Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Primal Rage: Shakma (1990)

Shakma (1990) (AKA "Nemesis" )
Rating: ***
Starring: Christopher Atkins, Amanda Wyss and Ari Meyers

Some killer animal flicks tend to blur into slasher territory as a few titles borrow elements such as point-of-view shots of the villain stalking its victim (or prey) and the methodic demise of victims, who are often teenagers. Jaws can be considered as a forerunner to this with its first half being similar to a POV-lensed slasher film while the last half  was more of an ocean-adventure. Later entries such as Grizzly (1976) and Wolfen (1981) further blur the line as their structure and the beasts' motives were more personal, not unlike that of a human killer.

Here in Shakma, a murderous baboon escapes and starts running amok inside a small research facility where a group of teenagers just happen to be staying as well, playing a fantasy scavenger hunt with a prize money that will be forwarded to their college fund.

In typical bodycounter fashion, the monkey maul its victims one by one as they try to find a way to survive the night, though these doomed guys and gals are far from your classic partying teenagers as the reason for them being gathered is a sound one, if not overly cheesy. Still, they are guilty of committing the slasher trope of being dumb when the occasion gets the better of them, more precisely when they were trying to avoid getting killed which ranges from doing something very risky to the overly stupid, like using one of them as a distraction while the other runs away.

The stalk scenes are pretty intense thanks to the wild nature of the animal hunting these teens, although some of these tend to go on nearly forever and seeing this is a killer animal movie, a part of the actual killings were done offscreen, lacking that much variety apart from the usual mauling. There's also some pacing problems and unnecessary dialogues here and there, which meant we got a couple of slow runs somewhere in the middle of the film where our casts panic like blind mice cornered by a hungry cat. (An allegory not far from the truth) Still, the story's not that hard to follow and there's fun in its simplicity, so I wouldn't call this film a total lost, particularly if you have a forgiving run for animal/slasher films being their basic selves. There are scares abound and an amazing animal performance from a very agitated baboon that is sincerely and simply terrifying and intense.

Though I can tell the film would have been better if it had a slightly higher budget and if the producers made a stronger script and workable direction, Shakma's still a campy good viewing with low-logic cheese that faithfully follows the slasher body with an added bonus of animal attack! Worth a look if you have the time.

A room full of animals ravaged
1 male had his throat mauled open offscreen
1 male gets a bottle of acid thrown to his face
1 male mauled offscreen
1 male had his face mauled, killed
1 female mauled to death
1 female mauled offscreen
1 monkey locked inside an incinerator, burned alive
1 male neck bitten open and bled to death
Total: 8+

"Supah Fun!": $LA$HER$ (2001)

$LA$HER$ ("Slashers") (Canada, 2001)
Starring: Sarah Joslyn Crowder, Tony Curtis Blondell and Kieran Keller

My admiration for Maurice Deveraux is limitless. His determination to entertain and shock us has been very admiring to me, since he always does it with very little budget to go by. He knows horror. He knows entertainment. He knows what makes a slasher movie fun.

Due to positive feedback, Japan's hottest, funnest, most controversial reality game show $LA$HER$ is having its first All-American contestants, composed of three men and three women from the States. The goal of the game is to go through and finish a maze full of hidden passages and special rooms, while trying to avoid three randomly selected killers. If they get you, they'll kill you...for real. If our contestants do manage to survive the maze, there's a million dollar prize money waiting for them.

Though, it appears that these new contestants have a few secrets of their own. Secrets that could either jeopardize the entire show, or jeopardize the group itself to their own doom...

Made as a one-take shot parodying crazy Japanese gameshows, $LA$HER$ provides one of the more unique and very entertaining slasher plot to earn a cult-status. It's a commentary of sorts on reality game shows and how silly the concept was to begin with, as well as the classic dangers of television and televised violence for the sake of ratings, sponsors and wealth. It's a premise fated to be parodied and done so already with the likes of films like The Running Man (1987), though this title offers a clever and creative use of its limited budget, as well as camera skills as the one-take runaround done for this movie looks fluid with invisible edits and proper timing. This, however, meant a few drama along the way as the movie takes its time developing its characters and motives before the good stuff happens, but the wait's worth it when grue humor, juicy kills and panache gets to be our reward for sticking around.

And true enough, the torch holders of this movie are its slashers, a creative blending of the popular tropes as we get deranged undead Bible thumper "Preacherman" who pays tribute to religious cult slashers; Chainsaw Charlie, a stereotyped chainsaw weilding hillbilly bumpkin sporting an Alfred Neuman mask; and, lastly, Dr. Ripper, PHD, a deranged medical man in the vein of fellers like "Dr. Giggles". They're hired to wreck havoc, taunt and kill one contestant at a time and will go berserk once they're unmask. Tis' the rules and they're sticking to it, even if it costs them their own lives. (now that's dedication to entertainment!) 

Preacherman is, sadly, underused as he didn't even get the chance to kill anyone and he's also, spoilers, the first to go. Fan favorite Chainsaw Charlie, however, earns his status with a funny and in-character performance with his psuedo-innocent wild persona, chuckling his way slicing pretty folks. Dr. Ripper, the main course of the game, never really peaked my interest that much as I never find him that interesting, his tendency to get carried away with his teasing borderlines being annoying and his design looks rush.


Chainsaw Charlie

Dr. Ripper

The show did have a wide array of killers shown during this film's opening number, including a clown, a pirate and some Chinese dude. I would have paid a lot to see them use the Pirate slasher or even the clown, but I guess a killer pastor and a chainsaw-loving country boy would do just the same.

$LA$HER$ , as most low-budget horror film do, have it's little flaws around its production like, for instance, some of the gore effects looking pretty fake as you can tell that's a dummy one character is stabbing or hacking to bits. Not to mention some very cheesy background tunes to go with the action, bitter acting from the the casts playing the contestants and some cheap jump scares. For a Direct-to-video feature, it doesn't really try harder to push itself and "get out there" when it comes to gore, instead sticking with B-movie fares and tricks. And yet, here I am still loving the hell out of this movie, so I guess not that big of a dent.

A cheesy and bloody psuedo-snuff that's made just for the sole purpose of entertaining, this film isn't going to appease everyone but it will for the right audience. This is perhaps the most honest slasher movie I've seen and I deeply appreciate that. Highly recommended for cheese fans and fellow bodycount fanatics who are eyeing for something slightly unique.

1 female gutted with knife (opening)
1 female neck mutilated (opening)
1 male head seen (opening)
1 female had her throat cut (opening)
1 male seen bleeding to death from a missing arm (opening)
1 male had his throat slit (opening)
1 male disemboweled (opening)
1 male had a leg cut off with chainsaw (opening)
1 female her her neck slashed with scalpel (opening)
1 female gutted (opening)
1 male gets a wooden stake to the eye
1 female sawed in half with chainsaw
1 male had his side sliced with chainsaw, falls and impaled on spiked pit
1 male falls and impaled on spiked pit, killed offscreen
1 female beheaded with hedge trimmer
1 male gets a wooden stake to the ear
1 male gets a wooden stake to the back, throat cut with scalpel
1 male had his head chopped off with hedge trimmer
Total: 18

See you around slasher fans...in the sequel!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Bad Case of Tumor: The Abomination (1986)

The Abomination (1986)
Rating: ***
Starring: Scott Davis, Jude Johnson and Blue Thompson

The Abomination almost lives up to its title; suffering the usual sins of shot-on-video films such as lack of proper lighting, horrid acting, lazy script and some bad audio, what saved it from being a total lost were a few things I never came to expect from it.

It follows a guy living with his sickly mother who happens to have a tumor in her lung and is obsessed with a televangelist. (whom the son blames for her social recluse character and failing health) One night, she coughs out the tumor which, for some reason, turns out to be alive and made its way into the son's stomach. He starts to get sick in turn, coughing out more tumors and finds out they can grow to immense sizes once fed with raw flesh. The son soon develops a psychic link to the things and begins killing for them.

Audrey II's evil conjoined twin.
Removed from birth.
It's nothing big of a movie but, I have to say, it's never boring neither; it's more of a slasher film than a monster flick as the title would likely suggest, with the featured creatures hardly doing anything but be stuck in cupboards and stoves while stretching out their tongues to eat a victim. (which they only did for like three times in the movie) Instead, we get our all-too-normal-to-be-threatening teen dude with mama problems bashing folks' head with shovels and cutting throats with knives.

Headcheese, served fresh!
The story lags around at first as it revolves around the antagonist's life before the killer tumors, giving some good insight on how miserable his life is. It's still badly acted as it is badly narrated, but it's passable as a hilariously bad cheese-fest taking about a good hour before the messy stuff happens, a wait well worth it seeing how the splatter in this film matters the most and the twist in the end has its clever moments.

In the end, The Abomination is an oddity that some people could learn to appreciate, while others will cringe at either from the gut-wrenching gore or how bad it is. If you can stand cheese and Evil Dead (1981) level of gore effects, then this is your cup of tea. If not, then keep walking along and mind the munching tumors on your way out.

1 female had her neck slashed with knife
1 female had her neck cut with knife
1 male had his head split open with shovel
1 female devoured by monster
1 cat fed to monster
1 male devoured by monster
1 male hacked with machete, head chainsawed in half
1 male impaled with pitchfork, monster bursts out of his belly
1 female devoured by monster
Total: 9
"I'm a tumor I'm a tumor I'm a tumor~"

80s Pink Stuff : The Blob (1988)

The Blob (1988)
Starring: Shawnee Smith, Donovan Leitch and Kevin Dillon

In 1988, things were fun when someone named Chuck Russell decided that some ten year old deserved to be eaten by an acidic alien blob.

Hardcore fans would remember Mr. Russell as the mastermind behind the ever popular 1987 Nightmare on Elm Street sequel "Dream Warriors" or the fair yet underrated haunted mansion slasher creeper Hell Night (1981) and he likely must have thought it was high-time to bring back the 50s pink blob from hell out of obscurity. And he ain't just gonna bring it back, he'll improved it.

It's nothing but the idyllic day in the 80s for a small, normally sleepy town somewhere in God blessed "U.S. of A."; it's football season and the cheerleaders are up and at it, a bad boy loner is back on town, kids are trying to sneak into R-rated slasher films and a meteorite carrying a small alien blob just crash landed nearby. And who to see the latter first than a homeless derelict, who makes the horrible mistake of poking the squishy thing with his mighty poop stick, making the thing dormant and hungry for his hand as it leaps into it in agonizing fashion.

Then enter some kids who wanted to help the poor bastard, only to fail removing the blob and it soon consumes feller's insides, growing to an immense size. From this point on, it's one blob attack to another when unsuspected teens and townfolks get attacked by the killer slime after either going after it or just happens to be on the wrong place at the wrong time, accumulating to an all out blob-attack. 80S STYLE!

I honestly never liked the original Blob. It could be because I saw this one first and expected too much, but all can agree, this is more than the improvement we wanted to see. Everything about Blob '88 is fun. Good strong casts, nice special effects, strong soundtrack and one hell of a gore fest! It did everything it could to amp up the B-movie material of the 50s original to give something familiar and something new at the same time. We saw it all before, but the hype of gore and cheese then gave this film its popcorn-munchable goodness.

Being set in the year where slasher films were dying (for a bit), it's immensely influenced by the stalk and kill action of the subgenre, complete with a now more aggressive blob that snatches, run after and creatively (and gorily) kills its victims. Gone was the slow-moving stop-motion pink blob that just so happens just devour anything that ends in its way, and hello splashier, bloodier, bone-crunching ways to kill and eat people, and it done good. Of course, it's still a monster movie to the bone, with the alien acid goop being the main star of the film, stealing every scene that features it. If the blob's there, you can expect something big's gonna happen.

Taking advantage to its new 80s setting, teen crazed at most, it rubbed in a few humor to lighten up the mood and even done a few good jump scares and imaginative shocks. The only drawback I see here is the ending shot, a tired "leave it open for a sequel" type of open finale that doesn't really add much, but I'm satisfied with the image of a traumatized (and presumably crazed) preacher holding an adowable jarred blobite.

It's not a slasher film, not at all, but The Blob '88 has so much 80s in it and a rather high and creative bodycount that it's fun for all, no matter what horror genre. Merciless alien + Hot final girl + Cool final boy + Messy juicy killings= One hell of a monster movie. Good job, 80s!

1 male melted and devoured from the waist down by alien blob
1 male "blanketed" by alien blob, melted and devoured
1 female had her insides melted and devoured by alien blob
1 male devoured by alien blob
1 male forced and crushed into a sink, devoured by alien blob
1 male found inside alien blob
1 female crushed and devoured by alien blob
1 male killed with hedge-trimmer (film)
1 female killed with hedge-trimmer (film)
1 male seen being devoured by alien blob
1 male devoured by alien blob
1 male devoured by alien blob
1 male snared and devoured by alien blob
1 male found with half of his head melted by alien blob
A number of movie patrons were presumably killed by alien blob during theatre attack
1 boy devoured by alien blob, seen melting
1 male devoured by alien blob
1 male devoured by alien blob offscreen
1 male had the alien blob go inside his protective suit, devoured
1 male crushed and devoured by alien blob
1 male taken and devoured by alien blob
1 male crushed and devoured by alien blob
1 male burned alive after alien blob blocked the nozzle of his flamethrower, immolated
A number of town folk, scientists and soldiers were presumably killed and devoured by alien blob offscreen
1 male folded in half and devoured by alien blob
1 male seen killed by alien blob
1 male seen dying, limbs melted
Total: 25+

Saturday, November 26, 2011

slasher masks of the week vol10

Five slasher masks, randomly chosen, falls under my verdict, every week.

here's this week's meat.

Chain Letter (2010)
CHain Man's one big brute who hates technologeh to the point he's willing to use one to make a point. Kinda beats the purpose but who's whining? Anyway, not much of a big mask, just some bandage over his face or something like that. good, but not really there...

Easter Bunny Kill! Kill! (2006)
You know, personally, I've yet to see this. It looks kinda cool, and let's face it, we don't get a lot of Easter themed slashers. The mask is cool and creepy, simplicity at it's best.

Moonstalker (1989)
well, the killer dons this suit for only a few moments, but I think it's for the best. I don't know about you guys, but doesn't that hood kinda make him look medieval in a way?...

Bruiser (2000)
Jesus Christ! That's one freaky mask! I'm not kidding here, the first time I saw this mask, i got to know what I'm looking at. Now I wanna see Bruiser!

Jack-O (1995)
Well, It could have been worse. Pumpkin scarecrows are a little too overused; least this fella conjured up something a wee bit more working, don't you think?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Vegan bros gone meaty: Blood Diner (1987)

Blood Diner (1987)
starring:  Rick Burks, Carl Crew and Roger Dauer

I saw a clip of this from Youtube back in 2008 and, after seeing the first five to ten minutes, I stopped and told myself never to see it again. You can tell right now that I did anyway.

Truth be told, it's no slasher movie, but more of a hybrid of gruesomely random characters and moments that makes up every horror-comedy out there such as an estranged love story, a talking brain, an Egyptian goddess with a giant maw on her belly, a ventriloquist chef, some nice cheap murders, kung-fu fighting (nude) victims, a nude aerobics shooting (double meaning there), zombies, vegetarian restos and the most bizzare sibling killers since the Sawyers introduced Leatherface and Chop Top.

George and Micheal Tutman, two cannibals-slash-veggie diner owners are on a bloodsoaked quest to revive a five million year old goddess "Shitaar", aided by their beloved Uncle Anwar, revived from the dead as a brain, eyeballs and a penis in a pickle jar. In order to bring their goddess back from the dead, George, Micheal and their talking pickled cauliflower must go out and gather body parts from various women (hookers, sluts, whores and the occasional virgins) and killing a few people along the way. Who will protect us from this serious dilemma? A trio of "American" cops with nationality crisis. (Why do two of them have an Australian or Russian accent?)

It's hard not to see why Blood Diner's so underrated as it's more of a slapstick comedy than a horror-comedy; there's nothing horrifying about it or even that nauseating, it's just messy. Really messy. Literally and figuratively as it was supposed to be a sequel to Herschell Gordon Lewis' splatter classic "Blood Feast", which might explain the load of 60s/70s drive-in randomness here and there, only amped to the fullest that it's ridiculously funny.

I find myself chuckling at the random stupidity this movie got treated with. Chuckle, not laughing out loud. When it works, it works but if not, then I'm just there, head tilted, thinking "did that really just happened?" as I do my best not to work up for something not worth working up about, being intentionally made funny. Besides, when it's not trying to make us laugh, Blood Diner at least didn't fail to deliver some juicy and interestingly creative kills (deep fryer batterball-head kill? Not scary, but genius!)

It's campy for the sake of camp and gruesome for the sake of grue, that's the entire motto of this movie and it ain't bad at that. Definitely worth it's cult following but I do find it hard recommending this title to just anyone. You have to be really open and really willing for it to mesmerize you with mindless dumbfoolery and Troma-worthy comic chaos to fully enjoy it. 

Shitaar help us.

1 male gunned down 
1 male had his head bashed with shovel, eyes popped out of sockets
7 females and 1 male gunned down with machine gun
1 male had his head crushed by a car
1 female had her head forced into deep fryer, beheaded with broom (!)
1 female split in half with cleaver
1 male repeatedly ran over with van
1 female impaled on the head by a falling stalactite
1 female killed offscreen
1 male had his hands chopped off with cleaver while driving, accidentally drove off a cliff (or so it looks that way...)
1 male electrocuted from ear to ear
1 male electrocuted
1 male electrocuted until brains bursts out of skull
1 male electrocuted, blown off by explosion
1 male blown off by explosion
1 male shot in the eye
1 male had his head chewed off by monster
(A number of guests are seen eaten by zombies during the nightclub climax. In addition, the whole nightclub got decimated from the inside, killing everybody but a monster.)
total: 24+

Thursday, November 24, 2011

I came, I saw, I kill: I, Madman (1989)

I, madman (AKA "Hardcover") (1989)
starring: Jenny Wright, Clayton Rohner and Randall William Cook

In a way, I am a great admirer of pulp fiction; from superheroes to high-flung adventures, pulp fictions are a simple good way to spend a rainy afternoon or a quick read before bed. Director Tibor Takacs, who many of you would remember directed the cult classic horror fantasy The Gate (1987), concocted a little slasher out of these medium and resulted a menacing, but rarely heard murder-mystery.

Virginia loves books. Horror novels to be more precise, something a well-read horror fans can relate to. Living with her police investigator boyfriend and working in a local bookstore, life is sweet for our bookworm. At least, so far.

As of any bookworm, Virginia has an author that she greatly admires. Said author is Malcolm Brand, a pulp fiction writer who wrote two books in his life, best-sellers that Virginia owns a copy of the each, "Much of Madness, More of Sin", a creature feature that features a creature part human, part animal, and "I, madman", a story about a failed surgeon turned poet whose love for a certain actress had him mutilating parts of his face and replacing them with better ones, those that he sliced off from other people. It's all stories for Virginia until a series of bizzare killings starts to plague her life. Those around her dropping off like flies and everytime she picks up the book, the killer from I, Madman materializes in front of her, showing off the parts he took away and sew unto himself. Could it all be in her head? or is there something stranger at play?

 I, madman is a friendly nod to the decades of old-school horror, picking up cliches and elements from 50s pulp fiction, fusing a bit of 80s horror into the pile. There's a few pacing problems, some underwritten script and a curveball of an ending that nobody seen coming, but as far as obscurity for entertainment matters it's more of a minor setback than a a major flaw that hinders the movie dead,. if anything, I, madman is all but for a good time and variety, an entertaining tribute to horror fiction.

The film benefits, if not from gore and kills, but of a capable and likely cast. Jenny Wright played our heroine with much character that she comes out as vulnerable-looking but strong-willed and Clayton Rohner plays Richard, Virgina's lover, giving an equally likable performance that managed to save his character from being an annoying skeptic by adding some warmth in his persona. Of course, we also got our killer, Dr. Alan Kessler, played by Randall William Cook, a threatening yet charasmatic maniac who acts as a dangerous third wheel of this rather estranged love triangle. His Modus Operandi isn't entirely new but why he does it is something worth noting; while we did have slashers making masks out of the skins of their kills for the purpose of either expressing themselves or hiding their faces, Kessler does it to improve his previously mutilated face, one that he himself had done when he offered bits of them to a beloved woman. This was more of a relevant plot point than a cliche, unlike the example yet another love-lorned slasher killer from 1989's Phantom of The Opera.

While the mystery of the movie is played around on who's killing who, or whether Virginia is imagining all of this or not, the climax only answered very little and it failed to make sense. A lot. Then again, I, Madman is still enjoyable as it is, a fun sometimes campy-sometimes-serious horror flick that doesn't aim for viscera or anything that graphic, making it a worthwhile feature and a sleeper hit.

1 male attacked by monster, eaten (story)
1 female attacked by monster (story)
1 female scalped with razor
1 male stabbed with razor, ears sliced off
1 male nose sliced off with razor
1 female found with her lips cut off
1 monster sliced in half with broken window pane, later crashes through another window and disappears
1 male attacked by monster, later crashes through window and disappears
total: 8

Must Kill To Get...Better!: Fear of Clowns (2004)

Fear of Clowns (2004)
Rating: **
Starring: Jacqueline Reres, Mark Lassise and Rick Ganz

For some reason, I couldn't keep myself away from this movie despite knowing about the copious amount of negative reviews about it. But, seeing killer clowns movies are my mutual fascination, I just couldn't say no and, true enough, things were interesting for the first half hour until it lagged around and went a little too obvious with its budget at the near end.

Why so serious?
Cuz the script told me to be...

The movie's plot is bone basic; a divorced woman is stalked by a murderous topless clown named "Shivers" who starts offing people close to her, or at least she thinks so as she appears to be breaking down from an extremely bad case of Coulrophobia. It dragged around this act for a lengthy run with a badly acted script and super cheesy murders, with one fine example having a towel-clad lady pretend to run away while Shivers catches her by the cloth, stripping her naked as the clown puts his axe to her head. I haven't seen senseless nudity like that since that boogeyman-teacher showdown in that 1979 flick The Demon, only this one's awfully gratuitous.

Oh my, Gratuitous baby~! 
Things got uglier soon enough, both for our heroine and us viewers, as layer within layers of moldy cheese and amateur acting gets piled up on us like lasagna. A twist comes around in the middle of the movie, revealing exploits of mental torture and something about a guy siccing Shivers at our leading lady in exchange for money and custody. Cops find out about this and guards her but, of course, some more random folks are thrown in to further complicate things. It's like these guys are making this all up as they go while really cutting back on the budget for, at least, convincing actors, something that butchered this flick's credibility to the point of no return.

By then, our lead lady and her boyfriend go to a movie theatre, Shivers follows and kills people, (Don't ask. He just did.) leading to a finale that I hardly cared for. This last thirty minutes will be the most slasher-esque as the first hour or so (felt like longer) was more of a police drama of sorts but, for reals, who cared at this point?

Skepticism's always a bitch, eh?
Fear of clowns is a uber mess of all things horror but I find myself "liking it" enough to be one of my own guilty pleasures cuz I know it'll suck for everyone with a working brain. This movie gets a star for its awesome looking killer and another star for the unintentional laughs; overall, it's nowhere as "so bad it's good" as the likes of Thankskilling (2008) or Nail Gun Massacre (1985). In fact, it would have been that case if it wasn't for the horrible plotting, very bad special effects, and it's attempt to be a serious horror film. (more of the latter, actually)

In talks of being a competent killer clown slasher, Fear of Clowns would have it made by a hair line; just dropped the ball too soon that everything else had tumbled down with it like a damn domino.

1 female axed on the head
1 male beheaded with axe
1 male shot
1 male axed offscreen
1 male axed
1 male gets an axe thrown to his head
1 female seen dismembered
1 male gets speared on the chest with axe head
Total: 8

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Ward 27: Card 1-6

Just a little Project I'm working on, Ward 27 is a twenty-seven card set featuring a variety of slasher monster inspired by the "token" villain stereotypes found in slasher movies as well as some that are rarely used.

Featuring card #001 to 006
1. Scraps- a man-turned living scrap heap of bladed metal and working machine by means of supernatural forces who slice and dices his victims with his own morphing body.

2. Midnight Nurse- an undead, vixen of a nurse who's taking a liking on "tasting" men with her scalpel blade-lined jaws.

3. 40 Depths- a ghostly deepsea diver, curse with immortality to forever guard a mystical hexed gold, who murders anyone who gets near a guarded treasure and hunts down anyone who dares steal from him.

4. Code Red- An undead soldier who took his own life after torturing and murdering war prisoners for fun, stating that not even his country can take away the joy of murder from him. Now, every 4th of July, he comes back...

5. Guro- a headless samurai who's said to be the ghost of a serial slasher who took the life of 99 men and 99 women during the feudal era.

6. Jailbird john- An undead "Rockabilly" who's into sex, drugs, rock-and-roll and the occasional disemboweling.

(c) Kaijinu

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Missing Eyes and Missing Scripts: Killing Birds (1988)

Killing Birds (AKA "Zombi 5: "Killing Birds"/"Raptors"/"Dark Eyes of the Zombie") (Italy, 1988)
starring: Lara Wendel, Robert Vaughn and Timothy W. Watts

My stubbornness to take the word of some people often gets me into seing things like this. Knowing Italy, when a movie came from them with the tille bearing a number and claims to be a sequel of something, it's more likely an entirely different movie that has nothing to do with the first. (or second...or third). marketed as "Zombi 5", Killing Birds is more of a zombie-slasher than a zombie flick in vein of Mr. Romero's shambling  ghouls, and even more misleading, there are no killer birds here. Well, save the last scene, which is the ONLY scene where some guy got killed by birds...and it's offscreen (Spoiler alert~!)

Coming back from Vietnam, a soldier finds his wife in bed with a lover, sparking a murderous rampage, slitting both the necks of his treacherous wife and her lover, and a random couple with a baby who went to the same house for some unexplained reason. At least he did spare the baby, but this little act of mercy proved nothing for his prized exotic collection of birds, which he kept in a special room of his house, when one of them broke free and clawed his eyes out.

From this point on, we then get treated to some six teens who're out to meet a professor in Lousiana to find an elusive "Ivory-Billed Woodpecker" that was just seen there and study it for their class and extra As. What they didn't know is that the area they are near on happens to be close to the same house where the opening massacre happened. But, like always, they kept going, stumbling into stuff, spooky hallucinations, strange noises, the usual horror gig.

Oh and yes, the murderous zombies out for blood, almost forgot those.

That plot alone was enough to keep this movie up for the go, but there's some problems that we all have to face. First off, I know Italy had this cinematic acting that distinguishes them from American actors, but they could at least make a better, or should I say smarter, characters. I mean I know slasher victims often consist of horny dumbfarts but these guys take the cake! I know there's shock, stunned from fear and whatnot, but you'll stay frozen in shock for two minutes while your friend's being garroted by accident? And the zombies wasn't even responsible for that!

Second, I was really expecting some grue here. But the gore's tamed down to a few painfully stretched and clawed necks, body parts and whatnot. It's gooey stuff, but not as horrifying, tense or creative as any of the rest that shares this movie's sub-genre, be it a slasher or a zombie film.

Third, it' the pacing. Too long for anything to happen, we're treated all the while with a series of unsuccessful scares and freak-outs, and watch these kids act like total buffoon. It's a test of patience, indeed, but after all that waiting and that's the best they could dish out, then i guess I wasted an hour and a half with this one.

The only plus side I see here is that it looks well-made, with some good cinematography and lighting, and some good make-up on the zombies. But that's all, folks, nothing else.

Horror purists might hold some curiosity on this, and i can't blame ya, but really, don't make my mistake and take my word for it. Rent it, try it and dish it. If you like it so be it. Thank God I just downloaded this flick, though. Now I don't have the burden of keeping this!

1 male neck cut with hunting knife
1 female throat slit with hunting knife
1 male knife thrown to his forehead
1 female neck cut with hunting knife
1 female repeatedly bashed against the wall
1 male set ablaze
1 female neck clawed and torn, broken
1 male necklace got caught on a generator
1 male neck clawed open
1 male attacked by birds offscreen
total: 10