horror, movie, movie review, sci-fi

Flashback Review: June 13th, 2014 Movie – C.H.U.D.

chud

Now here is a movie that brings back some memories. Years ago, when I was a kid living in Birmingham, I remember seeing this movie on television and was both freaked out and entertained by it. Yes, I know that this is not exactly the sort of movie a 7 year old should be watching but if you haven’t guessed by now, I am sort of an odd duck. Anyways, I saw it the one time on TV and never saw it again for years, even when I had the opportunity to rent it. Then, I got the urge to watch it again after watching Clerks II and Randall had made a comment to Dante that mentions “chud”. That was enough to get me looking for a copy of C.H.U.D. on DVD but alas, the video was out of print so I had to hop on eBay and track down a copy that was reasonably priced so that I could own my own copy.

The plot: A woman is walking her dog down the street in New York City when something reaches out from a manhole and grabs the woman’s leg, dragging her and the dog into the sewers. The next day, George Cooper, a former fashion photographer who has quit that business and whose new subject is photos of a sect of homeless people that have begun living underground in the sewers, is arguing with a former colleague named Derick about the article Derick is writing, as the subjects George had been talking too and photographing have come up missing. At the same time, George’s model girlfriend, Lauren Daniels, has convinced George to shoot her for a perfume add and as she goes to the basement of their apartment to find her makeup in the boxes they have down there, she hears something moving around near the sewer access. Elsewhere, Francine, a downstairs neighbor of George and Lauren, is walking along the street when she is frightened by a pile of boxes suddenly exploding outward and as she goes to look, she finds a bloody hole leading down into the sewers. At the police station, Captain Bosch calls Chief O’Brien and tells him he can’t keep a lid on things much longer but O’Brien tells him that he has too as the orders came from above the Chief’s head. Bosch has one of his officers pull the files of events in the area while he deals with a homeless woman, Mrs. Monroe, that tried to steal an officer’s gun. After letting the woman make her phone call, Bosch is told that someone had filed a missing person’s report for 12 people and when he goes to investigate, he finds that the person was A.J. Shepherd, whom Bosch had busted 5 years ago. A.J. runs a homeless shelter now and tells Bosch that some of his regulars that live underground have been missing over the past 2 weeks. When Bosch tries to question an undergrounder that is there, the man pulls out a knife and A.J. tells him that a lot of the undergrounders are looking for weapons. Bosch has a hunch and calls his precinct and tells them to follow Mrs. Monroe when she is bailed out. The Mrs. Monroe had called George and after he goes to bail her out, she asks if he has some bandages and when they get them, she leads them to Victor, the undergrounder that she was trying to steal the gun for. Victor’s leg is wounded by some \thing he is afraid of and when George goes to change the bandage on his leg, he finds that a huge chunk of flesh has been bitten off, right to the bone. Bosch’s man loses George and the bag lady in the sewers so Bosch takes some pictures from an article that George had helped write to A.J. to see if he can recognize anyone in it. When A.J. refuses until Bosch tells him what his interest in the matter is, Bosch admits that his wife has gone missing after walking the dog the night before. A.J. looks at the pictures and recognizes Mrs. Monroe, Victor, and Victor’s friend Hugo. A.J. then asks Bosch about the EPA probe that has been going on, only instead of the normal week this one has been going on for a month and when he tries calling about it, he gets the run around. A.J. then shows Bosch some of the stuff that has been turning up in the tunnel underneath the shelter, including a radiation detector, and as they head into the sewer, they discover a geiger counter. When Bosch turns it on, the counter begins detecting a high source of radiation moving towards them, then moving away and as the counter finally goes quiet, they hear a loud roar coming from further in the sewers. George has returned to his apartment, where Lauren tells him that she is pregnant and as they discuss what to do, they decide to keep the baby. On the street below, a man and his daughter head to a pay phone to call the man’s brother for help when they are attacked by a mutated creature that came out of the sewer, who grabs the man but leaves the girl. The next day, Bosch arrives at the precinct and is told about the girl and he orders men placed at every street corner within his precinct’s jurisdiction, then calls O’Brien and tells him to get a meeting with the Commissioner and a representative from the NRC. Bosch goes to get A.J. and his evidence and then goes to get George to get his help but when he doesn’t answer the door, A.J. picks the lock and they head inside, where they find and take the pictures of Victor and his leg. They then head to the meeting and Bosch lays out his case but when the Commissioner and Wilson, the NRC rep, don’t seem inclined to do anything, A.J. shows them the pictures of Victor’s leg and threatens to go public with what is going on and their covering it up. Meanwhile, George and Lauren are having a picnic in the park when they are approached by Murphy, a freelance reporter, who wants George’s help in finding out what is going on underground but George refuses to help him. Back at City Hall, Wilson reluctantly tells them that there is radioactive material under the city but a court order is preventing them from moving it out of the city. When A.J. asks what they are going to do about the disappearances, Wilson says they don’t have anything to do with their situation, then taunts A.J. when he says he will go to the press. A.J. grabs all of his things and leaves and when he does, Wilson gets on the phone and alerts someone to stop him from going to the press. Meanwhile, Bosch had gone to pick up Wilson’s briefcase that A.J. had tossed and notices a file inside called C.H.U.D. Wilson tells him not to mess with the file as Bosch asks to know what C.H.U.D. means when Wilson gets a call. After hanging up, he tells them that C.H.U.D. stands for cannibalistic humanoid underground dweller and that his team just found the body of one. They head out to where the body is, and after Wilson and Bosch examine it, wearing hazmat suits as it is radioactive, Wilson is told it died from asphyxiation. Wilson wants to send his team back in, saying that that was the only creature, and Bosch wants to send some of his men armed with flamethrowers for protection but Wilson overrules him. When Wilson’s team heads down there, they discover that Bosch had disobeyed his orders and sent a team down there anyways. Wilson wants Bosch to pull his men back but Bosch refuses and Wilson reluctantly tells his team to continue with the cops. As they make their way into the tunnels, the geiger counters suddenly start going off and they see something approaching them. Bosch orders them to use the flamethrowers but it has no effect on the creatures and they proceed to slaughter the team. After seeing the video of the incident, the Commissioner agrees with Bosch that the people must be warned but Wilson says he can handle it and plans on using sealing the tunnels and sewers then flooding them with gas, killing off all of the creatures. Bosch goes to see A.J., who is recovering from being jumped by Wilson’s man, and he tells him about Wilson’s plan and warns him to get out of the area but A.J. says he can’t leave. Bosch heads out and A.J. goes into the tunnel to warn Val to get out of there but as Val goes to leave, he is knocked back down the ladder, breaking his neck in the fall, and Wilson’s man locks the door, sealing A.J. down in the tunnel. Meanwhile, George returns home to find his pictures missing and, believing Murphy took them, he calls him up and arranges a meeting. When they meet, Murphy tells him that the police have them to show as proof of a coverup and tells George that he wants to head down into the underground. George reluctantly takes him down there but as Murphy examines a tunnel, he is attacked and killed by a Chud and George grabs his gun and runs off. A.J. uses the geiger counter to help him make his way through the sewers and avoid the Chud when he finds a large group of them around Wilson’s nuclear waste material that has broken open in the sewers. When A.J. accidentally alerts them to his presence, he runs off  and climbs to a higher level but accidentally drops the geiger counter, which is going off the charts as one of the Chud approaches. On the surface, Lauren is going through some old photos when she drops something that rolls under the trap door to the sewers. When she heads down there, she finds Bosch’s dead dog hanging from a pipe and she quickly runs back upstairs and locks the door. Elsewhere, Bosch is called out to the scene of a dead body only to discover that it is his wife and after the officers drag him out of there, he heads to a bar and starts drinking. Lauren calls the police and reports about the dead dog, then goes to take a shower. As she is in the shower, the drain suddenly clogs up and when she uses a coat hanger to try and clear up the clog, a shower of blood suddenly erupts from the drain, covering her. Meanwhile, a Chud manages to crawl out from the sewer and breaks down the door from the basement. Elsewhere, 2 patrol officers enter a diner, having just come off their shift, but as they flirt with the waitress/cook, a group of Chud emerge from the sewer and proceed to attack the diner, killing everyone inside. In the sewers, George makes his way to where Victor was only to find Hugo has been ripped in half and George is beginning to turn into a Chud. George is forced to kill Victor and Mrs. Monroe hits him, then grabs the gun and plans on killing George but A.J. knocks her out and save him. Back on the surface, Bosch hears about the diner and heads over there, blaming Wilson for everyone’s death including his wife but O’Brien tells him to head to his car and calm down. Lauren sees the news report on the diner and the gas going into the sewers and, worrying about George, she goes to try and tell the police that he is down there when she sees a Chud coming up the stairs towards her. Lauren quickly rushes back into her apartment and barricades the door, then tries to phone for help but accidentally rips the phone from the cord when she trips over a chair. Two police officers show up, from her earlier call, and head inside only to be killed by the Chud and as Lauren screams for help, the Chud breaks into the apartment but she manages to kill it by chopping off it’s head. Back in the sewers, George and A.J. make their way past the toxic waste only to find more containers from the NRC, marked Contamination Hazard Urban Disposal and they realize that Wilson has been dumping the stuff down there for years and is trying to cover up his own mistake. They soon find the remains of Wilson’s and Bosch’s men and manage to make contact with Bosch, telling him what they learned and he tells them he will meet them at the manhole cover. Bosch goes to get the keys to the truck but Wilson grabs them from the man before Bosch can grab them. Bosch threatens to expose Wilson’s secret and Wilson pulls him aside to talk. As Bosch explains that he knows the truth, Wilson pulls out a gun and threatens to shoot Bosch but Bosch punches him and grabs the keys. Lauren reaches the diner and tells an officer to stop the gas and when he tells her he can’t do that, she asks who is in charge and he points to Wilson, who had recovered and taken off after Bosch. Bosch moves the truck and starts to move the manhole cover when Wilson shoots him. He then drags Bosch’s body out of the way and gets into the truck but as he starts it, George and A.J. manage to lift the manhole cover and get out of the sewer. Wilson sees them and tries to run them over but Lauren arrives and screams out a warning at them, allowing them to move out of the way in time. As Wilson turns around to try again, A.J. sees Bosch’s body and grabs his gun, shooting at Wilson and eventually hitting him. As the van continues moving forward, it ends up hitting the open manhole cover and explodes, as Wilson had ordered them to be rigged that way. George and Lauren embrace and kiss while A.J. hears Bosch tell him “Nice shot”, and he heads over to find Bosch barely alive.

C.H.U.D. met with poor results from the critics, currently holding a 23% on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, some liked the tone of the movie while it’s detractors felt it was too slow and boring to make it worthwhile. C.H.U.D. is an acronym for Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dweller but in the movie, it was meant to officially refer to Contamination Hazard Urban Disposal, which was the EPA’s botched plan that ended up spawning the chuds. The movie was a modest success at the box office, earning $4.7 million off of a $1.25 million budget and would spawn a sequel 5 years later.

This is one of those movies that always strikes a cord with my memories. That being said, I can admit that while it is somewhat entertaining, this could have been a lot better. The acting was ok, with John Heard (George), Daniel Stern (A.J.), Christopher Curry (Bosch), and Kim Griest (Lauren) doing good jobs in their roles. I also liked George Martin (Wilson), as I thought he played his character as the perfect government agent that wanted to keep his secrets contained. The story was interesting, playing off of a rise in concern over the handling of nuclear/radioactive waste, but the pacing was so slow at the beginning that it actually hurt the movie because the ending felt a little forced in their attempt to try and tie everything up. The special effects were pretty decent in regards to the creature designs and make up but they didn’t really show them actually attacking anyone; you would generally only see the aftermath which was a little disappointing. It is a fun bit of 80’s nostalgia horror but it isn’t going to be for everyone.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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Flashback Review: June 6th, 2014 Movie – Brain Twisters

brain twisters

I love when hurricanes wreck havoc on any sort of plans you may want to make. Yes, I am being sarcastic with that comment. Now don’t get me wrong. I am by no means trying to make light of the seriousness of a hurricane, as I have been through a couple of them in my lifetime. I just hate when you try to make plans and then have to change or cancel them because you have no idea how bad the weather may be. Now that I got that off my chest, time to get on with Brain Twisters. Now this is one of the movies from the Sci-Fi Invasion box set and I have a vague recollection of this movie from the first time I watched it but don’t really remember much about it. Now let’s see exactly what type of movie it is.

The plot: A woman is jogging along a road in the woods when she is run down by a car that had swerved to hit her. Meanwhile, Dr. Phillip Rothman is conducting experiments on consenting students to test their brain wave patterns when exposed to random patterns of colors and lights. As he is conducting the experiment on a girl named Yvonne, he receives a call from Wrightnour, his financial backer for the experiments he is performing, saying that they might need to terminate the experiment. Rothman puts him on hold while he pays Yvonne for her participation, then argues against terminating the funding and says he will get the funding elsewhere but Wrightnour tells him that he signed an agreement so all of the equipment is theirs. Later, Rothman is teaching his class and as the class ends, Rothman talks with Laurie Stevens about her signing up for the work study program and he tells her to giver her a list of her free time so that he can schedule her appropriately. Meanwhile, Denise is walking with her boyfriend Ted out of class and accidentally bumps into a landscaper as they leave the building. She apologizes but the man just stares at her and Ted calls the man a creep but as he looks up at the sun, he starts to space out. Later that night, Ted takes Denise back to her apartment but she tells him she will see him tomorrow, as she plans on working out with Laurie that night, which upsets him. As Denise is getting ready, someone breaks into the apartment and attacks her and when Laurie gets there, she finds Denise has been hanged. Laurie calls the police and she is questioned for a while by one of the officers before Detective Frank Turi takes over, asking her about Ted and where he might be. Meanwhile, another student, Michelle, goes to see Rothman and attempts to seduce him into giving her a better grade but Rothman doesn’t fall for it and offers to let her take part in the experiments to help her get a better grade and she reluctantly agrees. The next day, Frank has Laurie go with him to the restaurant that Ted works at and when she points him out, Frank approaches Ted and asks to speak with him alone. Frank starts asking Ted some questions about his being with Denise last night but the lights from the nearby pinball machine begin to affect Ted, causing him to attack a customer. When Frank pulls him off the guy, Ted pushes Frank away, then stumbles around before jumping out the window and falling to his death. Later, Frank asks if any tests were done to Ted’s body to see if he was the one to kill Denise and he learns that Rothman’s company had claimed it and taken it with them. Frank goes to see Rothman and tells him they need Ted’s body to prove or disprove he is Denise’s murder and when Rothman refuses to hand it over, saying Ted had signed an agreement to donate his body to the foundation but Frank hands him a court order remanding Ted’s remains to the county morgue for autopsy. Rothman tells him he has an urgent matter to attend to but he will be back in an hour to let him have the body. When Frank returns with a hearse and some officers, he discovers that Rothman had severed Ted’s head and placed it in a jar and angrily tells Rothman that he needs the head as well as the body. As Frank leaves, Laurie arrives at Rothman’s lab and confronts him about how he questioned Ted but Frank tries to defend himself. As the body bags are wheeled out, Frank tells her about Rothman having Ted’s head in a jar, causing Laurie to be a little disturbed about Rothman’s actions. Laurie heads into the lab and Rothman tells her she could go home if things are to disturbing but she wants to be there to keep her mind off Denise and Ted’s deaths. Later, Frank is back at the precinct and has his partner tell him the information he has found out about Rothman when their Captain interrupts them and calls Frank into his office. When Frank gets there, he finds Rothman seated inside and the Captain tells Frank that Rothman has a court order for Ted’s remains. Rothman taunts Frank by saying the same words Frank told him earlier, then tells them he just wants Ted’s head. After he leaves, Frank asks how he managed to get the court order so fast and the Captain says that he must have some connections. That night, Michelle shows up at the lab to take part in the experiment and Rothman places her in the chair before starting the program. The next day, Yvonne is swimming in the school pool with Laurie but she spaces out as she stares at the shifting reflection in the pool. Yvonne’s boyfriend shows up and offers to take them to get some food but says he needs to get his car washed first. As they go through the car wash, the lights, foam, and brushes trigger a reaction in Yvonne, causing her to jump out of the car and run off. Meanwhile, Frank and his partner go see Rothman and asks him about a former student at another school who killed himself and tell him that Ted had killed Denise as well as another girl, which shocks Rothman. Meanwhile, Yvonne is taking a bath while a costume party is going on downstairs but when the bubbles set her off, she wanders downstairs in her robe and proceeds to kill her boyfriend and his friend, then breaks down in tears as she snaps out of whatever trance she was in. As the authorities arrive and Yvonne is taken away in an ambulance, Frank notices Rothman had arrived at the scene and comments about it being a coincidence that so many of his students seem to be killing people recently. Rothman heads to a bar and after a few drinks, he calls Wrightnour and chastises him for not telling him about his former student’s death and that they should cancel the experiments as they are damaging the kids’ brians. Wrightnour tries to pacify Rothman but when Rothman hangs up on him, due to the flashing lights at the club triggering a response in him, Wrightnour tells the board that they should get rid of him. At the club, Rothman is staring around watching people and when a bouncer tries to escort him out of their, Rothman hits him in the head with a bottle, smiling as he does so, then leaves. The next day, Frank is told that they are dropping the murder cases, as the feds are taking over the investigation. He calls Laurie to talk to her and invites her to dinner, telling her he will cook, and she accepts but is unaware that Rothman was listening in to their conversation. Later, Laurie leaves her apartment to get some groceries and while she is out, two men enter her apartment. That night, Frank cooks dinner at Laurie’s apartment and he asks her a couple of questions about what she does for Rothman but Laurie doesn’t feel comfortable talking about her work. Later, as Frank handles the dishes, Laurie turns on the TV when someone overrides the signal and displays a flashing pattern of colors. Laurie heads into the kitchen, picking up a knife on the way, but when she approaches Frank, she suddenly kisses him and one of the men that had rigged her apartment calls someone and tells them that the plan failed. Back at the apartment, Laurie pushes Frank away, saying she isn’t normally like this, and when Frank goes to ask her a favor when she is at work, she yells at him to get out. The next day, Frank is sitting outside Rothman’s building as Rothman arrives for class. Inside, Rothman is giving a lecture but the color from the projector light causes him to stumble over his words and when he sees Frank in the room, he cancels class, then yells at Frank to leave him alone. Later that day, Laurie calls to apologize to frank for the night before but as Frank talks with her, his Captain tells him Rothman filed a complaint so he is suspended for 2 weeks. The next day, Laurie shows up to work and Rothman talks to her about Frank being her lover, then talks about how much he likes her and offers to get her some ice cream. As soon as he leaves, Laurie starts looking around and reads some of his files and when he returns, she makes up an excuse and leaves. That night, Michelle and her boyfriend Roger break into the lab and Michelle activates the machine and gets inside. When it finishes, She exits the machine and Roger wants to leave but she kisses him before ripping out his throat with her fingernails. At her apartment, Laurie is watching the video of Rothman undergoing the experiment when Rothman knocks on her door, attempting to explain what is going on. When he angrily starts banging on the door, Laurie calls Frank but gets his answering machine. Rothman breaks into her apartment and attempts to kill her but a spinning crystal chandelier stops him and he quickly leaves. Rothman heads back up to his lab and finds Wrightnour inside and when Rothman says he is out, Wrightnour tells him he isn’t finished yet, then he walks out of the room as Frank’s partner enters and shoots Rothman. Wrightnour tells Frank’s partner to kill Laurie and he heads over there while Wrightnour oversees the removal of all the equipment for the experiment. Frank drives by Lauries place and sees his partner pull a gun on him so he continues driving, then circles around and rams his truck into his partner, killing him. Wrightnour tells the truck driver where to take the equipment, then gets into his limo and tells his driver to drive but the driver’s head leans back, revealing his throat has been ripped out and Michelle appears in the passenger seat, then crawls back and kills Wrightnour. Frank and Laurie arrive at the lab and see it has been empty and Michelle is sitting in Rothman’s chair with a blank look on her face. Laurie tells Frank she thinks they did something to her the other night and asks if she is still affected. Frank assures her she will be fine and as he comforts her, Michelle bursts through the glass window on the door, screaming out like mad. Some time later, a kid is playing video games and when his mom tells at him to come down for dinner, the kid gets an angry look on his face and yells down, “I’ll be right there, Mother!”, indicating the game was using the graphics pattern that Rothman’s machine was using.

This movie had a lot of potential as far as the plot went but it ended up falling a little flat in reality. The acting was ok, with Farrah Forke doing a decent job as Laurie. I also thought Joe Lombardo was good as Frank but Terry Londeree felt too monotone in his character of Rothman. The story was actually pretty interesting but I felt like they could have done a better job of really explaining what was going on. I mean, you don’t really figure out that Rothman’s experiment is turning people into killers until almost halfway through the movie. The special effects in the movie mainly consisted of a lot of flashing lights, which is honestly enough to give anyone a headache. Meanwhile, the action scenes were a lot of slow motion effects for the most part, which really killed any sort of tension they had going for them. I wish they were able to live up to the potential but it is simply a passable bit of time killing fluff.

Rating: 2 out of 5

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Flashback Review: June 5th, 2014 Movie – The Brain That Wouldn’t Die

the brain that wouldnt die

So it is no secret that I enjoy watching B-Movies, especially some of the classic ones from the 50’s and 60’s. My friends are well aware of this and will always ask if I have seen, heard of, or own a movie. What’s really fun is that when some of their parents get involved in this as well. Years ago, my old roommate Emily had been talking about my love of B-movies with her parents and one of them (honestly can’t remember if it was her mom or dad) asked if I owned this movie. Emily was telling me about this some time later and I said that I did in fact own it. Well, a short check later revealed that I did not in fact own it, but I had seen it several times over the years. Well I obviously needed to rectify this problem and found a 4 movie collection that had The Brain That Wouldn’t Die, as well as a few other movies I was interested in, and quickly bought it.

The plot: At a hospital operating room, Dr. Cortner is tending to a patient in the operating room but pronounces him dead, saying there wasn’t much they could do when they brought him in. His son Bill, who is also a doctor and was assisting in the operation, asks to be given a chance to try his own, unorthodox method, to try and revive the patient and his father, not believing he will succeed, allows him to perform his experiment on the body. Bill manages to revive the patient, and as the surgery finishes, his father reluctantly compliments him on saving the man’s life. As the patient is wheeled out of the room, Bill and his father argue over Bill’s experiments, with his father saying he won’t be able to cover for his stealing limbs from amputee surgeries. As Bill’s fiance Jan Compton, a nurse at the hospital, joins them, Bill’s father leaves for a medical conference, warning Bill not to spend all his time at their country home working on his experiments. Bill and Jan go to leave when Bill receives a message from Kurt, his assistant at the country home, saying that something terrible has happened. Bill takes Jan with him and they head up to the country home but as Bill speeds up in his rush to get there, he loses control of the car and ends up in a wreck. When Bill recovers, he finds that Jan has been decapitated and he quickly grabs the severed head and makes his way to his country home. When he gets there, Kurt asks what happened but Bill tells him to get some supplies, then rushes to his basement laboratory to revive Jan’s head. Bill succeeds, keeping her head in a liquid filled pan to ensure it survives, then tells Kurt that he plans on finding her a new body to transplant, but must do it quickly as Jan’s head will only be able to survive for 50 hours at most. Kurt begs Bill to reconsider his madness but when he fails to convince him, he asks that he check on the thing in the closet, as that was the reason for his calling him here. Bill opens a panel on the nearby closet and peers in, then quickly slams it shut and tells Kurt to make sure it stays locked up in the closet,. Bill heads to a burlesque club and begins flirting with one of the dancers backstage but when a second dancer shows up and begins arguing with the dancer Bill was talking too, Bill leaves and the two dancers end up fighting each other. Back at the house, Jan’s head regains consciousness and sensing the creature in the closet, begins talking to it, convincing it to help her get revenge on Bill for leaving her like this and not letting her die. A frightened Kurt heads down to check on what is going on and when the creature slams on the door, Jan laughs as Kurt scurries away from the door. Jan then asks what is behind the door and Kurt tells her it is an early failed experiment of Bill’s, composed of amputated limbs and flesh. Kurt then tells her about his own loss of his arm and how Bill grafted a new one to him and when he perfects his practice, he will receive a new one. Jan mocks him and says that she has more power than Bill has, proving that by making the creature follow her commands, which frightens Kurt into quickly leaving the basement. Kurt runs into Bill and tells him what occurred but Bill dismisses his fears and says everything will be ok once he finds a new body for Jan. Bill heads out the next day and continues his search, running into a former intern named Donna as he is driving along the streets. He offers to take Donna to a beauty contest she was going to saying he has to stop by his place real quick first, but when Donna’s friend Jeannie shows up and asks for a lift as well, Bill says he can skip his house and takes them to the contest. Some time later, Bill stops by a photo shoot that his former girlfriend Doris Powell is modelling for and after her shoot ends, they talk for a bit. Doris shows him the scars on her face that a former lover left her but he says that she is still beautiful and that he can repair her damaged face and she agrees to go with him. Back at the country house, Kurt goes to check on Jan, who is descending into madness due to her condition, and as she argues with Kurt, she orders the creature to kill him. The creature’s arm breaks through the opening used to view and feed it and grabs Kurt by the arm, ripping it out of it’s socket. The severely wounded Curt makes his way upstairs and tries to call for help but is unable too and he stumbles back down to the basement before falling to the ground, with Jan laughing at him the whole time. Bill returns to the house with Doris and leaves her upstairs while he goes down to the lab, under the guise of fixing some drinks. When he gets there, he checks on Jan to make sure she is still alive, then notices Kurt on the floor and covers him up. Bill then closes the serving door to the closet and mixes the drinks, spiking Doris’ with a sedative in order to put her out. When Doris falls asleep, he carries her down to the basement and gets her ready to operate on, telling Jan when Doris wakes up, Jan’s head will be on her body. Jan says he must be stopped but Bill tapes up her mouth so she won’t be able to talk to him, then prepares to start the operation. Jan telepathically signals the creature to attack Bill and it ends up breaking down the door as it grabs him. As a fire starts during the course of their struggle, the creature bites Bill in the neck and rips out his throat, leaving him to bleed to death on the floor. The creature then grabs Doris and takes her out of the basement while Jan stares at Bill’s body and tells him he should have let her die, then begins laughing as the flames continue to engulf the lab.

This is one of those movies that is soo bad that it is somewhat entertaining to watch. The acting was pretty stiff and wooden. In fact, it honestly felt like some of the characters were just reading their lines as their was no real emotion coming from anyone. The story was pretty interesting in that it felt like the director/writer was trying to do a variation of Frankenstein, with Bill Cortner’s experiments at reattaching and reviving limbs and body parts definitely playing up to the role of Victor Frankenstein. The special effects were honestly pretty weak, though I did think the look of the creature, when it was finally revealed, did look pretty good. It’s a terrible movie but it is worth watching and laughing at.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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Flashback Review: June 4th, 2014 Movie – The Brain Machine

the brain machine

Man, I am exhausted for some reason. Not the best way to start off the weekend. Then I find myself having to rewatch this movie and my head just went ahead and exploded. I had never heard of this movie before I bought the Sci-Fi Classics box set but the description sounded somewhat interesting. So I had some decent hopes going into this movie but they ended up being dashed when I finally sat down to watch The Brain Machine.

The plot: A man places a call to The General and tells him that there was a break in of the top secret files; with the only ones missing being the ones for the brain machine and Dr. Krisner’s file. The General believe Krisner was responsible and orders the man to get Krisner and have Saxon secure the grounds. Meanwhile, Doctors Carol Portland and Elton Morris are going over the test subjects that Dr. Roland Roth has selected for the Brain Machine; Minnie Lee Parks, Judd Reeves, Reverend Emory Neill, and Willie West. As they finish making their plans, Carol notices Krisner acting strange as he walks by their room and out the building. The General lands his plane and after getting in his car, he calls Saxon to ask how the search for Krisner is going and they tell him that they haven’t found him yet. One of Saxon’s men spots Krisner and fires at him but misses and when he chases after Krisner, Krisner manages to ambush him. The two struggle and Krisner accidentally shoots the man, then keeps running but fails to pick up his briefcase with the files that he stole. Krisner tries calling Roth to warn him about what the General’s plans are but when he sees two men approaching him, he is forced to run, knocking out one of the men and stealing his gun as he does. Krisner attempts to contact a senator but is unable to get through to him. The Senator contacts the General, as they are working together, and after the Senator tells him where Krisner is hiding, the General sends some men to kill him. After receiving a call that Krisner is dead, the General has a memo made up saying that he had been transferred and sent to the staff at E.C.C., then tells Saxon, the director of E.C.C., to have Roth’s team begin working on the brain machine without their knowledge, a move which Saxon argues against but is overruled. At E.C.C., Roth is greeting the test volunteers and explaining the rules of the study when he is called away to speak with Saxon, who tells him that their backers want him to participate in a different program or else they will hold up his funding. Carol is doing a test with Rev. Neil but when some of his comments unnerve her, she has Elton finish the test. That night, someone enters Minnie’s room and approaches her bed but she wakes up and screams, chasing the intruder out while Carol and Elton enter the room and comfort her. The next day, Ross chastises Judd for lying on his application and wants to kick him off the project but Judd convinces him to let him stay. The General orders his men to attempt to take control of Ross’s computers, using a fail safe circuit that was listed in the files Krisner stole, but they are unsuccessful. The test causes their computer to be unresponsive briefly and Ross has someone from engineering to check out the circuits and the worker notices something but when he touches the rogue cable, he is electrocuted, while a security guard sees him but walk off without helping. Later that day, Elton explains the test they will be participating in to study population explosion, saying they will be in a plus-shaped room, with the walls gradually moving closer to the central control hub as time passes. The next day, the General’s men attempt to take control of the computers again and manage to succeed this time, preventing Ross and Elton from being able to use the cameras in the test room to view the individual subjects but they are still able to view the control panel. The General’s men then begin feeding false questions into the computer for Elton to ask the subjects, causing tempers to start flaring up in the room. Suddenly, the biometric sensors go on an overload, causing all of the subjects and Carol to experience intense pain, all at the behest of the General’s men. Ross figures out that Saxon is somehow behind what is going on and argues with him, while the General’s men continue messing with the computer. As Rev. Neill has a dream about an affair he had, the computer was able to read his brainwaves and prints out a question to ask if he was the one to enter Minnie’s room and about the affiar. When Carol asks the question, Rev. Neill gets upset about the fact that he is not allowed his provate thoughts and he activates the fail safe to leave the room, which instead traps them inside as the walls begin shrinking in. Ross argues with Saxon that he is killing the people in the room but as he leaves to go try to get them out, he finds armed guards outside the door with orders to keep him and Elton inside the computer room. In the test room, Minnie hangs herself and as Rev. Neill prays over her body, Judd gets upset and starts yelling at him to shut up. When the feedback occurs again, Judd and Neill are killed and Carol is rendered unconscious, with Willie being the only person still awake. As the walls get closer to them, Carol regains consciousness and Willie grabs and pulls her closer to the central chamber. In the computer room, Ross and Elton tell Willit to smash through the control panel in the center of the room and hide in there with Carol. As Willie does that, Saxon enters the room with the two guards and Ross and Elton go to help rescue Carol and Willie. The guards refuse to allow them to leave, even when Saxon says they can, so Elton, Ross, and Saxon incapacitate the guards and take their weapons. As Saxon holds the guards at gunpoint, Ross and Elton rush to rescue Carol and Willie but as they climb down the control panel to get them, the door closes and is locked on them, and they end up being electrocuted to death inside the panel. The General and his guards appear at the computer room and when Saxon asks how he plans on covering all these deaths up, the General shoots him. Some time later, a news report talks about how Willie had gone nuts and killed himself and everyone else in the E.C.C. testing room when he smashed a control panel and electrocuted everyone. The General and Senator are watching the report and when it ends, the Senator asks about Saxon and the General says that he has been transferred. The Senator then says that the test was a success and that they should get the brain machine out of there and the General says it is already being done, as a truck is seen leaving the E.C.C.

God this movie is somewhat of a train wreck of confusion (although that might have been exacerbated by my exhaustion). The acting was ok, with James Best (who will always be Sheriff Rosco Coltrane from The Dukes Of Hazard to me) putting in an interesting performance as Rev. Neill. However, everyone else honestly was either two boring or wooded to warrant much attention. The story was honestly pretty confusing the first time I watched it and didn’t seem to get any clearer this time around. I mean, I understand the basic plot was that a secret government project piggybacked onto another project and when things went horribly wrong, they covered up all of the deaths. However, the way they went about doing this was poorly explained at times and just kept flipping between the two experiments, which didn’t make things any better. There wasn’t much in the way of special effects and the drama was decent at times but some of it felt forced at times which didn’t help the movie any. A confusing bit of a thriller that isn’t really worth watching.

Rating: 2 out of 5

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

Flashback Review: May 27th, 2014 Movie – Boa (a.k.a. New Alcatraz)

boa

Well, it is Dragoncon time again and what better way to start the day off than with some B-movie goodness. Now I remember catching this movie on Sci-fi (yes, Sci-fi back before the name change) during a batch of snake movies one weekend and to be honest, my first thought was, “Is…Is that…. Dean Cain in a giant snake movie?” This honestly caught me by surprise and it would not be the last time that he would appear in a B-movie, several of which I now own and enjoy watching. For now, let’s just sit back and enjoy the craziness that is Boa (a.k.a. New Alcatraz).

The plot: In the middle of Antarctica, a secret super-max prison is being built, funded by the world’s nations. The hopes are that the advanced design and brutal conditions outside will make it virtually inescapable for the world’s worst criminals and terrorists. As construction has fallen behind schedule, Warden Fred Riley and his chief of security, Sgt. Quinn, goes to speak with the head of the construction crew, Scott Poluso, to find out what the delay is in getting heat and power to all of the building and is told that they have a hollow space in the ice sheet they were drilling in. Ignoring the crews concerns, Riley tells the men to drill though it but when an explosion occurs, they unknowingly awaken a giant boa that had been in hibernation in the hollow space and it begins making it’s way up through the tunnel. Elsewhere, Dr. Robert Trenton is teaching his last paleontology class before heading off on a research trip with his wife, Dr. Jessica Platt-Trenton. As they leave the campus, Robert asks if they are making a mistake in walking away from tenure and Jessica tells him that she isn’t ready to settle down and have a baby just yet. Meanwhile, Yuri Breshcov, a known arms dealer, is flying in his plane over the Indian Ocean when 2 fighter jets use an EMP missile to force his plane to land at Diego Garcia, the largest U.S. military base in the region. After his plane lands, Yuri is transferred to New Alcatraz, where Riley tells him that he is there due to his purchasing two nuclear missiles. After finishing talking to Yuri, Riley is contacted by Poluso to come check out something. When Riley and Quinn get there, Poluso shows them a tunnel that was seemingly dug overnight but they have no explanation as to how it was done. Noticing that it heads to the heat exchange pipe and could serve as a way out, Riley orders a guard placed there and Poluso and his crew to seal it back up. A few days later, Jenkins is standing guard by the hole when he hears something and reports it to Quinn. Quinn tells him to head into the tunnel to investigate while he wakes up Poluso and Goodman to join him. As Jenkins examines the tunnel, Quinn sees something entering the tunnel on the monitors and tries to warn Jenkins but Jenkins is killed by the Boa. When Poluso and Goodman get there, they ask Quinn where Jenkins is and he tells them he is in the tunnel and but he lost communication with him and asks them to check on him. Poluso refuses and as he turns to Goodman to complain, he feels something drip down on his head and when he checks to see what it is, he finds it is blood. Looking up., he sees the boa coiled around the pipes in the ceiling just before it drops down and kills him and then Goodman. Some time later, Robert and Jessica are at their dig site arguing over their possibly losing their grant when they are approached by the military and told of the situation in Antarctica and that they are requested to assist them. Jessica jumps at the chance and a reluctant Robert agrees to go with her. On the flight to Antarctica, Robert talks with Major Larsten, who is leading the military team there, about the situation and he tells them about the princess and the supposed snake that is killing people. After a rough landing, they prepare to disembark and the pilot tells them that the plane will be there for 12 hour and after that, it has to leave or else the wheels will be frozen and unable to move. Larsten leads his team, as well as Robert and Jessica, out and uses a tracker to find the door to the prison and when they reach the door, they are forced to override the lock. Heading inside, they are confronted by Quinn and his men and Riley shows up to ease the standoff. He then explains the situation to Larsten, Robert, and Jessica, saying that the snake has killed 6 people so far and wants to make sure Larsten and his men are able to kill it. Larsten leads his team out into the tunnels and Riley guides them to where the snake was seen, using the monitors to help them try and locate the snake. When one of Larsten’s men is killed, he asks Quinn to gather his guards and join him in the tunnels and Robert and Jessica decide to go with them. As they head down the tunnel, Robert tells Quinn to stop the cart they are on, saying that the snake would be able to sense the vibrations from the cart, and that they should go on foot but Quinn refuses to walk and leaves Robert and Jessica there while he and his men drive away. Larsten and his men accidentally shoot one of their own when Riley mistakenly says the snake is coming towards them and when the snake does appear, it kills the rest of his men. Larsten shoots at the snake but ends up startign a fire and releasing some gas in the chamber. As he runs for safety, he tries to warn Quinn to turn back but Quinn and his men, as well as Larsten, are killed in the blast. Robert and Jessica reach the chamber and see the boa eating the bodies and as Jessica takes some pictures, Robert grabs her and leads her away. The try to escape up a ladder but the snake attacks them and traps Jessica on the lower level. Robert tries to save her but the snake snaps at him before eventually slithering away and when Robert drops back down, he finds no sign of Jessica anywhere and believes she is dead. Robert returns to the control room and tells Riley that the only chance they have of getting out of there is with the prisoners’ help and convinces him to let them out. When Riley speaks to the prisoners and gets them to swear not to harm them if he lets them out, Yuri agrees to it and keeps his word when some of the prisoners attempt to hurt Riley. As the group try to figure out their best way out of their, Yuri suggests splitting up into two teams and heading for the tunnel the snake had made, as each route is through an area that the snake is known to frequent. Riley and Robert take Kelly Mitch and Patricia O’Boyle with them while Yuri leads the other prisoners. Kelly constantly provokes Patricia and as Robert and Riley try to calm her down, Kelly finds one of the motorized carts and drives off with it. Riley chases after them when he sees the snake ahead and as the snake kills Kelly, Riley begins shooting at it and causes another explosion that kills himself. Robert and Patricia turn back and Robert contacts Yuri to tell him what happened but the signal is weak. Yuri and his team lose one member to the snake and as they reach the large central chamber, they encounter Jessica, who had survived by crawling through the air vents. Yuri and his men take her with them and as they make their way to the tunnel, two of the prisoners are killed, leaving Yuri and Jessica as the only ones left in the group. Reaching the tunnel, Jessica wants to wait for Robert but Yuri tells her that he will come back for him and they have to get on the plane now so he heads up the tunnel and places a charge to open the ice sheet so they can make their way to the surface and board the plane. Robert and Patricia reach the tunnel and, seeing that it has been opened, they start making their way towards the outside but the boa follows after them and grabs Patricia. As the snake starts dragging her back down the tunnel, Robert tries to help her and shoots at the snake but when that is to no avail, he shoots and kills Patricia to put her out of her misery. Robert manages to make it onto the plane, where he is surprised to see Jessica alive and on board, and Robert thanks Yuri for saving her. The plane takes off but the boa manages to get on board, killing the co-pilot before bursting up into the cargo hold. Robert, Yuri, and Jessica try to get off the plane, with Yuri tying some rope around it’s neck, then tying it to a parachute. As Robert opens the cargo doors, Yuri deploys the parachute and the snake is sucked out of the plane but manages to snag Yuri with it’s tail and take him out with it. Robert and Jessica close the cargo doors and ask the pilot if he can still fly the plane and when he is told the snake is gone, the pilot says he can still fly it and they make their way home.

This movie was a decent movie but it could have been better. The acting was good, with Dean Cain (Robert) and Mark Sheppard (Yuri) doing good jobs in their roles. I also thought that Grand L. Bush (Quinn), Craig Wasson (Riley), and Elizabeth Lackey (Jessica) also did good jobs, though there were times that Jessica’s character was kind of annoying. The story was pretty good but the pacing was incredibly slow. They spent close to an hour setting up the movie and it felt like they had to kind of rush the rest of it to fit the run time. The special effects were pretty good in regards to the snake, though the “snake vision” was a bit much and honestly not really necessary. A fun movie to watch once you make it through all of the set-up.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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

Flashback Review: May 25th, 2014 Movie – Blue Demon

blue demon

Tonight is going to be a long night, and an even longer day tomorrow. See, Dragoncon is tomorrow and I am already getting excited to have some fun. Of course, it is only fitting that on the eve of Dragoncon, I find myself watching a sci-fi B-movie. Now I bought this movie years ago because I was going through a shark movie buying phase. Honestly, you can never have enough shark movies so what is one more movie to add to the pile. Now I had never heard of Blue Demon before I picked it up, I just bought it on a whim. The question remains, was it worth the cost?

The plot: Late one night, 4 college girls break into a government complex on the beach in order to force the girl pledging the sorority to take a challenge. The pledge gets into the water and starts swimming out to the buoy but she says that something is in the water and quickly climbs up onto the buoy platform. As the sorority girls debate on leaving her, the military police show up and two of the girls try to escape in a nearby boat but as they push it out into the water and start to get in, one of the girls is suddenly dragged underwater. She surfaces close to the buoy and the pledge tries to help her up but as the girl is repeatedly dragged underwater, the pledge ends up pulling up her severed arm, causing her to start screaming. The next day, Dr. Marla and Dr. Nathan Collins, head researchers for the Blue Demon project, are called into Lawrence Van Allen’s, their boss, office, where he tells them that their project is being terminated due to the girl’s death. As Marla and Nathan argue about how that wasn’t possible, it is revealed that the sharks had chewed a hole in the wire net around their enclosure and that the electric fence had been turned off due to budget shortfalls. He then says that if they had brought him something he could bring to the Oversight Committee, they wouldn’t be in this predicament. Marla contacts Avery, their computer technician, and has him drive out to the pier with a chunk of meat to show Van Allen what they have accomplished with the project. As Lawrence watches, the 6 sharks, Red Dog, Chico, Harpo, Groucho, Gummo, and Zeppo, move towards the meat but at a command from Marla, Avery activates the system that causes them to avoid it. Van Allen is impressed and asks if it can be made to have them target something instead of avoid it and Nathan says it’s possible but Marla argues against it. When Red Dog ignores the command and grabs the meat, Marla admits that for some reason, it is 50/50 with Red Dog and they haven’t figured out why. Van Allen tells them their is a budget review in 90 days and they need something concrete or else they will be unemployed. As they leave, Nathan receives a package from a courier, containing the divorce papers from Marla’s attorney and he signs them and hands them back to Marla. Nathan tells her that he wants the wedding ring back, as it was a family heirloom, and Marla tries taking it off but when she can’t, she leaves the room. Marla heads to the pier, where she comments to the sharks swimming nearby, and uses some soap to get the ring off but it ends up slipping off her hand and rolling onto the dock. When Marla goes to pick it up, she slips on the soap and ends up falling on the deck, knocking herself out in the process, then falls into the water. Nathan and Avery are talking when they notice Marla’s body in the water and they rush out to the dock, where Avery begins shooting at the shark that is approaching her. Avery misses and Nathan quickly heads to the computer and successfully turns the shark around, then they quickly grab Marla and drag her back onto the dock. 6 weeks later, three workers, Edd, Jimmy, and Katie, head out to repair the hole in the shark fence as part of their general maintenance. Meanwhile, Van Allen hosts a meeting where General Remora is introduced and informs everyone that he has taken command of the project. Remora explains that a terrorist organization has gotten a hold of a Soviet suitcase nuke and that they apparently plan on smuggling it into the country by sea. Van Allen then explains the purpose of Blue Demon and moves to show the assembled crowd their genetically altered sharks but when he opens the curtain, the sharks are nowhere to be seen. Marla, Nathan, Avery, and Van Allen head out to the dock and discover that the gate is open and they are unable to get the sharks to respond to their commands. Nathan pulls up the sonar and sees two blips on the far end of the lagoon and Avery says mentions the maintenance workers so Nathan tries contacting them but gets no response. Nathan and Avery and finally get a hold of Katie, who tries to warn Ed and Jimmy but they ignore her and dive into the water, where they end up being killed by the sharks. Nathan and Avery return to the lab and check the systems to find nothing wrong but they can’t explain why they aren’t able to regain control of the sharks. As the sharks head towards populated areas, Nathan wants to call the Coast Guard to warn people on the lake but Remora, who had entered the lab, stops him from making the call, as he doesn’t want people to learn that the military was involved in the sharks. Nathan disregards Remora and leaves the lab, starting to call the Coast Guard but Remora has his men arrest Nathan and charges him with a terrorist attack. When Van Allen asks what proof he has, Remora tells him that he pulled the logs and Nathan’s codes were the last ones used to open the gate. Out on the lake, a father and daughter are fishing on the lake when the daughter catches a large bass. As the father goes to take a picture, one of the shark leaps out of the water and almost lands on the dock. The daughter drops the fish and tells her dad about the shark, as he didn’t see it, but as he tells her to pick her fish back up so he can take the picture, he ends up falling off the dock and into the lake. The daughter and another fisherman rush to help him out as the sharks swim towards him and the daughter is able to save him by throwing her fish back into the lake away from her father, causing the sharks to chase after it. Back at the lab, Marla leaves the lab, telling Avery that she is going to the ladies room, and sneaks out to the holding area, where she shoots the guard watching Nathan with a tranquilizer dart. As Nathan asks what she is doing, Marla tells him that the program to control the sharks was actually a shadow program built on top of their system, allowing someone to hijack the program while they were unaware of losing control. When she says that the program was initiated from someone on the inside, Nathan suspects Avery but she tells him Avery wouldn’t risk his job and she believes Van Allen is behind it. Meanwhile, Van Allen discovers that Marla is missing and when he can’t reach the holding cell, he goes there and finds the unconscious guard. Van Allen calls security and orders them to stop both Dr. Collins but they manage to make it off the site. Back on the lake, a teenage couple go swimming in the lake when they spot a shark swimming towards them. As the rush back to the shore, the fisherman that helped save the girl’s father pulls up in a boat and starts shooting at the shark with a spear gun, eventually killing it. Nathan has Marla stop so he can use a pay phone to call the Coast Guard to warn them about the sharks but they don’t believe him and hang up. As he heads back to the car, Marla tells him that she might be able to use her cellphone and laptop, plus a prototype system disk, to track and control the sharks just as they hear about the manhunt that has been put out about them. Back at the lab, Avery is working on rebooting the system when he detects a second signal and Van Allen says it is them and orders him to try and track them. On the road, Marla and Nathan are talking when Marla gets a signal and sees the sharks heading towards the beach. When they get there and see the beach is packed, Nathan tells Marla to keep trying to get the program working while he goes to try and warn people off the beach. As Marla is working, a beach patrol officer approaches the car and asks her to step outside. Meanwhile, Nathan isn’t having much luck but when a surfer is attacked by a shark, the people start to panic. Nathan heads into the water to help get people out of there but as he gets knocked over by a wave, Marla has full signal strength on her computer and uses it to fry the chips in the sharks’ brains, killing them all. Nathan wakes up in the hospital to find Marla standing next to him and when Van Allen shows up asking about the sharks, Nathan tells him that there were only 4 sharks on the beach. Van Allen calls to check the number of shark carcasses recovered and confirms that there were 4 on the beach and 1 by the fisherman. Realizing that they were duped, the three head back to the lab to confront Avery and discover that he has a fake program running to make it look like all 6 sharks were together. When they ask him where the last shark is, Remora shows up, holding a gun on them. When they ask why they are doing this, Avery says the money while Remora says it is to keep the country from getting soft on terrorism and to stop wasting money on social programs like schools and the poor. Remora then explains that he has Red Dog programmed to deliver a bomb so as to keep the war on terror at the fore front of the government’s mind. Marla manages to throw a life preserver around Remora, knocking the gun from his hands, and Avery chooses to run, with Marla and Nathan following after him. Avery tries to escape in a truck but when Nathan chases him out of it, they discover that Avery has built a lab in the back of the truck. The two begin to access his computers and find Red Dog but notice he has something in his mouth. When they detect plutonium, they realize that Remora was the one to buy the Russian nuke, to use on the US and blame terrorists for it. Avery leaves the truck to let the authorities know but Avery hits him in the head with a shovel, then locks the back of the truck and drives off, with Marla still inside. As Nathan chases after them, Marla continues working on the computer and manages to access Red Dogs command files. Nathan manages to force Avery off the road, and after checking to make sure Avery is unconscious, Nathan heads to the back to check on Marla. Marla says she is fine, then rushes back to the computer to cancel Red Dog’s program. Red Dog, which had been heading to the Golden Gate Bridge, turns away and heads back to the facility. Van Allen is keeping watch over Remora in the viewing room when they see Red Dog approaching and Van Allen quickly leaps out of the room and seals the door, leaving Remora to be killed in the blast. Some time later, as the nuclear blast is being labeled as an accident by the press, Marla and Nathan are heading to testify in front of a Senate Commission. Before the enter the building, Nathan asks Marla what she had been trying to tell him earlier and she admits that she didn’t file the divorce papers. Smiling, Nathan holds out the wedding ring and Marla holds out her hand, letting Nathan put it back on her and the two kiss before Van Allen interrupts them and tells them they have to go, and the couple join Van Allen and head inside to give their testimony about what happened.

This was kind of a ridiculous movie that had it’s entertaining moments, but that wasn’t enough to make it a really good movie. The acting was ok among the main 5 characters but all of the minor characters were just terrible. Of the main characters, my favorites were honestly Josh Hammond (Avery) and Jeff Fahey (Remora), who went somewhat overboard with their characters which made them better. The story was interesting, though there was nothing about it that felt original except for the original intent of the Blue Demon project. That was actually somewhat original. The special effects in this movie were actually kind of laughable. The CGI with the sharks was pretty cheap looking while there were a couple of times where the fins/tails that were used for the surface water shots looked like they had fallen flat, making me laugh. Meanwhile, the comedy that the put in this movie did help make it a little less generic but there were times where it killed any sort of serious mood they were going for. It’s a time suck movie when you want to veg with some mindless entertainment, but it’s not worth searching for.

Rating: 2 out of 5

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horror, movie, movie review, sci-fi

Flashback Review: May 16th, 2014 Movie – Alligator II: The Mutation

alligator 2

So, you might be wondering why I had been reviewing movies that start with the letter B, then suddenly go to the letter A. Well, the original purpose for my watching all of my movies was a) to see how long it would take, and b) to check and see if any needed to be replaced. Well when I watched Alligator back at the beginning of my endeavor, my disk was scratched up and would skip throughout the movie. Now replacing this was going to be a bit of a problem because the DVD had become out of print and any copy I tried to find online was for way more than I was willing to pay. Then, I suddenly found a pot of gold in my search for a replacement. I located an all-region Blu-Ray disk that featured not just the movie I wanted, but the direct to video sequel that came out a decade later, and the best part was it was cheap. So I bought it and happily enjoyed twice as many killer alligator movies. That is how I came to own Alligator II: The Mutation.

The plot: In the outskirts of Reagan Park, business owner Vincent “Vinnie” Brown hires some men to take the toxic waste one of his companies, Future Chemical Companies, produces and dispose of it in the sewers. Meanwhile, two local men are fishing in the nearby lake when they are suddenly attacked and killed by an unseen animal. The next day, Detective David Hodges heads to the police station and learns about the men’s disappearance and starts looking into the matter, ignoring rookie officer Rich Harmon when he offers to help. Learning that a severed foot was found in the lake, he questions the medical examiner about what he knows. Learning that some biological samples were sent to his wife Christine, Hodges calls her to find out what she learned, and is reminded about their dinner plans for his birthday that night. After hanging up on her, the medical examiner tells him that some derelicts had gone missing in the last several days and suggests something might be travelling through the sewers between where the derelicts were killed and the lake where the recent attacks occurred. As Hodges looks around the lake area, he notices one of Vinnie’s salesmen attempting to convince some of the local to sell their homes, as Vinnie is trying to buy them out so he can develop high end apartments in their place. Hodges arrives home late, much to his wife’s displeasure, and as he attempts to make it up to her by eating his ruined meal, he shows her some pictures that the medical examiner had taken of the wounds and she says that they look like the result of an alligator or crocodile attack. Hodges calls Chief Clarence Speed, while asking Christine to see how big of an animal they are dealing with, and discusses his theory with him. Speed tells that there isn’t enough proof to support his theory or to shut down Vinnie’s proposed lake party the next day, so Hodges decides to go see Vinnie himself. Heading to the arena where Vinnie is watching a wrestling match with Mayor Anderson and motions for Anderson to step aside with him. Heading backstage, Hodges tells Anderson about the alligator and that they should cancel the lake party but Vinnie joins them and says that they will not be cancelling the party and convinces Anderson to get rid of Hodges. Anderson reluctantly tells Harmon, who is his police detail protection for the evening, to place Hodges under house arrest and as they leave, Anderson warns Vinnie that he won’t be able to push Hodges or Speed around but Vinnie tells him to use his position to influence Speed. Hodges manages to trick Harmon and ends up locking him to a toilet stall, allowing him to get away. AS he leaves the arena, the mayor’s daughter, Sheri Anderson, arrives to try and convince her father not to get involved with Vinnie but when he refuses, she decides to try and speak with Vinnie herself and ends up punching him. As she is leaving with the police VIP escort, they hear Harmon asking for help and as the officers tease Harmon, Sheri decides to help him only to be filmed by the press doing so. Meanwhile, the alligator attacks some more derelicts, killing one and injuring the other one. At the lake, Hodges is approched by Reuben and his gang and Rueben tells him about Vinnie forcing people out of their homes and rumors of killing people and Hodges tries to explain that it is an alligator but Reuben won’t believe him. At the station, Anderson has Internal Affairs suspend both Hodges and Harmon and Speed tries to talk him out of it. When Hodges calls Speed and tells him about the latest attack and asks for help, Speed volunteers Harmon to help him, though Harmon is not happy about the situation. When Harmon leaves the station, Sheri, who had gone to talk to Speed on Harmon’s behalf, catches up to him and as they talk, Harmon starts flirting with her and they end up going out for drinks. They return to Harmon’s apartment only to find Hodges waiting inside for Harmon and after confronting Harmon over his drinking, Hodges has him take a quick shower so they can head out and Sheri decides to go with them to help. The three meet up with Christine, who had been analyzing the saliva from the alligator attacks says she found growth hormones and adrenaline mixed in with it and says it probably came from Future Chemicals. Meanwhile, Vinnie has hired Hawk Hawkins and his group of alligator hunters to track down and kill the alligator discretely so that it won’t ruin his planned party. Hodges and Harmon head into the sewers and when they encounter the alligator, they realize how large it is and quickly run for it. Making their way into a side tunnel, they use some dynamite to try and kill it but it has no effect on the giant alligator. Hearing Christine and Sheri calling out to them, Hodges and Harmon quickly escape the sewers and when they find out about the hunters, they head over to try and warn them while Christine attempts to find some drugs that might kill the monster. In another part of the sewer, Hawk and his crew find the alligator’s nest, as well as barrels of waste from Future Chemicals. When Hodges radios down there to warn them, Hawk thinks he is nervous that he might upstage him and taunts Hodges but says they are coming up to talk about the waste they discovered. When they are attacked by the alligator. One of Hawk’s crew manages to escape and Hodges manages to rescue Hawk but the alligator kills the rest of Hawk’s crew, including his brother. Hawk apologizes to Hodges and convinces him to let him help kill the alligator and when Hodges accuses Vinnie of creating the monster with his polluting, Hawk says he can confirm that. Hodges talks with Speed about closing down the lake carnival and asks if he was able to get through to the National Guard but Speed tells him he wasn’t able to, then tells Hodges to make sure the alligator doesn’t get out of the sewers until he can clear the place. Speed takes off but Vinnie, with Mayor Anderson accompanying him, follows him and has his driver cause Speed to crash, much to the mayor’s horror. Meanwhile, Hawk tells Hodges that the alligator will be searching for a new lair since it’s home was invaded and Hodges says they need to find a way to kill it before it reaches the lake. They make another bomb and hang it in a tunnel that the alligator is most likely to go through to the lake but the alligator simply swallows the bomb. Christine and Sheri show up with a syringe gun filled with a poison that might kill the alligator but she says she doesn’t know if it will set off the bomb. Hodges tells her and Sheri to go clear out the lake if it hasn’t been cleared already while he, Harmon, and Hawk chase after the alligator. At the carnival, Vinnie is upset to see that the place is practically empty and that Reuben and his gang have kept people from selling their homes. Mayor Anderson speaks with Vinnie on the ferris wheel, saying he regrets their partnership and is going to end it but Vinnie kills him. When the alligator shows up and attacks the carnival, Vinnie grabs the signed contracts and goes to escape but is confronted by Reuben and his gang. When Hodges steps in to keep anymore bloodshed from happening, Vinnie goes to shoot Hodges but Hodges avoids the shot while Reuben and his gang shove Vinnie into the lake, where the alligator kills him. Hodges, Harmon, and Hawk head out in a boat after the alligator but as a helicopter arrives to help with the search, the alligator attacks their boat and knocks them into the water. Harmon is rescued by the helicopter while Hawk ends up getting killed. Hodges goes back to the boat to get the syringe gun and manages to stab it into the alligator when it swims over him but the alligator doesn’t die. Harmon has the helicopter head back to pick up Hodges before the alligator eats him and as it makes it’s way back into the sewers, Hodges and Harmon head back to finish it off, taking a bazooka that the helicopter had picked up from the armory with them. As they enter the sewers and head to it’s lair, they see the alligator heading towards them and Hodges manages to kill it with the bazooka. As Hodges and Harmon leave the sewers, they hear the crowd chanting Hodges nickname, “Solo Lobo”, as they embrace Christine and Sheri respectively. Harmon tells Hodges he will see him around and Hodges acknowledges Harmon as his new partner. As Hodges and Christine leave, Reuben yells out that Vinnie is dead and the crowd works to remove all of his banners from around the park.

When it comes to horror movies, I realize that sometimes, a sequel can seem pretty similar to the original but this was almost exactly like the original. Even with that going for it, this was still about as average of a movie as you could get. The acting was ok, with Joseph Bologna doing a pretty good job as Hodges. I also liked Ruchard Lynch (Hawk), Dee Wallace (Christine), and Brock Peters (Speed) but I thought that Steve Railsback’s portrayal of Vinnie was honestly too stereotypical in his actions to generate any real emotions towards him. The basic plot was almost exactly the same as the first movie: alligator ends up in the sewers, has a lifetime of chemical hormones dumped on it, causing it to grow to enormous sizes. A police detective is one of the first people to realize what’s going on and a hunter is brought in to kill the alligator but ends up being killed himself. Even the man that inadvertently created the alligator being killed by the alligator in a sort of karmic death was the same. The only real differences was the location to be honest, and the fact that the young police officer that partners with the older detective lives this time. The special effects were honestly not the greatest, as there were a lot of times that the alligator looked like a plastic model. An ok movie to watch but a real let down as a sequel.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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