action, adventure, fantasy, movie, movie review

October 15th, 2017 Movie – Sorceress (1982)

sorceress 1982

Ahhh, the early 80’s. A time where the sword and sorcery genre of movies had reached it’s height of popularity. The problem with this is that there tends to be an overabundance of such movies and studios would start looking to make them fast and cheap in order to cash in on the popularity. Enter Roger Corman, the man who is known for making movies quickly and on a limited budget. Now I had heard of this movie but never got around to actually watching it until a few years ago, when I bought a batch of Corman movies during an Amazon binge. So let’s see how this stacks up to some of his other works as I watch today’s movie, Sorceress (1982).

The plot: The evil wizard Traigon and his men ride through the woods and attack a camp full of people, where his wife was hiding. The wife tries to flee with her midwife to the house of Krona to seek his protection but she is cut off and everyone in the camp is killed except for the wife. Traigon approaches with the intent of sacrificing his first born child to honor a promise to his god Caligara but he is shocked to discover that she had given birth to twin girls, Mara and Mira. Traigon demands that she tell him which was the first born but when his wife refuses, he has her tortured. Krona suddenly appears and quickly kills Traigon’s men but when he goes to confront Traigon, Traigon uses his magic to stop Krona. Suddenly, Traigon’s wife stabs him in the back and kills him, then begs Krona to watch after her babies. Krona tells her that he will teach them to be great warriors and she tells him that they are “girl children” before she dies. Krona passes on his sorcery and fighting skills to the babies, then takes them to the home of a nearby farmer, Dargo, and asks him to raise the two children as his own, warning him that someday people will come looking for the girl children so he should raise them as boys. After 20 years, Traigon has been resurrected and sends his men out to find his twin daughters. Meanwhile, Mara and Mira have grown up into two women, but don’t know that they are women. As they are bathing, they spy a satyr watching them and are curious about the “horn” between it’s legs, and quickly climb out of the stream and attack it causing it to run off. After getting dressed, they head home only to find that Traigon’s soldiers have killed their family and set their home on fire. Mara and Mira quickly begin attacking Traigon’s soldiers and easily kill them all, then shoots the general Khrakannon in the back with an arrow as he tries to escape but he survives. When the battle is over, they are greeted by the viking Baldar who is accompanied by Pando, the satyr they saw earlier. Baldar offers praise for their victory and condolences on the loss of their family and helps them to arrange a funeral pyre. As they light the fire, Krona arrives and after taking their hands, gives them the last of his power and tells them that Traigon was the one to cause this. After giving them a last piece of advice by saying to remember the name “Vittal”, Krona then steps into the funeral pyre and burns himself alive. As he is on a quest of his own, Baldar suggest they work together and Mara and Mira agree to travel together. They head to the city, where Baldar looks for Erlick, a barbarian he is friends with. They find gambling in a back alley filled with prostitutes and when a fight breaks out, they help him defeat the men that he was cheating out of their money. When soldiers head towards the fight, Erlick helps hide Baldar, Mara, Mira, and Pando, and they take refuge in an abandoned house but once inside, Baldar and Elrick discover that Mara and Mira are women. They question the twins on if they never noticed that they weren’t boys and Mara and Mira show their naivety on the differences between the sexes. Baldar, Elrick, and Pando leave the twins to wash up but after they leave, one of the prostitutes tricks the girls into following her into a trap, where Traigon’s soldiers capture them. Pando sees this and goes to tell Baldar and Elrick, who agrees to help Baldar rescue them. Meanwhile, the twins are taken to the center of town, where a test is performed to determine which one is the first born. After determining which one it is, the girl is fitted with a slave collar but before anything else happens, Baldar and Elrick save them and they ride off, with Pando causing the soldier’s horses to stop obeying orders before following after them. As the soldiers try to regain control of their horses, Delissia, Traigon’s chief priestess, orders Hunnu, her ape-man servant, to find out more about Elrick. Mara, Mira, Baldar, Elrick, and Pando take refuge in the forbidden forest but they are attacked by Hunnu and several other ape-men, who use gas-filled fruit to cause them to laugh uncontrollably. Mara and Elrick are taken captive but Baldar is able to rescue Mira. Mara and Elrick are taken to see Traigon, who explains to MAra that he is her father and says that she has been lied to about his intentions. Confused over what he said, Mara pleads with him to spare Elrick’s life but when it is discovered that he has loaded dice in his possession, Elrick is sentenced to death. As his execution is about to commence, Hunnu finds a medallion which causes Delissia to halt the execution, as she recognizes it as being from an ancient house and Traigon order him to be taken back inside the temple. Elsewhere, Mira has visions of what Mara is seeing and tries to explain it to Baldar as they figure out how to rescue their friends. Back in the temple, Delissia has her servants tend to Elrick, then bewitches him into helping her by saying that he needs to sleep with Mara and then sacrifice her but as he leaves, Traigon appears and Delissia tells him that she was able to get Elrick to help them. Elrick heads to Mara’s chambers and ends up seducing her while at the same time, Mira feels the sensations that Mara is feeling, causing Baldar to become uncomfortable watching her writhe on the ground as he realizes that Elrick is with Mara. Baldar and Mira continue to rescue their friends but unknown to them, Delissia has bewitched Mara as well as Elrick, and uses Mara’s ability to see what Mira sees to lay a trap for them. When Mira and Baldar approach the temple, they find themselves surrounded by Traigon’s men while a bewitched Mara and Elrick exiting the temple. Baldar ends up getting an arrow shot into his arm as Traigon appears and uses his magic to send both Baldar and Mira down into the catacombs, collapsing a wall over the opening to trap them there. As Traigon goes to perform the sacrifice, he is grabbed by Hunnu and Delissia explains that he was promised Mira but Traigon strikes him to the ground and walks away, with his guards laughing as they follow. Hunnu grabs Baldar’s sword and heads off into the forest, meeting up with several others of his kind, who tell him where to find Pando. Meanwhile, Mira tends to Baldar’s injury and then they explore the catacombs to try and find a way out, unaware that the skeletons inside are starting to move. Hunnu eventually finds Pando and hands him Baldar’s sword and after explaining what happened, Pando takes the sword and heads to the temple, with several of the farmers and villagers taking up arms and following him. At the temple, the planets reach the necessary alignment and Traigon calls out to Caligara as Delissia hands Elrick a dagger to use for the sacrifice. Back in the catacombs, Mira and Baldar are attacked by the undead and as they start to become overwhelmed, Mira recalls Krona’s words and shouts out “Vittal”, causing the undead to freeze. When Mira shouts it out again, Mara shouts out “Vittal” as well, freeing her and Elrick from Delissa’s control. As the two begin fighting Traigon’s guards, Vittal taking the form of a giant winged lion, appears in the sky above the temple. Seeing his plans going awry, Traigon grabs Delissia and sacrifices her to Caligara, who appears in the sky and unleashes energy blasts into the ground, creating openings to the catacombs that allow the undead warriors to emerge. Baldar and Mira crawl out of one of the holes and help Mara and Elrick, just as Pando arrives with the villagers to help with the fight as well. Elrick confronts Khrakannon and manages to kill him but when he confronts Traigon, he uses his power of illusion to get Elrick to drop his weapon. Traigon picks up the sword and goes to kill Elrick but he is shot in the back by both Mara and Mira and disappears in a flash of energy. With the battle over, the villagers all disperse and Baldar jokes with Elrick when he sees Elrick exiting the temple with his arms around both Mara and Mira.

So this is one of those so bad it’s good movies, except that it is really bad and only marginally good. The acting was ok, with Leigh and Lynette Harris doing decent jobs in their roles of Mara and Mira while Roberto Ballesteros was somewhat over the top with his delivery, making his portrayal of Traigon a little more humorous than intended. The basic premise of the story was just that; pretty basic and about what you would expect from this type of movie. However, the details that were added to flesh out the movie and make it more interesting actually tended to make it more confusing. The main source of humor in this movie tended to revolve around the twins naivety about the different sexes and some mild adult themed humor. The special effects were laughable bad, as were the fight scenes, and were one of the reasons why the director asked for his name to be written out of the film. If you enjoy bad movies, then you might like this movie but it is definitely not going to be for everyone.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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

October 14th, 2017 Movie – Something Beneath

something beneath

Ahhh, the Maneater Series; my old movie friend. It has been a while since I have watched one of you guys. Now this is kind of interesting because the “maneater” in this movie doesn’t really have an actual form. It is basically just some sentient sludge that causes people to die by making them experience their worst fears. It honestly sounds like some story out of a Batman comic involving Scarecrow. This was actually the last of the original Maneater movies that I bought, which leaves just one movie in the series left for me to buy but that will come at a later date. Now let’s get on with today’s movie, Something Beneath.

The plot: At the construction site for a new conference center, Dutch, a construction worker who is having an affair with another worker’s wife, is warned that the husband Bob is on his way over. As he goes to leave, he is cornered by some bulldozers and killed when a wire cuts off his head but when the other workers find his body, he is shown to be impaled on some rebar. Meanwhile, Lowell Kent, the owner of the property, is having a meeting with Dr. Connolly of the EPA, who tells him that he can’t endorse the development due to pollution concerns and the decline in wildlife population in the area. Kent refuses to stop and has Connolly thrown out of his building, with his assistant saying that he is a security risk. One year later, the conference center is open and holding it’s first event, an ecological conference organized by Father Douglas Middleton. As he goes to check in, Douglas introduces himself to Khali Spence, the events coordinator for the conference center, her assistant Aimee, and Symes, the hotel manager. As an argument starts between Eugene Herman and Mikaela Strovsky, the two speakers for the event, Khali brings an abrupt end to it when she accidentally drops Mikaela’s dog when it jumps out of it’s carry case, explaining to everyone that she is afraid of dogs. As a strange black goo is shown to be leaking from the pipes in the basement, Eugene is outside rehearsing his speech when he gets the same goo on his hand after touching a tree. Suddenly, Eugene finds himself lost in the woods and as he calls out for help, he ends up being pulled underground by some roots. At dinner, Douglas and Khali see Mikaela working on her video blog, then Douglas invites Khali to join him for dinner as Eugene has bailed on him. While they are eating, Douglas comments on the necklace that Khali is wearing, noting it’s Chippewa design. The next day, Eugene is still missing so Khali takes Douglas to see the head of hotel security Jackson Denmarsh, whom Douglas knows due to his church having sued him on behalf of a Native American who said that Denmarsh framed him for murder. When they reach the security office, Denmarsh is not happy to see Douglas there but agrees to let Khali inside Eugene’s room but tells Douglas he will have to wait outside. Khali and Denmarsh head to Eugene’s room and find Reggie and Hank, the maintenance workers, working on his room and when Khali asks, they tell her they haven’t seen him. Meanwhile, Douglas is walking down the hallway towards the library when a strange figure enters the hotel through a side door after he passes. Hearing the door close, Douglas turns and starts to investigate when he runs into Mikaela, who complains about the goo coming out of the faucets in her room, which has gotten on both her and her dog Cleopatra. When Cleopatra runs off, Douglas offers to help get her but Mikaela begins flirting with him and then heads back to her room when he turns her down. Outside, Denmarsh and his assistant Tony find Eugene’s body and Denmarsh tells Tony to call the local funeral parlor and have them hold onto the body. Back in her room, Mikaela is updating her video blog again when she gets some more goo on her and begins hallucinating, seeing herself as an old crone and she ends up smashing the standing mirror, slitting her wrists in the process. As Symes complains to Khali about Eugene’s death, one of the maids finds Mikaela’s body and calls them about it. Khali wants to call the cops but Symes stops her and tells her to get Denmarsh and to find Reggie and Hank to fix the mirror. Symes then calls Kent and tells him what happened and Kent tells him to ensure that word of Mikaela’s death doesn’t get out to the press until his PR firm can get a handle on how they will spin it. Khali heads down to the basement to find Reggie when some goo falls onto her face from an overhead pipe. When she sees Cleopatra, she tries to overcome her fear of dogs and get her but Cleopatra runs off. Khali goes after her but soon encounters a wolf/dog hybrid that had chased her when she was a kid and she finds herself hallucinating that she is back in some old ruins. As the wolf/dog goes to attack her, she is saved by Douglas and she finds herself back in the basement with no sign of the hybrid but the body of Cleopatra nearby. As Khali tells Aimee and Denmarsh about the dog that attacked her as a child and how it was the same one that chased her in the basement, Reggie and Hank don protective gear and head into the sewers to try and figure out where the clog is in the system and clear it out. Douglas finds Khali sitting outside and talks with her some when they spot Connolly, who warns them to leave, and they follow after him. Inside the sewers, Reggie is concerned over the fact that the sewers are almost bone dry and there is almost no sign of any toxic gases, but there is plenty of methane pockets bubbling up. As Hank decides to take a break, Reggie continues forward and finds a pipe filled with roots and strange goo. Meanwhile, some goo gets on Hank’s hand and he starts hallucinating that he is in a cemetery and being attacked by zombies. Hank begins attacking the “zombies” and ends up in the same room as Reggie, where he attacks the mass of goo until Reggie manages to snap him out of the hallucination briefly. As they stare at the goo, they start screaming when it forms a face and suddenly grabs them. Back outside, Douglas and Khali come across an old shed, which Khali says hasn’t been used in months but Douglas notices the new padlock on it. After picking the lock, Douglas and Khali head inside and find Connolly’s lab, with Connolly telling them not to touch anything. He then shows them a sample of the goo and reveals that it is alive and growing throughout the sewer system but gets upset when Douglas says that they have to kill it. Meanwhile, Denmarsh finds Mikaela’s palm pilot and starts watching her video blog and sees something in it that scares him but when he tries to find it again, it is no longer there. Khali goes to talk with Symes and warn him about what is happening but he is more concerned with keeping up the hotel’s image and threatens to fire her if she can’t get things under control. Symes then heads outside to make a call but he gets the goo on him and ends up being controlled by it. Khali heads to her office and tells Aimee to start evacuating all of the guests and staff while Denmarsh searches Mikaela’s room and ends up getting splashed by the goo. He then heads into the sewers with Tony to look for Reggie and Hank, as well as figure out what is going on. They encounter Symes, who has been driven mad and threatens to shoot Denmarsh but Tony kills him. As Denmarsh continues on, the goo falls on Tony and he hallucinates that Symes has come back to life and he ends up being killed. Douglas, Khali, and Connolly encounter Denmarsh and they tell him what is going on, then continue forward to try and find the hive mind of the creature. After finding the bodies of Reggie and Hank, they see the creature is sealing them in and continue forward, eventually finding the creatures main body but Denmarsh seals them in, telling them he will try to keep the rest of the creature away from them as he is already infected. He ends up seeing the man he framed for murder and after talking with him, Denmarsh sets them both on fire by igniting the methane in the area. Inside the chamber, Connolly is amazed by the creature when the walkway breaks and he grabs on to the railing to keep from falling but when Khali tries to pull him up, he chooses to let go and be absorbed by the creature. When Khali falls over the edge, Douglas manages to grab her and keep her falling into the creature’s mouth but he loses his grip and she ends up falling. Suddenly, Khali reappears back in his grip and she begins chanting a chant that her grandmother taught her and the creature begins to go back into the earth, allowing Douglas to pull her to safety. Sometime later, the authorities have been called and Khali is recovering in an ambulance when Douglas approaches her. She thanks him for saving her life and he tells her that he saw her fall and she saved all of them by chanting the Ojibwe prayer, which caused the creature to forgive them for injuring it when the workers put in the sewer system. Douglas then asks her to come with him on his next assignment and she agrees before she kisses him. Meanwhile, Kent has arrived at the hotel and tells his new assistant to have the place reopened in 6 months but as he rolls his wheelchair towards his car, he finds the wheels covered in the goo, which infects him, while a nearby manhole cover is shown to have goo coming up through the openings.

This was a little bit confusing, and somewhat disappointing of a movie. The acting was ok, with Kevin Sorbo (Douglas), Natalie Brown (Khali), and Peter MacNeil (Denmarsh) did a good job in their roles. The story honestly felt poorly written, as it kind of did a piss poor job of providing the details in how the creature really came about or started killing people; choosing to just make one giant intuitive leap in reasoning. The special effects were a little on the weak side and the noise when the goo infected people was kind of annoying, sounding a lot like cicadas or some other bugs. Not my favorite movie in the series but worth watching just to complete the series.

Rating: 2 out of 5

horror, movie, movie review, sci-fi

October 13th, 2017 Movie – Snowbeast (2011)

snowbeast 2011

So this movie kind of slipped by me. I mean, I had multiple copies of the original movie but had no idea that any sort of a remake was being made. I honestly don’t remember how I came across this movie; it was either on a horror movie site or a Facebook group. Either way, I would eventually find out about it but it took a while before I actually got around to buying it during a B-movie buying binge. Now let’s see if it was worth it as I watch today’s movie, Snowbeast (2011).

The plot: In the Canadian mountains, a kid is snowboarding down the mountains when he gets separated from his friend and ends up being stalked and killed by Yeti-like creature. Some time later, Jim Harwood heads up to Canada with his team, Marci and Rob, to study lynx up in the mountains. Jim brings his daughter Emmy with him since she was recently expelled from school, though she is less than thrilled to be there. When they arrive at their cabin, they work on getting things situated and Emmy is annoyed that she is being forced to help, prompting Jim to talk with Marci about the changes in Emmy since his wife Kim left him. Meanwhile, Park Ranger Barry is putting up missing poster for the missing snowboarder and later, goes through old missing person reports and starts plotting the area where they all went missing or where people saw some creature but his partner Gibbons thinks he is wasting his time. The next day, Jim and the others are unable to locate any of the lynx that they tagged last year so they head out to set up motion cameras and try and locate a den or two. When one of the cameras isn’t working, Rob heads back to the cabin in order to take the truck to the resort stores in order to get the supplies needed to fix it, unaware that Emmy had hidden in the back of the truck in order to sneak off to the resort. After getting his supplies, Rob runs into Barry and the two talk for a bit before Rob notices Emmy talking to a guy buy the ski lift and quickly goes and grabs her. As they head back to the cabin, Rob admonishes Emmy for sneaking off like that, then covers for her when they get back and Jim asks where she had been. As they are lounging around after dinner, Emmy asks about the tension between Marci and her father, embarrassing Jim as Marci and Rob quickly make their exits. The next day, they see no sign of anything on the cameras, though they did get video of something briefly moving through the forests during the night but did not get a clear picture of what it was. They head out to set up the last camera, with Emmy coming with them, and they find some strange tracks in the snow and wonder what it could be but don’t investigate them. That night, the creature shows up at their cabin, waking them up as it trashes one of their snowmobiles but they don’t see any sign of it. The next day, they take a look at what happened and after noticing the tracks in the snow, Marci decides to head to the ranger station and report what happened and see if there are any similar reports. While she is gone, Rob notices that the camera he fixed is still not working so he goes out with Jim to fix it, leaving Emmy to keep watch on the cameras in case something appears. Meanwhile, Barry and Gibbons are driving through the area when Barry stops the car, saying he saw something, and goes to investigate but ends up being killed by the creature. Gibbons, who was waiting in the truck, goes looking for Barry and eventually stumbles across his body before the creature kills him as well. Back at the camera, Rob gets it fixed but ends up falling through the roof of a cave and Jim goes looking for the entrance so he can help him. As they are in the cave, Emmy sees the creature moving across the camera monitors and radios her dad to warn him. Inside the cave, Jim and Rob find the body of the missing snowboarder and decide to leave, getting back to the snowmobile and making their escape before the creature can catch them. Back at the cabin, Marci is excited about the possible discovery of a new creature and wants to study it but Jim and Rob say they should leave in the morning and possibly come back with more people. Early in the morning, Marci sneaks out and goes looking for the creature but when she encounters it, she tries to run and ends up being killed. Jim wakes up and after noticing that Marci is gone, goes looking for her with Rob while leaving Marci to keep watch on the monitors for her. They find the truck but are unable to get it started, as it was damaged when the creature killed Marci, and no sign of Marci either. Meanwhile, Emmy sees the creature dragging Marci’s body on the monitors and tells Jim and Rob when they return to the cabin. Jim decides to take the snowmobile to go get help but when he spots the creature, he ends up crashing the snowmobile and getting knocked unconscious by the creature. Rob and Emmy see the smoke from the crash and head back to the truck to try and get it started but are unable to get it working so Rob grabs the tranquilizer gun from inside and they head back to the cabin. That night, the creature attacks the cabin and Rob and Emmy are forced to barricade themselves inside the upstairs bedroom. The next day, they come up with a plan to disable the creature so they can try and find Jim, using raw meat and food to lure the creature out of it’s cave and then Jim shoots it with the tranquilizer gun. After knocking the creature out, they head into the cave and find Jim and work to warm him up. When the creature returns to the cave, Jim and Emmy run for it while Rob tries to hold it off but he ends up being killed. As the creature chases after Jim and Emmy, Emmy tries shooting a flare at it but misses, which gives Jim an idea. He grabs the flare gun and shoots it at a snow bank over the creature, causing an avalanche that buries the creature, while he and Emmy manage to survive by taking cover behind a tree. Some time later, Jim and Emmy are at home and discussing how people think their stories about the creature are a hoax and Emmy wonders if the creature’s body will ever be found while back in Canada, two people are hiking through the woods when the creature bursts through a snowdrift and attacks one of them.

This was a pretty decent movie. The acting was good, with John Schneider (Jim), Paul D. Hunt (Rob), and Kari Hawker (Marci) doing good jobs in their roles. I also liked Jason London (Barry), though his appearance was pretty limited, but I thought that Danielle Churchran (Emmy) was pretty annoying, and that is despite the fact that she was playing an annoying teenager. The story was interesting, basically saying that the creature had killed all of the native wildlife and simply moved up to the next available food source, people. The special effects were about what you would expect while the creature design was pretty interesting. It’s good for a watch but not one of the better B-movies I have seen.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

horror, movie, movie review

October 12th, 2017 Movie – Snowbeast (1977)

snowbeast 1977

I think there was some hidden conspiracy to get me to watch today’s movie. Years ago, I bought a box set of movies which contained this movie. Then I bought another box set, which also contained this movie, as did a third box set that I bought. So I got the hint and, after seeing a still from the movie on a horror website, actually got around to watching it and for a made-for-TV movie, it wasn’t bad. Now I haven’t seen today’s movie since that initial viewing so let’s see if Snowbeast (1977) is still as worthwhile as I initially thought.

The plot: Two women, Heidi and Jennifer, are skiing down a mountain in Colorado but when they stop for a break, they notice some strange tracks in the snow. When they hear something, Heidi gets scared and continues down the mountain but Jennifer is killed by a strange creature. At a ski lodge at the base of the mountain, owner Carrie Rill is welcoming guest and discussing the annual winter carnival that is occurring that weekend. Meanwhile, one of the rescue workers goes to get Tony Rill, Carrie’s grandson and manager of the lodge, and takes him up the mountain to the rescue station where Heidi is being tended to for shock. Tony tries to get some details about where Jennifer was last seen and Heidi is eventually able to tell them so he has one of the workers take Heidi back to the lodge while he and the other workers go search the area. Tony eventually finds the bloody remains of Jennifer’s ski jacket and hearing a roar, spots a strange, Sasquatch-like creature among the trees. Back at the lodge, former Olympic skier Gar Seberg and his wife Ellen arrive at the lodge and Gar tries to catch Tony’s attention but Tony motions to hold on as he heads into the office. Inside, he tells Carrie what he saw but she tells him not to say anything that will cause a panic, as they need the carnival to go on without any problems in order to keep things running smoothly. Leaving the office, Tony greets Ellen and Gar, who asks Tony for a job, and Tony agrees and says they will meet up for drinks when he gets done for the day. Tony tells one of the rescue workers to keep everyone off the section of mountain and post signs saying it is off limits but the worker disobeys Tony’s order and heads up there to keep looking for Jennifer only to be killed by the creature. At a ranch a little ways down the mountain, a young boy finds the body of Jennifer inside the barn and tells his dad, unaware that the creature is watching them. As Tony sees Sheriff Paraday at the lodge, he tries to talk to him but Paraday gets called out to the ranch. Tony then talks with Ellen while Carrie is showing off Gar in order to attract more people to the lodge and Ellen admits that her marriage is on the rocks due to Gar’s attempts at reliving his glory days and not living in reality. Later, Tony is talking with Gar about what he saw and wants his opinion and Gar thinks it is a joke but Tony insists it is real and Gar agrees to help him look over the area. Ellen decides to do some skiing but as she is leaving, she sees a deputy looking for Tony and leaving word to head up to the Fairchild farm so she heads there to investigate. When she gets there, she notices some strange tracks in the snow and decides to start following them. Meanwhile, Tony and Gar head up to the farm and Paraday shows them the body and Tony says it is Jennifer as her clothes match the jacket he found. When Paraday questions Tony about his not telling anyone about the jacket, Tony says that his grandmother wanted things kept quiet to avoid panicking the guests. Gar says that Ellen had done a story about the Bigfoot controversy but whether it was a Bigfoot or a bear, whatever killed Jennifer needed to be destroyed. Meanwhile, Ellen continues following the tracks and finds where the rescue worker was killed. Hearing the creature’s roar, she starts skiing back down the mountain and ends up seeking shelter in the barn. At the lodge, the coronation of the Winter Queen is about to commence when Betty Jo, this years winner, and Carrie spot the creature outside the window. As it smashes the glass, everyone in the room panics and starts running and screaming while the creature ends up killing Betty Jo’s mom, who is waiting in the “Queen’s Carriage”. After the paramedics arrive and take Carrie, who was injured, away, Gar returns to his room and when he finds Ellen isn’t there, he goes looking for her and finds her in the barn. As the two settle down to stay the night, they end up talking and reconnecting with each other again. The next morning, they find the remains of the dead rescue worker, just as the barn is attacked by the creature. As they try to escape, the creature ends up being chased off by the arrival of Tony, Paraday, and his deputy. Paraday and his deputy head up the mountain after the creature while Tony takes Gar and Ellen back to the lodge and arranges a funeral service for the dead rescue worker. Afterwards, Tony plans to go back out and hunt for the creature and Gar wants to go with them when word reaches them that Paraday killed the creature. As Paraday and his deputy return to a cheering crowd, Gar, Ellen, and Tony see that Paraday killed a bear. Later, Gar and Ellen question Paraday about it and he says that the bear had come out of the brush at them and how he was hoping to avoid a panic, gun carrying mob heading up the mountain and shooting at anything that moved,  including each other. With Tony’s urging, Paraday agrees to joining the three of them in searching the mountain for the creature. Using a camper as a base camp, the 4 head out on snowmobiles to search the mountain but the creature finds the camper and attacks it, ripping the ladder and ski rack off of it. When they get back to the camper and see what happened, they decide to alternate a two man watch for the night. In the morning, Gar goes outside, where Tony and Ellen had been standing watch when they hear a roar and see that the creature had knocked loose a log pile, sending the logs crashing down the mountain towards the camper. The logs knock over the camper and Gar and Tony go try to help Paraday when Ellen sees the creature approaching and they run, leaving Paraday to be killed. The three hide out in the barn but decide that all of their supplies are in the camper so they head back. As they search for the rifles, the creature returns and Tony manages to shoot it with a pistol, then tosses the pistol to Gar, who heads off after the wounded creature. Following it’s tracks, Gar comes across the creature as it tries to attack him and shoots it several more times before stabbing it with his ski pole, which finally kills it.

Yeh, it is a made-for-TV movie and does have it’s faults, but it is still not that bad of a movie. The acting was ok, with Bo Svenson (Gar), Robert Logan (Tony), and Yvette Mimieux (Ellen) doing good jobs in their roles. I also liked Clint Walker (Paraday) and Sylvia Sidney (Carrie) in the brief appearance that they had in the movie. The main story was pretty basic but did a decent job of ramping up suspense when needed. The little sub story about the mild romantic triangle between Gar, Ellen, and Tony was a little weak and honestly made this feel like it was some sort of soap opera instead of a movie. Since it was made-for-TV, there probably wasn’t much budget for the monster’s costume, which is why most of the monster scenes where shot from it’s perspective and you would only see an arm or leg, except for some rare scenes where you saw it’s face at the lodge’s window or the brief glimpses of it in the trees. It’s not the greatest movie out there but it can be a decent time killer if your expectations aren’t too high.

Rating: 2 out of 5

horror, movie, movie review, sci-fi

October 11th, 2017 Movie – Snow Shark: Ancient Snow Beast

snow shark

So this is a fun little movie. I first heard about this movie on a horror movie blog that I used to read. The plot sounded pretty interesting and it piqued my interest enough into wanting to watch it. It would be a few years later when I would get around to buying this on DVD. I’m not usually one for buying independent movies so lets see if this was worth the purchase as I watch today’s movie, Snow Shark: Ancient Snow Beast.

The plot: On February 6th, 1999, Professor Jonathan Hoffman and two of his biology students, Bianca and Gabriel, head to a small town in upstate New York to investigate the diminishing animal population after a recent earthquake. As Bianca stays behind to set up camp, Hoffman and Gabriel scout around the area and come across the carcass of a recently killed deer. Hoffman determines that the creature that killed the deer had traveled underground, which worries Gabriel and they decide to head back to the camp. When they get there, they find that Bianca had wandered off and discovered a giant hole in the ground. Hoffman theorizes that the creature had been frozen in ice and the earthquake released it. As they start to leave, Bianca sees a fin circling around them and Gabriel is killed by a shark. Hoffman and Bianca make a run for it but Bianca is killed and Hoffman is able to record a brief message of what happened on his tape recorder before he is killed as well. 12 years later, two teenagers wander into the woods and end up getting killed by the shark. Mayor Shawn Overman is informed about the deaths by his aide and he has him get the sheriff so they can hold a town meeting. At the town meeting, Overman and Sheriff Donald Chapman try to calm the townsfolk and keep them from forming a mob to hunt what is killing people by telling them they have a team of scientists coming to investigate. Mike Evans tells them that it is a snow shark killing everyone but Overman and Chapman, as well as the rest of the town, don’t believe him. As more people are killed by the snow shark, Chapman gets in an argument with his son Ethan, who storms out of the house. Ethan goes to see his friend Doug and they wander out to drink some beers but Ethan ends up being killed by the shark. The next morning, Chapman goes to the crime scene and sees his son’s body and after hearing from Doug about what happened, vows to kill the shark. In the town, biologist Wendy Gardner, cryptozoologist Lincoln Anderson, and a hunter named Cameron Caine meet with Overman, and Wendy and Cameron argue on whether they should capture or kill the shark. Meanwhile, Mike gets his brother and several of his friends together and after arming themselves, they head out into the woods to hunt the shark. Meanwhile, Lincoln, Wendy, and Cameron meet up with Chapman and he helps them get situated before they head out to search for the shark. When they get to the woods, they split up into pairs to hunt the shark but everyone is killed by the shark except for Mike. Back in town, Lincoln, Chapman, Wendy, and Cameron make their plans and head out into the woods, where Lincoln sets up a motion-capture camera and Wendy takes some samples of the area as Chapman and Cameron stand watch. Meanwhile, Mike returns to town and heads to the bar and his sister Daphne approaches him, upset over Ethan’s death, and begs him to kill the shark. As some of the patrons tease Mike about the shark, Hoffman, having gone into hiding after being attacked by the snow shark 12 years ago, approaches him and offers his help in killing the shark and after agreeing, Mike heads off with Hoffman to prepare to kill the shark. Lincoln, Chapman, Wendy, and Cameron head out to the woods to check the cameras but when they get there, they find the shark circling them. Wendy is dragged away and killed and as they try to leave, Cameron is attacked and Chapman shoots him in the head so he won’t suffer. Mike and Hoffman meet up with Cameron and Lincoln and Hoffman says that he believes the shark is attracted to heat and comes up with a plan to build a bonfire to lure the shark into a trap but as he goes to light the fire, he is attacked and killed by the shark. Mike pulls out a hand grenade and tells the others to run for it but the shark attacks him and bites off his legs. Chapman wants to help him but Lincoln says that they best chance they have to escape is to let Mike distract the shark. The shark attacks Mike again but the grenade goes off and kills them both. Chapman calls his deputy to tell him that the shark is dead but as Lincoln and Chapman head back, they see several more fins approaching them. Some time later, Daphne is putting flowers on Ethan’s grave but as she leaves, a shark fin makes its way through the cemetery towards her.

For a cheap budget independent movie, this is about what you would expect. The acting was ok, though several characters were either so wooden that it felt like they were simply reading their lines while filming or they were too over emotional to be laughable. The story was interesting and definitely the best part of this movie. I honestly feel like the people that made Avalanche Sharks used this movie as a basis for that movie. The special effects were laughably bad, with a puppet shark and some bad CGI but that is what I expected from a $7000 budget. It’s not a great movie but it can be good for a few laughs.

Rating: 1 1/2 out of 5

horror, movie, movie review

October 10th, 2017 Movie – The Snow Creature

the snow creature

Another day, another early 50’s sci-fi movie. It’s been a while since I watched a movie from the Sci-Fi Classics box set so I am curious as to how good of a movie I have here. Funny thing is, I started to watch this movie years ago on YouTube but never got around to finishing it. So today I get to finish watching The Snow Creature and see if the wait was worth it.

The plot: Dr. Frank Parrish, accompanied by Peter Wells, is leading a scientific expedition up the Indian side of the Himalayas to find some rare botanical specimens. Making preparations in the town of Shekar, Frank hires Subra, an English speaking villager, to act as a guide and 10 other sherpas to help carry their equipment. The group reach a plateau and make camp but Frank is disappointed to find only common plants in the area at first search. Meanwhile, back in Shekar, Subra’s wife is kidnapped by a Yeti and taken up the mountain. Subra’s brother and some of the villagers make their way up the mountain to the camp and tell Subra what happened. Subra goes to wake Frank and Peter and tell them what happened, saying they have to go look for her but Frank doesn’t believe them. The next day, Subra leads a mutiny and takes control of the expedition to go look for his wife, leaving Frank and Peter no choice but to go with them. When they stop for the night, Frank and Peter try to call for help on the radio but Subra shoots it. Later that night, Peter hears something and decides to investigate but doesn’t see anything so he heads back inside his tent, not seeing the Yeti that had passed close by. The next morning, one of the sherpas sees the tracks and Subra orders everyone to pack their gear so they can follow the tracks. As the continue on, one of the sherpas is killed by a Yeti when they stop for the night and the next day, they are forced to take shelter from a rock slide. The rescue party eventually reaches a cave, where they stop to take a break and Frank talks to him about if they actually find a Yeti and capture it, they could be famous. Subra finds his wife’s necklace inside the cave and they head further inside, exploring the various tunnels until they eventually find a family of Yeti. Subra goes to shoot them but Frank stops him as the male Yeti heads to the cave wall and cause a cave in. The female and baby Yeti are killed but the male survived and before Subra can shoot it, Frank grabs the rifle from him and hands it to Peter, who keeps the other sherpas at bay. Frank decides to bring the Yeti back to Shekar so he can take it to America and after they get back to Shekar, he decides to not press charges on Subra and the others. As he makes arrangements for a refrigerated container to ship the Yeti in, Peter discusses selling the creature and making a lot of money but Frank refuses. When Frank arrives back in Los Angeles, he is greeted by his wife and boss but learns that the Yeti is being held up by customs. When he asks what the problem is, he is told by an immigration official that due to a newspaper story that Peter published, there is a question as to how to classify the creature and whether it’s entry into the country is a customs issue or an immigration one. As they try to work things out, the creature manages to break free from the container and escape, killing a woman close by. When they are told of the creature’s escape, Frank goes with Police Lieutenant Dunbar to give a description of the creature and to help recapture it. The creature continues to elude the police by moving through the sewers and hiding in meat warehouses, feeding on the carcasses stored there. Frank eventually figures out where it must be hiding and the police send teams into the sewers to find it. When a police officer is attacked by the Yeti, they begin forcing it towards an entrance, where a net is set up to capture it. As Frank and the police struggle to restrain the Yeti, the Yeti reaches through the net and starts strangling Frank. Unable to break the Yeti’s group, Dunbar shoots the creature once and as it lets go, shoots it three more times, killing it. As Frank makes arrangements for where to move the Yeti’s body, Dunbar gets word that his wife gave birth to a son and he offers Frank a ride home on his way to the hospital.

One good thing about some of these early 50’s sci-fi movies is that they are short. Other than that, there isn’t much to say about this movie. The acting was ok at best as nothing really stood out in the movie. The story was pretty bare bones and felt wooden and stiff in it’s pacing. The special effects were laughably bad, particularly during the falling rock scene, where the rocks were hitting one of the men as they struggled for cover but he just shrugged them off and kept moving completely unfazed. The Yeti itself was pretty poorly done, as when the character would simply walk forward with it’s arms outstretched and then back away from the camera. Definitely not the best Yeti/Bigfoot movie out there and I can’t really say if it is one I would recommend unless you are really curious.

Rating: 1 1/2 out of 5

comedy, crime, movie, movie review

October 9th, 2017 Movie – Snatch


When it comes to today’s movie, the one thing that really stands out in my mind was Madonna’s way to advertise for it. Back when this movie had come out, Madonna had recently married the director, Guy Ritchie. I don’t know remember when it happened exactly (and I am honestly too lazy to try and look it up) but at some point Madonna was photographed wearing a t-shirt that just said “Snatch” on it. Now, with this being Madonna, a lot of people, myself included, thought this meant something dirtier than what it really was but that was not the case. She was simply helping to promote her husband’s latest movie, which happened to be titled Snatch.

The plot: 4 men, led by Franky Four Fingers, rob a diamond exchange in Antwerp, stealing an 86 karat diamond from the vault. Franky heads to London to fence the diamond and before he leaves, one of his men tells him to look up an ex KGB agent named Boris the Blade in order to get a weapon. Meanwhile, Turkish, an amateur boxing promoter, is trying to organize a fight for his boxer, Gorgeous George, and is forced to work with Brick Top, a known gangster, who agrees to the fight so long as George throws the fight. Franky lands in London and calls Cousin Avi, an American gangster that he works for, who tells Franky to go see Doug the Head to get a price on the diamond and warns him to stay out of the casinos. At the same time, one of Franky’s men calls Boris and tells him that he is sending Franky to him to get a gun and he should steal the diamond, but not to do it himself so it doesn’t get traced back to him and Boris says he knows some people that he can use. When Franky goes to see Boris, Boris gives him a gun in exchange for placing a bet at a particular bookie’s place. Meanwhile, Turkish sends his partner Tommy and George to go get a new Caravan trailer from a group of Pikeys (gypsies). When the Pikeys trick Tommy into buying a worthless Caravan, George gets upset and ends up getting into a fight with the Pikey’s leader, Mickey O’Neil, who is a bare knuckles boxing champion and knocks out George with one punch. Boris goes to see Sol, a local pawnshop owner/fence and hires him to rob Franky and Sol has his friends Vinny and Tyrone help him. Meanwhile, Turkish is upset about George being hurt and decides to hire Mickey to take his place in the fight. When he tells Brick Top about the change, Brick Top is upset and tells Turkish to make sure Mickey throws the fight in the 4th round. Sol, Vinny, and Tyrone head over to stake out the site of the match and wait for Franky but Tyrone accidentally backs their car into the van that Franky is changing in, knocking him unconscious. Avi learns from Doug that Franky is going to an illegal boxing match so he flies to London and heads to the fight with Doug to stop Franky and get his diamond. Sol and Vinny go try to rob the bookie only to find that all the bets were called off and they end up trapped when the clerk activates the security room features but Tyrone simply opens the door from the outside and they all leave. As they go to leave, Tyrone pulls away from the van but when he sees Franky emerge from it, he knocks him out and throws him in the car. Inside the arena, Turkish explains to Mickey that he needs to throw the fight but Mickey ends up knocking out the fighter as soon as the fight starts. Later that night, Boris goes to see Sol and the others to get the case but they tell him they want half of the diamond’s worth, refusing the money he offered them. Boris ends up shooting Franky and when he learns they put the diamond back in the briefcase, he chops of Franky’s hand and walks away with the briefcase. Brick Top confronts Turkish about the money he lost and tells him he wants to use Mickey in another fight but this time, Mickey has to throw the fight. Turkish and Tommy go to see Mickey and try to convince him to take the fight and Mickey agrees to fight in exchange for a new Caravan for his mother, which Turkish and Tommy are forced to buy after they lose a bet with Mickey. Meanwhile, Brick Top asks his men if they recognize the men that tried to rob his bookie office and when they recognize Tyrone, they capture him and force him to tell him about the others. Brick Top and his men head to Sol’s shop and plan on killing them but Sol says he can get him a giant diamond so Brick Top says they have 48 hours to deliver it. At Doug’s suggestion, Avi hires Bullet-Tooth Tony to help him find Franky and they manage to track the diamond to Boris. Meanwhile, Turkish tells Bricktop Mickey’s demands and how he can’t meet them since Brick Top took all of Turkish’s money and Brick Top proceeds to smash up Turkish and Tommy’s arcade and burns Mickey’s mother’s trailer with her inside. When they hear what happened, Turkish and Tommy head over to the campsite to pay their respects and Mickey says he will do the fight. Avi, Tony, and Avi’s bodyguard Rosebud confront Boris and capture him, though Rosebud is injured in the process, and as they leave Boris’ house, they are followed by Sol, Vinny, and Tyrone. At the same time, Turkish and Tommy are returning from the campsite when Tommy throws Turkish’s drink out the window, which splashes onto Tony’s car and causes them to wreck, killing Rosebud. Boris manages to get out of the trunk but he is struck by Sol, Vinny and Tyrone, who end up wrecking. Avi and Tony head to a nearby bar to get cleaned up and Sol, Vinny, and Tyrone follow them and confront Tony but he notices they are using replica guns and he chases them off when he pulls out his Desert Eagle. As Sol and the others leave, they run into Avi and try to grab the case from him when Boris, who had survived being hit by their car, shows up with an assault rifle and demands the case. Tony hears the commotion and begins firing his gun through the wall, hitting Boris and Tyrone but Sol and Vinny escape with the case. Sol and Vinny plan on selling the diamond but Avi and Tony track them down and force them to give it back but Vinny’s dog swallows the diamond and as Avi starts shooting wildly at the dog, the dog jumps out a window and Avi accidentally kills Tony so Avi decides to call the job a loss and flies back to New York. Meanwhile, Mickey enters the fight and knocks out Brick Top’s fighter so Brick Top orders his men to kill the rest of the Pikeys but finds out that the Pikeys killed all of his men. As he goes to kill Mickey, Turkish, and Tommy himself, Brick Top ends up being killed and Mickey leaves with the rest of the Pikeys. When they go to the camp site the next day, Turkish and Tommy find it deserted. The police show up and question why they are there and Turkish spots Vinny’s dog, which had been bought from the Pikeys and had returned to the camp site, and says they were walking the dog, then the two leave with the dog, passing Sol and Vinny who are being arrested for having Franky’s body in their trunk. Tommy convinces Turkish to let him keep the dog and they take it to the vet, where they find the diamond in it’s stomach, so they take the diamond to Doug, who calls Avi, who flies back out to London to retrieve the diamond.

Snatch met with mostly praise from the critics, holding a 73% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Though perhaps a case of style over substance, Guy Ritchie’s second crime caper is full of snappy dialogue, dark comedy, and interesting characters.” Brad Pitt’s role and character were written specifically for him, as Pitt had called Guy Ritchie and wanted to be a part of his movie but after Ritchie agreed, he realized he didn’t have a part for him so he rewrote the script to include Mickey. The indecipherable speech of Mickey was brought about by Pitt’s having a hard time mastering a London accent, but also as a counter to some critics’ complaints about the accents in Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels. The movie was a box office hit, earning $83.6 million off of a $10 million budget.

This is such a funny movie and definitely one that should be watched, even if you don’t like British movies. The acting was really good all around, with Jason Statham (Turkish) and Brad Pitt (Mickey) were great in their roles, while Vinnie Jones (Tony), Dennis Farina (Avi), Rade Serbedzija (Boris), Benicio Del Toro (Franky), Alan Ford (Brick Top), and Lennie James (Sol) were also good in the smaller roles they had. The story was very well written, having two fairly intricate plot lines going on at the same time, and occasionally mixing together, without really losing any focus on either one. It’s honestly hard for me to decide on which aspect of the comedy I liked better, the verbal comedy or the physical. The dialogue made for some really funny moments, especially when people were trying to figure out what Mickey was saying. As for the physical aspect, I think Lock, Stock had more physical comedy but there was plenty of physical comedy, such as when the bookie’s office was being robbed or when Tony shoots at Sol, Vinny, Tyrone, and Boris through the wall, then keeps warning Boris to stay down and shooting him before heading over and physically killing him. A lot of fun and well worth watching.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5