Horror on TV: Baywatch Nights 2.2 “The Creature”


For tonight’s horror on TV, we have another episode of Baywatch Nights!  In this one, David Hasselhoff and friends battle a half-woman, half-fish creature named Silver Eyes!  That’s right — it’s basically Killer Mermaid all over again but this time, David Hasselhoff’s involved!

And yes, it’s just as silly as you’d think.  But that’s okay.  Sometimes, we need a little silliness…

This episode, entitled The Creature, originally aired on October 6th, 1996.

 

Netflix Halloween 2015 : “The Bell Witch Haunting”


Trash Film Guru

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There are good “found-footage” horror movies.

There are bad “found-footage” horror movies.

And then there are Asylum “found-footage” horror movies.

Usually setting their tales at or near the scenes of purportedly “real” paranormal “hot spots” or the stomping grounds of infamous serial killers (although all their flicks are shot in California), the no-budget, straight-to-video “moguls” who run The Asylum follow pretty much the same formula every time : hire an eager kid either right out of film school or looking to get in to direct it, give him or her an HD video camera, hire a bunch of uniformly good-looking guys and gals who are out  to pad their meager acting CVs, get the ladies to take their shirts (at least) off, mix in a bit of dodgy CGI effects work meant to be indicative of “ghostly”  activity ( I really wanted to say “paranormal activity” there, but the name’s…

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Halloween Havoc!: BELA LUGOSI MEETS A BROOKLYN GORILLA (Realart 1952)


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(if you read my post on The Brain That Wouldn’t Die you knew this was coming. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!!)

When it comes to the title of “Worst Film of All Time”, BELA LUGOSI MEETS A BROOKLYN GORILLA has to be considered a top contender. This is the only movie for Martin & Lewis knockoffs Duke Mitchell and Sammy Petrillo. It’s easy to see why. Not only are they unfunny, they’re just barely passable as copies of the original duo. Mitchell does have a good crooning voice (more like Elvis than Dino), but Petrillo just flat out stinks! He’s not helped  by a lame script written by comedy veteran Tim Ryan. Ryan was a vaudeville star with his ex-wife, Irene (later Granny on THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES). Someone should have told Tim that vaudeville was dead. The jokes were old even in 1952, and have grown a lot of…

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The Daily Horror Grindhouse: The Dead Live (dir by Darrin Patterson)


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“It’s madness!  Madness, I tell you!”

— Alex Travis (Emily Hughes) in The Dead Live (2006)

So, this is what it comes down to.  There’s a lot of very critical things that you can say about the 2006 zombie film, The Dead Live.  You can complain about the wooden acting.  You can talk about the terrible special effects.  You can talk about the numerous continuity errors and you can also point out that this film drags on for 120 minutes.  Myself, I would complain about the repetitive heavy metal soundtrack.  (What is the deal with amateur zombie filmmakers and heavy mental?)  Judging from the comments over at the imdb, the number one complaint about this film is with the sound.  To put it simply, it’s often time impossible to hear what anyone’s saying in The Dead Live.

But, with all that in mind, The Dead Live does feature brave journalist, Alex Travis (played by Emily Hughes), shouting, “It’s madness!  Madness, I tell you!”  And any movie that features “Madness, I tell you!” in the dialogue cannot be considered all bad.

Add to that, this film features a scene where an unfortunate guy gets shot in the head.  However, before the trigger is pulled, the guy shouts, “NOOOOOOOOOOO!” and the action suddenly starts moving in slow motion.  Even the “NOOOOOOOOOO!” is heard in slow motion.  And, as I’ve said in the past, I love the slow mo of doom.

Oh!  And I did I mention that, towards the end of the film, someone shouts, “STOP OR I’LL SHOOT!  ARE YOU DEAD OR ALIVE!?”

And then there’s the visit to the Savini County Morgue in Romero, Ohio (that’s right — Savini County and Romero, Ohio), which turns out to be located in an office.  The director plays the coroner.  He also plays the sheriff, a member of a SWAT Team, and a zombie.

Before we get too snarky, I’ve read a FAQ at the imdb, one which I have a reason to suspect was written by the director himself.  This was Darrin Patterson’s first movie and, assuming that he is the author of the surprisingly detailed FAQ, he admits that this film was largely a learning experience.

And, as easy as it is to criticize The Dead Live, there’s an odd sort of charm to just how thoroughly and totally inept this movie really is.  I think it’s because we all secretly know that, if we ever got a chance to make a movie for only $10,000 and with no professional help whatsoever, we’d probably end up making something just as bad.

The phrase is overused but The Dead Live is literally “so bad that it’s good.”  It’s a shame that the film doesn’t have a cult following.  If you can appreciate Birdemic or April Rain, you can probably appreciate The Dead Live.

Netflix Halloween 2015 : “Haunt”


Trash Film Guru

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Quick question — would you buy a house from a doctor who had been running a pediatric clinic out of if and who told you, right to your face, that they’d experienced a “family tragedy” there and decided to close up shop and split town because no one wants to hire a pediatrician “who can’t keep her own children alive”?

Nope, I wouldn’t either, but if the Asher family — consisting of father Alan (Brian Wimmer), mother Emily (Ione Skye — remember her?), teenagers Evan (Harrison Gilbertson) and Sara (Danielle Chuchran), and youngest daughter Anita (Ella Harris) don’t buy the place from sole-survivor-of-the-aforementioned-tragedy  Janet Morello (Jacki Weaver), well, then — we wouldn’t have director Mac Carter’s 2014 indie horror effort Haunt to talk about here, would we?

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Which, truth be told, probably wouldn’t be such a bad thing, because even for a Netflix weeknight time-waster, this movie is pretty goddamn…

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Hallmark Review: The Reckoning (2015, dir. Mark Jean)


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Jeez! That title card is even more generic looking than the one for Erotic Ink.

This movie picks up where The Confession left off. Katie is now rich, but remembers to remind us she’s Amish in case we’ve forgotten.

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Is it in bad taste to use that particular screenshot after referencing the movie Erotic Ink? Nah, that movie was all one on one so it’s okay.

At least this time she doesn’t just flat out tell us she’s Amish. Actress Katie Leclerc can also do her fake Pennsylvania Dutch accent throughout the whole movie. Thank god! It doesn’t make it any less fake, but at least she doesn’t magically drop it like she did in The Confession. And neither is there a lady in the movie playing an actress playing an Amish girl doing a fake accent that we are supposed to recognize as fake. Since this movie is just a retread of a typical Hallmark romance with a bonnet thrown on it, here’s the wrong guy.

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Oh, remember Daniel Fisher played by Cameron Deane Stewart in The Confession with wonder and a blind love for Katie? Yeah, he had to go because it’s imperative we replace him with the Jesus archetype family man guy played by Jacob Blair.

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He even works as a carpenter in this movie. Speaking of characters who aren’t played by the same actor again.

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Remember Katie’s biological mother played by Sherry Stringfield? Well, that picture is all you’ll see of her character in this movie. By that, I mean you won’t see her again, but you will hear a voiceover from her done by a different actress later in the movie.

So let’s lay out the plot. Katie decides to invest in a place Oak Vale: Home For Boys. A guy who worked as a janitor and grew up in homes like Oak Vale shows up and is hired as a counselor. Fisher shows up to tell Katie he’s not dead.

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As you can see she takes it quite well. Of course Fisher starts working on the boys home. Gotta have someway for him to spend time around Katie!

Oh, there’s also a little subplot involving Katie’s adopted parents, but really it’s just there to tie up that loose end so that they can show up at the end of the movie.

The movie is about a girl moving forward with a marriage to the wrong guy while hanging around the right guy and helping this boys home out. Also, in reminding us she’s Amish.

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I must say that as much as having the kids raise this barn to get them doing something positive together is a good idea, the size of it does make me chuckle.

Everything else is exactly what you expect from a Hallmark romance movie. If you think about it for a bit you can even figure out who the janitor turned counselor is. Some of the shots are quite nice. Oddly, once again, this Hallmark movie reminded me of another late night cable movie called Passionate Intentions which also had similarly nice cinematography.

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All in all, it works well enough. Just know that the Amish bit really has nothing to do with anything and that this movie really exists just to give closure to this series of movies. Now I just need to watch The Shunning so that I will have reviewed all the movies in the series. Unfortunately, I can’t con my Dad into watching that one with me after watching this one. That means I’ll get to it eventually after the many more I have sitting on my DVR and the even more to be recorded in the coming months.

Horror Film Review: The Lazarus Effect (dir by David Gelb)


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I finally saw The Lazarus Effect and … bleh, who cares?  You may remember that the Lazarus Effect came out earlier this year and it got some attention because it was one of the first horror films to be theatrically released in 2015.  But then the reviews came in and they were all awful.  And then the movie opened in theaters and audiences saw it and soon, social media was full of tweets and updates about how disappointing the film was.  I meant to see it but the movie just kind of came and went.  Looking at my records, I can see that — when the Lazarus Effect was still in theaters — I instead chose to see Kingsman, Cinderella, and Maps to the Stars.

But, last night, I finally found the time to watch The Lazarus Effect and … well, I think I made the right decision skipping it.  The Lazarus Effect is about a bunch of scientists who discover a serum that can be used to raise the dead.  For instance, they use it to bring back to life a dog but guess what?  The dog isn’t very happy to be back and he spends most of the movie glaring at every human that he sees.  One of the scientists (played by Olivia Wilde) worries that the dog may have happily been in “doggie heaven” and now resents being brought back to life.  Mark Duplass, playing her boyfriend and fellow scientists, laughs at her but it turns out that Wilde had a point.

The other scientists are played by Donald Glover and Evan Peters.  There’s also a videographer, played by Sarah Bloger, who is there to record all of the experiments.  You may notice that I’m not using any character names and that’s because the characters themselves are not that memorable.  You remember them because of who played them and not because of anything that the character may have said or done.  It’s true that The Lazarus Effect has a pretty good cast but it doesn’t matter because none of them are really given anything worthwhile to do.  It’s not so much that anyone gives a bad performance — though the usually very effective Mark Duplass certainly does come close — as much as it’s just a case that the characters just aren’t that interesting.  They’re all recognizable stereotypes and, if you can’t exactly predict the order in which they all die from the minute they show up on screen, you obviously haven’t seen enough horror movies.

Anyway, after they bring the dog back to life, Olivia Wilde ends up getting electrocuted so, of course, Mark Duplass decides to use the serum to bring her back to life.  Needless, that was a big mistake.  Not only does she return with a lot of super powers but it appears that Wilde left her soul in whatever afterlife she was inhabiting.

So, now, you’ve got an angry Olivia Wilde wandering around and killing people…

And it should be interesting but it’s not.  The idea has promise but the movie does nothing new or unusual with it and the talented cast mostly just goes through the motions.  The Lazarus Effect ends with the promise of a possible sequel.  Let’s hope it’s a promise unfulfilled.