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Seance: The Summoning

Year of Release: 2011
Genre: Horror
IMDB Rating: 3.2 / 10
Level of Awful: High
Breast-O-Meter: 0.5 /5

WHAT IT’S ABOUT:

First off, I’d like to apologise for my recent silence and lack of reviews. I’m in a mad, desperate rush to submit my MA dissertation before the end of the year, and my guess is that it’s gonna get a whole lot worse before it gets better, but I’m gonna try to update things as often as possible. All work and no play makes James a dull boy, after all 😉

Anyways, what to say about Seance: The Summoning. In all the years I’ve been watching shitty horror I’ve never come across a movie quite like this one. To say that it was a rollercoaster to watch is an understatement, and at no point did I ever know how to feel about what I was watching. It’s either one of the most bigoted movies against Christianity ever made, or it’s one of the greatest pieces of Christian propaganda that’s not so cleverly masquerading as a horror movie. At points it’s painful to watch, other times it’s a fun b-movie, and there are also times when you feel it’s pulling itself together nicely. The actors seemed to learn how to act as they went along, so on that front it starts painfully and ends somewhere that’s slightly above average. On the whole I really just don’t know how to feel, but for putting me through so many ups and downs I declare it to be a High Level of Awful. Take that movie crew et al.!

OK, who forgot to pack the malevolent spirit?

Sara is a delightful born again Christian girl who just wants to make the world a better place through Christ’s love. To do this, she’s going to help her friend Eva out with a seance. Because Jesus wants you to summon up the spirits of the damned. Eva comes from a long line of psychic mediums who have perfected their craft over the generations. Her grandmother was burned as a witch by the Catholic Church, but those were less tolerant times and you make do with the hand you’ve been dealt. While the two girlfriends are sitting in a park chatting about life Eva decides to give Sara a tarot card reading. What follows is the most vague and subjective insight into the nether realms you’ve ever heard, but it serves to inform us that, before being reborn, Sara was a very, VERY bad girl. Not that that should come back to haunt her or anything later on…

“Have a seance” you said. “It’ll be fun!” you said. Stupid bitch.

The girls meet up with Joey and Marcus in the park, whereupon they hatch this ingenious plan: they’ll drive a hearse to the morgue for uncollected bodies (hobos, druggies, prostitutes etc., so you know these are some angry spirits) and hold a seance after they’ve inspected the corpse freezer. Joey, in addition to being a security guard at said morgue, is busy doing his unspecified degree in something paranormal and wants to record Eva contacting the dead. Marcus is a stone cold atheist and is only tagging along because a) he wants to bang Lisa and b) if Eva can’t summon up a spirit, she has to dance in a bikini at all of his DJ gigs for a specified amount of time that I can’t quite recall. I reiterate: awesome plan guys!

Now you might experience a slight sensation of extreme agony…

Now, as every reasonable person knows, it’s never a party until someone goes home devastated. In the process of summoning the dead it comes out that Marcus isn’t so much an atheist as he is a closeted psychic. It explains so much really. With the secret out and his friends telling him that it’s OK, that they don’t care if he’s interested in talking to the dead, and that there’s nothing to be ashamed of because he was born that way, the resident evil spirit (see what I did there?) sees a soft target and possesses him. Armed with the powers of hell and an ability to roll his ‘r’s with such power it would intimidate the most hardened latino, Marcus is intent on controlling the whole world. It’ll be up to Eva and Sara to use a concoction of psychic power and Christianity (and a little rubber tubing) to banish this evil back to the hole it crawled out of.

LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:

  • No seance is complete without some Satanic apple juice.
  • Satan has his own brand of seance-ready candles.
  • Blondes think that a red flashing light is the highest form of security for a building.
  • Sending a woman with a camera to a toilet next to the corpse freezer in a morgue is an excellent way to come on to her.
  • Why does a morgue for unclaimed bodies need a family waiting area?
  • Good Christian girls have a really powerful right hook.
  • There’s nothing more unattractive than a closeted spirit channeler.
  • There’s no high quite as good as an embalming fluid high.
  • Demons are trained to be back up strippers in case times get tough in Hell.
  • Never tell a demon your secrets – he’ll be running all over town airing your dirty laundry.
  • In the event of friend’s demonic possession, sex is your best weapon against them.

SEANCE: THE SUMMONING TRAILER

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Collision Earth

Year of Release: 2011
Genre: Sci-Fi / Action
IMDB Rating: 3.4 / 10
Level of Awful: Medium
Breast-O-Meter: 0 /5

WHAT IT’S ABOUT:

So, it had been a while since I last watched a good, old-fashioned end of the world movie. Since I promised the people at Syfy that I’d watch one of their movies to thank them for the upcoming Aladdin and the Death Lamp and Pegasus VS Chimera (a Tweet to which I got no response 😦 ), I decided to take a shot on Collision Earth. The result? WOW! Just WOW! I love me some questionable science in a disaster movie, but this little baby took it to hitherto unknown levels. I will try my best to demonstrate the lunacy that was this movie throughout my review, but should you ever feel the need to watch the most horrifying attempts at astronomy in a movie at some point in the future, make sure you have a copy of this on stand by for when the moment takes you.

Not good! Not good!

The year is 2011 and mankind is about to take its first steps on the planet Mercury. Why Mercury of all planets remained a mystery to me since it’s not really anything other than a hot Moon, but I decided to run with it and see where the movie wanted to take me. Onboard the spaceship are three people: Veronica, a jack-of-all-space-trades and master of the universe, and two people who don’t matter cause they die relatively early on. These three will never have the honour of being the first humans on Mercury because, just as they arrive at the planet, the Sun sends out a giant solar flare that blasts the ship and the smallest planet in the solar system. This blast leaves the Asian contingent of the space mission dead and the ship in a bit of a bruised state, but that’s gonna be the least of their worries in a minute.

Tractor flipping of the gods!

You see, it wasn’t actually a solar flare. For a very brief second the Sun transformed from a normal star into a magnetar. The flare was actually a burst of magnetic radiation that not only knocked Mercury out of its orbit, but also magnetised the entire planet. Since Earth has a strong magnetic field, it begins to draw Mercury towards it, setting us up for a series of catastrophic and preposterous events. Now, to digress for a moment, I would like to address the moment when people realise that Mercury is on the move. Rogue astronomer James, upon noticing that Mercury isn’t where it was a few hours ago, shouts out “A planet doesn’t just move”.

We can confirm that we have some sciencey stuff going on here, sir.

Upon hearing this I actually paused the movie to fight with the TV. Why? Because planets do move, and they move in a number of different ways. They’re rotating on their own axes all the time. While they’re doing that they’re rotating around the sun. The gods were merciful by not placing us in a binary star system, because I don’t think I’d have the energy to school the movie on how that works as well. I never thought I’d live to see the day where I heard dialogue like that, but here we are. Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, as you can well imagine, the government is in no way capable of protecting us from Mercury’s collision, and it will fall to James to find a way to save us all. He will be aided by two college students with a pirate radio capable of sending messages to Mercury, an agoraphobic and socially awkward scientist side-kick, his wife, who is busy flying around Mercury, and a weaponised asteroid built for just such an occassion. Interspersed amongst all of these characters will be even more scientific fallacies, some jaw-dropping CG and some recycled footage from Ice Twisters. Enjoy!

LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:

  • Judging from the controls, flying a spaceship isn’t overly different to playing an Xbox.
  • Spaceships are so fast they can outrun solar flares.
  • Despite it being a complete vacuum, fires regularly occur in space.
  • Only YOU can help save the Earth from a meteor collision.
  • The sun is fully capable of changing the kind of star it is and then switching right back again.
  • A car can protect you from a high-speed, interstellar meteor shower.
  • Astronomers are utterly astonished when planets move in space.
  • Astronauts are trained to sling shot space ships around magnetised planets, just in case the situation ever calls for it.
  • Power surges make the same sound as old dial-up modems.
  • Our solar system is just crammed to capacity with weaponised asteroids.
  • They don’t teach you how to tie people up in astronomy school.
  • No security convoy can match the strength of an Asian woman with a tyre iron.

Sinbad and the Minotaur Ft. Tropical Mary

Year of Release: 2011
Genre: Adventure / Fantasy
IMDB Rating: 3.5 / 10
Level of Awful: Medium
Breast-O-Meter: 0/5

WHAT IT’S ABOUT:

The time has come for another episode of Historically Inaccurate Movie Night with Tropical Mary. We’ve done quite a few of them already, but we always had a special love for Cyclops, the movie that started this particular little adventure of ours. Nothing’s beaten Cyclops yet in terms of sheer laughs and total disregard for any semblance of historical truth, but this came pretty close! I don’t know much about Sinbad, but if we were to take the accuracy of the Minotaur’s portrayal as a guide, I’m gonna guess that they got his character completely wrong as well.

In a very loose sense Sinbad and the Minotaur follows Sinbad as he tries to locate the lost treasures of King Minos. There’s a minotaur, a sorcerer, a cannibal and various horned zombies thrown in to pad out the action, but not in any serious way that’s gonna make truck loads of sense. When all is said and done, though, it’s a barrel full of laughs if you’re in the mood for some mindless entertainment. As I did with The ImmortalsI present to you the polluted stream of consciousness that flowed during the course of this movie, followed by a fun little exercise Tropical Mary and I did in transliterating the Greek text in the movie 🙂

Kiss me, kiss me hard!

  • America World Pictures and the Brothers Bradley present… Manu Bennett.
  • This female is skilled in the deceptive art of stripper belly dancing.
  • The Seven Wonders of the World before there were Seven Wonders of the World…
  • And he’ll beat the crap out of you with the pepper grinder of doom!
  • Make way for Emperor Trenchcoat Terry!
  • Use the magic mist to escape!
  • I have no idea what’s going on, but apparently it has something to do with a coke whore called Germaine.
  • Now they have to go to the gates of the rash. Things are about to get nasty.
  • Ancient Greek spoken by the whole Tourette’s of the world.
  • Does anyone in this movie speak English?
  • Quickly! Don the see-through harem pants of escaping!
  • Everyone’s been at sea and now they’re bitter and blue-balled.
  • Quickly men! Gather your ancient sporks and do battle with the enemy!
  • This whole forest is made out of plastic.
  • I totally promise this is a real cave. It looks like plastic bags held together by used chewing gum, but it really isn’t.
  • I wonder if Harry Potter’s dad inherited his invisibility cloak from Sinbad?
  • Reptilian Minotaur! I command thee to stand sloppy or get loosen!
  • Something about Cinnabon’s adventures on the Seven Seas.
  • The Dannii Minogue / Natalie Imbruglia look-alike is either plotting something spectacular, or her next album.
  • By the blood of Pythagoras, if anyone here owns a MILF, kill them!
  • What draconian laws these people have.
  • Wait, if only the MILF owners are being killed, what happens to the MILFs?
  • Welcome to a very special episode of Law and Order: Ancient Edition.
  • How did Helios, the sun god, father a giant scaly minotaur?
  • Hang on, how is this minotaur any different to a regular old bull?
  • Helios the All Father? Got some Scandinavian leakage going on here…
  • This girl’s really clever – she’s actually a raptor.
  • He is the Lord of the Dance said he and he’ll lead you all wherever you may be.
  • So the Minotaur is the god of the mountain named Monkey?
  • You’d think the Colossus of Rhodes would be… more colossal.
  • The High Priestess of the Minotaur is super high.
  • A prophylactic like that must be worth something.

A big part of the movie’s plot revolved around Sinbad’s discovery of an ancient text written by King Minos. For such an ancient text it’s been typed out in beautiful Arial Greek font. Now, Tropical Mary’s Ancient Greek is far superior to my own, but I can read the alphabet, and we had a great time transliterating the text that popped up on-screen. To give you an idea of just how archaic the language is, the scroll reads:

espskssss kssiphgsb s hste oite uksooe ou zdksthtksieeph ksopsephbks chti thdrzd szdepsch.

Bet the guys behind the movie weren’t betting on people like us watching it 🙂 That’s Greek as spoken by a two-year old with a forked tongue.

The unholy offspring of a bull and a dung beetle’s night of drunken regret.

SINBAD AND THE MINOTAUR TRAILER

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Hellraiser: The Ultimate Movie Marathon

Another epic evening, another entire franchise of horror movies covered. The entire team (myself, Tropical Mary, Stygian Mole and The Occult Specialist) gathered for this one. With 9 movies ahead of us, it lay quite comfortably between the perhaps-overly long Friday the 13th marathon and the rather short Nightmare on Elm Street one. Plus, if I’m honest, the four of us are more than a little depraved and the prospect of spending the next 15 hours watching Pinhead-style torture was more than a little exciting. Couple that with the fact that we’d all taken a 3-day weekend and we were good to go 🙂

The day began as so many Ultimate Movie Marathon days do. We landed at Tropical Mary’s house at 10 hundred hours with a planned commencement time of 11 hundred hours. The fridge was stocked with many a litre of Coke, the snacks were in bowls and several of Tropical Mary’s amazing blankets were at hand to ward off the ravages of a Cape Town winter. With a few libatory coffees in us, we sat down and began the great trek through 24 years of Pinhead madness, blood spillage and what I think is one of the best horror franchises out there.

HELLRAISER

Year of Release: 1987
Genre: Horror / Thriller
IMDB Rating: 7 / 10
Level of Awful: Surprise!

And so we begin with Pinhead’s first adventure, and from the very get-go the movie was incredibly gooey. In the beginning (or the 80s), there was The Cube, and Frank Cotton wanted it. Not content with mundane regular sex and pleasure, Frank wanted to explore the absolute extremes of pleasure and sensation. Little did Frank know, however, that such delights really only equated to having inter-dimensional chains fly out, bore into his skin and rip him to shreds before being dragged back into the other dimension by a pin-headed man with a serious leather fetish. Perhaps not the auto-erotic evening he had in mind, but it does set the tone for the movie delightfully.

Later on we meet the other Cottons: Frank’s brother Larry, Larry’s wife Julia, and Larry’s daughter Kirsty. Larry and Julia are moving into the old family home where, unbeknownst to them, Frank was torn to shreds and drained into the floor. During the moving process Larry cuts his hand on a razor-sharp nail head and bleeds all over the new / old floors. This somehow revives a somewhat juicy Frank and, when Julia discovers him dripping all over the attic, it brings back memories of their passionate affair and epic chin snogging. The usually ice queenish Julia is now filled with blood rage and brings Frank a never-ending stream of victims that he can use to rebuild himself.

Kirsty, being super intelligent by virtue of the powers vested in her by her epic hair and mom jeans, knows that something really bad is going on but struggles to come to terms with her gooey uncle running around the house. A problem arises when Pinhead and the other Cenobites (affectionately dubbed Lips McCoy, Tracheotomy Girl and Phat Morpheus) realise that Frank has managed to escape them, and they’re prepared to take him back by any means necessary. Butterfingers Kirsty will have to watch herself or be strung up in yet another of the Cenobites’ sadomasochistic experiments.

LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:

  • In the 80s the phrase ‘the higher the hair, the closer to God’ was taken to scary and ridiculous extremes.
  • The circle of life now includes an extra resurrection cycle.
  • Clive Barker doesn’t believe in spending money on extra lighting.
  • Nothing says class like a set of ninja star earrings.
  • Tears are a waste of good suffering.
  • If Jesus weeps your house will bleed.
  • You know Cenobites are coming when Daft Punk lighting appears in your walls.

I love Tracheotomy Girl so much!

HELLBOUND: HELLRAISER II

Year of Release: 1988
Genre: Horror / Thriller
IMDB Rating: 6.3 / 10
Level of Awful: Surprise!

After a quick recap of the first movie Butterfingers Kirsty wakes up in a psychiatric hospital. The doctors want to help her and the police want to know what happened that caused her house to destroy itself so Kirsty, like a genius, tells them what actually happened. Shockingly the doctors are more inclined to believe that Kirsty is a nut job rather than that her dead uncle came back as a gooey corpse and was aided in rebuilding himself by her evil stepmother while the two were being hunted by sadomasochistic demons from another realm. She is handed over as a loon to Dr Channard without any ceremony to be kept under watch until she regains her senses.

At least that’s the story she’s been given. Channard actually knows all about the Cenobites and has been dying to find a way to get in touch with them. Before he does that, however, he steals the mattress that Julia died on in the first movie and uses one of his more deranged patients as a blood bank to resurrect her. Like Frank before her, Julia is very gooey, and the good doctor takes her back to his white, white house and puts her in a white, white outfit to take some time and recover. A few choice victims later Julia is decidedly less juicy and ready to help Channard come into contact with the Cenobites.

To do this they will need an expert puzzle solver, and as luck would have it they have Tiffany, a catatonic puzzle solving prodigy just sitting around the hospital. She quickly figures out how the puzzle box works and summons Pinhead, Lips, Phat Morpheus and Tracheotomy Girl. Channard and Julia enter The Labyrinth, home of the Cenobites, while Kirsty and Tiffany go in to try and find Kirsty’s dad and bring him back. When the good doctor does become a Cenobite and attempt to usurp Pinhead’s position, Hell’s in for a big showdown and the Cenobites are forced to remember the only thing that can defeat them: their own humanity. I’d like to say that it’s up to Kirsty to save the day, but since she’s frequently outwitted by rusty pieces of cutlery, it’d be more safe to place your bets on Tiffany.

LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:

  • Music boxes to hell entice people like an ice cream man entices children.
  • The best kind of policeman belongs to the ‘shoot everything to hell’ school of thought.
  • The particularly mental wing of an asylum doubles up nicely as a giant maintenance cupboard.
  • You’re quite the stud if you can get to 2nd base with a juicy walking corpse.
  • Beware the pimp slap of justice.
  • Everyone should have an orgasmic tunnel installed in their basement.
  • Incest is best – IN HELL!
  • In hellbound relationships it’s usually the woman that wears the skin.

Do you need a Kleenex for that?

HELLRAISER III: HELL ON EARTH

Year of Release: 1992
Genre: Horror
IMDB Rating: 5.2 / 10
Level of Awful: Surprise!

Things haven’t been going so well for Pinhead lately. When hell imploded on itself at the end of the last movie he and a Lament Configuration (the puzzle box) became trapped in a beautifully crafted, if somewhat disturbing, pillar. Completely drained of power he’s been unable to move. His luck turns around, however, when the pillar is bought by J.P. Monroe, owner of the greatest hole-in-the-wall nightclub, The Boiler Room. As people are prone to doing around Pinhead, J.P. bleeds on the statue, somewhat reviving him and setting us up for another round of gruesome torture.

This movie has no actual continuity with the first two, so we have to meet a whole new range of characters. Joey’s an ambitious young television reporter looking to find that one big story that will define her career. She thinks she may have found it one night when she sees a young man being ripped to shreds by hooked chains apparently acting of their own accord. If she were to have spoken with Butterfingers Kirsty she’d know that this was Pinhead’s general MO, but dear Joey’s gonna have to figure it out herself with the help of Terri, J.P.’s slutty (and seemingly underage) ex-girlfriend.

At this point in the long strand of time that we call eternity Pinhead’s decided that he’s sick of playing by the rules. Lips, Tracheotomy Girl and Phat Morpheus are dead, he’s been a statue for 4 years and Hell’s in need of some serious rebuilding, so screw the rules of the game. Lying and deceiving people to get what he wants, Pinhead plans on taking over the entire world and wreaking pain and havoc as he sees fit. Unfortunately, as is often the case, our worst enemy is often ourselves, and Pinhead’s human form is now alive and well, albeit in limbo. The revelation that he was once human in movie 2 has split Pinhead in half, and the human version is intent on bringing the Cenobite half down.

This movie has a death count that’s virtually off the charts and enough blasphemy to make your dear grandmother cry, which is why I think I liked it so much. Also, Joey’s far more intelligent than Butterfingers Kirsty and does battle beautifully with a DJ Cenobite. I’ll agree that it’s not as great as the first two, but it’s definitely still a great addition to the franchise.

LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:

  • Nothing says hardcore like a guy in a self-bedazzled leather jacket.
  • True love means walking into madness for someone.
  • Pinhead’s a modern killer and fully embraces the use of new technology.
  • Pinhead strongly disapproves of stained glass windows.
  • There’s nothing quite as relaxing as a mind trip to the luscious grasslands of Vietnam.

Blasphemy, blas for you, blas for everyone!

HELLRAISER IV: BLOODLINE

Year of Release: 1996
Genre: Horror / Sci-fi
IMDB Rating: 4.7 / 10
Level of Awful: Low

Sadly, this was the last movie in the Hellraiser franchise that Clive Barker wanted anything to do with. As the other reviews will show, his input is really what made this franchise work. Bloodline was the first dip in the series. It’s not bad by any means, but it’s very clear that by this point they were starting to run out of ideas. The movie’s perfectly watchable, but it never really grabs you in the same way the first 3 do and its ending was more than just a little anticlimactic. As a general rule, if you need to take it into space, consider calling it a day with the franchise.

The year is 2127 and Paul Merchant is trying to rid the world(s) of Pinhead and the Cenobites once and far all. Why ‘don’t open the damn box’ never seemed like a plausible solution is a mystery to me, but anyway. In the process of trying to destroy the Lament Configuration Merchant is taken captive by a group of soldiers who storm the space station he’s on, demanding to know what he’s up to. Held captive by an Hispanic Hilary Swank in space, he is forced to tell us the Cenobites’ story from the very beginning.

Over 400 years ago Paul’s ancestor was a poor toy maker commissioned to make a box for a wealthy French magician. The man has no idea that what he’s built is the very first Lament Configuration. The magician uses the Configuration to summon a Cenobite slave, Angelique. Through a process very similar to how we make chicken McNuggets today Angelique is poured into the skin of a woman the magician and his apprentice, Jacques, killed. Before Jacques and Angelique kill the magician he is warned that a demon must only obey its master until you stand in hell’s way. Not heeding this warning will come back to bite Jacques in the ass later. The two later kill the toy maker as well, discovering that he was trying to build the Elysium Configuration, a device that would keep the Cenobites trapped forever.

200 years after the first Lament Configuration was built John Merchant, another of Paul’s ancestors (the original toy maker’s wife was pregnant when he died), is essentially building an Elysium Configuration without knowing it. Angelique learns of this and comes to America to stop him before her and her kind are banished from the human realm. Pinhead’s none too pleased about any of this either and joins in the fight, bringing with him Cenobite Rottweilers and creating The Siamese Twins, the second coolest Cenobite lackey after Tracheotomy girl. They manage to kill John but are sent back into the Lament Configuration by his wife. All while John’s son is watching.

Back in the future Paul has EVENTUALLY figured out how to make the Elysium Configuration work. Either it was a very tricky design or this family just really isn’t all that great when it comes to higher brain functions. Having made a robot open the Lament Configuration to let Pinhead and the others loose it’s now just a matter of keeping Pinhead busy long enough to activate the Elysium Configuration (wow, never thought I’d use the word ‘configuration’ so often in one paragraph) and trap the Cenobites once and for all.

LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:

  • The future is astonishingly lacking in its use of technology.
  • Despite being a vacuum, it’s really noisy in space.
  • French people communicate with one another through slutty moaning.
  • It’s not necrophilia if the body’s still warm.
  • Many female demons are pillar-sexual.
  • Security guards double up as expert door identifiers.

♫ ‘Cause you got me, and baby I got you. Babe. I got you babe. ♫

HELLRAISER: INFERNO

Year of Release: 2000
Genre: Crime / Horror
IMDB Rating: 5.5 / 10
Level of Awful: High

Wow, talk about a terrible downward spiral! After 3 awesome movies and one so-so one, we were suddenly lurched into this piece of crap. In itself this isn’t a bad movie, but it’s not a Hellraiser movie. After suffering through about 30 minutes of it I was pretty convinced in my mind that this was originally a spec. script and Dimension had simply shoved Pinhead in somewhere where he really didn’t belong. Turned out I was spot on. It has a good concept and an absolutely brilliant ending, but it isn’t worth suffering through to find out what it is.

The movie follows Joseph Thorne, a rather shady and incredibly corrupt policeman, as he goes about his days being a general asshole and philanderer. Out on a routine investigation to look into a gruesome shredding of what might have once been a human body, Thorne discovers a Lament Configuration that’s been turned into a candlestick holder. As any other corrupt police official would do, after stealing $300 from the dead man’s wallet, Thorne steals the aesthetically pleasing Configuration and decides to play with it a little after banging a prostitute.

As one might expect tinkering with the Lament Configuration opens up a direct portal to hell. First the hooker’s dead, then Thorne’s ice-cream man / cocaine dealer / paedophile informant is killed, then he’s being chased by the Wire Twins and half a Lips. All of this seems to be tied to a man called The Engineer, and Thorne makes it his personal mission in life to try and stop this man. Not for selfish reasons, of course, but rather to avoid getting his own flesh ripped apart or licked off with an acidic tongue.

At one point Tropical Mary was actually considering killing me and the rest of the gang to try and liven things up while this movie was on. It has every miserable stereotype in the book, the characters are loathefully unlikeable, it takes forever to get anywhere with its storyline and you barely see Pinhead at all. It also wanted to redefine the Cenobites in that, rather than simply being other-worldly beings who took their love of whips and chains to strange and gruesome extremes, they are now actually demons out on some moral crusade. Maybe that works for some people, but it just left me cold.

LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:

  • Spines make really juicy noises when you rip them open.
  • Some movies are as exciting as eating tofu on a rice cracker.
  • Walker Idaho Rangers are nowhere near as cool as their Texan counterparts.
  • It’s possible to make a movie with only internal monologues and sighs.
  • Nothing says badass-criminal like a pair of ‘coon chaps.
  • There are few people you want to hit more than a coked-up, smarmy, asshole, magician policeman.

Well, here’s the problem: you have two Cenobites embedded in your chest!

HELLRAISER: HELLSEEKER

Year of Release: 2002
Genre: Horror / Thriller / Mystery
IMDB Rating: 4.9 / 10
Level of Awful: Surprise!

And we’re on the up again, which was a very pleasant surprise after the last one. I don’t know if any of us could have taken two Infernos back-to-back with one another. Pay attention Dimension Films: if you must shove Pinhead into a script that wasn’t meant for him in the first place, this is the way that you should continue to do it.

Kirsty’s back! Having taken some time off to relax and improve her mental capacities so that she can at least match wits with the rusty cutlery, her and her husband Trevor are out for a little drive to rekindle their love. It’s all sweet and lovely until one particularly passionate session of neck nomming distracts Trevor long enough to put their car in the path of an oncoming truck. Trevor’s quick reflexes allow him to manoeuvre the car out of the path of the truck and throw it off a bridge into an icy-looking river instead. Trevor manages to haul himself out the car, but sadly for Kirsty and her recently improved mental capacities, Pinhead never cut her a pair of gills and she drowns when she can’t get her door or window open. Maybe the rusty cutlery would still win after all.

When Trevor wakes up in the hospital he’s pretty much fine except for some minor amnesia and the inability to tell fantasy apart from reality. This will result in some difficult times for him, like when he coughs up a live eel. Meanwhile Kirsty’s body has disappeared from the car and a search has yet to find where she drifted off to. This results in Trevor becoming the prime suspect in Kirsty’s suspected murder, an investigation headed up by the most condescending policeman to ever grace the small screen. With strange things happening all around him, the people he knows turning up gruesomely murdered and Cenobites at every turn, Trevor will quickly need to figure out what’s real and what isn’t before Pinhead gets to him.

This movie was everything that Inferno wanted to be. It has a tremendous ending that will make you rethink everything you’ve just watched, but at the same time the rest of the movie manages to convince you that what you’re watching is really happening.

By this point in the evening this movie spawned one of the best comments of the whole marathon. Wondering why Trevor was such an absolute slut magnet, I voiced this statement: “His amnesia brings all the sluts to the yard.” Stygian Mole, who doesn’t say a lot but is tremendously useful for his quick one-liners, promptly responded: “And he’s like, ‘what the fuck are all of you doing in my yard?'” Perhaps you had to be there to truly appreciate it, but we laughed ourselves silly for about 20 minutes at that.

LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:

  • Only in ridiculous movies does a man wear white shoes.
  • Pinhead doubles up as an apartment-cleaning magician in his spare time, and is well versed in the Dead Hooker Be Gone spell.
  • Very few people actually understand what amnesia does to a person.
  • No matter how hard the sex against the vending machine is, that thing’s never gonna give up a free pack of Lays.
  • Morgues should be stored at the centre of the Earth so that the soul has less distance to travel when it goes to Hell.
  • Technological advances mean that Lament Configurations can now be more rounded in shape. This also makes them more child-friendly.

Acupuncture for the guilty soul.

HELLRAISER: DEADER

Year of Release: 2005
Genre: Horror / Thriller
IMDB Rating: 4.5 / 10
Level of Awful: Low

And we’re on a dip again, although not too bad a one. Deader isn’t necessarily a bad movie, it’s just one of those films where you could always see what it was trying to do but it never quite got there. Based on yet another spec. script (how many of those damn things does Dimension own?), it again puts Pinhead in a story that he doesn’t really blend in with completely, although it’s still a far better attempt than Inferno was.

By this point in the franchise Hell has become a prime location for the hip and trendy, with everyone wanting a piece of the pie. Enter the Deaders, a little cult in Bucharest led by a man who can hold back death and grant his followers eternal life, albeit with giant chunks of themselves missing. See, in order to become immortal you have to die first, at which point the cult’s leader, Winter, will bring you back. Everyone chooses to kill themselves in the most gruesome manners. Why no one thought a bottle of pills with a nice glass of wine in a bathtub wouldn’t be a better choice the Lord only knows, but this is what’s apparently happening in Eastern Europe when we’re not keeping an eye on them. Investigative journalist Amy Klein is on the job and tracking the story.

Now, Pinhead’s not loving this little cult one bit. He’s the only one that should be allowed to come and go from Hell as he pleases, and it ultimately all boils down to these people choosing Winter as their master over Pinhead. Amy, being the smart girl that she is, manages to find a Lament Configuration in a run down crack house. Literally prying the thing out of some poor, dead crack whore’s hand, she takes the thing home and solves the puzzle. Along with many, many chains, Pinhead appears in the middle of Amy’s lounge, but this time he’s in a far better and more helpful mood than usual. He warns Amy about what’s happening, and tells her to be careful and that he’ll be watching.

In order to push the story forward, as well as force some kind of continuity between this movie and the rest of the franchise, we are told by Winter that he is a descendant of the Toymaker who created the original Lament Configuration. Despite having the skills to bring people back from the dead he has been unable to solve the Configuration’s puzzle (it really doesn’t look that complicated: feel it, run fingers in a circle, click down and voila!), and his back-from-the-dead followers have all been an experiment to try and find someone to open the box so that he can travel to Hell and take command of the Cenobites. Like Pinhead’s gonna let that happen…

LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:

  • Nobody really needs the other half of their brain.
  • In the crack whore version of Bridget Jones’ life, she lives in Romania and only gets eaten by one Alsatian.
  • Nothing says class like a plastic bottle of gin.
  • Romanian trains are a more hedonistic form of transportation.
  • ‘Romania’ is a suitable answer to any confusing moment you may have while watching this movie.

I hate that spot on my back! You can never quite reach the damn thing!

HELLRAISER: HELLWORLD

Year of Release: 2005
Genre: Horror
IMDB Rating: 4.2 / 10
Level of Awful: Surprise!

The end is in sight people! Finally, three movies later, we happen upon an entry in the franchise that isn’t based on a spec. script. Granted, the short story it’s based on wasn’t written by Clive Barker either, but beggars can’t be choosers. Although I’d seen most of the Hellraiser movies over the years this one, for whatever reason, was the one I remembered the most vividly, so it was kinda cool to watch it again. Definitely not an all-time classic, but fairly decent watching nonetheless.

If you’ve watched all the Hellraiser movies back-to-back in one caffeine-fueled evening the one thing that you will probably notice is that Pinhead isn’t afraid to move with the times, and it really shouldn’t be surprising that at some point he’d embrace the use of the Internet in tracking down today’s more tech-savvy victims. Welcome to Hellworld, an online MMORPG based on Pinhead’s adventures that have, over the years, been granted the status of urban legends. Some people who become a little too engrossed in it may land up apparently committing suicide, but you really can’t put a price on a good game.

Let’s meet Chelsea, Derrick, Mike & Allison. These guys are the best of friends and LOVE playing Hellworld. Their friend Adam doused himself in petrol and set himself alight two years ago because of playing it, but that hasn’t stopped them. A true fan is a true fan. For the purposes of this movie, the four plan on attending a special Hellworld party held in a remote mansion by a strange billionaire recluse. Not that this is at all dodgy or possibly dangerous or anything. They’re joined by their estranged friend Jake, who never quite got over Adam’s death.

And the party’s underway! Oh, what an evening of debauchery and hedonism this will be! Anonymous sex with strangers (anonymity ensured because everyone’s wearing a mask and has a special cellphone provided by the man hosting the party), excessive drinking, possible drug abuse, minor orgies breaking out all over the place… Mmm, the air is rife with slut, and these kids like it. Well, Chelsea doesn’t, but that’s because she’s been pegged to be the heroine from the very beginning, but that’s fine, because she and her skin-tight latex pants (even the Cenobites’ leather outfits aren’t that tight) are locked in a bathroom.

Naturally, with all this pleasure going on and so many people having opened digital Lament Configurations, this is the perfect opportunity for Pinhead to reap a soul or two, which he does very effectively. All in all this is a good movie, although the ending may leave you a little cold. For a truly gratifying experience turn it off about 10 minutes before the credits roll and you’ll be left thoroughly satisfied. If you don’t that’s also fine, but you may be left thinking “Well, that was great and all, but why make it a Hellraiser movie?”

LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:

  • In this modern age, if Jesus weeps he will be deemed a sissy.
  • Never let people into your house – they just want to touch all your stuff.
  • Every rich billionaire has a secret Pickled Babies R Us store in his basement.
  • There’s nothing quite as scary as seeing a dead man denoming [to denom, verb: the act of wearing an all-denim outfit].
  • True friends help no one while getting a blowjob.
  • Latex pants will really slow down a decent escape.
  • Private Number is an asshole.

And Lady Gaga’s ‘Bad Romance’ video concept was born.

HELLRAISER: REVELATIONS

Year of Release: 2011
Genre: Horror
IMDB Rating: 2.9 / 10
Level of Awful: Requires Post-Film Lobotomy

And then there was this crock of shit. Even if me and my team hadn’t been high on caffeine, nicotine, sugar and saturated fats, even if we hadn’t been watching movies for over 13 hours, and even if we had been in the mood to watch a movie that would make us rather have Pinhead do what he felt like to us rather than be forced to watch it, EVEN THEN we would not have been prepared for Revelations. Dimension made this so that they wouldn’t lose the rights to the franchise you say? IF THEY MADE THIS THEY DON’T DESERVE THE FRANCHISE!! Right, that’s my little rant over 🙂 But seriously, don’t watch this, it’s crap.

So Steve and Nico are best friends who, like many other spoiled American teenagers, just feel that mommy and daddy don’t really understand them and that they need to get away from it all for a bit. They decide to road trip down to Mexico for a bit of fun, a few drinks and one or two prostitutes here and there. It’s all harmless fun really, at least until the two go missing one day.

A year passes by and still no one’s heard from the boys. Back home their respective parents are worried sick, and Steven’s sister Emma makes Kirsty seem like a Nobel Prize laureate. You know those mouth breathers who drag out the last syllable of every word? Yeah, she’s one of those. Emma, sadly, looks to be the brains of this little outfit and, whilst rummaging through her brother’s room and finding his video camera, learns that her boyfriend (Nico) casually murdered a hooker while banging her in a bathroom. What ever is a distraught and mournful girl to do? Seduce Nico’s dad in front of his mother, that’s what!

But she’s not gonna do any of that before she plays with the Lament Configuration in her brother’s bag, which shoots a blood-covered Steven back into our dimension. Following this secrets are revealed, the movie will try and shock us with things like incest, shotguns and couches covered in a horrendous floral print, there’s a showdown of some sort, Pinhead (who apparently has really let himself go in recent years) will pace back and forth in someone’s garage while stringing together incomprehensible sentences, families will be drawn into the garage / Hell and, if you’re fortunate enough to make it through all of that, the movie will end. You will never be the same and will be sorely tempted to throw heavy objects at the TV, but it will all be over and you can go on with your life.

LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:

  • Tijuana is now pronounced ‘Teechwaaana’ (with the ‘ch’ making the sound it does in German).
  • Tijauna / Teechwaaana is located somewhere in Mexicamerica.
  • Pinhead now has a five-head.
  • Pinhead does an amazing duck face.
  • It’s only ever a bad lie if it’s a filthy, filthy, lice-infested hobo lie.
  • It’s rare to see a plot that thickens with whore juice.

And they really thought no one would notice the difference?

FINAL THOUGHTS

We were doing so well up until Revelations, which really just pushed us completely over the edge. 5 more minutes and there would have been a Lord of the Flies situation on our hands. That aside, this marathon rocked. On the whole the franchise is really strong if you consider that (in our collective opinion at least) only 2 out of the 9 movies were actually bad, and only 1 out of those 2 was abysmal. Compared to many other franchises, which tend to start out strong and then slowly go down hill, this really is quite something.

And then there’s Pinhead. I’ve never really been that invested in the Hellraiser movies so I didn’t know that much about the franchise’s main antagonist until this marathon, but he truly is a god amongst movie killers. What I liked so much about him is that he’s intelligent; unlike many other killers from movies that came out around the same time as the original Hellraiser, Pinhead isn’t some brute out on a rampage. He’s an articulate, highly intelligent creature that operates within very well-marked boundaries. If you open the Lament Configuration you’ve made a deal, and that’s all there is to it. At the risk of sounding like a highly deranged individual, the methods of killing his victims are also just plain awesome. Yes, Jason has the machete and yes, Freddy has the knife glove, but the chains and sheer calm brutality that Pinhead uses are what really make him a terrifying figure. And that’s just one (albeit the most important) Cenobite. Looking at his lackies and seeing what has been done to them makes the viewer wonder which is worse: suffering an agonising death at the hands of the Cenobites, or suffering an agonising eternity by becoming one of them.

And now, for the part we’ve all been waiting for, the death and breast counts. In total, the 9 movies gave us roughly (Stygian Mole did his best, but sometimes the deaths were just coming too hard and too fast to keep track) 579 kills. Whilst this is truly impressive, they’re spread very unevenly, and around 400 of those took place in the 3rd movie alone. When it comes to breasts we didn’t do so well (much to The Occult Specialist’s disappointment, since I had made him the official Breast Counter for the evening) with a total of 22 across the whole franchise, most of them coming in the later movies. This gives us a final death-to-breast ratio of 26.3:1

I loved this franchise, and I now rank some of these films as my best of all time. We will now return to our regularly scheduled programming, but I must give a huge shout out to my team, without whom these marathons would not be possible, and an equally big shout out to all the people who tweeted us and helped keep us sane throughout the process. Follow us on Twitter to see what madness we’ll take on next! Until next time 🙂

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Immortals Ft. Tropical Mary

Year of Release: 2011
Genre: Action / Fantasy
IMDB Rating: 6.1 / 10
Level of Awful: High
Breast-O-Meter: 0.5 /5

WHAT IT’S ABOUT:

I know it’s not a horror movie, made on a tiny budget or generally shunned like most of the movies I watch, but there was a reason Tropical Mary and I watched this (with the Stygian Mole for backup): it was absolutely perfect for our series of Historically Inaccurate movies. Greek history is more Tropical Mary’s thing than mine, but after watching this we were both deeply insulted and hurt on a moral and ethical level. Granted, this movie is only meant to be loosely based on the myths of Theseus and the Titanomachy, but this is only true in the same sense that The Sims is loosely based on real life situations. In the wise words of Tropical Mary, a coffee table with a picture book of Greek history on it would have learned more through osmosis than these people did. I’m not going to give this movie a review, as such, because everyone and their grandmother has already done that; instead I’m going to provide you with our collective stream of thought from the beginning of the movie right up until the end.

THE COLLECTIVE THOUGHTS OF THE B-HORROR BLOG & TROPICAL MARY:

– In the beginning, there was The Cube, or hamster cage, or divine foosball table.
– Why is this hell hole modelled on the Pantheon?
– Mount Tartaros? How’d we get from the centre of the earth to a mountain with an amazing view of nothing?
– A Sibylline Monastery in the Greek Dark Ages? There are so many things wrong with that.
– I can see Theseus’ lips moving, but all I’m hearing is ‘I’m as gay as a fruitcake!’
– Why is this one wearing a shell loin cloth?
– This holy labyrinth could really do with a little colour on the wall.
– This movie is really just an epic tale about stupid hats.
– OK, so they’re caravanning to Tartaros? Why would you wanna do that?
– For such a terrible time in history, the dark ages came equipped with good plumbing.
– Why’s Mystique in this movie?
– Oh wait, it’s just the STRICTLY VIRGIN Athena running around half-naked.
– For someone who’s the king of the gods, Zeus is very baby-faced. Good stylish stubble though.
– Why would the Greeks have an Apis Bull of all things lying around?
– For a period that was known for geometric art, these sculptures are really life-like.
– You can’t walk ten feet in this movie without coming across a well with crystal clear water in it.
– A special weapon that you have to get out of a stone? I wonder where they got that idea from…
– Good to see that the citrus fruit trade is alive and well shortly after the Dorian Invasion.
– How are their monks running around?
– “Witness Hell”? How can they do that when they don’t know what hell is?
– There’s nothing quite as pretty as a virgin oracle wearing a giant lampshade.
– Me: “Why is Poseidon wearing giant earmuffs?” Stygian Mole: “Because he’s moonlighting as Lady Gaga’s backup dancer.”
– OK, so Poseidon went from being Zeus’ brother to Zeus’ son? Sure, why not.
– Mickey Rourke really needs to learn how to speak.
– Blood letting = correct burial rites.
– Why is the Minotaur a dude in a barbwire mask? And come to think of it, where the hell is Minos?
– Oracles shall henceforth be reclassified as ‘Rooi Rok Bokkies’ (watch this video for explanation).
– This virgin oracle’s about to have her visions defiled.
– The venus flytrap hat isn’t doing anything for this guy.
– Slow roasted faux oracles cook best in their own juices.
– How the hell’d they manage to get a hyena?
– Hat envy is the real reason everyone’s going to war.
– Good plan: Kill the god of war before going to war. Great job guys!
– They have a Hellenic Council? Really? Before they called themselves Hellenes?
– Movie: “He’s brought the olive branch of peace.” Stygian Mole: “Lies! It’s the poison ivy branch of trickery!”
– Why is there Elvish written all over these walls?
– Hyperion – the reason we can’t have nice things!
– This is a very loose phalanx formation.
– I guess every kingdom has to have a secret stairway to the main complex that isn’t at all guarded.
– Who thought it was a good idea to make armor that bends?
– These Titans clearly haven’t been given their rabies shots; they’ve all gone feral.
– These gods haven’t a single useful weapon among them.
– Surely it would have helped to bring the other 7 gods with you? Even if Hestia baked a cake, it would still be something.
– Athena’s kung fu fighting. That girl’s as fast as lightning.
– For immortal beings these gods are actually incredibly mortal.
– The greatest tragedy of all is this movie’s dialogue.
– Doing great things means you get rewarded with an ugly kid and a place among the gods.
– I do love a good pop-up frieze.
– The end.

This movie makes the real Athena weep.

IMMORTALS TRAILER

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