WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
It’s movies like this that make you lose faith in the whole premise of film making. I mean, you want to believe that film makers are trying their best to put out high quality, original movies, and then this rather blatant Saw ripoff comes along and makes you question everything. Yeah, we all know that none of that’s true, but Elimination isn’t even subtle in what it’s trying to piggy back on. Granted, it has some of the cheapest CGI I’ve ever seen in a film and each and every actor could’ve easily been outperformed by a paperclip (which unintentionally gives it its entertainment value), but I spent my whole time sitting in front of the TV just waiting for someone to say “I want to play a game.” But I guess this is what you get from a movie that has unnecessary breasts thrown in front of the camera before the 1 minute mark has even been passed.
As I’m sure we’re all painfully aware, we live in the age of reality television, and the Good Lord knows that they’ll stick a camera in front of anyone and follow them around. Everyone wants to be famous, right? Well, so does our bunch of generic clichés (and there’s a lot of them – latino, latina, jock, bitch blonde, bitch blonde’s caring boyfriend, street thug, smart hot girl in a cardigan etc.). They’re all about to audition for a brand new online reality show called Spotlight. They don’t really know what it’s all about or where it’s being filmed, but there’s a $1 million dollar prize at the end of it for the winner, so I suppose the finer details might not be at the forefront of their tiny minds.
After getting together in a parking lot and meeting one of Spotlight‘s crew members, the gang is bundled into an unmarked van, stripped of their cellphones, drugged, and taken to an unknown location in the middle of the desert. None of them seem to find any of this particularly disconcerting, so they all make their way through to the audition room. Here they meet Jigsa… I mean the Executive Producer… via a live stream. He explains to them that the game they’re about to play might be a tad bit more extreme than they were planning on, and that it may or may not cater to an audience who likes watching snuff but doesn’t want to call it that. You see, Spotlight involves the gang running through various zones in an attempt to make it to the end. They’ll be pursued by a psychotic clown and an Amazonian warrior (who, again, has two breasts) who will try to brutally murder them. Since none of this is entirely above-board the kids can’t really back out on contractual technicalities, so it’s off into the labyrinth of doom for them.
Whilst the pseudo-Amazon and the clown provide some real-life threats, there are also stock dangers like machine guns, giant blades, giant furnaces and oversized food blenders to watch out for. To balance out the rather steep danger curve, the zones also have several hidden immunity statues, granting the holder 15 minutes where the clown and Amazon can’t kill them. Also, if a spotlight appears, anyone who stands in it is also safe from the executioners. But whilst the executioners and the oversized food blender are certainly areas of concern for the group, their greatest threat will be one another. Only one person can make it to the final zone and win the $1 million prize, so every clichéd character is going to underwhelmingly bring out their worst character traits in an attempt to make it out alive. If you’re like me, dear reader, by the time it comes to the final showdown, you too will be rooting for the oversized food blender.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- It’s never a bad idea to give your cellphone to a creepy old man and climb into his unmarked van.
- Kids these days are incredibly whiny about being drugged and taken places against their will.
- It takes years of Tae Bo training to effectively kick a man in the balls.
- Research indicates that modern killers don’t really concern themselves with their victims’ comfort when building their killing contraptions.
- Rampaging murderers are easily thwarted by an empty cardboard box.
- Even murderers edit their footage to make their shows more dramatic and increase their ratings.
- Even psychotic executioners are part of a union.
- Psychotically deadly situations really bring out some people’s inner narcissist.
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:
In the great big world of b-grade horror, with so many titles vying for my attention, a movie needs to do a little something to catch my eye and make me want to see it. The three exclamation marks in this one’s title were enough to do it for me, and after the crushing disappointment that was Kinky Killers I was ready for something that would tickle my funny bone a little. This one came very close to being funny, but was ultimately let down by the fact that the actors appear to have been picked up at the local bus station and given 5 minutes to remember their lines. By the time this reality fully drove itself home I was already about 20 minutes in, so I figured I might as well finish watching it.
Back in 1970 smoking weed was all the rage. It was so fashionable, in fact, that it distracted certain men from the fact that they were sitting around in their mother’s basement, half-dressed and closing in on 40. It truly was a golden age. One fateful night three stoners, having previously passed a few lazy, hazy hours watching a rudimentary form of porn, decide that they’re hungry and head out in the pursuit of snacks. On this journey a miracle happens: out of the mist, in the middle of the road, accompanied by a wind machine and perfectly placed back light, emerges the female from said rudimentary porn video. Questioning nothing, including why she literally has buckets of green saliva, the stoners let her into the car and offer to drive her all night to get to her destination. This was the last Good Samaritan act any of them will ever perform. The woman quickly slashes all of them to pieces and crashes the car into a shallow puddle of water, where it will lie untouched for nearly 40 years.
In the year 2008 the shallow puddle of water has since evaporated, leaving the old car exposed. Jack Gorman, with the help of two buddies, his dog and some industrial building machinery, manages to drag the old car out for reasons vaguely alluded to. In the car’s boot he discovers a very strange, squishy object that (to the trained monster movie eye) resembles a kind of cocoon. He thinks nothing about it, and heads on home for dinner. Elsewhere in the forest a group of young college creatures has just arrived to celebrate Spring Break. Veronica, our blonde and chinless heroine, wants to get together with all her old friends to rekindle the interest they once had in one another. Whilst it was hard to imagine anyone once having an interest in any member of this group, I decided to suspend disbelief and see where the movie wanted to take me.
Just to clear up any confusion anyone may be experiencing, the cocoon from earlier had a banshee (!!!) in it and now it’s running around the woods. The kids find this out relatively early into their camping trip when one of them gets a branch rammed through their face. Jack and his nephew Rocker have been having a stand-off with the creature for a few days, but it’s making quick work of anyone else who just happens to be wandering through the woods. Its scream isn’t only debilitating but, if you’re exposed to it for long enough, your head will explode. When the surviving kids manage to find Jack’s house they all need to band together to fend off the banshee (!!!) or land up being ripped limb from limb and drained of blood. Personally, in a toss-up between the dismemberment and watching this movie again, I’m still in two minds about which one I’d go for.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- So far as stalkers go you could do a lot worse than the average looking black guy.
- Good friends will teleport ahead of the group to set up the camp site.
- It’s very unusual for a banshee to live outside its natural Irish habitat.
- Women who go camping are just asking to be pursued by a sexual deviant.
- When your wife has been brutally slain you should wait a few days before mopping up the blood.
- Some people go to college to do more than just drink beer and pee on things.
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
As any of you who follow me on Twitter may know I’ve been suffering from a terrible craving for a cheesy sci-fi movie lately. Many people suggested Galaxy of Terror, but I couldn’t wait for my copy to arrive (I promise to watch it soon). When I came across Robotropolis I was immediately captivated by its cover with an almost toy-like android and decided to take a chance on it. With below average acting, a wafer thin plot and CGI that lies somewhere between The Asylum and SyFy Originals you really can’t go wrong with this movie. Robotropolis is a b-movie at its finest that’s daft enough to be a very enjoyable 80 minutes but not painful enough that you’d want to wash your brain off with bleach afterwards. It also does gooey body parts remarkably well.
You are watching GNN and reporting live from New Town in the south China Sea is star reporter Christiane Nouveau. New Town is a bustling new city on an island owned solely by MegaNational Industries and this is the first time reporters are being allowed in to film and document the amazing technological developments going on here. While New Town has been built up around an enormous oil refinery the main thing the teams of scientists and groups of cheap labour have managed to accomplish is the development of robots to help out with all the different kinds of labour we humans just don’t feel like doing. This can range from manual labour to raising our children. Of course, what can possibly go wrong when we place our safety and future in the mechanical hands of humanoid constructs incapable of experiencing an emotion?
Christiane has been absolutely enthralled with the robots up until this point, thanks in no small part to the fact that they know how to mix a decent cocktail. This opinion and perception changes a little, however, when she’s reporting on a little soccer game where one of the players is a robot. At one point, and seemingly unprovoked, the robot decides to shoot one of the players. After that the robot simply walks off, leaving everyone else utterly baffled as to what just happened. Since the only way to differentiate the robots from one another is by the printing on it that designates their job, it’s gonna be very difficult to find that one particular robot in this big city. Before a decent search can get underway reports start to stream in about robots attacking people. The problem here is the fact that the entire security force is comprised of robots as well…
I would like to raise the point that, despite the failure of the programmers to stop the robots from going on a blood thirsty rampage in the first place, the robots come with a more serious design flaw. These robots are meant to fulfill basic functions in society such as police, medics, construction workers and the like. Why then do all the robots come with built-in guns, drills, saws and flamethrowers? While this does make the killing spree much easier (and juicier) it would appear that the robots are a little over armed in my humble opinion. While trying to escape from the robots Christiane’s also going to try and keep reporting the news so that her boyfriend can earn himself a nice big pay cheque by dominating the 5pm news. After all, being in a relationship means having to make sacrifices. When the robots learn how to throw helicopters around and leave the humans with no way of getting off the island it’s up to Christiane and the two or three surviving tech junkies to devise a plan to bring the robots down and have them permanently decommissioned.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Men are always ready for a little girl-on-robot action.
- Robots are always moving the candy, gum and chips around in shops.
- Billionaires get to where they are by giving in to boyish whims and fancies.
- When the robot says ‘halt’, you best halt.
- The robot revolution will be televised.
- You don’t need functional satellites to beam footage around the world.
- Being hunted down by murderous robots isn’t overly different to visiting a Turkish bathhouse.
- Camera phones have video quality on par with the most sophisticated video cameras.
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