WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
As a fun little fact before I dive into the review, this movie was originally meant to be a part of the Urban Legend franchise. Under the working title Urban Legends: Goldfield Murders, this was meant to follow on from Urban Legends: Bloody Mary before Sony bought back the rights to the franchise. It’s just as well really; while Bloody Mary at least tried to cling in there, amateur doesn’t begin to describe this movie. Maybe it’s because the guys behind it chose to go with a less universally known urban legend (I’d never heard of Goldfield or its supposed ghosts until I watched this movie. Some useful information can be found by clicking here), but all this movie really boils down to is 88 minutes of every clichéd ghost trick in the b-movie book. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a laugh a minute to watch, but when Kellan Lutz is your biggest draw card you really aren’t giving the audience much to work with.
After some thumping techno beats from the production companies responsible for this little cheese fest we’re thrown into a car full of horribly clichéd college students. Julie’s your typical ghost-hunting psychology major who’s deadly serious and in touch with the voices from the spirit realm. To balance out her intense blandness she chose Mike to be her jackass boyfriend. Mike’s just your standard scuzball college character who keeps pulling pranks and flirting with other females. In this case said female is Keri, the whiny spoiled girl bedecked in pink and who can’t understand why this ghost hunt can’t be a kick-ass party. She’s here with Dean, who there really isn’t much to say about since he just kinda hovers in the background and grunts disapprovingly when she flirts back with Mike. The group’s fifth wheel is Chad, the intelligent, sensitive beef cake who tries to look out for Julie and protect her from Mike’s general douchebaggery.
Julie and co. land up staying in the haunted hotel when it turns out that the motel she booked them into doesn’t exist. How this happened is never explained, so we just plow on with the story. Julie’s trying to make contact with Elizabeth, a prostitute who lived in the Goldfield hotel during the town’s gold rush. Elizabeth was supposedly murdered by the hotel’s owner and her 2-week-old child dumped down a mine shaft under the building. Julie wants to confirm the specter’s existence to see why she’s trapped and unable to move on to the other side. I never knew that ghost psychology was such a big subject in American universities, but you learn something new every day. How the group struggles for nearly an hour of the movie’s runtime to find Elizabeth is baffling since you can hear her whining ‘where’s my baby?’ in the background every five minutes, but who am I to question the director’s vision?
Suddenly, without apparent cause and only 20 minutes of movie left to go, Elizabeth decides to go balls to the wall and haunt the crap out of these kids. It starts out with some innocent possession to give Julie some flashbacks of what happened to her, but not long after the possessions lead to Mike and Keri making the beast with two backs on a dusty couch. Not content with a supernatural orgasm, Elizabeth decides that the next step is to kill all of the kids as quickly and brutally as possible, all supposedly in the name of finding her baby. How this ties in with the baby is another of the movie’s great unanswered questions, but I didn’t feel like dwelling on it. Julie has some mysterious connection to the old hotel and to Elizabeth’s ghost, and she’s the only one that can end the bygone hooker’s reign of transcendental terror. The question, however, is whether or not Elizabeth is the only ghost in the hotel and whether putting her to rest will really solve all of Julie’s problems.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Girl-on-girl action is cheaper than trying to get a man involved.
- The sound of the car engine exploding doesn’t usually herald good news.
- Bartenders in ghost towns don’t serve up fancy cocktails.
- It’s rude to speak ill of the slutty dead.
- One woman’s brutal torture and murder is another woman’s cheesy, torch-lit ghost story.
- A man must be very well endowed if he can have sex with you through his jeans and yours.
- It’s very inconvenient when your boyfriend’s penis accidentally slips inside your best friend.
- Some guys won’t screw dead chicks; even douchebags have standards.
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
You know those movies where you sit watching them, and all the time you can see that somewhere, lurking at the very back, is a great concept that just isn’t being executed at all well? This is one of those movies, and it made a little more sense to me when I found out it was a remake of an original Japanese film. Sometimes the crossover and Hollywood touch-up really just doesn’t do anything for a movie. This one starts out promisingly enough, but very quickly breaks down into utter confusion until you’re left with so much of a mess it looks like a 3-year-old with left-handed training scissors was put in charge of the editing process. Oh well, just another day at B-Horror Blog headquarters I guess… 😉
Now, if we cast our minds back into the Middle Ages, we may be granted insight into the social workings of Romanian Gypsy society. Similarly to Western Society, especially if one takes Victorian England as a model of comparison, women didn’t have an awful lot going for them, and their lot in life was largely determined by who they married. Marry poor, stay poor; marry rich, and the world’s your oyster. But what if a gypsy woman wanted to do one better? To one up those that simply married rich, one gypsy woman made a deal with the devil to be given the most powerful and wealthy husband in her entire Romanian village. The price? She must give up her first-born daughter to be the devil’s consort and bear his unholy and extremely gooey children. It all seemed like a fair trade, and Matya was born with the mark of the devil. Pity about that whole ‘being brutally tortured and killed by the locals’ thing though…
As time withers on facts become cautionary tales which become myths which become old wives’ tales. Such was the fate of Matya’s horrible death, until one day in 1928 when a director tried to bring her story to life on film. It didn’t go very well since the set seemed to be haunted by some malevolent and otherworldly spirit. Eventually the director and his cast simply vanished altogether, leaving nothing of the film save for a few production shots. This lost film has become Marcus Reed’s latest obsession. Apparently a wonder-child director, his first movie met with such critical acclaim that he became Hollywood’s darling before cancelling production of his second one because the location gave him bad vibes. You see, Marcus is kinda of a director-cum-psychic medium who can feel when something horrible has happened to a spirit.
Now Marcus and his spirit guides want to remake the original movie that was begun in 1928. How he’s going to do this since the original movie was a.) never completed and b.) completely lost is a question best left to the spirit realm. He takes his team to Romania to shoot the film on the exact same set from 1928, feeling that this will add atmosphere to the production, but things soon start to go a tad bit awry. Eye-eating insects infest the set, strange apparitions start appearing on the film, electricity supply simply cannot keep up with the filming, crew members begin to fall from the sky and, at one point, mass panic and lunacy breaks out amongst the entire production crew. Somehow the lead actress and Marcus’ ex-girlfriend seem to be involved in all of this, and he’ll need all his psychic powers for the final confrontation with the spirit of Matya to bring the nightmare to an end.
The main problem with this movie is that the story is terribly set up. Without the basic knowledge of what the hell’s actually meant to be happening the action that takes place makes no sense, and all your left with are a vague bunch of peripheral characters that you don’t really care about running from a strange psychic man and a ghost whose motives are far from clear. A nice try, but let’s just agree that it’s best to leave J-horror to the Japanese.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Demonic flashbacks can give you awesome script-writing inspiration.
- Why call it a fit when ‘apparitional experience’ just sounds so much cooler?
- Pronouncing the name ‘Marcus’ as ‘Mar-coos’ is enough to convince anyone that a person is Romanian.
- If you’re struggling to make ends meet, you can always ask the Devil to exchange cash for your first-born daughter.
- Discussing film that may be haunted will make you sound like a Scientologist.
- No film set is complete without an underground chains and creepy chandelier storage facility.
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
Here at the B-Horror Blog myself and the many voices in my head are dedicated to human rights and equality for all. Now, I’m sure many of you must be thinking, “but with a Breast-O-Meter, surely this site is dedicated more to objectifying women than it is men?” I myself thought that this may be a problem, but with such fine movies as Dead Boyz Don’t Scream, Bite Marks and Vampire Boys joining the illustrious ranks of The Crypt I feel that we are making great strides towards equality in objectification.
The job of ensuring equal objectification, however, is a monumental one and one that cannot fall to a single person. To this end I needed to find someone who is just as passionate about human rights as I am, and I knew just who to call. I hadn’t seen My Friend The Killer Clown Movie since we drank manly lattes and discussed Killjoy back in October. Thankfully my instincts paid off and he told me that he had starred in the perfect movie that would help in my goal of achieving objectification equality among the sexes. After convincing his wife that our relationship is purely platonic we agreed to meet at a romantic little bistro for a candlelit dinner and he would tell me about Fraternity Massacre at Hell Island.
After a nice glass of red wine, soaking up the atmospheric music and commenting on the enormous bread sticks at the table My Friend the Killer Clown Movie got down to business and told me about this film. He warned me that I would have to pay very careful attention or risk becoming a bit lost in amongst the many people talking to themselves, the gay Star Wars fans and the murder soundtrack that’s initially awesome but quickly becomes irritating. I agreed to try and keep up. So the story begins on a little island where a little stage quartet, who have an incredibly high opinion of themselves considering their shitty act and the fact that they’re performing in a dingy bar, are cursed by a gypsy woman for not allowing her grandchildren to be their understudies. They are now doomed to repeat this act for all eternity unless they can find four unsuspecting strangers to take their place on the stage and pass the curse onto them.
While we shared a plate of linguine with a creamy sauce My Friend the Killer Clown Movie explained that we must put this plot (which took place in 1984) aside for the moment and come back to it a little later. In 2007 the pledges of Zeta Alpha Rho are preparing for the final act of their initiation: Hell Night. They will be locked on the same island as the four gypsy-cursed ghosts and made to perform a number of ridiculous acts before being admitted into the fraternity. So now I was thinking that this was a ghost movie, but I was wrong. At the same time a lunatic from a mental asylum has escaped and presumably made his way to the island. This lunatic was also once a pledge for Zeta Alpha Rho but went mad on Hell Night and is now out for revenge on the fraternity that made him lose his mind.
With the red wine now giving me a delightful buzz and a dessert of Italian kisses on the way My Friend the Killer Clown Movie elaborated a little more on this already strange plot. It would seem that, while one person has actually escaped from a mental institution, the majority of the characters have all the qualities of a mental patient. Jack, our main guy, is sleeping with one of the fraternity’s more senior brothers. This guy frequently speaks to himself like Gollum. Jack also has a roommate who was not chosen to be a pledge for Zeta Alpha Rho and, in his anger, frequently speaks to a clown figurine they have in their room. The president of the fraternity has a girlfriend who, in her anger because he’s always ditching her for frat stuff, frequently breaks into Kate Roberts inspired monologues. Finally there’s the Dean, who had to be blackmailed into allowing Hell Night to go ahead (he’s sleeping with the college’s cheerleaders), who suffers from debilitating headaches and then begins speaking to his long-dead mother.
Perhaps it was a combination of the red wine and the intoxicating aroma of My Friend the Killer Clown Movie’s cologne, but I was struggling to see a story actually happening in amongst all of this strangeness. Despite my reservations I was assured that one was, in fact, taking place and that you just need to watch very closely to see it. The pledges on the island will have to contend with a number of things out to get them, including their fraternity brothers trying to play stupid jokes on them, a lunatic in a clown costume trying to kill them and the four ghosts trying to trick them into an eternity of crappy performances. Along the way Jack will learn the meaning of survival, having a great gal pal, the power of love and the truth about his upbringing in an orphanage.
So after a wonderful evening me and My Friend the Killer Clown Movie got up to leave. Walking down the street hand-in-hand with the smell of Autumn in the air and a gentle buzz in my head we both agreed that we had taken the fight for equality to the next level. After a tender makeout session we parted ways and agreed to meet up again should injustice ever need a severe ass whipping.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- ‘Theatre’ is a very loose term that can be applied to singing in a shitty bar in a swamp.
- Queens in New York classes as an old country to the gypsies.
- Threesomes are more fun when you do it in front of a catatonic mental patient.
- Technology means that blackmail can be spread across any number of useful mediums.
- Pizza followed by a little dyking out is a great way for two girls to spend an evening.
- Frat brothers often discuss how good they’d look in the cheerleaders’ dresses with each other.
- The world needs working class cabana boys.
- There’s nothing better than ferris wheel sex.
- Not killing gay people is the sign of a broad-minded serial killer.
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
Going into this movie my expectations were about as low as they could go. I was stuck at home and bored out of my mind and desperate to watch anything, so I was thankful for any movie that kept my mind partially occupied for a while. Secondly the movie’s name is Kaw; given that the people behind it could think of no name more original than the sound the birds made didn’t make me think I was about to watch a gem. Having seen Flu Birds a while back I also learned not to expect an awful lot from any killer bird movie that isn’t The Birds. Perhaps it’s exactly because my expectations were so low that I actually enjoyed this movie. I know most people who’ve seen it would probably disagree with me, but I’m going to stand by my half-informed decision to grant this movie a ‘Surprise!’ Level of Awful.
Sheriff Wayne is about to have a very bad day. Dawn is breaking and the many little farmers of Middletown, in the middle of somewhere, are about to start going about their day. One farmer is particularly old and a bit slow at getting his barn tidied up and is taking his sweet time clearing some straw off his tractor. With this highly important job completed he jumps into the tractor and begins reversing it out of the barn before accidentally riding over a raven that just landed to catch itself a nice mouse breakfast. Apparently pissed off that one of their brethren has been ridden over the entire unkindness of ravens (not to be confused with the murder of crows doing the rounds in Hallowed Ground) swoops down on the old man and scratches him to death before taking a few beakfuls out of him. We know that this man was important to the community because someone reports his death to the sheriff’s office despite the fact that nobody has actually gone to the barn where the attack took place.
So sheriff Wayne is on the case. It was meant to be sheriff Wayne’s last day before moving out of town into the big city, but experience has taught me that horrible things happen either just before someone important moves out of town or when someone important has just moved back into town. For no apparent reason across the county the ravens have begun acting up, but of course the only person who has actually seen the ravens behaving so poorly and lived to tell the tale is Clyde, the town’s renegade farmer who has only just managed to conquer his drinking problem. Given his track record and the fact that the neighbours reported that he was firing off his shotgun that morning (at the ravens) Wayne and the rest of the town don’t really believe him when he tells them that the ravens are going around attacking people.
Of course if man-eating ravens is the simplest answer to what’s going on in the town then it’s usually the right answer. Apart from the attacks on the entire town and the local school bus how else are we to explain the Mennonites’ (to an outsider they look like Amish people but imply that you should know the difference) strange behaviour? They’re becoming even more reclusive than usual, there are dead cows all over the show, things are being burned and there’s talk of burning sheriff Wayne’s wife Cynthia as a witch to ward off the Devil’s wrath. In one way or another all of these things must be connected somehow, and while Cynthia’s busy being stuck in a well with a rotting cow’s head it’s up to Wayne to figure out how to stop the birds before they learn any more inventive tricks (having already mastered rock throwing and bulb breaking) that might help them to eat the entire town.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Small towns have no use for a professor of cultural anthropology.
- Shotgun-toting ex-alcoholics make ideal school bus drivers.
- God punishes women for being friends with one another.
- Ravens, although not overly social creatures, will put aside their differences to make war with humans.
- German Shepherd is considered a delicacy by ravens.
- Dirt roads can miraculously transform into tarred ones in a matter of minutes.
- Ravens are strongly opposed to the use of guns.
- Photographers will bring the wrath of God down on humanity’s collective head.
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Year of Release: 2008
Genre: Horror / Mystery
IMDB Rating: 5.7 / 10
Level of Awful: Low
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
Again! Like the recent Vanishing on 7th Street and Plague Town, this movie was just SO close to being amazing! It has all the right elements: fundamentalist Christians, the dark arts, people who can act and Grudge-esque ghosts, but sadly these things are not used to their best effect. I think that the message it conveys is very topical: when taken to fanatical extremes religion, no matter which one it is, will result in people doing stupid, crazy shit. In that way I feel like the movie was more focussed on the aspects of the various religious nuts than on the actual horror aspect, which left me very disappointed. Never the less From Within is a very watchable movie and, given its IMDB rating, some people out there must like it. I’m not sure if I wanted the religious nuts to be even more crazy or if I wanted more horror / terror so that I would be genuinely frightened but, when all is said and done, the movie just left me wanting a little bit more.
Welcome to Grovetown, your standard little Anywhere USA. The skies are blue, the lawns meticulously mowed, the shops are quaint and the folk genuinely care for one another. It’s the kind of place you would want to raise your kids. If you wanted your kids to be white-supremacists with radical Christian beliefs that believe burning the witch is still your best possible option, that is, and that really is the bulk of the town’s population. The only one with her head screwed on right is Lindsay, a follower of the church but who believes that people should live and let live. She lives with her alcoholic and mouse of a stepmother Trish who has frequent visits from her somewhat-pervy truck driver boyfriend Roy. Lindsay also happens to be dating Dylan, the son of the town’s resident pastor who is about as extreme a religious nut as you can get. Her world becomes a little more complicated when she picks up Aidan (literally – Dylan beat him to the floor), the town’s local pagan. Understandably an outcast from the rest of Grovetown’s cliques Aidan has lived with his brother ever since the townsfolk burned their mother alive for being a witch. Burning the witch is about to come back to bite Grovetown in the ass.
Something very strange is starting to happen in Grovetown. While sitting on a hill overlooking the town one night a young emo couple reads to one another and tenderly embrace. 2 minutes later the guy blows his brain out. The girl, presumably a little shaken by this, runs back into town to her father’s dress shop (hip and happening designs in Grovetown, Amish paradise anywhere else) screaming that some woman is after her. Lindsay and Trish are also in the store and when Lindsay walks away from the girl the doors slam shut. When the group manages to open them they find the girl with scissors rammed in her neck. This is the beginning of the suicides that will stalk the town for the rest of the week. Gossip will be exchanged, accusations will be cast, witch burning brunches will be planned.
As the suicide rate in Grovetown begins to climb and frequent church meetings do little to solve the problem people are starting to get a little anxious and are looking for a solution. What they are unaware of is that their beautiful little town has been cursed. While they do know about the deaths they don’t know that they aren’t actually suicides. You see just before various young teenagers and assorted older people are killed they see something that truly horrifies them: themselves. Now this isn’t the ‘wake up, look in mirror and realise you look like crap’ kind of terrified; this is ‘I’ve just seen my evil doppelgänger and it’s coming to get me’ variety of terrified. Since the entire town’s stock answer to any problem they face is ‘burn the witch! cleanse the earth with fire!’, it falls to Lindsay and Aidan to figure out what’s happening and how best to go about sorting it out. They will face fierce opposition, attempted exorcisms, angry mobs and a deranged son of a preacher man, but the fate of Grovetown and the rest of the world now rests on both their delicately feminine shoulders.
My only question, and this crops up in more movies that you’d think: if you are ‘different’ and know you are going to be an outcast and piss dumb people off, why live in a town full of them?
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- You can either be Christian or a witch. There is nothing in between.
- A preacher should never be allowed near a troubled man. It will only end in confusion and heartache.
- Christian men should only ever wear plaid shirts.
- Christian women should only ever dress in a way that would make the Amish feel like they are showing too much skin.
- Pagans should always be sarcastic, dark and twisty.
- Saying the voices spoke to you one day makes you clinically insane. Saying that God spoke to you one day makes you a devout Christian.
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