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Banshee!!!

Year of Release: 2008
Genre: Horror
IMDB Rating: 4 / 10
Level of Awful: High
Breast-O-Meter: 0 / 5

WHAT IT’S ABOUT:

In the great big world of b-grade horror, with so many titles vying for my attention, a movie needs to do a little something to catch my eye and make me want to see it. The three exclamation marks in this one’s title were enough to do it for me, and after the crushing disappointment that was Kinky Killers I was ready for something that would tickle my funny bone a little. This one came very close to being funny, but was ultimately let down by the fact that the actors appear to have been picked up at the local bus station and given 5 minutes to remember their lines. By the time this reality fully drove itself home I was already about 20 minutes in, so I figured I might as well finish watching it.

The Un-Virgin Mary appears from the mist…

Back in 1970 smoking weed was all the rage. It was so fashionable, in fact, that it distracted certain men from the fact that they were sitting around in their mother’s basement, half-dressed and closing in on 40. It truly was a golden age. One fateful night three stoners, having previously passed a few lazy, hazy hours watching a rudimentary form of porn, decide that they’re hungry and head out in the pursuit of snacks. On this journey a miracle happens: out of the mist, in the middle of the road, accompanied by a wind machine and perfectly placed back light, emerges the female from said rudimentary porn video. Questioning nothing, including why she literally has buckets of green saliva, the stoners let her into the car and offer to drive her all night to get to her destination. This was the last Good Samaritan act any of them will ever perform. The woman quickly slashes all of them to pieces and crashes the car into a shallow puddle of water, where it will lie untouched for nearly 40 years.

You need all this to fix a radio?

In the year 2008 the shallow puddle of water has since evaporated, leaving the old car exposed. Jack Gorman, with the help of two buddies, his dog and some industrial building machinery, manages to drag the old car out for reasons vaguely alluded to. In the car’s boot he discovers a very strange, squishy object that (to the trained monster movie eye) resembles a kind of cocoon. He thinks nothing about it, and heads on home for dinner. Elsewhere in the forest a group of young college creatures has just arrived to celebrate Spring Break. Veronica, our blonde and chinless heroine, wants to get together with all her old friends to rekindle the interest they once had in one another. Whilst it was hard to imagine anyone once having an interest in any member of this group, I decided to suspend disbelief and see where the movie wanted to take me.

Cave Man Banshee goes a huntin’.

Just to clear up any confusion anyone may be experiencing, the cocoon from earlier had a banshee (!!!) in it and now it’s running around the woods. The kids find this out relatively early into their camping trip when one of them gets a branch rammed through their face. Jack and his nephew Rocker have been having a stand-off with the creature for a few days, but it’s making quick work of anyone else who just happens to be wandering through the woods. Its scream isn’t only debilitating but, if you’re exposed to it for long enough, your head will explode. When the surviving kids manage to find Jack’s house they all need to band together to fend off the banshee (!!!) or land up being ripped limb from limb and drained of blood. Personally, in a toss-up between the dismemberment and watching this movie again, I’m still in two minds about which one I’d go for.

LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:

  • So far as stalkers go you could do a lot worse than the average looking black guy.
  • Good friends will teleport ahead of the group to set up the camp site.
  • It’s very unusual for a banshee to live outside its natural Irish habitat.
  • Women who go camping are just asking to be pursued by a sexual deviant.
  • When your wife has been brutally slain you should wait a few days before mopping up the blood.
  • Some people go to college to do more than just drink beer and pee on things.

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Underground

Year of Release: 2011
Genre: Horror
IMDB Rating: 3.8 / 10
Level of Awful: High
Breast-O-Meter: 0 / 5

WHAT IT’S ABOUT:

Movies like this are the reason you should always double-check IMDB. When I got my copy I checked IMDB and it had a rating somewhere in the vicinity of 7 so I got it thinking that I could watch it one night when I was in the mood for a real movie. About 15 minutes into it I started thinking to myself, “none of these characters are at all likeable”, and my b-movie senses started to tingle. I checked IMDB again and to my delight it now had a 3.9 rating. My guess is that the people involved in making it hopped on and gave it the original good rating. Shame on you! I’m no stranger to bad movies but it’s not nice to catch someone off guard; I didn’t at all have my game face on. So far as the movie’s concerned, should you find yourself about to watch it, imagine The Descent but with less likeable people and a few Nazis thrown in for good measure.

Aim it at the movie!

If we are to believe this movie then everyone in the world enjoys nothing more than getting bombed out of their skulls at a little rave. While this applies across the board the people who are most likely to enjoy a rave are soldiers returning from fighting the war in Iraq. At least this is true for Eric, Storm and Mira. Luckily this particular rave is being held at a mysteriously abandoned US military base so the three should feel a bit more at home and they’re accompanied by a few others whose names completely escape me. Names aren’t particularly important anyway; every character is just a distinctly overdone cliché. Eric’s the badass sergeant type who’ll never leave a man behind, Storm is Latino so he’s obviously a gangster and Mira is the tough girl who, despite all her bravado, needs a man to help her through everything she does.

A fair attempt at doing Mariah Carey's whistle register.

While everyone’s getting jiggy with it on the dance floor some guy gropes the arse of one of Storm’s friend’s girlfriend. The friend is obviously upset and gets into a little tiff with the man that’s twice his height but, since Storm is Latino and therefore obviously a gangster, it suddenly gets taken to a whole other level. I accidentally blinked at this point and when I opened my eyes again people were lying sprawled on the floor, knives were on people’s throats and guns were being fired at random. The guns must’ve been the final straw because the next thing you know Eric and Co. are running for their lives and taking shelter behind a rather heavy-duty door. The opposing Latino gangsters have the attention span of a fridge magnet so they quickly leave but Eric decides that they need to find another way out rather than facing what’s on the other side of the door. Poor guy, you’re in a horror movie! It’s what’s on your side of the door that you need to worry about.

Good upper body strength, but she needs to work on her core.

Before this point you know that there are bimbos in this group but now you learn that they’re the constantly whining variety, which becomes very irritating very quickly. Unfortunately for them (but luckily for us) there are some demented creatures running around in this mysteriously abandoned military base that might just do away with them soon. You see, back in the day when World War II was coming to an end, the Nazis had a doctor especially trained in horrifying genetic experiments. Not seeing why the fall of Nazi Germany should bring an end to his work the American government brought him over to see what he could cook up for them. By using a few kidnapped women, lots of piping, a gas mask and by combining the DNA of humans, a crocodile and a few other select beasties he managed to create a species of hominids that think like soldiers, have the teeth of crocodiles, are afraid of nothing, are amphibious and remarkably good climbers. Eric and Co. will have to fight their way through the dark labyrinth of the base if they ever want to see daylight again while fending off fear and monsters with a taste for flesh.

Since everyone in the movie is irritating as hell I was personally rooting for the monsters, but you can watch for yourself and decide who you want to win.

LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:

  • At the slightest sign of any trouble the US military will just abandon its bases and leave all their weapons behind.
  • Despite being 3 stories underground a military base can still have windows that let in plenty natural lighting.
  • US military bases are relatively uniform and dead easy to escape from.
  • Women think it’s a much better idea to run off alone into the darkness than stay in a group for protection.
  • There’s a huge market for well-trained but unemployed mad scientists with a Nazi background.
  • You can ram any amount of tubing into a pregnant woman’s belly without there ever being a risk to the baby.

UNDERGROUND TRAILER

Bite Marks

Year of Release: 2011
Genre: Horror / Comedy
IMDB Rating: 3.6 / 10
Level of Awful: Surprise!
Breast-O-Meter: 1 / 5

WHAT IT’S ABOUT:

IMDB is a wonderful thing. Without it finding the movies for this blog would be incredibly difficult and the rating system gives you a vague idea of just how much pain you’re about to experience. Every now and then, though, I disagree with that rating system. It happened with Bikini Girls on Ice and now it’s happened with Bite Marks. This movie was actually really good and fun to watch and, unlike some other movies I’ve seen, it was intentionally funny. I’ll be the first to admit that I have low standards and if you throw in a waitress with a strong southern twang I’m happy but if you’re in the mood for some light-hearted horror then I suggest giving this one a spin.

Flaming (torch). Swallows (t-shirt).

Cary and Vogel are a nice young gay couple out on a backpacking adventure trying to rediscover some of the fire in their relationship. Cary is the nice, calm, down-to-earth guy and Vogel is, well, a slut. Vogel also doesn’t seem overly keen on this little adventure in the woods so when he manages to flag down a truck that’ll give them a ride he seems a little more content with life. Behind the wheel of the truck is Brewster, your typical rugged, unrefined but incredibly friendly truck driver. Not that he’s actually a truck driver but his brother went missing before he was meant to deliver some coffins to a funeral home so Brewster’s filling in for him. Not out of the kindness of his heart so much as he needs the money to keep up his affair with his brother’s wife but a favour is a favour. The three of them are soon on the road together, one to deliver coffins and two to see where the hell the road will take them.

Backstreet Boys: the later years.

Sadly Brewster, for all his rugged manliness, has been having troubles satisfying the ladies recently. Just can’t quite seem to keep the momentum going so to speak. The reason for this becomes glitteringly obvious when he spies Cary and Vogel getting in on in the filthy restroom of a restaurant they’ve stopped at along the way. Brewster’s not gay in any way, of course, but he does take the time to see how Cary and Vogel are doing and then feel himself up a little bit outside the door. Sexing and spying over it’s time to hit the road again and, as luck would have it, a car nearly crashes into them right outside their destination. If it hadn’t who knows how long they would’ve kept on driving.

Here's Jesus in your eye!

When the GPS tells them they’ve reached their destination our threesome is understandably confused. The coffins in the back are supposed to be going to a funeral home but the address they’ve been given is for a junk yard. Even more confusing are the noises coming from the back of the truck: sounds like someone’s playing a squash tournament back there. It becomes even more confusing when they open the back of the truck to discover only one coffin instead of the five listed on the inventory. This strangeness all comes to a head when suddenly, from out of nowhere, five ripped and bloody vampires appear and start nibbling on the owner of the junkyard. The truck’s axle is broken so nobody’s going anywhere so, armed with a cross, a toy Jesus, some holy water and a bible, Cary, Vogel and Brewster must lock themselves in the cab and try and stay alive until dawn, all the while trying to make sure the confined space and all that testosterone doesn’t get the better of them.

LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:

  • Sex is sex, so long as a lady gets her booze money.
  • Some cell phones are so poorly made that their only practical use is as a butt plug.
  • It’s quite common for waitresses to forget their panties in a public restroom.
  • The best thing about being a man is that the whole world is your toilet.
  • A torch is too small if you can’t even give a hamster a decent colonoscopy with it.
  • Being trapped in a truck by vampires offers the perfect excuse for some same-sex experimentation.
  • Good dogs make even better snacks.
  • A burning vampire smells like a bag of spicy dog shit.

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Nine Lives

Year of Release: 2002
Genre:  Horror / Thriller
IMDB Rating: 2.3 / 10
Level of Awful: High
Breast-O-Meter: 0 / 5

WHAT IT’S ABOUT:

As any horror fan knows a movie whose main ‘star’ is Paris Hilton is probably going to end up hurting you. Following on from this idea, any movie whose main ‘star’ is Paris Hilton and her character is the first to die is probably going to end up hurting you very badly. Nine Lives follows in the tradition of many slashers from the early 2000s where the cast is arranged in a triangle on the DVD cover in that it is largely predictable, the characters uninteresting and the execution boring. These are the reasons I watched it, of course, and why it has found itself a humble little corner on my shelf of movies that no regular person should ever have to watch.

Here's to us! For fooling the casting director into thinking we could act!

Our tale of the League of Incredibly Average Generic 20-Somethings takes place in the middle of Scotland in the dead of winter. Average Tim is turning 21, and he’s decided to invite all of his average friends up to his stately Scottish manor to celebrate this key milestone in his life. These guys have been friends since their school days, and it isn’t hard to understand why; in addition to being equally vapid and uninteresting, the majority of them all look like alike. Understanding the group’s dynamics is much like playing a game of connect the dots: Tim was roommates with Pete, Pete dated Laura, Emma is Laura’s BFF, Lucy was Emma’s roommate, Jo is Lucy’s friend, Tom is dating Jo and Damien and Andy are just thrown in for good measure. This brings the membership tally of the League of Incredibly Average Generic 20-Somethings to 9 people. See how clever the movie’s title is now?

Like this chap the audience often feels like a third wheel in this movie.

As luck would have it our group managed to get to Tim’s stately Scottish manor just in time: an enormous snow storm is about to roll in and it will probably knock out the already shaky cellphone reception. With the world outside becoming a blanket of white and all modes of escape cut off, our dear average friends sit down to an evening of light conversation, delicious meals and drinking the contents of an entire pub between them. As the evening wears on everyone but Tim and Tom go to bed and these two retire to the library. While browsing through the collection of books Tom somehow manages to blow a hole through the wall, revealing a secret book behind a wooden panel. The story it contains is horrific: back in 1746 during a Scottish uprising against the English a man named Murray owned this stately manor and he had his eyes ripped out of his head and fed to him for supporting the Scots. The book rewrites itself and says that Murray has returned to the home. Thinking nothing of the book that rewrites itself Tom and Tim carry on with their relaxing evening.

Contact with Paris Hilton will often lead to your soul leaving your body.

Now our resident ghost is going to take advantage of the fact that nobody would be scared of a spirit named Murray and starts taking the kids out one by one. It’s all a matter of pride really, since most of them are English. Tom is the first to become possessed, and he quickly dispenses with Jo. When Tom is killed, however, the haunting doesn’t stop. It turns out that Murray is a very clever little ghost, and he transfers himself to whoever killed his last host. This means that he can kill off as many of the group without being stopped. Also in his favour is the fact that these kids die very easily; one small stab wound in the shoulder and they’re down. Without Paris Hilton around to drag them down anymore the group must look to Laura for help since she quickly becomes an expert in the paranormal and seems to instinctively know how best to handle the situation and bring Murray’s reign of terror to an end.

LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:

  • Too much exposure to the countryside can be dangerous.
  • Manchester Scum is one of the lesser known Scottish clans.
  • Road signs confuse blonde women more than they help them.
  • Milking cows is not everyone’s idea of a good time.
  • Some people suffer from a crippling phobia of stately manor houses.
  • Parents warn their daughters about men who hide pairs of dice.
  • Belief is a two-way street: even if you don’t believe in the ghost, the ghost might still believe in you.
  • Women’s rights include the right to run off blindly, on your own, in a strange house, with a killer on the loose.
  • How to help people stabbed by a ghost during a snow storm isn’t covered in the usual medical syllabus.

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Paintball

Year of Release: 2009
Genre:  Thriller / Action / Horror
IMDB Rating: 3.9 / 10
Level of Awful: High
Breast-O-Meter: 0 / 5

WHAT IT’S ABOUT:

Oh dear, another interesting concept with dreadfully poor execution. There’s so much more that can be done in a movie centred around killer paintball with a slight dusting of Hostel for fun, but you’d be amazed at just how boring poor film making can make this concept. It suffers from a number of things: firstly, the camera work is shoddy. The cameraman actually moves bushes where no bushes should be moving. Secondly, the camera also appears to function as the microphone and as soon as anybody moves too far away it’s virtually impossible to ever make out what they’re saying. Finally, it suffers from that terrible movie affliction where the director tries to make it obvious just how distressed the characters are but the outcome is a bunch of whiny little people who scream (unintelligibly) at one another for the entire duration of the movie. Mr Paintball director, I do ask that before you try to make another movie that you and I have a chat so we can make sure something like this doesn’t happen again.

These are not sexy times, ladies.

There comes a time in everyone’s life when you begin to question what it is you’re doing and what the purpose of your existence is. Thankfully many of these questions can be answered with a little intense paintball action. Turns out there are numerous places around the world that cater to individuals who just have that undying urge to shoot paint at moving targets, and our little story takes place somewhere in Europe where renegade paintball is all the rage. It’s a secret little society where the location is unknown, people are brought in blindfolded and made to rely on their teammates (who they’ve never met) and their wits. It’s an intense game of survival and only the best will come away unstained, but for some its just what you need to feel alive.

It's sad when an actor realises their career is dead in the middle of a forest.

And so our little team (whose names I can’t remember) set out on this new adventure to become the ultimate paintball champs. It takes all of 3 minutes before they start arguing with one another, debating on who gets to be leader, how to get to the flags and who can actually read a map. The situation is tense – the other team might be just around the corner and decisions need to be made quickly. The team makes their way to a spot in the forest filled with old cars and one derelict bus. They move with the precision of army commandos, but are about as quiet as howler monkeys during mating season. While searching the area the other team spots them and begins to pelt them with paint, and they duck for cover in the old bus. The action begins to diverge from usual paintball practice when the opposing team throw two smoke canisters through the bus’s window, followed shortly afterwards by a box containing a bullet proof vest. When things go quiet and the team begin to make a move they realise just how different this game really is – the opposing team has started to use live ammunition, and our little group is running in plain sight.

The ghosts of paintballers past.

Faced with this new terror our group does what they do best: panic and scream at one another. So they panic off as fast as they can, only to discover that the entire forest is surrounded by a highly charged electric fence. After screaming at one another they panic off in a different direction, but soon pause to scream about where they’re actually going. Some more panicking and screaming ensues, and nobody really knows what’s going on, and gradually they’re all being shot. Along the way there’s an Asian person who adds nothing to the story, and a few booby traps here and there to make things a little bit more exciting in this game of cat and mouse. But who would be so evil as to corrupt an innocent pass time like paintball? Surely such people have been sent by Satan himself to vilify what our dear, screaming characters once held to be so positive and character building? The answer, unfortunately, isn’t anywhere near as exciting.

LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:

  • Taking part in super elite, top-secret paintball tournaments is the absolute height of badassness.
  • Part of staying well hidden involves screaming at the top of your lungs wherever you go.
  • Part of hiding from enemy fire involves running around in the open.
  • Fat guys are always the first to panic when a paintball massacre breaks out.
  • Asian people make terrible paintball hostages.
  • The smaller your knife, the better your throat slashing abilities.
  • It’s incredibly difficult to speak when you have a machete rammed through your chest.

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