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Backwoods

Year of Release: 1987
Genre: Horror / Thriller
IMDB Rating: 4.5 / 10
Level of Awful: Low

WHAT IT’S ABOUT:

My 1987-themed month of July keeps on rolling, and with this one I was so close! It’s like the movie was standing in a little spot and just off in the distance was where it needed to be to make it good, but it was just too tired to make those final few steps. The best way to describe Backwoods (a.k.a. Geek) is that it’s a semi-decent play on the sort of story we first encountered in Deliverance and the closest thing to Wrong Turn you’ll find in the 80s. It’s one of those movies where you couldn’t say exactly what’s missing from it but it needed something to make it more suspenseful and make you wonder exactly what’s going to happen to the characters. And it’s a movie made in the 80s, and you have to work that little bit harder to overcome that problem.

OK, we're trapped in this movie. Anybody got an escape plan?

Backwoods centres around Karen and Jamie, two young people who have taken the weekend to enjoy the great outdoors and do some vigorous cycling and hiking. Well, Karen wants to do all the vigorous exercise and Jamie’s just being dragged along kicking and screaming. Now these two disturbed me somewhat when they introduced themselves to a park ranger as brother and sister. This disturbs me because, for a brother and sister, there’s an awful lot of sex going on between the two of them. I’m not sure if the director had some sort of weird sexual fantasy but I’m just going to take it that they were joking and go along my merry way. The two of them arrive at a beautiful park and Karen decides that they should camp there for the night, but only in some place that’s incredibly isolated and a trip through hell to get to. Thankfully the park ranger knows of just such a place, but warns the two against going there. Turns out, for the past 200 years, a small band of people had been trying to scratch out a living from the soil but they had all recently died off or moved on to greener pastures. Even with the people gone the locals don’t have a good feeling about the area, and even the ranger admits he doesn’t like to go up there too often. Obviously knowing better Karen and Jamie decide to go anyway and head off on their hike over hill and dale in an attempt to make it to their campsite before nightfall.

Maybe she's born with it...

Despite the long walk our loving couple makes it to camp with time to spare and sit down to a delightful fireside dinner of cold spam. This is followed by some sex and a relaxing (and fully clothed) night’s sleep. The morning after isn’t nearly as pleasant, however, as the two wake up to find a gun-wielding yokel a little way away from their tent and an injured young girl lying on the ground. B-horror is the place for miracles though and it turns out that Jamie is a doctor who manages to fix the enormous gash in the girl’s neck with nothing but a bandage and a little elbow grease. As a sign of gratitude Eben, the gun-wielding yokel and the little girl’s father, instructs the couple that they will be staying on his property for the night and that he’ll be feeding them. Karen thinks that this will be delightful and again drags Jamie by the hair along with her. Turns out that the old man’s place is a hole and his cooking’s horrible, but he mixes up a mean batch of moonshine so Jamie seems content to hang around a little longer. But things are not as they seem on this quiet and seemingly tranquil little farm, and all hell is about to break loose…

...maybe it's Maybelline.

…from the chicken coop. Following a skinny dip down at the lake Karen is chased back to the house by a drooling madman. We discover that, in addition to the girl child Eben done got himself a boy child also, but the boy child’s just a tad bit touched in the head. William’s that there boy’s name and he’s as sweet as some ice-cold lemonade on a balmy summer’s day. That is unless he’s on an angry rampage and wants to chew through your neck, but Eben’s a forgiving man and does his best to keep his eldest under control. Karen, being a treat, decides that she and Jamie need to hang around for a while to make sure that Eben and his youngins are doing alright and, with a well-timed female guilt trip, manages to make Jamie agree with her. Unfortunately that very same day William decides that he wants to play with Karen’s hair while Jamie and Eben are out drinking moonshine and hunting small animals which eventually ends with Jamie shooting William and giving Eben a heart attack. Being the villain William doesn’t die of course; in fact he just jumps right off the roof, pulls the bullets out of his chest and keeps on going. Karen and Jamie now need to try and make it back to civilisation without William getting to them first and tearing them limb from limb.

LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:

  • It’s entirely possible to do a complete outfit change while cycling.
  • In some communities it’s taboo for attractive brothers and sisters to go camping together.
  • In some parts of the world a woman’s sole reason for living is to warm the bed.
  • No situation involving a hillbilly drunk on moonshine with a loaded shotgun will end well.
  • Attractive hair is known to trigger violent psychotic episodes in other people.
  • The more it tastes like wolf piss the better the quality of the moonshine.

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Arachnia

Year of Release: 2003
Genre:  Horror / Sci-Fi
IMDB Rating: 3.8 / 10
Level of Awful: Requires Post-Film Lobotomy

WHAT IT’S ABOUT:

Yay! The first cheese of 2011! And this little wonder has absolutely blown me away with its sheer terribleness. Since starting my little project of critiquing the worst horror movies I could find and sharing this wonder with other people I have tried to categorise the movies properly so those who want to watch them know what they are getting themselves into. I have done this primarily because, although it is a wonderful site, IMDB doesn’t always get it right: some movies with great ratings are terrible and some with terrible ratings have turned out to be highly enjoyable. But since the beginning of the B-Horror Blog only one piece of cheese has held an Awful Rating of ‘Requires Post-Film Lobotomy’. It brings me much happiness to start 2011 off by adding Arachnia to this elite group of crappy horror movies.

Let us begin our little adventure on a tiny charted plane busy flying through a meteor shower. On board we have pilot Sean Pachowski, horny Professor Mugford, Mugford’s PA Chandra Weaver, pseudo-stoner grad-student Deke and the whiniest dumb college sluts to ever grace a b-horror, Trina and Kelly. This little band is headed to Arizona where Professor Mugford is helping with an archaeological dig but, unfortunately for them, a meteor strikes the earth and its shock waves force the plane to land / crash in the middle of nowhere. Having escaped the plane crash the survivors go off in search of shelter so they can bed down for the night before hiking to the nearest town in the morning.

After stumbling upon an abandoned house, breaking furniture for firewood, drinking 100-year-old moonshine and the sluts stripping naked to take a bath the team is discovered by gun-toting Moses Cobb, the owner of the house (although he admits that he wouldn’t live in it, what with it being a shit hole and all). Despite being armed with a gun the sluts manage to calm Moses down with their perky breasts, whereupon they all sit down to continue a pleasant evening of smalltalk and moonshine. In a very bizarre twist conversation turns to the corpse of a giant spider out in the barn and Moses insists that Professor Mugford come out and look at it. Mugford (hopefully the movie is making fun of itself here) insists that the spider must be a fake made of plastic and chicken wire and refuses to take the old man seriously. Rightfully insulted Moses then invites the rest of the group to come back to his house for the night while Mugford is forced to sleep in the barn with the spider corpse.

Back at the house while Deke snores and the sluts decide to do some lesbian experimentation, old man Moses swears that he sees the giant spider running around the side of the house. Blonde Slut swears that she has seen it too, but naturally nobody takes that kind of thing seriously. Sadly for them blonde sluts and gun-carrying, moonshine-addicted hillbillies are always right when they say they’ve seen a monster and we discover that the same meteor that struck the plane out of the sky has also unleashed a swarm of rare and vicious spiders that begin to descend on the household in hopes of catching a fresh dinner. Now these spiders are not only rare because of their sheer body size but also for their means of movement: stop animation. Stop animation was a huge thing in every 1950s creature flick, but to see such a method of animation used with such amateur precision in a modern movie is something truly spectacular.

And to round it all off is the beautiful and ambient piano music that plays throughout the entire movie.

THINGS I’VE LEARNED:

  • Falling stars make ‘swoosh’ noises as they burn through Earth’s atmosphere.
  • Falling stars explode like green fireworks at random.
  • When a large-enough meteor crashes into the Earth it sends up a green aurora.
  • You can make a plane by attaching wings to a VW minivan.
  • Despite being in a plane crash you can easily walk away from the scene without any injuries or any sign of the accident.
  • Spiders growl.
  • Spiders can start their lives in one of two ways: either being born a spider or starting as a larva and working your way up to a proper spider.
  • It is perfectly natural for frozen tundra and desert wasteland to occur side-by-side.
  • Dynamite doesn’t damage buildings, only insects.
  • Caves will not collapse when a truck-load of explosives go off in them.
  • Having a gun means people will do anything you ask.
  • Moonshine makes you act drunk but doesn’t actually make you drunk.
  • Never trust sluts with perimeter defense during a monster insect onslaught.
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