WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
After the joy that was Piranhaconda and Alien Tornado I felt that Tropical Mary had to be roped in at some point to join in the fun. This one, admittedly, was a mixed bag of tricks. At points it felt strangely competent for a Syfy movie, but at other points was on the brink of embarrassingly amateur. All of that said and done, though, a movie about blind, fire-breathing spiders from the depths of the earth can be nothing but fun. It also brought out a very bizarre mothering instinct in me whenever the baby spiders came streaking onto the screen; there was just something incredibly sweet about their little squeals…
It’s a beautiful day in New Orleans: the sun is out, the hookers are packing up from a hard night’s work and the remnants of Katrina have just about been cleared away. Katelynn and her kids, Justin and Anabell, are about to take a tour of the historic city while husband Charlie drives a female baseball team back home. A small earthquake struck the city the previous night and has left small portals to hell littering the streets, but this isn’t enough to dissuade anyone from undertaking a little sight-seeing. Mom and kids are being taken around the city by bus driver Paul who, although being threatened with death by his father Roy should he screw this up, is clearly very hung over. That’s nothing a quick adrenaline rush can’t take care of though, which he and the other passengers get when spiders ranging from a few centimetres to Irish Wolfhound start coming out of the ground.
Now these are particularly nasty little spiders. They’re very fast, they use echo location to find you, they’re very good jumpers, they lay their eggs in people, they drain your eye juices for food and shoot fire at you when they’re pissed. Paul gets the group away from this particular lot of spiders (despite being seemingly unable to identify exactly what it is he’s driving), but to be honest Paul’s a bit useless and it doesn’t take long for the spiders to catch up to the group. Insect repellent doesn’t do an awful lot to slow them down, although a tin of canned peaches to the forehead will take out a little one. Deciding that running is a better option, Paul takes those members of the tour group that weren’t eaten back to his father and sister Petra to see if they can come up with a new and better survival plan.
It was at this point that Tropical Mary thought it would be a brilliant move if the bigger spiders grabbed a few of the smaller ones and used them to do jazz hands, but sadly this never happened. Instead, through a series of unfortunate twists and turns, the group finds themselves running through a forest trying to save themselves. Turns out escaping by boat isn’t a viable escape plan when the spiders are part Jesus and can run on water. Why subterranean spiders would evolve the ability to walk on water is another story, but this is bringing logic into a situation where none is warranted. The army’s called in to try and eradicate the problem, but Katelynn (because she’s an 8th grade biology teacher) cuts one of the spiders up and realises that they don’t have brains. If that’s true, what exactly is controlling the hordes that are busy rampaging through New Orleans, and will the army be able to kill it?
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- It’s never a good idea to be drinking and tour guiding.
- 30-year-old men can’t run to their dads every time they’re being attacked by giant, fire-breathing spiders.
- Certain spider species make Hanna-Barbera sounds when they fly through the air.
- People native to New Orleans are biologically incapable of stepping on a spider.
- Any rudimentary knowledge of high school biology qualifies you to lead a military campaign to eradicate giant insects.
- New Orleans albino spiders are huge fans of mariachi music. This explains their highly developed vocal chords.
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
You know, I consider myself a patient if somewhat long-suffering individual so far as b-movies go. I have seen things that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. I have built up an immunity to things like the Asylum and Syfy Originals, but there are somethings that you just cannot prepare for. 2012: Doomsday is one of those things. Part of the Asylum’s trilogy of disaster movies that also includes 2012: Ice Age and 2012: Supernova, 2012: Doomsday is by far the worst of the trio. With this one they decided to throw in everything and then a few people’s kitchen sinks: the recipe includes Christian theology, New Age thinking and Mayan prophecy, but it was definitely left to cook for a little too long. By the end of it you’ll be so confused you’ll begin to wonder if you hallucinated the whole thing or if you actually saw this movie play out before your very eyes.
Our tale of misadventure and outright confusion begins in Mexico. Sarah is a Christian missionary incapable of displaying emotion or vocal inflection who’s on assignment in a little village in the back and beyond of nowhere trying to help out those good Christian people who are less fortunate and white than herself. The entire village has suddenly become ill and she desperately needs to find a doctor but, when that fails, a random medical student snapping photos of her jogging will just have to suffice. They realise that something is terribly wrong on the way back to the village when they pass a river that’s near boiling point and all the fish are dead and floating downstream. What possible calamity could have caused this?
The whole world going to Hell, that’s what’s causing this. Sarah’s father works for the US government tracking unusual phenomena that may have adverse effects on the planet. Somehow the combination of planetary alignment in the solar system and the sun’s rotation around the black hole at the centre of the galaxy have caused the Earth’s rotation to stop (although in this movie it has no effect on the magnetosphere), enormous storm cells to form and the continents to move around a little bit. It’s a helluva lot of stuff to have going on all at the same time. Thankfully we have Dr. Frank Richards, a man of science and reason to help us out. Well, science and reason until he discovers a crucifix in a Mayan temple and decides that the only logical thing to do will be to take it to a different Mayan temple to fulfill a prophecy as ordained by Fate. Making sense so far? Didn’t think so.
Because we don’t have enough strange people to pay attention to the movie also throws Susan at us. Susan’s a staunch atheist nurse who believes that science can explain everything. Somehow it’s going to explain her strange desire to visit a Mayan temple that she’s only ever seen in a dream as a child. Her mother, a very devout Christian woman, believes this is all part of God’s greater plan for mankind. So now all these odd people must make their way to the Mayan temple to fulfill a prophecy made by Christians in the Americas nearly a thousand years ago while avoiding a variety of natural disasters before time runs out and the entire planet is decimated. Oh yeah, and the rapture’s thrown in amongst all this just for good measure.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- The words ‘we need to evacuate’ just dare a volcano to erupt.
- The Mayans were famous for their underground Christian churches.
- Scientists refuse to accept that the Mayans practised crucifixion, and are insulted if anyone even mentions it.
- Doctors often argue about whether to use medicine or just leave it up to God.
- When the world’s about to go to Hell someone needs to be there to take pictures.
- God will plummet the whole Earth into chaos just to teach one blonde woman to believe.
- God, Christ and the Fates often club together to buy humanity gifts.
- Missionaries in villages in the hell and back of nowhere often have no skills that would be useful to the people there.
- Newborn children are the exclusive property of God.
- Mankind has a dormant instinct to flock to Mayan temples that is awoken during times of the apocalypse.
- Distance in Mexico is measured in how many hills you need to climb over.
2012: DOOMSDAY TRAILER
BUY 2012: DOOMSDAY AT AMAZON.COM
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
Oh, The Asylum. There’s not an awful lot of good things that can be said about them but credit must be given to them for almost single-handedly keeping End of the World Month going. 2012: Supernova forms part of their 2012 (loose) trilogy of disaster movies. I’ve already reviewed 2012: Ice Age and, like it’s sibling, this movie is inspired by events in another movie. I’m going to hazard a guess that this one got its idea from Knowing. The whole thing is one giant technical inaccuracy and I spent most of my time looking at the TV absolutely gobsmacked that they thought this kind of storyline was going to hold itself together. But then I reminded myself that it was a movie by The Asylum and suddenly it all made a lot more sense.
200 years ago in a far off constellation a star went supernova, destroying its solar system and sending deathly rays out in every direction. This supernova was so destructive, in fact, that its horrendous gamma ray beams are still every bit as destructive 200 years later, and they’re heading right for us. NASA is trying to prepare a crack team of the most ridiculously stereotypical people you can possibly imagine: Kelvin, the no-nonsense all American guy, Dzerzhinsky, the mummified-in-Vodka Russian with a terrible fake Russian accent, and Dr. Kwang Ye, a Chinese female who knows nothing in this world other than how to save the Earth and how to glorify The People’s Republic of China. I’m actually fairly certain that we could get the Asylum arrested for this type of stereotyping; I’m sure the UN would have something to say about it.
Before we can save the Earth, however, we need to actually get Kelvin to the damn NASA base where this whole project is being coordinated. Suddenly, from out of nowhere, even more stereotypes appear, this time in the guise of Middle Eastern men with thick accents waving semi-automatic weapons in the air. They don’t seem to have any clue what it is they’re doing because first of all they try to shoot Kelvin and his family and then, when they have them cornered in a warehouse, ask them a number of questions, mainly about why the Americans have been taking nuclear weapons up to the International Space Station. Thankfully other government agents rock up and shoot the bad, bad non-Americans. Kelvin then heads off to the base while his wife and daughter head home to get some things and plan to join up with him later.
So the supernova is on its way, it’s already blown up a remarkably solid Pluto and is now busy jetting its way past and through the moons of Jupiter. What’s the plan? Well, the scientists agree that the Earth’s magnetosphere is not going to be enough to protect us from a direct hit from the supernova (duh, it just blew up Pluto), so what they’re going to do is blow up a few hundred nuclear warheads above the magnetosphere to give the Earth some extra coating and seal all our juices in nice and tight. We’ll deal with the horrifying effects of nuclear fallout across the planet later. Problems arise when the approach of the supernova begins to affect the planet’s weather, triggers earthquakes and randomly makes Mount Vesuvius erupt again. Couple this with the fact that someone’s trying to sabotage the launch to the ISS to detonate the warheads and we’re in for a tepid, adrenaline-lacking race to save mankind from total annihilation.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Nobody really wants to know the identity of the people aiming a machine gun through their car’s window.
- The art of kidnapping someone and taking them alive relies on shooting wildly in random directions.
- Some people view saving mankind from utter annihilation is just another part of the day.
- Wishing for nuclear warheads isn’t going to make them appear.
- An entire NASA launch pad only requires 3 minutes to undergo a complete safety check.
- It’s preferable to destroy the planet slowly than allow it to be destroyed in one cataclysmic blast.
- You don’t need clouds to have thunder and lightning.
- Timing when something is about to destroy Earth is really just a matter of guesswork until it actually hits us.
- The kindness of strangers will usually end with you taking a lead pipe to the back of their heads.
- Computers just make space shuttle technicians lazy cowards.
2012: SUPERNOVA TRAILER
BUY 2012: SUPERNOVA AT AMAZON.COM
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
As IMDB will testify, there are many kinds of apocalypses out there but let’s be honest, there’s nothing quite like a quantum apocalypse. It just sounds like the world will end a lot more stylishly and hardcore than with other kinds of apocalypses. To this movie’s credit there are only a few points where you actually wish the world would end rather than have the movie carry on which, in this sub-genre, is quite something. It’s full of strange characters saving the world that, if this were to actually happen, would leave me rather concerned about humanity’s future but, since that’s not the case, we can all just sick back, relax and watch the world be vacuumed slightly to the left.
The end of the world all began one evening in a dark and geeky control room. The good people of the USSA (what I understand to be the movie’s rough equivalent of NASA) are monitoring a comet making its way through our stellar neighbourhood and about to make a flyby of Mars. Everything’s going fine until one moment when the scientists turn their backs and this mischievous comet decides it wants to take a sharp right in space. This puts it on a direct collision path with Mars where it proceeds to blow about a third of the planet into space. Everyone’s obviously concerned because now there’s an awful lot of Mars floating around and they need to make sure that none of it’s heading our way. One scientist has a brief flash of genius when he suggests that, while monitoring the pieces of Mars, it might also be interesting to find out what caused the comet to veer off course so suddenly and catastrophically.
To this end the apparently wanting-in-the-genius-department people of the USSA bring in Trish Zane and Tom Lively. These two are the rock stars of the scientific community and the only ones able to figure out what the strange purple half-octopus flying around Earth is. Deciding that very few people would know what a strangelet is the movie decides to go with that. In this instance it’s basically a much better coordinated and far more purple black hole with limited suction. This thing is slowly making its way towards Earth and its effects will gradually become worse. First it’ll be the usual things like tsunamis, earthquakes, hurricanes and tornadoes with certain areas experiencing localised anti-gravity and, when it eventually reaches Earth, the entire planet will be sucked in and its matter deconstructed and rearranged. I, personally, was hoping it would be rearranged into a beautiful floral tapestry but since I had no control over how the movie progressed I powered on.
It’s agreed on by the rock star scientists, regular scientists and the movie’s decidedly white American president that, should the purple strangelet reach us, we’re all pretty fucked. There’s 31 hours until it strikes (a time which doesn’t change for the greater part of the movie) and someone needs to devise a plan on how to stop the thing. This is where the other half of the movie’s characters will come in. Ben, his wife Lynne, !!!AUTISTIC!!! brother Terry and kids Leo and Samantha are just a normal American family trying to hold it all together as the world comes to an end. Terry, however, knows a lot about astronomy and might just know how to halt the purple octopus’ advance on Earth. Now he just needs to convince his family and the American government that he has a vague idea of what he’s talking about.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- The Oval Office is just for show. The president’s real office is only marginally bigger than a broom cupboard.
- Mayors answer to no one.
- Cars owned by high school students automatically smell like mildew.
- Al-Qaeda and the Chinese are always suspects when dark matter black holes appear in space.
- Anti-smoking rules do not change just because the world’s coming to an end.
- 3 nuclear missiles are enough to cause a polar shift.
- There will come a day when we all look back on Earth’s near destruction and laugh.
QUANTUM APOCALYPSE TRAILER
BUY QUANTUM APOCALYPSE AT AMAZON.COM
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
Ah, Christmas. It brings to mind happy memories of carols, huge lunches, family get togethers, presents and 1000 carefully hung decorations. This movie has
all some of those things and giant, man-eating monsters thrown in to sweeten the deal. The Blackout was truckloads of fun because it was a perfect example of a b-grade monster movie. The acting is incredibly sub par, the story’s hanging in there by its teeth and the monsters look like something the 50s threw up and applied a little basic CGI to. All in all, a very pleasant 80 minutes that I recommend everyone watch while opening presents with the smaller children. Because I’m a little twisted that way 🙂
‘Twas the night before Christmas and all across LA hell was slowly breaking loose. It’s Christmas Eve and there are quite a few power surges going on followed by the occasional earthquake. We begin our story with Elizabeth and Daniel Pierce, a loving couple living a simple life with their two children, Kyle and Ashley, with Daniel’s seemingly drunk brother Dylan on the couch. Thankfully the earthquakes haven’t effected them too much yet because at this point they only have the intensity to shake the camera man around a little bit; every thing else stays pretty much where it is. As the evening draws on, however, the earthquakes begin to get a little stronger (water in a glass may give off a ripple or two now) and the power cuts are getting a little longer. Of course this is quite normal and is certainly no indication that some form of monster is on the loose.
Now bless them, Elizabeth and Daniel don’t seem to be the brightest couple. This is best illustrated by the fact that they try to initiate sexual relations despite the kids still being awake and their bedroom not having a door. To distract from a situation that could have been very awkward when the kids walked in Kyle is sent down to the basement of the apartment block to find a vague something in a locked chest. When he gets there he hears things scuttling around in the dark. Upon closer inspection these turn out to be strange creatures resembling a helmet with a tail. They, however, are the very least of Kyle’s problems and, with little time to react, something jumps out of the enormous hole in the wall and makes a very quick snack of him. The moral lesson? Parents who expose their children to sex will have their children eaten alive by monsters. Moving along…
This is the part of the movie when the enormous monsters in the basement start to make a nuisance of themselves for humanity in general. When the power cuts entirely not only are Daniel, Elizabeth and Dylan inconvenienced, but it brings a very awkward Christmas party next door to a bit of a stand still. Thankfully one of the monsters decides to liven things up by eating several of the guests. The guests quickly make their way to Daniel’s apartment (with the use of brute force and a gun) and the group then tries to decide on its next course of action. The loose arrangement is that they will all make their way downstairs and then break off, the guests heading out the door and Daniel & Co. going off in search of his kids (Ashley has since gone off to find her brother). You might think that this is a water-tight plan and that nothing could go wrong, but you’d be sorely mistaken. Dylan, while surveying the outside world, has seen one of the monsters in another apartment block, there’s sulphur leaking out the earth at a rate of knots, the power’s out and enormous chunks of the Earth are being thrust to the surface. How will our plucky young group survive all this horror? I strongly encourage you to watch and find out!
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Standing by your family sets a terrible example for your young children.
- Women need to provide daily blowjobs if they want their men to support them.
- Men express anger at their girlfriends by taking expensive champagne to Christmas parties.
- Marriage problems can only be sorted out after the Christmas holidays.
- ‘Trollop’ is an outdated way of calling a woman a slut.
- When an alien’s trying to eat you and your girlfriend the most logical thing to do is propose marriage.
THE BLACKOUT TRAILER