REVIEW: V/H/S 2 (2013)



V/H/S 2: B+

Although I’m the resident found-footage expert at Bloodcrypt, I let Bloodcrypt Keeper have a go at reviewing the original V/H/S because I was busy buttfucking a hobo.  He did ok, though.  Although I probably would’ve gone B-/C+ with the first installment, I couldn’t quibble too much with his assessment of the film’s vignettes.

Usually, when a sequel comes out within a year of its predecessor, it’s a rushed hack job, intended to capitalize on the success of the previous installment (lookin’ at you, Saw franchise).  V/H/S 2 actually improves on the formula it established.  First of all, the narrative arc binding together the found footage on the tapes is more intelligent and scarier than the first movie.  A private investigator and his partner are investigating a teen’s disappearance and enter a seemingly abandoned house with a bunch of computers and vhs tapes.

The original had five mini-movies; this one opts for quality over quantity with four.  The characters in the film sit down to watch them, and just as before, they’re a mixed bag.  But a better mix this time: more peanuts and cashews, and fewer almonds.  Almonds suck.

The first short is about a dude who has ocular surgery due to losing his sight in an accident, and a permanently-running camera implanted in his eye documents his every waking move (cleverly sidestepping the found-footage Achilles heel of “why are you still filming this?”).  He starts seeing creepy dead people, and this chick who saw him at the hospital comes over and tells him she had an ear implant (cokeular?…cochlear?…cockular?) and sees the same fucked up shit he does.  She tells him not to pay attention to them and then strips off her shirt and rides him, beautiful breasts bouncing.  Some other stuff happens after that, but that’s the high point.  Anyway, pretty good: B(oobs)

The second vignette puts a unique spin on the current zombie craze.  It’s shot almost entirely from the p.o.v. of a mountain biker’s  “Go Pro”-style helmet cam.  He runs into a bleeding woman in the woods, stops to help, and whoops!  He’s a zombie.  A zombie with a helmet cam.  He and other fellow zombies attack hikers/bikers and then a kid’s birthday party.  Flesh-eating ensues, but from an original perspective: B+

In the third clip, shit gets bananas.  A t.v. news crew goes to Indonesia to do an exposé on a cult with one of those charismatic leader types.  It’s got an underground bunker, classrooms full of creepy kids getting indoctrinated, and, of course, mass suicide.  It’s completely bonkers in the best way, and the climax is splendid, when the thing the cult has been worshipping manifests and brings doom.  Fucking phenomenal: A

The final story is about some clichéd-looking aliens who invade a slumber party.  It suffers from the usual “why are you still filming this?” problem much more than the other vignettes.  I have no idea why the filmmakers chose to end with this relative dud, but it robs the movie of a lot of its momentum.  It’s still better than the worst stuff in the first V/H/S, but I would’ve put it earlier to get it out of the way: C

According to the main plotline, though, watching the tapes in a certain order is imperative, so maybe the worst one HAD to be last, I dunno.  At any rate, this franchise is starting to earn some serious horror street cred.  Who knew old tapes could be so scary?  Well, other than the ‘90s hairstyles (both above and below) from those old pornos I can’t seem to let go of…

REVIEW: Friday the 13th (2009)


Friday the 13th (2009): D-

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’ve always thought the purpose of movie reboots was to do a “fresh” retelling of a familiar story/franchise. You take the mythology and characters and tweak or “reboot” them using up-to-date special effects, relevant actors, and modern filmmaking conventions. The product is a re-imagined take on an old favorite, right?


The 2009 turd titled Friday the 13th did not do this. It’s a reboot for the sake of making a reboot and selling products. Nothing “fresh” is really brought to the story. Jason is in the woods and he kills teenagers who are just trying to have unprotected sex, swear, and drink beer (only the brand-partners for the movie, of course). No Mrs. Voorhees. No exploration of supernatural origins/powers. The movie sucks out anything unique about Jason and leaves us with a hollow murder machine you could find in any slasher-in-the-woods movie.

I love Jason mindlessly murdering people, but why reboot the franchise to show ONLY that? There’s the same ol’ gang of teens humping and drinking light beer right up until Jason hacks them up one by one. This film has a cast of physically flawless androgynous teens (and some of the most ridiculous hair I have ever seen). They don’t bother making them camp counselors which would, you know, make sense. They’re just dipshits who go to one of the kid’s parents’ lake house. I wonder how long the parents have owned the house and if Jason has ever attacked it before or if he’s just doing this on a whim. Seems like quite a coincidence.

Every “actress” is totally gorgeous even after getting a machete to the neck or harpoon in the face which, I guess is an achievement in the film? I don’t know.

The product placement in the film is off the hook! This happened:
BRO 1: Hey bro did you bring the Heineken?
BRO 2: What Heineken?
BRO 1: I told you to bring the Heineken! Where’s my Heineken?
BRO 2: Sorry bro.
BRO 1: What’s this: Pabst Blue Ribbon?
BRO 2: Have you never had a Pabst Blue Ribbon?
BRO 1: What the fuck is Pabst Blue Ribbon?
BRO 2: Dude, you can drink all the Pabst Blue Ribbon that you want!

And, this seriously happened:
BRO 1: Crystal Lake? Sounds like a water bottle. Like ‘Crystal Geyser.’ Every water bottle has ‘crystal’ in the name. Bet you can’t name one that doesn’t.
BRO 2: Aquafina. I win.

No one wins with this movie. Avoid it if possible.

REVIEW: Village of the Damned (1995)

village of the damned

Village of the Damned: C-

This is a variation of The Brood and Children of the Corn that features telepathic blonde kids who have long-term plans for world domination and short-term plans for hurting/terrifying rednecks.

There’s this little town with a population of 2,000. One day, everyone in the city limits passes out for a few hours. There’s a real Under the Dome vibe as law enforcement even paints a border around the coma zone, marking lines that, once crossed, cause people to faint. When everyone wakes up, ten women are pregnant, several of whom have legitimate excuses for how they couldn’t have gotten pregnant.

Some weirdly autonomous, chain-smoking government agent, Kirstie Alley, shows up and takes a creepy interest in the immaculate coma-conceptions. She convinces the women to carry the mystery kids to term and then even personally helps in the delivery room (all the births happen at once), punctuating the ordeal with her nihilistic wise-cracks and power-smirk. You can tell she isn’t to be trusted because she smokes, wears sunglasses indoors, and always wears black.

Nine kids are born and one is still-born. SPOILER: The dead baby looks like an alien fetus and Kirstie Alley keeps it in a pickle jar in her basement so she can look at it and, I think, ponder her own cosmic insignificance.

Then something stranger than any of the coma-pregnancy alien fetus stuff happens: the film flashes forward several years to show the nine kids, all Aryan looking toddlers, existing as acknowledged telepaths with a dominant choke-hold on the town. No one openly fucks with the kids because they will telepathically make you jump off of a cliff or telepathically stick your arm in boiling water. Why wouldn’t they show us the townsfolk realizing that they have creepy telepaths on their hands? Why wouldn’t they show the power-plays the kids must have used to take control? THAT sounds like an interesting story. Instead, the rest of the movie is the kids being mean to / killing people and fucking Kirstie Alley smirking.

Christopher Reeve is the only one who has any success blocking the kids’ mind-reading so the town nominates him as the kids’ special tutor and he decides the best course of action would be to suicide bomb them. Mark Hamill is a priest who is bothered by everything.

The kids reveal they are aliens with similar telepathic colonies set up elsewhere on Earth. Kirstie Alley reveals that the government knows all about it and that she has a little alien fetus in her basement. John Carpenter reveals that he is a badass with belligerent synth music but inept as fuck with an acoustic guitar.

Not horrible, I guess.

REVIEW: Zombie Hunter (2013)




Zombie Hunter: F

In a near-future post-apocalyptic wasteland, zombies with varying degrees of intelligence roam the earth feasting on the flesh of the living. Unfortunately, they don’t feast on our rugged anti-hero protagonist, Hunter, a guy with a perpetual 5 o’clock shadow and forced-as-fuck gritty voice. He must have gone to Michael Biehn’s Acting Academy.

If you like voice-overs where some loser is trying as hard as he can to sound tough, maybe you should stop reading this now and just go buy this movie. Hunter can’t stop talking about himself. For every fact he narrates about zombies, he has to follow it up with an annoying fact about himself to remind the audience of what an anti-hero nomad he is. “Some of the zombies are smart” is followed by “I love tequila.” “It all started with this street drug called Natas” is followed by “I can’t let go of the past.” You are expected to sit through this while he mashes along dirt roads in a Camero, squinting like Paul Walker, while a soundtrack of emotional alt-rock blares.

I swear to God I’m not making this up: The fucking alt-rock and dirt roads actually go away for a minute… so he can run over a zombie with his Camero and… as he hits the windshield wipers… the alt-rock blares and he peels out on another dirt road.

While I could write a fucking thesis about why Hunter sucks as a character, and the over-use of dirt roads and alt-rock, I need to focus on the movie’s style/aesthetic as a whole. This film tries SO HARD to emulate a neo-Grindhouse (like from Death-Proof and Machete) feel and it fails SO FUCKING BADLY. There’s artificial grit and blips arbitrarily added to a bunch of the cinematography. Sometimes a whip sound-effect happens and large block letters pop up on the screen to show the name of a character to the audience. “CRACK! – HUNTER.”  “CRACK! – FAST LANE DEBBIE.” There are two-dimensional female characters in jean shorts. All the contrast is cranked like your ex-girlfriend’s Instagram filter. The execution of EVERY EVENT is so fucking corny; the whole film has the timing of a kid’s cereal commercial.

They got Trejo to show up in the movie, and they feature him prominently on the cover art, but their budget only allowed him to deliver a handful of sentences and do some disappointing slow-motion shirtless axe-wielding.

I recommend this movie for dirt road enthusiasts.

REVIEW: Terror Tract (2000)


Terror Tract: B

This day will go down in history as the day you learned that you can watch a horror anthology movie where John Ritter tells a story about Bryan Cranston hiring Buff Bagwell to assassinate an evil knife-throwing monkey.

I’ll let that sink in….

And one more time: John Ritter tells a story about Bryan Cranston hiring Buff Bagwell to assassinate an evil knife-throwing monkey.

What are you waiting for? Go watch this.

Terror Tract liberally borrows from the Creepshow playbook (even to the point where there is a Water-Zombie story) and the result is a goofy and enjoyable anthology movie about a shitload of unfortunate events that occur in the homes that jittery real estate agent J-Ritt is trying to slang to some hesitant suburbanites. “Full Disclosure” laws prompt Ritter to reveal the sinister history of each house and these histories give us our stories in the anthology.

There’s a story about a cheating wife who has a crazy husband. Put them together and apparently you get Water-Zombies. There’s another story about a dude with uncontrollable psychic powers that force him to unwillingly endure 1st person slayings committed by a serial killer who wears a granny mask and says “COME TO GRANNY!” while he stabs people. The killer is called the “Granny Killer.”

These stories are all fun enough but there’s one that eclipses them: the one about Bryan Cranston hiring Buff Bagwell to assassinate an evil knife-throwing monkey. Before he was the one who knocks, Cranston was the one who gets upset about his daughter’s pets. It’s the same story as Tina the Talking Doll; Cranston’s daughter finds an adorable monkey and brings it into the house and only Cranston realizes the monkey’s secret homicidal intentions. He knows that monkey is up to something but his fucking wife and daughter just won’t listen! Cartoonish violence escalates at Roadrunner pace; you half expect Cranston to blow up his own house with a missile from Acme. Did I mention that Buff Bagwell shows up out of nowhere and Cranston pays him to fight the monkey? There are dead animals, corpses dissolving in barrels, a monkey throwing knives and shooting guns, Cranston channeling Heisenberg against the monkey (and his whimpering daughter), and some of the most high-brow comedy there is: a monkey in a baby carriage.