horror, movie, movie review, thriller

August 24th, 2017 Movie – The She Beast

the she beast

After all the shark movies I recently watched, it feels pretty good to watch a movie from the Legends of Horror box set. Once again, this is a movie that I never heard of and I had to do some looking up to see what this movie is about. So apparently I have another Italian horror movie on my hands. I don’t know if this is necessarily a good thing or a bad thing but the only way to find out is to go ahead and watch it. So let’s get right into today’s movie, The She Beast.

The plot: In Transylvania, Count Von Helsing heads to his room at a local inn and after sitting down for a while, he grabs a book and then lays in bed while reading it, which depicts events that happened 200 years ago. In the past, a young boy interrupts a funeral service to tell the people that a witch named Vardella has taken his brother. The priest is outraged and demands the boy tell them where she is so they can put a stop to her. The townsfolk gather torches and head out into the night to kill Vardella, but one man says they must exorcise her first, or else she will be a curse on the town for generations to come. The priest leads the townsfolk to the cave that Vardella is hiding in and they capture her after she rushes out to attack them. Taking her to the lake, they tie her into the dunking chair, where Vardella tells them she will come back to take revenge on their descendants. The priest then instructs them the mob to nail a stake into her gut before they proceed to repeatedly dunk Vardella into the lake until she dies. Back in the present, Von Helsing finishes reading the book and puts it down before getting out of the bed. Meanwhile, a pair of newlyweds, Philip and Veronica, are honeymooning in Transylvania but get lost in the mountains. As they stop to check the map, they see someone approaching on a bicycle and ask for directions to an inn that they can stay at for the night and the man directs them to Vaubrac. When the couple arrives in town, they find it unimpressive and consider driving on to the next town, which is 40 miles down the road, when the inn’s owner Ladislav Groper, approaches them and convinces them to stay the night. As they sit outside, Groper brings them some food and tea and after he leaves, Philip and Veronica throw out the garlic that came with their meal. Von Helsing, who was swinging on a nearby swing set, approaches them and tells that the garlic is an area tradition to ward off demons and witchcraft. After introducing himself, Veronica asks if he knows the Draculas, as she recognized the name, and he tells them his family were the ones to exorcise them and drive them out of Transylvania. Von Helsing then convinces them to get a bottle of wine and he starts telling them the history of Vaubrac and of Vardella. When they get tired of listening to him talk, they politely take their leave and Von Helsing takes the wine with him, arguing that the bottle was paid for when Groper tries to stop him. As Philip and Veronica settle in for the night, Groper bursts into the room without knocking, upsetting Philip. Philip requests another room but Groper refuses to let them move and after they argue for a few minutes, Groper leaves. Philip and Veronica begin to have sex but Veronica notices Groper watching from the window, prompting Philip to assault Groper and severely beat him. Returning to the room, Philip wants to leave right away but Veronica says they should stay the night, as Groper won’t do anything again or risk being beaten again. Philip and Vernoica try leaving early in the morning but when the car won’t start, Philip discovers that the distributor cap was removed from his car. Suspecting Groper, Philip bursts into his room to deman it’s return and finds it underneath Groper’s bed. They leave and head down the road when Philip loses control of his car and, after narrowly avoiding hitting a delivery truck, crashes into the lake. The truck driver get out and runs to the lake and retireves Philip, who tells him to help Veronica before he passes out, and the driver quickly pulls her body from the lake. The driver takes them back to the inn and asks Groper to help him, as he has a bad reputation among the local police. When Philip regains consciousness, he sees Groper sitting there drinking and watching him and asks him where Veronica is. Groper points to a room and he goes there to check on her but then yells at Groper and asks what he has done with her. Von Helsing enters the room, having been attracted by the commotion, and when he sees the body, he tells Groper to place the body in the room the couple stayed in, then asks Philip to tell him everything he remembers from the crash. Philip tells him what happened and how the car seemed to be drawn to the lake, and he remembers a wooden structure near the shore. Von Helsing tells Groper to watch over the body and he tells Philip to trust him and they leave to head to his family’s old castle, which the government took possession of. Von Helsing tries to explain to Philip that the body that was retrieved from the lake was that of the witch, Vardella, and he has to retrieve his exorcism tools so that they can exorcise the witch and return her to the lake in order to get Veronica back. Philip thinks they are wasting time and leaves to go alert the police, with Von Helsing chasing after him but he doesn’t find him. Von Helsing goes to the inn and attempts to exorcise Vardella but she wakes up and attacks him, choking him into unconsciousness before fleeing the room. Elsewhere in the inn, Groper is drinking and watching TV when his niece shows up, having hear dthe commotion and gotten scared. Groper invites her in under the pretense of trying to comfort her but he then attempts to rape her but she fights him off and runs out of the room. Groper heads outside and yells at her when Philip shows up and Groper, who is startled, smashes his bottle over Philip’s head. Thinking that he killed him, Groper drags Philip’s body into the street in the hopes that a passing car will run him over but the delivery truck manages to swerve and miss him. Von Helsing comes too and finds Philip and drags him out of the street while elsewhere, Groper is killed by Vardella. When Philip comes too, Von Helsing tries to explain what is going on, that Vardella is killing the descendants of those who killed her, but Philip finds it hard to believe until he sees a body on the side of the road. They head into town and split up to look for Vardella and find her attacking someone outside of a cock fight arena. Philip manages to pull her off her victim and Von Helsing uses a syringe to render her unconscious. The take her back to the inn and place her in the freezer while they return to Von Helsing’s home to get the supplies they need to bring Veronica back. Meanwhile, the police are concerned about the recent murders when the truck driver, who they had arrested earlier, sees that Groper is one of the victims and tells them about the accident and the body at the inn. They head over there and find where Philip and Von Helsing placed the body and take it back to town. Philip and Von Helsing return just as they are leaving and, realizing that they have the body, head into town and steal the police van with Vardella’s body in it. The police give chase but Philip and Von Helsing are able to give them the slip and head to the lake, only for Von Helsing to remember that all of his exorcism tools are in his car. They leave the van and wait for the police to show up, coming up with a plan to attack them and get the tools. When the police arrive, they approach the van only for Valderra, who had regained consciousness, to attack them. Von Helsing knocks her out again and they head to the late and strap her into the dunking chair, and proceed to dunk her under the water. When Veronica’s body appears, Philip swims out to retrieve her and Veronica has no knowledge of what has occurred since the crash. Von Helsing, Philip, and Veronica leave Transylvania and enter Czechoslovakia, with Von Helsing asking to accompany them back to England. Von Helsing says he worries about leaving Vaubrac undefended but Philip says that he is glad to be leaving while Veronica cryptically says that she will be back, mirroring what Vardella had said 200 years ago.

I have to be honest, this was a little disappointing of a movie as a horror movie, but it was entertaining in a “God, this is bad” kind of way. The acting was decent, with Barbara Steele doing a good job in the brief time she was on screen as Veronica, while John Karlsen (Von Helsing) and Ian Ogilvy (Philip) made for an interesting dynamic. The story was interesting but the way that they tried to enact the story felt a little weak and didn’t really do a good job in explaining everything that was going on. The lighting in the movie was pretty bad and the special effects were pretty weak to be honest. All told, it wasn’t quite what I expected and could have been better but not the worst movie I have seen.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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crime, drama, movie, movie review

August, 23rd, 2017 Movie – The Shawshank Redemption

the shawshank redemption

Once again, I find myself in possession of what is considered one of those “must watch” movies. Now I will admit, it took me a long time to get around to watching today’s movie because it honestly never really piqued my interest. However, the near constant barrage of it on the various Turner channels (TNT and TBS), and my catching various portions of the movie at one point or another prompted me to sit down and watch it in it’s entirety one day. Even though I had watched it, and will admit that it earned the hype it was given, I still had no intention of buying it on DVD because I honestly didn’t see the reason in buying it because IT WAS ALWAYS ON TV. However, this past Christmas, my brother was giving away all of his old DVD’s and I couldn’t say no to a free copy of this movie. So let’s get right into today’s movie, The Shawshank Redemption.

The plot: In 1947 Portland, Maine, Andy Dufresne is on trial for the murder of his wife and her lover and though he professes his innocence, he is sentenced to 2 consecutive life terms in prison. At Shawshank State Penitentiary, Ellis Boyd “Red” Redding is attending his parole hearing and afterwards, he heads back to the yard and discusses his chances of getting parole with his fellow inmates. When an alarm sounds, the prisoners gather around the fence to watch the new prisoners arrive and Red gets his first glimpse of Andy and makes a bet with the other prisoners that he will be the first one to break. Andy and the other new prisoners are brought inside and are introduced to Warden Norton and Hadley, the captain of the guards. Norton explains the rules in his prison and then the prisoners are hosed down and marched naked to their cells. After a month in prison, Andy approaches Red, who is known as the man able to get items inside the prison, and asks if he can get him a small rock hammer. Red tells him it will cost him $10 dollars, then gives Andy a warning about Bogs Diamond and his group, the Sisters, who have their sights set on raping Andy. One day, Andy is cornered by Bogs and the Sisters and though he tries to fight them off, he ends up being beaten. Two years later, Red manages to get Andy and some other friends on a work detail re-tarring the ceiling of the workshop and while they are working, they overhear Hadley complaining about an inheritance he received and how much taxes he will have to pay. Andy approaches Hadley and offers to help him keep most of that money without having to pay taxes on it in exchange for some beers for the roofing crew. Hadley agrees and the prisoners sit on the roof drinking some beers while Andy simply watches, and Red tries to figure out why he did it. Some time later, Andy goes to see Red while he is watching a movie and asks for a Rita Hayworth poster and Red tells him it will take a few weeks. As Andy leaves the theater, he is grabbed by Bogs and the Sisters and taken into the projection room, where they attempt to rape him but when Andy taunts them, they beat him close to death instead. Andy spends a month in the infirmary and Bogs, after spending a week in solitary, is beaten severely by Hadley, to the point where he can no longer walk and is transferred to a prison hospital. As a welcome back gift for Andy, Red and some of the other inmates collect some alabaster rock for Andy, who wants to use it to make chess pieces. When Andy is out of the infirmary, he sees the rocks, as well as the poster of Rita Hayworth, waiting for him in his room. One day, Norton has a surprise inspection done of some of the cells and he personally watches as Hadley searches Andy’s cell, then speaks with him afterwards. A few days later, Andy is transferred from the laundry detail to the prison library and assigned as an assistant to Brooks, the prison librarian. Andy and Brooks both think this is strange but then they learn that it was meant to get Andy away from the inmates so he can help the guards, and eventually the warden, with their taxes. As Red and the others joke about what Andy is doing, Andy says that he is going to try and get some new books for the library. Andy approaches Norton about it but when Norton refuses, saying it isn’t in the budget, Andy says he will try writing the senator every week and Norton tells him it is a waste of time but he will mail the letters out for him. In 1954, Brooks is paroled and he is upset at the news, as he has spent 50 years in Shawshank and doesn’t know anything but life in the prison. After he gets out, Brooks writes a letter to Red, telling him how he felt outside of prison, before he hangs himself inside the halfway house. One day, Andy receives some funds for the prison library as well as some donations of used books from various libraries and told to stop writing them. As Andy is going through the boxes of books, he finds a box of records and puts one on the record player in the Norton’s office, and then puts the music on over the loud speaker so the other prisoners can listen to it. Norton is displeased with this and sends Andy to solitary for two weeks. As time passes, Andy is given more money for the library, as he started writing 2 letters a week.. In 1963, Norton starts a prisoner work program, which he uses to pad his own pockets by exploiting the prisoners for cheap labor while accepting bribes from other contractors. Norton has Andy launder the extra money by setting it up in account under the name of Randall Stephens. In 1965, a new inmate by the name of Tommy Williams comes to Shawshank and he is adopted by Red and Andy’s group. Tommy asks Andy to help him pass his GED, as he has a wife and baby outside and wants to be a better provider for them, and Andy agrees to help teach him to read and prepare for the test. When Tommy learns what Andy is in for, he tells Andy that he was incarcerated in another prison 4 years ago and his cell mate, who had been the one to kill Andy’s wife and her lover. Andy goes to Norton with this information, believing that it will be cause to get a new trial for his case but Norton refuses to believe it and then has Andy placed in solitary for a month when he gets upset. As the prisoners discuss what happened with Andy, Tommy receives an envelope from the Education Board, as Andy had mailed in Tommy’s test, and when he refuses to open it, Red opens it for him and tells him that he passed. Norton has Tommy meet him by the prison gates one night and questions him about what he told Norton and after Tommy swears it is true, Norton has Hadley kill him under the pretense that he was trying to escape. Norton goes to tell Andy about the murder and when Andy says he will refuse to launder the money any more, Norton threatens to destroy the library and make things worse for Andy, then tells Hadley to give him another month in solitary. When he finally is released from solitary, Andy is talking with Red and tells him of his dream of living in Zihuatanejo, Mexico, a Pacific coastal town, when he gets out of there. When Red tells Andy that he doesn’t know if he can make it on the outside and Andy is being unrealistic, Andy tells him that when he gets out of there, he needs to visit a particular hayfield in Buxton and retrieve something that Andy buried there. Red is worried about Andy and tells some of their friends and Heywood tells him that Andy had asked him for 6 ft of rope, and they worry that he might commit suicide. After finishing his work on the books in Norton’s office, Andy heads back to his cell and stares at his poster of Raquel Welch, which is the latest poster to replace his Rita Hayworth poster, and pulls out the rope. The next morning at roll call, Andy’s cell is found to be empty and Norton is outraged. As he has Red brought in to question him, and as he gets frustrated with nobody knowing how Andy disappeared, he starts throwing Andy’s rock’s at Red, Hadley, and finally the poster, which rips to reveal a tunnel in the wall. A manhunt is called for Andy and they find his old prison clothes and the rock hammer he used to make the tunnel. In flashback, it is shown that Andy had switched out the ledger from Norton’s office and stolen one of his suits and shoes, which he placed in a plastic bag to keep them dry, while he made his way through the tunnel, then used a storm to cover the sound of his breaking a sewer pipe, which he crawls through for 500 yards in order to escape. As Norton, Hadley, and Red are examining the tunnel, Andy, under the guise of Randall Stephens, heads to a dozen banks in Portland and proceeds to close out all of the accounts, then asks one of them to mail something for him, which is the ledger and a letter detailing the murders and corruption to the local newspaper. The FBI gets involved and Hadley is arrested but Norton chooses to kill himself rather than be arrested. A few days later, Red receives an unsigned post card from Fort Hancock, Texas, and he knows that that is where Andy crossed the border into Mexico. After 40 years in Shawshank, Red is paroled but, just like Brooks, he has a hard time adjusting to the outside. Remembering his promise to Andy, Red heads to the hayfield in Buxton and finds a lunchbox with a note from Andy and an envelope with some cash inside. Red violates his parole by heading to Fort Hancock, Texas, then crosses the border and makes his way to Zihuatanejo, where he finds Andy working on fixing up an old boat and the two friends embrace each other.

The Shawshank Redemption met with high praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 91% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is that, “The Shawshank Redemption is an uplifting, deeply satisfying prison drama with sensitive direction and fine performances.” The movie was nominated for 7 Academy Awards, the most for any Stephen King film adaptation, but it did not win any of them. While it was highly praised by the critics, it was only a modest success at the box office, earning $58 million off of a $25 million budget. However, due to word of mouth, and TNT airing it nearly every day starting in 1997, the movie would become considered by many to be the greatest film to come out of the 1990’s and is widely regarded one of the greatest movies of all time.

All of the hype about this movie is well deserved because this is a fantastic movie. The acting was great, with Tim Robbins (Andy) and Morgan Freeman (Red) doing fantastic jobs while Bob Gunton (Norton) and Clancy Brown (Hadley) were equally good in their roles. The story was really good, moving at a pretty slow and deliberate pace which helped build up  interest in the movie and characters while doing a good job in not not becoming boring. I honestly think the methodical, steady pacing of the movie was meant to mirror the Andy’s plan to escape, showing how he kept at it for years and never gave up hope that it would work. There wasn’t really any special effects used in this movie, as it used the drama to help carry the story very effectively. I will say that the little side part where it focused on Brooks when he got paroled was incredibly sad to watch. Like I said, well deserving of all the hype and definitely a movie that is worth watching.

Rating: 5 out of 5

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comedy, horror, movie, movie review, zombie movie

August 22nd, 2017 Movie – Shaun Of The Dead

shaun of the dead

Now here is a movie that I didn’t get to see in theaters and to be honest, I am a bit disappointed that I didn’t. When this came out, several of my friends had seen it and they knew I would like it and recommended that I go see it. I was all on board to do so but my wife didn’t want to go. Now this is the same person that wanted to see 28 days later on our anniversary but for some reason, did not want to go see this movie. Yeh, it makes no sense but that is what happened and so I wound up not going to see this in theaters but the second it came out on DVD, I immediately bought it and never once looked back. So lets get some zombie goodness going with today’s movie, Shaun Of The Dead.

The plot: Shaun is out at the Winchester with his girlfriend Liz, who is unhappy about the fact that he always has to bring Ed along with him. Along with her friends David and Dianna, who are there with them as well, Liz complains about Shaun’s lack of direction in life and Shaun says he will change and promises to make a reservation at a restaurant for their anniversary the next day. The next day, Shaun is getting ready for work when his roommate Pete starts complaining about Ed living there but not contributing to the house any. As Shaun and Pete get ready to leave for work, Pete asks Ed to clean up since he isn’t doing anything and Shaun asks Ed to do it for him, as he doesn’t want Pete to get more upset than he already is. At work, Shaun is giving a team meeting, being the senior member on staff there, but the kids working under him are disrespectful or ignore him. While working, Shaun’s step-father Philip shows up to remind Shaun about visiting his mother the next day and suggests he bring the flowers he forgot to bring on Mother’s Day when he comes. As one of the kids gets on Shaun’s case about receiving a “personal visit” at work, Liz calls to see if Shaun got her message at the house and Shaun absent mindedly answers to avoid further mocking from the teen. On the way home, Shaun buys some flowers for his mom and starts noticing some strange things going on with some people. He runs into his friend Yvonne, who asks about him and Liz, prompting Shaun to remember about the dinner reservations but when he tries to make one, the restaurant is booked. Liz calls and when Shaun tells her that he forgot to make the reservation and suggests going to the Winchester, she breaks up with him. Shaun grabs the flowers and heads over to Liz’s place, which she shares with David and Dianna, but David and Dianna refuse to let him in at first. When he finally gets in, Liz argues with him about all the broken promises he has made, while David interjects his own comments which angers Shaun. Liz eventually kicks Shaun out of her flat and as he walks towards the Winchester, he sees a couple making out near the door and angrily tosses the flowers into the trash. Shaun sits with Ed, who tries to cheer Shaun up and they end up getting drunk and going back to the house, not noticing that there are zombies wandering around. When they get back to the house, Shaun and Ed continue drinking and partying until Pete throws the record out the window and yells that it is 4 in the morning. He then yells at Ed and tells Shaun to sort his life out when Shaun notices Pete’s hand is wounded and Pete tells them he was mugged on the way home and someone bit him. The next morning, Shaun heads to the market, comp[letely oblivious to the zombies around the area, and when he gets back to the house, Ed tells him there is a girl in the yard. The two go out to check on her and when she keeps trying to attack them, Shaun pushes her, causing her to fall and impale herself on a pole. When the girl gets back up, Shaun and Ed move to go inside when they see a second zombie approaching them. They make it inside and start watching the news only to have a zombie enter the house through the front door, which Shaun forgot to close. Ed manages to kill it and, after hearing a news report on how to stop the zombies, they go outside and start throwing things at the zombies, including Shaun’s records. When it doesn’t work, Shaun breaks into the shed and grabs a cricket bat, while Ed grabs a shovel, and the two kill the two zombies in the yard. Going back inside, they see a report about people being bitten, prompting them to worry about Pete but when they yell up at him, they get no response and think he has already left. Shaun’s mom, Barbara, calls and tells him that Phillip was bitten so Shaun decides they will go get Barbara, kill Phillip, then go to Liz’s and all of them will hold up at the Winchester. As they go to leave, Shaun sees Pete is in the bathroom and he quickly leaves the room before he grabs him and they get in Pete’s car and leave. They reach Barbara and Philips house and Ed chooses to stay outside with the car while Shaun goes inside the house. Inside Shaun asks Barbara about Philip but when he goes to kill him, he finds that Philip is still alive and can’t bring himself to kill him. Shaun takes Barbara and Philip outside and finds that Ed has wrecked the car in order to drive Philip’s Jaguar but before they get in the car, Philip is attacked by some more zombies. Shaun fends them off and they all get in the car and head to Liz’s flat. Shaun heads there but when he finds too many zombies at the door, he climbs the wall to their flat and convinces them to come with him to the Winchester, though David argues that they will be safer there. When they head outside, Shaun leads them to the car and they start to drive to the Winchester but Philip dies and turns into a zombie. Shaun fends him off as Ed, Liz, and Barbara get out of the car and Liz lets Shaun, David, and Dianna out of the back, as they were trapped due to the child locks on the doors. Making their way through the neighborhood to the Winchester, the group runs into Yvonne, who is leading a similar group in the opposite direction. As they get close to the Winchester, Shaun notices his mom is missing just as he hears her crying out. Shaun heads back and finds Barbara on the ground, just as he gets attacked by a zombie. Liz and Dianna help Shaun deal with the zombie, which he impales with a tether ball pole. Realizing the street in front of the Winchester is full of zombies, Shaun comes up with a plan to imitate them and make their way to the pub. When they get there, they find the doors locked and as Shaun tries to tell them there is another way in, Ed gets a phone call, drawing the zombie’s attention towards them. David panics and breaks a window but Shaun realizes that they won’t make it in safely so Shaun chooses to lead the zombies away from the pub so the others can make it in. Inside, David starts complaining about what they should do next and everyone is surprised when Shaun reappears, telling them that he gave the zombies the slip and came in through back door. As they sit in a booth, Shaun notices the lights coming on in the street and so he heads down to check the fuses and discovers that the zombies had followed him. When Ed attracts the zombies attention again, just as the jukebox starts playing music, Shaun has David try to stop the jukebox while he, Ed, and Liz deal with the bar’s owner. As they use the deal with the zombies starting to break in, Liz tends to Barbara, who reveals that she was bitten back when she was attacked in the yard. Shaun, Ed, and Dianna head over to try and help Barbara but she dies and Shaun cries out. David suddenly points the gun at Barbara and as everyone argues for him to put the gun down, Shaun calls David out on being in love with Liz, which David finally admits to being true. When Barbara turns, Shaun is forced to kill her, then punches David when he makes a comment about it. David gets fed up and goes to leave but the zombies break through the window and grab him. Shaun, Liz, and Dianna try to save him but he is ripped apart by the zombies and Dianna, mad with grief, runs out and begins attacking the zombies with David’s leg. As more zombies start entering the pub, Ed is attacked and bitten by Pete, prompting Shaun to shoot Pete and then Shaun, Liz, and Ed take shelter behind the bar, which Shaun sets on fire to fend off the zombies. They then head into the cellar and Shaun realizes they have two bullets left, which he and Liz discuss shooting themselves to avoid being killed by the zombies. As they talk, Shaun sees the elevator to the street and he goes to grab Ed but Ed tells him that he will only hold him back and that they should go as they would have a chance to make it. Shaun and Liz head to the street just as the military arrive and start killing the zombies, and they are surprised to see Yvonne there, who had told the military to come there. 6 months later, society has gone back to a semblance of normal, with some zombies being used to handle mundane tasks. Shaun and Liz have gotten back together and as they discuss their plans for the day, Shaun heads out to the garden shed, where he is keeping the zombified Ed around so he can still have his best friend with him, and the two begin playing video games.

Shaun Of The Dead met with high praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 92% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is that, “Shaun of the Dead cleverly balances scares and witty satire, making for a bloody good zombie movie with loads of wit.” George Romero was given a private screening of the movie and was so impressed with Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright’s work that he asked them to have cameo zombie appearances in Land Of The Dead. The movie was a box office success, earning $30 million off a $6.1 million budget.

This is such an awesome movie to watch. The acting was great, with Simon Pegg (Shaun) and Nick Frost (Ed) making for a great comedic duo. Kate Ashfield (Liz), Bill Nighy (Philip), and Penelope Wilton (Barbara) also turned in some really good performances. The story was really good, doing a great job of paying homage to the classic zombie movies while adding some really funny moments that didn’t really take away from the horror but some ways, added to it. There were also a lot of subtle references to Romero’s zombie movies as well as other horror directors mixed in which was kind of fun to pick up on. The special effects with the zombies and was really good, especially some of the zombie injuries that were used in the film. Definitely something to watch if you are in the mood for laughs or zombies or both.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

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comedy, horror, movie, movie review, sci-fi

August 21st, 2017 Movie – Sharktopus Vs Pteracuda

sharktopus vs pteracuda

Well, today should be a lot of fun for everyone. I know that most people will probably be staring up at the sky at one point or another, and I admit that I will also be doing that as well. However, before I watch the eclipse, I need to watch today’s movie. Now, while it didn’t necessarily get the media fanfare that Sharknado did, Sharktopus did generate a fairly decent job at getting some audience viewing, enough so to warrant some sequels being ordered. Today’s movie, Sharktopus Vs. Pteracuda is the first of the sequels to be released so let’s have some fun watching it.

The plot: After Sharktopus was destroyed by Flynn and Nicole, they failed to notice that an egg sac was among the remains and it ends up floating down the river towards the ocean. Lorena Christmas is out with Vasquez, one of her uncle Munoz’s employees at the aquarium, to collect and study fish when she sees the egg sac caught in their net and cuts it open to reveal a baby Sharktopus inside. 6 months later, Biotech company Symodyne is testing their own bio-weapon, and company founder Dr. Rico Symes is explaining the weapon to Mr. Hammerstein (Hamm), his head of security. Symes tells him that since the military didn’t buy any new planes, preferring to use drones instead, he decided to make a new weapon, combining the DNA of a pterodactyl with barracuda to create Pteracuda, a creature that is able to attack any target on land, sea, and air. After their initial test, Symes orders Pteracuda to return to base and starts bragging about his creation but unknown to him, one of his employees, Vladamir, hijacks control of Pteracuda. As the employee leaves, Pteracuda attacks the building, killing Symes’ assistant Rachel, before flying off again and Symes orders Hamm to go after it. Hamm and his team board a helicopter and begin shooting at Pteracuda but their bullets have no effect and it manages to kill one of the men before knocking the helicopter out of the sky. The helicopter crashes into the ocean and as Hamm and the rest of the team surface, Pteracuda dives into the water and begins picking them off. Hamm manages to swim to shore as Pteracuda bursts from the water and starts circling overhead. Before it can attack, the rogue employee crashes his van, spilling coffee over his control board and shorting it out, causing Pteracuda to fly off. Back at the aquarium, Munoz argues with Lorena about his wanting to use Sharktopus as part of a show, while Lorena just wants to study it. When Munoz has Vasquez throw a live fish in the water, Sharktopus attempts to attack him but Munoz pours bleach into the water in order to sedate Sharktopus and Lorena gets upset and leaves. Lorena meets up with a couple that paid to play with the dolphins but when the husband isn’t satisfied with the experience, he tries to get her to take them to see Sharktopus but she refuses. The couple head to Munoz’s office and threaten to sue him but when they offer money, Munoz agrees to take them to see Sharktopus. When they get to the pool, Munoz tries to get Sharktopus to appear, then warns the wife, who had taken her shoes off and was dipping her feet into the pool. Sharktopus sends up a tentacle to distract the woman before attacking her with a second one and as the husband yells that they will sue, he helps carry her away from the water. Meanwhile, Lorena is on a date with her boyfriend, who works as a lifeguard at the water park, but she is distracted by work and keeps bringing up Sharktopus while they eat. The next day, Hamm makes it back to Symodyne, where Symes is planning on leaving the country to escape any fallout from Pteracuda but Hamm refuses to let him do that. When they check the news to see if there is any mention of Pteracuda, they see the story of the couple attacked by Sharktopus and Symes recognizes it as S11 and gets the idea to use it to capture or kill Pteracuda. Symes and Hamm travel to the aquarium and meet with Munoz, where the bribe him into letting them use Sharktopus. After Munoz sedates Sharktopus, Hamm uses a drill to plant the control band into Sharktopus’ brain and when Lorena tries to stop them, Munoz locks her into his office. Hamm and Symes take Sharktopus out to the ocean where Pteracuda is attacking people and set it loose and the two creatures begin to fight but Pteracuda manages to fly away from Sharktopus. Lorena contacts Rick and tells him what happened and tells him to close the beach then goes looking for Symes and Hamm, running into news reporter Veronica Vegas, who tries interviewing her for a story. Pteracuda attacks some people on the beach while Sharktopus attacks and kills Conan O’Brien. Meanwhile, Symes downloads the security footage from the company and they realize that Vlad was the one who hijacked control of Pteracuda. After another fight between Sharktopus and Pteracuda occurs, Pteracuda manages to rip off the control band and Sharktopus ends up swimming away. As Hamm and Symes try to figure out their next move, they see Lorena walking nearby and quickly grab her. Hamm explains the situation and they try to convince her to help them as Pteracuda heads to the beaches. When Hamm stops to get some supplies to fight Pteracuda and Sharktopus, Lorena manages to get out of the van and heads to the beach, where she finds Rick trying to help save a woman. As Rick heads back out to try and save more people, Symes recaptures Lorena and they watch as Pteracuda kills Rick. They head back to the van to meet up with Hamm, and HAmm tries to convince Lorena to help them kill the creatures. Meanwhile, Symes is trying to track Vlad and learns that he is downloading a program  for Pteracuda that will have it attack nuclear power plants and says they have to stop him. At the aquarium, Munoz is celebrating his newfound wealth and decides to shut down the aquarium but when he remembers Lorena, he finds that she has escaped. As he goes looking for her, he encounters Sharktopus and he ends up being killed, while Sharktopus escapes the aquarium and makes it’s way into the canals. Hamm, Symes, and Lorena track Vlad to a motel and, using Lorena as a distraction, Hamm manages to capture him. As Symes works to regain control of Pteracuda, the news report comes out about his involvement with Pteracuda and Symes goes to kill Lorena but as Hamm stops him, Vlad pulls out a gun and orders Symes to hand him the case. Vlad runs and Hamm chases after him, eventually managing to shoot him in the shoulder but as Vlad goes to surrender, Pteracuda kills him. Hamm grabs the case and plans to use it to lure Pteracuda and Sharktopus to each other so he can kill them but when Pteracuda tries to kill them, Symes kicks them out of the car, as he refuses to be killed over his work. Hamm and Lorena run for it and manage to make it to safety when Sharktopus shows up and, after checking on Lorena, begins attacking Pteracuda again. Hamm goes out and grabs the case and leaves Lorena at the aquarium, then finds Symes at a bar, where he was contacting the people that had hired Vlad. Hamm takes Symes to the beach and puts him in a boat, then shoots the boat so it starts leaking. As Symes tries to bail out the water, he is attacked by both Pteracuda and Sharktpus, who end up ripping him apart. Hamm goes back to the aquarium to give Lorena Symes’ notes and she figures out a way to lure Pteracuda to them. Using a disco ball, they manage to lure Pteracuda to them but it ends up knocking Lorena out of the boat. When it goes to kill her, Sharktopus shows up and starts fighting it in order to protect her, giving Hamm time to shoot Pteracuda with his harpoon. As Sharktopus grabs Pteracuda and drags him underwater, Hamm drags Lorena back on the boat and the head to a safe distance before the explosive attached to the harpoon explodes, killing Pteracuda. Believing Sharktopus to have been destroyed as well, Lorena and Hamm stare at the sunset as Lorena talks about needing a vacation, just as Sharktopus grabs onto the boat and moves to attack them.

To be honest, this was a little bit of a disappointment, falling somewhat into the same category that most sequels fall into. The acting was ok, with Robert Carradine (Symes), Rib Hillis (Hamm), and Katie Savoy (Lorena) doing good jobs in their roles but most of the other people in the movie were pretty annoying. The story was interesting and did a decent job of explaining how a second Sharktopus appeared but they didn’t really do a good job in setting up the time jump between the two movies. The special effects were ok in regards to the creatures’ designs but I felt they could have done better with the interaction and human kills. Loved the idea of the sequel but I wish it was a little better.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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comedy, horror, movie, movie review, sci-fi

August 20th, 2017 Movie – Sharktopus

sharktopus

Nothing like a Roger Corman movie to get the day started. I remember when Syfy first aired the trailer for today’s movie and it ended up getting a lot of attention on YouTube, mainly due to the song attached to it. I was eagerly waiting for it’s debut but I ended up going on a ghost tour that night so I missed it. Luckily, we lived in the age of the internet and I was able to find it online and watch and it was everything I could have hoped it would be. I pre-ordered it on Amazon as soon as it came available and have enjoyed watching it numerous times. So let’s have some fun with today’s movie, Sharktopus.

The plot: Lisa and Bree are on a California beach when Bree gets tired of watching Lisa texting on her phone non-stop and decides to go for a swim in the ocean. While watching her swim, Lisa notices a shark swimming towards Bree and yells at a warning, causing Bree to see the shark and start swimming to shore. As the shark gets closer, it is suddenly grabbed by several tentacles and dragged underwater, allowing Bree to make it to shore and as she embraces Lisa, they wonder what it was that killed the shark. Elsewhere, Commander Cox has been invited to the Blue Water facility by it’s director, Nathan Sands, to show him the progress they made on secret super weapon for the navy, a shark/octopus hybrid they dub S11. After explaining how they are able to control S11, Nathan order his daughter Nicole to bring S11 back in but when it passes close to a speedboat, Cox orders them to have S11 trail it. S11 follows the boat but as it swims underneath it when it makes a turn, the control collar is damaged by the propeller and S11 kills the boats driver, causing the boat to crash. When they are unable to regain control of S11, Nicole goes to activate the killswitch but S11 tears off the control collar, preventing the signal from reaching it. Commander Cox leaves, telling Nathan that he won’t get any more funding from the Navy until they find S11 and, having seen on the tracking chip that it is heading towards Mexico, Nathan orders a team made ready to track it down. In Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, Nathan, Nicole, and another technician are taken to the ship by Santos, who tells Nathan they should bring in Andy Flynn, a former employee who lives in the area and knows the waters. Nathan is reluctant to do so but when Santos insists it is the only way to capture S11 alive, he relents and has Santos bring in Flynn. When Flynn arrives, he immediately gets under Nathan and Nicole’s skin and demands $300,000 for the job and Nathan agrees so long as S11 is brought in unharmed. Meanwhile, investigative reporter Stacy Everheart and her cameraman Bones track down a local fisherman named Pez, who had sent in a picture of S11 to the station, and after paying him a lot of money, convince him to tell them his story and then take him out on the boat. As Flynn, Santos, Nicole, and two other divers head out in a smaller boat, with Nathan following in the larger yacht, a local radio DJ, Captain Jack, is handed a news report about S11 by his cohost Stephie, but he doesn’t believe it is real and he mocks it. Meanwhile, Stacy and Bones are interviewing Pez on a road overlooking the beach when they see S11, which Stacy dubs Sharktopus, heading towards the beach, killing several people there and almost killing them before it grabs Pez’s car and drags it into the water. As Nathan sees the news report about Sharktopus’ attack on the beach, Cox calls him and is furious over the attack and warns Nathan about allowing it to be tracked back to him. Meanwhile, Pez figures out where Sharktopus is probably headed and Stacy convinces him to take them out there. Elsewhere, Flynn gets Nicole alone for a few minutes to talk about Sharktopus and wonders if her father did anything to change it but Nicole swears nothing like that happened. When they get a signal on where Sharktopus is, Flynn and the two divers head down to try and tranquilize it so they can fire a control dart to it, allowing Nicole to take control again, but Sharktopus attacks them, killing the divers and injuring Flynn. Flynn makes it back to the boat and as Santos tends to his wound, Nicole radios her dad to tell him what happened and Nathan admits that he changed her code in order to make Sharktopus more aggressive. Nicole tells Flynn what her father told her and they go after Sharktopus, who is approaching Pez’s boat. Sharktopus kills Pez and is climbing on board to kill Stacy when Flynn chases it away. Stacy and Bones pilot Pez’s boat back to shore, where Stacy works on tracking down their connection to Sharktopus, while Flynn, Santos, and Nicole continue trying to track down Sharktopus but it kills the radio DJ Captain Jack, as well as several other people before finally killing Santos. Flynn decides to stop trying to capture Sharktopus and tries to kill it, as Stacy and Bones record what is occurring, but Sharktpus damages their boat, while Sharktopus heads towards a nearby resort, where it attacks some performers at a show, causing the crowd to panic. Flynn and Nicole make it to the dock and scare off the nearby people before they are approached by Nathan and his men, who are there to stop Flynn from killing Sharktopus. Nicole tells her father that Flynn is right about killing Sharktopus when it appears and starts attacking them, killing Nathan’s men and knocking Flynn unconscious. When Sharktopus grabs Nicole, Nathan attacks it to save her but ends up being killed as Sharktopus finally swims off. As Nicole races towards her father, he starts telling her something before saying, “I love you, Pumpkin”, and dying. Flynn recovers and they go after Sharktopus when they encounter Stacy and Bones, who offer the use of their van in exchange for being allowed to cover the story. Flynn heads to another part of the resort near the river, where Sharktopus starts attacking people. When they get there and see the carnage, Stacy wants to keep filming but Bones is tired of all the death and chooses to leave. As Flynn and Nicole rescue a little boy, and Nicole comes up with an idea on how to stop Sharktopus, Stacy finds Bones’ camera and realizes he was killed, just as Sharktopus shows up and kills her. Flynn manages to tag Sharktopus with the control dart and lures it close to Nicole, who tries to activate the killswitch but finds it password protected. As Flynn tries to keep Sharktopus from killing him, Nicole figures out the password (Pumpkin) and activates the killswitch, blowing up Sharktopus.

This is such a fun movie to watch because of how ridiculous it can be. The acting was good, with Eric Roberts (Nathan), Kerem Bursin (Flynn), and Sara Malakul Lane (Nicole) doing good jobs in their roles while several of the supporting actors were so over the top in their performance that they were absolutely hilarious to watch, especially their death scenes. The story was honestly a little cliched, with the whole military experiment gone amok bit being a little over done, but the comedic aspects of the movie made for a nice change and kept it from being boring. The special effects in the Sharktopus design were pretty good, although the hole in the stomach was honestly a little hard to explain, while the blue screen effects of having the Sharktopus interact and kill people was pretty funny to watch. A lot of fun and a lot of laughs every time I watch it.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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drama, horror, movie, movie review

August 19th, 2017 Movie – Sharks In Venice

sharks in venice

It is a little sad to note that I am nearing the end of the shark movies. In fact, once I get finished with all of the movies that start with the word “shark”, I think I only have 5 more movies that have sharks in them…well, for the time being. But I am getting distracted here so let me focus on today’s movie. Now I remember seeing the trailers for this movie on Syfy and the first thing that came to mind was, “Oh God! Stephen Baldwin is going to ruin another movie for me.” I never got the chance to watch it when it debuted on Syfy as I was in the midst of moving and switching jobs, which had an impact on my free time. Eventually, this would become yet another spur of the moment Blockbuster purchase so let’s see if Sharks In Venice was worth the purchase.

The plot: In Venice, Italy, three men are diving in the canals and searching for a treasure that is supposedly buried underneath the city. Observing the video footage of their progress, Vito Clemenza, a member of the mafia who is funding the dive, is getting frustrated at the lack of progress they are making, until the lead diver finds some artifacts indicating that they are on the right track. When one of the divers is killed by a shark, one of Clemenza’s men tries to warn the other divers to get out of the water but Clemenza stops him, as he is more intent on the divers finding the treasure than saving their lives, and they watch as the shark kills the other two divers as well. In the US, David Franks is teaching a college class when the dean interrupts him to tell him that there was an incident with his father and two of his colleagues in Venice and arranges for David and his fiance Laura to go there. When they reach the morgue in Venice, they are greeted by Lt. Sofia Totti, who tells David that the men were diving in a restricted area and apparently struck by a boat propeller. David is asked to see if either of the bodies is his father and he tells her no, then says that the men were killed by a shark, not a propeller, citing his own experience in diving and shark attacks. Sofia takes David and Laura to the precinct and introduces them to Captain Bonasera, who offers his condolences to them for their loss. When David asks permission to search the canals for his father’s body, Bonasera refuses at first but when Laura threatens to get the Embassy involved, he relents but gives David two days to do so. As they are leaving, David speaks with Sofia about arranging a boat and a diver to accompany him on his search and she says it will take some time to get done. Sofia takes them to David’s father’s place, where they see it has been ransacked and Sofia asks what he was working on. David tells her that he was working for the University and after stopping Laura and Sofia from getting into an argument, he finds where his father had hidden a case containing his notes. The notes tell of a group of knights known as the Medici, who had found King Solomon’s treasure room and, after plundering it, used Marco Polo’s fleet to smuggle it back to Venice, where they hid it under the city. The Medici then killed everyone that helped them hide the treasure but were then murdered themselves, leaving the treasure lost somewhere underneath the city. Later that day, David, Laura, Sofia, head to the area where David’s father was last searching and as he is getting ready to head into the water, David notices a shark fin behind them but when he looks again, it is gone. David and Rossi head into the water and eventually find the same plaque that David’s father had found before he was killed. A great white kills Pietro and David is bitten in the shoulder but manages to escape and eventually finds an underground cave. Climbing out of the water to avoid being attacked again, David searches the cave and finds several ancient booby traps before discovering the lost treasure. Grabbing a brooch from the treasure pile, David jumps back into the water to try and swim back to the boat but he is attacked by the shark again. David wakes up to find himself in a hospital bed with Laura by his side and she tells him he has been out for two days. David tells her he found the Medici treasure and asks where his dive suit is when Bonasera and Sofia walk in, prompting David to stay quiet. Bonasera reminds David that he signed the non-disclosure agreement, as he doesn’t want anyone to know about the shark and David says he won’t talk as they plan on leaving. After checking out of the hospital, David and Laura go to head back to their hotel but they are approached by a man named Rossi, who tells David and Laura that his employer wishes to meet with them regarding David’s father. They are taken to see Clemenza, who says he was the one to finance David’s father’s expedition and shows them the brooch that David had found, asking David to help him find the rest of it. Clemenza offers David $20 million to help him find the treasure but Laura refuses to allow David to do it and they leave. Back in their hotel, Laura explains to David that Clemenza is mafia and would own David if he agreed to do what he asked, then threatens to leave him if he agrees to work with him and David apologizes and says they should go sight-seeing in the morning. As they wander around Venice, one of Clemenza’s men is following them and reporting back to Clemenza. Suddenly, Rossi and 3 of Clemenza’s men appear in the market and kidnap Laura while attacking David. David goes to the police, where Sofia questions him about what happened and why he lied to her about heading home. Meanwhile, the great white continues to attack people in the canals, but the police are keeping it under wraps, claiming that there are just a large number of missing persons recently. Sofia escorts David back to his hotel and leaves two men there to guard him but some of Clemenza’s men sneak into the room to kidnap David. Clemenza’s men kill the police but David is able to escape and tries to run for it, with both the men and the police trying to find him. David manages to attack one of the men when he searches the building he is hiding in and tortures him to learn where Clemenza is keeping Laura, then heads there to rescue Laura but he is captured. David is taken to Clemenza’s hideout and Clemenza reveals that he had placed the sharks in the canals, as he wanted to keep people from diving in the canals and finding the treasure themselves. David demands to see Laura and Clemenza has her brought out, where it is revealed that Sofia has been working for Clemenza. Clemenza orders David to bring back the treasure or else he and Laura will be fed to the sharks and David agrees, then dives into the canal with Rossi and another man, Carlo. As the three head towards where David found the treasure, Carlo is killed but David kills the shark before it can kill Rossi but as they climb out of the water, another shark almost grabs Rossi. They reach the treasure, and Rossi contacts Clemenza, who tells him to kill David, and Rossi attempts to do so but David is able to avoid being shot, then fights with Rossi, eventually killing him when Rossi sets off a bobby trap by accident. Clemenza sends two more men into the water to find Rossi but one of them is killed by the shark. The other reaches the cave and searches for David but David had set a trap and ignites some gunpowder that was in the room, killing the gunman. David makes his way back to the hideout and confronts Clemenza, who is holding a gun to Laura’s head, and reluctantly tells him where the treasure is. Clemenza has one of his men go to shoot David but the man is shot by Sofia, who has had enough with all of the killing. Sofia is shot by one of Clemenza’s men and David and Clemenza fight for the gun, eventually falling into the water. Bonacera and the police arrive and a shootout commences between the police and Clemenza’s men while in the water, David and Clemenza continue fighting until Clemenza is killed by one of his sharks. After Bonacera helps David out of the water, Bonacera takes him to where Sofia is being treated and says she has a confession but wanted David to corroborate it. David says that Sofia was going to confess to killing one of Clemenza’s men in order to save their lives, which Laura nods in agreement, as they want to pay her back for saving them. David and Laura are free to go and as they leave, David pulls out a necklace that he had grabbed from the treasure room and places it on Laura’s neck, while in the canals, another shark is sen attacking a gondola.

Ok, fine, Stephen Baldwin did not ruin this movie, but that does not make this a good movie. In fact, this was a pretty downright boring movie and I actually did nod off while watching it. The acting was ok, with Stephen Baldwin (David) being decent but both of the women, Vanessa Johansson (Laura) and Hilda van der Meulen (Sofia), were much better while Giacomo Gonnella (Clemenza) was too over-the-top stereotypical to seem like anything other than a joke. The story was ok but very disappointing for me personally, as there were hardly any sharks in the movie, with most of it being the drama in the streets with a little bit of Indiana Jones style exploration in the cave. Even the addition of the sharks felt weak and honestly seemed to have been added just to try and get this made, as a shark movie will generally attract more viewers. A lot of the footage from the sharks attacking people honestly looked like it came from the Shark Attack movies (mainly the 2nd one) but they would make some changes or distort it with overly bloody water or shaking the camera to try and hide it. To be honest, if there hadn’t of been any sharks in this movie, I don’t think it would have been made, and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Rating: 1 1/2 out of 5

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comedy, horror, movie, movie review, sci-fi

August 18th, 2017 Movie – Sharknado 4: The 4th Awakens

sharknado 4

I have to admit, I am having a hard time focusing on writing today’s blog. Marvel’s The Defenders just debuted on Netflix today and I really want to start watching that. But that will be my reward so let’s finish the task at hand. It has been a whole year since the cliffhanger ending of Sharknado 3, and I don’t know about everyone else but I have been dying to find out if April lived or died. So when the time came, I did what I normally do in these situations and

The plot: Since Fin Shepard stopped the last sharknado that threatened the East Coast, a company called Astro-X has risen to prominence, using their space ship to rescue Colonel Gil Shepard from the moon while also preventing sharknadoes from forming by using their weather control pods to disperse tornadoes before they form. Fin Shepard now lives on a farm in Kansas called April’s Acres with his son Gil and his mom Raye. Fin’s cousin Gemini picks Fin up to go to Vegas, where they are meeting Fin’s son Matt, who is on leave from the military. At the same time, Astro-X founder Aston Reynolds is in Vegas for the grand opening of his new shark-themed hotel. As they wait for Matt in their hotel, Matt calls them from a plane overhead, where he is in the process of marrying his fiance Gabrielle before they parachute onto the hotel roof. As the plane flies over Las Vegas, a sand storm forms and the Astro-X pods are unable to stop it. Matt and Gabrielle jump out of the plane but are caught by the twister and separated. As the sand storm hits Aston’s hotel and sucks the sharks into it, forming a “sandnado”, Fin rescues Gabrielle while Gemini rescues some of the other guests. They make their way to the street and go looking for Matt but when they encounter a flood, they quickly hop onto a hotel’s pirate ship and use it to navigate the flood towards Matt. Matt is eventually able to make it onto the ship, where he hugs Fin and then kisses Gabrielle, while the sandnado leaves the city. As the news comments about the incident and Astro-X’s failure to stop it, Aston contacts his headquarters in San Francisco to have them tell Colonel Shepard that he needs to finish work on his mech suit. In San Francisco, Gil, or Colonel as he prefers to be called, is testing a flight suit for Wilford, a scientist working for Astro-X who also happens to be April’s father, when he is approached by Claudia, who also works there, and is told Aston’s message. Back in Vegas, Fin refuses to give an interview, wanting to hurry back to Kansas to be with Gil but the only way Gemini could find out of the city was by train so they all board the train and head out. Unknown to anyone else, April is still alive, having been remade into a cyborg by her father, who comments on the results on her latest tests as she is recharging. The sandnado makes it’s way through the desert and destroys Hoover Dam, picking up the boulders and debris into it and becoming a “bouldernado”. Gemini sees the bouldernado approaching the train and they work to save as many people as they can while Fin makes his way to the engine and stops the train. Meanwhile, Aston blows up part of the Grand Canyon in order to stop the flood from the Hoover Dam destroying the nearby cities. Aston has Fin and the others brought to see him and asks Fin for his help in reassuring the American public but Fin refuses to be Aston’s mouthpiece. They get a car and make their way to Texas but the bouldernado follows them, where it hits an oil field and becomes an “oilnado”, which quickly becomes a “firenado” when the oil ignites. Fin uses a trencher loaded with fire extinguishers to get close to the firenado, then blows it up in the hopes of putting out the fire. The plan works  and the sharknado changes course but it hits a power plant and becomes a “lightningnado”. Meanwhile, another Sharnado appears in San Francisco while a “lavanado” forms in Yellowstone. As Aston works out a way to take out these new sharknados, April sees a news report and learns that Fin is still alive. She confronts Wilford as to why he lied to her about her family, and Wilford tries to keep her in the lab but she breaks down the door and leaves. The sharknado in San Francisco is heading towards Astro-X, having transformed into a “hailnado”, and as the Colonel and Claudia try to escape, their car is picked up by the storm but they are rescued by April, and they are all surprised to see each other alive. The three head to Wilford’s lab to confront him about what he did, and he claims to have done it to protect them all, then shows the Colonel a completed Mech Suit to use against the sharknado. Meanwhile, Fin’s car gets a flat as they enter Kansas and he calls his friend Colton, who loans him a car named Christine. As they head towards the farm, the lightningnado follows after them and they quickly abandon Christine before it is run over by a shark infested ball of twine. With only a mile to go to the farm, the make a run for it, while Gil and Raye head into the storm shelter. The lightningnado picks up a herd of cows, becoming a “cownado”. Fin and the others reach the farm, where they head to the barn to get some weapons. Matt and Gabrielle head to the shelter but Gabrielle is killed before she can make it in while Gil runs out of the shelter to find his dad. With the storm fast approaching, Fin and Gil head back into the house, while Gemini holds onto the outside as the house is picked up by the storm. Fin is able to rescue Gil and Gemini makes it inside before the house crash lands in Chicago, landing on the mayor who had blamed Fin for the disasters. April, Claudia, and the Colonel learn about Fin’s location and they head there, where April rescues Fin and Gil from the debris, and Fin is shocked to see his wife is still alive. Meanwhile, Astro-X uses their new isotopes to destroy the hailnado and lavanado, but the lightningnado proves resistant and hits a nuclear power plant, becoming a nuclearnado. In  their plane, Fin and April are talking about what happened and April tells him that what her father did was temporary, and they have no idea how long she will live. Fin says he doesn’t care and hugs her, then goes to introduce her to Gil, but Gil says April isn’t his mom. Aston talks with Fin and Gil about the nuclearnado and, along with Wilford’s help, they come up with a plan to stop it. They head towards Niagara Falls, where Aston uses a squirrel suit to fly down to a camp that is set up there and set off a quantum box that will turn the nuclearnado back to a normal sharknado, so the pods can disperse it. Aston turns on the box but it isn’t powerful enough to work and he ends up falling off the cliff when the weakened ground collapses into the falls. When Fin tells the others what happened, the Colonel says that they have another battery in the mech suit they can use so they head to Niagara Falls with it. As the Colonel gets ready to use the mech suit to reach the quantum box, he is swallowed by a shark and the suit ends up falling down the cliff. Fin goes to retrieve it, and he and April head to the quantum box, telling the others to get to safety but Matt and Claudia get swallowed by sharks while Gil, who was placed in a barrel for safe keeping, ends up getting sucked up by the storm and falling into the falls. Fin is able to reach the quantum box and use the mech suit to power it enough to change the nuclearnado back into a regular sharknado but before they are able to disperse it, Fin is knocked off the cliff and swallowed by a shark, which is then swallowed by three more sharks before being swallowed by a blue whale. April manages to rescue Gil, who pulls his little chainsaw out of a rock and proceeds to climb into the whale and cut open the shark inside, rescuing Claudia, then repeating the process with the other sharks, freeing Matt and the Colonel but Fin is unresponsive, April cuts an opening into the whale so she can free the others and then attaches some cables from her power supply to a pair of small shark to serve as a makeshift defibrillator in order to revive Fin. Aston had managed to survive his fall and is alive at the bottom of the falls while the Shepards celebrate surviving another storm when they suddenly see the Eiffel Tower fly through the air before landing nearby, with Nova, who had been vacationing in Paris, standing atop it.

Sharknado 4: The 4th Awakens met was pretty much panned by the critics, holding a 17% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Sharknado: The 4th Awakens loses the ridiculous charm of its predecessors, leaving only clumsy social commentary and monotonous schtick that’s lost its bite.” While the previous movies had a lot of references to Jaws in them, this movie had numerous references to the Star Wars franchise, with the title itself being a spoof of the recent Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens. While The Asylum and Syfy never made public the results of the twitter poll, the trailer for the movie kind of spoiled it by showing April in her training montage while the post credits scene set up a fifth movie, which was announced shortly after the 4th one premiered.

Every time I watch this movie, I find myself going back and forth on how much I like it. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed this movie as much as the others, but it’s hard to tell if it was just that I liked certain parts as compared to the movie as a whole. The acting was good, with Ian Zeiring (Fin) and Tara Reid (April) doing good jobs in their roles. David Hasslehoff (Colonel) and Ryan Newman (Claudia) did a good job reprising their roles, while I loved the addition of Gary Busey as April’s dad and Masiela Lusha as Fin’s cousin Gemini. The story was interesting and I loved the fact that they set it 5 years after the last movie, to help explain whether April lived or died, but I honestly felt like there were other aspects of the plot that felt like they used various cultural references to joke about the fact that the main plot was pretty weak. The special effects were pretty good and they did have some very funny scenes in it, with the scene where Fin gets swallowed by a shark and the whole shark swallowing shark aspect until one gets swallowed by a whale still makes me laugh. All told, this is fun to watch but the sum of the various parts don’t quite add up to a great movie.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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