Monday, April 29, 2013

The Animals will Hunt: Trailer for the Upcoming Home Invasion Thriller "You're Next"

My primary reaction to this...

Animal Masked Assilants vs A Big Family. Why the fuck not? Just one problem: WHAT TOOK THESE GUYS SO FUCKIN' LONG?! I WANNA SEE THIS SO BADLY RIGHT NOW!
My reaction for this movie's anticipated release

Well, the important thing is You're Next is finally coming out soon. I hear a lot good things coming from this one, even though I kept hearing a lot saying it looks kinda like The Strangers. That maybe so, but I happen to be a BIG fan of The Strangers so I wouldn't mind if it is.
Can't. Fucking. Wait.

The Misadventures of: Freaky Farley (2007)

Freaky Farley (2007)
rating: **
starring: Steff Deschenes, Amy Rose Drucker, Matt Farley

You just got to hand it to some people when it comes to no-budget movies; it wasn't since the last three decades ago when people with a camcorder can pretty much film their own "horror movies" and distribute it through the video market. That intuition is still pretty much alive today, and most people are proud of it, just like the folks who made this horribly bad yet surprisingly laughable (the good way) horror-comedy.

The film is about a peeping tom outcast-turned-spree killer Farley Wilder, who starts telling his life story to a psychiatrist during his jail sentence. He began on the day he lost his mum on a car accident (or so he was made to believe), also the same day when his dominating father began forcing him to dig and fill a same hole as a disciplinary course to man him up. After years of living under arrested development with his father, Farley became a social outcast who just wanted to live life as he wishes it to be, which mostly involves him peeping on girls in their undress, soaking up in the river and take long walks in the woods.

Of course, this is hard for a guy who's been picked on by almost everyone he meets and has a father expecting big things from him, but all things changed when he meets Scarlett, a risk-taking adventurous girl who loves all things weird and unusual, and that includes "Freaky Farley". For once, it was looking up to Farley, until, that is, his father found out that he lost the job interview and found out about Scarlett, a girl he really disapproves of, banning him from ever meeting her. This pushed Farley to the brink of rebellion, running away to the old cabins where he once went to as a kid, and found out something that will lead him to his killing spree...

Okay, I admit this movie is terrible beyond all sense; the script is really amateurish and crass (who uses "Golly" nowadays?), the acting's equally wooden, effects are non-existent, the camera work's are uninspired and the characters are awfully, awfully weird (a ninja? a witch? a hobo who believes in monsters that may or may not even exists? Oh wait, that last one's a staple! Carry on, then!)
Seriously? Why do you exist?!
But, and this is a big but, I can't stop liking this film for the fact that it's really funny. I don't know if it was intentional or not, but I was laughing a lot at the ineptness of this film, to the point that I really wanna how this movie end. Yes, I'm saying I cared for this movie, and though it's not the best slasher movie to be made with a dollar and a hand-me-down camcorder, it certainly earned my respect as a really funny film to watch when it catches you in the right mood.

I can definitely tell that everyone involved with the production here is really giving it all to make a fun movie; Matt Farley, who played "Freaky Farley" was real good with the laughs at this one, as to Sharon Scalzo, who played Farley's best friend and love interest Scarlett, who delivers her lines with much cheese as possible. You can also tell that the rest of the cast are probably just close friends and families of the production team, with obvious zero-knowledge or skill in acting, but kudos for trying at least.

As a slasher movie, Freaky Farley is sort of a rip-off of Silent Night, Deadly Night 2, with the movie beginning with the killer already caught and retelling his story through flashback, and even ending it through a spree killing. (including the fact he, like the Ricky Caldwell character, spared a child in their massacre, and even done a spoof of the famous "Garbage Day" meme) What I didn't expect here, however, is that sudden arrival of a unexpected "threat"; something of which forces the town's mayor to take out Farley from jail as he's the only one who can destroy them. (As if the witch and the ninja isn't weird enough...)

Love or hate it, Freaky Farley certainly did a lot of bads over the goods, but the result was still an entertaining zero-budget film that certainly done with a lot of love. Will I watch it again? Maybe not at the moment, or for a few months, to be honest I may not wanna see it again, but one thing is certain for my behalf, and that's it's worth at least one look.
"You da man!"
1 female mentioned died, cause unknown
1 male knifed to death
1 male knifed to death
1 male throat cut open with knife
1 male knifed to death
1 female neck bitten by creature
3 creatures beaten to death
a number of creatures mentioned killed
1 female eaten by creatures
1 creature disemboweled
1 creature disembowled
1 creauture head beaten, limb torn off
1 creature brained against rock
1 creature killed and had chunks of it bitten off
1 creature brained
1 male throat cut offscreen
1 female knifed to death
total: 18+

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Short Shear Terror: The Quiet (2013)

The Quiet (United Kingdom, 2013)
rating: ****
starring: Jenni-Lea Finch, Nigel Long, Sarah Buckland

It's been a while since I reviewed a good short film, as in a really good short film. Normally, what I look for in a short is a good plot that can stand on its own and be as effective as any real horror film, despite its short running time. I have seen attempts to do this, more over I've just seen 26 of them last months through my review of The ABCs of Death, somehow that experience taught me the dos and don'ts of making a real scary short, and one of them is that pacing and style can sometimes come a long way.

The independent short The Quiet is a good example of this; bullied into walking the long way back home, Alice is a young deaf girl who finds herself the target of a man who begins to stalk and chase her around the woods with a malicious intent. Having already lost her hearing aid, the girl has no other choice but to run and try to survive her ordeal.

I would like to say, first, that I love the production for this movie. It's a perfect short film in regards to creepiness and tension, and the photography of this film definitely has style. I like how the film revolves around a barren road side next to the woods, as it shows a bit of parallelism of being out in the open where people can come by and see you, all the while one step into a place where no one can't. (That, and the shots of the countryside are just beautiful in this movie) The film starts off there, but as the girl begins to notice her stalker, it dwells deeper and deeper into a more isolated and hidden premise wherein tension doubles into a survival act that is not unlike that of a slasher movie, minus the actual slashing of course.

The simple story, though not entirely original, does call for some highlights by featuring a root-worthy lead, whose deficiency in hearing seems to get no pity from her peers. Add the fact that her nubile age is a bit taboo even for a horror film, the touchy subject certainly strikes a nerve or two. If one would notice how the stalker chases and caress the girl's hair during his "attacks", you can definitely tell this guy's a total creep.

The only thing that I really wish they didn't do here is that they did a little reveal of who was the stalker all along; It could have been anyone for all we know, but I was really hoping they haven't done that twist reveal as it kills off some of the notoriety of the villain. Either that or I really prefer my bad guys to be random loons, since, the way I see it, faceless and nameless villains are a lot scarier since they can strike anytime and can be anyone.
Very slasher like stalkings makes up a lot for the short.
Overall, I simply adore this little creeper. There's some artistic interpretation to the more horrifying incidents that happened here, which is really enough to make up for the zero kill count here, but all in all, The Quiet is an effectively scary horror short to see.

Bodycount: 0

Thursday, April 25, 2013

How the Bad Cookie Crumble: The Gingerdead Man Triple Trilogy Trash Review

Oh, Charles Band, how I miss those years when your movies were good. Ever since you departed from Paramount Home Video, all hell broke loose and we have to sit through shit like this over and over again...

There comes a time in a fan's life where he has to accept that those things he loved once cannot stay good for very long. I learned this about Full Moon Studios the hard way when they began making Puppet Master films with string puppets of all things, thus killing my fandom and faith in any further Full Moon releases. I tried some of their later works and they're all low brow trash in my eyes, this including these travesties here; reviewed for your reading pleasure (and further killing my soul) is a "popular" movie franchise Full Moon spawned out from hell itself, the stale cookie that is The Gingerdead Man

(I'll probably do each movie with short reviews. I don't feel really excited doing these..)

The Gingerdead Man (2005)
Rating: *
Starring: Gary Busey, Robin Sydney, Ryan Locke

Starring none other than the equally hard-to-be-taken-seriously Gary Busey as the titular creature Gingerdead Man, the film opens with Busey's character Millard Findlemeyer, the human version of this bad cookie, in media res of a robbery/killing spree at a diner. He murders the brother and father of our lead, Sarah Leigh, after the two attempted to subdue him and he was about to kill Leigh next when the sound of sirens spooked him into leaving. He didn't get far, though, as it is soon revealed that Millard ended up deep fried under an electric chair for his crimes, but not before swearing vengeance on the girl for ratting him out.

Some time after Millard's arrest and execution, Sarah finds herself in a predicament where she can't move on from the nightmare, thus affecting her bakery business. Adding to the matter is her mum's constant drinking problem and the pesky owner of a big commercialized bakery located at the other side of the street forcing her to shut down and sell the store to him. Distraught but hopeful, Leigh goes along with her job to pass the time and, after a strange parcel containing some "special gingerbread mix" shows up at the back storage, mysteriously dropped by a woman in black, she decided to use it to bake some gingerbread men. Or man.

A freak accident involving a bitch-fight between Leigh and Lorna, the spoiled daughter of her rival, then broke out, electrocuting the cookie ala Frankenstein monster and bringing The Gingerdead Man to life! Can anyone say "what?"

So, instead of doing the sensible thing of leaving the store with their asses intact, Leigh, Lorna, Lorna's current boytoy and Leigh's ex Amos, decided to stay and try to capture the homicidal baked good in hopes of selling it, "cuz there's plenty of dough people will pay to see a talking cookie". (And then he snickered "Dough, cookie. hehe". Yeah, yeah, ass-wipe, we get the fucking joke...) Thus, ending up with a bodycount (surprisingly) and two other "harm counts", where in people get picked off but aren't really dead. Cheat.

An hour and a ten minutes felt like forever with this movie, with the first Gingerdead Man kill happening after 30 to 45 minutes into the plot, spending most of its prior time yakking about how one girl is so traumatized about all this and that she thinks the killer cookie's the undead Findlemeyer out for revenge. Of course, she's right, but we pretty much know this fact as this is been done ridiculously a lot! Worse, by the time the killing starts, we have to settle with tame murders, awfully wooden (and unbelievable)  reactions to all of the odd things going on (would you approach a talking biscuit? I mean, would you REALLY?) and one out-of-the-blue possession angle just for the sake of it. (Why, for all things, would you even take a bite out of a possibly demonic cookie?! THE THING IS MOVING, FOR BUDDY-JESUS' SAKE!)

The idea's cheap and too strange even for a Z-flick, you can honestly tell that the production for this one is really thinning down as it shows from every aspect such as scripting, lighting, set stages, props, effects and yes, even the Gingerdead Man himself, who looks really like a hand-held puppet with with immovable parts. Full Moon sank real low with this one.

1 female shot on the head
1 male shot
1 male stabbed to death with switchblade
1 male implied to be executed via electric chair
1 male smashed against the wall with car
1 female stabbed on the head with thrown hunting knife
1 male shoved inside an oven, burned
Total: 7

Gingerdead Man 2: Passion of the Crust (2008)
Rating: *1/2
Starring: Michelle Bauer, Pieter Christian Colson, Michael Deak

Well, for some reason, this happened; a sequel to what could be one of the worst pint-sized killer movie ever made, promising more laughs and blood. They were actually right about the blood, but laughs? Ugh...

The last shot from the first Gingerdead Man movie implied more gingerbread men baked from the same mix that created the first "batch". So we follow the adventures of one of them, somehow ending up in a low-budget movie studio that kinda lampoons Full Moon Studios itself (call it sincerity or just biting the hand that fed it), where he hatches an idea to repossess another human's body so he can escape his stale and crumbling cookie body. (Child's Play anyone?) Just by luck, a spell book prop happens to fall right in front of him and found a spell that would allow him to do just so. Putting his faith on a book that's probably made by nerds like you and me, he starts to kill off victims for his spell (and almost works!), with the only one stopping him is the studio's young and awfully enthusiastic new owner and his friends. (As if they can do anything, but oh well...)

The good thing about this movie is that it finally got an actual bodycounting rolling, with some fun and silly kills that are made for Z-film trash, an awesome opening song (which sounds awfully familiar...) and a nice set of rack thrown in.

worth it? maybe...

We also have some familiar faces here for some odd reason such as make-up maestro John Carl Buechler and scream queen Michelle Bauer; Gary Busey left the voice acting job to another, but I think it's for the better as he's honestly too good to keep voicing the Gingerdead Man, still the same cheap, ugly hand puppet thingie that moves around as if someone's wobbling it.

To be honest, despite the satirical attack on Full Moon Studios, the campier and livelier plot comparing to the first movie and the bloodier action this one has going on, Gingerdead Man 2's budget is still a big issue for this as you can still tell how low of a dough was spent on this film. There's still also the pacing issue, uninspired dialogue and wooden acting that distracts me a lot, plus the really lame and uber-cheap ending that's been done for the sake of the title.

A little better, but not even near something I wanna see again for a second time. For hardcore Full Moon fans only.

1 male seen stabbed repeatedly with knives and decapitated with chainsaw
1 male sodomized with iron hair curler
1 female repeatedly knifed through the back
1 male knifed on the gut
1 male incinerated by a working prop laser (WTF?!)
1 male stabbed to death with knife
Total: 6

Gingerdead Man 3: Saturday Night Cleaver (2011)
Starring:  Junie Hoang, Jacqui Holland, Sancho Martin

Third times the charm? No, not this time...

For some unexplained reason, this third entry to the cheap, tiny-terror movie starts with the Gingerdead Man imprisoned in a maximum security prison that specializes in homicidal baked goods, housing other unexplained living confectionery treats and a time travel research center. (American Taxes go to these?) In a spoof of The Silence of the Lambs, we got a "rookie CIA agent" interrogating the cookie for the reasons as to why he's so damn evil. (As if anybody of his kind has a reason) No soon after, the center suddenly got attacked by a group of "Animal's Rights Activists", who then proceeds to free all imprisoned baked goods inside, including, of course, Gingie. After running around, Gingerdead Man finds the room with the time travel machine and, well, decided to escape using it.

(And cue spunky opening theme "Run Run Run" and lamely funny and funky opening animation)

Ending up in 1976, The Gingerdead man sees himself trapped inside a roller rink that's about to be closed down due to the owner's negligence, but still boogieing on as these retro kids wanted to go out with a bang. Helping her aunt owner with the closing is Cherry, a "gifted" (as in "Carrie" gifted) girl who's socially awkward, but skilled in roller boogie. Through the help of a kind clerk, Randy, who also becomes her romantic interest, she eventually overcomes her shyness and rise as one of the candidates for the Roller Boogie Pageant 1976, that is, unless the four year winning champ has anything to say about that. All the while, The Gingerdead Man decided to go around and kill some people since he's stuck here for the moment (his time travel remote's been taken by some brats, mind you); could this spell out disaster for the time stream? Will Cherry win the pageant without being humiliated by her rival? Can her auntie accept her niece for what she really is? Who on earth places a tub of hydrochloric acid in a car wash?

There's a bit of an improvement with this one; the Gingerdead Man puppet actually looks livelier and his killing spree is indeed a fun one, in a braindead nonsensical manner. The plot is sillier than the two combined, but I do feel the enthusiasm and some effort to make this movie work. What didn't sway right here is that some of the effects are still pretty dodgy and the humor is hanging dependently on who's who that's watching it. The movie tries to parody as many 70s (and some 90s) culture references, but it's a half and half gamble in terms of being funny. Gore effects are still done ala CG, which is disappointing, but at least they try to make it count.

My biggest gripe for this entry, however, is the ending; Remember the first Wishmaster movie? Remember how it ended? If you don't, let me just spoil it for you by saying the hero(ine) in that movie found a way to reverse the events of the film. Same thing here, only with time travel and people like Adolf Hitler and Jeffrey Dahmer making an appearance. (Don't ask) Normally, I don't have a problem with that, but it's so cheap and easy, I can't feel nothing but a bit cheated.

Hopefully this'll be the last we'd seen of the Gingerdead Man. Unless they decided to do this in space, then we're in deep shit...

2 males shot
3 females accidentally sprays themselves with acid
2 males and 1 female shot death with machine-gun nail gun (!)
1 male hacked to death with cleaver
1 female inhales powdered lye, poisoned
1 female face slashed in half with kitchen knife
1 male kitchen knife thrown to head
2 female shot on the head
1 female shot on the head
A Number of victims electrocuted to death
Total: 15+...OR IS IT?!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Blind Dating The Mute Brute: The Hand of Death (1989)

The Hand of Death (United Kingdom, 1989) (AKA "Unmasked Part 25", "Jackson's Back")
Rating: ***1/2
Starring: Gregory Cox, Fiona Evans, Edward Brayshaw

Well now, you think Tucker and Dale VS Evil (2010) had the real balls to be the best horror-romantic parody of a slasher movie? Actually, you might be spot on with the claim, but I never knew we'll find another contender here!

Meet Jackson, a deformed man whose hatred to the world have him wearing a goalie mask to hide his hideous face and cut down as many people as possible with his assorted collection of weaponry, though evidently bored of this lifestyle. It should have been just a typical late night for Jackson; some partying young adults breaks into his humble abode, he shows up to slaughter them, one by one, in an impressive opening murder spree, that is until he came upon Shelly, a blind girl who mistaken him to be the a date her (now dead) friends set up her with. Though very cautious at first, Jackson finally warms up to her (Speaking in Shakespearean sophistication too, of all things) and then the two began dating.

As Jackson reveals to Shelly his inner-most turmoil as a slasher and how he's beginning to get bored of his life, these revelations are, fortunately, disregarded by Shelly as just him being overly dramatic. Enlightened, our slasher tries to be as normal as possible, but with his bum father (who claims to be a once proud and great serial killer) pulling him down and paranoia that Shelly's friends might poke fun at him fueling his rage, he soon has to settle up with a choice to either give up the slasher life forever, or be damned to a cycle of endless killings.

This is probably one of the weirdest slasher flicks I've seen in my life, and I think my time and effort tracking this movie down was worth it. Many regards this as a spoof of the slasher genre, but what I see here is more of a satirical look to what might be going through our favorite killers' heads. (That, and when someone say "spoof", I think of films like Airplane! or the Naked Gun trilogy. Shirley, I could wrong...) It didn't quite followed the slasher formula well, for that matter, as after the brutal opening massacre, the film shifts from a bodycounter movie to a romantic-comedy-horror as we watch Jackson tries to change for Shelly, though not quite sure where to start. (I was gonna say "walk around without the mask on", but with a face that makes you look like the Toxic Avenger's cousin, I had second thoughts...) But with Jackson's insatiable urge for murder still lingering within him, he did went on to yet another satisfying killing spree at the near end, with a remorseful yet Shakespearean tragedy to boot.

The great thing about Hand of Death (a title I really prefer than the too-comical sounding "Unmasked: Part 25") is that it actually peaks your interest with great characterization and witty scripting. The relationship between Jackson and Shelly is indeed an odd one but sweet from time to time; outside his serial killing persona, Jackson's a deep yet troubled individual who's breaking out of the habit often echoes that of a young nerd finding out sex for the first time. In contrast, Shelly, despite being blind and kind, shows her new boyfriend that she's more than capable to be "exciting", introducing to the much shocked Jackson her fetish for hard leather, whips and blow-up dolls. It's opposite attraction with mutual understanding, thus the reason why the movie's plot is thankfully engaging despite the thick accent. (But I'm kinda getting used to it, thanks to my Series 1 to 6 box sets of the revived Doctor Who serials!)

However, this strength could also be this film's weakness; being a deconstruction of a slasher movie, or moreover that of a slasher villain, it dwells a bit too much on the theatrics and the story of Jackson's life kills off some of the supposed comedy this film promises, making us feel like we're watching a very weird drama. But, at the same time, it has its moments of chuckle worthy scenes that distract us of the bleaker tones of the movie, thus making the overall tone to be indecisive. Some might find this shift of tone to be very distracting and overall corny, and I wouldn't blame them. There's a scene where Shelly and Jackson were on a date and, to make him feel more comfortable, Shelly decided to stop by a costume shop to buy a goalie mask for herself so Jackson wouldn't feel so uneasy. As if it's not bad enough we got Jackson trying to be more "open" to the world by roaming the streets and concrete of London wearing his mask, she just had to make their date a little more awkward. (Her heart's on the right place, but her ideas just sucked...)

The last shot of the film sortah reminds me of the same kind of downbeat irony found at the ending shot of the 1994 French/Italian cult classic zombie film Dellamorte Dellamore, or Cemetery Man, wherein Jackson finds himself "destined" to continue his slaughter, after finding that this movie's getting a sequel that'll play in his local theatre. Sad stuff, but as I've mentioned, the uneven atmosphere of the film make it only half-work.

Patient slasher fans may eventually warm up to the movie's unique plotting, and too will gore hounds as they'll find some of the grueling kills to be quite satisfactory for a late 80s entry. For fifteen minutes into the movie, we got a faces being torn open or beaten flat with shovels, skewered lovers and a bloody nightstand impalement through the mouth. The ending massacre, which puts the movie in full circle, have our killer even blurt out some pre-Scream (1996) self-awareness to the sub-genre's cliches!

It's a shame this movie is rarely seen and/or discussed around this fandom since it's really an effort of a title, with a few minor nicks. So I'll say to those who can spot a copy of this film lying in the deepest bowels of the cyberworld, grab the opportunity to see it, and experience the strangeness that is The Hand of Death!

1 male had his face split open, heart punched out
1 male had his face beaten with a shovel
1 female garroted with piano wire
1 male and 1 female skewered through with spear
1 female gets a broken light stand through the mouth
1 male had his head crushed until eye popped out
1 female gets a pitchfork to the gut
1 male stabbed on the throat with a knife
1 male gets a hatchet to the chest
1 female had her head split with a cleaver
1 male had his head pushed to a protruding nail and stabbed with screwdriver
1 female had her head beaten against the wall
1 female had her throat cut with knife
Total: 14

I just don't see the point anymore...

Bone-Jangle's Bodycount Boodaloo~!: Skeleton Man (2004)

Skeleton Man (2004)
Rating: *1/2
Starring:  Jackie Debatin, Eric Etebari, Jonathon Klein

Check it: from the video company Nu-Images, who brought us cleverly titled films such as "Spiders", "Crocodile" and "Mosquito", comes the Marty Sue of all slasher villains: SKELETON MAN!

they were fucking serious...

We start the movie with a pair of archaeologists cleaning up some jars they dug up, only to be attacked by the titular killer five minutes into the running time. One guy gets axed on the chest and the other runs for her life, somewhat leading the Skeleton Man to a bunch of construction workers where he proceeds to kill all off no sooner. One lifted-and-then-he's-dead guy later, he finally slays off the last archaeologist.

We then shift to daylight some days later, where we suddenly have some guys from the army getting killed off for still no specific reason by the Skeleton Man. And then another set of weeks later, we have yet another group of eight soldiers forming a search and rescue team, looking for previously mentioned army guys, falling prey to the same skellington dude one by one, but not before meeting up a random Native American who tells them the story of a native warrior named Cotton Mouth Joe. As he puts it, Joe slaughtered some tribe years ago and may have been cursed to be our Skeleton Man (or some shit), though I seriously doubt that guy has anything to do with Mr. Bone head out there since the killer looks more like a medieval agent of death (horse back riding, fancy sword and all) rather than a Cherokee warrior in a loin cloth.

How the shit are you related with a medieval-looking

So, fifteen to twenty minutes into the film, our kill count had gone around double digits, mostly consisting of random army guys, flashbacks and other assorted bystanders; by the time our troop encounters the ever elusive Skeleton Man, they find out that his bony hide is impenetrable to bullets, teleports through wobbly-looking portals, can pull out a wide array of weapons out of his cloak, has superhuman strength and accuracy, as he seems to have no problem shooting an arrow and hitting a helicopter to send it crashing down to its doom, but still, that ain't stopping these guys from shooting the killer, over and over and over and over and over and -fuck it, you get the point.

Just glad Rooker did Slither two years later...

Around the end, we, again, have another massacre and another prolonged stop-and-shoot fight between a surviving soldier (Michael Rooker) and the supernatural killer; they try to make it as if a chemical explosion was enough to kill the skull headed killer, but we know damn well that skinny dude can outlive that.

And he did. Thus leaving the film open for a possible follow-up. Yay for my part? Sadly, I would say Nay!

The film has its blood and guts on the right place,
just missing some brains...
For something so enthusiastic on killing a lot of people, Skeleton Man actually threw out too much of the logic and plot for the sake of entertainment, to the point that it's just too dumb and shallow to be even enjoyed by a seasoned slasher fan. Or any horror fan for that matter! The film is uber cheap, from casting, effects (save for that hammer kill involving a girl's head exploding in impact) and camera work, but I would really like to emphasize more on the story for this matter as nothing in this film makes sense; why is there a horse-riding skeleton roaming around the forest in the first place? And is that "Cotton Mouth Joe" Bullshit really related to this guy? Why is there a power plant in the middle of the forest? Why are they calling it a jungle if it's really a forest? Why did that one guy starts to bleed furiously after the killer just hoisted him in the air? I mean, seriously, on that latter, what's the heck?

I would whole-heartily advice you to stay away from this one unless you're very drunk, very high, mentally challenged, suicidal (As watching this movie will surely make you lose hope for mankind) or just the kind of guy (or gal) who loves cheap, brainless horror movies that you can catch in cable TV. (Or ten bucks from Best Buy!) I'm sure you'll be proud of yourself...

1 male axe to the chest
1 male found with an axe buried into his chest
1 male hoisted in the air and killed, arm cut off with sword
1 female slashed with sword
1 male caught in explosion
1 male ran through with spear, scalp torn off
1 male killed offscreen
1 male killed offscreen
1 male shot on the back with arrow
1 male shot on the back with arrow
1 male slashed with sword
1 male slashed with sword
1 male decapitated with sword
1 female skewered through with spear
1 male brained with hammer (flashback)
1 male brained with hammer (flashback)
1 male slashed by the mouth with axe (flashback)
1 male slashed with dagger (flashback)
1 boy slashed with dagger (flashback)
1 male gets an axe to the back (flashback)
1 elderly male slashed with dagger (flashback)
1 male gut sliced with spear (flashback)
1 male pinned to the earth with spear (flashback)
1 male shot with arrow (flashback)
1 male shot on the chest with arrow
1 female skewered with spear
1 male had his gut cut open with axe
1 male ran through with spear
1 male decapitated with axe
1 male slashed to death with spear
1 male shot on the chest with arrow, falls to his death
1 male immolated in crashed helicopter
1 male slashed to death with spear
1 female had her head pulped with hammer
1 male hacked to death with axe
1 male hacked with axe
1 male thrown off the floor
1 male gets a dagger to the gut
1 male axed on the back
A number of people immolated in chemical explosion
1 male slashed with sword
Total: 40+

Friday, April 19, 2013

What Lies Beneath The Floorboards: Coffin Baby (2013)

Coffin Baby (2013) (AKA "TBK: Tool Box Murders 2")
Rating: *1/2
Starring: Bruce Dern, Brian Krause, Ethan Phillips

There's something very off-putting about this movie and I ain't just talking about its tone.

So... The Toolbox Killer's behind the Black Dahlia body?

Coffin Baby, the supposed sequel to 2003's Tobe Hooper directed remake of the cult fave The Toolbox Murders, finally made it through production and features us a story about an abducted young woman who goes through countless days held captive and tortured, (physically, emotionally and psychologically) as she's forced to watch her captor, the titular 'Coffin Baby", murder (and even eat) other kidnapped victims. All the while, police are investigating the brutal murder of the abducted girl's sister, looking into both girls' personal lives and secrets, finding out there's more to the victims than what they imagined.

Concept-wise, Coffin Baby has some interesting tidbits that definitely could have worked but, with the film suffering from a lot of drawbacks, it all utterly crumble pointlessly at the end of it all. It's best to do this review by citing another movie that suffered a similar fate in terms of franchising; remember how Wrong Turn 3 apparently stepped down drastically by limiting it's budget and changing the format of the movie from three to just one killer? Well, Coffin Baby kinda did just that: while the 2003 remake was a straight slasher film with a well executed direction that hid its budget, the title here shifts to something more of a psychological horror film with added slasher elements, unworkable for a change since the low budget got way too obvious thanks to the film's lazy editing, uninspired pacing and very boring characters.

Heck, even Coffin Baby himself is less interesting here than in the last movie; nothing changed a lot on his behalf, but I'm still confused to what are his reasons for keeping the girl captive. Sometimes he feeds her and try to be a good host, sometimes he simply tortures her just out of anger. What again was the point of all of this? We don't know and apparently, so does this movie.

Since the movie mostly dwells around two acts, the cops investigating and the slaughtering at Coffin's crib, both acts very uninspired and no characters are sympathetic enough, I find it real hard to enjoy this film without feeling a bit downbeat every now and then, especially with the kind of ending this film has.

In the end, their effort was futile.

Still, there are some good things to come out from this film if you're very shallow; the gore level is nasty and the kill count is monstrous, albeit most of them are just bodies shown at the halfway mark of the film, apparently victims from offcamera massacres. Some good cinematography here and there, plus an impressive end credits animation. There's also a decent stalk chase at the climax, but I didn't like how it ends as it's just damn confusing. (Spoilers, the lead somehow developed a sixth sense and saw dead people. As if why she's being held alive in the first place wasn't confusing enough...)

If you like cheap artsy-fartsy, psychological flicks with mountains of rotting limbs and people cannibalizing on them, despite how horrible is the execution is, then Coffin Baby is your turkey leg to choke on. Everyone else who would like to keep their sanity and just enjoy a silly-yet-good slasher flick? As in a REAL slasher flick? Look elsewhere.

1 female had her face mutilated with box cutter, stabbed to death
1 male beheaded with wood saw
1 male glimpsed being killed
1 head seen
1 male hit on the head with hatchet
1 male had his face sliced off with hatchet
2 males shot
1 female shot on the head
1 female brained with mallet
1 female had pieces of her cut off, cannibalized
1 male sliced in half through buzzsaw
1 male hacked on the chest with hatchet, disemboweled
1 female seen dead (flashback)
1 female seen being dismembered
1 body seen barbecued inside a crematorium
A number of rotting bodies found inside lair
1 baby girl drowned
Total: 17+

Goodbye, terrible woman...

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Hooper Syndrome: Toolbox Murders (2003)

Tool Box Murders (2003 Remake)
Rating: ***1/2
Starring: Angela Bettis, Brent Roam, Marco Rodríguez

Lately, Tobe Hooper's works seem to be in an unbalanced creative streak; at the dawn of the new millennia, he directed a wide array of horror flicks that lack any sense of taste, style or memorability, such as that one title with zombies that melt with salt. I think it's called Mortuary (2005). It was atrocious.

Thankfully around 2003, he did manage to channel his finest camp and creep for the time being with this gorier redux of The Toolbox Murders, a 1970s cult hit that I never got around enjoying, but am happy to see to get this revamp.

In Hooper's take, we set site at a rundown Hollywood hotel Lusman Arms, where initial renovations are currently being done to make sure the 1920s building is still standing for another decade or two. Newlyweds Steve and Nell Burrows just recently moved in during the wreck much to their dismay, but they try their best to look past the paperthin walls, the lightning that doesn't work and the canisters of teeth hidden in the cracks. Further complicating matters within this "historical" building is when Nell accidentally calls the local authorities on what she thought to be a murder in process, only for it to turn out as two guys rehearsing a scene. Now receiving the ire from most of her neighbors and the landlord, it isn't surprising that no one believes her when she begins to point out the number of people disappearing within the hotel lately.

While the original Toolbox Murders was more of a slasher-cop drama hybrid with unimaginable amount of corniness, the remake embraces the bodycounting format in its fullest, live up to old school slasher carnage by giving its viewers a wide array of brutal gory kills while, at the same time, delivering some nostalgic cheese along the way. This pretty much make the film it's own kind of monster that takes very little from the original, a definite splatter flick made for fans of decent bodycount movies as it has every aspect that makes a hack-a-tho movie good such as the nightmarishly unusual plot, weird and colorful characters (even those with small parts), an awesome leading lady played by the one and only Angela Bettis, and, of course, the bloody stuffs.

Frankly, I never knew Hooper can do a gore movie this violent; we got brains hammered open, spines severed with bolt cutters and, a personal favorite, a head sliced in half that harks a similar scene from Scott Speigel's Intruder (1989). Better a fact that these kills are also committed by one savage looking killer dubbed "Coffin Baby", whose obscure background has to be the first for a slasher killer. He has a bit of Leatherface in him (when unmasked, a sorta tribute by Hooper to his own masterpiece, Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), and some familiarity within black magic, something I wished they explained a bit further aside from strongly hinting he worships some strange symbols that may have granted him immortality and extraordinary endurance.

I find very little flaws to speak of here; the scripting has its tint of quirkiness, though I can easily disregard that as Hooper is known to create weird and unusual characters that sometimes defies stereotyping. Though, there are moments where the film tends to slow down to keep the flow balanced with the decently sizable number of murders. There's also some parts of the movie where logic is disregarded a little too much even for a slasher movie, such as the killer's surprising ability to successfully nail gun a victim to the ceiling without breaking much of a sweat.

While far from a perfect slasher, Tool Box Murders (2003) is undoubtedly one of the finer releases at its time. Funny enough that it seems to be released during the same year James Wan's SAW was, hence making it one of the few movies to welcome back detailed viscera into the screen, see it as a sign that this film was destined for horror fans and gorehounds alike.

1 male seen killed, mentioned knocked out of window and fell to his death after getting electrocuted by junction box
1 female brained to death with hammer claw
1 female shot to death with nailgun
1 female gets powerdrilled through the head
1 male killed offscreen
1 male had his head sawed in half with circular saw
1 male had his face eaten away with powdered lye
1 male stabbed on the back with bolt cutters, spine cut
1 elderly male dies from shock
Total: 9