WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
So there I was, minding my own business, when I was suddenly struck by a terrible case of the shakes. I broke out into a cold sweat, my mouth was bone dry, and I was starting to see double. I had gone into soft science withdrawal. It’s a terrible thing when it happens, and you need to have a sci-fi b-movie ready for when these symptoms strike. Thankfully, I’d saved Absolute Zero for just such an emergency. The movie manages a number of feats: it’s a b-grade disaster movie that wasn’t made by either the Asylum or the Syfy Channel, it’s mind-numbingly painful to watch, and the science is so soft that it would make a marshmallow roasting over Satan’s arse seem like titanium. Prepare to witness the movie that dares to ask the question: how soft is your science?
Meet Dr David Kotzman, a brilliant man working for Inter Sci. Dr Dave specialises in looking at the effects that temperatures plummeting to absolute zero (-273 degrees Celsius, or -460 degrees Fahrenheit for my American readers) would have on life on Earth. They’d be fairly devastating, to put in mildly. But Dr Dave has a theory, you see: he’s convinced that the last ice age didn’t occur over a period of hundreds or thousands of years as modern science would have us believe. No, he believes that the ice ages are brought on when parts of the world suddenly plummet to absolute zero for a few seconds, freezing absolutely everything in sight. For all we know this theory could have been brought on by a night at an opium den, because the movie really isn’t going to explain how we got there. Then again, the theory could have been inspired by the constant thumping porno beats that play when he’s doing his research. Suffice to say Dr Dave is going to get an opportunity to test out his theory soon enough.
You see, there’s been some very strange weather going on across the globe lately: thunder storms over Antarctica (which are apparently very normal), ice bergs floating through the harbours of Florida, tropical weather in New York, and the list just goes on. How are we ever going to find out what’s going on before it’s too late? With cave paintings, that’s how! Dr Dave meets up with an Inter Sci research team already out in Antarctica (presumably building the emergency opium den) and, with a little help from global warming, manage to find a cave full of fully frozen people. Using a tiny microscope and a few spare grad students that just happened to be lying around, Dr Dave concludes that the world’s magnetic poles are about to shift themselves. This will have devastating consequences across the globe, as everything along the equator suddenly finds itself fighting off the onset of absolute zero (dun dun dun!).
Can we stop all these terrible things from happening? With this much soft science? You must be joking! Unable to save the world from succumbing to this frozen nightmare, Dr Dave has to at least try and save his grad students and his ex-girlfriend who he’s never forgotten and conveniently met up with just before the disaster struck. Luckily she’s a specialist in ancient cave drawings, and using the ones from Antarctica she arrives at the same conclusion as Dr Dave: the world is about to be thrown (rather haphazardly) into the next ice age. It’s a race against time as temperatures continue to plummet, funnels of freezing air strike at random, 10-year-old girls speak monotonously into walkie talkies, and lifeguards take over half an hour to evacuate a paddling pool. The world will never be the same again after it succumbs to… ABSOLUTE ZERO (dun dun dun!)
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Global warming means grad students can now spend a semester out in Antarctica.
- Even the president doesn’t have the authority to pull university students out of Antarctica.
- You can just book commercial flights to Antarctica these days.
- When light freezes, it’s time to get the winter jerseys out.
- Even with a doctorate degree in the field, it’s very easy to confuse archaeology for anthropology.
- Antarctica once held a small, but thriving, colony of ancient Egyptians.
- We can date 10 000-year-old cave paintings to the exact day they were drawn.
- Only in America can big corporations think that they can stop the weather from happening.
- The Earth’s axis of rotation has absolutely nothing to do with the seasons.
- There’s nothing quite as ineffective as an optional evacuation.
- Strip clubs provide excellent landmarks in times of crisis.
- Absolute zero is really dangerous, but people can still survive quite comfortably at -158 degrees Celsius.
- Always remember to keep your emergency power supply dangerously far away from the bunker that’ll save your life.
ABSOLUTE ZERO TRAILER
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
Alright, by this stage pretty much every b-movie fan and their dog has reviewed this movie. That said, every b-movie fan and their dog doesn’t come with the crack team of Tropical Mary, Stygian Mole and the Occult Specialist like I do. Anything made by the Asylum is virtually guaranteed to blow your mind (although rarely in a good way), but throw some Nazis into the mix and we were all very excited. And it didn’t, in any way, disappoint. If you love watching stupid horror movies that defy good taste, racial sensibilities, logic or the art of movie making in general then this is the movie for you!
We begin our tale of mystery, intrigue and a secret coven of Nazis in the middle of Antarctica. There’s a research centre there (whose name escapes me because we kept calling it Nippleheim) where Dr Adrian Reistad has brought a few dozen grad students to do a little research on various things in petri dishes. Things are going perfectly well (except for that one incident where the entire research centre was nearly exposed to flesh-eating bacteria) until two members of the team are abducted by strange men in gas masks (our Occult Specialist informs me that they are in fact Soviet gas masks and not German ones). The rest of the team pile into their clown car snow mobile and go out to try and find their lost companions.
After a short expedition in the snow the group comes across a gigantic hole in the ice. Being the highly qualified individuals they are they decide that the best thing to do is effectively throw themselves down the hole with gay abandon and hope for the best. What they find is astonishing: the centre of the Earth is surprisingly lush, full of trees and mountains and a giant light bulb functioning as a sun. The downside to this lush paradise is that it’s swarming with Nazis led by Josef Mengele. Back in 1945 when the Allies were on the approach Mengele and some of his star scientists managed to escape and made their way here where they have been keeping themselves alive by grafting bones, organs and virtually anything else they can find onto themselves. The shocking betrayal comes in when Mengele informs the group that they have been getting their new body parts from grad students provided by Dr Reistad over the years. Some of the transplants haven’t been as successful as others, however, and this group has been brought in to help the Nazis perfect their techniques before they can go about reconquering the world!
Up until this point things have been relatively normal (if a little gruesome), but of course all this Nazi experimentation has to serve some kind of greater purpose. After some inventive stem cell extraction and the use of what looks like the most amazing coffee maker ever we learn what this purpose is: Mengele somehow also managed to escape with Hitler’s head and they plan on bringing him back to life. The head will be placed in, and control, an enormous robot with more manly weapons than you could ever think possible. Mecha-Hitler and his army (that appeared out of nowhere) will then board their Nazi spaceship (yes you read that right: Nazi spaceship), drill their way back to the surface and begin taking over the world. It’s now up to the few remaining survivors of our little group to bring this spaceship down and kill Hitler once and for all!
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- You can lose about 10 grad students a year in the Antarctic without anybody ever asking any questions.
- Gloves from a hair dye box are perfectly suitable for performing major surgery (Maybe he’s born with it, maybe it’s Mengele).
- The centre of the earth is roughly 50 feet below the surface.
- The Germans occupied Antarctica back in World War II.
- You cannot extract stem cells from a brain.
- A vacuum cleaner is an effective tool for performing a quick abortion.
- You can rip all the skin off a person without having to worry about them succumbing to infection or massive blood loss.
NAZIS AT THE CENTER OF THE EARTH TRAILER
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
This movie and Arctic Blast (I’m pretty sure that Arctic Blast is this movie’s spiritual sequel) raise the question of who thought that playing with the atmosphere to create doomsday-scenario movies was a good idea. Neither movie is horrendously bad, but the flip side of the coin is that neither one is particularly good. All the same it is End of the World Month and, if you’re a particularly cold-hearted individual, there can be a strange attraction to seeing the world being both destroyed and frozen over in a matter of moments.
One thing that’s beginning to emerge more and more as this experiment progresses is that the road to hell is paved with scientists with good intentions. Joanne is a lovely woman who has been deeply affected by the plight of people in areas plagued by drought and famine. Apparently Kansas and Ethiopia are on par with one another so far as these things go, which I’m not so sure of, but her intentions are good. Along with her colleague Damon Joanne has devised a revolutionary new technology that not only seeds clouds to make it rain but that will actually make the clouds in areas where there isn’t enough moisture for natural cloud formation. Now I can assure you that watching this pan out on-screen is about as thrilling as watching paint dry in slow motion but is apparently necessary if we’re to appreciate how this team of rag-tag scientists is going to save the world from their own creation.
The other thing that has become overly apparent throughout the course of Earth’s multiple ends is that groups of scientists should never be allowed free reign of any experiment. Nobody ever foresees the inevitably destructive outcome that their actions will have. Thankfully our brave audience has Charlie Price to fall back on. Charlie was once one of the world’s most recognised and respected scientists before he was forced out of the community for unmentioned reasons to pursue an exciting career writing trashy sci-fi novels about how the world will end through a number of man-made and natural disasters. In this world of enormous coincidences Charlie just happened to be holding a book signing in Generic Small Town, USA where Joanne was conducting her experiments. One moment the sun was shining and everyone was happy and the next thing you know buses and cars and all manner of debris are flying around in a very darkened sky.
And the coincidences just keep on coming! Joanne, obviously aware of the fact that a small town’s near annihilation was not in the original test plan, goes to investigate the damage. She runs into Charlie and it’s revealed that they’ve known each other for donkey’s years. Charlie, using a little blackmail, convinces Joanne and Damon to take him along on their investigation to see what’s going on and how they can go about stopping it. Within a matter of moments Charlie has a theory as to what’s going on: the little machines flying around creating the clouds are doing so by draining the area of any moisture to form the clouds. As a result freezing cold air from the upper areas of the atmosphere are feeding down the way and creating the freezing tornadoes. This of course flies in the face of all scientific reasoning and no one’s prepared to believe him. Hopefully, through the use of a number of horrible analogies from his various novels, Charlie will be able to convince everyone that his plan is the best one and the only chance that humanity has to avoid becoming frozen popsicles.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- People thrown out of the scientific community can always fall back on being trashy novelists.
- Women only need to pee when someone’s told them that they can’t.
- People should never lose sight of the fact that they’ve made it rain.
- One should never smack a hornet’s nest in serious situations.
- Weather is known to be a fairly common occurrence across the globe.
- Bubonic plague is the only reasonable excuse for missing a TV interview.
- There is a big difference between a hug and trying to stay alive.
- You can justify breaking and entering by claiming that a series of doors are accidentally locked.
- It’s easy enough to ‘borrow’ access codes to US government satellites.
ICE TWISTERS TRAILER
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
Nephilim: a great buzz word for many end of the world movies. Despite the presence of such an awesome buzz word, however, this movie turned out to be a load of pants. It would have been a highly amusing load of pants had it not quickly descended into confusing chaos overloaded with more scenes of people vomiting and having bouts of diarrhoea than would ever be necessary. In amongst all of that is the usual supply of poor acting and laughable special effects. Of course were Alien Armageddon not a complete pile of rubbish it wouldn’t form part of my 2012 End of the World Month survival guide, so you pick your battles 🙂
As often happens on days when people are out going about their daily lives an alien army invades Earth and promptly begins blowing all our major cities to hell and back. Given that they’ve come over in relatively sizeable spaceships how nobody saw them coming is anyone’s guess. After a day or so of general carnage and mayhem the (white) US president surrenders the whole of Earth to the invading Nephilim. They were nice enough to explain to him that the reason they blew everything up is because they want to rebuild society from scratch and give us all a much better life devoid of the problems humanity tends to inflict on itself. Again, how one man can surrender the entire planet to an alien force I don’t know but I guess it’s all a part of the movie’s greater plan. Having secured Earth’s surrender the Nephilim begin constructing permanent bases of operation for themselves in the major city centres to begin processing the humans living there.
At some point just after the occupation the Nephilim constructed an enormous wall right the way around Los Angeles (where most of the movie takes place). This wall serves to keep the people of Los Angeles from escaping and to stop anyone from the human resistance army from breaking in and getting up to any mischief. The resistance movement is a fragmented and ill prepared group of predominantly red-headed females but, for us, the most important is Jodie, a fierce red-head trying to reclaim Earth for humanity and find her missing daughter. The whole Nephilim ‘peace and love’ story soon falls apart for Jodie after she is captured and imprisoned in one of their laboratories. So far as prisons go this one isn’t really the worst; Jodie and her cell mates are fed and watered at regular intervals but the food seems to be making anyone who eats it incredibly ill. Outside their little cell there are also a few scientists doing a lot of DNA research for the Nephilim. Could there be a connection?
Of course there’s a perfectly sane and rational reason for all these things that are going on. In a move that may shock you to the core of your belief system the Nephilim did not, in fact, come in peace. They came because they were hungry. The Nephilim are actually native to Mars (again, how did we not see them?) and are running out of food (they’re cannibals). To that end they’ve come to Earth in search of a new food supply: us. The problem is that the Nephilim can only eat their own species so the scientists have been slipping drugs into the prisoners’ food that restructures their DNA to be like the Nephilim’s, thus making humans edible. See? Makes perfect sense. Jodie must now fight her way through force fields, never-ending gun fights and surprised looking aliens to try and rescue her daughter and avoid becoming lunch. Will she make it? After 20 minutes of this movie, you won’t really care.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- The word ‘princess’ is an insult to Jewish people.
- Hand guns can fire as rapidly as a machine gun.
- At the slightest sign of an invasion the American president will just surrender the planet.
- Aliens can be easily distracted with the words ‘hey sexy’.
- Alien food makes humans throw up shaving cream.
- Some of the strongest friendships are those forged between women who are part of an alien breeding programme.
- Humans are an excellent alien delicacy, provided you reconfigure their DNA just right.
- Jesus was known to personally visit aliens on Mars.
ALIEN ARMAGEDDON TRAILER
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Year of Release: 1987
IMDB Rating: 2.7 / 10
Level of Awful: High
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
When I first discovered the joys of buying b-grade movies in bulk this was one of the first movies I ever took out of the box and watched and, admittedly, have seen far more times than any individual ever should. Not being a great fan of the werewolf sub-genre I’ve never seen any of the other Howling movies but, from what I’ve gathered, it was all pretty much all downhill after the first one. If it got worse after this I really don’t know how they managed it. The concept is just plain daft, but not daft in a good way. On the up side, at least we get a rare opportunity to understand how werewolves, like any other species, evolved and adapted to suit their particular niche in the world. Good on Nicole Kidman for saying no to the lead role!
Deep, deep in the barren wastelands of Australia’s outback evolution has decided to give the human race the finger. For many years we’ve all suspected that werewolves walked amongst us and wondered why some of our friends can never meet for drinks on a night when there’s a full moon. What we didn’t suspect was that different varieties of werewolves existed, each specially adapted to its natural environment. Here, in the outback, a very special variety of werewolves has existed under the noses of us humans: the marsupial werewolf. Like the kangaroo or the koala the female marsupial werewolf has a pouch on her stomach where the embryonic baby climbs into a few weeks after the mother became pregnant. They tend to live in little family groups, most often headed by an alpha male and several subservient females. This is where our tale of a little marsupial werewolf with a big dream begins…
Apart from her pouch and the fact that she’s never known a world outside of her little clan Jerboa is your average young woman bursting with dreams of a better life. As she has now come of age the alpha male has had his eye on her and the other women have every intention of holding her down if that’s what the situation requires and Jerboa just isn’t that kind of girl; she wants to see the city, the lights, the Sydney Opera House! So off she runs one day, catches a bus and makes her way to the big city. Now the city can be a strange and dangerous place to an innocent young woman like Jerboa so it’s very fortunate that she runs into Donny who offers her the lead role in a new horror movie called Shapeshifters. Not knowing what a movie is or what the hell she’ll be expected to do Jerboa agrees anyway because this is one of those situations where it’s love at first sight and they can’t stand to be apart and so on and so on and so forth. If only life could be that simple…
Turns out that the pack Jerboa ran away from isn’t too wild about the fact that they’ve lost a female capable of breeding so somehow they manage to dig up three nuns’ outfits and send three of the women off to Sydney to track her down and bring her back home. The problem with this is that Jerboa and Donny have already done the deed and she currently has a little rat-like creature in her pouch just waiting to grow into something resembling a human. The only choice for the young couple? Make a mad run for it. Fortunately for them they won’t be doing it alone; on their side is Professor Beckmyer, a man obsessed with discovering the true nature of the werewolf and the injustices they have suffered at the hands of mankind, Olga, a Siberian werewolf who wants to mate with one of the marsupials to try and strengthen the bloodline (marsupial werewolves having the advantage of not having to carry their offspring to term) and Thylo, the alpha male of Jerboa’s pack, who escaped when the US government rounded them all up. All they have to do now is hide out in the wilderness and wait for a time when the world will be more accepting of their kind.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Horror directors will allow any old creature to star in their movies.
- In Australia any old creature can win a Best Actress award.
- Strobe lighting brings on a whole other kind of epilepsy in a marsupial werewolf.
- Young men are not at all disturbed when they find out the girl they fell madly in love with yesterday has a pouch.
- Young men won’t think twice about running off into the bush and abandoning their lives for said woman with a pouch.
- Just because it’s a werewolf skeleton it doesn’t mean it can’t still attack you.
- No ballerina’s outfit will ever make a werewolf look pretty.
- With time the Vatican will be shown to be tolerant of virtually anything.
HOWLING III: THE MARSUPIALS TRAILER