horror, movie, movie review, sci-fi

Flashback Review: June 14th, 2014 Movie – Camel Spiders

camel spiders

I have noticed a pretty specific trend with some of my movies. Any time I see Roger Corman and Jim Wynorski paired up on a movie, I know that I am going to enjoy it. With that being said, let’s take a look at the movie I have on tap right now. In the late 2000’s/early 2010’s, a picture was being circulated around the internet of 2 camel spiders in Iraq and a story of them attacking soldiers. Of course the story ended up being false but the idea was definitely put out there to make a movie about these creatures. When I heard that Roger Corman was producing a movie featuring these animals, I just knew that I was going to have to buy Camel Spiders as soon as it was available to purchase. Now let’s see if my theory regarding this director/producer team still holds true.

The plot: In Afghanistan, U.S. forces led by Captain Mike Sturges are pinned down by Taliban forces. As the battle continues, the Taliban forces are suddenly attacked by large camel spiders and dragged off into the desert and caves. Not sure why the Taliban stopped firing, Sturges tells some of his men to investigate while calling on air support to stand by. Sturges’ receives medical treatment for his wounded leg, then heads over to where the men are and as the local doctor turns the body of one of the Taliban over, he notices the wounds on the man’s face and tells Sturges that he was killed by a “bish-bish”, the local’s name for the camel spiders. Not wanting to risk his men being killed, Sturges calls off searching for any more Taliban and they prepare to load their dead teammate into a coffin, not realizing that two camel spiders had crawled into the body bag before it was closed. Some time later, Sturges is riding in an Army truck being driven by Sergeant Kelly Underwood, taking some weapons and the dead soldier’s remains to a nearby base in Arizona, and as they are talking, they are t-boned by a man who was running from Sheriff Ken Beaumont. The impact sends the casket flying out the back of the truck and breaks it open and as Beaumont checks on the two soldiers, the camel spiders quickly scurry off into the desert. Beaumont offers Sturges and Underwood a lift to the nearby motel but when Sturges says they have to stay by the truck, Beaumont points out their damaged engine but tells them if their truck still runs, he will give them an escort. Elsewhere, 4 college kids head out in the desert to go hiking but when one of them, Trent, pulls out a bottle of Jack Daniels and starts drinking, then passes it to his friend, Trent’s girlfriend Erin gets pissed off and decides to leave, unaware that a camel spider had crawled into her car through the open sun roof. After Erin leaves, Trent is killed by a group of camel spiders while he is taking a leak, and the other two kids are killed shortly afterwards. At the rest stop, Sturges tells Underwood that they have been ordered to stay with the truck until they can get another vehicle out to them in the morning and Sturges talks to Beaumont about finding some food and lodgings and the sheriff takes him out to get some food, leaving Underwood to watch the truck. Meanwhile, Erin arrives at a gas station/bait shop and goes inside to pay for some gas but when she finds the place seemingly empty, she looks around and finds the owner and his wife webbed up to the wall as camel spiders start attacking them, then Erin. Elsewhere, Professor Essex is leading some of his class (Ashley, Will, Tracy, Carl, and Eddie) into the woods to find and study fossils when he spots a camel spider near the river. Surprised to see one out of it’s native habitat, Essex goes to get a closer look and ends up being killed by it. The students all run away, splitting up in different directions, and Eddie ends up being killed. Back in town, Sturges and Beaumont arrive at a diner and after being greeted by the owners, Reba and Joe, they sit down to eat. Also at the diner are Brad and Sharon Mullins and their daughter Hayley, McNeil and Cain, two businessmen that are looking to develop the area, and Jeff and his friend, two pacifists that are annoyed to see the waitress Patty flirting with Sturges. Meanwhile, Ashley and Will manage to find a run down house in the middle of the woods and as Will tries to get the door open, Ashley sees Tracy and Carl coming out of the woods and she calls out to the. When they manage to get inside, Will looks up the spider from a picture he took and they try to figure out what they should do and Ashley says they should barricade the house for now. Back at the diner, one of the cooks, Tommy, is taking out some trash when he is attacked by a camel spider. As everyone in the diner hears his screams, Joe goes out with a rifle and attempts to shoot the spider but it is too fast and he quickly ducks back inside and slams the door shut. As the diner patrons notice what is going on, some of them try to run for it but Sturges tells them to shut the door, then calls Underwood and tells her to bring the truck to the diner. Telling everyone he has a truck coming and they will get out of there, Sturges, Beaumont, and the diner’s owners begin shooting the spiders when they make it inside the diner. When Underwood arrives, Sturges tells everyone to get onto the truck and they all head out there but Cain is killed during the escape. Back at the house, Ashley finds several knives to arm themselves with while Tracy worries that nobody will be able to help them but Ashley assures her that someone will come looking for them when they don’t return to school. Meanwhile, Will is exploring the basement to make sure no spiders are there but after being scared by Carl, they both head back upstairs, unaware that some spiders are making their way inside the basement. Back on the highway, Underwood’s truck is making some bad noises and Beaumont worries that it won’t be able to go much further while Jeff blames Sturges for his friend’s death and the spiders’ being there. As they discuss where they should go, Cain suggests a jisning plant that McNeil owns and they head there and once they get there, they try to figure out what they should do and Sturges says their best bet is to wait until help arrives, then leaves Beaumont to keep an eye on everyone while he and Underwood go secure the area. Back at the house, Ashley, Will, Carl, and Tracy are sitting in one of the rooms wondering what they should do when Ashley hears something coming from the air duct. She goes to check but finds nothing there and when she returns, Carl and Tracy reveal that they’re engaged and Ashley and Will congratulate them. In the morning, Beaumont goes out on the catwalk to look around and spots a truck nearby but as he turns to go back inside, he is attacked by some camel spiders and begins firing at them. Hearing the shots, Sturges, Joe, and Reba go out to check on him and find him barely alive, and Beaumont tells them about the truck before he dies. Meanwhile, Ashley, Will, and Tracy are woken up by a noise and they don’t see Carl around. Will goes to investigate and finds the camel spiders have broken into the house and killed Carl. He tells the others, causing Tracy to start freaking out, and they find their way blocked out the front so they escape out the back yard. Elsewhere, Two soldiers are driving a replacement truck to rendezvous with Sturges and Underwood, driving past the diner on the way to the rest stop. Sturges decides to make a break for the truck and Cain leads him and Underwood to a tunnel that will lead them close to where the truck is. The two soldiers make their way through the tunnel but when Sturges sees several spiders making their way towards them, he begins shooting at them before meeting back with Underwood and deciding to head back up. Inside the plant, everyone hears the gunfire and Brad and Cain decide to go help but as they get to the tunnel, Sturges and Underwood emerge, just as more spiders show up and they all quickly head back upstairs. At the rest stop, the two soldiers grow concerned as there is nobody there, including staff, and they decide to go looking for Sturges and Underwood. Meanwhile, Will, Ashley, and Tracy manage to make it back to there car but when it won’t start, Will checks the engine only to be attacked by a spider that was inside. Back at the plant, Sturges, Underwood, Brad, and Cain make it back to the others and they decide to come up with a new plan. Realizing their only option is to go across land to the truck, Sturges has Joe head up top with his rifle to keep a lookout, Sturges asks for volunteers to go with them. Brad, Jeff, and Reba volunteer and they head out, shooting their way past the spiders until the reach the truck. Sturges hotwires the truck and drives off, with everyone piled into the truck bed and firing at the spiders. When they reach the plant, they continue shooting and manage to wipe out all the spiders they see but want to make sure before bringing anyone else down. Inside, Joe tells everyone to wait until Sturges tells them to head down but McNeil rushes outside, demanding to be rescues, and ends up being killed by some more spiders. As Joe organizes the others to head down, they realize that Hayley isn’t there, as she had snuck out after McNeil left to go find her dad and Sharon wants to go after her but Joe tells her to stay back and he will go after her. Sturges tries radioing Joe to find out what the hold up is and Cain tells him about Hayley going missing. Matt wants to go in to find her and as Sturges tries to get him to stay back and wait, Underwood rushes in to find her, with Sturges following after her. Inside, Joe saves Hayley, who is surrounded by camel spiders, but is killed in the process and as the spiders move towards Hayley, Underwood shows up and rescues her, heading into an office in the back of the floor. Cain, Patty, and Sharon head outside and Cain is killed but Patty and Sharon manage to make it outside to the others. Underwood and Hayley find themselves attacked by more spiders and Underwood manages to kill the spiders that get inside, just as Sturges gets there and escorts them outside. As Sturges, Underwood, and Hayley make it outside, the others provide cover fire for them to reach the truck. Sturges notices some fighter jets heading towards the plant and tells everyone to get into the truck and they quickly drive away as the jets bomb the plant, killing the camel spiders that are there. Later, Sturges is coordinating clean up efforts with local police and army forces and afterwards, he heads over to Underwood, where they discuss grabbing some beers. Elsewhere, at a drive-in theater, a large swarm of spiders is shown to have killed everyone at the theater.

Not quite what I was expecting but this was a pretty entertaining movie none the less. The acting was pretty good, with Brian Krause (Sturges) and C. Thomas Howell (Beaumont) doing good jobs in their roles. The story was pretty interesting, but it honestly reminded me too much of Arachnophobia as far as explaining how the camel spiders got to the U.S. However, unlike Arachnophobia, this movie doesn’t explain how so many camel spiders suddenly appear in the area. I mean, you see two spiders enter the body bag and when the coffin breaks open, you see three escape. So how did the hundred some odd camel spiders suddenly start attacking the desert town. Even if you were to argue that one of them had been close to laying eggs, that doesn’t explain how they suddenly hatched and grew to full size in the course of one day. The special effects with the camel spider’s design were pretty good but some of the blue screen/cgi with them interacting with the human victims left a little to be desired. Still, this was some cheesy B-movie fun that, aside from my one complaint, I found to be fun to watch.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5


action, adventure, movie, movie review

October 27th, 2017 Movie – The Amazing Spider-Man

the amazing spider-man 2012

After all of the teasing Sam Raimi did with having Curt Connors in his movies, we finally get to see the Lizard make an appearance on the big screen; and all it took was 5 years, a reboot, and a new director. Yeh, 5 years after Raimi’s trilogy ended, Columbia Pictures decided to Columbia Pictures decided to cancel the proposed 4th Raimi movie and recast all of the characters. Now I had considered going to see this movie in theaters but I ended up passing after hearing what some of my friends thought about it. However, that obviously had no effect on my purchasing it and thus, I have today’s movie, The Amazing Spider-Man

The plot: A young Peter Parker is playing hide and seek with his parents but when he walks into his parent’s study, he finds the place has been ransacked. Peter yells out to his dad, who takes a look at the room and quickly heads over to the desk and pulls out a drawer to reveal a false bottom, with some folders hidden inside. Richard and Mary quickly pack some things for Peter and take him to Richard’s brother Ben and his wife May, asking them to take care of Peter, then they quickly leave. Years later, Peter is now in high school and attempts to stand up to Flash Thompson for being a bully but is quickly beat down. After returning home, he helps his uncle move boxes out of the flooded basement when he discovers his father’s old satchel and when he opens it, sees a newspaper clipping of his father with another man, but neither his Aunt or Uncle know who he is. Taking the satchel upstairs, Peter starts examining it some more and finds the hidden file and starts to look through it but quickly hides it when his Uncle Ben knocks on his door. Ben sits down to talk with Peter and tells him that the man in the picture is Curt Connors and after he leaves, Peter quickly looks up information on Curt Connors. Heading to Oscorp, where Connors works, Peter sneaks into a tour group of a bunch of interns and is surprised to see that Gwen Stacy, his classmate that he has a crush on, is leading the tour. As Connors introduces himself to the group, Gwen is shocked to see Peter there and questions him as to why he is there, asking him not to get into trouble, which could get her into trouble. As the tour moves on, Peter accidentally bumps into a man, Rajit Ratha, and as he picks up the folder Ratha dropped and notices it has the same logo on his father’s work and decides to follow him. After seeing Ratha open a restricted access door and speak to some men inside before they all leave, Peter sneaks inside and finds Oscorp is making a “biocable” using genetically modified spiders but when he accidentally bumps into it, the spiders start falling all around him. Peter quickly leaves and runs into Gwen, who takes his badge because he left the group, and as he goes to leave, one of the spiders that had fallen around him bites him in the neck. As he rides home on the subway, Peter has an altercation with some passengers, where he starts to display strange abilities. After things keep happening to him, Peter goes to see Connors at his home, telling him he is Richard Parker’s son. While not telling Connors about what happened to him, Peter helps him figure out the decay rate algorithm, which Connors needs as he is being pressured to use his work to help cure a dying Norman Osborn. Peter goes to Oscorp with Connors and helps him test the new formula and when it passes in the simulation, they test it on one of the mice. Peter heads home late, where he ends up getting into an argument with his Uncle Ben, due to Peter’s not being there to walk his Aunt May home when she got off work, and leaves the house. Ben goes looking for Peter, who avoids him and heads over to a nearby market to get something to drink but he is short two cents and the clerk won’t let him use the pennies from the tray. As Peter leaves, he witnesses the customer behind him rob the place and leave, not helping the clerk stop the thief. Ben, who is nearby, sees the thief stumble and drop a gun and goes to try and get the gun away from him but during the struggle, the gun goes off and Ben is shot. Peter, hearing the shot, heads over there and sees his uncle lying on the ground and calls out for help as he tries to save Ben’s life but Ben dies in his arms. Returning home with the police so they can tell May what happened, Peter hears their description of the killer and realizes it is the same man that he saw rob the market and let get away. Feeling guilty over what happened, Peter starts going out at night to hunt down his uncle’s killer, fashioning a suit so that he can keep people from knowing who he is. While not finding the murderer, he does capture several crooks and the police start labeling him as a vigilante, and Captain George Stacy, Gwen’s father, makes it a priority to capture him. Meanwhile, Connors is facing pressure from Ratha to begin human trials, as the mouse has succeeded in regrowing it’s missing limb, but when Connors refuses to rush human trials, Ratha fires him and says he will administer the trial at the V. A. Hospital and heads off. Connors administers the serum to himself and does regrow his missing arm but when he starts to feel pain, he hails a cab and tries to head to the hospital to stop Ratha but transforms into a giant, humanoid lizard during the ride. Meanwhile, Gwen had invited Peter over for dinner and Peter ends up arguing with Captain Stacy over Spider-Man. Gwen takes Peter out onto the balcony to cool things down and so they can talk and Peter ends up revealing that he is Spider-Man before kissing her. As Gwen is told to come inside, Peter hears police sirens in the distance and leaps off the roof and heads for the bridge, where he sees The Lizard throwing cars off the bridge as he goes after Ratha. Spider-Man webs the cars to the bridge to keep them from falling, then goes after The Lizard but when he hears a man saying his son is trapped in one of the cars, he goes and rescues the boy before the car explodes. The next day, Peter goes to see Dr. Connors and asks him about lizards, claiming it is part of a school project, but Connors evades the questions then escorts Peter out of his lab. As Peter is leaving, he notices that the mouse that was given the serum had mutated and developed lizard like qualities and he realizes that Connors is The Lizard. Peter heads to the police station and tries telling Captain Stacy his suspicions about Connors but Stacy ignores him and has him escorted from the building, but then tells one of his officers to get him all the files they have on Connors. As Peter leaves the precinct, he notices several lizards heading down into the subway and sewer tunnels and he follows after them, then uses his webs to try and figure out Connors’ location. Connors transforms into the Lizard again and as Peter tries to locate him, the two end up fighting, with a camera Peter had set up taking pictures of the two of them. Peter is overpowered and manages to get away from the Lizard but the Lizard sees the camera and discovers who Spider-Man really is. The Lizard attacks the school and as everyone flees, Peter ends up fighting with the Lizard but finds himself outmatched. When Gwen tries to help, Peter is able to web up the Lizard, then breaks a window and lowers Gwen to safety before returning to face the Lizard only to find he has disappeared. Peter follows after him, telling Gwen to head back to Oscorp and work on an antidote to the serum, but when he finds Connor’s video files, he realizes that Connors plans to expose the whole city to the serum and change everyone into human lizards. As the Lizard makes it’s way to Oscorp, he is attacked by the police but he uses some of the serum, which he made into a gas, to infect the police, changing them into lizardmen. Spider-Man gives chase but he is shot with a taser by the police. Captain Stacy and his men approach Spider-Man and Stacy removes the mask but Peter comes too and starts fending off the police while keeping his face covered. Stacy eventually corners Peter and Peter reveals his face, then tells Stacy that Gwen is at Oscorp and Stacy lets Peter go and tells his men to stand down but one of the cops shoots Spider-Man in the leg before he leaves. Meanwhile, the Lizard reaches Oscorp and breaks in and steals a gas dispersal device which Gwen had hidden but after he leaves, Gwen realizes the antidote is finished and heads outside. Spider-Man is having trouble reaching Oscorp due to his injury but is helped by the cities crane operators, who form a corridor for him to use to web swing to the tower. Spider-Man heads up to face the Lizard while on the ground, Stacy arrives and meets with Gwen, who hands him the antidote to give to Peter. On the roof, Spider-Man and the Lizard continue fighting but Stacy arrives and shoots the Lizard with a shotgun, distracting him enough for Spider-Man to pull out a hose of liquid nitrogen and the two knock him into an opening with some more nitrogen tanks, which Stacy shoots to keep the Lizard contained. Stacy then gives Spider-Man the antidote and keeps the Lizard at bay long enough for Spider-Man to insert it into the delivery system, but Stacy is mortally wounded by the Lizard. As the antidote is spread throughout the city and starts changing people back to human, the antennae, damaged from the fight, breaks and Spider-Man starts to fall off the roof but he is saved by Connors and dragged back onto the roof. Peter then goes to check on Stacy, who says that the city does need Spider-Man but makes Peter promise to stay away from Gwen in order to keep her safe. A funeral is held for Captain Stacy and afterwards, Gwen goes to Peter’s house to find out why he wasn’t there and when he says he can’t see her anymore, she asks if her father made him break up with her, taking his silence as a confirmation. However, the next day at school, as a teacher comments to Peter about not making promises he can’t keep, Peter says that those are the best kind, making Gwen smile as she realizes that he might still try and see her. Meanwhile, Connors is in his cell when he is visited by a mysterious man, who asks if Peter learned the truth about his father. Connors says he doesn’t know and begs that Peter be left alone but the man disappears from the cell.

The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) met with positive reviews from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 72% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “A well-chosen cast and sure-handed direction allow The Amazing Spider-Man to thrill, despite revisiting many of the same plot points from 2002’s Spider-Man.” Director Marc Webb decided to have the majority of the stunts performed practically as opposed to using CGI, as he wanted them to look more realistic. The movie was a hit at the box office, earning $757.9 million off of a $200-$230 million budget and spawned a sequel.

This movie had it’s faults but it wasn’t as bad of a movie as I initially thought. The acting was pretty good, with Andrew Garfield (Peter) and Emma Stone (Gwen) doing good jobs in their roles. I also liked Denis Leary’s portrayal of Captain Stacy but really liked Rhys Ifans’ portrayal of Connors, doing a pretty decent job of showcasing his humanity as Connors while also portraying the darker nature of himself as the Lizard. The story was ok, somewhat following the origin in the “Ultimate Spider-Man” comics more than the traditional comic series. One thing I did like in this reboot was the scene with Peter sending strands of webbing throughout the sewers and then sitting in the middle of the strands, trying to sense the vibrations through the webbing in order to locate the Lizard, as that showed Peter utilizing more of the spider aspects of his powers than he is normally shown to have used. I also liked how they had Spider-Man quipping during his fights with the lizard and when he was catching the carjacker, as that was an aspect of Spider-Man’s character that was missing in the Raimi trilogy. The stunt work was really good and while I didn’t particularly care for the first person views of Spider-Man moving through the city, I did like the parkour aspect of his movements through the alley’s, seeming to make a little more sense with how he would move throughout the city. To be honest, the main thing I didn’t like about the movie was the special effects, as there were several times where they didn’t look nearly as good as you would expect. I will also admit that I was a little disappointed with how the Lizard looked, as I was hoping it would have a lot more of a saurian appearance than the end result did. Not a bad movie but worth a watch if for no other reason than to see how the direction the new director took it.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5