WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
Lately I’ve come up against a bit of a brick wall so far as my reviews are concerned. I’ve watched so many movies in the past month, but they’ve all ended up being direly boring and I couldn’t think of a single way to write reviews for any of them (although the good Lord knows I’ve tried). It might just be that my standards have dropped, or I was just so desperate to write about something that my mind is making it all up, but I actually found this to be a decent and passable horror movie. It’s certainly not original, it doesn’t try to shake anything up and it doesn’t try to elicit any kind of emotional response from the audience, but as a standard haunted house story it works in the sense that what it does, it does well. I wouldn’t recommend rushing out to get your hands on a copy, but if it happens to come on TV sometime and you haven’t anything better lined up, give it watch. You may end up being mildly entertained.
In a move that may briefly leave you confused and mistakenly thinking that you’re watching Grave Encounters, the movie opens with us following the crew of a ghost hunting show. The show’s a little old school and is made up primarily of stock footage that they’ve green-screened their rather smarmy and pony-tailed host in front of. Since nobody appreciates a classic anymore, the ratings for the show have started to dip tremendously, and the producers are threatening to axe the show unless something is done. Enter the man who knows buzzwords! In his opinion the show needs to take on some elements from reality TV shows (no it doesn’t – nothing EVER needs to take points from reality shows. EVER.) and place the producer in the haunted houses and record his overly dramatic responses. So essentially they’re going to make it into Ghost Adventures.
The powers behind the show have found the absolutely perfect house! It’s set in a lovely neighbourhood, plenty of room for a family, fresh coat of paint, slave lodgings, the works! It also has a terrible history of people going missing as soon as they set foot inside of it, and the neighbours keep complaining about disembodied voices pleading for mercy, but it’s nothing that a new lamp and a mild exorcism won’t take care of. When the crew arrives there’s nobody there to open up for them; thankfully the movie’s a bit racist and has equipped its only black character with the skills to pick locks and a desire to break into white folks’ homes. It’s all a bit strange inside though: why is there a fully stocked fridge in a house that’s been abandoned since before the 1950s? Why is it so spotlessly clean? Why is the psychic they brought with them bleeding out of her eyes? Nobody seems particularly concerned with these questions, so it’s on with the show they go.
It becomes quite apparent quite quickly that this isn’t one of those fake haunted houses – there is some genuine malevolent shit going on in there. Unfortunately the crew is headed up by the biggest asshole of a producer that a film has ever dared to create, so despite the fact that people are disappearing into the walls he absolutely forbids anyone to abandon their posts. As it turns out it isn’t that the house has evil spirits in it – the house itself is the evil spirit. To survive it literally eats its victims in order to maintain itself (gorgeous wallpaper and a meticulously clean crystal chandelier come at a cost, you know), and it isn’t interested in letting any of its new meals out. It’ll be up to the bleeding-eye psychic, a black dude and a melted corpse to solve the case if there’s any hope of them living to see the sun rise again.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Haunted houses are known to spin people right round (baby, right round, like a record baby right round, round round).
- Haunted houses have no right to go around giving themselves fresh coats of paint.
- When the ratings for your TV show are down, it calls for life threatening situations to revitalise them.
- It’s supernaturally dangerous when a haunted house’s pleasure to pain ratios are too high.
- The colour of the ectoplasm you find indicates the level of malevolence you are dealing with.
- It’s very important to routinely check your psychic for hairballs to ensure optimum health.
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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, it had been a while since I last watched a good, old-fashioned end of the world movie. Since I promised the people at Syfy that I’d watch one of their movies to thank them for the upcoming Aladdin and the Death Lamp and Pegasus VS Chimera (a Tweet to which I got no response 😦 ), I decided to take a shot on Collision Earth. The result? WOW! Just WOW! I love me some questionable science in a disaster movie, but this little baby took it to hitherto unknown levels. I will try my best to demonstrate the lunacy that was this movie throughout my review, but should you ever feel the need to watch the most horrifying attempts at astronomy in a movie at some point in the future, make sure you have a copy of this on stand by for when the moment takes you.
The year is 2011 and mankind is about to take its first steps on the planet Mercury. Why Mercury of all planets remained a mystery to me since it’s not really anything other than a hot Moon, but I decided to run with it and see where the movie wanted to take me. Onboard the spaceship are three people: Veronica, a jack-of-all-space-trades and master of the universe, and two people who don’t matter cause they die relatively early on. These three will never have the honour of being the first humans on Mercury because, just as they arrive at the planet, the Sun sends out a giant solar flare that blasts the ship and the smallest planet in the solar system. This blast leaves the Asian contingent of the space mission dead and the ship in a bit of a bruised state, but that’s gonna be the least of their worries in a minute.
You see, it wasn’t actually a solar flare. For a very brief second the Sun transformed from a normal star into a magnetar. The flare was actually a burst of magnetic radiation that not only knocked Mercury out of its orbit, but also magnetised the entire planet. Since Earth has a strong magnetic field, it begins to draw Mercury towards it, setting us up for a series of catastrophic and preposterous events. Now, to digress for a moment, I would like to address the moment when people realise that Mercury is on the move. Rogue astronomer James, upon noticing that Mercury isn’t where it was a few hours ago, shouts out “A planet doesn’t just move”.
Upon hearing this I actually paused the movie to fight with the TV. Why? Because planets do move, and they move in a number of different ways. They’re rotating on their own axes all the time. While they’re doing that they’re rotating around the sun. The gods were merciful by not placing us in a binary star system, because I don’t think I’d have the energy to school the movie on how that works as well. I never thought I’d live to see the day where I heard dialogue like that, but here we are. Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, as you can well imagine, the government is in no way capable of protecting us from Mercury’s collision, and it will fall to James to find a way to save us all. He will be aided by two college students with a pirate radio capable of sending messages to Mercury, an agoraphobic and socially awkward scientist side-kick, his wife, who is busy flying around Mercury, and a weaponised asteroid built for just such an occassion. Interspersed amongst all of these characters will be even more scientific fallacies, some jaw-dropping CG and some recycled footage from Ice Twisters. Enjoy!
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Judging from the controls, flying a spaceship isn’t overly different to playing an Xbox.
- Spaceships are so fast they can outrun solar flares.
- Despite it being a complete vacuum, fires regularly occur in space.
- Only YOU can help save the Earth from a meteor collision.
- The sun is fully capable of changing the kind of star it is and then switching right back again.
- A car can protect you from a high-speed, interstellar meteor shower.
- Astronomers are utterly astonished when planets move in space.
- Astronauts are trained to sling shot space ships around magnetised planets, just in case the situation ever calls for it.
- Power surges make the same sound as old dial-up modems.
- Our solar system is just crammed to capacity with weaponised asteroids.
- They don’t teach you how to tie people up in astronomy school.
- No security convoy can match the strength of an Asian woman with a tyre iron.
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
For anyone that has never set foot in the beautiful city of Cape Town, you’ll never know quite how miserable our winter can be. After 5 months of glorious summer and a very brief autumn when the leaves begin to fall, you’re suddenly lurched into the next 4 months of non-stop cold, wind and, thanks to the wind, rain that comes at you sideways. In this kind of situation, there’s really only one option: hide out at Tropical Mary‘s house with Jersey Shore Shark Attack and wait for the storm to ride itself out. I’m not going to advocate that this movie is any good, because that would be a blatant lie, but for anyone who has had the misfortune of being subjected to MTV’s Jersey Shore then this is an absolute must-watch. With tongue planted firmly in cheek, this movie goes about ripping off a bunch of orange oompa loompas while throwing some albino sharks in for good measure. How could you say no to that?
It’s a tough day down on the Jersey Shore. A tangerine Nooki suspects that her ex-boyfriend Gino ‘The Complication’ Moretti (because, apparently, whenever he’s around, situations with members of the opposite sex become complicated) has been cheating on her (how an ex-boyfriend can cheat on you raises several questions that I couldn’t answer, so I’m just gonna assume it’s a guido thing). Her suspicions are apparently confirmed when we switch to a shot of him in bed in nothing but his boxers whilst a topless female sleeps next to him. He throws her out on the balcony with nothing but a pillow to protect her modesty, but Nooki’s a smart bird and thinks that something’s up when she discovers a lace bra in The Complication’s bed. Things just got complicated.
You know things are going to go into a bit of a downward spiral whenever Dylan Vox (of Vampire Boys, Aliens VS Avatars and various gay porn movies fame) appears on the scene, and lo and behold there he was in a golf shirt with a popped collar. Now you know that shit’s gonna go down. In an unexpected educational turn I learned that creatures on the Jersey Shore are fiercely territorial, with Vox and his preppy crowd fighting desperately to keep Nooki and her carrot-coloured people on their half of the beach. Through this series of informative events we are introduced to the rest of Nooki’s people: she’s got her pals J-Moni and BJ, while The Complication likes to hang out with Donnie and Paulie Balzac. Before he’s eaten, the boys were also friendly with a guy called JP who, despite being quite regular in size, is constantly referred to as a midget.
Well, that more or less covers the ‘Jersey Shore’ part of the movie’s title; let us now move on to the actual shark attack. In an attempt to improve the Jersey Shore and attract a more wealthy and classy kind of visitor (hence the growing number of preppy hipsters), the town has begun drilling just off shore. Drilling for what I’m not entirely certain, but it hardly seems all that important. The point is is that the drilling has been sending tsunami-like sound waves out across the bay and colliding with a crystalline cave full of albino sharks. The sharks, who are seemingly very keen listeners, follow these sound waves back to their point of origin. When they arrive at the Shore (keep an eye on them swimming – I’m pretty sure it’s just recycled Sharktopus footage) they begin to eat everyone in sight. It’ll fall to The Complication to defeat the preppies, win Nooki’s love, save the entire Jersey Shore population and defeat the sharks once and for all. Just another day in the life of a guido.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- New in Jersey Shore fashion: Jersey Shorts (kickass butt not included).
- It’s fine to do you, but you should never do it in public.
- Sharks are a lot like whales, just with fins.
- The bigger the vibration, the bigger the shark attack.
- Any semi-capable police station has a well stock armoury right next to its kitchenette.
- Present tense: to drown. Past tense: to drownded.
- Present tense: to drive. Past tense: to drove.
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