Sunday, 22 April 2012

5 Bad Bad Clown Horror Movies

 Clowns can be really scary.  When we had gone to the circus, I found it fascinating that my son was terrified of the clowns and wouldn't approach them in anyway.  Years later, he has overcome his fear and I asked him, "what was so scary about the clowns?"  He said it was their painted faces. The white pancake makeup and the painted smiles can create a terrific villain for any film.

Except for these films,  here are 5 bad bad clown movies:

4. Clownhouse (1989) -Young Casey Collins is afraid of clowns.  He is so afraid of clowns that he wets his bed at night.  Soooooo, when the circus comes to town, his mother insists that his two older brothers, Randy and Geoffrey, take him to the circus.  That night, they go to the circus and the clowns choose Casey to help, he runs away screaming, embarrassing his older brother Randy but Geoffrey tells him it's OK and they do other circus/midway things while they wait for Randy.  While they're there 3 lunatics happen to escape from the nearby insane asylum, murder three clowns and dress up like them.  The brothers go to their secluded, out of the way home and decide to watch a scary movie.  The clowns find the secluded home and then the terror begins.  Sam Rockwell's co-stars in his first movie as he plays the eldest brother Randy and Jeeper Creepers director Victor Salva tries to keeps the scares up but the body count is unbelievably low for a horror film.

3. Torment (2008) - In this straight to video delight, Lauren is released from a mental hospital and picked up by, I presume is, her boyfriend Ray.  I don't know why she was in the mental home, it might have been because her brother died because they keep alluding to that through out the film, so let's go with that.  Lauren and Ray get home, which seems to be miles away from every thing, Lauren reflects on the balcony and what does she see but an evil clown below!  She tells Ray and he tells her that she needs to take her medication.  Ray also realizes that he has no food in the house, why would he, so off he goes to the store and leaves Lauren home alone.  While alone, Sheriff Plot pusher comes over to borrow so coffee and ask about some missing Mormons. He leaves with his coffee mug full, just as Ray gets back.  Lauren tells Ray about the sheriff but the doesn't believe her cuz he only sees one mug.  Good job detective Ray.  Eventually, the clown comes in and tears some shit up and Lauren needs to get her crazy ass out of there to survive.  This isn't totally terrible, but the acting is stiff and unbelievable.  The clown has some good scenes when he's torturing his victims, but they are so far and few between, I don't know if it's worth it.

5. Death Racers (2008) - This is an even lower budget Death Race 2000.  There are 4 gangs of drivers and the winner is promised freedom.  This movie is the low budget team up of the century! The Asylum and the Insane Clown Posse.  Don't get me wrong, I dig ICP but their movies are terrible and The Asylum is well, The Asylum.  God bless them though, they're filling niche.  Anyway, Acting bad, script ridiculous and there are some good gory scenes, so give a shot if you got an hour and half to waste but remember what Violent J said about it, "We just did it for fun. We knew it was gonna be basically garbage."  Your words, not mine.

2. Killjoy (2000) - In this Full Moon feature, Michael is in love with Jada but her ex-boyfriend Lorenzo doesn't want her dating anyone else.  So, when he sees Michael talking to Jada, Lorenzo and his 2 buddies lay the smack down on Michael.  Michael's only alternative is, of course, voodoo and using a doll and some candles, he tries to summon the demon Killjoy for revenge.  To his surprise it fails and he ends up getting taken out to the woods with Lorenzo, where he is accidentally shot.  This, somehow, brings down the wrath of Killjoy and he starts killing off the cast of 7, off like flies.  This movie is worth watching just for the jumble of ideas and scripting messes that it is.  For a movie that's an hour and 12 minutes, there's like 4 different endings.  Every time you think it's over they add another cliche ending.  The dialogue is bad, the blood effect are all CG and are terrible but that's expected from Full Moon.  However, I do like Killjoy as a villain, he talks and tries to be funny, like Freddy in the later Nightmares.   Also, he has spawned two sequels, so maybe with a budget the stories get better.

1. Secrets of the Clowns (2007) - Bobbi's girlfriend Val comes home, takes a shower and leaves him.  That night, while crying in his beer with his friend Jim, she calls him back and says she wants to come back.  Jim goes outside and is murdered.  A month later, Bobbi and his closet friends get together to visit Jim's grave.  At the grave they talk about how they haven't seen each other in a long time (but didn't they just see each other a month ago at the funeral?) and decide to hire a psychic to find Jim's killer.  Also, Jim is having nightmares about clowns and the house being haunted.  They hire what seems to be the worst psychic in the world, Val leaves again for no reason and all hell breaks loose.  Can Bobbi and Val work things out, can they find the killer, will they survive, by this point I didn't care and neither will you.  I saw this movie at Walmart for 5 bucks and thought what the hell.  The movie starts off really well and there is so good gore right off the bat, then it just kind fizzles off.  The whole plot is so convoluted and confusing that you need a notepad to keep track of what's going on.  The clown is barely in the movie and the gore in it is OK.  The psychic is crazy and there's a couple of good one liners but it isn't worth the price of admission.

These films have some merit and with the right friends, you could definitely have a good laugh. The majority of them are good ideas but whether it's poor scripting, acting or the budget just doesn't allow the vision to come off properly, it just makes them painful to watch.  So, you'll have to excuse me while I try and stuff these clowns back into their car.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

5 of the Deadliest Dolls in Horror Cinema

What is it about dolls that make them so creepy.  Maybe it's their dead eyes staring blanking into emptiness or the textured moldings of their small hands that grasp at nothing.  Whatever it is they can be scary and down right vicious sometimes as we've seen in some films.

Here are 5 of the Deadliest Dolls in Horror Cinema:

5. Child's Play (1988) -  All Andy wants for his birthday is a Good Guy doll.  His widowed mother, Karen can't afford one from the store, but a street peddler has one for sale, so she buys one from him.  Little does she know that the soul of "The Lakeside Strangler", Charles Lee Ray is in that doll!  After some time with Chucky (the doll), Andy's behavior starts to change and claims that the doll is causing all the trouble and is a murderer.  This movie is a classic and has spawned a number of sequels.   The Chucky character has the killing tendencies of Michael Myers or Jason with the dry wit of Freddie.  Must see by all!

4. The Devil-Doll (1936) - After escaping the french prison on Devil's Island, Marcel and his friend Paul Lavond retreat to his swamp land laboratory, where his wife has been continuing his work.  She shows them that the formula is complete and she can now reduce people to 1/6 of their size, so that people can expand their use of resources.  Unfortunately, this excitement and knowledge kills Marcel, so Paul decides to use the formula to get revenge on the 3 men who unjustly sent him to prison.  Lionel Barrymore does a brilliant job playing Paul Lavond and brings a comedic sense in playing Madame Mandilip, his disguise during his time in Paris.  The special effects are rather good considering it was shot in 1936 and director Tod Browning does an excellent job bringing these dolls to life.  Little violence, but good suspenseful story telling in an a classic horror style.

3. Black Devil Doll (2007) - After rampaging and killing some white women, black activist, Mumbia is sent to the electric chair.  The day he is executed, Heather is playing with her Ouija board and summons the spirit of Mumbia and it is captured inside a Puppet!  The puppet tells her his story and they have sex but after a while the puppet says it needs more action.  He convinces her to invite some of her friends over, so he can have sex with them.  She obliges him and so begins a puppet orgy of death!  I don't know if this is suppose to be a remake of "Black Devil Doll From Hell" but its pretty close.  The story is way better (I guess) and there is tons or gore, scenes of a puppet raping people and puppet necrophilia.  Basically, there is a lot of scenes with this puppet fucking things it really shouldn't.  Sometimes funny, sometimes gross and the whole time weird.  Worth seeing at least once, better water cooler talk than the "New Girl".

2. Dolly Dearest (1992) - The Wade family wants a fresh start, so they buy the "Dolly Dearest" doll factory and move to Mexico. Makes sense.  Before they arrive though, not ten feet away for the factory, at an excavation site, an archaeologist releases an ancient evil spirit into the world, which kills him and decides to take over the dolls in the factory.  When the Wade family arrive, they visit the factory and Elliot, the father gives his daughter, Jessica a doll of her very own but little does he know it's evil!  Over time, her mother, Marilyn and their housekeeper notice Jessica spending way to much time with the doll, speaking ancient languages and becoming more aggressive.  She ignores it and after the maid finally gets killed, she kind of takes action.  Rip Torn shows up as another archaeologist, moves the plot along a gives Jessica's brother, Jimmy some screen time.  Originally, a direct to video release, it did hit the theater, most likely because of a clerical error.  This film isn't totally terrible and can be fun.  The special effect on the dolls near the end is pretty good, but there isn't much killing.  Denise Crosby is the same mother type character she was in Pet Sematary and Rip Torn is well, Rip Torn.

1. Dolls (1987) - Judy, her terrible step-mom, Rosemary, and neglectful father, David get caught in a rainstorm, when their car gets suck in a mud hole.  Luckily, there is a creepy mansion nearby for them to take refuge in until the storm passes.  After getting no reply by knocking, they break into the mansion and confronted by owners, the Hartwickes.  The Hartwicke's are an elderly couple who enjoy making dolls and are kind enough to invite Judy and her family to stay but they're not the only people to get stuck in this storm.  Ralph Morris and his two hitchhiking companions, Enid and Isabel also need a place to stay and they are welcomed by the Hartwicke's to stay as well.  However, things start to go bad when Isabel tries to steal antiques from the house and is attacked by the dolls.  The dolls go on to punish the other adults in the house for their trangressions and Judy and Ralph have to find so way to stop them!  Charles Band produced this and even though it could be, it's not a Full Moon film. The stop animation is really good and it looks similar to the Puppet Master and the Demonic Toys films.  Re-Animator director Stuart Gordon takes a so so script and does the best that he can with it.  Fun film, worth looking into but it does get lost in the end.

Dolls are plastic replicas of human beings and that's probably what makes them the most scary.  Even now, I hear the jingle of my daughter's doll coming down the stairs and it sends shivers down my spine because I know that it is bringing down the worst evil in the world, my kids!

Sunday, 8 April 2012

5 Easter Horror Tales

It's the time of year when it seems that rising from the dead is most prevalent.  In a society that pushes away the idea of ghosts, witchcraft and the occult, we sure like to hold onto this tale of zombie/ghost lore.  It's just funny.  Anywhoo, if you're stuffed with chocolate, ham or both, don't want to hear anymore stories from your uncle Ted and sick of watching the usual Easter fare, why not look up some these titles and watch somebody else get strung up for change.

Here are 5 films that are set on the Easter Weekend, hope your weekend is better than theirs.

5. Critters 2: The Main Course (1988) - In this sequel, Brad Brown comes back to town to visit his grandmother, two years after the first critter incident.  Luckily, he has arrived just in time because the local bully, Wesley has just discovered a dormant nest of critter eggs.  He sells them to a local junk dealer, who in turns sells them to Brad's grandma for the church's Easter Egg Hunt.  Now, that they have been moved out of the cold(?) barn, they hatch and run amok through the sleepy town of Grover's Bend.  I loved this series when I was a kid, it was a b-movie Gremlins.  The body count is rather small, but the gore is good when it's there.

4. The Being (1983) - I love a movie that starts with a narrative and tells a tale of foreboding doom.  From what I could tell from this badly edited film is that there is monster that came from dumping toxic waste in the outskirts of town.  The sheriff must stop this monster from devouring the town. The cast is interesting, Academy award winner Martin Landau, Kenny Rogers wife at the time, Marianne Goldman, the producer of Flesh Gorden, Bill Osco, and Ruth Buzzi.  This movie has no sense of time at all and is very confusing, which just adds to the camp.  Also, Dorothy Malone's character can't find her son Michael (?) and this story goes no whereat all.  The scenes where the monster kills people are pretty good, special effects other wise but the monster itself ain't that good.  I think they were going for a budget Alien thing from the shots of it.  Judging by the credits, I think they new what they had because the credits give a funny wrap to the story.  You can probably catch the whole movie on youtube, you really shouldn't have to pay more than that.

3. Dead Snow (2009) - A group of students are vacationing at there friends cabin for the weekend when a mysterious traveler stops by to visit them.  He tells them about the village and how it was overrun by nazis, who would torment and kill the villagers from fun.  Until one day the villagers revolted against them, killing many nazis and fleeing to the mountains to leave them to starve and freeze.  The stranger leaves and the students take it as crazy old man talk but the next night, after a day of partying, the group is attack by zombies!  Nazi Zombies!  There is a lot of fun gory scenes in this film and reminds me again of films like Braindead and the Evil Dead series.  Really enjoyable film and it'll tickle your funny bone! (I hope that's your funny bone!!)

4. Easter Bunny Kill Kill (2006) - This is a really dark themed movie, similar to early Craven work and the lead character and bad guy, Remington, even reminded me of the people the late David Hess portrayed.  The opening scene, has Remington killing a clerk during a robbery before he heads over to his girlfriends' house.  His girlfriend, Mindy, is a widower and she has a mentally challenged teenage son, Nicholas, to take care of, who is excited that Easter is coming.  Remington arrives and she apologizes for not telling him that her son was special and he tells her that it's no problem.  Neither Remington nor the son like each other from the start.  Mindy leaves for work, Remington berates Nicholas, calls him names and threatens to kill his precious rabbit if he tells his mom about the party, he's going to have.  Remington heads out for hookers and leaves Nicholas with child molester and this is when the vengeance of the Easter Bunny rains down upon everyone.  I thought this film was done really well.  Again Remington is scary unlikable and Timothy Muskatell does a great job portraying him.  The kill scenes are excellent and the tension throughout the film is abundant.  The ending is weird but it doesn't really ruin anything and it's definitely worth checking out.

1. Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter (2001) - This is a Canadian (so proud) horror/comedy/musical/action film about Jesus Christ being brought back to stop the lesbians of our nation's capitol, Ottawa, and the eventually the world from being attacked by vampires.  That's right, Ottawa!  With the help of the Mexican superstar Santos, Jesus kicks some undead ass in an old school, way old school.  This is a pretty funny film, it looks like some punk rock friends took some time and put a good idea to use.  The fight scenes are as ridiculous as the story line but it has a certain feel to it that you can't not love.


I hope you and yours have a Happy Easter and remember that these films are like the Cadbury cream eggs that you would get when you were a kid, no expiry date, filled with goo and usually made you want to throw up after words.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

5 Super Hero Movies You Really Need To See

Calgary's Comic Expo is coming up at the end of this month, so I thought I'd write about some of my favourite comic book movies.  Today with the wonders of CGI, you can create a world of super special effects and bring any comic book hero to life. Not so much, in the late 70's and eighties.  Back then, budgets for these types of movies were low and script writers didn't seem to understand or care about the characters.  They would take an action movie formula or in some cases a comedy script and shoehorn a super hero into these ridiculous situations.  This would then create some of best or worst B movies ever, depending on how you look at it.

Here are 5 strange super hero Tales that you need to see:

5. Captain America (1979) - B-movie superstar Reb Brown suits up and becomes the greatest made for TV comic book action hero ever!  When commercial artist, Steve Rodgers, is almost killed for his late fathers top secret formulas; the government saves him by injecting an experimental drug called FLAG into him, that gives him super strength, lighting quick reflexes and bad taste in costumes.  Like any good hero, he wants to get revenge so the government set him up with what would be state of the art in the 70's,  a souped up motorcycle and a killer van.  It's got Reb Brown in it!  nuff said.

4. Fantastic Four (1994) - This was the first kick at the Fantastic Four as film and boy, did it flop.  I read that the company never planned to release it but needed to produce it to keep the rights to the name.  The film gives the basics on the FF and Doctor Doom, the fly into space, belted with rays and now they have super powers.  Doctor Doom is awesome because he talks with his hands a lot, I think the actor was over compensating for wear the mask, which makes him barely audible.  This is a really fun watch, whether you like the Fantastic Four or not.

3. Dr. Strange (1978) - This Marvel favourite came to life on yet another TV special in the 70's, as Dr. Stephen Strange, who must take up the mantle of his ancestors and become a sorcerer supreme to  battle Morgan Lefey, a sorceress from the past and minion to a giant turd with eyeballs called the ancient one.  This show is dull in the action sense, they take the origin idea and go on and on.  The talking turd is funny and there are some serious psychedelic moments in the dimension traveling scenes.  The bad taste of this TV film is so bad, it's probably the reason why we haven't seen another attempt at a Dr. Strange movie.

2. Legends of Superheroes (1979) - This painful 100 min made for TV special, comes in 2 parts.  The first half is called "The Challenge", where the Riddler and number of DC badies attempt to blow up the world while Batman, Robin, Green Latern, Hawkman and other assorted DC hero's try and stop them.  It's not really action oriented but more comedic and tries really hard to get the feel of the 1966 Batman show but misses horribly.  The next half of the show is a superhero roast, hosted by Ed McMahon.  The villains, who have just been defeated, tell jokes about their hero counterparts.  It is painful and Frank Gorshin doesn't even make an appearance as the Riddler in the roast.  I read about this in Adam West's biography and I understand how this could be embarrassing cause it ain't funny, in the way they were intending it to be.

1. Swamp Thing (1982) - Dr. Alec Holland and his sister is working on an experimental plant/human hybrid capable of surviving in hostile environments.  While trying to steal the formula, the evil Dr. Arcane, kills Holland's sister and Dr. Holland becomes victim to his on experiment and turns into the Swamp Thing.  He with the help of government agent Alice Cable, played by the lovely Adrienne Barbeau, go after Dr. Arcane and try and stop him.  Wes Craven does a good job with this film and I like the make up for Swamp Thing, even though Swamp Thing didn't care for it.

 These are fun films to watch and see how far one can stretch a budget. So when you see Adam West at the Comic Expo, ask him about the Legends of Superheroes and maybe he'll blush or punch you in the face.