WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
If there’s one thing that I’ve learned from the ungodly experiment that is the B-Horror Blog, it’s that anything the Asylum can do, Syfy can do a thousand times better (except for those few times when the Asylum makes the Syfy movie). They’re both good staples: The Asylum if you want a movie that’ll be easy to throw insults at, and Syfy if you want some guaranteed cheese. Ghost Storm will give you everything you need so far as cheese factor is concerned, and it even throws in a little soft science just to make the final product that little bit more saccharine-sweet. By the looks of things the people behind this movie had a fairly decent budget to play around with, and gradually these people seem to be coming to grips with making CGI monsters that aren’t so bad they’re insulting. I recommend hanging onto this one for one of those really rainy Sunday afternoons when you want to chase away the approaching Monday blues.
What is it in a teenager’s genetic structure that draws them to creepy cemeteries like moths to a porch light? Science should really look into that. Anyway, as you may have guessed, our story begins with a group of bored teenagers in a dark and spooky cemetery – during a lightning storm, no less. Wherever the hell their hometown is, it would appear to be on a tiny little island, so I guess you gotta get your kicks where you can. Everything’s going absolutely fine (guys scaring girls, ominous thunder) until a bolt of lightning strikes the memorial for the people who died during the town’s now-infamous mass-suicide. The lightning, through means I should check with my Occult Specialist, releases the angry spirits of the departed, who quickly go about turning one of the teenagers into a grey piece of human jerky.
Thankfully, Officer Dad (AKA Hal, father of Daisy, one of the girls that was out in the cemetery) is on the case. There must be a logical, rational reason why Daisy’s 18-year-old boyfriend’s corpse went from looking like the Crypt Keeper to being a pile of mulch in a matter of hours. Of course, the problem here is that they’re stuck on an island, and how exactly would you report this kind of incident to the authorities back on the main land? This of course is only the beginning of the town’s problems – you see, these aren’t your regular pissed off, vengeance-seeking ghosts. These ghosts are smart – why hunt individually when you can join together, form a supernatural storm system and blight the inhabitants of the island all the more faster?
So, with the angry spirits swirling around the island in a giant, lightning-filled vortex, it’s up to Hal, ex-wife Ashley, and Daisy to come up with some kind of way to defeat the ghosts before they turn the entire town’s population into little piles of dust. They will be aided by a seafaring ghost hunter who happened to rock up on the island just as the storm formed. They will need a combination of a lot of random electrical equipment, some occultist knowledge, Ashley’s meteorological know-how, a lot of salt water, a fire extinguisher, an old diary with some town secrets, a weather balloon, a gun, a lot of jumper cables, some cans of silicon gel, half a dozen rolls of duct tape, an ancient talisman and a cellphone tower if they’re ever going to be able to stop these ghosts. Then, of course, there’s the mysterious old priest, and Ashley and Daisy’s old, but not forgotten, family history that ties into the whole affair…
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Lightning storms are a tremendous turn on for randy teens.
- The new iSpirit app is very useful for knowing when there are vengeful spirits in the area.
- Exhuming bodies is nothing but good, small town fun.
- It’s very expensive to build a machine that’ll let you speak to a storm cloud.
- Salt water is the best thing to use to soak up spilled evil.
- A good old-fashioned witch hunt usually eases the tension when you’re being held hostage by ghosts.
- Always make sure that your ghost complies with regulatory electrical standards.
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
So I’m back in the saddle but feeling a little rusty; it’s been a few months since I’ve ripped a movie to shreds and I need a little practice. Pretty sure that The Asylum was founded simply for those reasons 🙂 Somehow, through the workings of some malevolent supernatural force, Hold Your Breath (or #holdyourbreath – I don’t know why) actually managed to get a (I imagine very limited) theatrical release. If malevolent supernatural forces were not involved in this process, my only other logical conclusion is that The Asylum has an entire department of buxom young females whose job it is to sleep with whoever necessary to get their movies out there. The movie’s awful, plain and simple; it actually kind of feels like it began shooting, changed scripts, carried on from there, changed scripts again, did some final shooting, and the three different movies were just thrown together for the hell of it.
As a general cautionary tale, this movie advises that at least a little caution should be taken when you come across a zealoty über-German priest out to rid the world of all its sins and vices. This is what Vicar van Hausen tried to do, murdering a number of alleged-harlots along the way, and maiming many others. For his hard work he’s been sentenced to death by electrocution, and the most bizarre array of individuals have turned out to watch the event. The proceedings get underway when a prison guard, obviously mistaking this for an episode of Deal or No Deal, prattles on about what van Hausen did. Van Hausen, before being electrocuted, manages to kill one of the guards before feeling 10 billion volts of CGI electricity coursing through his veins. But can mere CGI electricity put an end to such an evil?
Of course not. If it was, the movie wouldn’t be able to give you gratuitous shots of L-shaped breasts, now would it? Wanting to relive the glory days of high school, a group of friends decide to head off into the wilderness and leave the boring world of rent cheques and deadlines behind for a bit. Driving along their merry little way they happen upon a cemetery, where Blonde Girl tells them that they all have to hold their breath. Why? Because apparently, when a spirit is SO evil that Hell itself cannot contain it, simply holding your breath means that it is powerless. Everyone but The Stoner does this, and he becomes possessed by the ghost of van Hausen. To be fair he was a pretty obvious target from the very beginning, as his nipples are so large they could easily store an additional 3 or 4 evil spirits. In the midst of all this craziness the group decides to take a break and visit an old, abandoned insane asylum and have some sex before continuing on to the great outdoors.
After the necessary amounts of sex have been had and the movie’s done some good padding with the old electric chair, the group eventually decides to move on. Possessed Stoner has already killed a cop and set him on fire, but thankfully the body and car vanished into thin air before anyone saw what he was up to. The problem with evil ghosts, however, is that they tend to become a little slutty, and one body just can’t satisfy them. So van Hausen takes to hopping around between the group in order to exact his non-sensical revenge on the world. The group’s a bit slow so they’re gonna need a little help that comes in the shape of a hermit with a shotgun. The hermit was at the asylum when van Hausen was executed back in the 50s and, through magic of his own, has only aged about 25 years since the event. Thankfully the hermit has a little friend he can call on to bring van Hausen’s drizzle of terror to an end once and for all… maybe…
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Only 5-year-olds are scared of getting caught smoking pot on a street corner.
- High school teachers take sabbaticals to recover from traumatic paper clip injuries.
- Nothing says ‘fun’ like having sex in an abandoned asylum’s mortuary/maternity ward.
- In certain circles it’s frowned upon when people in their 30s don’t behave like they did in high school.
- Blowjobs are a common bartering tool to get former badasses to sit in an electric chair.
- Two things you don’t want in life: the creation of a new asshole by means of a pitch fork, and having carnal knowledge of a bobcat.
- Possession-based amnesia is a terrible problem in areas with a lot of cemeteries.
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
In my humble opinion there just aren’t enough killer scarecrow movies out there. Like clowns there’s just something very off-putting about a scarecrow, so the horror movie opportunities to use them are virtually endless. I dug this movie out for that exact reason – scarecrows are scary and deserve their place in the long list of seemingly harmless things that can and will kill you when the opportunity arises. As an added bonus I get to throw the collective ‘murder of crows’ around in this review 🙂 All in all Hallowed Ground isn’t a bad movie and there are certainly far worse ways for a person to kill 90 minutes of their time. It just isn’t an amazing movie; it never really gets to the point where you’re on edge waiting for what might be coming round the corner.
Our story begins back in the day (late 1800s-ish) in the ironically named little town of Hope. It’s a bustling little community of hard-working farmers tending to their cornfields day and night to ensure a good harvest. Hope is renowned for the quality of its corn and the townsfolk’s ability to grow their corn no matter what the weather; even droughts can’t keep these people without corn. As well as being hard-working corn farmers Hope’s inhabitants are also a sizeable body of religious nut cases headed up by the equally insane but charismatic Jonas Hathaway. It’s from him that the locals have learned how to grow amazing corn: you gather up any sinners you might have running around town, you dress them up like a scarecrow and then you crucify them in the middle of the cornfields. The exact scientific reasons for the corn liking this so much was never fully explained to the audience, but that corn’s growing like it’s nobody’s business so something’s working. Unfortunately for the town news of their dear preacher’s unorthodox corn-growing methods make it to Liberty, the next town over, and the locals their proceed to storm the cornfields and crucify Hathaway and then burn him.
Flash forward to the present day and Hope’s still standing and the people there are still growing corn. Our leading lady Liz Chambers literally rolls into town one day when her car begins to break down while she’s out on a scenic drive to wherever the hell she feels like going. The car’s gonna take a day to fix so she needs to get comfortable and pops off to the diner to grab a bite to eat and be stared at by anyone who walks past her. At the diner she meets Sarah, a lovely tabloid reporter who fills her in on Hope’s back story. With nothing better to do Liz decides to go with Sarah out into the cornfields to get a look at Hathaway’s old farmhouse and take some photos that can be later used in Sarah’s newspaper. For full effect they decide to make a creepy scarecrow, stick it up on a crucifix and hang it in the cornfield. Hathaway’s ghost takes this as his opportunity and possesses the scarecrow and proceeds to brutally murder Sarah before going after Liz, who manages to escape and make it back into town.
Of course all is not well in the little town of Hope. Many years have passed but the locals have never quite managed to shake that Religious Sect of the Corn vibe that they’ve cultivated so well. Liz gets back to town only to be hunted down by the scarecrow and learn that bullets have very little effect against a stuffed bag of straw and decides to seek sanctity in the local church. From here things become even more bizarre when she’s informed that she is at the centre of a 100-year-old prophecy made by Hathaway. He foretold of her arrival just before he died and now needs the new priest to have sex with her, get her pregnant and when the baby’s born Hathaway can possess it. Sounds to me like the priest is a bit desperate, but I decided to run with it anyway. What happens afterwards is a combination of running, some fire, some more running, a crucifix, some hiding followed by some running, some corn, a murder of crows, some more running, some more crows and then some more corn. Oh yeah, and there’s an ending thrown in there as well. An ending that includes corn.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- The best way to ensure a bumper crop is to offer a human sacrifice.
- Reporters often walk around with scarecrow- and crucifix-making kits.
- Despite being made of straw scarecrows have remarkable upper body strength.
- There’s no kind of police business that should take more than 20 minutes to sort out.
- Scarecrows are particularly fanatical in their religious devotion.
- Boys get over excited during crucifixions and tend to do more harm than is necessary.
- It’s easy enough to massacre an entire town and hang them from telephone wires.
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