REVIEW: Man-Thing (2005)


Man-Thing (2005): C-

This review is for the 2005 horror film based on a Marvel Comics character. If you were looking for a different “Man-Thing,” sorry, perv.

The Man-Thing is basically Swamp-Thing. He chills in the swamp and murders people if they go into the swamp. Some people go into the swamp, so they get murdered. End of plot.

He looks like a cheap pile of fake kelp and has CGI eyes. His victims die by disembodiment or by having Man-Thing manipulated vegetation fatally sprout from their stupid bodies in 2 seconds. You get breasts, gore, and a stockpile of oil company goons waiting to die for your entertainment. The kills are funny but the “scary” fast motion sequences with loud-as-fuck racket that happen every 10 minutes get a little old. And Man-Thing looks fucking dumb. And there is no story.

In the comics, Man-Thing hates fear. Whenever he senses the emotion, he secretes a corrosive chemical and burns motherfuckers (you can imagine that since he looks like a 7-foot tall pile of walking vegetables, some of them very phallic, a lot of people get burned). Movie Man-Thing hates audiences being interested in a film. And he has this power where he communicates with / controls vegetation like how Aquaman talks to fish. I guess Hollywood was up on their straight-to-DVD High Horse and was like “I don’t know… he ejaculates acidic fear juice… who would watch that?” and then they gave him the ability to look fucking silly and grow plants for their cinematic masterpiece.

The movie tries to explain, with some vague text at the beginning of the film and maybe a dozen words later in the film, that Movie Man-Thing is not a transformed scientist like Comic Man-Thing; he is actually a forest spirit protecting the swamp. Great. Thanks for protecting that swamp, Man-Thing. Maybe they can do a sequel where we see Man-Thing’s slow, CGI asshole cousin all made of sand protecting some uninhabitable square mile of desert.

REVIEW: The Plague (2006)



The Plague (2006): D+

All kids under the age of 10 fall into a deep coma punctuated by creepy seizures. Most entertaining stretch of the film. Act 1 ends.

A decade later, the still comatose kids suddenly become not comatose and work together to murder / consume the souls of adults. They are incredibly effective at this; despite being bedridden for ten years, they are nimble and tough yet easily defeated by different flavors of head trauma and point-blank gun shots.

As you would expect, a group of survivors band together and try to stay alive while simultaneously trying to figure out what the fuck is going on. What unfolds is a dozen or so clichés stitched together for 88 minutes and a cop-out ending. I am such a sucker; I actually skipped back and watched the ending of the DVD with cast/editor commentary. They didn’t speak on anything that was happening. They spent about eight minutes dissecting how “hot” the barely hot lead actress is.

It’s like Children of the Corn and Dawn of the Dead but directed by douche bags. The adults travel from building to building as they hide from the coma-kids. With each transfer to a new locale, one or more members of the group get murdered. I can’t believe this happened more than once, but there are multiple scenes where a kid is pointing a gun at someone, but before they can pull the trigger, they are shot by an out-of-frame character at the last possible second. You know what I’m talking about: The red wound appears and swells. The shot kid slumps to their knees and we see the character behind them holding the smoking gun.

Gunfire to non-vital and thus impervious zombie body parts inspire looks of surprise and awful-as-fuck dialogue. There are shock cuts around corners and off-screen, implied kills. Some of the makeup is okay and there are some creepy shots of seizing kids.

The Wise Elder character tries to explain early on that the epidemic is predicted by an obscure Bible passage and that the children have risen from hibernation to claim souls as the first stage of the rapture. He is, of course ignored, until one of the survivors, James Van Der Beek, he of the Creek of Dawson, figures it all out and sacrifices himself to a mob of kids. This is great because I was sick of looking at his cheap tattoos. Apparently, the only way to stop them, or slow them down, or make them less violent (it is never clarified) is to voluntarily offer your soul up for consumption. Surprisingly, few characters do this.

A paperback Grapes of Wrath shows up a few times in the film, making me want to puke blood and soil myself. The parallels between that text and The Plague are feeble and superficial. Van Der Beek returns home like Tom Joad does and finds his family is in a bad way. That’s about it. We have no great migration, no comments on human kindness (or human nature), no critique of capitalism, and no complex human relationships. Maybe you could argue that VDB laying down for the kids is like the breast feeding scene in the novel because they involve generous self-sacrifice. Good luck with that.


REVIEW: Freddy vs. Jason (2003)



Freddy vs. Jason: C-

Welcome to a movie that attempts to take the famous chemistry from the Godzilla vs. films and transfer it to the 11th installment in the Friday the 13th (or 8th Nightmare on Elm Street) series. If you sit down expecting to see something revolutionary that doesn’t shamelessly cash in on ideas from the past 25 years, you will be very disappointed.

I remember salivating over the marketing for this film; two of my favorite horror characters were going to face off in mortal combat. It was a horror version of Santa vs. the Easter Bunny. This was when I was really into WWE, so I was basically destined to see this in the theater. The director manages to cram everything Freddy/Jason fans love about Freddy/Jason movies into 95 minutes and the results are anti-climactic. Think about it: Just because I like avocado, toffee, and roast beef, doesn’t mean dumping them down the chute of a juicer is going to make nectar. If you are like me and are a fan of both franchises, you’ll suck it down and believe you love it no matter what while others will be understandably perplexed and bored.

There are plenty of decent looking teenagers misbehaving before they are killed, foggy boiler room dream-murders, “chh-chh, chaa-chaa” Jason noises, and a plot that you could read the newspaper through. There isn’t a minute of this movie that goes out on a limb that isn’t immediately rendered as CGI and lopped off.

At the beginning of the film, fans are already all riled up from the dick-tease ending of Jason Goes to Hell. Freddy is trapped in Dream World because parents of Elm Street have gone to near-Orwellian pains to remove his killing sprees from the newspaper archives and minds of the town. Apparently, Freddy requires mass paranoia and terror in order to operate, both of which have been abolished by the town’s seemingly well-meaning helicopter parents; no sniveling, horrified teens means Freddy has no power. Freddy resurrects Jason and sets him loose on Elm Street, knowing that his murders will result in a renaissance of Freddy-fear, allowing Freddy to kill, kill, kill.

Just like Greek mythology, logical questions about the story have no place here. While some “rules” are set in stone, others are made of Silly Putty. Freddy is weak and can’t kill kids in their dreams, but he can summon dead people from Hell. How can Freddy go to Hell, but not Earth? He is confined to the dream world except when convenient for particular scenes. How is Jason, after so many decades, still so damn quiet and why is his machete five feet long?

The “vs.” part of the film comes in when the movie has about 15 minutes left; a rejuvenated Freddy attempts to eliminate Jason so he can have all the carnage to himself. I won’t ruin it for you, but the fight scenes are what a toddler playing with action figures probably imagines, full of flying jump-kicks, projectiles, and one-liners. Imagine Freddy and Jason as Power Ranger villains and you’ll have the aesthetic of the film correctly pictured.

Objectively, the movie is terrible. But you know what? It is the only movie I have ever seen twice in the theater on the same day. Maybe that means I’m a loser, but maybe it means fuck you, I’m not a loser: C-!



REVIEW: Nightmare in Wax (1969)

Nightmare In Wax

Nightmare in Wax (1969): UV

Stay away from this movie like your life depends on it. If you have a soft spot for broke-as-fuck grindhouse movies with plots about as consistent as wet toilet paper, maybe you’ll get something out of this, but you should be ashamed of yourself if you do.

Some eye-patch wearing, Scooby-Doo villain looking motherfucker broods around in the back room of his wax museum concocting potions that he can use to turn Hollywood stars into wax statues so he can display them in his museum and get all excited about it. Actually, they don’t even turn into wax statues; the potions just induce a paralytic state that makes these movie stars look like wax statues of movie stars when really they are just catatonic movie stars, frozen like wax statues. He ensnares a few stars who have wronged him in the past and props them up in his museum. The old studio he worked for had a little party at which his boss purposely disfigured his face for life. Instead of just getting over it like a man, he becomes a mad scientist / wax statue ringmaster who wears, what appears to be, clothing from that Devo video and he abducts studio stars/personnel one by one.

I know what you’re thinking: “Oh, sick! Does he, like, molest them, or jerk off on them, or at least lick them like Sarah Connor’s hospital guard in Terminator 2?!” Nope. He just freezes them and then chills in his lab, which is full of bubbling test tubes and weird tubes and whatnot.

The captured stars are frozen statues, trapped on their respective podiums… or are they? Just when you think you understand the STUPID concept of pretend-wax incapacitated movie stars, all of a sudden they are robots or zombies or hypnotized or something and they follow the orders of the villain. Basically all of them act like an obedient Keanu Reeves. This potion makes the date rape drug look like Tylenol.

The characters are ridiculous and the writing is some of the laziest I’ve ever seen. They try to work in a little sexiness and are not very creative about it. Our hideously scarred villain, who looks like he is made of Michael Shannon and William Shatner DNA, makes out with this girl he is chasing OUT OF NOWHERE before shanking her. One minute she is terrified, but she succumbs to his (un)sexy advances.

The cops get a little suspicious and have inexcusable incompetence, even for a grindhouse movie. They fucking INSPECT the statues and still take forever to piece together what’s happening. There’s a snore-inducing car chase and no gore. The ending is (SURPRISE!) an anti-climactic cop out.

REVIEW: Blood Mania (1970)


Blood Mania (1970): F

There is very little blood in Blood Mania. It would be like changing the title of Halloween to Coat Hanger Mania because of the one scene where Michael Myers is batting coat hangers out of the way when he’s trying to catch Jamie Lee Curtis in the closet.

This turd from the tail end of the grind house era begins with a blond woman with a noose around her neck running through the woods. She is in a nightgown that shows off her nipples and she’s running from some solemn motherfucker who appears to be walking after her, even though she’s running full blast. She falls down, screaming, and the opening credits conclude. The scene is never referenced again and we never learn who the fuck those people were. No blood by the way.

When the actual film opens, we see that this spoiled and very sexually hungry babe named Victoria hates her life because she spends all her time caring for her terminally ill dad, who is a total bedridden asshole. When she isn’t spooning him warm milk or whatever, she’s trying to get laid. She somehow fucks this up despite being an aggressive and reasonably attractive woman. In this one scene, she jumps in the pool topless and tries to seduce the pool boy, who runs away frightened as if she was a rattlesnake. Show me a pool boy who would do this in real life and I’ll eat my hat.

She has this really creepy fixation with her dad’s doctor, this Hasselhoff looking fella named Cooper, who also avoids her advances as he avoids trimming his sideburns. Cooper needs money because he’s being blackmailed for performing some illegal abortions back in the day. So Victoria comes up with a plan: Cooper bones her whenever she wants and she’ll poison her dad, inherit the estate, and give ol’ Coop the money to pay off his blackmailer. All the poor guy has to do is take the money, bang this wealthy heiress, and call it a day.

When Victoria, kills her dad, there is a little blood, but not “mania” levels. She makes him smell some poison in his sleep and then she, probably excited by the impending Cooper penis, chills in her dad’s room fondling her exposed breasts while he writhes around and dies. His mouth is red. That’s the blood. He dies watching his treacherous daughter twist her nipples right next to his bedpan. Bummer. Mania.

Zinger on Victoria: Her younger, cuter, not crazy sister inherits all of dad’s stuff. Cooper still needs that money so he starts banging the sister on the side and gradually ignoring Victoria, which leads to all sorts of obligatory grind house topless scenes, 60’s porn music, and more mania-less blood; Victoria smashes her little sister’s skull open with a lamp and then starts working on a painting. The gore/violence is, of course, cheap, unconvincing, and all around unpleasurable for everyone involved.

Cooper comes home and sees what’s happened. He starts to dispose of the corpse and then in the span of like sixty seconds, some crazy shit happens. We see that Victoria’s painting is of Cooper holding a skeleton and, suddenly, the ghost of the dead sister appears in the corner of the room. End of film.

You can’t have high expectations when you watch something like this. If you are ever in the mood to watch soft-core pornography with a ghost of a plot, check it out.

REVIEW: Ghosts of Mars (2001)


Ghosts of Mars (2001): D+

The Transporter and Natasha Henstridge play some cops in the future who have to go to colonized future Mars because future Ice Cube, a real badass future criminal, is awaiting an interplanetary transfer to another futuristic prison. It’s directed by John Carpenter and takes place in the future.

The future cops and Ice Cube have to team up to fight some disembodied spirits of an ancient Martian race that have been possessing some colonial miners, turning them into self-mutilating murderous psychos.

What could go wrong, right? Entertaining cast and an awesome director, right? Well Natasha Henstrisge doesn’t do any sexy-violent stuff, The Transporter doesn’t roundhouse kick anyone, and Ice Cube doesn’t rap or have any cool one-liners. The pace is boring as fuck and the possessed miners look like The Crow with infected botox injections in their foreheads and a bunch of dumb hieroglyphics burned on their cheeks. They look like Marilyn Manson if he conditioned his hair and stuck his head in a waffle iron.

I have heard the film described as a misunderstood homage to Carpenter’s own Assault on Precinct 13, which I think is a pretty superficial stretch. Maybe I am “misunderstanding.” Sure there are cops being attacked by a seemingly endless army of bad guys, but that’s where the similarities end as far as I can tell. I think it shares more with Pitch Black (which was released only months before) where the future cops have to team up with future Vin Diesel to battle the army of scary aliens on the foreign planet.

The Martian spirits are a malevolent cloud of dust that floats out of a subterranean door. Even if you kill one of the possessed motherfuckers, all you really did was release the Martian spirit dust so it can go possess someone else. The not-possessed people learn this rule, yet they continue to bust lethal caps in the Martian assailants. They decide to blow up the dust and the ending is basically one big drawn out “run away from the explosion we started” followed by a Shyamalanian zinger that you probably won’t care about.

REVIEW: Monkey Shines (1988)



Monkey Shines C- (D if you like monkeys)

I know what I like and I know what sells. And what doesn’t sell is a “monkey shine”. Because what the fuck does that even mean? And on the poster, the monkey has cymbals, but doesn’t use cymbals as a weapon in the movie. The movie monkey mainly uses fire. Why the hell didn’t Hollywood put that on the cover? If I were in charge of Hollywood, I would have named this movie “Pyro Monkey vs. A Cripple”. That would have killed at the box office.

So anyway, there’s this cripple and he’s all fucked up. He can only move his head. He gets a helper monkey named Ella from his friend who does science. That friend has been doing science on Ella. He injected human brain tissue into her brain. This has made her….telepathic. I think. But he doesn’t tell the cripple.

Now, this cripple- whatever his name is-he still manages to get action while he’s confined to his chair. He somehow meets a female doctor who is (luckily) an expert in both quadriplegics AND primates. And they do a cripple-bang scene which I found interesting in a mechanics sort of way. This makes Ella jealous because the cripple used to spend his time listening to music with Ella. Now he’s having cripple sex with a regular person instead. So Ella starts burning people up and that’s pretty good.

But I hate this movie. You know why? It’s because all of Ella’s dialogue is fucking dubbed! By a human dude! What possible reason could there be for that?

It’s fucking infuriating. Let the monkey do her own dialogue. It’s racist. Who wants to hear a human doing monkey talk? He doesn’t even know the language! And there’s some monkeys that really talk good and are obviously fluent. And once, I seen a monkey doing sign language! Give the monkey a chance at least, Hollywood.

And shit, they must have had to pay the dude to do the voice-over! What kind of business sense is that, Hollywood? You had a fluent monkey right on set. Poor use of resources.

By the way, the monkey who played Ella- her real name is Boo and I can’t find her on IMDB. So they must have fucked her out of credit and probably all her royalties too. I’ve always said that if you cheat a monkey-it means you’re trash. And I still believe it. Even if you are Hollywood.

At the end Ella gets killed by a tape recorder. And the cripple’s still crippled. So what the fuck? And then there’s a dream sequence that might have happened.

Watching this movie is like being crippled. I understand those people now.

REVIEW: Dracula 3000 (2004)



Dracula 3000: D

This is the epitome of early 2000’s straight-to-DVD bullshit with an ensemble of Z-level actors shamelessly coming together for a quick cash-in.

The year is 3000 and a space crew made up of Casper Van Dean, and his lackeys Coolio and Tiny Lister, are on an intergalactic rescue mission which leads them to a secret nest of deep-space vampires who are hiding on a spaceship, trying to make their way back to Earth. When I heard this was what the movie was about, and heard that Coolio raps in it, I was sold. The movie has nothing to do with Dracula 2000 but is instead just another horror “In Space” movie.

The cover for the movie says “IN SPACE THERE IS NO DAYLIGHT,” which makes no fucking sense at all. Aren’t there stars/suns fucking everywhere? Also, the movie is rated R. I seriously don’t see how. There is no gore/nudity and barely any profanity.

The nonsensical tagline on the cover art is a representative of the entire script. A good three quarters of the dialogue is comprised of foreboding one-liners that either make no sense or are elementary puns. There is some typical “in space” stuff. There’s some nonsense with the airlocks, computer controlled doors, and a self-destruct sequence.

The film names everyone after vampire mythology. There is a Van Helsing, Orlock, Mina, etc. Coolio’s name however is 187. What a fucking G. He is bitten, becomes a vampire 3000, and says a dope little rap about sucking blood as he prepares to attack a couple of the human crew members. This is so clearly the best part of the movie and it stands out at a ridiculous level. The rap scene was like a loud thirty person orgy interrupting a muted black and white marathon of Andy Griffith.

There is way worse straight-to-DVD stuff out there and your friends and you can get a fun watch out of this one but don’t expect to see any new ideas or believable acting.