comedy, fantasy, horror, movie, movie review

June 18th, 2017 Movie – Rubber

rubber

Today’s movie is one of those movies where you honestly have to wonder how on Earth this thing got made. Now I was first told of this movie by several of my friends, who knew that I love B-movies and kept telling me about the movie involving a killer tire. Seriously, a killer tire? Well that obviously got my attention so I looked it up and sure enough, there was a movie where the killer was nothing but a tire. Now I have to admit, that is definitely an original concept. So I did what comes naturally in such a situation and bought this movie, which brings us to today’s movie, Rubber.

The plot: A bunch of chairs are set up out on a desert road while nearby, a man wearing a pair of glasses stands holding a bunch of binoculars. Suddenly, a car appears and proceeds to run over all of the chairs in the road before it stops and pops the trunk. A man Lt. Chad Ballard exits the trunk and begins talking to the camera about how some elements in movies, as well as in life itself, have no reason, then says this film is an homage to “No Reason”. As he gets in the car and drives away, the man with the binoculars begins handing them out to a group of spectators that were standing there, then tells them to turn around and enjoy before he rides off on his bike. The group of people use the binoculars to look in the direction he indicated and one of them says she sees a dump nearby. In the dump, a half buried tire suddenly begins moving all on it’s own, eventually managing to stand up right and start rolling through the desert. When the tire comes across a plastic bottle, it hesitantly touches it at first but then happily crushes it, then crushes a scorpion a little while later. When it comes across a glass bottle, the tire tries to crush it but it is unable too. The tire begins shaking violently and manages to shatter the bottle with some sort of psychokinetic power. The spectators starts commenting about what the tire did before telling one man who was videotaping the events that he should stop as it is considered piracy. Back in the desert, the tire uses it’s powers to shatter a can, then continues rolling across the desert until night falls and it lays down and apparently falls asleep. The next morning, the man in glasses shows up where the spectators had fallen asleep and, after rummaging through some of their things and stealing their money, he wakes them all up to continue watching the movie. Some of the spectators members start complaining about being hungry as they start watching the tire wake up. The tire heads to a puddle and appears to drink some of the water when it notices a rabbit nearby and uses it’s powers to kill it. When the tire reaches the highway, it notices a woman, Shelia, driving by in a car and it uses it’s powers to cause the car to stall. As Shelia tries to get her car started, the tire starts rolling towards her and is prepared to kill her when it is suddenly struck by a man in truck and knocked to the side of the road. With the tire’s attention distracted, Shelia is able to get her car started and head back down the road, flipping off the man in the truck as he is stopped for gas. Meanwhile, the tire rights itself and after killing a crow, it heads off down the highway, eventually reaching the gas station and killing the man in the truck by making his head explode. The tire continues down the highway until it comes to a small inn, where it sees Shelia’s car in the parking lot. Seeing an open door, the tire approaches it and sees Shelia undressing and getting in the shower. Out in the desert, the several members of the spectators start making sexual jokes and a pair of teenage girls start complaining about them talking during the movie. Back at the hotel, Shelia finishes her shower and, noticing the open door, quickly shuts it so the tire heads into the room next door, where it proceeds to start watching TV, while out in the desert, various members of the spectators start to go to sleep as well. That night, the man in the glasses receives a phone call from someone he refers to as “Master”, and he says that he will do what he is ordered in the morning and as he hangs up the phone, a turkey is seen to be in the room with him. The man opens up a suitcase, which is full of various blades and equipment, and proceeds to kill the turkey. The next morning, the man leaves and a maid asks if he would like her to clean his room and he tells her sure, before he gets on his bike and rides off. The man head out into the desert and yells out “Food” before dropping the cooked turkey onto the ground. A feeding frenzy occurs as all of the spectators, except for a man in a wheelchair, begin ripping apart the turkey and eating whatever they can grab. Back at the inn, the maid begins cleaning the room that the tire was in when she hears the shower running and sees the tire inside the tub. The maid grabs the tire and throws it out of the room, thinking some freaks brought it in there, but the tire gets up and rolls back into the room and shutting the door. The owner’s son sees this and tries to tell his dad what he saw but his dad doesn’t believe him and sends him to get a pizza. Back in it’s hotel room, the tire had killed the maid and is watching TV when it notices Shelia heading towards the pool and it follows her there and watches as she swims for a while and then leaves. Meanwhile, the owner’s son is on his way back with the pizza when he sees the dead crow and places some of the exploded meat onto the pizza. Meanwhile, the tire rolls into the pool and proceeds to sink to the bottom. Back in the desert, some members of the spectators start debating on if tires can sink or float when suddenly they all start complaining of pain in their stomachs. When one of them asks what is going on, the man in the wheelchair explains that they poisoned the turkey in the hopes that it would kill off all of the spectators so they wouldn’t have to finish the movie but he plans on continuing watching the show. Back at the inn, the boy returns and knocks on the door to the tire’s room when it suddenly opens and he sees the maid’s body. The police arrive as Shelia finishes eating and leaves the inn. The son shows his father and the Ballard the tire in the pool and his father yells at him for telling stories and then tells him to get the tire out of the pool. When the boy tries to convince them about the tire, the owner yells at him to leave, then throws the tire after him. Ballard proceeds to ask the owner a few questions when an alarm goes off and he says that they can stop as the poison has done it’s work. Gathering the paramedics and other officers over to him, Ballard proceeds to tell them to go home as the movie is over but they all react with confusion. Ballard tells them that none of this is real, then has one of the officers shoot him to reveal that it is merely blanks and fake blood. When they question him about the body, he tells them to check the bag but when they tell him it is still a corpse, Ballard looks confused. The man in glasses approaches and tells Ballard that one of the spectators survived and they have to go on, so Ballard apologizes to the other officers. He heads back to the owner to ask him some more questions but the tire rights itself and kills the owner, then rolls away. The tire rolls on and encounters the son, who tries to talk to it but it ignores him and rolls away and the son quickly tells Ballard and the other officers where he went. Meanwhile, the man in glasses brings up some various items of food to the man in the wheelchair, who ignores him and continues watching the movie and the man in glasses starts watching, then begins eating the food himself, falling victim to the poison intended for the spectator. The tire is chased by a police car but it kills the driver, then keeps rolling until it comes to a group of men that are burning a large mound of tires. 3 days later, the tire has gone on a rampage and killed dozens of people. The police find the tire hiding inside a house watching Nascar, after it has killed the family. Using Shelia to help them, the police set up a dummy and have her broadcast through a speaker to try and lure the tire out of the house. As Shelia and Ballard argue over what he she is supposed to say, they are surprised when the man in the wheelchair knocks on the door to the van and tells them the scene makes no sense. One of the other officers says they wouldn’t even be there if he had eaten the turkey and the spectator apologizes for that and asks that they try and speed things up. The tire eventually blow the head off the dummy but it doesn’t trigger the dynamite like it was supposed to. Ballard grabs a shotgun and heads inside to kill the tire himself, then throws the shredded tire at the spectator, saying “The end. Good-bye.” The spectator complains about the ending when he sees a tricycle rolling out of the house and tells them to come back as it’s not over yet. The spectator then tries reasoning with the tricycle, saying he isn’t an actor, but it blows him up, then heads off down the road. Shelia is dropped off at her car and as she prepares to leave, she sees the tricycle riding past her. As it makes it’s way though the city, other tires begin rising up and following after it

Rubber met with mostly praise from the critics, holding a 68% review on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “A clever premise gets plenty of comic blood and violence, but its hampered by some questionable storytelling techniques from director Quentin Dupieux.” In a bit of irony, one of the spectators was played by Daniel Quinn, who starred in a movie called Scanner Cop where he had psionic powers and could make people’s head’s explode, just like the tire. The movie had a limited release, making about $100k off of a $500k budget.

This is one of the most honest movies you will ever watch because they tell you at the beginning of the movie that it makes no sense. So as long as you are fully aware of that, this movie can be entertaining to watch in a “so good it’s bad” kind of way. The acting was ok for the most part, though I admit that Roxane Mesquida, Shelia, could have done a better job. The story was complete nonsense and never explained, which is exactly it was supposed to be. I did think it was funny when Ballard was half-heartedly interviewing the inn’s owner when his alarm went off and he basically was like “Quitting time. I am so out of here.” The special effects were pretty good, especially in regarding the remote control tire, as I guess that was probably harder than you would expect to try and hide the hardware inside an empty, rolling tire. This is not a great movie by any stretch of the imagination but it is worth a watch for the spectacle if nothing else.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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

June 1st, 2017 Movie – Roadkill (2011)

roadkill

Man, here I was thinking that it had been a while since I had watched one of the Maneater series of movie, and now I get my second one in less than a week. Now by the time this movie came out, I no longer had cable so I didn’t necessarily catch when a lot of these movie would air on Syfy. So my options were to try and find it online, or wait to pick it up on DVD. Naturally, I would do both but there were times that it got to be a bit tricky finding safe sites to watch the movie on so I pretty much got tired of it and started just buying them on DVD, usually when they were released in a 3-pack of movies. So let’s get right into today’s movie, Roadkill (2011).

The plot: In rural Ireland, a cop is hiding in a barn while waiting for his partner to show up but before his partner arrives, a large creature smashes through the roof of the barn and flies off with the cop, leaving his partner staring at a hole in the ceiling when he finally gets there. Sometime later, Kate is unpacking some boxes after just moving to Ireland and her friend Anita is helping her when Kate’s brother Joel shows up. Meanwhile, Kate’s ex Ryan and their friends Tommy and Chuck are pulling up in an RV, with Chuck and Tommy giving Ryan a hard time about still having feelings for Kate. As they pull up to Kate’s apartment and start loading the bags, another friend, Hailey, shows up and they set off for a tour of Ireland. After a couple of hours on the road, they make a pit stop at a small shop and while everyone heads inside, Kate takes the opportunity to try and talk to Ryan alone for a few minutes. When Ryan goes looking around, a one-eyed woman approaches Kate and offers to tell her fortune. Kate says no at first but when the woman says that Ryan is Kate’s true love, she asks if they will get back together, the woman freaks out as Ryan approaches and says that they should leave right now. Back inside the shop, Anita notices the necklace that the shop owner, Luca, is wearing and asks how much it is and he tells her it is not for sale but when she offers him 100 euros, he agrees to sell it to her but as they are leaving, she opens the box to find a different necklace inside. Chuck takes the box and confronts Luca about the switch but Luca dismisses him so Chuck grabs the necklace off of Luca and has everyone run back into the RV. Chuck starts to drive off but the accidentally hits the one-eyed woman with the RV and when they get out to check on her, they find her barely alive and she curses them, saying that the roc will kill them all, before she dies. As Luca and the others exit the shop, the kids quickly get back in the RV and drive off, arguing over whose fault this was. As they are driving, a thick fog suddenly envelopes them and as they make their way through it, they hear the sounds of something scraping against the roof of the car. When they finally break out of the fog, they find themselves completely lost and are shocked to see a kid standing in front of them, making the throat slash gesture towards them. Realizing that they need directions, Anita goes outside to ask the kid only for him to run off and before she can get back in the car, the roc swoops down and grabs Anita in it’s claws and flies off. As the others cry out in shock, Anita’s body suddenly drops from the sky and as she stands up, the others are horrified to see that her face is all slashed up, just as the roc returns and flies off with her again. As they drive off, they keep trying to call for help while the roc continuously flies at them and it eventually causes them to blow a tire when they swerve to avoid it. Ryan and Tommy play rock paper scissors to see who goes out there and when Tommy loses, Ryan hands him a walkie talkie and a flare, saying it is the only thing they have to use as a weapon. As Tommy works on changing the tire, the others keep watch and try to warn Tommy when they think it is getting close. Tommy finishes with the tire but looks up to find the roc perched on top of the RV and he pops the flare as it lunges at him. The others hear the noise and go outside only to see Tommy with half of his face ripped off and Ryan tries to help him but the others drag him back inside as the roc grabs Tommy and flies off, ripping his head off in the process. As Ryan and Chuck argue over what happened to Tommy, the roc attacks the RV again and they start driving again and see a house in the distance. As the roc flies away, they quickly drive up to the house and head inside, asking the inhabitants if they can use the phone. A woman, Drina, points them towards the phone but as Ryan starts dialing, Luca shows up. Seeing the kids, Luca tells Drina that they killed Nadine (the old woman) and when asks them for the medallion. When he asks where Anita is, Kate tells him that she is dead, as is Tommy, and they ask him to lift the curse but he says only the one who cast the curse can remove it. Luca escorts them outside at gunpoint and plans on taking them into the forest so the roc can kill them but when Kate says she knows where the medallion is, he has Drina go with Kate while he takes the others, promising to let them go when he gets the medallion back. Luca leads Ryan and the others to a spot int the woods where they find the remains of other people tied up to stakes and Luca and his friend proceed to tie them up to the stakes. Meanwhile, Kate leads Drina inside and opens the safe in the RV but when Drina sees that it is empty, she tells the man that accompanied them to shoot Kate but Kate grabs the shotgun and shoots the man, then knocks out Drina. As the roc approaches the others, Kate shows up and frees Ryan and they proceed to free the Joel, Hailey, and Chuck but when the roc swoops down towards them, it catches sight of the medallion, which Kate was wearing, and suddenly flies off. As everyone wanders what happened, Hailey is shot in the stomach by Luca and the others quickly make a run for it through the forest. Ryan, Kate, Chuck, and Joel find a place to hide as Luca and his family search for them but they end up getting separated when they are shot at. Ryan and Chuck run through the forest and come to a hunting camp when Chuck notices that Ryan was shot. Realizing that the blood will leave a trail, Ryan grabs some dead rabbits and uses their blood to lure Luca and the other man away. Kate and Joel run into Ryan and Chuck and they head back to the RV but Kate trips and is confronted by Drina. Drina demands the medallion and when Kate throws it to the side, she knocks Drina down when she reaches for it and quickly puts it back on while Ryan grabs Drina’s shotgun. Drina begs them for the medallion and as the roc approaches, Kate realizes it is some sort of protection from the roc as she and Ryan run inside the RV while Drina is killed by the roc. As Chuck drives down the road, Joel tends to Ryan’s wounds and then tells Chuck to stop when he sees a rest stop nearby. Ryan comes up with a plan to have the others use the RV to lure the roc away while he makes his way through the woods to the rest stop to try and call for help. As he steps out of the RV, Kate hands him the medallion but Ryan kisses her goodbye and secretly slips the medallion back in her pocket. As the roc approaches, Chuck starts driving and it begins following them, allowing Ryan to make it to the rest stop and try to call for help. When the roc heads towards the rest stop, Kate and the others go back to try and rescue him and distract the roc, managing to chase it away when Kate uses some hairspray and a lighter to make a flamethrower but when they check on Ryan, they find the phone damaged and covered in blood. As they hide in the bathroom, they hear a cop car approaching and go out to ask if Ryan called him but the cop pulls a gun on them. After getting the medallion from Kate, the cop has them lie on the ground and starts to bind their wrists, explaining that they can’t lift their curse but he can lift his by making sure the roc kills them and he brings the medallion back. Kate manages to grab his billy club and knock him down, then frees the others but as she goes to get the medallion, the cop grabs her. Joel and Chuck save her and Chuck knocks her out, then they head back to the RV while Kate heads to the police car to try and radio for help. When the roc attacks the police car, Joel goes to save Kate but drops the medallion and as he grabs it, the roc flies towards them, he quickly throws it to Kate just before the roc grabs him and flies off. Chuck manages to get Kate back in the RV and when he sees the police officer getting up, runs him over and then drives away. As they are driving, they get a call from Ryan’s cell but when Kate answers it, they can’t hear anything. They try calling Ryan and hear his phone ringing in the woods so Kate runs off looking for him, with Chuck following after her with the cop’s shotgun. Kate runs into Luca, who is holding Ryan’s phone, and he tells Kate that Ryan is inside the roc’s nest but is already dead. As Kate jumps into the nest and sees Ryan’s body, as well as those of their friends, Chuck chases off Luca and tries to get Kate to leave with him. Kate hands him the medallion and grabs the shotgun, telling Chuck to leave her and after he does, she begins firing wildly into the air in an attempt to kill the roc but when she runs out of shells, she turns to see the roc behind her and it quickly kills her. Chuck drives away and makes a call to his parents, leaving a voicemail for them, when he sees a sign for Dublin and starts to celebrate. Realizing he is almost of gas, he manages to find a gas station and starts pumping gas only to see Luca there. Luca asks him for the medallion and Chuck sets the gas pump down, with it still pumping gas, and tosses the medallion to him. As the roc approaches, Chuck races back into the RV, then ducks out the back as the roc crashes through the windshield to try and get him. Pulling out a lighter, Chuck lights it and then throws it into the pool of gas, causing an explosion that kills Luca and blows up the RV, knocking Chuck to the ground but as Chuck recovers, he sees the roc flying towards him and realizes he failed to kill it.

This movie had a lot of promise but kind of flaked out towards the end. The acting was ok, with Kacey Clarke (Kate) and Ned Dennehy (Luca) doing the best jobs. The story wasn’t entirely original, with the idea of a gypsy cursing people being used plenty of times before, but the idea of the gypsy family somewhat worshiping and caring for the roc being an added twist to the story. The special effects were about what you would expect, but I actually did like how the roc looked, giving it a somewhat unique look instead of making it look like just another giant bird. A fun movie to watch and a good entry into the series.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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fantasy, horror, Maneater series, movie, movie review

May 29th, 2017 Movie – Rise Of The Gargoyles

rise of the gargoyles

I apologize for being late posting yesterday’s movie review. As it turns out, some friends decided that since my 40th birthday is coming up, they decided to take me out on the lake and have me go FlyBoarding yesterday. I will admit, I had a blast doing it, though I did face plant into the water several times. Anyways, it has been a long time since I have watched one of the “Maneater” series of movies for this blog so let’s get right into today’s movie, Rise Of The Gargoyles.

The plot: In Paris, France, two construction workers are working underground on demolishing an old church and discover an ancient buried catacomb hidden behind a wall. As they explore the catacomb, thinking they can find something valuable inside, they find an iron grate covering an opening and pull off the grate to check inside only for a gargoyle to awaken and kill them both. The next day, Professor Jack Randall is teaching a class on gargoyles in the use of gothic architecture when his friend/agent Carol Beckham tells him that the draft for his book has been turned down. After speaking about his divorce, Carol tries cheering Jack by telling him about something interesting that was found underneath Saint Jean Andre Church. The two sneak onto the grounds and head down into the hidden chambers and begin exploring, As they separate to look around, Carol finds some strange oblong stones and places them in her purse. Meanwhile, Jack is taking video and pictures of everything when he hears something pounding against a wooden door and when he tries using the video camera to see what it is, he sees something charging at the door. Jack grabs Carol and they leave the catacombs but later, as they are at a cafe talking about everything inside there, Jack says he wants to go back during the day. Suddenly, they hear a car alarm going off and find that Jack’s car has been destroyed and as he approaches it, a body suddenly drops from the sky and lands on the car. Inspector Gibert questions them about what happened but they have no answers and tell the same thing to Nicole Ricard, a news reporter for a somewhat disreputable newspaper. That night, Carol is in her apartment when the power suddenly goes out and as she is stumbling in the dark, she is attacked by a gargoyle. Carol manages to escape onto the roof and tries to call for help but the gargoyle flies up behind her and decapitates her. The next day, Jack can’t reach Carol and decides to head over to her apartment, where he discovers the wreckage from the gargoyle attack and Carol’s body. At the police station, Gilbert questions Jack and tells him he is a suspect, not just in Carol’s murder and the man that fell on his car, but for several other similar murders that have occurred recently. Returning to his hotel, Jack gets drunk and the next day, he looks through the pictures of the church and notices a gargoyle that was on the side of the church in pamphlets for it, but not in the pictures he took the night before. Going to the church, he sees a priest, Father Gable, arguing with the workers who are tearing it down but the priest is angry and refuses to talk to Jack. Returning to his hotel room, Jack sees a news story from Nicole’s station and gives her a call, asking to meet with her in order to discuss Carol’s murder. As he is leaving, he is stopped by Gilbert, who takes Jack to breakfast and tells him another girl was murdered close to his hotel. As Gilbert suggests a motive for Jack killing Carol, as it was her pushing that lead to him writing a controversial book that ruined his career, Jack gets angry and leaves. Jack heads to the station to speak with Nicole and her cameraman, Walsh, and tries to explain his theory about what killed Carol and hands them his busted camera, suggesting they try to repair it and see if he has proof of his claim that a real life gargoyle exists and killed Carol and the others. When Jack leaves, Walsh thinks he is crazy but Nicole says they should see if he did see something and tells Walsh to work on the camera while she heads over to Carol’s apartment to see if she can find anything herself. As Nicole is looking around, she discovers the strange rocks that Carol had taken from the church only to discover that it glows in the dark but when she holds it to the sunlight to get a better look, it stops glowing. Nicole heads back to the station, where Walsh excitedly tells her that he restored the video and it shows the gargoyle hiding beneath the church. They try getting in touch with Jack but when they can’t Nicole decides to head to his hotel. Meanwhile, Jack, having gotten Walsh’s message, shows up at the studio just as Nicole calls as she is being attacked by the gargoyle. Nicole realizes it is after the stone, which is actually and egg, and rolls it out from under the car she is hiding under and the gargoyle grabs it and flies off just as Jack and Walsh arrive. Jack and Nicole try to explain what they saw to Gilbert but he doesn’t believe them so Jack says they have to stop the creature themselves. Meanwhile, Gilbert has the evidence from Carol’s apartment brought to him and finds another egg in one of the bags and takes it with him as he leaves. Jack, Nicole, and Walsh head to the catacomb under the church and find Father Gable there with a dead body. Gable had planned on using the body as bait to lure the gargoyle back to the catacomb and tells them that it has always been underneath the church. Elsewhere, Gilbert arrives at the scene of where the pizza boy was killed and looks around, finally discovering the body. As he pulls out the egg and notices it glowing, the gargoyle grabs him and kills him. Jack, Nicole, Walsh, and Gable make a plan for finding and killing the gargoyle when the gargoyle appears again and goes after, trying to grab the eggs she is carrying. When they see it go back into the church, Jack, Walsh, and Gable head inside, with Jack convincing Nicole to stay in the van.  Jack look inside to try and locate the creature and realize that it has gone back to the catacomb and make their way down there. Meanwhile, Nicole sees Gable grabbing several sets of explosives and realizes he plans on blowing up the creature, along with Jack and Walsh, and she heads out to follow him. As they all end up in the catacombs, Nicole finds Jack and warns him about Gable just as the gargoyle appears but Gable begins shooting at it and lures it away from them. Jack and Nicole find Walsh and they try to find their way out but the end up discovering the gargoyle’s nest, filled with more eggs.. Jack and Nicole explore the nest while they send Walsh to look for Gable but he finds no sign of him. Walsh rejoins Jack and Nicole and they use a powerful UV strobe light to begin smashing the eggs. When the gargoyle shows up, they manage to get away and head back into the church but the gargoyle attacks them, injuring Gable. They manage to use the strobe light to stop the gargoyle temporarily and Gable reveals he has the last egg, then tells Jack and the others to leave as he lures the gargoyle towards him and blows himself and the gargoyle up. As Jack, Nicole, and Walsh recover from the blast, Jack says that this would make for great material in a book, while Walsh reveals he has the tape of the gargoyle, saving his and Nicole’s career at the station.

To be honest, this was a decent movie, but a little disappointing on the whole. The acting was good, with Eric Balfour (Jack), Caroline Neron (Nicole), and Justin Salinger (Walsh) doing a good job in their roles. The story was ok but I honestly expected a bit more depth to it. I felt like they could have done more with the history of the gargoyle and the ancient church believing it to be a sign of Satan. I also didn’t really like the very end of the movie, not because the three lived through it all, but because it just kind of ends with “Oh, I’m going to write a new book.” “We are going to be famous.” The special effects were pretty good and a bit on the gory side, which honestly wasn’t really necessary for the movie. Not the best entry in the series but an enjoyable bit of time killing entertainment.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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drama, fantasy, horror, movie, movie review, Uncategorized

May 23rd, 2017 Movie – Rasen

rasen

Ok, now this is a perfect example of me completely falling asleep on the job. Back in the dying days of Blockbuster, I was buying dozens of movies for cheap at the nearby stores. Well, one day I noticed that they had almost all of the Ring movies, both the Japanese and American remakes, and decided to purchase them. Key word there is ALMOST. See, the one movie that the did not have was Ringu, the original Japanese version of The Ring (2002). No worries though, I said to myself, I will simply find it somewhere else or buy it online. Obviously, I never actually got around to doing that which is why I end up watching the original sequel to that movie today. Well, time to stop kicking myself for being a procrastinator and watch today’s movie, Rasen.

The plot: Mitsuo Ando, suffering from his own bout of depression, receives a phone call telling him that Ryuji Takayama, a friend from medical school, is dead and he is to perform an autopsy on the body. When Ando arrives at work, he finds several police there discussing the matter and how there are no signs of foul play but no sign as to why he died either. Ando performs the autopsy but as it is nearly finished, he has a vision of Ryuji’s body suddenly sitting up and commenting about how Ando can’t even slit his own wrists but he can cut up his body. As Ando is washing off after the autopsy, one of his assistants hands him a note that was found inside Ryuji’s stomach. Ando speaks with the detective assigned to the case, who tells him about Ryuji having reconnected with his ex-wife Reiko Asakawa but the day Ryuji died, she disappeared along with their son Yoichi. The detective has Ando try and speak with Ryuji’s girlfriend, Mai Takano, and Ando asks her some questions concerning Ryuji’s health before he died. When the detective starts asking her questions, Mai ends up fainting and wakes up to find Ando looking after her. The two talk and Mai says that Ryuji had mentioned Ando before and talked about how they came up with coded messages during med school. She mentions the video and then says that Ryuji told her that only Ando could figure out what is going on. Mai heads back to Ryuji’s apartment, where she has a vision of how Ryuji died as well as a flashback to when she found him and she breaks down and cries over the chalk outline left in the floor. The next day, Ando is discussing the case with his boss when they receive a phone call from the police saying that they found Reiko and Yoichi, as she had been involved in a car crash. When Ando and his boss show up at the scene, the detective tells him that it appears that Yoichi was already dead before the crash occurred. When a man, Yoshino, photographs the inside of the car, the detective yells at him and Yoshino explains that he was Reiko’s boss and points out a smashed video deck in the car, which draws Ando’s interest. Later, Ando is talking to Mai about the crash and she talks about how Ryuji was acting before he died. Yoshino shows up at the med school to speak to Ando and shows him Reiko’s diary, which describes a video tape that somehow kills people. Reiko first heard about it when 4 people watched the tape and then all died a week later from heart attacks. She went and found the tape and learned of Sadako Yamamura, the young woman that is on the tape. Yoshino says that Reiko believed if you made a copy of the tape and showed it to someone else, then you would be spared from the tape’s curse. Yoshino then hands Ando the dub of the tape that he found in Reiko’s apartment and hands it to him, saying it is a present. When Ando gets home, he works on trying to decipher the coded message that was found in Ryuji’s stomach and realizes it spells present. Figuring it means the tape, Ando watches it and ends up being visited by Sadako’s spirit and he quickly smashes the tape. The next day, he goes to see Yoshino and tells him not to report on Sadako and tells him to give him the copy of the tape that he made so that he can destroy it, so that he will be the last victim but Yoshino refuses and Ando ends up being knocked unconscious when he tries to attack Yoshino for the tape. Ando talks to Mai and says he believes Ryuji knew this would happen and he would ensure all of the copies of the tape were destroyed after he got what he wanted. When Mai asks what he means, he tells her about his son dying and how he wanted to kill himself but keeps chickening out so by watching the tape, he will get his wish but Mai says that Ryuji wouldn’t have wanted that. Ando goes to see Yoshino at his home and sees pictures of scenes from the tape and accuses Yoshino of watching it. Yoshino swears he didn’t and hands Ando the diary and the copy of the tape he had but as he heads to his room, he collapses to the floor. Ando checks on him and determines he is dead, just as Mai shows up and Ando quickly ushers her out of the room. Ando smashes the tape and says that he will be the curse’s last victim and Mai tries to console him as he admits that he is afraid of dying. Ando and Mai end up having sex and afterwards, Ando asks if Mai will stay with him when he dies but she tells him she is too scared. Ando then decides to figure out what the curse could actually be and thinks it could be smallpox, as there was a smallpox clinic in the area where Sadako was killed, and has some cultures taken from him to see if he has it. Meanwhile, Mai wakes up feeling sick and heads to her bathroom to vomit but when she looks in the mirror, she sees Sadako standing behind her and when Ando goes to see Mai later, she has vanished. The next day, Ando gets the results back from his cultures and is told that he shows no sign of the virus, but Ando notices that his friend Miyashita, is coughing much like Yoshino was. Ando sees Mai in the lobby and the two sneak off to a stairway to make out but Ando is shocked when Mai licks him much like Sadako did in his dream. When a body is fished out of an air shaft, Ando is called to the hospital and sees that it is Mai. The detective tells him that it looked like she had just given birth but there was no sign of the baby. As Ando heads back to his car, Miyashita approaches him, showing signs of infection, and says the diary also contains the virus, as both he and Yoshino never saw the video, and asks Ando how he cured himself but Ando says he didn’t do anything. Ando heads to the office to find the Mai look-a-like retrieving Reiko’s diary from his desk. She reveals herself to be Sadako, reborn when he had sex with Mai and explains how this came to be. She then tells Ando that the same process that allowed her to be reborn could let him bring his son back as well. Ando gets Miyashita to help him, though Miyashita says they are basically selling out the world to Sadako. Some time later, Ando is on the beach with his son when he is approached by Ryuji and Mai/Sadako. Ryuji says that Reiko’s diary is being turned into a novel and the virus will spread all over the world and after they leave, Ando feels guilty about what he did but chooses to accept it as he stares out into the ocean with his son.

Since I have not seen the original movie, I honestly can’t say how good of a sequel this is. On it’s own merits, this is a little weird and not quite what I expected. The acting was ok, with Koichi Sato (Ando) and Miki Nakatani (Mai) doing good jobs in their roles. The story was a bit confusing and tried to make this less of a supernatural horror movie and more of a medical/science style movie instead. From what I read, this is supposed to be closer to the book it is based on but it still just made it feel boring. There wasn’t much in the way of special effects but the camera work in the movie did a good job of giving this a more suspenseful tone than expected. A decent movie but definitely confusing and really serves to make me watch the first movie that much more.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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fantasy, horror, movie, movie review

May 8th, 2017 Movie – Pumpkinhead

pumpkinhead

One of these days, I am going to remember to check and make sure my alarm clock is not turned off on Sunday night. That way, I don’t oversleep and find myself rushed to try and get things done in the morning. So anyways, today I am watching yet another movie from a horror movie collection my friend Mark gave me. I always kind of laugh when I think of this series, not so much for this movie itself, but for one of it’s sequels. This is due to the fact that some friends of mine, knowing my love of sci-fi/horror movies, had made a comment about the sequel, as it was on Syfy at the time, and asked me if I had seen it, to which my response was which one as there were three of them, and about a week later, they laughingly told me that one of the later sequels happened to be on which made them think of me. So here is one of the forgotten horror movies of the 80’s, Pumpkinhead.

The plot: In 1957, young Ed Harley is getting ready for bed when his father, Tom, goes outside and his mother, Ellie, watches as he does something to their truck, then goes and puts their horses in the barn and locks it. Tom returns to the house and sits down in a chair holding his shotgun and waits. Outside, a man is running for his life and is attacked by something, injuring the mans leg. When the man reaches Tom’s cabin, he pounds on the door and begs for help but Tom refuses, saying that he knows nothing about what happened and can’t risk his family by getting involved. The man goes to try and continue running but is caught and killed by something, which Ed witnesses from the window. In the present day, Ed, now an adult, is having breakfast with his son Billy, who gives Ed a necklace he made, and they soon leave to go open their grocery store. Meanwhile, 6 teenagers (Chris, Joel, Kim, Steve, Maggie, and Tracey) are heading towards a cabin and make a stop at the grocery store and Joel, who is annoyed when everyone yells at him for making fun of Billy’s glasses, gets on one of the dirt bikes they brought and starts riding around the area behind the shop. As the others continue shopping, a truck pulls up and Mr. Wallace gets out and heads inside the store, telling his kids to wait by the truck. While he is inside, one of his kids takes Billy’s baseball but the others tease him about it, saying that Pumpkinhead is going to get him, scaring the boy until Tracey yells at them to stop. Steve goes and gets another dirt bike and starts riding with Joel as the others watch while Ed tells Billy to stay in the store while he goes to get something back at the house. When Billy’s dog runs out of the store and chases after the dirt bikes, Billy runs after him and is accidentally run over by Joel. As the others rush to check on Billy, Joel quickly puts the bike back on the trailer and tells Kim to get in the car so they can leave. Steve tells the others to leave as well and says he will stay with Billy until his father returns. When Ed returns and sees Billy, Steve tries to explain that it was an accident but Ed just stares at him as he takes Billy’s body to his truck and drives off. At the cabin, Tracey goes inside to call for help while Chris helps Maggie, who is in shock, but Joel rips out the phone cord and explains that he is on probation for injuring a girl in a vehicle accident and this could send him to jail. Chris wants to go get help but Joel knocks him out then locks him and Tracey in a closet. Ed goes to deliver some supplies to the Wallace house and asks Wallace where he can find an old woman that is rumored to be a witch. Wallace refuses to tell him, saying he is sorry for Ed’s loss but he can’t help him with that. As Ed drives away, Wallace’s oldest grandson, Bunt, stops Ed and tells him he knows who he is looking for. Ed has Bunt get in the back of the truck and Bunt gives him directions, getting off halfway there and telling Ed to stay on the road until he comes to a cabin. When Ed gets to the cabin, the old woman, Haggis, says that raising the dead is beyond her power and when the witch gets Ed to say that he wants revenge, she says that comes at a terrible price but directs him to an old graveyard and tells him to dig up one of the bodies there and bring it back. When Ed does this, Haggis uses some of Ed’s blood and that of Billy to transform the corpse into a giant demon, and Ed passes out as the demon rises up. When Ed comes too, Haggis tells him he can leave and he heads back home, stopping at a cemetery to bury Billy. Meanwhile, Steve is arguing with Joel about him needing to do the right thing when Maggie suddenly gets up and walks outside and Steve goes after him. As Steve catches up to Maggie and tries to snap her out of her trance, he is suddenly attacked by Pumpkinhead. As Maggie runs back to the cabin to get help, Ed has visions of what is happening. Joel decides to turn himself in and goes to let Chris and Tracey out when Maggie bursts in and tells them about Steve. Joel and Chris go looking for Steve but only find his bloody bandana and they head back to the cabin and tell the girls. Maggie wants to keep looking for Steve but as she walks outside, they see Steve’s body drop from the ceiling and Pumpkinhead grabs Maggie and drags her up onto the roof. While Joel and Kim take Steve’s body inside, Tracey and Chris go after Maggie but find no sign of her. Meanwhile, Ed continues to see what is happening and goes to see Haggis and begs her to make it stop but she says she can’t, as it has to run it’s course. Back at the cabin, Joel and Kim see Maggie shoved through the window and Kim passes out while Joel goes outside and screams out that he is the one it wants. When he heads back inside, he sees Pumpkinhead approaching Kim and tries to attack it with a knife but it easily disarms him and knocks him aside, then takes Kim away. When Chris and Tracey return, Joel tells them what happened and they go looking for Kim and see Pumpkinhead high up in a tree with Kim, just before he drops her onto some rocks below, killing her. Chris, Tracey, and Joel go to some of the neighbor’s houses asking for help but nobody helps them. One man shoots at them to get off his property but when Pumpkinhead shows up, he quickly runs away. As Pumpkinhead approaches them, Ed shows up and shoots it, seemingly killing it and Joel goes to check the body, shooting it for himself as well. Suddenly, Pumpkin head knocks Joel down and impales him with his own rifle. As Ed sees the attack in his mind, a dog attacks him and Pumpkinhead screams in pain as well and leaves. In the wallace house, Bunt decides to sneak out, making his sister swear not to tell anyone. He approaches Chris and Tracey and takes them to the remains of an old church, thinking it might be a safe place for them. When Pumpkinhead shows up, they quickly run for it when they see it enter the church. Meanwhile, Ed tries to get Wallace to help him kill Pumpkinhead but they refuse to help him and force him to get off their property. Chris, Tracey, and Bunt head for the trail and Chris goes to see if the dirt bike still works but as he starts it up, Pumpkinhead appears, holding the drive chain. Pumpkinhead picks up the bike, with Chris still on it, and throws it into a ravine and Bunt take Tracey and runs. They run into Ed, who takes them to his house and Tracey tries to apologize and tell him it was an accident. Meanwhile, Pumpkinhead drags Chris to Ed’s house and Ed, seeing the visions of this, turns to Tracey and his face is starting to mirror Pumpkinhead’s. When Pumpkin head reaches the house, he finds Bunt hiding in the closet and grabs him, planning on killing him for helping Chris and Tracey. Ed stumbles outside with a flamethrower to face Pumpkinhead but when the hose catches on a nail, he accidentally stabs his arm with a pitchfork. Pumpkinhead screams in pain and lets Bunt go and Ed sees that it’s face is starting to look like him. Ed races to his car as Tracey grabs the flamethrower and attempts to kill Pumpkinhead but it ignores the flames and grabs her. Suddenly, Ed shoots himself in the head and Pumpking lets Tracey go and collapses to the ground. As Tracey looks on, she notices Ed is still alive just as Pumpkinhead grabs Bunt. Ed is reaching for the pistol he dropped and when Tracey picks it up, he begs her to kill him and when he gets up and approaches her, she quickly shoots him several times, killing Ed and Pumpkinhead falls to the ground and bursts into flames. Sometime later, Haggis is seen burying Ed’s body, still wearing Billy’s necklace, in the grave that Pumpkinhead came from.

Pumpkinhead met with mixed results from the critics, holding a 65% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, most of the critics praised the special effects and monster design. The movie was given a limited release in October of 1988, then a full release in January of 1989 but the movie only earned $4.4 million domestically at the box office. Despite the poor box office, Pumpkinhead had three sequels, one direct to video and two made for TV, and a remake is in the works.

You know, when I was a kid I didn’t think much about this movie, labeling it as just another one of the slasher movies to come out of the 80’s, but watching it now, it actually isn’t that bad. the acting was pretty good, with Lance Henriksen (Ed) doing a pretty good job in his role, as did Cynthia Bain (Tracey) and Brian Bremer (Bunt). The story was interesting, though the idea of someone resorting to the supernatural for revenge isn’t that original, but I liked the character growth of Ed and how he realized he screwed up and made the ultimate sacrifice in order to try and set things right. The special effects were pretty good and I have to give props to the monster design, as it is one of the last full body props before studios started using more CGI tech for their monsters. Not necessarily a great classic among the horror movies but definitely an underrated film that got lost in the shuffle.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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April 7th, 2017 Movie – Doctor Strange (2016)

doctor strange (2016)

You know what can be a pain in the ass, when two major companies decide to have a pissing contest. See, like many other people, when I see a movie I really enjoy in theaters, I tend to go on Amazon and pre-order it for when it comes out on Blu-Ray/DVD. So after I saw today’s movie in theaters, I went to go pre-order it but for some reason, it was not available for pre-order. After another movie I wanted to pre-order was not available, I learned that Disney (who owns the MCU movies) and Amazon were having an issue regarding their pre-order pricing so they were not available to pre-order. Well all that does is annoy customers like me but I got over it and went out to an actual store and bought today’s movie, Doctor Strange (2016).

The plot: In a temple in Kathmandu, Nepal, Master Kaecilius and his followers break into the library, kill the guard, and steal some pages from an ancient spell book. When the Ancient One shows up, Kaecilius summons a portal and he and his men escape to London but the Ancient One follows them and traps them in a mirror dimension. Kaecilius calls the Ancient One a hypocrite as his men begin fighting her but the Ancient One uses her magic to defend herself and kill the men attacking her. While she is distracted, Kaecilius uses his magic to summon another portal and he escapes with his remaining followers. In New York City, Dr. Stephen Strange, a brilliant but arrogant neurosurgeon, is finishing up a surgery when he notices Christine Palmer, a fellow doctor and his ex-girlfriend, standing outside the doors. When he goes to talk to her, she shows him the file for a gunshot victim and that the attending surgeon had declared the patient brain dead. Strange rushes to the ER and stops them from harvesting the victim’s organs, then performs surgery to remove the bullet from the man’s head, saving his life. That night, Strange is driving to a speaking engagement and talking to his friend/agent Billy about new cases to help increase his fame when he gets into a car crash and his hands are crushed in the accident. When Strange regains consciousness in the hospital, Christine tries to explain to Strange what happened but he is more focused on what happened to his hands. Strange signs up for every experimental treatment he can think of but none of them are able to heal his hands. When his physical therapists tells him of a paralyzed man named Pangborn that was able to walk again, and sends Strange the files to back up his claim. Strange goes to see Pangborn, who takes pity on Strange and sends him to Kamar-Taj. Making his way to Nepal, Strange tries to locate Kamar-Taj and after being attacked by muggers, he is rescued by Mordo, who takes him to Kamar-Taj. Inside an unassuming building, Strange meets the Ancient One, who attempts to tell strange that he will be able to heal his body by healing his spirit. Strange thinks she is a fraud but when the Ancient One forces his astral form out of his body, then sends Strange on a whirlwind tour of some other dimensions, he begs her to teach him. The Ancient One refuses and kicks Strange out of the building but he refuses to leave. Inside, Mordo questions the Ancient One’s reasons and she admits that Strange reminds her of Kaecilius but relents and allows Strange to be trained. Strange struggles with the basic spells, blaming the damage to his hands as the reason but the Ancient One shows him a sorcerer that is missing a hand who can perform the spells, then transports Strange to Mt. Everest in an attempt to force Strange to move past his hands. Strange manages to teleport back to Kamar-Taj and, with a renewed focus, begins constantly studying spells. As he checks books out of the Library, he befriends Wong, the new librarian, who warns him against trying to use some spells, particularly those from the Ancient One’s personal collection. After more training, including some combat training from Mordo, Strange heads into the library one night and grabs the book that Kaecilius stole the pages from. Reading about how to manipulate time with the Eye of Agamotto, Strange grabs the relic and uses it to show the missing pages from the book, reading about a being named Dormammu. Wong and Mordo stop him, saying he could have caused serious damage to the time and space. When Strange wants to know what is going on, Wong and Mordo take him to a chamber and explain that the Earth is protected from mystic threats by three Sanctums; one in Hong Kong, one in London, and one in New York. The Sanctums form a shield around the Earth and the sorcerers protect the Sanctums from enemies like Dromammu, an all-powerful conqueror from the Dark Dimension. Strange says he doesn’t want that responsibility, only wanting to heal his hands but before they can say anything else, an alarm is heard. Wong says the London Sanctum is under attack and the open the doorway just as the guardian is killed and Kaecilius destroys the Sanctum. The force of the blast knocks Strange into the New York Sanctum and Strange begins looking around. Suddenly, Kaecilius and two of his followers break into the Sanctum and kill it’s defender, Daniel Drumm. When Strange tells them to stop, they attack him and he manages to fend them off, sending Kaecilius’ followers to different locations in the world. Kaecilius continues to attack him and almost kills him but Strange is saved by the Cloak of Levitation, who leads Strange to a restraining device that he is able to throw onto Kaecilius. With Caecilius restrained, Strange talks to him and Kaecilius says that the Ancient One lied to him before he suddenly starts laughing, just as one of his followers stabs Strange. Strange crawls away and as the Cloak of Levitation distracts his attacker, he manages to summon a portal to his old hospital. Calling for Christine, Strange has her take him to an unused surgery room and has her work on treating his wound. When he passes out, he has his astral form appear to help Christine, which shocks her. Meanwhile, the follower sends his own astral form after Strange and the two begin fighting. When Strange flatlines, Christine uses a crash cart to revive him and Strange tells her to up the voltage and hit him again. Christine does so and Strange grabs the followers astral form and electrocutes him. After Christine stitches his wound, Strange heads back to the Sanctum, where he meets up with Mordo and the Ancient One. Strange argues with the Ancient One and accuses her of stealing power from the Dark Dimension in order to have eternal life. The Ancient One leaves and Mordo and Strange begin arguing but when Kaecilius attacks the Sanctum again, Strange and Mordo fight to defend it. Strange places them in the Mirror Dimension so that Kaecilius’ spell won’t destroy the Sanctum but Mordo warns that they will actually be stronger there. As Mordo and Strange try to escape, Kaecilius and his followers chase after them and eventually catch up to them. Strange and Mordo are saved by the Ancient One, and Mordo realizes Strange was right about her. Kaecilius manages to stab the Ancient One and Strange takes her to Christine’s hospital to try and save her. When he senses her astral form leaving her body, Strange follows after her and the two talk for a while before she dies, with the Ancient One telling him sometimes you have to break the rules for the greater good, though Mordo will not see it that way. Saying goodbye to Christine, Strange heads back to Karma-Taj and finds Mordo questioning everything that he was taught. Strange convinces him to help protect the Hong Kong Sanctum but when they get there, they find the Sanctum destroyed, the city damaged, and the Dark Dimension opening up in the sky above them. Strange uses the Eye to rewind time, saving the people, including Wong, and restoring the Sanctum. Kaecilius and his followers attempt to stop Strange and end up causing time to stop. As Mordo and Wong tell Strange to get up, and he does, then flies straight into the Dark Dimension. Summoning a ring of time energy around his wrist, Strange locates and confronts Dormammu, saying he wants to bargain with him. Dormammu quickly kills Strange but seems shocked when Strange appears again and asks to bargain. Dormammu kills Strange again but Strange reappears, saying that they are stuck in an infinite time loop and the only way they will be free is if Dromammu agrees to leave the Earth and take Kaecilius and his followers with him. After killing Strange over and over without a different result, Dormammu agrees and Strange returns to Earth. When Strange appears behind Kaecilius, everyone seems surprised but Kaecilius and his followers begins to disintegrate as they are carried off to the Dark Dimension. Strange finishes restoring the Hong Kong Sanctum and he and Wong are happy that things worked out but Mordo admonishes them for breaking the natural order of things and says he can no longer follow that path. Strange takes up the mantle of Sorcerer Supreme and places the Eye back in Kamar-Taj. Wong tells him it is a wise choice, as he shouldn’t be wearing an Infinity Stone around the streets. When Strange looks confused, Wong says he may have a gift for the mystic arts but he still has a lot to learn. In a post credit scene, Strange is seen talking to Thor, who had brought Loki with him to Earth in order to find Odin and Strange agrees to help him so that Loki will be taken back to Asgard. Meanwhile, Mordo goes to see Pangborn and attacks him, taking his magic ability away and leaving him paralyzed again, and Mordo tells him there are too many sorcerers on Earth.

Doctor Strange (2016) met with high praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 90% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is that “Doctor Strange artfully balances its outer source material against the blockbuster constraints of the MCU, delivering a thoroughly entertaining superhero origin story in the bargain.” Once again, a Marvel movie had some controversy regarding a casting choice, as many people were confused or upset over Tilda Swinton being cast as the Ancient One, and while the director Scott Derrickson had his reasons for wanting to cast Swinton, he admits that it was still an act of whitewashing. The movie was a box office success, $677.6 million off of a $165 million budget.

I was very nervous about how this movie would turn out but I am glad to say that it was so much better than I could have hoped for. The acting was great, with Benedict Cumberbatch doing a fantastic job in playing Stephen Strange. Chiwetel Ejiofor (Mordo), Rachel McAdams (Christine), Benedict Wong (Wong) (on a side note, how funny is it that the actor playing Wong has the last name of Wong), and Mads Mikkelsen (Kaecilius) also did great jobs in their roles. While it was a little weird, I did think Tilda Swinton did a good job as the Ancient One. The story was pretty good, doing a good job of introducing the character and not bogging it down in too much backstory, which tends to happen in some movies *cough Spider-Man cough*. The special effects were fantastic and definitely helped this movie, giving more of a sense of magic to the MCU. A great addition to the MCU and a fun movie to watch on it’s own.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

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March 6th, 2017 Movie – House II: The Second Story

house-2-the-second-story

So this is the movie that had me looking for these movies in the first place. I don’t know why but I had bits and pieces of this movie stuck in my head, which is why I bought them. The funny thing, when I watched the movie, I quickly learned that some parts of my memories regarding this movie were actually a combination of the two movies. So now let’s see just how this movie stands up to another viewing as I watch House II: The Second Story.

The plot: Years ago, Clarence and Judith are living in Clarence’s family’s old mansion and decide to send their son Jesse away with some relatives in order to keep him safe. After seeing off Jesse, they head back inside and, hearing a noise coming from upstairs, go to investigate and find a figure there asking for a skull, who kills them both when they say they don’t have it. Years later, Jesse returns to the mansion with his girlfriend Kate, who is annoyed to find the electricity doesn’t work in the house. While Kate calls her boss John, a record producer, Jesse finds an old family photo album and sees a picture of him and his parents when he was a kid, as well as a picture of his great-great grandfather Jesse, whom he was named after. That night, Jesse can’t sleep and goes looking around the mansion only to hit his head on an ironing board. As Kate tends to him, they hear yelling and honking coming from outside and find Jesse’s friend Charlie, and his girlfriend Lana, have shown up. The next morning, Charlie puts in a tape of Lana’s band and has her sing in order to get Kate’s attention and she tells John that she might have found what they were looking for. Later, Charlie finds Jesse in the basement looking through some old pictures and Jesse shows him one of his great-great grandfather and his partner, Slim Reeser, at a Mayan temple, with the senior Jesse holding a crystal skull. Jesse tells Charlie that Jesse and Slim had a falling out over the skull and became bitter enemies but Slim died before ever getting the skull. Jesse says that according to legend, the crystal skull was supposed to give eternal life but there was no sign of it since the elder Jesse died and Jesse believes that it is buried with him so Charlie says they should dig him up. Heading to the cemetery where Jesse is buried, the two dig up his coffin and when Jesse opens it, he finds the skull but as he reaches for it, the elder Jesse’s hand grabs him by the throat. Jesse calls Charlie for help but the elder Jesse throws both men into the grave and points his gun at them. Jesse yells out that they are related and when the elder Jesse learns what the date is, he says that he has been waiting 70 years for somebody to dig him up. Returning to the house, the elder Jesse, who says to call him Gramps, places the skull on a pedastal over the fireplace and tells them that the mansion is actually a temple and that the forces of evil will try to take the skull so they have to help him protect it. Jesse sets up a mattress for Gramps, who is a little put out at the treatment and wants to go out drinking but sees that the skull kept him alive, but did not restore his youth. Charlie decides to take Gramps out drinking, despite Jesse’s protests. The next day, John shows up at the house to see Lana at Kate’s request but Jesse is not happy to see him. Jesse and Charles go down to check on Gramps, who has been up all night watching TV and he starts telling them stories of his outlaw past in the Old West. Hearing a noise coming from upstairs, Charlie and Jesse investigate and find people there for a Halloween party that Charlie had organized and forgotten about. Gramps joins the party, passing off how he looks as a disguise, and JEsse runs into his old girlfriend Rochelle, who kisses him and John happens to see this as he is talking with Kate and Lana. Unnoticed by everyone, the skull starts to glow and a door upstairs opens up and an ancient barbarian exits the room and heads downstairs. Gramps and Jesse both notice him and Gramps goes to stop him but the barbarian knocks him aside while Jesse is attacked by Kate after John tells her about Rochelle kissing him. The barbarian grabs the skull and runs back upstairs, with Jesse and Charlie chasing after him but when they get to the room, they find a jungle in the room. Jesse goes back to check on Gramps, who says he has to get the skull back, and then heads back upstairs. He is joined by Charlie, who had grabbed an uzi from his car, and they head into the room. Making their way through the prehistoric jungle, they find the skull but are attacked by the barbarian but as he chases after Charlie, he is eaten by a large creature. Jesse grabs the skull and celebrates but it is grabbed by a pterodactyl and taken to it’s nest. Jesse climbs up to retrieve it but finds a baby pterodactyl has grabbed the skull. When the mother returns, Jesse manages to grab the baby pterodactyl but he is knocked form the tree and when he lands on the ground, he ends up crashing through the floor and falling into the basement. As Jesse and Charlie recover, they find a strange dog-faced caterpillar on Jesse’s leg, which they all take a liking too. When the baby pterodactyl runs upstairs, Jesse and Charlie chase after it and manage to trap it in the kitchen. When John and Lana show up to see what is going on, Charlie stalls them while Jesse hides the pterodactyl in a cupboard, only for Gramps to show up and Jesse quickly stuffs him in the pantry. John and Lana show up with Kate and Jesse decides to explain what is happening but when he opens the pantry door, they find Rochelle there. Kate slaps Jesse, while Lana slaps Charlie, and they leave with John. Jesse opens the pantry again and finds Gramps there, and Gramps says he was playing a joke but apologizes that it went bad. Gramps goes to put the skull back on the pedastal but he is attacked by some Aztecs, who take the skull from him. Jesse finds Gramps the next morning and after learning what happened, goes to wake Charlie so they can retrieve the skull when Bill, the electrician Kate hired, shows up at the house. As Jesse and Charlie try to find a way into the fireplace, Bill discovers a hidden passage behind a wall and points it out to them. The three head through the passage and find an Aztec high priest about to sacrifice a virgin but they manage to rescue the girl and retrieve the skull. Making it back to the house, Bill takes his leave and hands Jesse his card, thanking him for inviting him to the party. That night, they are fixing dinner and Charlie tells Jesse that the girl seems to like him, offering as proof the fact that she throws things at him. As they all sit down for dinner, Jesse takes the lid off the main course but they are surprised to see Slim rise up from the dish. Slim shoots Gramps, then grabs the girl and leaves the room and while Charlie chases after him, Jesse checks on Gramps. Jesse takes Gramps to a bedroom and places him in the bed, and Gramps hands Jesse his gun and tells him to go after Slim. Jesse goes looking for Slim and finds a room that leads to the Old West, where he finds Charlie and the girl are set to be hanged. Slim shows up and the two start shooting at each other before Jesse is forced to run back into the house, with Slim chasing after him. The cops are called out due to the gunfire, and yell out for Jesse to surrender, just as Jesse is shot in the leg by Slim. As Slim approaches Jesse, he pulls out the skull and says it is his now but Jesse grabs a rifle and uses it to shoot Slim’s head off. Jesse takes the skull back to Gramps, who says he is dying and tells Jesse to take what he wants from the skull and get rid of it. Jesse heads back downstairs and hears the police issuing an ultimatum but as Jesse stands by the window, Slim’s body stands up holding the rifle. Slim attempts to shoot Jesse but he ducks, and Slim shoots the sheriff instead, and the rest of the police officers begin firing into the house, finishing off Slim and setting the place on fire. Jesse grabs Gramps body and the dog-caterpillar, and with the pterodactyl carrying the skull, heads off into the passageway to the Old West. Once there, Jesse buries Gramps and places the skull on top of the grave, then rides off with Charlie and the girl to start a new life.

House II: The Second Story was pretty much despised by the critics, as it holds a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, the critics mostly felt that it was a complete mess of a movie. Just like the first movie, a star from Cheers played a part in this movie, this time being John Ratzenberger, who played Cliff Clavin on the show and was the best friend of Norm, played by George Wendt, who starred in the first movie. The movie was barely a success at the box office, earning $7.8 million off of a $3 million budget.

I don’t think it is as bad as the critics say it is, but I will admit that it is not that good of a movie. The acting was ok but somewhat stiff at times. The story was actually kind of interesting and I think if they had played up the horror angle more than the comedy, it would have made for a more effective movie. That being said, there were several good funny moments in this movie that still make me laugh, though I will admit the scene with John Ratzenberger just felt odd. There wasn’t much in the way of special effects, mainly puppets for the dog-caterpillar and the pterodactyls, which were kind of cute, but the makeup for Slim and Gramps could have been better. Not a great movie but it is good for some laughs.

Rating: 2 out of 5

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