WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
It’s been a long time since Tropical Mary and I went along with the hero Odysseus to the Isle of Mists as part of our mini collection of historically inaccurate movies. This movie wasn’t even supposed to be like that; I just wanted a Syfy Original to accompany The Asylum’s Nazis at the Center of the Earth. If one studio can be so much fun, surely the two back to back can only be even more fun (infinitely funner, in fact)? Well, fun it was! Made when Syfy still spelt its name properly, Sands of Oblivion comes from the golden age of Syfy movies. It’s stupidly ridiculous with far too much attempted manship and far too little acting, the plot’s wafer thin and the Egyptian god Anubis is running around California. It’s a b-movie fan’s wet dream really…
So we want to tell a tale about a wrathful Egyptian god killing off young archaeologists in modern-day California. This was the concept that the makers of this little film wanted to run with, so somehow we need to get said wrathful Egyptian deity to the good old US of A. They accomplish this by taking us back to 1923 to the set of Cecil DeMille’s movie The Ten Commandments. I myself haven’t seen this silent beauty but I gather that they needed a lot of Egyptian props for it. In the deserts of California DeMille constructed a remarkable set on which to film his movie, with a number of the props looking remarkably authentic. On the set a young John Tevis buries a few of the movie’s trinkets in a time capsule, hoping that, 1000 years from now, some other young explorer may come across it.
Or something to that effect at the very least. Flash forward a few decades and we land up in the present day where Alice Carter and her team of student archaeologists are excavating the old movie set. John, now well into the Autumn of his life, and his suave and studly grandson Mark are also running around trying to find the old man’s time capsule. Now at first I was wondering why a team of archaeologists would be excavating an old movie set, but then we’re told that it’s because the tides are about to come in and flood the desert. I was still confused about the excavation, and now I was wondering where the hell the ocean was going to come in from. Anyways the old man finds the box but accidentally falls into one of the set’s rooms, breaking an ancient binding spell and unleashing a very angry (and corpsey) Anubis on the sands of California.
Now, prior to hitting play on this movie, I had already come to terms with the fact that the director and his team would not have the knowledge or will to check Wikipedia and understand that Anubis was neither a malevolent nor corpse-like divinity. Fact of the matter here is that he’s angry as hell and out to kill as many young archaeologists as he possibly can. In addition to pure brute force one of the main ways that he will do this is by unleashing the ten Biblical Egyptian plagues. Why an Egyptian deity would unleash Christian plagues is something that makes absolutely no sense, but I put this little pondering aside as well and continued to watch the movie. Alice and Mark will have to find a way of defeating Anubis in a way that seems to have been made up as the movie went along. It makes little to no sense, but again the sheer ridiculousness of it makes it an absolute must watch.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- The Egyptians were big fans of using decorative pentagrams.
- Blowing up an entire crate of phosphorous will only result in some mild charring of the immediate area.
- An ancient deity can be quite easily contained in a wooden shed.
- Ex husbands are easily tempted by the promises of malevolent Egyptian spirits.
- Archaeologists don’t want to hear about the boils on your ass.
- Drawing a Wadjet eye free hand won’t yield good results.
SANDS OF OBLIVION TRAILER
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
Movies like this irritate me. So far as unheard of end of the world movies go, this really wasn’t a bad watch and there are far worse ways for you to spend your time. It’s main problem is that it dragged, but not in the usual way that makes you feel bored to tears. Rather it has a lot happen in a relatively short space of time so when you feel that Earth is pretty much on her knees and a resolution to the problem is about to be discovered you realise that you’ve only been watching for half an hour and that there’s still an hour to go. There are some glaringly obvious factual issues floating around but on the whole the acting is quite decent and the special effects are of a reasonable quality. That said, the title of the movie is completely misleading: nothing gets blasted and the arctic is in no way involved in the problem.
Poor little humans, we’re in for another round of ‘let’s meet our maker.’ It was a beautiful day when the people of Australia were watching a total solar eclipse (of the heart) and, much to the joy of health officials everywhere, nobody burned their retinas out. As happens from time to time the solar eclipse has a slightly greater effect on the planet than would normally be desirable. Somehow the combination of the moon passing in front of the sun and our recent tendency to pump our atmosphere full of pollution leads to the ozone layer springing a leak just off the coast of Tasmania. This rather sizeable hole (which is apparently visible from space) is allowing super cooled air from the mesosphere to filter down to the surface. This results in a cold front that begins sweeping its way across the sea towards Tasmania and the rest of Australia.
Now understandably nobody really wants to be caught in a fast-approaching cold front where the temperatures drop to -80 degrees fahrenheit (-62 centigrade for those who, like myself, find degrees fahrenheit confusing). Unfortunately for those people living in the line of fire the government isn’t really prepared to believe that the planet’s ozone layer is ruptured and freezing people in a split second, so a few people have to turn into frozen lollies before anyone actually sits up and pays attention. This is an end of the world movie so of course we have a rogue scientist in the form of Jack Tate to help us overcome this minor issue. As with many rogue scientists Jack’s family is in a state of turmoil and he’s in the process of divorcing his wife and losing the trust of his teenage daughter. Could this crisis possibly bring this family back together again?
So now what is the government going to do about this little problem? Well they’re certainly not going to listen to Jack, the one man who might just have all the answers. While the government twiddles its thumbs Jack tries to get his family to safety and sticks his wife with the in-laws and takes his daughter back to his lab. While in the lab he will try to come up with the best solution to Earth’s current situation and possibly fix the screw up of a plan the Australian government has come up with on its own. The situation will become slightly more complicated by the fact that the ozone hole above Australia in some way sent ripples out across the planet and opened holes above other major cities in Europe, Asia and North America. The race is on to find a way to plug the holes before all of Earth gets turned into a giant ice palace.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- If meteorologists get drunk enough they could easily solve all the world’s problems.
- Divorce lawyers are quite happy to be called blood-sucking parasites.
- Fireworks and chinese take aways will not buy you your daughter’s loyalty.
- For some people a ship full of condensation is the craziest thing they’ve ever heard of.
- A hairdryer will fix the most waterlogged of hard drives.
- Diabetic meteorologists need excessive amounts of chocolate to do their work.
- Any fool who bangs on his keyboard hard enough will eventually hack into an American military satellite.
- A true gentleman will gladly offer to do a little insulin shopping in -50 degree weather.
ARCTIC BLAST TRAILER
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Year of Release: 2004
Genre: Horror / Thriller
IMDB Rating: 3.4 / 10
Level of Awful: High
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
Oh dear. Words escape me a little with this one. When I reviewed Dead Clowns I made a point of emphasising how slow-paced the movie was because of a lack of story. Well here we are, another movie about a killer clown, but this time it’s long and has far too much story. Not that most of the story actually ties in with what’s happening, but it’s there none the less. The sad thing with this little piece of cheese is that, had it been done properly with actors who could act, it would probably have been quite frightening. Sadly this was not to be and instead we are left with this attempt at frightening and suspenseful that lands up being confusing and a little boring but delightfully cheesy anyway.
Lynn Blodgett is an up-and-coming artist in Baltimore that has developed a reputation for her pictures that depict the darker side of clowns. A series of flash backs tell us that she has had some traumatic experience with a clown as a child, but the movie doesn’t seem interested in explaining this, and has subsequently developed a severe case of coulrophobia which serves as the inspiration behind her paintings (according to the plot synopsis – movie doesn’t really make this clear either). This fear may also tie in with the trip to the abandoned amusement park that she makes later in the movie (movie doesn’t explain this either). Anyways Lynn has an art exhibition opening at the local Craig Flinner Gallery but, on the day before it starts, the neighbours of the house she’s looking after are murdered by a rather muscular and shirtless clown (apparently based on one of her paintings, according to the plot synopsis, but there are no paintings of him until she does one after seeing him). Lynn does not seem perturbed by this and continues with her plans for her exhibition where she meets Tucker, a roller coaster designer who pays $ 8000 for one of her paintings. Now there seems to be an uncut and longer edition of this movie that I don’t have because one moment Lynn and Tucker are at his office and the next she’s at home telling one of her friends on the phone about the how the evening was one ‘long story’ and she seems a little distressed. Perhaps the longer version would have filled in the blanks. While she’s on the phone Shivers the Clown appears at her door and frightens her so much that she passes out.
Where this movie does stand out amongst all of the others that I’ve reviewed is that the amount of time you spend looking at a half-naked man as apposed to a completely naked woman is greatly above the horror movie average: there is only one naked woman in the whole movie and absolutely no sexual content while Shivers is shirtless throughout. Now while our half-naked clown is out murdering people our plot line becomes more involved and confusing when Lynn discovers that her husband that she is divorcing has been out of work for six months and she is later commissioned to do the portrait of a man’s father for $ 20 000. She is conflicted, however, because it turns out that the man’s father was a convicted child molester that got off of some of the charges when there was insufficient evidence against him (I’m not sure how he’s a convicted criminal if this is the case). Absolutely NONE of this, however, has anything to do with the rest of the story and serves as a rare case where a movie creates plot holes for itself where none would have existed if they had been left out.
As the story plods along and several of Lynn’s friends are killed the police eventually decide to take her seriously when she tells them that a killer clown is after her. The plot continues to become more complicated when it is revealed that her soon-to-be-ex-husband is trying to have her killed (ironically, by having a man dressed as a clown break into her home and shoot her). Somehow the husband also seems to know Shivers and even visits him and, although this does kind of tie into the story, it again serves as even more plot-filler. Eventually, as Lynn and Tucker become closer (despite the implication that he’s actually stalking her – something else that the movie doesn’t care to elaborate on) and the killings get closer and closer to home the two of them must put on a united front in a locked movie theater in order to avoid landing up like Lynn’s friends and being left in pieces all over the lounge floor.
I would like to give the movie credit, however, for the single little shot of a policeman guarding Lynn’s house and reading a copy of Stephen King’s It. It’s just a pity that nobody cared to actually read it and see how a killer clown storyline is done properly.
THINGS I’VE LEARNED:
- You can hear people fainting over the phone.
- $20 000 can buy a lot of bandwidth.
- Research shows that single men with cats are bad news.
- It can still be sunny close to midnight.
- FBI agents always stand in profile when knocking on people’s doors.
- Scary clown art is an incredibly lucrative niche market.
- Blurred vision and blindness are virtually the same thing.
- When victims describe the killer clown that attacked them to the police it is important that they fail to tell them that he is muscular and not wearing a shirt.
- When private investigators describe the killer clown to their clients they can mention everything about them except the muscles and lack of shirt.
Fear of Clowns Trailer