Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Short and Sweet: Lucid (2014)

I'm definitely becoming more a fan of short films because you can really see how much talent some people can put into such a short amount of time. Case in point, this wonderful 18-minute short called Lucid, sent to me by the writer/director himself. I was sold on watching it simply because of his passion and enthusiasm for the project, and of course, the intriguing premise.

Lucid is the story of woman who dreams every night that her husband tries to kill her. The dreams get more and more intense and graphic, as does her anxiety around her husband in real life. The tone of Lucid is wonderfully comical at times, mostly due to main actress Marion Kerr's reactions and hilarious yet subtle physicality. The editing is perfect, and utilizes a great montage-like style to provide a lot of information in a short amount of time. Scenes get a bit redundant when you see the same shot over and over again, but they do manage to change things up here and there (again, usually using comedy) to keep things punchy and interesting.

On the technical side, Lucid is beautifully shot. I love the look of the dream sequences with the bright light and soft edges, and Karen's oddly formal white dress with black waist for costuming. Shots are framed with true expertise, style, and an eye for just what looks right and what will get the right reaction from the viewer.

This is one of those short films that I would love to see fleshed out into something much bigger in order to explore all of the issues that are brought up. Her fear of possible motherhood and her fear that she's not right for the role of perfect wife (looking pretty all the time and making dinner every night) - I saw a lot of cool things about her character in particular that I just wanted to dig into more, because they were only able to scratch the surface. In fact, the filmmakers do have plans to turn Lucid into a TV series, though I think just a feature-length film would suffice.

I definitely found Lucid to be a wonderful short film that only left me wanting more by the end. Beautiful job!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Movie Review: Pieces of Talent (2012)

Thank you to Simply Legendary Publicity for sending me the DVD (with the beautiful cover art and signatures from the director and actors) for this indie horror flick, Pieces of Talent.

Charlotte is an aspiring actress whose not getting any work and has to deal with her freeloading mother living with her and stealing from her. One night she meets up with local filmmaker David, and they become quick friends when she takes care of him after a beatdown from the bouncer at the strip club where she waitresses. David is not your average filmmaker, though, and the inspiration he gets from Charlotte is of the very dangerous and bloody kind.

David Long is played by... David Long. Not sure what this is saying about the actor when he uses his own name to play a murdering psychopath, but surely he's not like that in real life, right? Anyway, Long is wonderful in the role, and easily plays equal parts adorable, curly-haired weirdo and obsessed nutjob. His cute smile and the infectious enthusiasm he has when making his movies can be read as either completely normal or completely psychopathic, and those are always the kinds of killers that are the most fun to watch and the most terrifying. The ones that can hide in plain sight are the ones to watch out for the most.

Kristi Ray is also adorable and completely natural and sweet in her portrayal of Charlotte. Her character is someone who is obviously kind-hearted and independent, but maybe not as strong as she needs to be to deal with her mother and the pressures of acting. I think perhaps her "friendship" with David will change that. Actually my favorite of the piece was Barbara Weetman as Charlotte's mom Mary. She felt the most real of all the characters to me - a woman who has scraped by with the bare minimum her whole life and is jealous that her daughter will do more with life than she ever did. Weetman is also able to pull off the dual roles of her character well, which includes a love for her daughter but also a resentment that allows her to take advantage of Charlotte in whatever way she can. Weetman does a brilliant job portraying all of this by giving Mary lots of believable and natural quirks - loved her.

The cover art above describes the film in the same way I described it after first watching it - beautiful horror. Perhaps no one but horror fans will ever understand what that means, and the makers of Pieces of Talent certainly do because the look of the film is impeccable and gorgeous throughout. It shows all the talent of a filmmaker who really knows what he is doing in terms of cinematography, coloring, and lighting. Actually, my favorite sequence is the little bit after Charlotte wakes up and realizes she's not alone in the house. Just the right amount of suspense with just the right amount of payoff. What did feel a bit out of place, though, was the title cards that say "the leech" and "the fox." The dialogue that goes with them are obviously about certain characters in the film (shouldn't Charlotte's mother have been the leech though?) and it is probably all a part of the movie that David is making, but that is not clearly stated in the movie so it all feels too random.

Obviously the most beautiful scene is David's fantasy sequence where he is covered in blood, with disembodied hands and arms caressing him. Both the visual and sound effects are amazing in this standout scene, and it is probably the thing that viewers will most remember. The rest of the gore is also bloody brilliant with nice effects and perfectly colored blood. The exploding head shot is most impressive!

By the film's conclusion, I couldn't help but feel a bit cheated out of something much more detailed and in-depth in regards to the story. Charlotte and David's interactions throughout the movie are meaningful, but not powerful enough for me. The more impressive scenes are the ones David has with his victims. The whole climax sequence is just as beautiful and well-filmed as the rest; however, it is a bit lackluster action-wise, and there is so much that is left open in regards to both main characters. The credit sequence does say that this story is "to be continued" so hopefully a sequel will happen that will explore these questions further.

Pieces of Talent is simplistic and intriguing, and with a charismatic main actor to follow, the straight dialogue scenes become just as interesting as the more exciting sequences with murder and mayhem; though this off-and-on pacing does slow down the film in a lot of places, which may underwhelm some viewers. Still, it's definitely one to check out for horror fans, who will love and appreciate the quality film work.

You can watch Pieces of Talent on Vimeo here.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Movie Review: The Gore Gore Girls (1972)

There is quite possibly no entertainer like Herschell Gordon Lewis. He has brought horror fans endless joy with such films as The Wizard of Gore and The Gruesome Twosome - beautifully bad movies with ungodly bad taste, and that is exactly why we love them. The Gore Gore Girls from 1972 would be Lewis's final film for more than 30 years, but oh, what a way to go out.

Private investigator Abraham Gentry is promised a sizable sum by a reporter from The Globe, Nancy Weston, to look into the murder of a stripper named Suzie Creampuff. As Gentry rounds up a list of suspects, the body count continues to rise as more strippers are offed in increasingly bloody and gruesome ways. Who could be the one making mincemeat out of these beautiful girls' faces?

It has actually taken me a while to be able to write this review because while there is plenty to talk about with The Gore Gore Girls, it has left me rather speechless. The movie revels in its abundance of sleaze and over-the-top, unrealistic gore so much so that my experience of watching it can be broken down into the times that I busted out into such fits of laughter that I had to pause the movie before continuing on. Through the course of The Gore Gore Girls, there were many such laugh-out-loud moments, most of them having to do with the kills.

First to die is Miss Suzie Creampuff in a quick little opening scene before the credits. She's primping in front of a mirror before a black-gloved hand proceeds to shove her face into said mirror several times. It's good, but things get much, much better. The next victim is Candy Cane, a girl whom we meet again in front of mirror where she is staring at herself and caressing her body for some reason. While popping her bubble gum very annoyingly. Anyway, she actually gets the worst demise of them all where her face is hacked to smithereens with a cleaver. This induced Laughing Fit #1. Oh my goodness, how freaking excessive was that?! When the killer is done, her face doesn't even look like a face, especially when the killer sticks his/her hands all in it, pulling things apart and popping her eyeball.

Of course, this is not the best death in this movie.  Laughing Fit #2 came right at the beginning of this murder scene when the Circus Stripper (so named by me because of her dance sequence to odd circus-like music) randomly takes a cucumber out of her refrigerator (how subtle) before she has her throat cut and is bent over a kitchen table. Then the killer spanks the poor girl's butt bloody with a wooden meat tenderizer! What the hell?! That's kind of amazing and horrifying at the same time. It is made even more amazing when the killer dashes a little salt and pepper on her freshly tenderized rump. Soon after this mind-boggling scene, we are almost immediately thrown into another murder scene that is even more random. This scene includes a chick making French fries while ironing before getting her throat cut and getting said iron to her face. Laughing Fit #3 happened when her nipple was cut off and the milk was caught in a champagne glass. I about died. The girl's roommate then comes in and gets her face shoved in the boiling French fry grease. Dear goodness, Hersch, I seriously can't take anymore!

The Gore Gore Girls actually boasts some of the best acting I have seen in an HGL movie, mostly because I love Abraham Gentry. His character is incredibly obnoxious but the actor playing him does obnoxious so well that I give him a pass. Nancy is also pretty funny herself, especially in the scenes where she gets drunk. But the best character of course has to be the bar patron who just sits there, drawing faces on melons and squash before smashing them to bits with his fist. So very random, but so freaking hilarious.

When all is said and done, The Gore Gore Girls has one of the best and most delightful endings I've ever seen. Just as Abraham and Nancy are about to finally make out, Abraham breaks the fourth wall and informs the audience that they've "seen enough," and literally closes the curtain on the movie. Then this text appears:

Seriously, what's not to love with a movie that ends like this? Not only is it another example of awesome titling by HGL, but The Gore Gore Girls is also just another fantastically sleazy and crazy addition to this man's oeuvre. I love it.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Movie Review: Evil Feed (2013)

I have to give my biggest thanks to Maven Publicity for giving me the opportunity to screen this movie! The gory and ridiculously awesome Evil Feed is quite simply an bloody good time from start to finish. It has a real sense of fun with itself and with the genre to satisfy any and all horror fans.

Join me for a crazy night at The Long Pig restaurant where all the delicacies of the human body are available for your pleasure! As the premiere place for cannibalistic cuisine, The Long Pig is now under new ownership and boss Steven has added his own brand of "Tendertainment" to the mix by hosting live fights where guests can watch their meals get tenderized before being served. But it seems like Steven might have bitten off more than he can chew when he kidnaps the wrong group of fighters for his restaurant!

The best comparison I have for what you can expect with Evil Feed is probably Kill Bill - lots of fight scenes, lots of kooky acting and dialogue, lots of crazy gore. With a quick and easy-to-follow pace and storyline, and a wit to match, Evil Feed's quality is top notch all around. The look of the film is sometimes dark but with wonderful touches of vibrant color to the costuming and set design. Everything is lit and filmed beautifully, giving it all a richness and vitality, and there is a very talented eye behind that camera lens. Certain scenes and shots are done in the perfect way to get the right reactions out of the audience. Sadly, there are only a couple of cute camera tricks like zooms and one wonderful use of split screen. A bit more of stuff like this would have really given the film more personality, even though it already has a lot of it.

The story follows two groups of people - those running The Long Pig and those trying to save their friends from being eaten. There is not really a main character, but you won't really find yourself caring that much because all of these crazy people are a joy to watch. The real standout among the actors is of course Alyson Bath as Yuki. Part adorable little sexpot, part insane psycho bitch - Yuki steals every single scene that she is in, and Bath acts her heart out  with this girl. They also give her a wonderful look with the extreme eye makeup and dark lips that really match the character's dementedness.

Other people of interest are the tophat-wearing, cane-wielding Steven, rival restaurant owner Madam Dragonfly, and the crazy Chinese fighting man whose name I didn't catch. The crazy Chinese fighting man thing is a bit of a cliché but this guy totally embraced that and rolled with it all the way home. Jenna is also a pretty great female character, simply because she is the daughter of a martial arts master. Every time someone tries to attack her in the film, she gets to go against the grain and just beat the snot out of them instead of screaming and running like other female victims in horror movies.

Another great element to the movie is the amazing choice of music. Many scenes and characters are introduced with the most perfect musical cues - all upbeat and fun, full of the same quirky personality as the movie itself. The gore is also delightfully over exaggerated with all kinds of fun gags - probably the best being when a crazy, beefy fighter rips off his opponent's face and then eats it. Instead of going for a huge body count, the movie chooses to make its few kills really worth it for the audience. There's a great decapitation and some characters who lose other appendages... but I'll leave that for you to see on your own. The numerous and hilarious fight scenes are impressively well-choreographed, filmed in such a way that they were both believable enough to be real, but crazy enough to be entertaining as well.

Sadly, the movie ends on way too serious a note for my liking. The story itself comes to a great conclusion but the tone in the last five minutes or so is all wrong and so different from the rest of the film. It really needed that one last great musical cue to give the ending a real punch and keep the audience in high spirits. And actually, I found out that they did do this ending, but they added it as a "credit cookie" - so be sure to keep watching after they roll. There's also a pretty funny original theme song to listen to during the end credits, as well.

Evil Feed is by far one of my favorite films I've watched in a long time. It gets everything right in terms of the acting and characters, the pacing, and most importantly, the gore and the sense of humor. Do yourself a favor and get your hands on this film as soon as possible. I'd be surprised if you didn't love it!

Also, I loved the sweet packaging for the film. The DVD was folded inside a menu for The Long Pig, with hilarious menu item descriptions and blurbs about the movie. So cute.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Movie Review: Lucky Bastard (2013)

I was sent the link for this 2013 indie found footage movie Lucky Bastard, and though it is not really in the vein of "horror," this is one of those movies that I can't let go without saying something about it. Don't let the movie's premise fool you into any preconceived notions - Lucky Bastard is well-made and smart, and done in a very respectful way.

Porn producer Mike talks his star actress Ashley Saint into participating in the "Lucky Bastard" series on his website, where a normal guy is chosen to have sex on camera with a porn star. Ashley hesitatingly agrees, and the lucky bastard is decided - seemingly shy, nice guy Dave. But when the show doesn't go exactly as planned, it seems they might have picked the wrong man.

The film almost sets itself up for disaster by having it be about the adult entertainment industry. It received an NC-17 rating from the MPAA, with not really any chance to cut it down to an R without losing huge gaps in the movie. However, I was pleasantly surprised at and impressed with the filmmakers for the classy way they handled the material. Make no mistake: there is vulgar talk of sex; there is full frontal female and male nudity; and there are several graphic simulated sex scenes. Yet I never once got a feeling of sleaze or cheese from the movie.

The biggest reason for this part of the movie's success is the acting and the characters. Betsy Rue (from My Bloody Valentine and Halloween II) plays Ashley Saint. I liked that Ashley wasn't selfish or materialistic - porn is just her job, a way to take care of herself and her children. My only complaint is that when things get a bit more intense in the third act, Rue doesn't match her emotions with what is happening and she is too blasé. Also, I don't know how you can have the morals not to do anal porn, but be perfectly okay with doing rape porn! The character of Mike should be your typical sleazy porn magnate, but in the hands of these writers, and actor Don McManus, Mike actually becomes the most likable guy in the film. Despite a few moments of greedy exploitation, McManus portrays Mike as a solidly good guy who is caring, respectful, and protective of the people with whom he works. The lucky bastard Dave is played by Jay Paulson, whose look fits the character to a T. Paulson's mannerisms as a stereotypical shy geek work perfectly here, and the escalation of his nerves is natural and believable. The only real oddball character is Kacey, aspiring porn actress and Mike's current girlfriend. It's hard to get a handle on who she really is when nothing is known about her motivations or background, so while she's a good character played by a good actress, she's still a mystery to me.

The found footage aspect not only makes total sense for this situation, but it is also one of the best filmed of this type of movie that I've seen. The images are crisp and clear, and with characters that are supposed to be professional cameramen running things, the filmmakers are able to use nicely framed shots for every scene without losing the believability. The last part of the film takes place in a house once used for a reality show, so there are already cameras all over the place to catch the action that the fictional camera crew can't. Because of the use of found footage, there is no music in the film.  Also interesting about the film's style is that there are no night scenes. Everything takes place in big, bright, sunny L.A. - a very stark contrast to the actions taking place on screen. It definitely puts you into a false sense of security that nothing all that terrible is going to happen.

And really, it doesn't. The sex scenes are about as graphic as the film gets, and even those weren't bad at all by my standards. When things get bloody, it is not stylized or flashy, but rather really stays with Lucky Bastard's overall realistic feel and tone. There are some places that I didn't think the movie needed to go to, but that might just be me. They also bring in a couple of unnecessary characters that seem to maybe just be there for a body count - and you can guess that about them when they are first introduced.

The ending is a slight downer if you want something more exciting, but it is probably the most realistic ending they could have chosen. Lucky Bastard is a diamond in the rough considering what it gives itself to work with. Its subject matter might turn off some viewers, but give it the chance and I think you'll find a movie that is a pleasant surprise with its acting and technical skill.

You can view Lucky Bastard on Hulu here.
And it is available for purchase on Amazon here.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Watch this trailer. Seriously.

Had to share this real quick. Here is a trailer for the forthcoming film Motivational Growth, which is basically about a guy taking life advice from a huge, talking growth of mold in his nasty bathroom. The voice of the Mold is none other than Reanimator Jeffrey Combs. I do believe that I will be seeing this movie when I get the chance!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Book Review: "Hemlock Grove" by Brian McGreevy

Werewolves and vampires come together in the right way in this odd but intriguing tale that is the debut novel of author Brian McGreevy - Hemlock Grove. The book was adapted into a Netflix Original series that premiered in April of 2013, and its second season debuted last month on July 11. If the show has the same deliciously strange vibe that I got from the book, then I will definitely be watching and reviewing it as well very soon!

Hemlock Grove refers to the town in Pennsylvania where things are anything but ordinary - including its citizens. Most recently there has been a series of brutal murders in the area, which many believe to be the work of Peter Rumancek, a Gypsy who just moved to town with his mother. The rumor around town that Peter is a werewolf is actually true, and despite this fact, Peter is befriended by Roman Godfrey, heir to the richest estate in town. Together, the two try to figure out who the killer so they can stop him/her.

Easily the most engaging element in Hemlock Grove is the wonderful cast of characters that McGreevy has created. I'm always up for anything weird, grotesque, or macabre and there is plenty of all of these types of people in this story. But though they are all definitely not normal, at their core all these characters and their relationships are just like everyone else's. They deal with love and betrayal and desire - just maybe not in the ways you or I would. With an omniscient viewpoint, we get to hear about all these strange stories from many different characters, though Roman and Peter are the two mains.

The Godfrey family is the oddest bunch of all with son Roman, his sister Shelley, and their mother Olivia. I honestly still have no idea what is up with Shelley. She is described as monstrous, with some strange medical malady, but I couldn't tell you what it was if you held a gun to my head. Something to do with the Ouroboros project at the Godfrey's biotech facility, I think, but it's never really that clear. Still, Shelley is a kind person on the inside, and I absolutely loved her relationship with Roman and his protectiveness of her. Roman has a bit of mind control power that comes from his being a vampire (or almost a vampire), and interestingly, he doesn't even know he's a vampire. He sometimes uses this mind control for good and sometimes uses it for evil. There is one really horrific scene with Roman and another person that I thought was going to make me absolutely hate him for the rest of the novel, but somehow McGreevy makes it work for his character. Olivia was definitely my favorite, perhaps moreso because I know she's played by Famke Janssen in the show, and I freaking love that woman. Anyway, Olivia is the overbearing matriarch of the Godfrey clan, portrayed as pretty much a bitch. I had a feeling though that she had some weird and mysteriously tragic past that made her that way. I was happy to read at the end that I was right, and in fact her secret ends up being so much bigger than I would have thought. It brings this whole macabre tale to a wonderful and surprising ending that you hopefully will not see coming.

Author Brian McGreevy
Sidenote: Peter always refers to Roman as an "upir" in the novel and I was hoping that at some point McGreevy would actually tell me what that meant because I didn't know. He doesn't. It means vampire. I felt dumb for not figuring that out myself, but hey. I thought this was just a werewolf book. Shoot me.

McGreevy's writing style is definitely unique. The humor is wonderfully dry and sometimes comes out of nowhere, making you laugh out loud when you least expect to. My only complaint about Hemlock Grove is that it is not really written for the layman. This is a book about weird people doing weird things and the style definitely reflects that, and also the tone and mood of the story, but sometimes things get very confusing and hard to follow. I often found myself rereading several sentences throughout the novel to make sure I got the right meaning. Much of this was from McGreevy's use of run-on sentences, a style choice that was obviously intended, and sometimes it worked by adding to the humor in the piece, and sometimes just got on my nerves a little bit.

No small style choice could make me forget how much I loved this book. Hemlock Grove is unbelievably creative and so different from the norm in either werewolf or vampire stories. It is a more than welcome breath of fresh air that is more character-driven than action-driven, but with these delicious characters, that is just fine with me. McGreevy's twisted wit and tone make Hemlock Grove and definite must-read for any genre fan looking for something completely unlike anything they've read before.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Project Terrible: The Mythical Detective Loki

And now for something completely different. Mr. Robert Mohr gave us all anime episodes for his Project Terrible picks, and specifically for me he chose The Mythical Detective Loki. I would just like to go ahead and give a blanket apology for any die-hard anime or manga fans, because this is seriously not my thing.

This manga adaptation is in five episodes at about 15 minutes each. After 5 minutes, I was really worried about what was coming. Loki is an exiled god who has taken on the form of a child... I think. Is that right? He fancies himself a young detective and he has a pink blob-thing that flies around him. I have no idea what it is. He is joined by Mayura and Yamino, and together they make up the Enjaku Detective Agency.

I am probably the absolute wrong person to review this. I don't necessarily hate Japanese animation - I just don't understand the attraction to it, or to manga. The artwork all looks the same no matter who the artist is, and there is not anything necessarily great or interesting about the look of the drawing either. When the manga is animated like this, it all comes out really annoying and very juvenile, and it is made all the worse by the English voice acting. I don't mean to be insulting, but that's just always been my reaction! It did grow on me a bit after watching five episodes in a row - I just don't think I'll be seeking it out myself in the future.

Despite the overall kookiness of the animation (I'm guessing it's wrong to call it a "cartoon"), I did find myself enjoying some of the stories they did. The third episode, "Fafnir's Treasure," was my favorite because it was one of those classic Sherlock Holmes locked-room murder mysteries, and they handled it exactly the right way. The first episode is a bit crazier than the others as it deals with a murderer who decapitates girls. They really don't take it as seriously as it should be, but that makes the episode strangely funny. The last two episodes make up a not-so-exciting-at-all two-parter about the death of a mean schoolteacher. Again though, it's a good whodunit mystery story and I like those... so at least that part of it was okay.

Would this have been better in Japanese? Probably. Like I said, the voice actors were pretty terrible, and poor Mayura has the worst voice of all. It actually sounds like a dude trying to do a female voice - it's very strangely high-pitched and more than a little annoying. They also give Mayura the dumbest lines of dialogue that make her sound like a complete idiot and I felt a little sorry for her. Not much else is known about the other characters because the story doesn't focus on them at all. Didn't really bother me because I didn't care anyway.

This was indeed an odd choice for Project Terrible, Bob! It was interesting delving into something that I'd always avoided because I knew I'd hate it, but at least now I know that it is maybe not always as bad, or weird, or strange, as I might think. The Mythical Detective Loki was pretty good, I guess. I'm definitely no expert and I don't think I ever will be!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Project Terrible: The Zombinator (2012)

I wasted a perfectly good free rental I had saved up at the video store for this dreck. My second Project Terrible film is The Zombinator, a film that I saw Maynard Morrissey review and thought that from the title, it sounded like it could be a stupid good time. I conveyed as much to him, not even thinking that he might give this to me as a PT film. I am stupid.

As the poster says, the movie starts out as a documentary as a small camera crew follows a fashion blogger in her Youngstown home. When she meets up with some friends at another mutual friend's wake, they are suddenly attacked by zombies - and are saved by a strange man who looks like the Terminator.

After a pretty good, albeit nonsensical, beginning, the movie's true origins soon start to show through as everything goes downhill quality-wise. The Zombinator was shot on a whim over the course of only four and a half days. The real kicker is that there was NO SCRIPT. I read this fact after watching the movie, and suddenly I knew why it sucked so hard. Once the zombies show up, the plot tries to go in a million different directions without any of them working. There are times where the plot comes to a complete standstill while the characters have a stupid-ass, unimportant conversation for five minutes. The whole movie is a shitty, convoluted mess of one random scene after another. And I hate movies like that.

I can't even comprehend some of the stupid stuff that was brought up in this movie. One character has a pet zebra??? Is that even legal? A guy daring another to lick smeared blood off of a concrete pillar? If there was no script, there should have at least been some talk beforehand about what would be the right things to talk about in certain given situations. Nope, didn't happen. The characters just ramble on and on and on without ever saying anything.

There are constant and annoying attempts at irreverent humor that never work. Even one character's line to the Zombinator about how he looks like the Terminator is just too obvious and stupid and wasn't funny at all. The Zombinator also has a stupid reference line to the kids: "If you want to live, listen to me." Ugh. The worst part of the movie is when the group running from the zombies ends up in the basement of an old Catholic school - where there just happens to be a group of paranormal investigators. There is a long, derivative and utterly unfunny scene between the two groups about how the ghost people don't believe in zombies, and there are two smoking priests... just another goddamn random scene that they put in to piss me off.

Even if what they have to say and do is ridiculous, the "actors" aren't really that bad - though it really, really pains me to say anything remotely positive about this movie. I'm not saying that they were great or anything, but they at least had pleasant speaking voices, which is about as nice as I'm going to get. There is no character development - hell, I don't even remember any of their names - and by the end of the movie, the plot forgets about most of them anyway, so why should the audience give a crap about them either? The titular Zombinator is exactly how you would expect him to be: looking and acting like Ahnold, so even he turns out to be pretty blah and cliché. They add in another antagonist in the character of the Colonel, played by Patrick Kilpatrick. Seriously, what did they blackmail this guy with to make him appear in the movie? His acting helps the movie a lot, but not much. I was pretty disappointed in him in the scene where the Colonel and the Zombinator have the weakest fight EVER; definitely not believable considering both of the characters are supposed to be military and ex-military.

If you think I was too nice to this movie, let me be clear - The Zombinator suuuuuuuuuuuuuccccccccckkkkkkkksssssssss. And they really shouldn't have expected any better reaction than that when there was clearly no thought process at all behind the making of the movie. I feel horrible even giving this piece of shit any kind of recognition of its existence so I'm ending the review now. Screw you, Zombinator.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Movie Review: Wishmaster 4: The Prophecy Fulfilled (2003)

Here we are at the end of the Wishmaster series. It began with a movie that was pretty good but not great, went into a slight decline with the second one, got uber-boring with the third one, and now here we are with the fourth one, which completely and utterly ruins the whole series with its stupidity.

Lisa and her boyfriend Sam are at first a happy couple moving into their first house, until a motorcycle accident leaves Sam in a wheelchair. With their relationship strained, Lisa grows closer to the lawyer in their case, Steven, who ends up giving her a gift that holds the Stone of Secret Fire. Lisa has awakened the Djinn (again - why is it always a woman?) without knowing it, and he takes on the identity of Steven to coax the three wishes out of her.

The biggest reaction I have to Wishmaster 4 is WHAT THE HELL WERE THEY THINKING? Once again, they've taken a series with a pretty cool villain and completely squandered all of its potential to be gory good fun. I don't even really know what to say about this bomb that was so lazy with its writing that it couldn't even get the opening text about the Djinn correct. Just watch the first movie - you know, the way, way, way better one? - and copy it! Not that hard. But that doesn't even hold a candle to the overall point of Wishmaster 4, which is the Djinn... discovering human love. Kill me now.

I was worried at the beginning of the movie when there was boobs and a somewhat graphic sex scene only three minutes in, but this is not that kind of movie. You soon realize that you almost want it to be that kind of movie when finally, after three movies, the third wish is made and the Djinn actually doesn't grant it in order to fulfill the prophecy, as the movie's subtitle falsely promises the audience. Lisa wishes that she could love him - that is Steven - for who he really is, and that confuses the Djinn because of some crap about how human love has to be given freely. So then the movie becomes about the Djinn trying to make Lisa fall in love with him. That is one place that I never thought this story would go. I never wanted this story to go there. I never thought the writers would be so stupid as to make a movie about a wish-granting genie demon falling in love with a human. So stupid. So very, very stupid.

The acting is surprisingly good from the three mains of Lisa, Sam, and Steven. The only one I recognized was Michael Trucco as Steven because of a guest role he had on Law and Order: Special Victims Unit as a rapist - so I was already in the mind to see his character as a villain. Lisa is a nice, strong female character who is tough but still able to love Sam. She does contribute to her own relationship problems by spending so much time with Steven, but I can't really blame her based on how douchey Sam is to her pretty much every second of the day. Gosh, it sounds so tedious talking about relationship, lovey-dovey stuff in a fucking Wishmaster movie. This is horrible!

An added element to the Wishmaster story is the Hunter, who comes to earth to kill Lisa the waker before the third wish can be granted. So he's sort of a good guy because he has the power to stop the Djinns from taking over the world, but he's also a bad guy because he wants to kill Lisa (and because he kills that poor woman at Lisa's work - how rude). They hired what looks like a Calvin Klein model to play the Hunter because he has pretty hair and looks sexy with a sword. He and the Djinn have a pretty hilariously bad fight scene in the woods where many ludicrous lines of dialogue are thrown at each other in between bitchy throws and punches. The Hunter is killed in this fight, so his whole appearance in the movie was completely useless, except as a time-filler.

The Djinn is again played by John Novak, so again, he sucks. He still has the stupid voice and still has the pigtails, and they made his look even worse this time by giving him a red skirt to wear. The "wishes" he grants? Lame. There is only one semi-good gory scene: when he makes the lawyer mutilate himself by pulling out his tongue and cutting off his nose. The effects of the other Djinns arriving in a fiery background is so cheap looking that it is laughable. A low budget does not help a Wishmaster movie at all.

At the end of Wishmaster 4, I could not turn my TV off fast enough. This is a truly pointless sequel that does nothing to help a series that was already pretty well in the shitter. I gave the series a very fair chance, and all it did was let me down a little bit more with each installment. With this final film, I am beyond disappointed and almost a little angry at how bad they fucked all this up. So long, Wishmaster, I don't think I'll be seeing any of you again any time soon.