Thursday, October 31, 2013

All month the horror movies selected for Horrorthonpalooza were new to me. 80s, 90s, 2ks… It didn’t matter, just so long as I hadn’t previously watched the movie it was fair game. I always knew that tonight was going to be different. I specifically bought the DVD I watched for tonight’s review knowing that I wanted to feature it on Halloween. What movie did I choose for such a prestigious position? Tonight’s movie is the 20th Anniversary Edition of Redneck Zombies

Redneck Zombies was made by Pericles Lewnes. It was released by Troma in 1987. The 20th Anniversary Edition was released to DVD January, 2009. Lewnes is one of the fathers of the straight to video market. Redneck Zombies is the first film I can remember watching that was shot entirely on video and released directly for homevideo. Lewnes worked for Troma as a special effects supervisor on The Toxic Avenger Part II, The Toxic Avenger Part III, and Troma’s War. He also worked on Shatter Dead.

The plot is fairly simple. A soldier allows a barrel of chemical warfare toxic waste to fall out of his jeep. The barrel of toxic waste becomes part of the redneck’s moonshine still. This toxic moonshine turns the locals into zombies. A group of city type campers is added to the mix. So far, so good. Toss in a gratuitous shot of nipples, some baby chickens being mutilated, the Tobacco Man and you have the Redneck Zombies experience.

All of the Rednecks are great. They consistently have some of the best lines. During one exchange Billy Bob, who prefers to be called Ellie May, grabs his fishing pole and begins to leave the scene. His father, Jed, stops him.

Ellie May: Gotta go.
Jed: Well, where you going?
Ellie May: I’m going fishin’!
Jed: Got worms?
Ellie May: Yeah, but I’m going anyway!

In additional to cheesy, but highly quotable lines, the boys get to hang out with Tobacco Man. I remember watching the movie with a group of people. Everyone was talking and having a good time, barely watching the movie, until Tobaccco Man appeared. He was such a startling figure that everyone stopped talking and paid attention to the movie for a few minutes. Tobacco Man is a great character.

There's dark times a comin'.

Redneck Zombies is not short on crazy, ridiculous gore. Lewnes knows how to spend a dollar to make it look like twenty. The budget was reportedly around 10,000 dollars. Even considering it was made in 1987 that is still not a lot of money for all of the effects they use. Lewnes wisely has his zombies go for the eyes. You can apparently work some gruesome gore effects cheaply while pressing your fingers into someone’s eye sockets.

Would I recommend this film? Yes. I mean, I own the VHS from back in the day and now I have purchased the 20th Anniversary DVD. This movie was one of the first, if not THE first, movie I ever watched that was shot on video. I remember the night I watched it. I was going to premiere a crappy movie that I had made on video and I wanted a real movie to show the audience afterwards. Of course I wanted to punish the audience with both flicks. When I spotted the cover for Redneck Zombies I knew it would be a great accompaniment. I remember watching Lewnes film and thinking… “Who would bother making this crap?” Of course I had just featured my direct to video crap. As Redneck Zombies continued I remember thinking, “This is crap… brilliant crap!” I was ashamed my movie had so little blood and gore. Thank you Pericles Lewnes for challenging me to make my films increasingly goretastic. Thank you for making a terrible film great.

The original cover art.

The day has arrived! All Hallow's Eve.
31 Days, 31 Movies, 31 Posts

Finally, I can take a break from Horror movies and go back to watching Horror movies.

I will offer one final Horrorthonpalooza review later tonight for 2013 and then it will be back to business as usual for Geexplosion. Back to usual means a return to 80s wrestlers, comic books, and other Pop Culture bites that might be of interest.

I would like to recap some of the movies that I have talked about over the past month. I have those that are in my Top 5 and those that are in my Bottom 5. I hope that some of these movies, good or bad, were new to you and inspired you to seek them out for a viewing.

In no particular order

In no particular order

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Tonight’s movie is Haunter.

Haunter was directed by Vincenzo Natali. Natali previous directed the science fiction films Cube, Cypher, Nothing, and Splice. The movie was written by Brian King who also wrote Cypher. Haunter had a limited release in October, 2013.

The film stars Stephen McHattie and Abigail Breslin. I enjoyed Stephen McHattie so much in I thought I would investigate one of his latest films, Haunter. Once again McHattie’s performance is good. He is particularly sinister as the Pale Man, aka the Haunter. By the way, note to Natali, where I’m from (earth) we call these things ghosts. Abigail Breslin’s turn as a frightened young girl is excellent but it lasts for too long. You can only be pensive for so long and then you become either apathetic or angry. It just doesn’t work - at least from a viewing standpoint.

Breslin is good at this look... but it only works for so long.
The movie opens with Lisa (Breslin) experiencing the same day over and over. Lisa believes this event has happened for at least a week. The audience is guided toward the idea that Lisa thinks she is being haunted by a girl her age named Olivia. Unfortunately, we know from the beginning that this is a rehash of The Others and Lisa and her family are the ghosts. This is as obvious as the fact that you are watching a movie.

Lisa is visited by the Pale Man (McHattie) who tells her to mind her own business or he will punish her family. From this point on the movie gets even slower as Lisa attempts to solve a mystery that doesn’t exist.

Would I recommend this movie? No. It looks nice but it is slow as hell. As mentioned earlier, Breslin’s character is forced into a mystery that simply does not exist. We know who the serial killer is… do we really need to know his name? Is that the huge plot point? Haunter not only has a silly name, but it is a muddled mess.

Someone just told her she has to watch Haunter again.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Tonight’s movie is Bloody, Bloody Bible Camp.

Bloody, Bloody Bible Camp was written and directed by Vito Trabucco. Trabucco has a history of successful short films but Bible Camp was his first full length picture. Bloody, Bloody Bible camp was released to DVD in October, 2012. Trabucco is working on a movie titled Never Open the Door for 2014. The movie was produced by Reggie Bannister of Phantasm fame. Reggie also stars in the movie as Father Richard Cummings.

The opening sequence begins at the bible camp in 1977. The residents are behaving badly. Thoughts of drugs, drink, and fornication are foremost on their minds. The girls are cool with sex just as long as the men look like Jesus. This naughtiness riles up a murderous nun named Sister Mary Chopper. This sequence is the best part of the movie. The characters are equal parts ridiculous and believable. The opening is a 20 minute segment that you might find yourself watching again after the movie has finished. Sadly, the characters in the opening are much more interesting than what follows.

The movie begins in 1984. A church van hauls a group of students to Happy Bible Camp aka Bloody Bible Camp as it’s known to the locals. As with the first group, these misfits are more intent on partying than studying the good book. Well, except for Timmy, who gets holy boners. True to the morality of the 80s Slasher, Sister Mary Chopper is determined to kill anyone that sins.

Bloody, Bloody Bible Camp is a low budget movie that is aware of its limitations. It maintains a mixture of campy comedy, gore, and seriousness that elevates it above the more slapstick, absurd horror comedies.

Would I recommend this movie? Sure. Trabucco has created an homage to the 80s Slasher film. Instead of celebrating the grit and grime associated with the era in the manner of Rob Zombie; Trabucco decided to celebrate the campy aspects of the genre. And for the most part it works. How can you dislike a film that glorifies the Merkin in the first 20 minutes?

Monday, October 28, 2013

Tonight’s movie is Lizzie Borden’s Revenge.

This is an example of an effective movie cover.
For those unaware of Lizzie Borden’s history states:

On August 4, 1892, Andrew and Abby Borden were found murdered in their home. Lizzie was arrested and tried for the axe murders. She was acquitted in 1893 and continued to live in Fall River until her death, on June 1, 1927. The case was never solved.

The movie was directed by Dennis Devine. I guess Divine is responsible for the script; although I would be hard pressed to agree that anyone wrote a script. Two people are credited with “ideas.” I would find this amusing but one of the idea people is Ted Chalmers. Chalmers is president and CEO of TomCat Films a growing producer and distributor in the vein of Asylum, but better.

I traveled to the future to watch this movie. According to IMDB Lizzie Borden’s Revenge is due to be released February, 2014. Will it be worth the wait for those of you unfortunates who do not own a time machine? Read and discover what awaits you in the FUTURE!!!

The movie opens with a terrible introduction to Lizzie Borden and her family. Lizzie has an argument that I glossed over and then Lizzie freaks out and attacks her stepmother (Brinke Stevens). She weakly swings an axe at Brinke only to have terrible CGI blood splash everywhere.

The opening is followed by a super long credit scene that lasts seventy-two hours.

When the opening credits end, four thousand years later, we are immediately treated to a sorority slumber party where one of the girls, Leslie Borden, is a direct descendant of Lizzie. We are informed that Lizzie was a lesbian and there is nothing wrong with girls drinking and being naked together. I love movies that teach as well as entertain.

I knew going into this movie that it was going to be bad. So it was just a question of how bad and could I tolerate the badness to completion. I also knew that this movie had the potential for nudity. Oddly, these movies typically only feature topless and thong shots. I am not demanding full nudity – just an observation. One might imagine that full frontal is cost prohibitive, but a movie will often feature several fake breasted starlets going topless. Why not pay for one quality full frontal? Again, not a demand, just an observation.

I am often surprised at the length of these movies. Why bother? You know the movie is complete crap, made only for the Japanese market, and people like myself. Don’t torture us any longer than necessary.

If you use CGI blood for stylized violence like 300 then you are using it right. However, if you use CGI blood because you are too cheap or lazy to use real props then you shouldn’t be making a horror film. You should be working at Dairy Queen. This is not meant to be offensive to anyone working at Dairy Queen. I love soft serve ice cream.

The actress that plays Leslie Borden (Veronica Ricci) is so hot that it thankfully distracts me from the rest of the movie. For the record Ricci does indeed do the quality full frontal that I complained about earlier. I doubt anyone will feel cheated. Upon doing an IMDB search of this young lady I find that she has a long list of lesbian and soft bondage movies. I seriously had trouble watching the rest of Lizzie Borden’s Revenge and not searching the internet for Ricci’s “other” films.

The things I do for science.

In defense of the film, all of the girls do a pretty good job. Their acting is adequate and all of them could eat crackers in bed without worry about being asked to leave. Jenny Allford is both the living and the dead Lizzy Borden. The other actresses include: Kelly Erin Decker, Krystal Ellsworth, Mindy Robinson, Shanalynne Wesner, Ginny You, and Tiffany Mualem. Mualem was a standout, but to be fair to the other ladies, Tiffany was the only actress given a chance for anything in the way of character development.

Would I recommend this movie? Meh. It helps when you go into a movie knowing exactly what you are going to get and you get it. I am okay with the topless girls but really, the lack of any attempt to scare of frighten, combined with absolutely no gore or even the attempt… the money guided into this project would have been better utilized making a soft core erotica for Cinemax.

Stick with the other cover.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Tonight’s movie is Pontypool.

Pontypool was directed by Bruce McDonald. McDonald’s previous works include Roadkill, Highway 61, Hard Core Logo, and The Tracey Fragments. The movie was adapted by Tony Burgess from Burgess’ novel Pontypool Changes Everything. The movie was released theatrically March, 2009 and on DVD and Blu-Ray January, 2010.

If you told me that I was going to watch a horror movie that was mostly a talking head film I would ask you to pick another film. For the most part when people start chatting the movie starts to scream and not in a good way. Of course, most movies aren’t as well written and directed as Pontypool.

The movie begins with radio personality Grant Mazzy (Stephen McHattie) driving in a snow storm. When Mazzy comes to a stop a strange woman approaches his car and parrots the ex-shock jock as he questions her well-being. Without warning she runs back into the snow storm and Mazzy, confused as to what action to take, continues on his way to work.

Grant Mazzy is a new hire at the Pontypool radio station. His technical director, Laurel-Ann Drummond (Georgina Reilly) seems to have a crush on Mazzy, or at least is in awe. The program director, Sydney Brair (Lisa Houle), finds issue with Mazzy’s big city style and tries to guide him to moderate his message to the more sedate Pontypool.

Things get bizarre when reporter Ken Loney (Rick Roberts) calls in to advise that a riot is taking place at a local doctor’s office. Loney’s transmissions are suspect but at the same time quite frightening if true. As Loney’s calls continue the situation becomes equally real and dire.

I do not want to reveal much about the cause of the infection but it becomes apparent very soon. It is a topic that could be discussed ad nauseam. Let’s just say that words are infectious.

Burgess is not a fan of the word zombie when speaking of his creations. However, one of the classic tropes of Romero’s zombie films is isolation. Setting this movie in a radio station with the only line of communication being the creepy calls from Loney is a masterpiece of isolation. Mazzy’s reactions to Loney are completely what one would expect from natural skeptic. McHattie the perfect actor for this role; his voice is amazing. He starts off with a casual intensity and builds up to a manic confusion.

Would I recommend this film? Yes. It’s not going to be everyone’s bent but I certainly appreciated the cerebral twist to the zombie tale. McHattie’s mere presence captivates from the beginning to the end. Sure the premise is a bit weird but it’s no more bizarre than the dead coming back to life.