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Vanishing on 7th Street

Year of Release: 2010
Genre: Horror / Thriller / Mystery
IMDB Rating: 5.1 / 10
Level of Awful: Low

WHAT IT’S ABOUT:

Disappointment, thy name is Vanishing on 7th Street. This movie had so much promise (interesting concept, people who can actually act, $10 000 000 budget etc.) but something about it just isn’t right. It’s main problem lies in the fact that, while very watchable, you never feel very engaged with the movie – the characters do not interact well with one another and none of them are particularly likeable. What it reminded me of a lot was Pulse, another movie that I just couldn’t quite get into – you know what’s happening and you know when something’s gonna come out and grab someone but you have absolutely no clue why any of it is happening and the movie never cares to explain any of it to you. Unlike Pulse, however, Vanishing on 7th Street doesn’t have any answer to the problem so you’re left hanging at the end. All in all it was a fair attempt but it never feels like much effort actually went into making it or trying to make the story and characters pan out properly.

♫ Beaten down by a Moonlight Shadow ♫

Something very strange is going on in the world. Our 4 characters Luke (a TV presenter), Paul (works at a Cinema making sure the movies work), Rosemary (a physical therapist) and James (son of a bartender) were all going about their daily lives when a blackout hit the city. The strange part is that, when the power came back on, everyone else was gone. All that was left of them was whatever they were wearing, bunched up on the floor (a little bit like the aeroplane in the mini-series adaptation of Steven King’s The Langoliers). The problem is that, while the people are gone, their spirits aren’t. Everywhere across the city their shadows / souls stalk around any place that’s dark, hunting down those few people who were not taken in the initial blackout. Thriving in darkness and forced back by any light source, the few remaining people need to survive night time with the help of any available light source they can find. Unfortunately for them the sun is taking longer to rise and setting much quicker, giving the shadows more and more time to hunt them down.

Hayden Christensen's 'Dark & Broody' method of acting.

As the night takes longer and longer to pass Luke manages to find his way to a little bar on 7th Street where James has managed to keep the lights on with the help of a little backup generator. A delusional Rosemary makes her way there a little later, desperately trying to find her lost 9-month-old son. Paul is dragged there after he is found screaming in a bus shelter where the lights have managed to stay on thanks to them being solar powered. Now when all of these people rocked up at the pub I was just waiting for the twist later on that would explain the shadows and why these people (a) were not taken and, (b) brought together. Sadly, this was not to be. What the movie does instead is try to play on the Roanoke Colony, an English colony established in 1585 on Roanoke Island just off North Carolina. The entire colony disappeared, leaving only the word ‘croatoan’ scratched onto a fence post. The movie makes it all sound a lot more ominous that it may have been, but it fits into the whole disappearance storyline so they just took it and ran with it.

And for a brief moment you'll think you're watching The Walking Dead

With the generator in the bar slowing dying our hero Luke decides that they have to get out of town. While the shadows somehow manage to drain electricity from most things they come into contact with Luke has managed to find one car that still has a charge in its battery. Since things are never really that simple getting out of town will require going to fetch the car and dragging it back to the pub to hook it up to the generator to charge the battery enough to make it go. This will prove to be tricky since all of the flashlights the group has die within a matter of minutes as the shadows drain the batteries in an attempt to get closer to their prey (why the shadows hunt people in the first place isn’t something that’s really explained either). To add to their woes the shadows are tricky, able to play tricks and alter their whispered voices in an attempt to fool the survivors into thinking that their lost loved ones are close by, and some members of this little group are dumb and easily fooled.

In closing if you’ve never watched Pulse, The Langoliers, Blindness, I Am Legend or The Walking Dead and feel like a watching them all quickly, rent Vanishing on 7th Street and you’ll get the main points to all of those movies, just without the cohesiveness or enjoyment.

LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:

  • Never trust a delusional, grief stricken black woman with a gun.
  • Never trust a traumatised 12-year-old boy looking for his mother with a shotgun.
  • Most pubs come ready equipped with a fallout shelter in the event of a nuclear war.
  • The earth’s rotation can be sped up or slowed down depending on the whim of the evil forces ruling over it.
  • Shadows have issues when it comes to their own existence and sense of self-worth.
  • As a result, shadows are incredibly whiny.
  • Milla Jovovich crashing into a church on a motorbike is stylish. Hayden Christensen crashing into a church in an old pickup truck isn’t.

VANISHING ON 7TH STREET TRAILER


Mutants

Year of Release: 2008
Genre: Horror / Action
IMDB Rating: 2.5 / 10
Level of Awful: High

WHAT IT’S ABOUT:

In my humble opinion I think there’s something terribly tragic about a movie when a director gets so caught up in the filming and the actors that he forgets to have things happen. In fact so very little happens in this movie that if you watched the last 25 minutes of it you’d catch the entire story of the movie. It’s meant to be a zombie movie of sorts, but to describe the creatures in Mutants as zombies would be stretching the meaning of the term to its very limits. As a matter of fact to call them ‘mutants’ at all is a bit of a stretch. Taking a shot in the dark I’m gonna say that it’s probably meant to be a message about the poor eating habits of America and any other country where a McDonald’s can be found on every street corner, but it falls more than a little flat in the general mess that this movie is. I wouldn’t even give it half a brain for effort in zombie madness – it’s just a long, drawn out, boring mess. And for that reason it has earned its place here – after all, there couldn’t be a B-Horror Blog without pieces of cheese to review!

"Add 18 cups of genetically altered mutant sugar? Doesn't sound right..."

As many of us have suspected over the years, sugar truly is addictive, but the Just Rite Sugar Company wants to take the deliciousness and necessity of sugar to a completely different level – they’re genetically modifying it so that it becomes as addictive as heroine and crack. As is the case when you’re trying to rule the world in such an obscure way getting the formula for the crack sugar has taken some time to get right and sometimes you have to get things wrong before you land up getting them right. A number of problems have arisen during the testing stages of this new brand of must-have sugar: the test subjects have had this irritating tendency to develop warts and boils and then either descend into madness or begin to melt. To avoid raising any questions resulting from mass disappearances Just Rite Sugar has a dedicated team of vagrant catchers, the thinking being that if they only abduct homeless people and runaways then no one will miss them (this point is drilled into your head at the beginning – I think it’s a social commentary, but again this was definitely not the best vehicle for it).

When zombies go on a sugar binge...

From here on out it all starts to get a little murky and unnecessarily drawn-out. During one of the most recent raids the wrong people were abducted, proving that even trained vagrant catchers get it wrong sometimes. The team accidentally abducted Ryan and Hannah, two people who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Ryan’s abduction complicates Just Rite Sugar’s plans because he is the brother of their head secretary Erin and she is on a mission to find out what happened to him. Thrown into the mixture is their alcoholic and depressed father (who doesn’t look any older than Erin does). At work Erin begins to receive cryptic self-deleting e-mails (from someone who has taken the codename Cinderella) that give her clues about the more morally questionable actions of her company. With dad in tow the two manage to make their way to the abandoned sugar mill where the test subjects are being held.

"Now ma'am, I promise that if you don't develop diabetes within 13 seconds I will personally ship another crate of our sugar directly to you!"

Thinking that they’ve finally perfected the formula for their crack sugar Just Rite Sugar has begun shipping the product to various outlets across the country. Unfortunately their head (and only) scientist Sergei (who has the worst fake Russian accent I have ever heard) discovers that the test subjects they thought were infection-free had, in fact, developed a new strain of the same virus that had simply been lying dormant for 3 months. This news couldn’t come at a more inconvenient time since Just Rite’s other managers are touring the facilities and admiring the general misery that the company’s managed to inflict on its test subjects. While checking in on one of the subjects that was thought to be clean they are attacked and the mutants stage a break out. They’re not really a major threat since, although violent, they aren’t interested in eating brains like other zombies: all these guys want is a sugar fix. Also, they don’t need to be shot in the head to bring them down, so they’re easy targets. With Erin & Co. running around the complex breaking Ryan out, various security guards (which are fighting in factions) trying to kill one another and the mutants and Just Rite CEOs trying to escape the scene is set for an incredibly unremarkable zombie showdown.

All in all this movie is more painful than the comedown from a sugar high or a caffeine withdrawal headache. 50-odd minutes of it is told in flashbacks (often with a flashback within a flashback), the mutants only come in after about an hour and only one person is actually bitten by any of the creatures. Zombie movie? Social commentary? Fails on both counts. Hot zombie mess? Perfect 🙂

LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:

  • Cocaine + caffeine = the ultimate addiction.
  • Druggies, bums, illegals, ex-cons and the like are ideal mutant sugar test subjects.
  • There’s nothing like being held captive by a sugar company to help form a budding romance.
  • Companies see no need to cover their paper trail when converting abandoned sugar mills into labs for genetic experimentation.
  • There’s nowhere you can’t get into with a hairpin.
  • An over-sized pizza oven works just as well as an incinerator.
  • An over-sized outhouse is just as effective as any hi-tech science laboratory.

MUTANTS TRAILER


Halloween Night

Year of Release: 2006
Genre: Horror
IMDB Rating: 4.2 / 10
Level of Awful: Medium

WHAT IT’S ABOUT:

Two things drew me to this movie: firstly, I’m a sucker for any movie that involves a bunch of teenagers having a party in the middle of the woods where help can’t get to them fast enough and, secondly, after my last run in with The Asylum I wanted to see what they could do when they’re supposedly not trying to rip off another movie. Now despite being released just before Rob Zombie flushed Halloween down the toilet, having a movie poster that is reminiscent of the original Halloween poster, a storyline that is kind of modeled on that of Michael Myers, an irritating Halloween-esque theme tune and people littered around in Michael Myers-ish masks, this movie was surprisingly fun. The acting is so-so, the story is so-so, the effects are so-so and there are boobs everywhere; in short it’s the perfect b-grade horror movie!

Michael Myers training camp for the murderously gifted.

10 years ago young Chris Vale witnessed his parents being attacked and his mother brutally murdered by two armed masked men who don’t know he’s also in the room because he’s hiding under a table. Unfortunately when he tries to make his getaway his mother also decides to make one last attempt at living and, when the intruders shoot her, they also manage to shoot a pipe close to where Chris is now hiding. Steam shoots out of the pipe and leaves Chris horribly burnt and disfigured. Chris is put away in a mental institution following the incident because he was found with the bodies of both of his parents when the police eventually decide to rock up. 10 years later, having now actually gone insane after being bullied by his carers, Chris manages to kill the two guards in charge of keeping him under control and escapes the institution and begins the journey back home to try and figure out what exactly happened on the night that his mother was murdered.

A Woman's Period: Too Much, Too Soon

At exactly the same time that Chris is escaping the mental institution David Baxter, his girlfriend Shannon and a bunch of their friends are planning a Halloween party in a little house in the middle of the woods to celebrate their upcoming graduation. When luck’s not on your side, however, you land up hosting your Halloween party in the same house that the escaped lunatic wants to come home to to look for clues about his dead mother. To make matters even worse David and his buddies pull a prank at the party that lands up having Shannon not wanting to talk to him and, because very few people were in on the joke, police were called to the house only to find out the emergency was actually a false alarm. Safe to say the police won’t be taking anyone at the house very seriously for the rest of the night and, as the evening wears on and people begin to go their various ways, Chris makes his way through the party hacking at anyone who gets in his way.

Excuse me ma'am, you've got something in your eye...

The highlight of this movie for me was a scene that will make you look at lesbians in an entirely different light. For the entire movie there have been breasts falling out of bras and more nipples on display than in a Red Light District, but after working his way through the house Chris is beginning to run out of victims. Angela and Kendall have just consummated their love and are basking in the afterglow when Chris bails over the balcony to come after them. Now Chris has managed to butcher people left, right and center with absolutely no resistance being put up from anyone. Angela, despite being completely naked with nothing but a sheet close to hand, proceeds to beat the living crap out of him. There are punches, kicks and beatings amongst many other impressive little moves, and all while maintaining her hair and without smudging her makeup at all.

The movie is by no means good and suffers from convoluted dialogue and subplots that are introduced and quickly forgotten but I would highly recommend it to anyone who just feels like sitting back and watching a mindlessly entertaining cheesy horror film, if for no other reason than to see the grossly disfigured Chris Vale have the shit beaten out of him by a gorgeous lesbian.

THINGS I’VE LEARNED:

  • Crouching over slightly makes it impossible for people to see you.
  • Hardcore rockers should be baby-faced and clean-shaven.
  • Helicopter searches in dense woods are best conducted at night.
  • When deciding what to wear to go and look for the killer it’s best to choose something short and busty.
  • Phones ring even after they’ve gone to voicemail.
  • Policemen have to show people a photo of the hideously disfigured escaped lunatic to see if they’ve seen him.
  • After seeing the photo people will then go and confuse the baby-faced rocker with the hideously disfigured escaped lunatic.
  • Lesbians taste like tuna.
  • An automatic car is so simple to drive that even an escaped deranged lunatic can master driving in 5 minutes.
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