WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
There are few things in life that can guarantee as much fun as an early 2000s movie with cheap animatronic dinosaurs brought back to life by a mad scientist, Eric Roberts and all of his self-importance in the lead role, and a sex scene that we could have sworn was on a perpetual loop. I present to you, dear reader, Raptor, perhaps one of the most glorious achievements of b-cinema I’ve seen yet. I gathered my most of my elite team of movie watchers for this one: Tropical Mary, Stygian Mole, and our newest recruit, Plaas Meisie. There are no words to describe the sheer awesomeness and cheesiness of this movie, but if you’re a fan of b-horror you absolutely NEED to watch this as soon as is humanly possible.
As is often the case in these movies, we’re thrown into the middle of some little town in the middle of absolutely nowhere where the most thrilling crime that probably takes place is a little old lady having her dentures stolen. Eric Roberts is the local sheriff, and this gives him the right to practically smear himself with smarmy and then roll around in a vat of self-produced and bottled egotism. Armed with two belts, a pair of mom jeans and a token black deputy, Eric’s ready to find out what happened to those poor drunken teenagers out the middle of the desert – because something ate them up good. Thinking that it was something reasonably standard, like a bear, a cougar or a shark, he’s joined on the investigation by Busty Blonde Animal Control Lady (hereafter referred to simply as ‘Busty’), but she’ll be damned if she knows what killed the kids. Maybe it has something to do with the recent spate of mass-chicken murders happening all along the county’s various highways?
Over at the Eunice corporation (nominally a chicken manufacturing plant, whatever that may be, and which is still running blue-screen DOS computers by the looks of things), something’s more than a little amiss. There are far too many crazy scientists in would-be berets pushing far too many flashing buttons on control panels for this to be a simple chicken farm. Of course, for the omnivident viewer, we know that the trucks transporting enormous numbers of chickens is simply a cover up – that’s how Eunice Corp. is transporting all of its raptor and t-rex eggs between its different facilities after one of the raptors escaped into the desert. Being a team of maybe four people, however, means that the people at this particular facility aren’t doing a great job keeping track of their genetically re-created little monsters, and more and more are starting to wreak havoc on the little town.
For Officer Mom Jeans the problem becomes personal after his sweet, innocent little girl is attacked by one of the raptors after getting it on with a man twice her age and squealing like a little pig while they did it on the back of his pickup truck. But how exactly does one small town sheriff take on a giant company like Eunice Corp.? Infiltration and a Busty sidekick – that’s how. The two of them are determined to get to the bottom of what’s going on, but there’s a little more going on behind the scenes that they don’t know about. Apparently this whole dinosaur resurrection process originally began as a government military operation for fighting overseas, so they also want in on the action when they realise that their supposedly cancelled project is back online. Can Eric Roberts’ seemingly infinite supply of self-satisfaction conquer the might of an angry, resurrected mother T-Rex? Do silicone boobs move at all? Why are everyone’s intestines in this movie brown? Watch, dear reader, and have all of these questions answered.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- ‘Whatever happened, happened here’ is usually how most police investigations start.
- Deserts can be right quirky creatures sometimes.
- Character enhancement is best done with copious amounts of silicone.
- Surprised raptors shed their toenails like geckos shed their tails.
- If it’s not as intense as black ops, and at least 2 black guys are involved, it classes as dark ops.
- Most companies have emergency spaceship entrances installed in their elevators.
- Clones can be pulled out of thin air and given all the memories of the original person.
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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
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
Great balls of fire, what a load of crap! Not one to do things by half measures I felt that End of the World Month had to be kicked off with a bang, so I present to you Meteor Apocalypse. This is, quite honestly, one of the most painful movies I have seen to date; the acting is sub par, the effects are barely passable, there are plot holes bigger than the meteorites and, to top it all off, it’s boring as hell. I actually had to watch this movie over two evenings because it got to the point where I was so bored watching it I wanted to rip my eyes out. Watch at your own peril.
We’re thrown right in at the deep end with this one. Following a brief credit sequence we find ourselves looking at Earth with a giant comet heading right towards us. In order to redirect it every country in the world that has nuclear weapons opens fire at the comet. The people at NSA (the National Space Administration) are fairly certain that the nukes will break up the comet and redirect any debris away from the planet. The nukes take about 30 seconds to travel pass the moon and hit the comet, resulting in a spectacular display as the destructive intruder is blown to kingdom come. Sadly this is the only part of the prediction NSA got right and now the comet is still heading towards us, just in much smaller fragments.
So now we have hundreds of thousands of meteorites descending to Earth at a rather rapid pace and one crashes into the aptly named Lake of Fire. This is just the first meteorite to crash into a body of water and very quickly the water supply becomes contaminated and people start to fall violently ill. Now let’s all stop for a moment and think back a bit: the comet was hit by dozens of nuclear warheads so logic would dictate that the subsequent meteorites are irradiating the water supply, right? Wrong. The meteorites are putting some kind of pathogen in the water and that’s what’s making people so ill. Now, if the meteorites are putting a pathogen in the water it would seem to imply that some form of microbial life was living on the comet. Thankfully, to save the movie from being embarrassed, it never seems to realise this and just plods along like there’s nothing wrong.
Of course an end of the world movie is nothing if there isn’t a family being torn apart by all the chaos and destruction going on around them. Here’s where David, Kate and Alison come in. Alison was one of the first people to fall ill from the contaminated water supply and, in the initial panic, the CDC (Centres for Disease Containment) decided to quarantine anyone suffering from the sickness and Kate, her mother, was dragged along for the ride. Now David, a humble worker for the water supply company, must travel through the country trying desperately to find his wife and daughter. He’s joined by Lynn, a lovely woman he saved from dying as a result of drinking a contaminated Pepsi. This won’t be a simple journey: the government’s not saying where the sick people are, meteorites are falling in huge clumps at regular intervals, gangs of people are roaming around hunting down anyone they suspect of having clean water and, at some point, another huge comet rocked up out of nowhere and is going to collide with Los Angeles in the next 3 days.
It sounds like it should be an adrenaline-fueled ride against all the odds, but it really isn’t.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- After the age of 12 the legal weight of a pinky promise drastically decreases.
- In times of crisis excessive ass whipping will keep the population under control.
- The symptoms of meteorite-borne pathogens largely mirror the onset of an epileptic fit.
- The after effects of meteorite-borne pathogens feels similar to motion sickness you get on Disney Land rides.
- When a woman starts throwing up constantly chances are she’s not fine.
- Vaccines will either cure you or make you die an even more horrific death.
- Meteors and comets cause auroras wherever they appear.
METEOR APOCALYPSE TRAILER
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
This movie has reminded me that life is full of disappointment. When you’re watching a movie directed by a man who brought us a great classic like Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie you think you’re in good hands, but I was proven wrong. Even the inclusion of Robert Englund wasn’t enough to bring this little movie up to par. The problem with it is that it’s not bad enough to be a funny b-movie but it isn’t good enough to be a good movie, so it hovers somewhere in between in a poorly defined b-movie limbo. The acting’s alright but it’s nothing great and the CGI isn’t amazing but it’s not laughable. It makes it very difficult to make fun of the movie and at the same time a little difficult to enjoy it.
We begin our tale of love, adventure, betrayal and wasps in the little town of Black Stone. It’s one of those typical little American towns full of good people with morals, traditional values, pristine gardens and an enormous church. 10 years ago Jane Kozik left Black Stone to go live in Manhattan after her husband was killed in a freak accident while trying to take care of a wasp nest. I say it was a freak accident because he burned to death. Now she’s moving back to town and she’s bringing her daughter Kelsey along for the ride. She knows it’ll be an adjustment for her daughter, who’s spent her entire life growing up in the big city with all that new fangled technology, but Jane thinks this move is exactly what the two of them need. Why they need it we’re never really told, but I was prepared to run with it and see where the story was going to take me.
Oddly enough it takes us to a street corner with Robert Englund on it. He plays Eli, Black Stone’s resident bee keeper who doesn’t keep bees but instead grows peaches. For some or other reason Kelsey takes an immediate shining to Eli, despite the fact that he’s an overly sarcastic man with ninja escape skills and no patience for children. Floating around town is Devin, the twin brother of Jane’s dead husband, and he’s a pest exterminator. Incidentally many people in town are walking around with enormous stings on their faces and making mysterious buzzing sounds, but that’s hardly important at this stage of the movie and all the characters ignore this strange behaviour for the time being. This includes the obnoxious mayor who’s busy trying to breathe some new life into Black Stone.
The wasps themselves play a relatively minor role in this movie. Lacking the acting skills of the ants from The Hive, their menace is more implied that directly seen. What we do know is that when they sting you you die, but they can use your corpse as a host for their more nefarious undertakings. This includes turning the human into a drone where a wasp seems to take control of the body and guide it. Wasps have a poor understanding of human nature, however, so their ability to drive their human drone is at times a bit off. Along the way we’ll also meet Katherine Randell, a highly qualified entomologist who looks more like the madam of a high-end brothel in a power suit. She’s absolutely stumped as to what’s going on, and she needs Devin’s expertise to help her unwrap the mystery wrapped in an enigma contained in a hive that’s going on in Black Stone. The two also need to act quick, because the wasps are beginning to gather their forces for an all-out attack on the town’s population, and before long they’ll have turned every last human they can find into yet another one of their poorly driven drones.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- When confronted with giant stinging insects the best thing to do is take off your protective gear.
- American bakeries are very quick to relocate to Mexico whenever the opportunity arises.
- Stinging wasps, disappearing sting victims and murder most foul make an entomologist’s day.
- Gorgeous blonde entomologists are often caught up in other people’s awkward family situations.
- If you tease DNA it may be willing to give you a few answers.
- Wherever Robert Englund appears, there’s bound to be an Elm Street nearby.
- It’s quite common for people to lose all cognitive function and start make buzzing noises from inside their skulls.
- The true horrors of genetically mutated wasps are a little lost on a 9-year-old girl.
BLACK SWARM TRAILER
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Year of Release: 1987
IMDB Rating: 2.7 / 10
Level of Awful: High
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
When I first discovered the joys of buying b-grade movies in bulk this was one of the first movies I ever took out of the box and watched and, admittedly, have seen far more times than any individual ever should. Not being a great fan of the werewolf sub-genre I’ve never seen any of the other Howling movies but, from what I’ve gathered, it was all pretty much all downhill after the first one. If it got worse after this I really don’t know how they managed it. The concept is just plain daft, but not daft in a good way. On the up side, at least we get a rare opportunity to understand how werewolves, like any other species, evolved and adapted to suit their particular niche in the world. Good on Nicole Kidman for saying no to the lead role!
Deep, deep in the barren wastelands of Australia’s outback evolution has decided to give the human race the finger. For many years we’ve all suspected that werewolves walked amongst us and wondered why some of our friends can never meet for drinks on a night when there’s a full moon. What we didn’t suspect was that different varieties of werewolves existed, each specially adapted to its natural environment. Here, in the outback, a very special variety of werewolves has existed under the noses of us humans: the marsupial werewolf. Like the kangaroo or the koala the female marsupial werewolf has a pouch on her stomach where the embryonic baby climbs into a few weeks after the mother became pregnant. They tend to live in little family groups, most often headed by an alpha male and several subservient females. This is where our tale of a little marsupial werewolf with a big dream begins…
Apart from her pouch and the fact that she’s never known a world outside of her little clan Jerboa is your average young woman bursting with dreams of a better life. As she has now come of age the alpha male has had his eye on her and the other women have every intention of holding her down if that’s what the situation requires and Jerboa just isn’t that kind of girl; she wants to see the city, the lights, the Sydney Opera House! So off she runs one day, catches a bus and makes her way to the big city. Now the city can be a strange and dangerous place to an innocent young woman like Jerboa so it’s very fortunate that she runs into Donny who offers her the lead role in a new horror movie called Shapeshifters. Not knowing what a movie is or what the hell she’ll be expected to do Jerboa agrees anyway because this is one of those situations where it’s love at first sight and they can’t stand to be apart and so on and so on and so forth. If only life could be that simple…
Turns out that the pack Jerboa ran away from isn’t too wild about the fact that they’ve lost a female capable of breeding so somehow they manage to dig up three nuns’ outfits and send three of the women off to Sydney to track her down and bring her back home. The problem with this is that Jerboa and Donny have already done the deed and she currently has a little rat-like creature in her pouch just waiting to grow into something resembling a human. The only choice for the young couple? Make a mad run for it. Fortunately for them they won’t be doing it alone; on their side is Professor Beckmyer, a man obsessed with discovering the true nature of the werewolf and the injustices they have suffered at the hands of mankind, Olga, a Siberian werewolf who wants to mate with one of the marsupials to try and strengthen the bloodline (marsupial werewolves having the advantage of not having to carry their offspring to term) and Thylo, the alpha male of Jerboa’s pack, who escaped when the US government rounded them all up. All they have to do now is hide out in the wilderness and wait for a time when the world will be more accepting of their kind.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Horror directors will allow any old creature to star in their movies.
- In Australia any old creature can win a Best Actress award.
- Strobe lighting brings on a whole other kind of epilepsy in a marsupial werewolf.
- Young men are not at all disturbed when they find out the girl they fell madly in love with yesterday has a pouch.
- Young men won’t think twice about running off into the bush and abandoning their lives for said woman with a pouch.
- Just because it’s a werewolf skeleton it doesn’t mean it can’t still attack you.
- No ballerina’s outfit will ever make a werewolf look pretty.
- With time the Vatican will be shown to be tolerant of virtually anything.
HOWLING III: THE MARSUPIALS TRAILER