WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
Lately I’ve come up against a bit of a brick wall so far as my reviews are concerned. I’ve watched so many movies in the past month, but they’ve all ended up being direly boring and I couldn’t think of a single way to write reviews for any of them (although the good Lord knows I’ve tried). It might just be that my standards have dropped, or I was just so desperate to write about something that my mind is making it all up, but I actually found this to be a decent and passable horror movie. It’s certainly not original, it doesn’t try to shake anything up and it doesn’t try to elicit any kind of emotional response from the audience, but as a standard haunted house story it works in the sense that what it does, it does well. I wouldn’t recommend rushing out to get your hands on a copy, but if it happens to come on TV sometime and you haven’t anything better lined up, give it watch. You may end up being mildly entertained.
In a move that may briefly leave you confused and mistakenly thinking that you’re watching Grave Encounters, the movie opens with us following the crew of a ghost hunting show. The show’s a little old school and is made up primarily of stock footage that they’ve green-screened their rather smarmy and pony-tailed host in front of. Since nobody appreciates a classic anymore, the ratings for the show have started to dip tremendously, and the producers are threatening to axe the show unless something is done. Enter the man who knows buzzwords! In his opinion the show needs to take on some elements from reality TV shows (no it doesn’t – nothing EVER needs to take points from reality shows. EVER.) and place the producer in the haunted houses and record his overly dramatic responses. So essentially they’re going to make it into Ghost Adventures.
The powers behind the show have found the absolutely perfect house! It’s set in a lovely neighbourhood, plenty of room for a family, fresh coat of paint, slave lodgings, the works! It also has a terrible history of people going missing as soon as they set foot inside of it, and the neighbours keep complaining about disembodied voices pleading for mercy, but it’s nothing that a new lamp and a mild exorcism won’t take care of. When the crew arrives there’s nobody there to open up for them; thankfully the movie’s a bit racist and has equipped its only black character with the skills to pick locks and a desire to break into white folks’ homes. It’s all a bit strange inside though: why is there a fully stocked fridge in a house that’s been abandoned since before the 1950s? Why is it so spotlessly clean? Why is the psychic they brought with them bleeding out of her eyes? Nobody seems particularly concerned with these questions, so it’s on with the show they go.
It becomes quite apparent quite quickly that this isn’t one of those fake haunted houses – there is some genuine malevolent shit going on in there. Unfortunately the crew is headed up by the biggest asshole of a producer that a film has ever dared to create, so despite the fact that people are disappearing into the walls he absolutely forbids anyone to abandon their posts. As it turns out it isn’t that the house has evil spirits in it – the house itself is the evil spirit. To survive it literally eats its victims in order to maintain itself (gorgeous wallpaper and a meticulously clean crystal chandelier come at a cost, you know), and it isn’t interested in letting any of its new meals out. It’ll be up to the bleeding-eye psychic, a black dude and a melted corpse to solve the case if there’s any hope of them living to see the sun rise again.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Haunted houses are known to spin people right round (baby, right round, like a record baby right round, round round).
- Haunted houses have no right to go around giving themselves fresh coats of paint.
- When the ratings for your TV show are down, it calls for life threatening situations to revitalise them.
- It’s supernaturally dangerous when a haunted house’s pleasure to pain ratios are too high.
- The colour of the ectoplasm you find indicates the level of malevolence you are dealing with.
- It’s very important to routinely check your psychic for hairballs to ensure optimum health.
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
If there’s one thing that I’ve learned from the ungodly experiment that is the B-Horror Blog, it’s that anything the Asylum can do, Syfy can do a thousand times better (except for those few times when the Asylum makes the Syfy movie). They’re both good staples: The Asylum if you want a movie that’ll be easy to throw insults at, and Syfy if you want some guaranteed cheese. Ghost Storm will give you everything you need so far as cheese factor is concerned, and it even throws in a little soft science just to make the final product that little bit more saccharine-sweet. By the looks of things the people behind this movie had a fairly decent budget to play around with, and gradually these people seem to be coming to grips with making CGI monsters that aren’t so bad they’re insulting. I recommend hanging onto this one for one of those really rainy Sunday afternoons when you want to chase away the approaching Monday blues.
What is it in a teenager’s genetic structure that draws them to creepy cemeteries like moths to a porch light? Science should really look into that. Anyway, as you may have guessed, our story begins with a group of bored teenagers in a dark and spooky cemetery – during a lightning storm, no less. Wherever the hell their hometown is, it would appear to be on a tiny little island, so I guess you gotta get your kicks where you can. Everything’s going absolutely fine (guys scaring girls, ominous thunder) until a bolt of lightning strikes the memorial for the people who died during the town’s now-infamous mass-suicide. The lightning, through means I should check with my Occult Specialist, releases the angry spirits of the departed, who quickly go about turning one of the teenagers into a grey piece of human jerky.
Thankfully, Officer Dad (AKA Hal, father of Daisy, one of the girls that was out in the cemetery) is on the case. There must be a logical, rational reason why Daisy’s 18-year-old boyfriend’s corpse went from looking like the Crypt Keeper to being a pile of mulch in a matter of hours. Of course, the problem here is that they’re stuck on an island, and how exactly would you report this kind of incident to the authorities back on the main land? This of course is only the beginning of the town’s problems – you see, these aren’t your regular pissed off, vengeance-seeking ghosts. These ghosts are smart – why hunt individually when you can join together, form a supernatural storm system and blight the inhabitants of the island all the more faster?
So, with the angry spirits swirling around the island in a giant, lightning-filled vortex, it’s up to Hal, ex-wife Ashley, and Daisy to come up with some kind of way to defeat the ghosts before they turn the entire town’s population into little piles of dust. They will be aided by a seafaring ghost hunter who happened to rock up on the island just as the storm formed. They will need a combination of a lot of random electrical equipment, some occultist knowledge, Ashley’s meteorological know-how, a lot of salt water, a fire extinguisher, an old diary with some town secrets, a weather balloon, a gun, a lot of jumper cables, some cans of silicon gel, half a dozen rolls of duct tape, an ancient talisman and a cellphone tower if they’re ever going to be able to stop these ghosts. Then, of course, there’s the mysterious old priest, and Ashley and Daisy’s old, but not forgotten, family history that ties into the whole affair…
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Lightning storms are a tremendous turn on for randy teens.
- The new iSpirit app is very useful for knowing when there are vengeful spirits in the area.
- Exhuming bodies is nothing but good, small town fun.
- It’s very expensive to build a machine that’ll let you speak to a storm cloud.
- Salt water is the best thing to use to soak up spilled evil.
- A good old-fashioned witch hunt usually eases the tension when you’re being held hostage by ghosts.
- Always make sure that your ghost complies with regulatory electrical standards.
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
Right, it’s official: I’m giving up my dream of gradually taking over the planet by being the world’s most efficient paper-pusher and applying for a job at The Asylum. I want to earn my living by spending my days high on crack and writing stories, because I’m pretty sure that’s what happened before the cameras started rolling on 12/12/12. Even by Asylum standards this was horrid, and whoever was behind it doesn’t seems to have even the foggiest idea about how anything in the world actually works. That being said, I watched this alone, and if I’d seen it with my elite squad of movie watchers I think it could’ve been a lot of fun. So, dear reader, grab a seat, grab a beer, grab your crack pipe, and let’s get this review on the road.
Everyone gather round and meet Veronica. Veronica’s in terrible pain – she’s about to have her first child delivered by the country’s most inept team of doctors. I guess this is what one should expect when you decide to have your baby in an emergency ward that has a park bench outside it and an entrance that looks like some dingy club’s back alley. Not that Veronica notices; she’s too busy screaming out in pain / orgasming in her vain attempts to give birth. The doctors can’t decide what to do, and baby daddy Carlos seems to think that the best plan of action is to lunge violently at every nurse that comes his way. After a lot of comings and goings the very independent baby climbs out of Veronica’s womb and promptly attacks, strangles, nibbles and kills the entire surgical team. One might think that this would be cause for alarm, but mommy’s tired and doesn’t seem to think much of it.
Things seem to be going OK until Veronica and Carlos bring little Sebastian home. Sebastian looks a bit like Baby Sinclair from Dinosaurs, but this again raises no concerns from his parents. Despite only being 6 days old he also tends to bite a lot with his razor-sharp little teeth, is quite capable of crawling on his own, and has this bad habit of compelling people to do terrible things via telepathy. Things like making his dad drink water from a kettle that’s just boiled, or making the delivery boy slit his own throat open. Sebastian’s taken into child protection after the death of Carlos and Veronica goes to stay with her sister, vowing revenge upon the government for trying to protect the country’s children from harm.
At some point our characters make the transition from blind confusion to blinding insight so far as Sebastian’s demonic origins are concerned. By now Sebastian looks like Baby Sinclair after he was involved in a tragic cooking oil incident, and his blood lust (and his desire to throw his nappies everywhere) has become insatiable. Couple this with the group of satanic doomsday prophets who are looking for Sebastian to use him in some rite or other, dear Veronica really has her work cut out for her. She’s aided by a policeman who’s constantly sucking on a lollipop, and her sister who has some serious issues that are never really explained to us. Will Sebastian spare his mother when the devil arrives to take over the world? Will Veronica ever stop running around the city and causing teen suicides? Will 20-somethings ever stop taking night hikes along deserted highways? All this and much less will be revealed when you watch 12/12/12.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- No one ever talks about Satanic monks.
- You can still give a woman an epidural even if the baby’s crowning… and then again when the baby’s half way out.
- You can still perform a caesarean section even if the baby’s half-way through the birth canal.
- IV equipment can be manually set to ‘murder’.
- You don’t need to provide any kind of anaesthetic before performing a C-section.
- An umbilical cord isn’t a weapon you should underestimate.
- Any woman can lose all her pregnancy weight by the time the hospital discharges her.
- It’s perfectly normal for a 1-week-old baby to have teeth like a piranha.
- Police protocol dictates that 1-week-old babies should be considered suspects in murder trials.
- Vaginal baby suffocation is still a serious problem in modern society.
- The custody of a child can just be thrown from person to person, willy nilly.
- 6 Vicodin will usually take care of the pain from a small cut on your thumb.
- Police always use their sirens to let people know they’ve arrived.
- You should always be on the lookout for perverted babies – you never know when one’s watching you in the shower.
- Strangulations are always more fun when your hands make whooshing noises.
- Police these days are almost always psychic – you don’t need to tell them where you when you call.
- Priests and homeless people are equally adept at spotting the Anti-Christ.
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
Every now and then you need to get together and celebrate the works of a fallen sister; it’s for this reason that Tropical Mary settled on watching The Legend of Bloody Mary with me – I was just there for the emotional support. Turns out we needed a fair bit of it, because this movie was both horrible and, for the most part, highly non-sensical. Take my word for it – it can be very difficult watching a ‘current day’ scenario running alongside a protracted flashback, both of which have another flashback embedded in them. This confusing scenario is tethered together with some atrocious acting, oddly placed mini-skirts, a skate boarder who never skates, and the rampant abuse of a blue filter that serves no purpose whatsoever. Watch it if you dare!
It’s a tale as old as time: Amish girl gets pregnant by “immaculate conception”, town fathers hold an inquiry, no one owns up to impregnating girl, town fathers conclude it was immaculate conception – but by the devil, girl is punished for her vanity by being tied to a tree, cut with knives and forced to look at herself in a mirror while it’s happening, douche lord that actually impregnated girl does the most stabbing, girl succumbs to wounds and Hell’s fury, girl’s spirit becomes entrapped in the mirror and haunts stupid teenage girls for the rest of time. Her spirit will roam the world’s mirrors forever, her gradually decaying flesh calling out in a raspy voice that all she actually wants is some camphor cream and a lozenge. That is the story of Mary Worth.
Flash forward to the present day and meet Ryan (or Brian, we couldn’t really decide). Ryan’s about as interesting as a plank of wood and as useful as a knife with a sharp handle. Thankfully, although he’s nominally the main character of the movie, he actually has very little to do with all of it. His sister Amy was killed when the two of them were kids (and, despite him being a white, blue-eyed adult, when he was a green-eyed, hispanic child). Since then he’s been haunted by nightmare visions of Bloody Mary, so he enlists the help of Father O’Neil (aka Indiana Jehovah). Indiana Jehovah is as useless as Ryan/Brian, and the majority of his scenes are spent focussing on his eyes for reasons that aren’t immediately apparent.
The majority of the story, if that’s what we choose to call it, happens during the flashback to Amy’s encounters with Mary. Essentially it’s all a teenage game gone wrong (which is probably how Mary landed up pregnant in the first place): by writing her name, and the names of her friends, on a mirror, Amy has invoked Bloody Mary’s wrath, and she’s out to get all of them. To do so, Mary transforms into some of her more hi-tech alter egos, including Thrust Pack Mary, Hoverboard Mary, and Hover Shoes Mary. In some bizarre way this loops back to the present day and somehow involves a mass grave, some diaries from the 1600s, Mary’s mirror, and the most inept game of hot potato you’re ever likely to see. All of which, I must reiterate, could’ve been avoided if someone just gave the demonic bitch a lozenge.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- American Green Cards allow a person to change their race.
- 1 corpse is enough to designate an area as a mass grave.
- Carbon dating can be done in a single day.
- Games can have placebo effects.
- Nothing says casual Friday like a professional mini-skirt.
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
So I’m back in the saddle but feeling a little rusty; it’s been a few months since I’ve ripped a movie to shreds and I need a little practice. Pretty sure that The Asylum was founded simply for those reasons 🙂 Somehow, through the workings of some malevolent supernatural force, Hold Your Breath (or #holdyourbreath – I don’t know why) actually managed to get a (I imagine very limited) theatrical release. If malevolent supernatural forces were not involved in this process, my only other logical conclusion is that The Asylum has an entire department of buxom young females whose job it is to sleep with whoever necessary to get their movies out there. The movie’s awful, plain and simple; it actually kind of feels like it began shooting, changed scripts, carried on from there, changed scripts again, did some final shooting, and the three different movies were just thrown together for the hell of it.
As a general cautionary tale, this movie advises that at least a little caution should be taken when you come across a zealoty über-German priest out to rid the world of all its sins and vices. This is what Vicar van Hausen tried to do, murdering a number of alleged-harlots along the way, and maiming many others. For his hard work he’s been sentenced to death by electrocution, and the most bizarre array of individuals have turned out to watch the event. The proceedings get underway when a prison guard, obviously mistaking this for an episode of Deal or No Deal, prattles on about what van Hausen did. Van Hausen, before being electrocuted, manages to kill one of the guards before feeling 10 billion volts of CGI electricity coursing through his veins. But can mere CGI electricity put an end to such an evil?
Of course not. If it was, the movie wouldn’t be able to give you gratuitous shots of L-shaped breasts, now would it? Wanting to relive the glory days of high school, a group of friends decide to head off into the wilderness and leave the boring world of rent cheques and deadlines behind for a bit. Driving along their merry little way they happen upon a cemetery, where Blonde Girl tells them that they all have to hold their breath. Why? Because apparently, when a spirit is SO evil that Hell itself cannot contain it, simply holding your breath means that it is powerless. Everyone but The Stoner does this, and he becomes possessed by the ghost of van Hausen. To be fair he was a pretty obvious target from the very beginning, as his nipples are so large they could easily store an additional 3 or 4 evil spirits. In the midst of all this craziness the group decides to take a break and visit an old, abandoned insane asylum and have some sex before continuing on to the great outdoors.
After the necessary amounts of sex have been had and the movie’s done some good padding with the old electric chair, the group eventually decides to move on. Possessed Stoner has already killed a cop and set him on fire, but thankfully the body and car vanished into thin air before anyone saw what he was up to. The problem with evil ghosts, however, is that they tend to become a little slutty, and one body just can’t satisfy them. So van Hausen takes to hopping around between the group in order to exact his non-sensical revenge on the world. The group’s a bit slow so they’re gonna need a little help that comes in the shape of a hermit with a shotgun. The hermit was at the asylum when van Hausen was executed back in the 50s and, through magic of his own, has only aged about 25 years since the event. Thankfully the hermit has a little friend he can call on to bring van Hausen’s drizzle of terror to an end once and for all… maybe…
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Only 5-year-olds are scared of getting caught smoking pot on a street corner.
- High school teachers take sabbaticals to recover from traumatic paper clip injuries.
- Nothing says ‘fun’ like having sex in an abandoned asylum’s mortuary/maternity ward.
- In certain circles it’s frowned upon when people in their 30s don’t behave like they did in high school.
- Blowjobs are a common bartering tool to get former badasses to sit in an electric chair.
- Two things you don’t want in life: the creation of a new asshole by means of a pitch fork, and having carnal knowledge of a bobcat.
- Possession-based amnesia is a terrible problem in areas with a lot of cemeteries.
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