WARNING: THIS BLOG CONTAINS BODYCOUNT. HIGH RISK OF SPOILERS. ENTER IF YOU DARE.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Cannibal Tykes Of The Dead: Wicked Little Things (2006)

Wicked Little Things (2006) (AKA "Zombies", "The Children")
Rating: ***
Starring: Lori Heuring, Scout Taylor-Compton, Chloë Grace Moretz

Despite being marketed as a zombie flick with posters depicting a savage undead girl clutching a worn-out teddy, as well as being released in foreign cinemas under the title “Zombies”, there were only some shred of truth to this as while Wicked Little Things centers around undead children, they’re not depicted as your typical shambling zombies.

At a small mountainside town of Addytown, Pennsylvania, there is an urban legend concerning the many child miners who died during the Carlton Mine cave-in back at the 1920s. It is said that the children roam the woods at night as the undead, hunting for fresh victims to satisfy their hunger.

Soon to be caught in this tall-tale is Karen Tunny, a mother from New York who just inherited her late husband’s old backwoods home, located at the very same mountain town. Hoping to start her life anew, she decided to move there with her two children, teenager Sarah and young Emma, both having their ups and downs concerning the move but eventually finding ways to make it a little more bearable.

However, things are bound for the worse when a few people around town starts disappearing, a hermit is seen marking doors with blood to ward “them” off, and Emma apparently made friends with a girl named Mary who Karen never sees. Soon, the Tunny family, along with everybody else unfortunate enough, will discover that the legend is true and a small group of cannibalistic zombie children are out to slaughter and feast on them as night falls.


If there is anything I find odd about Wicked Little Things, it is the fact that it was attempting to be a zombie flick by having these kids eat raw flesh even if there was very little reason for them on doing so (Nor was it even explained anywhere as to why), leaving this “quirky” trait rather random and the film honestly could still work without it.

At that, the movie is undoubtedly a slasher at heart, one that features an army of killer undead tykes instead of a single maniac, all acting under the impulse of murdering people seemingly out of spite and probably hunger. They’re “unique” for their simplistic appearance, consisting of black-eyes, pale skin and raggedy coal miner work clothes, but their eerily silent and expressionless nature, may it be during a murder or a meal, made them creepily stood out the most from other killer kid villains which usually are wise-cracking and/or giggling maniacs.

Interestingly, Wicked Little Things also took a few ghost movie traits as it shares its focus with the main cast figuring out the existence of these children, the reason behind their murderous activities, as well as a possible way to stop them. Needless to say, the mystery wasn’t exactly a tough one to crack and the end result pretty much have the casts trying to outrun the horde while trying to find their youngest (who may or may not be entirely in danger with the zombies), only to be saved by either pure random luck or the idiocy of that one victim whom these kids long to murder all this time.

As a horror flick, Wicked Little Things brags little scares, average characters, and a slightly above-average gore due to the zombie’s habit of hacking up their victims into bite-sized pieces before eating them. It is predictable at most parts despite its little attempts to be different but it is far from the worst thing I’ve seen. I believe this film has a better chance of being entertaining as a time waster or a single night’s rental so whenever you are in the mood for zombie slasher kids, I guess this is worth a shot.

Bodycount:
A number of children buried alive in cave-in
1 female pickaxed on the chest (dream)
1 male bludgeoned to death with a shovel
1 pig slaughtered
1 male hacked through with a pickaxe
1 male dragged away, killed
1 male ran through with a javelin, hacked into pieces
1 female hacked into pieces
1 male hacked by a thrown pickaxe
1 male hacked to death offscreen
Total: 9+

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Bad Case of the Cheddar Giallo: The Editor (2014)

The Editor (Canada, 2014)
Rating: ***
Starring: Paz de la Huerta, Adam Brooks, Matthew Kennedy

A bloody (and comedic) homage to 70s gialli, Astron 6’s The Editor walks a fine line between satire and tribute, much to the confusion of this reviewer and delight to his bodycount craving.

The plot concerns an experienced editor named Rey Ciso who once worked behind high class films but lost the passion for editing after, enraged from the fact his actress wife is no longer receiving good roles, he accidentally chopped away the fingers of his right hand.

Now handicapped and married to a bitter former-actress, Rey’s life revolves around guiding aspiring editors whenever he is not working on the film himself, but he soon gets tied to a macabre situation where somebody is killing off the actors and staffs behind a terrible giallo full of weird characters and bizarre situations.

As a production, The Editor runs a near-staggering 95 minutes of gialli gimmicks such as stylized camera work, tinted lighting, workable practical effects, and a chockfull of sleaze, all done in that confused mixing of cheese, dread and reference to works by Dario Argento, Mario Bava and even Lucio Fulci, among many other gialli aficionados and titles.

It’s paced as a result; clumsily attempting to build whatever story it can juggle with its brand of comedy and throwing in some slasher-style mayhem for good measure.The mystery here was, to say the least, fascinating from the point that it covered a lot of potential suspects and odd red herrings that may or may not lead to possible clues on the identity of the killer. Each character poses their own dark secret such as abusive relationships, obnoxious authority, unhappy marriages, and even self-harm, thus making anyone from the group capable of killing or at least be involved with the killings.With this, the ploys were as complicated as possible, keeping the reveal fresh even if it did ended up as an outlandish curveball at its audience.

It is actually here where I felt The Editor may fail depending on how the audience take their mysteries; being a parody of sorts, the way the suspects were approached was more on the comedic side as they babble away the strangest assumptions or just simply act terrible in a somewhat homage to how theatrical the talents in classic gialli act. (whether this is intentional or not for this movie is beyond me) At that, you can expect some strange accents and outrageous lines that can be distracting, if not annoying to sit through. I guess we could consider Adam Brooks’s character Rey a small mercy as he remained as straight of a cast as possible, which might be again a ploy or clue to the film’s mystery.

Apart from these, we also have situations and elements that were just too bizarre to fit in with the main plot, some of it concerning being blinded out of fear, religious magic and even a sudden twist that simply came out of nowhere. With all of the craziness, there came a moment when The Editor can be a chore to watch and understand, that not even its ultra-violent murders can distract its viewers to how messed up the plot can be. Still, for the right people, all of these cheese and over-the-top executions can be a brand of entertainment that’s hard to reproduce and imitate, especially since it did still produce a workable mystery in its core and an incredibly messy bloodbath.

I can’t say that I totally enjoyed The Editor but I wouldn’t say that I hate it either; it’s definitely something different, that is for sure, and I can tell this movie is for an acquired taste. Respect it for being a comedic parody of a giallo, its bodycount, and for attempting to tie-up everything with a Lucio Fulci inspired What-the-fuck ending.

Bodycount:
1 female axed on the face (film)
1 female seen murdered (film)
1 male had his throat cut with a razor
1 female slashed to death with a razor
1 male stabbed on the throat with a razor
1 female axed on the face
1 female stabbed on the chest with a pair of scissor
1 male gutted with a hunting knife
1 female sliced with a chainsaw
1 male dismembered offcamera with a chainsaw
1 male seen decapitated
1 female set ablaze
Total: 12

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Have A Merry Scary 2015 Christmas, Bodycounters!!!!

Gruß vom Krampus and Happy Holidays to all of you Slasher Sickos and Horror Hounds out there!
Be Good. Be Bad. Be Merry Scary!

The Night of The Punch Bowl-Head: Silent Night Deadly Night III: You Better Watch Out (1989)

Silent Night Deadly Night 3: You Better Watch Out (1989)
Rating: **
Starring: Samantha Scully, Bill Moseley, Richard C. Adams

Horror junkies remember Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984) for its mean spirit and the controversy it sparked among concerned mums. They might also remember the movie’s sequel, Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 (1987), for its crazy amount of cheese, curveball tone, and the infamous “Garbage Day” meme.

For many, these two movies would been enough for the franchise but prior to having Silent Night, Deadly Night remade into the modern cult flick Silent Night (2012), there were three more films following the original duo, with the third being the final installment of the Santa Slasher plot before jumping into witches on the fourth and killer toys on the fifth.

It is said someplace that the third installment of any franchise would be the craziest and staying to true to this, You Better Watch Out delved into the realm of scifi and unspeakable cheese as we continue to follow the further exploits of Ricky, the Santa Slasher of Part 2 and the brother of Billy, the killer of the first installment.

Surviving being gunned down from the previous installment, Ricky is left comatose, his cranium replaced by what looks like a punch bowl with gears (exposing his brain), and now the unwilling participant of an experiment involving clairvoyance, with his homicidal thoughts (aka stock footage from the first movie) being transported into a blind girl, Laura, via telepathy as a way of improving her unique skill.

It was one Christmas Eve when Laura decided to take a break from the project and left to visit her grandma along with her brother and his girlfriend for the holidays. Unknown to her, Ricky had just woken up as well and developed a psychic link with Laura, following it as he made his way to her grandmother’s house while murdering anybody who got in the way.

I guess “peculiar” is the best word to describe You Better Watch Out since although it tried keeping a straight face, the little details and choices definitely made it look more (or rather less) than your average serious slasher flick.

For one, we have the psychic angle that was a bigger plot element than the actual yuletide holiday, with a good chunk of the film focusing and utilizing it. This angle certainly was a huge leap from having a simple story of a traumatized teenager axing folks to death while dressed up as Santa but seeing what the next two installments would do for this franchise, this is as close as we would get to keeping things grounded (The key word is “close”), all the while touching a bit of the supernatural to keep things a little more interesting.

Sadly, as a slasher, You Better Watch Out clunks in ways that it shouldn’t, like the fact that our killer just happen to have an exposed brain protected by a see-through dome that made him look like a homicidal human version of the cartoon villain Mojo Jojo from the Powerpuff Girls. Seriously, after his descent into the rather cheeky and interesting killer who might have been our next quotable quipper of Part 2, why do this? He spent most of his appearance looking like as if he’s in a trance (which is justifiable) and whenever he murders someone, the film does the unspeakable crime of being tame with the lowest kill count and hardly showing any good murders onscreen.

Pacing is slug worthy and the scripting is laughably tiresome at most. The acting is wooden and the special effects are near-nonexistent. There’s scarcely a set and a cast to work with, you think for a film that had the ambition to include clairvoyance and killers with see-through skullcaps would put more effort to entertain us but it seems the producer were trying to take a more subtle and creepier approach to their slasher. (Perhaps something similar to the creepiness John Carpenter’s Halloween but, “killer with a see-through skullcap”. The subtle and creepy approach is not happening.)

The only reason why I can’t rate this film any lower is due to all the unintentional laughs I got from how terrible this movie is. I seriously don’t know what were they thinking when they made this; it’s barely Christmassy, the plot is too outlandish, the killer is a joke, and there’s nothing that memorable or shocking about this film apart from existing, and yet, I still got a few kick out of it. Perhaps it’s the weirdness that got me, the simplistic approach, or both, but this fondue tainted franchise entry tried a dry run to bring slashers back to the basics, only tripping down the fail bridge too many times. I learned to appreciate the effort but a fail is a fail, no matter how many whacky tries done to hide it.

Bodycount:
1 male killed offcamera
1 female had her throat cut with a scalpel
1 male killed, method unknown
1 male decapitated offcamera
1 elderly female killed, later found hanged
1 female knifed on the chest offscreen
1 male had his neck crushed with a shotgun
1 male disemboweled with a knife, bled to death
Total: 8

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Disciples of The Cheddar: Sorority Girls and The Creature From Hell (1989)

Sorority Girls and The Creature From Hell (1989)
Rating: **1/2
Starring: Len Lesser, Deborah Dutch, Eric Clark

 With a title like that, you can only expect…”stuff” from this movie.

 A group of sorority girls drives up to a mountain cabin (with a bonus hot tub) where they plan to party, get wasted on booze and pork some guys they invited over. However, things are about to get a little more troublesome when news of an escaped convict skulking around put the girls on edge, unknown to them that something else is already picking them off one by one. Something that was once human. Something possessed by powerful supernatural forces. Something. From Hell!

It may sound a lot but trust me when I say it isn’t; The Creature From Hell runs a meager 85 minutes of nothing but the moldiest of cheese wherein the true horror lies on how bad the production was and the fact it was even made.

For starters, talent isn’t the best word I can use to describe what the actresses and actors were doing for this film as they either overact or underact their roles and their delivery sounded like they were reading off their lines. If you ever wanted to see a girl get overly impressed by some guy’s juggling abilities or a pair of college dudes barely reacting at the fact they just hit a guy with their car, this movie is guilty of having both and more.

Then there’s the incoherent flow where we jump back and through the girls partying, an escaped convict creeping around, and a monster killing people under the orders of giant papier-mâché stone face that sounded like the talking Aztec head from Nickelodeon’s Legends Of The Hidden Temple, which as a whole made the film pretty tedious at a point with nothing of real interest happening until the 40 minute mark. (Though it felt longer.)

Lastly, there’s also the film’s half-arse attempt to do a bodycount (or at least I think they were attempting to) consisting of nothing but tame killings that are anything but memorable. It’s kinda sad coming from a slasher hybrid like this and I know there might be a case of budget here but, for a hellish creature, the least it can do is give us a juicy killing or a workable stalking scene.

Now, you would think I’ll give this film a bad rating for all of this and I am tempted to, for honesty’s sake. But for the right viewers or mindset, this can be an entertaining piece of shit as the overall depravity of the film can double as its own little charm as a “bad movie”. If anything, I like to think The Creature From Hell was a tribute to the 40s and 50s era of “horror” movies such as Robot-Monster and Them!, where the effects are cheap, the story is laughable, the acting is terrible and yet quite fun to watch just to see how bad they were. Mix in a good dosage of late 80s cheese and the clichés of a terrible slasher movie, and the net result is more likely this mind-numbing yet hilariously horrendous experience that gets crazier by the minute until its blazing conclusion.

A mixed-bag of good and bad, The Creature From Hell is a rarity for a lot of understandable reasons and one that offers something stupendously silly for your kicks. See it or leave it, either ways would probably work for our part.

Bodycount:
1 male brained with a shovel
1 male hacked through with a pickaxe
1 male shot
1 male shot
1 male shot
1 male had his neck snapped
1 female killed, method unknown
1 dog killed offscreen
1 male had his head torn off
1 female thrown off a roof
1 female strangled, neck snapped
1 female gets a throat cut, strangled
1 male decimated by a grenade
1 male shot, decimated by a grenade
1 male shot, decimated by a grenade
Total: 15

Saturday, December 19, 2015

The Day Gramps Get Shocked: Isn't It Shocking? (1973)

Isn’t it Shocking (1976)
Rating: ***
Starring: Alan Alda, Edmond O'Brien, Louise Lasser

No teenagers? No masked killer? No blood? No problem!

Isn’t it Shocking may not look like a solid slasher but it does feature a relatively simple bodycount and an unusual direction where the killer is made known to the audience but not to the film’s characters.

It tells the story of a small New England town where a series of murders puts one sheriff Daniel Barnes into a strange predicament as all of the victims were elderly and seems to be burnt with some sort of medical tool. The culprit is one equally aged traveler who just recently stopped by and lodged at a local motel. As more of the townsfolks fall victim to the killer, Barnes has to step up his game and find the connection to all of these victims in time before more innocent lives are taken.

Fairly inoffensive, Isn’t it Shocking relied more on plot development in terms of thrills and featured a rather realistic look on police procedural. More often than not, the TV thriller felt a bit soap-operatic as we often shifts back and forth between the sheriff putting the pieces together and him dealing with his everyday life, death of friends and even some complicated love interests; this said, I can honestly say it will not appeal much for those who are looking for a faster-paced bodycounter but those who are fans of TV mysteries who can wait around until the last act won’t be disappointed.

What I came to like about this small screen treat is that the characters have a little simplistic quirky charm to them and you can tell they’re simply there to live a rather normal life despite the recent death spree. The small town gives a relatively pleasant homey feel and, when the scene calls for it, rather nice backdrops for car chases. It’s a nice change of scenery for a bodycount thriller and one that I can always welcome for our teen slashers.

Ending with a fairly positive note, Isn’t it Shocking? may be your grandparent’s murder thriller but it is well worth a look.

Bodycount:
1 elderly female electrocuted with electro-shock apparatus
1 elderly male found dead
1 elderly male found dead
1 elderly female found murdered
1 elderly male found murdered
Total: 5

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Woods will be Painted Red: Paintball (2009)

Paintball (Spain, 2009)
rating: ***
starring:  Brendan Mackey, Jennifer Matter, Patrick Regis

Feeling the need for adrenaline?  To feel alive after countless hours of working behind the desk? Why not get away from it all and experience the ultimate paintball weekend at an exclusive backwoods to get that rush of life? 

 Eight young workaholics signed up specifically for this and find themselves not only bagged and driven to a secluded mountainous forest but also under the mercy of not a rival team, but a real sharpshooter who’s aiming to end them all one by one. What was a supposed weekend of fun and friendly competition turns into a deadly struggle for survival as these victims must learn to show their teeth and live through a predicament where you have to kill or be killed.

As a plot, there really isn’t much going on for Paintball; while the sport isn’t exactly new to tackle for slasher movies with 1987’s Masterblaster having a maniac killing participants during a paintball match and 1986’s The Zero Boys having it as a backdrop for its characters’ survivalist nature, Paintball is a sort of amalgamation of these two films. 

Exploiting some basic bodycounter flick clichés like hiding the killer behind POV shots or vaunting nasty kills that some might find either ingenious or cheated (half- if not all- of the best murders were done through the grey-scale infrared vision of the murderer), all the while showing the lengths our characters would go to survive from leaving teammates for dead to first-hand murder, the story is quite easy to follow once you understand the structure.

There were still some flaws to get by, however; since there wasn’t any form of appeal found to alleviate our victims, they're just as whiny, trying, or even cruel as any standard horror flick cast. Usually for these kinds of cases, the killer would have been our bet and, to be fair, he came in pretty close; we never get to find out much about him except that he is brutally imaginative on his killings, making use of whatever resources he can grab hold to kill somebody in the least likely way. (Remember how Michael Myers used a shotgun to impale a victim in Halloween IV? The killer here did something similar, only more work and in grey-scale heat vision.)

In an attempt to add more mythos on this killer as well as on the ordeal our death toll-to-be are going through, there’s also an added element of people paying good cash to see all of this happen in real life. It’s a twist similar to Hostel's or My Little Eye's only they don’t appear anywhere as menacing or intriguing; they’re simply just there, well-dressed with their pockets fat enough to plot all of this, though the only contribution we get to see from them was that they instruct (or rather instructed) the killer on his targets and that they did a little scavenger hunt for the victims in an attempt to give them a little bit of advantage. Out of the ordinary? Yes. Original? Not much. Shallow actually.

It may sound like Paintball have a lot of defects but I can assure you that this doesn’t chip the film that greatly; as I mentioned, it is still quite easy to follow and the little attempts to add some intrigue to the story is admirable despite not working all throughout. The production quality is crisp, the steady pacing helped build some tension around a few moments (though it can get a tad sluggish), gore and make-up effects from CG to practical is sick in a good way, and the film wraps itself up quite nicely in the end. 

If you’re the kind of bodycounter who disregards characters and story just for the kills, then Paintball will do nicely for your viewing pleasure. A basic slasher accompanied with lead heavy action, it's just the kind of horror cheapie you can enjoy with a side of chips and cola.

Bodycount:
1 female shot on the head
1 body found burnt against an electric fence
1 male snared then dropped unto an erected rifle, impaled
1 female stabbed on the gut with a machete
1 female shot dead with an automated rifle
1 male stabbed to death with a machete
1 female fell into a spiked pit
1 male had his face smashed in via rifle butting
1 male had his neck slashed with a hunting knife, later had paint mines decimated against his belly
1 male killed offcamera
1 male impaled through a branch
Total: 11

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Mysterious Red: Don't look Now (1973)

Don’t Look Now (Italy/Britain, 1973)
Rating: ***1/2
Starring: Julie Christie, Donald Sutherland, Hilary Mason

Released in the 70s, wherein the popularity of Italian gialli are on full force within Europe, Don’t Look Now is a British/Italian thriller that breathes the same kind of artistic flair and ominous tone its Italian cousins are known for, resulting to an acceptable title that can be well-enjoyed by fans alike.

The film opens with a family; the father John Baxter (Donald Sutherland) was busy working on restorations while talking to his wife over the phone. Said wife, Laura (Julie Christie), had just returned from a trip and is excited to see the family. Unknown to them, their young daughter Christine (Sharon Williams), who was playing outside, slipped and fell into a pond while they were talking, wherein the father was first to notice after he couldn’t hear her anymore. Rushing outside, he found her drowned and grieves over the loss.
An upside-down reflection? Or a hinted fate?
Some time later since the incident, the couple had grown silent and tries to bury the past by working together to restore the magnificent paintings at an old church. Their stay there, however, are plagued with strange and dangerous occurrences including a pair of sisters who one claims to be psychic, John seeing visions of their late daughter wearing the same red coat she died in, as well as a series of nightly killings involving women. Could there be a connection linking all of this? Is the couple finally going mad from the guilt and loss?

With contexts of the supernatural thrown in with the heavy atmosphere and story, Don’t Look Now can act as a character study on two main casts, focusing on what could be the mentally and emotionally deteriorating as the loss of their daughter began to push them further into possible dementia as well as the lengths one would believe in to keep themselves sane, even if it is actually doing the opposite.
John and Laura Baxter tries to mend old wounds.
The further we go through the plot, the more we see how the two's married life becomes affected by the loss; with Laura finding more comfort from mediums who claims their child is okay and happy in the afterlife, and John becoming nearly paranoid of losing his wife either from her own possible delusions or the serial killer prowling the canals. No amount of love play (gratuitously shown here, which, apparently, had shocked moviegoers then) and reasoning seems to be getting to any of them, so a good chunk of the tone benefits from this drama and the desperation for answers comes naturally not only for the characters but also for us viewers.

Eventually, the plot ends up rather maddened, with more strange visions leading to an off-putting revelation and a down beaten ending that was deceptively foreshadowed in many scenes prior, mostly through the repetitive use of motifs and imagery incorporated into the story with splendid editing work. It’s a rather ingenious, if not a dour way to end the film, making it one of the more memorable reveals in horror history. 
Alice, Sweet Alice (1976) may have been influenced.
Seeing there's more focus on character and mystery here, Don’t Look Now is a film that defines tastes and patience; if you are into brooding horror and decaying character then this movie deserving of your viewing, but if you are looking for cheap thrills and exploited kill counts, you may need to wise up first before seeing this. True there is a bodycount and a sub-plot involving a killer, but with influences from Hitchcockian thrillers and gothic horror movies, psychological and thematic fear makes a more workable scare factor here rather than a kill count.

It's a rather elegant film and one deserving its cult status; Don't Look Now is a film worthy of any film collection. Distraught, nightmarish, and yet very clever, real keeper for genre lovers!

Bodycount:
1 girl drowned in a pond
1 female seen being fished out dead from the waters
1 male hacked on the neck with a meat cleaver
Total: 3

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Death To Reality TV: L.A. Slasher (2015)

L.A. Slasher (2015)
Rating: ***
Starring: Mischa Barton, Dave Bautista, Andy Dick

I guess just because a movie is titled "L.A. Slasher", features a masked maniac with a machete, and have a trailer showcasing it as your typical bodycounter, it does not necessarily meant that it is a slasher.

Beautiful to look at and listen to but slightly shallow and weird, L.A. Slasher follows a masked maniac who plots of ridding the world of Reality TV by torturing and/or murdering the talentless hacks making up this cultural disease. One by one, he kidnaps various and literally nameless victims, streaming their torment and demise to a crowd who are either appeased or appealed to what he is doing for the name of decency.

With a measly (and questionable) kill count and a rather high survivor count, the film is an odd duck that seems to be more focused on sending out the message of how dumb and pointless celebrity pop culture is getting and less of the fatal slashing as the title and marketing might suggest. This being said, L.A. Slasher is not entirely a slasher film but a melting pot of some tropes found in a slasher movie, crime thriller, satire, art house, and even a bit of torture porn.

Not a complete loss of an approach but I do see some problems; since the film starts and spends a good mass of its time building around our would-be victims (and I mean a really good mas of time and pacing), I was expecting more from these nameless characters than being throwaway casts to be tortured and/or killed a couple of scenes later but alas, as satires themselves, they're not necessarily the likable bunch in a sense that they're shallow caricatures of the reality TV stereotypes we see everyday, with little to no character depth to ground ourselves to.

This apparently made way for the equally nameless slasher to do his nasty business with them and, thankfully, most of the scenes involving him and his victims were worthwhile, such as forcing a girl to masturbate in front of her family before murdering her, to giving another victim a chance to escape only to hunt her down in the barren desert, it may lack the grue, death count, and bloodletting but they were okay enough to watch and obviously the main attraction of the film, next to the slasher himself.

As a villain, the L.A. Slasher himself is a hybrid of your silent boogeyman and your wise-cracking rambler, an odd combination made odder once the intriguing elements in the world he operates in began popping up, such as therapy groups of serial killers, a salon giving him a haircut while in full slasher attire (white suit, mask and all) in public, and all the fans he is getting both in public and in cyberspace that seems to be getting less and less fazed by his crimes. It kind of questions whether this is just how this world is or if everything was through the perspective of the killer, especially with the flashy editing and dabbles on social media, but whichever one it is, the movie ends up as a trippy and sortah gimmicky experience all through out.

It's hardly the conventional hack-and-slash with all of this and some scenes felt like they could had done more if they were played straight but, as an arthouse flick, L.A. Slasher might satisfy those who are into the otherworldly. Throw in some cool soundtrack and a few darkly comic bits, this horrific and satirical stab at reality entertainment and modern pop crash that may or may not still be strong today ran quite okay as a modern thriller. Whether you agree with the Slasher's hatred or not, I say give his misadventures a try just for the sake of satisfying any curiosity you have.

Bodycount:
1 female axed on the groin
1 female stabbed on the back with a machete
1 male ran through with a machete
1 male shot on the head
Total: 4
(Note: I left out some of the slasher's victims due to the nature of the film and the ambiguity of their injuries)

Guess What's My Fave Krampus Monster?

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Saturday, December 5, 2015

Storage House Massacre: The Hoarder (2015)

The Hoarder (2015)
Rating: *1/2
Starring: Robert Knepper, Mischa Barton, Emily Atack

Bloody? Yes.

Intense? Meh.

Good? Nooooope.

The Hoarder tells the story of a wife breaking into her husband’s storage unit in hopes of finding proof of her claim that he is cheating on her. Tagging her hooligan friend along, they eventually find themselves trapped inside the building with other random people, including a homicidal man who appears to have his mouth sewn shut. As routinely as any slashers, these folks are fated for rather bloody demises as powertools and swords are put into and through them, which were the only entertaining parts from this movie thanks to some nifty practical effects, okay camera work and a bit of brutality.

The rest of the film sadly lumbers around with bad acting, uninteresting characters, lifeless premise, uneven pacing and a not-so-intense direction that made The Hoarder a bland run to what could have been a workable survival flick. Worse of it is the fact that it is trying to make something serious out of its silly plot which never sounded anything classy to begin with, further making the film an odd viewing experience that head-achingly mashes the good and the bad of slasher clichés.

Follow this completely up with a smart yet cheesy twist reveal that made some sense with the film’s title and not much else,  The Hoarder is just a forgettable little number that barely made a dent as a horror movie in general. I really failed to see how storage units work as a slasher’s hunting ground but until somebody out there prove me wrong, I’m dang sure they’ll only spew uninspired drecks like this.

Bodycount:
1 female clawed, murdered offscreen
1 male stabbed on the ear with a screwdriver
1 male gets a buzzsaw to the face
1 male stabbed and slashed with a sword
1 female shot
1 male stabbed on the neck with a pen
Total: 6

Sunday, November 29, 2015

The Warehouse of Dead Geeks: Dead Hunt (2007)

Dead Hunt (2007)
Rating: **1/2
Starring:  Dennis Hill, Sara Cole, John Patrick Barry

It was supposed to be a simple gathering between forum writers and reviewers, some meeting in real life for the first time. A few small talk and bitching happened, boozes were drank, and some were even thinking of scoring some sweet bedroom action later that night, for this small group of amateur critics, things were going just fine until they soon find themselves trapped inside a rigged warehouse and a balaclava-wearing killer began going through them with the sharp end of a knife.

Why are they being snuffed out is the killer's little riddle for them and it apparently had something to do with their profession as critics; with this in mind, Dead Hunt could have been a film poking fun at devoted horror flick reviewers (such as myself and maybe even you, dear reader) but it instead took an easier route and gave us your standard bodycounter.

The story did start off with the characters being geeks and them some, talking about movies and/or simply hanging around; once the bodycount starts, most of these people were easily reduced to typical slasher victims, doing some really cliched decisions that inevitably sealed their fate with the killer's knife. I guess I was hoping for a more tongue-in-cheek approach on the characters seeing they're horror fans in a horror flick but with Wes Craven's Scream films already tackling that not once but at three times as of Dead Hunt's release, maybe a stroll back to simpler roots wasn't that bad of an idea.

If anything, it's the film's killer who dwelled in the meta-concept, taunting and monologuing their nitpicks on each victim before finishing them off. It's a little silly but it kinda paid off once their identity and their motive was revealed, as it involved something pretty reasonable if it wasn't for the extreme measure.

While not exactly the most impressive in terms of onscreen talent, as well as guilty of having some terrible audio and early age computer effects, the story is easy to follow especially once the killer starts to blabber about their criticisms. Right then and there you can pick up the pieces and solve the puzzle with ease. Some gore and make-up effects were pretty good though the best kills happened offcamera, which is a tad disappointing but otherwise okay on my book, especially if the killer committing them sports an awesomely simple maniac get-up. (Red faced balaclava and trench coats never looked so sleek)

It isn't much but Dead Hunt is an okay movie, forgettable but watchable nonetheless. It has some neat ideas and good production despite a few flaws and budget issues, so I guess this is a passable effort even if it lacks any originality, decent acting, and/or an imaginative killcount. I say give this one a go if you're feeling for something really simple for your cinematic bloodlust.

Bodycount:
1 male found disemboweled
1 female electrocuted on a rigged door
1 male had his throat slit with a knife
1 male found slaughtered
1 male slashed with a knife, left for dead
1 female set ablaze
1 male stabbed with a knife
1 female hacked on the head with a machete
1 female stabbed
1 male shot
1 male shot
Total: 11

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Don't Go Dismembering Christmas: Slasher Studios Double Bill Review

Don’t Go to The Reunion (2013)
Rating: **
Starring: Kaleb Shorey, Marla Van Lanen, Johnathon Krautkramer

I always consider myself the supportive type when it comes to slasher fans doing their own slasher movie, especially when the film looks potential.

Horror review website and film workshop Slasher Studios first released an impressive short film titled Teddy, which is a basic run through everything we know and love about slashers. Their next two short film projects, Popularity Killer and Blood Brothers, were fair rides on their own run but not exactly as good (both story and production wise) as Teddy. After a while, we then get Don't Go To The Reunion, their first feature length slasher film that, much like Teddy, tries to cover a classic bodycounter scenario though with a few duds.

Don’t Go To The Reunion focuses on a group of highschoolers who decided to get their outcast classmate Scott Rantzen in trouble by planting a real sickle in his locker. When the principal and the local cops found the weapon, they were quick to believe that Scott was mentally unstable and ships him off to the loony bin where he supposedly remained.

Until now.

Ten years later, the now-adult high schoolers begin receiving Scott’s slasher drawings with a warning written for them. It seems Mr. Rantzen is no longer in captivity and now after their guilty arses one by one.


Clocking around 75 minutes, Don’t Go To The Reunion felt more like a film project than an actual movie but I can overlook this seeing it is an independent work. I can overlook the cheap effects, the amateurish acting, and how tame the sex scene was (I believe the film still could have worked without the latter), what I cannot overlook however is how predictable and pushy the story felt as a self-aware hack-a-thon, how uninspired the kills were, and how the ending felt too rushed. Perhaps it’s the fact that I’ve seen enough slashers to tell what direction a film of this caliber was going to and usually I can try to bypass this given the movie does something else worth our attention. (especially if the story itself was that near from being a Slaughter High (1986) reboot/reimagining) 

Unfortunately, the murders failed to impressed me as, seeing the killer is a slasher fanatic like us, they decided to tribute cult classic slashers in these killings thus making some of them a little uninspired. I guess the problem was that they were paying homages to murder scenes that were already “re-did” multiple times by other slashers before this, which kinda made the kills in Don’t Go look stale in comparison. One, for example, involves a car hood beheading which was a tribute to Madman (1982). I may have gotten a good laugh out of that if it was the only movie to do the same kill, but with the likes of Shadow Runs Black (1986) and a more humorous variation from Home Sweet Home (1981), the kill was just too plain to impress.

So the kills were, in a lack of better terms, “meh”, Don’t Go also features a mystery of sorts concerning whether Scott is back killing people or not, which would have done better if only they tried using different actors to hide the twist. If you’d seen it, you will know what I meant and though I am sure it was not their intention to insult our intelligence, it kinda looked that way.

And yet, with all of this, I can’t really diss on Don’t Go To The Reunion; it had potential and I can tell that they did try, but the final result was too underwhelming for me after all the hype people were making about this film. I am not going to say I am disappointed, but I will say good luck to Slasher Studios for their next project. Who know? Perhaps they can do better then!

Bodycount:
1 female decapitated with a sickle
1 male beheaded with a car hood
1 female stabbed on the mouth with a fire poker
1 male and 1 female skewered with a fire poker
1 male knifed on the back
1 male killed offscreen
2 males skewered with a fire poker, beaten with a stand
Total: 9
Dismembering Christmas (2015)
Rating: 1/2
Starring: Baker Chase Powell, Leah Wiseman, Nina Kova

…Wow. Just.

Really?

A group of friends spends Christmas Eve at another friend’s snowbound cabin in the mountains only to fall prey to a masked killer. Apparently this is the plot and perhaps Slasher Studios was aiming to do something simpler for their next project, all the while tackling the ever popular holiday horror trope.

Unfortunately, due to a rocky production, the resulting movie is a messy bore that’s littered with awful audio, incoherent scripting, zero thrills, lackluster kills, and a very lame villain with a standard murder motive. I never knew they will stoop down this low but I guess if you try to stretch a plot with useless fillers and a curious shot of some guy’s buttocks, the overall final product is going to be a tedious run through uninteresting characters being themselves and getting killed for it.

Any pros, though? I honestly can’t find any that would have saved the film but I will say that the hockey stick double-murder was a decent scene. Last decent hockey stick kills I ever saw were by the demon boys from the movie Dogma and Sub-Zero from the Arnold Schwarzenegger action-thriller The Running Man. We need more hockey stick murderers out there!

Ending with a boring quip and a brutal villain dispatch (are the guys at Slasher Studios trying to say something?), Dismembering Christmas is a film worth dismembering and I am starting to feel scared for the production team. Let’s all hope they don’t end up like the Polonia Brothers

Bodycount:
1 male stabbed with a buck knife
1 male had his gut sliced with a sharpened hockey stick
1 female hacked with a sharpened hockey stick
1 female stabbed to death with sharpened poles
1 male slides through thin wire, decapitated
1 female bludgeoned with a porcelain tree
1 female decapitated with a razor-lined wreath
1 male hacked to death with a hatchet
1 male found murdered
1 female had her head crushed with an ice auger
Total: 10