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

August 18th, 2019 Movie – Rajin’ Cajun Redneck Gators (a.k.a. Alligator Alley)

rajin' cajun redneck gators

Today brings us the last entry in the Shark Bait box set and the other movie I was most excited to be getting in this set. Now I am somewhat ashamed to admit that I had completely missed this movie when it first debuted on Syfy. In fact, it would be 2-3 years later when I happened to see this movie on the schedule and immediately set my DVR to record it, as the name alone had my curiosity piqued. I mean, come on. How can you not be interested in seeing a movie with a title like that. Well my first thought when watching it was, “Hey, that’s Zoe from Eureka.”, which made me pretty happy to know that Syfy was trying to get actors from their original series to play roles in their original movies. Then I started laughing my ass off as I continued watching the movie. So it’s time to sit back and laugh again as I watch today’s movie, Rajin’ Cajun Redneck Gators.

The plot: Deep in the south Louisiana bayou, Dathan Robichaud has pulled up to the swamp and is dumping out a batch of bad moonshine, briefly talking to two Doucette’s that are fishing nearby. As Dathan drives off, he is unaware that the two fishermen are being attacked by an unseen creature. Meanwhile, Avery Doucette is returning home after spending the last 4 years in college and after greeting her dad, Lucien, she heads out with him and her cousin Bud, who is constantly hitting on her, as they go hunting some gators. The three end up anchoring off of the Robichaud property, they are confronted by Wade, Dathan, and Dale Robichaud. As Lucien and Wade begin arguing, Dathan and Avery subtly wave at each other when Wade suddenly shoots at the Doucette’s boat, hitting a large alligator that was underwater. As Lucien and Bud work to bring the gator on board, it comes back to life, biting Lucien’s hand before he is finally able to kill it. As the Doucettes head back to the dock to unload the gator, Avery comments about the gator’s unusual coloring and spikes on it’s tail but Lucien dismisses her concerns and heads inside the local watering hole so Avery can say hello to the rest of the Doucettes. Suddenly, the surviving fisherman bursts into the bar screaming about the gator attack and when the sheriff arrives, he tells his deputy, who is a Doucette, to go check out the area where the attack happened. As the Doucette’s family cookout commences, Avery manages to get rid of Bud and heads down to the water for a swim, where she is secretly joined by Dathan. As the two kiss, the fisherman yells at them from the bank, just as another alligator skewers him with it’s tail spikes before eating him. Avery heads back to the cookout and tells her dad what happened but her family mocks her and don’t believe what she is saying so she calls Dathan and asks him to meet her. As Dathan gets his gear together, he stops by to talk to his dad, who says his latest batch of moonshine is bad as well, and they discuss his pouring out the bad shine into the swamp, as well as why the Doucettes and Robichauds hate each other. Meanwhile, Deputy Doucette comes across a swamper who has caught a gator but the man is soon killed and as Doucette starts to radio in on what is happening, she is decapitated by another gator. The next day, Sheriff Landry is trying to get the Doucettes to calm down but Lucien and Bud are adamant that Wade, Dale, and Dathan are the ones that killed their family and go out to find them. Meanwhile, Avery and Dathan had been out all night trying to find the gators and their nest. They manage to find a likely area but when their boat stalls out, a gator starts swimming towards them and begins attacking the boat. On the shore, Lucien, Bud, and some other Doucettes are confronting Wade and Dale on the water’s edge when they hear Avery call out for help, so they quickly yell out to the gator to try and distract it. The group manage to kill the gator but when some more gators begin showing up, they quickly head for Avery and Dathan’s boat, with Landry showing up to help them escape. That night, as Avery and Lucien argue aver her being with Dathan, Lucien’s wife Candy goes out looking for her dog when a gator appears nearby. Her screams alert Avery, Lucien, and Bud, who throws the dog at the gator as a distraction so they can run back to the house. As Avery tries to console Candy, Lucien heads to the bathroom, where he notices his hand where the gator bit him is beginning to gain a scaly appearance. The next day, Landry has brought in Tristan St. Claire, a TV personality with his own show about hunting Gators, to help kill the gators. As they prepare to head out, the Doucettes are surprised to see Dathan has become Landry’s new deputy and Lucien is skeptical about the situation but chooses to stay quiet. The group heads out to the nest but as Tristan tries examining some baby gators, Bud gets impatient and starts shooting some eggs, causing the rest of the group to start shooting. When some adult gators show up, Tristan’s film crew are killed as the assembled Doucettes and Robichauds continue killing the redneck gators. Later that afternoon, the Doucettes and Robichauds are celebrating together at the bar but when Landry gives Wade and Lucien the reward money, their tempers start flaring, especially when Dathan says that Avery is going to marry him. Avery goes storming out of the bar, with Dathan chasing after her, and Lucien gets a gun from Candy and orders all of the Robichauds out of the bar but as they all leave, he suddenly doubles over in pain as he begins turning into a redneck gator. Outside, Dathan catches up to Avery and as they talk, Bud, who is also beginning to turn, pulls a gun on them and moves to shoot Dathan but Dale attacks him. As the two struggle, Bud kills Dale, then bites Dathan when he tries to stop him and as Bud runs off into the woods, Dathan manages to shoot him. The next day, Landry goes looking for Lucien to see if he knows where Bud might be but finds all of the Doucettes have vanished, while a redneck gator is inside Lucien’s home. Landry heads to Wade’s home and tells Wade, Dathan, and Avery about the missing Doucettes and they agree to help him find them. Avery, Dathan, and Wade head out in a boat when Wade and Dathan get knocked overboard by a redneck gator. As it approaches the boat to attack Avery, Avery notices the pink nail polish on the gator’s claws and realizes that it is Candy, but she is still forced to kill it. Later, Avery is continuing to look for her family when she falls into some quicksand and as she calls out for help, a redneck gator begins approaching her. Before it reaches her, a second gator attacks it and drives it off, then approaches Avery but instead of attacking her, it rescues her from the quicksand and she realizes that it is her dad when she sees the gold tooth in it’s mouth. Avery tells Dathan and Wade her theory but when they don’t believe her, she drives off on her own, killing several gators when they approach her. Meanwhile, Dathan and Wade, realizing their tainted moonshine caused the gators to mutate, are trying to get rid of the rest of the shine when Dathan suddenly starts turning into a redneck gator. Avery kills another gator that is about to kill Wade, then approaches the now transformed Dathan when another gator (Bud) appears from underneath the house. The two gators begin attacking each other and appear to kill each other but after Wade and Avery take Dathan’s body and place it in the swamp, it recovers and swims off. Avery and Wade tell Landry what is going on and  they come up with a plan to kill the redneck gators. Wade gathers the rest of the Robichauds and they call out for the Doucettes, attracting the gators to the bar, where they have some explosives planted inside. As the Robichauds lock the gators inside, Avery finds Lucien and tries to get him to leave with her but Wade stops her and as he faces off with Lucien, they end up killing each other. Landry is killed before he can set off the explosives so Avery quickly fashions a Moltov Cocktail and tosses it into the bar, setting the explosive off but the concussion knocks her out and as the bar burns to the ground, Dathan appears and drags Avery to safety. One year later, Avery is shown to have stayed in the swamp, selling alligator skins for a living while raising her daughter, with Dathan, who is still a redneck gator and living with her.

This is one of those movies that, by all accounts, should not be entertaining but turns out to be highly entertaining. Yes, this does rely on a lot of stereotypes, and yes some of them are on the negative side, so the humor can be off at times but there are still some pretty funny aspects to this movie. The acting was pretty good, with Ritchie Montgomery and Thomas Francis Murphy stealing the show as Lucien and Wade respectively. Jordan Hinson, who was supposed to be the star, did a good job as Avery, but there were several times where she would gain and lose her bayou accent that ended up being a little annoying. Christopher Berry (Bud) was also pretty good but John Chriss (Dathan) was honestly a pretty bland character. The story was pretty interesting because of the two aspects of the movie. On the one hand, you had the typical sci-fi B-movie style theme of some sort of mutating agent, in this case the chemically tainted moonshine, causing animals to mutate and turn into killers. The fact that the gators could mutate people and turn them into gators honestly made it feel a little like Black Sheep (2006) in that regard. The other aspect of the movie was the human aspect, which was a pretty decent mixture of “Romeo and Juliet” with a touch of Hatfields and McCoys thrown in. The fact that Avery and Dathan were secret high school sweethearts honestly didn’t seem too original to be honest, though the whole Bud flirting/hitting on her was a bit too creepy. The special effects were a lot better than I was expecting, with the addition of the gators able to shoot out their tail spikes being a nice touch to their design. I especially liked that they didn’t overuse that ability too much, only utilizing it a few times, but the best part was the final duel between Lucien and Wade. So a fun movie to watch and one of Syfy’s better entries over the last few years.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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

August 4th, 2019 Movie – Santa Jaws

santa jaws

This. This right here is the reason that I bought the Shark Bait box set. When I first heard about this movie, my initial thoughts were an excited “This movie might be on par with Santa Slay for best campy Christmas movie ever.” When it debuted on Syfy during last year’s  Sharknado Week, it easily became one of my favorite entries for that year. So let’s have some early Holiday cheer as I watch today’s movie, Santa Jaws.

The plot: Cody is working on his “Santa Jaws” comic that he is making with his friend Steve and discussing it with Steve and Clark, who are excited for an upcoming Christmas party at the comic book shop. Cody heads home as his uncle Mike and his new wife Georgia arrive and as the rest of the family greeting them, Cody’s mom Caroline grounds him for posting an “offensive cartoon” concerning the talks of school uniforms on social media. That night, Cody finds a Christmas present from his grandfather, Papa Joe, on his desk. Upon opening it, he sees it contains an antique, ornate fountain pen, which Cody uses to redraw a sketch of Santa Jaws in his notebook. As Cody goes to sleep, he is unaware of a strange glow appearing in the nearby cove, and Sanra Jaws, a shark with a Santa’s hat and Christmas lights on it’s dorsal fin, begins swimming around. The next morning, Papa Joe wakes up Cody to go on their annual Christmas Eve fishing trip and as Cody reluctantly walks to the truck, he is distracted by his new neighbor, Jena, and trips over some decorations. As Cody and Papa Joe are fishing, Papa Joe tries talking to Cody about what is bothering him and Cody admits how he seems to constantly embarrass himself when he tries talking to Jena. Papa Joe comforts Cody, who starts to feel better, but when Papa Joe goes to retrieve his thermos that Cody accidentally dropped into the water, he is killed by Santa Jaws. Cody runs home and tells his family what happened but none of them believe him and his mother grounds him for another week, taking his phone away from him. As his family heads off to prepare for the annual Christmas Dinner, Cody heads to the comic shop to tell Steve and Clark what he saw, but they think he just imagined it. When Cody asks Clark where the Santa Jaws comic is, he tells them that he gave it to Jena and Cody heads off to get it back, convincing Steve to come with him. Meanwhile, after helping preparing for the dinner, Mike and Georgia head off to the harbor so they can be part of the parade of boats but as Mike works on untangling some Christmas lights that had gotten snared in his prop, Santa Jaws attacks Mike, dragging him into the water. Georgia hears the splash and calls out for Mike, only to see Santa Jaws swimming away so she runs off to get help. Georgia makes it back to the restaurant and tells everyone about Mike being gone and Josh, Cody’s brother, says that Cody was telling the truth but Caroline and Peter, Cody’s father, tell him he’s wrong and have him take Georgia back to the house while they go looking for Mike. Meanwhile, Cody and Steve arrive at Jena’s house and ask her for the comic back and she tells them she left it on her father’s boat and they head to the harbor to retrieve it. As she gives them the comic, they hear the sound of sleigh bells coming across the water and Jena comments that it is like a line from the comic. As they are walking along the docks, they see a man in an elf costume being killed by Santa Jaws. Cody, Steve, and Jena head to the comic store, where they find Josh and Georgia looking for them. After Josh tells Cody about what happened to Mike, Jena says they should just stay out of the water and they will be safe but Cody says that they have to kill Santa Jaws. As they borrow some of the replica weapons from Clark’s display case, Steve notices the pen case and asks Cody about it. When Jena reads the inscription on the case, Cody gets a strange look on his face but is forced to dismiss it as they head out, not realizing that the pen case had fallen out of his bag as he was stuffing items into it. Cody, Jena, Steve, Josh, and Georgia head to the harbor to kill Santa Jaws but it ends up killing Georgia instead. When Jena comments about how Georgia was the only one to injure Santa Jaws, when she stabbed out it’s eye with a candy cane, Cody and Jena realize that the only way to kill Santa Jaws is with Christmas items and they quickly split up to find some appropriate items to use. As Cody and Jena work on fashioning some weapons, Steve and Josh show up with some fireworks and Christmas ornaments they can use to kill Santa Jaws. They finish their weapons and try to kill Santa Jaws but only manage to wound it, and Steve is killed in the process. Meanwhile, Caroline and Peter have their own encounter with Santa Jaws and go looking for Cody and Josh and when they show up at the comic store, Clark tells them that Cody and the others went to the harbor. Back at the harbor, Jena talks with Cody and suggests using the pen against Santa Jaws, as he had used it to bring Santa Jaws to life, but when he goes to look for the pen, he realizes it is missing.  They head back to shop and are shocked to find Clark there with a woman, whom he claims is his Russian girlfriend Svetlana. When they ask about the pen, Clark says he put it in back when he was cleaning up and goes to get it, only to duck out the back and attempt to escape as Cody and the others realize that he has been using the pen. They chase after him and confront him about the pen and Clark tries to escape in a boat but Jena jumps after him, knocking them both into the water. They both surface, with Jane clutching the pen, and she tosses it to Cody just as Santa Jaws appears and kills Clark and then Jena. Cody uses the pen to try and deal with Santa Jaws but his attempts to remove it’s teeth and kill it only make it more deadly. Cody and Josh decide to find their parents and when they do, Peter and Caroline still don’t completely believe Cody but when he shows them the comic, they finally agree he was right. They come up with a plan to try and kill Santa Jaws, fashioning a catapult to launch turkeys filled with explosives at it, then having Josh shoot them. When Santa Jaws approaches, they miss on their first two attempts and when the catapult misfires the third turkey, Josh goes to get it and throw it at Santa Jaws, only to be impaled by the horn Cody accidentally gave Santa Jaws. Peter dives into the water and tries to rescue Josh only to be killed by Santa Jaws but as it swims by the turkey, Cody shoots it, seemingly killing Santa Jaws. Cody shows Caroline the pen and says he can draw his family back but as she argues with him about it, Cody drops the pen. Caroline goes down to get it and hands it back to Cody, only for Santa Jaws to leap onto the dock and kill her. Cody quickly draws in the comic that whoever kills Santa Jaws gets a Christmas Wish and he then sets the comic on fire, destroying Santa Jaws. Cody wakes up in his bed on Christmas morning and finds his family all alive, with new memories as to what happened on Christmas Eve. As the family starts opening gifts, Josh heads across the street to Jena’s house and after talking her for a bit, he gets the Santa Jaws comic back from her, then invites her to go to a new ice cream store. Returning to the house, Josh sets the Santa Jaws comic on fire then holds the pen case in his hands, staring at the pen for a minute before closing the case and walking off.

This is still such a fun movie to watch; in fact, this is my third time watching it since I bought the set. The acting was pretty decent, with Reid Miller doing a great job as Cody. I also thought that Courtney Lauren Cummings (Jena), Arthur Marroquin (Josh) and Scott Allen Perry (Clark) were good in their roles. While not completely original, as the concept of someone’s drawings coming to life has been used before (at least I am pretty sure I have seen it before). Regardless, I liked the idea of the kid’s drawing coming to life and starting it’s reign of terror, and while I also liked that his initial attempts to kill Santa Jaws only made him more dangerous, I thought the ending was a little too contrived. Then again, this is more or less a Christmas movie so a nice, holiday magic-themed happy ending does make sense. The special effects were actually a lot better than I was expecting for the most part, with only a couple of times where the shark looked too fake. A really fun movie and something new to suggest as a family movie over the holidays.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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action, comedy, horror, movie, movie review

July 28th, 2019 Movie – Ozark Sharks

ozark sharks

So today is a day filled with all sorts of aquatic themed B-movies, at least for me. First off, I have today’s movie to watch and review. Then, at 4 p.m. (Pacific time), ShoutFactoryTV is kicking off a week of “killer fish” themed double features on their site so I will be watching that this afternoon. Of course, I will have to find something to do to occupy my time in between those events but for now, let’s focus on the first task for today. Today’s movie was one of the slew of new movies to come out during the 2016 Sharknado week. I will admit that I wasn’t too impressed with it my first time watching it but lets see if Ozark Sharks is better with a second viewing.

The plot: Four teenagers are playing with fireworks in a river when they are attacked by some sharks, leaving one girl, Dawn, as the only survivor. Meanwhile, Molly and Harrison are reluctantly going on vacation to the Ozarks with their parents, Rick and Diane, and their grandma. When they arrive there, Rick and Diane go to get the cabin key from the camp manager Jones and they head up to the cabin, where Molly is surprised to see her boyfriend Curtis had taken a bus there to surprise her. Rick and Diane make plans to take a canoe out on the lake while Harrison, Molly, Curtis, and Grandma head out to get some lunch. As Harrison and Curtis get the food and talk with Jones, Grandma heads down to the lake while Molly reads a book on shore. Suddenly, a shark lunges out of the water and kills Grandma and Molly goes to tell Harrison and Curtis, who don’t believe her at first until they find her bloody sunhat and severed arm. When a shark heads towards Harrison, Jones shows up and shoots it, driving it off, and tells them that there have always been some sharks in the lake. Curtis tries to call the local sheriff and tell him what happened but the sheriff thinks he is making a prank call and hangs up on him. Harrison heads back to the cabin to tell his parents but when he finds that they aren’t there, he calls Molly and tells her that he is going to drive around the lake to see if he can find them. Jones takes Molly and Curtis to his work shop to get some of his homemade weapons and then they head back out to the lake, where Jones manages to kill one shark but they discover that there are 6 more swimming in the lake. They head back to Jones’ shop and grab some more weapons, then load them up into his truck and head out to hunt the sharks. Meanwhile, Rick and Diane are attacked by a shark, which bites off two of Rick’s fingers. As he wraps a shirt around his injured hand, Diane grabs a flare gun and goes to signal for help but ends up shooting it at the shark, killing it. Diane then grabs another flare and fires it into the sky, which is spotted by Molly, Curtis, and Jones and they head over to where the flare came from. Elsewhere, Harrison finds Dawn, who was stuck on a tree in the river, and after rescuing her, they see a shark swim by heading towards the lake. Harrison grabs the canoe he used to rescue Dawn and plans to go after it, wanting to save his parents before they are attacked. Dawn refuses to go at first but when she mentions the firework festival and how many people will be at the lake, Harrison guilts her into going with him. Back on the lake, Diane is paddling the canoe back to the dock by their cabin when a shark leaps out of the water at them but they are saved when Jones harpoons the shark. When Rick and Diane learn that Harrison had gone looking for them, they want to go after him when Jones is attacked and killed by some sharks. As they recover from that, another shark leaps out of the water onto the porch of the cabin but Molly kills it with one of Jones’ weapons. They head out to try and find Harrison, eventually finding the jeep but no sign of him. When Curtis mentions the firework festival, they head back to warn people, with Curtis trying to call the sheriff again but the sheriff still thinks Curtis is making prank calls. Molly and the other head back to Jones’ shop so they can grab the rest of his weapons to use against the sharks. Harrison and Dawn arrive at the festival and try to warn people about the sharks but they don’t believe them at first, until the sharks start attacking people. Harrison and Dawn manage to save some girls that were on a floating pier but when a shark attacks them, they are saved by Molly, who had just arrived at the lake. Everyone has cleared out of the lake except for one girl trapped on the floating pier, but Curtis comes up with an idea to save her. Curtis manages to harpoon a shark’s tail and drags the rope over a wood chipper before he reals it in, causing the shark to get dragged into the chipper. Curtis celebrates saving the girl and killing the shark when the chipper sends the sharks teeth flying into his chest, killing him. A grief stricken Molly wants to kill the last shark and, after failing to talk her out of it, Harrison agrees to help. The grab Jones’ last weapon and some fireworks to use as ammo but Molly tricks Harrison into letting her go by herself. Molly heads out to the floating pier and uses Jones’ weapon, a massive modified air cannon, to fire fireworks at the shark, blowing it up in a colorful, and bloody, explosion. Molly rows back to join her family, and Dawn, on the dock and as the police finally show up, they watch the fireworks, with Rick joking that they should go skiing next year.

Ok. I gave it another shot. I kept an open mind about it. I still don’t particularly care for this movie. That’s not to say that it is a bad movie, because it was a fairly entertaining movie. This one just didn’t get that same level of excitement out of me like most shark movies do. The acting was ok, with Dave Davis (Harrison), Ross Britz (Curtis), and Thomas Francis Murphy (Jones) doing good jobs in their roles. I think I liked Curtis the most as his comedic moments, especially interacting with Jones, helped keep the movie from being too serious. However, I could not stand Allisyn Ashley Arm’s character of Molly. Even though there have been characters similar to her in other movies, for some reason her character just irritated the shit out of me. The story was ok, but not entirely original, as there was another movie about bull sharks in a lake/river that premiered earlier that week. The water in the movie looked muddy as hell, which made the camera shots featuring live sharks blend in pretty well. The special effects weren’t bad, though the times where some people would get splattered with blood looked a little too cheap at times. Not my favorite shark movie but it is a decent movie worth giving a shot.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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comedy, horror, movie, movie review

July 21st, 2019 Movie – Mississippi River Sharks

mississippi river sharks

The one thing that I will miss now that the Sharknado franchise is finished is all of the new shark movies that would come out every year. Today’s movie is one of those movies that came out during that time period. I will admit that this movie only marginally caught my interest when it came out, and that was mainly because both Jason and Jeremy London were reported to be in it. I know, that is not really a good reason to watch a movie but that is what got my interest. So lets see if giving it a second watch makes it any better as I watch today’s movie, Mississippi River Sharks.

The plot: In New Orleans, a woman is on a Tinder date that is ending badly when a pair of bull sharks are propelled onto the deck by the steamboat’s paddlewheel and the woman grabs an elderly woman’s cane to fend them off. Elsewhere, Tara has returned home from college to take part in the town’s annual fishing competition with her father Ray. As people get set up by the river, the parish’s mayor, Big Bill, is told by his assistant about the shark attack and the governor’s warning for people to stay off the river but he ignores it, as he has sunk too much money into the festival and is more concerned about their celebrity guest, Jason London, not showing up yet. When Jason London shows up, the contest gets underway and Tara and Ray start getting their gear on their boat when Ray is called away to handle a shipment that arrived at his store. As he heads to the store, Ray sees a fisherman get yanked off a dock by whatever he caught on his line and as Ray goes to help him, the fisherman is killed by a shark. Back at the marina, Tara is finishing loading the gear and ends up talking with Eric, an old high school classmate that has a crush on her, and his friend Wyatt when Ray calls and tells Tara about the shark attack. When a head floats up to the marina, Tara, Eric, Big Bill, and Jason see it and Big Bill admits that he was warned about the sharks but didn’t think they would make it up the river. Back at the dock, the sheriff arrives and goes to retrieve the body when a shark attacks him and Ray is able to rescue him. A news van shows up and as the reporter, Allison, tries to ask the sheriff some questions, her cameraman goes up to the water to get some footage of the body and ends up being killed by the shark. Back at the marina, Tara tries to convince Big Bill to call off the festival and he reluctantly agrees to do it. Jason says that he will tell the crowd about the shut down but none of them believe him, as they think he is playing up his “Shark Bite” movies. Eric and Tara head back to wear Wyatt is, just as he pulls up a shark with his wrecker. After Tara kills it, she heads to the judges booth to let them know about the sharks and Big Bill’s assistant goes to get the entry forms so they can contact all the entrants and get them out of the water but as he is returning to the marina, he drops the forms and is killed by a shark as he was picking them up. Back at the marina, another man is killed as more sharks appear in the marina. Tara, Eric, and Wyatt decide to deal with the sharks themselves and plan on heading back to Ray’s store to get some weapons. They try to get Jason to help them but Jason refuses, saying he is just an actor so they leave him. When they start getting Ray’s boat ready to sail, Jason sees a shark approaching Tara and tries to save her but ends up being killed instead. At the shop, Wyatt starts grabbing all of the guns on the shelves but Tara says it might not be enough and has Eric help her make some explosives. When they are ready, they head out to try and kill the sharks but when Wyatt uses one of the pipe bombs, Big Bill confronts them and, blaming them for what is happening, takes the bag of explosives. As he heads to the marina, Big Bill sees one of the contestants, Possum, trying to sneak off with the trophy and as the two men argue, a shark attacks them both, biting off their arms and causing them to fall into the water. Meanwhile, Ray, Allison, and the sheriff are stranded after they run over a shark and as more reports come in, Ray and Allison head to the marina while the sheriff goes to help another fisherman and ends up getting killed in the process. Back at the marina, Tara comes up with a new plan and as Eric and Wyatt get their wrecker fixed, she goes to the marina to find a net and chum, encountering Ray and Allison as she does. Dumping the chum off a bridge to attract the sharks, they manage to capture them in a net and use the wrecker to pull them out of the water. As Tara pulls out her last pipe bomb, Wyatt begs to be the one to use it but he drops it too soon and it explodes harmlessly in the water. As the weight of the sharks starts causing the net to drop back towards the water, Wyatt gets in the wrecker and drives it forward, pulling the net back out of the water and out onto the bridge, where a passing semi runs over the sharks. As Tara, Eric, Ray, and Allison celebrate the dead sharks, Wyatt sees the trophy on some rocks nearby and goes to pick it up, only for a shark’s head to fall on him. 3 months later, Tara and Eric show up at Rays store to pick him up, leaving Wyatt, Ray’s new apprentice, to close up the shop. After they leave, Wyatt sees a commercial for a new shark movie, staring Jason London’s brother Jeremy. Suddenly, the woman from the tinder date enters the store and asks to use the phone and when she notices Wyatt’s eyepatch, she comments on it reminding her of Jason London’s character from the Shark Bite movies. Wyatt admits his love for them and the two start to bond.

So this was a decent movie but I feel like it could have been better. The acting was ok for the most part, with Cassie Steele (Tara), Tahj Vaughans (Eric) and Dean J. West (Wyatt) all doing good jobs in there roles. I also liked how Jason London played himself and kept telling people he wasn’t like his movie character, who was basically a caricature of the “typical action hero” that you would find in these movies. I also liked that Jeremy London was basically just taking over his brother’s role in his future movies. The story was pretty good, playing up on the stories of bull sharks making their way up the Mississippi River, at one point traveling all the way up to Illinois. Granted, the attacks in this movie were a little on the more fantastical side, such as the sharks being propelled onto the steamboat deck by the paddlewheel, but that was done for sheer entertainment value. I liked how they would use footage of real sharks in the water, instead of constantly using CGI sharks, but my only detraction of that is the footage being rather murky for the most part. Yes I know that it was due to where they were filming, but it was still a little annoying. The special effects felt a little on the cheap sides at times, such as when you get the massive blood splatter “on the camera”, but it still didn’t detract fro the entertainment value. Not the best movie but it is definitely one that is worth watching during a late night B-movie binge.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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

February 24th, 2019 Movie – Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV

the toxic avenger 4

Now that we have the bad sequels out of the way, let’s move on to the official sequel. Don’t believe me, just ask Stan Lee (R.I.P.). As a matter of fact, he says it himself that the first two sequels were shitty (I don’t know if he was apologizing for the sequels or saying the word “shitty”) and that this was the real sequel. Anyways, I first saw this movie a couple of years ago on Hulu when it was available to stream on there. Needless to say, I loved it much better than the other two sequels, so let’s have some fun with today’s movie, Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV.

The plot: 15 years after Melvin fell into a vat and became The Toxic Avenger, a criminal group called “The Diaper Mafia” enter Tromaville’s School for the Very Special and hold the students and their teacher, Mrs. Weiner, hostage. After killing two of the students, and threatening to kill more unless their demands are met, The Diaper Mafia ask that Bikini Anchor Samantha Chambers be allowed to interview them and when she and her cameraman arrive, their leader, Tex Diaper, begins explaining their reasons for their attack. When Tex goes to attack the pregnant Mrs. Weiner, Samantha Chambers reveals that she is actually Toxie in disguise, while the camerman is Toxie’s sidekick Lardass. As Toxie and Lardass begin fighting with the Diaper Mafia, Tex reveals that his father, Tromaville Police Sgt. Kazinski, had helped supply them with the weapons for their assault, including a bomb. When Toxie kills Tex, the bomb is armed but before he can try to defuse it, Toxie’s alarm goes off and he rushes back to his home to impregnate his wife Sarah. After they have sex, Sarah argues with Toxie about his wanting to rush back to the school instead of staying with her. When Toxie returns to the school, the bomb is about to explode and Lardass attempts to eat it while Toxie tries to save some of the students but the bomb explodes, with Toxie only able to rescue two students, Tito and Sweetie Honey. As Toxie mourns the death of Lardass, the police begin shooting at him and he is forced to run from them. When a car pulls up, Toxie is surprised to see Sgt. Kabukiman driving the car, and Kabukiman keeps calling him Noxie. Back at the school, another Toxic Avenger appears and as the crowd cheers his survival, he rips the arms off of Chief Newman and begins attacking the crowd. As Toxie and Noxie both try to figure out what is going on, a scientist explains that Tromaville has an alternate dimensional duplicate called Amortville, and the explosion somehow caused Toxie (along with Sweetie Honey and Tito) and Noxie to end up in the other dimension. Back in Tromaville, Noxie encounters Sgt. Kazinski, who is happy about “Toxie’s” sudden change of heart and wants to help him, while the mayor assembles a team of super heroes, led by Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D. to capture Noxie. Back in Amortville, Toxie rescues Sweetie Honey and Tito from some drug dealers, then takes them back to his home only to discover his shack is not at the junkyard. Toxie tries to find a way back to their home and tells them to stay there, but Tito, who is a self proclaimed rebel, leaves and reluctantly lets Sweetie Honey come with him when she complains about being left alone. After saving the head of a man who had been dragged behind a truck, Toxie encounters Lardass’ doppelganger, a disgraced scientist named Chester. When Chester tells Toxie about how Noxie stole his daughter Claire, causing him to give up his work on interdimensional travel, and shows Toxie a picture of her, Toxie remarks that Claire looks like Sarah and goes to rescue her. Arriving at Noxie’s sex dungeon, Toxie finds Claire and is surprised to see that she can see, but is deaf. After convincing Claire that he is not there to harm her, Toxie tries to take her out of the dungeon but is stopped by Evil Kabukiman. Toxie tells Claire to run while he fights with Evil Kabukiman, with their fight carrying them to the hot dog factory, where Evil Mad Cowboy joins in. As Toxie fights with the two villians, he sees that Tito, Sweetie Honey, and Pompey (the head) have been captured and he works to help them escape after killing Evil Mad Cowboy. Back in Tromaville, Noxie finds Toxie’s shack and ends up sleeping with Sarah when Kazinski shows up and tells him what is going on. Noxie then kills the mayor and takes over Tomaville, killing all of the superheroes that were assigned to deal with him. Kabukiman managed to escape the slaughter and in a drunken stumble, ends up at Toxie’s home and passes out on the tied up Sarah. Later, Sarah learns that she is pregnant with twins but they are from two different fathers and she is told that she should get an abortion or else the two warring fetuses will cause her to explode. Claire heads to a family planning center but the nature of Toxie and Noxie’s sperm causes her pregnancy to accelerate and she ends up going into labor and is rushed to the hospital. Back in Amortville, Chester and Claire find Toxie, Sweetie Honey, Tito, and Pompey at the dump and Chester tells Toxie he will help him get back to his own dimension. After going through his colleague’s notes, he hands Toxie a pair of ruby slippers and Toxie grabs Sweetie Honey but Tito refuses to leave, deciding to stay in Amortville and help the citizens against Evil Kabukiman, with Pompey acting as his sidekick. After traveling into a 70’s porno film and Heaven, Toxie and Sweetie Honey finally make it back to Tromaville, where Kabukiman tells them about what has happened. Toxie heads to the hospital and begins fighting with Kazinski’s police force, confronting and killing Kazinski in the process. Toxie eventually finds Sarah’s room and sees Noxie standing over her and the two men start fighting, with their respective babies fighting inside Sarah’s womb. Toxie manages to defeat Noxie, tearing him apart to revel the Melvin within him but when the evil Melvin attacks him, Toxie throws Melvin out the window, where he lands in a vat of toxic waste and as he becomes engulfed in flames, Melvin runs off and swears he will return. Back in the hospital room, Sarah is handed her newborn baby as Mrs. Weiner and Sweetie Honey show up to hand Toxie some awards. Kabukiman shows up just as a doctor shows up with Sarah’s second baby and Sarah thinks it is the evil baby but when the doctor moves the blanket, it is revealed to look like Kabukiman. An angry Toxie turns to face Kabukiman, who tries to explain he was drunk when it happened before running off while everyone else laughs.

This is about as gross and raunchy of a B-movie that you could hope to find and while I will admit that there are some scenes that can be a bit much, this is a fun movie to watch. The acting was pretty good, with David Mattey doing a good job playing both Toxie and Noxie, while Clyde Lewis did a great job voicing the differing versions. I also liked Paul Kyrmse (Kabukiman) and Joe Fleishaker (Lardass/Chester) but was kind of indifferent to Heidi Sjursen’s portrayal of Sarah/Claire, but I will admit that some of that might be due to the limited time she was on screen. The story was pretty good, especially how they acknowledged the previous sequels but chose not to use anything from them. Well, I say that but there was one little bit of inconsistency that did annoy me. In the opening narration, Stan Lee says that Melvin’s last name is Ferd, from the original movie, but when they are in the hospital, the name on Sarah’s room says Sarah Junko, which was the last name from the previous sequels. I did like the alternate dimension aspect and how they had Noxie have a little tuft of hair on his head. I guess they decided to use that instead of a moustache to indicate he was an evil doppelganger. The special effects did look on the cheap side at times, and I will say that there was a lot more toilet humor than was really necessary, but overall, they had a nice blend of cheesy goodness that you would expect from this sort of movie. A nice, disgusting end to the series and a fun movie to watch.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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action, comedy, horror, sci-fi

February 10th, 2019 Movie – The Toxic Avenger Part II

the toxic avenger 2

Back in the day, I could always count on Troma for my dose of B-movie goodness. That being said, as much as I like B-movies I can admit that there are times where the movies are not as good. That is the case with today’s movie. See, I have always enjoyed The Toxic Avenger but when I first watched the sequel, I honestly thought it was cheaper than the original. Granted, that has been several years since I watched it so it is possible that my opinion will have changed. Only way to find out is to go ahead and watch today’s movie, The Toxic Avenger Part II and find out.

The plot: Having killed the corrupt mayor and other criminals in Tromaville, Melvin, The Toxic Avenger, has made the city safe for the citizens. However, with no more evil to destroy, Melvin is at a loss for what to do so he takes a job at a Home for the Blind so he can spend more time with his girlfriend Claire (Sara in The Toxic Avenger), but he still finds himself depressed. One day, the Chairman of Apocalypse Inc. arrives in his limo and sends one of his underlings to deliver a bomb to Melvin while he is inside the Home. When the house explodes, some of the Chairman’s underlings begin putting a property development sign on the lot but Melvin emerges from the rubble and kills them. The Chairman sends out some more thugs to kill Melvin but Melvin easily kills them all, except for one that leaves to go to his piano lessons, and the Chairman drives away in disgust. At Apocalypse Incs corporate headquarters, the Chairman berates his underlings for losing Tromaville and failing to kill the Toxic Avenger, as it disrupts his plans for the company. The Chairman’s assistant Malfaire says that she has come up with a plan to remove Melvin from the equation. Malfaire tells the assembly that the Tromatons created when Melvin fell into the barrel of toxic waste are what causes him to seek out and destroy evil but their scientists in Japan have created an anti-Tromaton formula which will remove his strength. However, since they are unable to transport the formula to them, they will use Melvin’s psychiatrist, who is employed by Apocalypse Inc., to send Melvin to Japan instead. Melvin’s psychiatrist tells him that his problems are due to his father abandoning him and that he should go to Japan, where she says his father now lives, and confront him. Melvin is hesitant to leave Claire and his mother but Claire tells him that he should go so he hops onto a windboard and sails off to Japan, entering the country “Godzilla-style”. Unable to speak Japanese, Melvin had one of the workers at a Japanese restaurant from home write out his father’s name on a napkin so he can show it to people but doesn’t have any luck. One day, his Tromatons act up when a woman named Masami is attacked by a gang and he pursues and kills her attackers. Masami thanks Melvin for saving her and helps him to try and locate his dad but they have no luck. Meanwhile, Apocalypse Inc. has taken advantage of Melvin’s absence by taking over Tromaville and every aspect of the city, even changing the name of the town to Apocalypseville. The citizens tried to fight back against Apocalypse Inc. but they were powerless against the Chairman’s goons. Back in Japan, Melvin and Masami finally locate Melvin’s father, Big Mac Junko, at a fish market but Melvin is shocked to learn that his father is a drug smuggler and white slave trader. Big Mac shows Melvin that he has a bottle of Anti-Tromatons and dares him to come after him, allowing his men to attack Melvin and Masami. Melvin is able to defeat Big Mac’s men and the ends up fighting Big MAc, who dons a sumo outfit to battle his son. When Big Mac pulls out the bottle of anti-Tromatons, Melvin kicks it out of his hands, then throws Big Mac onto a chopping block, where a distracted worker chops him into pieces, but the bottle falls to the ground and breaks open, exposing Melvin to the anti-Tromatons. Masami takes Melvin to a sumo dojo, where Melvin is restored to health and after thanking Masami, he heads back home to Tromaville. When he arrives back in Tromaville, Melvin is shocked to see what has become of Tromaville and quickly races home, where he rescues Claire from being attacked by Malfaire and her “Bad Girls”. Melvin then begins cleaning up the city and removing Apocalypse Inc’s influence so the Chairman decides to simply destroy the city. Carrying 300 lbs of nitroglycerin, the Black Rider rides into town with the intention of crashing into city hall so Melvin gets into a cab and chases after him. Melvin is able to stop the Black Rider’s plan, making him crash into a house and explode. Later, as the people celebrate Melvin saving the city, Big Mac Junko appears and greets his son and wife. When Melvin asks who the guy was in Japan, his father explains that that was Big Mac Bunko, and that he had been mistaken for him for years. With his father back in his life and the city safe, Melvin is able to feel good about himself, while the Chairman and Malfaire are seen trying to hitch a ride away from the city.

The Toxic Avenger Part II was absolutely panned by the critics, holding a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, the critics felt that the movie lacked the energy of the original but did admit that the cheese factor would appeal to fans of that type of movie. The original edit of the movie was over 4 hours long so Troma decided to cut the film into two separate movies. John Altamura, who was hired to play The Toxic Avenger, was fired during production and Rick Fazio, who was asked to serve as a distant shot double, ended up taking over the role. Since John Altamura’s footage was used in the movie, as well as Part III, both men’s names are listed in the credits as paying The Toxic Avenger. The movie was a box office dud, earning $792,966 off of a $2.3 million budget.

Nope, I am going to stand by my original opinion. This movie is definitely a step down from the original movie. The acting was so over the top bad at times that it honestly made the movie less enjoyable for me. Having the voice over of Melvin serving as the narrator didn’t help matters, as it honestly just started irritating the hell out of me. The story honestly felt a little weak, which I admit might be due to the fact that the movie was basically cut in half due to it’s length. One thing that did annoy me was the name changes that occurred between the first movie and the second one. I can kind of understand the reason for changing Melvin’s last name from Ferd to Junko, as it made it easier to utilize the mistaken identity of his father for Big Mac Bunko in Japan. However, I don’t understand why they changed Melvin’s girlfriend’s name from Sara to Claire. I mean, how hard is it to look up what the character’s name was in the first movie and simply continue using it. The special effects were ok but I felt like they did a lot more in the first movie with a lot less money. All told, this is a let down of a sequel and not really worth watching unless you want to watch all of The Toxic Avenger movies.

Rating: 1 1/2 out of 5

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action, comedy, horror, movie, movie review

February 3rd, 2019 Movie -The Toxic Avenger

the toxic avenger

A few weeks ago, I started watching this series of movies again and decided, what the heck, why not review them as well. So let’s get right to it as I rewatch my first introduction to the Troma Universe. I remember seeing the video case for this movie at video stores all the time but was never able to convince my parents to rent it for me. When we got cable TV, I remember catching this one night during some late night TV binge watching and thoroughly enjoying it. So lets have a bot of fun with today’s movie, The Toxic Avenger.

The plot: In the small New Jersey town of Tromaville, the toxic waste capital of the world, a young nerd named Melvin Ferd works at the local health club but is mocked by everyone there, especially Bozo, Slug, Wanda, and Julie. One day, the 4 bullies pull a prank on Melvin, with Julie seducing him into wearing a pink tutu and having him meet her in the pool area, where Melvin is tricked into kissing a sheep. As the bullies, as well as the other health club patrons, laugh and taunt him, Melvin runs from them and ends up jumping out a window, landing in a barrel of toxic waste that was in a truck parked outside. A crowd forms as Melvin reacts in pain from the toxic waste and as two police officers try to disperse the crowd, one of them touches Melvin and his hands catch on fire, while Melvin, now on fire himself, runs down the road and out of sight. Melvin makes it home and douses the flames in his bath tub but the toxic waste has caused his body to start mutating into a “hideously deformed creature of superhuman size and strength.” That night, a drug dealer named Cigar Face and his 2 flunkies attempt to bribe Officer O’Clancy but O’Clancy, one of the few honest cops in the town, refuses. The drug dealers then attack him and prepare to shoot him when Melvin appears and attacks them. Melvin kills Cigar Face’s two flunkies, shoving mops in their faces when he is done, and chases Cigar Face away, then helps O’Clancy to his feet, apologizing for his actions as he does. Later, O’Clancy tells reporters what happened, dubbing the monster a hero, but as the mayor hears of the incident, he is upset as Cigar Face works for him. Melvin attempts to go home but when his mom sees his appearance, she screams and slams the door in his face so Melvin begins making a home for himself in the local junkyard. The next day, three men (Frank, Leroy, and Rico) rob a Mexican restaurant; killing one of the patrons when he tries to stand up to them. Seeing a blind girl named Sara sitting there, Frank has Leroy kill her guide dog, then attempts to rape her when Melvin shows up to stop them. Melvin kills the three robbers then goes to check on Sara, who asks him to help her home, where Sara invites him inside and offers him a sandwich. During a press briefing, a scientist theorizes that the monster is somehow drawn to criminals due to some need to destroy evil. Melvin heads back to the Health Club and kills a drug dealer that works for the mayor, then later attacks Wanda in the sauna, burning her butt on the hot rocks. As Melvin continues to help people and stop criminals, he begins to become beloved by the citizens but the mayor, afraid Melvin will eventually attack him, decides to try and have him killed but his men fail. Meanwhile, Melvin also continues his relationship with Sara, with the two becoming more romantically involved and Sara moving into his home. Melvin returns to the Health Club to get revenge on Julie, chasing her down into the basement and cutting all of her hair off. The next day, Bozo and Slug steal a car so they can go on a hit & run spree but Melvin shows up and attacks them, throwing Slug from the car as it is moving and causes Bozo to drive off a cliff. Some time later, Melvin kills a little old woman and, feeling guilty over the incident, decides to head out to his private spot with Sara so he can avoid killing anyone else. In town, the mayor is happy to hear about the incident, as he feels he can use the attack to ensure Melvin is killed but when the chief of police tells him that the woman was the head of a white trafficking, the mayor covers up the story to ensure the people don’t learn the truth. The chief of police conducts a search for the monster and when his men spot Melvin and Sara in a field, the report back to the mayor, and the mayor calls the governor for assistance, who sends out the National Guard. As the National Guard surround the camp site, several of the citizens, including Melvin’s mom, and people that Melvin saved stand in front of Melvin, begging with the mayor to spare him. The mayor tells the National Guard and police to get the children out of there and fire but the refuse to do so. The Mayor attempts to kill Melvin but when he fails, he begs for his life and offers to cut Melvin in on his criminal business but Melvin kills him. Melvin then rejoins Sara and as the crowd cheer them, they head back to their home in the junkyard, with Melvin continuing to protect the citizens of Tromaville as the Toxic Avenger.

The Toxic Avenger met with mostly positive reviews from the critics, holding a 70% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “A silly and ribald superhero spoof, Toxic Avenger uninhibited humor hits more than it misses.” The monster Melvin turns into was never actually referred to as the Toxic Avenger by any actor in the film besides the narrator. They did not have a name for the character as the film was being made. This is proved further by the kids in the film wearing t-shirts that say “I love the monster hero”. The movie was minimally successful in theaters, earning $800,000 off of a $500,000 budget, but it would gain cult classic status due to late night showings and home video rentals, resulting in 3 sequels and a short lived cartoon series.

This movie is still as ridiculously 80’s as I remember it, and just as fun to watch. The acting was pretty decent, with Mitch Coheen doing a good job as the Toxic Avenger, with Andree Maranda and Pat Ryan doing equally good as Sara and the mayor respectively. The story was pretty much a spoof of some of the more popular comic book super heroes, where someone is accidentally exposed to radiation, in this case toxic waste, and mutates into a super strong being as a result. While making him a crime fighter was obviously the logical process, adding the part about his being drawn to and seeking out evil was a nice twist, almost making him like Ghost Rider in a sense. The special effects were pretty graphic at times, such as the kid’s head being squashed by Bozo when he runs him over, and at other times they are so totally cheesy that they make you laugh, but that blended together for a nice but of fun. An absolute staple of 80’s B-movie goodness that everyone should watch at least once.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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