WARNING: THIS BLOG CONTAINS BODYCOUNT, THUS A HIGH RISK OF SPOILERS. ENTER IF YOU DARE.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Slitting Up and Freaking In: Innocent Prey (1983)

Innocent Prey ( US/Australia, 1983)
Rating: ***1/2
Starring: P.J. Soles, Kit Taylor, Grigor Taylor 

Behind the suit and tie, Cathy Will's husband Joe has a nasty habit of slitting throats when he is in a bad mood. She found out about this the harshest way when she spotted his car parked to a motel one night she dropped her friend off to the airport, and finds him in tryst with a prostitute, slitting her throat in the middle of their passion.

Obviously frightened of her discovery, Cathy called the cops and set-up a bust the very same night, with the men in uniform already waiting outside their isolated ranch to capture her husband once she made him confess his killings. But this only sets Joe deeper into dementia; a few days after his capture, he found the opportunity to escape the asylum he was carted off to and made his way back to finish off his wife.

A few cops got called and killed in a not-so-gory yet acceptable fashion, leaving Cathy to defend herself in your typical slasher film way until her sheriff friend came on the scene and assured her safe. She was for that night as her husband hot foots away, evading capture.

The attack pushed Cathy into flying away to Australia from Dallas, and live there with another friend, but things are far from fine; not only had her husband found out where she moved to, but she also caught the attention of another psycho; the tech-savvy maintenance keeper of the building she is living in, who monitors everything happening in each room with hidden cameras and rigged each door with powerful volts.

Obviously, Cathy's life is messed up from that point on, but the film itself? While it does play with the idea of a woman in peril in such odd heights, I wouldn't call it terrible.

Innocent Prey had a good build-up around its characters, though I do feel that the two psychos were simply there to be menaces in the story and our lead heroine Cathy (played by Halloween 1978's P.J. Soles) does come quite naive at times. Dialogue can be a bit goofy at times but it adds to the playful cheesiness this film was obscuring under the attempts to make the production look serious. By the time Cathy moved to the land down under, it took a breather and gave us some soap-opera hysterics where Soles' character adjusts to her new life. Due to this, it had its slow moments, but director Colin Eggleston of Long Weekend and Cassandra (1986) knew how to build good tension and thrills to keep things interesting while we wait, most of it coming from Kit Taylor's own take as a maddened hubby, and John Warnock as a landlord with a thing for voyeurism and electrocution. 

This tone does come unstable at times as some scenarios come out looking over-blown, as if the plot just kept getting trashier and edgier by the minute. Needless to say, the last shot of the movie seems to hint this but it strangely fits the undeniable cheddar that reeks out of the otherwise dramatic twists, more the reason for us horror fans to at least give this bonkers movie a swing.

It's not perfect as you can tell; a lot of elements don't work out but when it comes to low budget and low realism, Innocent Prey thrives from this and if you're the kind who cannot tolerate outrageous character and plot build-up, then you'll be riding with a headache.

Otherwise, if you're the kind of slasher fanatic who can tolerate a good sense of hamminess, this is a movie to add to your collection. I know I did!

Bodycount:
1 female gets her throat cut with a razor
1 male found knifed
1 male knifed on the gut
1 female found decapitated
1 male had his neck snapped, set on fire
1 male murdered, method unknown
1 female electrocuted in a pool
1 male electrocuted on a rigged door knob
1 male pushed through a window, falls to her death
Total: 9

Monday, March 23, 2015

Literature Gone Deader: "Kids Get Dead" Double Bill Review

Kids Go To The Woods...Kids get Dead (2009)
Rating: **
Starring: Leah Rudick, Andrew Waffenschmidt, Joseph Campellone 

Presented in a midnight movie fashion where a young hot hostess "Candy Adams" cuts in and out to give her insights for the film, Kids Get Dead (not a typo. I'm unsure what they were trying to accomplish with that) is a throwback to the halcyon days of 80s backwood slashers with a few dabs of 90s self-awareness.

The 80s backwoods slasher-part is basically "80s backwoods slasher"; as the title suggests, teens go to a backwoods cabin to celebrate their friend's birthday, who in turn brought along her horror-obsessed younger brother who spends the entire weekend reading a slasher novel, which suspiciously also titled as "Kids Go To The Woods...Kids Get Dead".

This is where the 90s self-aware part comes in. Sort of. As a horror nerd, younger brother gets his geek out with the book he is reading, much awkwardly when he is the only one in the whole pack who finds it exciting. But the further he reads (and the more "kids get dead" under the hands of a gas mask-wearing killer), he began to notice the similarities of what is happening in real life with the events written in the book. Though one may wonder why he didn't just skip a few chapters ahead and beat the killer by reading what he'll do next, this is the only novelty Kids Get Dead is willing to offer.

Very little is done to explain this magical book so in the end, we are still stuck with a routine slasher where the gore is bright red and bodies pile up in a decent momentum. The killer does look pretty badass with his gas mask and air-tanks but, just like the prophesying novel, not much was given to explain his motive and origin, and he is simply there to  slaughter some partying teens.

Casts are paint-by-number cliches, though a majority of them are unlikable due to being plain, annoying, an asshole, or an odd combination of the three. Thankfully they were done away in gory fashion with much sensibilities of that of an 80s backwoods slasher.

Sad to say, as much as I want to at least like Kids Get Dead, the movie has very little to offer save the decent gore effects and a promising yet easily ditched idea of literature paralleling reality. Add the lack of any characters to root for, and the annoying and unfunny interludes with the hostess, giving the film both a running time and  tribute to midnight horror shows, the film gets a viewing just for the sake of curiosity or if you're a slasher completist.

Bodycount:
1 female stabbed to death with a hunting knife
1 male gets a throat cut with a hunting knife
1 male axed on the head
1 female hacked to death with an axe
1 female stabbed with a hunting knife (dream)
1 male gets a throat cut with a hunting knife
1 female smashed to a mirror, killed with a hunting knife
1 female kicked to a bonfire, face burned
1 female gets a thrown hunting knife to the back
1 male disemboweled with a hunting knife
1 male axed on the chest
1 male got his throat ripped off
1 male gets his head twisted to the back
1 male impaled with a broken shovel handle
Total: 14

Kids Get Dead Part 2: The Kids Get Deader (2014)
Rating: **1/2
Starring: Sam Albertsen, Pawl Bazile, Kathy Biehl

And five years later, The Kids get Deader.

The movie, still presented as a late night horror show hosted by a new, perkier and cheesier Peaches McNeil, picks up a few years later after the first; as the lone survivor of a backwoods massacre that took also took the life of her brother, Casey sets out to find the author of a novel that foretold the killings, Charles Carver, with hoping to get some answers.

Upon meeting him, however, she discovers that another novel had been published and Carver somehow has god-like powers, bending reality to torment and hinder her from stopping him. (Think Suther Kane from John Carpenter's cult masterpiece In The Mouth of Madness. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, you are missing a lot as a horror fan.)

All the while, a party is happening on the other side of town, where a lonesome horror geek finds himself caught in not only bullying sluts, beer-jugging idiots, and stoned morons, but also a sleek, machete-wielding gas-masked psycho. Will history repeat itself? Or will Casey make it in time to stop the slaughter?

A slight improvement on some levels but, much like the first film, it is still missing some prowess. In typical sequel fashion, the kills are gorier and a lot more elaborate, with some metaphysical reality-bending mumbo-jumbo thrown in that, while hinted to have some kind of explanation, it is still obscured in favor of teen bodycounting.

Also like the first movie is the film's lack of sympathetic characters; though we all can root better for the horror-fan outcast that acts as this entry's secondary lead, the rest of the victims-to-be are characterized as partying and sexcapading idiots who are just begging to be killed. Thankfully, we have another gas-masked killer out to do just that, looking less hunched and more modernized than his last incarnation.

Tone is uneven, sometimes delving into cheesier realms but the movie does have its mean streaks delivered in unforgiving and near-hopeless fashion. Much of this comes from the character Charles Carver, who's power to write anything into reality screams a classic Twilight Zone feel, and too the dread of questioning one's reality in a mind-bending kind of way. This could had gotten better if it wasn't for the budget, but I am willing to overlook this seeing how well the slasher parts and the production was handled at least.

Though I'm still not a fan of cheesy interludes cutting in just when the story is getting good, Kids Get Dead 2 seems to be working into something big and I have to be honest, it does made it worth looking into. A possible third entry is hinted in the end, but only time can tell on how serious they are with that claim; until then, should you have the time and/or curiosity to look into this series, give the first one a go before jumping into this piece.

It's not the best franchise around but it is struggling to be the next big thing to come for dead teenagers films. Lets savor the effort.

Bodycount:
1 female hunting knifed on the head
1 male had his groin bitten off, face flayed off with hunting knife
1 male disemboweled with a knife, strangled with his own guts
1 male immolated in car explosion
1 female had her neck broken
2 males gets a double throat slashing with a hunting knife
1 dog thrown dead
1 male ran through the face with a lawnmower
1 male axed on the gut, head stomped
1 male eviscerated with a knife
1 female beheaded with a hunting knife
1 female knifed to death
1 male drowned in a toilet
1 male axed on the chest
1 female knifed on the chest
Total: 16

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Boy Scout Be Damned: Cub (2014)

Cub (Welp) (Belgium, 2014)
Rating: ***1/2
Starring: Stef Aerts, Evelien Bosmans, Titus De Voogdt

It was a bright and sunny morning when 12-year old Sam spiraled straight down to hell; as a "Pathfinder" scout, he joins other youngins' on a camping trip down the woods, under the watchful eye of two Scout masters and a gal volunteering as the camp's cook. But being orphaned, Sam's a tad down and finds it difficult to get along with others, a reason enough for the other children and one notorious scout master to constantly bully him.

One night, the scouts were told of an old legend about a werewolf named Kai, which is believed to make mischief in very same the woods they are staying. But Sam never bought the story until he felt eyes watching him behind the thick trees and finds a large nest-like tree house not far from camp. He soon encounters a mask-wearing feral boy who had been stealing food from their camp, which Sam came to believe as Kai. When he tries to convince the rest of  what he found, he is further ridiculed for believing the silly legend.

Things go for the bloody when Sam angers the bullying scout master after the boy caught him spooning the cook, leading to the jerk to attack him with his pet pitbull. Kai saw this and offers Sam a chance to get even by clubbing the dog to death. With Sam to blame, the boy ran away from camp as the others gave chase, unknown to all of them that the feral boy isn't the only one to keep an eye out for; somewhere deep in the forest is a killer with a penchant for deadly Goldberg traps, and he had the entire forest littered with them.

Cub is a slasher movie that pushed some boundaries and succeeded in a level; with the entire premise focusing on a lonesome scout and how he descent into a night of survival and madness, it is pretty gritty as we get violence against anything that breathes.

What impressed me is how well the build-up for this violence was handled.The best way to describe Cub is that it's a pot-boiler; for a movie that runs an hour and 20 minutes, credits included, it took about a near hour before the killings begin. Until then, we took our time following on Sam's ordeal under the hands of most of the gang, as two particular boys and the one aforementioned scout master did the most damage, while the two other adults simply try to put everything under balance but fails to set anything straight or simply choose to remain quiet. These are no means comedic, and the sense of hopelessness and isolation is overwhelming. This helps set up what could be "justified" violence as Kai and an unnamed maniac decided to track down their prey.

By then, Sam's unusual relationship with Kai is explored, as the two mirrors an odd reflection of each other for being outcasts and sporting a mysterious and violent past. But the boy's strange pasts aren't the only one thing obscured here; without revealing much, you can say that the direction of the movie had us wallowing in an uncertain tone as anybody can die off once movie finally got its momentum and the production made an exceptional expense in keeping the deadlies as graphic as they are shocking.

A dog was clubbed for nearly 3 minutes, children were beaten against trees, thespians are slaughtered with knives and booby traps, the slasher parts resembles the same twisted machinations from the home invasion-slasher hybrid, The Collector, with a bit of feral boy madness from that of Lord of The Flies or that obscured cheesefest Memorial Valley Massacre. (Wouldn't blame you if you hadn't heard of that one) The one flaw I see here is the last act where everything halts to give the characters a moment to choose sides and survive, only to take an odd turn with an ending that may divide an audience but cathartic nonetheless.

In the end, Cub proves its worth as a serious slasher horror that deserves its praise and its audience; there's the depth of innocence being lost as temptations for vengeance and power took hold, mixed incredibly well with stock cliches of an 80s slasher movie. It's definitely a gem well-needed to be tracked down and enjoyed by fans alike.

Bodycount:
1 male killed offcamera
1 male pinned to a tree with a shot arrow, stung to death by bees
1 dog bludgeoned with dead branches, throat bitten
A number of bodies seen frozen inside a freezer
1 male gets a pocket knife to the eye
1 boy ran down with a van
5 boys and 1 girl ran over with a van
1 male crushed by falling logs
1 boy knifed to death
1 female impaled through spikes, knifed to death
Total: 14+

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

There'll be Girls. They'll be Dead: Girl House (2014)

Girl House (Canada, 2014)
Rating: ****
Starring: Ali Cobrin, Adam DiMarco, Slaine


When I came about Girl House, I have absolutely no idea what I'm getting into; yes, I'm aware that this is another slasher movie and yes, I was aware it had something to do with porn, but my God I never knew it'll be this good. Guess it does help not to read about a movie before seeing it. (Sometimes; picture all the cash I would have saved if I knew how bad Sledge was gonna be...)

We open with a 1988 Alabama, where a nameless chubby boy was chased and bullied into flashing himself by a couple of girls. This obviously sets him off and we later see him exacting vengeance upon one of the skankerous tykes by pushing her off a bridge.

Skipping to the present, Kylie is a college gal who's father recently passed away; hoping to settle her own tuition to help her mum, she took the opportunity to star in a live webcam voyeur/chat show called Girl House, where paying viewers can watch the girl's daily x-rated adventures inside the house as well as chatting with them, mostly for a show. The house is supposedly unhackable, untraceable, and secluded to make sure no one would dare intrude and harass the girls living there.

Seeing this as a fair and well thought offer, Kylie was toured, settles down in the house, and became an instant hit during her first live strip show, much to earn the respect of (most) the other girls living there, and the site's faithful viewers.

This is where we get to see two of the site's patron that we should keep an eye at; one of them was Alex, who's bestfriend Ben isn't technically a fan of the site but got drawn there after recognizing Kylie from kindergarden, a flame that he is still keeping alive. Alex plots to have Ben to man up and start dating the girl of his dreams, which is pretty sweet and gave the film a good bulk before the killing starts.

And speaking of which, the other patron is none other than the now-adult fat kid in the opening, usernamed "Loverboy". He grew up a computer whiz (smart enough to undo the Girl House site's complicated firewall system) and was instantly infatuated with Kylie, but judging from the basement full of edited pictures of him and the other house girls in romantic settings, and a life-sized mannequin for kissing practice, its obviously the kind of infatuation that ends up with a stalking, and/or a corpse or two.

The movie took its time building up Kylie and Ben's budding relationship, all the while showing how Kylie is holding up with her new role as a teenage smut celebrity of sorts. But when a chat conversation between Loverboy goes wrong, Kylie and the girls soon faces the deranged fan's wrath and he skillfully hacks into the site's security and video system, trailing the house and easily murders his way through.

This is around the last third of the film and frankly, I think they pulled it up pretty well. Part of why Girl House works well as a slasher movie is that it paces itself fairly building tension and depthness within its premises rather than the exploitation. Sure, there are some softcore scenes where the gals strip for show, but this isn't the main focus of the movie. Instead, it took a good bulk looking into Kylie's character and the brooding of a mad man who's hatred for girls is one sided yet scarring.
Ali Corbin of American Reunion did a fine job as Kylie, giving her a believable take as a teenager whose career choice is something one would not be proud of but is doing everything to make it work. I find the choice of obscuring the character's strip session wise as it avoid dehumanizing her, hence the sleaze is minimal despite all the sexual set-pieces and this I came to like about Girl House; a slasher film with focus.

Interestingly, the story goes as far as making the Girl House website and house entirely different from your usual smut sites; the owner is fair (and gay), gives the girls all the freedom to do whatever they want with the patrons, meaning they can simply talk with them without ever showing their tits on screen. Not much focus was given on the girls and thanks to this approach, they do come off as meat for murder. A slight flaw from an otherwise perfect slasher film.


Then again, slasher fans should be thrilled to know that this film really knows how a hack-a-thon works; savagely non-CG slayings, inventive murder weapons, unexpected turns, and a really cool killer get-up, Girl House feels like a 90s slasher with 80s style killings. Since we get to know early who the killer is and why he is doing all of this, I have to admit this made the plot lacking some tension, but the energy put into these set-up and the fluid camera work helped make up for the loss, brought to life brutality and horror entertainment rarely seen nowadays.

The final result is a slasher movie that deserves to be seen by not just slasher fans, but horror purists as well. Good premise, excellent execution, well-scripted and acted casts, and bloody brutal kills, Girl House is too hot to miss!

Bodycount:
1 girl pushed off a bridge
1 male had his head crushed with a door
1 male seen murdered
 male seen with a throat cut
1 male seen murdered
1 male seen murdered
1 male had his neck broken
1 female strangled with a chord
1 female had a dildo shoved down her throat, smothered with a length of tape
1 male beheaded with a hacksaw
1 female based on the head with a crochet mallet
1 female stabbed through the back with an animal horn
1 male stabbed on the neck with a screwdriver
1 female hacked with a hammer claw
1 female smothered with a plastic bag
1 male found bled to death from stab wound
1 male had his face pulped with a camera
Total: 17

So Halloween (1978)!

Here Come The Furies: Savaged (2013)

Savaged (AKA Avenged, Ravaged) (2014)
Rating: ****1/2
Starring: Amanda Adrienne, Tom Ardavany, Ronnie Gene Blevins

You know what I hate in life? Intolerant extremists. May it be of gender, religion, or race, I tolerate all but the intolerant, especially racists rapists. With that said, you can tell how much I adore this gleefully fun revenge thriller, blood, guts and all.

Zoe is a deaf woman who's on a state-long car ride to live with her boyfriend, Dane. Things goes awry, sadly, when she tried to rescue a chased native American from a pick-up truck full of redneck hooligans; they punks caught up, murders the poor fellow and captures Zoe to rape, torture and, when she tried to escape, murder her.

She was buried in a shallow grave that night, but as time goes by, her remains were discovered by an old Native American witch doctor who tries to resurrect her. (Good karma, I guess) The spell worked, but the soul of a killed and vengeful Apache warrior tagged along and possesses Zoe's body, with plans of using her to avenge his death against the ancestor of the man that killed him. (which, by luck, was the guy who raped Zoe)

One by one, the hicks fell victim to their own victim, which escalated drastically when Dane shows up in town looking for his girlfriend, and ends up kidnapped by the rednecks with plans of using him as bait; this sets both Zoe and the fallen warrior out for a bloody showdown against those who wronged them and to save an innocent life.

While marketed as a rape and revenge thriller, Savaged is much closer to the likes of The Crow, focusing less on the exploitation nature of rape movies and more on the character development and buckets of gooey gore to satisfy horror hounds. And though there are moments where it can be a bit cheesy, the story has tone, both somber and, surprisingly, hopeful, going well along side-to-side with the beautiful cinematography and a skilled pacing that took time to build around its characters.

The casts does an amazing job portraying their roles, particularly Amanda Adrienne as our lead, Zoe; Since she is supposed to be deaf, her screen time consists of strong body motion to express her plight and exhaust from being exploited, murdered and then revived to a state that she wasn't prepared for. Even before she gets in this predicament, her handicapped state is not an just excuse to make her sympathetic, it's a state she is going through and will do anything to prove to the world she can do more despite her state. More the reason to root for her and feel for her.

From time to time, she gets possessed by the Apache warrior, who dishes out the coolest and goriest murders one would find in a revenge thriller. Guts be pulled, heads will roll, and topped off with a chainsaw fight between a hick and a supernaturally empowered woman, all done with 90% traditional, non-CG effects, which is always a plus for bodycounters.

Said would-be corpses also pass their own interesting take on cliched characters. They're not cartoonish stereotypes, but simple jerks and racist hicks that are just begging to get what's coming to them. Rodney Rowland as Trey and Tom Ardavany as West are two sides of the hick coin; while Trey is boisterous and the most jerkish of the bunch, West is intimidatingly calm and and orders his crew with a knife hidden, taking his time to strike.

Of course, there were more thespians tossed in the lion's pit for the sake of kill count but some of them were there for a reason. May it be to avenge a fallen son or awaiting to be killed cuz they were aware of who's residing underneath Zoe's body, they all fall under the tomahawk's edge.

The only flaw I can see here, and the one most viewers will agree, is that some CG shots looked weird and shows how much was spent for the movie. On the upside of this, it also shows how much skill writer and director Michael S. Ojeda have for genre flicks, and with the proper budget, would probably ended up with the next indie hit since Halloween (1978)!

Ending with a bittersweet and hopeful tone, the final product is a thriller with a well-placed supernatural overtone, splashy gore, a fitting love story and bad guys getting their just desserts. Believe the hype, Savaged is one for the shrine. A video shrine!

Bodycount:
1 male ran over with a truck
1 male stabbed to death with a hunting knife
1 male stabbed on the eye with a broken pool stick
1 male disemboweled with a broken bottle, killed
1 male slaughtered offcamera
1 male shot to death with arrows
1 male impaled through the head with a thrown spear
1 male beheaded with a tomahawk
1 male slaughtered offcamera
1 male hanged and gutted
1 male hacked with a thrown tomahawk, heart cut out
1 male found dead with wrist cuts
1 female hacked with a tomahawk
1 male decapitated with a tomahawk
1 female set on fire
Total: 15

Hell hath no fury like a woman and a native scorned

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Thy Future is Harsh on Thy Throat: Rumpelstiltskin (1995)

 Rumpelstiltskin (1995)
Rating: **1/2
Staring: Max Grodénchik, John Ducey, Kim Johnston Ulrich

Once upon a time, in a land somewhere in 1400s Europe, the monstrous imp Rumpelstiltskin had stolen a baby from a mother, claiming it as his reward for spinning her some gold from ordinary hay. An angry mob is after him, cornering the hunchbacked creature at the edge of a seaside cliff as they threatened and beg for the baby. He challenges the mob to "bring the pain" and took no time showing off his demonic prowess and killing a few locals.

That is, until a witch stepped in, apparently part of the mob; she casts a curse upon old Rumpelstiltskin, turning him into a stone sculpture and will remain like that for a thousand years, or until a widow with a baby makes a tearful wish. Sure of herself that the odds of exactly that happening are slim, she casts Rumpel-stone-skin to the sea below, hoping it will never reach surface.

It did.

Forward to present time Los Angeles, where a stay-at-home wife Shelley was talking to her policeman husband of what they'll name their unborn baby when a mugger decided to commit grand theft auto right in front of the cops. (In broad daylight, if I may add!) Naturally, a shootout happens, and both the mugger and hubby cop bit the dust, leaving Shelley a widow and their child fatherless.

Nearly a year later, Shelley is doing well enough as a single mother but obviously still grieving over the loss; her squeaky-voiced friend suggested that both her and little baby Johnny could use a breath of fresh air and invited the two for antique shopping.

It just so happen that a new shop opened and was selling a vast collection of oddities; one of which happens to be the petrified remains of ole' Rumpy. The sculpture automatically caught the attention of Shelley, opting to buy it despite the warnings of the store's baggy-haired, maybe-a-witch owner that it is not for her.

Obviously, she didn't listen and after hearing that the stone grants wishes, she asked it to bring her husband back once she took the sculpture home. Later that night, her wish was granted (to an extent), releasing Rumpelstiltskin from his curse and is now after her baby John when she failed to say his name that one time.

The rest of the movie is basically a chase story; after escaping her first encounter with Rumpel, Shelley is then chased out of her house and into the road, meeting a TV show host that just happens to be out driving to his cabin in the woods (and later teams up with her cuz he found out he's "good at the whole 'hero' business"), and getting a lot of people in the way killed.

Now, let me make this clear, Rumpelstiltskin is not a good movie. Nor is it an entirely bad one. It is the kind of movie made for people who can tolerate and enjoy films like Leprechaun and have a good time. (Then again, this film was made by Leprechaun's writer/director. Mark Jones, so that should say something)

It's completely fun, overridden with plot holes (like the fact Uncle Rumpy, who never seen a motorbike and a truck, just happens to know how to drive 20th century "steeds") and a barrage of odd characters, Rumpelstiltskin would have been a new franchise to feature a quip-spewing, hunchbacked imp with a vast knowledge of all things modern, which some of us might assume he learned while he was in stone form.

But alas, he never made it to space or the ghetto like Jones' other and more successful monster The Leprechaun; reasons for this might be that the story never got the same sense of magic and foolery as the first Leprechaun movie, as well as dry range of gory kills as almost all of the violence occurs offcamera and/or isn't that exciting enough.

Also, let's not forget the fact that the film features a monster that can be stopped by saying his name; a solution that would had ended this film after 30 minutes if the whole cast just happen to remember how the damn story ended in the first place. The strangest thing about this is that they do know the story, but none of them seem to have the brains enough to remember how the damn princess won her baby!

Still, I find the movie workable as a guilty pleasure thanks to the performance of Max Grodinchik as the titular baby snatcher and Tommy Blaze as the sleazy yet caring loadmouth TV host Max Bergman. If anything, the silliness of the premise and the execution itself was what made this movie worth its penny. Where else can you find a movie that features a chase scene between a 16-wheeler truck and a tiny go-kart? Only Rumpelstiltskin had the guts to do something silly and it was good. (Well, not Good good but, y'know what I mean.)

It's not a movie that pays a lot of tribute to the original fairy tale, but more or less took some details from it and went ahead with its own dealing. The result is a messily horror movie that could use a lot of polishing, especially with the renditions done from the fairy tale, but nevertheless a fun flick to enjoy poking fun and inconsistencies at, particularly if you're drunk with your drinking buddies.

Bodycount:
1 male thrown off a cliff
1 male shot on the head
1 male bled to death from gun shots
1 female had her neck broken
1 male had his head torn off
1 male bitten on the neck
1 male found murdered
1 male seen pinned to the wall with a flag pole
1 male gets a throat cut
1 female thrown through a window
1 male bled to death from gun wound
1 female strangled to death
Total: 12
Uncle Rumpy has arrived!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Luck of the Irish. Ghetto style: Leprechaun in the Hood (2000) and Leprechaun: Back 2 Tha Hood (2003) Double Bill Review

Death to he who sets a Leprechaun free. Steal his gold, it will corrupt your soul, you see. For many a moon the legend has grown, death toll increases, solution unknown. Beware the evil wanderer in search of his loot, lest you suffer the wrath of his golden flute. Flee while you can, the future's not good- for no one is safe from a Lep in the Hood! 

Leprechaun in the Hood (2000)
Rating: **
Starring: Warwick Davis, Ice-T, Anthony Montgomery

Stepping down from the galactic proportions of Leprechaun 4: In Space, around the new millennium,Trimark Pictures teamed up with Lionsgate and decided to bring back the (in)famous titular Warwick Davis monster back from the dead, back to Earth and into a place where we least expected him to show up: the hood! 

Why? Cuz he'd been in Las Vegas and in SPACE, so I guess Lionsgate just went "meh, why the f*ck not?" on us and go with it.

The story, much like any of the other Leprechaun movies, stands on its own continuity and begins with two afro-wearing pimps from the 70s raiding an abandoned building for the Leprechaun's hidden treasure. When they found what they are looking for, one of said pimps, Mack Daddy (rapper Ice-T), appeared to be more interested on a tiny golden flute among all the other shiny, so he had his cohort haul up the rest of the find. 

Thing is, next to the pot of treasure was the Leprechaun, petrified by the same worn magical amulet from Part 3. When Mack D's partner greedily took the mystical jewelry off the statue, he unknowingly freed the Leprechaun and gets a hair pick to the throat.

A "fight" then ensues between Mack Daddy and the newly awakened Leprechaun, most of it involving weapons being pulled out of a 'fro, and ends with the dwarf being petrified again by the amulet.
The action then forwards to the present, amateur rappers Postmaster-P, Stray Bullet and Butch are in dire need of cash for some new equipment after theirs went fry during a rap audition. After failing to sell a guitar with a forged Jimi Hendrix autograph, the trio decided to try getting their rap sold the easy way: by performing to the now-successful rap producer/pimp Mack Daddy and hope their positive take on rap music will fly.

It didn't.

Adding injury to insult, Mack Daddy had the boys thrown out after telling them off that their idea sucks. At this point, Post and his buds decided to repay Daddy by robbing his joint later that night, but made the fatal mistake of stealing the gold flute and the magic amulet from the Leprechaun statue on display.

Leprechaun was free once more, and Mack Daddy just caught the boy in the act, so that's two troubles for the three idiots; things head on for the stranger when Post discovers the flute has magic hypnotizing powers and uses it to build up a reputation, all the while running away from both the Leprechaun and one angry pimp. Folks get killed, rhymes are rapped, and the Leprechaun discovers weed. What else is there to say?

Among the two Hood entries of this series, Leprechaun in the Hood retains the horror-comedy of the first four film, but undeniably cheaper and less lively. The reason for this was that the tone doesn't stay stable; some scene felt like a horror movie, some looked straight out of a ghetto comedy and the magical element was downgraded to simple telekinesis and mind-control, which is hardly impressive seeing the Leprechaun had done better set-ups like electrocuting robots, tricking people into kissing rotating fan blades and pulling out powertools out of nowhere.

It's hard enjoying a movie that doesn't know where to focus on, more over when the jokes are mostly flat or forced, the gore is barely creative, and the acting was atrocious. On the plus side, much like the rest of the films in this series to feature Warwick Davis, much of this was under the intention of making a silly cheesy movie; it's terrible, challenges our intelligence, but it's all for the sake of getting a laugh. Personally, 

I'm giving this movie a near-passing rating for the efforts the producers made to keep the mindlessness as fun as ever. I'm not saying they did a good job, but it was a commendable one.

Bodycount:
1 male stabbed n the throat with a hair pick
1 male electrocuted
1 male killed offcamera
1 male strangled, later found dismembered
1 male had his throat crushed
1 male blown open
1 male clawed through the back, disemboweled
1 male shot on the head
1 female killed (?)
1 male shot
1 male blown open
Total: 11
Leprechaun: Back 2 Tha' Hood (2003)
Rating: **1/2
Starring: Warwick Davis, Tangi Miller, Laz Alonso

Three years after Lionsgate terrorized the hood (and our screens) with a rapping Leprechaun, this happened. Interestingly, Trimark pictures had sold the right of the franchise to Lionsgate, which means we're screwed right? Well, sortah, but they still could had done worse.

We begin the movie with a brief origin; as it turns out, Leprechauns once served a noble king in protecting his treasure from invaders. Once the king's reign had ended, the leprechauns returned to their homes in the woods, save one who grew greedy and corrupt of the gold he was sworn to protect.

Fast-forward to the present, a pastor is seen burying what we all could assume to be the Leprechaun's gold in a construction site, apparently in an attempt to hide away the accursed object and keep the Leprechaun from claiming more victims. The tiny terror, understandably, isn't too happy about this and demands padre to give his gold back or die.

Padre chooses to fight back and gets clawed to death, but not before casting the Leprechaun to hell by sprinkling him with holy water laced with four-leafed clovers.
One year later, hair dresser Emily Woodrow and her bestfriend Lisa, stoner goof Jamie and ex Rory are in a financial hell; Emily needs money for college, Jamie needs it to pay off some thugs, while Lisa and Rory just needs it for a better and easier life. So when the Emily stumbles into the Leprechaun's treasure that one time they decided to do some outdoor barbecuing at the abandoned construction site, the group wastes no time spending their new found wealth. (And apparently for Emily, forgetting her dream of college.)

Unfortunately for them, finding the gold  somewhat released the Leprechaun from imprisonment, now vowing vengeance against those who stole his gold and death to those that gets in the way.

Something about this film works a bit better compared to the first Hood entry; the way I see it, this movie tries to stray away the random obscurities the first five films by focusing more on the characters and place the villain in a more realistic ground. Incidentally, the film took 30 to 40 minutes before the Leprechaun got out, spending all that time building its characters by showing their plight, a little bit of drama, and have them visiting mediums just for the heck of it.

Once the Lep got out, however, the movie does the most interesting move I'd seen in this franchise; by limiting the Leprechaun's magic to plain immortality, the kills are closer to that of a slasher/monster movie with clawing, dismemberment, and impalement among the fatalities featured. What's stranger is that the sizable killcount was mostly made out of bystanders, with little to none of the main cast being killed off; last time I'd seen a movie that relied on death-by-"friendly" fire deaths was the slasher-action-survival hybrid The Zero Boys (1986), and like that movie, Back 2 Tha Hood did just fine.

So the film is closer to a slasher movie with a more workable story. Good? Not quite; While the new take on the Leprechaun does made him more acceptable as a slasher villain, I still prefer magical splatter over hand-made kills since this is what made the franchise enjoyable. I'm also not that fond of seeing my favorite killer dwarf be somebody's punching bag just for the sake of showing how indestructible he is, or the fact that he's just so darn serious in this film. (for an extent)

We got comedy, but it didn't blend too well as they all come out as just random, like how the Leprechaun just decided to smoke a bong with a dude, get high and get the munchies, or a scene where he gave a fat lady a massage just for the heck of it. We also got some scenes where the lep tries to deliver a scary monologue but only to be cut off cuz he's not threatening enough or the victim's too impatient. It would have been funny, or could have been funny, but the tone and timing are just off.

Still, I came to like this better than the last Lep in the Hood movie since the positives can hold up their own quite effectively. I just wished they worked on the comedy better, or just ditched it halfway as the serious approach was doing fine, but overall, a good flick to remember Mr. Davis' last hurrah as a demonic dwarf!

Bodycount:
1 male repeatedly clawed
1 male impaled with a bong
1 female had her neck broken
1 female clawed on the gut
1 had her jaw torn off
1 male impaled with a police baton
1 male had a leg torn off, killed
1 male had his heart torn out
1 male clawed on the neck
1 female killed, method unknown
Total: 10
BONUS!
Leprechaun: Origins (2014)
Rating: 0
Starring: Dylan Postl, Stephanie Bennett, Andrew Dunbar

WARNING! THIS IS MORE OF A RANT THAN A REVIEW. LOTS OF CUSSING, SWEAR WORDS, AND SAILOR TALK. I DON'T GIVE A SHIT IF ALL THREE OF THOSE MEANT THE SAME THING. TOO PISSED OFF TO THINK STRAIGHT.

Dear Lionsgate,

What the fuck?

Okay, first of, WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING?! Why buy the rights to a franchise featuring a wise-cracking, demonic killer elf if you're not gonna continue THAT? Why, of all things, would you reboot the series only to feature A FUCKING MONSTER THAT CAN BE OUTRAN BY ITS OWN VICTIMS AND ONLY HAD THE CHANCE TO SLAUGHTER THEM CUZ THE FRIGGIN VILLAGERS, WHO, SURPRISE! IS IN THE WHOLE SHINDIG, HELPED?!

Seriously, this is the most basic monster/slasher movie I'd seen in my 23 years existing in this plane of reality; so fucking basic I figured the whole thing out in 15 minutes! ANY OTHER MONSTER MOVIE IS BETTER THAN THIS! There's no surprise, there's no thrill, NO FUN! Just random cardboard teenagers being mauled alive by a monster that resembles a naked man with a flat nose, pointed ears, and a misplaced jaw. DID YOU JUST READ THAT? I DESCRIBED THE MONSTER FOR YOU. HOW MUCH DID YOU PAY YOUR CREATIVE TEAM FOR THAT?!

And let's not get started with the gore; HOLY, FUCKING, JUMPING JESUS! MAULINGS? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? MAULINGS? I know you're doing a fresh start but, COME ON! THINK CREATIVELY! Oh look, the monster learned to pushed the head of one of the teenagers inside a fucking hole so her friends would mistaken her for the monster and split her noggin open with a fucking axe! Bravo! More to prove that the leprechaun CAN'T DO A DECENT KILL! COME ON!

Y'know, it's a good thing I didn't buy your fucking movie! Cuz it ain't worth a damn nickle! HOW LONG DID YOU BASTARDS THOUGHT OF THE STORY? AN HOUR? TWO HOURS? WHOOOOOAAAAA! THAT'S REALLY IMPRESSIVE! BRAVO! ENCORE! ENCORE! NO! NO!!! 

Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo...

I would rather watch those two fucking Leprechaun in the fucking ghetto movies than this dreck. The serious approach? Not working. Y'know why the first series is so popular? Because it doesn't take itself seriously! I mean, it's a movie about FUCKING LEPRECHAUNS! How can you guys mess this up?!

You guys better get your act straight and give, not just us fans of the original series, but horror fans IN GENERAL something worth remembering. So far, most your recent horror movie releases sucked. No One Lives? I guess that counts us viewers due to the suicide inducing cliches~! See no Evil 2? Who's bright idea to let those overrated Soska Sisters handle the sequel of your better movies? Oculus? I don't even know what I watched. The Call?

Actually, The Call was pretty good. You guys did well on that one! For those who disagree with me, I DON'T GIVE A SHIT!

Bottom line...

Love,

One Angry Admin

Bodycount:
1 male mauled to death
1 female killed offscreen
1 male found impaled on tractor spikes, mauled
1 male clawed on the gut, disemboweled
1 female axed on the face
1 male had his spine ripped out
1 male mauled to death
1 creature decapitated with an axe
Total: 8