WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
Every now and then you need to get together and celebrate the works of a fallen sister; it’s for this reason that Tropical Mary settled on watching The Legend of Bloody Mary with me – I was just there for the emotional support. Turns out we needed a fair bit of it, because this movie was both horrible and, for the most part, highly non-sensical. Take my word for it – it can be very difficult watching a ‘current day’ scenario running alongside a protracted flashback, both of which have another flashback embedded in them. This confusing scenario is tethered together with some atrocious acting, oddly placed mini-skirts, a skate boarder who never skates, and the rampant abuse of a blue filter that serves no purpose whatsoever. Watch it if you dare!
It’s a tale as old as time: Amish girl gets pregnant by “immaculate conception”, town fathers hold an inquiry, no one owns up to impregnating girl, town fathers conclude it was immaculate conception – but by the devil, girl is punished for her vanity by being tied to a tree, cut with knives and forced to look at herself in a mirror while it’s happening, douche lord that actually impregnated girl does the most stabbing, girl succumbs to wounds and Hell’s fury, girl’s spirit becomes entrapped in the mirror and haunts stupid teenage girls for the rest of time. Her spirit will roam the world’s mirrors forever, her gradually decaying flesh calling out in a raspy voice that all she actually wants is some camphor cream and a lozenge. That is the story of Mary Worth.
Flash forward to the present day and meet Ryan (or Brian, we couldn’t really decide). Ryan’s about as interesting as a plank of wood and as useful as a knife with a sharp handle. Thankfully, although he’s nominally the main character of the movie, he actually has very little to do with all of it. His sister Amy was killed when the two of them were kids (and, despite him being a white, blue-eyed adult, when he was a green-eyed, hispanic child). Since then he’s been haunted by nightmare visions of Bloody Mary, so he enlists the help of Father O’Neil (aka Indiana Jehovah). Indiana Jehovah is as useless as Ryan/Brian, and the majority of his scenes are spent focussing on his eyes for reasons that aren’t immediately apparent.
The majority of the story, if that’s what we choose to call it, happens during the flashback to Amy’s encounters with Mary. Essentially it’s all a teenage game gone wrong (which is probably how Mary landed up pregnant in the first place): by writing her name, and the names of her friends, on a mirror, Amy has invoked Bloody Mary’s wrath, and she’s out to get all of them. To do so, Mary transforms into some of her more hi-tech alter egos, including Thrust Pack Mary, Hoverboard Mary, and Hover Shoes Mary. In some bizarre way this loops back to the present day and somehow involves a mass grave, some diaries from the 1600s, Mary’s mirror, and the most inept game of hot potato you’re ever likely to see. All of which, I must reiterate, could’ve been avoided if someone just gave the demonic bitch a lozenge.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- American Green Cards allow a person to change their race.
- 1 corpse is enough to designate an area as a mass grave.
- Carbon dating can be done in a single day.
- Games can have placebo effects.
- Nothing says casual Friday like a professional mini-skirt.
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
Usually I like to watch movies that I know will hurt me; I’m slightly masochistic that way. There are other times, however, where it’s the thrill of not knowing how things are going to pan out that excite me. Chernobyl Diaries presented me with the perfect opportunity to act out on these feelings. I know I’m a bit late to the party, but I hadn’t read any reviews or seen any trailers for it, so I was going in blind. With a 5.1 IMDB rating I figured I had a 50/50 chance of either being entertained or badly hurt, and I was pretty alright with it either way. On the whole it’s not a bad movie. It certainly gives off that ‘I’m sure we’ve been here before’ vibe, and clearly the budget wasn’t going to allow anyone to make it rain, but more or less it came together quite nicely. UNTIL THE ENDING. God, I wanted to throw something through the screen. If you decide to watch this, turn it off 10 minutes before it’s about to end and you’ll walk away having had a fairly pleasant experience. If you don’t do that, have a good pair of hard-heeled shoes at the ready and warm up your throwing arm.
Answering the great philosophical question ‘whatever happened to Jesse McCartney?’, he rocks up as Chris, a love-struck young man on holiday through the Eastern Bloc with his girlfriend Natalie and her friend Amanda. It’s a whirlwind tour of all the things the former USSR and her satellite nations have to offer, leading up to their visit to Kiev in the Ukraine where they’ll meet up with Paul, Chris’ brother. The plan was to go to Moscow after Kiev, but a night of drinking changes things slightly. As a cautionary tale, proving that nothing good will come of a story that happened on a drunken night and that starts with ‘I met a guy named Yuri…’, the quartet decide to head off on a little ‘extreme tourism’ detour to the town of Prypiat.
Now, Prypiat has a bit of a sad history. Located just outside of Chernobyl, the town was evacuated when the reactor went critical and families lost everything they had ever owned (which, behind the Iron Curtain, probably wasn’t an awful lot). Our quartet, lead by a decidedly gruff and stereotypical man named Yuri, are joined by a viking maiden named Zoe and an Australian fellow named Michael. It’s all fun and games breaking into the Exclusion Zone, playing with some mutated fish and checking for sporadic spikes in radiation levels, but there’s obviously the human angle that we need to pay attention to. The place is utterly desolate, with only the fish, a really rotten dog, one giant bear and a giant picture of Stalin on a wall to testify to the place’s existence. But when the group gets back to the van, all the wires have been disconnected a bit too efficiently to be the work of the fish, even if they had the bear helping them…
From this point the situation escalates rather rapidly and the group is plummeted into the very pits of hell and desperation. Clearly the budget wasn’t so great that we could actually get a glimpse of the monsters, but suffice to say that not everyone left Prypiat when the town was evacuated. In that time they’ve learned how to disable cars, have become horribly mutated and have lost all notions of basic house keeping. It’s all fairly standard The Hills Have Eyes stuff from here on out, with a little sprinkling of Wrong Turn thrown in for good measure, all done in a ‘kind of like, but not quite, found footage’ style. Take it or leave it, it’s a fairly decent way to spend 85 minutes if you’ve already washed your hair that night and shampooed your goldfish for the week.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Extreme doses of radiation are completely safe so long as you’re around them for less than a day.
- It’s easier to understand Ukrainian than it is to understand an Australian accent.
- No great date should end until someone’s been mauled by a radioactive bear.
- Mutants in the former USSR aren’t afraid to eat a border guard. They’re hardcore that way.
- Ukrainian medical advice indicates that running around inside the Chernobyl reactor is dangerous to your health.
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
Another day, another glorious Historically Inaccurate Movie with Tropical Mary. Up until this point Cyclopshad always been the one to beat, but this one may have taken the crown. There was clearly a budget to put this thing together and someone, somewhere, had a vague enough knowledge of Greek myth to get some aspects of the movie right. That it isn’t based on a particular myth may have helped it along somewhat, but it’s been a long time since I’ve laughed as hard as I did at this movie.
If for no other reason, you need to buy / rent this movie to watch the first scene. I don’t know why it was as funny as it was, but it involved a small village being invaded by a rival realm. Some blonde female is busy being attacked when the good guys rock up and save her. 3 seconds later she comes in from left-field, galloping like an injured horse (no, really), waving a sword in the air and screaming like a banshee. We must’ve rewound it about 8 times just to watch over and over again. I thought I was going to pee. But enough of that silliness, it’s time to move onto the even more silly polluted stream of consciousness that this movie brought about.
- TMG presents: some guys from the Eastern Bloc.
- These are the king’s men. Behind them are all of the king’s horses. Humpty Dumpty was nowhere to be seen.
- Galloping horse bitches be crazy.
- We present, for your consideration, Herr Ünter-Bite.
- I think the main dude’s name is Quilintos.
- Nothing says Ancient Greece like some slow-mo flies.
- She’s spinning right round baby, right round, like a discus baby, right round, round round.
- Hades will take her as a bride. Poor Persephone.
- Why Tartaros? What could this poor woman have done that necessitates Nemesis being her eternal prison warden?
- Spirits will find their bodies like flies find a rotting corpse.
- Apparently the Underworld’s ferryman is named Sharon.
- “This semen spawn is not my wife!”
- The Underworld is now a Cerberus-free zone.
- You can rest when you’re alive.
- Herr Ünter-Bite leads from the chin.
- Wait… maybe the main guy’s name is Cleatus.
- We present, for your consideration, No Calves Cleatus.
- Holy shit, how does Cleatus actually manage to walk with those calves?
- Arrow dipped in snake’s blood = dead Hades.
- Oh dear, this one’s bleeding oil.
- Quickly, escape in that vague direction!
- I won’t forget our first kiss. Now fist me.
- Sprinkler of the gods!
- I feel that we’re changing the rules of saving this chick as we go along.
- Demetrios? Cleatus? Quilintos? Cleetos? Cheetos? Who knows?
- This one’s going back to his squirrels and readings.
- Thank you Quebec for making this voyage to the Underworld possible!
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
As a fun little fact before I dive into the review, this movie was originally meant to be a part of the Urban Legend franchise. Under the working title Urban Legends: Goldfield Murders, this was meant to follow on from Urban Legends: Bloody Mary before Sony bought back the rights to the franchise. It’s just as well really; while Bloody Mary at least tried to cling in there, amateur doesn’t begin to describe this movie. Maybe it’s because the guys behind it chose to go with a less universally known urban legend (I’d never heard of Goldfield or its supposed ghosts until I watched this movie. Some useful information can be found by clicking here), but all this movie really boils down to is 88 minutes of every clichéd ghost trick in the b-movie book. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a laugh a minute to watch, but when Kellan Lutz is your biggest draw card you really aren’t giving the audience much to work with.
After some thumping techno beats from the production companies responsible for this little cheese fest we’re thrown into a car full of horribly clichéd college students. Julie’s your typical ghost-hunting psychology major who’s deadly serious and in touch with the voices from the spirit realm. To balance out her intense blandness she chose Mike to be her jackass boyfriend. Mike’s just your standard scuzball college character who keeps pulling pranks and flirting with other females. In this case said female is Keri, the whiny spoiled girl bedecked in pink and who can’t understand why this ghost hunt can’t be a kick-ass party. She’s here with Dean, who there really isn’t much to say about since he just kinda hovers in the background and grunts disapprovingly when she flirts back with Mike. The group’s fifth wheel is Chad, the intelligent, sensitive beef cake who tries to look out for Julie and protect her from Mike’s general douchebaggery.
Julie and co. land up staying in the haunted hotel when it turns out that the motel she booked them into doesn’t exist. How this happened is never explained, so we just plow on with the story. Julie’s trying to make contact with Elizabeth, a prostitute who lived in the Goldfield hotel during the town’s gold rush. Elizabeth was supposedly murdered by the hotel’s owner and her 2-week-old child dumped down a mine shaft under the building. Julie wants to confirm the specter’s existence to see why she’s trapped and unable to move on to the other side. I never knew that ghost psychology was such a big subject in American universities, but you learn something new every day. How the group struggles for nearly an hour of the movie’s runtime to find Elizabeth is baffling since you can hear her whining ‘where’s my baby?’ in the background every five minutes, but who am I to question the director’s vision?
Suddenly, without apparent cause and only 20 minutes of movie left to go, Elizabeth decides to go balls to the wall and haunt the crap out of these kids. It starts out with some innocent possession to give Julie some flashbacks of what happened to her, but not long after the possessions lead to Mike and Keri making the beast with two backs on a dusty couch. Not content with a supernatural orgasm, Elizabeth decides that the next step is to kill all of the kids as quickly and brutally as possible, all supposedly in the name of finding her baby. How this ties in with the baby is another of the movie’s great unanswered questions, but I didn’t feel like dwelling on it. Julie has some mysterious connection to the old hotel and to Elizabeth’s ghost, and she’s the only one that can end the bygone hooker’s reign of transcendental terror. The question, however, is whether or not Elizabeth is the only ghost in the hotel and whether putting her to rest will really solve all of Julie’s problems.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Girl-on-girl action is cheaper than trying to get a man involved.
- The sound of the car engine exploding doesn’t usually herald good news.
- Bartenders in ghost towns don’t serve up fancy cocktails.
- It’s rude to speak ill of the slutty dead.
- One woman’s brutal torture and murder is another woman’s cheesy, torch-lit ghost story.
- A man must be very well endowed if he can have sex with you through his jeans and yours.
- It’s very inconvenient when your boyfriend’s penis accidentally slips inside your best friend.
- Some guys won’t screw dead chicks; even douchebags have standards.
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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.
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