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.
SANDS OF OBLIVION TRAILER
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
When myself and Tropical Mary get together for a movie night you know we’re gonna go hard hard h-h-h-hard. Throw in a Stygian Mole and the party’s never gonna stop! Since we were in such a hardcore partying mood Rave to the Grave was just a logical choice for the evening’s first movie 😉 Admittedly I haven’t seen the other Return of the Living Dead movies for about 10 years so, if there was any link to the earlier movies floating around in here, I didn’t know about it. I doubt that this is important since this movie has enough of its own daft silliness to distract you. Prepare yourself for brain-hungry zombies, zombie juice, zombie drugs and Krispy Kreme obsessed Interpol agents!
It’s good to see that the black market is still alive and thriving, and now’s as good a time as any to invest in barrels of Trioxin 5. The particularly powerful toxic agent turns people into zombies hungry for brains and there are a number of (presumably) Russians who want to get their hands on it to make sure that no one else is accidentally turned into a member of the walking dead. Thankfully an Eric Roberts look-alike just happens to have a few in his possession and is happy to sell them off if the price is right. The Russians, of course, are a practical people and have acquired the use of a morgue to do a little test run to see if the Trioxin is the genuine product. Four corpses later it turns out that the Trioxin really does work and one of the Russians, the Eric Roberts look-alike and a doctor of questionable morals lands up being broken open for brain snacks.
But too many Russians can make a movie a bit too serious, so we need to take this in a different direction. Off at college Jenny, Julian, Cody and Becky are planning a little rave for Halloween. Julian’s the nephew of the Eric Roberts look-alike and suffers from 3 and a half minutes of intense grief when he finds out about his dear uncle’s untimely death. While raiding the attic at the uncle’s house he discovers a very poorly concealed room behind a very poorly constructed false wall. In the room he comes across the barrels of Trioxin and takes it to Cody to be tested. When our DJ of the Asian persuasion samples a little of the strange contents and goes on a little trip Cody decides to drain the barrel and turn it into a drug to make a little extra cash. This, despite the fact that they have no idea what’s in the barrel, the barrel is military issue, it has a biohazard sign on it and a digital lock. These can’t possibly be warning signs after all…
Admittedly the Trioxin tablets, known as ‘Z’ to the hip druggie kids on the street, do send people on quite a trip when taken in small doses. Unfortunately, in the long run, it has the unpleasant side effect of turning the user into a walking corpse with a taste for brains. The transformation happens faster when the dosage is increased. Since raves are not the drug-free and safe-sex haven that some of us believe them to be a rather sizeable portion of the assembled party goers begins to turn and start looking for their next batch of brain noms. Human skulls seem to be reasonably simple to open so the zombies just go nuts and, since its Halloween, everyone else just thinks it’s awesome makeup until it’s too late. It’ll take everything Julian, Jenny and two Interpol agents dressed as lady vikings have in them to bring this terrible outbreak to an end.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Women are prone to driving their cars into their swimming pools.
- Drunk college kids are not overly different to lemmings running off a cliff.
- Fivety-five is now considered a legitimate number.
- If you can’t trust you’re drug dealer you can’t trust anyone.
- Dragons are getting tighter.
- Brains are now located in the penis.
- Pieces of skull and a clump of hair counts as zombie roughage.
- The brain and the ear have major arteries running through them.
- The human skull has a little trapdoor at the back for easy brain access.
RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD: RAVE TO THE GRAVE TRAILER
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
OK, I’m gonna put an idea out there and you can all tell me what you think. Four things made this movie standout when I first heard about it: 1) It’s made by the Asylum, 2) its leading ladies are Carmen Electra and 3) Brooke Hogan and, of course, 4) it’s about a giant 2-headed man-eating shark! Now, when one considers all these things, one might expect that this would be a belly full of laughs from beginning to end. One may just be disappointed. Perhaps it’s because I watched it back-to-back with Terror at Blood Fart Lake and nothing was going to compare with the awesome insanity of that movie but this little nautical nightmare just wasn’t as much fun as I was hoping for. Don’t get me wrong, it’s highly amusing to watch, but it just doesn’t have that b-grade x-factor that would let it go down in memory as a totally satisfying experience.
Now, if I understand this movie correctly (which is difficult since it all just seems so unlikely), Charlie O’Connell is a university professor taking his class out to sea to investigate something or other. What they’re investigating hardly seems important since they can’t even master the use of a compass, so we’re not really expecting them to turn out to be anything spectacular later on in life. He’s accompanied by his wife Carmen Electra, a brilliant doctor who’s dedicated her time to help any wary sailor out and cure whatever it is that may be ailing them. Everything’s going wonderfully until the boat manages to get a dead shark lodged in its propellers, bring the little exploratory expedition to an end. Thankfully there’s an atoll (which isn’t really an atoll) nearby where the group hopes they can salvage some materials to fix the boat.
The boat’s been a little bit more damaged than the group initially realises since the shark lodged in the propeller blades soon became a snack for the massive 2-headed mutant swimming around these waters. Being a rather messy and enthusiastic eater the 2-header smashed the boat’s hull and the ship’s starting to take on water and any of the crew members who try to fix it end up mysteriously eaten. Back on the atoll the students are doing there utmost best to be morons and go about being general asses and bitches. Some lesbian experimentation and threesome action comes to an abrupt halt when all concerned land up being eaten (although not in the way the one guy originally intended). Oh yeah, and the atoll’s sinking. The group’s gonna have to hustle themselves and fix the boat quickly before the land disappears from underneath them.
Thankfully Brooke Hogan’s here to save the day. Now, it’s not so much that she’s a genius as the rest of the group would lose a spelling bee to an amoeba but, in times of mutant shark attacks and atoll sinkings, one cannot afford to be picky. With her mannish good looks, straw-blonde hair and breasts that are forever threatening to fall out of her bikini, Brooke successfully manages to fix three separate boats AND figure out what’s drawing the sharks’ attention. It would appear that the creature’s two heads make it more sensitive to noise in the water, thus making it rather tricky to escape by boat. With land becoming an increasingly rare commodity and spare students that can be used as shark snacks running out Brooke and Co. will have to find a way of either teleporting off the island, sinking the main boat to send out a distress beacon or pull together a MacGyver-style plan to kill the 2-headed beast.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- It’s better to be safe than someone’s dinner.
- You have no chance of surviving at sea without a long, pointy stick.
- An all-over tan requires that a woman’s breasts be thrust forward at all times.
- Women are constantly on edge, just waiting for a man to dare them to strip naked.
- A woman only gets a limited number of chances to be a lesbian in her lifetime.
- Being eaten by a shark is not the ideal way to get a threesome going.
- Good quality lighters will continue to work even after being submerged for hours at a time.
- A small metal net and half a barrel of gas is all you need to electrocute the entire ocean.
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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.
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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.