Archive for the ‘Movie Review’ Category

Deathrow Gameshow (1986)

DeathrowGameshow_onesheet_USA-1

Directed By: Mark Pirro

Starring: John McCafferty, Robyn Blythe, Darwyn Carson, Beano

Synopsis: A sleazy gameshow host is dodging death threats after he executed a mob boss and his hit (or miss) gameshow, Live or Die.

Thoughts: Lowbrow in the best of ways, Deathrow Gameshow will have you groaning and shaking your head throughout. It’s jam packed with horrible jokes (Slow Children, for instance), dodgy FX (If you can call them FX) and over the top acting by John McCafferty and Beano, the world class hitman.

Deathrow Gameshow is either your jam, or it isn’t. I don’t see people having an opinion in the middle of the road here. It’s not a “good” movie by any stretch of the imagination, but man does it bring back memories of scanning VHS covers at the video store. The gore is pretty much non-exisitent, with all those scenes but away, so without the couple of topless shots, this is pretty much a PG-13 movie.

Hobgoblins (1988)

Hobgoblins

Directed By: Rick Sloane

Starring: Tom Bartlett, Paige Sullivan, Steven Boggs, Kelley Palmer, Billy Frank

Synopsis: A pack of mind altering hobgoblins escape their prison on a movie lot to wreak havoc. Can Kevin, the new security guard, stop them before they kill too many people?

Thoughts: Once a movie is featured by Mystery Science Theatre, it’s pretty much cemented as one of the best worst movies of all time. Hobgoblins seeks to cash in on the small statured monster movies like Gremlins, Critters and Ghoulies, and tries it with the smallest budget imaginable.

The creatures have a pretty decent concept, but they are poorly made and there is absolutely zero articulation with them. They are props that are thrown at victims and zoomed in on once in a while.

Like the FX, the acting is pretty atrocious. I haven’t had an opportunity to watch the MST3K episode, but after sitting through the movie, I think I need to see it. Much like the first half of this double feature, Hobgoblins is far from a good movie, but it sure is fun. I think it would make a great companion to Ghoulies or Critters in a movie marathon.

A Word About Vinegar Syndrome:

I was blown away by the quality of both of these releases. The care and attention is second to none, including much bigger releases. They are doing amazing work for the film industry, preserving movies that most companies will not touch and making them available for the masses. Support them, or risk losing the opportunity to see movies like this forever.

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Holidays

It’s October, so it’s time for The Madness! This year, we are focusing on Holiday Horror movies and Anthologies. The mascot film is Holidays (of course!) and it’s bound to be a really fun month. I am not a participant this year, but am acting as a Judge for Team Cryptkeepers!

Check out the Madness on Facebook. It’s a non-stop stream of posts and contests and it is home to a lot of great people!

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Director: Rene Cardona, Jerald Intrator

Starring: Jose Elias Moreno, Carlos Lopez Moctezuma, Armando Silvestre, Norma Lazareno, Gerardo Zepeda

Synopsis: In an effort to save him, a mad scientist transplants a gorilla’s heart into his dying son. What follows is a spree of violence and rape.

Thoughts:
In the 60s and 70s it was very popular for Mexican genre films to luchadors into their monster movies. It seems like a great idea to me! Night of the Bloody Apes is the English version of Cardona’s 1969 La Horripilante bestia humana, or The Horrible Man-Beast, which in turn is a remake of one of his earlier films!

Night of the Bloody Apes has a lot of features you would look for in a genre film. You have a Mad Scientist, a deformed lab assistant, a rampaging beast, tons of nudity and of course the added Mexican flair of Luchadoras! Sadly, the Luchadoras aren’t really involved in the plot as much as they should be. I would have liked to have seen a couple of fights with the “man-beast”!

Even though this was on the Video Nasty list, I was a little surprised at the amount of gore and nudity throughout, something you just didn’t see a lot of until later in the 70s. Although pretty tame by todays standards, I can see how the BBFC flagged this movie. To think, had they not out it on the list, I probably would have never watched it!

If you’re thinking about watching this movie, you must be making your way through the Video Nasty list, or picked up the Something Weird DVD at some point. It’s not a film that is talked about a lot, nor is it really that good. There are worse movies on the list, but Night of the Bloody Apes isn’t too terrible to watch.

How Nasty Is It?
There are a handful of scenes where the man-beast rapes women. It’s not on the level of I Spit on Your Grave, but it’s still there, and you end up with the “blood on boobs” that was essentially an auto-inclusion for censorship by the BBFC. I didn’t feel like I needed a shower after this movie.

 

Cannibal Holocaust

Directed By: Ruggero Deodato

Starring: Robert Kerman, Gabriel Yorke, Francesca Ciardi, Luca Giorgio Barbareschi, Perry Pirkanen

Synopsis: A documentary film crew goes missing in The Amazon and a rescue mission finds only their lost footage.

Thoughts: This is quite possibly the most notorious of the Video Nasties. Director Ruggero Deodato was charged with obscenity shortly after the premier and would later, he would even have to defend himself against murder charges! Only after gathering the actors for an interview, and showing footage of how the rigged the impalement scene, were the murder charges dropped.

Cannibal Holocaust is a very well made film. The social commentary and raw violence will shake all but the most hardened viewers. Included in that violence are a couple of scenes of animal cruelty (animal deaths really). Deodato would later regret introducing the animal scenes in the film. Scenes like this don’t bother me too much, as I grew up on a farm. It helps knowing that the animals killed here were eaten by the cast and crew.

The cast did a phenomenal job, even though I hated almost all of them! The original crew that went missing were the real savages here, which is what Deodato was striving to show. We fear what we don’t understand, such as indingenous Amazon tribes, but in reality, we can be much more terrifying.

You don’t see a lot of discussion around it, but Cannibal Hoocaust is one of the early “found footage” movies. Deodato used this method to great effect, without giving us the “shaky cam” that makes recent found footage difficult to watch at times.

Cannibal Holocaust is one of the those movies that every film fan, not just genre fan, should see. It’s not something that I revisit often, but have seen it enough times that the shock has worn of a bit. It’s still not a pleasant experience, but that’s what Deodato wanted. It truly earned its place as a Video Nasty.

How Nasty Is It?
Pretty damn nasty! There are gruesome scenes throughout the movie. There’s on screen animal deaths. There’s cannibalism. Many of the movies on the Video Nasty list make it based on one scene, or even a title or VHS cover. This is not one of them.

Night-Of-The-Demon

Directed By: James C. Wasson
Starring: Michael Cutt, Joy Allen, Bob Collins, Jody Lazarus, Rik Fields, Michael Lang, Wanda McGinty, Shannon Cooper, Ray Jerris

Synopsis: A professor and his students trek into the wildnerness to search for Bigfoot. Bad news; they found him.

Thoughts: In a lot of ways, this movie epitomizes the 80s independant horror scene for me. It’s a pretty basic story, but one that works. The camera work is not good, nor is the lighting. There are some scenes that you can barely see because they are so dark. The imagination of the film makers far exceeded their budget, but there were some pretty impressive scenes, both of which I am sure contributed to this making the BBFC’s Video Nasty list.

The first scene is without a doubt where Bigfoot surprises a guy taking a leak in the bushes and proceeds to rip of the old bait and tackle. Between the full frontal shot and genital mutilation, the BBFC cronies may have shut off the tape after this one scene, but later in the movie, there is another pretty great scene. Towards the end of the movie, Bigfoot busts into the cabin and deals some major damage, forcing one poor victim’s face into a stove and using the disemboweled intestines as another as a weapon.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not a good movie. The acting is pretty atrocious, and like I mentioned, there are times you can barely see the screen. Yet, with all it’s deficiencies, it has some charm to it. I’ve watched this 3 or 4 times since really getting interested in the Video Nasties. There are plenty of the Nasties that I wouldn’t rewatch.

If you’re a Bigfoot fan, or interested in the Video Nasties, check this out. Otherwise, I can’t really recommend this one.

How Nasty Is It?
I’d be willing to place a wager that the BBFC needed nothing more than one scene to place this on the list. Full frontal nudity, followed by Bigfoot ripping off a guys junk probably induced some horrified groans. There are a couple of scenes that are pretty gruesome as well, but nothing out of sorts from the early 80s.

Crowley LTD Poster

Directed By: Adam Green

Starring: Parry Shen, Kane Hodder, Laura Ortiz, Felissa Rose, Tiffany Shepis, Dave Sheridan, Krystal Joy Brown, Brian Quinn, Chase Williamson

Synopsis: Victor Crowley returns to wreak havoc on trespassers in his swamp.

Thoughts: Adam Green pulled off the seemingly impossible and filmed Victor Crowley, or Hatchet 4 in secrecy, and even debutted it with the crowd thinking it was an anniversary screening of Hatchet. Since then, Green announced a nationwide tour, with Green and guests in attendance in select cities.

I had the chance to catch Green in his stop in Houston, the 2nd city on the docket. Sadly, the theatre wasn’t sold out. It was a Monday, but I still thought the place would be packed! The crowd that was there had a lot of fun. There were laughs, groans, and a few screams throughout the night, which you would expect from Crowley.

Green spoke about a lot of things and is a very genuine and funny guy. First, he spoke about the genesis of his Hatchet series. Green likes to have fun and in the mid 2000’s, the horror genre wasn’t all that fun. Torture Porn, big studio remakes and PG-13 horror ruled. Green set out to make an over-the-top slasher flick that brought the genre back to where he thought it should be. While his on-screen kills are some of the goriest things imaginable, they illicit more laughs than stomach-churning winces.

The second thing that really resonated was how piracy affects him and his cinematic family. I know a lot of people don’t think twice about illegally streaming or buying bootlegs, but it’s detrimental to the genre. The saddest part is that a lot of people don’t realize it’s negative impact. Green mentioned that he often has someone brag about streaming his movies when he meets them! It’s because of this piracy that we are not likely to see a sequel to Digging up the Marrow.

There was also the option to buy some very cool merchandise at the show. I picked up the limited edition print and had Adam sign it, as well as a book that was featured in, and written specially for the movie. They also had replica prop Victor Crowley skulls and Hatchets that are made to order and even little dolls that are featured in the movie!

As far as the movie, Adam Green implored the audience to keep details to a minimum, so I’ll honor that request. Victory Crowley is very much a Hatchet movie. The kills are over the top, there is comedy throughout, and there are plenty of horror genre veterans throughout. I will say that this feels more like the first movie than the last one. By Hatchet III, there was so much on screen carnage that it was hard to keep up. In the 4th installment, there are fewer kills, but each is memorable, including one that belongs in the outrageous kills Hall of Fame!

I encourage Hatchet fans to get out and support Adam Green, Victor Crowley and the independent horror genre! You can find tour dates here, courtesy of Bloody Disgusting.

 

 

 

Contamination_Poster
AKA Alien Contamination
Directed By: Luigi Cozzi

 

Starring: Ian McCulloch, Louise Marleau, Siegfried Rauch, Marino Mase, Gisela Hahn, Carlo De Mejo, Carlo Monni, Mike Morris

Synopsis: Alien eggs are showing up everywhere, spewing goo that causes people to explode. How are they spreading, and who can stop them?

Thoughts:
Following his modest success with Starcrash, Director Luigi Cozzi set out to make another Sci-Fi film. As many Italian genre movies tend to do, eyes turned towards American success, settling on Ridley Scott’s Alien. Cozzi couldn’t match the budget that Scott worked with, so the film takes place on Earth.

The film’s producers were in the same office that cranked out Fulci’s Zombie 2, so Ian McCulloch was selected for one of the star roles. Cozzi wanted to add Caroline Munroe, but was over-ruled, which is too bad, as she is a great actress and absolutely gorgeous.

In typical fashion, the movie was filmed quickly over 8 weeks. Cozzi had different plans for the alien at the end of the movie, but budget ultimately overruled his vision, and what we saw on the screen was a poorly crafter animatronic puppet that Cozzi claimed didn’t ever work and he was forced to use clever editing as the alien was moved off-screen. Watching the movie, the alien is not impressive.

In the end, Contamination isn’t as big of an Alien rip-off as I was expecting. Sure, it has alien eggs that spell certain doom for people, but the similarities pretty much end there. I really enjoyed the first two thirds of the movie, but when they get to the alien at the end, they lost me to a degree. Even still, Contamination has a certain charm to it and I can see myself watching this again. There is a very nice Arrow edition available if you are looking at adding it to your collection.

How Nasty Is It? As far as Video Nasty’s go, Contamination isn’t that bad. There are loads of exploding people, but it just isn’t very graphic. It’s pretty obvious how the effects are pulled off, as the camera cuts away, then goes back to a dummy with an explosive pack on it. I think Contamination is one of those moves that made the list more on the thought of what is happening rather than actually judging what is on the screen.