WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
This movie made me terribly sad. As a reviewer it really breaks my heart to sit through a movie and watch as the director just loses more and more control over his creation. Some movies may miss the mark and some movies may forget to have things happen, but this movie just didn’t know how to end. Poor little creature. My psychic horror senses tell me that the director started off with a great plan, but as the story tried to develop itself the movie just got away from him and when it hit the 90 minute runtime mark he threw his hands up and said, “Right! Stop the cameras, we’re ending the movie here!” There’s no great character development, there’s no real insight into who the killer is or why he’s doing what he’s doing and, because the movie just ends, there’s no kind of solution offered. Plus there’s no real suspense at any point that may have kept this little train on the tracks. That said, it is a fun watch if you like to see the many creative ways that people can be killed with an excessive number of chains!
Being one of those movies that centres around high school kids a number of rules apply: we have jocks, we have sluts, we have one clever brunette and one dorky younger brother. Also, everyone’s well into their 20s. The dorky younger brother just happens to be Zack Young from Desperate Housewives. Whilst playing an intense game of WoW he receives a beautifully put together chain letter that tells him to send it on to 5 people within 24 hours. Since his sister Rachael needs to use the computer she throws him off and, believing in the immense power of chain letters, decides to forward it on but only includes 4 recipients. When Neil (Zack Young’s alter ego in this movie) finally manages to get his computer back he notices her mistake and adds her as the 5th recipient and sends the chain letter along.
Here’s where things start to go bloodshedingly wrong for our semi-group of 20-something highschool kids. You see while Rachael had sent the chain letter onto her friends the e-mail itself was coming from Neil’s account and, since he’s horribly unpopular, none of the friends take it very seriously and delete the e-mail. This is where our first victim Johnny Jones comes into the picture. After enjoying a nice little shot of growth hormones and a 3 minute gym session he goes to get some water. While drinking at the fountain he finds his head being repeatedly rammed into its delicate metal features and loses some teeth in the process. He is then dragged to another corner of the gym where our killer gets to work with his many, many chains. Like cooking, brutal slayings require a decent recipe: first of all you handcuff the victim to the chains. Once done you truss the victim up and lift them off the ground with some more chains to ensure that the arms pop out the sockets. You then slash their Achille’s heel, making it impossible for them to escape. You then take EVEN MORE CHAINS and proceed to grind their face into a smooth, delicate paste before making your escape into the night. In case you missed it: lots of chains. Chain Letter. What a clever little killer we have with us.
In amongst all of this are a few ancillary characters of which the most important is Jessie. She’s good-looking but she’s brunette and occasionally wears glasses so you know she’s the brains of the outfit. As the body count shuffles a little higher she decides to enlist the help of Neil and her friend Michael to try and stop the murders. For backup they have Detective Crenshaw trying to work out what’s going on back at Police HQ. Of course nobody’s better equipped to figure out who a psychopath is than a highschool girl taking a class in the dangers of technology and Jessie, despite already forwarding the chain letter on, tells everyone to send it to her again so that she can do some detective work of her own. With the aid of her glasses and Google she manages to figure out that the chain letter has a virus attached to it that infects cellphones and computers and allows the killer to use them as GPS units. This makes hunting his victims down much easier than in the good old days where killers had to lurk behind bushes for hours in the vague hope of a victim crossing their path. It’s then up to Jessie, Neil and Michael to save the day blah blah blah stop the killer blah blah blah redeem mankind’s belief in the joys of technology blah blah blah.
Chain Letter isn’t good, but it’s the good kind of not good that you can at least cock your head at in confusion and have a good laugh at.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Schools are a combination of socialising and football games. At most students may have 1 class a day.
- Right after water and food a phone is right up there with the basic things needed for a human to survive.
- Men have enormous engines put in their cars in the hopes of enticing gorgeous women.
- Killers who use an excessive amount of chains are helping to keep an entire industry alive.
- High school kids never have parents that live with them.
- The phrase ‘why don’t you come get me?’ should not be thrown around lightly.
- Policemen on the phone sound a lot like telemarketers.
- You don’t put glasses on to read – you put glasses on to think.
CHAIN LETTER TRAILER
BUY CHAIN LETTER AT AMAZON.COM
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
Oddly enough, for a movie called Bunnyman with a psycho killer running around dressed in a bunny suit, this movie wasn’t half bad. It has a sort of Wrong Turn feel to it, but without the rampant inbred lunatics. The guys in this movie are just your regular, run-of-the-mill, possibly slightly inbred lunatics. It’s main failings are in some of the characters the audience is meant to sympathise with, and it’s a problem that befalls many movies like this one: in an attempt to create an atmosphere of tension and fear amongst the characters the outcome is a group of 5 people who are constantly sniping and bitching at one another. But before you make up your mind on whether to watch this or not, let’s have a look at what happens.
As with any great story about a maniac killing off random victims we have to travel out into the middle of absolutely nowhere, miles from civilisation where nothing but desert and a mysterious forest thrives. Evil stalks this part of the world, and that evil is dressed in a bunny suit. He finds young women along the highway and stores them in enormous cooler boxes before letting them run around in an abandoned junk yard where he slowly stalks them for fun. On one particular day the girl hides in the back of his truck, which suits him just fine. He drives out to a little bit of forest, ties her to a tree and the truck and drives off, ripping the poor girl in half before going out to look for more victims.
Fortunately victims are in abundance along the long stretch of empty highway. When our little group of friends tries to overtake the bunnyman’s truck they severely piss him off, whereupon he tries to drive them off the road. They pull over, hoping to apologise for whatever it is they’ve done, but this only seems to infuriate our killer even more. Apparently unable to appease his anger, the bunnyman drives on to set a trap for our little group of co-eds: just a little bit up the track he parks his truck with half of it sticking out into the road. Noticing it too late the kids crash their car in an attempt to avoid the truck and the bunnyman drives on, his day of tormenting these kids having only just begun.
So when one of our little group decides to try and fix the car the bunnyman returns, smashing into the back of the car and crushing the young man underneath. This is when the group figures out that they’ve run into more than just another pissed off trucker and they need to find a phone and try to make it back to civilisation. But the woods are a dangerous place filled with drunken, gun-toting hicks, upside down crosses, bags of human bones hanging from trees, weird log cabins and one oddly seductive woman with serious anger management issues. And, of course, chainsaw wielding lunatics in bunny costumes rarely work alone and our group of constantly bickering friends is about to discover that they’ve walked into a demented family affair and it’s gonna take all their best survival skills to get out of this forest in (literally) one piece.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- If someone tries to drive you off the road you should be sure to apologise for pissing him off.
- Some women have no fight or flight instinct. Their only instinct is to faint.
- The easiest way to check if a car is broken is to see if it’s dirty under the hood.
- There’s always a logical explanation for bags of human bones being hung from trees.
- If you can’t identify whose bones they are it’s perfectly alright to hang them from a tree.
- There’s not much you can do to help a dead friend.
- Even psychopaths in bunny suits listen to classical music to centre themselves before beginning their daily torture rounds.
- Psychopathic women may have their issues but one thing they won’t stand for is a slut.
BUY BUNNYMAN AT AMAZON.COM
Year of Release: 1987
IMDB Rating: 3.7 / 10
Level of Awful: High
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
In my experience the horror genre is a very forgiving one. If you appear in one bad movie it doesn’t mean that you can’t have a prolific career starring in countless other terrible movies. Some people have made a life out of becoming kings and queens of b-grade horror films, so you know something went horribly wrong when not one person in Blood Lake went on to appear in anything else (except one, who had a minor role playing a card dealer). This is perhaps not surprising when one considers that, halfway through making the movie, it would appear that the director, crew, writers and actors all had a stroke and forgot what it was that they were trying to do and what direction they were trying to steer the movie in. The result is 80 minutes or so of absolute confusion, virtually no action and dialogue so incomprehensible that you have no way of following what’s going on.
OK, so our story begins with 6 teenagers going off to a little lake-side house for a holiday. It’s going to be a fun-filled weekend of beer drinking, weed smoking, skiing, boat riding and casual sexing. We’re never told where these kids come from or how old they are so it’s very difficult to judge why exactly they need the weekend away (not that there ever really needs to be an excuse to take a vacation, but it is a horror movie so the need to get away usually fuels some form of back story). Two of the kids are literally children with the boy constantly trying to get into the younger girl’s pants while the other 4 seem to have made some form of arrangement as to who will be sleeping with who prior to arriving at the house. The first 50 minutes of Blood Lake is taken up solidly by scenes of the kids unloading the boat, drinking beer and skiing on the lake. Your patience for sitting through these scenes will not be rewarded because they have absolutely nothing to do with the “horror” that, in the loosest sense, takes up the remaining half hour.
Eventually the people making the movie stopped having their joint stroke and decided that something would have to be done to justify calling the movie Blood Lake and inflicting the horror genre with yet another b-grade nightmare. To do this all that was needed was a middle-aged man with a knife creeping around the house in broad daylight. When two new kids are thrown into the mixture to help pad out the blandness of it all they see the man and attempt to call him out. Thankfully for our killer none of these kids seems to be very athletic and he manages to make a very beige escape by darting off at a gradual pace. Of course no killer in a horror movie worth his salt attacks his victims during the day, so when night descends the closest thing to exciting stuff we’re gonna find in this movie begins. Armed with his knife and night vision goggles he begins stalking the kids with all the agility and skill of an angry hippo, ready to take his revenge on one of the kid’s fathers for a misdeed committed many years ago.
And then the ending happens. You’re not quite sure what is being implied by it or what the hell happened after the killings ended, but it does add to the final conclusion that just because you have a video camera and think you can make a horror film it doesn’t always mean that you should.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- The word ‘man’ should be thrown into a sentence after every 3 words.
- There are only 2 types of women in the world: those that do and those that will.
- Water skiing is easier when you’re in the water.
- Before the invention of video games a quarter could provide hours of entertainment.
- The moon can remain completely full for days at a time.
- Lakes are like wormholes: you can swim right across one and land up 20 feet from where you started.
- The police want you to stay in a house near a brutal murder scene where you may land up being the next victims just in case they have any further questions.
Year of Release: 2003
Genre: Horror / Comedy
IMDB Rating: 4.1 / 10
Level of Awful: Requires Post-Film Lobotomy
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
Let’s start this review off on a good note, shall we? As years of experience have taught me, some of the most effective horror movies ever made have been brilliant not because they contained buckets of blood, ridiculously involved plots or were produced on a budget of millions of dollars – they were brilliant because the premise was simple. Monsturd fulfills all of the above criteria: the ‘gore’ is a distinct shade of brown but doesn’t happen very often, the plot is confused rather than involved, it certainly wasn’t made on a very large budget and the premise is so simple it was scraped off the bottom of a very deep barrel. I know it wasn’t meant to be serious and I am aware that there are people out there that enjoyed it but for me, personally, when the toilet humour actually involves being sucked down into a toilet it all gets a little bit too much. As a precaution to those that may watch this movie it makes ridiculous use of short and stubby scenes, so be prepared to be thrown backwards and forwards from one area to another.
Monsturd is framed as a scary story told by a little girl to her father on a night of an intense red lightning storm. The evil scientists over at Dutech are hatching an evil scheme: to genetically mutate human faeces (or the bacteria in it, I’m not sure) so that it kills people. They will then sell these mutant strains to the government to be used as biological weapons. Meanwhile, over at the local prison, Jack Schmidt, the county’s most notorious serial killer, has managed to escape from prison and is on the run. His reputation as a killer is so great that the FBI has dispatched agent Hannigan, the woman responsible for bringing him to justice in the first place, to investigate. While Schmidt is on the run, we cut back a few times to Dutech where one of the experiments has gone wrong and a scientist has been killed by the bacteria. Not wanting to have his work exposed the head mad scientist, Dr Stern, melts the body in some form of toxic waste that contains the bacteria and dumps the mixture in the sewer system. Sadly for Schmidt, who has been running through the sewers in an attempt to evaid capture, the mixture acts rather like an acid and, when he lands up in a tank of sewer water which has been contaminated by the toxic waste, he melts (or, at least, his skin melts. The skeleton remains completely intact).
Of course, melting our criminal in the first 5 minutes and not doing something with it would make for a rather boring and short movie. Intent on finding out what’s in the sewer system Hannigan orders that tests be run on the water to see if there’s anything unusual in it. The team of scientists discover that in the petri dish brown stock footage of cell replication is being played. From this they deduce that the bacteria dumped into the sewer by Dr Stern has somehow managed to bond with Schmidt’s DNA, thus allowing the fast replicating pile of crap to take on Schmidt’s personality and desire to kill people who dare sit down on a toilet. This desire is soon acted on in an entirely different scene where a rather angry lady (either a wife or a landlady) holding a big knife tells her husband / tenant to go downstairs and clean the toilet. In this movie it would appear that men neither know how to use a toilet or how to clean it: it was a royal mess when he started cleaning and, half-way through the cleaning process, it was all over the walls. Thankfully the monsturd crawled out of the toilet at this point to kill the man and put him out of his ineptitude. And thus begins the reign of terror brought on by the shit man (the movie’s name for him, not mine).
While the shit man stalks the toilets and sewers in pursuit of fresh prey, the local sheriff and Hannigan realise that there’s big trouble in store for the town. For some unexplainable reason the town council doesn’t believe them when they are informed that a homicidal turd has made the sewers its lair and are unwilling to cancel the upcoming chilli fair as it provides the town with about a quarter of its annual income (from this I deduce that either the chilli is REALLY good or the town is REALLY poor). With no support from the upper echelons of local government it falls to Hannigan, some random guy in a truck and some local policemen to do battle against the monster before the townsfolk begin to feel the effects of the chilli contest. But how exactly does one do battle with a giant pile of shit that has decided it wants to capture and eat you? Simple. You gather as much anti-dierrhea medication as you can find, load it into water pistols and let the beast have it! As a finishing touch you also let a million (no more, no less) plastic, snickering flies loose to eat whatever’s left behind. That’s how a true hero defends their town against an angry, murderous pile of shit!
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Children, from an early age, have a natural knowledge of the government’s use of bio-weapons.
- Somewhere in the world there are scientists dedicated to mutating shit.
- If you don’t want anyone to know you’re talking about sex, use doughnut code.
- Arguments with a ventriloquist dummy can become very violent, very quickly.
- Drunks are easily lured with a beer can on a rope.
- People aren’t really surprised when a half-rotten corpse suddenly comes to life and starts screaming.
- Flies are a shit man’s natural enemy.
- A million flies can be easily stored in a cat box.
1983 : Year of Release : 2009
Horror / Thriller : Genre : Horror / Thriller
5.7 / 10 : IMDB Rating : 5 / 10
Surprise! : Level of Awful : Low
Welcome to the B-Horror Blog’s first ever B-Horror Throwdown! The premise is simple: take a cheesy horror movie fitting of this site, find its remake and pit the two against one another. The rules are simple: the original movie is the benchmark that the remake is compared against – is it true to the original? Does it improve on the original? What new elements have been incorporated? Does the remake manage to raise the bar or dive into new depths of cheesy goodness? So many questions to answer and in the end only one can be the winner and the loser needs to have the crap beaten out of it. For the first Throwdown! I have chosen to pit The House on Sorority Row against Sorority Row. The reasoning behind this is that I’d seen the original about a year ago but hadn’t gotten around to watching the remake. This provides the perfect opportunity to judge the new movie against an original that I’ve already formed an opinion of. Plus I got the original in a 4-in-1 bargain pack and that means it automatically qualifies for a place on the B-Horror Blog 🙂
To begin with, these two movies have very little in common with one another other than the premise that they are built on. In House Mrs Slater, the housemother of the Pi Theta sorority, is a bitch that the girls in the house detest. They become particularly pissed off when she forbids them from having a final party for their graduation and decide that they should pull a good old-fashioned sorority prank on her. This prank involves taking her walking stick and leaving it in the middle of the swamp-like swimming pool and holding a gun to her and making her dive in. Lead bitch Vicki (Eileen Davidson of later Days of our Lives fame), however, decides that it will be even more fun if they load the gun and fire some shots off for extra effect. Since one of the great rules of horror is that things like this should never go according to plan one of the bullets lands up hitting Mrs Slater and killing her. The girls decide that they should dispose of the body so that the four years of college education they’ve just completed doesn’t go to waste. This said and done and their party well under way the girls are stalked by a killer intent on taking out those people who killed Mrs Slater (or did they?).
Sorority Row follows its predecessor in that it’s also based around the prank-gone-wrong scenario. This time the girls of Theta Pi sorority (it’s not the same movie if you switch the Greek letters around) are planning on getting even: Megan, one of the sisters, has been cheated on by her boyfriend Garrett. Since being in a sorority apparently means that anything and everything should be done to uphold sisterly honour (I’m not familiar with the Greek system so I’m really just running with it here) the other sisters Jessica (lead bitch), Cassidy (loyal and brave), Chugs (slutty drunk and Garrett’s sister), Claire (shy wannabe of the Asian persuasion) and Ellie (shy redhead) pretend to give Garrett pills to drug Megan to ‘get her in the mood’ (<- Right there! See it? Just set the women’s movement back by at least 20 years!). When Megan begins throwing up everywhere (part of the plan) the girls and Garrett drive out to an old abandoned mine where they pretend that they need to dispose of the body by cutting it up. For fun this is all being recorded on a cellphone. Jessica tells everyone to go and find sharp stones to cut the body up (part of the plan) but Garrett, understandably freaked out, takes a tire iron and punctures Megan’s lung so that her body won’t float in the lake (NOT part of the plan). They then need to actually dispose of the body by throwing it down the abandoned mine’s shaft. 8 months later as the sisters prepare to graduate a killer stalks Theta Pi’s final party killing off the girls and miscellaneous others. Like the girls from House, did Jen & Co. actual kill Megan?
So what are we left with? The House on Sorority Row, much to my surprise, is actually a good movie so long as you can see past the 80s-ness of it. It’s a different take on the slasher genre and it plays out well with all of the girls playing their parts well. And it has clowns – anything with clowns is scary. Sorority Row also isn’t a bad movie, but unfortunately it’s no where near as good as the first one. Ironically it’s the fact that it’s meant to be a ‘re-imagining’ of House that’s its primary problem: had it been given a different name and not leaned on the original it would have been a fairly decent watch. I liked seeing Princess Leah as the housemother Mrs Crenshaw and I liked that the characters were meant to be somewhat related to the characters in the original. I thought that the way they incorporated Mrs Slater’s walking stick in one of the scenes was very well done. I certainly didn’t like Rumer Willis in the role whiny, irritating, crying-every-three-seconds Ellie and the twist to find out who the killer is left me cold. While Sorority Row had some fantastic kills and it certainly brought up the sleaze level to a point an 80s movie just couldn’t aim for I still feel as though it leaves you wanting a little more.
The rules of Throwdown! state that a winner needs to be picked and the loser have the crap beaten out of it. While House on Sorority Row was fun and original, Sorority Row wasn’t unique enough to be a movie in its own right and not close enough to the original to be a decent remake. House on Sorority Row wins this round!
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- You can perform a Caesarean section with nothing but a surgical knife and a candle.
- Contrary to modern times it was considered the norm in the 80s for men to wear micro shorts and for women to wear manly shirts.
- 80s sex involved a lot of groaning with very little movement.
- Two towels are heavy enough to sink a human corpse.
- In case of emergency reach for the knife in the doll’s head.
- A willingness to dispose of your friend’s body shows how much you love your family.
- Being a member of a sorority is similar to making a blood oath with the devil.
- Murdering is a wonderful couple’s activity.
- On a psycho scale 50 crazy bitches is the rough equivalent of one serial killer.
THE HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW TRAILER
SORORITY ROW TRAILER