Monday, February 25, 2019

I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE 3: VENGEANCE IS MINE

I Spit On Your Grave 3: Vengeance Is Mine Movie Review

Set a couple years after the events of the 2010 version of I Spit On Your Grave, this outing has Sarah Butler reprising her role of Jennifer Hills--she has changed her name to Angela and joined a support group for abused women. As she hears the stories of abuse of the other women, she decides to take matters into her hands and seek vengeance on the behalf of the others. This movie pretty much takes a detour from what we have come to expect from this franchise, and for as much as I Spit On Your Grave 2 doesn't feel much like a movie from the series, part three feels even less like one. Butler, who was very good in the 2010 film, is less impressive in this one--it doesn't help that they made Jennifer essentially a parody of herself in this film--when she was gearing up to go hunt the bad guys, I was fully expecting "Eye Of The Tiger" to start playing.

Rising up...

This whole Steven Seagal/Charles Bronson thing could have been much more effective had we actually SEEN some of the stuff the men did before Jennifer came after them. We also see a lot of stuff that doesn't happen--Jennifer has daydreams of what she would like to do to the people around her--if you are reminded of The Crate from Creepshow when you see this, rest assured--you're not the only one. This is a series of films that has never shied from showing this brutality, so it is kind of surprising they did so here. Jennifer eventually goes from hesitant justice seeker to serial killer, making the character even less likable. The bloodshed is there, but it is so over the top it is practically comical--the scene of Jennifer killing her former friend's ex boyfriend is particularly laughable. An interesting touch to this film is how Jennifer seduces her victims instead of sneaking up on them--we see the original Jennifer do this in the 1978 film, so seeing this strategy come back was kind of cool. This movie, much like the one before it, is much too polished, and the final scene screams mainstream horror. As the credits rolled on this film, I felt even stronger about the belief I developed after watching I Spit On Your Grave Part 2--they should have stopped after the 2010 remake. 

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5


I Spit On Your Grave 3: Vengeance Is Mine Movie Trailer

Saturday, February 23, 2019

I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE 2

I Spit On Your Grave 2 Movie Review

Aspiring model Katie Carter (Jemma Dallender) is kidnapped and taken to Bulgaria, where she is raped, tortured, and used in the sex trafficking trade. Once she escapes, however, Katie seeks revenge on the group who put her in this mess. Considered a sequel to the 2010 remake of the original 1978 movie, this one has no actual connection to either movie except the rape-revenge story--worse, it bears little resemblance to either visually. The movie starts off in New York before settling in Bulgaria--this, combined with the style of shooting, make this feel far more like a Hostel film than an I Spit On Your Grave one. It is far too polished to follow in the footsteps of the original, or even the remake, so there is a definite disconnect from those movies. The dialogue, as it were, is a bore, and Dallender seems miscast of the less than sympathetic lead.

"What do you want from me?"

Some of the revenge scenes are okay, but there is nothing as memorable as in the other two films. Another misstep with this film is it never takes the time to try to get the audience to connect with and feel compassion for the lead--the first two films did this well, but this one relies too much on torture after torture after torture, then right into the revenge, instead of letting that emotional connection build up. This all leads up to an ending that is rather lame. I Spit On Your Grave 2 is a forgettable movie that really has no place in what has turned into a franchise of films.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 4


I Spit On Your Grave 2 Movie Trailer

I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE (2010)

I Spit On Your Grave 2010 Movie Review

After being brutalized by a group of rednecks, writer Jennifer Hills (Sarah Butler) seeks her revenge. I was hesitant to see this remake of the 1978 film of the same name, as I figured it would not come close to the brutality and despair of the original—I was wrong. This movie, from the initial torture of Jennifer to her revenge, is absolutely unrelenting. Butler does a really good job as Jennifer, both as the victim and especially as the predator later. The acting of the rednecks is not quite as good, and it is really weird seeing Daniel Franzese of Mean Girls fame play this type character. The writing of the redneck characters is so good that you really come to hate them and cheer when they meet their demise. Unlike in the original, Jennifer uses a more sneak attack method here, but the results are just as good. The revenge deaths are interesting and graphic—a Saw comparison would be a fair one. 

Eye see what you mean

One thing this movie is missing that the original had is the grindhouse feel. Considering this film was never intended for a mass theatrical release, it would have benefited from this style of shooting. At times, this feels almost like a step by step remake of the original movie, with the names even remaining the same, but there is plenty of difference offered up here as well. This is not a movie for everybody—some of it is really hard to watch, and I may never watch it again myself. Still, it is a movie that is far better than I expected, and I would say it is a slight bit better than the grindhouse/sexploitation classic that inspired it.. 

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 7

I Spit On Your Grave 2010 Movie Trailer

I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE

I Spit On Your Grave Movie Review

Writer Jennifer Hills (Camille Keaton) goes to an isolated cabin for some peace and time to write. Unfortunately, she stumbles upon a group of rednecks who soon rape and torture her. Trusting the retarded member of the group has killed her, the bunch go on with their lives, but are shocked when Jennifer returns for revenge.

"..and then I'll hide a knife next to the bathtub"

It has been over 40 years now since the release of this film, but its depiction of savage rape and violence still gets it mentioned in discussions of the most disturbing movies ever made. In 1978, not much of this had been seen in film--at least not to this degree--and this movie was lambasted by critics the world over. Somehow, someway, the movie has hung around--what was once a cult classic that only the seediest of seedy video stores carried, is now a film that is practically worshipped by gorehounds everywhere, and is often regarded much higher now than it was in 1978. All that said, let's make no mistake--I Spit On Your Grave is not a good movie.

"How dare you?!"

The acting is beyond bad, the plot is thin, practically all technical aspects are weak, and the directing is rough, to say the least--these things, along with the brutality of the attacks against Jennifer--make this movie hard to watch, but your patience pays off in the third act, when Jennifer starts to get her revenge. The scenes of the rednecks getting their comeuppance are wickedly vile, and you don't feel the least bit sorry for any of them. What is probably most interesting about Jennifer's technique is that she doesn't sneak up on these guys--she comes right at them, using sex to lure them into trusting her before lowering the boom. The payoff at the end is what makes this film worth watching. Does I Spit On Your Grave hold an important place in horror movie history? I would say it does, even if, ultimately, you may perceive it as a ripoff of The Last House On The Left. I guess that makes it worth watching as well.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 6

I Spit On Your Grave Movie Trailer

SCREAM BLOODY MURDER

Scream Bloody Murder Movie Review

Matthew (Fred Holbert) returns home, having spent a good bit of time in a mental institution after killing his father. He finds that his mother has remarried, and unable to handle the thought of her with another man, he kills his stepfather...and his mom. Oh yeah, and as a result of an accident as a child, Matthew has a hook for a hand. So, we have a grown man who is mentally challenged, obsessed with his mother, and he has a hook hand as a result of an accident--remind you of anybody?

HE'S A MONSTER!!!

After running away from home, Matthew comes across a prostitute named Vera (Leigh Mitchell). He falls for her, eventually showing his love by kidnapping her. This 1973 film, which dubbed itself "The first motion picture film to be called gore-nography", is a perfect example of a lot of the low budget, grindhouse stuff that came out around this time, and it really isn't too bad! Aside from the comparison to our friend Buster, Matthew also sort of reminded me of a young Mark Hamill, which was odd considering the homicidal nature of the character. I love the way this film is shot, and the dialogue is...interesting. Speaking of odd and interesting--when Matthew sees women starting to be affectionate with other men, he has visions of his deceased mother, leading him to kill--and these shots are wonderful as well.

Mommy is laughing at you Matthew

Scream Bloody Murder came out really in the infancy of the slasher genre, and it holds up well. The body count is impressive in this movie, and some of the kills are unique and, yes, gory, but we also have a few quick cut, off screen death scenes. To add to this, the pace is a good one...until Matthew kidnaps his prostitute friend. At this point, the film grinds almost to a halt, and never quite picks up again. To add to the enjoyment of this film, if you are watching closely, you will see an awesome movie mistake--all throughout the movie, Matthew has his hook on his left hand, but for a brief moment, the hook is switched to his right hand.

Do I get a hand for catching this?

The inevitable battle between Matthew and Vera may surprise you, but the movie continues from there, leading to an ending that disappoints. Though no classic by any means, there is a lot to like about Scream Bloody Murder, and the movie turned out much better than it probably should have. 

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 6



Scream Bloody Murder Movie Trailer (In German)

Thursday, February 21, 2019

TERROR

Terror Movie Review

Lord Garrick attempts to burn a witch known as Mad Dolly, but pays the price when Dolly invokes the devil for some assistance. A hex is put on the Garrick family, and after we see Garrick and his wife killed, we discover we are actually watching a based on a true story movie created by James Garrick, one of only two remaining Garricks. Soon after, James and his cousin Ann, along with their friends, are haunted by the witch. This film is part of a collection I own titled Gore House Greats—I somehow overlooked this movie when reviewing all the films from the collection way back in 2010, and just discovered that as I was giving many of the “gems” from this set a second viewing. This better late than never experience was similar to that of most other films in this collection—uneventful and forgettable.

No, I mean...it was awesome!

Brought to us by writer David McGillivray and director Norman J. Warren, the same duo that gave the world Satan’s Slave (look for a poster of that movie in this one), Terror is a film that has a paper thin plot, interesting dialogue, and enough kills to keep you watching. The movie does have some scares, and while not necessarily a horror/comedy, one gets the sense tongue was planted firmly in cheek when this was made. Probably the most interesting thing about this movie is how it works as some sort of a bridge of horror genres, containing elements of an old Hammer film and the slasher flicks we were beginning to see come out around this time—it’s worth watching for this alone.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5

Terror Movie Trailer

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD 3

Return of the Living Dead 3 Movie Review

Teenage couple Curt (J. Trevor Edmond) and Julie (Mindy Clarke) sneak into the government lab Curt’s father works at, where they discover corpses are being reanimated using a gas named Trioxin. Soon after, Julie dies in a motorcycle accident, and Curt, using the Trioxin, brings her back to life...but she’s not quite the same. The third film in the Return Of The Living Dead series cuts back on the comedy of the first two, amps up the horror, and the results are wonderful. The film keeps the punk rock edge of the first two as well—I think the L7 poster in particular is a nice touch. Edmond does a nice job as the love struck teen, and Clarke is phenomenal as Julie—her look and transformation in the third act is nothing short of iconic for the genre, and many a horror fan in the 90s filled their head with thoughts of the punk rock zombie—a friend of mine was absolutely enthralled with her.

“Hello Will”

Aside from all that, there is plenty more to love about this movie. The other zombies are made up very well, there is plenty of blood and guts, the special effects are wonderful, and the film moves along at a perfect pace. The dialogue leaves a bit to be desired at times, but some of the nonsense sort of adds to the enjoyment of watching the movie. There is also a problem or two with the ending, but it is certainly not bad enough to take much away from the rest of the story. This movie, which came out in 1993, is one I must have watched approximately three thousand times in that decade, and it stands strong all these years later. Return of the Living Dead 3 is by far and away my favorite film in the series, and it ranks high in my list of favorite zombie movies of all time as well.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 8

Return of the Living Dead 3 Movie Trailer

Saturday, February 9, 2019

CABIN FEVER 2: SPRING FEVER

Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever Movie Review

A flesh-eating virus breaks out, and the students at a high school prom are falling victim to it. 

Lots of missing flesh here

This is the follow up to Eli Roth's 2002 film Cabin Fever--that movie was somewhat clever, groundbreaking, and grotesque in all the right ways--the sequel is none of the above. This movie is disgusting, childish, lowest common denominator rubbish that is, for the most part, a waste of time. To make matters worse, the dialogue is dreadful, practically all the characters are one-dimensional stereotypes, and the comedy (this is a horror comedy film, in case I didn't mention that) is painfully unfunny. The gore is so over the top it is boring, but I do give the movie makers credit for steering away (for the most part) from CGI. Literally the only interesting thing about this film is the relationship between Paul (Rider Strong) and Cassie (Alexi Wasser), his longtime friend--Paul's meltdown at the prom when Cassie shows up with his nemesis is by far and away the best scene in this movie, and stands as a battle cry for male teens all around the world. If you have seen Cabin Fever and are curios about it's sequel, never satisfy that curiosity...just run away from it.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 3


Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever Movie Trailer

GRIM

Grim Movie Review

A group of people playing with a home made Ouija board unleash a hideous creature that stalks and kills its victims in caverns...and it can walk through walls, for what that's worth. This one is brought to us by Paul Matthews, the same guy who gave us Deadly Instincts, a movie so bad it's good...Grim, on the other hand, is just bad. The acting particularly stands out as awful—from top to bottom, there really isn’t a talented actor in this cast, though none will likely rank in the worst you have ever seen. The gnome creature is fairly well done—keep in mind here, however, that I very much enjoy somewhat cheap looking monsters, and this one certainly qualifies as that.

Gnome way she's getting away

Less impressive are the special effects—amateurish is not a strong enough word for them. The dialogue is awful, and the story is as generic as they come. Matthews does have quite a bit of blood and gore going on here, especially near the end. Speaking of the ending...no, nevermind. Let’s not even go into that. Watch this one for the monster and if you are a fan of the late Kadamba Simmons—otherwise, don't seek it out.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 4


Grim Movie Trailer

THE GREENSKEEPER

The Greenskeeper Movie Review

Would-be screenwriter Allen Anderson (Allelon Ruggerio) is haunted by visions of a burnt man and murders--soon after, the country club he works at, and is about to inherit, becomes the scene of many vicious killings at the hands of a mysterious greenskeeper. This comedy horror from 2002 suffers from a severe lack of funny moments and, worse, scary ones. The script is one you would picture being written by a middle school student--actually, I am fairly certain that even a good number of middle school students would call the comedy in the movie too stupid. Ruggerio does a decent job as the lead, but the acting from the rest of the cast is absolute torture.

Watch this movie again or be shot? Okay, give me the bullet

Apparently, this movie received a bit of attention upon its release due to a couple people cast in it--a former Playboy model named Christi Taylor plays Allen's annoying girlfriend--I had no idea as I was watching this movie she was in Playboy, and I don't really care honestly--I'm just wondering why this garnered attention for this movie. The other pseudo-celebrity in this is John Rocker, a moronic former baseball player who is remembered much more for running his mouth than for his on-field abilities. Rocker is as bad in this movie as he was after his one somewhat good season in Major League Baseball. There's a lot of nudity in this movie because, I assume, the writers couldn't think of anything else to use to fill time, and when we do get the death scenes, they are almost all so beyond absurd that they are not the least bit interesting. We are also given a twist ending that is as awful as most of the rest of the movie. I am going to be a little nice with my score, however, because, as somebody who once worked at golf courses, I found the use of some of the golf equipment to be somewhat amusing.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 3


I couldn't find a trailer for this movie...you're welcome. 

Friday, February 8, 2019

DEADLY INSTINCTS (aka Breeders) 1997

Deadly Instincts (Breeders) Movie Review

A meteorite crashes, and the alien riding on it must breed with humans to keep its species alive—lucky for him, he crashes right near an all girls school, and is soon living below it. It will not take long to realize you are watching a bad movie here—the plot is absurd, the acting is bad, the dialogue is laughable, and, if drinking is your thing, take a shot every time you hear an actor slip in and out of their accent (a largely English cast in a movie set in Boston). All this said, this film is SO bad there is an unexpected entertainment value that will keep you going. There is also a space girl, appropriately named Space Girl (model Kadamba Simmons), who could be good, could be bad, but she keeps popping up throughout the movie, and is really the only somewhat interesting character in the film.

Simmons

Upon researching Simmons, I found she was murdered by a psychotic ex-boyfriend not long after doing this movie. While certainly not a master of the art of acting, it is not a stretch to imagine Simmons having a long career as a model and B-movie scream queen--she certainly had the look for it. Back to the movie---the heroes turn out to be a teacher (Todd Jensen of Wrong Turn 3: Left For Dead) and the student he is having post-class affairs with (Samantha Janus, aka Samantha Womack, a fairly well-known English television actress)--somehow every woman in the school looks at Jensen as if he were the world's sexiest man--apparently they don't get out much. We get a lot of unnecessary scenes involving our couple, some gratuitous nudity, and, very occasionally, a look at the alien--he's not as impressive as he is on the cover of the movie. 

This happens too

None of this really adds up or makes much sense, but it all leads to an ending that is as disjointed and bizarrely entertaining as the rest of the movie. Also of note, this is a remake of the 1986 movie Breeders--maybe I will track that one down some time. Speaking of the name, this film is actually known as Breeders in most of the world, including its original release--in fact, it was only changed to Deadly Instincts for the German television release, but kept that name when released on DVD via an Echo Bridge 5 movie collection titled...wait for it...5 Horror Movies--yes, I own this. Deadly Instincts is in no way, shape, or form a good horror film, but it has just enough of the strange and inept charm to make it worth watching.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5


Deadly Instincts (Breeders) Movie Trailer

THE DARK

The Dark Movie Review

Something is lurking underneath a cemetery—is it there to kill, heal, or both? Scientist Hunter Henderson (Stephen McHattie of Pontypool) wants to save the creature, while Paul Buckner (Brion James, Blade Runner) wants to destroy it in an effort to avenge his former partner. 1993 brought us this one, and like so many films from that era, it reeks of mediocrity. For the most part, this movie absolutely crawls—this  is made worse by the extended scenes showcasing the budding romance between  Hunter and  Tracy (Cynthia Belliveau), a waitress Hunter saved from some menacing bikers. The lackluster acting doesn’t help the pace—James is good as essentially the same character he plays in everything, but the rest is a struggle. McHattie, who has been impressive in other roles, comes off as a poor man’s Lance Henriksen here. Also of note, this marks the big screen debut of Neve Campbell, who would become known to the horror world as Sidney Prescott in the Scream films. The real star of this movie is the rat-like monster, a low budget throwback to 1950s creature features.

He took a wrong turn in Thra

This movie, in fact, feels like some hybrid of those sci-fi classics and the bottom of the barrel film adaptations of Stephen King novels. The Dark is one of those movies that you will keep on and continue watching just to see the creature—every scene between its appearances may be a good time to get some house work done, work on that story you’re writing, or stare off in the distance, wondering how Campbell was even given another shot at acting after this film.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5

The Dark Movie Trailer

Saturday, February 2, 2019

THE DEAD OF NIGHT

The Dead Of Night Movie Review

A group of teenagers partying in a cemetery tie up a couple nerds and throw them in an empty grave. When the bullied boys are attacked by a monster, they become monsters themselves, and soon they are on a mission to turn all the others as well. Through the years, there have been several movies titled Dead Of Night--this one is a direct to video release from 2004, and is part of one of those collections of horror films you find for really cheap, hoping to find a gem--this movie most certainly is not that. If you can't get into super low budget flicks, you will want to skip this one--it looks like the high school students depicted gathered up their lunch money to pay for this movie. In a film such as this, what people will likely be most interested in is what the monsters look like--here, we get rubber suits and masks.

Not the stuff of nightmares

This alone is okay, and I am happy to see the old school approach instead of CGI, but what kills these costumes is that the mouths don't move, even when the creatures are talking! I'm sure that by now you suspect the acting in this movie is bad, and wow, is it ever! Even worse is the dialogue, but the worst is yet to come. The way this film was shot and edited is so bad it is appalling. From the fish eye shots, to the jump cuts, to the many slow motion scenes, everything about the editing screams amateur hour. To top it all off, the music is atrocious as well. At no point in the movie will you be even a little scared, and, outside of the creature costumes, there is nothing particularly fun about the movie either. The only somewhat interesting part of the story is the ending, which is a nice little touch. Some have labeled The Dead Of Night the worst movie ever made--it's not, but it doesn't come close to being good either.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 3


The Dead Of Night Movie Trailer