WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
It’s a rare thing for me to be left utterly dumbfounded by a movie. Amused? Sometimes. Confused? Occasionally. Angry? Fairly often. But dumbfounded is a feeling only brought on by particular kinds of movies, and Airborne just happens to be one of those movies. It starts off as a simplistic post-911 action thriller, but somehow, through various twists and turns, lands up being a pseudo-mythological, demonic possession movie. It’s quite astounding, really. And then there’s the foreboding. This movie has more dramatic foreboding in it than the Twilight movies had stares. The only way it could have been less subtle is if they had a full orchestra go into full swing every time the camera settled on someone’s face. Don’t believe me? Then read on, dear reader, and for the truly brave, perhaps you can give it a watch.
It’s a frightfully stormy day in Merry Old England, and due to an approaching storm (which, by the looks of the radar images we’re shown from time to time, appears to be a hurricane larger than the British Isles) all flights out of Heathrow have been cancelled. All except one, of course. Onto this plane assembles the largest group of misfits you can imagine: soldiers fresh off a tour in Iraq and accused of using excessive force, an Godfather-type and his two cronies, a raging alcoholic, a doctor accused of malpractice, and a sudden replacement air steward that no one has ever met. Oh yeah, and that mysterious crate that gives off funny noises and occasionally jumps around that’s under the special protection of the British government. With all of this to consider, what could possibly go wrong?
The flight starts out nicely enough. The alcoholic awakens with a raging hangover, the Godfather behaves in a typically refined-yet-thuggish manner, and two randy love birds get it on in a tiny bathroom. It’s exactly the sort of thing you’d expect on such a midnight flight. But something is terribly amiss. You know this because the love birds land up being bludgeoned to death and the plane makes a mysterious and unreported change in flight path. Not that flight control back in Britain seems to be overly alarmed. Apparently it’s quite normal for planes to change direction and go to Florida instead of New York without checking in with anyone. Back on the plane, people are starting to disappear at an alarming rate, and even our motley crew of passengers knows that people do not simply disappear while you’re flying however-many-thousands of feet above the ground.
The foreboding is cranked into high gear when suddenly, and for no apparent reason, the most top secretist agents in all of Britain take over the flight control centre and threaten to have the Americans blow the plane out of the sky unless they can get someone to respond. Back on the plane, a hostage situation develops over the content of the crate, which turns out to be a Chinese vase worth over $ 10 million. But something isn’t adding up about this hostage situation: the two hostage takers cannot account for all the dead people, which means that something else has been killing off the passengers (and the pilots) while they weren’t looking. Hypothetically this third-party may or may not be the spirit of a Chinese deity that was imprisoned in the vase and is busy looking for a human host that he can possess. Once this has hypothetically happened and he has found the ideal host he will be able to take over the world and fulfill the Mayan 2012 Doomsday prophecy. Can our hapless group of hostages stand up to the might of an ancient Chinese deity and save the world from absolute destruction? Probably not: the foreboding’s gonna slow them down too much.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Britain’s just a breeding ground for conspicuous Godfather-types.
- Britain’s also home to several pockets of irritatingly chatty, global warming-obsessed geography teachers.
- Air stewards must be proficient in mixing drinks and performing sleeper holds.
- If a drunk irritates them enough, flight stewards can be made to break standard health and safety procedures.
- Complimentary drinks are usually all it takes to quell an uprising of plane passengers.
- Most air stewardesses know which two wires to cross to make a plane just drop out of the sky.
- The Chinese gods and Mayan priests were in cahoots when it came to the 2012 prophecy.
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
Sometimes life just kind of happens, and for the past few weeks I have been completely unable to dedicate any time to watching awful movies. As a result I felt I should come back with a bang and chose the spectacular sounding Hookers in a Haunted House. Now, while it is the only movie I’ve reviewed so far that has managed to match Witch’s Sabbath‘s Breast-O-Meter reading, unlike the previous breast fest Hookers in a Haunted House barely makes any attempt at actually being a movie. It’s a very thinly veiled softcore porno with horrendous jokes thrown in to pad the time out a bit. If you ever feel the sudden urge to watch this movie, consider yourself warned.
In what really is the setup to a poorly conceived joke, a blonde, brunette and red-headed hooker are about to spend an evening in a haunted house. IMDB swears blindly that these women have names but I don’t recall any of them being used in the actual movie. All the ‘action’ has already taken place and we are being told what happened through a series of flash backs from the blonde hooker as she details her harrowing evening to a rather strange TV journalist. The girls landed up in their frightening predicament when they decided to sell their wares out on a country road, the idea being that there would be less competition here from the other inner-city hookers. As luck would have it a group of Trekkies just happened to be driving by at that point and are more than happy for the girls to raise their shields to full power (or some pun along those lines).
The evening starts off with the nerdiest of the Trekkies trying to impress the hookers with his collection of human eyes in a jar and other bizarre paraphernalia. Perhaps as a result of this the girls don’t really take much of a shining to him, choosing instead to play around with his two friends. What follows is a slow strip tease, a lot of breast action and some ass shots that reveal some truly horrible thighs. The ego dented from the lack of attention the head Trekkie decides to whip out a Ouija board and play around with demons from another dimension. By randomly waving his hands over the board and muttering some old school song lyrics he manages to invoke, and I quote, “hideous, vile, ill-tempered and excessively butch spirits from beyond the grave”. This is actually misleading as he only summons one spirit, the ghost of a deranged bag packing boy, and nothing about this spirit suggests in any way that he is particularly butch.
Obviously terrified by the presence of this hideous, vile, ill-tempered and excessively butch spirit from beyond the grave the girls do the only logical thing you can do in these kinds of situations: have more sex and look for food. While they’re doing this and a smoke machine mysteriously puffs away the bag boy goes about killing people with boxes of Corn Flakes and a pricing gun. It will take the blonde hooker a trip into hell to visit her long-deceased ancestor to discover the powers she has hidden deep within her that will help them escape from the clutches of this terrifying spirit. It will also take her posing topless for the camera for the news crew’s ratings to stay high enough for her to finish telling her terrible tale.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Credits should contain as many breasts as humanly possible.
- B-movies hinder a hooker’s ability to make money.
- Smeared makeup is a traumatic thing for a hooker to go through.
- Female journalists and hookers share a deep, spiritual bond.
- Ouija boards can double up as a crystal ball in the event of emergency incantations.
- Evil spirits are known to return hookers to their fully clothed states.
- A good nipple licking and pinching will resuscitate a fainted hooker.
- A family sized box of Corn Flakes can be used as a brutal and effective weapon.
- Terrified hookers will often do a strip tease for the malevolent spirits stalking them.
- Professional hookers should, in the interest of political correctness, be referred to as Pleasure Oriented Care Givers.
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
Of all the trilogies that went awry this week, this one really went all out to screw up a franchise. The only way this could have been more of an 80s mess is if Linnea Quigly had been in it. A little birdy has informed me that the Halloween franchise has long since past the point where its a trilogy (I don’t think there are words for the number of movies that make it up now) but trying to find three separate franchises where the first two movies were connected and the third falls under the banner but has nothing to do with the first two is a tall order. Let’s travel back to a simpler and less colour coordinated time and investigate the wonders of Halloween III: Season of the Witch.
John Carpenter, Debra Hill and Tommy Lee Wallace’s ill-conceived idea begins on a back road somewhere where a strange man is running away from a mysterious car. This movie’s nearly 100 minute run time is incredibly well padded, so the running carries on for quite a while before the car and its drivers eventually find the man hiding in plain sight and try to kill him with their bare hands. The man manages to escape and make his way to a little gas station but not without a few injuries, so the owner (who has a very odd-looking face) takes him to the hospital to be treated. It’s here that we meet our first main character, Dr Dan Challis. The good doctor really doesn’t do much but sleep in the nurse’s lounge, but for him to be active right now would interfere with the plot’s (alleged) development. In one of the rooms our stranger has been sedated and is busy resting, all the while clinging to a jack-o-lantern mask that he refuses to give up. While he’s sleeping a man similar to one of the Men In Black goes into the room and cracks the stranger’s skull in before going back to his car and setting himself on fire. Making any sense yet? No? Don’t worry, I’ll try to get you there…
In an attempt to shift the movie into second gear we find out that the stranger has a daughter named Ellie, and she wants to know exactly why anyone would want to kill her dear old dad. Since the old man owned a Halloween novelty store and was on his way to top up on his Silver Shamrock line of Halloween masks she decides that this is as good a place as any to start. Dr Dan also goes beyond the call duty and decides to tag along with her to try and find out what happened to his poor patient. The two make their way to Santa Mira, a tiny little Irish community in the hell and back of nowhere that’s about as relaxed and welcoming as London in 1984. Everyone’s under surveillance, the entire town is centred around the Silver Shamrock factory, a curfew’s in effect from 6pm and the most irritating advert for the Shamrock masks is playing on every TV in the country. Still not seeing how the movie’s working here? Don’t worry, if you actually watch it in all its tedious glory everything’s so slow to happen that you have plenty time to figure out what’s going on.
OK, so the long short of it is that the Silver Shamrock company is busy making some very special Halloween masks for all the wee ones out there. The factory is owned by a man named Conal Cochran and the masks he’s making come kitted out with a very special trademark attached to the back that, when activated, kills the children and makes them ooze insects. This is all in some way connected to an ancient Celtic sacrifice that apparently takes place every 3000 years and involves sacrificing a lot of children at a time of planetary alignment. The trademarks are powered by a giant stone that Cochran managed to steal from Stonehenge and cart all the way back to the States without anyone noticing a thing. The stone, along with the bewitched and bedazzled trademarks, will activate themselves on Halloween night (most of the movie takes place in the lead up to Halloween rather than on the actual day) by a specially programmed advert. Dr Dan and Ellie now need to find a way into the factory, find out what’s happening, stop Cochran and not be killed by his army of super advanced robots.
My final thoughts. Having read some reviews I was quite surprised to find that some people out there quite enjoyed this movie. I think the problem for me personally is that the Halloween movies, apart from this one, define what good horror is and they are the standard against which all other movies are measured. Michael Myers terrified me as a child and can still give me nightmares, so to see this is just sad. Whether it could have functioned as a stand alone movie if it didn’t fall into the Halloween franchise is hard to say. To give it some credit, however, despite its complete lack of continuity and irritatingly slow pace it does contain two short scenes from the original Halloween movie in it. Having done that it already has more of an authentic Halloween feel to it than anything Rob Zombie could have hoped to accomplish 🙂
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- A car moving at 1.5 miles an hour can easily crush a man.
- Brandy and surgery go brilliantly together.
- You need a little lower arm strength to rip someone’s skull to pieces.
- Malls will be the death of small Halloween mask shops.
- Motels bring out the sleazy in everyone.
- Security cameras in the 80s were designed to be very loud and very noticeable.
- The local town drunk should be your first port of call when trying to snoop for information.
- Children frequently go trick or treating way up in the hills surrounding a major city.
HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH TRAILER
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Year of Release: 1987
Genre: Horror / Comedy
IMDB Rating: 4.9 / 10
Level of Awful: Medium – High
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
I’m rarely at a loss when it comes to deciding how bad a movie is, but this one had me stumped. Judging by its IMDB rating I was under the impression that this one was going to be good (because I have low standards and most things over 4 are quite watchable in my opinion). It wasn’t. I’m not sure if ‘good idea’ is quite what I’m looking for, but it certainly was an interesting idea. Where did it go wrong? Sometimes you get movies where the actors have all the acting capability of a plank of wood but in The Video Dead the planks of wood were outperforming the actors and sadly it wasn’t the kind of bad acting that you can make fun of. At the end of the day it’s not a good b-movie, but it’s not bad enough to make you squirm with discomfort.
When the dead come back to haunt the living there’s always an Institute for Studies in the Occult involved somehow. This time all these people have done is place their trust in a delivery company that haven’t the foggiest idea how to deliver a parcel, but when you’re dealing with zombies and demons and ghosts (oh my!) you really need to have your ducks properly in a row. The delivery company is currently in possession of a haunted TV that appears to be a portal to the dark side but, instead of delivering it to the Institute for Studies in the Occult they obviously read the address incorrectly and delivered the TV to an alcoholic writer in a leafy suburb instead. Now bear in mind we have travelled back to 1987, a time before coffee cups had to come with warnings that stated ‘contents of coffee cup are hot’, so the haunted TV certainly doesn’t carry any kind of warning sign or advisory label saying that it contains 6 or 7 cannibalistic zombies. Our dear writer is not amused with the TV because all it seems to play is this random black and white zombie movie that never wants to end so he turns it off and walks away. The TV’s persistent though and wants to play its movie, even if you pull the power cable out of the wall. Being the rather devilish TV that it is as soon as you turn your back it starts getting up to mischief, spewing out zombies left, right and centre who killing our poor writer.
3 months later and with all that murderous unpleasantness behind us we get to meet Jeff and Zoe, two young siblings who move into the old writer’s house to get ready for when their parents come back from overseas. Now, as a warning to all my readers, neither of these kids is particularly good-looking and this movie makes excessive use of close-ups so you might want to start looking away after the first 30 times. Jeff, being the younger and more inquisitive brother, discovers the TV in the attic when it whispers through the dark that it wants to do some terribly PG-13 things to him and moves it into his room. This time, instead of channeling zombies, it channels a demonic naked blonde woman who tantalises the young boy before disappearing right back inside. You see it can’t channel the zombies because the zombies never went back inside after they killed the writer, which means that they’re still out frolicking somewhere in the woods surrounding the house. When these undead hooligans start to make a nuisance of themselves a strange man named Joshua Daniels rocks up at Zoe and Jeff’s house to help them out before they land up becoming a light snack.
Now this is the point when you really have to put your concentration cap on and pay attention because you’re about to be schooled in zombie psychology. For a mobile decomposing corpse these zombies are remarkably complex creatures that experience a surprising array of complicated emotions. Jeff isn’t the brightest spark out there and Zoe, being a woman, shouldn’t be out chasing after zombies so to defeat this horde of the undead you need to know exactly what you’re dealing with. Firstly, put mirrors up everywhere. Zombies are very self-conscious and don’t like looking at their own reflection to the point that they’ll run away from it. Secondly, zombies don’t like it when you express any fear since they themselves cannot express emotions so keep a constant grin on your face. Thirdly, zombies like to think that they’re still alive so treat them in the same way you would treat any living member of the human race and they might be a little less inclined to eat you. Lastly, a zombie is very good with a stick so avoid dangling from a tree with a chainsaw that they can get hold of and use against you. Follow these simple rules and you might just survive an attack of the video dead!
Speaking of The Video Dead, as a technical point, at no point is there a video, be it Beta or VHS, anywhere in sight but, at the end of the day, that really is the least of your worries walking into this one.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Younger brothers often walk like the dead.
- Women take their degrees in aerobics and music videos very seriously.
- Skunks don’t like to mate with poodles.
- Poodles are kinky and like being sprayed on by skunks.
- Zombies have a very simple but strange sense of humour.
- Zombies can only die when they think they’re alive. In this way when you attack them they will think they are injured and convince themselves that they are actually dead when they really aren’t because they can’t experience pain. They will remain ‘dead’ because they’re fooling themselves into thinking that they are until someone points out to them that they’re not in which case they’ll get back up and try again.
THE VIDEO DEAD TRAILER
Year of Release: 1987
Genre: Horror / Comedy
IMDB Rating: 4.3 / 10
Level of Awful: Medium
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
It’s very easy to tell a movie that was made in the days before the Internet and Wikipedia became readily available in the majority of people’s households. You could throw phrases like ‘Lumeria’ and ‘5 million-year-old civilisation’ around and nobody would have thought twice about it because very few people would have taken the time afterwards to go to the library and check the information out. An historian at heart, however, I’m not like that and I do like to check out the technical and historical accuracy of any civilisation I’m not familiar with when it’s just thrown into a movie. I’ll come back to that a bit later but nonetheless Blood Diner is a delightful slab of cheese that takes good acting, good film making and historical accuracy and throws it out the window and replaces it with many breasts, a brain in a jar and cannibalism. All in all, not a bad way to spend 88 minutes of your life 🙂
Before our tale of 80s terror can begin we first have to travel back to 1963 where little Michael and George Tutman are playing innocently in their lounge while the babysitter runs around the house in a panic about having run out of tampons. Having eventually decided that the only solution to the problem is to run down to the local pharmacy and pick up some more she leaves just as the radio announcer issues a warning that there’s a madman running around in the neighbourhood chopping up innocent young women. Just after she leaves the madman comes to the house, smashes down the door and charges in covered in blood, screaming like a maniac and wielding his meat cleaver above his head. The boys are delighted to see him because the maniac is their uncle Anwar Namtut who has been teaching them all about the occult. Sadly their reunion is cut short when the police rock up at the house and gun Anwar down while the boys watch from a window. This psychological trauma will lead the boys down a dark path of the occult, cannibalism and the devilish ability to make clock’s run backwards. Anyone who comes into contact with them will forever run the risk of either being eaten or never knowing if they’re running late for work or not.
Flash forward to 1987 and the brothers are all grown up and doing quite well for themselves: they’ve opened up their own little diner and their food is the talk of the town. They’re also busy digging up their dead uncle so that, through the power of black magic and a little vinegar, they can revive his brain and keep it in a jar in a similar way to the demon in Possessed by the Night. Now of course there’s a perfectly logical reason behind all of this, which the brain kindly fills us in on. Back in 1963 when he was killed the first time Anwar was busy trying to collect all the ingredients he needed so that he could awaken the goddess Sheetar, a diabolical divinity of the Lumerian people whose civilisation flourished 5 million years ago. 5 million years ago? People hadn’t evolved out of the trees yet and Lumeria was believed to be a continent that sank beneath the waves, not a part of the American outback! Feels good to get that out. Anyways Anwar the Brain now needs the boys to finish his work and help prepare a Lumerian feast that will summon Sheetar to earth on the night when Jupiter and the Moon are aligned with one another. Makes perfect sense to me.
Up until I watched this movie I’d never even heard of a Lumerian Feast, let alone knew how to go about preparing one, and I feel it’s an important thing to learn. After all you never know when the day will come when you want to give a bloodthirsty, angry goddess a mortal form. It’s quite an involved process so pay careful attention and take notes if necessary. Firstly the Moon and Jupiter need to be coming into alignment. You then need to kill around 2 dozen slutty girls and use bits of their bodies to stitch together a new body for Sheetar to dwell in when she comes to earth. You then need to kill around half a dozen more sluts and use select internal organs as the basis for the Lumerian stew that you will feed to your guests later. To make the stew you add the body parts to a mixture of chicken stock and root vegetables and simmer over a low heat until the feast begins. You then need to acquire a virgin and have her ready for Sheetar to eat as soon as she takes her mortal form. Virgins are hard to come by so start shopping early. Finally you need to find a venue full of people who you can drug and turn into zombies so that they will eat the stew and begin having an orgy. Sheetar likes to be resurrected during fun gatherings. Bring the mortal Sheetar body to the venue, drug the guests, lay the stew out and tie the virgin up, let the Moon and Jupiter align and recite some incantations. Next thing Bob’s your uncle and you having a living goddess ready to commit all manner of atrocities. Enjoy!
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Killers often walk around with a cleaver in one hand and their severed genitals in the other.
- Brains will last inside a corpse for at least 20 years.
- Ancient goddesses want to be given mortal form in a body made up of chopped up sluts.
- Women see nothing strange or dangerous about a strange man covering them in batter near a deep fryer.
- Women, even after having a cupboard-load of body parts fall on them, will always run back for their handbag.
- A woman’s martial arts abilities are directly proportional to the amount of clothing she takes off.
BLOOD DINER TRAILER