Sunday, June 28, 2020

DEMONIC TOYS 2: PERSONAL DEMONS

Demonic Toys 2 Movie Review

Collectors of toys and oddities and...other people...are stalked by demonic toys in an Italian castle. Coming a full 18 years after the original Demonic Toys, this film, which also crosses over with the movie Hideous!, is a sequel nobody in the world asked for, yet here we are. This Full Moon feature sort of picks up where the original film left off, with a couple of the original toys being restored to their original awfulness--this word actually works well in describing this entire movie. From the acting to the voices of the toys (one of whom is Jane Wiedlin from the Go-Go's) to the special effects to the story itself to the attempts at comedy to the dialogue to the directing to the editing, everything is just wrapped up with awfulness, and not much of it is even remotely entertaining.

I think she's trying to escape the movie

Near the end, we see the toys destroyed, and let us all pray they are never brought back (another installment is teased, but Full Moon has had mercy on us...so far). Unless you are trying to watch every movie Full Moon has ever created, there's really no reason to watch Demonic Toys 2.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 4

Demonic Toys 2 Movie Trailer

DEMONIC TOYS

Demonic Toys Movie Review

A policewoman officer (Tracy Scoggins) chases a couple criminals into an old building that houses retired toys. Joined by a security guard and chicken joint delivery guy, she finds herself in battle with, you guessed it, demonic toys. If you know anything about this movie, or even if you don’t and you just read my brief description, you may be thinking to yourself “This is a rip-off of the Puppet Master series”, and you would be right—there’s even a couple clips from Puppet Master II playing on the guard’s television—but I guess that’s okay, since both were brought to us by Full Moon. Years later, there would even be a crossover movie featuring characters from both movies, but we won’t go that deep down the rabbit hole.

As much as Mr. Bear may want to

Unlike in the Puppet Master movies, none of the toys here are likable or really interesting, though somehow my girlfriend, who had not seen the movie since she was 10 years old, was able to quote a scene featuring Baby Oopsy Daisy word for word. The human characters, especially the guard, the delivery boy, and his chicken-loving co-workers, are essentially cartoon characters, which is fine, as the movie is, rightfully, considered a comedic horror film. One thing all the characters have in common is the acting ability, which is equally lacking across the board. Falling somewhere between the awfulness of Child’s Play and the awesomeness of Puppet Master (the early films anyway), and blended with just the right amount of early 1990’s B-horror cheesiness, Demonic Toys is worth watching if you are nowhere near the remote and don’t feel like getting up to look for it, but it isn’t a movie you should spend much time hunting down.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5

Demonic Toys Movie Trailer

Saturday, June 27, 2020

THE HOST

The Host Movie Review

An American pathologist (Scott Wilson, Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon) orders gallons of formaldehyde be dumped into the Han River, resulting in a monster fish that kidnaps people, particularly a child named Hyun-seo (Go-Ah-sung). We then follow Hyun-seo’s family as they try to rescue her. Bong Joon-ho brings us this 2007 South Korean film—if his name sounds familiar, you probably heard it a lot around the 2019 Oscar season, when his slightly overrated film Parasite walked away with the Best Picture award, beating out films such as the much more overrated The Joker and the less overrated Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, which my girlfriend and I saw at the SIFF Cinema Uptown while vacationing in Seattle last year...remember vacations? Weren’t they nice?

"Let's see...we have our cameras, our masks..."

Back to The Host—this one was also met with much critical acclaim, and broke box office records in South Korea upon its release. Similar to Parasite, the scares in this movie are overshadowed by comedic moments and social commentary. Interestingly, the movie is based, in part, on real life events...this being the American dumping toxins into the river, not, you know, a kidnapping monster. Speaking of the monster, it’s a CGI creation that is on par with what you would see in your typical SyFy Original, so don’t expect much out of it. The thing moves around awkwardly...sort of like a slightly injured frog. The acting is fine, offering nothing spectacular but nothing too bad either, and here is where I will insert the obligatory subtitles warning. The Host is not a bad creature flick, but having heard so much about it, I did expect a bit more.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 6

The Host Movie Trailer

THE VELOCIPASTOR

The VelociPastor Movie Review

Father Doug Jones (Greg Cohan) develops the ability to turn into a dinosaur--don't ask how this happens, as it doesn't really make any sense anyway. After meeting and falling for a prostitute, he is convinced to use this power to fight evil. Mentioned in the same breath as "classics"such as Birdemic and The Room, this movie is far too self-aware to fit into the category of those films--the charm of those movies is that the people making them tried to make a good movie, but they turned out so bad they're good. With VelociPastor, director/writer Brendan Steere was clearly approaching the project with his tongue planted firmly in his cheek.

This actually appears in the movie

Instead of a movie filled with a lot of so bad it’s good, what we get is a lot of...just bad. The acting is horrible, the dialogue is mind-numbing, and practically every technical aspect of the film is abysmal. There’s little bordering on horror in the film, but you will chuckle a bit throughout--there's not enough to justify watching, but it has its moments. If you manage to sit through the majority of this movie, however, you will very much be rewarded when you get to the final ten minutes, when the occasional chuckle turns into literally laughing out loud and rewinding to watch again.

This scene is fantastic!

I can’t, with good conscious, recommend watching this entire movie, but if you can dig up just the final ten minutes, you will be happy you did.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5

The VelociPastor Movie Trailer

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

ALICE, SWEET ALICE

Alice, Sweet Alice Movie Review

Young Karen Spages (Brooke Shields) is murdered in a Catholic church, and all fingers point to her older sister, Alice (Paula E. Sheppard), as the killer. Alice proclaims her innocence, but as events unfold, this comes into serious doubt.

She even ends up behind bars

That is the general story of this 1976 horror/crime thriller that has picked up quite a cult following over the years. This is one of those movies that reminds me of being in video stores back in the day, as I always thought the cover looked interesting, but for whatever reason, I never rented it. More than anything else, the film is known for being Shields' movie debut, but if you seek it out for that reason alone, be warned--despite having her name appear on many covers and advertisements for the movie in the years that followed, Shields is not in it very long. Sheppard, on the other hand, is wonderfully creepy as the title character--I was surprised to learn she turned 19 during shooting (she plays a 12-year-old) and that, to date, she has only been in one other movie. The rest of the performances vary from decent (Rudolph Willrich as Father Tom) to atrocious (Alphonso DeNoble as Alphonso), with everybody else falling somewhere between. The church settings and symbolism used add to the uneasy feeling of the film, and some have claimed the movie is nothing more than an assault against the Catholic church--I will let you make your own judgement on this, but if it is, would that be any different than any of the other hundreds of movies that do the same thing? The death scenes are brutal, and often look rather realistic. The movie does suffer from a very slow pace, and at 107 minutes, runs longer than it should have. The directing is different, but not necessarily in a good way (way too many close-up shots of actors mugging it up for my taste). The reveal in the third act will take all the air out of whatever was left by the time you get to it--at that point, I was just ready for the movie to be over. That said, the closing scene is one for the ages. I don't know if it was a case of the movie being over-hyped and me expecting too much out of it, or if it really is as bland as it seemed, but to me, there's nothing spectacular about Alice, Sweet Alice.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5

Alice, Sweet Alice Movie Trailer

Monday, June 15, 2020

BLOODY MOON (aka Die Säge des Todes)

Bloody Moon Movie Review

A bunch of girls at a language school are stalked and killed by a masked maniac. This is a 1981 movie that comes to us from Spain, arriving splattered with blood. The movie kicks off with Miguel, a fella with a large scar on his face, stabbing a woman to death. Five years later, he is released from the institution he was in, arrives at the school, and the killing spree begins.

"It's a coincidence, I swear!"

As I mentioned, there's tons of blood and gore in this movie, and some of the scenes are rather creative--needless to say, the gorehounds will love this stuff. The acting is bad, and if you are watching the dubbed version, it will seem even worse--I can only imagine a lot was lost in the translation, as much of what is said makes little to no sense. The story is a simple one, however, so the dubbing is more of an annoyance than hindrance. There's also plenty of unintentional humor here--be on the lookout for the obviously fake giant boulder, the dummy head used in the saw scene, and my personal favorite, the dead girl's eyes moving to make sure she hits her mark when she falls. Going into this movie, I wasn't expecting a lot, but as it turns out, I was fairly entertained by it.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 6

Bloody Moon Movie Trailer

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

EXISTS

Exists Movie Review

With dreams of becoming YouTube sensations, five friends go deep into the woods to shoot some videos. While out there, they stay in a cabin...will they ever learn? Eduardo Sanchez, the director and co-writer of The Blair Witch Project, directed this, another found footage film set in the woods, but wow, it falls well short of the 1999 money-maker! With this, we do have many different cameras--there's pro-am cams, cell phones, lots of GoPro's, and so on, so we get nauseating shots from all angles. The five friends are as uninteresting and one-dimensional as you can imagine. There's a white dude and another white dude, and they are interchangeable. There is a white chick and another white chick, and they are also interchangeable. There's also a black dude. He drops even more F-bombs and gets angry easier than the rest...at least that separates him somewhat.

He also mans the gun

On the way to their destination, the five dopes hit something, but they're not sure what. We can tell by the video early on it was likely a Bigfoot, however. Much later in the movie, they begin getting stalked by the Sasquatch--it seems to take forever to get there too. We get brief glimpses of the hairy beast at first, but patience pays off, as we get really good looks at the monster later, and I must admit, it looks cool. CGI is bypassed (thank goodness) in favor of a big dude in a suit, and this is pulled off nicely.

The fur's flying now!

There is a somewhat interesting twist near the end, but it's nothing you don't see coming if you are paying attention. There's really nothing else gong for this movie. The characters are bland, the story is boring, it's shot poorly, and, at 81 minutes, it seems to go on twice as long. 

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 4

Exists Movie Trailer