Dark Harvest 2 – The Maize: F-
I must first preface this review by saying that this is the most impressive movie I have ever seen. Now I do not mean impressive in the sense that the story was incredibly well written, or that cinematically it was magnificent, or the use of lighting was superb, or that it was expertly acted. I mean that I was incredibly impressed that someone had the audacity to film this garbage and put it on screen.
The biggest tool in low budget cinema, Bill Cowell, stars as the self proclaimed “benevolent Shy Walker” a slightly out of shape, divorced father of two hideous children who starts having crappy prophetic visions about some demon in a cornfield. Unperturbed by these Microsoft Paint level dream sequences, he decides it would be an awesome idea to take his daughters to the local corn maze on Halloween and let them wander around alone. Well as dark approaches and his kids are not yet back, he goes deep into the corn maze himself to confront the horrors that lie within, while searching for his children.
Well after this stupid and unbelievable set up the rest of the movie consists of Cowell walking through a cornfield yelling “Girls!” “Girls!”while looking for his missing daughters. That’s it. Literally almost nothing else happens At one point he escapes the maze only to be arrested, then he punches the cop and escapes arrest band runs back into the maze where he continues to meander about aimlessly. Throughout the course of his shitty adventure he falls over like 11 times and at least 3 of them were not on purpose, and there is an 8 minute scene of him digging into the dirt with a gardening tool. And as if it was not dumb enough already, at it’s merciful end, Cowell outsmarts the local killer by having a running handheld camera trained on him as if it were some kind of magic spell.
I cannot believe I watched this whole thing, as it is truly one of the worst movies ever and is in my elite pantheon of awful
Everybody has that one thing that makes them shit their britches. Bloodcrypt Keeper’s is creepy old women, so he asked ol’ Dr. Loomis to review this flick and let him know if he could handle it as long as he had his blankie.
The answer: probably yes. Mama is the creepy-but-flawed story of two young girls who are kidnapped by their psychotic father (Kingslayer Jaime Lannister from Game of Thrones) after he caps their mom. They end up in an isolated cabin, where he’s about to complete the family holocaust by pulling a George on his eldest daughter’s Lennie when a floating, wraith-like presence makes off with him.
Fast-forward a few years, and the Kingslayer’s brother (who is just the Kingslayer with a different haircut) has hired some dudes to find his nieces and presumably his brother, but he’s not the point because he’s a wife-killing piece of shit. The girls get found in the cabin, where they’ve apparently been living off cherries and dust bunnies. They’re also not terribly well-adjusted, because they’ve been raised by the aforementioned wraith bitch, whom they refer to with a mixture of love and terror as “Mama.”
The Kingslayer and his girlfriend (the CIA Chick who got Bin Laden) bring them home to live with them, and CIA Chick is not totally on board. She’s this punk rawk gurl and doesn’t dig kids all that much, much less kids who snarl and gnash at the breakfast table. Shit gets worse for her when Mama moves into the kids’ closet and pushes the Kingslayer down the stairs one night, hospitalizing him. Of course, this enables CIA Chick to find her inner nurturer, and the central conflict of the film is the allegiance of the two girls to choose between CIA Chick, who has great boobs and makes them macaroni n’ cheese or Mama, who flies them all around their room and kills whomever gets in the way.
There are some good scares here, although the Mama from the short film that inspired the feature is scarier than the one they ended up using. It’s also not totally clear what, exactly her powers are: blunt force, soul-sucking, haunting, all of these? The younger girl is actually probably the most frightening thing in the film; she’s like a combination of a feral cat and that dude James Bond chases at the beginning of Casino Royale.
There’s also a subplot with a psychologist who hypnotizes the girls that doesn’t really make sense, but I’m willing to admit that could’ve just been the gin talking and not a flaw of the film itself. Ultimately, it’ll scare folks like the Keeper just enough, but their britches should stay shit-free.
Edward Furlong (you know, Jon Connor) plays Michael, the ultimate 1990’s teenage loner. He lives in this awesome 90’s loft where he plays video games, wears flannels, and admires the purloined street signs that decorate his room. Even though it’s 1994, his computer is some really advanced Jarvis-type setup that talks to him and recognizes his voice commands for stuff like light switches and phone calls. But he rarely turns the light on or calls anyone because he is such a melancholy 90’s grunge gamer.
His new video game, Brainscan, does some pretty evil shit: As soon as Michael pops the game in, it summons a new playmate, this guy who calls himself “Trickster.” He has this kind of Drop Dead Fred / Beetlejuice / British Invasion thing going on. He looks like a zombie troll doll who plays keyboards for the Rolling Stones. He teleports around and acts like Ace Ventura while he goads Michael into playing Brainscan and progressing through the levels. He says many horrible puns/jokes.
The game itself consists of a combination of hypnosis and virtual reality and the only objective of each level is to commit a murder and not get caught. Michael slips into a trance and experiences extremely realistic 1st person POV game play where he stalks/stabs people. When he wakes up, he’s all sweaty and scared, like how he’ll be when he finally kisses a girl.
Then he finds clues (like body parts in the fridge and Detective Frank Langella snooping) that reveal that the murders are all real and the game is turning him into a serial killer. “Oh, man! What have I done?!” exclaims Michael to fucking no one except his computer butler. Trickster just ROFLs at Michael and convinces him to play more levels, which he does for some reason. His Brainscan kills start adding up. He even murders his only friend and gets pretty close to killing the babe who lives next door.
The plot gets real sloppy. Trickster says he actually is Michael but he has also been possessing Michael and making him murder. Possessing… yourself? What the fuck? There’s a lot of reality “layers” too, which to me, is always the cheapest cop out in a horror movie. Is it all a dream? Or is it all a dream but really just a game? But does that make it real if the game is real? A dream within a dream within a game that is real? But it’s not real, is it?
It’s all a game. It’s all a dream. Whatever. The kills are cool. The 90’s mania is hilarious. The primitive graphics are entertaining. They don’t rely on CGI. There is gore. There is only one good jump-scare in the movie. I promise you’ll know what I mean.
This is an anthology movie that has three separate tales about insanity presented to us by Malcolm McDowell who plays the “cryptkeeper” character and the head doctor of a sanitarium. In between each tale, he gives us a cryptic monologue about insanity. Who is he to talk? Have you seen the movies he’s been in lately?
Case 1 is about a crazy artist who likes to talk to his dolls. Sometimes the dolls tell him to murder, so he murders. The guy looks like Sideshow Bob and he gets REALLY intense while bickering with his dolls. This was the worst tale in the anthology. Most of the time he is having REALLY intricate arguments with the dolls and the audience can’t even hear the fucking dolls. He pushes Freddy Kruger off of a building and he lynches some woman whose boobs are exposed within the first 15 minutes of the film.
Case 2 is a lot more fun. It’s about this nerdy kid named Steven. His teacher at his Catholic school is the brunette Mean Girl and his dad is an alcoholic who likes to beat/molest him. If that wasn’t bad enough, he’s also being stalked by a giant homeless looking dude who wears a hood because his face looks like 1990’s Venom from the Spiderman comics. I won’t tell you what happens but it does involve Steven stuck in a burlap sack and does NOT involve his dad having a change of heart regarding rape/beating.
Case 3 is about Lou Diamond FUCKING Phillips! Through a series of flashbacks we see he was a professor / doomsday prepper who believed in the 2012 apocalypse nonsense. He lost his job because all of his lectures devolved to his crazy rambling/prophesying and he lost his family because he started ignoring them and building an underground bunker. Flash forward and we see him chilling in his bunker listening to opera music, talking into a tape recorder, doing push-ups, and other stuff a psycho would do in a bunker. He thinks he has to hide down there because up top, everyone is dead and there are aliens. Maybe he really is hiding from aliens. Or maybe he killed his family and he’s hiding from the truth. DUN DUN DUUUUN! His acting is actually really good and the guy looks great at 51.
Overall nothing special but the movie keeps you interested. No explicit carnage or really any on-screen graphic violence. The soundtrack is LOUD AS FUCK. I kept waiting for McDowell to ask some cliche rhetorical questions about society; “aren’t we all trapped in our own cell?” kind of thing. Never happened. So I guess the movie was surprising and unpredictable too.
Silent Night, Deadly Night 2: B-
This sequel picks up shortly after the conclusion of the first film and follows the homicidal misadventures of Billy’s younger, sweater-wearing brother, Ricky, who is also a traumatized lunatic because of a killer Santa murdering his family.
The guy who plays Ricky is somehow a worse actor than the guy who played Billy. His fucking facial expressions, intonation, and head movements surpass Shatner levels. Just this guy abysmally sucking at acting so bad for 90 minutes while keeping a straight face was enough to earn the movie a C. Look at the picture I posted up there. That’s him looking “edgy.”
Ricky is in a nuthouse at the beginning of the movie. It seems he has committed his own string of murders (“PUNISH!”). We get some flashbacks from SNDN1 in the form of original footage and refurbished scenes that include Ricky as a more active participant.
The flashbacks evolve into a frame story that show Ricky murdering some “naughty” people. This is B-movie slasher GOLD. Anyone who has seen the movie will tell you straight up that the “GARBAGE DAY” execution is a magical achievement in low-budget horror (please see the end of this post). He does all sorts of crazy stuff. He chokes a woman with a car antenna and jumper-cable electrocutes a guy. He also shoots lots of people, many of who don’t seem very naughty at all.
Ricky keeps killing and killing until the frame story ends. Then he breaks out of the insane asylum and keeps killing and killing some more. Remember the nun who used to beat Billy with a belt because he was a sinful little shit? Ricky finds her and gives her the ax.
Lots of goofy carnage and anti-acting. Funny music and an impressive body count. Worth your time.
Silent Night, Deadly Night: B
This movie has one of my favorite horror characters: Billy.
Poor Billy had a really shitty Christmas one year. First, grandpa is mean to him, promising that Santa is going to come punish him for being “naughty.” Then, next thing you know, a guy in a Santa outfit cuts Billy’s mommy’s throat right in front of poor Billy! As if the psychological threat of Santa always watching him and cataloging his naughty/nice behavior along with grandpa’s demented ramblings wasn’t enough, now Billy has to grow up with this twisted self-hate yule-tide complex because St. Nick butchered his parents.
Billy goes to a Catholic orphanage that totally fucking sucks. Why does it suck? First of all, it’s Catholic! You can imagine that the last thing Billy needs is more guilt but, sure enough, he is repeatedly reminded of what a bad little boy he is. Secondly, one of the nuns just happens to love torturing little boys. She tries to “help” Billy by subjecting him to Christmas-based psychological exercises. He has to sit on Santa’s lap, draw pictures of Christmas cheer, etc. When he invariably screws these things up (by punching Santa in the jaw, for instance), the nun thinks it best to whip Billy with a belt. Makes sense. Now he totally won’t grow up to be a psycho killer.
Billy spends his childhood being beaten by a nun and having nightmares about Santa. When we see him all grown up, he is a prosperous stock clerk at a toy store (and the guy who plays him is a charmingly wretched actor. The robotic manner in which he delivers ALL of his lines makes the final act of the movie so fucking funny). Things are looking up for ol’ Billy! That is, until his boss makes him dress up as Santa and do the kids-on-lap thing. Not a great idea.
Billy does okay. He doesn’t hut anyone; he just promises little kids he will punish them. No big deal.
But then, Billy goes to a staff party after the store closes. Dressed as Santa. He sees his coworker, whom he has a crush on, making out with some other dude. Time for the movie to get awesome! Billy screams “PUNISH!” and attacks everyone with a huge fucking ax. He puts the big “PUNISH!” on everyone; they all die. If you don’t understand why he did that, I don’t know what to tell you.
Billy goes on a pretty righteous ax-murder spree dressed as Santa. So many “naughty” people to kill! Fantastic 80’s slasher carnage ensues at an impressive pace. I won’t tell you how it ends, but there is a GREAT setup for the sequel. You have to see it.
Stay Alive: F
Released in the mid 2000’s to try and hitch on to the popularity of the Resident Evil and Silent Hill train, Stay Alive presents a premise that is both boring, unoriginal, flawed, and basically awful. The movie begins with some hardcore gamer who is beta testing a new game called “Stay Alive.” While playing the game his character dies by being hung from a chandelier, and about six minutes later, fuckin surprise, he dies in real life by being hung from a chandelier.
Soon we meet the main character “Hutch” and his GF “October” who is the hot video game playing emo chick designed to suck in all the lonely Everquest players who have never seen a pair of tits, and 12 year kids. Hutch’s crew also consists of a drug ravaged Frankie Muniz and another hot blonde whose name I have already forgotten. While sitting around one day, Hutch receives a copy of “Stay Alive” in the mail so he and his crew start gaming and soon they are trapped in the video game world of Count Elizabeth Bathory, and they learn the awful truth that if you die in the game, you die in real life.
From here the internal logic of the movie is shattered repeatedly as characters that do not die in the game, do die in real life and characters that do die in the game do not die in real life. Other ridiculous flaws include Hutch being investigated by the city police force, and despite the fact that he is around all of the victims as they perish and he has no legitimate alibis he is not once even brought in for questioning let alone marked as the prime suspect.
Eventually Hutch and the nameless Blonde chick somehow find out that the origin of the game is the home of Liz Bathory in Louisiana, so they go there to solve the mystery yet all we get to do is watch Frankie Muniz’s video game character run around in PS2 quality graphics while Hutch digs through old dressers.
About 1/8 of the movie is video game screen shots that look outdated for 1996 let alone 2006. The PG-13 rating also means that we get a lot more digital gore then actual gore as most kills are either implied or done off screen. Overall this movie is absolute garbage.