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Hard Ride To Hell

Year of Release: 2010
Genre: Horror
IMDB Rating: 3.9 / 10
Level of Awful: High
Breast-O-Meter: 1 / 5

WHAT IT’S ABOUT:

OK people, I’m back! After a little self-imposed hiatus to recover from the year in general and too many Syfy movies in particular I decided that the time had come to go back to basics and watch a crap horror movie with a cast you kind of recognise but can’t quite place and an idea that’s been done before and just as badly. The result is Hard Ride to Hell, which in itself is misleading because the roads look like they’re in good condition, so the ride itself does not appear to be that hard, and hell is nowhere to be seen. The only hell you may experience is the hour-and-a-half you’ll lose actually watching the movie.

Judas, Judas-ah-ah...

Tessa and Danny have been having a terrible time lately. Having recently miscarried the doctors have told Tessa her chances of having any more children are very slim. Understandably depressed the couple decide to do the only sane and rational thing to do in times like this: grab your friends, rent an RV and go camping in the badlands of Texas. Nothing will take your minds off things like being in the world’s most rundown campsite in the middle of nowhere with no cellphone reception and where the only other visitor to the campsite is a travelling cutlery salesman. Bet Oprah’s sorry she never recommended this to anyone before her show ended. Anyways night falls at some point and the group decide to get heavily drunk. Being the token black guy and the most drunk of the lot Dirk decides to go relieve himself in the woods, where he’s about to discover a terrifying secret…

He's trying to invoke the movie's script.

And by ‘terrifying’ I really mean thoroughly confusing. In the middle of all this nothing, surrounded by some trees and more nothing, is a kind of cult. They have in their possession a number of naked females who they are asking to offer themselves willingly to the fire in return for immortality. They start off by invoking Babylonian fire goddesses (note: goddesses = plural), but this quickly changes to invoking a goddess (singular) named Babylon or, alternatively, Lady of the Fire. We are told later on, though, that pagan magic is useless to stop this cult, and what they really are are Satanists. I’m going to assume that this is, therefore, an offshoot of mainstream Satanism where Satan is now a woman and, at times, can multiply himself / herself into a number of clones. The cult is led by a very uncharismatic leader who speaks in a rather mousey and monotone voice. Dirk happens to witness what is going on and tries to record it with his phone. Missing him back at camp, Danny gives him a call, whereupon the cult sees him hiding behind a rock and gives chase.

Gollum's wife took the breakup really hard...

The cult makes their way back to the camp site and proceeds to variously capture, lop off arms and eat the members of our little group. They take a particular interest in Tessa since she apparently features in some or other prophecy that says she will be the mother of the cult leader’s evil death child. She must, of course, give herself willingly to the fire and she only submits to this after her boyfriend and friends are tortured a little bit. As a side note, it turns out that submitting yourself to the fire in no way involves going anywhere near an actual fire. Thankfully for all concerned the travelling cutlery salesman turns up to try and save them and they proceed to make a daring escape in the RV with the help of a number of knives and alcoholic beverages. They must make their way to an abandoned little town where the old preacher that lives there holds the key to saving them all and stopping the hell child from being born.

LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:

  • Some men just aren’t strong enough to handle their pregnant wife’s cannibalistic cravings.
  • When journalists can write no more about Britney Spears, they write about Habitat for Humanity.
  • Miscarriage can be used to trump any other form of loss or misfortune.
  • Babylonian fire goddesses can be invoked as a complicated way of falling pregnant.
  • A good way to judge a person’s character is by tasting their blood.
  • Every cult needs one uncharismatic leader, one intelligent goon and five or so morons to stand around a fire smirking.
  • Babylonian Satanic demons can only be defeated with the help of an Aztec amulet.

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Midnight Movie: The Killer Cut

Year of Release: 2011 (Killer Cut Re-release)
Genre: Horror / Thriller
IMDB Rating: 4.9 / 10
Level of Awful: Surprise!
Breast-O-Meter:
0.5 / 5

WHAT IT’S ABOUT:

I reviewed the original version of Midnight Movie a while ago and it was one of those gems that are so few and far between in the horror genre. Having already discussed the original version of the film I don’t really want to do a rehash of that here, but rather to simply compare this new version to that of the original.

The premise of this movie is simple: a few moons ago a man named Ted Radford directed a movie called The Dark Beneath. This movie became the man’s all-consuming obsession, and many believed that the actors portrayed in the film had actually been killed by Radford for a better effect. As his obsession grew Radford gradually descended into madness, a madness that continued to grow even after he was committed to the psych ward. When he shows no sign of improvement some bright spark thinks the best thing to do would be to show him his movie again and hope that it snaps him out of his dementia. The plan half-works and Radford completely snaps and kills everyone in the asylum before going missing.

Needless to say any demented serial horror director ever stays missing for long (and this applies in real life too!) and, 5 years later, he decides to make an appearance at a midnight screening of his movie. The crowd at the theatre is tiny and the cinema itself is about as dingy as they come, but Radford is intent on making up for all that with as much gore and killing as he can possibly muster.

Now to compare the two different versions. Granted it has been a while since I watched the original, but there is a slight difference of focus in the Killer Cut. While I felt that the original version played more with the 80s slasher angle and left the supernatural element for later the Killer Cut leads with the latter right out the gate. Whether this effects how much you enjoy the movie entirely depends on how you like your horror best served but I like to be kept guessing a little bit (but not in the usual b-horror way where both me and the director are wondering what’s going on throughout the movie). The effects have been nicely jazzed up in places and some of the scenes have either been reworked or moved around a little bit, again adding to the shift of focus in favour of the movie’s supernatural elements.

Whether it’s the original or the redone version Midnight Movie remains a fun watch and in a way it all works out because you can watch whichever one best suits your individual tastes. If you’ve already seen the original version the Killer Cut is still worth the watch, even if you only want to see how well a movie can be made on a relatively small budget. And well done to Jack Messitt, with this being his debut directorial role, for taking the time to go back and retweak the movie the way he wanted it. If more people put in that kind of effort we horror fans wouldn’t be saddled with nearly half as much crap as we are (and I wouldn’t have anything to blog about 🙂 )

Read my original review of Midnight Movie here.

MIDNIGHT MOVIE: THE KILLER CUT TRAILER

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Midnight Movie

Year of Release: 2008
Genre: Horror / Thriller
IMDB Rating: 5 / 10
Level of Awful: Surprise!

WHAT IT’S ABOUT:

I love watching bad horror movies so much that I’ve dedicated an entire blog to them, but after watching too many even my brain threatens to turn to mush. That’s why I decided to watch Midnight Movie – I’d read up about it and it looked like it had some promise. And it didn’t disappoint! There’s nothing very original about this movie (it’s a sort of Texas Chainsaw Massacre meets The Hills Run Red) but it’s 80 minutes of pure slasher heaven with a mix-and-match group of soon-to-be-victims trying to outrun a deranged lunatic with a limp. There are scares and jumps and ominous moments with blood on the walls and guts on the floor; in short it’s fun, mindless horror 😀

The writing's on the floor...

Back in the day when movies were still black and white Ted Radford wrote, directed, produced and starred in a movie called The Dark Beneath. Ted unfortunately went a little off the rails when he became so obsessed with his film that he started to believe that he was the killer in it and murdered his cast and crew. Years later he’s been locked away in an insane asylum for quite some time when his doctor decides that it’s time to attempt a breakthrough with his patient. The best way to break Ted’s obsession with The Dark Beneath, in the good doctor’s opinion, is to let him watch it again and realise that it’s only a movie, not reality. As is often the case this doesn’t go exactly to plan and the screening pushes Ted even further over the edge before he decides to murder every single other person in the asylum and make his escape.

I can see you talking in the back row!

5 years after Radford made his escape from the loony bin a little movie theater is planning a midnight screening of The Dark Beneath. Det. Barrons, who oversaw the police investigation at the asylum, is convinced that Radford will turn up since it’s the first screening of the movie since he went missing. The rest of the police department think that he’s insane since they believe a cult broke into the asylum and Radford was killed along with everyone else. Thankfully the one person who feels the same way he does is Dr Wayne, the only doctor who thought showing Radford his movie again would have been a bad idea. Along with these two we have Bridget (the manager at the theater), her boyfriend Josh, their friends Mario and Samantha, a biker couple named Harley and Babe, horror nerd Sully and Rachael and Kenny, two other kids who work at the theater. With everyone comfy and buckets of popcorn at the ready they settle down to watch the movie.

Use a breath mint sir...

You know shit’s gonna hit the fan when Josh tells Bridget, who’s had a few issues with her father, that as long as he’s around nobody’s gonna hurt her. The movie starts off alright but takes an odd turn when the film switches to a POV shot of the theater itself with Kenny being impaled on the murderer’s weapon. Everyone in the theater thinks it’s a joke and continues to laugh when the same thing happens to Sully and Rachael. When everyone goes to look for the three missing kids, however, they figure out (with the help of the detective) that the blood on the floor is real and that every time the movie switches to a POV shot Radford (dressed as the killer from the film) is hunting someone else down. But like every good horror villain you can hit Radford with a baseball bat and you can even shoot him a few times but he’s just gonna keep on limping after you – and murder you in good, black and white movie style.

THINGS I’VE LEARNED:

  • Testosterone is the natural order of the universe.
  • Biker chicks are remarkably understanding when their boyfriends get turned on by other women.
  • When a massacre occurs at a mental asylum you should never go looking for the one person that’s missing.
  • A liver makes a great soccer ball.
  • Stoners are drawn to houses with creepy old ladies living in them.
  • Chivalry isn’t dead, but it may end up in you being dead.
  • “Let’s stick together” means “let’s split up gradually”.
  • You never have bullets when you wanna make the killshot.
  • Telling a deranged killer “you gotta go through me first” usually means he will take you literally.

MIDNIGHT MOVIE TRAILER

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