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:
First off, I’d like to apologise for my recent silence and lack of reviews. I’m in a mad, desperate rush to submit my MA dissertation before the end of the year, and my guess is that it’s gonna get a whole lot worse before it gets better, but I’m gonna try to update things as often as possible. All work and no play makes James a dull boy, after all 😉
Anyways, what to say about Seance: The Summoning. In all the years I’ve been watching shitty horror I’ve never come across a movie quite like this one. To say that it was a rollercoaster to watch is an understatement, and at no point did I ever know how to feel about what I was watching. It’s either one of the most bigoted movies against Christianity ever made, or it’s one of the greatest pieces of Christian propaganda that’s not so cleverly masquerading as a horror movie. At points it’s painful to watch, other times it’s a fun b-movie, and there are also times when you feel it’s pulling itself together nicely. The actors seemed to learn how to act as they went along, so on that front it starts painfully and ends somewhere that’s slightly above average. On the whole I really just don’t know how to feel, but for putting me through so many ups and downs I declare it to be a High Level of Awful. Take that movie crew et al.!
Sara is a delightful born again Christian girl who just wants to make the world a better place through Christ’s love. To do this, she’s going to help her friend Eva out with a seance. Because Jesus wants you to summon up the spirits of the damned. Eva comes from a long line of psychic mediums who have perfected their craft over the generations. Her grandmother was burned as a witch by the Catholic Church, but those were less tolerant times and you make do with the hand you’ve been dealt. While the two girlfriends are sitting in a park chatting about life Eva decides to give Sara a tarot card reading. What follows is the most vague and subjective insight into the nether realms you’ve ever heard, but it serves to inform us that, before being reborn, Sara was a very, VERY bad girl. Not that that should come back to haunt her or anything later on…
The girls meet up with Joey and Marcus in the park, whereupon they hatch this ingenious plan: they’ll drive a hearse to the morgue for uncollected bodies (hobos, druggies, prostitutes etc., so you know these are some angry spirits) and hold a seance after they’ve inspected the corpse freezer. Joey, in addition to being a security guard at said morgue, is busy doing his unspecified degree in something paranormal and wants to record Eva contacting the dead. Marcus is a stone cold atheist and is only tagging along because a) he wants to bang Lisa and b) if Eva can’t summon up a spirit, she has to dance in a bikini at all of his DJ gigs for a specified amount of time that I can’t quite recall. I reiterate: awesome plan guys!
Now, as every reasonable person knows, it’s never a party until someone goes home devastated. In the process of summoning the dead it comes out that Marcus isn’t so much an atheist as he is a closeted psychic. It explains so much really. With the secret out and his friends telling him that it’s OK, that they don’t care if he’s interested in talking to the dead, and that there’s nothing to be ashamed of because he was born that way, the resident evil spirit (see what I did there?) sees a soft target and possesses him. Armed with the powers of hell and an ability to roll his ‘r’s with such power it would intimidate the most hardened latino, Marcus is intent on controlling the whole world. It’ll be up to Eva and Sara to use a concoction of psychic power and Christianity (and a little rubber tubing) to banish this evil back to the hole it crawled out of.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- No seance is complete without some Satanic apple juice.
- Satan has his own brand of seance-ready candles.
- Blondes think that a red flashing light is the highest form of security for a building.
- Sending a woman with a camera to a toilet next to the corpse freezer in a morgue is an excellent way to come on to her.
- Why does a morgue for unclaimed bodies need a family waiting area?
- Good Christian girls have a really powerful right hook.
- There’s nothing more unattractive than a closeted spirit channeler.
- There’s no high quite as good as an embalming fluid high.
- Demons are trained to be back up strippers in case times get tough in Hell.
- Never tell a demon your secrets – he’ll be running all over town airing your dirty laundry.
- In the event of friend’s demonic possession, sex is your best weapon against them.
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
It’s been a long time since Tropical Mary and I went along with the hero Odysseus to the Isle of Mists as part of our mini collection of historically inaccurate movies. This movie wasn’t even supposed to be like that; I just wanted a Syfy Original to accompany The Asylum’s Nazis at the Center of the Earth. If one studio can be so much fun, surely the two back to back can only be even more fun (infinitely funner, in fact)? Well, fun it was! Made when Syfy still spelt its name properly, Sands of Oblivion comes from the golden age of Syfy movies. It’s stupidly ridiculous with far too much attempted manship and far too little acting, the plot’s wafer thin and the Egyptian god Anubis is running around California. It’s a b-movie fan’s wet dream really…
So we want to tell a tale about a wrathful Egyptian god killing off young archaeologists in modern-day California. This was the concept that the makers of this little film wanted to run with, so somehow we need to get said wrathful Egyptian deity to the good old US of A. They accomplish this by taking us back to 1923 to the set of Cecil DeMille’s movie The Ten Commandments. I myself haven’t seen this silent beauty but I gather that they needed a lot of Egyptian props for it. In the deserts of California DeMille constructed a remarkable set on which to film his movie, with a number of the props looking remarkably authentic. On the set a young John Tevis buries a few of the movie’s trinkets in a time capsule, hoping that, 1000 years from now, some other young explorer may come across it.
Or something to that effect at the very least. Flash forward a few decades and we land up in the present day where Alice Carter and her team of student archaeologists are excavating the old movie set. John, now well into the Autumn of his life, and his suave and studly grandson Mark are also running around trying to find the old man’s time capsule. Now at first I was wondering why a team of archaeologists would be excavating an old movie set, but then we’re told that it’s because the tides are about to come in and flood the desert. I was still confused about the excavation, and now I was wondering where the hell the ocean was going to come in from. Anyways the old man finds the box but accidentally falls into one of the set’s rooms, breaking an ancient binding spell and unleashing a very angry (and corpsey) Anubis on the sands of California.
Now, prior to hitting play on this movie, I had already come to terms with the fact that the director and his team would not have the knowledge or will to check Wikipedia and understand that Anubis was neither a malevolent nor corpse-like divinity. Fact of the matter here is that he’s angry as hell and out to kill as many young archaeologists as he possibly can. In addition to pure brute force one of the main ways that he will do this is by unleashing the ten Biblical Egyptian plagues. Why an Egyptian deity would unleash Christian plagues is something that makes absolutely no sense, but I put this little pondering aside as well and continued to watch the movie. Alice and Mark will have to find a way of defeating Anubis in a way that seems to have been made up as the movie went along. It makes little to no sense, but again the sheer ridiculousness of it makes it an absolute must watch.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- The Egyptians were big fans of using decorative pentagrams.
- Blowing up an entire crate of phosphorous will only result in some mild charring of the immediate area.
- An ancient deity can be quite easily contained in a wooden shed.
- Ex husbands are easily tempted by the promises of malevolent Egyptian spirits.
- Archaeologists don’t want to hear about the boils on your ass.
- Drawing a Wadjet eye free hand won’t yield good results.
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
Let’s all be honest with one another right from the get go: this movie’s title really gives away the fact that you’re not meant to take it seriously. Since it falls on the ‘Lobotomy’ end of the Level of Awful scale it ranks itself right up there with the absolute worst of the worst but, at the same time, gives you one of the best laughs you’ll ever have. I literally nearly wet myself a few times during the movie’s 70-odd minute run. It’s a cautionary tale about choosing your vacation destination’s name wisely, the power of Evanescence in the goth community and the need to be careful when allowing Tim Burton near your anal cavity.
If one thing rings true about today’s youth it’s that they’re always ready to flock to an attractively named holiday resort. To be honest, of the 6 main characters we have to keep our eye on, I can only remember Gwen’s name. The reason for this is that, rather than running around a lake on holiday, Gwen should be institutionalised and subjected to electric shock therapy until she sorts some of her shit out. You wouldn’t think that one woman could live her life in a constant state of dancing and jazz hands. The rest of the group is made up of a very ungothic goth chick, a guy from New Jersey whose mouth moves but nothing resembling words come out, a stoner wigger New Jersey guy light, a guy who makes and sells shirts and another girl with ample bosoms (and ample everything else).
Trying to explain the storyline (what little there is) is an exercise in futility. Instead allow me to regale you with some dialogue from our dear, beloved characters:
“Can’t I just kill a squirrel and use that as a rubber?”
“Do you practice the dark arts? And listen to Evanescence?”
“I had a dream that you were rubbing Toblerone all over my asshole. Then Tim Burton popped up… and scurried away into my anal cavity.”
“Cling tenaciously to my ass!”
“It was good, but I reject the taste of your syrup. A warrior woman must be purified with only the finest nut butter before battle.”
So yeah, that should give you a clue of what you’re up against if you choose to go forward with watching this movie. Thrown into the mix is a cursed and very gay scarecrow, amateur liposuction, a varied selection of $1 wigs and fake moustaches, incredibly sharp corn, scenes that go a little bit further than softcore porn, people constantly popping out the floor, driving passed Jupiter on our way to Blood Fart Lake and women trained in the fine art of using sabre-toothed ass leeches to defeat her enemies. Another word of caution: there isn’t a single attractive person in this movie, no matter what preference you may have.
I don’t know what else to say. This isn’t one of those movies that words could ever do justice for. It will do unspeakable things to your mind, it’ll make you question every belief you’ve ever held and it will ruin Toblerones for you for the rest of your life. Even with all that, I still recommend you grab a copy and give it a watch. Just don’t do it alone – this is best done as a group effort so you can help each other get off the floor when it’s all over.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- A full bladder of urine can easily be turned into a full tank of petrol.
- A broken car engine can be fixed by unscrewing a single screw in the car’s hood.
- An evening of eats and wild tomfoolery is now limited to a few dry crackers and telling ghost stories.
- Things can be as square as a rhombus.
- Kernels of corn can be used with brutal and bloody efficiency.
- Fat people’s bodies are made up of a combination of blood and whipped cream with roughly 1 part blood to 30 parts whipped cream.
- Certain lakes don’t make you wet when you swim in them.
- Tibetan monks are currently training an army of sabre-toothed ass leech-wielding warriors.
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Year of Release: 2005
IMDB Rating: 4 / 10
Level of Awful: High
WHAT ITS ABOUT:
A little bit like Blood Dolls but only worse, director Charles Band has managed once again to rehash a concept that was better left untouched after they got it right with Puppet Master. To be fair, the movie probably could have been saved if it was about 20 minutes longer (the entire movie clocks in at 71 minutes), had better actors, a higher budget, better locations, a different script and a different plot line. The acting especially left me cold on this one; the characters are SO bad and irritating that you land up being cheerleaders for the dolls just so that you have one less irritating college cliché to deal with. The tagline may be ‘Reborn for Revenge’, but looking at the acting in this piece of cheese, I vote that it should be changed to ‘Reborn to do us all a favour’.
We start our magical little tale of pint-sized murder in Chicago, 1911. Little Sophia sits on the floor playing with her handmade dolls before accidentally breaking an antique vase. Her bat-eared abusive father hears the vase break and comes downstairs to investigate. After threatening to beat her he decides that the only punishment that will fit this crime is to force Sophia to dig a grave deeper than she is tall and bury the dolls. Once she has finished the task and begins to climb out she loses her footing and falls back into the grave, breaking her neck. Her father, presumably not wanting to be caught for murder, buries her alongside the dolls, where the 5 of them enjoy delightful afterlife tea parties until they can be set loose on the world.
Unfortunately the movie decides to skip ahead 94 years so we can see what happens when the dolls come to life. In 2005 the property is now inhabited by dad Lester, older daughter Deedee and young son Guy. Guy’s your typical b-movie geek who likes to sit in his room, collect mint-condition action figures and hide Hustler magazines under his bed. To add to his collection of collectible collectibles, he stumbles across one of Sophia’s dolls while out raking the yard and decides to bring it inside to be cleaned. Meanwhile Lester is preparing to go on a date and Deedee is planning on having some friends over. Deedee and her two girlfriends Olivia and Terri make up the time-honoured b-movie female trio: Deedee is the bitch, Olivia is the blonde slut and Terri is the embodiment of virginal innocence. Added to this mixture are the two usual jocks: Jock # 1 (Rich) is the misogynistic, beer-drinking, sleep-with-anything-that-moves kinda guy, while Jock # 2 (Tom) is the more sensitive and sensible kinda guy, as well as Deedee’s boyfriend.
Unfortunately for our group of friends Jocks #1 & #2 decide to tie Guy up when they crash the girl’s party, unleashing Sophia and her dolls’ fury who then go after everyone in the group in order to defend Guy against being hurt in the same way that Sophia was. The group of dolls is made up of a tribal warrior, a samurai, a baby girl in desperate need of a dentist’s appointment and a German soldier who together lead the audience through surprisingly few murders, completely stupid antics and the spirit of a little girl who only wants to possess the body of a little boy and live for all eternity while commanding her army of 4 brutish little dolls.
THINGS I’VE LEARNED:
- A girls’ night out actually involves staying home.
- You should only phone 911 as an absolute last resort.
- 911 doesn’t take you seriously if you tell them you’re being attacked by dolls.
- Dolls and children should always be buried separately or else the dolls will become possessed.
- Despite being made of plastic, dolls drool a lot.
- The sounds of screaming don’t carry in a medium-sized house. AT ALL.
- Once you have hit a doll that has attacked you, the best plan is to sit down and wait for it to scurry away.
- Not wanting to sleep with 814 men makes you close-minded.
- When a doll is about to shoot you, it would be very considerate if you could stand up straight to give it the best possible shot.
- Never run out of the house when you know the killers are in the same room as you.
- When a killer doll is staring you in the face, compliment him on his physique.
- Despite the fact that the dolls only come up to your ankles, don’t try to kick them out of your way to make your escape. Rather stand in a group and wait for them to just take you out.