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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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Goth

Year of Release: 2003
Genre: Horror / Thriller
IMDB Rating: 3.4 / 10
Level of Awful: High
Breast-O-Meter: 3 / 5

WHAT IT’S ABOUT:

You really have to love those amazing horror movie collections you can find at your nearest grocery store. They lurk at the very depths of the bargain movie bins and you just never know what you’re going get, but whatever it is you know it won’t be good. Goth comes from just such a collection. Made on a shoe-string budget with a hand-held home video camera and actors who look like they’re freshly flunked out of drama school, this movie goes to show just how evil some directors can be. IMDB’s little blurb tells us that “Goth blurs the boundaries between reality-driven horror and the hallucinatory style of Requiem for a Dream…” It really doesn’t. It may blur the boundaries between reality and insanity (in a ‘I can’t believe I’m watching this crap’ kind of way), but any pretence that this movie attempts to follow in the heels of a well made film is an utter joke. I am proud of myself for watching it, however, because Tropical Mary, Stygian Mole and the Occult Specialist had to turn it off when they watched it together, proving once and for all that I am very hardcore 🙂

Goth, spelled G-A-Y C-L-U-B.

Come along and join us for an evening of gothic delights. Meet Crissy, the most girl-next-door goth you’ll ever meet. Crissy doesn’t say much in the beginning, but that’s because when she opens her mouth nothing but weird shit comes out. She’s going out with her boyfriend Boone, who’s gothic in a gay hipster kind of way. They’re super excited to be going to a concert at the local hell hole (note to the director: 20 drunk emo high school kids in a bar does not a concert make) where they’ll take an assortment of drugs, drink absinthe and have a generally gothic good time. While at the club Crissy meets her newest BFF, Goth. That’s her name: Goth. Why? Because she’s goth. I make the point that Goth is a goth because the movie itself likes to drive this point home every bit as emphatically. Goth is trying to find other goths who are as goth as she is. After saving Crissy and Boone from being mugged Goth gives the pair a drug called White Light and the party really begins to get underway.

Like, OMG! We’re, like, so TOTALLY goth right now!

After accepting a strange drug in a skull container from a complete stranger named Goth Crissy and Boone seem surprised to find themselves waking up in a strange van miles away from the club they started out at. Goth’s van is very goth, with skulls all over the place and a variety of drugs just littered about in old pizza boxes. Now the reason for this minor kidnapping is that Goth wants to see just how goth these two new goths are. This is because there are apparently two types of goths: goths like Goth, who are more akin to Satanists than anything else, and goths that are really just angsty teenagers who wear a lot of black. Goth has several goth rules that all goths should live by, and tonight will be a goth test to see if goth Crissy and goth Boone can be every bit as goth as Goth. You following me? Good. Thrown in at random intervals amongst all this gothness are several flashbacks to Crissy with her sister in a decidedly less goth fashion, just to keep you in suspense.

Mmm, AB negative, my favourite!

The evening begins to take a bit of a downward turn (or a turn for the better, depending on how goth you really are) when Goth decides to go all goth on people and telling Crissy that she needs to kill some people and that Boone needs to have sex with fat hookers. Why? Because that’s the goth thing to do. In essence what Goth is actually getting at is that you need to behave like a petulant child with a sharp knife, but somehow defining this as ‘goth’ will make it a lot more hardcore than it really is. Boone has his reservations about all this, but apparently Goth threatening to kill a room full of hookers is enough to change his mind. Crissy doesn’t question anything and is all game to go along for the ride, timidly chastising Boone whenever he cares to voice a thought. But the flashbacks keep coming at us, and it becomes somewhat clear that Crissy has ulterior motives for going along with all this and Goth (and her red pleather mini skirt) will have to watch out or suffer the wrath of a Crissy scorned.

LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:

  • Gothic sex tastes better when you have it on a dirty floor.
  • Goths are really leading the peer pressure drive when it comes to taking mysterious drugs.
  • Punk gothic dominatrixes are really trippy.
  • Be on the lookout for gothic drug delivery vans, coming to a neighbourhood near you.
  • Becoming a goth requires more intense training and dedication than becoming a Tibetan monk.
  • Having a knife poked in your eye and pleather rubbing against you really isn’t a turn on.
  • Being gothic is about experiencing true love and learning to tolerate people from all walks of life.
  • Embracing the darkness includes having sex in front of a  gathering of goths and hookers.
  • You can’t be a true goth if you attempted suicide and failed.
  • A goth lesbian’s vagina is a portal to memories of happier times.

GOTH TRAILER

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Vanishing on 7th Street

Year of Release: 2010
Genre: Horror / Thriller / Mystery
IMDB Rating: 5.1 / 10
Level of Awful: Low

WHAT IT’S ABOUT:

Disappointment, thy name is Vanishing on 7th Street. This movie had so much promise (interesting concept, people who can actually act, $10 000 000 budget etc.) but something about it just isn’t right. It’s main problem lies in the fact that, while very watchable, you never feel very engaged with the movie – the characters do not interact well with one another and none of them are particularly likeable. What it reminded me of a lot was Pulse, another movie that I just couldn’t quite get into – you know what’s happening and you know when something’s gonna come out and grab someone but you have absolutely no clue why any of it is happening and the movie never cares to explain any of it to you. Unlike Pulse, however, Vanishing on 7th Street doesn’t have any answer to the problem so you’re left hanging at the end. All in all it was a fair attempt but it never feels like much effort actually went into making it or trying to make the story and characters pan out properly.

♫ Beaten down by a Moonlight Shadow ♫

Something very strange is going on in the world. Our 4 characters Luke (a TV presenter), Paul (works at a Cinema making sure the movies work), Rosemary (a physical therapist) and James (son of a bartender) were all going about their daily lives when a blackout hit the city. The strange part is that, when the power came back on, everyone else was gone. All that was left of them was whatever they were wearing, bunched up on the floor (a little bit like the aeroplane in the mini-series adaptation of Steven King’s The Langoliers). The problem is that, while the people are gone, their spirits aren’t. Everywhere across the city their shadows / souls stalk around any place that’s dark, hunting down those few people who were not taken in the initial blackout. Thriving in darkness and forced back by any light source, the few remaining people need to survive night time with the help of any available light source they can find. Unfortunately for them the sun is taking longer to rise and setting much quicker, giving the shadows more and more time to hunt them down.

Hayden Christensen's 'Dark & Broody' method of acting.

As the night takes longer and longer to pass Luke manages to find his way to a little bar on 7th Street where James has managed to keep the lights on with the help of a little backup generator. A delusional Rosemary makes her way there a little later, desperately trying to find her lost 9-month-old son. Paul is dragged there after he is found screaming in a bus shelter where the lights have managed to stay on thanks to them being solar powered. Now when all of these people rocked up at the pub I was just waiting for the twist later on that would explain the shadows and why these people (a) were not taken and, (b) brought together. Sadly, this was not to be. What the movie does instead is try to play on the Roanoke Colony, an English colony established in 1585 on Roanoke Island just off North Carolina. The entire colony disappeared, leaving only the word ‘croatoan’ scratched onto a fence post. The movie makes it all sound a lot more ominous that it may have been, but it fits into the whole disappearance storyline so they just took it and ran with it.

And for a brief moment you'll think you're watching The Walking Dead

With the generator in the bar slowing dying our hero Luke decides that they have to get out of town. While the shadows somehow manage to drain electricity from most things they come into contact with Luke has managed to find one car that still has a charge in its battery. Since things are never really that simple getting out of town will require going to fetch the car and dragging it back to the pub to hook it up to the generator to charge the battery enough to make it go. This will prove to be tricky since all of the flashlights the group has die within a matter of minutes as the shadows drain the batteries in an attempt to get closer to their prey (why the shadows hunt people in the first place isn’t something that’s really explained either). To add to their woes the shadows are tricky, able to play tricks and alter their whispered voices in an attempt to fool the survivors into thinking that their lost loved ones are close by, and some members of this little group are dumb and easily fooled.

In closing if you’ve never watched Pulse, The Langoliers, Blindness, I Am Legend or The Walking Dead and feel like a watching them all quickly, rent Vanishing on 7th Street and you’ll get the main points to all of those movies, just without the cohesiveness or enjoyment.

LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:

  • Never trust a delusional, grief stricken black woman with a gun.
  • Never trust a traumatised 12-year-old boy looking for his mother with a shotgun.
  • Most pubs come ready equipped with a fallout shelter in the event of a nuclear war.
  • The earth’s rotation can be sped up or slowed down depending on the whim of the evil forces ruling over it.
  • Shadows have issues when it comes to their own existence and sense of self-worth.
  • As a result, shadows are incredibly whiny.
  • Milla Jovovich crashing into a church on a motorbike is stylish. Hayden Christensen crashing into a church in an old pickup truck isn’t.

VANISHING ON 7TH STREET TRAILER


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