one that came out last year.  The latter isn't in my collection because Sony and Capcom are bad at subtitling these films so you don't know which one you own.  This one has been sitting on my shelf since last Christmas.

Did somebody say "Las Plagas?"
Resident Evil: Damnation takes place after Resident Evil 4 (still the best game in the series).  Leon is sent into an area of the former Soviet Union on reports that rebels gained access to B.O.W.s (Bio Organic Weapons).  At the very start he is told to pull out but instead continues on in search of Las Plagas and the people using them.  He ends up working with freedom fighters that have learned to control Lickers with the help of Las Plagas, at the risk of their own lives and sanity.  Ada Wong is here being badass as usual and working with the government in order to gain access to a sample for a secret client.

Okay, I'm getting my biggest complaint out of the way first and it isn't even with this film, it's with the disc itself.  I had to skip through a commercial for Sony and five previews of I don't even care what before the blu-ray would even let me access the menu.  That's bullshit!  I gave you money and all you're doing is wasting your time and mine!  Cocknose.

Is that a B.O.W. in your pants?
I have no complaints with Resident Evil: Damnation.  They have Leon's Resident Evil 6 voice actor (who pretty much sounds like the original voice actor from the prior CG film and RE4).  They do small nods to things like having Leon yell "Come On" exactly as he does in the games.  It also does good fan service without going overboard.

I think that since this was a Las Plagas focused film they were smart to have this change up with the Lickers and a greater focus on Ada's doings.  The early games were never really about trying to kill everything and they kept that focus in check.

Speaking of Ada, she has the hypest fight scene in the film!  Sure, it's essentially an animated film but the entire time I was enraptured by it.  It's John Wick levels of rad hand-to-hand combat.  Also, bringing in multiple Mr. X for Leon's final fight was a definite pop for me.

Overall, I really liked RE: Damnation.  Aside from a bit of slowdown it was a solid film.

I give Resident Evil: Damnation 4 Umbrella logos out of 5:

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

My Sucky Teen Romance (2011) 1h 17m

I picked this DVD up from a used store not long after it was released.  That should've been my first warning.  The second warning should've been that I got it for something like $3.  Think of that scene in the first Wayne's World movie where The Shitty Beatles are playing and Wayne asks "are they any good" and we get the reply of "Oh, they suck!" and the joke rounds out with Wayne saying "Then it's not just a clever name." My Sucky Teen Romance...is it any good?

Welcome to Spacecon!
We start in the 1950's where we see an obvious vampire greaser who looks like Edward from Twilight if he was an extra in Grease.  We then flash forward to present day where a comic nerd is talking about how great Spacecon is going to be while his coworker finds him lame.  A fellow nerdy girl has a moment with him, but shortly after she leaves our Edward wannabe comes in to fuck up robbing the store.  We are then introduced to the rest of our crew and they all go to Spacecon... where there are very few people actually dressed for anything space related.  In fact, this "convention" looks like what I picture when I think of that Dashcon debacle.  The cashier from the supermarket was turned into a vampire and he accidentally bites the check-out love connection.  The rest of the film is them trying to prevent themselves from turning into full blown vampires by hunting down Greaseball Lightning.

I just heavy sighed before I started typing here so that's an idea of what's about to come.  This film is equal parts good and bad.  For an independent horror-comedy the actors and cinematography actually pull through pretty well.  On the flip side, the script and set design feels unnatural in a way that makes you think that there is some sort of continuous inside joke that you're just not privy to.  It's so self-deprecating to geek and fandom culture that rather than laughing along with the film My Sucky Teen Romance just does that awkward laugh to itself when none of the jokes really hit.

That said, there are two parts I did like.  One is when our two main female characters go to the "teen" room and it's supposed to be cool and instead they open the door to a room of awkward people and one girl just yells "LOOK! MORE TEENAGERS!"  The other is at the vampire panel (which, if you do watch this DVD, watch the deleted scene from this because its adlib is much better than most of this scene) where the obvious Twilight fangirl asks if vampires were real would a centuries old vampire fall in love with a teenage girl and they could live happily ever after and the main panelist just replies with "That's fucking gross!"

Speaking of this scene, I don't know why I never made this connection before, but almost all vampires are pedophiles (or ephebophiles if you want to get technical) as they are usually dozens if not hundreds of years old.  Just because you look 17 forever does not mean you are 17.  You're 800 and trying to pick up some 16 year old.  That's fucking gross!  See!  Now I said it too!  That makes it true!

Back to My Sucky Teen Romance... it was okay, but I must say that it's not just a clever name.

I give My Sucky Teen Romance 1 lame vampire out of 5:

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Dead Men Walk (1943) 1h 4m

I chose today's film based solely on the fact that it is just over an hour and because I'm coming down with something and feel like death myself.  The disc itself is from a cheap 10-film pack which is supposed to be zombie themed movies but for a $5 set I doubt anyone was quality checking the content specificity with these choices.  That said, let's dig into today's film!

Less vampire, more sadpire.
Dead Men Walk features George Zucco playing the roles of both Dr. Lloyd Clayton and Dr. Elwyn Clayton.  Llody is a man of science and a medical doctor while Elwyn studies the occult and, by the description on the box, is a wizard.  We open at Elwyn's funeral when it is interrupted by our Deus Ex Kate.  I don't know how she knows what she knows, but she knows way too much.  Elwyn's body is collected by his servant and Elwyn rises from the grave.  He then visits his brother and tells him he is going to wreck his life.  The rest of this film is pretty much Dracula except that Elwyn is targeting his niece and Lloyd has to be the doctor and Van Helsing.

I really liked Dead Men Walk.  I thought it was going to be a very 40's matinee film but it was fun to watch.  The pacing is really weird as they squeezed a lot into such a short time.  It's essentially death, but I'm alive, Gayle is to be married, now she's sick, a vampire?! etc. etc.

What I appreciated the most with this film was the dialog.  It felt like someone reading literature to you.  It began and end with semi-poetic verse and there wasn't much in the way of filler, just advancing the story.  I think that my biggest complaint with Dead Men Walk would be that there are no roads.  It's constantly people running through the woods, in the dark, to get to their location.  Elwyn I can write off as he is a vampire, but everyone else must have cat eyes or something.

I give Dead Men Walk 3 copies of Chuck Tingle's Vampire Night Bus Pounds My Butt out of 5:

Monday, September 17, 2018

Blades (1989) 1h 41m

When I opened the case for this DVD the receipt from 2007 was still inside.  This is just letting you know how long this disc has been sitting on my shelf, unwatched.  Part of a Troma Triple Pack, with two other films that I honestly can't remember or be bothered to get off the couch to check, I chose today's film because it takes place on a golf course.  I expected the worst and was given something that transcends horrible and is ranked among the greatest tortures from Hell.

Blades takes place on some low-class course where Roy begins his new job as the course pro.  Kelly spends most of her time making awkward and confused faces all while hating that Roy took the job that was promised to her.  The course is being prepared for the upcoming televised pro-am tournament but chopped up corpses are found littered around the greens.  Investigation leads us to a sentient lawn mower with balloons tied to the back.  It belonged to the dead father of the greens keeper.  Roy ends up defeating it with the power of golf.  This movie defeated me by stealing all joy from my life.

I fell asleep with 10 minutes left and hated that when I woke up I had to go back and watch the ending of this.  Blades is like someone watched Caddyshack and thought "I can make a horror version of this," but they lacked the humor, charm, and talent.  The only thing I really found interesting was the actor that, in the right light, looked like Kurt Angle.  Not Kurt Angle now, but Kurt Angle if his life choices sent him in a terrible Coors Light life spiral instead of him winning an Olympic medal.  Let me tell you, it doesn't turn out well for alternative universe Kurt.

Fucking golf course horror movie... fuck this shit!

I give Blades  0 John Deere tractors out of 5: