action, comic book, horror, movie, movie review

Flashback Review: May 9th, 2014 Movie – Blade

blade

Before the X-Men and Spider-Man movies hit the big screen, and years before the MCU was even an idea in a producer’s mind, this movie was Marvel’s first real foray back onto the big screen. Yes, I know that technically Men In Black would be first but they were part of an offshoot that had been bought and not necessarily part of Marvel proper. Anyways, I was a fan of Blade and the rest of the supernaturally inclined anti-heroes that were part of Marvel in the mid 90’s so when I heard that they were doing a movie based on Blade, with Wesley Snipes starring in it, I was absolutely on board. Opening night me and several of my friends went and saw Blade in theaters. We then had a late dinner afterwards where we got some absolutely terrible service but that did nothing to take away from how much fun we had watching Blade.

The plot: In 1967, a pregnant woman is brought into the hospital, bleeding out from a bite wound to the neck. As the doctors work on saving her, she goes into labor and she delivers a baby but ends up dying from her wound. In the present, a woman brings a date to a secret rave in a meat packing plant but as the party commences, the sprinklers suddenly begin releasing blood onto the people dancing around. As the young man freaks out from all of the blood everywhere, he realizes that everyone in attendance is a vampire and starts freaking out even more. As he tries to escape, he is pummeled by the crowd until he runs into Blade, a vampire hunter that the vampires refer to as “The Daywalker” due to his half-breed nature. As some of the vampires begin fleeing the club, Blade begins killing the vampires that fight against him, until he is down to just a vampire named Quinn. Pinning Quinn to a wall with silver stakes, Blade sets him on fire, then checks the young man when he tries to run away, ensuring that he wasn’t bitten, but Blade is forced to run himself when the police and fire department arrive. Quinn’s body is taken to the hospital morgue and Dr. Curtis Webb sends a blood sample up to Dr. Karen Jenson, a hematologist, as the blood has some weird aspects to it. Karen agrees to examine the body and goes down there with Curtis, but as they discuss their former relationship, Quinn suddenly comes back to life and proceeds to bite Curtis, then attack Karen. As he starts to drink Karen’s blood, Blade shows up and stops him, cutting off his hand as the two begin fighting, but when security shows up and shoots at Blade, Quinn uses the opportunity to escape. Blade starts to leave Karen but when he suddenly thinks about his dying mother, he instead decides to take her with him. When the police show up in force, Blade rushes off with Karen and heads to the broken window Quinn escaped from. He throws Karen out the window to the building on the other side, then jumps over there himself, before grabbing her and escaping the police. Blade takes Karen to his hideout, where his mentor Whistler is working on making some more weapons. Whistler chastises Blade for not killing Karen but agrees to help her, injecting her with liquid garlic to try and stop the infection but tells Blade that he gives her a 50/50 chance of surviving the night. Meanwhile, a council of vampire Elders is discussing Deacon Frost’s nightclubs and the danger they create. After having Frost enter the chamber, they chastise him for the clubs and attempting to break the treaty they have with the humans but Frost, who leads a faction of younger, and non-pure blood vampires like the Elders, says that they should break the treaty as the humans are their food, not their partners. Later, Gitano Dragonetti, the head of the House of Eberus, confronts Frost in the archive room, where he is attempting to crack the dead language on some of the ancient pages from the records, and asks him what his game is but Frost refuses to answer and dares him to retaliate against him. Back at Blade’s hideout, Karen wakes up and after exploring a little bit, she sees Whistler injecting Blade with a serum that keeps his vampire hunger in check when they spot her. After preventing her initial escape attempt, Whistler explains about their war with the vampires and warns her that she should leave town so as to avoid being targeted, as she has been marked. Blade takes Karen back to her apartment but as she begins packing a bag to leave, a police officer appears in her apartment. Karen is suspicious of the officer, especially when he begins asking questions about Blade, and when he tries to attack her, she sprays him with a special mace that Whistler gave her to defend against vampires. Karen is surprised to find it doesn’t work but Blade appears and tells her the officer is a familiar, a servant to a vampire that hopes to one day become a vampire himself. Revealing that the officer works for Frost, whom Blade has been tracking for years, Blade tries to interrogate him to learn Frost’s location but Karen ends up stopping him from hurting him and the officer gets away. Knowing he will be back for his car, as he was delivering blood to Frost, Blade stakes it out and Karen joins him, as she figures the best way to find a cure for herself is to stay with him. Blade and Karen follow the officer to a vampire safehouse, and Blade arms Karen with some weapons before they head inside. After making his way past the guards, Blade confronts the officer again in the club’s kitchen before noticing a refrigerator marked do not open and tells the officer to give Frost a message for him, then lets the officer go while he heads inside the fridge, which houses the vampire archives. At his penthouse, Frost has finally finished translating the ancient texts, which contains the ritual on how to summon the vampire blood god La Magra. When the officer shows up Frost’s penthouse and tells him what happened, Frost kills the officer, to the delight of everyone there. Back at the archives, Blade and Karen encounter Pearl, the obese vampire historian, who was having a video call with Frost and begs him for help. Frost dismisses Pearl and taunts Blade before Blade destroys the monitor. Blade and Karen then question Pearl about the text she had translated for Frost, using a UV lamp on her when she refuses to answer. Blade takes the hard drive from the computer, then opens the vault to find the actual ancient scrolls but Quinn, Mercury, and some other vampires arrive and capture them. Quinn goes to torture Blade but Blade had secretly been in contact with Whistler, who shows up to rescue them. Blade, Karen, and Whistler make their way to the subway, but when a bomb that Blade had left in the archives explodes, Whistler appears to be thrown onto the tracks but Blade tells Karen he can take care of himself. Blade and Karen jump across the tracks before a train comes but Quinn follows them and begins attacking Blade. Karen helps Blade beat Quinn, resulting in his losing another hand, but when he sees Mercury and some more vampires coming, he grabs onto a passing train to help them escape. In Frost’s penthouse, Quinn and Mercury are arguing about whose fault Blade’s escape is when Frost says not to worry as they will deal with him later, telling them they have work to do. Frost, Mercury, and Quinn kidnap Dragonetti and take him out to the beach, where Frost proceeds to pull out his fangs before leaving him to burn to death as the sun rises. Frost then heads to the council of elders and informs them of Dragonetti’s death and tells them that he needs 12 volunteers, and has them taken away. At the hideout, Blade is preparing to go get some more serum when he sees Whistler and Karen bringing in some lab equipment, with Karen saying it was to help her find a cure. Karen shows Blade an anticoagulant called EDTA and places a drop on a sample of vampire blood, which causes it to violently explode. Blade asks if that is her cure and she says no but says that he could use it to explode some vampires. Karen then takes a sample of his blood while Whistler gets to work on the hard drive they took from Pearl. As Blade goes to buy some serum, he encounters Frost in a park, who is using sunblock to be out in the sun and is holding a child hostage. Frost tries to convince Blade to join him but Blade refuses and is forced to let Frost escape in order to rescue the child. Back at the hideout, Karen figures out a way to cure a vampire bite and uses it on herself but tells Whistler it won’t work on Blade, as it is part of his DNA, when Frost and his men show up and capture Karen while torturing Whistler. When Blade returns, he finds a badly injured and bitten Whistler, who tells him about the prophesy and Frost taking Karen, then asks Blade to give him a gun so he can kill himself. Blade does so and walks away while Whistler pulls the trigger, then he watches the video that Frost left for him, telling him where to go to save Karen. Arming himself for battle, including filling some syringe stakes with EDTA, Blade heads out to find Frost and kill him. At Frost’s penthouse, Frost and Mercury are taunting Karen but she counters back with the fact that she discovered a cure and she could cure Frost, as he isn’t pure blood. When Blade shows up and begins fighting the guards, he makes his way to Frost’s room only to discover that his mother is still alive and as she talks to him, Frost uses the distraction to capture him, revealing that he was the one that bit Blade’s mother and created him. Blade and Karen are taken to the Temple of the Eternal Night, so that they can enact the ritual and Frost taunts Blade some more before having him taken away. As Mercury takes the Elders to where they need to be for the ritual, Frost and Quinn take Karen to a room that has openings for a pit. Telling her about how sometimes people don’t become vampires when bitten, but become zombies instead, then shove her into a pit where she comes face to face with a zombiefied Curtis. As Curtis approaches her, Karen is able to knock him back, then uses a bone fragment to climb out of the pit. Blade is placed into a sarcophagus and restrained with special restraints intended to bleed him dry. As his blood drips from the sarcophagus into special drains in the floor, Mercury begins placing the elders into position underneath openings, where Blade’s blood proceeds to drip onto them. Meanwhile, Karen frees Blade from the sarcophagus, but, without his serum to help him, she tells Blade to feed from her in order to save himself. In the lower level of the temple, the ritual commences as the blood drips on the elders before merging on the ceiling into one drop that falls onto Frost’s head. A bolt of lightning then strikes the temple and electrocutes the elders before causing their skeletons to emerge from their bodies and fly around before entering Frost’s body, empowering him and completing the ritual. Upstairs, Blade feeds on Karen before letting her go, then kills his mother when she tries to stop him, before heading down to deal with Blade. Quinn goes to attack Blade but he quickly decapitates him, then proceeds to fight with the other vampires and kills them while Karen ends up killing Mercury. Frost then pulls out a sword of his own and challenges Blade and the two start fighting, with Blade seemingly winning when he cuts off Frost’s hand and slices him in half. However, Frost’s newfound powers allow him to heal those injuries and he easily is able to overpower him. Seeing the EDTA on a ledge above him, Blade throws his sword in a crack in the ledge, allowing the trick handle in the sword to split the shelf and drop the syringes into his hand. Blade then proceeds to throw all of the syringes into Frost, causing a severe reaction that makes him explode, killing him for good. Blade and Karen leave the temple and Karen says she needs to get back to the lab to cure herself and Blade says that there is still a war going on and if she wants to help, make him a stronger serum. Some time later, in Moscow, a vampire goes to attack a young woman when Blade appears and rescues her.

Blade met with mixed reviews from the critics, holding a 54% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Though some may find the plot a bit lacking, Blade‘s action is fierce, plentiful, and appropriately stylish for a comic book adaptation.” Much like Harley Quinn in the Batman universe, Whistler’s character was originally created for Blade’s limited appearances in the Spider-Man (1994) animated series, but Marvel liked the character so much they decided to write him into the Marvel Universe. Despite the mixed reviews, the movie was a box office hit, earning $131.2 million off of a $45 million budget, and would spawn two sequels as well as a TV series based on the character.

You know what, this is still a fun and entertaining movie to watch. The acting was good for the most part, with Wesley Snipes doing a great job as Blade. Kris Kristofferson (Whistler) and N’Bushe Wright (Karen) were also good in their roles and while Stephen Dorff was ok as Frost, I liked Donal Logue and Arly Jover, Quinn and Mercury respectively, a lot better. The story was good, but there were several parts that had comic me just yelling internally at the screen. In the comics, Blade was affected by his mother’s death but that only made him immune to a vampire’s bite and gave him an affinity for the supernatural, it did not make him a half-breed. Later on, he wound up getting the vampire powers but that happened after the movie came out. I also didn’t like how they portrayed Frost, as in the comics he was an older man who had become a vampire while trying to find the secret to immortality, which gave him some unique abilities on top of the normal vampire powers. I personally would have loved to have seen his doppleganger making powers make an appearance in the movie. The special effects were pretty good, though I will admit they do seem a bit dated at this point in time. A good Marvel movie and definitely a sign of what things would soon follow for Marvel Studios.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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action, drama, horror, movie, movie review

Flashback Review: May 7th, 2014 Movie Black Water (2007)

black water 2007

2007 was a good year for Australian crocodile movies, at least in my opinion. I had happened to rent Rogue from Blockbuster at some point in 2008 and thought it was a great movie. I then decided to buy a copy and, since I was on a croc movie phase at the time, went ahead and bout a couple of other similar movies. This particular movie caught my eye as I was reading the description because it sounded like it could be interesting. So lets dip our toes in the water of the natural horror genre and have some fun with Black Water (2007).

The plot: Grace, her husband Adam, and her younger sister Lee have just left Grace & Lee’s mother’s house after a visit and as they are driving home, Lee convinces them to go to a crocodile exhibit. Later that night, the three are having drinks at a bar and when they have a moment alone, Lee questions Grace’s not drinking alcohol but Grace passes it off as her gaining weight after Christmas. When Adam returns from buying some more drinks for him and Lee, Lee asks what they should do tomorrow. Adam shows them a river/fishing tour that he would like to go on and the others agree. The next morning, they drive out to where the tour starts only to find that they just missed it. Another worker for the company, Jim, offers to take them out on a smaller boat and Adam agrees and heads inside to work out the details, Lee confronts Grace about her suspicions of her being pregnant and Grace admits that she confirmed it the night before but hasn’t told Adam yet. Inside the office Jim hands Adam some fishing poles and has him take them outside while he gets the rest of the gear, pulling out a revolver and putting it in his pocket, which Lee happens to see. The group head out on the water and as Jim starts talking about the tides in the swamp, Lee asks him about the gun he brought and he tells them it is for insurance in case a saltwater crocodile messes with them. Suddenly, something bumps into the bottom of the boat and Grace starts getting nervous but Jim uses a net to fish out an old fuel can, which had hit the boat. When they don’t have any luck fishing at the first spot, Jim heads deeper into the swamp and after a little while, Adam manages to hook a fish. As Jim is encouraging him, Lee is taking pictures and notices something in the distance but when she goes to show Grace, it is gone. Suddenly, something violently bumps into the boat several times before turning it upside down. As Grace and Adam surface, Adam says it was a crocodile and tells Grace to get in a tree while he looks for Lee. As Adam calls out for Lee, Grace climbs a nearby tree and sees Jim’s body floating next to some trees and the crocodile briefly surfacing and she yells for Adam to get out of the water. Lee is tangled in the ropes under the boat but manages to free herself and surface. Adam and Grace yell at her to get on top of the boat and out of the water and as the see ripples in the water of something moving towards her, Lee manages to get onto the boat. The crocodile starts rocking the boat trying to knock her off but Adam and Grace manage to make enough noise to lure it away. As they try to figure out how to get Lee to safety, Grace notices that Jim’s body is gone and tells Adam. Seeing the boat’s rope close to Lee, they tell Lee to grab the rope and throw it to them and they will pull her to safety. Lee grabs the rope and throws it but when they try pulling her, they find the boat is stuck on something and won’t move. They tie off the boat to the tree and convince Lee that she has to use the rope to walk across the water and make it to the tree and Lee slowly starts walking but when she hears some splashing in the water, she quickly swims over and they help her up but Lee’s foot is injured during her rushed flight. As they discuss what they should do, Grace and Lee suggest waiting for help but Adam tells them that nobody saw them leave so nobody would come looking for them. Adam wants to try flipping the boat and escaping but Grace is worried that the crocodile would return and attack them again. Grace decides to try and use the trees to get out of the swamp and Adam and Lee try to argue against her going but Grace says that Adam won’t be able to see since he lost his glasses in the attack and Lee’s foot is injured. Grace makes her way across the trees to see if they can make it to dry land without getting back in the water only to find they are completely surrounded. As she makes her way back to them, she sees a disturbance in the water and, grabbing a branch, moves some leaves out of the way only to find a severed ear. Grace rushes back to the others and tells them it is about a 50-100 meter swim to dry land but doesn’t tell them about the ear. As they discuss their options again, Adam says their best chance is with the boat and Grace and Lee reluctantly agree. Adam heads into the water and attempts to flip the boat over. When he can’t do it from the side, he dives underneath the boat and Grace and Lee grow worried when they see the boat start rocking violently. Suddenly, the boat is flipped back over and Adam surfaces but as the girls breathe a sigh of relief, Adam is suddenly dragged underwater and after a struggle, the crocodile breaks the surface of the water, clutching Adam’s body in it’s jaws, before sinking back into the water. Trying to figure out what they should do next, they decide to pull the boat closer to them but as Grace starts pulling the rope, Lee thinks she sees the crocodile, startling Grace into dropping the rope. She attempts to reach it with a branch but the crocodile lunges up out of the water towards her and she is barely able to escape being bitten. As they catch their breaths, they see Adam’s body floating nearby, causing Grace to start crying as she never got to tell him that she is pregnant and as night falls, they hear the crocodile eating Adam, causing them to cry even more. The next morning, they see that the boat has drifted further away and decide to try Grace’s plan of walking through the trees and swimming to shore. As they start walking along the trees, they find that the tide has risen some and covered up some of the branches and roots that Grace had traveled on the day before. Carefully getting into the water, they start moving forward only to have the crocodile surface right in front of them. When it sinks back underwater, they try to rush back to the tree but the crocodile grabs Grace’s leg and drags her underwater. As Lee screams out for her sister, Grace surfaces and Lee helps her into a tree but Grace’s leg is severely wounded and bleeding. Lee ties a makeshift bandage/tourniquet around Grace’s leg to stop the bleeding and tries to comfort her sister when she hears a boat engine close by. Leaving Grace in the tree, Lee moves through the trees to try and flag down the boat, screaming for them to help, but the people in the boat doesn’t hear them and continues down the river. Lee then sees the crocodile surface and starts yelling at it before it ducks underwater and moves towards Grace, whose blood from her wound is attracting the crocodile towards her. Lee rushes through the trees to get Grace’s leg up so it isn’t dripping blood, then decides to risk heading into the water to retrieve the boat herself. As she slowly makes her way to the boat, she climbs inside and starts bailing out some of the water, then tries to start the motor when the crocodile leaps out of the water and into the boat. Lee quickly gets out of the water and tries to get back to the tree but the crocodile chases after, eventually biting her around the stomach and dragging her underwater. Lee comes too some time later and finds herself on a small island next to the remains of Jim’s body. Noticing she has a broken finger and is bleeding from some wounds on her stomach, she tears her shirt to tie her finger to the one next it, then grabs Jim’s gun from it’s holster. firing a round off to make sure it works, she then grabs Jim’s severed arm and tries to use it as bait to lure the crocodile to her so she can shoot it. When the crocodile appears behind her, she turns and tries to shoot it but the gun misfires several times and she is forced to try and run. Making her way through the water, she turns and looks for the crocodile when it surfaces and bites down on her hand holding the gun. Lee repeatedly pulls the trigger and the gun eventually fires, shooting the crocodile in the head and killing it. As Lee frees her hand and takes a breath to celebrate an end to her ordeal, she sees the tree with Grace in it and quickly makes her way over there. Climbing the tree, she attempts to wake Grace only to realize that she has died from blood loss and Lee begins crying for the loss of her sister. Lee then places Grace’s body in the boat and begins paddling back to civilization, stopping briefly when she hears a sound behind her but when she doesn’t see anything, she resumes her journey.

This was a pretty good movie and definitely one of those B-movies that are worth giving a shot. The acting was decent, with Diana Glenn (Grace), Maeve Dermody (Lee) and Andy Rodoreda (Adam) doing a good job in their roles. I also liked that they had the main focus being on the women being the heroes in the story, which isn’t often in movies in general, let alone a B-movie. The story was pretty good for the most part, with a lot of suspense to help draw you into the movie and keep you invested. However, one thing that bothered me is the fact that after the boat had been flipped and they were climbing into the tree, all of them somehow lost their shoes and socks. I mean, did they decide to take them off after they got in the boat or what. It just bugs the hell out of me. The special effects were great in the sense that there was hardly any CGI used, instead focusing on practical effects and footage of real crocodiles for the movie, which worked really well. The scene at night where the crocodile was eating Adam and you hear the bones crunching but don’t really see anything except for glimpses during the lightning strikes was fantastic. Honestly, this is a good movie and one that is well worth giving a shot.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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action, horror, Maneater series, movie, movie review, sci-fi

Flashback Review: May 6th, 2014 Movie – Black Swarm

black swarm

Why if it isn’t my old friend, the Maneater series of movies. It’s been a while since I have watched one of you guys, a little over a month in fact. Anyways, I know I am falling behind on getting these blog posts out. To start with, I moved recently so my schedule at work changed this past week. On top of that, I have a pair of hyper active kids whose favorite past time is to come into their uncle’s room and make him spend time playing with them, so that kind of pushes me back even more. Well, that is not the worst thing to have happen and it isn’t as bad as it sounds to be honest. Now, let’s get to watching some movies and enjoy Black Swarm once again.

The plot: In Black Stone, New York, local exterminator Dan Hall is called out to deal with a wasp nest and, noting the weird wasps coming out of the nest, he moves his blowtorch up to ignite the nest only for it to explode in a freak accident, killing him. Some time later, Jane Kozik is moving with her 9 year old daughter Kelsey back to Black Stone from Manhatten, though Kelsey is not to thrilled at the prospect and wonders asks her mom why she had moved away if it is such a good place to live. In Black Stone, Devin Hall, Dan’s brother, is checking out the basement of Beverly Rowe, a blind woman that used to babysit the neighborhood kids such as him when he was young. As he finishes up, she comments about Jane moving back to town and how funny it is that she is moving back just as he is leaving. Devin heads to his shop at the center of town and is approached by Mayor Blatz, who is desperately trying to convince Devin to stay, but Devin says that the town is dying because all of the work has left and he has nothing keeping him in town. As they continue arguing, they don’t notice a strange man with welts on his head walking around, emitting a strange buzzing sound. When Jane and Kelsey get to town, Jane goes to get the keys to their house, leaving Kelsey to wander around the town. Kelsey runs into a man blowing a whistle, though she doesn’t hear anything, and as she questions the man, he tells her that his name is Eli and offers her a peach if she can keep it a secret that she saw him. When Kelsey’s attentions is distracted by an ice cream truck, Eli disappears and Kelsey asks her mom for some money to get some ice cream but the driver, who is making a strange buzzing sound and acting erratically, drops the ice cream he hands her, then drives off. Later that night, a busker sneaks into Beverly’s basement to sleep for the night but as he lays down, he hears some buzzing coming from a hole in the wall and as he peers inside, a swarm of wasps bursts out, slamming him into a wall before swarming all over him while the queen flies into his mouth. The next day, Jane arrives on the scene at Beverly’s house and is shocked to see what happened to the busker, asking the doctor to let her know what he finds out. Jane then heads inside to see Beverly, who tells her about Devin leaving town and admonishes Jane for not letting Kelsey meet her uncle but Jane says it would be difficult to see Devin since she would just be reminded of his brother, who was her husband when he died. At the town morgue, Devin is called in by the doctor and finds a woman, Katherine Randall, examining the body instead. Katherine explains that she is an entomologist that was called in for a consult and shows him an ovipositor that she had found in the victim’s body. Devin asks of it could have been anaphylactic shock that killed him but she says she didn’t see signs of asphyxiation, and is puzzled by the death. After they leave, the coroner enters the morgue only to find the body has disappeared and when he tries looking for it, he is suddenly grabbed by the busker’s body, which has somehow reanimated, and killed, before the busker walks off. Devin is leaving town when something slams into his windshield, cracking it. After calling his friend at the garage to see if he can fix it, Devin examines the windshield and finds the body of a large wasp, which is what hit the glass, and grabs a sample jar to collect the remains. Devin takes the jar back to the morgue to show Katherine, only to find Jane there examining the coroner’s murder. After an awkward conversation with Jane, Devin shows Katherine the remains and when she looks at them, she thinks it would be a good idea to check out where the busker died and Devin agrees to take her there. When they get there, they talk with Beverly briefly, who says that Kelsey would be coming by in a little bit and suggests he meet her but Devin says he would need permission from Jane to do that. Devin and Katherine search Beverly’s basement tool shed for any sign of the nest or swarm but can’t find anything. As they leave, Katherine asks Devin what he is going to do and Devin admits that he wants to go back to grad school but doesn’t want to abandon the town when there might be a killer wasp infestation. Some time later, Kelsey is dropped off at Beverly’s house and after they talk for a while, she sneaks out into the back yard and finds Eli next door. She talks with him for a little while, asking him where his bees are, before he heads inside his trailer. Inside, Eli opens a hidden hatch in his floor and heads down to a secret lab, where he has a giant swarm of wasps locked in a glass cage. Eli takes some peaches he collected from outside and as he injects them with some syringes, the wasps appear to get agitated. When Eli leaves, Kelsey sneaks into his trailer and finds his hidden lab, where she bites one of the peaches but throws it away, as it tastes bad, and when the wasps become super agitated, she quickly leaves. In town, Mayor Blatz is at the church when he sees Father Francis acting erratically and when he asks if he is ok, Francis calls out Blatz’s name before a swarm of wasps issue out of his mouth and attack Blatz, killing him. In town, more and more people are acting strange, with the people showing welts from being stung and a buzzing sound coming from them. Devin is trying to make his way through town, which is jammed due to a police officer’s erratic behavior, when he receives a call from Katherine who is in a nearby alley. When Devin meets with her, she tells him that the wasps were bio-engineered and apparently meant to be used as a weapon and she asks him to come with her to help figure this out but Devin says he has to get Jane and Kelsey to safety. As he drives off, a car pulls up next to Katherine and she comments about him being a boy scout before she gets in the car and tells the men inside to drive. As Beverly calls Kelsey to come inside, having heard the swarm overhead, the wasps begin attacking the house and Beverly and Kelsey decide to leave, cutting through a corn field as a short cut into town. Devin sees them and chases after them and when they get separated, the wasps attack and kill Beverly. Kelsey runs off screaming when Devin catches up to her and as she asks why he looks like her dad, he explains that her dad was his twin brother. Devin says they need to get away from the wasps and Kelsey suggests he talk to Eli and takes him to his lab. Meanwhile, Jane goes to Beverly’s house to look for Beverly and Kelsey and when she can’t find them in the house, she ends up looking for them outside and eventually discovers Eli’s lab. Entering the lab, she holds Eli at gunpoint and starts asking him question when Kelsey and Devin show up. Eli explains what he had done with the wasps and Devin says that he will help Eli kill them while Jane and Kelsey get to safety but Jane says the town’s safety is her responsibility and she asks Eli to take Kelsey to the church. Elsewhere, Katherine uses a computer to contact her HQ and they tell her to locate Eli, as he must be in town and as they continue driving, they spot Eli with Kelsey heading to the church. When Eli and Kelsey enter the church, Eli confronts Kelsey about the peach and when she admits she ate part of one, he tells her the wasps now think that she is their queen. Suddenly, Father Francis appears and Eli tells Kelsey to hide but when Francis spots her and tries to grab her, he suddenly falls apart, revealing a swarm of wasps emerging from his remains. Blatz shows up and moves to grab Kelsey when Katherine shoots him. Eli thanks Katherine’s arrival but Katherine shoot Eli and while her men grab Kelsey, Katherine approaches Eli and forces a wasp into his mouth. Elsewhere, Jane and Devin are driving and as they discuss Dan, Jane admits that she missed Devin more than her husband. When the swarm suddenly begins attacking Devin’s van, they head to a bridge and Devin rigs his van to explode as a means to kill them but it doesn’t work and they are forced to run. They eventually coe to a sewer opening and make their way through the sewers into the old cement factory, where they find several of the townsfolk acting as wasp drones while Kelsey is entombed in a giant wasp’s nest. Katherine appears and tells them that she killed Eli and plans on killing them in order to finish her job but Jane pulls out her gun and kills her. The human drones begin moving towards them in order to defend the nest and they are forced to fight them as they back away. They are surprised to see Eli show up and he tells them that the military is there to destroy the nest and kill him. Eli helps them rescue Kelsey, who Jane reveals is actually Devin’s daughter, and they manage to make their way outside just as the helicopters begin firing on the building. The 4 make it to the woods outside the building and Eli gives Kelsey his whistle and tells them to leave, just as he is shot by a sniper and Kelsey cries out for him as Jane and Devin carry her away. 4 months later, Devin, Jane, and Kelsey are shown to still be living in Black Rock and as Kelsey plays in the back and watches some ants, Jane, who appears to be in the early stages of pregnancy, and Devin comment about her becoming a scientist and playfully argue if she is being like Eli or her father. Unknown to them, a wasp emerges from a nest nearby and Kelsey, seemingly reacting to it, smashes the ant nest.

Have to admit, this was a bit of a let down on several fronts. The acting was ok, with Robert Englund doing a good job as Eli and his interactions with Rebecca Windheim (Kelsey) were just great. I also liked Sheena Larkin (Beverly) but felt that the main stars of this movie were honestly pretty boring. The story sounded interesting, with the idea of bio-engineering wasps to attack enemy forces being straight out of science fiction. However, the end result in this movie kind of felt a little disjointed, with the various scene cuts not exactly blending together and making it seem almost haphazardly shot. The special effects with the wasps and the victims were pretty good, with the scene of Father Francis dissolving into the wasps being better than I would have thought it would be. However, the scene where Katherine and Jane shoot at each other was completely stupid and looked even worse. It’s some fun movie watching but is not the greatest thing out there.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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

Flashback Review: May 4th, 2014 Movie – Black Sheep (2006)

black sheep 2006

Ahh, the memories that this movie inspire. See, my friend Jason had woken up early one morning and, unable to go back to sleep, headed downstairs in his house to watch a movie. He saw that Black Sheep (1996) was on and decided to watch that but instead of the Chris Farley/David Spade movie that was listed in the guide, he discovered that it was this movie. Since it was already half over, he decided to watch it, then proceeded to tell me, as he knew my love of B-movies, all about the parts that he saw. Well, a few weeks later, I happened to find this movie, Black Sheep (2006) at MovieStop and decided to pick it up, then proceeded to tell him via Facebook what all happened at the beginning of the movie. This exchange between the two of us led to the formation of a campy movie night group among my friends so I can show them all sorts of various B-movies and it all started because of this particular movie.

The plot: In New Zealand, young Henry Oldfield is tending to his family’s sheep with his father and his best friend, Tucker. Meanwhile, Henry’s older brother Angus, whose leg is injured, is jealous of Henry, takes Henry’s pet lamb and kills it. Henry returns to the house and after calling out to the caretaker, Mrs. Mac, he goes looking for his sheep. When he hears something coming from the barn, he heads inside to look for it only to have Angus jump out, wearing his sheep’s skinned carcass, and scares Henry but Angus stop when Mrs. Mac yells out that their father was in an accident. 15 years later, Henry, now deathly afraid of sheep, is returning to the family farm, on the advice of his therapist, to sell of his share to his brother Angus, as well as deal with issues he has with Angus, his father’s death, and his fears. Meanwhile, two activists, Experience and Grant, sneak onto Angus’ farm just as Angus flies in on his plane, as he is prepping for a demonstration he is hosting. Experience and Grant see a woman, Dr. Rush, and some men loading a cage onto a truck and Grant decides to head down and steal some bio-waste marked for disposal, as evidence of Dr. Rush and Angus’ illegal experiments. As Dr. Rush’s men chase after Grant, he gets separated from Experience as she hides from the men herself. As he is running, Grant ends up tripping and breaking the container, and the fetal sheep that was inside crawls on him and bites him in the ear. Grant manages to get the fetus off of him and as he reacts in pain from the bite, the fetal sheep crawls off and ends up biting a regular sheep. Meanwhile, Angus writes Henry a check for his share of the farm and Henry reluctantly takes it but argues with Angus about how he is running things. As Henry speaks with Mrs. Mac, Tucker enters the house and decides to take Henry out for a ride around the farm before he leaves. As they are driving, they come across a sheep that doesn’t want to move from the road and they get out, with Tucker going to examine the sheep and noticing the bite on it’s nose. Suddenly, Experience appears, grabbing the rifle from Tucker’s truck, and forces them to help her look for Grant but when Tucker tells her the safety is on, he is able to get the gun away from her. As they head back to the truck, Experience apologizes but says she is there to get proof of Angus’ illegal experiments when Tucker notices smoke coming from a nearby farm house. The three head over there and as they start searching the house, a sheep enters the hallway and chases them into the bedroom. Inside, they find the mutilated body of the farmer and as the sheep starts to break through the door, Tucker shoots it but it doesn’t die right away, so he shoots it again in the head. Experience notices more sheep outside and as Tucker makes his way out to start the truck, Experience tries to help Henry overcome his fears enough to get in the truck. As the eventually get in the back, a sheep manages to get in the front with Tucker as he drives off and he works on preventing it from biting him but it ends up biting him through his boot. Tucker manages to climb out the window and into the back, then tells the others to jump to avoid going over the cliff they are approaching. Back at the farm, Dr. Rush’s men return, having found no sign of Grant, and Dr. Rush decides they should get rid of the rest of the waste and relocate the lab but when one of her men goes to dispose of the waste, he is killed by some infected sheep. Meanwhile, Angus notices Henry’s taxi is still there and goes looking for him when he runs into Grant, who is beginning to show some side effects from the bite. As Grant and Angus argue over what Angus is doing, Grant bites him in the hand before running off. In the fields, Tucker’s foot begins bothering him and when he takes off his boot, he discovers his foot has started to turn into a sheep’s hoof. When they see a stampede of sheep approaching them, they quickly head towards the farm and end up entering Dr. Rush’s lab. Inside, they see some more of Rush’s experiments just as Dr. Rush and Angus confront them. Henry is horrified at seeing what Angus is doing and when Dr. Rush uses a sedative on Tucker, Henry and Experience make a run for it. Outside, they see more sheep approaching them and head towards the nearby offal pit and quickly close the gate. Angus approaches them with Tucker’s rifle, with the sheep making no effort to attack him, and as Henry tries to convince Angus to stop what he is doing, he ends up falling into the pit with Experience. Inside, Experience lights a candle to help them see and they try to find a way out, with one of the sheep jumping down and chasing after them but Henry uses the candle to set it on fire. Meanwhile, Angus starts feeling a strange attraction to his genetically created sheep and tells Dr. Rush to stay behind in the lab while he presents the sheep, as he doesn’t want her reputation to take away from the presentation. Henry and Experience manage to find a passage out of the pit and head to a nearby corral to wash off. Hearing the sound of shearing coming from the corral, they head inside and find Grant, who has turned into a giant weresheep. Grant attacks Henry, as he is jealous of his apparent closeness to Experience, and when Experience tries distracting him, Henry grabs her and they manage to make their way through the stalls and escape. Back at the lab, Dr. Rush and her assistant are watching Tucker as he changes before Dr. Rush injects him with the amniotic fluid from another fetus, reversing the change. Dr. Rush then fills another syringe and goes to inject Angus, as she knows he is infected, but both her and her assistant are eaten by sheep. Angus begins his presentation and reveals the genetically created sheep he had made but the sheep starts calling out and all of the infected sheep descend on the demonstration and begin attacking the guests. Angus tries to get away but notices the sheep ignore him and when his genetic sheep follows after him, he takes it into his office to hide. Meanwhile, Henry and Experience see the carnage and before they can be attacked, Mrs. Mac rescues them. They head back to the house only to find Grant inside, who attacks Henry again but Experience uses an acupuncture pin to render him unconscious. Henry goes to Angus’ office to use the phone and finds Angus, minus his pants, inside with the sheep. Henry moves to shoot the sheep but Angus gets in his way and says it’s family, revealing he used his DNA to help create the sheep. The two argue before Henry, hearing Experience and Mrs. Mac saying that the sheep are getting inside, leaves the office. The three head to the balcony, where they see the people that had been attacked turning into weresheep. Experience sees Angus and his sheep leaving and Henry realizes that he is heading for his plane. Mrs. Mac notices that Henry has been bitten and he freaks out at first but then realizes that he has to stop Angus no matter what. He hands Experience Mrs. Mac’s shotgun, telling her to shoot him if he changes, then kisses her goodbye. Using the sheepskin cover from Mrs. Mac’s car seat, Henry attempts to sneak by the sheep and weresheep but when one of the sheep tries to have sex with him, removing his disguise when he gets rid of it, he realizes the sheep are ignoring him as he is infected. At the barn, Angus is preparing to fly off with his sheep when he begins changing into a weresheep. When Henry enters the barn, he is attacked by Angus and the two begin fighting but Henry is able to use the returning sheep dog to keep Angus at bay, where he ends up being struck by his plane’s propeller. Henry thinks Angus is dead but as he turns away, Angus gets back up and moves to attack him. Suddenly, Tucker rides up on an ATV and, using some tools from the lab to fashion a injection system, cures both Angus and Henry. Tucker and Henry, along with Experience, gather all of the infected sheep into the barn and try to figure out what to do with them when Angus staggers towards the flock, wishing to be infected again but the sheep attack and kill him instead. Noting the flatulence being emitted from the sheep, Henry uses Experience’s lighter to ignite their farts, causing the barn and sheep to explode. The next day, Tucker and Henry manage to cure Grant and all of the other people that had turned into weresheep, who are all huddling in the corral still in shock over what happened, while Experience tries to convince them to give organic farming a try. Meanwhile, the sheep dog is on a hill staring at them when it suddenly begins bleeting like a sheep.

Black Sheep (2006) met with positive reviews from the critics, holding a 71% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “With an outrageous premise played completely straight, Black Sheep is a violent, grotesque, and very funny movie that takes B-movie lunacy to a delirious extreme.” The scene with the sheep driving the Land Rover took several days to film. The scene with the Land Rover going over the cliff was done in one take. The movie had a limited release in the U.S. but ended up making $4.9 million worldwide at the box office.

This movie is surprisingly funny, while possessing a couple of good gore scenes to make it a compelling horror/comedy. The acting was pretty good, with Nathan Meister (Henry), Danielle Mason (Experience), and Tammy Davis (Tucker) doing good jobs in their roles. The plot was pretty good, with a splattering of the usual sheep jokes you would expect to see in here. The bit where Henry enters Angus’ office to find him and the sheep together about had me do a spit take the first time I saw it because I couldn’t believe they would have been that blatant with it, while the end scene with Angus getting killed added bit of irony to the situation. The horror aspects were pretty good, with the idea of killer sheep kind of being a throwback to movies like Night Of The Lepus in a way. However, the addition of the weresheep added a bit of uniqueness to the situation that was a nice change of pace but I wish they had done a little more with them. A fun horror/comedy that is definitely worth watching if you get the chance.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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horror, movie, movie review, sci-fi

Flashback Review: May 3rd, 2014 Movie – The Black Scorpion (1957)

the black scorpion

Now here is something that I am honestly a little ashamed to admit. I had never heard of this movie until a couple of years ago. I had picked up a copy of The Valley Of Gwangi and as I was watching the trailers of the various movies, the trailer for this movie came on. I was flabbergasted. An example of stop motion animation great Willis O’Brien that not only have I never seen, but had not heard of. I honestly felt pretty disappointed in myself for this slight so there was only one thing to do. I immediately went on Amazon and picked up a copy of The Black Scorpion and immediately watched it to rectify the issue.

The plot: When a devastating earthquake hits Mexico, it causes a new volcano to form and Dr. Hank Scott and Dr. Arturo Ramos, geologists out of Mexico City, head out to examine it. After three days of travelling, they are close to the village of San Lorenzo and speak with a couple of telephone repairmen that are fixing the lines into the village, who tell them that a police car had driven by earlier but not come back. Continuing towards the village, Hank and Arturo hear a strange roar in the distance just as they come across a farmhouse that has been destroyed, with a damaged police car sitting outside. When the dispatch calls out for the police officer, Sgt. Vega, over the radio, Arturo explains what they have come across but there is no sign of Vega. After getting off the radio, they hear a rattle coming from the house and find a baby still alive in the wreckage and after hearing the roaring sound again, they discover Vega’s body in some debris and Arturo gets back on the radio to let the dispatch know. Hank and Arturo reach San Lorenzo and are buffeted by a crowd of people, thinking they are there with relief supplies. When Father Delgado approaches them, Hank shows him the baby and Delgado quickly calls out to a relative of the baby to care for her, Delgado then speaks with Hank and Arturo privately and explains that several people have gone missing and livestock have been slaughtered ever since the earthquake first occurred. The villagers believe that a demon bull is the cause of the trouble and are pestering Delgado to pray for divine assistance in the matter but he is skeptical of their claims. Delgado lets them stay the night and the next day, they head out to start their research just as the military arrives with the relief effort, though Major Cosio begs them not to head out. As they get close to the volcano, they stop to figure out where to begin when Hank sees a woman riding a horse close by. When the horse throws the woman, Hank and Arturo head out to help her and after introducing herself as Teresa Alvarez, Hank starts flirting with her while Arturo goes to get her saddle, when he finds a large hunk of obsidian and takes it to show to Hank. The two take Teresa back to the village, where she hopes to convince the cowboys that worked her ranch to come back to work and she eventually manages to convince them return. Meanwhile, Hank and Arturo are asked to go see the town doctor, who tells them that Vega had been killed by some unknown organic poison. Hank and Arturo then head to Teresa’s ranch, as she had offered to let them use it as a base camp. After enjoying dinner, Arturo is examining the obsidian when he discovers the outline of a scorpion encased in it and shows it to Hank. When they break it open, they are shocked to find the scorpion is still alive and quickly get a jar to contain the scorpion. Suddenly, the telephone rings and Teresa answers it, thanking the repairmen who had called to make sure the line works. As he is on the phone, the other workers are attacked by a giant scorpion and the repairman cries out when he is also grabbed and killed. Teresa and Hank hear the commotion over the phone and decide to go with Arturo to find out what is going on when they hear Juanito, a young boy that works on the ranch, crying out for help and see a giant scorpion knocking down the wall and approaching the ranch. Hank sends Teresa to call for help while he, Arturo, and Teresa’s men fire at the scorpion but their bullets have no effect. Teresa tries calling for help but another eruption from the volcano causes another scorpion to appear and attack San Lorenzo. The next day, Hank, Arturo, and Teresa leave for San Lorenzo and meet with Dr. Velasco, a renowned entomologist, who is able to identify the scorpion that Arturo had discovered. Telling them what they have been able to figure out about the scorpions, Velasco says that they would have better luck finding the scorpions’ lair in the daylight, as they appear to be nocturnal, and that once they find the lair, they must kill the scorpions, using gas as an effective means. With the military’s aid, Hank, Arturo, Velasco, and Teresa head out into the desert near the volcano and eventually find the entrance to the scorpions’ lair; a giant hole that leads deep into the Earth. Reaching the hole’s crater, Hank and Arturo get ready to descend into the hole in order to explore and make sure the gas will work like it should when they discover Juanito had stowed away in their supplies and send him out to wait in the jeep. Teresa is nervous about them heading down but Hank kisses her and then they get into the cage and are lowered down. Stopping to take a picture of a scorpion that is in a cave partway down, they eventually reach the bottom and find other strange creatures, such as a worm-like creature with claws. As they continue to explore, the area, they see several scorpions coming out of some nearby caves and moving towards them and quickly head to higher ground to avoid them. The soon see a fight between one of the scorpions and the worm creature and after the scorpion wins and begins to feed on the worm, a second, even larger, scorpion appears and kills the first scorpion, exposing the scorpions’ weakness to Hank and Arturo. Meanwhile, Juanito had stowed away in the cage and he begins exploring, only to be attacked by a giant spider. Hank and Arturo hear him calling for help and manage to kill the spider and start to head back to the cage when they see a scorpion approach it and destroy the cage. On the surface, the crane attached to the cage begins swinging like mad due to the scorpion’s pulling on the cage, but when the scorpion finally smashes the cage, the tension on the crane is released. When the scorpion leaves, Hank, Arturo, and Juanito head to the cable and Hank tells Arturo to grab onto the cable ad send it back down for them, just as the crane begins pulling the cable up. Arturo barely manages to hold on and make it to the surface and tells the others to tie a noose into the cable and send it back down, rescuing Hank and Juanito just before the scorpions attack them. With no gas to kill the scorpions with, the military decides to use explosives to seal the crater, and afterwards, Hank and Teresa are talking about settling down together, as Hank continues to plan on studying the volcano and staying with Teresa as he does. Some time later, Velasco contacts Hank and tells him that he and Arturo must come to the University right away but doesn’t say why. Hank agrees when Velasco says they can bring Teresa too but when they get there, they are shown aerial pictures of a dead scorpion close to Mexico City. City officials are worried about more scorpions having survived and swear Hank and Arturo to secrecy over the issue so as not to cause a panic. As Hank takes Teresa out to dinner and they discuss a future together, a train is attacked and derailed by the surviving scorpions. As the scorpions attack the train cars and the people inside, they begin fighting with one another, with the largest of them killing the other scorpions before heading towards the city. As the last scorpion gets closer to the city, Velasco works out a plan, with Hank and Arturo agreeing to help him. Using a truck filled with meat to lure the scorpion to the arena, the army begin attacking it with all of their weapons in the hopes to get it to expose it’s throat, where they can fire a harpoon into it’s throat and electrocute it. The first shot misses and the gunner accidentally electrocutes himself when he attempts to reload the harpoon. Hank and Arturo load the harpoon and Hank manages to shoot the scorpion in the throat, allowing the army to finally electrocute the scorpion and kill it for good. When the scorpion finally stops moving, Arturo signals the military to turn off the electricity and Velasco says they must work quickly to collect the scorpion’s venom so the can produce anti-venom in case any more scorpions arrive but Hank and Teresa decide to leave, as they have their own plans to finish up.

This wasn’t Willis O’Brien’s best work but it was still a decent movie to watch. The acting was good, with Richard Denning (Hank), Carlos Rivas (Arturo) and Mara Corday (Teresa) all doing good jobs in their roles. I also liked Carlos Muzquiz (Velasco) and thought his character added an even greater seriousness to the situation. The story was ok, but I will admit that it felt a little weak at times. For instance, the bit with Juanito constantly stowing away and getting in trouble honestly felt like a poorly thought out plot device to try and build up tension, but all it really made you want to do is smack Juanito for being an annoying brat. The stop motion animation was pretty good but there were times where the scorpion was nothing more than a black, almost translucent, shadow, which actually was pretty entertaining to see, especially when you could see the buildings behind the shadow. It’s a great B-movie to watch but I still wish it was better.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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Flashback Review: April 27th, 2014 Movie – Black Christmas (2006)

black christmas 2006

Remakes, remakes, everywhere you look it’s a remake. Now I will say that at least Hollywood had the right idea in trying to remake this movie. The original was about a group of sorority girls being picked off by a killer so they didn’t really stray too far in that regard. They then decided to get some young recognizable starlets to make up the bulk of the cast to draw in the audience. Now I had seen the original movie years ago and thought had considered going to see the remake but a lot of things were going on in my life at that point which made that not a viable option. I eventually decided to pick up a copy of Black Christmas (2006) on the cheap to satisfy my curiosity about it so let’s see if it was worth the purchase.

The plot: At the Delta Alpha Kappa sorority house at Clemson University outside of Boston, Clair Crosby is busy wrapping Christmas gifts and signing cards for her housemates when someone wraps a plastic bag over her head and stabs her in the head with her fountain pen. Elsewhere, at the criminally insane ward of a hospital, William “Billy” Edward Lenz, leaves a present for the guard outside his door, and when the guard opens it, he finds a note from Billy, saying that he will be home for the holidays. When the guard checks Billy’s cell, he finds it empty and goes inside to check it, only for Billy to stab him with a candy cane and escape. Back at the sorority house, Kelli Presley is outside kissing her boyfriend Kyle goodnight before heading inside the sorority house. Barbara “Ms. Mac” MacHenry, the house mother, is going over the presents under the tree and checking to see which sorority girls are still there, then asks Kelli to go get some of the stragglers so they can open gifts. Kelli knocks on Megan’s door but Megan refuses to come out, as she is actually watching a video of her and Kyle having sex. After Kelli leaves, Megan hears some noises coming from the attic and she goes to check it out, only to be attacked and killed. Back downstairs, Ms. Mac is trying to find the traditional present for Billy and Heather says she did but didn’t see the point of buying a gift for a serial killer. Ms. Mac explains the tradition, saying that the sorority house once belonged to the Lenz family and when Billy was born, he was shown to have been born with severe jaundice. Billy’s mother was upset over Billy’s appearance and several years later, her and her lover would kill Billy’s father and bury him underneath the house. Billy, who had a penchant for crawling through the walls of the house, had seen them kill and bury his dad but his mother spotted him and ends up locking him in the attic. Years later, Billy’s mother tries to have another baby but her new husband is impotent and she decides to go up to the attic and rapes a 12 year old Billy. Nine months later, Agnes is born and as she looks down on her, Billy’s mother hears Billy moving around upstairs and looks at the ceiling and says that Agnes is her family now, then goes back to looking at her baby. In the present, the girls receive a strange phone call from Claire’s cell phone and Heather wants to call the police but gets overruled by the others. Heather heads upstairs to pack and runs into Eve, a reclusive housemate, who gives Heather her secret Santa gift, a glass unicorn, then leaves the house to head home for the holidays. As the girls and Ms. Mac continue opening gifts, they receive another strange phone call, this time from Megan’s cell. Kelli goes upstairs to confront Megan about the call and is surprised to see Kyle coming out of the room. As the others arrive upstairs, Kelli asks if Megan is in there but Kyle says he didn’t see her. Kelli decides to go check the room and as the others tell Kyle about the phone calls, he tells them that he used to live on this block and the story about this house always scared all of the kids. He tells them about how when Agnes was 8, Billy attacked her on Christmas Eve, pulling out her right eye. When they tried to stop him, Billy killed his stepfather and mother, then proceeded to make cookies from his mother’s flesh and was eating them when the police arrived. Billy was sent to the mental hospital while Agnes was saved, though she lost her eye, and was placed in an orphanage, where everyone lost track of her after that. Suddenly, everyone hears a door slam and as Ms. Mac and the other girls head downstairs to see who is there, Kyle heads into the room and tries to convince Kelli to leave with him but she refuses as she is worried about Megan, as all of her stuff is there and her car is still there but there is no sign of her. Downstairs, Ms. Mac and the others find Claire’s half sister Leigh, who is a legacy of the sorority, in the room, upset about the fact that Claire was supposed to be waiting for her but there is no sign of her. Suddenly, the power goes out and as everyone tries to find ways to see in the dark, Kelli sees the video on Megan’s computer when the screen saver shuts off as it switched to battery power and she gets upset with him and kicks him out of the house. As that is going on, Melissa takes care of Lauren, who had gotten drunk and was throwing up, and helps her into the shower before placing her in her bed, unaware that someone was watching them from the floor. Leigh notices that the other houses on the street have power and Dana heads outside to check the circuit breakers outside when she is dragged into the crawlspace under the house and killed. Inside the house, the girls receive a call from Dana’s cell and hear her screaming before the same creepy voice comes on the phone. Kelli, Melissa, Heather, and Leigh go outside looking for her and Heather notices Eve’s car is still there. When she goes to check it with Leigh, she opens the door and Eve’s head rolls out, causing her to scream and bringing the others over. The girls all rush back into the house and Kelli calls 911 but is told that because of the storm, help won’t arrive for hours. Ms. Mac wants to head to the police station and Heather decides to go with her. She gets her car started but as she is scraping the ice off her windows, Heather is killed inside the car and as Ms. Mac backs away in horror, she is accidentally killed by a falling icicle. Seeing that the car isn’t moving, Kelli and Leigh try to go check on them but find the garage door blocked by Ms. Mac’s body. Inside, Melissa is attacked by the killer and tries to get away but the killer throws a pair of ice skates at her head, killing her. Lauren is lying in bed and feels someone feeling her up and, seeing the glass unicorn on her nightstand, she goes to use it against her attacker, only to be grabbed and have the unicorn used against her. Kelli and Leigh head back inside the house and, seeing someone moving around outside, rush upstairs to Lauren’s room, unaware that she is dead. Kelli tries texting Melissa to see where she is and hears the tone coming from the attic, noticing a light through a hole in the ceiling that suddenly goes out. Kyle bursts in the room and tells them about the two dead bodies and Kelli motions them to be quiet, then calls Melissa’s cell, while pointing up to the attic. They hear the ringtone and the light briefly shine and go out, then the light returns and Kelli’s cell phone rings. Kelli answers it, asking Billy where her friends are but gets no response. They decide to head up to the attic to investigate but as he opens the attic door, Kyle is grabbed and dragged upstairs and killed as Kelli and Leigh head up there. The killer then lights some candles and the other girls are shown to have been brought up there, with their eyes removed and used as ornaments for the Christmas tree up there, with Eve’s head as the angel. Leigh ends up falling through the floor and Kelli attacks the killer, who is revealed to be Agnes. As Billy shows up in the attic, Agnes tries to kill Kelli and their struggle knocks the candles off the table, starting a fire. Kelli and Agnes end up falling between the walls of the house and Leigh breaks the wall in the laundry room to free Kelli, leaving Billy and Agnes to burn to death in the fire. Kelly and Leigh are taken to the hospital while Billy and Agnes’ bodies are taken to the morgue but both Billy and Agnes managed to survive, as Billy kills the morgue attendant. Leigh steps out of Kelly’s room for a moment as she heard a sound coming from the ceiling, and when she returns, she sees Kelli lying in bed and approaches her only for it to be revealed that it is really Agnes, who kills Leigh. Kelli, who had gone for x-rays, is brought back to her room and she notices the bloody tag from Leigh’s Christmas gift and blood coming from the ceiling light. She hits the emergency button to try and get some help as Agnes emerges from the ceiling but when no help comes, Kelli charges up some defibrillator pads and uses them to kill her. Billy emerges from the ceiling and Kelli smashes the window so she can unlock the door and get out of the room. Billy chases after her and the two struggle before Kelli manages to throw him off a stairwell, where he is impaled on a Christmas tree in the lobby below.

Black Christmas (2006) was panned by the critics, holding a 15% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “A gratuitous remake of the 1974 slasher, Black Christmas pumps out the gore and blood with zero creativity, humor, or visual flair.” During one scene, the infamous “leg lamp” from A Christmas Story can be seen in the background; a subtle nod to Bob Clark, who directed both A Christmas Story and the original Black Christmas (1974). Despite the bad reviews, the movie was a small hit at the box office, earning $21.5 million off of a $9 million budget.

Alas, this was pretty much your typical, and unfortunately forgettable, teenage slasher movie. The acting was ok, with Katie Cassidy (Kelli), Michelle Trachtenberg (Melissa) and Kristen Cloke (Leigh) doing decent jobs in their roles. I will give props to them for bringing in Andrea Martin to play Ms. Mac, as she had played one of the girls in the original movie. The story was ok but I think they tried too hard to do a misdirect as to who the killer was and it ended up being rather anti-climactic when the big “reveal” occurred. The special effects around the kills were good, and a bit more gorey than necessary at times, but I guess they were trying to make up for a lackluster story. I would have to rewatch the original movie again to determine which one is better but as far as cookie cutter horror movies go, this one is worth giving a shot if you catch it on TV.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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adventure, horror, movie, movie review, sci-fi, The Asylum

Flashback Review: April 26th, 2014 Movie – Bigfoot (2012)

bigfoot 2012

Ahh, an Asylum movie that involves Bigfoot. This sounds like it should be a lot of fun, so let’s see what exactly we have here. Two rival musicians as the main characters, who are at odds with each other in the film. A giant monster that terrorizes the region. A third musician that gets killed by the title monster. You know something, this honestly sounds pretty familiar to me. Wait a minute….I got it. This is just a reboot of Mega Python Vs. Gatoroid. Ok, I know it really isn’t but you have to admit that on some levels, Bigfoot (2012) does kind of seem that way. Well, let’s see how similar, or different, they are.

The plot: Outside of Deadwood, SD, a hunter lines up his shot and shoots a bear but before he can approach his trophy, he is attacked and killed by a large Bigfoot. Meanwhile, radio DJ Harley Anderson is using his show to complain about the freak snow storm the area is getting in April, as well as promote his 80’s flashback festival next week. When his show is finished, Harley heads out to the site of the festival and tells the foreman setting up the stages to clear out some trees. Harley’s former band mate, Simon Quint, has become an environmentalist and, along with some teenage followers, attempt to stop them by chaining themselves to the bulldozers but one of the drivers proceeds to start moving anyways, dragging the kids behind him. Sheriffs Becky Alvarez and Walt Henderson show up and stop the bulldozer and after listening to Harley and Simon arguing over who should be arrested, they end up taking Simon into custody. Harley’s crews get back to work but as one man heads into the woods to start cutting down some trees, he is attacked by Bigfoot. Bigfoot then heads after the rest of Harley’s crew, killing several of them and destroying the vehicles, causing a fire to break out. The fire is eventually put out and the fire chief shows him the footprints left in the snow but Harley says the festival is still on. As the festival draws closer, a couple in an RV are driving towards town when they accidentally hit Bigfoot, who throws the RV off the road. With the festival one day away, Mayor Tommy Gillis wants to pull the plug on the festival, but Harley tells him he can work out a deal with Simon to get him to stop trying to ruin the festival. Harley meets with Simon and offers to let him perform at the festival as a way to get his message out and Simon agrees to the deal. On the day of the festival, the snow has finally stopped but many of the acts, as well as the fans, have not shown up. Simon heads out to perform to a lackluster crowd while back stage, Alice Cooper, Harley’s special guest, complains about the event and threatens to quit. Harley sabotages Simon’s performance, causing feedback that wakes up Bigfoot from his cave and sends him heading towards the festival. When Alice Cooper starts performing, Bigfoot attacks the festival, killing several of the attendees and kicking Alice Cooper off the stage, killing him. As the news reports on the catastrophe, the National Guard is brought in to try and locate and kill Bigfoot but Simon tries to organize a movement to save him. Harley calls Al Hunter, a hunter friend of his, and hires him to come down and kill Bigfoot for him. As Bigfoot continues to terrorize the town, killing anyone that ventures into the forest, Simon tries to come up with a way to tranquilize it instead of killing it so it can be taken to a preserve. Harley joins Al and his team and they head out to try and kill Bigfoot but are unable to do so and Al loses two of his team members. Harley then talks with Mayor Gillis and convinces him to let him try and capture or kill Bigfoot and turn it into a tourist attraction. He then sends someone in to steal Simon’s tranquilizers so that he can use them for his plan. Simon and some of his group head out to try and track Bigfoot and run into Becky, who is searching for it as well. They find some tracks and Becky notices a cave nearby and goes to investigate it, with Simon and one of his group following her. The two team members left outside are attacked and killed by Bigfoot and when Becky, Simon, and the others go try to help, Simon realizes that his tranquilizer darts are missing. Harley and Al show up in a helicopter and try luring Bigfoot out to the open so Harley can get a clear shot at it. As Simon and Beth try to get away from Bigfoot, it continues to chase them as a National Guard tank fires at Bigfoot, burning it with it’s explosive shells and finally chasing it away. As new plans are made to deal with Bigfoot, Becky and Walt realize it is using the cave systems to travel around and try to figure out where it will show up next. Bigfoot ends up in Rapid City and begins a rampage there. Harley and Al hire some local hunters to help them try to stop Bigfoot but several of the men end up heading off early and get killed. As the rest of the hunters try to trap and kill it, Harley notices Simon flying by on his glider and shoots him down, refusing to let him stop his plans but Bigfoot still gets away. Simon and Priya, the only member of his team still there, head out to the caves to try and tranquilize Bigfoot. Meanwhile, Becky and Walt try their own way to stop him but Walt ends up getting killed in the process. Harley and Al make their way past a National Guard blockade and enter the caves looking for Bigfoot, with Al accidentally shooting Priya and wounding her when Simon and Priya surprise them. Hearing Bigfoot approaching, Al panics and runs out of the cave, followed by Harley, Simon, and Priya and Al ends up being killed by the National Guard by accident while Priya is killed by Bigfoot. Bigfoot makes it’s way to Mount Rushmore and Becky leads the National Guard to try and kill it. When the helicopter she is in is brought down, she sees Bigfoot climbing to the top of Mount Rushmore and calls in an airstrike. Simon and Harley both head to Mount Rushmore, with Simon still intending to try and tranquilize Bigfoot while Harley wants to kill it. The two end up fighting on the top of Lincoln’s head and Harley falls off the edge, Simon reaches down to try and save Harley as Bigfoot approaches them, and Simon reaches out to him for help. Seeing them on the monument, Becky tries to call off the air strike but is too late and as the missiles hit the monument, Harley, Simon, and Bigfoot are knocked off the monument and fall to the ground, where they are buried underneath the rubble. One year later, Mayor Gillis is on hand to dedicate a statue to the memory of Harley and Clint, celebrating them as heroes, while Mount Rushmore is also being rebuilt.

Yeh, it’s hard not to think that they took the plot of Mega Python vs Gatoroid and tweaked it a little because there really are a lot of similarities to it. That being said, this was a pretty decent movie, although it was a little slow to start. The acting was ok, with Barry Williams and Danny Bonaduce doing decent jobs as Simon and Harley respectively. I honestly thought that Bruce Davison (Walt), Sherilyn Fenn (Becky), and Howard Hesseman (Mayor Gillis) gave better performances while Alice Cooper’s brief appearance was just hilarious. The story honestly felt a little disjointed, as the starting point of Simon trying to save the forest from Harley was then transferred to trying to save Bigfoot, but it just felt odd with everything else going on in the movie. I liked the design of Bigfoot and how they showed it’s face taking the damage from when it was burned throughout the movie. That being said, the CGI looked a little weak and there were times where the scale felt off with the Bigfoot, as it’s size kept seeming to change somewhat in scale with the people when it was attacking them. I mean, it would always be bigger/taller than them but sometimes the size difference was a lot bigger than others. Still, it is another enjoyable movie, at least for me, from The Asylum and if you like their movies, it is worth watching.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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