WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
Good God I love movies that fail as epically as this one did! Rarely does one find a movie that attempts to mash together as many genres as The Collapsed did, but in its attempt to be a horror-thriller-drama-sci-fi-mystery ultimate combo, it proved that it couldn’t pull even one of those elements off. I’m not a movie snob (as this site will well attest to), but I do believe that if you’re going to make an end of the world movie, you can only really go one of two ways: option one is to have a big budget so you can make it really convincing or, option two, you make it cheesy enough to distract the audience from the lack of budget. Here, The Collapsed does it wrong again: it wants to be a very serious end of the world movie, but with no budget for the necessary mayhem and destruction. Couple all of this with several attempts on behalf of the director to make the film look artsy and all you’re left with are 82 minutes of unrelenting pain and mind-numbing boredom.
So it’s the end of the world; how it’s the end of the world you’re never going to find out, but ‘the government’, ‘conspiracy’, ‘weapons we’ve never even heard of’ and ‘the horror’ are all phrases being thrown around by survivors of this invisible apocalypse. Our story follows dad Scott, mom Emily, and siblings Aaron and Rebecca as they attempt to find safety and supplies in amongst the few apartment fires and the occasional cannibal that are ravaging their generic movie city. Dad has the strangest accent I’ve ever heard come out of a human being (although I imagine it’s quite similar to how a Swedish person imitating a Canadian accent would sound), but despite this inherent flaw in his being he’s decided that the only way he’s gonna keep his family alive is to make a break for the wilderness. Because nothing bad ever happens when you run off into the woods in a horror movie.
Getting to the wilderness, however, is going to require that the family does a little road trip. This is set up in such a way that it’s as painful to watch as it would be to do an actual road trip with your own family. Thrown in for not-so-good measure is a half-baked plot point about Scott and Emily’s other son, who apparently has gone missing. He’ll be thrown into conversation every now and then, but since we never see him it doesn’t really matter. Along the way the family discovers an abandoned little shop and decide to stop in and pick up some supplies; this is when things start to go very badly for them. While they’re doing a little shopping and Mom’s taking a bath in a sink, a group of heavily armed men wearing gas masks arrive as well. Making a very slow and blundering escape, the group makes for the surrounding woods, hoping it will provide them with a little safety and respite.
Naturally, the woods offer no protection whatsoever. Our family is still pursued by various groups of crazies, supplies are running low, and there are strange sounds and voices coming from the trees. To judge by the musical score, they’re also being relentlessly pursued by a group of poorly trained trumpeters and cellists, but that’s a separate issue entirely. As members of the family are slowly picked off by the different forces out to get them, Swedish-Canadian Dad needs to think of the best way to keep what remains of his family alive until they can escape this wilderness and find the supposedly safer wilderness he has in mind. Of course, not all enemies out to get you are necessarily mortal with a corporeal form…
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Just because it’s the end of the world, it doesn’t mean we can’t have manners.
- Just because it’s the end of the world, it doesn’t mean that feminine hygiene should be any less of a priority.
- Just because it’s the end of the world, it doesn’t mean the risks of teenage smoking should be taken any less seriously.
- Just because it’s the end of the world, it doesn’t mean that grave-digging techniques should suffer.
- Just because it’s the end of the world, it doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate an old-fashioned rifle that doesn’t blow up in your hand.
- Just because it’s the end of the world, it doesn’t mean that revenge still isn’t a dish best served cold.
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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:
You know, in all the years I’ve known Tropical Mary, we’ve banded together for some ridiculous adventures. We’ve completed degrees together, we share a faux Italian garden with one another, we started Historically Inaccurate Movie Night together, and a whole bunch of other stuff that wouldn’t have made sense even if you were there to see it. THIS, however, takes the cake. On the advice of Mistylane from CinemaSchminema (seriously, go check out her stuff, it’s amazing) I got my greasy little mitts on this movie and assembled my elite squad of movie watchers (Tropical Mary, Stygian Mole and the Occult Specialist) and got ready to watch Antfarm Dickhole. Long story short, I’m not sure if the guys will ever speak to me again, and it took me and Tropical Mary both rapidly live tweeting to cover all the crap that was going on.
I know it isn’t an Historically Inaccurate Movie, but since the word ‘plot’ isn’t one I’d associate with this movie, I’m gonna present the highly troubled stream of consciousness that happened during our little screening, with names to indicate just who was traumatised at what point.
Tropical Mary: Thank you Michael Nastri and Bill Zebub for what we are about to watch.
James: Jerking off is about the ride, not the destination. Oh god, right out the gate…
James: The science of being a 40-year-old bully.
Tropical Mary: Confessions of a 40-year-old wedgie.
James: Pockets are not good cupcake holders.
James: There’s no way this is a woman. This is a 17-year-old boy with an epic nipple stand, and the highly visible vag does nothing to convince me otherwise.
Tropical Mary: Ooh, she has a piercing…
James: We now go live to our state-of-the-art ass crack cam.
Tropical Mary: Behold! 3D Internet strippers! With an artistic boob shot thrown in for good measure.
James: The only way this is happening is if it’s holographic porn.
James: We really need a Vag-O-Meter for this movie…
James: Ants = food = Mexican water = Moctezuma’s revenge. Did I get that right?
Tropical Mary: Suddenly, busting some moves in the park.
Tropical Mary: For all that’s going on, why are the adults referring to a penis as a ‘pee pee’?
James: Boondock bikini frolicking – the new Olympic sport.
James: Morning class, welcome to How To Get Raped In The Woods 101.
James: So, army ants migrating north are a sign of a weak US-Mexican border?
James: Evolution psychology VS creationist psychology, neither of which is a real thing.
James: OK, so if an ant burrows into me, technically I own it?
James: That’s just the great hemisphere of life I guess…
James: Who knew you could make a dildo out of playdough?
James: Who talks to the ant colony in their penis?
James: Oh my. I’ve never seen someone have sex with a car before…
James: This one’s serving up some cellulite realness for us now. Oh wait, she’s a neon pink bikini-bedecked scientist.
James: The face of evil is the face of an ant, apparently.
James: This movie really is all about equal opportunity body types.
James: The car wasn’t enough, now he’s having sex with some window blinds.
Tropical Mary: Sex with a car is healthy for the soul and so is sex with a window blind.
James: Trees are sacred to bio-terrorists? Who knew?
James: Human bones usually belong to a dead human. Some class A police work on that one.
James: Up penis scope!
James: Either that banana was meant to be carried by ants, or it was demonically possessed. Either way, that’s gotta hurt.
Tropical Mary: Insecticide is WRONG!!!
James: There really is no joy in watching an OCD stripper take her clothes off.
James: This chick’s right – we really should just photosynthesise our own food.
Tropical Mary: Human photosynthesis = Vitamin D production. Thank God for the diffusion filter ge-filter fish.
James: She’s in the forest with wedge-heeled clogs…
Tropical Mary: …and her boobs look like the face of a newt.
James: Antfarm Dickhole proudly brings you the body types of Chernobyl.
James: I feel like we’re crossing the line into hardcore porn at this point…
Tropical Mary: It’s not porn just yet…
James: How do you squeeze an entire ecosystem into a penis?
James: Time to pull one last anteater out of the bag…
James: Sexual chemistry = ant colony in penis, apparently.
James: Is that Warcraft II music playing in the background?
Tropical Mary: I must get this soundtrack.
James: She died doing jazz hands.
James: Have anteater, will travel.
Tropical Mary: It’s the Saturday Aardvark!
James: Foreskins provide natural lotion. What kind of lotion?
Tropical Mary: Everything’s fun when you soft science!
Tropical Mary: The Delusion? Maybe. God? Definitely not.
James: Good friends flush the toilet for one another.
James: This minor plot can only be true if he’s shitting out liquid metal.
Tropical Mary: Maybe he’s gonna weld something.
James: Alcohol makes a drinking problem that much worse.
Tropical Mary: I have an army in my pants (are they all 5 year olds?!)
Tropical Mary: He will NOT remark that with dignity. Sans dignity. No dignity was had that day.
James: There’s no 12 step plan for this movie. There wasn’t even a plan at its inception.
James: They have a lot of lurking law enforcers in these parts.
James: With friends like Freud who needs animus? This is what happens when 7 random Wikipedia articles are strung together to form a script.
James: Who labels a moonshine container?
James: Eggs don’t need to be fertilised in order for a baby to develop.
James: When all is said and done, this fool has a remarkably robust penis.
Tropical Mary: I see a winky cutting in his future.
James: 3rd nipple for the win!
James: Telekimasturbating is a real art.
Tropical Mary: It can always get worse – more porn!
James: I feel like only an OB/GYN should see this girl like I’m seeing her now.
James: Spider rape – it can happen to you.
Tropical Mary: At least the spider’s whispering sweet nothings in French to her.
James: Bullies function with a hive mentality.
James: Manspider? REALLY?!?
So yeah, if you can make any sense out of all of that I take my hat off to you. In the wise words of Mistylane, “It’s like a bunch of 12 year olds, high on pixie sticks, got together to make an adult film.” That sums it up really well. There is no understanding of the insect world, film making, adult situations, sex, decent boobs, what a penis looks like or the difference between being attacked by an anteater and getting a so-so blowjob to be found anywhere in this movie. Truly, this is only for the most hardened z-movie goer, and preferably only if you feel you have nothing to lose.
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
As any semi-regular visitor to this blog will know, I’m up for pretty much anything. Extraterrestrial vampire whores, sharktopodes, gay vampires, killer cartoon characters, shit monsters (no really – monsters made out of shit), I’ve seen it all and lived to tell the tale. Even with this experience under my belt, rarely have I encountered a movie as utterly banal as House of Blood (aka Chain Reaction). As often happens I could totally see what they were going for (a kind of The Village meets Triangle meets The Shawshank Redemption kind of vibe), but it was so poorly and unoriginally put together that all you’re left with is this steaming pile of self-righteous movie filled with characters fond of using big words but having no idea what they actually mean. Also, it’s a bit longer than your usual crapfest: at just over 100 minutes, it drags the pain out a lot more than most movies would dare to do.
Douglas Madsen is just a regular doctor who frequently laments the loss of his parents roughly 50 years ago when he was but a wee lad. That is until one day when Fate decides to throw him a curve ball and Douglas lands up with a set of completely different, but somehow interlinked, problems. Going out on his rounds (in a densely wooded area with no people) Douglas finds his car plowing head first into a truck transporting criminals to another prison. After a small shoot out and the brutal death of several policemen the criminals abduct Douglas, thinking that he might be useful in treating one of their own who has been shot. The criminals steal the dead policemen’s clothes and run into the forest to make their escape. Why they didn’t just POSE as policemen in the outfits I don’t understand, but this seems to be the path the director wanted to take.
When the criminals went down to the woods that day they didn’t realise they were in for a big surprise. They thought that the rundown, seemingly abandoned cottage in the middle of the forest with no electricity and hidden by a dense and mysterious fog would be their salvation; shockingly, it wasn’t. In this cozy little cottage that would’ve sent Goldilocks running for her life lives a quaint little family that speaks a dialect of Ye Olde English that would irritate the most hardened of Renaissance Fair goers. Despite the obvious language barrier between the residents’ archaic tongue and the criminals’ constant screams of “shut the fuck up!”, with a little persuasion (at gun point) the family can be rather hospitable and agree, under duress, to help the guys out with their wounded friend.
Alas, all is not as it seems with the mountain-dwelling family. It’s all been perfectly civilised up until one of the criminal’s has to have his arm amputated with a machete. Things go a little awry at this point. In a move that I’m putting down to sheer indecisiveness from the script writers, the family turns out to be a group of undead-zombie-vampire-cannibals, who Douglas has to escape from. This might have been tolerable, but the joke is that this is only half the movie. Douglas does escape, only to find himself in some bizarre loop of consciousness, and the movie decides to repeat itself. The second time around he’s accompanied by a different group of criminals, but it’s essentially just watching the same movie twice with a little tweaking here and there. In summary: no acting skills, no English language proficiency, no shame.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Being shot in the arm usually means that the whole thing has to be amputated.
- ‘Friendly fire’ refers to friends getting together to gun down policemen.
- Statistically there is a one in a billion chance of a doctor crashing into a prisoner transit van.
- Sheep remain remarkably calm whilst you slit their throats with a blunt knife.
- To hell with salt – pour blood over your food, it’s just as tasty.
- You should live your life in such a way that the Count de Sade himself would envy you.
- Sociopathic lusts greatly outweigh psychopathic social obligations.
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
Well, um, uh, the thing is you see… Actually, I have no idea. I guess when the movie’s title is Vampire Whores From Space, that’s kind of the whole point. I rounded up the entire Movie Marathon crew for this and for the next 75 minutes we all huddled in Tropical Mary‘s lounge staring at the TV in an alternating state of confusion, disgust, shock and disbelief. Clearly made with a handheld video camera by 4 or 5 friends (and let’s not forget the original music by Pinky Gutterwhore), this film was utterly atrocious. I’m not sure what I was expecting but I’m still a little fragile after watching it. It’s also the first movie I’ve ever reviewed where I don’t have any Life’s Lessons Learned because, to be quite honest, I didn’t have the foggiest clue what was going on at any stage of the movie. Read on and you’ll see why.
This unrelenting pile of crap begins with a news report (filmed with a white sheet as the backdrop) where a field reporter is out investigating the claims of a redneck something or other that the fields are alive with the sound of intergalactic vampire whores. Said redneck something or other and a friend of his may very well in fact have discussed this with the reporter but, since the guy in charge of handling the mic just couldn’t be bothered to move two feet forward, we’re just never going to know. Despite the fact that the redneck has already seen the vampire whores (or maybe this is a flashback, I’m not sure) we suddenly are given a glimpse of Dracula’s mistress’s ship crashing into a forest. My bet is that it took 99.9% of the film’s budget to get someone to animate the ship for the 30 seconds it’s on the screen. Surviving the horrendous crash a posse of the ugliest whores you’ve ever seen emerges from the wreckage and, armed only with their fangs and the word ‘suck’, they’re ready to drain the blood of every single person in town (which you never see).
After the crash landing we are violently thrown into an intense scene where a man with the IQ of a hotdog bun decides to take his dog for a walk to investigate the strange thing that just fell out of the sky. You know something’s not quite right with him since he’s shouting to parents that clearly aren’t there and he’s never able to keep his dog on him for more than 3 seconds but, since he’s apparently the male lead in all of this, we’re gonna follow him anyway. Whilst out walking he bumps into some female whose hair is so greasy she could stock entire oil refineries with what’s coming off it. Immediately there’s some strange kind of bond formed between the two that I’m guessing was meant to be sexual magnetism but is really more like watching two five-year-olds fight over who baked the better mud pie. They’re attacked (and I use this word in its loosest sense) by the vampire whores but make a daring get away back home where they try to figure out how to stop the marauding and sexually promiscuous aliens.
Things weren’t good up until this point, but then the movie took a sudden and horrifying turn for the worse. Ignoring the vampire whores for the greater part of the movie we are introduced to the chief of police (who looks like he’s 12) out in the forest digging up a dead body. Chances are being the chief of police would help you cover up this crime if only you didn’t stop whenever you saw another human being along the road, get out of the car, and tell them what it is you’re doing. Hot Dog Brain at one point gets his Grease Monkey pregnant and performs a back alley abortion and she spews out a very small pig (no really, it’s actually a pig). Grease Monkey develops some kind of oozing rash on her ass (which we’re told tastes funny), but whether or not she ever overcomes this particular obstacle remains a mystery. The FBI become involved in the investigation and then die at the hands (or fangs) of the vampire whores. The vampire whores’ pimp rocks up and challenges everyone to a dance off to see which species will become the all-powerful overlords of the known universe. The dance scene that follows presents us with absolute proof that the human species has no right to be at the top of the food chain. Some more stuff happens, and then it ends.
With all this insanity in mind I’d also like to point out that for the greater part of the movie the film crew is highly visible and I’m fairly sure that some of the scenes were recorded on something similar to a Blackberry’s camera. I have no words.
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