Sunday, April 28, 2019

Joy Killed: Killjoy (2000) and Killjoy 2: Deliverance From Evil (2002) Double Bill Review

If only the killjoy we're gonna talk about is that awesome Lordi song but, as you will later see from the garbage we will be looking into, we all can't have good things in life all of the time...

Killjoy (2000)
Rating: 1/2
Starring: Ángel Vargas, Vera Yell, Lee Marks

Made around the time its production company Full Moon Features cut ties from its distributor Paramount (which meant a real downgrade of quality from a company that made and released entertaining cult classics back at the late 80s and early 90s such as the Puppet Master film series and Castle Freak (1995)), Killjoy is a real mess of an urban horror flick and a travesty of a horror icon.

A dork named Michael has the hots for Jada, who in turn is dating a violent thug named Lorenzo. As anything involving an archetypal douche boyfriend would, this often leads to the doofus getting black and blue all over so he tries summoning a vengeful spirit named Killjoy to get even with Lorenzo and his lackeys. Michael appears to luck out though when, tired of the nerd hitting on his girl, Lorenzo decided to scare him with a gun only for it to go horribly wrong and gets the awkward Romeo shot dead for real.

Cut to a year later, Jada had broken up with Lorenzo and is now dating a stock black guy character named Jamal. Lorenzo, in turn, is mostly up to his typical gangsta tomfoolery such as smoking dope and getting some ass, while his two henchies get lured inside an ice cream van with a clown inside claiming to have drugs for sale. Clown turns out to be Killjoy, exacting lackluster vengeance against those who killed Michael before going after Jada, Jamal and her buddy Monique because... Reasons.

Que in expositions from a random homeless guy (who might be the holy ghost or some shit) explaining to the casts what we already knew from the first twelve or so minutes, as well as give them overly complicated instructions on how to send Killjoy back to the netherworld. (AKA, a way to pad its running time) Throw in a few zombie ghost minions with lazy make-up effects, cheap CG and terrible acting tainted by an even more terrible script and production quality, and we get this train wreck that is 72 minutes too long.

I honestly cannot fathom how bad this garbage is and I still questions how, in the entire universe, did it spawned four sequels?! (And probably still counting!) Perhaps some people saw it with a "so-bad-its-good" sentiment that apparently made movies like Nail Gun Massacre (1986) and Troll 2 (1990) fondly remembered for their total absurdness? Probably not far off, but as you can tell, I am far from entertained from said absurdness.

1 male shot
1 male crushed against a wall with an ice cream van
1 male burned alive
1 male shot dead 
Total: 4
Killjoy 2: Deliverance From Evil (2002)
Rating: 1/2
Starring: Wayland Geremy Boyd, Bobby Marsden, Aaron Brown

Despite trying to rack up the kill count slightly higher and with a bit more splash of red and practical grue, Killjoy 2: Deliverance From Evil (2002) still fails overall for how much build up it went through, just for the payoff to fall flat and face-first to a bear trap made up of bad cheese and misery.

On a more supernatural backwoods slasher-inclined set-up, Killjoy 2 has us following five juvenile delinquents and their two detention officers driving to a center, only for their van to break down in the middle of nowhere with no cell phone reception and no gas stations nearby. One of the closest house happens to belong to a shotgun-totting Southern belle, who shoots one of the kids after they try rummaging inside the house looking for help. An officer chaperon shoots back, more gun fire breaks out and before you know it, our group is now staying inside a voodoo woman's house where said spiritualist is making sure their friend doesn't die from a shotgun wound with a chicken's foot.

While some are unimpressed by the effort (I mean, really. Chicken. Foot) and is understandably upset of their situation, one of the girls can't help but recall the rumors from her town about some nerd exacting revenge against a trio of thugs by summoning a demonic clown called Killjoy. Thinking this might help the odds on beating their friend's increasingly inevitable death (Again, Chicken foot), Killjoy is summoned and, much to everyone's horror, the clown 's definition of "help" involves carnivorous chattery teeth, telekinetic mutilations and bad (and I mean really bad) one-liners. 

Trailing along a pace as slow as a mentally-challenged snail and boasting acting as extravagant as a toddler trying Shakespeare (Debbie Rochon's presence here is apparently a big deal, but seeing I hardly or yet to see any movies that had her in it, I feel indifferent on the subject), Killjoy 2: Deliverance From Evil (2002) is just as a chore to watch as the first film. The titular demon clown does not appear until 38 minutes into the movie which is over half of the total run, meaning we get to spend that time watching flat characters (who looks twice as old as the age they're supposed to be) trying to be interesting by being cliched black characters bitching with one another until our wise-cracking joker arrives to put an end to them. How interesting they ended up you ask? As interesting as a lonely fat slob eating a donut at an alley somewhere: it's sad, pathetic, moist around some areas. Just like the movie! 

The last half, in turn, is your usual A Nightmare on Elm Street-clone shenanigans like fantasy-fueled kills and foul villain one-liners that are somehow worse than the last film (So much so that I'm sure Fred Kruger's facepalming upon hearing each of them. Facepalming with his razor gloved hand), only for it to end on a tired note when the last act is really no more than our surviving protagonists and Killjoy just standing there talking and taunting. What the actual fuck? I honestly wasn't expecting Killjoy 2: Deliverance from Evil to be good, but I didn't know it was going to be this level of insufferable boredom that I honestly contemplated on setting myself on fire just so the torture of watching this movie from credits to credits would end!

Long story short, some idiots banked on greenlighting a sequel to a movie that shouldn't exist, ends up creating a sequel that shouldn't exist and I happen to be one of the sad morons who gets the unfortunate opportunity to watch it. Learn from my mistake.

1 shot on the head
1 female bitten to death by a pair of demonic chattery teeth
1 male bled to death from a shotgun wound on the chest
1 male thrown to and impaled on a water pump
1 male slashed to death with a knife
1 female had her throat cut
Total: 6

But what of the other Killjoy movies you whine? Well, truth be told, after I took a gander at Killjoy 3 (2010) (which happens to be my first Killjoy movie), the movie hardly danced a supernatural slasher jig and more on a paranormal horror-of-the-demonic-clown swagger. The following sequels Killjoy Goes To Hell (2012) and Killjoy's Psycho Circus (2016) appears to be following that trend (that last one has a demon riding a spaceship...), which is no loss for me as I will always have my to-go movies Stitches (2012) and Terrifier (2018) for that sweet supernatural slasher clown goodness. And, heck, while we're at it, why not throw in Clown (2014) and the 2017 It remake for good measure? Yep, screw off, Killjoy. Screw off~
Yeah, what Killjoy? Come at me, bro!

Monday, April 22, 2019

Short Shear Terror: Nightmare At Bunnyman Bridge (2009)

Nightmare At Bunnyman Bridge (2009 Short)
Rating: ***
Starring: Jim Jackman, Kyle Billeter, DaNae West

So for those who have been living under a rock, the Bunny Man is an urban legend originated from two Fairfax County incidents at 1970 Virginia involving a man wearing a rabbit costume attacking people with an axe (Or a hatchet), most of which taking place around the "Bunny Man Bridge", a Southern Railway overpass spanning Colchester Road where many would come to believe is the stalking ground of our furry-suited evil-doer.

With a lore like this, you would think a few twisted minds out there would try to capitalize on the backwoods slasher film potential of this legend but, so far, the only recognizable "Bunnyman" movies existing out there belongs to a franchise following a chainsaw-wielding maniac in a bunny fursuit who has nothing to do with the legend. (Most of them aren't even that good!) So it brings me joy to see this rare short flick from 2009 that does understand the slasher flick worth of the legend and actually does a decent job with it in a 19 minute running time.

Taking place in 1974, five hippies were walking down a long road in Virginia's backwoods en route to a music festival when they came upon a passed-out drunk who, after proving to them that he ain't dead, warns them of the Bunnyman bridge and the thing that lurks in them woods. The teens ignore the warning and passes through said bridge, unknown to them that someone's watching and has set on tainting their hatchet with young hippie blood as night falls.

There really isn't much to say in terms of story here as Nightmare At Bunnyman Bridge stands on the bare-bone basics of backwoods slasher plotting albeit on a shoestring budget, shot and edited like a lost grindhouse movie and done with an amount of cheese. Character development is absent, but the film does make up for it with hammed up takes on slasher conventions like doomsayers and campfire tales, as well as letting all the gore loose at the last act where a more cryptic-looking Bunnyman goes hatchet-happy on everyone with delightfully despicably gruesome movie effects. The only qualm I got with this movie is that the twist ending kinda felt out of nowhere, but with the positives outweighing that one negative, it's all good.

Nightmare At Bunnyman Bridge (2009) is a real quick treat for backwoods slasher fans and to those looking for another rabbit-suited slasher that is not about Easter or from that Bunnyman slasher franchise. Nothing grand but watchable all the way to the end!

1 male hacked on the head with a hatchet
1 male repeatedly hacked on the head with a hatchet
1 female repeatedly hacked on the face with a hatchet
1 male hacked to death with a hatchet
1 female gets a thrown hatchet to the head
1 male ran down by a train
Total: 6

Saturday, April 20, 2019

A Job Down Cannibal County: Cannibals and Carpet Fitters (2018)

Cannibals and Carpet Fitters (United Kingdom, 2018)
Rating: ****
Starring: Darren Sean Enright, Richard Lee O'Donnell, Zara Phythian

Like many ridiculous sounding movies such as Killer Klowns From Outer Space (1988) or Snakes on a Plane (2006), Cannibals and Carpet Fitters is B-grade straightforwardness that lacks subtext but makes up for it with cheesy entertainment value. Oh, and gruesome gore. Lots of gruesome gore.

Starting the movie is a found footage of a couple's camping trip, following a few chuckle-worthy mishaps until it all slowly troubles down into the pair getting lost in the woods and soon to be attacked by a savage hulk who proceeds to eat an eye out of the boyfriend's face. The girl outruns the man-monster, only to inadvertently end up looking for help in a remote house in the old country which, as you may have guessed, happens to be the inbred family of her attacker. A head got split with an axe and dinner was served.

Come following morning, the remote house turns out to be the mom-and-pop business Cupid's Carpet's big job for the day and most of its employees will be working on it. Two groups get sent out, one consisting of no-nonsense chick Tasha (Zara Phythian) and douchey Chris (Christopher Whitlow), the other is made up of Colin (Darren Sean Enright) and Dean (Richard Lee O'Donnell), a lazy yet chummy duo tagging along frail newbie Malcolm (Dominic Holmes) and are all running a bit behind as they're currently (and horribly) fitting another customer's house. It didn't take too long for the carnage to start yet again as the cannibal family (led by Jenny Stokes as the delightfully deranged matriarch Mrs. Hanning) makes quick work on Chris and captures Tasha, leaving the day to be saved by the most unlikely heroes to come face to face with a clan of deformed and very hungry killers.

Originally a 2014 short, Cannibals and Carpet Fitters (2018) does a superb job satirizing slasher tropes with comedic touches of well timed and wittily written dialogue as it goes about its frankly simple plot of adult minimum wage workers trying to survive a family who wants to make meat pies out of them. Its an easy story that personally makes Carpet Fitters more approachable, surprising open slasher fans with a sizable well-executed gore effects, brutal brawls and gross-out gags that dwells quite fittingly with the tone's dark humor.

While the gaggle of here jokes have a few misses, those that hit well on their mark warrant some worthy chuckle to just how cheekily cartoonish and/or casual some of the reactions to the horrors are ("There's a nipple in the pie.") or how a few of these funnies borderline into slapstick tomfoolery. (Or, since hacked-up body parts are involved, dare I say "splatstick"?) The movie's foray into the comical thankfully didn't shy it away from dishing out some true practical grue like good ole splattered brains and guts gutted for snacks, to a certain nose injury that stays there for a couple of scenes and is one of this movie's finest make up and screen effect.

Acting is a bit uneven for some of the casts, but if we're gonna look for highlights, Enright and O’Donnell’s chemistry is undeniably “bromantic” as two best working buds challenged not only by the dangerous situation they find themselves in, but too the troubles of every day mid-life such as failing marriages and getting outshined by better co-workers. Do wished we got more light on the carpet fitters' side of the plot, but for what we have so far, it ain't all that bad. Adding the matter that the direction doesn't follow the typical choices of who lives and dies with some characters actually making realistic choices, though their odds of escaping their predicament alive are just as well off as those making the cliched dumb ones, then you have a somewhat interesting slasher comedy that punches in a few fun (and not-so-fun) surprises.

Cannibals and Carpet Fitters (2018) smooths through its 83 minute short running time with an understanding pace, though the ending does felt a lot anti-climactic as it left us hanging with a bittersweet cliffhanger. Nevertheless, the movie is a gorgeous final product (considering its crowdfunded budget of estimated £100,000) that delivers the shocking and messy goods traditional scare fans can enjoy earnestly, all the while sharing the horrors with fun laugh out loud moments. If you're in the mood for cannibal slashers and simple comedy, this movie's a great number to satisfy the need. Carpet fitters do not cry, but they'll do if miss this one out!

1 male attacked and had an entire eye eaten off, killed
1 female gets her head split in half with an axe
1 male decapitated with an axe
1 male stabbed on the throat with a pair of scissors
1 female seen legless and killed
1 female shot through the head with a crossbow
1 male shot with a crossbow, falls off a building
1 male found with his neck gnawed open
1 male ran down with a van
1 male shot with a crossbow
1 male knifed through the back, exits to chest
1 male had his throat cut with a knife
Total: 12

Saturday, April 13, 2019

That Dude In The Skirt and Paper Bag: National Lampoon's Class Reunion (1982)

National Lampoon's Class Reunion (1982)
Rating: **
Starring: Gerrit Graham, Michael Lerner, Fred McCarren

Horror spoof is supposed to be funny. To be funny is to be clever. To be clever is to understand. National Lampoon's Class Reunion (1982), hailed by writer and director of some of the most successful live-action comedy films of the 1980s and 1990s such as Weird Science (1985), Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986) and Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987), John Hughes, only partially understand.

Do the math (or something) and you can tell from here just how funny Class Reunion is.

Coming out as a cross between Prom Night (1980) and Airplane! (1980), it's the 10th-year reunion of Lizzie Borden High School's Class of '72, which have the now-adult alums returning to Count Dracula's dilapidated castle their Alma Mater for a grand party. The celebration is soon interrupted when a Hare Krishna alumni gets killed, his body swung across the stage and a suspect gets brought up: Walter Baylor, the class geek who was the victim of a Terror Train (1980)-inspired prank on graduation day. The group then discover they're locked inside the school and it's now up to a couple of brave (and a few dumb) souls to stop the madman before they're all killed.

Or, y'know, annoy the killer enough to contemplate if said killing spree is even worth it. That alternative.

Much so with the case of other slasher spoofs like Student Bodies (1981), Pandemonium (1982) and Scary Movie (2000), horror is an element rare in presence for the likes of National Lampoon's Class Reunion (1982) and the movie instead relies on being a full blown comedy that satires the dead teenager flicks of its time. (Hence the lack of a high kill count) Now this film admittedly has its fun and funny moments, but how the rest of its so-called comedy was handled and timed just feels too random, resulting to an end product that's simply a messy cluster of odd characters, cheeky scripting and corny gags with little to nothing of it coming together. So if the jokes aren't a little too corny, they're instead a complete groan-inducing miss.

Class Reunion at least has a very wobbly leg of a saving grace to stand on, as it boasts an impressive and familiar cast (Stephen Furst, Anne Ramsey and Michael Lerner just to name a few), as well as Blackie Dammett, who does a damn great job in his role as the demented Walter Baylor. You can simply tell Dammett is the best part of the movie for all of the scenery he's chewing whenever he's up on screen and the guy certainly is having a blast owning the part, so much so that he's probably the one and only good reason to see this film.

At the gist of it all, don’t expect to be rolling around on the floor in laughter with National Lampoon's Class Reunion (1982). It tries everything (and I mean everything) to be funny, but the lack of solid satire and creative gags make Reunion completely miss its point way too many times and hitting it way too little. A real disappointment for a spoof.

1 male strangled with a phone cord
1 female killed offcamera with a chainsaw
1 male and 1 female killed offcamera
Total: 4

Monday, April 8, 2019

So I just saw the new Pet Sematary...

Okay...now that I have that out of my system, where did all go wrong?

I'm never a big fan of the 1989 Pet Sematary movie but I can at least tell it works. Excellent atmosphere coupled with capable actors and nightmarish scenes, the movie is a deserving cult classic despite a few dated effects. This one? This remake? The HELL is this?! Jump scares and a rushed plot has no place in a creepy story about cursed lands and undead children! 

This isn't an effective slow burn cautionary tale about dabbling with the unknown and simply letting go, this is a bland, clichéd, cheap horror modern movie that lacks anymore substance than just to plain exist!

I...ugh....this is just underwhelming. I guess if you're looking for a B-movie, the new Pet Sematary is okay-ish? But I personally believe it could have been a whole LOT better if they took the story more seriously and find a more fitting tone and style.

I'm just... gonna sit down now. I think I'll re-watch Overlord (2018) to lighten up mah brain. That's a fun movie...

Monday, April 1, 2019

Inked In Blood: The Fury (2006)

The Fury (2006) (AKA "Off-Panel")
Rating: ***1/2
Starring: Matthew Jockey, Emma Lin, Joshua Macks

Traumatized from nearly killing his girlfriend during an argument gone way bad a year ago, Lester (Matthew Jockey), a comic book artist and writer living in the city of Ashville, North Carolina, struggles to disassociate himself from his first graphic novel, a bestselling slasher story simply titled The Fury, fearing that the violence he envisioned for the book is affecting his psyche negatively.

His new lighthearted comic, however, isn't much of a hit which queues in his editors and publishers advising him to try his hands on another horror story, much to Lester's dismay at first until his psychiatrist friend Jolene (Emma Lin) convinces him to comply as a way to come in terms with what he did and hopefully move forward.

Unbeknownst to him, someone out there has taken a liking to The Fury a bit too much as a trail of brutal murders soon makes its way around the city with the perpetrator (calling himself "Instinct" after the comic's lead killer) eventually targeting Lester's publishing circle, as well as his friends, family and former lover. It soon becomes a race against time for our artist and a responding Sheriff  to stop "Instinct" before the obsessive killer preys on the very comic creator they look up to. But what do we make of the strange bloody visions Lester have been getting lately, or the concerning matter that the latter killings resemble those from pages he hadn't even published yet...?

Harking back a bit of Tenebre (1982), A Cat in The Brain (1990)The Dark Half (1993) and even Haute Tension (2003), The Fury (2006) is an ambitious mid-2000s slasher that attempts to blend commentary, psychology and a splatter-filled bodycounter under one helping. Though this attempt to put more brain in your run-in-the-mill slasher isn't exactly new (try any Italian Giallo from the 70s to the 90s) and the resulting film is anything but a perfect amalgamation of mind and mutilations, Fury at least succeeds in being a worthwhile watch promising imaginative kills for anyone lucky enough to see this rarity.

For what its worth, the more narrative-focused scenes were passable enough to follow through as they do put some thought on the commentary they're implying regarding violence in media and how it affects those involved in it, may it be those who consume it or those who instigate it. The brutality of the murders also helps add some weight into this idea as it cleverly questions just how well our protagonist is to begin with and just how far has he dug down the rabbit hole to be that good in drafting his horrible works on paper. Frankly, they could have made a tamer and more serious movie surrounding this topic, but the over-the-top kills littered left and right says otherwise and, even if they do leave the film uneven in tone, these murders are more or less the reason this film's a hoot to watch.

Done practically with little to no CG, the kills in Fury puts the gore in gory, near-borderline into torture porn (and, later, splatstick) territory. The killer doing them, in turn, is this rainslicker-donning brawn that's constantly shirtless to show off the self-carvings adorning their flesh, remaining silent for most of their onscreen presence and only starts talking to reveal this movie's own twist that, honestly, a tad groan-worthy seeing it's been done and over with by other films. This fortunately meant that the villain has an air of coldness in the little screen time he's allowed to utter some lines, relying more on the bulk and hulk for the rest of their more physical scenes that I could oddly compare being a cross between Friday the 13th's Jason and Candyman (1992)'s, well, Candyman.

The direction can be all over the place, but The Fury (2006) holds its ground enough to maintain a basic story of fanaticism and uncontrollable fury. It's a tad shame that it's such a rarity of a find as I'm earnest fans of splatter and gore will find this nearly lost gem a satisfactory addition to their collection. If you could find a copy of this, cherish it and enjoy it. Just don't loose your head over it...

1 female had her head pulped with a tire iron, hurled through a car window
1 boy hit on the face with his own mother's pulped head, smothered in brain matter
1 male beaten with a rebar, repeatedly impaled
1 male brained, gets a whole brick force into his mouth and choked
1 female stabbed in both eyes with screwdrivers, pushed head-first to a fusebox
1 male shot through the back of the head with a handgun
1 male had his gut hacked open with an axe, force fed water with a fire hose until innards get strained out from gut wound
1 male brained and paralyzed with a hammer, dunked in a tub full of powdered lye
1 female found with her back flayed open and her lungs pulled out from her shattered shoulder blades
1 female gets a garden shear through underneath her jaw
1 male had his spine severed by the neck with a knife, forced into a car and rolled into busy traffic; immolated in car crash
1 driver immolated in car crash
1 male hoisted and impaled with a shotgun, head shot off
1 male had his leg shot off with a shotgun and his arms torn off, bled to death
1 male bisected with a chainsaw
1 male had a heel cut with a knife, repeatedly forced into and off a running chainsaw, mutilated 
1 female hits her head against a table, bled to death (flashback)
1 male knifed to death (flashback)
1 male bitten on the neck
1 female dragged into a padded room, presumably killed
Total: 20