Saturday, December 31, 2016

In Regards to 2016...

I have to admit, a lot of things had happened in this year. Many celebrity deaths (Angus Scrimm and David Bowie hitting me hardest) Numerous disasters and terror attacks. Donald Trump actually winning presidency. Harambe. Some (if not a lot) of people are calling it the worst year EVER and I guess, by reading the title of this post, you're thinking I'm joining the bandwagon regarding 2016 being the worst, correct?
We will miss you, "Major Tom"!
Well, personally, it was just another year and I thought it was...just there.

I guess that's one advantage of living a partially dull life focusing solely on filling my belly, helping my folks with the bills, exercising enough brain power and motivation to go and live through work, and enjoying my personal hobbies as I tend to block out a lot of things around me and just try to live a life best suited to my needs and wants. Yes, I am aware what is happening around me will and always affect my life, and yes there were some personal struggles I went through this year, but what year hadn't? By focusing on the positives, no matter how big or small it is, I believe I got around quite okay and I am looking forward to doing the same next year.

Now, as a horror blogger, I have to also admit that I hadn't watched a lot of horror flicks this 2016. I believe 2016 was the year I toned down on the horror movies and instead got my horror fix by listening to Youtube narrations of Reddit Let's Not Meet stories and creepypastas. It's mostly due to the fact that I somehow began busying myself with my comic project back at my Deviantart page and I was aiming to do enough strips for a book. Whenever I did got into watching horror movies, though, I was careful and selective, meaning I read through the feedbacks first before heading on and actually seeing the movie, so I kinda cheated my way into the good films and almost left out the bad.
What I was busying myself with...

"Almost" as  I  did managed to see some stinkers like Stephen King's Cell, Before I Wake, Cabin Fever (2016), Friend Request (2016), Smothered (2016) and Light's Out, all of which mishandled potentials, save for Light  that I honestly thought was too generic for my liking. So I still made a few slip-ups on my end, but compared to the number of decent horror movies I saw in turn, I'm gonna say that horror this year, just like my feeling for this year as a whole, was just "okay".
The short was scary. This movie was just "meh".
Ghostbusters 2016 didn't suck as bad as a lot of people made it out to be. Shin Gojira is still a passable watch despite too much SciFi babble and too many characters roaming around. Rob zombie got his old school mojo back with his new movie 31. The Purge 3 is still action packed and interesting. The Conjuring 2 turns out to be a good popcorn companion.  Hush is a simplistic yet effective as home invasion survival horror. Director Fede Alvarez struck genius once again with Don't Breathe. The Shallow is the next greatest shark film for me, next to Jaws. Train to Busan sortah revived my interest in zombie flicks. Fender Bender (2016) was great as a fun throwback slasher flick. The Autopsy of Jane Doe was a passable supernatural thriller. Bodom's twist and turns actually satisfies.
I don't care what the haters say, you gals did alright!
I have a lot more titles I saw under 2016 that I wanna point out as good, if not great, such as non horror flicks like Marvel's  Doctor Strange and the surprisingly fun action flick The Accountant but long story short, I managed to enjoy a lot of this, so much so that I am still planning to see other 2016 titles that got my interest (The Barn and Wolves at the Door being my top priorities.)
The slasher monsters from The Barn. Awesome?!
Am I excited for 2017? Hell yeah! The Mummy reboot, the feature length Terrifer (2017), SAW: Legacy, Get Out!, Keep Watching, The Dark Tapes, the It reboot, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Kong: Skull Island (2017), Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, Thor: Ragnarok, Spiderman: Homecoming, The Lego Batman Movie, so much interesting titles coming up and I can't wait to try as much as I can. I know it's not gonna be easy, both this and living through my life, but again, whose life was ever easy? Best thing we can do right now is to look forward to something better and brighter! So, with this being said, goodbye 2016...

And HELLO, 2017!

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Short Shear Terror: Do You See What I See? (2016)

Do You See What I See? (Canada, 2016 Short Film)
Rating: ***
Starring: Caleigh Le Grand, Jorja Cadence, Adam Buller

Invited to her sister Jessica's "ugly sweater" Christmas party for a good time, Sloane finds herself trying to feign cheeriness instead as in reality, she's slowly dying in the inside being surrounded by all of these strangers. Things, however, might be looking up for her when an equally miserable guest begins casually chatting with her and all seems to be heading to a rather decent night.

That is until a bespectacled killer in a balaclava breaks in and silently (and then not so silently) starts to kill off the guests. Who is this killer and why the sudden interest on slaying sweater-donning party goers? That's for Sloane and us to find out!
The awkward is strong in this scene...
For it's credit, Do You See What I See is a decent ride through familiar holiday slasher footings, albeit a short one; it definitely has a festive feel to it through its use of colored lighting and bountiful holiday decors (gift wrapping the house as one character mentioned), but what draws me into this short is the semi-realistic look into the two sisters' relationship, loving the snarky and witty dialogue written for them as it brings out the best and worst from the few main casts.

This being a short, it wasn't too long before the bloody mayhem starts too and it does so in a nicely brooding manner. We literally have no idea who our masked intruder is despite the one shot established early into the film, nor do we have any clear understanding why he decided to break in and starts killing people at first, so his presence immediately comes rather intriguing, even more considering how ridiculous he looks with the glasses. His murders, though not entirely fresh in terms of creativity, also has that small shred of intimidation as it gradually escalates from stalking and stabbing one victim at a time, to full on attacking a crowd and actually slaughtering a fair number of them, an impressive feat for, again, a silly looking killer.
Thankfully, ole coke bottle glasses here is to unlighten it!
The twist in the end is perhaps this film's most recognizable feature. Without spoiling it, let's just say it has a lot of sci-fi and a little bit quasi-religiousness, somehow answering the basic questions yet opening more in turn. It's certainly an odd one and I haven't really seen a lot of slashers doing this kind of reveal, another reason for this short to be such a workable bodycounter.

A holiday slasher dramedy with the right kind of twists and turns, Do You See What I See? is a short well worth checking out if you have the time, especially if you're into holiday mayhem, good old-fashioned slashing and some crazy reveals.

1 male had his throat cut with a knife
1 male knifed to death
1 female knifed on the gut
1 male had his throat slashed with a knife
1 female knifed on the back
1 male trampled in stampede
1 male knifed to death
1 male knifed on the chest
1 male pushed down the stairs, neck broken
Total: 9

A Slasher of Christmas Great: All Through The House (2016)

All Through The House (2016)
Rating: ***1/2
Starring: Ashley Mary Nunes, Jessica Cameron, Melynda Kiring

One Christmas Eve night at a typical American town, a lunatic dressed as an unjolly Saint Nick is spreading their own brand of holiday fear, breaking into houses and slaying anyone unfortunate enough to be in their way. As this maniac decks the halls with blood and gore, Rachel Kimmel (Ashley Mary Nunes), a teenage girl returning from college and housesitting for her neighbor Mrs Garrett (Melynda Kiring), decides to tag her friends along and make merry for the festive season, little knowing that the killer is closing in to their house and a few dark secrets will be unraveled as the night goes on and the bodycount goes higher.

In all frankness, All Through The House was a surprising treat for myself as, apart from seeing the trailer some time ago and having a short-lived excitement over it, I have very little knowledge to what I was getting myself into once I got a copy, aside the obvious point that it's another killer Santa flick which may or many not deliver the gory goods.

Now, as a slasher, the film definitely has its cliched moments such as sexualized victims with horrible decision-making skills, heavy-breathing men-of-steel mute killers, and even a story-telling scene wherein an old incident concerning an eccentric neighbor was brought up as a possible red herring. Thankfully, these little nicks are easy to look over and can even give the film that right kind of Grindhouse feel to its run, far from perfect with its uneven audio and a few wooden side characters, but otherwise nostalgic for hitting these classic slasher set-ups just right.

Once the film's momentum gets going, it draws us into a workable mystery surrounding the eccentric neighbor our heroines are housesitting for, coinciding with brutal scenes of our killer Santa slaying innocent people (and a few voluptuously naughty ones) in their homes. While it is kinda obvious that there might be a connection between the neighbor and the killer, how exactly they affix with one another is the film's lingering question for us and the answer falls in very dark and unusual places through a few twists, surprises and Melynda Kiring's performance as Mrs Garrett at the near end, as well as Mary Nunes' final girl going through her own twist in the plot which kinda rings familiar to a certain 2013 3D slasher, Texas Chainsaw 3D.

I personally believe House decently paced itself quite nicely by interjecting a lot of the gory murders in the midst of the mystery's build-up, all of which having a wide array of effectiveness from simple machete blows and hurled paraplegics, to gruesomely gory garden shear impalements and castrations. They're all done the old fashioned way with gruesomely chunky practical effects and free-flowing blood works, some even paying tribute to a few cult classic slasher titles such as Alone In The Dark (1982) and The Burning (1980) (The latter more on the fact as Santa's main weapon is a trusted pair of clippers!) so it's rarely boring even if the scene simply involves our characters discussing. The killer wasn't half bad themselves with their Jason Voorhees/Leatherface-inspired body language and backstory, as well as the intimidating Santa mask he managed to snag up and wear through out the ordeal, so expect some decent stalk-and-creep scenes from the big guy before he delivers his gory Christmas treats for us slasher fans.

A few creepy imagery here and a pinch of actual holiday spirit there, this movie passes not only as a slasher, but also as an low-key independent film that knows the materials it is working with and the audience it is made for. Fans of throwback bodycounters flicks can definitely find an inviting warm fire within the gored-up bodies and unsettling family issues this film offers so if you're not too critical on production value and just in need of a quick fix for yuletide slasher mayhem, Santa's garden shears are ready to cut for you All Through The House!

1 boy killed offscreen
1 female stabbed through the chest and eyes with a garden shear
1 male castrated with a garden shear
1 dog hacked to death with a machete
1 female hacked on the throat with a machete, stabbed on the head with a garden shear
1 female stabbed through the head with a garden shear
1 male castrated with a garden shear
1 female dragged underneath a bed, slaughtered
1 female stabbed through the gut and head with a garden shear
1 paraplegic elderly female rolled off from a cliff, fell to her death
1 cat killed
1 female slaughtered with a garden shear
1 female had her throat chopped with a garden shear
1 female mentioned murdered
1 male stabbed with a garden shear
1 female strangled to death
Total: 16

Have a Holly Jolly Christmas...

Saturday, December 24, 2016

A Slasher of Christmas Good: Good Tidings (2016)

Good Tidings (United Kingdom, 2016)
Rating: ***
Starring:  Colin Murtagh, Alexander Mounsey, Stu Jopia

In this season of giving, United Kingdom decided to give us another take on a Christmas slasher, one that lacks any real depth and meaning other than to see homeless people try and survive one of the most insane worst case scenarios: a trio of killer Santas.

Good Tidings starts simple with a lone man at a country cottage drunkenly readying himself for a Santa gig, failing to notice three masked men in hospital gowns surrounding him. By the time he did, it was far too late and literally loses his noggin at the end of a wielded shovel. The trio of loonies then dons the man's Santa suits and masks (why he had so many and why it came with creepy mask is still a mystery to me), before driving off to some place they can wreak havoc.

In the meantime, Sam Baker (Alan Mulhall), a homeless war-veteran, is holding his own Christmas get-together with his fellow hobos and runaways at an abandoned courthouse he claimed and kept open for those in need of a warm home and simple meals. This gesture of kindness will soon be paid in blood, pain and death, unfortunately, when the Santas decided to crash and waste to time starting a bloody and brutal game of cat-and-mouse.
Our Santa stooges: Curley, Larry and Moe.
As mentioned, Good Tidings has little to go around in terms of deep plotting as, in its core, it is a simple survivalist siege/slasher hybrid pitting a group of homeless folks (focusing mostly on three: Sam, runaway druggie Roxy (Claire Crossland), and the motherly Mona (Julia Walsh)) against a trio of sadistic murderous Santa loons. It's guilty of the few dim or impossible logic most slashers suffer from, such as tinsel garland being durable enough to lock doors or the fact that none of the panicking homeless folk ever thought of ganging up against one killer at a time considering there's enough of them to deliver a good fatal beating. Instead, they all run away scared like cattle in a slaughterhouse, pretty much letting the Santas have their fun. (And leaving us imagining a spree killing that would have been better onscreen, another point down on my book.)

Perhaps these unfortunate souls have their reasons such as the likes of one victim here with a heart condition, or that they're simply confused and frightened by the sudden meaningless murders happening in front of them during the should-be most joyous occasion in the year. Whatever it will be, it did little to dampen the ferocity of this movie despite showing little brutality and gore.

In its simplicity, Good Tidings still manages to deliver a whole lot of goods from the competent actors and actresses taking their roles with heart and genuine effectiveness, to the intensity brought upon the presence and unpredictability of our killer trio. (Each unusually named after the Three Stooges at the credits) To be truthful, the movie is mostly a treat whenever the three killer Kringles are on screen, as one can never be sure what they will do since they are all portrayed mute and rely heavily on body language to show their individual personalities, as well as giving us strangely (and darkly comical) scenes like them playing around with a severed head or one of them being eerily friendly with one of their captives. A slasher film can sometimes be best remembered with their villains and I will say the men behind the Santa masks here did a damn decent job.

Good Tidings indeed. For us slasher fans! 
The killings were as standard as slasher movies go with machete and axe hackings. A few decent practical kills were put on screen but there were some CG assisted ones included, thankfully not enough to completely distract us. Pacing is pretty decent despite a bit of slowness around the middle part as this is when most of the more mentally sadistic elements were played. (Nastiest of which was a wife repeatedly forced to kiss her husband's decapitated head. Yeesh) This is quickly remedied by the interesting set-up in which one of the Santas develops a liking to a captive and apparently stirring things between the three madmen.

Despite the low budget and some nitpicks here and there, Good Tidings is, well, good! Not the best to top some heavy holiday horror hitters like the Black Christmas set, Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984) or, hell, Krampus (2015), but it certainly has a lot of better offerings to give us compared to shit like, I dunno, UK's last year disappointment Christmas Slay (2015)? (I loathe that shit entirely) So if you think you've been good this whole year, try not to miss this one! That's enough to put you on the naughty list and our Santas aren't gonna be happy... 

1 male decapitated with a shovel
1 male stabbed on the eye with a candy cane
1 male had his throat slashed with a machete
1 female hacked to death with an axe
1 victim bludgeoned with a bat (mostly off screen)
1 male disemboweled with a machete
1 female gets a lead pipe ran through her head
1 male hit on the face with a dropped hammer trap
1 male found hanged
5 males and 2 females found murdered
1 male decapitated offcamera with a machete
1 female had her neck snapped
1 male killed offcamera with a machete
1 female ran through with a machete
1 male stabbed to death with a sharpened candy cane
16 victims seen murdered
1 male decapitated with a machete
Total: 38

Friday, December 23, 2016

A Slasher of Christmas Bad: Christmas Slay (2015)

Christmas Slay (United Kingdom, 2015)
Rating: *
Starring: Dani Thompson, Paul Terry, Jessica Ann Brownlie

Let me first start this review with a subject and a question. The subject is this movie. The question is WHY?!

One year ago, a mute psycho dressed up as Santa murdered families one Christmas Eve and was painfully and clumsily caught by the police, lead by a detective who was seemingly hunting him down for quite some time.

Flashforward to the present, three girls drive up to the mountains to enjoy their Christmas break at a hot-tub equipped cabin next to the woods, where they will wear nothing but tank tops and underwears most of the time. (You know. The works.) However, not far from them is a mental house that just lost a good number of their patients one night ago, one of which happens to be our homicidal Santa. As you would have guessed, Santa made his way up to the cabin, axing people to death and soon indulges to a classic cat-and-mouse gag with the panty-happy bimbos.

Simplicity in a slasher can be a good thing; Halloween pulled it. Friday the 13th pulled it. Madman and The Mutilator sortah pulled it. (Just ask their fan following) Christmas Slay…tried but failed; from where I stand, there’s a cheesy and outlandish nature to the film which might explain the odd characters and a few over-the-top kills, but tiring pacing, obviously cheap production, lackluster direction and questionable plot twists turned off any sense of fun from this film, to the point that it’s distracting and irritating.

From beginning to end, I question this film. Why does it exist? What purpose does it have as a holiday slasher? How can color markers go into a thick human skull just by being thrown? Why are the girls always in underwear? In what way did the ending supposed to make any sense?! I understand a slasher doesn’t always have to make a lot of sense but Christmas Slay not only decided to do the dry paint-by-number plot (“imaginatively” tying in Christmas just for reasons) but it's also incompetent and lazy enough to not bother going through the script and fix a good number of plot holes. And there were a lot of goddamn plot holes!

Take example this little spoiler; at the end, the killer was caught off-guard and a surviving victim hacks him repeatedly with an axe. She escapes, rescued by some guy and taken back to the city, only to be thrown into the same hospital where killer Santa escaped from. Now, I’ll accept this if killer Santa turned out to be another persona of the survivor (ala High Tension), but a slight extension of the ending reveals that the reason why she was put in there was because the nuthouse mistaken her as one of the escapees.

Really? This asylum don’t keep photos and records of their nut cases? Is this nuthouse that cheap and effin stupid? Oh right! Screw the forthcoming lawsuit the parents will be filing against them for putting their daughter through more torment than she already went to! THAT’LL BE GOOD FOR BUSINESS! This isn’t the 1950s, idiots! We are more advanced now! Heck, even the detective was called up for this and he understood that this is wrong! But, oh no! Santa DID survived getting HACKED WITH AN AXE SEPTILLION TIMES and he is there to kill the detective!

No! No! NO! NO! If Friday the 13th’s Jason Voorhees couldn’t survive getting hacked to death with a machete before being revived as a zombie, what’s stopping this poser?! Also, if they were planning to go with this kind of final reveal, are they telling us NOBODY TOOK SAMPLES OF THE BLOOD THIS SHMUCK BLED THROUGH ALL OVER THE HOUSE AND TESTED IT FOR DNA?! NO! NO, MOVIE! YOUR IGNORANCE ON LOGIC HAD GONE FAR FROM THE ACCEPTABLE LEVEL OF IGNORANCE COMMONLY FOUND IN A SLASHER MOVIE! Your story and production is already shit so why do this to yourself?!

If there is one thing this movie did right, it’s making the baddie look intimidating. Heck, I wouldn’t mess around this guy even if he didn’t have superhuman strength and apparent immortality, he just looks that frightening! Another reason why it pains me to see a scary looking killer like him end up in a piss-stain of a movie like this.

I’m sorry guys but if you happen to like this film or was involved in it, this movie is shit! Dingy, dumb, disappointing shit that’s so bad, real world Santa wouldn’t even put this down a naughty child’s stocking if he ever ran out of coal. If you want killer Santas, try Silent Night Deadly Night, Silent Night Deadly Night Part 2, Silent Night (2012), Netherland’s Sint (2010), or that one episode of Tales from the Crypt HBO series where Larry Drake was an axe-happy Santa. ANY OF THESE IS WAY FUCKING BETTER THAN THIS DUMBASSERY!

1 male knifed
1 female knifed on the head
1 girl killed offcamera
1 male stabbed to death by thrown markers
1 male found stabbed on the neck
1 female hacked with an axe
1 male impaled with a branch
1 male hacked on the back with a thrown axe
1 female stabbed on the head with a candy cane
1 female garroted with tinsel wire
1 male hacked with an axe
Total: 11

Monday, December 12, 2016

Next Generation Kiddie Scares: Let's Be Evil (2016)

Let's Be Evil (2016)
Rating: *1/2
Starring: Kara Tointon, Isabelle Allen, Jamie Bernadette

Children are scary. High tech innovation going rampant is scary. Put two together with a slight "camp slasher" formula and you will get Let's Be Evil, a "SciFright" thriller that just goes to show how children is indeed our future, whether it'll be for the better or worst.

Taking place in the future of sorts, proud teenager Jenny accepts an offered position in a prestigious and secretive research facility, hoping to earn some much needed cash to pay for her ailing mother's treatments. Joined by two others who accepted the offer, Jenny and her new friends quickly learn that their only guide to the job is an near-sentient AI viewable only through a set of VR glasses provided to them and that their job is to supervise a group of intelligent and calculative children.

As odd as the job was, Jenny tries her best to make the best of it, going as far as attempting to directly interact with the children despite the disapproval of the overlooking AI. All starts to go downhill, however, when Jenny begins to notice her things disappearing and reappering, glimpses of shadowy figures scurrying across her room, and the children acting much more sinister in contrast to their previously quiet and serious demeanor, eventually hacking into the building's main system and trapping everyone inside. As the lights go out and the facilty is turned against those who the children deem fitting for their sick and deadly game, Jenny has no choice but to try surviving the ordeal and escape.

Now, despite the bodycount-friendly plot, Let's be Evil seems to be attempting to do something far different from your typical teen slasher, evident from the strong Scifi elements of virtual reality and highly intelligent children, as well as a good percentage of a movie being done through POV shots and a low number of potential victims. (Though with films like Wolf Creek showing us what you can do with three to two victims, the latter was never a big deal for me.) In fact, before the hour mark, Evil actually resembles more of a haunting movie with a science fiction taste than a slasher as our characters are subjected more to visual scares of flashing lights, distorted imagery and simulated noises than bloody dismemberment, which would have been okay for me if the approach actually works.

Sadly, for a movie with an interesting premise, Evil was just too full of uninspired executions; the characters, for starters, were barely fleshed out with their one-note personalities thus it was just hard for me to feel invested to them, this including our supposed heroine Jenny which is obviously a big no-no for slasher and/or "partial" slasher films. The actors and actresses behind these characters were okay but I do wished these people were given better materials to work with rather than the cliched rebel girl or lazy teen stereotypes.

This lack of depth is further seen with the movie's supposed villains as, for an army of super genius brats, they barely look or felt all that threatening. Granted they may have the capabilities of setting a man on fire or smothering one of their caretakers with a plastic wrap, but how often had we seen this before? You got The Horrible House On The Hill (1975), Bloody Birthday (1981), The Children (2008), the Children of the Corn series and the Bad Seed movies just to name a few titles that already got this base covered a lot better compared to this movie's little (and I mean little) nearly-bloodless massacre, so what does Let's Be Evil's kids have to offer? They all act emotionless and are supposed to be super-geniuses? Yeah, I'm sure Village of the Damned and its franchise failed to fill in those shoes, oh wait, no. They didn't fail. And Evil's kids barely made a dent to top it.

Why are the kids killing people? Not a given clue and I could try live with that as the lack of reason is what should have given the coldness of the children more of the needed creepiness, but it instead goes completely in contrast to their other nature, which is that they're intellectual. I would have settled with a reasoning similar to Hal from 2001: A Space Odyssey in which the children think they're doing the world a favor by eliminating those they deem unfit or non-beneficial in their society, but instead you can tell there's a sense of maliciousness in their action (hell, it's even in the damn title, "Let's be Evil"!) so it's just more confusing than chilling on my end.

If we are gonna look at this production-wise, Let's Be Evil is really visually competent and the concept, as I mentioned, is an interesting one, which is why it saddens me so much that the final product was this dull and unmotivated. It could have done a better job (a much more thrilling and/or scarier job) but the lack of scares, blood and insight in its writing just made Evil forgettable as hell and simply a challenge to sit through, even when it's ending. (stupid dumb plot twist...) If you want a scifi killer kiddie flick, The Village of the Damned and its many sequels (and one underrated John Carpenter remake) is waiting for your arrival. We'll wait for you there!

1 male shot on the neck
1 male set on fire
1 male smothered with a plastic bag
1 female dragged away, killed
Total: 4

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Short Shear Terror: B.C. Butcher (2016)

BC Butcher (2016)
Rating: *1/2
Starring: Kadeem Hardison, Kato Kaelin, Leilani Fideler

Have you ever sat through a kid's first piano recital and can immediately tell that their little rendition of Bethoveen's 3rd sucks but can't really say it at their face since, well, it's a kid and there is the risk of being that one jerk who made the neighbors' kid cry and will forever face the wrath of the helicopter parents? Welp, I am having the same dilmma right now as I review this Troma release but seeing the "kid" in question, curiously named Kansas Bowling, is 19 years old (17 during filming), I'm sure she can take a few criticism. I hope.

In B.C. Butcher, tribe leader Neandra and her cohorts murder (and cannibalize for reasons I am yet to get) one of their tribe members after the girl was caught canoodling with Neandra's boy toy. Unfortunately for them, the execution was witnessed by a hulking man-monster and, after falling in love with the girl's corpse (eww?), made it his mission to avenge her by killing those who were responsible for her death.

Now, I will say that I do like the idea of this film taking place in prehistoric times as we do not usually get slashers outside of modernized settings and I am always on the lookout for something different from the usual "cabin in the woods massacre" or "campus teen killing spree" deals. I will also say that the simplicity of the plot and its 50 minute running time reeled me in as it sounds like the kind of slasher movie I am normally comfortable with, that is until I actually get to see the movie.

To be frank, B.C. Butcher looks more like a middle school movie project than the kind of film one should be distributing and selling. The story juggles its attempts as both a prehistory and slasher parody with props that look like something you can get from a dollar bin toy store (with a plush leopard as a "ferocious" beast in one scene), a script littered with cavemen pun and anachronistic visual humor, wooden delivery of said pun-infested script, obvious backyard low budget production quality, and a killing spree that lacks any blood or imagination, so much so that I feel kinda bad to the other suckers expecting the same kind of cartoonishly exaggerated bloodbath most Troma releases are known for. There are also hardly any characters to root for, which kinda made worse by the fact that the plot's tone keep shifting from something cheesy serious to cheesy funny too sporadically and the titular Butcher, while he may have looked kinda cool in the shadows, barely looks that impressive nor menacing in broad daylight as we can tell it's a dude in a loin cloth and a rubber monster mask.

Now, I am aware that this movie was meant to be harmless fun, but comedy, just as any kind of art form out there, can be subjective and while some people will find the shoelace aglet production quality of B.C. Butcher as entertaining in a so-bad-it's-good Z-Grade movie kind of way, or something like a homemade family video made for laughs whenever relatives are over, there will also be people out there (like the shmuck writing this review) who would see it as a waste of time and should have been better left sitting inside someone's shoebox, stuffed away in the attic along with their parent's private sex videos collecting dust, dust mites, dust bunnies, and possible otherworldly gnomes hellbent on stealing shoes. It's not for everyone as most Troma movies are, so I'm still sure Butcher here will find its audience and fans out there, just not gonna find one in me unless I am drowning in lager, high on expired prescription drugs, or something of both which I'm pretty sure will numb my brain to the point that it'll find a jiggling ring of severed fingers funny.

So, long story short, B.C. Butcher is a rather interesting project, just not liking the kind of treatment it was given. If you are a true hardcore Troma fan, I can guarantee you will like this one and even consider owning it. For those who have no patience with zero-budget backyard projects that somehow found a way to charge people just to see it, I will say you are free to try it or leave it, just be wary what you will be getting into.

1 female stabbed in the gut with a spear, disemboweled
1 male stabbed with an animal horn
1 female ran through the head with a dead branch
1 female brained with a club
1 female dropped in a snake pit
1 male falls to his death
Total: 6

Thursday, November 24, 2016

What I am thankful for...

I am thankful that Ghostbusters 2016 didn't suck as bad as a lot of people made it out to be.

I am thankful that Shin Gojira is still a passable watch despite too much SciFi babble and too many characters roaming around.

I am thankful that Rob zombie got his mojo back with his new movie 31.

I am thankful that The Purge 3 is still action packed and interesting.

I am thankful that The Conjuring 2 is still a good popcorn companion .

I am thankful that Hush is a simplistic yet effective home invasion survival horror.

I am glad 10 Cloverfield Lane is a worthwhile spin-off to one of my most face found footage movies ever.

I am thankful that Fede Alvarez struck genius with his movie Don't Breathe.

I am thankful I choose The Shallow over Lights Out coz the latter didn't turn out as good as I hoped it will be.

I am thankful Train to Busan sortah revived my interest in zombie flicks.

I am thankful that Doctor Strange is keeping the Marvel Cinematic Universe as diverse and fun as possible.

I am thankful that Fender Bender (2016) is such a fun slasher flick.

I am thankful that I only downloaded Cell (2016) coz that has to be the worst Stephen King adaptation I've seen in my life and I simply just deleted it from my collection.

and lastly

I am thankful for my sister for handing me down her laptop so now I can write my reviews with comfort and convenience. Enjoy your new PC, sis!


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The American Scream: Citrus Springs (2016)

Citrus Spings (2016)
Rating: ***
Starring: Christa Campbell, Jesse Luken, Nicole Smolen

How often do you see a horror trailer use the Bonnie Tyler song Total Eclipse of the Heart? Not a lot so, right off the bat, Citrus Springs easily got my attention from it's strange marketing and I am kinda glad that I saw it, even if the movie turned out to be something totally different.

The quaint town of Citrus Springs has a problem. A home invading serial killer problem. So far, two families already fell victim to this intruder and the entire community is becoming more restless with each massacre, prompting local police to put up curfews and vigilantly patrol the streets, efforts hardly working to prevent the murders and inconveniencing some of the residents.

In the midst of the storm of frightened families and pressured cops, local psychiatrist Jean is tired of her simple small town life and plans on leaving Citrus Springs for the city by setting her house for sale. But with the recent string of murders deterring a lot of her potential buyers and a new break in the case comes in the form of a lone survivor of another current family massacre, Jean is forced to stay and aid the cops in milking out any details of their culprit out of the girl, a task proven to be easier said than done.

With more of its focus aimed at the dynamics between the townsfolk and the local authorities as they go about their days and nights contemplating about the murders, Citrus Springs was hardly a slasher (or horror in general) and instead was a lot more in common with made-for-TV drama thrillers. To be truthful, the closest moment it ever came to being a bodycounter flick was the single onscreen home invasion scene where an entire family gets brutally murdered by a balaclava-wearing loon. It was surprisingly unsettling with its simplicty, but the overly natural tone of the events to follow from the killings are what really got me watching this until the end, but likely to divide the attention of others.

For the next bulk of the run, Citrus Springs shifts gear from a potential home invasion horror to a series of police procedural and small town slice-of-life littered with lots of character interactions and developments, hardly showing the killer and any further murders until the near-hour mark when the obscured culprit shows up not commit another killing, but to instead kidnap an unsuspecting victim out of impulse. With this, the killcount is unsurprisingly low and with half of them ocurring offcamera, it is all hardly exploitative in nature so dumb teenagers and gratuitous nudity are understandably absent. Yet, I just cant help but enjoy the organic feel of the story from the pacing and direction to the believable characters and just how everything is grounded realistically. Granted, it's not going to break any new grounds as either a horror flick or a drama thriller, but as a simple viewing, Citrus Springs is darn passable with its workable production quality and for just being that engaging of a watch.

I guess the only thing that is stopping me from giving this film any higher of a rating would be the anti-climactic ending; with the sudden shift of the killer's modus, I was expecting to see more from this new route but, instead, it was just left alone for a while and then brought up again out of the blue with an unexpected death and a whole lot of filler talk not unlike Psycho 1960's ending. Not the worse way to end a movie and I try to see this as more in tone to the movie's realistic atmosphere, but one cannot deny that it was still an underwhelming path to go after all the initial build up, feeling no different from being rushed and/or a tad too easy of a conclusion.

Still, So what can I say about Citrus Springs? It was alright. Not the best but it certainly deserves a quick look if you have the time. Hardcore slasher and horror fans may try to stay away from this one but for those willing to try it, I say go for it!

1 male and 1 female knifed to death
1 male knifed to death
1 female murdered offcamera with a knife
1 male and 1 female murdered offcamera
1 male stabbed to death with a dagger
Total: 7

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Bottom Barrel Scraps Vol 1

Coz sometimes, there is such as thing as too long reviews for movies that are so bad, dull and/or boring, they don't deserve them.

Blackburn (2015)
Rating: 1/2
Starring: Sarah Lind, Zack Peladeau, Emilie Ullerup

A group of college kids driving across the backwoods mountain route find themselves taking a detour after a horrible CGI landslide blocks their path. The new route unfortunately takes them to the hunting grounds of a murderous backwoods clan consisting of burnt nuthouse escapees, lead by female psycho in a wedding dress.

If you have seen one or two Wrong Turn movies, then you can expect the same kind of bloodshed from Blackburn, down to the fact that it takes place in the woods, there might be some cannibalism involved and that there's more than one deformed killer hunting the cast down. It could have been all fine and fun but indistinguishable antagonists and the painfully boring protagonists just made this movie rather pointless to exist and a chore to watch, somehow worse with its attempt to develop some love triangle-teenage pregnancy conflict within the small casts of stereotype slasher meat. At least the victims get to die through gory deaths, right? No, no they didn't. It's bloody, yeah, but it's hardly anything you have not seen 50 slasher flicks before.

Generic plotting, uninspired. So, no. Just, no. Any backwood slasher (save for Don't Go In The Woods (1981)) is better than this forgettable bear turd of a movie.

1 male murdered offcamera
1 female had her neck snapped
1 female found dead from a rockslide
1 male hacked to death with a pickaxe
1 female murdered, fingers and toes chopped off (flashback)
1 female murdered (flashback)
1 male mentioned knifed to death (flashback)
A number of individuals killed in a burning building (flashback)
2 females skewered from head to death with a rod
1 male shot with an arrow
3 males seen taxidermied
A number of victims seen
1 female hacked on the back with a hatchet, blowtorched on the face
1 male set on fire
1 male knifed through the throat
1 female gets a buzzsaw to the gut, falls unto a burning gear
Total: 17

K-Shop (United Kingdom, 2016)
Rating: *
Starring: Lucinda Rhodes Thakrar, Scot Williams, Ewen MacIntosh

Here's one movie that started out promising; a British Pakistani moves in to his father's kebab shop in the middle of a bad UK district only to have said dad beaten dead in the pavement by some drunken rowdies. Out of this tragedy rises an anti-hero who murders drunkards and serves their flesh as delicious kebab meat, kinda like a modern day Middle-Eastern Sweeney Todd. All of this in the first 30 to 40 minutes in a two-hour movie. What happens afterwards, you ask? Said Anti-hero feeling shit-sorry about himself, contemplating about continuing his murder-canniballism shtick or not. This meant a lot of talking, self-loathing and our protagonist just being an ass to not just himself, but to a whole lot of people, too. Not a lot of gory killings to follow either. Whoopee-fucking-doo-NOT!

A lot of peeps call this a black comedy but I don't see the kind of dark comedy I'm used to here. It kinda did at the beginning and I was pretty certain it will eventually go down the "haha-coz-it's-horrible" kind of gig, but all I got were "I-kill-people-and-yet-I-still-feel-empty-wa-wa-wa" downer talks. The whole thing is just too long for it's own good and whatever message they're trying to relay just got muddled along the way. If there's anything this film did for me, apart from one satisfying murder of a drunk dyke, it'll be the strange craving for meaty Pakistani kebab.

And now that I brought that up, anyone of you knows a good Pakistani restaurant in Manila?

1 male hit his head on the pavement
1 male had his face burnt in a deep fryer, dismembered
1 female had her throat cut with a cleaver
1 female murdered offcamera, arm seen
1 male murdered offcamera, clothes seen
1 male dies from stab wounds
Total: 6

The Laughing Mask (2014)
Rating: *1/2
Starring: Floyd Adams, Arisia Aguiar, Jade Aguiar

In its core, The Laughing Mask is less of a slasher movie and more of a cop drama with gory torturous murders and shit load of uninspired acting befitting a smut flick. It follows a group of law enforcers, including two rival detectives, as they trail along the bloody breadcrumbs left by the titular killer, all the while preventing the murder of one disgruntled writer who lost his family to the laughing maniac and just announced his pure hate against the vigilante in nationwide television.

So, here we have a group of actors pretending to be cops, criminals and everyday fillers bundled together in a movie about a serial killer who not only slays deserving victims, but occasionally keeps some alive to torment. It's a big shoe to fill in if I may say so myself and I will commend some of the efforts done here, but the downer comes at the fact that the executed final product could have been better. Apart from the terrible talents involved and the camera work just looking uninspired, there's also pacing as slow as a snail high on shrooms, the inserted footages of black and white cartoons for the sake of surrealism just didn't work for me, and the use of 40s to 50s carabet music throughout the bloody rampages just gets tiring and annoying real quick.

The Laughing Mask tries to be so many things all at once that I easily lost track of the story and I hardly cared about who lives and dies, so much so that I actually stopped watching this movie halfway and decided to mend my boredom with a double feature of Fender Bender (2016) and Ditch Day Massacre (2016), didn't touch it for at least a week until I decided to man up and finish the damn thing for the sake of this review.

Did not regret stopping halfway, but did regret deciding to see this movie in the first place.

1 female killed with a peeling knife
1 female electrocuted to death
1 male electrocuted to death
1 male gets a blowtorch to the mouth
1 male shot on the head
1 male murdered offcamera
1 male used as a human shield, shot dead
1 male had his throat slashed with a knife
1 female hacked with a sword
1 female garroted
1 male had his throat cut with a knife
1 male pinned to the floor with knives, dismembered with a chainsaw
1 male decapitated with a machete
1 male shot
1 male slashed on the throat with a dagger
1 male stabbed with a dagger
1 male shot
1 male shot on the head
1 male shot
1 female shot
1 male shot
1 male shot on the head
1 male shot to death
1 girl seen drugged, presumably killed
1 female brained with a bat
1 female stabbed with a dagger
1 male castrated with a garden shear
Total: 27

Wonder Valley (2015)
Rating: 1/2
Starring: Suziey Block, David Michaelson, Natalie Pero

A girl suffering from vividly bloody nightmares decides to join her bestfriend and two other guys at a camping trip to some barren valley to ease up her some anxiety issues. None of this is going to end well, of course, as a random shadowy loon with a pickaxe starts to hack them down and possibly cannibalize.

What got me into watching this was its relatively short running time, thinking that even if Wonder Valley will turn up pretty bad, at least it'll be over soon. But holy Hell, was the pacing slow! It actually felt like couching through a friggin millennia as the movie's very muffled audio quality, glitchy editing (the title card just appears in a split second), and grimy video tone made everything hard to follow and there's barely any real slasher action happening to make up for the goddamn wait!

I guess the people behind this weren't aiming for a paint-by-number slasher flick but rather some sort of psychological survival treatment utilizing the barrenness of the desert for an extra creep factors coz, y'know, it's not like we have not done anything like that before. (The Hills Have Eyes series, Blood Frenzy (1987), Scalps (1984), The Hitcher series, Dust Devil (1992), Duel (1971)... Nope! We haven't done anything like that!) Should that be the case then, I may be no expert in writing psychological horror flicks but the last time I saw one, you got to have the right hook to reel us in like, I dunno, interesting characters or premise? Wonder valley has four campers in a very rocky valley, with one of them having bloody nightmares that really doesn't add up to anything. The only psychological horror I can squeeze out that notion is the fact I got the unfortunate luck to watch it. Enough, said! Trash this one!

1 victim missing, glasses seen
1 female hacked on the head with a pickaxe
1 male decapitated with a knife
1 female had her throat cut with a knife
1 male stabbed on the neck with a knife
Total: 5