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

March 19th, 2018 Movie – Tremors 3: Back To Perfection

tremors 3

So years ago, I was watching Syfy channel and came across the TV show Tremors. Obviously, I was hooked and enjoyed watching the entire series. Anyways, as I was watching the show, one weekend they aired this movie. I honestly thought that it was nothing more than the pilot for the series but I later learned that it actually came out two years earlier. That still doesn’t mean that it wasn’t meant to be the pilot, as it did really set up for the series and watching the series after the movie made a lot of sense regarding some episodes. So let’s return to where it started with today’s movie, Tremors 3: Back To Perfection.

The plot: In El Chaco, Argentina, Burt Gummer meets up with a news crew from a local TV station and gives an interview about being brought in to deal with the a Graboid/Shrieker problem in the area. As Burt explains the situation, the Shrieker herd begins moving towards them and the news crew quickly get back into their car while Burt climbs into an anti-aircraft turrent installed on the back of his truck and begins firing on the Shrieker herd, killing them all. Some time later, Burt returns home to Perfection, Nevada and is greeted by Miguel, who tells him about the property developers that are trying to buy up the land and remake it into condos. Miguel then asks Burt about some cement trucks he saw heading to Burt’s house and Burt explains he is building an underground barrier around his property to keep any Graboids out of his home and Miguel scoffs and says thee hasn’t been a Graboid attack since the first one 11 years ago. Burt then heads to Chang’s store, which is now run by Walter’s niece Jodi, and she gives him his mail and asks if he brought any pieces of Shriekers or Braboids back that she could sell to tourists, showing Burt the flyer for Jack’s Graboid Tour, which started up while Burt was out of the country. Meanwhile, Jack Sawyer is out on his tour, which has his partner Buford fake a Graboid chasing after the truck. After returning from one of his tours, Jack sees Burt getting gas and talks to him about helping out and partnering with him but Burt refuses to help his scam. Some time later, Jack is on another tour and Buford has brought Mindy along with him but he ends up being attacked and killed by a Graboid while Mindy helps Jack get his tour group to safety. Meanwhile, Burt detects the Graboid in the area and activates the Graboid siren but when he asks Jodi, Nancy, and Miguel if they see anything on their seismographs, he learns that they haven’t been upkeeping them. As Jack and Mindy return with the tour group and send them to safety, Burt organizes everyone to go hunt after the Graboids only to be stopped by Department of the Interior Agents Charlie Rusk and Frank Statler, who are their with paleontologist Dr. Andrew Merliss. Merliss explains that the Graboids are an endangered species and need to be protected and Rusk says that their properties can be seized by eminent domain, which angers the residents. That night as Burt is taking out his frustrations with some target practice, he detects a Graboid near his property and when he goes out to check, sees an albino Graboid surface briefly at the edge of his barricade then head back down into the ground. Meanwhile, Rusk and Statler show up at Changs and complain about not having any luck capturing a Graboid and Jack works out a deal for them to let Burt help them capture one of the Graboids for study, then let the residents kill the others so they can keep their land. Burt reluctantly agrees to the deal and brings Jack with him to help but while they are setting up, they are approached by Melvin Plug, a former resident who is behind the real estate company trying to buy up the valley. As Burt refuses Melvin’s offer to sell, Jack sees a Graboid coming towards them on the seismo-monitor. When the Graboid surfaces and moves towards Burt, Melvin drives off while Burt manages to get into a drum before he is swallowed whole by the Graboid. Jack manages to make radio with Burt, who tells him to lure the Graboid towards his home, where it ends up killing itself colliding with the barrier. Jack the uses a chainsaw to cut Burt out of the Graboid just as Jodi gets there to see what is going on. After Burt recovers, he goes back out with Jodi, Jack, and Miguel to look for the Graboids but they encounter Merliss, who explains that they found a hollowed out Graboid just before they were attacked by some Shriekers. Rusk and Statler were ripped to shreds but Merliss had used a fire extinguisher on himself to avoid detection but was still injured and ended up dying from his wound. Burt warns Nancy and Mindy, who are in the town, about the Shriekers and tell them to hide their body heat and then he uses satellite imaging to locate the Shriekers. As they make their way to the Shrieker herd, they are suddenly attacked by a Graboid and forced onto some rocks. Burt recognizes it as the same one that had come to his compound and Miguel, who had called it El Blanco, said he had an albino goat that was sterile and Burt figures that is why it hasn’t morphed into Shriekers. The group is trapped on the rocks overnight, with El Blanco seeming to take particular interest in Burt. Miguel fashions a fishing pole using dental floss and Burt manages to grab his radio off the hood of his car and asks Mindy for help in creating a distraction. She does so and Burt goes to his truck to grab some weapons, then wedges the gas pedal and sends his truck driving off for El Blanco to chase after it, then they head to the canyon to deal with the Shriekers. When they get there, they hear a strange noise and find the Shriekers have apparently molted their skin and changed but have no idea into what. The find the wreckage of Burt’s truck and then see one of the new creatures, which reveals that they are able to fly using an explosion of gas from their butt. They manages to kill the new creature but it crashes into Miguel as it falls, knocking him off the cliff and killing him. Burt radios Nancy and Mindy to warn them about the Ass-Blasters (as Jodi dubs them) just as an Ass-Blaster attacks them. Nancy and Mindy make their way into Chang’s and Mindy heats up a ham and uses it to distract the Ass-Blaster long enough for them to hide in the meat locker. Meanwhile, Burt, Jodi, and Jack use a mattress to shield their body heat and make their way to Burt’s house, being chased by El Blanco on the way. When they get there, they try contacting Mindy and Nancy only to have an Ass-Blaster crash through the ceiling and land in Burt’s basement. They take shelter in Burt’s panic room but when the Ass-Blaster starts melting through the door, they go out Burt’s escape tunnel while Burt uses some gas to blow up his home, not wanting the Ass-Blaster to eat his MRE’s and multiply any further. As they avoid the debris, Nancy contacts them and tells them that the Ass-Blasters go into a coma after they eat and tells them to feed them the MRE’s to stop them, causing Burt to go into a slight case of shock. When the other 4 Ass-Blasters show up, being drawn by the fire, they use a boat to make their way to the nearby junkyard to hide. As the Ass-Blasters make their way to the junkyard, they manage to drop a fridge on one of them, then hide as the others show up. They come up with a plan to fashion a makeshift potato gun and use it to ignite the internal liquids of the Ass-Blasters in order to kill them. They scrounge up the necessary items and using fence posts as arrows, kill the three Ass-Blasters. They celebrate their victory only to have El Blanco show up and Burt realizes that it is the ultrasonics from his watch that keeps luring El Blanco towards him. As he goes to take it off, El Blanco hits the mobile home they are in, sending Burt flying outside and getting stuck on a box spring. As Jodi works to free Burt, Jack grabs the watch and lures El Blanco away, then throws it at the last Ass-Blaster, who had recovered from the fridge, and El Blanco ends up swallowing it. Some time later, Nancy and Mindy sell the Ass-Blaster they caught to Siegfried and Roy in order to pay for Mindy’s college tuition. Jack tells Jodi that he is moving to Bixby and taking over a car wash and she hops in the car with him, as they discuss starting a relationship. Meanwhile, Burt uses another watch and a radio controlled car to lure El Blanco to where he is just as Melvin shows up. As El Blanco appears, Burt informs Melvin that so long as El Blanco is around, Perfection is considered protected and can’t be developed, and they have made the necessary protections to the town so that they can live with El Blanco, then he drives off, leaving Melvin on the rock screaming at him.

I will admit that this was kind of a let down as a stand alone movie and would have been better as a two part episode for the series. The acting was ok, with Michael Gross doing a good job continuing his role of Burt Gummer. I liked the fact that they brought back Charlotte Stewart, Ariana Richards, Tony Genaro, and Robert Jayne to reprise their respective roles of Nancy, Mindy, Miguel, and Melvin from the first movie. I also liked Shawn Christian (Jack) and Susan Chuang (Jodi) as they both added some new character elements to the franchise. The story was ok but while the addition of the new evolution, the Ass-Blasters, was interesting, I think the more important aspect was the introduction of the tour and the fact that the town mainly survives based on tourism and Graboid related items. The special effects were fairly decent, as they had a slightly larger budget than the previous movie, and I did like the concept and name of the Ass-Blasters, honestly appealing to the juvenile humor mindset of me. In serious aspect though, I liked the idea of the whole Graboid cycle, as it does mimic insects with the Graboids being the larva stage, then changing into Shriekers which eventually morph into Ass-Blasters, who are able to fly and lay new Graboid eggs in order to spread the population. Anyways, while it isn’t my favorite of the series, it is still a fun movie to watch and definitely something to watch before giving the TV series a shot.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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

March 18th, 2018 Movie – Tremors 2: Aftershocks

tremors 2

So I have an interesting history with this movie. Years ago, while lazing about my mom’s house, I caught the tail end of this movie on HBO. As I watched I was curious as to what movie I was watching (I was too lazy to check the guide to see what the movie was) but Fred Ward and Michael Gross being in it clued me in. Sure enough, I later learned that it was a sequel to Tremors, which I had not even been aware existed. Anyways, a few years ago the 5th movie in the series came out and, feeling like rewatching all of the other movies, I decided to buy the series in a box set. Now let’s have some fun with today’s movie, Tremors 2: Aftershocks.

The plot: At the Petromaya Oil Field in Chiapas, Mexico, a worker is shown to be crawling across some pipes, trying to stay off the ground, while something is moving underneath the ground behind him. Reaching the end of the pipe, the man starts jumping on the tops of nearby barrels but ends up being knocked to the ground and killed by a Graboid. In Perfection Nevada, Earl Basset is still living in the isolated town and attempting to start an ostrich ranch when he is approached by Carlos Ortega, the owner of the oil pipeline. Ortega explains that his workers have been attacked by Graboids and he wants Earl to hunt them down and kill them, having already asked Val McKee to help as well but been refused. Earl refuses as well and heads inside his trailer but Grady Hoover, the taxi driver the brought Ortega to see Earl follows him in to talk. Grady explains that he is a big fan of Earl and Val and Earl tells him that Val had married a good woman (Rhonda) while he blew all of his money on fis failing ranch. Grady tells Earl that Ortega is willing to pay $50,000 for each Graboid that they kill and eventually manages to convince Earl to accept the deal and take him as his partner. When they get down to Mexico, Ortega greets them and introduces them to Pedro, the chief engineer, and then says that he will pay double if they manage to capture one of the Graboids alive, which Earl reacts in angered disbelief at the request. Ortega then shows them the supplies they requested from the Mexican Army, then introduces them to the company’s geologist Kate Reilly before wishing them luck and leaving. Kate introduces them to her assistant Julio, who had been planting seismographs in the region so they can help track the Graboids. Later that  night, Earl is talking with Kate about the attacks and why she stayed, while both of them check each other out when they are not looking. Meanwhile, Grady has made hooked some cans to a chain and is attaching it to the back of Earl’s truck to use in attracting the Graboids attention while Julio attaches a seismograph monitor into their car so they will be able to detect Graboid movements. The next day, Earl and Grady set out and head to the spot where most of the attacks have occurred. After driving around for a while, Earl sees a Graboid on the monitor and tells Grady to stop the truck. They then place some dynamite into an RC car and send it out into the field, then detonate the dynamite after the Graboid swallows the car, killing it. Using this method, Earl and Grady manage to kill several Graboids before taking a break on some rocks, but Grady leaves a radio on the ground and it ends up being swallowed by a Graboid. Continuing on to the next day, Earl and Grady manage to kill 12 Graboids, which results in $300,000 for each of them, and they start talking about what they will do with their money; as Earl wants to simply invest it while Grady wants to open a monster themed theme-park. When Grady steps onto the ground to retrieve his umbrella, they suddenly hear music coming towards them just as Earl sees a Graboid approaching on the monitor. Earl tells Grady to get back in the truck and he does so, barely avoiding being swallowed by the Graboid that swallowed their radio. The Graboid manages to snag onto the chains and begins dragging the truck through the valley before it eventually snaps the chain. As Earl and Grady recover from the experience, they see several more Graboids all converging on their position so they quickly get out of there and head back to base camp. Earl contacts Burt Gummer and asks him to come down and help him out and Burt agrees, confiding to Earl that Heather left him. Earl, Grady, and Burt head back out to the valley and begin searching for more Graboids. Earl and Grady detect a Graboid on the monitor and notice it is moving away from them so they decide to follow it. Earl starts worrying the Graboids are planning something just as the Graboid appears before them and Earl ends up wrecking his truck when he quickly throws it in reverse to avoid the Graboid. As Earl goes to get his weapon, Grady goes to check on the Graboid and notices it is still above ground. The get closer and Earl says it might be sick but Grady is excited about the fact that they captured a live Graboid. Earl contacts Kate and tells her to send Pedro out to pick them up and as they settle in for the night to wait for Pedro, the tell Burt about their capturing a live specimen. Suddenly, they hear the Graboid making a strange roaring cry before falling silent and as they go to check on the Graboid, they find it is dead, with a giant, gaping hole in it’s side. Grady thinks something ate the Graboid but Earl says it looks more like something came out of it, similare to a caterpillar changing into a butterfly. They hear roaring coming from another Graboid somewhere in the valley just as they see Pedro’s truck start to approach before suddenly stopping. With no choice left to them, Earl and Grady decide to make their way to Pedro’s truck only to find the engine completely destroyed and Pedro missing, with only his hands left behind still clutching onto the roll bar in the truck bed. Earl says this is something new and, seeing a radio tower in the distance, decides to head there to try and call for help. Meanwhile, Burt is driving along and recording a video log of his hunt, saying that due to lack of radio contact with anyone, he is heading back to the main camp and that he has not seen any sign of Graboids, in spite of tracking one to that location. Back at the radio tower, Earl and Grady discover the tower’s power source had been destroyed, explaining why the radios no longer work. Seeing a car nearby, Grady starts trying to hotwire it when the hear something approaching from behind a nearby shed. Taking cover behind the car, Earl and Grady take aim and are surprised to see a small, bipedal creature resembling a Graboid appear. When the creature appears to notice them, it lets out a loud shriek and charges at them but Earl is able to shoot and kill it. Hearing more of the creatures approaching, they quickly get in the car and leave as more “Shriekers” appear from behind the shed. The next morning, Kate and Julio are discussing the lack of contact from anyone when Julio is killed by a Shrieker. Earl and Grady show up and kill the Shrieker, then head inside to check on Kate but as they go to leave, they find another Shrieker has destroyed their car’s engine so Earl quickly kills it. Burt shows up, having had his own encounter with the Shriekers but he managed to catch a live one. Bringing Burt’s truck into the garage, they take the live specimen to the lab for study, unaware that another Shrieker had survived, clinging to the underside of Burt’s truck. Doing some tests, they discover that the Shriekers are blind and deaf but sense objects through infared. When Grady throws one of Burt’s MRE’s into the cage, the creature eats it and then regurgitates a new Shrieker and Kate says that they are hermaphroditic, able to reproduce at an exponential rate depending on how much they eat. Suddenly, another Shrieker bursts through the window and Earl sees dozens of them getting into Burt’s MREs. They quickly run outside to try and shut the warehouse door but are too late as some Shriekers have already made it outside. Grady leads them towards another building to take shelter but they find that it isn’t finished; consisting of one finished wall and a frame. Realizing the Shriekers can’t detect them through the walls, Earl comes up with a plan and uses some nearby doors to shield themselves as they try to make their way to Julio’s car. Ducking behind a wall, they find another Shrieker nearby and Burt uses his last bullet to kill it, but the bullet goes through the wall behind it, as well as several other object, before going through Julio’s engine block. Finding themselves confronted by more Shriekers, they are all forced to hide, with Burt hiding in a bulldozer’s scoop, Grady climbing onto some oil tanks, and Kate and Earl hiding in the cantina. As the Shriekers try to break in, Earl heats up some pants and suspends them from a clothes line to distract the Shrieker, allowing him and Kate to climb up the tanks with Grady. As Earl, Burt, and Grady start arguing, Kate tells them that nobody has heard from them since the night before so they should just wait until help arrives. As they wait, Earl and Kate talk and Earl realizes that she happens to be his favorite Playboy playmate. When the Shriekers start climbing on top of each other to try and get to Earl and the others, Burt climbs out of the bucket and lures the Shriekers back into the warehouse, sealing them in. Everyone starts cheering until they hear the Shrieker crying out and realize that the warehouse contains snack cakes. Earl comes up with a plan and has Kate and Burt spray him down with CO2 extinguishers to mask his body heat, then he heads into the warehouse to grab a bomb from Burt’s truck. He manages to grab a bomb as the CO2 starts melting off and as the Shriekers detect him and start swarming the truck, he throws it into the back of the truck. Kate, Grady, and Burt help Earl escape and he tells them to run as he threw the bomb in the back of the truck but as they duck behind a building, Burt tells them to keep running, as he had 2 1/2 tons of high explosives in the truck. They keep running until they reach a ditch and Burt tells them to take cover as the bomb explodes. As they avoid the falling debris, they all start cheering their survival and Grady reminds them that they survived so Ortega owes them for all of the Graboids they killed, though he might be upset that they blew up the refinery. Earl and Kate talk about starting a relationship while Grady tries to convince Earl to go in on his theme park idea.

Tremors 2: Aftershocks met with positive results from the critics, holding a 63% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, the critics felt that it was a fairly good sequel, matching the humor that was found in the original. Originally, Kevin Bacon was scheduled to be in the sequel but when the budget was cut from $17 million to $4 million, the studio couldn’t afford to have him in the movie. The creators wanted to give the film a theatrical release but though the studio said no to a wide release, it did receive a limited release in some theaters.

This is a pretty funny movie and definitely fit with the pattern of the series. The acting was good, with Fred Ward (Earl) and Michael Gross (Burt) doing a good job reprising their respective roles. I liked Chris Gartin’s character of Grady but I honestly thought Helen Shaver’s character (Kate) was a little weak and wound up being the stereotypical screaming girl too often. The story was good, switching the location and introducing the evolution aspect to keep things from being stale. They did take away some of the horror aspect to focus on the comedy but I think that actually helped make the movie more entertaining, as the straight up horror aspect would not have done well a second time around. I also like the change of the Shriekers hunting using infared, as it wouldn’t make as much sense for them to still use sound when they were moving above ground. The special effects actually weren’t too bad considering the budget and I thought the design of the Shriekers was pretty good. It’s some guilty pleasure silliness that is worth watching if you need some laughs.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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

March 17th, 2018 Movie – Tremors


Some of my favorite movies are the ones that come out in theaters but absolutely bomb, then manage to find new life when it hits video. Granted, that doesn’t mean that every one of these movies is something I will enjoy, as there are some absolute bombs that I have no real desire to watch, but some like today’s movie just scream right out at me. I remember seeing the trailers for this movie and thinking that it was something I would absolutely enjoy. Of course, the main thing I remember from the trailer was them always promoting Reba McEntire, as this was her theatrical debut. So let’s have some fun with today’s movie, Tremors.

The plot: In the former mining town of Perfection, Nevada, Valentine “Val” McKee and Earl Basset are working as handymen for the small tiny community, doing odd jobs to try and earn a living. As they are heading back into town, they see Rhonda LeBeck, a seismologist student, out in the desert and stop to talk to her. Rhonda asks them if they know of any drilling or blasting going on in the area, as she has been getting some strange readings from the seismographs, and they tell her no but say they will ask around to see if anyone else might know. As they go about their tasks for the day, Val complains about what they are doing and says they should just leave. When the hose on a septic pump burst, dousing them in the filth, Earl takes it as the last straw and decides they should leave. The two pack up their belongings and start to make their way out of town when they notice Edgar Deems apparently stuck on a electrical tower. Thinking he got drunk and climbed up the tower and is too scared or drunk to climb back down, Val climbs up the tower to get Edgar down only to discover that he is dead. Bringing the body to Jim Wallace, the local doctor, they ask what killed him and Jim says Edgar died of dehydration, and Val and Earl wonder what could have caused Edgar to stay up on the tower long enough for that to happen. Elsewhere, a shepherd named “Old Fred” is working out on his field when he notices his sheep acting nervous. Looking around, he doesn’t see any predator close by so he continues to work in his field only to be attacked by something underground. As Val and Earl pass by Fred’s place, the notice the bloody sheep pen, as something has killed all of his sheep, and go looking for Fred only to find his severed head in the ground underneath his hat. Val and Earl head back to Perfection, warning two construction workers as the pass by them, but while one of the workers gets nervous, the other one says they are messing with them and goes back to using a jackhammer when the jackhammer suddenly breaks through the ground and strikes something, which lets out a roar as blood oozes up from the ground. The creature makes it’s way through the earth, dragging the jackhammer, and the worker who was caught in the hose, along with it and as the second worker goes to help his friend, he ends up caught in a landslide that blocks the road. Val and Earl return to town and try to use the phone at Walter Chang’s store to call the authorities but when it isn’t working, they decide to drive to the nearest town and alert the authorities only to find the only road out of town blocked by the landslide. Finding a bloody helmet by the rocks, Val and Earl decide to leave only for their truck to temporarily get stuck before Val is able to work it free and they head back to town. When they get there, everyone wonders what is going on when a little girl named Mindy discovers a strange snake-like creature wrapped around the truck’s rear axle. Val says that must have been what they were stuck on and Burt Gummer, a survivalist that lives in the town, says that it would take more than just the one worm to stop their truck, indicating there might be more out there. That night, Jim and his wife Megan are out by the frame of their home when their generator suddenly sinks into the ground. When Jim goes to investigate, he is attacked and killed and Megan gets into their car only to have the creatures drag the car under ground. Back in town, the townsfolk discuss what they should do, as the town is effectively isolated due to the surrounding mountains they decide to send Val and Earl on Walter’s pack horse to Bixby to get help. As Val and Earl ride off, they stop by the Wallace’s only to find the buried car and realize they are both dead. The continue out of town only for Earl’s horse to get attacked by the creatures and when Val shoots one of them, they discover the creatures are actually the tongues of a giant slug-like creature. The creature chases after Val and Earl but when the jump a concrete drainage ditch to get away, the creature slams into it and ends up killing itself. Rhonda shows up, having detected seismic activity in the area and as they examine the creature, Rhonda says that her readings indicate that there are 3 more creatures out there. Deciding to get Rhonda’s truck and head back into town, Rhonda notices the seismograph getting a reading just as another creature attacks them. The three make it up onto some nearby rocks and Val and Earl notice one of the tongues is just a stump and realize this is the same creature that grabbed their truck earlier. With “Stumpy” keeping them trapped on the rocks, they are forced to stay the night out there but the next day, they use some nearby poles to pole vault across the rock outcroppings until they reach Rhonda’s truck and manage to get away. Heading back into town, they try to tell everyone that they have to leave and head up into the mountains, as the “Graboids” (as Walter decided to name them) attacks have them on a course right to the town. Suddenly, Melvin, a teenager that has a penchant for causing trouble, screams out and they find him up on a sign post, just as a Graboid bursts up from the ground. Val and Earl tell everyone to get inside and stay quiet but then runs outside to rescue Mindy from being eaten. As Earl and Rhonda go to help him, they see another Graboid approaching and Rhonda gets ensnared in some barbed wire fencing. Val goes to help her, hitting the Graboid with a pick axe and he has her take her pants off so she can get free and they run back to Walter’s store. Val tends to Rhonda’s wounds and they try to figure out their next move when the coke machine suddenly starts squeeling and Val, Earl, and Walter rush to unplug it only for a Graboid to burst out from the floor and kill Walter. Val, Earl, and Miguel climb up to the roof of the store while Rhonda, who had been knocked out the window, climbs up the nearby water tower, and they yell for Nancy, Mindy, Nester, and Melvin to get on the roofs of their homes, or the outhouse in Melvin’s case. Meanwhile, Burt and his wife Heather return to their home after trying to hunt down the Graboids and Heather notices the people on their roofs. Burt uses his radio to contact the store and Val grabs the CB radio and warns Burt about the Graboid being underground just as one heads towards Burt’s house. When the Graboid bursts into their basement, Burt and Heather begin shooting at it and Burt finally manages to kill it with an elephant gun. Val warns him about their being two more Graboids so Burt and Heather head up to the roof of their house. Val asks if he can get to his truck and get help but a second Graboid shows up at the Gummer’s house and disables their truck. Meanwhile, Stumpy begins attacking the foundations of the various buildings, managing to knock Nestor off of his mobile home and kill him. Earl comes up with the idea of using the nearby bulldozer to make it to the mountains, thinking the Graboids wouldn’t be able to stop it, and they could drag an old semi trailer behind them to carry everyone to safety. Miguel starts up Walter’s tractor to serve as a decoy and Val starts running for the bulldozer but when the tractor gets knocked over, Val is forced to stop as the Graboids appear near him. Earl, Miguel, Rhonda, and Melvin start shouting out to try and get the Graboids’ attention, with Rhonda knocking loose a pipe from the water tower. As the falling water from the tower draws the Graboids towards her, Val is able to reach the bulldozer and use a chain to attach the trailer to it, then heads towards the town to rescue everyone there. They then pick up Burt and Heather, who bring several weapons and supplies with them, and they start heading towards the mountains. As they get near the mountains, they notice the Graboids doing something in the distance only to end up falling into a pit that the Graboids dug. Burt uses a pipe bomb to try and attack the Graboids but when it explodes, they notice the sound of the explosion drove off the Graboids. They decide to head for some nearby rocks, using another pipe bomb to keep the Graboids at bay. When they get there, tempers start to flare between Burt, Val, and Earl as they argue over the fact that they are stuck on the rocks. Burt has an idea on using pipe bombs like fishing lures and manage to kill one of the Graboids. When they go after the second one, Val sees that it is Stumpy and wants to kill it himself but Stumpy spits out the bomb, which lands in the bag containing Burt’s other bombs. As everyone takes cover from the explosion, Val, Earl, and Rhonda end up off the rock and star tto head back only to be cut off by Stumpy. Burt and the others try to get Stumpy’s attention but Val realizes he isn’t falling for it. Holding up one of the pipe bombs that he had grabbed before the explosion, Val heads for the nearby cliff, with Earl and Rhonda following after him. As Stumpy chases them, Val lights the pipe bomb and throws it past Stumpy so that when it explodes, it causes Stumpy to blindly charge forward away from the blast, and end up running off the cliff and falling to his death. Some time later, the residents are working to get their lives back on track and Rhonda is preparing to lead up the study of the Graboids and as she leaves, Val, pressured by Earl, runs after her and kisses her and the two embrace.

Tremors met with mostly positive reviews from the critics, holding an 88% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “An affectionate throwback to 1950’s creature features, Tremors reinvigorates its genre tropes with a finely balanced combination of horror and humor.” Despite the good reviews, the movie was barely a hit at the box office, earning $16.6 million off of an $11 million budget. However, it more than tripled it’s box office gross in home video rentals and sales, which helped it spawn 4 sequels, with a 5th one being released in May 2018, and a short lived television series.

This is such a fun movie to watch and probably a guilty pleasure for a lot of people. The acting was good, with Kevin Bacon (Val) and Fred Ward (Earl) doing a good job in their roles. I also have to admit that Reba did a pretty decent job in her acting debut but I don’t think she warranted all of the hype that she was given in the trailers. The story was an absolute throwback to the giant monster movies of the 50’s form the setting in a small/isolated town in the desert to the distrust of the government. The Graboid design was actually pretty good and definitely unique but some of the effects regarding the Graboid were a little less than stellar, like some sub par blue screen work and the final seen where Stumpy falls off the cliff and dies. It could be considered a high budget B-movie (which would probably be an oxymoron) and might not be up for everyone but it is definitely worth giving a shot.

Rating: 4 out of 5

horror, movie, movie review, sci-fi

March 3rd, 2018 Movie – Track Of The Moon Beast

track of the moon beast

It is the weekend and I find myself watching a terrible movie. That’s not just my opinion, as the title of the box set that this movie is in is called “The Best Of The Worst”. Now I remember watching this movie years ago on an episode of MST3K and thinking it was absolutely hysterical. And if the jokes and riffs are that good, then you know that the movie itself could be a train wreck. Now, let’s see just how good, or bad, the original movie is as I watch Track Of The Moon Beast.

The plot: A news report talks about an asteroid, which scientist and astronomers are observing, that is on a collision course with the moon. The next day, mineralogist Paul Carlson heads out to the New Mexico desert to search for some samples when he is surprised by his old teacher Professor Johnny Longbow. Longbow introduces Paul to Budd Keeler and Janet Price, two of his students that are with him on his summer trip, as well as Kathy Nolan, a photojournalist who is doing a study on Native American religious customs. Kathy explains that she saw Paul as they were leaving and it was her idea to play the joke on him so she could photograph his reactions but promises not to publish them and asks his forgiveness. As the group eat lunch, they watch a news report discussing the asteroid’s collision and how the moon debris will enter the Earth’s atmosphere as a meteor shower that night. When Kathy mentions that she would like to get some night shots of the shower, Paul offers to take her out into the desert for a better view and she agrees. As night falls, Paul and Kathy are talking before the meteor shower starts when a meteorite suddenly falls right towards them. Paul quickly throws himself on top of Kathy to shield her as the meteorite grazes his head as it falls. When they stand up, Kathy tends to Paul’s wound for a minute until he notices the meteorite. Paul checks to see if it is cool enough to touch when Kathy remembers she is supposed to cover a N.A.S.A. exhibit in the morning and Paul offers to join her and then take her out to dinner later and she accepts. They next day, they head to the exhibit and Paul is looking at some of the moon rocks when he suddenly feels a sharp pain in his head and falls to his knees, causing Kathy to go check on him. Paul says he is fine and just needs some air but as they go out to a concert after dinner, Paul still seems to be feeling bad and so Kathy and Longbow, who was at the concert with them, take Paul home. Kathy doesn’t like the idea of leaving Paul home by himself but Longbow says that he is used to doing things on his own and if Paul calls him, he will call her to go check on him. That night, Paul starts thrashing about in his bed before he gets up and heads to the window to stare out at the moon. Elsewhere, Sid Harris has stumbled home drunk from the bowling alley only to find himself locked out of the house, with his wife Caroline telling him he can sleep outside. Suddenly, Sid is attacked by something and when Caroline goes to see what is happening, she screams and drops dead to the ground. The next day, Police Captain McCabe has Longbow brought out to the Harris house to help him try and figure out what happened. After showing Longbow Sid’s body, McCabe shows him a massive hand print on the wall and a strange footprint on the ground close by. Longbow says he saw prints like that in the paleontology department and suggests they go there for answers and the department head says that the cast looks reptilian but closer to a Tyrannosaurus than any other species of known lizard. Meanwhile, Kathy goes to Paul’s house to check on him and fix him some breakfast and is shocked to find Ty, Paul’s monitor lizard, is missing and the cage appears to be busted open. Later, Paul and Kathy are at the reservation so Kathy can take some pictures of some kids doing archery practice when Longbow shows up. Paul convinces Longbow to show Kathy how good he is, explaining Longbow is a champion archer that makes his own authentic bow and arrows, but as Paul holds up the targets, he suddenly gets dizzy and passes out. Kathy takes Paul home and refuses to leave him unattended, sleeping on the sofa in case he needs anything, but as during the night, Paul gets restless and ends up walking out of the house while Kathy is asleep. That night, a group of me are camping in the woods when a strange lizard-man attacks them, brutally killing two of them while seriously injuring a third. The next morning, Kathy finds Paul asleep on a chair outside and asks what he is doing and Paul explains that it was too warm in his room for him to sleep. Meanwhile, McCabe talks with Longbow about the attack in the woods and says that the sole survivor is in shock but did mention a lizard-man, leading him to believe the paleontologist might have been right. Longbow heads over to Paul’s house, where Kathy is talking with Budd and Janet outside. Kathy is showing them the pictures she took of the exhibit and Longbow notices a weird light flash in one of them and Kathy says it is in the negatives as well but she can’t explain it. Longbow offers to take the photos to the lab near the hospital to have them checked out as he drops off Paul to get his head x-rayed, thinking he something might have happened when he was injured that is causing his dizzy spells. Longbow heads inside to see Paul and as they are talking, he sees the moon rock and asks Paul if he can borrow it for a few days. At the photo lab, the developer says that he had checked the film himself when he noticed it but the problem wasn’t the camera or the film so he couldn’t explain what happened with the picture. Back at the hospital, Paul and Longbow speak with Dr. Sutton, who shows them Paul’s x-ray and reveals some material has gotten lodged in Paul’s skull and if it doesn’t clear up on it’s own, they will have to remove it surgically. Later, Longbow is speaking with McCabe and shows him slides of  some cave drawings, depicting a Native American getting stuck by something from the sky that turns him into a lizard demon, which was impervious to arrows but ended up self combusting on it’s own. Wanting to test his theory, Longbow takes the moon rock he borrowed from Paul to the exhibit and as he approaches the moon rock in the exhibit, a strange tone is heard and Longbow says the rocks are reacting to each other. Longbow and McCabe go to the hospital and talk with Paul and explain their theory and have him placed in an isolated room in case they are correct. That night, the keep tabs on Paul and witness him transforming into the lizard-man and the next morning, when Paul discovers he is strapped to the bed, he realizes that they were correct and he killed all those people. McCabe tells him it wasn’t his fault and Longbow tells him that they are flying specialists in to remove the fragment from his head, which should cure him and return him to normal. As the specialists arrive, another X-Ray is made of Paul’s skull and they learn that the fragment in his head has started to disintegrate, making it impossible to operate on him. When he learns what has happened, Paul asks Kathy to help him escape from the hospital and, after stealing a dirt bike, heads to a nearby gun shop to buy a shotgun but when he hears a police report on him, he leaves instead. Back at the hospital, McCabe gets the news about Paul in the gun shop and tells Longbow and Kathy that he doesn’t think Paul is trying to hurt anyone, but rather kill himself so he doesn’t pose any further threat. As McCabe and Longbow try to figure out where Paul might go, Kathy figures he will go to his special spot, where he took her to watch the meteor shower, and she heads up there alone. Meanwhile, Paul makes his way up the mountain and ends up wrecking and as he recovers, he plans to make his way to the sky lift and throw himself off it as it makes it’s way up the mountain. Kathy finds him and tries to help him but as night falls, he ends up transforming into the lizard man. The police show up and start shooting at him. As McCabe and Longbow arrive, Paul kills two police officers and disappears into the mountains. Kathy pleads with Longbow not to kill Paul but Longbow says he is no longer Paul and pulls out his bow and arrow, with the meteorite fashioned into arrowheads. Kathy goes to leave but as she starts her car, Paul is illuminated in her headlights and as she screams, Longbow shoots him in the chest with an arrow. The arrow reacts with the fragments inside Paul and cause him to combust and as Longbow, Kathy, and McCabe watch, his body is reduced to ash and blows away in the wind.

Wow, this was as bad as I thought it would be. The acting was terrible, with most of the actors just seeming to be overly stiff but Leigh Drake (Kathy) was the worst, as she outwardly displayed almost no emotion during the entire movie, even when the scenes dictated more emotion to be shown. The story was actually interesting and I liked the aspect of the cave drawings showing that this had happened before, kind of giving an explanation for lunar transformations such as Lycanthropy. The special effects and costume design were about as bad as you could expect and really laughable at times. So yes, this movie is fitting to be in this collection and something that deserves to be watched in order to laugh at it.

Rating: 2 out of 5

horror, movie, movie review

February 24th, 2018 Movie – The Tingler

the tingler

Now there is an rather funny story involving today’s movie and how it came to be in my collection. It starts with the YouTube video I had seen featuring clips of various B-monster movies, which I had been using as a shopping list for movies to purchase. Speaking of which, there are still some movies on there that I need to buy. Anyways, one of the clips shown featured Vincent Price but I didn’t recognize the movie so I went looking through the comments to see if someone listed it on there. After learning the name, I marked it on my list of movies to buy but couldn’t buy it right then as I was going to be heading to DragonCon later that week. At DragonCon, there are two rooms set up in one of the hotels, one which shows Anime 24/7 throughout the duration of the convention, and one that shows movies. I happened to be walking by the movie room and, lo and behold, today’s movie happened to be playing in it later in the day. I made a point to go back when it was showing and thought the movie was great so, as soon as I could, I went ahead and bought today’s movie, The Tingler.

The plot: The film opens with director William Castle warning the audience that certain members of the audience might be more susceptible to elements of the film than others. These people might feel a tingling sensation getting stronger and stronger and they should not hesitate to scream if the feel the need, as the person next to them might not be able to. The screen then fades to black as several faces are shown to be screaming. The movie then opens at the local prison, where a prisoner, constantly screaming out in fear, is put to death in the electric chair. As he is taken to autopsy, the man’s brother-in-law, Oliver “Ollie” Higgins, enters the room and speaks with Dr. Warren Chapin, the pathologist performing the autopsy. Warren discovers that the dead man’s vertebrae are cracked, which could not have occurred during the electrocution, and he discusses his theory with Ollie about how extreme fear could have caused this, calling the phenomenon “The Tingler”. As he finishes writing his report, Warren gives Ollie a ride back to his home, above the movie theater that he runs with his wife Martha. Inviting Warren upstairs for coffee, Ollie introduces him to Martha when she comes upstairs to put the receipts in the safe and informs Warren that she is deaf and mute. When Warren accidentally cuts his hand, Martha stares in shock at the blood before fainting and Warren has Ollie get his medical bag so he can attend to her. As Warren revives her, he comments about how rigid she was when she fainted and that her lack of being able to scream might be a factor. After regaining consciousness, Martha quickly checks on the safe, then apologizes to Warren for fainting as she did. As Ollie and Martha go to open the box office, Warren leaves and returns home to find his sister-in-law Lucy waiting to go on a date with her boyfriend Dave, who happens to be Warren’s assistant. As she waits for Dave to finish his work, they discuss Warren’s wife Isabel, who is out all the time and tries to control Lucy’s life. When Dave arrives, he apologizes to Lucy for being late and tells Warren that he caught the cat he asked for, then hands him the experimental drug he was asked to pick up. Dave warns Warren about using that drug on his own and Warren starts telling Dave about Martha and the two start discussing using her for their experiments but Lucy finally is able to get them to stop talking about work so she can go to dinner with Dave. Some time after midnight, Warren is reading a book when he hears a car pull up and sees Isabel outside kissing the man who brought her home. When she comes inside, Warren confronts her about her actions and her refusing to let Lucy and Dave marry. As the two argue, he comments about how she came into her money and threatens to prove that she poisoned her father to get his money. Pulling out a gun, he then forces Isabel to head downstairs to his lab, frightening her further and further before he finally shoots her. Isabel collapses to the ground and Warren quickly places her on a table and takes some x-rays of her before reviving her, revealing the gun was loaded with blanks. Warren then thanks her for helping with his experiment and Isabel comments that she will get even with him before leaving the lab. The next day, Warren shows Dave the x-rays they took, which shows a strange creature along her spine, which seemed to have grown larger the more frightened she became. Later, as Warren and Dave are discussing this with Lucy, Warren says that he wants to try and experience the Tingler himself, and Dave grows concerned over what he might do. When Warren heads back to the lab, Dave and Lucy follow and watch as he prepares a syringe full of LSD and injects himself with it. Speaking into a tape recorder, Warren starts describing the effects he feels of the LSD. As Dave and Lucy grow more concerned, Lucy goes to find another key to the lab while Warren continues describing the effects and eventually screams out. When Lucy and Dave enter the room, they check on Warren, who describes what he felt but assures them that he is all right and decides to head out, but they are still worried about him. Warren heads to the theater and speaks with Ollie for a bit before heading upstairs to check on Martha. When he gets upstairs, Martha and Warren startle each other and Warren then asks her permission to do a check up. Martha agrees and after examining her, Warren says she just needs plenty of rest and gives her a sedative to help her sleep, telling her that he will give Ollie a prescription for some sleeping pills to take. After leaving their apartment, Warren heads back to the ticket booth to give Ollie the prescription and leaves while Ollie goes to get the medicine. Later, Martha awakens and sees the rocking chair moving on it’s own, while the door and window close themselves. Going to wake Ollie, Martha discovers a disfigured man with a knife in his bed and as he approaches her, she manages to get the door open and leave the room. As more strange things begin occurring, such as blood pouring from the faucets and her death certificate being filled out in front of her, Martha eventually collapses onto the bathroom floor. Warren returns home and noticing two glasses in the study, comments to Isabel about her having a lover over while he was out but she simply mocks him. Ollie shows up, telling Warren that Martha might be dead and he brought her here for Warren to examine. Warren has Ollie bring Martha into the lab and after examing her, says that she is dead and starts asking Ollie some questions so he can fill out the report. Suddenly, they see Martha’s body sit up on the table before lying back down and Warren decides to investigate and removes a fully formed Tingler from along her spine. Warren shows it to Ollie and ask him for a cage to place it in when the Tingler suddenly latches onto Warren’s arm. Warren tries to get it off and as it increases the pressure on him, he screams out in pain, which causes the Tingler to loosen it’s grip and fall onto the table. Isabel, who was listening at the door, heads into the lab and asks what is going on and Ollie tells her that the Tingler attacked Warren, with Warren commenting it could easily kill a man. As Warren continues to recover, Isabel slyly grabs some drugs from the sink and offers her condolences to Ollie before she heads to the study and begins fixing two glasses of scotch, placing the drug in one of them. Back in the lab, Warren suggests Ollie call the funeral parlor but Ollie wants to wait until morning, as it is late at night, and he wants to take the body home so Warren relents. Warren heads upstairs and Isabel offers him a drink and he chooses to take hers, not completely trusting her, but unknowingly takes the drink with the sedative. As they drink, Isabel asks him about the Tingler and if it is really that dangerous and he describes it as feeling like being in a hydraulic press. Ollie calls to tell Warren that everything is ok but Warren succumbs to the sedative and passes out on the couch. Isabel quickly puts the glasses away and then grabs the cage with the Tingler and brings it into the room before opening it and quickly leaving. The Tingler gets out of the cage and makes it’s way towards Warren, eventually crawling onto his chest and attacking his neck. Warren struggles to breath as the Tingler chokes him but Lucy, returning home from a night out with Dave, hears him choking and when she enters the room, sees the Tingler and starts screaming, causing it to loosen it’s grip and fall to the floor. The next morning, Warren and Dave run tests on the Tingler and discover that it is indestructible. Dave thinks the other doctors will be fascinated about this but Warren says he isn’t going to tell the other doctors or right about it. He feels that they defied the laws of nature by removing the Tingler and now he hopes they can destroy it by putting it back in Martha’s body, as she is no longer able to experience fear due to being dead. Warren has Dave call Ollie to find out what funeral home Martha’s body was taken too and as he dials, Lucy enters the lab and tells Warren that Isabel has packed up some things and left for good. When Ollie doesn’t answer, Warren has Dave contact the police but they have no record of her death being reported. Warren heads over to Ollie’s house to find Ollie has packed a suitcase and emptied the safe. He then discovers the costumes and props Ollie used to scare Martha to death and Ollie tries to explain himself but when Warren goes to get the Tingler to place it back in Martha, he discovers that it has broken free of the cage. Noticing a loose floorboard in the corner of the room, Warren realizes that the Tingler is in the theater and he and Ollie head down and start looking for it. Inside one of the theaters, the Tingler drops down and makes it’s way toward a young woman and latches onto her leg but lets go when she starts screaming. Warren shuts the lights off to the theater and tells everyone not to panic, as the woman is being tended too, then he and Ollie head inside to look for it. As they look, the Tingler makes his way into the projection booth, moving across the screen. Warren shuts the lights off again and tells the audience to start screaming for their lives and screams are heard among the blackened screen. When the lights come back on, the projectionist is being attacked by the Tingler but he screams and it falls to the floor, where Warren is able to grab it and place it in a film canister. They head back upstairs and Warren places the Tingler back in Martha’s body but Ollie refuses to go to the police with him, pointing a gun at Warren. Warren leaves the apartment and Ollie grabs the suitcase and plans to leave but the doors suddenly closes on him. The Tingler then causes Martha’s body to rise up and approach Ollie, who is too terrified to scream. As the screen goes dark, Warren speaks to the audience and says that if they don’t believe that they have a Tingler inside them, then the next time they are scared, don’t scream.

This is a pretty ridiculous, but highly entertaining movie to watch. The acting was good, with Vincent Price doing his normal fantastic job playing Warren. I also liked Patricia Cutts (Isabel), Judith Evelyn (Martha), and Philip Coolidge (Ollie) but thought Darryl Hickman (Dave) and Pamela Lincoln (Lucy) were kind of boring. The story was interesting, showing the typical scientist obsessed with his work and a wife scheming to get rid of him. I also liked the story around Ollie and his wife somewhat mirroring Warrens own relationship with Isabel, as the wife was the one who had the money and controlled the purse strings, so to speak. The funny thing about the movie was the times when the screen went black and Warren was speaking to the audience, both the ones watching the silent movie and the audience at home watching The Tingler, as 4th wall breaks make for some humor. The special effects concerning the Tingler where pretty laughable but I did like the visual effects about the movie; particularly how the movie is black and white except for the blood when Warren cut himself and the blood that poured out of the faucets. A silly bit of fun that is good for some laughs and some cheap thrills.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

action, adventure, horror, movie, movie review

February 17th, 2018 Movie – The Thirsty Dead

the thirsty dead

I hate admitting that I am getting old and am no longer able to do some of the things that used to be no problem for me. Case in point today is the fact that I am still somewhat groggy after my long day Thursday and my in an out sleeping yesterday. Hopefully today’s movie will do a decent job of waking me up. Today I get to watch a movie out of the Pure Terror box set. A decent horror movie might be just the thing to get the blood pumping (unintended pun there) so let’s see what is in store for me with today’s movie, The Thirsty Dead.

The plot: In Manila, a young woman named Claire is performing a cage dancing act in a club and when she is finished, she is helped out of the cage and heads backstage. As she is changing, Claire is listening to a news report about the disappearance of another young woman in the area and the newscaster is urging women to be careful. Claire’s date yells at her from behind the door to hurry up, as he has a cab waiting, and as she finishes getting ready, Claire hears a scuffle outside the door and the latch starts jangling. When Claire opens the door to yell at her date for being impatient, she suddenly screams as someone grabs her and forces a rag over her mouth. Elsewhere, Laura is walking along the street with her boyfriend and as she kisses him goodbye before heading into the courtyard for her complex. After closing the door, she is subdued by three robed figures, who take her down into the sewers. Making their way through the sewers, they come to a canoe, where another woman, Ann, sits bound inside, and they force Laura in and begin paddling their way out of the sewer. Making their way from the sewer into a river and up through the jungle, the robed men eventually pull the canoe up to a secluded area, where Claire and another woman, Bonnie, are sitting. As the robed men work on hiding the canoe, Claire introduces herself and Bonnie to Laura and Ann, who ask how long they have been there. The robed men then remove their robes and have the girls stand up, leading them further into the jungle. As they make their trek, Ann scratches her arm and tells one of the men not to worry about it but the man grabs a leaf from a pouch on his side and places it over the scratch, instantly healing it. As a helicopter passes by overhead, Bonnie tries to get it’s attention but, at a signal from the leader, two men grab her and drug her back into compliance. The women are brought to some caves, which house a secret tribe of natives, and taken to a hot spring to bathe in. Meanwhile, the tribe leader, Ranu, speaks with Baru, their high priest, and Hala, a female attendant, if the preparations and the girls are ready. Afterwards, they head to a chamber, where Hala begins praying to their god, a disembodied head encased in red glass, asking who he has chosen and the head starts calling out “Laura”. Meanwhile, Laura and the others are dressed in native gowns and lead to a chamber, with rooms containing other women, and placed into a room of their own. As the 4 women start eating the fruit left for them, Claire makes a joke about one of them being intended as a sacrifice for a pagan god when one of their captors appears and motions for Laura to follow him, causing Claire to feel bad about the joke. Laura is guided through some tunnels and taken to see Baru. Baru questions Laura, then explains that he had seen her image and carved it out years ago, and Laura is shocked to see a painting Baru had carved in stone looks just like her. Laura is led to a bed chamber and told to rest but while she is sleeping, an old woman comes into her room and startles her by feeliong her face. The next day, Baru takes Laura to a chamber, where a performance is happening indicating the death and resurrection of their high priest 500 years ago. Laura is uncomfortable, as the woman who resurrects the priest is wearing a blonde wig, and noticing the looks the natives in the crowd are giving her, asks if they can leave. Later, Laura is escorted to see Ranu, who says they have been waiting a long time for her. Laura is then led outside and taken to a seat where Baru and Ranu stand next to her. Laura watches as Ann, Claire, Bonnie, and all of the other girls are led outside and placed on tables, with a native woman standing next to each of them with a knife. At a signal from Baru, the women all use the knives to cut the captive women’s throats and collect the blood in a bowl, then use a leaf to instantly heal the wounds. As Laura looks on in horror, Ranu explains that they blood of a woman in her prime is used to make an elixir that grants immortality and eternal youth. As the women are all led away, Baru takes one of the bowls up to the stage and hands it to Laura, telling her to drink. Laura refuses and argues with Ranu over what she is doing and Baru tries to talk her into doing it but when she still refuses, he has her placed in a cell filled with aging people who had also refused to drink the potion. As the decaying women begin to claw at her, Baru waits for a few minutes before ordering his guards to get her out of there. Baru apologizes and says he wanted to show her the joy of living forever but Laura says she can’t do it as their life is dependent on others’ suffering. Laura speaks with Ranu, saying she won’t go against them but asks that she be allowed to rejoin her friends and Ranu has her sent away. In their chamber, Ann and Claire are arguing about Laura when the guards shove Laura into the chamber. As Ann goes to check on her, Laura looks at the scar on Ann’s neck and apologizes to them, explaining what is going on and how the tribe wants her to join them. Laura says they need to find a way out of there when suddenly, the old woman appears outside their chamber and offers to show them a way out, as thanks to Laura for stopping Ranu from hitting her. The old woman shows them a secret passage out of the caves and the 4 women thank her and make their way out, though Claire is reluctant to leave. Making their way through the jungle, they eventually come to a small village, and the people there offer them some food and shelter. When Ann’s wound reopens, Laura calls out for help and is shocked when Baru shows up and heals her. Baru and his guards take the women back to the caves and Baru admits that his feelings for Laura had caused him to allow her to escape. Hala arrives to take the women back to their chamber but leads them on a different path, which Baru questions and is told that Ranu ordered them to go this way. They soon come to a chamber to find the old woman being lowered into a rat infested pit and Laura screams out and stops them from lowering her and Baru orders them to let her go. Seeing what Ranu had ordered done, Baru tells Laura that he will help them escape and will go with them. That night, Baru sneaks down to the prison and opens up the cells containing the decaying people, who begin crawling out of their cells. Meanwhile, Claire tells Laura she doesn’t want to leave, as she feels she has a good thing going there, being attended to hand and foot in exchange for some blood every now and then. Claire and Laura argue and Claire runs out of the chamber, planning on warning Ranu what is going on, but she ends up falling into the pit and dying. Meanwhile, the decaying people begin attacking the tribesmen and Baru uses the distraction to lead Laura, Ann, and Bonnie out of the mountain, saying they will have to take the back way down the cliff. Tying a rope around their waists for their safety, they carefully make their way down, with Bonnie falling off the cliff at one point before she is pulled to safety by the others. Back at the village, the guards manage to subdue the decaying ones and place them back in their cells, then Ranu sends them out to find Baru and the others and bring them back. Back in the forest, Ann and the others need a rest and Baru finds a small cave they can use to rest for a short while but then says they have to keep moving, as the others know they jungle as well as he does and their only escape route. As they make their way through the jungle, they pass a tree with some carvings on it, which Baru ignores. As they continue on, he begins to lose strength and collapses, and starts to rapidly age as Laura cradles his body. Baru stands back up and continues moving as best he can, wanting to lead the three women to safety. Meanwhile, the guards and priests continue chasing after Baru and the women and when they reach the tree, the priests stay back, sending the guards on ahead, as they do not drink the elixir. Baru goes as far as he can before collapsing and tells Laura where to go and the girls reluctantly leave him, as Baru continues to age where he lies. When the guards reach Baru, he begs them to kill him and one of them does, then grabs the amulet from around his neck. The girls continue making their way through the jungle and Bonnie collapses, saying she can’t go any further, but they hear the sound of a car nearby. Laura runs forward and, seeing a jeep coming towards them, quickly flags it down and her, Ann, abd Bonnie climb in and the driver takes them back to town, as the guards just miss them and head back to the village. Some time later, Ranu uses a spyglass to watch as the military attempt to locate the mountain village but have no success. The man in charge speaks with Laura, who had gone with them to show them where they were being held, and tells her that there is no way up that mountain and he doesn’t know what had happened to them. Back in her village, Ranu smiles as she observes Laura dejectedly looking up at the mountain, saying she was there.

I was hoping that this would wake me up and it actually almost put me back to sleep. This was such a boring slow paced movie to watch. The acting was not that good, actually feeling pretty stiff and wooden for most of it. The plot actually sounded interesting, though I feel like the story itself was not entirely original. Of course, there were some plot holes that were not quite explained, such as how the guards could travel beyond the tribe’s borders safely. I also didn’t like how quiet the movie was, as I had to turn the volume up quite a bit in order to hear any of the conversations. The special effects, such as there were, were not that good and could have been removed with no loss at all. A let down of a movie that isn’t really worth watching.

Rating: 1 1/2 out of 5

horror, movie, movie review, mystery, sci-fi

February 16th, 2018 Movie – The Thing (1982)

the thing

So I had a pretty rough night last night which is why I am getting a late start on today’s blog. So this is the second John Carpenter movie this week and I am almost certain that it has the distinction of being the first horror movie that I ever saw. This is one of those movie, that I tend to watch whenever it comes on and it would be years before I learned that it was something of a remake (which makes me wonder why I have not watched the original The Thing From Another World yet). Anyways, I bought a copy of it on on DVD as a “cheering myself up over getting a divorce” gift to myself and will pop it in anytime the mood hit’s me. Now lets have a nice dose of terror to kick off the weekend as I watch today’s movie, The Thing (1982).

The plot: Centuries ago, a flying saucer crash lands in Antarctica and ends up being buried underneath the snow and ice. In 1982, a helicopter piloted by two members of a Norwegian expedition is chasing after a Malamute, attempting to shoot it as it makes it’s way across the snow. Their chase leads them to a US research station, and the Norwegians attempt to use explosives to keep the dog away. from there. The commotion bring out several of the American researchers and as the helicopter lands, the dog runs up to one of the men. One of the Norwegians grabs another grenade but accidentally drops it in the snow and as he tries to dig it out, he ends up dying when it explodes, taking out the helicopter as well. The other Norwegian fires his rifle at the dog, hitting Bennings in the leg. As the Norwegian continues after the dog, he is eventually shot and killed by Garry, the base commander. After tending to Benning’s leg, Dr. Copper wants to go check on the Norwegian camp, as they have been unable to raise them and they are the closest people to them if there is an emergency. Taking advantage of the slight break in the weather, Copper convinces their helicopter pilot R.J. Macready to use their helicopter to head to the Norwegian camp. While they are gone, the Malamute wanders around the station and eventually heads into a room with a single occupant inside. MacReady and Copper arrive at the Norwegian camp to find it has been burned and the rest of the team killed. Exploring further into the ruins, they find a hole where something had been dug out of the ice but find no signs of it. Heading back outside, they soon find the body of something that had been burnt and take it back to the station, where Copper orders Blair to perform an autopsy on it. As Blair performs the autopsy, he discovers that the strange body has a normal set of human organs inside it. As night falls, Bennings has Clark place the Malamute in the kennel with the other sled dogs but once he leaves, the Malamute transforms into a strange creature and begins attacking the other dogs, absorbing them into it’s body. Clark hears the dogs barking and goes to check on them and after opening the door, he gets knocked down by two dogs that quickly run away before seeing the creature and quickly slamming the kennel door shut. MacReady hears the commotion and sounds the fire alarm to alert everyone else in the station, then grabs a shotgun and heads to the kennel. Seeing the creature, he yells for Childs to grab the flamethrower, then he and Garry begin firing at the creature before Childs arrives and finally burns it. The next morning, Blair works on performing an autopsy on the creature and discovers that it is perfectly able to mimic any creature. As he goes with Clark to check on the other dogs, he is surprised to learn that the Malamute had free reign of the camp all day and had only been placed in a kennel that night. Meanwhile, MacReady, Norris, Garry, and Copper are going over the Norwegian data Copper brought back and determine that the Norwegians had been focusing on a site a few miles north of their camp. MacReady, Norris, and Garry fly out to the site and discover the Norwegians have unearthed a flying saucer and apparently dug something up that had been buried nearby. Returning to the station, MacReady explains what they saw to everyone and theorizes that something had crawled out of the crashed saucer and been frozen in the ice, which was what the Norwegian’s had dug up. It somehow was thawed out and began to attack the Norwegians before turning into the Malamute and running from the survivors when they tried to kill it. Blair conducts some tests of the alien’s blood and cells and theorizes that if the alien creature got to a civilized area, then humanity would be completely overrun by the creature in a matter of months, with the whole planet being assimilated within a few years. Bennings and Windows move the creature’s body into storage chamber and Windows leaves while Bennings stays behind to gather a few supplies. Meanwhile, Fuchs asks to speak with MacReady in private and voices his concerns about Blair, saying he locked himself in his room. Fuchs then says he found Blair’s notes and reads some of them to MacReady, noting that the creature has to be in close proximity to it’s prey and strikes when it is alone, and that it’s cells are not dead within the body. Meanwhile, Windows returns to the room to see what is keeping Bennings only to find him being absorbed by the creature. Windows goes and gets MacReady and Fuchs and when they return, they find Bennings had escaped out the window. Macready sounds the alarm and they chase after him and as everyone gathers around him, they see he is really one of the creatures. MacReady dumps a nearby barrel of fuel onto Bennings and sets him on fire, then has everyone gather the other bodies and pour fuel on them before he sets them on fire with the flamethrower. As they watch the bodies burn, Garry asks where Blair is and Fuchs goes to look for him while Windows tries calling for help on the radio. MacReady notices Blair leaving his helicopter and when he checks it, finds that Blair has destroyed the console. Suddenly, a shot rings out and MacReady heads inside the nearby building to find Blair trashing the radio and computers, shooting at anyone that tries to stop him. MacReady and the others eventually subdue him and learn that he also disabled the other vehicles and killed the remaining sled dogs. The group lock him in the tool shed and as MacReady talks to him, Blair says he doesn’t know who to trust and warns MacReady to watch Clark, as he was alone with the dog for quite a while. Outside, MacReady talks with Childs, Garry, Copper, and Fuchs and ask if there is any way to determine who is human. Copper suggests taking a blood sample and comparing it to old samples they have in storage but when they go to get the old blood, they find that it is all ruined. Tempers start flaring, with Garry and Copper arguing as they were the only ones who had the key to the storage fridge, and Garry ends up stepping down as leader so MacReady takes over. MacReady has Garry, Copper, and Clark shot up with Morphine and isolated from the others, with Childs and Norris keeping watch. MacReady makes a recording detailing what is happening, which he plans to hide so that there is a record of events in case none of them make it, then goes to check on Fuchs, who is trying to come up with a new test to determine who is human and who might be a creature. After MacReady leaves, the lights suddenly goes out in the lab and as Fuchs lights a candle so he can see, he sees someone move past the doorway. Leaving the lab and walking outside, Fuchs calls out to see if anyone is there, then discovers a ripped jacket with MacReady’s name on it. Inside the rec room, MacReady tells the others that Fuchs is missing and they decide to split up and go looking for him, with MacReady, Windows, and Nauls checking on Blair outside while Palmer and Childs check inside. MacReady speaks with Blair, who asks to be brought back inside and promises that he wont hurt anyone but Macready leaves him in the shed. They then discover Fuchs burned body and theorize that he was attacked and tried to burn the creature with a flare, or killed himself to avoid being assimilated. MacReady sends Windows back inside to tell the others about Fuchs while he and Nauls check his cabin, as he had turned the lights off when he left the day before but they are suddenly on now. After 40 minutes with no sign of MacReady or Nauls, Childs and the others start boarding up the windows and doors when Norris sees someone coming back. Nauls enters the building and tells them he cut the tow line, leaving MacReady outside to freeze to death, after he found a ripped up jacket with MacReady’s name on it, believing that he is one of those things. As they all argue on whether MacReady really is one of those things, they hear him break into the supply room. Childs breaks down the door to discover MacReady holding a bundle of dynamite and threatening to blow them all up. Nauls and Norris attempt to jump MacReady but he throws them aside and Norris collapses to the ground, appearing to have a heart attack. MacReady has Windows untie Copper and bring him in there to tend to Norris but as he goes to use the defibrillator, Norris’ stomach opens up and transforms into a mouth, biting off Copper’s hands. As Copper dies from shock and blood loss, MacReady burns Norris’ body with the blow torch but the see his head separate and move attempt to get away so he burns it too. Clark attempts to stab MacReady, who shoots him, then he has Windows tie everyone up, then draw a sample of blood from them. MacReady then heats up a wire and begins poking it into the blood, figuring that if they were one of the aliens, their blood would react and attempt get away from the fire. MacReady tests Windows first, who is proven to be human, then has him grab another flamethrower while he checks his own blood, then Copper and Clark, proving that they are all humans. When MacReady tests Palmer’s blood, it reacts and Palmer transforms into a creature and breaks free of it’s bonds, then kills Windows before MacReady is able to set him on fire. Palmer smashes through a wall and collapses to the ground and MacReady lights a stick of dynamite and throws it at him, blowing up the body to ensure he is dead. MacReady then burns Windows’ body, then begins testing the others blood and determines that they are all human. Realizing the only person left to check is Blair, MacReady, Nauls, and Garry head to the tool shed only to find that the door is open and when they check inside, they find a tunnel underneath the shed. Following the tunnel, they find that Blair had been working on building himself a spaceship in secret. Making there way back to the shed, Nauls sees someone moving around outside just as the generators go out, plunging the base into darkness. Realizing that the creature knows there is no way out now and is trying to freeze itself and wait for a rescue team, MacReady tells the others that they aren’t going to survive so they might as well ensure that the creature doesn’t as well. Blowing up the shed, and the alien ship, they then make their way to the main building and begin blowing up all of the rooms. Reaching the generator room, they head inside to look for the creature and discover the generator is gone. They start planting more dynamite in the room but Blair appears and secretly kills Garry, then kills Nauls when he goes to check on him. MacReady asks if they are set and discovers they are missing and as he moves to check, something begins burrowing through the ground and grabs the detonator. The creature then emerges from the ground but MacReady grabs a stick of dynamite and throws it at him. The dynamite ignites the rest of the dynamite and the creature explodes, destroying the room as well. As MacReady recovers from the blast, Childs approaches, saying he though he had seen Blair moving around outside and had gone to check but gotten lost in the storm. Realizing that there is no point in distrusting each other, the two men sit back and watch the fires burn as they pass a bottle of scotch between them and wait to freeze to death.

The Thing (1982) met with mostly negative reviews from the critics when it first came out but has since gained more positive remarks from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 83% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Grimmer and more terrifying than the 1950’s take, John Carpenter’s The Thing is a tense sci-fi thriller rife with compelling tension and some remarkable make-up effects.” The movie was unfortunately a disappointment at the box office, only earning $19.6 million at the box office in North America off of a $15 million budget but would gain more views and a cult following once it was released on home media, with critics and fans alike reappraising it and considering it to be one of the best sci-fi/horror films of all time. John Carpenter has stated that this movie was his favorite of all his films and he took it’s failure at the box office, and the criticism about the gory effects and bleak tone particularly hard.

Yes, this is a bit graphic, but this is a fantastic movie to watch. The acting was really good, with Kurt Russell doing a great job as MacReady. I also liked Keith David (Childs), Donald Moffat (Garry), Thomas G. Waites (Windows), and Richard Dysart (Copper), but the biggest surprise was Wilford Brimley, as the lack of his famous mustache actually made his paranoia seem even more disturbing. The story was great, playing up the alien invasion aspect to a new level while making the focus more on the paranoia that people faced trying to figure out who was human and who was alien. The end scene was especially powerful, as you really had no idea if MacReady or Childs were human or alien, and they knew it as well and knew that there was nothing to do to stop them if they were so they might as well just wait to freeze to death. The special effects were incredible, especially considering the year this was made and can match up, and even top, a lot of modern movies in how well they were done. Definitely a must see movie for sci-fi and horror fans alike and one that deserves every bit of praise it received.

Rating: 5 out of 5