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.
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.
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…
…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.
Year of Release: 2007
IMDB Rating: 3.1 / 10
Level of Awful: High
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
Z-grade horror movies and I have a love-hate relationship with one another and over the years I’ve put up with a lot from would-be directors who can’t direct and “actors” that can’t act, but his one crossed a line. This movie has all the ingredients that go into making a horrible piece of cheese: non-existent budget, actors that can’t act, weak plot and weak writing, but if I’ve learned anything from reviewing horrible horrors it’s that there’s one thing that’s essential to making them: a blonde woman. And there isn’t one to be seen in this movie! Really guys? Aaron Harvey and Jason Melling, you should be ashamed of yourselves…
So we begin our tale with no blonde woman in the parking lot of a high school / university (movie isn’t entirely clear on this one) where Jamie, John and Mindy are getting ready to go camping. Out of nowhere Steve, John’s weed supplier, and his girlfriend Shannon rock up with a car packed with food and camping supplies. After begging to go camping with the threesome they all head out in Steve’s Land Rover to what was once the most amazing party spot in the woods. It was probably awesome because there were blonde women there before, but not anymore. Something has obviously happened over the years because the site isn’t all that great anymore and, judging from the opening scene of the movie, there’s a killer on the loose somewhere. This isn’t important, of course, because all our little guys are interested in is drinking lots of beer and lighting up for 2 days.
Clearly nature isn’t good for you because it seems to break down millions of years of evolution and leaves people with only the most base things to talk about: sex, pissing and farting (either by setting it on fire or doing it while receiving a blowjob). Oh, and the need for beer. John’s the main irritant here, with the three girls being whiny and dumb in their own little way. If you want to imagine John just picture Homer Simpson but without any of the things that make him funny. Once camp has been set up and 36 beers have been downed with amazing speed, everyone sits back to enjoy some more beer, some smoors and some weed. But, as every b-horror fan knows, if you’re out camping somewhere there’s a creepy old man waiting to tell you the dark and horrible past of the particular forest you find yourself in, and The Evil Woods is no exception to this rule. Only to the ‘must have a blonde woman’ rule.
So, back in the day when this little piece of land was the most amazing party spot around and blonde women flowed in abundance, there was a particularly protective park ranger who loved the area greatly. The problem was that the kids who came here to party often left the place in a state, with beer cans and litter all over the place for the ranger to clean up after them. How his cleaning and their prank are connected isn’t entirely clear but never the less one night all the kids decide to mission up to the ranger’s cabin and lock him in it by barring the windows and doors. To make it more exciting they started shooting fireworks at the cabin to frighten him. Wood cabin? Pine forest? No one? Idiots. Of course the cabin catches fire and the kids run away but the body of the ranger is never found and now his spirit is said to wander the forest killing anyone he believes to be violating his little green acre. This story is completely lost on our gang since, when they come across the burned-down cabin, they think that they’re looking at an old meth lab that exploded but, in their defence, they are completely baked from smoking weed for 2 days non-stop.
Whether they remember the story or not the fact remains that someone or something is stalking the forest with an axe hellbent on killing off the little group in the most unconvincing ways possible. Can they make it out of the woods before they’re all killed off? Probably not, there’s no blonde woman around to distract the killer…
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- A walking stick is nature’s coffee.
- You can pay for petrol before you know how much you’ve bought.
- Respecting a woman and her opinions makes you a pussy.
- Doing anything for your girlfriend makes you a pussy.
- Dropping anything makes you a pussy.
- Murdering someone from behind is the coward’s way of being a serial killer.
- When being chased by a killer in the woods, hide behind a tree and breathe like Darth Vader. They’ll never find you.
- Blood has a syrupy consistency.
- Blood crystallizes when it dries.
Year of Release: 2008
IMDB Rating: 3.1 / 10
Level of Awful: Requires Post-Film Lobotomy
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
After my two recent reviews featuring the kind of good but not quite great Vanishing on 7th Street and Plague Town I felt that I needed to go all-out with this one and watch something really bad to bring this blog back to its main purpose: to review and critique the worst horror movies out there. Obviously intended to capitalise on the fear and uncertainty during the recent swine flu outbreak, this fails on virtually every level. The acting is horrible (!!!) and so wooden you could build a log cabin out of it. The characters are nothing original and at most points actually grate against your nerves like nails running down a chalk board. But I’m not just going to moan about this movie, not at all. I’m going to tell you what went on in it, some of the brave among you may even decide to watch it, and you can decide for yourself after that 🙂
Deep, deep in the woods where the SyFy Channel makes all of its movies a group of juvenile delinquents is on a little court-ordered retreat to try and get them to do stupid group exercises in an attempt to get them to function like normal members of society. How blindfolding someone and making them walk through a forest will achieve this is anyone’s guess, but that seems to be the plan. In this group we have your usual stock characters: hooker, girl who did what she had to do to survive her abusive father, blonde guy, fat guy, douche bag and wigger. Surprisingly the rest of the group isn’t taking the fat guy’s walk in the forest very seriously so, eventually giving up, the camp councilor goes after him to bring him back to camp while the others are told to make food and set up tents. Before you can even try to get over all the cringing you’ve been doing at the dialogue and the initial setting the group is attacked by enormous, carnivorous, fugly birds that more closely resemble a pterodactyl than anything you usually see in the sky. What do you do in this kind of situation? Run into the woods of course!
Now, in addition to being irritating, our little group of miniature criminals is rather useless when it comes to survival tactics. Not only do they constantly bicker with one another but, in making their escape, they manage to run into an old abandoned fort that was built on a gas deposit. While inside they manage to break the seal that would have kept most of the gas stored and then successfully set fire to blonde guy. To their credit they do manage to formulate a rudimentary democracy whereby they vote on everything they do. Unfortunately this system is flawed in that those that are about to be used as bird bait (fat guy – bitten during the initial attack and now looking rather ill from whatever it is that mutated the birds) are not allowed to vote for fear that it might sway the group’s decision. Can’t imagine why.
While the kids are trying to survive things aren’t going very well at the forest’s local hospital either. A hunter that was attacked by one of the birds is getting very, VERY sick, leading to his ward being quarantined. When it turns out that the virus is a mutated form of the H1N1 Avian Flu virus the government is called in to completely quarantine the hospital to stop the infection from spreading. A separate wing is brought in to help take out the birds before they migrate to the nearest town in search of a new food source. When girl who did what she had to do to survive her abusive father manages to get her hands on a child’s walkie talkie it falls to our heroic park ranger and his doctor ex-wife to find the remaining juvenile delinquents before the birds manage to turn them into their next meal.
My honest opinion? I think the kids are actual juvenile delinquents and ‘starring’ in this movie was their punishment.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- If you can hack into a school’s computer you’re only a step away from being able to hack into the Pentagon.
- People don’t scream when they’re on fire.
- Bird flu spreads because chicken farmers in Laos insist on having sex with their poultry.
- A ‘nobody enters, nobody leaves’ policy is really awkward for people stuck standing in the parking lot.
- Kissing should involve swallowing half of the other person’s face.
- A child’s walkie talkie is very useful for when you want to get in touch with your local park ranger.
FLU BIRDS TRAILER
Year of Release: 2005
IMDB Rating: 2.7 / 10
Level of Awful: High
WHAT ITS ABOUT:
Dr. Chopper, the green villain in this masterpiece of crap, is out to discover the secrets of immortality. Immortality, however, isn’t any fun unless you get to chop people up first and use their organs to help you achieve this outcome. With a world that doesn’t understand him and police that are out to get him, Dr. Chopper and his band of merrily mad nurses go into hiding in the woods where they can conduct their morally questionable experiments without the fear of being caught.
For any B-grade horror to be successful, you need to throw in a group of boozed-up, hormone-raging college students who just happen to go on a vacation into the same woods that Dr. Chopper is living in. This isn’t coincidental, however, since lead college student Nick’s mother has recently passed away and left him a holiday cabin that even the family from Wrong Turn would be embarrassed to own. Armed with beer and dialogue that only planks of wood can deliver, Nick and his friends head off to discover more about his dearly departed mother and the mysterious cabin she left him. Along the way they must deal with frightened lesbians, a loner park ranger with a dark past, nurses from hell, Dr. Chopper in all his green glory and ultimately a family secret that should never have been converted into film.
THINGS I’VE LEARNED:
- Women are unreasonable in their distaste for sitting tied to a chair at a table of dead people.
- That you need sanitary conditions to conduct a successful organ transplant is a myth.
- Nerds just want to be park rangers.
- Having a dark past means waiting until the last possible moment before trying to help your friend that’s currently being eaten.
- There’s no need to be concerned when you see a green man on a Harley.
- Skin can simply be sown onto your face and allowed to grow naturally.
- There’s nothing quite like a picnic by a riverside with friends and a fine piece of human thigh.