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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

VLOG (2009)



It is finally time to finish the last flick from my trip to Family Video last weekend. Of all the movies I picked up, this one actually seemed based in reality more than the others did. In these days of assaults and murders prompted and searched for online, this definitely seems right for the times. Being from the creators of SAW was just a bonus. The flick is VLOG from 2009.


Plot/ From the producers of SAW, VLOG is a groundbreaking extreme-horror film about a real-life webcam girl whose online murder is not what it seems.


When I saw this one at the video store, I was excited. The premise seemed interesting, and with all of the craziness that takes place online between blogs, vlogs and sites like craigslist, this seemed right up that alley. While it was all that, it was quite anticlimactic as well. Yes, there was a touch of realism, some awesome gore (but not enough) and the ending was a decent twist, there was just not enough. Unfortunately, the pacing was a bit slow, there was not enough death, the storyline was uneven and the performances were bland. Honestly, if they could have built upon the scenes of gore (the exploding bong was definitely worth a double-take), this could have been an awesome flick. Instead, it was an average horror film and nothing special. You can check it out if you want to, but do not hold out high hopes.


A Short Script Attempt



Two years ago, as part of the the 10th Anniversary Blobfest, they had a short film script-writing contest to offset their short film contest. As a writer it was a challenge to in 500 words or less, create the missing scene from The Blob.



If you are familiar with the movie, this would be about what happened in the bar on Second Street that is talked about in the movie but never shown. In scene 240, Sgt. Burt recounts how he stopped at the Second Street bar while making his rounds, finding no one there. Also, when two of the teens stop in another bar to help rally the town against the monster, the bartender tells them about some excitement at the Second Street bar earlier that night.



While my entry did not win, I held my head high as it was the first screenplay of any type that I finished.
 
Here is the Script:
 
239A. CAMERA PANS PAST HARLEY JOHNSON BEHIND THE BAR AND DOLLIES IN ON MARTY WATSON AND THE  DEER TROPHY HANGING ON THE WALL ABOVE THE JUKEBOX.

TIGHT TWO SHOT MARTY AND THE DEER FAVORING MARTY (IN A JOVIAL MOOD).

MARTY: (TO HARLEY) it’s about time for a hunting trip. I was talking about it earlier at work, some of the guys are heading out this weekend. Buddy up here on the wall could use a friend.

HARLEY: (STOCKING GLASSES BEHIND BAR) Yeah, it has been a while. I remember the trip when we bagged that one.

MARTY: That was a cold one… The wife still reminds me of how sick I got when we came back. I’d readily do it again though; it’s about time to get away.

HARLEY: Same here, though, Ida would just prefer me saying around town, playing bridge or attending the gardening club meetings. Ever since Bobby left for college, it has been the same thing.

MARTY: I miss those trips with Bobby and Joe. What is Bobby up to these days?

HARLEY: Bobby is good, studying medicine, wants to be a doc. He says, everyone gets sick and there is a fortune to be made in medicine. I hope he is right; this education is costing me a fortune. So, give me a big tip tonight (LAUGHS).

MARTY: (STILL LOOKING AT DEER) Sure thing buddy. I wonder if we can get ol’ Joe to join us. I haven’t seen him since he moved up into the hills after his wife was killed on the highway.

HARLEY: Yeah, he took that hard. It has been almost two years now. No one has really seen him. Say… I have Monday off, let’s go up Old North Road, find him and make plans.

MARTY: Sounds great, just like old times.

CAMERA PANS TO THE EDGE OF THE BAR AND SHOWS THE BLOB CREEPING TOWARD HARLEY.

HARLEY: (PLACING WHISKEY BOTTLE ON BAR) I can pick you up around 4… What the… (DROPS BOTTLE – SHATTERS) Marty!

MARTY: (TURING TOWARD BAR) What is going on over there? HARLEY… You there? Harley stop fooling around, you think you are one of those kids? Kids these days, HARLEY!

CAMERA PANS WITH MARTY TOWARD EMPTY BAR WITH SHATTERED BOTTLE ON TOP. SCREAMS CONTINUE TO EMINATE FROM BEHIND.

MARTY: (CAMERA PANS WITH HIM AS HE MOVES TOWARD BROKEN BOTTLE) Harley… You… OK… Harley.

MEDIUM CLOSE SHOT OF CHARLIE AT BAR PEERING OVER TO SEE WHAT IS HAPPENING TO HARLEY.

MARTY: (STARTLED, OVERTAKEN BY FRIGHT) HARLEY! MONSTER! (BACKPEDDLING INTO TABLE) Oh God, what the—M—M--MONSTER!

Panicked and in shock, CAMERA TRUCKS WITH HIM REVEALING CREATURE MOVING OVER BAR TOWARD HIM.

MARTY: (SHAKING AND SCARED) MONSTER! I must Warn everyone, HARLEY! (TURNING AND RUNNING TOWARD DOOR – CAMERA TRUCKS WITH HIM) HELP! Mon--monster--MONSTER!

WIDE ANGLE FROM BAR UP STREET TOWARDS STOPLIGHT FOLLOWING MARTY AS HE IS RUNNING AWAY.

MARTY: (RUNNING, LOOKING OVER HIS SHOULDER BACK TOWARD BAR) MONSTER! HELP ME! NO… Dead, Harley’s dead… Mon--monster--MONSTER!




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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Blood Oath (2007)



Now that we have been in Pennsylvania for roughly four months, I have really started to miss the Troma onDemand station on our Comcast cable system. I love schlock, low budget and independent flicks and Troma has delivered some awesomely entertaining ones over the years. Unfortunately, now my only chance to catch some are on Netflix, pick them up at a convention or maybe at Family Video, vice in my living room on a regular basis. I wish Atlantic Broadband got a Troma Channel, but Hell, I doubt that happens anytime soon. To my amazement Friday when I was at the video store, I saw those magical words “Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz Present a Troma Team Release,” the film Blood Oath from 2007.


Plot/ A group of friends on a weekend camping trip decide to investigate a local urban legend. The trip will change their lives as they are forced into a fight for survival against a horrific monster.


For me, I love films from Troma and there is no better example of low budget schlock out there. Yes, they will never win an Academy Award, but that is not their intent. Whenever you watch one, you should already know that technically they may be flawed and the storylines are ridiculous (but, usually feature blood and boobs).  Although this movie started promising, it is no different, heaping the ridiculousness with cliché after cliché, crating something laughable albeit maybe too over-the-top (even for Troma).  Really, some of this is beyond terrible, the cinematography varied from contrived to bad, the effects absurd (wow, floppy cocks), and the script horrid (some of the worst dialogue ever). Honestly, it pains me to say that even for me and my love of No Budget Indie Flicks, Troma and bad B Movies, it was hard to watch (even the twist ending). In the end, unless you are running a midnight horror show and need a modern twist on a 1980s slasher / comedy, stay far away from this one, it is THAT BAD!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Solitude - (A New Piece For My Zombie Epic)




This is going to be part of my zombie epic (if I ever get around to finishing it). Unfortunately, I am unsure which character is speaking to me with this one. I am sure I will figure it out in time...

It haunts me in times of solitude
A vague whisper of a dream I can almost remember
The lingering warmth of a forgotten touch
I sense it there, in the darkness
In the quiet moments of times I can barely recall
Resting on the limits of my reason
It calls to me, urging me to cry out
Only to have my voice echo into nothingness
It is a history that was written in stone ages ago
And every figure of it has faded away
To leave me here to live in the shadow of a wraith
A vision of what was and a lost wish of what may be
I know it, and I know it is there
It waits for me to discover it once more
To unearth the secrets it holds and find myself
Because without it I am but an undefined impression of possibilities
It becomes me as I have always been a part of it
A promise that has existed since the dawn of thought
A gift inherent in the very fabric of the soul
But it hangs shrouded by the hopes of man
Concealed in ghostly images of all that it should have been
Here in the silence I hear it through the veil of time
And its words reverberate in the core of me
I quiver, though in fear or anticipation I cannot be sure
All my knowledge of it is an amorphous conglomeration of confusion
To reach out, to grasp it, to understand
But it is the phantom that lurks over my shoulder
That dream I can almost touch
It visits the edge of my memories and lines them with silver
It comes to me while I am alone with the past
And its vanishing countenance stays with me

Bio-Dead (2009)



After watching Psychosis last night, I decided to change things up and watch something with a more post apocalyptic feel in honor of reaching the 300-day mark on the apocalypse countdown. While I have no doubts that we will all be here on December 22, the idea does make for some good fun (as well as an excuse to start hitting the bucket list). Fortunately, there is a lot of material out there to help quench my end of the world cravings; this one is the 2009 Sci-Fi /Horror entry Bio-Dead.


Plot/ After a biological disaster wipes out millions, a rescue team finds themselves under attack from something even more deadly than they ever imagined - zombies in need of human flesh.


This low budget Sci-Fi / Horror flick has a lot of unfulfilled potential. Once you get through the initial stages (half-hour or so), the film (for the most part) features surprising cinematography, decent scenery and a sound post-apocalyptic atmosphere. Unfortunately, some of the overall feel and entertainment value is lost in the finely manicured sets (the locations looks cleaner than my man cave), uneven script and flawed lighting. In the end, it did boast some good moments, had some originality and was somewhat entertaining. While I will not recommend this for everyone, if you are fan of post apocalyptic movies, you may find this one interesting.  

Psychosis (2010)



When I went to the local Family Video to pick up some stuff last night, I grabbed some lower budget horror as well as some darker stuff for the girls. OK, maybe Scooby Doo and the Lake Monster is not dark or totally for the daughters, but hey, who can pass up Scooby Doo? I know I am a sucker for Scooby. The first movie I decided to watch (after Scooby) was 2010s British horror entry Psychosis.


Plot/ In 1992 a group of young Anarchists braved the snow covered wilderness to set up camp against the construction of a motorway by-pass. A terrible fate awaited them. 15 years later Susan, a successful horror novelist and sensitive soul relocates from her native California to the rural English countryside in search of peace. It is here that Susan's living nightmare unfolds.


When I started watching this flick, I had no idea it was actually a remake of the 1986 anthology film Screamtime (the second segment Dreamhouse), but I got the feeling that I had seen it before. Sure, that could have been from the linear clichéd storyline, stale dialogue, uneven pacing or rigid performances, but there was definitely something familiar. Yes, the ending was a bit of a twist I was not quite expecting, but that was not enough to make this one stick out in my mind as memorable. To be honest, I have seen worse and I did not fall asleep, so it was not all bad. However, there is no way I could recommend this for anything more than background noise when working (if you are like me an enjoy working to the sounds of horror).
 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Blood Night: The Legend of Mary Hatchet (2009)



As February starts winding down (still waiting on a picture of my Exorcist Birthday Cake), I decided to take a couple days away from the computer.  However, with it being Friday, and snow in the forecast, I ran to the video store for some flicks for the upcoming week. Before I get to those, it was time to finally sit down and finish the last movie from the previous group, the 2009 slasher starring Bill Moseley, Blood Night: The Legend of Mary Hatchet.


Plot/ A group of teenagers celebrating Blood Night, the anniversary of the death of a local axe murderer, Mary Hatchet, suddenly find themselves face to face with the realities of her haunting. As they run from the bloody rampage left behind, they will need to survive the night to expose the truth behind the legend of Bloody Mary.


Ahhh, hitting the low budget horror section again (one of my favorite venues). By now, anyone reading about this (or interested in) this movie should already know that it is a B-movie, and it suffers from many of the flaws that permeate through this genre. Really, this one follows the low budget blueprint to a T, featuring a clichéd story, predictable scares, blood splatter and gratuitous nudity. Yes, the opening sequence is decent (and bloody) and the flick is rather entertaining, but it is really nothing to get excited about. The acting is uneven, the gore (while bloody) is rather tame and the ending was unsurprising (although the parts leading up to it was actually funny). In the end, this one is nothing new and fits right into the genre. While not for everyone and far from perfect, I have seen A LOT worse. Check it out if you want, I am sure you will feel the same.  


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Cyrus: Mind of a Serial Killer (2010)



Growing up, I always liked mysteries, I always wanted to be a detective and work for the FBI. I wanted to go back in time and solve the Jack the Ripper case, yeah, I was a bit of a dreamer. I remember reading the book Journey into Darkness; for the first time seeing the demented minds of serial killers. The reality of what drove them and knowing that they could be standing next to me was a scary thought. Since then, I have always had a soft spot for movies based on serial killers (and occasionally write about them when I do write anymore). One of the latest movies I have watched on the subject was an interesting indie flick, Cyrus: Mind of a Serial Killer from 2010.  


Plot/ An independent TV reporter and her camera operator interview a man in regards to a serial killer the man knew by the name of Cyrus. The man traces back through the story of the serial killer and why he became the monster he is.


Reality can be dark, and serial killers often make the world darker. Movies about serial killers can be hit or miss, with many suffering a clichéd death. That pain is felt on this one, as there are many cliché moments throughout. However, with this film being loosely based on the life of a real serial killer (Fritz Haarmann – the butcher of Hannover), those moments and some of the storyline should be a bit familiar (even if it is a movie). Overall, I found the storyline interesting (albeit a bit predictable), the acting solid with just enough of graphic visuals to keep things dark and even a bit disturbing (breastfeeding anyone?).  Sure, some of the pacing is a bit slow and some of the characterizations are off, but those are easily overlooked. In the end, this flick is nothing new, but it was an entertaining trip into a story about a serial killer and his demented ways. Sure, it is not for everyone, but if you like movies based on serial killers, you should definitely like this one.  


Monday, February 20, 2012

Headspace (2005)



Yesterday when walking through the video store, I decided to venture into the discount area to see what gems I could find. In all, I came home with a handful of flicks that should make for some fascinating viewing material over the next few days. Of course, I could have watched more had I not worked today, but I guess that is what happens in the civilian sector. Oh well, the first flick that I watched was an interesting endeavor, Headspace from 2005.


Plot/ Long-suppressed memories surface and Alex must face the terrors of his violent past, a vanished older brother, a father who abandoned both his sons, and a mother who was viciously murdered. The visions intensify and he begins to experience intense headaches that ultimately cause him to blackout. However, it is only the beginning of Alex's calamity. Friends and neighbors are disappearing, and people are whispering rumors of a serial killer. Menaced from all sides by the forces of evil, Alex must overcome his past and contain his own deadly urges so he can discover the demons that haunt him.


Sometimes when you look at a movie, you have high hopes and things crash around you, others take that excitement and reward the viewer with more than they expected. That is the feeling I got after watching this one. Complete with a solid cast, this flick was an interesting and intelligent little horror flick. The storyline works well, even with the apparently underdeveloped subplots within the content of the complex story. The main characters are solid, the effects tremendous, the performances decent, and the cinematography is excellent. In fact, most of the movie is top-notch. Yes, there are some flaws with pacing, some moments were predictable and there is some choppiness in the storyline, but those are easily overlooked. In the end, this is no bloodbath, but it is a creative and entertaining creature feature. If you have not seen it, check it out!


Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Devil's Rock (2011)



Turning 40 yesterday was so anti-climactic, although, I did get some awesome stuff for gifts from the family (plus an AWESOME Exorcist-themed Birthday Cake). Honestly, when you combine the Lonesome Wyatt CD and Those Poor Bastards shirt from last weekend, with a new grill, a discarded religious shrine box with real exorcism candles and a couple of sweaters, it was an grand day. Of course, my birthday would not have been complete without watching something dark. My selection for the evening was 2011s The Devil’s Rock. Really, could I go wrong with Demons, Nazi’s, War and the Occult?


Plot/ Set in the Channel Islands on the eve of D Day, two Kiwi commandos, sent to destroy German gun emplacements to distract Hitler's forces away from Normandy, discover a Nazi occult plot to unleash demonic forces to win the war.


Any time I see a Nazi and Occult themed piece, I am drawn in. Unfortunately, these flicks sometimes do not deliver and I feel unsatisfied. That definitely was not the feeling with this low budget entry from New Zealand. This intelligent, character driven horror flick has a lot going for it. The storyline was interesting, the acting solid, the effects (more so bloody scenery) were awesome and the atmosphere was tremendous. Yes, the opening was not the greatest, the CGI (only used a little) was fair, and the lack of overwhelming gore will turn some people off, but they should be the minority. In the end, this smart and dark atmospheric gem should be seen and appreciated. Especially, if like me, you love the mysteries of the Nazi and Occult connection.


Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Tunnel (2011)



Finally, time to review the final movie I picked up at Family Video last weekend. Yes, it is decently early in the day for a quick review, but with it being my birthday, we will be having dinner at my mother’s house this afternoon and I have no idea what time we will be home. The last flick was pretty much the opposite of the other stuff I picked up, it was the 2011 Australian import (underground funded) The Tunnel from 2011.


Plot/ An investigation into a government cover-up leads to a network of abandoned train tunnels deep beneath the heart of Sydney. As a journalist and her crew hunt for the story it quickly becomes clear the story is hunting them.


For me, this Australian indie hand-cam docudrama style flick is definitely one of the best entries in this genre. Yes, it is not perfect, suffering from some poor pacing, strange plot development, little blood, guts, and some small editing issues. However, there is a great deal of solid acting, outstanding sound and the atmosphere seem genuine and creepy (I would definitely not want to be stuck there). In the end, this was a very entertaining and atmospheric trip into darkness and very enjoyable. If you are fan of found-footage mockumentaries, you should truly enjoy this one. If you do not like that sort of thing, stay away.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Slashers Gone Wild! (2006)



Funny how weeks work, yesterday, I was exhausted as I was still recovering from the Hackensaw Boys, who put on a tremendous show at The Rex on Wednesday. I know that I wrote on here. Hell, I could barely remember that I did so. Tonight, after a small nap, I feel much better. I hope that feeling carries over into tomorrow, as my birthday finally arrives. With the birthday in the air, I decided to continue with the more comedic material I have watched recently with Slashers Gone Wild! from 2006.


Plot/ In search of a headline that will make her a household name, a reporter uncovers a forbidden world of decadent madness and murder. She uncovers a horrific website where dark twisted souls upload footage of their crimes. These demented monsters are competing for their spot as SLASHER OF THE YEAR. Will she be able to withstand the gut-wrenching horror as countless lives are vanquished before her eyes? Will the slashers be relentlessly slaughtered by the demonic Kevin Tooler and his undead army of ghouls? Who will survive and live to tell?


Cheesy B horror movies can be a mixed bag from good to horrible. Fortunately, there are times where these low budget entries can be more than just cinema fodder, they can at least be entertaining schlock. That was the case with this one. Yes, technically (and functionally) it is bad. The acting ranges from so-so to poor, the effects were laughable and the plot was exaggerated. However, that is just fine with this one, as the comic elements were hilarious, the gore was aplenty (even if the effects were low-grade) and as over-the-top as it was, the entirety of the mess worked well together. In the end, this will not win an academy award or even be confused with a good movie, but if you like horror / comedy with outrageous (but cheap) gore, you may enjoy this one.



Thursday, February 16, 2012

Bitch Slap (2009)



After a day away from the blog, I decided to jump back into things literally with a bang. OK, I do not have a gun or fireworks to shoot off, but there was enough of that kind of exaggerated action in this flick to make Republican’s smile or giggle inside. Hell, I bet the democrats cringe at stuff like this (especially someone as idiotic as Tipper Gore, who ruined the creative process in the United States). What is it you ask? It is Bitch Slap from 2009.


Plot/ When three curvaceous babes, stripper Trixie, business executive Hel, and the feisty ex-con Camero, arrive at a desert hideaway to steal a stash of diamonds from an underworld kingpin, things quickly spiral out of control. Allegiances are switched, truths are revealed, criminals are unmasked and nothing is quite what it seems as the fate of the world is precariously balanced among this trio of sexy femmes fatales.


As soon as I read the case on this one, I had a feeling that it would be some sort of Russ Meyer tribute, something that would warm my heart on these cold nights. Fortunately, that was pretty much what it was. Yes, it was an over-exaggerated, bad B-movie, but that is exactly what it was supposed to be. Actually, this was an entertaining and fun romp through classic exploitation / grindhouse cinema. It had everything that made those flicks awesome; big boobs, cheesy dialogue, creative camerawork, cool gadgets, and over-the-top action (and did I mention hot chicks with big boobs). Yes, there was uneven to poor acting and a unfortunate soundtrack, but it all seemed to come together to form an amusing action flick that pays homage to a generation of movies that should never be forgotten. Sure, it is not for everyone and anyone expecting a masterpiece should stay away, but if you are fan of low budget exploitation cinema, definitely check this one out.