WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
It’s movies like this that make you lose faith in the whole premise of film making. I mean, you want to believe that film makers are trying their best to put out high quality, original movies, and then this rather blatant Saw ripoff comes along and makes you question everything. Yeah, we all know that none of that’s true, but Elimination isn’t even subtle in what it’s trying to piggy back on. Granted, it has some of the cheapest CGI I’ve ever seen in a film and each and every actor could’ve easily been outperformed by a paperclip (which unintentionally gives it its entertainment value), but I spent my whole time sitting in front of the TV just waiting for someone to say “I want to play a game.” But I guess this is what you get from a movie that has unnecessary breasts thrown in front of the camera before the 1 minute mark has even been passed.
As I’m sure we’re all painfully aware, we live in the age of reality television, and the Good Lord knows that they’ll stick a camera in front of anyone and follow them around. Everyone wants to be famous, right? Well, so does our bunch of generic clichés (and there’s a lot of them – latino, latina, jock, bitch blonde, bitch blonde’s caring boyfriend, street thug, smart hot girl in a cardigan etc.). They’re all about to audition for a brand new online reality show called Spotlight. They don’t really know what it’s all about or where it’s being filmed, but there’s a $1 million dollar prize at the end of it for the winner, so I suppose the finer details might not be at the forefront of their tiny minds.
After getting together in a parking lot and meeting one of Spotlight‘s crew members, the gang is bundled into an unmarked van, stripped of their cellphones, drugged, and taken to an unknown location in the middle of the desert. None of them seem to find any of this particularly disconcerting, so they all make their way through to the audition room. Here they meet Jigsa… I mean the Executive Producer… via a live stream. He explains to them that the game they’re about to play might be a tad bit more extreme than they were planning on, and that it may or may not cater to an audience who likes watching snuff but doesn’t want to call it that. You see, Spotlight involves the gang running through various zones in an attempt to make it to the end. They’ll be pursued by a psychotic clown and an Amazonian warrior (who, again, has two breasts) who will try to brutally murder them. Since none of this is entirely above-board the kids can’t really back out on contractual technicalities, so it’s off into the labyrinth of doom for them.
Whilst the pseudo-Amazon and the clown provide some real-life threats, there are also stock dangers like machine guns, giant blades, giant furnaces and oversized food blenders to watch out for. To balance out the rather steep danger curve, the zones also have several hidden immunity statues, granting the holder 15 minutes where the clown and Amazon can’t kill them. Also, if a spotlight appears, anyone who stands in it is also safe from the executioners. But whilst the executioners and the oversized food blender are certainly areas of concern for the group, their greatest threat will be one another. Only one person can make it to the final zone and win the $1 million prize, so every clichéd character is going to underwhelmingly bring out their worst character traits in an attempt to make it out alive. If you’re like me, dear reader, by the time it comes to the final showdown, you too will be rooting for the oversized food blender.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- It’s never a bad idea to give your cellphone to a creepy old man and climb into his unmarked van.
- Kids these days are incredibly whiny about being drugged and taken places against their will.
- It takes years of Tae Bo training to effectively kick a man in the balls.
- Research indicates that modern killers don’t really concern themselves with their victims’ comfort when building their killing contraptions.
- Rampaging murderers are easily thwarted by an empty cardboard box.
- Even murderers edit their footage to make their shows more dramatic and increase their ratings.
- Even psychotic executioners are part of a union.
- Psychotically deadly situations really bring out some people’s inner narcissist.
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night with that feeling that something is terribly wrong? I had that the other night. I was sleeping soundly, fantasising about buying bed linen made from Egyptian cotton, when I was suddenly jerked awake with this feeling of absolute dread. Not two minutes later my phone rang, and there was My Friend The Killer Clown Movie, sobbing on the other end. We’ve been friends for so long, but as usual we haven’t seen one another in ages (in fact, not since all those frat boys were murdered over on Hell Island). I couldn’t make out what he was saying, but I told him to dry his clownish tears and get on over to my place ASAP.
By the time he arrived I’d just managed to throw on some seductively manly pyjamas and make hot chocolate with marshmallows. After a lot of hugs and comforting words, My Friend The Killer Clown Movie was finally calm enough to tell me what was wrong. Turns out this recession has hit everyone pretty hard, and even great movie concepts like my dear friend has had to resort to whatever it takes just to pay the bills. That’s how he landed up starring in Sloppy the Psychotic, a decidedly z-grade movie about a once-lovely clown that goes a tad bit off the rails. He explained to me that, while it looked good when he read the script, when he got there there was neither the acting talent to make it somewhat credible, nor the humour to make the constant barrage of shock tactics even remotely entertaining. Poor guy, I don’t know how much more his dented ego can take.
So there me and My Friend The Killer Clown Movie sat, under a blanket with me braiding his neon green hair, and I asked him to give me a run down of this movie that pushed him to the brink; a good friend needs to understand what’s he dealing with before he can provide any kind of help. It’s a simple enough story: Mike was a nice guy with a dream – all he ever wanted to do was be a clown and entertain all the children of the world. Now, times are tough, and the world of clowning is cut-throat. Turn you’re back for one moment and a mime will be trying to take away all your business. But if you love what you do, as Mike does, then none of that really matters. Nothing, until you’re victimised by a group of pool partying white trash that make fun of your life long dream. Oh no, dear reader, that’s when you push a clown one step too far.
Just telling me this much got My Friend The Killer Clown Movie all weepy again, so I ran him a candle-lit bubble bath and put some Enya on in the background so that he could really relax while he told me the rest of this movie. At this point I was still on board, but I could see that things were going to take a very sharp downward turn. Oh boy, did they ever. Apparently one bottle of vodka is all that it takes to turn a mild-mannered clown into one that’s shoving a dead hooker in a trunk. And then there’s all those repressed emotions: anger, fear, rejection, sexual drought, and somehow all that’s gotta come out. As is often the case, these feelings manifest with Mike becoming a cannibal, poisoning some small children, barbecuing other small children, running over mentally handicapped individuals, amputating penises, using fish hooks on prostitutes, running a lawn mower over teenagers, decapitating housewives, and doing unspeakable things to men with a very large candy cane. Yeah, that’s what being under appreciated at work will do to a person.
I think that between the hot chocolate, hair braiding, and the bubble bath, My Friend The Killer Clown Movie has just about regained the will to carry on doing what he does best. The important thing is to focus on the good – I reminded him that this movie has a rather epic version of Pop Goes the Weasel playing in the background quite often, and that’s something at least. After he’d toweled himself off we lay in bed for a while reminiscing about all the good times we’d had together, and as the sun slowly dawned on the horizon he decided that he’d best be heading home before the wife knew he was out. She never has approved of our friendship – neither of us can figure out why. This time, however, we promised not to let so much time go by before we got together again.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Coulrophobia in small towns forces many clowns to live out their lives in secrecy and shame.
- It’s a risky career move to hedge all your bets on being a clown.
- Any clown company worth its salt has a fleet of vehicles ready to transport loads of emergency rubber chickens at a moment’s notice.
- Recently retrenched clowns and vodka are a deadly, deadly combination.
- Secretly, every woman wants to have sex with a man in full clown costume at least once in her life.
- Hobos have only two natural enemies: hungover clowns and puddles of their own urine.
- Death by anal candy cane isn’t a way that anyone wants to go.
- There’s no length a hooker won’t go to if there’s $500 on the line.
- It’s rude to discuss your sex life in front of a hired clown.
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
Usually I like to watch movies that I know will hurt me; I’m slightly masochistic that way. There are other times, however, where it’s the thrill of not knowing how things are going to pan out that excite me. Chernobyl Diaries presented me with the perfect opportunity to act out on these feelings. I know I’m a bit late to the party, but I hadn’t read any reviews or seen any trailers for it, so I was going in blind. With a 5.1 IMDB rating I figured I had a 50/50 chance of either being entertained or badly hurt, and I was pretty alright with it either way. On the whole it’s not a bad movie. It certainly gives off that ‘I’m sure we’ve been here before’ vibe, and clearly the budget wasn’t going to allow anyone to make it rain, but more or less it came together quite nicely. UNTIL THE ENDING. God, I wanted to throw something through the screen. If you decide to watch this, turn it off 10 minutes before it’s about to end and you’ll walk away having had a fairly pleasant experience. If you don’t do that, have a good pair of hard-heeled shoes at the ready and warm up your throwing arm.
Answering the great philosophical question ‘whatever happened to Jesse McCartney?’, he rocks up as Chris, a love-struck young man on holiday through the Eastern Bloc with his girlfriend Natalie and her friend Amanda. It’s a whirlwind tour of all the things the former USSR and her satellite nations have to offer, leading up to their visit to Kiev in the Ukraine where they’ll meet up with Paul, Chris’ brother. The plan was to go to Moscow after Kiev, but a night of drinking changes things slightly. As a cautionary tale, proving that nothing good will come of a story that happened on a drunken night and that starts with ‘I met a guy named Yuri…’, the quartet decide to head off on a little ‘extreme tourism’ detour to the town of Prypiat.
Now, Prypiat has a bit of a sad history. Located just outside of Chernobyl, the town was evacuated when the reactor went critical and families lost everything they had ever owned (which, behind the Iron Curtain, probably wasn’t an awful lot). Our quartet, lead by a decidedly gruff and stereotypical man named Yuri, are joined by a viking maiden named Zoe and an Australian fellow named Michael. It’s all fun and games breaking into the Exclusion Zone, playing with some mutated fish and checking for sporadic spikes in radiation levels, but there’s obviously the human angle that we need to pay attention to. The place is utterly desolate, with only the fish, a really rotten dog, one giant bear and a giant picture of Stalin on a wall to testify to the place’s existence. But when the group gets back to the van, all the wires have been disconnected a bit too efficiently to be the work of the fish, even if they had the bear helping them…
From this point the situation escalates rather rapidly and the group is plummeted into the very pits of hell and desperation. Clearly the budget wasn’t so great that we could actually get a glimpse of the monsters, but suffice to say that not everyone left Prypiat when the town was evacuated. In that time they’ve learned how to disable cars, have become horribly mutated and have lost all notions of basic house keeping. It’s all fairly standard The Hills Have Eyes stuff from here on out, with a little sprinkling of Wrong Turn thrown in for good measure, all done in a ‘kind of like, but not quite, found footage’ style. Take it or leave it, it’s a fairly decent way to spend 85 minutes if you’ve already washed your hair that night and shampooed your goldfish for the week.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Extreme doses of radiation are completely safe so long as you’re around them for less than a day.
- It’s easier to understand Ukrainian than it is to understand an Australian accent.
- No great date should end until someone’s been mauled by a radioactive bear.
- Mutants in the former USSR aren’t afraid to eat a border guard. They’re hardcore that way.
- Ukrainian medical advice indicates that running around inside the Chernobyl reactor is dangerous to your health.
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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 🙂
- 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.
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
As any semi-regular visitor to this blog will know, I’m up for pretty much anything. Extraterrestrial vampire whores, sharktopodes, gay vampires, killer cartoon characters, shit monsters (no really – monsters made out of shit), I’ve seen it all and lived to tell the tale. Even with this experience under my belt, rarely have I encountered a movie as utterly banal as House of Blood (aka Chain Reaction). As often happens I could totally see what they were going for (a kind of The Village meets Triangle meets The Shawshank Redemption kind of vibe), but it was so poorly and unoriginally put together that all you’re left with is this steaming pile of self-righteous movie filled with characters fond of using big words but having no idea what they actually mean. Also, it’s a bit longer than your usual crapfest: at just over 100 minutes, it drags the pain out a lot more than most movies would dare to do.
Douglas Madsen is just a regular doctor who frequently laments the loss of his parents roughly 50 years ago when he was but a wee lad. That is until one day when Fate decides to throw him a curve ball and Douglas lands up with a set of completely different, but somehow interlinked, problems. Going out on his rounds (in a densely wooded area with no people) Douglas finds his car plowing head first into a truck transporting criminals to another prison. After a small shoot out and the brutal death of several policemen the criminals abduct Douglas, thinking that he might be useful in treating one of their own who has been shot. The criminals steal the dead policemen’s clothes and run into the forest to make their escape. Why they didn’t just POSE as policemen in the outfits I don’t understand, but this seems to be the path the director wanted to take.
When the criminals went down to the woods that day they didn’t realise they were in for a big surprise. They thought that the rundown, seemingly abandoned cottage in the middle of the forest with no electricity and hidden by a dense and mysterious fog would be their salvation; shockingly, it wasn’t. In this cozy little cottage that would’ve sent Goldilocks running for her life lives a quaint little family that speaks a dialect of Ye Olde English that would irritate the most hardened of Renaissance Fair goers. Despite the obvious language barrier between the residents’ archaic tongue and the criminals’ constant screams of “shut the fuck up!”, with a little persuasion (at gun point) the family can be rather hospitable and agree, under duress, to help the guys out with their wounded friend.
Alas, all is not as it seems with the mountain-dwelling family. It’s all been perfectly civilised up until one of the criminal’s has to have his arm amputated with a machete. Things go a little awry at this point. In a move that I’m putting down to sheer indecisiveness from the script writers, the family turns out to be a group of undead-zombie-vampire-cannibals, who Douglas has to escape from. This might have been tolerable, but the joke is that this is only half the movie. Douglas does escape, only to find himself in some bizarre loop of consciousness, and the movie decides to repeat itself. The second time around he’s accompanied by a different group of criminals, but it’s essentially just watching the same movie twice with a little tweaking here and there. In summary: no acting skills, no English language proficiency, no shame.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Being shot in the arm usually means that the whole thing has to be amputated.
- ‘Friendly fire’ refers to friends getting together to gun down policemen.
- Statistically there is a one in a billion chance of a doctor crashing into a prisoner transit van.
- Sheep remain remarkably calm whilst you slit their throats with a blunt knife.
- To hell with salt – pour blood over your food, it’s just as tasty.
- You should live your life in such a way that the Count de Sade himself would envy you.
- Sociopathic lusts greatly outweigh psychopathic social obligations.
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